F1 Rumours: Are Audi Pulling the Plug?

Audi confirmed their entry in August 2022 after the announcement of the new power unit rules for 2026. They decided, unlike Ford, to not just make power units but to take control of Sauber, currently known as Alfa Romeo, and are in the first year of that phase as a minority stakeholder of the team. But according to some, all is not well with paddock rumours and media, is it over before a wheel has been turned? Does this mean Peter Sauber is staying or is it just rumours?

F1 have been trying to get the Volkswagen Group back in the sport which Audi are apart of along with Bentley, Porsche and others. Audi itself have had recent changes within its own high organisation levels and supposedly the idea may have come to an end before it has started, which will cost the German manufacturer millions.

Image courtesy of Audi Motorsport Media Centre

In early 2024, Audi will become 50% joint owners with Sauber and then in early 2025 they become 75% owners of the team. However, the new board at Audi have supposedly concluded the venture may be too expensive.

According to some of the German Media, the rumour is that the VW Group want to keep the programme in house with a potential switch to Porsche. With the venture still in the early stages in F1 terms, this could mean a simple switch of data and staff between the companies.

However, within the paddock, the rumour is that Toyota will try their chances once again, having previous knowledge of the sport. Additionally this could be in collaboration with Mclaren to a certain extent, as the team from Woking don’t have power unit supplier for 2026 as of yet. Toyota are looking to become a manufacturer again and also return as power unit supplier for the McLaren for the first time in history.

Despite all of this, Audi are still looking to join F1 in the future as nothing has changed officially or been announced. But murmurings suggest this is something to keep an eye on as we go into the final races of 2023. Will we get a Germany v Mercedes regardless or Toyota v Honda? Time will tell.

Mystic Motorsport

Mystic Motorsport – Predictions for Motorsport in 2023

Just as a psychic would say my senses are tingling as I read my mystic ball.

Andretti get entry for 2025

In 2022 season the Circuit of the Americas last corner was renamed after Mario Andretti the 1978 WDC Champion now more news for Andretti, it will be announced at COTA  or maybe Vegas that Andretti will enter Formula 1.

It will be an all American venture as they have said previously, and they will announce the following drivers, Colton Herta as a rookie, and Alexander Rossi will return to Formula 1 after his brief spell in late 2015 with Marussia. He does have history with Andretti in Indycar, the only year

Aston Martin fighting amongst themselves for the last points position in Hungary 2022. Image courtesy of Aston Martin Media

not with  the team he will drive with Autosport in the upcoming 2023. Their power unit is a temporary Renault deal as there were talks to have them In principal.  Renault always looks to increase their share in the team pool. General Motors have their own engine lined up or work with Honda for 2026 as they are also behind the deal, so could see a Red Bull/Honda unit going forward much like how it seems Audi are working with the Sauber team.

Ferrari win Le Mans Overall

Ferrari take it back to 1965, winning one of the World’s greatest races, for the first time in 58 years! Going back to the days of Ferrari vs Ford! An epic film if you haven’t yet watched it.
Ferrari have been at Le Mans throughout the years but have stepped back to the GT series with the AF Corse car in recent times. It would be quite fitting considering this years’ Le Mans marks its  centenary race, the 100th running of Le Mans in France. They now have the new 499P hypercar, fully expecting the likes of Antonio Fuoco, Alessandro Pier Guidi to be the drivers who was apart of the team as well as Antonio Giovinazzi, the reserve F1 driver to make up the team the main team. These will be the drivers to take victory.

They will also have a team made of non-Italians but they have raced with their GT cars such as the ever reliable James Calado but that will result in a non-finish, they will have success in other races throughout the WEC calendar.

Evans WRC Champion

Elfyn Evans over the last few years since joining Toyota from his previous team M-Sport Ford has always been the bridesmaid, never the bride, especially in 2020 and 2021 finishing second place. The sport dominated since 2004 by French drivers Sebastien Loeb and Ogier of late, only recent Ott Tanak and Kalle Rovanpera have changed that of late. It is now time that Evans to step up and becomes the first British driver to win the World Rally Champion since Richard Burns with the iconic Subaru Impreza in 2001.

