In the round-up: Toto Wolff downplays prospect of Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes at the end of the year after team’s poor start to the season.
Hamilton and Mercedes will stick together – Wolff
Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton‘s confidence in the team remains unchanged despite starting the season on the back foot for the second year in a row.
“The Lewis situation, you heard him on the radio. I think he’s an integral part of the team, picking the team up, and we’re always sticking together,” said Wolff.
“I don’t think that’s going to change just because we’ve had another start that was really bad. We won eight constructor championships and we won six driver championships with him and that’s holding, that relationship holds.”
Wolff did not comment on if Mercedes have a back-up plan for if Hamilton did decide to leave in the future, saying “I think it’s not the point to talk about the driver situation in 2024”. However the pair have already spoken about extending his current deal, which expires at the end of this year.
Alfa Romeo pleased to beat McLaren and Alpine
Alfa Romeo departed the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix fifth in Formula 1’s constructors’ standings and ahead of two of the teams they languinshed behind last year.
Valtteri Bottas started 12th and finished eighth. Team mate Zhou Guanyu lined up one place behind him on the grid but ended the race a lapped 16th and could only take solace in netting fastest lap for the second time in his F1 career.
“The team did a really good job tonight and we can be satisfied with the final result, which shows our continuous progress and the value of the work we did during pre-season testing,” said Alfa Romeo’s team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi. “We were in the top five teams for the whole of the race, and we finished ahead of McLaren and Alpine, which is as much as we could have hoped to get tonight
“It was a good collective effort: the drivers did well in the car, with the added teamwork contribution of Zhou setting the fastest time at the very end; the strategic choices and the pit stops were really good, and all together we contributed to the four points we bring home.
“This result is in line with what we were expecting following last week’s testing and the data we got in practice.”
Tough debut weekend for F3 rookie Browning
Luke Browning was a late addition to the Formula 3 grid with Hitech GP, being confirmed just days before racing began, but he impressed on his first weekend in the championship by charging from 17th to fifth in Sunday’s feature.
“It’s really difficult,” Browning said of his first race experiences. “I knew it was going to be all about tyre management. It’s something the team highlighted for me. I really tried in the opening laps to not use too much, not do too many wheelspins before the start and not over-push the tyres early on. The car was great today and I’m glad I was able to do this result.
“It’s super tough. I did no GP3 [test] days going into the season [and] I didn’t do the post-season test out in Jerez last year. I’ve literally rocked up at the first round but Hitech did a great job of making me as prepared as possible, using the simulator back at the workshop. We knew our race runs from testing were really strong and thankfully, I could show that in today’s race.”
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Motor racing links of interest:
IndyCar safety devices prove their worth in spades at St. Petersburg (Racer)
‘Just as Castroneves didn’t want to see IndyCar’s AMR Safety Team this early in the season, Pagenaud wasn’t looking forward to being brought to IndyCar’s new medical trailer to be evaluated, but nonetheless, he was enthralled by the quality of care and services that were rendered.’
Verstappen interview: ‘There’s more to life than F1… I’ve already mapped out plans for future’ (Evening Standard)
‘Max Verstappen may be riding the crest of the wave in F1 at present but he is thinking of both the beginning and the end. On the eve of the first race of the 2023 season in Bahrain, he is appreciating the ‘different treatment’ his father, the ex-racing driver Jos, meted out to him in the early days to push him to the top of the sport where he now sits.’
Kirkwood: Andretti IndyCar squad showing true capability now (Speedcafe)
‘Kyle Kirkwood believes Andretti Autosport is about to show what it is truly capable of after a lacklustre 2022 IndyCar season. The Andretti quartet scored just two victories last year and was arguably supplanted in the series’ ‘big three’ by McLaren, to whom its most recent race winner has defected.’
Ecclestone bricht Schweigen über F1-Skandal: Schumacher wäre alleiniger Rekordweltmeister (F1 Insider – German)
Bernie Ecclestone says the result of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix should have been cancelled. Fernando Alonso won the notorious ‘Crashgate’ race after his Renault team mate Nelson Piquet deliberately crashed to help him take the lead.
Daniel Guinchard joins CDR for British F4 championship (British F4)
‘Having completed a full season of the British F4 championship in 2022, claiming one win and recording five further podium appearances, 16-year-old Daniel Guinchard is returning this year with Chris Dittmann Racing.’
Fernando Alonso support ‘life changing’ for F3 winner Bortoleto (Formula Scout)
‘Formula 3’s newest winners Gabriel Bortoleto and Pepe Marti have both highlighted the value of having double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso by their side. Alonso co-founded his A14 Management project last year and signed Bortoleto in the autumn.’
Frost works late shift to win opener at St. Petersburg (IndyCar)
‘Danial Frost took the lead on a late restart and powered away to win the season-opening Indy Nxt Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, earning his second career victory in IndyCar’s development series. Frost crossed the finish line 1.8038 seconds ahead of team mate and rookie Nolan Siegel.’
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On this day in motorsport
- 25 years ago today McLaren locked out the front row of the grid for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, seven-tenths clear of Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari