Zhou ‘only raced with a drinks bottle twice this season’

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In the round-up: Zhou Guanyu has revealed he has only raced with a drinks system installed on his Alfa Romeo at two rounds of his rookie season so far.

In brief

Zhou ‘only used drinks system in Bahrain and Miami’

Alfa Romeo rookie Zhou Guanyu has revealed he only raced with a drinks system installed on his Alfa Romeo at two rounds this season.

This weekend’s French Grand Prix is expected to be the hottest at the circuit since F1 returned to it in 2018. Zhou admitted he has only raced with a drinks system installed in his car on two prior occasions this year.

“Coming to this weekend with the high temperature, for us as a driver, you have to stay hydrated quite a lot,” said Zhou.

“Normally, I don’t actually use the drinks system in the car. The only races I used it were Miami and Bahrain. So I think I’m going to definitely put it on for this weekend.”

Ferrari considering new PU – and penalty – for Sainz

Carlos Sainz Jnr says Ferrari are considering whether or not to give him a fifth power unit for this weekend, which will result in him starting from the back of the grid.

Sainz retired from the last round in Austria following a fiery power unit failure. It was his second mechanical related retirement of the season and fourth failure to finish in all. Asked if Ferrari had decided to give Sainz a new power unit for this weekend, Sainz replied “not yet.”

“There’s a chance we will put a new engine in this weekend, which would involve a penalty, but we haven’t taken the final decision yet,” he said.

Williams will “get our chances” for points – Albon

Alexander Albon is confident Williams will have opportunities to score points on pace over the rest of the season but that it will likely depend on the track.

Williams are currently tenth and last in the constructors’ championship on three points – all scored by Albon. Both he and team mate Nicholas Latifi now have the benefit of a major upgrade package to the FW44 and Albon believes the team could find more opportunities to score more points.

“I don’t think it will be every race, but I do feel like there’ll be circuits where we’ll get our chances,” said Albon.

“We’re not at the top yet of what the car can do. But it’s a step forwards. I think Austria, on paper, must be our most competitive race. We had a relatively good race in Austria – we were P12 on pace, more or less. We were keeping up just about with the midfield. So we are getting there and it will come.”

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Comment of the day

The first draft of sporting regulations for the 2023 Formula 1 season features only three sprint race weekends, requiring a super-majority vote to increase – something reader ‘S’ would be happy to see happen…

I’d rather have more than less. It would then be entirely my choice whether I watched them or not.

And I don’t mind having qualifying on Friday. It’s a good reason to engage on Fridays, rather than skipping two hours of nothing.

And I like the dynamic sprint weekends produce – with teams going into their first competitive session after only one practice session. It’s far more interesting to see them have to treat it more like a sport than a science where they have plenty of ‘rehearsal’ time – sufficient to iron out all the bugs. It’s far more organic with sprints.

One of F1’s biggest problems with quality of racing and predictability (other than car performance parity or lack thereof) is that there’s simply too much practice time at each event. They need less time to learn how to manage their tyre wear, strategy and setup – not more.

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On this day in motorsport

Fernando Alonso pulled out a 34-point lead in the championship by winning in Germany today in 2012

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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26 comments on “Zhou ‘only raced with a drinks bottle twice this season’”

  1. It’s refreshing to hear optimistic Williams driver again. The last one was Felipe.

  2. Perez was right. If FIFA can banned hooligans, there’s no excuse for FIA not to banned sexual harassers.

  3. Other than qualifying, sprint weekends make the racing even more predictable. Anything that happens in qualifying that might mix up the order gets cancelled out by the faster cars simply making up the positions during the sprint. Come Sunday, all the faster cars are back at the pointy end of the grid and it’s business as usual.

    Imagine being George Russell in a Williams and qualifying 2nd on the grid, only for it to be a sprint weekend.

    1. Anything that happens in qualifying that might mix up the order gets cancelled out by the faster cars simply making up the positions during the sprint.

      But that’s normally true of the opening part of the GP without a preceding sprint. Surely you must also dislike the second half of most GP’s where cars started out of position, then, as it’s the exact same scenario.

      We still get to see the cars racing out of their usual positions, but with the (potential) added benefit of the faster cars having to overtake them on track rather than through pit strategy.
      And that’s a bad thing?

      If Russell went back in time and qualified his Williams in 2nd place, then he’d be fighting for plenty of points in the sprint – and he’d probably get more of them there than he would end up with without it if there was only a GP.