Evans is great across all surfaces from the asphalt of Monaco, snow of Sweden to the traditional dirt of Kenya. He has victories in previous years and as rally is more known for consistency is key, as one mistake can end it all. He has a great relationship with co-driver Scott Martin who can lead him to success for 2023.

Hungarian GP Shake-Up

There has been talks over the last few years of bringing the MotoGP series to Hungary whether it be through the well-known Hungaroring or the new option considered Magyar Nemzetközi Motodrome only in rendered format designed by Herman Tilke currently.

This could possibly be announced for the MotoGP series when we hit the European rounds, and do see F1 possibly announcing when the contract ends at 2027 at Hungaroring that the tracks share the honour of holding the Grand Prix, rotating it, as Silverstone and Brands Hatch did from 1963 to 1986.

Just a few thoughts to put to the table! I can sense it!

Guenther stars as Gen3 test begins

Formula E Valencia Test

Image courtesy of 
ABB Formula EGen goes Green! Expect the phrase in a few weeks! The first day of the 2022/23 test at Ricardo Tormo went ahead today and the machinery is fantastic! The previous generation had a maximum of 250kw but they now have a further 100 with 350  at their disposal.

Wehrlein now an experienced driver in the field was quickest out the blocks early on in the Porsche, with a 1:27:492.
We have the introduction of Maserati and Mclaren, the latter who took over the defending Champions Mercedes with big boots to fill. Jake Hughes fits in and the Papaya orange was perfect especially in Spain.

Rowland hopes to have a better string of results especially with Di Grassi alongside in this Season’s battle, and laid down an early gauntlet for the field with a 1:26:351 which was seven tenths quicker than anyone else before Max Guenther joined him in the 1:26’s too, but still 0.559 away from the time. A few yellow flags with a spin or two but only one real flag of concern early on when Cassidy’s Envision got stuck in the gravel at turn six which brought the session to a brief stoppage. DS Penske duo paired with reigning drivers champion Vandoorne not Da Costa continue to look strong early on being within the top 5 as the track gripped up Stoffel went 0.322 behind Rowland.

Abt name is back in the sport with Cupra, and just getting mileage in the morning session, this was held by Mueller being unable to get out early on but he eventually did manage to get out alongside Frijns both lapping in the low 1:28’s, at the back of the field and further interrupted late on in the session with Mitch Evans spinning at T5, causing a red flag for 10 minutes. We had 18 of the 22 drivers before lunch on track and Jake Hughes in Mclaren finally toppled Rowland’s impressive lap to a 1:26:178 with Guenther after in Maserati a 1:26:096, the new teams wanting to take the headlines at lunch. The second Maserati in P4 whilst Rast must’ve been focusing on long runs in P20. The Top 10 covered by 1.050.

The second session went green at 14:00 hours and Guenther who went straight to top carrying on where he left off with a 1:26:852 amongst eight others. Sam Bird who failed to win in last year for the first time in a full Season looks to build slowly after sustaining a wrist fracture missing the Seoul double finale he  had a fairly quiet morning, and was one of those who  just looked to continue to plow away, getting the data for Jaguar. One that also jumped out of the blocks was Jake Dennis with Andretti only P17 in the morning, who improved on his time by three tenths to be P2 after the first rush of action.

Guenther improved to a 1:26:221 as they came to an hour in the afternoon running whilst Porsche hot on the heels, another team with a switch Wehrlein under a tenth but Antonio Felix Da Costa making it P2 and P3 for the team. Porsche with that line up look to see better than P7 in the final standings. Continous action, only a brief yellow as Mortara’s Maserati coming to a stop, a quick reset let it go on its way, as the times begin to fall, the top five now being in the 1:26’s with Mortara being one of them. Jake Hughes brought the afternoon to an abrupt end for 20 minutes as the NEOM Mclaren came to a stop, and failed to restart.

The teams had 90 minutes remaining of Day One Norman Nato joined the track for the first time but only a sightseer, Buemi still yet to be seen in the afternoon. The top twelve all within a second of Guenther, with eight different teams.

With under an hour the drizzle threat began to become into play, and the track became damp, so the fastest times of the day were not going to be touched but it is interesting information for these new Hankook tyres, Michelin being the supplier since the inaugural season in 2014.
No spins in the rain happened to cause any  flags showing the true skill of the drivers at hand. The running was interrupted further with further teething problems on reliability as Sette Camara’s NIO halted between T5 and T6. Ticktum currently in the top 10 ahead of his Brazilian team-mate in the sister car.

