Hello, the Austrian Grand Prix saw Red Bull’s dominance continue with nine wins in nine races at the start of the season something Mercedes didn’t achieve, excluding Sao Paulo last November, two weeks’ time if Red Bull were to win next week at Silverstone would be A calendar year. If Verstappen wins the next three Grands Prix he would equal Lewis Hamilton with most wins in a calendar month…
F1 drivers have called for further changes to Spa-Francorchamps after 18-year-old Dilano van ‘t Hoff was killed in a crash at the circuit on Saturday. The Dutch driver was killed in a multi-car accident at the beginning of the Kemmel Straight in wet conditions.
Amid other cars going off at the exit of Raidillon, Van ‘t Hoff appeared to lose control and was hit at high speed when stranded in the middle of the track at the beginning of the straight. A similar incident at the 2019 Grand Prix weekend killed Antoine Hubert and seriously injured Juan Manuel Correa.
Speaking after the Austrian GP Sprint, Stroll called for changes to be made to improve safety at the Belgian circuit through Eau Rouge and Raidillon. Stroll told Sky Sports, “It’s a tragic day for motorsport. We lost a driver today so I want everyone to think about that. My thoughts are with him today and it breaks my heart it happened.”
“It’s a really dangerous corner, we say it every year and it’s not fair what happened today. I think that corner has to change. It’s way too dangerous and I think every time we go through there there’s an accident waiting to happen and today it happened again and we lost a young kid. It’s not fair.”
Verstappen added, “It’s easy to blame the track but I also think looking at how wet it was and these kind of things, we need to look at what we can do in the future to better protect drivers.” The FIA and the Belgian RAC will likely launch an investigation., the race was won by Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli.
The FIA says it has been unable to review 1,200+ track limits offences during the Grand Prix, Of the drivers, George Russell and own Fernando Alonso escaped without at least one incident of a track limits violation – the vast majority of which occurred through the high-speed right-handers of Turns 9 and 10.
That works out at almost one per lap by the eighteen other driver, with 66 offences by each driver.
Due to the influx of reports creating an “unprecedented situation”, the governing body has acknowledged that it was unable to review all potential infringements during the grand prix.
An FIA spokesperson said: “Regarding the track limits infringements at the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix, we note that due to the specifics of the circuit layout and the propensity of many drivers to repeatedly drive outside of the boundaries of the track, an unprecedented situation arose which resulted in all potential infringements not being able to be reviewed during the race.
“Prior to the submission of a protest against the result, we had already begun a full review of the track limits infringements, which is ongoing. During the grand prix, race control was tasked with reviewing well over 1200 instances where a car was reported as potentially leaving the track.
The FIA has stressed that it will once again push the Red Bull Ring management to install gravel traps, like those used on the outside of Turn 4, to better define the final two corners. Although, this measure has previously not been implemented due to the Austrian venue also hosting motorcycle racing including the topflight MotoGP.
Max Verstappen has beaten Charles Leclerc by almost half a tenth to take pole position for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Verstappen topped all three parts of qualifying managing to show his dominance and strength at the Red Bull Ring, while Leclerc going nearly a tenth and a half faster than his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz. Lando Norris put McLaren’s upgrades to good use going fourth, a tenth and a half ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
In sprint qualifying, Verstappen once again took pole beating Sergio Perez by almost half a second. Unlike Friday’s session, the Mexican kept his Red Bull within track limits but Verstappen benefitted from having saved up additional soft tyres throughout the weekend and never looked under threat during the final eight-minute period. Norris put his McLaren one place better than Friday going third he was eight-tenths behind the Mexican, but that does show encouragement for the team following upgrades.
Verstappen dominated the sprint race beating his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez by twenty-one seconds. The looked like a tough driver to beat he blamed his poor start and losing the lead due to poor grip off the line. But that didn’t stop the two-time champion fighting back then building his lead steadily throughout the sprint and controlling his teammate. Carlos Sainz was third for Ferrari, the Spaniard two seconds behind Perez he looked to have a quiet sprint after Aston Martin decided not to fight. Lance Stroll finished fourth ahead of Fernando Alonso.
Verstappen did the same thing in the race to win ahead of Leclerc by five seconds. The Red Bull made it look make easy work of repassing the two Ferraris during the middle stint but his strategy looked not to trouble him as the pace advantage of the Red Bull soon saw him regain the lead.
Perez was third, the Mexican who had a poor qualifying session was once again used the pace advantage of the Red Bull to come through the pack and then have a thrilling battle for the second half of the race and a nail-biting final few laps as he fought to fend of Sainz.
