F1 2023 Season Spoiler Filled Race Talk

Well, that British Grand Prix was kinda fun. Not bad.

There will be sighs of relief from many across the Formula One paddock as the sport heads into the summer break. A respite, then, from a season that has swiftly become an absolute rout for Max Verstappen.

With his win here, the world champion, it seems, is barely even considering the opposition now but rather almost toying with it for amusement.

The Dutchman won from sixth place on the grid. He took the lead from his Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez by lap 17 of 44 and was untouchable from that moment onwards.

His winning margin was 22.3 seconds, an extraordinary advantage given that Pérez is in an identical car. In this Red Bull, this season Verstappen is quite simply in a class of his own.

A measure of the ease with which he controlled the race – and indeed the season as he now leads Pérez by an enormous 125 points – was demonstrated in the final third.

He was so unconcerned as he pounded round the circuit, one of the most challenging in the world, that he felt relaxed enough to indulge in a spot of light banter with the team.

When his engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, known as “GP”, asked him to go easy on his tyres for the last stint his reply was tinged with laughter. “I could also push on and we do another stop. A little bit of pit‑stop training,” he said.

A light‑hearted message that would have been felt as a keen, painful wound for every one of his rivals who are slogging around in his wake with no realistic hope of coming close this season. Even Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principal, had to admit the 25-year-old had earned the right to be pleased with himself.

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The days of Ferrari wearing clown shoes have certainly come to a middle.

Relatedly, I'm not sure what's more amusing -- listening to the commentators pretend to be confused about the fact that Red Bull strategy heavily favors Verstappen over Perez, or listening to them pretend it's somehow surprising and some kind new development that Ferrari doesn't have their sh*t together.

Ferrari hasn't had their sh*t together in more than half decade, if you want to be charitable about your assessment. Otherwise, it's pushing a decade and a half.

Out of curiosity which commentators do you listen to? That sounds very Sky Sports which I believe is the commentary ESPN uses.

The F1TV crew usually emphasise the fact that a strategic call like that on Sunday should ordinarily be to Perez's advantage, and they don't say 'well obviously they advantage Max,' but they never pretend to be confused.

Jolyon Palmer was pretty explicit that RedBull is chasing the perfect season so they will make the calls to make that happen.

They're also continually bemused by Ferrari but never surprised. Although it should be surprising that they just make so many basic, repeated, errors. I don't think a race engineer would have survived sending Schumacher into traffic twice in one season when Jean Todt was in charge.

I felt for poor Logan Sargeant. It looked like it took him 2 hours to get to the pits by the way he kept getting picked up by the cameras staring into the distance. I don't think he knew the crash wasn't his fault.

Yeah, we still switch over to the "international feed" (that is, the Sky team) even though now that the F1TV team has had a few years to get their footing they almost certainly are providing what will usually be more useful commentary. (Not sure if it was last season or this, but the recap packages they put together for qualifying now use the F1TV team, so when we don't watch the full thing, we get exposed to them.)

Not really sure why, but I guess despite their foibles it's still fun and familiar to stick with the Sky team? Creatures of habit, I suppose.

I was kind of missing Martin Brundle and the Sky team after missing live racing for like 9 years, so I watched the race where he made the 'Chinaman' comment. I was like 'oh Martin'

It does tickle the nostalgia bone, but I really like how F1TV can bring in Sam Collins for an on the spot technical analysis and the overall tone is less old fashioned.

They're still very British but are more pragmatic about the sport. Even when you have older racers like David Coulthard he's very clear eyed.

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Yeah, what an achievement. Even as someone who is not a fan of either Max or Redbull the synergy between car and driver is remarkable.

I'm hoping McLaren can continue their trajectory and take the fight to them on merit. Pity about the track limits messing with them for the main race.

It's a bit funny. My daughter (9 years old) asked me the other day which team I support because she supports Redbull, because it's the only team were the name is familiar.

And I realised I don't really support any team. I just enjoy good racing and I've been enjoying the season because the race for 2 onwards has still been unbelievably tight.

I mostly have drivers I like. I had a lot of admiration for Hamilton so I still like him despite his generally downcast demeanour lately and I actually missed his period of dominance. And I really like the young school of guys, they have great spirit and skill.

The Qatar grand prix.

FIA launches review over ‘extreme’ cockpit heat at F1 Qatar Grand Prix

The FIA has begun a review into Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix after leading drivers condemned the intense heat in which they had to race, describing it as “dangerous” and “unacceptable”.

Max Verstappen won the race at the Lusail circuit on Sunday but, when it came to a close, many drivers had been suffering in temperatures of up to 50C (122F) in their cockpits.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon revealed he had vomited inside his helmet because of the extreme temperature. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll said he had been in danger of losing consciousness, while Williams’s Alex Albon had to attend the medical centre owing to heat exhaustion. Logan Sargeant, his teammate, was forced to retire while suffering from dehydration, having been ill with flu earlier in the week. Both Stroll and Albon had to be helped from their cars by team members after the race.

