Race format shenanigans in Baku

Baku street circuit stats Azerbaijan GP

It’s finally race weekend!

It’s been almost 3 weeks since our last encounter. Hope you’re ready for some new shenanigans that F1 has prepared for this weekend.

With the drivers being on holiday, we thought we deserved one as well. One week of vacation and one other of getting back on track with the latest news & gossip in F1 and we’re ready to get things going again. See you in Baku this weekend for an amazing show.

In today’s email:

  1. Pit Lane Gossip – Detailed pit lane talks from the last few days
  2. The Science of Tire Strategy – get to know more about tire compounds and the strategies teams use to get the extra mile during a race.
  3. Fast Late News – Short news to get you up to speed with the latest F1 updates
  4. Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit – Race weekend schedule and a bit of history about the Baku circuit.

Let’s get going…

1. Pit Lane Gossip

⚫️🔴 F1 Sprint shakes things up, no longer affects Sunday’s grid positions!

In 2023, F1 has revealed the new F1 Sprint format, making it a standalone feature with no impact on the grid for the main event.

The Sprint Shootout will have shorter sessions, with new tires mandatory for each phase. Drivers can now push harder in the 100km race without risking their Sunday starting positions.

The points system remains the same, and penalties have been clarified for different sessions. In other news, the F1 Commission approved an increase in power unit elements for 2023, updated the definition of ‘working on a car’ during pit stop penalties, and excluded some ‘Sustainability Initiative Costs’ from the cost cap. – Read more

🏁🚦Baku’s street sprint: pedal to the metal or tread lightly?

With Baku hosting the first F1 sprint on a street circuit, drivers face increased accident risks as they’re encouraged to put on a show without jeopardizing their Sunday grid positions.

I’m nervous about a sprint in Baku because you just have not enough time to repair if you have major damage, because straight after the sprint you have the covers on, and in the morning you have only three, four hours to repair your car if it’s heavily damaged.

So there is a high risk with that exercise, but Baku it is not so difficult to overtake. If you take high risk in the corners then there is high risk obviously, but I think it will be a good show.

Mike Krack for Motorsport.com

The real challenge, however, is the trifecta of street races in nine days, culminating in the Miami GP.

Teams must strike a balance between having enough spare parts on hand and not wasting resources on soon-to-be-outdated tech, all while navigating the budget cap. It’s a high-speed game of risk and reward, and these racers are in it to win it! Read more

🏎️👨‍⚖️ Massa’s motto: “Better late than never!”

Felipe Massa gears up with a legal team to investigate a possible challenge to the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship outcome.

Sparked by recent comments from Bernie Ecclestone about the infamous ‘Crashgate’ at the Singapore Grand Prix, Massa is exploring if there’s any hope in altering history.

It seems the Brazilian racer isn’t ready to wave the checkered flag on this controversy just yet. – Read more

🎢🏎️ Silverstone goes “safety first” after Zhou’s wild rollercoaster ride!

In response to Zhou Guanyu’s jaw-dropping crash at the 2022 British Grand Prix, Silverstone Circuit revamped Turn 1’s run-off area for a smoother landing.

Pierre Gasly and George Russell’s bumper cars moment led to Zhou’s Alfa flipping and somersaulting before stopping on its side. Luckily, Zhou emerged unscathed, but Silverstone swapped the gravel trap for asphalt to avoid future drivers “digging in” and experiencing similar airborne adventures. – Read more

🏁 Monaco GP: Lights out or game over?

President Macron’s decision to raise the retirement age has fueled union ire, and they’re threatening to cut power during high-profile events like the Cannes Film Festival, Roland-Garros, and the Monaco Grand Prix. – Read more

2. The Science of Tire Strategy: A Gripping Tale of Formula 1 Rubber

From the tire compounds’ secrets to the strategies that make or break a race, we’re diving deep into the world of Formula 1 tire management. Plus, a little trip down memory lane with the history of tire providers. Buckle up and get ready for a wild ride!

The Formula 1 Tire Trinity: Soft, Medium, and Hard

It’s a case of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in the world of Formula 1 tire compounds. Let’s meet our squishy stars: Soft, Medium, and Hard.