Mercedes chief technical officer James Allison says chasing Red Bull is “exhilarating” despite the team going through leaner years. For the last eighteen months Red Bull has been the dominant force since the ground affect cars were introduced they have won all eight races this year making Max Verstappen an overwhelming favourite to grab his third consecutive drivers’ championship.
Mercedes dropped the ball with its 2022 car and has since been working its way back in contention, with a concept change of its 2023 car offering hope that it has finally turned the page. Here is what Allison said, “We’re all going to feel a bit miffed about [not being competitive], even though that sort of unhappiness we see every time they win is offset hugely by the fact that it is thrilling in its own way to be fighting back, to be improving our car week-on-week.”
“They don’t have a God-given right to be in the lead, they’re there by merit, having worked really well. If we can do as good or better job, we’ll be there and that is actually a lot of fun.” Mercedes have turned a corner and the change of concept for Monaco has I think brought them into the fight with Aston Martin, but as we often say making that to challenge for titles. They took another podium in Montreal.
Toto Wolff says he is optimistic that the team will continue to show progress this weekend. In Monaco, when Mercedes revised its concept it scored a double podium in Barcelona and Lewis Hamilton finished on the podium in Montreal. We already know they are bringing a bigger upgrade for next weekend, in my view Mercedes I think is still in recovery from 2022.
However, have the momentum now heading in the right kind of direction following the concept change they had following Bahrain at the start of the season. This weekend it has more about getting an idea ahead of their defacto home race for the team and both drivers next weekend at Silverstone. They are really good at maximising what they have.
Hamilton added that the team is now going in the right direction as it moves on from last year’s “spiteful” W13. Asked in the press conference on Thursday, if the team is now heading in the correct direction, Hamilton said: “Yeah, finally! We brought a lot of upgrades last year, and we did make some progress.”
“But we found with this generation of cars, adding performance was not easy. When you added performance in the wind tunnel, it looked like it was real performance. But then you put them on the car, and the car would bounce more. And so finally this year, we’re starting to make changes to the car that actually do improve the car, and don’t add more bouncing.”
Hamilton was quite vocal in Bahrain about the need for a change in philosophy of the car which has seen them head towards the top three and potentially overtake Ferrari in joining the top three. The seven-time champion believes there is still more to come from the W14.
Despite the recent changes and resulting upturn in form, Hamilton believes there remain “fundamental changes” that need to be made in order to challenge at the front in 2024 with the W15. . Adding, “Ultimately, there are fundamental changes that have to change for next year. And I’ve been asking for it for over a year. So I expect to have that in future, which I think will definitely help.”
Russell was a surprise Q2 elimination in Friday qualifying after which he said Mercedes “needs to understand what’s going on.” He missed out after being one of several drivers who lost laps for exceeding track limits which was a defining issue for all the teams. He also looked to struggle for pace something he said was down to him not getting the feeling in practice.
He said, “”Just not quick enough today. I think from the first laps in practice I just hadn’t got the right feel with the car. It’s difficult when you go to sprint race weekend, you don’t have a lot of time to make some changes. Let’s see what we can do overnight into tomorrow.”
Meanwhile Hamilton admitted that the Red Bull Ring didn’t look to be a strong circuit for the Silver Arrows as he was over four tenths to polesitter Max Verstappen. He added, “Not an easy circuit. Our car in general in the past has never really suited this circuit and it shows that again today.”
Going into sprint qualifying their will be lessons the team can learn but we have seen all season the team has been stronger in the race, as Hamilton pointed out they both crashed out in qualifying last year, under the old sprint format Russell recovered to start fourth in the Grand Prix and he scored a podium from eighth.
Russell says Mercedes’ pace was “substantially worse” than anticipated in what CEO Toto Wolff reckoned to be a “bruising” 2023 Austrian Grand Prix. Normally this season we have seen Mercedes have better race pace, however without Verstappen’s stop and a few more laps the Dutchman looked as if in theory he could have lapped them.
Hamilton, who struggled with car balance and copped a 5s penalty for exceeding track limits that was served at his pitstop, was even radioed by Wolff to stop complaining about his W14.
Russell said the drop back down the order caught the team by surprise as the pace was “substantially worse” than predicted.
He told Sky Sports: “I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of it. But we still have the same car as we had two races ago in Barcelona when we were flying. So, the only thing that’s probably different is the tyres. Something we need to understand. It definitely doesn’t feel as we want it to. The car’s moving around a lot, a little bit worse than all of the other circuits. But the pace was substantially worse than we were expecting.”
We know that last year the car had such a narrow operating window and in my view they almost had a reversal of where they are strong from the dominant early hybrid era.
