Theo Pourchaire will start the Formula 2 Feature Race on Saturday from pole position after going quickest in group A of qualifying around the streets of Monte Carlo.
The challenge of Monaco was no problem for the ART Grand Prix driver, who dominated Thursday’s running. Despite cooler track conditions than those who qualified in the second half of the session in group B, The Frenchman posted a time of 1:20:985. Oscar Piastri will start in 3rd in the Feature race.
In a flurry of fastest laps at the end of group A qualifying, Pourchaire put in a dominating lap which was a far cry away from P11 in the first round of the season in Bahrain. Pourchaire threaded his car perfectly through the twists and turns of Monaco to come out on pole.
Joining the Frenchman on the front of the grid on Saturday will be Robert Schwartzman, who left the problems of Bahrain in his mirrors, putting in a time of 1:21:403 ahead of Dan Ticktum who qualified overall 4th.
The Group B qualifying session saw a trade-off of fastest laps between the drivers. Current championship leader Guanyu Zhou lost out in qualifying, he was 10th overall and Juri Vips in overall 5th. The Alpine and Red Bull junior drivers will be hoping to put in a solid performance in the first revered grid sprint race on Friday in which Zhou will start on Pole ahead of Felipe Drugovich.
To avoid traffic problems in Monaco, Qualifying was split into two groups. As decided before Free Practice, drivers who race with even numbers took part in the first sixteen-minute session (Group A) and those with odd numbers in the second sixteen-minute session (Group B). This does mean however that group B does often have a more rubbered in surface compared to group A.
The circuit around the streets of Monte Carlo is, traditionally, a difficult track for overtaking meaning that the results of today’s qualifying are crucial for the next three races. However, this year’s new format and the two partially reverse-grid sprint races will give more opportunities than ever before for drivers who did not qualify at the front of the grid to fight it out at the front.
You can watch the first FIA F2 sprint race of the weekend from 11:45am (Local Time) on Friday.
W Series have announced their revised race calendar for the 2021 season as pre-season testing gets underway in Anglesey.
The original calendar for the 2021 season was revised due to growing international Covid-19 travel restrictions in Turkey, which meant that the Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix (originally replacing the Canadian Grand Prix) was cancelled, and French Grand Prix moved to the 11th to 13th June. As a result, the first round of the W Series 2021 race calendar in France could no longer go ahead as planned.
This morning it was announced that the opening round will take place in Spielberg, Austria on the 26th of June supporting the Formula 1 championship at the Red Bull Ring and the second round will also support the following weeks Austrian GP at the same circuit on the 3rd of July.
The rest of the race calendar, at present, remains the same.
Testing In Anglesey
The Opening race in Austria will not only be the first W Series race under the new partnership with Formula 1, but also the first race since the last round of the inaugural season at Brands Hatch in 2019 due to the pandemic.
Chief Executive Officer of W Series Catherine Bond Muir said “I am overjoyed that the waiting is finally over. If you had told me when Alice Powell won our last race at Brands Hatch that I would have to wait 646 days to see our cars on track again, I wouldn’t have believed you”.
The new race dates were unveiled ahead of five days of pre-season testing in Anglesey in Wales from today where, as well as testing, a range of new liveries were unveiled following criticism from fans in the 2019 season that cars were hard to distinguish between.
The 2019 W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick said on Monday morning “This week’s pre-season test is vital. I have driven at Anglesey once before – in British F3 in 2017 – and the track is perfect for testing so I am sure we will all learn a huge amount over the five days.”
“Through my work with Prema in the Formula Regional European Championship last year and my development driver role with the Williams F1 team, I have learnt so much about how to approach races and I hope that will make the difference this year.”
All eyes now look forward to the next four days of pre-season testing ahead of the opening rounds of the second season of W-Series.
The 2021 Formula One season kicked off today with the first of three days of pre-season testing.
It was a windy day in Bahrain and conditions were making things tricky out on track for the drivers.
Despite the sandstorm during the afternoon session, it was Max Verstappen who was fastest on the opening day of testing.
While times are not entirely representative this early on, laps definitely do matter, and it was Red Bull who completed the most laps on the opening day.
It did feel like a day of two halves, mostly due to the strange weather in the afternoon, so let’s have a look at what happened during today’s sessions.
Teams wasted no time to get their installation laps completed. However, for Mercedes, it would be the only running they would do for most of the morning.
Mercedes had a gear shift issue on fire-up and were forced to change the gearbox. It took over two hours to get it changed which left Bottas with only 35 minutes of running.
This would also be cut short as Leclerc came to a stop with only 10 minutes to go to the lunch break. The circumstances of Leclerc’s stop was unclear, but it did bring out the red flag.
In the end Bottas only got 6 laps done.
