Discover insights, charts, and news following the United States GP and learn how a mere piece of wood wreaked havoc on the race results
Hey there, race engineer! 👋
A warm welcome to the 219 new faces who’ve accelerated into our newsletter this week. The tarmac’s hotter than ever, and we have some juicy tidbits to share.
🪵 Wood You Believe It?: How did a mere piece of wood snatch a podium and points from two unsuspecting drivers? Buckle up, as we break down this bizarre twist in the race.
🏁 Sprint Shuffle: There’s chatter in the paddock about tweaking the sprint race format to kick the excitement up a gear. Could we be on the verge of a game-changer?
🔴 Ferrari Fumbles: Ferrari has once again steered into the strategic error lane. Curious about the misstep? We’ve got the breakdown.
In today’s email:
- Speedy Race Review – Get the most recent data, graphs, insights, and updates following the US Grand Prix
- In-depth education- Women in F1: Drive to Equality
- Fast Lane News – Find your fast F1 update here
- The Mexico City GP – Check out the track
Lights out, and away we go!
Speedy Race Review
🏁 United States GP Highlights
🥇Max Verstappen secures his 50th victory, keeping just the right distance from Hamilton the entire time
❌ Lewis Hamilton (P2) & Charles Leclerc (P6) disqualified
🥉 Lando Norris grabbed third place, which then moved to second. However, they had some tire issues toward the end.
👏 Carlos Sainz was solid, finishing just a bit behind his ex-teammate and ahead of Perez. Perez showed a good pace in Texas!
🌟 Logan Sargeant scored his first F1 points, and Albon did great with a ninth-place finish.
🚀 Aston Martin’s speed was overshadowed as they had to start from the pit lane.
🟢 Lance Stroll matched Leclerc’s speed in his 2nd stint, even though he pitted 3 laps before. Plus, he caught up to Verstappen in the end.
📊 Deeper Dive into the Race
- Verstappen dominated in sector 1, with Hamilton close behind. Mercedes aimed to enhance the car’s high-speed performance with recent upgrades.
- Mercedes missed out on maximizing their W14 car’s potential for the second time.
- Verstappen stopped first, on lap 16, for new tires. Mercedes waited until lap 20 for Hamilton, causing him to lose his lead.
- Mercedes really nailed it on the Medium tires
- McLaren’s Hard tires and Ferrari’s Mediums wore out the quickest.
🔍 Team Comparisons
McLaren, Ferrari, and Aston Martin had similar race paces. Factors like strategies and updates played crucial roles in their performances.
Aston Martin showed promise, especially with Stroll matching Norris’s times.
The two-stop strategy was the top choice, but Ferrari and Leclerc went another route, which didn’t pan out.
Despite challenges, Leclerc managed the race well, showing growth for Ferrari. However, Ferrari couldn’t fully use their car’s potential.
🛑 F1 Plank Rule Trips Top Teams
Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc have been disqualified at the U.S. Grand Prix because of a rare plank rule violation. It’s been a long time since this rule has caught anyone out.
In F1’s history, there aren’t many instances where the car’s plank has worn down too much. But interestingly, both Mercedes and Ferrari faced this issue in the same race. Once the officials found the planks overly worn, both teams had to accept the decision.
Plank Rules Explained:
- Plank can only wear down by 1mm during the race.
- FIA checks wear at four specific holes.
- Hamilton and Leclerc’s cars had issues with the rear-most hole.
Why did this happen?
The cars were too close to the ground during the race, causing the planks to wear. Adjusting the car’s height, fuel loads, and even the use of DRS can influence this. During sprint races, teams have less time to adjust these settings. Also, conditions like wind and the track’s bumpy nature at Austin played a role.
All these factors contributed to Mercedes and Ferrari’s disqualification. With fewer practice sessions in the sprint format, it becomes challenging to get everything right. Looking ahead, teams might change their approach, especially on bumpy tracks. The recent events might also spark a debate on the rules for sprint weekends. – Read more
🔄 Big Changes Ahead of Sprint Races?
Qatar’s sprint race was pretty exciting, especially with Oscar Piastri winning and some close races happening thanks to the track layout. But Austin’s race? Not so much.
After the first lap, things got pretty dull. Verstappen took the win easily, with Hamilton and Leclerc trailing behind. Norris tried to catch up to Leclerc, but it was too little too late.
It seems like the success of these sprint races really depends on the track. Brazil’s been great for shorter races, but figuring out which other tracks are good for sprints has been hit or miss.
And while F1 is committed to keeping sprints in the championship longer term, sources have indicated that racing’s bosses are eyeing a bold shake-up.
What We’re Hearing
- Making the Saturday sprints their own separate championship. This means points from these races wouldn’t count for the main F1 title.
- Avoid situations like in Qatar, where the championship was decided during a sprint, not the main race.
- Bring in a sponsor to offer a huge cash prize for sprint winners – like $1 million.
- They could mix up the starting grid by either switching the positions of the top ten drivers or shuffling the entire lineup.
