Category Archives: F1

The Formula 1 silly season starts early with Fernando Alonso signing

With Sebastian Vettel deciding to hang up the steering wheel next season, there was a level of interest as to who would replace him. Well, it only took a couple of days for us to know the answer. Aston Martin announced Fernando Alonso as their new team leader.

Despite being the newer driver on the team, Alonso will be the team leader Lance Stroll is not ready. This is why the decision-makers went with the most experienced driver on the grid. Vettel was certainly the team leader before his decision to retire so it is only fitting that he hands this mantle to another world champion.

Alonso is a true competitor whose fire will bring a whole new focus and zeal to the team. The two-time world champion has been on multiple teams, wearing out his welcome on a number of them. It actually appears that he has fallen out with either the Renault team or his teammate, Esteban Ocon. The way the two were squabbling over the same piece of road repeatedly during the last race gives that away.

Formula 1 silly season is now underway.

With Alonso announcing that he has signed with Aston Martin for 2023 the Formula 1 silly season has officially begun. Now that there is an opening with the Alpine team rumors are beginning to circle. Most of the drivers associated with this seas are young emerging drivers who are currently test drivers or F2 standouts.

This also has a good chance of quietening the rumors surrounding Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian doubled down on his future with the McLaren team. There is little chance of Ricciardo going to the French team. He left that seat to join the McLaren team for this contract.

There is little chance of him being welcomed back into the French team with open arms. Their current remaining driver Ocon has shown that he is a match for the former dual world champion. As such, Alpine would be well served by allowing him to become the team leader. They could then focus all their efforts on getting him up the standings. They would then be able to develop the other young driver for the coming seasons.

The impact of Sebastian Vettel retiring from Formula 1

Formula 1 will be without Sebastian Vettel for the first time since the 2006 season. He has decided to retire from the sport, effective from the end of the season. This is going to be the first seat open for next season, but with the silly season around the corner, it is certainly not going to be the last one. However, the conjecture over who is going to fill this seat has already started.

Vettel has given a lot to this sport. He entered Formula 1 way back in 2006 when he joined BMW Sauber as a test driver. Vettel also debuted with this team. He scored his first points in 2007 when he raced in place of Robert Kubica who crashed out of the Canadian Grand Prix the weekend before. His eighth-place finish ensured that Vettel was the youngest ever driver to score points in Formula 1.

Vettel then joined the Red Bull stable in 2007 with Toro Rosso. During his two years with the team, Vettel became the youngest ever Formula 1 driver to sit on pole position. He also became the youngest ever race winner at the Italian Grand Prix on a very wet day.

Sebastian Vettel was pretty good at this Formula 1 caper.

Vettel joined the Red Bull team in 2009 where he finished second in the World Championship. Then he won his first Championship in his second season with the franchise. This was the first of four consecutive World Titles that he won. His last season with Red Bull was a relative failure where he finished fifth. He then spent six seasons with Ferrari and then two seasons with Aston Martin.

Now that he has decided to retire, Vettel is going to be able to finish this season out without the pressure of getting a seat for next season. However, the problem here is that any driver who is out of contract for next season will probably be linked to Aston Martin. It also means that Daniel Ricciardo, despite doubling down on his future with McLaren will be faced with more speculation about his future.

It also will start the rumor mill circulating about the younger drivers who are currently test drivers for various teams. There is even the chance that Alex Albon could go for the seat. One thing that is for sure, there will be no shortage of rumors. Aston Martin is a team who are trying to become relevant again. Without a team leader with the experience of Vettel, they may be in danger of slipping even further to the back of the field.

Haas Formula 1 team show us what is possible with a level playing field

The Haas Formula 1 team has gone from the rear of the field last season to very much being in the middle of the pack this season. Part of the reason they were so bad last season was they chose not to develop that car. Instead, they spent all their time and money developing this season’s car.