It wasn’t just Mercedes who struggled for track time in the morning session, Haas were also hampered. Mick Schumacher had a nice early run but was pulled in as Haas wanted to change the gearbox.
Sebastian Vettel stalled his Aston Martin at the end of the pit-lane which brought an end to his session. Not a great way to end his run after getting a good number of laps done.
Williams were slow to get Nissany out on track, however, he got some meaningful running later on in the session.
For the cars actually out on track, the conditions were very windy, and it made it difficult for the drivers to navigate. Early on we saw Kimi Raikkonen wrestling with his Alfa Romeo as he fought against the conditions.
But Daniel Ricciardo managed to find some pace and set the fastest lap of the morning session while completing 45 laps.
The heavy wind had left the track very sandy when teams returned for the afternoon session.
Nikita Mazepin and Esteban Ocon were straight out, and it was clear to see that grip levels were low.
Some drivers took it a lot more cautious than others. When Lewis Hamilton eventually appeared onto the track, he was slipping and sliding coming out of near enough every corner.
He quickly came back into the pits to change his pedals.
Nikita Mazepin had a spin as well as Carlos Sainz. You can’t blame them, as the conditions were very tricky.
Eventually the sand cleared off the racing line and the drivers could put their foot down. Verstappen was stamping his mark and putting his Red Bull at the top of the timing sheets.
Not all drivers did tough out the sand storm. Lance Stroll was delayed getting some track time as the car developed a small electrical fault which meant he was out for half of the session.
As the sun went down and the lights came on, it was mostly plane sailing as drivers got laps on the board.
At the end of the session Red Bull, Alpine, AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo all clocked in over 100 laps. A very solid day.
The same couldn’t be said for Mercedes who only managed 48 laps all day.
Who were the winners from day 1?
They had a very solid day with Verstappen finishing top of the time sheets and completed the most laps.
While the car looked shaky at the start of the day and that saw Max have a half spin coming out of Turn 2.
Max seemed to get to grips with that car by the end of the day and he was able to complete long runs with very few problems. It was definitely encouraging by Red Bull.
Tomorrow will see Sergio Perez take to the track in the car for the first time.
Red Bull will be hoping to replicate the success they have had today and take advantage of Mercedes’ issues.
Honourable mentions also go out to Alpine who had a very solid day as well as Alfa Romeo who looked very good out on track.
Who were the losers from day one?
It was cruel day for the reigning champions as a gearbox issue meant they were pit-lane bound for most of the morning session.
Once the car was back out on track, Bottas was only able to get 5 laps completed.
In the afternoon it took a while for Lewis to emerge from the garage. He found himself back in the pits in no time so the team could change the pedals.
He got back out with just over two hours remaining but was back in the pits within 15 minutes.
Hamilton could only complete 42 laps in the afternoon and ended the session in 10th place.
Far from the start the champions wanted.
Honourable mention also to Haas. Haas had to replace the gearbox in the morning, but the missed time was made up by Mazepin completing 69 laps in the afternoon.
Grid Talk Podcast
Want more content to preview the F1 2021 season?
Steph Wentworth hosted panellists Owain Medford, Steve Jackson and YouTuber Lucas Raycevik in Grid Talk’s review of the F1 2021 Car reveals:
So, testing is just around the corner now, and despite the fact the cars are almost the same as last year, there will be plenty of eyes on how the teams get on.
There are only three days of testing this year, so it’s more important than ever for teams to hit the ground running. There are new aerodynamic regulations for this year, so the cars so teams will want to get to grips with the new parts for 2021.
Teams will not want to miss a single day of testing, because it could have huge repercussions for the upcoming season. So, what can you expect from the teams in testing this year? That’s what I’m here to answer.
The reigning champions will of course be hoping that their car is still the fastest on the grid, despite the new regulations.
Mercedes were very secretive with the development that they did on their barge boards and floor during their car launch, so eyes will be on what they came up to tackle the new regulations. This team have always come up with ingenious innovations to tackle any regulation change, and I’m hoping that this year will be no different.
Mercedes did report that they were having issues with their new engine. With reliability being key over the next three days, the last thing they need is any engine trouble. That also goes for the three other teams running Mercedes engines.
Surely, he can’t do any worse than Gasly in his first test with the team!
The car is built around Max, which will make Perez’s job that bit harder, but as an experienced driver, I expect him to adapt well and hit the ground running.
Out of all the teams on the grid, the most pressure to get off to a good start is on McLaren. McLaren have changed the most on their chassis to accommodate the new Mercedes engine.
McLaren will be hoping to retain third in the championship, but they know it’s going to be a tough challenge.
Unlike Perez, Ricciardo has had some limited testing of the MCL35M in a shakedown test at Silverstone. So, while his experience may be limited, he does have some time in the new car. It will be interesting to see how Lando and Daniel compare right out the gate.
