Author Archives: andrewlwanga

FIM RAISES AGE LIMIT FOR JUNIOR CATEGORIES

Written by Andrew Lwanga Edited by Harshi Vashee

Following a series of fatalities the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) which oversees Motorcycle racing has decided to raise the minimum age limit in a number of junior racing series.

Over the past 12 months, there have been three deaths in junior racing categories, all in series sanctioned by the FIM. In response a task force within Dorna Sports (the commercial rights holder for World Superbikes and MotoGP) was formed.

After much discourse between Dorna and the FIM it was announced on Friday that the minimum age limit for all junior championships will be raised. In addition to this, the grid sizes, which can at times field as many as 40 motorbikes, will also be significantly reduced. These changes will start to take shape minimally in 2022 and more substantially in 2023.

Starting from the next racing season, all Talent Cup Series will have a lower age limit of 13 with a maximum grid size of 30 riders. Red Bull Rookies Cup will raise its lower age limit from 13 to 14.

Meanwhile, the Moto 3 Championship, will raise its minimum age requirement by a year from 14 to 15 and cap it’s grid size at 32 bikes. The same grid size restrictions will be employed by the World Supersport 300, a support series of the World Superbike series. The minimum age will also be set at 16.

In 2023 age limits will be increased again and with the addition of an entry age of 14 for all Grand Prix type circuits including those graded B and C by the FIM.

MotoGP Championships including Moto 3 and Moto 2 will also have a new lower limit with the required age of entry being 18.

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Formula E Set up to revamp their qualifying format

Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Harshi Vashee

Formula E is finally set to change its qualifying format. The format which has been subject of criticism mostly from the drivers since its introduction is expected to be entirely scrapped for a new system to be employed next season.

Since it’s fifth season, which ran from 2018 to 19, Formula E used a group qualifying system. Drivers were divided into groups of 6 arranged in descending Championship order, with the six highest placed drivers hitting the track first. With less rubber on the racing line of what is often termed a “green track”, thus meaning more often than not, the first group composed of the drivers leading the Championship would have the worst track conditions of all. 

Although it aims to act as a success ballast, in effect this system punishes drivers for being good. However it was very successful in keeping the Championship fight alive as was seen in the most recent 2020-21 season where more than half the grid were still in title contention come the last race. Though entertaining to the fans, this sentiment wasn’t shared by the drivers with eventual Champion Nyck De Vries calling the title fight “manufactured”. 

Whether successful or not Formula E now aims to completely revamp the format in favour of a tournament style format which Formula E co-founder Alberto Longo hopes will be much easier for fans to understand. 

The new system will divide the grid into two groups with the four fastest from each progressing to a one on one knockout round. 

Speaking at a press conference in Mexico, Longo explained that the new format aims to simplify Formula E’s race format

“We’ve gone back to basics, but we also like to be innovative. This format is very understandable because everyone understands a tennis tournament finals draw. Visually it is very attractive and on television we will offer something spectacular.”

“The key is in the first two groups of 11 drivers each, the drivers will have the opportunity to do several fast laps during the 12 minutes that qualifying will last. After that we will define the four fastest in each group.”

“In the quarter-final round, the fastest from group one will face off against the fourth placed driver from group two and so on.”

“From there, we will move on to the semi-final and the two finalists. Whoever wins that duel will be the pole sitter.”

Longo further disclosed that the advice for the new format came to him from driver Sam Bird. 

The new format expects to be ratified when the FIA World Motorsport Council meets later this week on the 15th of October.

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QUARTARARO LABELS COTA “NOT A MOTOGP TRACK” AS RIDERS VOICE CONCERNS OVER SAFETY

MotoGP returns to the Circuit Of The Americas this weekend for the first time since 2019. The return of Grand Prix motorcycle racing in North America has been marred however by comments from the riders over the track’s surface.

Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Aiden Hover

COTA has retained a reputation as being a bumpy track for many years and, despite it being resurfaced in several places, much of the track remains uneven – most notably at turns 2,3 and 10. Riding through the bumpy surface has proven difficult and borderline unsafe, with a significant portion of the grid leaning towards the latter.

Amongst the more vocal riders was championship leader Fabio Quartararo calling it a “joke” and even labelling it “not a MotoGP track.”  

“It’s more or less a track I use to train with a motocross bike, but much faster and with a MotoGP bike. So, it’s really bad. I can’t imagine it, we said three years ago they need to resurface and it’s even worse.” Said the Frenchman. 

Despite his displeasure, Quartararo stated that the conditions could just about hold a grand Prix. 

“It’s just acceptable to race, I don’t know what to say. But it’s a joke. It’s not a MotoGP track for me. To make a race here – for one lap it’s OK – but for 20 laps, we will see that there will be some bad moments.

“You see a lot of bikes shaking in Turn 10. The thing is the bumps are in the worst places possible because if you have bumps in Turns 1, 11, 12, it’s OK because it’s slow corners.

“But Turn 1, Turn 2, 3, 10 are the worst corners you can have bumps, and there are bumps there. So, let’s see.

“I usually don’t go to the safety commission, but when there is something serious, I will go and today something serious that for the safety is… the track is unsafe. It’s clear to say that it’s not great and we need to resurface everything.”

Tech3 KTM rider Iker Lecuona echoed Fabio’s comparisons of the track to Motocross saying. “There are so many bumps, it feels like a motocross track and very difficult to manage.”

Another vocal critic of the conditions was Aleix Espargaro, “The asphalt is in poor condition, much worse than I remembered, and the times show it,”

“We have been complaining about this track for many years and they haven’t resurfaced it, the bumps are very, very dangerous,” he said. “The bikes in 2015 were much worse than now, it’s been six years and Marquez’s time after all this time is two seconds slower.

Espargaro went on to state that he thinks conditions are too dangerous to hold a Grand Prix this weekend at all “The track is very dangerous and for me, it’s too dangerous to race here on Sunday.”

His sentiment is shared by Peco Bagnaia who sits second in the championship with the Ducati rider stating earlier in the weekend that he’d have no qualms skipping the race and conceding 25 points to Championship leader Quartararo.

With the inherent risks that accompany motorcycle racing the addition of an uneven bumpy surface is not a welcome one. However, with the Grand Prix set to go on this weekend the Circuit Of The Americas will most definitely be the intensification of all the challenges that accompany motorsport in all aspects. Guess everything is bigger in Texas. 

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Alfa Romeo are considering Pouchaire for next year or the future

Alfa Romeo team principal Frédéric Vasseur has confirmed that Théo Pourchaire is in consideration for a seat at Alfa Romeo as early as 2022.

Written by Andrew Lwanga, edited by Tanishka Vashee

Vassuer’s comments were quoted earlier in the week and since then current Alfa Romeo driver and 2007 world champion has announced his retirement from Formula 1. This in turn confirms the availability of a seat at Alfa Romeo. 

Pourchaire who currently competes in Formula 2 and is a member of the Sauber Junior Programme. The Frenchman who was a runner up in the Formula 3 Championship in 2019 is the only one confirmed to be in consideration for a 2022 seat by Alfa Romeo. 

Among drivers on the rumoured shortlist are Formula E world champion Nyck De Vries, 9 time race winner Valtteri Bottas and last season’s Formula 2 runner up Callum Ilott. Whilst Pourchaire might not carry the credentials and experience of his rumoured competition he is much younger in comparison having only turned 18 in August. 

Speaking to Motorsport Week Vassuer said “I’m considering Theo, I don’t know if it is for next year or the future,

“Theo is part of the family, he is part of the [Sauber] Academy. We are spending a lot of energy on Theo because we are convinced Theo is one of the best ones for the future.

“I don’t know if it will be 2022, 2023 or 2024 but I’m convinced he, at one stage, will be one of the best ones.”

