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Monday, March 4, 2024

What’s the most important query dealing with every F1 workforce?

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Method 1 has hit the pause button.

With the cancellation of the Chinese language Grand Prix, there may be now an enormous hole between the Australian Grand Prix and the subsequent race, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on the finish of the month. That offers groups, drivers, followers, and sure media an opportunity to catch their breath, take inventory of the place issues stand, and see if fortunes can enhance by Baku.

What may the groups look to deal with over this prolonged break?

We’ll attempt to reply that, and extra, with a have a look at the one burning query dealing with every workforce. We’ll begin on the backside of the desk and work our method towards the highest.

Williams: 1 level
Can they discover any racing consistency?

Williams truly bought off to an honest begin this season. Each rookie Logan Sargeant and veteran Alex Albon confirmed promise throughout pre-season testing in Bahrain, after which Albon completed within the factors within the season-opening Grand Prix, coming in tenth.

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Since then, nevertheless, it has been a a lot totally different story. Albon has endured back-to-back DNFs, first in Saudi Arabia when his FW45 suffered a brake difficulty which pressured his retirement.

Then in Melbourne, Albon was as soon as towards sturdy in qualifying, particularly within the first qualifying session when he was as excessive as P2. He made it by way of to the third qualifying session, ultimately qualifying eighth. It was his highest qualifying result since becoming a member of Williams.

Nonetheless, his Australian Grand Prix would finish early, as he spun by way of the gravel on Lap 7 and retired. Because the Grand Prix, the workforce has pointed to a spike in rear tyre temperature, attributable to Albon going by way of Flip 5 slightly sooner and using the kerb slightly bit extra, as the explanation for the crash.

Nonetheless, the back-to-back early exits have the workforce sitting on that lone level from Bahrain. With Sargeant nonetheless getting his footing in F1, Albon discovering racing consistency can be a large increase to the workforce.

AlphaTauri: 1 level
Was Australia a breakthrough of types for Yuki Tsunoda?

Photograph by Peter Fox/Getty Photographs

After a pair of Eleventh-place finishes to begin the season, together with a hard-fought battle with Kevin Magnussen of Haas within the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Yuki Tsunoda broke by way of with the primary factors of the season for AlphaTauri, ending in tenth place within the Australian Grand Prix.

Was that end an indication of issues to return for Tsunoda, or a mere operate of the chaotic end to the Grand Prix?

Whereas it is perhaps the latter, given the retirement of George Russell and the five-second penalty imposed on Carlos Sainz Jr., it’s price noting that because the Australian Grand Prix, AlphaTauri Workforce Principal Franz Yost spoke very extremely of Tsunoda, making the case for him to maneuver as much as Purple Bull for the 2025 season:

If the lead to Australia is certainly the beginning of a breakthrough for Tsunoda, it might very effectively put him on observe for such a transfer a number of seasons from now.

Alfa Romeo: 6 factors
Can they discover any race tempo?

Because of Valtteri Bottas’s eighth-place end in Bahrain, and Zhou Guanyu’s ninth-place end in Australia, Alfa Romeo at the moment sits eighth within the Constructors’ standings with six factors on the yr.

Nonetheless, there may be definitely room for enchancment, and Bottas is hoping the workforce makes use of this prolonged break to seek out what they’re lacking proper now.

Racing tempo.

Talking after the Australian Grand Prix, Bottas had this to say about the place the workforce is, and what’s lacking. “It has [been a difficult weekend]. Positively off the tempo from the place we thought we needs to be,” Bottas stated after Melbourne. “So, one thing to look into. I’m truly glad that there’s a little bit of time earlier than the subsequent race so we will determine one thing.”

Bottas additionally shared this on social media:

If the workforce certainly finds some racing tempo over the break, and into the subsequent stretch of the season, they might push greater up the mid-table.

If not, nevertheless, it could possibly be a protracted season for Alfa Romeo.

Haas: 7 factors
Can they pull off double factors in a race?

Within the newest season of the Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive, Purple Bull Workforce Principal Christian Horner made the case that for a workforce to achieve success in F1, it wants each drivers contributing.