This test will also be Fernando Alonso’ first time in the car. He has been doing some private testing in the 2019 Renault, but it will be a big adjustment for Fernando.
While two years may not seem like a long time, things move fast in Formula One and it can be difficult to readjust to the new Formula. All eyes will be on Fernando during his first outing.
This test is going to be huge for Ferrari. After a very dismal year, the only way is up for the team in Scarlett red.
Mattia Binotto has stressed that Ferrari have taken leap with their power unit as well as their aerodynamic efficiency. Straight line speed plagued them last season and if they can make good on their promises then we could see a very competitive car.
Bahrain is a perfect track for us to see just how good these changes are. I can’t imagine that Ferrari will be looking to set the timing screen alight, but if they can get some good, consistent running then it could set them up very nicely.
Rather than looking forwards, Alfa Romeo will likely be looking over their shoulders during this test. It is an unknown at this point how the Williams or Haas will perform this season, and they will be big competition for the Italians.
All Alfa Romeo can do for now is make sure to get through all three days will no issues.
Haas have already said that they have given up on development of their 2021 car already. So, don’t expect it to be very quick.
Haas will be using this test mostly to get their drivers up to speed. While both Schumacher and M*****n have had experience in Formula one cars, they are yet to drive the new car.
The goal for both drivers will be to get as many miles driven as possible and pray that nothing goes wrong. Haas were hampered with crashes and spins last year. That could have been down to the two drivers they had in car, but it did them no favours.
Finally, it would make sense to have both drivers be in the car during testing, however that will not be the case. Test driver Roy Nissany will be in the car on the first day. Meaning Latifi and Russell will both get half a day less running than the other drivers.
So, it’s not long to go now until the 2021 Formula One season gets under way and I can’t wait. While I should stress that you should NOT read too much into testing, we will learn a lot about these cars over the next three days.
In this four part series, we will bring you the most significant and historic developments that F1 has ever seen in its over 70 year history. Today, we’ll be kicking off with the five most iconic engines in the history of the sport, including one that the Mercedes, McLaren, AlphaTauri and Williams teams owe their existence:
The Cosworth DFV is probably the definitive F1 engine. It was born out of an exclusive deal between Lotus, Ford and Cosworth. However, Ford grew worried of bad press due to the pace advantage they held over their competitors. So, they decided to sell the engine to customer teams through Cosworth from 1969 onwards.
What became available was a small, power-dense and relatively cheap engine, about £140k in today’s money for a front running F1 engine. It could also be mounted as a stressed member, reducing overall car weight and improving chassis stiffness. Of course, more and more teams took to using it for their Formula 1 ambitions.
It continued to be the engine to have for teams up and down the paddock until turbocharging became commonplace in the early 80s. It may have been lightweight and, by now, phenomenally reliable, but it simply couldn’t compete with the monstrous power available through forced induction. Its final race was the 1985 Austrian Grand Prix.
All in all, the DFV managed 155 wins from 267 entries, a 58% win ratio across its 18 year lifespan. Updated DFY, DFZ and DFR versions saw it remain in service until 1991. It also saw success at Le Mans taking 2 overall wins, 10 consecutive Indy 500 victories, and gave those previously mentioned teams their starts in F1.
The 1970s saw the introduction of turbocharging with the installation of the EF1 engine into Renault’s RS01 chassis. Forced induction wasn’t new in Grand Prix racing; supercharging had been commonplace during the pre-war years, right up to the beginnings of the world championship in the 1950s.
This was however, the first use of turbocharging in Formula 1. The engine’s exhaust gas spins the compressor via a co-axial turbine, instead of a belt to the crankshaft, as in supercharging. This produces less “drain” (known as parasitic loss) on the energy produced by combustion in the piston, making the system more efficient.
Modern F1 had allowed forced induction since 1966. However, as engine performance had developed over time, most manufacturers didn’t see the point. They believed it to be too heavy and complex for something as light as an F1 car. Besides, regulations required that the engine would have to be half the size of a naturally aspirated counterpart. So, this would negate any performance benefit anyway.
In terms of pace, Renault’s effort immediately disproved the naysayers, matching the venerable DFV for power out the box. Where they suffered badly was reliability. The RS01 acquired the name “The Turbo Teapot”; it was all too often seen steaming trackside thanks to issues with overheating and turbo longevity.
Renault persevered however. They replaced the single turbo configuration with a pair of smaller units, one fed by each bank of the V6. This worked far better for the small capacity engine. The smaller turbines needed less exhaust gas to spin them up to working speed, reducing the turbo-lag that had plagued the drivers. Later developments brought a water injection system to increase the density of the intake air, as well as a pneumatic valvetrain, allowing the engine to reach a higher rev ceiling.
It took time, but eventually the EF1 proved itself, taking its first win, the first of any turbocharged F1 engine, in 1979. While Renault never took a championship during its first F1 stint, they did show the way forward in terms of engine design.