Vassuer also praised the progression that Pourchaire has been able to display throughout his relatively short career stating, 

 “I was not a big fan to go directly to F3 after F4 because I thought the step was big and you have less and less mileage in the junior series.

“I was not very comfortable and he had a tough start to the season, but then he was very close to winning the championship.The step to F2 would [also] be huge and at the second event he was able to win at Monaco.

“He has the capacity to adapt himself to the situation very quickly, but we also have to speak about experience and this you can’t buy you just have to test and race.”

Pourchaire currently sits sixth in the Formula 2 Championship standings and although he’s at significant deficit towards title contention the Frenchman managed a feature race win at Monaco.

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How the FIA can prevent a repeat of Spa 2021

At the end of the Belgian Grand Prix (which really never got underway to be honest) fans, drivers and pundits were left disappointed, miserable and for the 70,000 that had camped around the 7 kilometres of the Spa Francorchamps track, very wet. 

Written by Andrew Lwanga, edited by Janvi Unni

At the end of the Belgian Grand Prix (which really never got underway to be honest) fans, drivers and pundits were left disappointed, miserable and for the 70,000 that had camped around the 7 kilometres of the Spa Francorchamps track, very wet. 

Heavy and unrelenting downpour meant that the drivers were unable to go racing on Sunday. What followed was a delayed start after delayed start whilst we waited for the Stavelot heavens to close but they did not. Seemingly left with no option, F1 Race Director Michael Masi allowed for a pair of laps to be completed under safety car which according to the Sporting regulations is enough for a classification and the awarding of half points. 

Needless to say the masses didn’t like that very much, as a wonderful qualifying session and the prospect of a wet session were all decided in a non race and if your name isn’t George Russell you were probably frowning more than you were smiling. 

Conclusions from the 2021 'Belgian Grand Prix' | Planet F1

Whether we like it or not, the Belgian Grand Prix has concluded, it’s water gone down Eau Rouge and under the bridge. But how can we prevent this from repeating?

1.DO IT LIKE NASCAR

NASCAR often gets flak from F1 fans and fans of European motorsports as many consider the series across the pond to not be entirely up to scratch with those in Europe and particularly “The pinnacle of motorsport, F1”. However it’s worth noting that such a fiasco wouldn’t happen in NASCAR. 

Whilst nobody can control the weather we can prepare for it. In NASCAR should a race fail to commence or is brought to a halt due to the weather, it is simply rescheduled to take place on the following day. In fact this past weekend on Friday in Daytona a NASCAR Xfinity race was postponed due to heavy rain after 19 laps of the scheduled 100 and resumed on Saturday. 

This of course is not to undermine that it would be a logistical nightmare to push the race forward one day taking into television broadcasting deals, bringing back marshals who are volunteers and don’t get paid for another full day e.t.c however, going all over the world to race cars shaped like upside down airplanes with a thousand horsepower is a logistical nightmare, and we made that work! All this to say if the FIA and Formula 1 were to look at a race weekend whilst considering the possibility of it being a 4 day weekend, measures would be taken to ensure that it could run as smoothly as possible. 

2.WE’VE GOT TO REDO THE RULES

Oftentimes when a new rule is put in place it’s to compensate for an outdated one or to prevent abuse of an existing one by one of the teams, this time we’ve got to do it to prevent Race Control from abusing the rules. 

1.The Timer

During the “race”, race control transcended time and space to press pause on the 3 hour timer that starts during the scheduled race time. This serves as a time limit and should the 3 hours come to an end before the final lap the race ends either way, but pressing pause on a time limit defeats the whole purpose of the time limit. 

2 . What classifies as a race (don’t call it a race if it wasn’t)

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary a race is “a competition between people, animals, vehicles, etc. to see which one is the faster or fastest.”

That didn’t happen yesterday but yet we had a race classified since according to the FIA a minimum of 2 laps are required, be it under safety car or racing conditions. This is what was eventually exploited by Race Control leading to perhaps the most anticlimactic conclusions of a race weekend. 

