Author Archives: Janvi Unni

RookieWatch – Mick Schumacher

With more than a third of the 23 race season done and dusted, it’s time to look at how the newest entrants have fared so far. The rookie season is always the hardest, with mounting pressure to impress only a select few truly make it – at Project Divebomb we’ll be looking at this year’s rookies to see if they have what it takes to create a long and successful F1 career.

Written by Abhishek Banerjee, edited by Janvi Unni

Mick Schumacher was born in Switzerland and is racing under a German flag. He has a brilliant racing pedigree being the son of 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher and is also the nephew of Ralph Schumacher.  He is backed by several wide-ranging brands like Under Armour (2019) and other prominent German brands such as Schuberth (2020) and Deutsche Vermögensberatung (2021). He is  the face of Formula One in Germany. He is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy and has been tipped for greatness by many. He has done extraordinarily well in his junior career winning the FIA F3 Championship (2018) and later winning the F2 championship in his second season (2020). He signed for the Haas F1 team after doing a practice session with them.

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It was no secret that Haas would not develop their car for the 2021 season, so competing for places would be difficult and would massively depend on external variables higher up the grid. He has had previous experience in an F1 car, driving the SF90 for Scuderia Ferrari in 2019 for testing in Bahrain. He later continued with Alfa Romeo, where Ferrari have control over one of the seats. He later drove a practice session for the Haas F1 Team in the 2020 Abu Dhabi GP.

He has signed a multi-year contract with the Haas F1 team and has been partnered with his old karting rival Nikita Mazepin. With competing for places going to be a rare occurrence, he will be measured against his teammate.

QualifiedFinished
Bahrain1816
Italy1816
Portugal1917
Spain1818
Monaco2018
Azerbaijan1713
France1519
Austria(Styria)1916
Austria1918
Great Britain1819

He stayed out of trouble in his first race and finished 16 owing to 4 DNFs. In Italy, it was the same result following the George Russel and Valterri Bottas crash and a Latifi DNF. In Portugal, he qualified almost half a second ahead of his teammate and managed to beat the Williams of Nicholas Latifi to come home 17th. In Spain, he out-qualified Nicholas Latifi but fell behind him in the actual race. 

Mick couldn’t set a qualifying time in Monaco owing to a gearbox issue and started last. He tried pulling off an audacious overtake on Nikita but later fell short and finished behind his teammate.

In Azerbaijan, he finished P13 following a nervy moment with his teammate, almost causing a collision. This race was an outlier as it was plagued with DNFs as well as a 30-second penalty to Latifi and Hamilton going wide on the restart. 

Qualifying in France was outstanding for him as he qualified ahead of 2007 world champion, Kimi Räikkönen,Nicholas Latifi, and obviously his teammate He started P15 as Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda failed to set a time. He even got into Q2, before wrecking his car that is. In the race, he fell back to P19. 

In the Styrian GP, he did not fare particularly well in qualifying but finished ahead of Nicholas Latifi finishing P16 following retirements of Pierre Gasly and George Russel. The next race in Austria was not a good weekend either, him finishing behind Latifi after he received a 30 second time penalty.

At Silverstone, England Mick out-qualified Nikita and in the Sprint Qualifying, he stayed ahead and started the race ahead of his teammate. In the actual race, he fell behind his teammate and finished last.

Mick has been a very rule-respecting driver and has not been involved in anything which may bring bad publicity to him or the Haas F1 team. 

He has out-performed Nikita Mazepin in qualifying comfortably and has been beaten by him on a Sunday only twice. Once at Monaco, where he started P20 because of technical issues and it’s notoriously hard to overtake at the Principality. He regularly fights with Nicholas Latifi in the Williams with the worst car on the grid. He has raw pace but his future is not entirely in his hands.

An obvious hurdle would be Antonio Giovinazzi in the Alfa-Romeo. Antonio is a very polarising figure on the grid. Many argue his seat would be better utilized by someone else as the chances of him making the step-up to Ferrari seem very slim, while others argue he has been catching up to his teammate and deserves at least another couple of years in F1. With Charles Leclerc being an example of someone doing well in the 3rd Ferrari seat (the one Alfa-Romeo seat) and getting the call-up.

