F1 | GP SAUDI ARABIA, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “THIS IS A F1 HIT BY AN EARTHQUAKE”

In a few hours the engines will be switched on. From Bahrain, Formula 1 has landed in Saudi Arabia, on a very fast street circuit that last year gave us one of the most attractive races of the season in terms of competitiveness and overtaking.

Unfortunately, at the moment it is a Formula 1 that makes people talk more for non-sporting and technical matters. Look at the Horner case that continues to hold the stage, to which were added the investigations concerning FIA’s President. These are episodes I do not like, and which are not part of “my” Formula 1 as a fan. I hope that the results from the track return to centre stage, together with the main actors.

We come to the second round of the world championship. It will certainly be interesting to see if the balances that emerged in Bahrain will be confirmed, or if some outsider will manage to cut in. As of today, we have a Red Bull ahead of everyone. Followed by Ferrari as the second force ahead of Mercedes, McLaren, and Aston Martin.

Also on this occasion, the programme has been brought forward by a day with free practice scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday), qualifying on Friday March 8 and the Grand Prix on Saturday starting at 6.00pm, Italian time.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP BAHRAIN, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “FERRARI THE SECOND FORCE BEHIND THE SUPER-RED BULL”

All according to the script? Almost. The 2024 world championship began as it had finished in 2023, with Red Bull winning with Max Verstappen, followed by his teammate Sergio Perez, ahead of the two Ferraris.

Verstappen confirmed all his peace of mind in the management of his car and race times. When he wanted to, he set the fastest lap to then manage the lead accumulated over both Perez (22”) and Sainz (25”).

This is precisely the news. As well as confirming itself as the second force, Ferrari confirmed the improvement that emerged during the collective tests in both performance and tyre management. In fact, the 2023 gap was significantly greater (48”).  However, all this is still not enough to achieve a win.

Red Bull did not show all its potential. In race management, Verstappen’s pace was better than his teammate by almost half a second. But, above all, throughout the grand prix he managed the car, choosing when to push.

The continuity of the regulations gave us an upwards compaction of the performances that was seen particularly in qualifying with fifteen cars enclosed within one second. The slightest mistake really is enough to nullify the work. We saw this with Leclerc in Q3. Due to a very slight slip, he did not repeat the time set in Q2 (1:29.165) losing pole position to Verstappen (1:29.179).

The result of the GP reflects what had emerged from the tests with Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin.

At the end we witnessed the exchange of positions in Racing Bull between Tsunoda and Ricciardo. An operation I, honestly, would not have made since Ricciardo had been behind his teammate all week. At least the Australian should have given back the positions to the teammate once he understood he could not have overtaken Magnussen. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

In a week’s time they will go back to the track (always on the Saturday) in Saudi Arabia where higher temperatures than those experienced in Bahrain are expected, with a slight change in the tyre compounds (C2-C3-C4).

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP QATAR, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “FERRARI IMPROVED, BUT NEWEY HAS TAKEN A FANTASTIC ROAD”

 

We are now close to the first grand prix of the season. It begins in Bahrain with a new programme (just like Abu Dhabi): the engines will start up on Thursday with two sessions of free practice, Friday free practice 3 and qualifying, Saturday 4.00pm the grand prix. This is already the first innovation.

We come to the first round (of 24 GPs) after having seen the three days of collective tests. Three days from which it was hard to draw a conclusion. It starts again from where we left off: A Red Bull in front of everybody. Adrian Newey has taken a different road from the rest of the pack and if everything goes as it should once again there is little all the others can do, also because he has introduced innovations which will be hard to duplicate in short time.

I was particularly impressed by the long runs covered by Max Verstappen on the Friday. He put together many laps at the same pace with extreme serenity and naturalness.

Carlos Sainz had also achieved the same result with the SF-24 the day before (even if the lap times were different), but it is not easy to make comparisons. Ferrari seems to have been born better compared to the previous car.

Another factor that emerged following the tests was the upward reduction of the performances, as well as reliability. Precisely for this reason I expect a very hard-fought Q2.  The cars normally have the same tyres and fuel. Just last year, especially at the end of the season, we had a fine tussle.

At the moment, I find it hard to evaluate the Mercedes. Russell set his best times with compounds that will not be present this weekend, as did Leclerc.

It will be interesting to follow this first round to start to understand the forces on the field and who will be the most skilled in these months, The RD drew attention with Tsunoda and Ricciardo…

But be careful! Eyes are also on Formula 3 with Fomaroli and Mini and the debut of Andrea Kimi Antonelli in Formula 2.