Turbos became the norm right up until their eventual ban in 1989. At their peak, its rumoured that 1400bhp was possible from qualifying spec turbo engines, still only displacing 1.5 litres.
This is a slightly vaguer entry to this list, since it covers a wider range of developments from a single platform. However, this engine series is too successful to ignore and marked Renault’s return to the sport since withdrawing at the close of the 1986 season.
They chose a V10 design to power the Williams FW12C, who had exclusive access to the new RS1 engine. One note of the V10’s design was a pneumatic valvetrain; a first on such an engine configuration, and a revival of the technology that Renault had debuted on their “EF15 Type B” turbocharged V6 in 1986.
This system replaces the camshafts at the top of the engine. Instead, pressurised air acts on small piston connected to the valve stem to open and close it. This allows the engine to reach a much higher rev ceiling. By about 12,000rpm, conventional valvetrains start to reach their limits.
The camshaft spins so fast that the valve following it can come away from the cam lobe as it turns from opening to closing. This is called valve float, which can allow contact between the piston and valve, causing catastrophic failure. The pneumatic system can change valve direction much faster, eliminating any float.
Renault’s engine was strong from the outset; slightly behind the mighty Honda, but comfortably ahead of the other offerings throughout the field. By 1992, their work paid off and the V10, now in RS4 form propelled Mansell and his all-conquering FW14B to glory.
In 1995, the FIA reduced engine capacity to 3.0L. Such was the strength of their engine package, Renault left the V10 largely unchanged. The only significant update to the RS7 was a reduction in piston stroke (how far up and down the piston travels) to meet the new lower capacity. This also marked the end of Williams’ exclusive usage, as Benetton took up a Renault supply deal.
This arrangement remained until the eventual withdrawal of Renault from F1 for the second time at the close of the 1997 season. As it turned out, the 1992 success was only just the beginning. The result was 6 straight titles between Williams and Benetton (’92-’97). In the 3.0L formula, Renault engines also managed a 74% win rate.
BMW P84/5 (2004-2005)
Key Specs: 3.0L V10, 950hp @ 19,000rpm (2005)
BMW were no strangers to powerful engines when they returned to F1 with Williams in 2000. During the turbo era, their 4 cylinders were often the most powerful in the field. The Brabhams and Benettons had that suspected 1400bhp I mentioned earlier at their disposal for 1986. For their return though, a naturally aspirated 3 litre V10 engine was mandatory.
Their initial design was quite conservative, with many improvements possible covering power output, weight and centre of gravity. However, an aggressive development strategy throughout the 2001 season closed the gap significantly to their competitors.
Unfortunately, this came at the expense of torrid reliability throughout the following season. With persistence however, the main characteristics of the engine were finalised by 2003. The concept could be refined, and BMW began to hit their stride.
With the 2004 P84, BMW became the first engine supplier to break the 19,000rpm barrier. They were also the most powerful, eclipsing even Ferrari during their most dominant era. This performance culminated during pre-qualifying for the 2004 Italian Grand Prix, as Juan Pablo Montoya guided his Williams FW36 around Monza.
With the V10 shrieking behind him, he set the fastest ever lap seen in Formula 1 history. A time of 1.19.525 meant an average speed of 162.950mph, a record that would not be surpassed until 2018, also at Monza.
Improvements in production processes allowed for much more precise castings of both the engine block and cylinder heads. This meant that engineers could work to much finer tolerances, reducing the engine’s weight. For its final season, the P84/5 weighed in at 84kg, 11kg less than the V8 engines that would replace it in 2006.
It’s worth remembering that this development work took place when the FIA took its first (all be it small) steps to extend engine life. In 2004, engines had to last a whole weekend. This was doubled in 2005, aiming to reduce both engine output and development costs. A far cry from today’s reliability requirements, but it was a start.
The power output was only a temporary issue. BMW once again produced a class leading engine, producing 950bhp with a 20,000rpm rev ceiling. At Monza that year, Montoya was back in the record books. This time hitting 232.523mph, the highest speed ever seen by an F1 car.
Any F1 fan of late knows the dominance that Mercedes-AMG has displayed from 2014. Since the introduction of the turbocharged V6 hybrid power units, Mercedes engines have won 103 of the 138 races they have started. That’s a 75% success rate across 7 years, and still counting! And this was the engine that started it all.
One of the biggest advantages Mercedes had with their new hybrid engine was their chosen design for the turbocharger, which they continue to use. It was certainly the most talked about at the time. A conventional turbo will have the compressor and turbine bolted together to make a very compact assembly. They are then normally placed near the exhaust side of an engine to improve responsiveness.