Mick is the more marketable athlete mostly, because of the Schumacher name and is more popular. His obvious target is the Ferrari seat and it is no secret that Haas is a stepping stone. A more reliable target in the next few years would be to take the place of Antonio Giovinazzi and work his way up. As of now, a seat in a backmarker team seems to have been a genius move-he gets the feel of Formula One and gets acclimatized to it with no pressure on his shoulders until at least the 2022 season when the new regulations kick in. It is no surprise that most fans will be waiting for a day when the Schumacher name is helping Ferrari win titles again.

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What if Max Spun to the Left?

Just three weeks ago, we were watching the Azerbaijan Grand Prix nearing its close. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Lance Stroll lost control of his car and slammed into the wall on the back straight. The safety car had to be deployed, of course, due to the amount of debris scattered on the track surface. Thankfully, Stroll made it out unscathed.

Written by Hafiz Akbar, edited by Janvi Unni 

Not long after the restart, race leader Max Verstappen, with just a handful of laps remaining on what should’ve been another race win to put in the bag, suffered a puncture of his right rear tyre. He immediately lost control of his RB16B and spun, hitting the barriers on his right. This immediately begs the question: what would happen if he went the other way?

To put things into perspective, we should know the Baku Street Circuit (the layout and whatnot) first.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2021 - F1 Race

So the point where Verstappen and Stroll both suffered their blowouts was in the main straight, which is the combination of two very high-speed corners in turns 19 and 20. From the exit of turn 19, drivers usually go flat out, with Valtteri Bottas setting the unofficial fastest record of 378 km/h (235 mph), going barely faster than Juan Pablo Montoya’s record in his McLaren back in the 2005 testing session in Monza.

In the layout, we can see that the pit lane is adjacent to the main straight and it’s somewhat a left-right chicane to keep the pitlane clear of any dangers from the track.

Now if Max corrected the spin and went to the left, instead of the right, we can assume by mirroring the car’s travel projection that he’ll go further than if he didn’t correct the spin and with the pit lane entry chicane barrier in the way, the rear of his car is most likely to slam into the chicane barrier. This sudden loss of speed is then transferred into rotational energy, also known as a violent spin, to the right. Estimates put the number of G’s experienced by Max at more than 30 G’s, with other estimates putting the number at a much higher 50 G’s. To put this into perspective, Anthoine Hubert’s crash in the 2019 F2 Belgian Grand Prix produced 70 G’s of deceleration.

But thankfully, Max made it out with barely any injuries to him, other than the obvious race win which surprisingly didn’t affect his title charge at all, since Lewis Hamilton made a mistake at the restart which sent him to the back of the pack and out of the points.

Former F1 driver and world champion Nico Rosberg commented that Baku [Street Circuit] is a dangerous track, especially the pit late entry. But Formula One’s Race Director Michael Masi begs to differ. He said that the pit lane entry meets all the required safety standards and does not need any changes to it whatsoever.

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Why Dan Ticktum Should Be in the Running For an F1 Seat

With George Russell all but confirmed for Mercedes next year, talk is flying about who will fill his seat at Williams. The names Bottas, Hulkenberg, Kvyat and Aitken are being mentioned right left and center, but little is being said about Williams development driver Dan Ticktum, except that he is thought to be out of consideration for a 2022 Formula 1 drive. If this, in fact, is true, Ticktum likely won’t ever make it to the top step of motorsport.

Written by Morgan Holiday, edited by Janvi Unni 

On paper, the 22 year-old Briton Dan Ticktum is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious talents competing in the 2021 season of FIA Formula 2. Champion of 4 karting series, two time Macau Grand Prix winner, ex Red Bull Academy driver, and holder of second place in the 2018 FIA Formula 3 season. The record clearly states that Dan Ticktum is an incredibly talented driver. Even despite his lack of financial backing, the Williams junior ought to be high up on Williams’ list of replacements for Russell, and yet he supposedly isn’t even being considered. Why?

For many people, it’s hard to look past Ticktum’s history of erratic behavior, mainly the incident that got him a two year racing ban in 2015, an incident that occurred when Ticktum was only 16 years old. And yes, overtaking multiple cars under safety car conditions to deliberately crash into your rival is not a good move, nor is it something that should be overlooked. And yet, one rash moment by a teenage Dan Ticktum has become his defining moment in the eyes of many spectators. There are, on the other hand, other defining moments in Ticktum’s career that may perhaps be more suited to judge his potential as a driver.

