Hamilton takes record ninth pole for Hungarian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has taken pole for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix – his first since 2021 – setting a record for the most number of pole positions at one circuit by one driver. He lines up ahead of Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, with the trio separated by only +0.085.

It was the first try-out of a new qualifying format, with drivers mandated to use only hard tyres in Q1, medium tyres in Q2 and soft tyres in Q3.

2023 Hungarian Grand Prix, Friday – Steve Etherington

McLaren locked out the second row, further delivering on their upgrades from the last round in Silverstone. Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu had a strong showing in fifth, having topped Q1 earlier.

Slightly further down in the top ten, Perez finally put an end to his run of Q1 eliminations and lines up P9 on the grid for tomorrow’s race.

In his first qualifying session back in F1 – having been brought in as a replacement for Nyck de Vries at Alpha Tauri – Daniel Ricciardo ended up P13, with team-mate Yuki Tsunoda in P17.

Although Mercedes have reason to celebrate with Hamilton’s pole, it was not an entirely great day for the team. George Russell complained about traffic on the build-up to his last Q1 lap and wasn’t able to improve, finding himself all the way down in P18.

Leclerc takes pole for Azerbaijan sprint race despite last minute crash

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has taken pole position for today’s sprint race in Azerbaijan despite hitting the wall in the closing moments of the session.

It was the first outing of the new sprint weekend format, with an extra qualifying session to determine the starting order of the sprint race. The twelve-minute long SQ1 and ten-minute long SQ2 required the drivers to use the medium tyres, while the final eight-minute SQ3 mandated the use of a new set of soft tyres.

SQ1 ended with a bang when Logan Sargeant crashed at Turn 17, possibly distracted by the two slow Ferraris on the inside of the corner. With only 25 seconds left on the clock, the session wasn’t restarted.

In SQ2, Oscar Piastri narrowly missed out on advancing to the next stage by only +0.0032. His team-mate Lando Norris did scrape through, despite not having a new set of soft tyres available to him and therefore not being able to take part in SQ3!

Leclerc set the pace in the first runs of SQ3 and took provisional pole. On his second run, however, he hit the wall at Turn 5 and damaged his front wing. He was able to back out and continue round to the pits, but compromised his team-mate Sainz’s lap in the process.

Both Verstappen and Perez improved on their times in the closing moments, but it wasn’t enough to usurp Leclerc. It’s the Monegasque driver’s second pole of the weekend.

BWT Alpine F1 Team Reveal The A523

Showcased in London, Alpine’s new A523 was shown in not one, but two liveries.

The two liveries are very similar to last year. One is a mixture of blue, black and pink and will be run for the majority of the season. For Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia, however, Alpine will run a fully pink livery for sponsor BWT.

Alpine A523 Pink Version. Image Credit to BWT Alpine F1 Team on Twitter.

In comparison to the 2022 car and livery, there are very minimal changes. There was a bit more blue added to the front wing with more carbon being exposed, more than likely due to the weight of the car. The sidepods and floor have also changed a little bit according to the images.

BWT Alpine F1 2022 and 2023 car comparison. Image Credit to F1 on Twitter.

Speaking about the car, the technical director at Alpine Matt Harman said, “These days are of course limited and not representative, but we’ve certainly had a great day and we now look forward to testing in Bahrain where we expect to continue our learning of the 2023 car.”

Speaking at the launch, Pierre Gasly, who has joined Alpine after leaving Alpha Tauri,  said, “I’m extremely excited. Its a beautiful car. It’s a new beginning for me. A start of a new journey.”

Team Principal of Alpine Otmar Szafnauer said that the plan for the year is, “Less DNFs, more points, hopefully some podiums, a lot closer to 3rd and further away from 5th than we were in 2022.”

Speaking about last season, Pierre Gasly added, “Alpine has a fantastic season last year… The target is to consolidate 4th in the championship and close the gap to the top 3.”

Esteban Ocon said, “We are all very proud of the work that we have achieved and the little bonus that we drove the car already.”

Alpine conducted their shakedown on Monday and will head to Bahrain with the other teams next week to do three days of pre season testing before the first race of the season the following week.

Ferrari Unveil the SF23

  • Image courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari 

In the heart of their factory in Italy, the reveal saw the Tifosi line up on Valentine’s Day to see what their favourite team’s next car would look like

The SF-23 is very similar to their 2022 contender which saw a radical change primarily due to the major regulation changes.


image courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari 

In terms of the livery, the SF-23 has seen more black visually on the car compared to last year. This is mostly notable on the rear.  This could be related to the minimum weight requirement as stated in the regulations.

Speaking about the SF-23, Ferrari’s new Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur said “…the most important thing is the speed of the car. I think we are focussed on the livery today but quite soon we’ll be focussed on the performance.”

Speaking about the upcoming season, driver Charles Leclerc said: “We want to improve. Last year was a good step forward and we need to do just the same this year and hopefully get the championship. That is the target for the team and for me too. ”

Talking about the SF-23, driver Carlos Sainz said: “…the car is a bit more styled, a bit more redefined which is like a good evolution from last year, a lot more details in it”

The teams shakedown at Fiorano is on going but the team will pack up all their equipment and go to Bahrain for the pre season testing next week, February 23rd to February 25th before the opening round of the season a week later.

Aston Martin Reveal the AMR 23

Aston Martin Formula One have revealed their 2023 car: the AMR 23.

The car is very similar to their 2022 car with an evolution from last year’s car. It comes in at 798Kilograms. Speaking about the AMR 23, the technical director Dan Fallowes said that it’s  a “significant development” from the car we saw in the latter stages of 2022.

Aero:

As for the aero side of the AMR 23, the sidepods do have an angle which is more depth compared to the AMR22. There will also be more airflow which made the AMR22 one of the most reliable cars of 2022.
90% of parts were changes due to aero.

Floor:

The floor side of the AMR23 has had some changes, primarily due to the FIA’s changes of regulations which state that the floor must be rise by 15mm to reduce porpoising.

Safety:

There are some safety changes which have been made to the AMR 23. The

role hoop has been made stronger. These changes were made by the FIA after Zhou Guanyu’s horrific crash at Silverstone in 2022. The mirrors have also has an increase in size due to the portpoising and the large 18-inch wheels.

A Comparison between Aston Martin’s cars from 2022 and 2023. Image Credit to Formula One on Twitter.

Speaking about the future, Aston Martin Formula 1 Chairman Lawrence Stroll said “This year’s move into our new state-of-the-art factory is more than just a serious statement of intent: it will considerably strengthen and empower every single individual in this organisation, helping us to deliver on our ambition to narrow the gap to the front of the grid and, in time, become genuine championship frontrunners.”

The team principal Mike Krack said ” For this year, our aim must be to build a car that can fully deliver on its performance potential from the first moment it hits the track.

“Making a strong start to the year, and then maintaining that momentum, is necessary if we are to make further advances towards the front of the grid. And, as an organisation, we are working hard to achieve that, and to further strengthen all areas of the team.””

Dan Fallows said: “AMR23 is a significant development of the car we refined in the latter half of 2022 – and we have improved it in every critical area. It optimises the solutions we felt would offer us the most performance, and it embodies the joint vision we have embraced and have built together over the recent months.”

One of the newest recruits to the Aston Martin F1 family Fernando Alonso said: I have always said that I could see the ambition that shines bright at AMF1. And, as we launch the car in this brand-new factory, I think everyone can now see the scale of the ambition and determination at the heart of this organisation.

“Just as important is the car – and the AMR23 looks incredibly neatly packaged and highly efficient. I was pleasantly surprised when I sampled last year’s car for the very first time, and I think there is plenty of performance we can unlock together.”

Lance Stroll, said Looking at AMR23, I can see lots of new thinking and some aggressive work around the packaging and aerodynamics that should really help us out as we head into year two of these new rules.”

Aston Martin will be running the AMR23 at Silverstone on Wednesday 15th February. With Lance starting in the morining and Fernando running in the afternoon.

McLaren Racing Reveal The MCL60

Revealing the car at their HeadQuarters in Woking, UK today, Lando Norris and rookie Oscar Piastri pulled back the covers to reveal their car for the 2023 Formula One season.

The 2023 car has some visible differences primarily at the rear of the car. There is a lot more exposed carbon which, as a result, has led to a deduction in the amount of light blue used on the car.

Speaking about the launch, the CEO of McLaren Racing Zak Brown said: “This year’s driver line-up is extremely exciting as Lando, an intelligent and confident driver with excellent pace, is joined by one of the biggest up-and-coming talents in motorsport with Oscar.” He went on to also say “We are thrilled to celebrate this significant journey with our fantastic group of committed and valuable partners. Their support is an integral part in the journey to achieving our ambitions. “

The team Team Principal of McLaren Formula One Andrea Stella said “During our time away from racing, we have enjoyed welcoming Oscar to the McLaren Technology Centre and we have worked together to build strong relationships and to be fully prepared for the start of his career in Formula 1. He has quickly integrated in the team and gained much respect, thanks to his humility, bright intellect, and dedication. It’s also been great to resume the work with Lando, who is now showing the qualities of a leader as he supports the journey of the team.”