Mercedes have taken a different approach. The compressor and turbine still share an axle as necessary, but are split from each other. The turbine is at the rear of the engine and compressor at the front. This “split turbocharger” is placed in between the banks of the V6. This reduces the overall size of the engine. The split design of the turbo also presents the perfect place to put the MGU-H motor-generator.
There are other benefits. The compressor and intake side of the engine are closer together compared to conventional turbocharging. This gives the air less time to heat up, so smaller intercoolers can be used. This reduces both weight and drag in the sidepods.
This attention to detail, and focus on interlinking benefits, should give you some idea of how the Silver Arrows have come to dominate the sport, with this power unit in particular taking every pole position of the 2014 season.
So that’s it for Part 1! Be sure to check in for Part 2 where we will be shining a light on the standout aero tech that has been seen over the years.
If there is one topic in Formula 1 that is guaranteed to spark debate and it is how best to improve the show.
Everyone has a different answer, from the sensible – less tyre management, simpler engines – to the more radical – binning blue flags entirely.
In a Motorsport Magazine article last year, Tony Dodgins put forward one such radical solution: a proper drivers’ championship where drivers are rotated between teams during the season, rather than driving for a single outfit.
While perhaps too radical for real-life F1, it would certainly make for an interesting new mode alongside Codemasters’ usual fare.
A True Drivers’ Championship
A season where every driver gets the opportunity to get behind the wheel of each car at least twice could provide a truly dynamic championship battle. The ebb and flow of results provided by drivers swapping machinery each weekend would throw major swings into the championship table.
Drivers would pick in last year’s championship order, with the World Champion picking 1st for every round. 2nd place would then pick their team, followed by 3rd and so on. For the final three races, drivers could pick again in either the same order or current championship order, with the championship leader picking first.
This reimagining of what a Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship could be could force the player to make some interesting and difficult decisions when it comes to selecting which car to take in each round.
If you’re playing as Hamilton, which races do you decide to take in the Williams? And which do you decide to take in the Mercedes? These are all questions that players will have to decide for themselves to ensure they achieve the greatest possible haul of points.
A weekend in the Mercedes is an opportunity to take maximum points. An outing in a slower car, such as the Williams or HAAS, is all about damage limitation, where a single point is a victory unto itself.
For Monaco, do you go with the Red Bull and try to make up the difference to the faster Mercedes with skill alone? Or do you try to pull a slower car into the points at a track where the driver can make the difference?
The likelihood of you actually making it through Turn 1 in each car at each track would also be an important element to consider. Something else to take on board are your chances of actually finishing that race in that car. A retirement in a Mercedes would be incredibly more costly than parking an Alfa Romeo.
Add to this the likelihood of the Safety Car making an appearance, or it raining during qualifying or the race, along with the component management system that exists in the main career mode, and there is potentially a lot of strategic depth there.
How would you play your hand? How would the car you’re in change how you approach certain races?
Something On The Side
Given that Codemasters has already introduced driver transfers, I imagine a mode like this shouldn’t prove too difficult to implement.
There are certainly some things that would need to be fully thought through, such as how many races ahead drivers can pick their cars for and whether they can change their selection once it’s locked in, amongst other things.
It would certainly provide a new way to play a season, managing risk and reward as you hop in and out of different seats, scraping together the maximum points your car will allow at each venue.
And what better time to introduce it than after a year where we’ve seen numerous drivers, including George Russell and Nico Hulkenberg, called up at last minute to perform in machinery they’re in no way familiar with.
For the die-hard purists, it’s a nonsense, a waste of time and resources that could be better spent on improving the already stellar first-in-class career mode. But if it could be done on the side, with little time or effort required to get it out the door, it could be just the thing to jump into once you’ve burned through the more serious stuff the game has to offer.
In the low-grip tightrope act that was the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix, Sergio Perez reminded the world why he is still a driver any team would do well to pursue.
Not that the world needed reminding, despite somewhat of a chequered season for the Racing Point man.
Having stopped for Intermediates on Lap 10, Perez nursed his tyres to the line to claim a well-deserved 2nd place finish. This was Checo’s first podium since the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
This was yet another great drive by the Mexican, who is still without a seat for the 2021 season. There is a notable space still unfilled for next year though, the second Red Bull seat. Here’s why we believe Perez needs to replace Albon.
Why Perez is the man Red Bull need
Turkey was an impressive drive, a masterclass in both patience and focus, enabled by a unique ability few can match. If Red Bull are on the lookout for a new driver, Perez is certainly the man to have.
While Nico Hulkenberg is perhaps more capable of chasing Verstappen on a Saturday afternoon, Perez more than makes up for it on Sunday.
The pair were teammates at Force India between 2014-2016 and it was nip and tuck between them. Hulkenberg dominated their first campaign together (96 points to Perez’s 59), before Perez struck back, becoming Force India’s main breadwinner in their final two years as teammates.