The regulations surrounding the specifications of this car are totally different from last season. This decision has paid dividends with the American-owned team sitting in the seventh position in the constructor’s standings.  This is a massive gain for a minnow team.

In fact, their current haul of 34 points is the third-best result in their seven-year history. They had 47 points in the 2017 season and 93 points in the 2018 season. The other interesting fact is that those 34 points are more than they have accrued in the last three seasons. They only won 31 points from 2019 to 2021 which puts a massive hole in any formula 1 team’s budget.

The Haas Formula 1 team has been battling with the big boys.

Over the last few races, the Haas team has been battling with the seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. They have in fact been beating Hamilton at a few of the races. The team that finished last in the constructor’s championship last season is mixing it with last season’s winner of that championship. To say that this is huge is an understatement.

So, what is the difference between last season and this season? Well, the regulations as to how the car is designed are one reason. Mercedes, which had the dominant chassis for the last seven years had to completely redesign their car. Now, normally this would not be a problem as the huge team would just throw money at the problem until they solved it. They simply cannot do that this season.

Another of the regulations that were introduced was a cost cap. This cap means that Mercedes can only spend the same amount of money as everyone else on car development and upgrades. This is the same across all constructors and is putting pressure on Red Bull, who are asking for the cap amount to be raised. However, it appears that they are not going to get their way.

Formula 1 distributes its money incrementally

Haas has never been a big-budget team and as a result, has not been able to compete with the big boys of the sport. This means that they are not able to win the prizemoney required which puts pressure on the team and sponsors. Now, team principle Gunther Steiner is suggesting that Haas could finish as high as sixth. This is important as the prize money increases incrimentally the higher you finish in the constructors championship.

If the minnow again finished in tenth, they would get a smaller share of the revenue. however, now they are able to use the same money to develop their car as everyone else. They are showing that they are going to be a true force moving forward. We want to see the best drivers competing with each other on merit, not on who has the best car.

It is so good that the action is now back on track rather than off it.

Daniel Ricciardo addresses his future with McLaren

Over the last season and a half, there has been plenty of speculation around Daniel Ricciardo. It has all been surrounding his future with the McLaren Formula 1 team. Since he sensationally left Renault Ricciardo has not really felt confident in the McLaren car. However, that changed after the Monaco Grand Prix.

The team was able to make some changes to the car and he has been a lot more competitive. In fact. he has been in the points in two out of the last four races. He even finished 11th in the Canadian Grand Prix. This is better than the first part of the season where he scored once in seven races.

The first rival that you are compared to in formula 1 is your teammate. Lando Norris has finished in the points three times in the last four races. He was a lot more successful at the start of the season so is, therefore, higher up the driver’s standings. Still, Ricciardo has finished higher than his teammate twice in the last four races as well.

Daniel Ricciardo’s form reversal has allowed him to address his future with McLaren.

Ricciardo has been incredibly patient with reporters and fans who have asked about his future. He has steadfastly expressed that he is not going anywhere. However, there have been rumblings behind the scenes and these have felt to be responses by wrote. With the fact that he is competitive with his teammate now, there is a little more weight behind his comments. See the latest statement made by Ricciardo below.

His competitive, yet fun nature s evident in this tweet. Ricciardo is committed to seeing out his contract which finishes at the end of next season. While Ricciardo appears to be a laid-back guy, you do not get to Formula 1 without some serious drive and passion. We see this in his wheel-to-wheel racing and hopefully, we will see more of this as the season progresses.

The Formula 1 race director situation just gets messier

Formula 1 has been facing a few issues of late. Unfortunately, the most recent issue was in Austria when crowd behavior dominated the headlines. It should have been track limits that dominated the headlines but that was not to be the case.

Now it has come out that Sebastian Vettel has stormed out of a driver meeting at last week’s Grand Prix. He believed that an argument was going around in circles and did not believe that anything could be resolved.  He made good with the race director meaning that he only received a suspended fine.