Sergio Perez thinks the track limits system in is “wrong” after he had three laps deleted for running wide in qualifying for the Grand Prix. The Mexican failed to make Q3 after failing to set a final attempt within track limits and blamed his final attempt on being disturbed by the Williams of Alex Albon.
he said, “There’s so many things I can control and unfortunately, with this one, you’re closing a good lap and then all of a sudden you are blocked, and you have a penalty. I think the system is wrong. It is just frustrating that we don’t have a good system and we are not able to consider when these things happen.”
Perez was aware that everything hung on the final run but reckoned it was all under control until traffic got in his way. The rules have to be strictly enforced around the Red Bull Ring because the drivers could gain so much lap time by going wide and also being the shortest lap in terms of time we know that the traffic issue is a big issue.
But despite Perez blaming traffic for his Q2 exit, his Red Bull team boss Christian Horner felt that the Mexican should have done a better job in taking fewer risks when he knew that he had one final go to get a lap in.
Horner told Sky Sports, “It was crystal clear. The frustrating thing is we know he can do it. He did a 04.900s on that lap, and he was three hundredths off Max. He could have been four-tenths slower and still been in.”
During the sprint both Red Bull’s nearly collided after Verstappen got wheelslip off the line and Perez dived up the inside a Lauda (Turn One) on the opening lap. That resulted in a loss of traction and then appeared to drift back across the circuit to the inside.
That delay under acceleration allowed Verstappen to reel in his team-mate but as Perez moved more towards the right, the Dutch driver briefly clipped the grass to avoid contact.
Verstappen was not happy saying over team radio was: “He pushed me off. What the f**k”. At the end of the 24-lap race, he added: “The exit of Turn 1 was not really nice. That could have been a really big shunt. We need to have a chat about that. It was not OK.”
The pair then had a discussion in the safety car garage and seemed to come away with some clarity on the incident as neither stoked the battle in their parc ferme interviews. Perez said he had been unable to see his team-mate but when he realised, handed back the position. The Mexican explained: “We had a good start. A bit of a fight with Max and that obviously gave a position to Nico [Hulkenberg] which he was very strong in the first few laps, so it was quite hard to get by him.”
To me it looked like a racing incident given the conditions we had, we know visibility is not the best in these cars but I think were just on the margin of what is acceptable in these conditions.
Perez still led the opening lap into Turn 3 but lost time at the apex as his path was blocked by Verstappen, who struggled to slow the rear axle and ran deep into the corner. That delay enabled Verstappen to seize the lead, which he extended through drying conditions to win the sprint race by 21.048s over Perez, who claimed the sizable gap was owed to him managing the intermediate tyres.
Carlos Sainz has said that warning signs over Ferrari’s race-pace difficulties in were already flashing up at the end of last year. This season Sainz and teammate Charles Leclerc have struggled for much of this season with their SF-23 proving to have a lack of consistency, especially on Sundays.
This has not only left them unable to fight with Red Bull but facing a much stronger challenge from both Aston Martin and Mercedes. Although Ferrari has shown progress and at least in qualifying has been not far behind Red Bull, but has found it self struggling for race pace believing it still hasn’t addressed all the factors at play.
Sainz told Motorsport.com, “I think if you analyse it a bit as a bigger picture, already towards the second half of last year you could see that we had a car capable of fighting for pole positions but, in the race, we were always getting beaten by Red Bull.”
“People a lot of times were blaming it on the strategy. But actually, I think a lot of times we were just never as fast as them in the race, like in Budapest or in Austin, or places where we put it on pole and then we went backwards.”
Also part of the problem for Ferrari come from about this time last year when Red Bull started to overtake them and drive off into the sunset the team hasn’t won a race since Austria last year. Sainz said Ferrari had no way of knowing at that stage what the situation was, especially as rival Red Bull did not really hit its stride until the middle part of the season.
Charles Leclerc has revealed he and Ferrari have “slowly” begun to discuss an extension to his contract, which currently runs out at the end of 2024. To me he could give Ferrari another few years even if they aren’t challenging for titles as he is only in his mid twenties and we know in Melbourne Fred Vasseur he was “not scared at all” about the possibility of losing Leclerc post-2024 and that it was then “not the right moment” to start negotiations about a possible extension.
I wonder if these stories and reports are both a mixture of public negotiation, the press creating the story because of Ferrari falling short and going backwards in the constructors. Leclerc i think if Vassuer continues to change thosee team going forwards they can challenge for championship.
Leclerc says he didn’t expect to be so close to Red Bull after he and Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz qualifying second and third. Ferrari brought a revised floor and front wing to the sprint weekend at the Red Bull Ring as part of its strategy to fast-track plenty of smaller upgrades this year.