Perhaps the bigger problem is that it robs the teams and drivers the ability to compete simply rewarding points based on qualifying positions, which isn’t what F1 is about. Fernando Alonso summed it up perfectly saying,

“Well, for some of them it probably was a little bit of an early Christmas, because there were some gifts given today to some people because we didn’t race, and they still get the position and still they get the points.

“So it’s a little bit shocking. I was P11, I was one place to the points, I was never allowed to fight for those points, but they still gave the points.”

Ultimately the FIA needs to revise the rules concerning giving out half points, we can’t call it a race without having had racing laps. Therefore to the FIA if you’re reading this (you probably aren’t), take this from me, for a race to get a classification there should be a minimum number of racing laps not under a safety car. 

3.Delayed/Aborted starts

If you were watching the Sky Sports F1 coverage of what should have been the Belgian Grand Prix, you’ll have heard commentator and 9 time podium sitter Martin Brundle disagree with Race Control removing a lap for every delayed start. 

In his well articulated argument, Brundle stated why it’s done and why it shouldn’t have applied to Sunday’s non-race. The reason why delayed or aborted starts result in the omission of a lap from the total lap count stems from the original reason for aborted starts. In times past drivers would complete a formation lap and whilst on the grid if they’d realized they had stalled the engine or had a problem they’d wave their arms signalling to race control that they have a problem and that the start should be aborted. This resulted in another formation lap in which the cars would have burnt fuel thus necessitating the removal of a lap as the extra formation lap was not included in fuel calculations. 

This didn’t happen on Sunday though, 4 starts were delayed whilst the cars sat idling on the grid but in that time no fuel was burnt. Perhaps on revision the rule should be rewritten only for aborted starts and not delayed ones, some may argue that a few laps are negligible however 4 laps around the Spa Francorchamps circuit are close to ten percent of the race. 

Can Belgian GP be Postponed for a Day Later on Monday After Heavy Rain at Spa  F1 Track? - EssentiallySports

3.THINK ABOUT THE FANS

Perhaps the saddest part of the Sunday race was the fans in live attendance. 70,000 people took time out of their weekends to camp along the circuit for as long as 8 to 9 hours only to see 2 laps under the safety car. Admittedly there’s very little the FIA, Formula 1 or the promoter could do on this front as postponing the race would only mean asking the fans to come back the next day, a work day nonetheless. 

But most of them would. Once passionate about a sport, humans tend to cast logic aside. 70,000 people from all across Europe camped alongside the Belgian countryside in what is almost a forest for 3 days in spite of rain and all other inconveniences. If the race were to be postponed earlier it may have saved everyone time but all that hinges on the FIA setting infrastructure necessary to enable the postponement of a race. It’s safe to assume that the decisions made didn’t take into account the fans and whilst that might be good for any other decision when it directly affects fans who’ve spent their hard earned money, it’s a little bit different. 

At the end of the day the FIA and Formula 1 cannot prepare for every possible eventuality but when curve balls like these are thrown at them, it’s wiser to take measures to better prepare for them. If there’s any consolation, at least this non-race happened now and not in the middle of a titanic battle between two of the world’s best drivers and teams.

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MERCEDES JUNIOR DRIVER KIMI ANTONELLI TO MAKE SINGLE SEATER DEBUT

Mercedes F1 junior driver and karting sensation Andrea ‘Kimi’ Antonelli is set to make his debut in single seaters. The 15 year old Italian will make the step up to Italian Formula 4 where he will compete in the last 3 rounds of the season with the Prema Powerteam.

Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Tanishka Vashee

Kimi, as he’s informally addressed, started karting at the age of nine and since then he’s accumulated a number of accolades most notably back to back FIA Karting European Championships in the OK class in 2020 and 2021. 