However, this is the second attack on the race director for the weekend and should ring alarm bells. However, then the biggest news dropped yesterday when Michael Masi, the former race director left the FIA. He cited wanting to go back to Australia to pursue other opportunities and be closer to his family.

Formula 1 appears to be in turmoil under its new leadership.

The news that Masi was leaving came seven months after the race that cost the former race director his job.  It also broke the weekend after the FIA faced its toughest challenge in terms of driver dissent. This timing cannot be a coincidence, it is surely a case of Masi losing faith in the organization which threw him under the bus at the end of last season.

There are too many things coming out right now that never did under Masi. I mean, yes, there was the end-of-season controversy last season, but it is my belief that Masi had the best interest of the sport at heart. He did not want one of the best driver’s championship races to be finished under safety car conditions. He wanted a live, exciting finish, a best man wins scenario.

Now, with all the controversy surrounding Formula 1 there is a good chance that Masi is distancing himself from the organization. He may be doing this in an effort to get a good outcome elsewhere. One thing is for sure, Masi should be saluted for the three years that he was in charge. He took the job on after the beloved Charlie Whiting passed away unexpectedly and ran with it.

The biggest Formula 1 stories should come from on the track, not behaviour off it

Formula 1 is a spectacle which millions of people around the world watch. It is the definition of class and style. The cars have sleek lines and there are sponsors of the ilk of Rolex as well as Moet and Chandon. The rich and famous turn out in droves and are often guests of teams thoughout the weekend.

However, there are some occasions where the image of Formula 1 becomes tarnished and this happened in the hills of Austria. Things were so bad that the British broadcasters talked about the behaviour of some of the patrons, citing racism and other unruly behaviour.

Unfortunately for F1, and reportedly some of the male Dutch fans, the behaviour was so much worse than that. A female Dutch reporter went to the event as a patron. According to her article that she felt compelled to write, she felt devastated by the actions of her fellow countrymen. For the full detail of what she, and other female atendees, please find the link here.

Formula 1 drivers respond to the poor crowd conduct.

Current world champion, Dutchman Max Verstappen responded in the Dutch media. According to my Dutch source, she does not believe that it went far enough. The fact that he says that if you drink too much you should go to bed really does not cut it,

The response of Sebastian Vettel is so much more to the point and how a public figure should respond to this sort of behaviour.

The former world champion is of the opinion that the fans should be banned for life from all racing. This would certainly send a message. The message? Their putrid conduct should is not welcome, anywhere. Even better, that they should never act that way again in public

In a weekend where the discussion should have been dominated by track limits violations. Instead we are talking about the behaviour of an element of the crowd who spoiled the experience for others.In fact, their behaviour was so poor that there will be an element of the public who will never go back due to feeling unsafe.

This is not acceptible in any way and event organsers need to ensure that this never happens again. Everybody who attends a major worldwide event needs to be able to do so unmolested. They should be able to go about their daily life unmolested as well. However, that is a whole larger discussion to have. We need to be better than this, alcool is not an excuse.

Will there be changes to track limits interpretations in Formula 1

After the powers of Formula 1 removed Michael Massi as race director, changes were afoot. The impacts of this decision are impacting the sport this season. Now there is more controversy. This time the controversy relates to track limits.

For those who don’t remember, there was a level of unhappiness. This was due to Massi allowing only certain cars to pass the safety with a lap remaining in the final Grand Prix of the season. This meant that the two protagonists, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, could fight it out for the championship unhindered by lapped cars.

Of course, Hamilton had not come in for tires and Verstappen had, so it was an advantage for Red Bull. They took that advantage and won the title meaning Hamilton did not create history with his eighth championship. He is still level with Michael Schumacher with seven world titles.

Track limits had a massive impact on the Austrian Grand Prix.

During the Austrian Grand Prix drivers breached tracks limits 43 times. This led to four drivers getting five-second penalties in the race. This is not even counting the deleted laps during practice and qualifying. On top of that Sergio Perez had his Q3 result reversed and went back to his Q2 best time. This was only good enough for 13th but he used more tires than he should have.

