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Formula 1

Austrian GP: Can Red Bull Maintain Dominance?

Formula 1 goes to the Red Bull Racing’s home turf. Can the Austrian team maintain their form and take another win?

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The final week of June has brought yet another Grand Prix weekend in the world of Formula One. The triple header offers fans a perfect reason to stay indoors during the monsoons. After an amazing Spanish Grand Prix, the Austrian Grand Prix stands to provide more entertainment in an already entertaining championship. As McLaren and Lando Norris inch closer to the top while the Ferraris face their own fallout, the championship is heating up. So let’s get into what stories might take shape at the Red Bull Ring.

KNOW THE CIRCUIT

The Austrian Grand Prix will be held at the Red Bull Ring. A simple yet challenging circuit. The Red Bull Ring is a 4.318 km long FIA grade 1 race circuit. Home to the Austrian GP for F1 and MotoGP and briefly to the Styrian Grand Prix during the 2020-21 F1 season. With the race competed over 71 laps or 306 km, the circuit consists 10 corners and 3 DRS zones. A fairly short and simple track with the lap record held by Carlos Sainz Jr with a 1:05.619.

The defining feature of this beautiful track is the Bull sculpture looking over the track at turns 6 and 7. The track is home to the Red Bull Formula One team as Dietrich Mateschitz (co-founder of Red Bull) himself bought the track and renovated it after it was left unused for many years.

With a track having fast straights & heavy braking zones, action will be inevitable. Teams are now inching closer to being the best which will give Red Bull a good run for their money on home turf.

Read more about the Red Bull Ring

TEAM PERFORMANCES

The Spanish Grand Prix showed us that Red Bulls aren’t the strongest of the pack anymore. Let’s look at Qualifying itself. Lando Norris qualified on pole with a margin of two-hundredths of a second. It might not seem like much at first, but considering the RB20 was the fastest car at the season’s start, this is a big leap in performance for the Woking outfit. The Papaya team has finished on the podium and collected a good points haul in the past six races.

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The same can’t be said by for Ferrari and Mercedes. With the latter suffering from performance issues and the former suffering from one-up-ism. With Red Bull being the benchmark for all the teams, the Mercs have had a huge gap to fill. The 8x WCC winners have fallen short since their last championship campaign back in 2021. The German outfit has lacked performance since the new regulations came in place. Forcing the team to settle for points and finishing in the middle order of the pack. But Spain was a positive weekend for the team. The Mercedes duo locked out the second row for the race in qualifying. They finished in the same order with Lewis Hamilton scoring a podium for the team.

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The team tinted in red has its own power struggles with the drivers. On one hand, Charles Leclerc proved to be a worthy adversary on track after his podium spells and enthralling win in Monaco. On the other, the exiting Carlos Sainz Jr has a lot to show to other teams as evidence of his existence on the grid. With these two forces in the same team, clashes are bound to happen and one of them just occurred last weekend. Both drivers commented in the post-race interview and many speculate that there are many more clashes on their way as the season progresses.

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The Alpines and Astons have been polar opposites to each other. The Frenchmen have scored double points for two race weekends in a row and showed somewhat consistent performances. The Astons meanwhile have fallen off the order, placing lower than what they used to.

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TRACK LIMITS SITUATION

The Track Limits Fiasco from last year has also been taken into account by the FIA and changes have been made respectively. For those in the dark about the track limits situation, many drivers exceeded track limits last year which caused chaos for race control and the stewards. Sergio Perez’s lap in qualifying last year sealed the deal for him in Q3, but exceeding track limits nullified his efforts, resulting in him being knocked out in Q2.

By adding gravel traps to Turn 9 and 10 and embedding additional cameras and sensors on the track to monitor drivers, officials will significantly reduce the chances of drivers gaining an advantage, thereby improving the race’s quality.

DRIVER MARKET AND TEAM SWITCH-UPS

Carlos Sainz has still shown uncertainty in his decision to move to a new team. William Or Sauber/Audi could be his main target but Alpine seems to be a viable option considering the heavy changes occurring within the French team’s Management. Speaking of Alpine, Flavio Briatore is back on the team as an Executive Advisor. The Renault CEO, Luca de Meo, has appointed the former team principal to rejoin. This will be Briatore’s return to Formula One after his infamous Crashgate scandal at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

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The FIA has lowered the age limit for new entrants in Formula One. They have reduced the age limit to 17 years. This could lead to teams scouting for young guns to hop into their cars to score points and give them experience for better driving in the future. The most exciting prospect in this scenario is Mercedes and Kimi Antonelli. After Lewis Hamilton exits the team, the German team will be scouting for young blood. they have specifically been eyeing Kimi for a while and even issued a request to reduce the age limit to help Kimi seal a contract with them. This could lead to a new face on the grid, come 2025 or even later.

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Schedule and Where To Watch

This race weekend is a sprint weekend, allowing drivers to score extra points in an additional shorter race on Saturday. With all the frontrunners “closer than ever before,” we could see an exciting battle for valuable points this weekend. You can watch all the sessions live on F1TV or Fancode.