A Delicate Touch
Sergio Perez can save his tyres probably better than anybody else on the Formula 1 grid. This is an opinion shared by Racing Point Technical Director Andrew Green:
“Once Checo gets into rhythm on a Sunday afternoon, he’s absolutely one of the best. I think he’s one of the few drivers who really excelled on tyre management and being able to read the car.”
This ability to stretch the life out of any given set of tyres has allowed Perez to rack up a total of nine podiums in his ten years in the sport. These were all in midfield cars that had no real business being in the top three.
By comparison, Hulkenberg is yet to stand on even its lowest rung. Bad luck has certainly played its part in the German’s case (Monaco 2016 being one such example), but Hulkenberg has also thrown away a number of chances himself (Brazil 2012, Germany 2019).
The Gain For Red Bull
For Red Bull, signing Sergio Perez could mean the return of that crucial second Chess piece. With a driver that can go long and keep the tyres alive, Red Bull are granted greater tactical options, a luxury they haven’t had since the departure of Daniel Riccardo at the end of 2018.
With no rear gunner for Verstappen, Red Bull have been fighting Mercedes with one arm tied behind their back.
It certainly cost Verstappen victory in last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, when a gap that should have been occupied by a Red Bull awarded Mercedes the opportunity of stopping Hamilton for fresh Mediums to hunt down Verstappen.
Having two cars in play again will undoubtedly make things easier for the team and allow them to pick up more points on Sundays.
The Benefit For Verstappen
The importance of tyre management in F1 cannot be overstated. Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton’s recent duels have showcased this. It’s allowed Hamilton to take a second stab at the Bottas on-track later in the race.
Being able to successfully manage the tyres grants driver and team greater tactical options, such as making fewer pitstops, or extending a stint to gain a tyre advantage over rivals.
If this is the case, could Perez do for Verstappen what Kobayashi did for him?
It’s not so much a question of whether Verstappen needs the help, though. It’s more a question of whether having Perez in the team can push him even further.
Jenson Button has also singled out Perez’s remarkable ability to protect the rear tyres in traction zones. The 2009 World Champion also added that Perez was the teammate that surprised him the most in his 17-year career:
“Certain circuits didn’t work for him, circuits that had front-limitation didn’t work for him, but circuits that had rear-limitation, like Bahrain, worked very well for him and he was extremely quick.”
How Verstappen could adapt
Even if Perez isn’t forthcoming with any secrets he might have, Verstappen will always have his data to sift through.
It is not yet clear what Red Bull will do. Maybe Albon will do enough in the three remaining races to hold on to his seat. The team appear to be fully behind their Thai driver, insisting that his future is very much in his hands.
Yet, as always in Formula 1, rumours/whispers continue to circulate.
What is clear, though, is that if Verstappen is to take on the now greatest driver of all time in the prime of his career, he is going to need every possible advantage he can get.
Sergio Perez might be able to provide one such advantage.
Last weekend saw the end of an era. The #7 Toyota TS050 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobyashi and José Maria Lopez took the final win, and the championship, in the Hybrid LMP1 era of the WEC.
These rolling laboratories have produced some of the most technologically impressive cars in motorsport history. They’ve also produced epic on-track battling to boot, but rising costs have decimated their appeal to manufacturers.
This issue had been known for some time, so since 2018, the replacement to the class, now known as Le Mans Hypercar, has been in development with a single key goal: Get the manufactures back to sportscar racing.
The Story So Far
The Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) regulations have had quite a turbulent development since they were announced to replace LMP1 in 2018.
Pressure from manufacturers led the regulations to be adapted to allow racing versions of road legal hypercars, echoing the fire-breathing GT1 cars of the late 1990s.
An announcement at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January saw a small, but incredibly significant change, as convergence with the IMSA Sportscar Championship in America was confirmed.
This will see both power and weight reduced, as well as aerodynamic efficiency restrictions to be put in place to mimic those of the newly announced LMDh regulations.
Then, as if development hadn’t been difficult enough, the global situation made delays to any programs that were underway inevitable.
Therefore, the decision was taken to push back the introduction of the class to 2021, allowing constructors more time to develop their vehicles, after lockdown restrictions were eased.
Chassis and Body
As stated previously, a manufacture wanting to enter the LMH formula has 2 options for constructing a car. As would normally be done for this style of car, bespoke racing prototypes can be produced from a “clean sheet” design, only focussing on the regulations of the racing series.
Alternatively, they can derive a racing version from a road-legal hypercar. There could be some performance differences available by taking this option, particularly in the hybrid system. However, this means that at least 20 road going versions must be produced.
Regardless of the option chosen, these cars will be dimensionally very similar to the LMDh vehicles they will eventually compete alongside in 2022. They will have a total length and width of 5m and 2m respectively, with a 3.15m wheelbase.