The Mercedes Junior programme had already taken interest in the Italian prior to those achievements having signed him since April of 2019. Speaking on the prospect Gwen Lagrue, Driver Development Advisor for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, said:

“Kimi is a phenomenon. He’s racing for Kart Republic, Dino Chiesa’s team, who was previously taking care of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg about 20 years ago. We were really impressed with him – he’s very mature for his young age, is very patient and extremely clever. He’s fast, whatever the conditions are, and I’ve never seen him make a silly mistake. The love and passion for motorsport are obvious and he enjoys his racing, as I’ve never seen before. The way he is racing, overtaking, building his race weekend is very special and we are really looking forward to seeing him move into single-seaters.” 

Kimi has previously tested F4 machinery with his father’s AKM Motorsport team but now will start his single seaters career proper with Prema where he’ll close out the 2021 season and is set to race with the Italian outfit in 2022. 

“I am really happy to announce that I will join Prema in these last three races of the Italian F4 Championship,” he said.

“This is an exciting new challenge for me and I can’t wait to start. A big thanks to Prema and Mercedes for giving me this amazing opportunity.”

Team principal Angelo Rosin added: “Antonelli is one of the most outstanding prospects in karting competition. He has impressed since a very early age and achieved remarkable success there. It will be very interesting for us to see him adapt to a new form of motor racing.

“Moving up to single-seaters is never an easy task as it’s a comprehensively new experience, so we are going to assist him in the transition. We are equally looking forward to his competitive F4 debut.”

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INDYCAR boss Dale Coyne confirms he’s been in conversation with Albon for over A Year

Over the weekend, the Indycar race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course saw former Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean claim the second step on the podium with a P2 finish. In attendance for the event was another former Formula 1 driver in Alex Albon.

Written by Andrew Lwanga, edited by Janvi Unni

Following a less than stellar 2020 season with the Red Bull team, the Thai driver was passed in favour of Sergio Perez, although Albon continues to retain the role of reserve and developmental driver within the Austrian outfit. 

While a return to the premier class of open wheels racing remains paramount for Alex, his visit to various Indycar paddocks over the weekends would suggest that he’s taken a liking to the North American series and such sentiments were more or less confirmed by Dale Coyne Racing owner Dale Coyne, who has confirmed that Albon has been in conversation with the team over the past 12 months. 

“He’s been on our radar for a while and we’ve been speaking with him for over a year now and he’s interested, for sure.

“Romain [Grosjean] is a great salesman for us, showing what we can do as a team, but he’s also the best salesman for IndyCar. Him and Alex talked together for quite a while.

“They talked about how nice it is in the series, how competitive you can be in these cars, what they’re like to drive – natural, instinctive, so you can get on it straight away, like we saw from [Christian] Lundgaard.

“Romain was telling him it was fun to be in IndyCar, a lot of less pressure, better relationships between teams, team owners, and between drivers.

Albon quiere regresar en 2022 y no descarta dejar Red Bull

“And I think Alex appreciates that the teams here aren’t set up to have one guy as number one and the other as the bridesmaid. That’s something Alex has been through, right?

“It’s different here. If your two guys have two different driving styles, you can generally change each car to suit its driver. Now, that might hurt a bit if they’re very different – their feedback isn’t going to help the other one so much. There’s more work. And one driving style and engineering philosophy may suit a track better than the other.

“But if having them on different setups helps get the best out of each driver individually, then you can do that in IndyCar.

“So anyway, I think if they’re used to the pressure of Formula 3, 2 and especially Formula 1, drivers find IndyCar a breath of fresh air. The hard work is what’s done on track, in the pitlane and in the engineering trailer. There’s not the politicking and pressure.”

Alex Albon has also not shied away from the prospect of driving in Indycar. With the rarity of seats in modern day F1, Albon, who currently races in DTM, did concede that he’d require a back up plan. 

Speaking to the official Indycar website Albon said, “I want to see what’s out there. My main goal is to be in F1, but there’s never a 100 percent certainty on that, so you have to have plan B and C to see what else is out there. I’ve always had that interest within INDYCAR.”

Albon also revealed that he’d been observing Grosjean who transitioned to Indycar from F1 this year following an overhaul of the Haas F1 team line up. 