So, we expect a weekend full of Motorsport. Good viewing to everyone.

Gian Carlo Minardi

Ph @F1

F1 THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI ON THE 2024 SEASON BETWEEN VIRTUAL PRESENTATIONS, FEW TESTS AND DRIVERS ALREADY ANNOUNCED

The new season of the Formula World Championship is now upon us. From Wednesday the engines will start up for the three days of collective tests in Bahrein which will host the first round.
Let us not forget that the grand prix will be run on Saturday March 2 with the programme already brought forward by one day (it will begin Thursday with free practice), just like the following weekend in Saudi Arabia (March 7-9)

READY TO GO. We left behind a season dominated by Red Bull and Max Verstappen (who took his third world title), distinguished by great competitiveness in qualifying by all the grid enclosed within less than a second, particularly in the final part of the season. Compared to 2023 the technical regulations have remained practically the same, but the teams have had a year to fine tune the details. Precisely for this reason I expect further improvement in the performances, above all in the flying lap.

BUT MORE TEST SESSIONS ARE NEEDED. It does not need to be said. The point of reference remains Red Bull. It will certainly not be easy giving interpretations after barely three days of tests, Too few. It is true that there have been no upheavals on the regulation front and the drivers’ line up, but on the other hand, how would it be possible to launch a rookie in such a long and competitive a world championship with only three days of official tests? In the last few days, the drivers have come back to the track using “old” cars to remove the rust of winter, but in no other sport are there such tight limits “on training”.

EVERYBODY IS CHASING RED BULL. As of today, everybody says they are satisfied according to the results achieved indoors, on the simulators, but nobody knows what margin the RB19 still has and how they could have improved with the RB20. From what I hear the Racing Bulls should have made another big step forward compared to last year. It will be interesting to follow these developments.

FROM VIRTUAL TO REAL. The new racing cars have been revealed in a media format. Expressing judgments is practically impossible. We need to see if what has been seen in the photos corresponds with reality. Compared with 2023 we have seen many innovations, the results of continual development. It will be interesting to follow the tests also under this aspect. With only three days with so little time from the first GP, I do not believe they will hide too much.

HAMILTON-FERRARI: As we know all the teams had confirmed their line-ups at the end of the year. We expected a “quiet” first part of the season in this respect, to then go wild towards summer, but the start of this year was anything but serene. Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton thought to stir things up a year early. Honestly, I do not share this action. My DNA is tied to young people. I urged the Federation, through our school, to set a tutoring programme towards the young drivers by also activating collaborations with the various Academies of the Teams, FDA first of all. Announcing Lewis Hamilton today with an eye to 2025 means barring the road to young drivers of your Academy. Amongst other things, it has been two years since a winner of F2 has not found a place in F1, It is true that the arrival of the Hypercar in the WRC world championship has opened new opportunities, but those who set F2 and F3 programmes must be given an opportunity in F1. The seven times World Champion is at the end of his career, but the subject is not tied to age (editor’s note, in 2025 he will be 40 years old). Fernando Alonso has shown that, with the right car, age is only a number. In any case, I hope that this is not only a marketing operation to draw attention away from a non-competitive car. What is certain is that a difficult season will begin for Mercedes and Ferrari under the management of their drivers.

HORNER CASE. I am shocked by this whole situation. At this moment there is a lot of chatter going on which is tied rather to internal struggles between the Austrian and Thai owners. I also do not understand the interest of Ford, the next supplier and partner, since all this has nothing to do with them. I am also surprised by the interest of other parties outside the team. It seems to me that it is a real feeding frenzy that certainly takes away the team’s serenity.

We are approaching a very long new season made up of 24 rounds, with a lot of curiosity and many questions to be answered.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP ABU DHABI, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “COMPETITIVENESS IS GROWING. A GOOD SIGN LOOKING TO 2024”

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 26: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 performs donuts on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

We have come to the end of this very long season with another win for Max Verstappen (the 19th in 22 GPs) who “left” only two races for Sergio Perez and one for Carlos Sainz. The Dutchman took home the race’s fastest lap, and also set the record for the number of laps in the lead in a season (1,000).

Red Bul’s supremacy has been incredible. The sum of all the points taken by Mercedes and Ferrari does not reach the 860 points of Verstappen-Perez.

Until the final lap Mercedes and Ferrari fought for the title of vice-champion with Charles Leclerc (second) who tried everything. He really could not do more than that. Unfortunately, Sainz, whose weekend was affected by Friday’s mistake, was missing.

We saw a race without the entry of the safety-car which drew up the forces in the field this season. The gap of barely 17” between Verstappen and Leclerc could let us hope well for next season and can be read positively. Behind him there were three constructors enclosed within a gap of a few seconds. We know with certainty that some time ago Red Bull stopped the development of the car to concentrate on the new “weapon” which the rumours say is another step forward compared to the “RB19”… Faced with this rumour, but above all with the best organized team with the best technician, it is almost impossible to make forecasts.

Certainly, behind them we have a great turnover of performances with Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, and Aston Martin setting themselves up as the world championship’s second force. In the end, Mercedes prevailed over Ferrari, with McLaren finishing ahead of Aston Martin.

We are quickly approaching 2024 which will see an even more demanding calendar with 24 GPs. It will begin as soon as Tuesday with the end of season tests in which the teams will take to the track a first-string driver beside a young driver. We have already had a first taste during the first session of free practice with the teams which put up ten young drivers with interesting results.

It will be a long winter not only for the teams, but also for the Federation and Liberty Media which must review some regulations to avoid these continual changes, as well as carefully analysing the penalties, some very dubious, such as the last one given to Perez.

Gian Carlo Minardi
@credit F1.com

F1 | GP LAS VEGAS, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “EXAM PASSED. GP FULL OF OVERTAKING AND DUELS”

Forty-one years later Las Vegas once again hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix on a totally new circuit in both location and layout. A track that lived up to expectations by giving us an exciting race full of overtaking and duels in which the drivers certainly did not hold back.

An eventful initial phase: Verstappen (starting second next to poleman Leclerc) came wide receiving a 5” second penalty; Fernando Alonso spun and struck Lewis Hamilton forcing him to both a pit-stop and a nice comeback.

As it was easy to predict, the safety-car made the difference, especially on the second entrance during the 26th lap with some drivers having already made their stop. One of these was precisely Charles Leclerc who crossed the finish line with the tyres worn more having covered 5 laps more than Verstappen and Perez. The two Red Bull drivers had made their pit-stops precisely in the regime of the SC.

It was a last lap to be applauded by Leclerc who “snatched” second place from Sergio Perez also setting his best performance. It was a result that meant a lot for the driver from Monte Carlo, and also for Ferrari which reduced the gap from Mercedes to only four points. Ferrari completed the weekend with sixth place for Carlos Sainz, he too the author of a nice comeback after a penalty that I did not find very correct, starting from twelfth place on the grid after having finished qualifying behind his team-mate.

Once again, the track, in conditions with little grip and very fast, Ferrari managed to defend a fantastic pole position and second place behind the elusive Verstappen who scored his eighteenth win in twenty-one starts. For the first time, in addition to the title Red Bull placed both drivers in first and second place in the driver’s title.

It was an excellent race also by Esteban Ocon, fourth across the finish line, he too “victim” of the manhole cover and protagonist of a nice comeback from seventeenth place on the grid. From nineteenth place on the grid to tenth place for Oscar Piastri who was penalized by the tyre change. After two stints with the “whites” he had to mount the yellows in the final laps losing a few positions (partially recovered).

Nice comebacks also by Fernando Alonso (9°) and Lewis Hamilton (seventh) despite the initial pit-stop, with the Aston Martin taking 5° place with Lance Stroll.

The Las Vegas Circuit exceeded all expectations, despite an uphill start with problems during free practice which certainly conditioned the weekend of Sainz and Ocon. As always, in the case of new developments, the evaluations will be made at the end of the event. If, on the one hand, the show can be questionable (this is subjective), the circuit demonstrated that it is valid, giving us a lot of overtaking, duels and braking.

We are heading to Abu Dhabi with a hard-fought fight between Mercedes and Ferrari for second place and between Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz tied on 400 points each for fourth place. It is also an open battle between McLaren and Aston Martin for fourth place. The team led by Mike Krack reduced the gap to sixteen points.

Gian Carlo Minardi

@credit F1.com

F1 | GP LAS VEGAS, MINARDI “I APPROACH THIS ROUND WITH A LOT OF CURIOSITY. A TRACK FULL OF PITFALLS”

Formula 1 returns to Las Vegas after forty-one years. This time it is not to race on a circuit set up in Caesar’s Palace’s carpark but in a real city circuit with all the pitfalls a street circuit of this type hides connected to the runoffs and the entry of the safety car onto the track.