That’s true not only for the groups on the prime of the desk, but additionally for the groups in the midst of the pack.

Maybe the most important factor lacking proper now at Haas is consistency from each drivers. Each Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg completed out of the factors in Bahrain, after which Magnussen fought his method into P10 in Saudi Arabia.

That script flipped in Melbourne, with Hülkenberg selecting up his first factors of the season, whereas Magnussen’s late-race scrape with the wall set the stage for the late purple flag, and the frenetic end to the Grand Prix.

If Haas might get each of their drivers to place collectively a powerful week, and begin posting some double-points races, we’d see slightly magic from Guenther Steiner’s workforce this season.

Alpine: 8 factors
Was the collision between Gasly and Ocon a harbinger of doom?

F1 Grand Prix of Australia - Qualifying

Photograph by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Photographs

When the information got here out on the finish of final season that Pierre Gasly can be becoming a member of Alpine for the 2023 season, many questioned about how he would coexist along with his new teammate, Esteban Ocon.

In any case, the 2 grew up close to one another and have been racing towards one another for years, courting again to their karting days. However the friendship they cast in these early days was examined as the 2 pushed for spots in F1.

In a 2018 episode of the Past the Grid podcast Gasly lamented how the 2 had grown aside. “Simply to see the best way we grew up and the place we at the moment are, it’s simply unbelievable. So I feel we actually respect one another as a driver, however sadly there may be not the sensation that we had previously, which was rather more pleasant,” stated Gasly on the time.

Their pairing supplied an opportunity to show their relationship round. “It’s a chance for each of us to get again to an identical relationship that we had previously,” Gasly stated in an interview with F1.com after the transfer was introduced. “What was the likelihood that two six-year-old youngsters from Normandy, France, dwelling 20 minutes from one another, would find yourself 20 years later as team-mates in a French workforce? I feel that’s unbelievable and a really particular story.”

Ocon shared that sentiment. “Now we’re team-mates in a workforce from Normandy and we’re each from Normandy, so I feel we will write a fantastic story collectively.”

Nonetheless, the late-lap collision between the 2 has introduced these pre-season considerations to the floor. Was that really a one-off incident, or an indication of issues to return? After Melbourne, each drivers, in addition to Workforce Principal Otmar Szafnauer, labeled the collision as a pure racing incident. “It was actually a racing incident,” Szafnauer stated. “Who’s guilty for one thing like that? Hindsight you look again at it and say nice, shouldn’t have crashed however there are occasions you’ll be able to’t keep away from it, issues occur in entrance of you the place you’ve got a choice of ‘I both run into this or run into that’ as a result of you’ll be able to’t keep away from it.”

“It’s a disgrace that they got here collectively,” Szafnaur continued. “So far as attempting guilty one or the opposite, I don’t suppose that’s the proper factor to do; the proper factor to do is to be taught from it. There’s a lot chaos there and also you’ve bought to make fast selections.”

If the troublesome finish to the Australian Grand Prix was certainly a one-off for the Alpine duo, the workforce can handle to push their method additional up the desk.

if not, nevertheless …

McLaren: 12 factors
Was Australia actual, or a mirage?

It’s superb how a lot can change over 58 laps.

Heading into the Australian Grand Prix the temper was darkish round McLaren. They had been sitting on the backside of the Constructors’ standings, but to safe a single level over the primary two races of the season. That brutal begin led to questions over panic around the workforce and some changes in leadership.

However then, the darkish clouds parted, if just for a day. McLaren notched double factors in Melbourne, with Lando Norris ending sixth and hometown hero Oscar Piastri coming throughout the road in P8, the primary factors end of his F1 profession.

Was their success in Melbourne merely a product of the chaotic end, or an indication of higher days to return?

Workforce Principal Andrea Stella stated in the beginning of the season that Baku was his goal for when issues would flip round for McLaren. Workforce Papaya is hoping that the method truly began slightly sooner than anticipated.

Ferrari: 26 factors
Is that this a misplaced season?