“I just wanted to see what he [Grosjean] thinks about it. Is he happy? Of course, he’s happy. He’s always got a smile on his face. How was that transition for him, and how did he feel in INDYCAR straight away? He looks very comfortable here.”

Albon went on to say that should the perfect storm brew a move to Indycar would be all the more likely. 

“Let’s just say, obviously, if the right opportunity is there, or let’s say the lack of opportunity is there in F1, and there’s an opportunity here that’s a good opportunity with a good team, and if in these next few days I think it’s something I would enjoy, obviously then the odds (of racing INDYCAR in 2022) go up.”

Project Divebomb has also previously reported that Albon has also been on the radar of Formula E team Nissan, and as time ticks on, it is safe to say Albon is not short of options. 

Ferrari in talks with Haas over Schumacher’s future

Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto has confirmed the Scuderia is in talks with its American customer outfit Haas on retaining Ferrari Academy graduate Mick Schumacher for the 2022 season. 

Written by Andrew Lwanga, edited by Janvi Unni

Haas signed rookies Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, and while Haas team boss Gunther Steiner has all but confirmed that they will likely keep their driver pairing, he conceded there’s areas that still need ironing out. 

“At the moment it looks like we will be racing with the same driver pairing next year,” he said. “We still have to clarify a few details, but everything else is clear. It won’t take long.”

Schumacher’s performances, though somewhat mixed, have been largely positive. The German managed a Q2 appearance at the French Grand Prix although that result was somewhat marred by a crash. Schumacher has also managed a best race result of P12 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, a performance highlighted by several battles he had with Verstappen, Gasly and Ricciardo. Staining those performances were two heavy and expensive crashes in free practice sessions that drew frustration from Steiner.

Mattia sympathized with Steiner but further stated that this was part of Schumacher’s learning curve. 

Binotto told Gazzetta dello Sport: “This year has been more difficult for the Ferrari Driver Academy, but you have to give the kids time to grow.

“Mick Schumacher’s first season serves as learning, without pressure, and we are discussing with Haas to confirm him there.”

Speaking about the other Ferrari Junior on the grid, Binotto said that he hopes Antonio Giovanazzi can remain with Alfa Romeo Racing. This comes on the back of recent reports claiming that Alfa Romeo are set to have free reign on their driver line up. 

“Giovinazzi remains our reserve driver, the first alternative to the regular drivers,” he said.“He is showing growth every year and I hope he can stay at Alfa, he deserves it.”

As for the drivers directly under his stewardship, Binotto stated that he believes his team has the best pairing on the grid. 

Sainz and Leclerc have managed three podiums between them and 163 points to keep them level with McLaren despite a clear pace advantage for the latter. 

“I am convinced that with Leclerc and Sainz we have the best duo in F1,” said Binotto. “They are talented, fast and young, a guarantee for the future.

“We know Charles, he grew up in our academy, we have no doubts about his abilities. Without the accidents in qualifying in Monte Carlo and at the start of Hungary, in which he was also unlucky, he would have an extra victory and second place.

“He is growing in the vision of racing and in tyre management. He has great potential.

“Carlos didn’t surprise me. Before taking him, we analysed his characteristics: he is concrete, he brings points to the team and he is clear in communicating with the engineers. He is integrating and understanding the machine better and better.

“In the second half of the season I expect him to put together a perfect weekend, without errors in qualifying, at the start or in the race.”

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Helmut Marko: Gasly to be promoted or let go in 2 years

Over the past 24 months the story of Pierre Gasly has been accompanied by highs and lows that could rival any Hollywood script. Following Ricciardo’s departure from the Red Bull outfit, Gasly was promoted to replace the 7 time race winner but was demoted halfway into the season back to the then named Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Written by Andrew Lwanga, edited by Janvi Unni

Gasly then went on an absolute tear acquiring 3 podiums including the first win for the now rebranded Scuderia Alpha Tauri in their home race. 