Formula 1

A Three way Battle in Budapest: The 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview.

Formula One returns to the historic Hungaroring, a tight twisty and unpredictable race track. Read DRC’s race preview here.

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As Red-Bull and Mclaren pull away from the field, Mercedes joins the party. With three race winning cars on track, all three will look to bag good points, while Ferrari will be hopeful for a better result. Welcome to DRC’s F1 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview.

Read the British Grand Prix Review here.


Know the Hungaroring

The tight and twisty Hungaroring track is located in Mogyorod, 11 miles west of the Hungarian capital, Budapest. Described as an enlarged go-kart circuit, it is one of the most technically challenging circuits on the calendar.

The Hungaroring Circuit.
The Hungaroring circuit. Photo credits: F1

The 14 corner track is also called Monaco without the walls, owing to it’s high downforce requirements. Even though overtaking is very difficult here, the track has undergone only one major revision, which was in 2003. The main straight was extended another 200 meters to make it 900m long, and the first corner was tightened to promote overtaking.

The track contains two back-to-back DRS zones, followed by a technical middle sector full of chicanes and esses. The final sector is a short one, only featuring two hairpins that feed back into the main straight. A good middle sector is crucial here.

Historically, Hungary has been a circuit full of firsts. It was the first and only circuit to host a race beyond the Iron Curtian. It is also famous for giving drivers their first wins. Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen and most recently, Esteban Ocon have taken their first wins here. Max Verstappen took his first pole back in 2019 at the Hungaroring too.

The 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix will consist of 70 laps around this 4.381 kilometer circuit, with a two stop strategy as the norm.


Red Bull look to fight back blow for blow

Over the last few races, Red Bull has fallen off the pace and is slowly falling into the clutches of McLaren, and even Ferrari. Right now, Red Bull lead Ferrari by 71 points, closely followed by McLaren. With both McLaren cars consistently finishing in the top 5 in the last races bar Norris’s retirement in Austria, and Checo only scoring 8 points in the last five races, it has become difficult for Max and Red Bull to outscore the Papaya clad team.

McLaren’s last upgrade has significantly improved their performance, while Red Bull is still struggling to find and mend the issues with the RB20. Verstappen recently tested the RB18 at Imola, in an attempt to figure out the problem with the new car. As Red Bull work hard to rectify their problems, McLaren seems to be getting better and better. And now with Mercedes back in the fray, a new challenger is rising to take their throne.

Max Verstappen testing the RB18 at Imola.
Max Tests the RB18 in Imola. Image cradits: Autosport

Another factor is the two on one that Max has to face. With Checo qualifying poorly, Max has to take on the McLaren, and sometimes the Mercedes pair alone. Two cars in the mix would greatly help Red Bull, and Checo will be motivated to improve his Qualifying and Race records.


Mercedes on the up as Hamilton eyes another record

The Hungaroring has always been kind to Mercedes. They have the most wins here in the Turbo-Hybrid era. Russell and Hamilton snatched pole here in 2022 and 2023 respectively. Hamilton has also won eight races here, and his first victory with Mercedes came here in 2013.

Mercedes usually nail the set-up here. With the team riding high after back-to-back victories in Austria and Silverstone, they would love to go for a treble. Lewis Hamilton will also eye a record equaling nine victories. After his win in Silverstone, he now holds the record for most wins at a single circuit with 9.

George Russell also has a fantastic track record here, finishing in the points every year since 2021, where he came eight for a struggling Williams. A podium and a top 5 finish followed in 2022 and 2023.

Mercedes will want to secure a large bag of points here, to reduce the 152 points defecit they have to the leaders Red Bull and to catch up with McLaren and Ferrari.


A Ferrari Renaissance on the Horizon?

Ferrari seems to have dropped off after their excellent performances in Melbourne and Monaco. This year, Ferrari seem to be a heavily down-force reliant car, with podiums for Charles and Carlos in Sakhir, Jeddhah, Melbourne and Suzuka, all tracks which require downforce. Of course their victories on the streets of Melbourne and Monte-Carlo confirms this.

Charles Leclerc Wins in Monaco.
Ferrari have dominated the Downforce heavy circuits. Image Credit: Anonymous

Their struggles at the more balanced tracks of Canada and Barcelona, along with power heavy tracks like Austria and Silverstone have cost them dearly. It is also evident that the Ferrari is one of the more draggy cars on the straights and struggle with straight line speed.

As the Hungaroring is a heavy-downforce track, it seems like Ferrari have a shot at victory here. This might be one of the few chances for them to get points during the European Leg of the season, along with Zandvoort and Baku. Consequently, Ferrari have bought new floor upgrades to make most of this valuable chance. A huge points haul in the Hungarian Grand Prix will solidify their chances against McLaren, Red Bull and even Mercedes who look threatening.