Those upgrades were appeared to give Leclerc and Sainz an immediate boost after just a single free practice session to dial them in on Friday, as the pair qualified in the top three behind Red Bull’s polesitter Max Verstappen.
Leclerc said after conceding just 0.048s to the Dutchman, “I don’t think we expected to be so close to the Red Bulls, so it’s a good step forward. First of all, I would like to thank all the guys back at the factory. It’s only qualifying but the work they’ve done in the last two, three weeks in order to bring the package earlier than what it was planned was really, really impressive. And that helped us to have a good performance today.”
This season Ferrari are looking to be the team to beat on one lap pace, however they have struggled in races with tyre wear but in Montreal, they looked to punish the tyres more during the race.
Sainz has expressed his satisfaction after surviving a Shootout scare to top-three finish behind Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. a brake-by-wire issue during SQ1 put him in the drop zone but made it back onto the track for one final run, which he converted to progress to SQ2 and ultimately secure fifth on the grid for the Sprint.
He said, “honestly very happy to be P3 today, after how the day started with the brake-by-wire issue in Q1 and only managing to do one lap. To then progress the way we did through quali and put ourselves today in P3 I think is the maximum, so I’m very happy with this Saturday.”
One of the things Ferrari has been struggling with is race pace, but Sainz he was comfortable saying the car looking good but beating Verstappen was going to be tricky.
Leclerc meanwhile had a low key day only managing P12, he lamented another low-key performance in changeable conditions, the Monegasque making the switch to slicks late on rather than sticking with intermediates.
Asked if he was frustrated by Ferrari’s overall pace, he replied: “Not of Ferrari. Of myself, for sure, I am disappointed in the race overall – I haven’t been strong. But it’s been three races now that whenever I’m on slicks on a track that his half dry, half wet, I am nowhere. We need to understand on my side what I’m doing wrong in terms of driving.
Leclerc says Ferrari’s “maximised” performance in the Grand Prix shows the team has “still a lot of work to do” to catch Red Bull. In the race he lead for ten laps before being repassed by Verstappen who then opened a ten-second lead over him the remainder of the race, if you take out the free pitstop of five seconds.
he reckoned that what turned out to be a comfortable 1-3 result for Red Bull proved the team has “still a lot of work to do” to catch the pair of RB19s. My conclusion from this weekend is that yes their upgrades have brought them closer to Red Bull but the advantage they have is really big normally from my memory we would have seen that gap at this stage of the season.
Leclerc added “I think Friday and today we have maximised what we had, really. It’s more yesterday that I was off the pace [Leclerc finished 12th in the sprint race]. But it’s good to be back on the podium.”
Wrexham Football Club owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are part of an investor group taking a 24% equity stake in Alpine. The £171m deal alongside Otro Capital and RedBird Capital Partners, values the team. These two brought Wrexham in 2021 and the Welsh club were promoted back to the Football League after a 15-year absence when they won the National League title in April.
US investment firm RedBird is an investor in Fenway Sports Group, the owner of Premier League side Liverpool and the Boston Red Sox baseball team. This again as we have been saying for a few year the ‘Drive To Survive’ affect which has seen the popularity of the sport grow.
Alpine chief executive Laurent Rossi said: “This association is an important step to enhance our performance at all levels.” Rossi added the investment would “boost” the F1 team’s media profile, which in turn would support Alpine’s “performance over the long term”.
Meanwhile, Rossi says Aston Martin’s leap up the grid this year has been a “reality check” for his team. Rossi told BBC News, “It was a reality check for Mercedes, Ferrari, us. We were comfortable thinking we were on the rise, and everyone else was and suddenly there is a guy leapfrogging all of us.”
Alpine will be looking to replicate the step forward shown by Aston Martin which has seen them fighting at the front, making its target of finishing fourth in the constructors and closing the more difficult if not impossible this season. Rossi gave an insight into the team being on been too conservative, suggesting that the process could be shorter. Last month, Rossi accused the team of “dilettantism” and said the team had a “performance deficit and an execution deficit”.
Now, he says: “Being fifth right now in and of itself can be very different – you can be unlucky and have three podiums and whatever. Being fifth the way we did it, by making a couple of mistakes here and there – and it’s all across the value chain from [the chassis base at] Enstone to [the engine factory at] Viry to the track was not good. That’s what I didn’t like.
When Alpine took over Renault’s entry in 2021 he announced a “100 race plan” to challenge for titles, roughly the end of 2024 beginning of 2025. That looks difficult at the moment given they are currently fifth and as we know it is hard to break into the top three, during a regulation period and even harder to challenge for titles6
Nyck De Vries looks to be the driver under the most pressure to retain his seat the former Formula E champion has looked to struggle to match teammate Yuki Tsunoda in terms of consistency. Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko voicing his displeasure about the 2020-21 Formula E world champion’s performances so far.