F1 Grand Prix of Australia

Photograph by Mark Thompson/Getty Photographs

By nearly any measure it has been a brutal begin to the 2023 season for the Scuderia.

However can they handle to show issues round?

Ferrari has confronted reliability points all through the primary weeks of the season, culminating in Charles Leclerc taking a ten-place grid penalty for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix when the workforce put in the third control electronics unit on his SF-23. They noticed each drivers wrestle with race tempo in Jeddah, after which each Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. finished out of the points in Melbourne. Leclerc was maybe a bit too aggressive on the opening lap of the race and ended up within the gravel, after which Sainz was given a five-second penalty for his collision with Fernando Alonso on the late restart, dropping him out of the factors.

Ferrari has since appealed the penalty to FIA, however for now, they sit fourth within the Constructors’ standings.

Making issues worse, the reliability questions aren’t going away after the MGU-Ok on Nico Hülkenberg’s Haas failed close to the tip of the Australian Grand Prix.

Can new Workforce Principal Frédéric Vasseur flip issues round this season, or is 2023 going to be a misplaced season for Ferrari?

Mercedes: 56 factors
Have they honestly righted the ship?

Talking of turning issues round …

Mercedes Workforce Principal Toto Wolff known as the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix one of many workforce’s “worst” days in racing. Since then, nevertheless, the Silver Arrows appear to have righted the ship. Each George Russell and Lewis Hamilton completed within the prime 5 in Saudi Arabia, and the pair certified in P2 and P3, respectively, for the Australian Grand Prix.

Sadly for Russell, a strategic resolution to pit underneath an early security automotive backfired when the purple flag got here out, which means Russell had sacrificed the race lead for naught. Issues went from dangerous to worse for Russell when his W14 suffered an engine failure, knocking him out of the race totally.

Nonetheless, whereas Hamilton couldn’t maintain off Max Verstappen for the win, he was in a position to maintain off Fernando Alonso to complete in P2, his first podium of the 2023 marketing campaign.

With Ferrari floundering in the intervening time, Mercedes appears to have discovered their footing. And with enhancements to the W14 anticipated by Baku, the Silver Arrows might discover themselves persevering with this upward development into the summer time.

Aston Martin: 65 factors
Can they push for a title?

Following his third-straight podium to begin the season — the primary time since 2013 that he had secured three-straight podium finishes — veteran driver Fernando Alonso stated pushing for second place was the subsequent step for 2023.

However can Aston Martin push even greater?

The hole to Purple Bull appears substantial proper now, however Aston Martin has maybe been the story of the F1 season, no less than up to now. They had been the darlings of pre-season testing, and now groups like Mercedes and Ferrari wish to catch as much as Aston Martin, and never Purple Bull.

Can Aston Martin push their method to the highest? It’d take some slippage from the Bulls, however with this prolonged break — and the best way Alonso, Lance Stroll, and the AMR23 are performing thus far — it might occur.

Purple Bull: 123 factors
Have they got something to fret about?

F1 Grand Prix of Australia

Photograph by Mark Thompson/Getty Photographs

I imply, that’s the greatest query dealing with them, proper?

The RB19 is the category of the sphere, as each different workforce admits every week. Regardless of Max Verstappen’s qualifying points in Saudi Arabia, he nonetheless charged up the sphere to complete in P2, simply behind teammate Sergio Pérez. And when Pérez slid off the observe in Q1 in Melbourne and ended up ranging from pit street, he too labored his method by way of the sphere, ultimately ending fifth.

And sure, there may be the potential for pressure between the 2 drivers, particularly if they continue to be one-two within the Drivers’ standings. Nonetheless, Horner brushed these considerations apart lately. If he certainly can hold the peace between Verstappen and Pérez, it needs to be clean crusing for Purple Bull.

Until the remainder of the sphere places this prolonged break to good use.

Till then, nevertheless, maybe we will curiosity you within the new Red Bull/Blenders eyewear collection. Father’s Day and commencement season are simply across the nook. Should you’ve bought a Purple Bull fan in your life…

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