Added to this is the unknown factor of the weather given the forecast for very low temperatures which will affect the performance of the tyres and the strategies. We are talking of a grand prix that is 310km long, a track of more than six kilometres (6,201m) with a 2km long straight.

Formula 1 returns to the capital of Nevada, a city that is alive 24 hours a day. I am certainly curious to follow and observe how the whole weekend will develop. Everything is new and therefore unpredictable. Among other things, to reconcile the various time differences, the race will be run Saturday evening (7.00am Sunday morning Italian time).

There are still two rounds on the calendar, many points to be awarded and important positions at stake in both sporting and economic terms.

We have Ferrari which must make up 20 points on Mercedes and intense duels between McLaren and Aston Martin and Alpha Tauri and Williams for seventh place.

I will approach this weekend with a lot of curiosity to then make the evaluations calmly, but the main aspect remains the sporting one.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP BRAZIL, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “INTERLAGOS ONE OF THE BEST WEEKENDS. ALONSO EXTRAORDINARY”

© Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Interlagos and Brazil gave us one of the most exciting weekends of the whole season, starting from qualifying with a Q1 that saw 20 drivers enclosed within a second, an exciting sprint-race full of overtaking and a grand prix that did not disappoint with all the drivers very close in times. Luckily the rain, (which came only in the five minutes of qualifying, although very intense) did not overturn the plans, and above all the hierarchies and the rankings.

The usual Verstappen won, but once again Mercedes demonstrated that it is in the right direction, taking not only second place with Lando Norris, but also taking home the fastest lap of the race. Norris crossed the finish line with a gap of only 8 seconds. Certainly, an important and positive result which shows their progressive growth. Step by step, they are getting closer to Red Bull.

A decidedly important sign in light of the future. Without the difficulties at the start of the season they would have been in the middle of the fight for second place in the world championship. As of today, they are the real second force of the world championship.

It was a very nice duel for third and fourth place between Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez, finishing with the Spanish driver’s Aston Martin barely 53 three thousandths ahead. We saw all the experience and skill of Fernando who had found the precise point to recharge his batteries, in this way he managed to keep a safe distance from his direct rival. After a few grands prix in difficulty, here Aston Martin managed to get to the heart of the matter, as the Lance Stroll’s return to the points zone showed.

Ferrari must understand what happened to Charles Leclerc during the warmup lap, but Carlos Sainz’s sixth place can be seen in a positive light considering that they managed to reduce slightly the gap from Mercedes to twenty points. Mercedes was not able to go beyond eighth place with Lewis Hamilton, suffering from Russell’s retirement. There are still two grands prix left, with a little bit of luck and skill, Ferrari can aspire to achieve its personal result.

With ninth place Yuki Tsunoda brought the gap from Williams to seven points. Again, a positive result for Alpha Tauri that after Singapore has confirmed it is in constant growth.  Too bad for what happened to Ricciardo who was hit by the tyre lost by Magnussen which damaged his rear wing. Despite the lap difference, he managed not only to reduce the gap. but to come back to thirteenth place thanks to a high pace. He could have fought for Stroll’s position. Even for them there are positive signs while awaiting the last two rounds.

Now we wait with trepidation to know and see the event and track in Las Vegas.

Gian Carlo Minardi

 

F1 | GP BRAZIL, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “FOUR GRANDS PRIX IN FIVE WEEKS ARE TOO MANY, NOT ONLY FOR THE TEAMS”

The Grand Prix of Brazil, the 21st round of the world championship, third last of the 2023 season and third of the four rounds in the Americas scheduled in these five weeks. Certainly a real tour de force for the participants, but also for the spectators. On the weekend the schedule also changes as it hosts the sixth and last sprint race. At the moment we have a lot of quantity, but quality has probably been lost.

I believe it really is too intense as a programme and I hope that the necessary evaluations will be made at the end of the season, on both the “short race” and the number of GPs.

Formula 1 has arrived in Interlagos, a particular circuit that is run anticlockwise (one of the few), and one of the shortest of the season with its length of little more than 4 kilometres, which stresses the tyres with nine left hand bends and five right hand to which is added the very rough asphalt. The choice should fall on two stops, but the weather, which in this period quickly changes from dry to wet, could also influence the strategy.

