In the round-up: Yuki Tsunoda isn’t ready to step up to Red Bull yet, says team principal Christian Horner.
Tsunoda not ready for Red Bull yet – Horner
Tsunoda, who is in his third year year at Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri, scored points for the second weekend running in Baku. However Horner says he has not yet demonstrated he’s ready to step up to the top team.
“I don’t think he’s at our level, yet, but he’s making great progress,” said Horner. “We’re seeing he’s maturing as a driver. He certainly has the speed and I think as he gains experience, I’m sure he’s going to become more rounded. He’s driven some strong races so far this year.”
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are contracted to drive for Red Bull again in 2024. Horner said Red Bull are “not short of options” for their driver line-up. “We have a commitment with both of our drivers, with both of them to the end of 2024. But the best thing he can do is perform at a very high level in the AlphaTauri.”
Tsunoda is on course to become AlphaTauri’s third-longest-serving driver during this year. He could become the first driver to start more than 100 grands prix for the team should he retain his seat through to 2025.
Permane sees rest as key in Alpine’s bounceback from Baku
Alpine endured a tough event in Baku last weekend, with a fire on Pierre Gasly’s car in practice on Friday and then pit lane starts for Esteban Ocon on Saturday and Sunday.
The extra work that had to be put in to make sure both drivers could actually race was tough on the team, and sporting director Alan Permane said the minimal rest time available before this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix will be crucial.
“I think everyone takes [a difficult weekend] a little bit differently,” he explained after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“I’m sure the mechanics, they’ve worked so hard this weekend, they’ve had a hell of a job with Pierre’s engine change and that has knock-on effects that you guys don’t see. We changed the engine, and they arrive here on a Wednesday, they build the cars, but we also build our spares up. Spare gearbox, spare engine and stuff like that. When you use all those on Friday, they’ve then got to stay late Friday night.
“There’s no curfew on a Friday night on a sprint weekend, because the cars are in parc ferme. But they were here until 10, 11 o’clock, replenishing that spare that they just used, making sure we’ve got an engine and a gearbox ready to go if we do the next one.
“So it’s a real double-whammy for them. They had a really gruelling Friday. The next thing they’ve got is a gruelling 14-hour flight to Miami. And some of them will be straight into work Tuesday morning. So I think how you recover from it, it’s not easy, especially going straight into another race.
“Some people will have a day off on Tuesday, and will no doubt enjoy some sunshine and relax. But we’ll do what we can to get those people who have worked long hours here and will have to work Tuesday, to get them away on Wednesday and Thursday so that at least everyone gets a bit of downtime and time to have a meal and a pint out or something like that. Whatever people use for their recuperation.”
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Motor racing links of interest:
Andrea Kimi Antonelli will start the two Misano races in a Mercedes AMG GT3 (ACI Sport)
‘The rumours had already circulated in recent days, but today the news is official: Andrea Kimi Antonelli , one of the promises of Italian motoring and a Mercedes F1 junior, will take part in the first round of the Italian Gran Turismo Sprint Championship this weekend at Misano.’
McLaughlin predicts an ‘awesome Month of May’ (Speedcafe)
‘IndyCar captures a global focus throughout May with the entire month geared towards the iconic Indianapolis 500. McLaughlin has a mixed relationship with the event, topping sessions but suffering dreadful luck in the race itself, finishing P20 on debut, and crashing out spectacularly last term. Yet this time, McLaughlin starts May as the most recent race winner and having shown strong pace at both St. Pete and Long Beach.’
Grosjean taking run of second places in his stride (Racer)
‘All that stands between Romain Grosjean being a five-time race winner and IndyCar’s biggest bridesmaid is 10.1282 seconds. Combined, Grosjean leads his rivals in the odd category of owning five runner-up finishes without a win.’
Bearman changed F2 approach to ‘get our championship started’ (Formula Scout)
‘Ollie Bearman says his pole and two wins in Baku “get our championship started” after barely scoring in the first three rounds of the Formula 2 season. He entered last weekend with three points. Now, having scored 38 out of the 39 up for grabs in Baku, he sits fourth in the standings and 24 points off the championship lead.’
Max reveals his special Miami GP helmet (Verstappen)
‘Max Verstappen has revealed his special Miami Grand Prix helmet, which he will be using upcoming weekend during the glamourous event.’
F1’s race strategy in America isn’t convincing fans to stick around (Jalopnik)
‘Jalopnik spoke to several fans who attended F1’s much-hyped race in Miami. The verdict wasn’t good for the growth of the sport.’
Analysis: How a record Berlin round 7 ended in a maiden Jaguar 1-2 (Formula E)
‘Saturday’s opening race featured a record eight race leaders as the various contenders did their best to manage more than just their energy levels. This was a strategic test of epic proportions and through it all, the Jaguar team emerged one-two. So, who hit the front in a record-breaking E-Prix, how did Mitch Evans time his rise to perfection, and why couldn’t the others that took the lead stay there?’
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