The track returned to green flag running under dark clouds and damp track so it continued to be a reliability test and data collection for the teams rather than outright speed. A really wet track with 20 minutes remained so Guenther would take plaudits for being fastest in both the morning and afternoon session before the rain came. Porsche and DS Penske as duos looked solid, whilst Nissan had a difficult day in at the back on average being 1.6 off the pace across both sessions. Buemi seemingly had a reliability issue as no time was set in the afternoon.

A full qualifying and race exercise is due to happen in Valencia tomorrow before they a further day of testing on Thursday, so some gremlins found, and much running done today.

Important Motorsport Dates for 2023

Motorsport at present will not be interrupted by any third party events, so according to current calendars we have racing from the weekend we go into 2023 with the Dakar Rally, through to December with national events and eSports. Here are just a small selection of dates to keep free as a motorsport enthusiast!

Photo: Zak Mauger/LAT/Formula E

14th January

Formula E starts its third generation at the beloved Autodromo Hermamos Rodriguez in Mexico City, where we shall see the new era of cars reach 200mph hour and a new format of racing begin. McLaren and Maserati enter the fray with a mix up of drivers, so keep the date free! Formula E expects more overtaking in much smaller and lighter machinery, and don’t forget that all the qualifying and racing in one day so an action-packed day looms!

19th February

On this day, you shall see the 65th running of the “Great-American Race” at Daytona Beach in Florida. Daytona is one of three Superspeedways in the States, the others being Indianapolis and Talladega. Fan-favourite Jimmie Johnson is expected to return for the Stock Car Series, which would have seven former winners in the field. Even if NASCAR is not your taste, I do advise it as a watch as they do race on tracks of COTA and Road America throughout the year. There is also the conclusion of the Asian Le Mans series at Yas Marina on the same day, which is a four-hour event.

YAS MARINA CIRCUIT, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (Photo by Mark Sutton / LAT Images)

26th-28th May

This weekend is a belter. In Europe and stateside we have two of the three legs of the ‘Triple Crown’ running simultaneously. On Saturday is the F1 Monaco Grand Prix, where on most occasions qualifying could be more important than the Sunday. On Sunday we have the 107th running of the Indy 500 at the Brickyard. Monaco could be more of a tactical battle strategy, followed by seeing the complete flipside of motorsport with cars going at 220mph for nearly three hours! Do not forget to finish off the day one of the speedways. NASCAR has the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, so if no problems do arise with cautions and delays you could watch all three consecutively, a true treat to a motorsport fan!

10/11 June

The final third of the ‘Triple Crown’ would be the famous Le Mans 24 hours which celebrates its centenary this year. The categories for this season have either been revamped or doubled, especially the hypercar which should make it the most contested battle, with Ferrari and Peugeot joining Toyota in the battle at the top for overall victory.

Ferrari seek for victory for the first time since 1965 when legendary Jochen Rindt won as part of the team and Peugeot more recently with the 908 in 2009. The middle classes of LMP2 and GTE will continue to be as close as ever throughout the race and season, a race that is 6/7 times longer than Indy 500 can be separated by seconds overall. The go-to section if you want to go would be the Porsche Curves, a fantastic section to see a car hooked up in qualifying or race mode!

Photo: Rick Dole
©2010 Rick Dole/All Rights Reserved.

24th September

MotoGP heads to India. The Buddh International Circuit was first used in 2011 by F1, the banked 10-12 turns having an Istanbul Park feel. India is second most populated country with nearly 1.4 billion people and with reports of over 200 million owning a motorcycle which is a 75/25 ratio making it perfect sense for bikes to race here.

It will be great to see the track return to the world stage as the Grand Prix of Bharat and with bikes it has the chance to provide some fantastic overtaking opportunities. National racing has taken place there from 2016, but do expect the likes of WSBK to strike a deal in the future as this will be an instant success! Along with this, F1 hosts the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, the European Le Mans Series is at Spa and British Touring Cars is at Silverstone. Three of the most iconic tracks in use along with MotoGP possibly breaking into India.

