Zhou’s first F1 race “even better” than promise shown in testing

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In the round-up: Alfa Romeo team principal Xevi Pujolar says rookie Zhou Guanyu exceeded the team’s expectations in his first race following his debut points score.

In brief

Zhou “better than guys with a lot of experience” in debut F1 race

Zhou impressed his team at the second pre-season test, Pujolar explained: “We already saw that, in terms of managing the long stints, he was very strong. Once we instructed him on what to do, how to do it, he was able to execute it.”

But the team was eager to see whether he could replicate that pace in a race. “We had the question mark: will he be able to replicate that when he’s in a fighting scenario? One thing is to do it when you are on your own, but then when you are in a crisis scenario, when you’re fighting with other people, it’s not the same.”

Despite losing ground at the start in Sunday’s race, Guanyu recovered to pick up a point on his debut. “He did exactly the same job, I will say even better than last week because last week, the first time we tried probably we were a bit on the conservative side,” said Pujolar.

“His pace was there was good. It was very strong. And he was consistent with the tyres, better than guys with a lot of experience.

“He was not fighting with other rookies, he was fighting with people with a lot of experience in F1. So I think he did a very solid first race for him in F1.”

Ocon will run current-spec sidepods for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Damage forced Ocon to run old bodywork in Bahrain
Esteban Ocon will have a replacement for the upgraded sidepod his Alpine shed early in first practice, in time for this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“Esteban will return to the latest spec sidepod after the issue from last week.” Alpine’s chief technical officer Pat Fry confirmed. he added the team “don’t have any distinct upgrades for Saudi Arabia but we will run some interesting test items in practice, which will give us some ideas for future concepts.”

“As it’s a low downforce circuit, we will have a different rear wing for this weekend,” he added. “We have a development plan in place and we are pushing ahead as hard as we can for the Melbourne race and beyond.”

Gasly’s fire left mechanics “more work to do than expected”

Pierre Gasly has said that AlphaTauri had to complete a full rebuild on his car, following the fire that ended his Bahrain Grand Prix.

“The team has identified the problem and the fire meant the mechanics have had a lot more work to do than expected to rebuild the car for this weekend,” Gasly said, ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

However, he said that there were positives to take from Bahrain. “We learned a lot about the car over the three days and it’s clear that the midfield is maybe even tighter than last year, so we must continue to work hard on understanding and developing the AT03, starting this weekend in Saudi Arabia.”

F1 and Foxtel strike new Australia deal

Formula 1 has renewed its contract with Australian broadcaster Foxtel, whose subscribers will be able to access both full coverage of F1’s practice, qualifying and race sessions and the F1TV app via its set-top boxes. The multi-year deal will see F1TV available as an app to Foxtel subscribers, free of charge within their Foxtel subscription.

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Comment of the day

After Stefano Domenicali said that interest in hosting F1 races was so significant it would not challenge the series to put together a 30-race calendar (although it is limited to 24 by the Concorde agreement) Depailler says perhaps format creativity, describing something very like Formula E’s personnel-limited, one-day structure, might be the way to make an extended calendar feasible.

Interesting point about load balancing, but I remember a very interesting article on RaceFans about how many non-F1 races drivers used to take part in.

E.g. Jim Clark won the championship in 1965. Although there were only 10 races, there were seven non-championship races. He also won the F2 championship, Indy and took part in the touring car championship. Lots more races than todays drivers.

The capacity issue is not with the drivers, but with the teams. The drivers, Wolffs and Horners are earning enough cash not to worry about working more races. But I can see a problem for mechanics and other staff.

If the FIA wants more races they need to cap the number of staff teams can take. There is no law that says they need 20 people to do a pit stop. It could easily be done with 10, perhaps it would take 8 seconds not three, but if everyone has the same limitation then what’s the problem. That way most staff could go to alternate races.

I’m all for more races. It would make sense to have more geographic thought about the order of races, but I’d happily watch another 23.

There is also no reason other than habit to have three-day events. I like listening to the chat during first, second and third practice but rarely watch them. Let’s have some races where qualifying is at 10am on Sunday, race at 2pm.

Why can’t we have more races than drivers?
Why do all races have to be two or three day events?
Why do teams have to be so big?
Why can’t we have 30 or 40 races?

Come on people – let’s have a bit more of open mind about change here. If the formula is right then more is better.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Gman, Sam and Harvey Pizey!

On this day in motorsport

  • 10 years ago today Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Zhou’s first F1 race “even better” than promise shown in testing”

  1. If the FIA wants more races they need to cap the number of staff teams can take. There is no law that says they need 20 people to do a pit stop. It could easily be done with 10, perhaps it would take 8 seconds not three, but if everyone has the same limitation then what’s the problem. That way most staff could go to alternate races.

    They don’t fly in 20 people specifically for pitstops, they have other jobs within the team but also handle the pitstops.
    The real challenge is with so many races and crashes with the associated rebuilds in addition to the routine post race disassembly and reassembly. That will just be too much work and we haven’t added the stress of travelling.