Tsunoda has backed De Vries to turn things around once he gets settled. when asked by Motorsport.com in Austria about his new team-mate’s plight, Tsunoda replied, “I think Nyck just has to put it all together. I think the pace is there, so he just needs to find a good rhythm because so far in most of the races probably he struggled a lot in terms of consistency.”
I think by now a driver of his calibre would be delivering I described him as ‘an experienced rookie,’ I think his struggles prove that F1 no matter how experienced you are still the piranha club is still able to make or break drivers.
AlphaTauri is set to be renamed for the 2024 season as part of the team’s ongoing restructuring under new Red Bull management, according to Helmut Marko. We know that Franz Tost will step down and the team relocate to Bicester to boost ties with Red Bull and allow for greater collaboration with reigning constructors’ champion Red Bull to improve form and save money.
Fernando Alonso says the Aston Martin project gives him more confidence than any other team has managed to inspire throughout his career. Twenty-two years after entering the sport the two time champion is going to a renaissance after joining the team aged fourth-one taking his sixth podium of the season in Montreal.
Alonso told Sky Sports, helped underline Aston Martin’s “most competitive race of the year”. He added that, “in terms of pace, we were matching Red Bull most of the race. Everything is good. To be honest, I cannot think of another time in my career that I was this confident with a team and with a project itself.”
Alonso however is yet to firm up his stance on whether he will still be driving for the team should it keep progressing and put itself into title contention. But he ideally wants to be in the seat if the time comes. I think this is because he is in his forties many drivers in the modern era have by now retired or aren’t competitive anymore, but we Know that break has rejuvenated him in his third stint
The teams former deputy former team principal bob Fernley has died following a short illness. When the team were Force India between 2008 and the summer of 2018 Fernley worked under Vijay Mallya, Fernley had an initial involvement with F1 via the Ensign team in the early 1980s, helping close friend Jim Crawford to the 1982 British championship title.
It was his close friendship with Mallya that brought him back to international motorsport after the Indian businessman bought the former Spyker team in late 2007.
Nico Hulkenberg says he knew there was little chance of scoring a maiden podium despite hitting second place in the sprint. The German currently holds the record for the most F1 starts (189) without a top-three finish. Extending his run of strong one-lap performances this season, he qualified fourth for the Red Bull Ring sprint race and then gained a position through Turn 3 when third-starting Lando Norris suffered a loss of traction to trigger anti-stall.
A slow-launching Max Verstappen had dropped to second place and then struggled to stop the car into the right-hander. This forced both Red Bulls to run wide. The lack of momentum out of the corner enabled Hulkenberg to close before the 35-year-old passed Sergio Perez around the outside to take second, which he held until on lap 12.
It was always likely, as Hülkenberg reckoned it was inevitable that he would drop back. He said: “I knew that at one point, I’m going to get more heat from behind.
It wasn’t raining. The track was drying up. Probably I can feel it earlier than what you can see on the TV, which direction it’s going. I knew it was going to be a tough one to keep there.”
Hulkenberg reckoned Haas had never expected to score points in the sprint race ahead of the weekend. He also dismissed the idea that he could have stayed out on intermediates to the finish like the top five cars directly ahead had done.
Facts and stats (F1.com)
- Red Bull today scored their tenth consecutive win, the second-longest streak in history behind McLaren’s eleven in a row in 1988. Verstappen led the first 24 laps today, meaning his consecutive streak unofficially ended at 248 laps – third on the all-time list behind Ayrton Senna and Alberto Ascari.
- Verstappen’s 42nd career win surpasses Senna for fifth on the all-time list. Verstappen’s 42nd win means that he has now taken exactly half of all his career wins in the last 14 months (from Imola 2022 onwards).
- Leclerc podium was Ferrari’s 800th podium and made this circuit his most successful.
- Lando Norris’s fifth was McLaren’s first top-five finish of 2023. Norris has finished in the top five in five of his last six visits to the Red Bull Ring.
Red Bull – Honda RBPT
|1||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull – Honda RBPT||01:29:33.607||26|
|3||Sergio Perez||MEX||Red Bull – Honda RBPT||+00:17.168||15|
|Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull – Honda RBPT||01:07.012||1|
|1||Max Verstappen||229||Red Bull||377|
|3||Fernando Alonso||125||Aston Martin – Mercedes||172|
|5||Carlos Sainz||86||Alpine – Renault||46|