19th November

Is it another cash cow or F1 gone bust with a third race in America with the race in Vegas? It is not the first time F1 has gone racing in Vegas, as they had two races in the 80’s. They raced at Caesars Palace in 1981 and 1982. It is expected that they will be using the Las Vegas Strip in the night race featuring 17 corners going past the previously used palace and Casinos.

The festival in 2022 that announced the race went well and it comes across as an unique event. With the race being the penultimate round of the season we could see a driver or constructor be crowned here – what a place to do so!

Qatar continues to go strength to strength with MotoGP at Losail for another race in penultimate round of this year’s series this weekend as well. An honourable mention for WRC which concludes in Japan on this day too.

Just a few dates to advise! We will give you weekly updates of all events from Speedway to F1 happening on that weekend. Looks like a fantastic year ahead.

The Iceman’s F1 History

Kimi Raikkonen will contest his 349th and final race in this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and we take a look through a sparkling career for the Iceman.

Raikkonen began his career in 2001 with Sauber; he was identified by the team as he dominated through the Formula Renault UK as rookie winning seven out 10 races in 2000.

He had the experienced Nick Heidfeld alongside him who took a fantastic podium in Brazil, whilst Kimi took 6th on his debut then retired consecutively following on from that result. At Austria and Canada in the mid-Season he finished 4th – the highlight of the 2001 Sauber career. Others then began to take notice; another Finn Mika Hakkinen having a torrid having won two championships on the bounce. Mclaren talks were ongoing and it was agreed Hakkinen was walking away, and Raikkonen would replace him at the then-known Silver Arrows Mclaren Mercedes for 2002. Hakkinen, after this announcement in September, did manage to win once more with the pressure off.

The 2002 Season started off well for Kimi, earning his first ever podium with third at the opener Melbourne with the fastest lap. However, the car did have reliability issues which held up, the BMW-Williams also a strong contender for this Season. Mclaren finished third that year due to the reliability issues of the  MP4-17, and Kimi retired from 10 out of 17 races. The highlight of the Season for Kimi was P2 at Magny-Cours – his highest finish to date and double podium. Himself and David Coulthard finished P5 & P6 respectively in the Championship.

2003 was the year Kimi came into his own at Mclaren; Coulthard took his final win of his career at Melbourne but the ever-present Ferrari of Schumacher wasn’t on the rostrom for the first-time since 2001. Mclaren then took victory again at Kuala Lumpur and Raikkonen finally took the first victory of his career, 39.286 clear of Rubens Barrichello in a dominant display. It took Ferrari until the fourth round before they won but Kimi was on the podium in second. He didn’t win again in the year but was on the podium six times, unfortunately missing out on the title by 2 points to Schumacher, scoring 91 points.

In 2004, Mclaren unfortunately went back to MP4-17 levels of reliability. It was so poor that in the Summer we saw the reveal of the MP4-19B. Raikkonen’s best finish was fifth in Canada, and upon returning to Europe Kimi got back on the podium at Silverstone with second. The highlight of 2004 came when he won the Belgian GP at Spa, and a strong end to the Season with a podium with F1’s first venture to Shanghai and at Brazil.

In 2005, Kimi was the bridesmaid once again, but this much different in terms of how it came to fruition. Kimi had his most successful year with seven wins,  winning at Monaco and once again at Belgium. His most fought out win also came in this Season – a fantastic P17 to P1 – overtaking Giancarlo Fisichella on the outside of turn one on the final lap. Alonso won the title, but with new points system he ended up 21 points ahead of the Iceman.

In 2006, as per the previous Championship campaigns, development was slow, but better than 2004. He managed to score podiums in the first two races, and a further three in the first half of the season. Paddock rumours began to float round he was looking elsewhere to find that elusive Championship after those results. Those rumours came true; he was heading to Ferrari to replace Michael Schumacher at Ferrari, and it was announced at the Italian Grand Prix of all places. Kimi got his best result of P2 of the year matching Melbourne – a sign of things to come?