Dan Ticktum - Biografia, Notícias, Fotos e Videos

Easily the most impressive feat on Ticktum’s resume is his multiple wins at the Macau Grand Prix. Only nine drivers have managed to take the coveted Macau victory more than once, Ticktum among them. Ticktum’s first Macau victory with Motopark in 2017 was a strange one. He qualified in 6th, and then dropped two places in the qualification race, starting the main race from 8th on the grid. During the race he made his way up to third. Going into the final lap, Sergio Sette Camara was leading Ferdinand Hasburg when the pair collided in the final corner of the race, leaving Ticktum to inherit the win, followed closely by Lando Norris and Ralf Aron.

While Ticktum’s first Macau victory could be seen as fortuitous, the following year was a different story. He qualified on pole, which he maintained in the qualification race. He went on to lead the entirety of the race and become the sixth driver to take consecutive victories at the Macau Grand Prix. The truth is that neither win at Macau was entirely luck, a fact backed up by the rest of Ticktum’s racing results. In fact, he has scored wins in almost every series he’s competed in, and has almost always challenged the top drivers in whatever category he finds himself in. 

While his pace and results speak for themselves, the key quality Ticktum possesses that is important for any Formula 1 driver is confidence. Coming into the top tier of motorsport and driving alongside some of the best drivers, not just currently but of all time, isn’t something any driver can just do. It requires guts and some level of confidence in their own ability as a driver, especially considering the dangerousness of the sport. A driver has to be able to get in the car week in and week out and perform to the limit, not doubting their ability or natural talent.  Especially in a car like the Williams (although with the new regulations coming in 2022, the Williams could be “like” anything), a driver has to be able to commit to pushing their way through the field. 

Ticktum has proved himself a driver capable, both of incredible amounts of self confidence, and of tackling problems head on (albeit not always with the best attitude). Heading into the third round of the 2021 Formula 2 championship, Ticktum stated “I’m good everywhere, but at street circuits I normally tend to be quite strong.” This statement, while aggressively cocky, turned out to be true (although having read about his results at the Macau Grand Prix you already know that). And while Dan “I’m good everywhere” Ticktum ended up at the back of the field after lap 1 incidents in two of the three races, he inevitably made his way back up through the pack to finish in the points in both of those races.

The problem with Ticktum, from the Williams team’s standpoint, lies in his incident-packed past, his lack of financial backing, and his tendency to be rather dramatic on the team radio. Take Yuki Tsunoda for example, who clearly has pace and talent, and managed to score points on debut in Formula 1 with Alpha Tauri, but has since proved that his overly aggressive and overly excited attitude costs him dearly on the race track. But he’s certainly impressed more than his fellow rookie drivers, albeit in a better car.

Pin em Formula UMe

While Ticktum has a track record of being somewhat belligerent both as a driver and a personality, and would bring absolutely zero financial backing to a team that most likely needs it, his talent speaks for itself and he’s the type of driver that Formula 1 needs, both from a talent and an entertainment standpoint. While Bottas, Kvyat, Hulkenberg, etc., are all names proven in Formula 1, Dan Ticktum’s name clearly deserves to be among them in the talks for a shot at the Williams seat, and it’s a shame he isn’t currently being considered.

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Rookie Watch – Nikita Mazepin

With more than a third of the 23 race season done and dusted, it’s time to look at how the newest entrants have fared so far. The rookie season is always the hardest, with mounting pressure to impress, only a select few truly make it. At Project Divebomb we’ll be looking at this year’s rookies to see if they have what it takes to create a long and successful F1 career.

Written by Abhishek Banerjee, Edited by Janvi Unni 

Nikita Mazepin raced under the Russian Flag prior to Formula 1, but has been racing under a neutral flag this season after the Court Of Arbitration of Sport upheld the ban on Russia competing at World Championships after it’s athletes were  found guilty of state sponsored doping. He has been mainly backed by URALCHEM and its subsidiary company URALKALI, where his father is the major shareholder. He did well in his junior career and in the 2019-20 F3 Asian Championship he finished 3rd overall. In the 2020 F2 Championship he finished 5th overall winning 2 races. With enough points for his Super License, he made the jump to Formula One with Haas F1 team.