Following these impressive performances many including the Frenchman have been calling for a second chance at Red Bull, these calls have seemingly fallen on deaf ears but have now managed to elicit a response from the Red Bull hierarchy. 

Red Bull’s senior advisor and man in charge of their development academy Dr Helmut Marko has said that Gasly will not receive promotion in the immediate future. Dr Marko further stated that Gasly will either receive promotion or be completely let go in the next two years. 

“We are looking at his progress,” he said, “and in the next two years we will make a decision whether he’ll be on the free market or whether we’ll take him into Red Bull.”

Marko went on to say that he’d rather Gasly lead the junior team at the moment and stated that he doubts whether or not the Frenchman is up to the task of competing alongside Max Verstappen. 

“He is driving at his best, but being number one in a very good B-team is a very different story to being number two to Max Verstappen at a top team, mentally that makes a big difference.”

In conjunction with the Frenchman’s future, Marko may have inadvertently also hinted at current Red Bull driver Sergio Perez’s future.

“Perez is 31 years now, so he won’t be too long in Red Bull Racing.” Perez is the first driver apart from Verstappen to win a race with Red Bull since 2018 and although his performances haven’t been the most revolutionary he has so far succeeded in doing a better job as a number 2 driver than his predecessors. 

Although Gasly is 6 younger than Perez and has been in the Red Bull family for most his life, the fact that Perez has been able to accomplish what Gasly failed to do bodes well for his case. However one cannot overlook the fact that Gasly is younger and has managed to have 3 podiums in a midfield car. 

As the unscripted and ever unpredictable future continues to unfold, only one thing remains certain. A difficult decision awaits Red Bull.

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ALBON AMONGST DRIVERS IN CONTENTION FOR FORMULA E SEAT

The Nissan e.dams team have revealed its list of drivers that could join the team for the coming season. The pool of drivers in consideration for replacing the outgoing Oliver Rowland include, Alex Lynn whom Rowland will replace at Mahindra Racing next season, Maximilian Gunther former Formula E Champion Lucas Di Grassi and Formula 1 podium sitters Alexander Albon and Daniil Kvyat with Albon and Di Grassi rumoured to be prime contenders. 

Written by Andrew Lwanga, edited by Tanishka Vashee

Alexander Albon has tested for Nissan and was actually slated to race for the team in 2018 however Helmut Marko and Toro Rosso approached the British-Thai driver with an offer for a seat in Formula 1. Three years later it may seem that Albon may return to where it all began. 

“Obviously he [Albon] is amongst the ones we are considering and he kept contact with us so we are talking regularly,”  said Nissan team manager Francois Sicard. 

“He’s following what we do, so we are very close to Alex and he could be amongst the one we can select. But there are others and you have to know that Alex might also have other opportunities.”

Nissan global motorsports director Tommaso Volpe was more coy and less revealing when discussing Rowland’s potential stating

“We haven’t made a decision yet, which is the truth. The reason why we haven’t taken a decision is not because we don’t have options. We have very good options, actually.  

“But we just want to take a little bit more time to be sure we make the right decision. This is the period of the year when you have different conversations going on.  

“We want to confirm the driver line up before the end of the season. So, if we finally make a decision in this sense, ideally, we will definitely make it public the day after we took the decision.” 

When quizzed on the subject of his future Albon told the official Formula 1 that his prime goal remains a return to Formula 1 but admitted chances were slim. 

“There isn’t much” said Albon “”In some respects, I’m reliant on others not performing. It’s just the driver market in F1.

“I was lucky when I got my chance in F1, with Daniel [Ricciardo] moving – that shifted everything over.

“This year it looks a little stale in that sense. If a race seat isn’t available here, there are a couple of teams out there that there are possibilities with. It’s just one of those things where you have to wait and see.”

With the Formula E Championship coming to a close relatively soon Albon may have to make a decision early as most teams would prefer to have their driver pairings sorted early. This is in contrast with Formula 1 as the championship is barely halfway through. 

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