  2. COTD:

    There is also no reason other than habit to have three-day events. I like listening to the chat during first, second and third practice but rarely watch them. Let’s have some races where qualifying is at 10am on Sunday, race at 2pm.

    I don’t think we need to change anything about the format. Shortening the practice sessions was not great because I am one of those fans who takes pictures and videos of the cars at every corner of the track. I went to the Japanese GP in 2019 and I only covered the first sector for one practice. I wanted to cover the whole track, but I think I needed two 1 hour 30 minute sessions to do that.

    Let’s have some races where qualifying is at 10am on Sunday, race at 2pm.

    I don’t like this neither. This should be only for a last resort just in case we cannot hold qualifying on Saturday.

    Why can’t we have 30 or 40 races?

    Please no. 30-40 races is too much for the teams regardless if we can limit the number of staff in each event. This is a high performance sport. Everyone should be at their best when working. 30-40 race weekends or events on different places will not allow that. I am sure people have other things to do besides watching and following the sport. The amount of races we have is currently fine. What’s not fine is the fact that we do not have a race in Germany and in Africa (though this I don’t know how can they add one to the calendar).

    1. @krichelle, Also the track owners paying $30-60 million want to sell as many tickets as possible and fans like yourself would feel 3 days is better value than 2.

    2. I couldn’t disagree more with COTD – aside from practical considerations, having 30+ races would dilute the spectacle even more than it is already. Each race would become less meaningful both for the championship and as an event in itself.

      In cycling they have 3 grand tours and 5 monuments and a handful of prestigious one week races and one day classics. These races carry their own weight, their own history and fanfare. If there were 50% more of them, they would feel less important individually.

      F1 has already gone chasing the money (23 races is a significant increase on 16 per year that was pretty standard when I started watching) but I’m certain it’s to the overall detriment of the individual races as events in their own right.

  3. I’ve noticed that between seasons media started writing Zhou’s names as “Zhou Guanyu” instead of “Guanyu Zhou”. Zhou is the surname, Guanyu is the given name. In Chinese names surname goes first. I wonder what gave the impetus to change the way it’s written. I’ve seen people in the West spell Chinese names in a random way more often than anything else, after all.
    F1 reflected this in a neat way in the graphics. Surnames are written in a larger font and team colours whereas given names are written in a smaller while font. Everybody else’s large surname is in the bottom; Zhou’s in the top to reflect name order.
    Japanese also uses surname first, so in Japanese it would be Tsunoda Yuuki-san, but in English it’s customary to swap the order around, hence he becomes Yuki Tsunoda (the second u is dropped here because it’s a standardised transcription of the name in question, similarly to how Satou becomes Sato and Mutou becomes Mutoh in English).

    1. Totally agreed and just want to make a minor correction.

      Mr Tsunoda’s name in local Japanese is TSUNODA Yuki. Japanese people call him Tsunoda Yuuki-san is just in fact the same meaning of adding “Mr” in the people’s English names.

    2. I wonder what gave the impetus to change the way it’s written.

      Zhou expressed his preference and the media is respecting that, is all.

    3. @johnbeak @sb12 @sjaakfoo
      Since surname-given name order is equally a thing in Japan, both names should be in this order in TV graphics & wherever else for consistency’s sake, not only Zhou’s.
      Having the second U or O with a vertical line above is the authentic romanization for those names (possibly even Tsunoda), so these should also be accurate + everyone pronounce with additional U & O sound as in words.
      I know these little details via my limited Japanese knowledge through self-learning & considerable language exposure since 2017 August.

      1. @jerejj
        It’s not like Formula One (or English-speaking world in general) spells all the other foreign names correctly.

        Kimi Raikkonen is actually Kimi Räikkönen and Mika Hakkinen is Mika Häkkinen. In Finnish, Ä and Ö are completely different letters than A and O although they look similar.

        However, I have never minded that those names are spelled differently in Formula One. I understand that spelling the names correctly would look weird to English speakers and it could probably cause problems if some of the fonts were missing those letters.

        1. @hotbottoms True, good point. I always intend to be authentic with language & or country-specific pronunciations, though. BTW, what I forgot to include in my original post is U in Yuki with a vertical line.

  4. COTD is quite frankly ridiculous. Yes why not let’s throw out all the history, tradition and structure of F1 in one foul swoop just for fun. There are at least five errors in this argument:

    The time involved in all the travel between venues.
    The costs involved in the additional travel and possibly additional staff.
    The strain on those taking part. This person seems to think driving and prepping an F1 car is a piece of cake.
    The time it takes to setup and perfect the cars for each different circuit .
    The fact that hardly anyone has time to watch 30 or more races. I suspect the vast majority of people have other things going on their lives.

    The arguments raised make no sense at all.

    1. The CotD is making one good point which seems to be overlooked in the comments here:

      let’s have a bit more of open mind about change here.