Nikita Mazepin Formula 1 Driver Profile | Formula 1 Drivers

It was no secret that Haas would not develop their car for the 2021 season, so competing for places would be really difficult and would massively depend on external variables higher up the grid. He has previous experience of being in an F1 car, being the test driver for the Sahara Force India team from 2016-2018 racking up more than 100 laps. In 2019, he was part of the Mercedes Team in the 2019 Barcelona test, where he topped the charts.

He has been partnered with the 2020 Formula F2 Champion and Ferrari Driver Academy member, Mick Schumacher. As competing for places is going to be a rare occurrence, he will directly be compared to his teammate and they funnily enough they have gone up against each other in their karting careers.

QualifiedFinished
Bahrain19
Italy1917
Portugal2019
Spain20
Monaco1917
Azerbaijan1814
France1820
Austria(Styria)2018
Austria2019

He spun out in the first lap on turn 3 in his first F1 race. In Italy, he finished 17th after the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and the Williams of George Russel crashed and Latifi facing issues in the starting lap. He finished last in Portugal as well after Kimi did not finish. In the Spanish Grand Prix he qualified 0.690 seconds behind his teammate and finished last. In Monaco, Mick was not able to participate in the qualifying session and after a nervous moment where Nikita was overtaken by his teammate he managed to get ahead and finish ahead of his team-mate in the Principality. 

In Azerbaijan, he finished P14 and overtook his team-mate in the last lap but fell just short as Mick managed to get away right before the chequered flag, which seems brilliant on paper, but one-fifth off the grid did not finish that race. France was a relatively uneventful race where Mick qualified 3 places in front of Nikita who finished plumb last. In the Styrian GP both the Haas drivers started and finished on the last row. In the Austrian GP, he qualified half a second behind his team-mate and subsequently finished behind him in the actual race .

Nikita Mazepin has made it notoriously difficult for others on the grid to get past him on Fridays and Saturdays. Charles Leclerc, Estaban Ocon and Lando Norris are on the casualty list after being blocked by the Haas Driver. He did not heed the blue flags when getting lapped by Sergio Perez in the Italian Grand Prix and was penalized for it. In another incident Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff was heard complaining to the race officials about Mazepin blocking the front runners, but in that instance he hadn’t yet caused any problems for the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. Even his own team-mate was not happy with him in Azerbaijan after he tried to keep his place by jinking to the right and forcing Mick wide, dangerously close to the wall and if Mick didn’t stop, it could have been a devastating accident.

MOTORLAT | F1 | Mazepin confident for the season ahead

Mazepin has always been a controversial figure. He physically assaulted his F3 rival Callum Ilott and was given a race ban as a result. In F2 he had racked up so many penalties that he would have been unable to take part in the last race of the 2019 season. If these weren’t enough he had allegedly been pictured in a party he hosted during the funeral of miners contracted to his father’s company.

Considering he’s had a checkered few years, a seat in a back-marker team was seen to be a good move until a video of him groping a woman was uploaded before the first race had taken place. The team later condemned the “abhorrent” video. 

Nikita Mazepin certainly has his haters. To really have a shot at a long F1 career would require him to keep his head down and focus on beating his team-mate. As of now he’s started only one race ahead of Mick Schumacher (owing to Mick not partaking in qualifying) and has only beaten him on a Sunday once, both in the Monaco GP. Most fans believe he’s not talented enough to remain in F1 and he’s taking up a seat which could be given to a different driver. But, clearly one cannot be in the highest level of motorsport without talent. It’s going to be very difficult for him to stay if he doesn’t mend his ways, and with him having not yet cleared his mandatory military service, it is going to be really hard for him to keep a hold of his seat unless he stops spinning his car and starts beating his team-mate.

Why is Antonio Giovinazzi Still in F1?

In 2018 Charles Leclerc became the first official Ferrari junior driver to make the step up to Formula 1. After only one year of driving for Sauber, he signed a one year contract with Ferrari. Having made the move to the big team, Leclerc was replaced by Ferrari junior Antonio Giovinazzi for the 2019 season.

Written by Morgan Holiday, edited by Janvi Unni 

Giovinazzi is currently in his third season with the Alfa Romeo Sauber team, and Ferrari show no signs of wanting to move him up to their team nor any signs of replacing him at Alfa Romeo. His best chance was in 2020, when Ferrari dropped Sebastian Vettel, but they ignored Giovinazzi in favour of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz. 

Leclerc currently has a contract in place with Ferrari until 2024, after he signed the longest contract that Ferrari has ever signed with a driver back in 2019. Sainz is signed until 2022, and given his performance thus far, will likely be with the team for some time to come. But those two drivers aren’t even Giovinazzi’s main problem when it comes to a Ferrari seat. 

Ferrari junior Mick Schumacher signed a multi-year contract with Haas following an excellent season of Formula 2 where Schumacher was eventually crowned champion. Before the 2021 season started, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto stated his interest in giving Schumacher a Ferrari seat sometime in the near future. 

There is also Callum Ilott and Robert Schwartzman to contend with, both impressive Ferrari juniors who remain in contention for a seat should Ferrari ever choose to promote a fourth junior driver to Formula 1. So where does Giovinazzi stand amongst these drivers, and why, after three seasons with no real results to show for it, is he still in Formula 1?

In the 2016 season of GP2 Giovinazzi finished second to his Prema teammate Pierre Gasly, who won the championship and went on to race with Torro Rosso in 5 Grand Prix in 2017 before signing with them full time in 2018. Giovinazzi also took part in the 2017 Formula 1 season, replacing Pascal Wehrlein at Sauber for the first two rounds of the season, but he didn’t sign for the team as a full time driver until 2019.

Giovinazzi didn’t do much racing in his two years between GP2 and Formula 1, barring his two Formula 1 races and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018. Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc was signed to Sauber’s Formula 1 team following his success in Formula 2 in 2017. He excelled in his one season with the Swiss team, achieving ten points finishes to his teammate Marcus Ericsson’s six, and finishing 13th in the standings to Ericsson’s 17th. Leclerc’s success in his first full season in Formula 1 fairly warranted the Ferrari contract he was given, and he was replaced at Sauber by Giovinazzi for the 2019 season.

Giovinazzi was joined at Sauber, now Alfa Romeo, by former World Champion Kimi Räikönnen, so perhaps it’s unfair to compare his relative performance to his teammate in the same way as Leclerc. Whatever the case, Räikönnen outscored Giovinazzi by 29 points in the 2019 season. In Giovinazzi’s best race of the year he finished P5 at the Brazilian Grand Prix, and yet was still outshined by Räikönnen, who finished P4.

The 2020 Formula 1 season saw the fight between the Alfa Romeo teammates equal out somewhat, as both drivers finished with 4 points, with Räikönnen ahead in the standings on countback. Still, it’s not the outstanding performance Ferrari was looking for, which is why they signed Sainz for the 2021 season. It seems unlikely that Giovinazzi will ever be a real contender for a seat at Ferrari, and yet he signed another contract with Alfa Romeo for the 2021 season.

So far in 2021, Räikönnen and Giovinazzi have both scored one point, neither one drastically outperforming the other. While Giovinazzi is a consistent driver who has managed to hold his own against a World Champion teammate and shown the occasional moment of brilliance, it’s unlikely his form will improve to a place where he will be given a long term chance in Formula 1. For now, it seems like it’s only a matter of time until Ferrari or Alfa Romeo give his seat to a more promising rookie.

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WHEN WE WILL HAVE NEW TEAMS IN F1?

The last team to join Formula 1 was Haas in 2016. Before that, 3 teams joined in 2010: Lotus, Marussia, and HRT, all of whom had various different owners before eventually going out of business. In 2020, two teams expressed their desire to enter the sport by 2021, but the ongoing pandemic put a stop to any teams wanting to enter until at least 2022. The teams showing the most interest in entering the sport are Campos Racing and Panthera Asia Racing. 