Source: Pirelli.com


🔴 Soft Compound

Too hot to handle, too cold to hold. Soft tires are the speed demons of the bunch, offering maximum grip and performance. However, their rapid wear means they won’t be sticking around for long. These delicate darlings are best suited for short stints and qualifying laps.

🟡 Medium Compound

The perfect balance of grip and longevity. Medium tires provide a healthy compromise between performance and durability. They’re ideal for the main course of a race, allowing drivers to push without the fear of excessive tire wear.

⚪️ Hard Compound

Slow and steady wins the race. Hard tires prioritize endurance over outright speed, offering a more conservative approach to tire strategy. These bad boys can withstand the test of time, making them perfect for long runs or when tire degradation is a concern.

Strategic Decisions in Tire Management

The art of tire strategy is a high-stakes game of chess, where teams must balance risk, reward, and razor-thin margins to emerge victorious.

Knowing When to Call It Quits

Timing is everything. One of the most crucial aspects of tire strategy is deciding when to make a pit stop for a fresh set of rubber. Teams must weigh the benefits of increased grip against the time lost in the pits. It’s a delicate dance of risk assessment and foresight.

Playing the Weather Game

When it rains, it pours. Wet conditions throw a wrench in the tire strategy works, forcing teams to adapt on the fly. They must choose between Intermediate tires for damp surfaces or Full Wet tires for standing water, all while predicting the whims of Mother Nature.

Intermediate tires are designed to handle damp or partially wet conditions. Sporting a tread pattern that falls between the slicks used in dry conditions and the deep grooves of full wet tires, intermediates provide enough grip to tackle a slick surface without sacrificing too much performance. Timing the switch from dry to intermediate tires – or vice versa – is a crucial strategic decision that can make or break a race.

The Art of the Undercut

Teams play their cards close to their chest, but when a rival makes a pit stop, they face a critical decision: adapt their strategy or stick to the original plan.

Should a driver find themselves trapped behind a competitor, the team might choose an ‘undercut.’ This tactic involves pitting earlier than planned, then using fresh tires to clock faster laps, hoping to be ahead when the other driver stops. Breaking free into clean air is key.

On the flip side, if a rival pits but there’s still life left in the tires, a team could opt for an ‘overcut.’ In this scenario, the driver stays out, pushing the pace for a few extra laps, aiming to rejoin the race ahead of their rival after their own pit stop.

As these moves unfold, teams are constantly crunching numbers, predicting their car’s performance and that of their opponents.

However, even with all this foresight, unexpected events can throw a wrench in the works. A driver clipping a curb, a mechanic struggling with a wheel nut, or a sudden rain shower can change the race’s outcome in the blink of an eye.

The History of F1 Tire Providers

The Early Years: A Tire Turf War

Let the battles begin! In the early days of Formula 1, tire providers waged war for supremacy on the racetrack. The likes of Dunlop, Goodyear, and Firestone fought fiercely to claim their spot at the top of the podium.

F1 tyre suppliers historical
Source reddit.com

Bridgestone’s Reign of Rubber

One provider to rule them all. From 1998 to 2010, Bridgestone enjoyed a near-monopoly on the Formula 1 tire market, their rubber propelling the likes of Schumacher and Alonso to glory. However, all good things must come to an end, and Bridgestone eventually bowed out of the sport.

Pirelli: The Modern Masterminds

From the ashes, a new tire titan rises. Since 2011, Pirelli has been the exclusive tire provider for Formula 1, injecting fresh innovation and excitement into the sport.

With Pirelli’s arrival came a new approach to tire compounds and strategy, as the Italian manufacturer aimed to increase the number of pit stops and create more dynamic races. Their ever-evolving range of tire compounds, from Hypersoft to Superhard, keeps teams on their toes and fans on the edge of their seats.

The Future of Tire Strategy: A New Era Dawns

As Formula 1 hurtles towards the future, tire strategy and technology continue to evolve, pushing the boundaries of grip, speed, and sustainability.

Going Green: Sustainable Rubber Solutions

As the sport moves towards a more sustainable future, tire manufacturers are exploring new ways to produce environmentally-friendly rubber. From recycled materials to bio-based alternatives, the race for green tires is well and truly on.