      Some of the arguments people come up with against sprints are really amazing. Imagine wanting to see less racing from a racing series…
      How bad is the on-track product if you want less of it?

  4. I can definitely understand COTD but for me emotionally, I find Friday qualifying completely uninteresting because it’s not really qualifying. I really struggle to get motivated to watch it which is weird because F1 is basically my life… I’ve found myself largely watching the sprint weekends on fast forward until the actual race starts. I can’t really explain why. It’s just the vibe of the thing… logically I should be agreeing with COTD!

    1. Of course it really is qualifying, it’s just that there’s another competitive session between it and the GP.
      Not substantially different to how it used to be when they ran Friday qualifying AND Saturday qualifying before.

      Actually, I take that back. Current Friday qualifying has much more importance than old Friday qualifying used to (unless the weather turned bad on those old Saturdays).
      We can always think of it the way many people describe it – where on sprint weekends the GP now starts on Saturday, runs 100km and then has a red flag overnight.
      Is a 405km F1 race such a terrible concept?

      1. No, more racing laps does not automatically mean more good or okay racing laps, especially with the way the sprint ensures that restart is coming. And afterwards there are more points to gain, so much better to wait until that phase unless you are at the out of position in a much faster car (less out of position, and less extra pace: quickly diminishing returns during the sprint phase).

        I think your defense is a solid one, but no, for me it doesn’t work to make a better weekend as the sprint just isn’t that interesting to watch as a race. And by showing more of the actual race pace of the cars, which increases our and the teams knowledge about where they stand while at the same time sorting the grid more into fastest first order, it lessens chances of surprises during the actual race, which negates some of the shorter practice (though yes, now teams have less tools to change things if they find themselves in a wrong setup).

        1. No, more racing laps does not automatically mean more good or okay racing laps,

          If the problem is quality (and it often is in F1) then that can’t be solved by altering the quantity.

          Anyone who watches (and fully understands) or participates in motorsport knows full well that you can’t wait until later. There may not be an opportunity to gain from later, or at least you may no longer be in a position to gain from it then.
          It seems you are making an argument for sprints paying more points….? ;)

          If you look at the sprint as a seperate thing all on its own – yeah, you are probably right. Most times it will be a bit dull.
          But if you look at it as part of a larger and longer succession of events, it plays just as much of a role as qualifying and the GP does. Not all of those sessions are great either, but nobody ever seems to argue for getting rid of them.

          As to what the teams learn about each other during the sprint… The arguments can go in every direction.
          Each team is analysing every detail of their competitors performance all the time anyway, to the point where they can accurately predict their race performance and strategy relative to their own in only one session. Downforce levels, tyre wear, engine performance and power deployment…. They know already, independent of the sprint race.
          If they genuinely learn anything at all, it’s probably only about how much risk their competitor is willing to take at race start, and how much risk they need to take to counter that.

      2. I don’t disagree and I struggle to put my finger on it. I just don’t find it as exciting and the anticipation isn’t there for some reason.

    2. To me Austria proved that Sprint weekends can be really exciting, and IMO offering more to the avid fans than a regular weekend. Quali was great, the Sprint race exciting, and we had a less predictable main race due to less practice.

      I don’t think they are there yet, and hope they try a few more ideas.
      What about this:
      – Friday FP1 & quali for the race;
      – Saturday 2 sprint races of which one based on a reverse grid, solely counting for a Sprint Cup;
      – Sunday the race proper based on Friday quali.

      1. That wouldn’t be a bad format, except for the sticking point about what the ‘Sprint Cup’ is actually worth to the teams.
        If it’s not enough, they will take a zero-risk approach to it, meaning it would inevitably not work.
        The main incentive for the teams to take the current sprint format seriously is that it has a direct impact on THE championship, and is not just some independent sideshow.

        1. Maybe call it the S Cup; that should get you on board ;)

    3. @tommy-c – I feel the same. I watch the Friday Quali, and I watch the Sprint races, but the drama of the Friday just isn’t there as the Saturday race feels like the true Quali.

      I don’t mind the Sprint races, and I’ve enjoyed watching most of them. But I’d still rather they didn’t happen as it just doesn’t seem to add anything. The truth is I’d watch any F1 event because I love watching F1, but the Sprints just feel like a dilution of the race weekend.

  5. Zhou is the new terminator 😁
    Unbreakable !
    « Tis but a scratch ! I had worse »

  6. Unpopular opinion here but 2012 was the last A+ season.

    1. someone or something
      22nd July 2022, 12:39

      Why unpopular? That season was as good as it gets. And we’ve had a couple of good ones since then, just not quite as bonkers.