All cars will have a minimum weight of 1030kg, regardless whether or not they are using a hybrid system (more on that shortly). Meanwhile, a Balance Of Performance (BOP) formula similar to what is already used in GTE will be applied to all cars in the class. So, up to 50kg of ballast can be added to that at the ACO’s behest.
In terms of aerodynamics, cockpits will be much wider that we are currently used to for an endurance racing prototype. This will bring the aerodynamic performance around the driver to a comparable level between to 2 types of car design, causing them both to look much closer to a conventional 2-seater supercar. Overall aerodynamic performance will also be closely regulated.
Finally active aerodynamics, which were initially to be included as they are so commonly used on road-legal supercars, have now been banned due to cost concerns.
Engine and Hybrid Systems
The headline stat here is a maximum power of 500kW (670bhp). This has been reduced from an initial limit of 585kW (795bhp) in order to allow convergence with the incoming LMDh regulations, as used by IMSA.
Compared to the outgoing LMP1 regulations, there have been significant changes as well. Diesel powered engines are now banned otherwise, engine design is free. This includes the option of using a Wankel rotary engine now being possible.
Hybrid systems meanwhile, are optional, with a maximum output of 200kW (268bhp) and All Wheel Drive allowed. Only the front axle can be powered in a prototype design but, if the manufacturer is producing a production-based vehicle, then the hybrid system has to be identical to the car it is based on.
Cars choosing to use hybrid technology will be subject to a “deployment threshold”. When on slick tyres, the hybrid motors cannot drive the car until it has reached a speed of 120kph (75mph). When on either intermediate or full wet weather tyres, this increases to between 140kph to 160kph (86mph-100mph).
This, in theory, should reduce the advantage the hybrid cars will have over non-hybrids, especially when leaving slow corners. However, it is yet to be seen if this will have an effect on how the different style of cars can get past the slower LMP2 and GTE traffic during a race.
As Toyota as proven this season, that is how they gained their advantage over their privateer competition, rather than raw lap pace.
Currently, there are 4 entries confirmed to the LMH regulations. Toyota and ByKolles will be joined by first time World Endurance Championship competitors Glickenhaus. While Peugeot will return to the championship in 2022 after an 11-year absence.
Aston Martin had initially been planning to enter the series with a car based on their Valkyrie hypercar. However, this operation was postponed soon after convergence was announced and planned to evaluate its options regarding a return to endurance racing.
With the brand now looking to make a full scale assault on Formula 1, it seems unlikely this project will get back under way.
All these changes will slow the cars down significantly when compared to the old LMP1 cars. The FIA and ACO had targeted a lap time of 3:30 around Le Mans, more than 15 seconds slower than the current qualifying lap record.
The trade off for this is that the regulations have been changed to mainly cut costs, meaning that there is renewed manufacturer interest. This is then coupled with the incoming convergence plans, which should only serve to increase competition in the premier class of endurance racing.
The 24-year-old became on Sunday the third-youngest driver to ever win a Cup Series championship. Elliott follows in the footsteps of his mentor Jeff Gordon, who was also 24 when he won his first title back in 1995.
Rapid rise to the top
Elliott’s rise to fame has been meteoric, becoming competitive immediately in his first full season in 2016, winning Rookie of the Year. Elliott quickly became the new face of the sport in the wake of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s retirement.
The Hendrick Motorsports #9 driver has won NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver award every year since Earnhardt Jr’s retirement and looks set to hold that honour for many more years to come.
Elliott’s season was one of frustration for much of the year. Whilst 5 wins and 15 top 5 finishes are stats of a worthy champion, his team missed out on another 5 victories through bad luck, misplaced strategy, or costly errors on pit road.
However, when it counted, Elliott was the man to beat in the playoffs. He recorded the best results of anyone through the final 10 races of the season. Elliot was always a factor for the win almost every week, before winning the final 2 races at Martinsville and Phoenix to win the “Championship 4” format.
The other 3 drivers featuring in the championship finale would all have been worthy champions themselves.
The Title Contenders
Denny Hamlin, one of the greatest drivers to never win a championship, had one of the best seasons of his career, and arguably was the second-best driver over the course of 2020.
7 wins and 18 top 5 finishes are stats worthy of a first title, but sadly Hamlin struggled in comparison to his Championship 4 rivals in Phoenix to finish 4th.
2018 Cup Champion Joey Logano had a relatively quiet season, but once again became a force in the Playoffs and came close to his second title. Logano picked up 2 wins in the first 4 races of the season but then went under the radar until the Playoffs, where a win at Kansas put him in the title showdown. Logano’s short-run pace on Sunday was strong, but he faded on the long final run to finish 3rd.
Brad Keselowski came close yet again to his second title, but ultimately came up short despite having searing pace on the long runs in Phoenix, finishing runner-up to Elliott.