Written by Janvi Unni, Edited by Morgan Holiday

Campos Racing 

The Spanish-based Formula 2 team expressed a desire to enter Formula 1, with their CEO Salvatore Gandolfo saying that they had enlisted the help of the Spanish Motorsport Federation to help them in their bid to enter F1. Gandolfo had meetings with Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey in May 2020. Gandolfo also said that he was confident that the new regulations would make it easier for smaller teams to enter the sport. Their prospective drivers should they join Formula 1 are Pascal Wehrlein, who is racing with Porsche in Formula E, and Alex Palou, who currently drives for Chip Ganassi Racing in IndyCar. 

Panthera Asia Racing 

The Asian-backed team expressed their desire to enter Formula 1 as soon as possible, but were forced to wait until 2022. Team boss Benjamin Durand said, “it’s been a rollercoaster ride, but we’re still alive. We are currently aiming to enter the sport in 2022. We have a group of people working on the car and we are talking to investors on the side.” 

It’s already hard for new teams to enter Formula 1 due to the high entry fee on top of the already expensive cost of running a team. According to Formula 1’s Concorde Agreement, each team receives a share of the income generated by F1, which is evenly distributed among all 10 of them. More teams means that each team receives a lesser share of the profit, which could hurt some of the smaller teams. 

Formula 1 Motorsport Director Ross Brawn doesn’t want new teams in the sport just yet, saying that a period of stability is required after the pandemic. Brawn added that the FIA wanted to make sure that the revised rules and regulations from 2022 onwards had settled in well with all the current teams before adding any more. 

It’s unlikely that we’ll see any new teams in 2022, but in the future, who knows?

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F1 Hybrid Systems Explained

In 2014 new power unit regulations brought us the start of a new era, with the V6 Turbo Hybrid engines. These engines proved to be very complex with reliability issues plaguing the majority of teams in the 2014 season.

Written by Matt K, Edited by Janvi Unni

However, this wasn’t the first time we’ve seen a ‘hybrid’ system in Formula 1. Back in 2009 teams had developed KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). KERS was used to give teams an extra 80 bhp at the press of a button. It harvested energy from under braking and stored in a battery to be used whenever the drivers wanted over the lap.

In 2010, whilst KERS was still legal in the regulations published by the FIA, the teams opted not to use the system as it was too expensive to develop. But this didn’t last long as in 2011 KERS was back again and being used by most of the teams on the grid. I say most, as Virgin and HRT would not use the system due to the cost of developing it.

Then, after 3 seasons of the KERS system, came the new 2014 regulations which still retained the concept of the KERS system but increased the power output to 160 bhp and introduced the new MGU-K and MGU-H. The MGU-K recovers the lost heat energy and stores that in a battery and it can both recover and supply energy. Simply put,  an electric motor attached to the engine helps to turn the crankshaft and gives more power.

The MGU-H helps to spin the turbocharger. Turbos have a turbine in them, and the turbine is spun using exhaust gases, they do, however, produce what is known as ‘turbo lag’. Turbos take a small amount of time to ‘spool up’ when the driver puts their foot on the throttle. So you don’t get instant power. To prevent this, the MGU-H aids the turbo with a small electric motor. The electric motor spins the turbo when the car accelerates and gives immediate power. This not only makes the cars faster but also makes them more driveable as there are no sudden ‘spikes’ in power.

The hybrid systems in Formula 1 are vastly complex, and whilst we all want the screaming V8’s and V10’s of the 1990s and 2000s, we have to admit that these V6 hybrid engines really are a work of art.

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Zhou to make F1 debut in Austrian GP

Alpine academy member and reserve driver Guanyu Zhou, is set to take to the track in a Formula 1 car for the first time this weekend, following a press release from Alpine which detailed that the young Chinese driver will take over Fernando Alonso’s A521 for the first round of free practice this Friday.

Written by Hafiz Akbar, edited by Janvi Unni

Zhou joined the Alpine academy earlier that year after three terrific campaigns in the F3 European Championship. He went on to score five podiums and was awarded the title of best rookie. He will be the first Chinese driver to participate in a weekend after an eight year hiatus.

Zhou commented: “To compete in the FP1 of a Formula 1 Grand Prix is ​​a dream come true and one more step towards my ultimate goal as an F1 driver. It will be really special. I will prepare as much as possible while making sure to achieve all the goals and plans set by the team. There haven’t been a lot of Chinese drivers in Formula 1, so there will probably be a lot of pride when it comes to getting behind the wheel. It will be all the more special when I drive Fernando’s car, whose career inspired me when I was younger. I am very happy with what I have accomplished so far and am extremely grateful to the many people who have supported me. My goal is to maximize this opportunity and I can’t wait to be there.”

Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine, commented: “Entering F1 is an incredibly difficult challenge for young drivers and we are proud to support future talents in their adventure. In his role as test driver, Guanyu has participated in test and other sessions in the simulator, so his participation in free practice with the current car represents a logical and important step for one of the greatest hopes of the academy. This experience will help him greatly in his steady progress towards his ultimate goal of getting a wheel in F1.”

Will we see Zhou in a race anytime soon? Only time (or one of Alpine’s drivers catching the coronavirus) will tell.

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Pascal Wehrlein robbed of a victory in Puebla

For the 7th round of the 2021 Formula E World Championship, we headed to Puebla in Mexico, about 200km away from the capital of Mexico City to the Autodromo Miguel E. Abad. 

Written by Olly Radley, edited by Janvi Unni

It was Pascal Wehrlein who took pole for the first of two races, having made it to Superpole from Group 2 and setting the fastest time in the final qualifying session.  Audi’s René Rast  lined up in 2nd with the BMWs making up the 2nd row.

As the lights went out, Wehrlein was off the line well but Rast got bogged down from 2nd dropping right down the order, as the BMWs made into 2nd and 3rd. As we came through Turn 8 on the first lap, Nick Cassidy outbroke himself, ending his race in the wall.

The race leader Pascal Wehrlein was first to take the attack mode and dropped to 3rd, after which Gunther inherited the lead. Once Gunther and his teammate, Dennis, both took attack mode, Wehrlein came back out into the lead. With 30 minutes left, Wehrlein took his last attack mode, a very aggressive move from Porsche and importantly retained the lead. So once everyone took their attack mode, Wehrlein would be leading.

In the meantime, we had 2 retirees as Vergne and Bird were both clipped as they rejoined from attack mode by the Mahindra drivers, as well as the championship leader wiping out Nyck De Vries into T1.

With 10 minutes to go, the FIA opened an investigation into Pascal Wehrlein for a technical infraction and usually if they investigate it, it is penalised. Upon hearing about the investigation, I thought it would be terribly cruel to punish Wehrlein, as he had driven a flawless race up to this point.

Gunther slid down the order in the closing minutes as the podium across the line was Rast 3rd; Di Grassi 2nd; and Wehrlein 1st. On the warmdown lap, the FIA had made the decision to disqualify Wehrlein after their investigation, giving the win and crucial 25 points to Lucas di Grassi.

We were back again for another race in Puebla on Sunday, where we got yet more action. 

Improvement In Safety Standards from Azerbaijan to France

In case you forgot about the horrendously conducted Baku Grand Prix in terms of safety, here’s a quick rundown of the events. Max Verstappen crashed because of tire failure and instead of getting out of the track through the nearest exit, he walked around the car inspecting it and kicked the damaged wheel before proceeding to walk across the track. Lance Stroll, another victim of the Pirelli tire failure, was calling for him to be removed from the DRS zone on the track.

Written by Abhishek Banerjee, edited by Janvi Unni

The whole race weekend had multiple red flag incidents and even had race marshals running across the track under green conditions. There was an incident where the majority of the drivers ignored the double yellow flags. Fortunately everyone was unharmed, but Race Director Michael Masi and the whole team of stewards need to be under the highest grade of an investigation by the FIA, World Motor Sport Council, and the Grand Prix Drivers Association.

Formula One Race Director Michael Masi assured McLaren F1 team that the issue would be brought up in the driver briefing before the French Grand Prix.

This weekend’s race was fairly uneventful from a pure safety perspective. Mick Schumacher hit the barriers during qualifying but walked away unhurt. Yuki Tsunoda also crashed into the barriers right at the start of qualifying after losing control of his car, but was unhurt and started the race from the pit exit. This is also the first race in 2021 where all 20 cars that started on the grid finished the race. 

Maybe the fact that this was a permanent racing circuit instead of a street circuit helped in keeping incidents to a minimum. But no one can argue that safety should be taken seriously and it was refreshing to see a Grand Prix weekend where all the cars could compete and no one was in any serious danger while on track.

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