Dark Clouds loom over the race

An alarming video was shared by Mikey Brown, a mechanic at Aston Martin, shows the Pitlane flooding in what he described as “a HUGE storm” . McLaren, having barely repaired their motorhome in time for the British GP after the fire in Catalunya, have suffered another issue. The repaired motorhome has lost it’s roof multiple times over this week, thanks to the speedy winds.

Even though Meteorologists predict a dry weekend, a small rain shower, combined with the high humidity in Hungary this time of year can put the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend in doubt.


Championship Standings

This is how the championship looks as we head into the race weekend:

The 2024 Formula One world championship standings as of 18/07/2024.
Credits: F1

Race Weekend Schedule

All events during the weekend are available to watch on F1TV and Fancode. The times given below are in IST(GMT +5:30).

DRC's Hungarian Grand Prix Race weekend schedule.

Follow Desi Racing Co to keep up to date with the speedy world of motorsports.

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Formula 1

Toyota rumoured to partner with Haas in an exhilarating return to F1

Toyota rumoured to partner with Haas to back a sensational return to F1.

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As the F1 silly season continues, a rather surprising bit of rumour is that the world’s largest automaker, Toyota, is set to return to the F1 grid as early as 2025 with the Haas F1 team.

Credits: Haas F1 team

The partnership is said to start out with a sponsorship deal, possibly with a renaming on the cards. A deal akin to that of Alfa Romeo and Sauber. With the possibility of a future technical partnership on the chassis/engine development. Toyota will likely join Dallara in assisting Haas for the chassis. Other talks suggest that Haas will use Toyota’s facilities for development and manufacturing. While this means Toyota won’t be directly involved in the construction of the F1 car, it means Haas gets a huge boost in infrastructure, experience, etc; and Toyota gets a new source of income.

Toyota’s history in F1

The Japanese manufacturer has seen immense success in WEC, taking 5 consecutive 24 hours of Le Mans victories from 2018 to 2022 and WRC, clinching the manufacturers’ championship in 2018, 2021, and 2022, and the championship for drivers and co-drivers every year since 2019. It wasn’t so for its time in F1, or at least according to Toyota’s standards and ambition.

Credits: Toyota-europe.com

Toyota made their debut F1 in 2002. The team scored 17 podiums, and 3 pole positions but never achieved a victory. Only securing 2nd place as their best finish till they dropped out of the sport in 2009, midway through the development of the 2010 car.

What does this mean for Haas, Toyota, and F1?

Toyota’s failure was blamed on a lot of factors, this deal gave the Japanese manufacturer a second chance to right their wrongs. Haas has been on a consistent upward trajectory throughout the 2024 season. With Nico Hulkenberg scoring back-to-back P6 finishes at the Austrian and British GP, and Kevin Magnussen backing that up with commendable performances. The deal could help Haas gain the brute force of employees, resources & financial aid. Something that they have been lacking to make a meaningful impact in the sport.

F1 would most certainly benefit from having a Japanese Manufacturer in the sport. The Japanese GP attendance and the growing popularity of F1 have been steadily increasing in the country. Toyota’s return could also provide F1 with a boost to their competitiveness and financial gains.

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Formula 1

GIFT City’s Formula 1 Racetrack Plans Hit a Roadblock

GIFT City’s ambitious plan to build a Formula 1 racetrack has stalled due to structural issues and high costs, sources reveal. Initially flagged off with a feasibility study, the project now faces uncertainties.

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Gujarat’s GIFT City’s ambitious plan to build a racetrack for holding Formula 1 (F1) races has come to a grinding halt just four months after initiating a feasibility study and selecting consultants, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Earlier this year, on March 11, the Gujarat Sports Authority announced that top international F1 racetrack designers were invited to present the feasibility of constructing an F1 racetrack at GIFT City. The project saw intense competition among global designers, with the consortium of renowned German designer Hermann Tilke and India’s Arcop architects emerging as the frontrunner for the feasibility study.

GIFT City (Photo: Amit Dave/Reuters)

However, GIFT City’s plan has been halted, insiders revealed. “Designers had given feedback that given the layout of GIFT City, it may be difficult to build a racetrack that conforms to F1 standards due to structural issues,” said one source.

The financial implications also pose a significant hurdle. Estimates place the cost of building such a racetrack between Rs 5,000 and 10,000 crore.

R.S. Ninama, Director General of the Gujarat Sports Authority, and Hermann Tilke have not responded to inquiries from ET. Another source indicated that the project might be integrated into a larger plan for developing infrastructure for the Olympics. “So, you may get a racetrack, but not one that can host F1 races,” the source added.

GIFT City, located in Gandhinagar, has been developed as a financial hub. The city is aimed at attracting international businesses with various tax incentives. The government is focusing on enhancing the city’s livability by developing entertainment and leisure infrastructure. Notable projects include an underwater aquarium, water sports facilities, and a retail zone featuring a 158-meter-high Ferris wheel.

This story has been derived from a story reported by Economic Times.

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