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Canadian GP 2024 Preview: Can Red Bull Rebound Against Surging Ferrari and McLaren?

As Red Bull looks to bounce back, Ferrari and McLaren aim to continue their impressive form at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

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Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren have each claimed a victory in the past three races, leading to a captivating championship battle. Despite Red Bull and Max Verstappen’s early-season lead, Charles Leclerc’s win at his home race in Monaco has narrowed the gap, making every race a must-watch for fans.

Know The Circuit

Circuit layout (Image credits Formula Media)

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a 4.361 km motor racing track situated on Notre Dame Island in Montreal. Known for its fast and low-downforce layout, the circuit is a favourite among drivers, despite the close barriers that have ensnared even the most experienced racers. The track features a series of heavy-braking chicanes and the renowned hairpin, challenging the brakes extensively. However, once out of the corners, the track transitions into a quick and flowing course.

One of the most iconic segments of the circuit is the Wall of Champions, located at the exit of the final chicane before the start/finish straight. Turns one and two, collectively forming an ‘S’ shape when viewed from above, are referred to as the Senna ‘S’. Another notable feature is the high-speed Pont de la Concorde corner (Turn 8), a ‘quick kink’ following the bridge underpass, leading into Turn 9 and the subsequent dash to the Hairpin curve.

The stop-start nature, with its heavy-braking chicanes and hairpin, would test the braking systems rigorously. Drivers would need to skillfully manage their brakes to avoid overheating while maintaining speed through the flowing sections. The quick kinks and fast corners demand impeccable aerodynamic balance and control.


Struggle for RedBull and Championship Battle

A true Red Bull weakness was brought to light 2 weeks ago during the Monaco GP where the car severely suffered from kerbs and uneven surfaces resulting in a P6 for Verstappen in both qualifying and race. As if this wasn’t enough setback, Checo was involved in a crash during the first lap of the race followed by a DNF and a red flag.

Monaco Grand Prix STOPPED by red flag after horrific first-lap crash tears  Sergio Perez's F1 car in half | The US Sun
Checo’s accident in Monaco

This was the second DNF for RedBull this season, earlier Verstappen also suffered one in Australia. Combined, this has truly threatened the position of team and driver in the constructors and driver championship tables respectively.

After the previous race weekend, Charles Leclerc has narrowed the gap down to 31 points which is still more than one race win but also not an unrealistic difference. Whereas the things are constructors are even more confined where Ferrari is behind RedBull by a mere gap of 24 points which could easily be overtaken this weekend.

The crash at Monaco has not only affected the positions but also would take away a big chunk from their development budget that would be required to cover the damage cost. Adding to this RedBull has already confirmed a grid penalty as they potentially had to replace the gearbox and PU.

Helmut Marko wrote on Speedweek that mid-season development at Milton Keynes will be compromised:

“Sergio Pérez had a costly crash on the first lap, which cost us between two and three million euros.

“This is of course a serious disadvantage due to the budget cap, as this kind of damage affects the development budget.”

The RB20 struggles with riding kerbs, a weakness that has become evident in a more competitive field. Canada’s circuit features numerous kerbs, and this combined with Red Bull’s significant damage expenses puts the Milton Keynes team at a disadvantage.

Speaking to the media, Verstappen has admitted it will not be an easy weekend:

“We have to wait and see, [there is a] new surface as well. I think that might always give you some surprises,” racingnews365 quotes him as saying.

“But it’s probably also not going to be our strongest weekend because of that. But probably a little bit better than here [in Monaco].”

Upgrades for Ferrari and Mclaren

“Let’s not draw too many conclusions from this weekend,” were the words of Fred Vasseur last race weekend. Canada is more of a “normal” circuit in contrast with Monaco but what the previous race highlighted was that Ferrari’s work in 676 projects is finally bearing fruit. The next round in Canada, therefore, is crucial to see more definitively if the SF-24 has improved aerodynamic load and efficiency.

Recently, Frédéric Vasseur spoke about a different approach his team had this season, focusing more on the race.

“This was the result of analysis from last season. In Qualifying, we were competitive. But then, on Sunday, we lost too many points. And that’s why we decided on this different approach this year.