In 2007, Kimi headed into the scarlet red Ferrari, and it couldn’t have gotten off to a more emphatic start, winning the Season opener in Australia. Two more podiums  followed at the so-called flyaways that start the traditional Season. After three rounds we had Kimi, and both Mclaren drivers of Alonso and upcoming rookie Lewis Hamilton all on 22 points. The Season headed to Europe and went to the Americas before heading to France and Britain where Kimi’s challenge began; he was behind but won both races at Magny-Cours and Silverstone. Hungary onwards Kimi was not off the podium; he won again in Belgium, which has become a true favourite of the iceman as it was his third victory at the circuit. He was 17 points behind title leader Hamilton with two races remaining; he surely couldn’t be the bridesmaid or lower again as Alonso was only 12 points behind. He won the final two races of the calendar whilst others faltered. Hamilton had his moment entering the pits at Shanghai, resulting in a no-score and a puncture at Brazil which allowed the 17-point swing, giving Kimi his first World title.

In 2008 the defence began woth a collision, with Kimi fortunate to score due to a race of attrition with P8 and Barrichello later disqualified. However, a spell on the podium thereafter included two wins in the flyaway run, before F1 headed back to Europe. The 2008 Season had its moment in the Canadian pit lane when Hamilton wasn’t looking under safety car conditions, hitting Raikonnen which resulted in Kubica winning, leapfrogging both in the Standings. 

Kimi Raikkonen was less than impressed after being wiped out by Lewis Hamilton at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix – Courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari Press

In France and Hungary Kimi took a further podium but a poor string of results at the normally favoured track Belgium and the new Singapore circuit mathematically ended the iceman’s chance of retaining the title. His team-mate Felipe Massa and Hamilton fought that out, with Hamilton claiming his first championship. A further three podiums saw him finish third in the standings in 2008.

The 2009 Season brought in new regulations, and Ferrari seemed to be in the midpack and not at their traditional standards of the noughties era. Kimi scored four points in the first four flyaways before Europe began; the car development was rife this Season and we saw it with this car specifically. Prior to the Summer break at Hungary he took a fantastic P2, starting a podium streak and on returning to his trusted Belgium he took Ferrari’s sole win of his season. However, he was still 5th in Standings, with half the points of Jenson Button, and rumours were appearing that Kimi was looking away from Ferrari. He took another podium in front of the Tifosi at Monza and a further two points scores, before it was then revealed the team he was speaking to was to actually Mclaren, but the talks broke down so nothing came to fruition. Ferrari then agreed deals with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa for 2010.

Kimi took  a two-year sabbatical and ended up agreeing to compete in WRC with Citroen with P5 Rally of Turkey 2010 best result. Agreements were made for Kimi to join Lotus F1, the former Renault program for 2012.

On his return to the Series with Lotus in 2012, Kimi finished a distant third behind the title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso but on review had a successful campaign with seven podium finishes across the year, only failing to finish in the points in China. He claimed the team’s first victory since Ayrton Senna in Detroit in 1987.

Kimi and Lotus looked like they built upon this as they won the Season opening race in 2013, and then took a further three second places, being ever consistent as he was in the black and gold machinery and was second in the standings after Spain. Upgrades begun to occur and Lotus weren’t as quick to match, and a further four races passed until Kimi was back on the podium; he still scored points but not to the high level needed. Germany and Hungary saw him take two second places, and Ferrari once again came looking for a driver as rumours were floating that Massa was looking at alternate drives. The Italian GP was on the 8 September and on the 11 September it was confirmed that Raikkonen, ahead of the new era of F1, would again race for the Scuderia. He took a further two podiums at Singapore and Korea but his Season ended early as he required some surgery on his back, still finishing fifth in the standings.

Kimi spent two years at Lotus before re-joining Ferrari – Courtesy of Pirelli Media

At the start of the hybrid era in 2014, Ferrari’s machinery wasn’t at the races, capped to a best of P7 in the early rounds of the year, getting lapped at Barcelona. While not being in the twilight years of his career just yet, albeit his 12th Season, Ferrari needed to improve. Results begun to pick up but no podium was yielded, with his best result coming at Belgium with a fourth-placed finish, scoring at 13 out of 19 races, ending just towards the bottom of the top 10.

in 2015 the Ferrari power unit was reviewed and had much more power but was still not on par with Mercedes. He had to retire from opener but matched his best result in the second race and saw the rostrum in the fourth round at Bahrain, generally being best of the rest in this Season as the two Mercedes battled it out. Second at Bahrain was the highlight of the Season but two further podiums at the night races of Singapore and Abu Dhabi also came, and he would finish fourth in the Standings – near enough trebling the points from the year before.