Many teams, one of them Ferrari, will find it hard to finish the season without incurring new penalties. Therefore, they must decide when to change the components, opting for the most favourable track for a possible comeback. Interlagos might just be a choice, unlike the layout of Las Vegas.

The fight for the support positions has been rekindled, between Mercedes and Ferrari for second place among the constructors and between McLaren (in great shape) and Aston Martin for fourth place. At this time Aston Martin is the team in most difficulty, both in terms of the performance of the car and on the driver front, since it is fighting with only one driver, given Stroll’s difficulties.

In Mexico, in particular, we saw an Alpha Tauri in great shape which recovered a number of points on the ladder, catching up with Alfa Romeo and taking itself to only ten points from Williams. At this moment the points lost by Tsunoda weigh heavily, but there is still time to recover. Considering the start of the season, reaching seventh place would be a very important result.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP MEXICO: THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI ” PROBABLY THE ONLY WAY TO STOP THEM IS TO RETIRE NEWEY”

 

In front of such a disarming supremacy in terms of both speed and above all reliability, and the competitiveness of Verstappen and Red Bull, I do not know what the direct rivals can do in the near future. Perhaps the only solution is to retire Adrian Newey.

We are faced with two planets: one the absolute property of Red Bull. And then there are all the others who fight to grab the support positions. Max Verstappen is driving with extreme calm, running all the laps within a space of 1-2 tenths of a second. This time the fastest lap slipped from his grasp, only because they did not expect the final push by Lewis Hamilton, an excellent second place.

A big applause goes to McLaren. They are probably the only team that at this moment can approach the performance of Red Bull. After being constantly competitive, inexplicably they got qualifying wrong with both cars, to then recover masterfully in the dace. Norris managed to climb back from fifth place, also finishing ahead of George Russell, in this way giving a present for Ferrari which, with the 3rd and 4th place of Leclerc and Sainz confirmed the twenty-two-point gap from Mercedes.

It was decidedly a positive weekend for Alpha Tauri and Daniel Ricciardo as well. Fourth in qualifying and sixth place in the race are excellent results, above all in terms of points. Too bad for Tsonoda’s mistake. With the failed attempt to overtake Oscan Piastri, he nullified the excellent work up to that point, and the possibility of bringing further points to the team. The car has certainly grown, especially after Singapore. Then it is up to the drivers to solidify all the occasions. At his second grand prix after returning from the incident, Ricciardo made himself the protagonist of an excellent weekend.

Sergio Perez confirmed he is not alert and calm. He certainly would have wanted to achieve a very different result in front of his public, but despite this “zero” I do not believe his future is far from Red Bull.

In a week they will return to the track, in Brazil, which will also be the scene for the last sprint-race of 2023.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GIAN CARLO MINARDI “THE SPRINT IS A LESSER COPY OF THE GP. IN MEXICO I EXPECT A MORE SPORTING PUBLIC”

While Formula 1 is ready for the stop in Mexico City for the nineteenth round of the world championship, the Circus is wondering about the future of the Sprint race. Created in 2021 to increase the spectacle, particularly in the programme for Saturday, up to now the mini-GP of 100km has failed to meet expectations.

As often happens on these occasions, they seek alternative solutions aimed at improving the show. Among the ideas there would be the use of an inverted starting grid, the creation of a championship apart with points and a dedicated prize pool as an “incentive” for the drivers. We wanted to ask Gian Carlo Minardi what he thinks about it.

The sprint-race was created with the intention of increasing the show. Today this expectation has been strongly unsatisfying. At this moment the format does not help. It is only a lesser copy of the Grand Prix, without adding anything more as we saw in the last two rounds in Qatar and Austin,” commented Minardi.

The sixth and last sprint-race of 2023 will take place at the Brazilian Grand Prix. “There also needs to be a constant weekend programme, without having to go crazy remembering the format for the single grand prix.

“Furthermore, the sprint creates another problem. Only one hour of free practice for setting up the cars is too little, especially when thousands of a second make the difference from one qualifying session to another.

“When a driver lowers his visor the only goal is the win. I do not believe that there is any driver who saves himself with a view to the Sunday race. For this reason, I do not see the need to having to add a separate prize pool, or dedicating a ranking to it,” continued the manager from Faenza.

“Perhaps they can increase the points up for grabs, but at the moment I do not have the recipe. We are faced with an incredible domination on the part of Red Bull which will be hard for the rivals to end. Let us not forget that the history of Formula 1 is full of winning cycles. It is part of this sport. And you certainly will not stop it by creating a separate championship or putting mind blowing figures up for grabs.