It’s not just the setup that matters, but the team’s preparation for the entire weekend. They have slightly reduced the SF-24’s qualifying pace, but the results have justified the team’s strategy. At the same time, the team won’t be introducing any new upgrades this weekend followed by a rear wing configuration used at the start of the year.

Image credits: Formu1a.Uno

McLaren brought their upgrades 3 race weekends ago and since then has performed in all three weekends which included a win in Miami and a podium in Monaco and Imola. According to team principal Andrea Stella, this consistency is beyond what the engineers at Woking anticipated. Even though the car now feels more rounded off the weakness of the team still lies in slow turns.

“It seems that the picture of our competitiveness is finally starting to change, where slow speed no longer appears as a clear weakness.

“A situation that we have been able to change thanks to developments. I think it’s positive news.” – Andrea Stella

Are Mercedes Going in the Right Direction?

This is going to be an interesting weekend for the German team which has finally understood the car. Although Monte Carlo was a bittersweet weekend for the team they came close with McLaren and Ferrari in qualifying pace and also out-qualified Verstappen.

Despite this mixed bag of conclusions, Toto Wolff left the eighth round of the season with a positive outlook:


“Overall, we’ve had a positive weekend. We were much closer than we have been in Qualifying so far this year and showed good pace throughout the race,” he explained.

“The trajectory is going in the right direction. We’ve understood where we need to improve the balance car, and we’re bringing updates to enhance that.

Last time out in Monte Carlo, Lewis Hamilton said that teammate George Russell had an upgrade that was not yet available to him.

Toto Wolff has made clear that both drivers will have the latest version of the W15 in Canada:

Both drivers will have the new front wing, and there will be some other development items for this event.

“The new front wing offered a small lap-time gain around the tight streets of the principality and should offer greater benefit on upcoming circuits.

Aston Martin Chaos

Dan Fallows, Aston Martin’s technical director since 2021, is undeniably under immense pressure due to the concerning development of the team since 2023. The highly anticipated Imola upgrades showed promising results in the wind tunnel, but the actual on-track improvements were minimal. The car became unstable, occasionally undrivable, with a much narrower operating window than expected.

This situation has led Aston Martin to extend an offer to Ferrari’s current Technical Director, Enrico Cardile. Additionally, Lawrence Stroll remains determined to secure Adrian Newey’s expertise. Despite their initial contract in Saudi Arabia, Aston Martin’s efforts to recruit Newey have intensified, aiming to bring him on board after his tenure at Red Bull ends in 2025.

Drivers Market Turmoil

Ocon’s recent decision to leave Alpine by the end of this year has certainly created multiple shifts in the driver’s market. The incident which occurred during Ocon and Gasly during last race weekend certainly will be a highlight for the team thinking of bringing him on board. Sources say one of the top contends for that Alpine seat would be Jack Doohan who is said to be driving the car in FP1 of Canadian weekend.

Along with this the announcement of Checo renewing this contract for 2 more seasons has occurred as terrible news for Sainz as he was hoping to get that RedBull seat. This leaves him with Willaims, Sauber and Audi as potential options.

Yuki Tsunoda, a standout performer in F1 this year with notable speed and consistency, is drawing significant interest in the driver market. However, his chances of a promotion at Red Bull are slim, as team principal Christian Horner doesn’t consider him Red Bull material, a view that has gained more weight this year due to Horner’s increased influence over driver choices compared to Helmut Marko.

While Alpine is struggling, Haas lacks the resources, and Williams, despite its long-term potential, isn’t currently performing well, Tsunoda still has alternative opportunities. Other drivers like Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon are also available. Only time will reveal how the market evolves.

Weather Conditions

FRIDAY, JUNE 7 – FP1 AND FP2

Maximum temperature expected: 23 Celsius
Minimum temperature expected: 16 Celsius

SATURDAY, JUNE 8 – FP3 AND QUALIFYING

Maximum temperature expected: 19 Celsius
Minimum temperature expected: 17 Celsius

SUNDAY, MARCH 24 – RACE WEATHER

Maximum temperature expected: 20 Celsius
Minimum temperature expected: 15 Celsius

Weekend Schedule

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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.

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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