Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022

Ocon “happy” to return to Saudi Arabia with safety assurances

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon says that he would be “very happy” to race in Saudi Arabia again.

In brief

Ocon would be “very happy” to return to Saudi Arabia with safety assurances

Esteban Ocon says that he would be “very happy” to race in Saudi Arabia again in future if Formula 1 and the Saudi Arabian government can offer the same assurances about safety.

Last month’s race in Jeddah was marred by a missile strike on a nearby oil plant during Friday practice which led to a meeting of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association over whether drivers would race. The drivers agreed to race after assurances the rest of the event would be secure.

“For Saudi Arabia, of course there were concerns, obviously,” said Ocon. “We discussed for a long time, with all the drivers but once we spoke to the authorities and Formula 1 they reassured us that there was no danger for us, and that we were all safe.

“So, we were definitely happy to race in the future. Of course, if that’s the same, very happy to go back to Jeddah and keep racing to the races of the calendar and trust FIA and Formula 1 for our safety.”

Young drivers ‘don’t need academies to shine’ – Michel

Young drivers in junior formulae do not have to be part of F1 driver academies to succeed, says Formula 2 and Formula 3 boss Bruno Michel.

A large proportion of the drivers in Formula 2 and Formula 3 belong to junior driver programmes of F1 teams. However, F2 championship leader Felipe Drugovich and third-placed Richard Verschoor are not.

“I think that shows one thing for sure is that you don’t need to be part of an academy to shine,” said Michel. “It’s not automatic and the reason why most of the time the drivers from the academies are shining is because the academies are trying to recruit the best drivers.

“If they are doing a proper job – and most of them are doing a very strong job – they have strong drivers in their academies for sure. Now, you have sometimes drivers that are not part of an academy and that are doing a very good job. I think it proves that you don’t need to be part of an academy to do a good job. You need to be strong. Is it going to be more an issue for them to go to Formula 1 in the future? That’s the real question that they need to ask themselves, because when you are part of an academy it’s quite automatic.”

Saucy fastest on first day of F3 test

ART’s Gregoire Saucy topped the times in Barcelona
FIA Formula 3 rookie Gregoire Saucy was fastest of all in the first day of testing in Barcelona.

The ART driver topped the times with a 1’32.247, almost two tenths of a second faster than Franco Colapinto for Van Amersfoort. Victor Martins was third fastest in the second of the three ART cars, with Trident’s Zane Maloney fourth fastest. Prema driver Arthur Leclerc, who lies second in the championship, was 14th.

The second and final day of testing will take place today, before Formula 3 joins F2 and Formula 1 at Imola next weekend for their third and fourth rounds of the championship.

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Comment of the day

After Haas endured their first scoreless weekend in Australia, Nick T thinks the championship table after three races shows that the new 2022 technical regulations are succeeding…

It vindicates Ross Brawn’s aero strategy. Multiple teams used to be expected to go pointless for the season before this new generation. Now, except Aston Martin, they’ve all scored already after just 3 races.
Nick T

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  • Born today in 1942, Frank Williams, who founded the hugely successful Williams F1 team, and died in November 2021

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  • 16 comments on “Ocon “happy” to return to Saudi Arabia with safety assurances”

    1. Last time out the assurances were an attack on Saturday where Saudi Arabia by killing a bunch of people bargained for a cease fire. I like the idea that Saudi could reuse that idea. Recycling is good for the planet.

    2. some racing fan
      16th April 2022, 3:52

      First of all, the Saudi authorities will never be able to make any legitimate assurances. That is not possible, nor would that be high on their list of priorities. And second- the fact that F1 is even doing business with Saudi Arabia- a country with systemic corruption, draconian laws with medieval punishments and is currently committing a genocide in Yemen is totally appalling and wrong.

      No one with a conscience should ever support any kind of business dealings with Saudi Arabia

      1. And second- the fact that F1 is even doing business with Saudi Arabia- a country with systemic corruption, draconian laws with medieval punishments and is currently committing a genocide in Yemen is totally appalling and wrong

        Systematic corruption: Boris Johnson is still PM despite a flagrant breach of his own laws. Also, Donald Trump generally. Also, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney generally.