The Great Tire Unknown: 2022 Regulations and Beyond

New rules, new challenges. With the introduction of the 2022 Formula 1 regulations, teams and tire providers faced a new era of uncertainty. Lower-profile tires, larger rims, and revised aerodynamics are set to shake up the tire strategy game, making for a gripping spectacle in the years to come.

The Tireless Pursuit of Perfection

The world of Formula 1 tire strategy is a thrilling blend of science, strategy, and split-second decisions, all playing out at breakneck speeds. As tire compounds evolve and the sport marches towards a sustainable future, one thing remains certain: the tireless pursuit of perfection will continue to drive teams, drivers, and manufacturers to push the limits of grip, speed, and ingenuity.

3. Fast Lane News

🤖🏎️ AI to Schumacher: “Hey, we never talked!”
Michael Schumacher’s family is revving up to take legal action against German magazine Die Aktuelle for running an AI-generated “exclusive interview” with the F1 icon, who’s been out of the public eye since a 2013 skiing accident. – Read more

🌴🏁 Spring break: the pit stop F1 fans never wanted!
Checking in with friends and family, watching other sports or building IKEA furniture – here’s what the 2023 F1 drivers have been up to since the Australian GP. – Read more

🟢 Aston Martin: Faster, funnier, but oh-so-frazzling!

With the team holding second in the constructors’ standings, Aston Martin’s Sporting Director, Andy Stevenson, admits it’s more enjoyable but also more challenging with a competitive car. Read more

🇺🇸💸 Long Beach GP: F1’s American cash cow?

With rumors of F1 potentially bidding on rights for the GP of Long Beach, some wonder if the sport is milking the American audience. – Read more

🔴 Steiner: F1 shouldn’t be “too draconian” with format changes Read more

🏎 Ferrari upgrades set to start arriving at Miami GP – Read more

⚫️ ‘The project has really taken off’ – Audi reveal plans to test new F1 engine by end of the year – Read more

🔴 Ferrari has had its petition for a right of review of Carlos Sainz’s penalty in the Australian Grand Prix dismissed by the stewards. – Read more

⚙️ F1 agrees to allow teams extra power unit elements without penalty in 2023 – Read More

🧰 A really in-depth article from Motorsport.com about the areas each team must address ahead of 2023 F1 development war – Read more

🚥 Formula 1 has formally abandoned plans to introduce LED wheel covers for 2024 following the latest meeting between series chiefs and teams. – Read more

4. Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit

🇦🇺 This weekend – 28 – 30 Apr.

Azerbaijan GP map


1️⃣ First GP in 2016
2️⃣ 20 corners, totalling 6km in length
3️⃣ Max speed: 360 km/h
4️⃣ 51 laps with total distance of 306km
Lap Record: 1:43.009 Charles Leclerc in 2019

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Winners

🔵 2017 – Daniel RicciardoRed Bull
⚫️ 2018 – Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
⚫️ 2019 – Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes
⛔️ 2020 – Not held due to COVID-19 pandemic
🔵 2021 – Sergio Pérez – Red Bull
🔵 2022 – Max Verstappen – Red Bull via @f1_charts

The Baku Azerbaijan Grand Prix has been vrooming through the streets of Baku since 2017, and it’s here to stay until at least 2024. The thrilling race takes place on the Baku City Circuit, the capital of Azerbaijan’s asphalt playground.

Before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the same circuit hosted the 2016 European Grand Prix. The race joined the ranks of street circuit champs like Singapore, Monaco, Australia, and Canada and Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull snatched the first win in 2017.

Despite being one of the least-attended races, it boasts the title of the “fastest street circuit in the world” with Hermann Tilke’s 6.003km design, coming second only to Spa Francorchamps.

Fun Baku facts to impress your pals: there’s never been a repeat winner, Charles Leclerc was the first to nab two pole positions in 2022, and Valtteri Bottas set an unofficial F1 speed record at 378 km/h in 2016!

The 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix made history with a Mexican, German, and French driver sharing the podium. And in 2022, Fernando Alonso set a new record for the longest F1 career! Baku’s clearly a place where records are made to be broken.

Azerbaijan GP Schedule 2023

Meme of the day

Fernando Alonso MEme