The Mercedes driver George Russell, who is a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, said he too had come close to losing consciousness and was explicit in stating that drivers’ lives should not be put at risk.

“It was beyond the limit of what is acceptable,” he said. “Over 50% of the grid said they were feeling sick, couldn’t drive and were close to passing out. You don’t want to be passing out at the wheel when you are driving at 200mph, and that is how I felt at times.”

Lando Norris, who was third in Qatar, was equally forthright. “We found the limit and it is sad we had to find it this way,” the McLaren driver said. “It is never a nice situation to be in when people are ending up in the medical centre or passing out. Clearly, when you have people who end up retiring or in such a bad state it is too much. It is too dangerous.”

Yeah, the aftermath of that race was brutal. Lando and Zhou actually looked all right, but the others were concerning. I was worried about Piastri especially.

And then we heard about the ones we didn't see.

Is this a problem from racing in Qatar or just the nature of driving fighter jets 5mm off the ground?

Trying to understand what the solution is: races in colder climates or only race when air temp is below a certain threshold or?

Top_Shelf wrote:

Is this a problem from racing in Qatar or just the nature of driving fighter jets 5mm off the ground?

Trying to understand what the solution is: races in colder climates or only race when air temp is below a certain threshold or?

I am also trying to understand what's going on.

I mentioned it to a friend who is a bigger F1 fan than me and he turned into an instant Qatar apologist.
"It was the teams fault"
"It was the F1s fault, 3 pits was not enough maybe 4"
"They should have better cockpit cooling only 50% of drivers were affected" etc etc.

Well, it's never happened before so it seems pretty specifically a Qatar issue.

The combination of the weather (because Qatar) and the mandatory pit-stops due to the kerbs shredding the tyres (because Qatar [also a repeated issue from the last time they raced there]) leading to the maximum use regulation meaning that they could push at maximum attack for the full period meant the drivers were in near unprecedented conditions.

The only thing anyone really could have done was cancel the race.

This is the first year of a 10-year contract too so they are going to have to fix the issues.

Even if you don't want to say it's Qatar's (organisers/track management etc) fault as such, it was a very specific set of circumstances that lead to the situation.

jowner wrote:

I am also trying to understand what's going on.

I mentioned it to a friend who is a bigger F1 fan than me and he turned into an instant Qatar apologist.
"It was the teams fault"
"It was the F1s fault, 3 pits was not enough maybe 4"
"They should have better cockpit cooling only 50% of drivers were affected" etc etc.

How and why does one become a Qatar apologist?

MrDeVil909 wrote:

Well, it's never happened before so it seems pretty specifically a Qatar issue.

The combination of the weather (because Qatar) and the mandatory pit-stops due to the kerbs shredding the tyres (because Qatar [also a repeated issue from the last time they raced there]) leading to the maximum use regulation meaning that they could push at maximum attack for the full period meant the drivers were in near unprecedented conditions.

The only thing anyone really could have done was cancel the race.

This is the first year of a 10-year contract too so they are going to have to fix the issues.

Even if you don't want to say it's Qatar's (organisers/track management etc) fault as such, it was a very specific set of circumstances that lead to the situation.

jowner wrote:

I am also trying to understand what's going on.

I mentioned it to a friend who is a bigger F1 fan than me and he turned into an instant Qatar apologist.
"It was the teams fault"
"It was the F1s fault, 3 pits was not enough maybe 4"
"They should have better cockpit cooling only 50% of drivers were affected" etc etc.

How and why does one become a Qatar apologist?

I'm not sure and why I was also confused he didn't suggest it was just really abnormal.

All the rationale was around other factors which I found odd.

Top_Shelf wrote:

Is this a problem from racing in Qatar or just the nature of driving fighter jets 5mm off the ground?

Trying to understand what the solution is: races in colder climates or only race when air temp is below a certain threshold or?

The problem is that none of those solutions are going to work in Qatar and like someone said above, they have a contract to go back. I'm not sure Pirelli can do much either. The conditions are really extreme. And at least they're racing at night.

One possible measure (I'm not even calling it s solution) is some kind of track redesign that will remove or slow down at least some of the fast right-handers to soften the impact on tires (especially where they go over kerbs at a high speed) and also G forces on drivers. It will probably make the track worse but the show must go on.

I mean, it's not totally unreasonable to think they'll build an AC dome over the whole damn track, they've got the cash.

This looks dope.

I don't know a huge amount about the Brawn GP story behind the scenes, but from what I've heard recently it's almost like a heist story. Ross Brawn found a gap in the regulations and exploited it perfectly while the other teams and the regulators tried to find it.