“Now we get to the Mexican Grand Prix, I do not think there are any doubts on the leadership, but all the interest will be directed behind Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

“In front of his public, Sergio Perez must find the proper peace of mind. I was left very annoyed with the booing aimed at Verstappen by the American public. I hoped that fanaticism was part of other sports. I hope that they will be more gentlemanly in Mexico.

“In Austin, McLaren completed its comeback at Aston Martin’s expense, while Ferrari took its gap from Mercedes to 22 points (aided by Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification).

“The challenge will be between these four teams, each one with its own objective to achieve. We will wait and see who will be the most skilled. It will also be interesting to follow Alpha Tauri which comes from a very favourable GP in Austin,” concluded Gian Carlo Minardi.

F1 | GP AUSTIN, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “VERSTAPPEN WINS AND HAMILTON DRAWS CLOSER TO PEREZ.THEN DISQUALIFICATION”

We file away one of the most tactical races of the season. Once again Verstappen took the win (and his fiftieth personal win in his career) after having started from the sixth row. It was not an easy and agile a win like many others, having crossed the finish line little more than two seconds ahead of Hamilton.

Once again, the Dutchman and Red Bull took both the grand prix and the sprint race, leaving only the “crumbs” to the rivals.

It was a decidedly positive weekend for Mercedes and McLaren with Lewis Hamiton who took second place, consolidating second place amongst the constructors for Mercedes which draws ahead not only of Ferrari, but also McLaren that finished third today with Lando Norris. Hamilton reduced the gap from Perez for second place on the drivers’ ladder.

Ferrari did not go beyond fourth place with Carlos Sainz, but the real news was the diversification of strategies between the two drivers. A choice that I find absolutely correct. I am convinced that fourth place was the best result they could have aimed for. At the most, they could have brought home fifth place at Sergio Perez’s expense. Nothing more. Precisely for this reason it was right to try something different between Leclerc and Sainz.

Also to be pointed out was Tsunoda’s excellent tenth place, to which is added the additional point for the fastest lap set in the last lap. Excellent management of the race and the result optimized considering they find themselves in a battle with practically all the car manufacturers.

[Update] With the disqualification of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc for technical irregularities related to the flat bottom, the final standings are turned upside down with Ferrari nipping a few points on Mercedes thanks to Carlos Sainz’s third-place finish. Sergio Perez stretches over Hamilton among the drivers. Yuki Tsunoda climbs up to eighth place bringing the Alpha Tauri to just two lengths behind Haas, while for the first time Williams driver Sergent enters the top-10.

Too bad for Fernando Alonso. He started from pit lane and had to retire due to a problem with the car when he was in the top ten-

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP AUSTIN, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “PEREZ’S RESULTS DO NOT REFLECT HIS WORTH”

The Formula 1 world championship has arrived at the Austin Circuit in the Americas, the home of the United States Grand Prix, the 19th and fifth last round of the season.

For the first time in its history, it will also host the sprint-race (scheduled for Saturday at midnight, Italian time, editor’s note, the GP will start at 9.00pm Sunday), which will be preceded by only one hour of free practice and the Shootout qualifying.

Pirelli, which has available to the teams the C2-C3 and C4 compounds, has drawn the attention to the asphalt detached from the track which could cause problems of anomalous overheating of the tyres. One more variable to be considered in the strategies.

With the drivers’ and the constructors’ titles in the hands of Max Verstappen and Red Bull respectively, all the attention is focussed on the duels between Mercedes-Ferrari and Aston Martin-McLaren. Amongst the four the team from Woking is the one passing through the best moment and is only twenty-one points from fourth place. An objective that is not so hard to reach also considering that Aston Martin is fighting with only one driver, Fernando Alonso.

Ferrari will not bring anything new, having decided to block the development t of the SF-23. The direct challenge with Hamilton and Russell must be based solely on the strategies and the correct set up of the car.

In recent days the rumours about the future of Sergio Perez have taken the stage. Currently the Mexican is not experiencing one of his best moments, but the results on the track do not represent his true potential.

He must find his peace of mind and the statements by Helmut Marko have certainly not helped him in this sense. At the moment second place in the world championship does not seem to be at risk, but he will have to be careful not to make mistakes. From here to Abu Dhabi there are still many points at stake and Lewis Hamilton is only 30 points away. Losing second place would be the equivalent of a debacle.

Gian Carlo Minardi