      1. @jff That indeed is the issue. Entirely ignoring what’s realistic & what’s unrealistic, people’s well-being, budget cap existence, pretty much everything relevant.
        @phil-f1-21 – Spot-on.

      2. I completely agree that we should be open minded about change, but being open minded doesn’t negate the massive issues with the COTD’s comment.

        I, personally, have a massive objection to “tradition” arguments. It’s generally “We should never change this because this is the way it’s always been done”. Change for the sake of change is bad, but so is keeping things the same and ignoring better (or potentially better) ways of doing things for the sake of it.

        If a change is suggested, it should be debated based on its merits. It shouldn’t be adopted outright just because it’s shiny and new, but it shouldn’t be rejected because it’s not been done before either.

  5. Regarding the Foxtel deal. I don’t like these deals that Liberty have been doing that ends up with F1TV Pro been tied to PayTV subscriptions, That just largely negates the point of the service to me.

    It shouldn’t be something you only have access to as part of a PayTv subscription (Which is what they seem to be doing now), It should be a standalone thing you can get in place of a PayTV subscription.

    1. It sure should be but it’s a nice compromise. We’d be waiting another few years otherwise due to the longevity of the original Foxtel contract. Anyone who wants to watch F1 in Australia is already paying for it so I guess this really just makes it easier to access the archive and documentaries and so on.

    2. +1

      I figured there would be other Australians in here thinking the exact same thing.

      I was looking forward to being able to watch the official F1TV when the Foxtel deal expired, but it is now unlikely for a very long time.

      I refuse to pay Foxtel their exorbitant fees. Their Kayo subscription was also a joke (quality/buffering issues and expensive) when I tried it briefly. I’ll just continue to watch illegal streams it seems.

      1. Be interesting to see if a Kayo subscription entitles us to F1TV given its run by Fox. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than subscribing to Foxtel – I dropped it ages ago and went to Kayo.

      2. @travis I had a lot of issues with Kayo but then discovered that it was actually my NBN ISP, that despite being in a 100Mbps plan, and getting numbers close to that with Speedtest.net, discovered that any traffic flowing outside of Australia was atrociously slow (Fast.com reporting 2-3Mbps); apparently 100Mbps isn’t necessarily 100Mbps—the ISP does still have a huge part to play even on the NBN.

        I switched to Aussie Broadband and seldom have buffering issues anymore. Yes, I’m paying substantially more—but worth it to not have to worry about internet speeds anymore.

        1. I initially thought that was the problem, but Netflix and Amazon Prime stream perfectly in UHD, and I can easily watch YouTube videos in 4k without issue.

          What bugged me the most with Kayo was there was no middle ground – it was either high definition or it would drop down to about 240p which was completely unwatchable.

          That and their horrendous UI too!

          1. What bugged me about Kayo was that it was still Murdoch.

  6. Love the COTD.

    Pandemic has taught us to challenge existing thoughts and regimens and find innovative ways of doing it.

    The more races the better.

    1. @sumedhvidwans More isn’t automatically better. People should use common sense.
      COTD is entirely unrealistic & inconsiderate of impracticalities, people’s well-being, budget cap existence, etc.

  7. COTD NO!!
    The new Foxtell deal with Liberty, well like anything with the Murdochs it will be of low quality with a high price.

  8. He did decently for his debut, especially after dropping back on the start.

    What an enormous podium. Unnecessary big, LOL.

    Nice Albert Park images.

    COTD is unrealistic. Teams simply don’t have enough individuals to cover 30 events, let alone 40, no matter how much staff rotation they’d do, so entirely impractical & impossible IF 30 was the intention in the first place.
    Domenicali only meant enough interest & request for ‘theoretically’ 30, which is different than actually wanting 30 & besides, the upper limit automatically prevents in any case, so everyone should merely stop pondering about such things.

  9. A lot of the usual users commenting the usual comments in reference to CotD.

    Most of them can simply be translated to “I don’t want that many” – rather than it being impossible.
    All teams would be under the same conditions, and as such, all would necessarily need to compromise car development for staffing rotation.
    That’s not a negative, by the way – quite the opposite. It’s an aspect that every business deals with – you can’t work your people into the ground, but equally you can’t just demand that your entire industry shuts down or limits its growth just so you don’t have to manage your resources (human and otherwise) properly.
    Important point – F1 teams employ these staff, not ‘F1’ itself. They just make events available – and no person is required at every single one of them.
    Team sport, remember…

    F1 is supposed to be a car racing series – not a private development series that occasionally puts their creations on a race track.
    The more races there are, the more income F1 and the teams can attract. The more chances there are to be good races that we can all enjoy, and the more there is to engage with.
    Would it work forever? Nope, probably not. But so what? Short term gain is exactly what F1 has always focused on – why stop now?

  10. Did I miss something or is Fred Vasseur no longer Team Principal at Alfa?

    According to the Interwebs Xevi Pujolar is Head of Trackside Engineering?

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