If Keanu's passionate about it, I'll be watching.

The short version is that Honda had been in F1 as a "works" team for a while and weren't very good, so they decided to pull out of the sport. Ross Brawn paid them some shirt buttons to give him the team instead of closing it down.

Brawn had been working with Honda F1 since 2007, so he certainly knew what they had in the garage for the 2009 season and would have known whether the direction was positive or not and if the car had a chance to be competitive.

'09 saw a raft of changes to the "Formula" that were designed to take aerodynamic downforce away from the cars, one of which concerned the rear diffuser - an area of the bodywork where the super-compressed air under the car is allowed to balloon out into a wide space again. This rapid change in air pressure provides a lot of downforce.

Three teams - Brawn, Toyota and Williams - all interpreted the new Formula a certain way, building the mandatory crash structure in the rear of the car so that it acted as a second diffuser, reclaiming a lot of the downforce that had been lost by the rule changes.

Brawn did this better than the other two teams and won enough races early in the season that as their advantage slipped away, race-by-race, they were not caught in the points table.

This reminds me of how I've never been fully sure whether the most important thing in modern F1 is the car tech or the driver.

It's the car.

You can't put just anyone in a fast car, but it doesn't matter who's driving a slow car.

Mr Bismarck wrote:

It's the car.

You can't put just anyone in a fast car, but it doesn't matter who's driving a slow car.

Yes, though a good driver can drive a fast car faster than anyone else. See this years Red Bull, it’s not an easy car to drive but someone of Verstappen’s talent can get the speed. I rate Perez pretty highly so my assumption is that even if everyone on the grid had the RB19, it would be Verstappen, Alonso and Hamilton[1] fighting for the championship. They are just a cut above.

[1] Willing to accept Norris, Russel or Leclerc (& others) might be in the same group but it’s not been proven by their results thus far.

Perez is a fine driver, he started the season well after all, but he has the yips.

A couple of mistakes in a row after his good start caused a feedback loop of low confidence and bad decisions.

No car is good enough to give good results when the driver is almost guaranteed to make the wrong call in any given situation.

Yeah.

Also, and this is not to take anything away from Verstappen -- he's clearly among the most talented drivers ever -- but there's also an aspect of matching car design characteristics to driving style.

Certainly, a big part of why every driver who has gone up against Verstappen has crashed and burned is about the fact that he really is unbelievably good, and the psychological aspect of being paired with someone like that has to be tough to handle (even IF the organization around you is trying to help you in good faith, and that "If" has been questionable over the years).

But also, it seems to be a well substantiated fact over the years that Verstappen's driving style is fairly unique, and what how he wants a car to feel is very different to what many others prefer. Of course, some of that can be ironed out with setup, but ultimately if you choose to design a car to suit the preferences of a driver who likes unusual things in handling characteristics, well, that's a car that's going to be MUCH harder for others to drive well than would be ideal.

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But yeah, I trust Horner's protestations that Perez's seat is safely locked in for next year exactly as far as I could throw the RB19 with my bare arms. That contact is worth exactly nothing if Perez doesn't get ahold of himself for these last few races, ESPECIALLY if Ricciardo continues to show signs of having regained his form.

It's definitely tough to be the second driver in Red Bull. They need to be really good, but accept that they will never be a contender for the world championship as long as Verstappen is in that seat. I don't know that anyone who has risen to F1 really fits that mould. They're all ambitious.

Ideally the Red Bull pipeline should have a younger driver coming through, but Verstappen is still young.

As for Perez's seat. I'm sure he's going to be there in 2024. But if he isn't doing his part to ensure the manufacturer's title from a resurgent Maclaren and/or Mercedes with two drivers scoring points he's going to get the Gasly treatment, but I doubt he'll accept an Alpha Tauri or whatever seat.

But if he isn't doing his part to ensure the manufacturer's title from a resurgent Maclaren and/or Mercedes with two drivers scoring points he's going to get the Gasly treatment, but I doubt he'll accept an Alpha Tauri or whatever seat.

Yeah, that's a good point.

When Horner swears up and down "Perez will be driving for us in 2024" he's not specifying for how many races.

Yup. Horner is the King of the Weasel word too.

One video on The Race today pointed out that when he uses the word 'intend' it means a lot.

He's being honest in that he does intend for Perez to be driving next year. But sometimes intentions don't play out so that can change. Gasly and Albon both heard about his intentions right before they got the hook.

Yuuuuuup.

Edit to add:

I don't know that anyone who has risen to F1 really fits that mould. They're all ambitious.

The closest I think you get are the guys who make a late career return after a year or two of early, forced retirement, and come back with new clarity and perspective on both life and the reality of what the shape of their career really looks like. That is, your Magnussens, Hulkenbergs, and... hm, wait, what's this I see? Maybe a Ricciardo?