Further podiums for Kimi in 2016 saw the win get closer, finishing second twice in the year, behind Verstappen in that record breaking win at Barcelona. He had four podiums in the Season all very early on, with Austria being the latest.

2017 nearly matched Kimi’s points record of 207 points as he was on the podium seven times this . A nice spell of three consecutive podiums in the Americas late in the Season gave him the push to finish 4th. Hungary and Monaco were the highlight of the Season with second place finishes.

In 2018 Kimi took his final victory, setting a new record of 113 races between his previous win, as he made a one stop strategy work in Texas, COTA. The win was his first since Lotus in 2013 but also his first for Ferrari since 2009. He also took 12 podiums in his final Season for the team as it was agreed he would move back to his routes and Alfa Romeo which were born from Sauber where it all began from him in 2001. He finished third with 251 points, best ever points haul.

Sebastian Vettel & Kimi Raikkonen at Abu Dhabi 2018. Image courtesy of Ferrari Media

The twilight years started for Kimi and Alfa’s car was well prepared, a midfield contender, finishing in the points nine times in the Season of 2019, beginning with four consecutive finishes. In Brazil towards the latter end he managed to get a P4 with team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi P5, taking advantage of penalties and incidents to reel in the team’s biggest points haul to date since their return.

Kimi has spent the last three seasons with Alfa Romeo – Image courtesy of Sauber F1

Developments for cars came in 2020 at a different pace and levels. Alfa Romeo dropped to a certain extent, and while Raikkonen might not have been able to be a consistent scorer he was enjoying himself. In the shortened Season he scored two points finishes through the year at Mugello and Imola.

The swansong Season which we didn’t know until halfway through the Season began and was very much the nearly man in this Season until Baku, finishing P11-P13. He finished P10 at that race, along with Hungary. Kimi unfortunately did miss two races mid-Season due to COVID-19 and returned with an instant best result of P8 in Russia with the same result in Mexico. Points finishes might look likely in Abu Dhabi which would be a good way to end his career.

Kimi throughout his career in F1 had 19 Seasons, claimed 21 wins and 103 podiums with 18 pole positions. He has been involved in 349 Grands Prix which is the official record. The man of few words will be remembered for his wit, his nonchalant communication but, most of all, as a Formula One World Champion. 

Is Liam Lawson the next Denny Hulme?

Liam Lawson, the New Zealander from Hastings – no the 1066 location – this year has been racing on two fronts. He has been racing in the F2 Championship this year which has been split with huge gaps throughout the year to accomodate a new style and the DTM Championship driving a Red Bull sponsored AF Corse Ferrari in between these gaps. In 2019, he became part of their Red Bull junior programme which has allowed him to do this.

Denny Hulme on the other hand was the F1 World Champion in 1967 – often forgotten when you see the name 71 Champions, but he himself beat many Champions in that Season from Jack Brabham, Jim Clark, Graham Hill to Jackie Stewart prior to his Championship wins. He competed until the 1974 season and remains the only New Zealander in the history of the sport to win the F1 World Championship amongst the nine that have competed from the Country, with Bruce McLaren and himself coming third in the years following closest to match it.

Lawson began like most karting before working up the lower formulas; he took the Championship over fellow countryman Marcus Armstrong who is a Ferrari Junior in the Toyota Racing Series and who sits second in the current F2 season. He moved directly through each series until F3, of which spending two seasons in 2019 and 2020 before moving to F2 this year. He currently drives for the Hitech team as he did in the second year of his F3 career with fellow Red Bull junior Juri Vips winning the Season opener in Bahrain sitting eighth in the Standings, whilst in DTM he once again won the Season opener and with a double victory at Red Bull Ring. He looks to be possibly on to winning that Series at his first attempt.