        Draconian laws: Try having a read through Singapore’s list of “do’s and don’ts” and have a look at it’s standing in the “Democracy Index”.

        Medieval punishments: Many US states still allow the death penalty.

        Genocide: Have a wee look into Imperial Japanese and British Empire history and let me know how you think they performed on this front.

        I am not blind to Saudi’s flaws, I live in the Middle East so I know them well. The best thing about Middle East countries is actually the fact that they know they aren’t perfect but they all strive to be the best they can be. The point I am making is that no country is perfect so be careful what you wish for if you start deciding race venues based on the moral incorruptibility of the host country.

    3. some racing fan
      16th April 2022, 3:54

      First of all, the Saudi authorities will never be able to make any legitimate assurances. That is not possible, nor would that be high on their list of priorities. And second- the fact that F1 is even doing business with Saudi Arabia- a country with systemic corruption, draconian laws with medieval punishments and is currently committing war crimes in Yemen is totally appalling and wrong.

      No one with a conscience should ever support any kind of business dealings with Saudi Arabia

      1. What are you talking about? The US approves Saudi Arabia, they even get to bomb stuff for them.

        1. You missed the part where he said “No one with a conscience should”. How does this relate to the US government?

          1. @ucat33 read the comment again and open your eyes, no offense.

            1. @peartree @ucat33 Well said. The US and UK cannot claim the moral high ground when they profit from Saudi’s war with Yemen by supplying them arms.

    4. It’s too early to call the new aero rules a success especially of such an inconclusive stat. Just 2 years ago all teams bar one scored points by the 3rd race of the season… Looking back it’s actually been quite rare for multiple teams to go pointless for the season.

      Wiuth all the changes it will take some time for the order to settle, especially with such limited testing. Makes complete sense for the order to be a bit jumbled but I really don’t see that as such vindication for the regulations.

      I mean really, if you look at it pragmatically, most of the overtakes have still been a result of DRS, you kind of still need to get up alongside with DRS, which is all well and good, but when the person in front is also close enough to get DRS and you have that train Alonso was talking about… Well I dunno, doesn’t seem like the regulations have been a magic bullet at all, far from it…

    5. “Reverse your decision not to race or you won’t be allowed to leave the country”? Those kinds of assurances?

      1. I can’t believe that any driver would race there again after that threat. I guess money trumps all. I wonder where Seb will stand on this next year.

    6. I’m sure safety won’t get compromised in the future.

      I share Bruno Michel’s view.

      Opening the 2024 season in Melbourne is easier said than done as I just looked to find out Ramadan begins even earlier that year.
      Next year’s opening day of 23.3 (or the preceding day’s sunset) means any early-season Middle East race has to occur on 19.3 at the very latest. This means 12.3 for the season-opener at the latest.
      However, the 2024 opening is 11.3/10.3 sunset, so 3.3 is the latest possible day for any such early-season race. Therefore, since the 2024 season will already have to begin in February, placing Melbourne before both Bahrain & SA would mean at least 18.2 for the season-opener & this is with an AUS-BAH-SA triple-header, so seven days earlier for standalone. Nothing wrong with holding races in February per se.
      Still super early, given how long has passed since the last time an F1 race occurred in February.

      COTD has a valid point, but better to wait a bit more before making a definitive judgment.

      1. As a late addition, 2017 Bahrain GP’s 5th anniversary.

    7. RandomMallard
      16th April 2022, 9:03

      Wow the F1 Manager game is looking stunning. They shared some nice screenshots of Baku a few days ago as well.

      Starting to get quite excited for Indy now ngl. The 500 is usually great fun to watch.

      Really hope to see Melbourne return to being Round 1.

      Lots of birthdays today! Happy Birthday Andrewtanner, Solid, Braddersf1, Rumfresh and Cristian Ingles. And to Sir Frank. Still feels a little odd without him. Gone, but never forgotten.

    8. Why is he happy about Saudi Arabia? I suggest he moves his family there, mother, sister and then I’ll ask him if he’s happy. I don’t expect political statement from drivers (I hate when they do that, saying “the right things” or not), but to be happy about that Hell on Earth… You can’t be against racing in Russia and for racing in Saudi Arabia.

      1. Of course you can. Us vs russia. G
        You can’t go for both, like Ham v Max

    Comments are closed.