However, not everyone’s on board with these changes.
I’m conservative in racing. I’d rather have no sprint races than if you start to meddle. Even more with reverse grid races, we are going towards junior formulae where sport follows entertainment, while entertainment should follow sport.
💨Red Bull Halts Wind Tunnel Project
What We’re Hearing
The company initially estimated it would cost between 50 and 75 million euros to prepare the facility for its 2024 F1 car development. However, recent updates suggest that Red Bull has reconsidered.
Sam Collins, an F1 commentator, notes that this change means no construction will start soon.
It also means that any new wind tunnel for the team would not be much use on the 2025 car, and would be a push to realistically have it in use for much meaningful development on the Ford-powered 2026 car.
Adrian Newey had reservations from the beginning. In 2022, he expressed concerns about the time it would take to achieve the desired wind speed in the new tunnel. Instead, he favored focusing on CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) development, though not everyone agreed with his perspective.
Why It Matters
- Red Bull’s change in strategy could affect their competitive standing in F1 races.
- Delays or strategy shifts can impact performance in upcoming seasons.
- Possible internal disagreements on development methods might be surfacing.
- Newey’s preference for CFD over wind tunnel testing reveals a larger debate in racing methods.
🔴 Ferrari Makes Another Strategy Mistake
Charles Leclerc wasn’t too pleased after the US Grand Prix. Even though he started from pole, the team had him step aside for Carlos Sainz. Ferrari tried different plans for the two of them, but it didn’t work out. Both Sainz and Sergio Perez managed to overtake him later in the race. Many teams saw this wasn’t a good move and changed their plans mid-race.
After finishing in sixth place, Leclerc was disqualified, adding to his frustration. He had already expressed his disappointment with the one-stop strategy.
There was something wrong in our numbers today, because we were far off the ideal race strategy.
Considering Leclerc started in the lead, it’s puzzling why Ferrari chose a risky plan for him. The team principal, Frederic Vasseur, admitted they were unsure about the decision.
Probably the issue is that we didn’t have a clear picture about this before the race, we were a bit hesitating, and he was a bit hesitating into the first stint, pushing or not pushing. And we made a mistake. It was not very clear before the race, as you can imagine. We had the two options. In terms of numbers, it was very, very close.
Daniel Ricciardo’s Tough Return to F1
AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo doesn’t blame his recently healed hand for his challenging return to Formula 1 during the 2023 US Grand Prix. He finished 17th but moved up to 15th after Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc got disqualified.
This was his first race since August, after he had to take a break after breaking a bone in his hand during practice at Zandvoort. But Ricciardo believes it was more about his overall fitness than the hand. He even called the race a series of “misfortunes”.
The hand is no excuse. I think that was good. We did well with the timing of the return to have no hesitations or excuses. Physically, it’s definitely a tougher race. I still felt OK, we were just limited with damage.”
During the race, his car got damaged by debris, which affected its performance. He even thought of retiring the car. Plus, the timing of his first pitstop wasn’t great and landed him in traffic, which added to the challenges. – Read more
Women in F1: Drive to Equality
Formula 1 is mainly known as a guys’ sport. Even the Netflix F1 show, ‘Drive to Survive’’ barely had any women in it. A group called Females in Motorsport (FIM) pointed out that women appeared in just 1.5% of the show.
Still, women have raced in F1 before, and now the sport wants to get more women involved through different series that would lead to F1.
Just this weekend, Marta Garcia won the inaugural F1 Academy title after taking a thrilling victory in Race 1 at the Circuit of The Americas, and a month ago, Jessica Hawkins became the first woman to drive a modern F1 car in almost five years.
History Of Women in F1
Fast Lane News
💬 Max Verstappen reacts to fans booing him in Austin after his 50th Grand Prix victory. – Read more
🔝 Andretti Cadillac picks their top driver choice for Formula One in 2025. – Read more
🛣️ Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are urging for the Circuit of the Americas to be resurfaced before F1 comes back next season. – Read more
⚫ The young Mercedes driver is gearing up to join Formula 1’s main support series in 2024. – Read more
🔎 Martin Brundle thinks the FIA should’ve inspected the plank wear on every car at the US Grand Prix, especially after the disqualifications of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc. – Read more
🤝 A$AP Rocky has been appointed the Creative Director for PUMA and Formula 1’s collaboration. – Read more
😣 Helmut Marko criticized some Mexican fans for being ‘unsporting’ by booing Max Verstappen at the US Grand Prix podium ceremony. – Read more
🟠 McLaren nailed it again in Austin, especially after setting a world record in Qatar. – Read more
THE 2023 MEXICO CITY GP
🇲🇽 Scheduled 27-29 October
Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez – Mexico City
1️⃣ Circuit length: 4.304km
2️⃣ Number of laps: 71
3️⃣ Lap record: 1:17.774 Valtteri Bottas (2021)
4️⃣ Corners & DRS: 17 corners with 2 DRS zones