Lawson has impressed in his opening DTM season – Courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

In terms of machinery needed to win as well as the skill required he has Red Bull junior sponsorship, so could get a seat at one of the most powerful seats in modern F1, but of course there is competition for it. Looking ahead a few seasons you have current Alpha Tauri driver Yuki Tsunoda, and Lawson’s current team-mate Yuri Vips. Tsunoda hasn’t set F1 alight yet; Pierre Gasly has outqualified him at every event this year, and the Japanese has scored little compared to his team-mate. With patience not one of Helmut Marko’s strong skills, if it doesn’t improve Lawson’s gap to F1 could open sooner rather than later in that aspect. Yuri Vips is currently 6th compared to Lawson’s 8th in F2, and he was the test driver last year for Red Bull. He has had half a season more due to his age of 21 to Lawson’s 19 in that Formula. In respect to Sergio Perez, at 31 on a rolling one year contract presently at the senior team, could Lawson be the one to take the helm of the second seat and control it on a consistent level? Red Bull haven’t had a 1-2 on the podium since Malaysia in 2016 and Helmut’s desire for domination is insatiable. 

In my eyes it is possible Liam Lawson could indeed be the Denny Hulme of the current era beating some Champions to the title, with the right machinery. The difference in circumstance in 1967 was that there were so few races. It maybe the case we will have 23/24 races when Lawson gets the chance; he has the skill and indeed the machinery available. It looks as though with Liam he has a plan to fall back on – his first Season in the German Touring Car Masters (DTM), he is currently 18 points clear of Kelvin van der Linde going into the final round at the Norisring, so if open wheeled Formula doesn’t work in the short term, he could return to DTM. He has got the control of these V8 monsters, and if even fancies a return to home, there are the V8 Supercars back in Australasia. He may even try Le Mans like Denny Hulme.

Qatar completes 2021 F1 calendar

The F1 paddock this season have been known for keeping the worst secrets, like George Russell’s move to Mercedes that took a while to be confirmed. It’s been touted for a while now that the Losail International Circuit in Qatar will host an event this year, as F1 has been reviewing options to replace the Australian Grand Prix since mid-August.

The FIA has officially confirmed the 20th round of the 2021 season will be held at this track on the weekend of 19-21 November, a part of the Middle East finale as F1 then travels to the new Jeddah street track in Saudi Arabia, before concluding at the updated Yas Marina track in Abu Dhabi. The other interesting news is that Qatar will join the F1 calendar for 10 years from 2023 onwards as it has the FIFA World Cup to focus on in 2022, which suggests either F1 will either lose a race or is aiming for a 24-race calendar.

The Losail Circuit is 22 miles north of Doha, the capital of Qatar, and has a single stand of around 8,000 capacity, which they could expand for the F1 event. It holds an FIA grade 1 license and is 5.38km in length with a 1.06km start/finish straight which would be perfect for a DRS zone very similar to Bahrain. Since 2008 it has been known for night racing. The fastest time set at Losail by any motorsport is 1:35:741 set by Nico Hulkenburg in GP2 Asia qualifying in 2009.

Francesco Bagnaia at Qatar 2021 MotoGP. Image Courtesy of Ducati

Losail has been on the MotoGP calendar since 2004 and has been its season opener since 2007. World Superbikes have also raced throughout the years as the track favours two wheels compared to four, especially if you look at the twisty nature of sector two. The last four wheel action on the track was the World Touring Car Championship action in 2017.

The closest Losail has come to Formula 1 was the GP2 Asia series in the 2008-09 calendar, when it was a part of the six track championship. A worthy note is that Sergio Perez competed in that season of racing, finishing second in race one and winning race two, thus being the only driver on the current F1 grid to ever to compete there.

Will Lewis Hamilton make this his 30th different track to win on? Hamilton has done well at first time attempts in 2020 as he won at Mugello, Portimao and Imola, but 2021 is very much a different season for him and Mercedes.

The 2021 calendar is now complete, still with a record-breaking 22 events if not the 23 they wished. But sure that number will more than likely come next year with the Miami International Autodrome in May.

2021 Season Conclusion

10 Oct – Turkey (Istanbul Park) 🇹🇷

24 Oct – USA (COTA) 🇺🇸

7 Nov – Mexico (Mexico City) 🇲🇽

14 Nov – Brazil (Interlagos) 🇧🇷

21 Nov – Qatar (Losail) 🇶🇦

5 Dec – Saudi Arabia (Jeddah) 🇸🇦

12 Dec – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) 🇦🇪

©2017 The Pitcrewonline