In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton shared his love the planet once again in the Thursday press conference at the Austrian Grand Prix, while Yuki Tsunoda spoke of the support his team is giving him and backmarkers got quizzed on their 2022 plans.
Hamilton wanting positive changes to humanity after pandemic
The Formula 1 paddock have actually been racing or testing on 26 of the last 52 weeks, and are currently embarking on the busiest championship calendar ever with a scheduled 23 grands prix. However, away from race tracks, drivers’ home lives are under the same restrictions as everyone else’s.
“I think this is something that naturally has given us all more time to think about things since we’ve been isolated,” Hamilton said ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, the event that kicked off the delayed 2020 season a year ago.
“You’ve had the social and the racial discussion that’s also had time for people to focus on. So I think there’s been lots of positives to take away from this period of time and I just hope that we have learnt, and humanity has learnt from this experience. There’s got to be learnings from it, because otherwise we just go back to where we were before.
“I don’t know if that’s necessarily going to be positive for the world, but I definitely think there’s lots of positives. And for me personally, it’s how I manage time. It’s about being present. It’s about making sure you’re maximising in the day rather than thinking too far ahead.”
Tsunoda getting help from Perez
Yuki Tsunoda’s recent turnaround in form, with two points finishes in the past three races, has pleased his AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost and comes after fellow Red contracted driver Sergio Perez gave him some encouragement after tricky spell early in his rookie season.
“Sergio gives me a lot of advice, especially like after France, also Monaco,” revealed Tsunoda. “He gave me a message that, after I had such a really bad weekend, he messaged me advice and also some positive words to me, and that makes me more motivated.”
Following his 10th place in the Styrian Grand Prix, he’s already setting his sights further up the order ‘on Ferrari’.
2022 deals not under discussion yet at back of grid
Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi, currently occupying 18th and 20th in the championship standings and without a point to their names, have said their 2022 plans are not under discussion with their teams yet.
Ferrari junior Schumacher joined Haas for 2021 on a multi-year agreement, entering F1 as the reigning Formula 2 champion. He was asked at the Austrian GP whether that contract prevents him from moving to Ferrari’s other customer team Alfa Romeo for next season.
“My focus is really on here, now,” Schumacher stated. “Obviously what is happening next year is something that we’ll have to talk about in maybe some weeks’ time.”
Latifi is in his second F1 season with Williams, and also on a multi-year deal. However whether he remains at the team for 2022 is also under question.
“At the moment I haven’t really been thinking too much in the future,” he said.
“We are still very, very early on in the season. And I guess that’s the generic answer, but it’s the truth for me. Obviously I’d love to stay with the team next year, that is my goal and my objective.”
Junior series behemoth Prema under new ownership structure
Top Formula 2 and Formula 3 outfit Prema has joined up with their Formula 4 rival Iron Lynx under a new owner, Swiss-based company DC Racing Solutions, after several years with Aston Martin F1 chairman Lawrence Stroll as one of their investors.
Stroll’s involvement with the team came about as his son raced for Prema in F4 and FIA European F3 on his way up to F1, and he remained so once Lance had made it into the top level of single-seater racing with Williams.
Iron Lynx meanwhile has primarily competed in sportscars, and is fielding Alfa Romeo reserve driver Callum Ilott this year in a Ferrari, but over the last few years has expanded its presence in F4 with its female-focused Iron Dames brand that includes Ferrari junior Maya Weug for 2021.
For now there will be “no changes in the operations of either team”, and further announcements about the tie-up are expected late in the year.
Ryan Norman “honoured” to join Grosjean at Dale Coyne
Former Indy Lights driver Ryan Norman will make his IndyCar debut at Mid-Ohio this weekend, as team mate to Romain Grosjean at Dale Coyne with Rick Ware Racing in his first ever race.
After winning the 2016 championship in Atlantics, the same series Gilles Villeneuve and Michael Andretti won, Norman spent three seasons in Indy Lights and claimed two victories. He then moved into touring cars last year, and won the title in the IMSA Pilot Challenge.
“My goal throughout my whole racing career has been to become an IndyCar driver,” Norman said. “So many years of hard work and sacrifices have finally paid off, and I want to thank Dale Coyne for giving me a shot to show what I can do in the series.
“It’s an honour to be able to drive for DCR. They have shown over the years that they have created a great competitive program, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.”
Norman tested at Mid-Ohio this week along with Grosjean, and is the second driver to race Dale Coyne’s #52 car this year after NASCAR driver Cody Ware, who came 19th on his debut two weeks ago at Road America.
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