The Team Penske driver was his usual ultra-consistent self, with an average finish of just 10.2 over the season. 4 wins and 13 top 5s however showed that he didn’t quite have the outright speed of some of his title rivals.
However, the strongest driver of all throughout the 2020 NASCAR season, didn’t even feature in the Championship 4!
Kevin Harvick had one of the best seasons of the modern era, picking up 9 wins, 20 top 5s and a stunning average finish of 7.3. Harvick should’ve gone on to the final showdown in Phoenix with a title shot, but for mediocre finishes in both Texas and Martinsville meaning that the Stewart-Haas driver missed out in the Round of 8 to Keselowski on points.
Highs and Lows
Harvick’s season was still less disappointing than defending champion Kyle Busch’s though. The favourite to retain his crown, Busch had one of the most difficult seasons of his career, threatening to go winless for the first time. A victory with just 3 races to go in Texas to kept his winning streak alive.
NASCAR’s points system has its critics, and undoubtedly the best driver over the whole season did not go on to win the championship. Everyone knows the game, though, and Chase Elliott peaked at the right time to take his first of perhaps many titles.
With Kyle Larson coming back from suspension to replace Jimmie Johnson as Elliott’s Hendrick teammate for 2021, alongside fellow promising young talents Alex Bowman and William Byron, the future seems particularly bright once again for Rick Hendrick’s Chevrolet squad.
Can Elliott follow in the footsteps of Johnson and Jeff Gordon to become another Hendrick legend? Only time will tell!
However, a newly-resurfaced track and wet weather threatened to throw a huge spanner Hamilton’s works. This is one of the best qualifying sessions we’ve ever seen!
We’ve got all the highlights from a wet and wild qualifying right here!
After a damp final practice, the rain intensified in Turkey ahead of qualifying. The track had a lack of grip after a recent resurfacing had took place and the wet surface exaserbated the issues.
Drivers took to the track with either the intermediate or full wet tyres. Nobody was able to get close to a two-minute lap time, with Esteban Ocon setting the early pace.
With the rain intensifying and drivers flying off the circuit, the session was stopped with just under seven minutes remaining. With less than two hours until sunset, talk was rife as to whether qualifying would be abandonned until tomorrow morning.
Just before 4pm local time, the green flags were out and the drivers tentatively trundled out of the pit lane. Drivers were still struggling, with Romain Grosjean being one of the first to spin off into the gravel, he finished P19.
The red flags were waved once again, just 3:30 on the clock now, which is enough for one flying lap, but that’s it. The track was faster though, Max Verstappen going over eight seconds clear at the top.
Nicholas Latifi also spun and couldn’t complete a lap. He was classified P20 but starts in P19 after George Russell incured an engine penalty. Russell was 18th, Daniil Kvyat 17th and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas ending up P16.
Hamilton and Perez survived by the skin of their teeth finishing P14 and 15, respectively.
Despite rumours that it wouldn’t start, the second qualifying session got underway. The track was still very wet, but Lando Norris was feeling brave and opted for intermediate tyres.
The gamble didn’t immediately pay off, as Norris had his time deleted for track limits, but he was quicker than the chasing pack.
It was Verstappen who was once again fastest, a 1:57.125 was the Red Bull’s opening gambit. The pace was picking up rapidly, the Red Bulls, Racing Points and Mercedes’ traded fastest laps.
Attention then turned to the drivers in the drop zone. With the Alfa Romeos going surprisingly quickly, the Ferraris, McLaren and Renaults were under threat.
AlphaTauri were fast in the dry, but this wet qualifying didn’t suit their car at all. Pierre Gasly lines up 15th. It was a very poor day for McLaren and Ferrari as well.
Norris (P11) and Carlos Sainz (P13) both failed to make the top ten shootout, as did Sebastian Vettel (P12) and Charles Leclerc (P14).
Intermediates were the order of the day now, but Max Verstappen was in another league to the competition on the wets. Sergio Perez would soon beat this lap time, but now all drivers were going for inters.
However, Verstappen couldn’t warm his tyres and ended up in second place. Lance Stroll set the pace and incredibly kept pole position, the first Canadian to start on pole since Jacques Villeneuve in 1997!
Perez ended up third for Racing Point’s best ever qualifying. Alex Albon produced a solid effort to be P4, with Ricciardo a respectable P5. Hamilton was sixth and Bottas ninth, the W11 didn’t suit the conditions today.
Raikkonen splitted the Mercedes in 8th and Giovinazzi rounded up the top ten. With a grid like this, we’re sure to be in for a lot of overtaking tomorrow!
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
NO Q3 TIME
Grid Talk Podcast
Want more reaction to the Turkish GP qualifying? Host Louis Edwards with panlestis Owain Medford, Rees Evans and Peter Mujuzi stared in Grid Talk’s Turkish GP Quali Analysis: