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Friday, March 1, 2024

What have System 1 drivers executed within the low season?

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The 2024 System 1 season begins inside a month because the Bahrain Grand Prix begins on the 29 February the place Max Verstappen will start his championship defence.

Earlier than then can also be F1 pre-season testing (21-23 February) and automotive launches with reigning champions Purple Bull being the final workforce to unveil its 2024 livery on the 15 February, which means the low season is rapidly coming to an finish.  

So, within the two months because the 2023 Abu Dhabi season finale, what has every F1 driver been as much as on this break day?

Max Verstappen 

Verstappen nonetheless goes to a race monitor even in his downtime, because the triple world champion posted photos of him and his father Jos driving a Ferrari GT3 in Portimao every week earlier than Christmas. The 26-year-old is thought to be an admirer of sportscars and the GT3 was decked in Purple Bull colors with Verstappen.com branding, so it might be linked to the truth that he’s aiming to set up his own GT3 team for 2025

 

However, the driving didn’t cease there for Verstappen. The Purple Bull driver can also be a eager sim racer and he claimed a GTD class victory on the iRacing Daytona 24 Hours in January, so even when there aren’t any grands prix Verstappen continues to be behind the wheel.  

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Sergio Perez has executed lots of sponsor work within the low season as has been made clear by his social media. Perez, who completed a career-best of second within the 2023 drivers’ championship, was introduced as an envoy for NESCAFE, featured in an advert for KitKat and spoke at an occasion for used automobiles market Kavak. 

In the meantime, Perez additionally attended December’s FIA Prize Giving Ceremony in Baku the place he, Verstappen, and Purple Bull boss Christian Horner collected the trophies for first and second within the drivers’ standings, in addition to the constructors’ championship trophy.  

Lewis Hamilton typically visits the Colorado mountains within the low season, the place the seven-time world champion goes mountaineering, snowboarding and paddling close to his dwelling. Nonetheless, this low season Hamilton additionally visited California to observe the Los Angeles Prices versus the Denver Broncos within the Nationwide Soccer League. 

 

Hamilton has been a part-owner of the Broncos since August 2022 and he was seen sporting a classic Denver jacket as they beat the Chargers 24-7 on 10 December at SoFi Stadium. The Mercedes driver additionally went skydiving and browsing, whereas posting a video of him reuniting together with his bulldog Roscoe at Christmas.  

Fernando Alonso runs a karting facility in his Spanish hometown of Oviedo, so the double F1 world champion has spent a lot of his low season on the monitor testing karts and galvanizing the subsequent era, which included doing doughnuts in a two-seater kart. Alonso additionally posted photos of him driving an Aston Martin Vantage DTM at Spain’s Alcaniz Circuit executed in partnership together with his agency A14 Administration, so the 42-year-old not often spends time away from a race monitor. 

However he has executed so at some factors within the low season, as Alonso travelled to northern Italy to ski within the valley of Val Gardena whereas he additionally posted a humorous video of him taking part in desk tennis with George Russell on a non-public jet.  

 

Charles Leclerc has ended his low season by signing a multi-year contract extension with Ferrari, having pushed for the Scuderia since 2019. It got here regardless of a winless 2023 the place the Monegasque completed fifth within the championship, scoring six podiums in a disappointing 12 months for Ferrari who got here third within the constructors’ standings.  

In a bid to recharge for 2024, Leclerc visited many locations within the low season as he went snowboarding in Italy, visited LA’s Venice Seaside, noticed within the new 12 months in Portugal and relaxed in his hometown of Monte Carlo, whereas the Ferrari driver additionally appeared as a canopy star for Italian journal L’Officiel. 

Lando Norris additionally capped off this low season by signing a multi-year contract extension with McLaren, who he has pushed for since his rookie 12 months in 2019. Final season was a lot improved for the British outfit because it climbed to fourth within the championship, whereas Norris scored a career-best seven podiums in a marketing campaign, but that maiden grand prix victory nonetheless eludes the 24-year-old.  

In non-F1 information, Norris loved downtime travelling to Southeast Asia and Australia, went snowboarding like many different drivers, performed soccer in an empty Parc des Princes – dwelling of French giants Paris Saint-Germain – and performed the online game Fortnite on a Twitch stay stream with well-known British YouTubers Offended Ginge and Yung Filly.  

Snowboarding is clearly an F1 driver’s favorite pastime as Carlos Sainz tackled the snow in northern Italy throughout his low season. It’s an effective way of sustaining health away from the monitor, as is biking and the health club that are additionally actions Sainz undertook within the low season as he accomplished a coaching camp in Portugal.  

The 2023-24 low season may also be one which Sainz fondly remembers, as he travelled to Saudi Arabia to observe his father, Carlos Sr, change into the oldest driver ever to win the Dakar Rally on the unimaginable age of 61. Sainz Jr posted Dakar photos on his social media with the easy caption “we’ll always remember this”, after his world champion father gained the rally raid for a fourth time.  

 

George Russell 

Whereas Russell performed desk tennis a number of thousand toes above the bottom with Alonso, the 2 additionally celebrated the brand new 12 months collectively which is only one of many issues the Mercedes driver has executed within the low season. 

 

Russell additionally visited {Old} Trafford for Manchester United versus Tottenham Hotspur within the Premier League, introduced that he’s a brand new international ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger and went snowboarding in Austria with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel

Oscar Piastri is getting into 2024 following an excellent debut season in F1, scoring two podiums and a dash race win, which earned him Rookie of the 12 months on the Autosport Awards and FIA Prize Giving Ceremony.  

After receiving such accolades, Piastri headed to Paris to observe basketball whereas present process a coaching camp in Lanzarote earlier than returning to the McLaren Know-how Centre in mid-January.  

Lance Stroll has remained fairly quiet over the low season with little or no social media posts indicating what he has been as much as. Nonetheless, he did submit one video of him snowboarding which comes as no shock as a result of the Canadian is thought to be a giant fan of winter sports activities. 

 

Stroll is approaching a really massive 2024 as a result of, though he completed a career-best of tenth within the 2023 standings, the 25-year-old completed 132 factors behind Aston Martin team-mate Alonso, so the query is will the Canadian shut that deficit to the world champion?  

Pierre Gasly goes to the United Arab Emirates each low season for a coaching camp and this 12 months was no totally different. He was additionally noticed doing many various actions because the Alpine driver went karting with former AlphaTauri team-mate Yuki Tsunoda at Dubai Autodrome, posed for an image together with his mother and father in entrance of the Burj Khalifa and was noticed with Premier League footballers Kevin de Bruyne and Virgil Van Dijk. 

There have been additionally a few social media posts that caught the widespread consideration of his followers: an image of Gasly’s storage that includes cutouts of Hamilton, Norris, Leclerc and Verstappen on the wall and a visit to London the place Gasly rode the tube, fell over on an ice rink and stood subsequent to Hamilton’s wax determine at Madame Tussauds.  

 

Gasly’s Alpine team-mate might not have taken anyone out whereas ice skating, however Esteban Ocon did additionally undertake winter actions by going snowboarding. Whereas within the mountains, as per social media it seems that Ocon noticed the brand new 12 months with good pal and Mercedes reserve driver Mick Schumacher, who has additionally secured a seat with Alpine within the 2024 World Endurance Championship.  

Ocon additionally posted a visit to Venice on his social media, whereas he and Gasly frolicked with soccer legend and Alpine ambassador Zinedine Zidane at a piece occasion in Madrid. This got here after a disappointing 2023 the place the French outfit dropped from fourth to sixth within the championship, so 2024 must be a much-improved 12 months for the squad.  

Alex Albon began by visiting Thailand, the birthplace of his mom, the place the Williams driver and his accomplice Lily He visited Koh Yao Noi and Phuket. Afterwards, they went to Los Angeles the place Albon ready for the upcoming season by biking and spending time within the health club.  

