From carmaker alliances and a fresh team on the grid to last season’s top earner, dive into the F1 whirlwind that’s too thrilling to miss
Hey there, podium-sitter! 👋
If you’re among the many enthusiasts who’ve joined our pit crew recently, you’re in for a treat. Here’s the latest lap:
🚗 Manufacturer Mingle: Many car manufacturers are flirting closer to F1 teams these days. Curious about who’s cozying up? Let’s lift the hood and take a peek.
🚀 New Kid on the Grid: The FIA has given the green light to an 11th team on the grid! Stay in the fast lane as we uncover who’s joining the grid next.
💰 Cha-Ching on the Circuit: One team laughed all the way to the bank last year. Find out which crew had their cash registers ringing.
In today’s email:
- Pit Stop Talks – Box box for the latest news ahead of Qatar GP
- In-depth education- Lusail International Circuit: The Heartbeat of Qatar GP Races
- Fast Lane News – Rev up your engines and stay in the fast lane with our latest F1 news updates
- The Qatar GP – Only a few days to go!
Lights out, and away we go!
Pit Stop Talks
🟠 McLaren-Toyota Ties Fuel F1 Speculation
McLaren and Toyota seem to be getting chummier. There’s some buzz about Toyota possibly jumping back into F1, and recent moves suggest they’re tightening their relationship with McLaren.
What We’re Hearing
McLaren recently wrapped up a deal using Toyota’s wind tunnel. But instead of parting ways, they’re actually becoming more buddy-buddy. Just look at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix: McLaren shared they’ve recruited Toyota’s Ryo Hirakawa as a reserve driver for 2024. He’s also hopping onto McLaren’s simulator program and will test drive their 2021 car.
Hirakawa’s appointment raised some eyebrows as he wasn’t previously on F1’s radar. But with Toyota eager to strengthen ties with the F1 scene, it starts to make sense. Plus, Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda, hanging out with McLaren at the Grand Prix just added more fuel to the speculation fire.
McLaren says it’s all part of a grander plan with Toyota.
There was the element of, having started a driver development programme, there’s quite a lot of people knocking on the door. We actively chase talents, but we also have interest from other talents to join the programme, which is good. It shows that we have credibility from this point of view. So, we are certainly excited that Ryo and Toyota wanted to join the team in terms of the driver development programme.
While McLaren and Toyota seem to be drawing closer, any claims of Toyota making a surefire F1 return might be jumping the gun. Toyota’s Kazuki Nakajima clarified at the Japanese GP that the Hirakawa deal is purely about supporting the driver’s ambition. – Read more
🥨Track Block Twist at Qatar
Looks like the FIA’s found a new way to keep drivers in line at the Qatar Gp. They’ve put down concrete blocks to ensure drivers don’t cheat by going outside the track limits at the Lusail International Circuit.
- Lusail Circuit added blocks, around 1.5 x 2 meters, behind key corners to ensure drivers stay on course.
- FIA wanted all gravel for run-offs.
- MotoGP suggested asphalt strips before the gravel.
- The track decided to side with MotoGP’s idea, and add concrete blocks specifically for the F1 race.
Ready to make everyone green with envy in Aston Martin gear, or maybe channel some Scuderia charisma a la Carlos Sainz?
Whatever your allegiance, the F1 Store is your pit stop for authentic merchandise that covers you from front wing to rear spoiler.
🏎️FIA pushes Andretti to F1
After months of digging deep, the FIA has said “Yes!” to Andretti Formula Racing joining Formula 1. But hold on – Andretti still needs to shake hands on a deal with FOM (Formula One Management) before they officially become the 11th F1 team.
What We’re Hearing
- Andretti made it to the last round of the selection process, thanks to the FIA giving them the thumbs up. However, that doesn’t mean they’re a shoo-in just yet.
- F1’s CEO, Stefano Domenicali, was always of the opinion that new teams should bring something better to the table. So, Andretti better bring their A-game.
- F1’s playing it cool for now, saying they’ll review Andretti’s bid independently.
Why It Matters:
📈 Growth and Competition: The FIA’s nod for Andretti to potentially join Formula 1 showcases the sport’s growth and the increasing interest from established racing names.
💰 Financial Implications: A $200 million entry fee for new teams highlights the financial barriers in F1 and how existing teams benefit. With F1’s rising popularity, there’s a debate on whether this fee should be even higher.
🦅American Presence in F1: With Cadillac backing Andretti, an added American flavor could be introduced to F1, potentially increasing its fanbase in the U.S.
🧐 The FIA vs. FOM Perspective: While the FIA, led by Mohammed Ben Sulayem, seems keen on welcoming an 11th team, FOM’s Stefano Domenicali is playing it safe. They want a team that not only competes but adds substantial value to the championship.
🤑Technical and Financial Backing: Andretti isn’t just a name; they’ve got the technical expertise and potential sponsors like Gainbridge lined up, which showcases their readiness for the big league.
🛣️ The Path Ahead: Striking a deal with FOM won’t be a walk in the park for Andretti, given the interests of existing teams. If things go south, there are murmurs about potential legal battles on the horizon.
🤯 Shock Value: If Andretti’s entry is fast-tracked, it would be one of the most surprising moves in F1, comparable to Nico Rosberg’s sudden retirement announcement.
🚪Honda Revs Up for F1 Reentry
Honda’s returning to Formula 1 when the 2026 engine rules kick in. Honda took a break from F1 after some tough times, including a rocky partnership with McLaren. They finally tasted victory with Red Bull in 2019 and even bagged a title in 2021. Yet, they decided to pull out by the end of that year.
But they realized they were missing the thrill! They paired up with Red Bull again and achieved some impressive wins between 2022 and 2023.
Why It Matters:
Honda, a major player in the Formula 1 scene, is making a return, signaling big changes and potential shake-ups in the racing arena. Their comeback in 2026, coinciding with significant engine regulation changes, will surely make waves.
They’ll supply Red Bull until 2025, and then they’re teaming up with Aston Martin in 2026. That year’s also bringing in some big regulation changes, like more electric power and using 100% sustainable fuels.
After they left in 2021, they moved a bunch of their staff around. Now, they’re kinda scrambling to get back their F1 team strength.
For 2026, they must master the new electric tech, figure out sustainable fuel combustion, and beef up their team.
We have a bigger electricity technique [in 2026] and also we have to find a good combustion solution with sustainable fuel. We [also] have to solve our lack of resources problem. That is a big challenge for us.
Honda’s not entirely starting from scratch. They’ve retained many of their key personnel, some of whom recently appeared at the Suzuka race. Kakuda remains optimistic, emphasizing that Honda’s past experience and dedicated team will be their strength moving forward. – Read more
💰 Alpine F1 Scores Big in 2022
Alpine F1 team made a £26.2m profit in 2022. They did a good job keeping costs down while their income kept rising.
Here are a couple of things that helped them out:
- BWT came onboard as a new title sponsor. Plus, finishing fourth in the championship got them some sweet prize money.
- Their income jumped by 23.6%, going from £201.5m in 2021 to £249m in 2022.
- Their spending went up, but not as fast as their earnings. They spent 21.6% more on things like operations, which amounted to about £170.4m.
Thanks to financial regulations and smart spending, the team’s operating profit was £36.6m. However, after taxes, that number dropped to £26.2m. For context, this is slightly less than what they earned the previous year.
Fun fact: Renault, which used to chip in more for marketing, reduced its contribution. But it’s okay since Alpine found other ways to make money.
On the staffing front, Alpine expanded its team from 820 in 2021 to 871 in 2022. But, most of the new hires were in admin roles, with only 14 more people in engineering and production.
Comparatively, Aston Martin, Alpine’s track rival, had just 504 folks in 2022. But it makes sense since they buy much of their stuff from Mercedes, so they don’t need as many hands on deck. – Read more
🔀Major Driver Shuffle Expected in 2025
Formula 1 driver lineup could see much shuffling for the 2025 season.
Why? Well, most of the drivers haven’t signed contracts beyond 2024, so there could be a ton of movement.
And, looking a bit further, everyone’s got their eyes on the 2026 season, too. Big rule changes are coming, especially around the engines. It’s the most significant shake-up since they brought in the turbo-hybrid engines in 2014.
⚫ Steiner Hints at Haas’s Car Revamp
Guenther Steiner, the Haas Team Principal, has shared his thoughts on the upcoming 2024 car. They will introduce a new concept for this car at the United States Grand Prix.
The current car, the VF-23, hasn’t been great. It’s had major tire wear issues, and Kevin Magnussen even said it’s one of the worst F1 cars he’s driven. In response, Haas is planning a shift to a design inspired by Red Bull. Fans will get a peek at this new design during their home race in Austin from October 20-22.
Interestingly, Haas stopped updating the current car mid-season. They realized they had some fundamental issues with its design.
Steiner is optimistic but cautious about the new car. – Read more
“I don’t know yet exactly what to expect. I would expect that you get better performance, but the main thing is to see what we do next. Next year’s car is a complete change in concept. With this year’s car we couldn’t do a compete change because there is some restrictions we have got, like the radiators and side-impact structure.
Lusail International Circuit: The Heartbeat of Qatar GP Races
The Qatar GP is a fresh face on the F1 scene, taking the action to the Middle East. Racing at the Lusail International Circuit is something else – it’s fast, it’s at night, and it’s different. Even though it’s new to the F1 world, it’s bound to give us some epic races in the future.
They’ve signed up for 10 years, so prepare for a decade of awesome night races. As everyone figures out the ins and outs of this track, it’s set to become a must-watch every F1 season.
Fast Lane News
🟢 Stoffel Vandoorne wants to keep his backup spot with Aston Martin in Formula 1 for 2024, even though he’s added a Peugeot WEC gig to his packed calendar. – Read more
♻️Singapore is leading the way in making F1 night races eco-friendly. – Read more
✋The Mexico City GP organizers started a campaign against disrespect and intolerance in the Formula 1 community. – Read more
⚫Russell explains why he’s had some big crashes in Formula 1. – Read more
🏟️ F1 fans share their thoughts on adding an 11th team to the grid. – Read more
🏎️Mick Schumacher advised to reconsider Alpine move and make the most of his F1 opportunity. – Read more
THE 2023 QATAR GP
🇶🇦 Scheduled 6-8 October
Lusail International Circuit
1️⃣ Circuit length: 5.418km
2️⃣ Number of laps: 57
3️⃣ Lap record: /
4️⃣ Corners & DRS: 16 corners with 1 DRS zone