Sdie view of the 2023 Mclaren F1 MCL60 race car. Image courtesy of Mclaren

Lando Norris, who is now entering his 5th season with the team and in Formula One, said “This is my fifth year in Formula 1 and I’m hoping to carry positive momentum into the new season after a year of racing under the new era of regulations. It’s been a good challenge adapting to them and I feel that I’m in a positive position to keep on improving as a driver. I’ve enjoyed my journey with the team so far and to be involved in McLaren’s 60th anniversary is a privilege. I’ll continue to work hard alongside Oscar throughout this significant year as we look to maximise opportunities to score points.”

Formula 2 and Formula 3 champion Oscar Piastri said ” The time I’ve spent at the factory and in the sim has been enjoyable and productive, and everyone in the team has been welcoming. I’ve settled in well and I’m now fully focused on getting out on track in Bahrain.

“The MCL60 is very impressive and it’s going to be a memorable year, not just for me in my rookie season but also as a team celebrating 60 years of McLaren Racing. The challenge ahead is an exciting one and I’m looking forward to driving with Lando as we work hard to pick up points throughout the season.””

The MCL60 will have its official debut on the track of the Bahrain International Circuit on 23rd February, just 1 week ahead of the opening race on 5th March.

Featured Image courtesy of Mclaren

Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake pull back the cover of the C43

Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake have revealed their 2023 car.  Unveiling it in a live stream, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu pulled back the cover off of the C43 and it has undergone some serious livery changes in comparison to 2022.

The most notable difference is the main white from the C42 has gone and changed for the new black design. This is more than likely due to the weight limit changes for 2023. As Stake is the new title sponsor of Alfa Romeo, they are featured heavily in the design. As a result, Orlen has parted ways from the design and is absent from this year’s design.

 

Speaking about the new car, the Managing Director of Sauber Group and Twam Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi said “Bringing a car to life is a long process which touches every department of a racing team, therefore it’s a moment of great pride to see it unveiled today.” Continuing on, Alessandro said, “Everyone in the team is committed to this target and we are confident we will reap the rewards of our work.”

Technical Director of Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Jan Monchaux said “This car is an evolution of last year’s, reflecting the new regulations and introducing major changes in the areas where we found improvements to be needed. I hope it’s going to be quicker than the successful car we had last year, that’s what matters most, and more reliable as well: we have put a lot of effort in this direction”

Alfa Romeo’s 2023 challenger. Image courtesy of Alfa Romeo Media

Speaking about the upcoming season, Valtteri Bottas said “. It’s been an interesting first season with the team, we made some pretty solid progress together, and now there’s only one direction to follow: up, higher, and better. There is obviously still work to do and things to improve, but I am confident we have it in ourselves to aim for even higher results this year. ”

Following on from words from his teammate, Zhou Guanyu said “The expectation for this year is definitely higher, and I will carry all the experience from my rookie season into 2023. I’m excited for what’s coming, and I’m fully ready to attack.”

Formula 2 driver and reserve driver for Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Theo Pourchair said “First of all, I am thankful and honoured to be taking part in my first Formula One launch as a reserve driver for the team. It is great to see the efforts paying off, and I cannot wait to get started! I have seen the great amount of work that has been put into bringing the car from paper to reality, and I am happy for everyone back at the factory, I think they have done an amazing job.”

The C43 will be hitting the track in a shakedown test in Barcelona this week followed by winter testing in Bahrain towards the end of the month.

Jost Capito is leaving Williams Racing

Jost Capito
Jost Capito
Former Williams Team Principal and CEO Jost Capito
(Image Credit: Williams Racing)

BREAKING: Jost Capito is leaving Williams Racing

The Williams Racing  announced that Team Principal and CEO Jost Capito and the Technical Director FX Demaison has confirmed that they will be leaving the team ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season.

In a statement published by the team, Jost said it was a “huge privilege to lead Williams Racing” and to “lay the foundations for the turnaround.” He went on to say that he will be “watching the team as it continues on its path to future success.”

The Chairman of Dorilton Capital Matthew Savage thanked Jost for his “hard work and dedication” as they “embarked on a major transformation process to begin reviving Williams Racing.” He went on to say, “We also thank FX for his contribution and wish him all the best for his future as he moves on.”

Williams Racing was sold to Dorilton Capital in 2020 after discussions with the Williams Family. This lead to both Capito and Demaison’s arrival to the team.

2022 Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying

The final race of the 2022 season took place in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit, the most expensive F1 facility in the world.

With four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel taking part in his final GP, can he make it Q3 for the final time in his illustrious career? It was also the final qualifying session for now for Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ricciardo, who has a three place grid penalty for his incident in the race last weekend. Surely they will want to make a good impression for their chances of making a comeback in 2024.

Q1 began with half the field immediately coming onto track. The first driver to set a time was Tsunoda in the Alpha Tauri with a 1.26.135, followed by Mick Schumacher just 0.130 behind him.

The first of the front runners to start a flying lap was Leclerc in the Ferrari, immediately setting purple sectors. He set a 1.25.211 to go quickest but was very close to exceeding track limits at the final corner. He was then beaten by Perez in the Red Bull by almost four tenths.