This definitely impacted where he started in the sprint race which had a direct impact on where he started in the race. If he knew that his time was deleted in Q2, he could potentially have had time for another lap. Where this becomes an issue is that he started somewhat out of position and was then punted off the track by George Russel. This is impactful on both the driver’s and constructors’ championships.

While they are strictly breaking the rules, Formula 1 is a true spectacle. They are 20 of the best drivers in the world, doing everything they can to beat their rivals. If that means that the spectacle improves by allowing the curves to be the track limits then what is the harm?

Ferrari hold on in an action-filled Austrian Grand Prix

Well, Charles LeClerc has finally won a race where he did not start from pole position. When he crossed the line in the sprint race yesterday he said that they were fast and they would get the Red Bulls in the race. How right he was but the race was full of drama with LeClerc having his share of it.

On the very first lap, Sergio Perez of RedBull was punted off the circuit by Mercedes driver George Russell. Perez had drama all weekend, thanks to exceeding track limits in the second part of qualifying. Russell received a five-second penalty for his part in the collision.

Track limits became an issue all race long with so many drivers receiving penalties for exceeding them. This is becoming an issue with the new race director clamping down on this issue. This is thanks to the new regulations which have the drivers competing so much harder on track.

How did Ferrari take the win away from Max Verstappen?

Up until the race it looked as though Max Verstappen was almost untouchable. He managed to take the lead early and it took a while for LeClerc to fire up his tires. However, when he did, it did not take him long to get past the Red Bull driver. The lead did change during the pit stops but eventually, the Ferrari driver took the lead and never surrendered it again.

However, it was not without complications, particularly with less than 10 laps to go. LeClerc’s teammate, Carlos Sainz, had his engine literally blow up sparking a virtual safety car and his Ferrari was on fire. If a full safety car was deployed then LeClerc would have lost the race.

The reason for this? LeClerc had issues with his throttle pedal for the last few laps of the race. Verstappen was able to catch the Ferrari driver, finishing less than two seconds behind. Verstappen took the point for the fastest lap. For full driver standings, click here. For full constructor’s standings, click here.

Can anyone stop Max Verstappen at the Red Bull Ring

Just a week after Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz managed to secure his first-ever win in F1, he has been bought back to earth by last season’s world champion, Max Verstappen. The Dutchman has been fast all weekend, beating out both Sainz and fellow Ferrari driver Charles LeClerc for pole position. Less than 0.03 seconds separated the top-three drivers.

While qualifying for the sprint race was tight, the actual race was anything but. Verstappen took off from pole and no one troubled him. Sainz and LeClerc fought each other in the first few laps which allowed Verstappen to skip clear.

https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/1545800112001236992/photo/1

The Dutchman then found the right groove to manage his tires and finished 1.7 seconds clear of LeClerc. This means that he was able to extend his lead at the top of the driver’s championship by a point. Sainz came through to finish third in the sprint.

Max Verstappen appears almost untouchable at the Red Bull Ring

Despite LaClerc saying that they were fast and they would get Verstappen tomorrow it is really difficult to see this happening. This has a lot to do with the fact that Ferrari has had good one-lap pace but is struggling in the race. They have also made some huge strategy blunders this season.

Verstappen’s main rival appears to be his teammate Sergio Perez. The Mexican charged from P13 all the way to P5 and looked really good. This means he goes from the seventh row to the third row. He will not be fighting the same amount of cars as during the sprint and could challenge Verstappen.

However, the current leader in the world championship is not an easy man to catch, let alone pass. Perez will need to get a good launch off the line in order to pass the Mercedes of George Russell. he then has to deal with the two Ferraris who are in P2 and P3.

Let’s hope that the race does not start out the same way as last week in Silverstone where Zhou Guanyu ended up in the safety fence beyond the barriers on the first corner.