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Formula 1

Austrian GP: Last 20 Laps of Chaos, What Happened?

Here’s a deep dive into what transpired during the Max vs Lando collision and the events that followed.

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Drama ensued in the Austrian GP as the Championship leaders — Verstappen and Norris collided during the final laps of the Austrian Grand Prix. Here’s a deep dive into what transpired in the collision and the following events.

Read the full Austrian GP review here.

Sprint Race

The Sprint Race on Saturday, although brief, also provided exciting action between Verstappen and Norris. As the lights went out, Verstappen had a great start. On the other hand, Norris didn’t do too badly either as he managed to retain his starting position. He was also under pressure from his teammate, Piastri got away brilliantly as the lights went out.

Norris followed Verstappen brilliantly and kept the gap within 1 second to use the DRS. But it wasn’t until Lap 5 that Norris made a move against Verstappen. He braked late in Turn 3 to claim the lead of the race. But the joy didn’t last long as Norris locked up deep into Turn 4 and conceded the lead to Verstappen once again. Piastri who was very quick to react and overtook Norris to claim second place behind Verstappen.

Verstappen kept his lead for the remaining laps and finished ahead of the two Mclarens of Piastri and Norris, respectively to clinch the Sprint Race victory.

For the race on Sunday, Verstappen snatched the Pole Position as Norris qualified right behind him at P2. Close battles throughout the weekend meant that a tough fight for the win was very much on the cards.

Race Day

The lights went out for the 11th time this season as cars went racing again in the streets of Austria. Both Verstappen and Norris were on similar strategies. The Red Bull driver had a splendid start. He quickly made up ground against Norris and kept him out of the DRS zone. Meanwhile, Norris had to defend from the fast approaching Mercedes of George Russell. Norris did well and held his ground at P2.

By the time 1st series of pit stops came, the gap between the top two cars was around 7 seconds. Both, Verstappen and Norris pitted on the same lap for the same tyres and a clean pit stop for both meant that the gap remained same. Incidentally, Verstappen was under investigation by the stewards as he made an unsafe release on Norris but there wasn’t any action taken.

Max complained repeatedly on the radio about the lack of grip on the Hard tyres but the margin didn’t change drastically and the Dutchman led comfortably. Things spiced up on Lap 52 as the 2nd series of pit stops came because Verstappen had a disastrous pit stop with his car being stationary for 6.5 seconds. Another clean pit stop for Norris meant that the gap was now under a couple of seconds.

A lockup on the out-lap at Turn 4 added to Verstappen’s worries. Norris quickly cleared the backmarkers and by Lap 54, he was within the 1-second gap to gain the advantage of DRS. On Lap 55, when Lando tried for a move at Turn 3, he was blocked off by the Red Bull. Norris came on the radio and accused the Dutch driver of moving repeatedly in the braking zone.

The Briton followed Verstappen closely by using the DRS for the next few laps but regrettably for him he was shown a black and white flag for track limits violation. This meant that another violation would see him suffer a 5-second time penalty.

On Lap 59, Norris made a move down the inside of Verstappen at Turn 3 but locked up and went slightly off the track. Max retained the lead and called out Norris on the radio for the same. Whereas, Norris again accused Verstappen of moving dangerously in the braking zone.

After another few laps of close racing, on Lap 64, Norris again made a move at Turn 3, trying to go around the outside of Verstappen but touched the back of his car which caused a left rear puncture for Verstappen and a right rear puncture for Norris. But the damage to the Mclaren was more than just a puncture.

Norris somehow managed to drag his car back to the pits where he had to retire. Meanwhile, Verstappen pitted for a new set of Softs and joined the race at P5. Even though, Verstappen was hit with a 10 second time penalty there was no change in his final position as he retained P5.

Post-Race

Disappointed after the race, Norris said,

“I don’t know what I’m meant to say. I did all I could, I gave a fair, respectful, on-the-edge battle, but that’s not what I got in return.”

Reflecting upon the incident, the defending Champion said,

“I think it’s just better to look back at the footage of what exactly went wrong, because it was a bit of, I would say, an awkward angle that we touched, something that was very weird. Also for both of us that we had a puncture with it, it was really bad.”

Both Norris and Verstappen are known to have a really good relationship and camaraderie off the track as the latter has often claimed Norris to be his best mate among the drivers.

Norris, when asked about what his equation will be with Verstappen, remarked,

“If he says he did nothing wrong then, I’ll lose a lot of respect for that and if he admits to being a bit stupid and running into me, then I’d have a small amount of respect.”

With Mclaren looking more and more stronger, the championship race for Constructors as well as Drivers intensifies. Norris and Mclaren would look to bounce back at their home race in Silverstone next week and give another tough fight to Red Bull.

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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.

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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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