(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202211181492 // Usage for editorial use only //

Lando Norris put his McLaren in P4 with his team mate Ricciardo directly behind him. The Mercedes finished their laps last and ended 4th and 6th, quite a way off the pace, surprising after their showings so far this weekend. At the top Max Verstappen was 0.066 ahead of his team-mate, who is hoping to secure second in the championship this weekend.

With just under four minutes left in the session the final runs began. Vettel first to cross the line put his Aston Martin in fifth. As they all cross the line, the five drivers eliminated are Magnussen, Gasly, Bottas, Albon and Latifi.

At the start of Q2 Mercedes decided to do their first runs on used soft tyres, clearly wanting to keep fresh sets for Q3 and tomorrow’s race. Lewis Hamilton crossed the line first with a 1.25.772, but was then beaten by his team mate George Russell with a time of 1.25.363.

The rest of the field were now on their first runs. Both Ferraris and Norris in the McLaren were setting quicker sectors than the Mercedes pair. All three of them went quicker to take the top three positions on the timing screens. Then came the Red Bulls, for once led by Perez who was some four tenths quicker than his team mate.

(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202211181486 // Usage for editorial use only //

The Mercedes put fresh softs on and Hamilton moved his car up to P2 just three tenths behind Perez. Russell crossed the line with a time of 1.24.940 and into P4. The Mercedes were out of sync with everyone else.

Leclerc in his Ferrari managed to find some pace to end Q2 just 0.098 away from the leading Red Bull. Sainz was P3 and Verstappen P4. Out of qualifying at the end of Q2 were Alonso, Tsunoda, Schumacher, Stroll and Zhou. Vettel did indeed get through to Q3 for his final weekend in F1 after a great lap in the Aston Martin.

Q3 was contested by both Red Bulls, both Mercedes, both Ferraris, both McLarens, and Vettel and Ocon. Once again the Mercedes cars were first onto the track. Hamilton completed his lap with a 1.24.678, with Russell next just 0.016 behind.

Both were then beaten by Leclerc and Sainz, the Ferrari drivers some four tenths quicker than the Mercedes. Then came the Red Bulls, Perez making a mistake at the final corner losing time and only making P2. Verstappen came next with a time of 1.23.988 to take provisional pole position.

(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202211181449 // Usage for editorial use only //

Vettel decided to do his lap with no cars on the track. He made it to P7 some 0.973 away from the leading Red Bull. With 2 minutes to go the final runs of the season began.

Leclerc improved to P2, and Verstappen improved again to 1.23.824, followed by his team mate Perez. The second row was an all Ferrari affair with Leclerc ahead of Sainz, then the two Mercedes of Hamilton and Russell. 7th was Norris in the McLaren, then Ocon in the Alpine. The final two places in the top 10 were taken by Ricciardo and Vettel.

The race is all set up tomorrow to decide who will take second place in the World Championship. Who will come out on top, between Perez in the Red Bull and Leclerc in the Ferrari?

 

Russell takes first F1 pole position ahead of Hungarian Grand Prix

George Russell has taken the first pole position of his Formula 1 career ahead of tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix, while championship leader Verstappen could only muster tenth owing to power issues.

Russell flew somewhat under the radar in Q3, setting no purple sectors but instead improving on his own personal best in each to take a surprise pole.  It follows what Russell himself referred to in the post-session interview as the ‘worst Friday of the season’ for his Mercedes team.  Indeed, after the rain in FP3 on Saturday morning there were some concerns that he and team-mate Hamilton were in danger of not even making it out of Q1.

Lining up behind Russell on the grid will be Sainz and Leclerc, the former having looked to be the favoured driver to take pole until the final moments of the session.

2022 Hungary Grand Prix – Wolfgang Wilhelm

Further down the order, Hamilton could only manage P7 owing to a DRS issue that forced him to abandon his final run in Q3.

It was not a good day for championship leaders Red Bull. Verstappen had looked competitive, but as he left the garage for his final run and started his out lap he warned his engineer over the radio that he had ‘no power’. He was given a couple of potential solutions but it was to no avail. The Dutchman starts tomorrow’s race in P10.

Things weren’t much better for his team-mate, Sergio Perez. Perez had had a lap deleted in Q2 due to an alleged track limits breach at Turn 5, only for replays to show he hadn’t actually crossed the white line at all. His time was reinstated and he looked to be safe. However, in the closing moments of the session he was pushed into the drop zone. In a case of bad timing from Red Bull, rather than being out on track and able to respond, Perez was instead being wheeled back into the garage. He starts P11.

With a few drivers relatively out of position compared to a ‘normal’ qualifying session, tomorrow’s race promises to be a very intriguing one.

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