Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Monaco, 2021

More points possible for Alfa Romeo in “chaotic” Baku race – Vasseur

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In the round-up: Alfa Romeo team principal and CEO Frederic Vasseur says that the possibilities of a “chaotic” race in Baku, combined with the city sector that may suit their car, could give his team opportunities this weekend.

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In brief

Vasseur: Baku chaos could give Alfa Romeo opportunities

“We showed that on this kind of layout we are performing” said Vasseur after Antonio Giovinazzi scored their first point of the season in Monaco. He is hoping for more of the same in Baku.

“Probably it will be the same as Azerbaijan. But in Azerbaijan you have two different parts of the track.

“Like Macau, you have the city and the philosophy of this part of the track is quite close to Monaco. Then you have the 2.5 kilometres of straight line and this will be probably a bit more difficult. But it is like it is.

“We scored one point, I think it’s good also for the confidence of Antonio, of the team that okay, we are improving step by step, weekend after weekend. And this is the most important for me.

“But Azerbaijan, we all know that the race is a bit chaotic. We will have probably all the opportunities in Azerbaijan and we have to do the job to be in front of the other cars. Let’s see what happens.”

Hamilton speaks up for Osaka

Comment: Hamilton, Osaka and a tough question about sporting press conferences
Lewis Hamilton has come to the defence of Naomi Osaka following the tennis ace’s decision to withdraw from the Roland Garros French Open tennis tournament, having refused to participate in press conferences which she described as damaging to her mental health.

The F1 champion shared her statement announcing her withdrawal, saying it was prompted by her experience of suffering “long bouts of depression” after the 2018 US Open, and that press appearances caused her “huge waves of anxiety”.

“Mental health is not a joke, this is real and serious,” Hamilton wrote. “This takes a lot of courage to do. Let’s all make sure Naomi knows she’s not alone. Today is a good day to check and ask your friends and loved ones how they are doing and let them know they are not alone.”

Wolff: Junior series must become more affordable

Junior series such as F2 require substantial budgets
After Hamilton accused F1 of having become a club of billionaires’ sons, Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff said junior series must become cheaper so more talent can be showcased to top teams.

“Drivers have always come from different backgrounds. Everyone has his story and his things to cope [with] and I doubt that the adults, the kids from a more privileged background have had it easy all the time, they are fighting their own demons.

“In that respect, I think what we can do is make sure that grassroots racing becomes more affordable. So kids that haven’t got any financial background can actually be successful in the junior formulas.

“So all the big teams and big Formula 1 teams are able to identify those kids rather than making it so expensive that a good go karting season costs you 250,000 and an F4 season 500,000 and an F3 season one million. That is a total absurdity, which needs to stop. Because we want to have access, I think we need to give access to kids that are interested in go karting the opportunity to race for much more affordable budgets.”

Mercedes announced the newest addition to its junior driver programme yesterday, 13-year-old Chinese kart racer Yuanpu Cui.

PlayStation 4 will get Gran Turismo 7

The next edition of PlayStation-exclusive race franchise Gran Turismo will be released for the previous generation of the console as well as the new PS5. “Where it makes sense to develop a title for both PS4 and PS5 — for Horizon Forbidden West, the next God of War, GT7 — we’ll continue looking at that,” said head of PlayStation Studios Hermen Hulst.

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Comment of the day

Dan Rooke says that Ferrari’s increased performance this year shows that the power unit development freeze could be a great way to see new differentiations between team performances and potentially much closer racing.

When engine freezes were first mentioned last year I was sceptical – I’m not a Ferrari fan, but I like to see them do well and I think they have the best driver line-up I’ve ever seen them have. They were so way off the mark last year that freezing their weakness into the car for several years seemed bonkers.

But they’ve been able to engineer new ways to replace the “solution” they previously had, and Honda have been impressive in terms of performance and reliability. Both look really racy.

So I’m excited about the engine freeze, different track characteristics will favour some over others, and if the engines are fairly level then it seems like a great way to save money and focus on the new formula. Renault/Alpine are the only team I have reservations about, I’m not sure how great they are – perhaps it’s just because only 1 team uses the power units, but clearly Alonso is convinced that they have potential otherwise he wouldn’t have come back to the team.

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On this day in F1

  • 20 years ago today Kenny Brack extended his lead in the CART IndyCar series by scoring his second win in a row, at Milwaukee

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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7 comments on “More points possible for Alfa Romeo in “chaotic” Baku race – Vasseur”

  1. What happened to Osaka at the 2018 US Open was horrific to watch. To play your idol since you first started playing tennis, Serena Williams, to win your first grand slam and the crowd was booing, (not at her, but at the umpire) I’m surprised she ever came back to play tennis. What should of been the greatest achievement/memory of her life and everything she had been training for was overshadowed by the stoush between Serena and the umpire, and the booing of the crowd. I can remember her hiding her face and crying, horrific to watch someones dreams smashed like that.

    I for one, am happy to watch professionals do their thing and respect anyone’s right to withdraw if they don’t agree with the terms and conditions.

    1. Agreed.

    2. I agree, it’s a miracle she came back after that horror show.
      The US Open have by far the worst crowds (and Paris is already pretty bad), it’s just disgusting to watch. Anyone who isn’t American or Roger Federer gets treated like a piece of junk (i.e. cheering and clapping on the opponent’s errors/double faults, shouting during points). And those beasts call themselves ‘fans’!
      I wish Naomi all the best and hope she can find a healthy way to deal with the pressure.

    3. to be fair Serena was caught by the cameras and so was Moratoglou. Just yesterday Serena did something iffy again. she asked the unpire to adjust her bra strap on the opponents serve when the rules state you should only ask for any break on play on your own serve. obviously the ref allowed it but she could and by regulation should have asked when it happened and not after she stopped serving.

      1. @peartree

  2. Man. This Osaka situation is not as simple as it seems.

    On a personal level, I really empathize with her and appreciate what she does with her brave stance. Also, it looks like the majority of fans and all of her sponsors back her up, so that’s great. Anxiety is a terrible thing and anyone who ever experienced it can understand how it affects everything you do – it affects your professional performance long before, during and long after the brief event that is the cause of the anxiety itself. Seriously, some bouts can take YEARS to recover and make a person comfortable enough to go through something similar again. So, in this sense, I’m actually rooting for her to make the change with her actions, and it looks like she just might.

    And yet, I can’t help but counteract this within myself. I do believe that for professional athletes, politicians, entertainers, etc., it’s kind of a package deal. You get rich and famous and that comes at a certain price, as everything in life.

    If you make a conscious decision to get into a field with a lot of public attention, you enter an entirely different playing field. It’s most definitely NOT for everyone, and not everyone can handle this enormous pressure. But I guess the ability to hold it together mentally is a required attribute (along with other talents) that sets these people apart. These attributes (like any other) sometimes come naturally and sometimes can be artificially boosted or trained, etc. And if you want to go on you will have to make a choice to work on the issue or step aside.

    That said, this internal understanding of mine is a cold abstract and theoretical deconstruction, based mostly on personal experience. Once you put a real face with real statements, like Naomi, or Hamilton, (or let’s remember RedBull victims, like Gasly, Albon or Kvyat, who had to answer direct questions hours after being demoted), it’s hard not to support and side with them. Still, the times are different now. And where this would have been dismissed just a few years ago, in current climate situations like these will definitely lead to something.

  3. Junior formula cars are more expensive but also much quicker than what it used to be, in order to keep up with the safety it then gets even more expensive. FIA picked Max by complete chance.

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