It comes after an excellent 12 months for the Thai-British driver, who pushed Williams from final to seventh within the championship as he scored 27 of the workforce’s 28 factors in 2023 and out-qualified rookie team-mate Logan Sargeant for all 22 grands prix.  

Yuki Tsunoda 

Tsunoda was in Dubai with Gasly the place the 23-year-old reduce a sweat within the health club, performed padel tennis together with his fellow F1 driver and each of their efficiency coaches and ate luxurious meals.  

Earlier than Tsunoda headed to UAE although, he attended the Honda Thanks Day on the Mobility Resort Motegi – roughly 78 miles north of Tokyo – with the Purple Bull household the place the Japanese driver did an illustration run in a Brabham Honda BT16 

As he typically does, Valtteri Bottas went down beneath this low season as he spent the Christmas interval in Adelaide which is the birthplace of his accomplice Tiffany Cromwell. Cromwell is an expert bicycle owner, a lot of Bottas’ low season has naturally been spent biking throughout South Australia the place the pair even partook in gravel biking occasion RADL GRVL.

 

Not all of Bottas’ downtime has been in Australia although, as he and Cromwell additionally cycled throughout California earlier than the Sauber driver made a rapid journey to see the northern lights in native Finland forward of his journey to Australia.  

Nico Hulkenberg spent Christmas at dwelling together with his spouse and daughter after the German’s first full-time season again in F1 since 2019. This got here earlier than the shock announcement that Guenther Steiner was to go away the Haas F1 Team imminently, so Hulkenberg posted a tribute to his former boss. 

The German driver was subsequent seen mountaineering in Serra de Tramuntana, a mountain vary in Mallorca, earlier than coaching camp forward of the brand new season after Haas completed backside of the 2023 constructors’ championship. 

Daniel Ricciardo had fairly the 2023, beginning it as Purple Bull’s reserve driver earlier than touchdown a seat at AlphaTauri just for him to get injured after two grands prix with a damaged hand which sidelined him for 2 months. 

Ricciardo began the 2023-24 low season with Honda Thanks Day earlier than heading to native Australia to really chill out after a busy 12 months. The 34-year-old all the time goes dwelling within the low season the place he spends time on his household’s ranch whereas exploring the outback with actions like driving grime bikes to take care of that adrenaline rush.  

 

Zhou Guanyu went dwelling to Shanghai as soon as the 2023 Abu Dhabi GP was executed and, early within the low season, he made the choice to braid his hair. Within the following weeks, Zhou gave perception into his dwelling life with photos of his cat which included one among it sporting a Santa hat on the 25 December.  

So, Zhou’s low season has primarily been spent simply having fun with downtime in Shanghai with family and friends, whereas additionally doing numerous promotion occasions in China earlier than returning to work at Sauber’s Swiss base in January.  

Kevin Magnussen has not likely up to date followers with what he’s executed within the low season, as his solely posts on social media have both been a photograph dump of a grand prix from 2023 or numerous clips of a one-on-one interview he did for companions.  

Nonetheless, Magnussen has a spouse and two younger daughters so it’s presumed he may have used the low season to take pleasure in quiet time together with his household at dwelling in Denmark. Magnussen’s Haas contract expires on the finish of 2024, so his future is perhaps a giant speaking level this season particularly after a disappointing 2023 for the 31-year-old, as he completed nineteenth within the championship and was persistently overwhelmed by team-mate Hulkenberg. 

Logan Sargeant 

Regardless of a disappointing rookie season the place Sargeant scored only one level, the Williams driver has been retained for 2024. In a bid to hit the bottom operating as soon as the Bahrain GP is right here, Sargeant has been coaching arduous within the low season spending time within the health club. 

However it’s not all been work for the American, as quickly after the Abu Dhabi GP Sargeant headed to the UAE desert to drive dune buggies.  

 





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