    2. Proof that the less the teams know about something, and the less control they have over it, the better F1 is.

  7. In Rotax Max karting championship, our typical weekend is this (at least, it’s how we do it in Ukraine, I don’t know about Europe):
    Friday – free practices;
    Saturday – two practice sessions, qualification, and a short race;
    Sunday – warmup and two races for points.

    We don’t get points for the short race on Saturday (we call this race a hit), so it’s almost the same as the sprint race in F1. And that’s okay with me. I usually could fight for a higher starting position in the next races since I have a better race pace than qualy pace.

    But that’s karting – we don’t have strategies, and we just drive flat out in every race.

    In F1, we need strategies. We need heavy cars at the start so their weight and handling changes through the race. In F1 sprints, however, there’s nothing of that, so it’s a procession. To “improve” sprints, F1 needs to reverse the entire grid or pour some water on the track, for example.

    Get rid of those sprints.

    PS: I like the idea of fewer practice sessions. However, it might also work to bring back the warm-up sessions on Sunday. If you have a bad qualifying, you have a chance to improve the setup. Or, for leaders, to make it worse just before the race.

  8. Ocon should’ve chosen that cringy design just for the memes.

    I’d be perfectly okay with more Sprints & I’m perfectly okay with the present three remaining in place.
    What I’d try on at least some weekends is a time trial-like session alongside the Sprint format on others.

    1. Jockey Ewing
      22nd July 2022, 12:14

      I like Ocon’s helmet design. Imo applying the apparent transparency in the context of a racing helmet’s design is quite genuine. Somewhat reminds me a sphere shaped fish tank used as a helmet :D And the funny face, especially with the “slanted” nose is hilarious.
      It’s funny, maybe too funny to be raced in F1 nowadays.

  9. The sprint weekends still just don’t work for me, I just don’t like the lack of flow or how the sprint affects the other sessions & for all 5 of them so far i’ve found myself been far less engaged in the weekend as a result of that.

    I like how the normal format starts out slower & then builds with each session. How FP1 gives you time to get into the weekend, Look out for new updates & how that then leads into FP2 which is similar but a bit more important with the initial qualifying & race runs. And then you have a day to take that all in before we get to the even more important FP3 which is more about qualifying preparation. Then that leads nicely into qualifying where you have the tension/excitement build through each of the 3 segments & that then obviously leads nicely into the GP.

    With a sprint weekend there’s no time to get into the weekend as it’s basically starting out at 100% with a manic feeling FP1 where there’s no time to take anything in or really dig into upgrades or how they are performing. Then you have qualifying which for me just lacks a bit of importance & therefore excitement due to it’s placement & how it isn’t really deciding the grid for the GP & how mistakes and penalties aren’t as big of a penalty as they can recover lost places in the sprint. Then your into FP2 on Saturday which with cars in parc ferme & doing nothing but long runs just doesn’t feel as interesting as any of the practice sessions on a normal weekend do. Then suddenly everything ramps back up again for the sprint race which just doesn’t feel that interesting as it’s a short race thats over before anything has had time to develop. And then again for me going into the GP on Sunday i’m less excited as i’ve seen a race build-up, Race start & what is effectively the opening stint of the race the day before so the GP just ends up feeling that bit less for me early on.

    I also don’t like some weekend’s been more valuable than others with more points on offer.

    The format just doesn’t work for me. I was critical of it last year but i’ve really tried getting into it to find something to enjoy about this year but simply haven’t. I just don’t like that format or how it alters the flow of the weekend & the feel of the other sessions & just end up not been as interested or engaged in sprint weekends as I am the regular ones.

    1. One more thing.

      I also don’t agree with the belief that less practice time on a sprint weekend helps make the races less predictable because if anything with them having a full session in FP2 on Saturday to focus solely on race runs along with the sprint race itself i’d argue that teams go into the GP with far more race run data than on a normal weekend where there only really getting about 30-40 minutes of dedicated long run time at the end of FP2 on Friday.

      And even looking at it from a fans perspective I feel like on sprint weekends we go into the GP with a far clearer idea of everyone’s race pace, How easy or difficult things like overtaking is going to be as well as how things like tyre degredation is likely to play out. On a normal weekend we go into the GP with far less of an idea of how those things will play out which gives the opening stint in particular that bit of additional interest & intrigue than on a sprint weekend where the opening stint basically took place the day before in the sprint.

  10. Sprints are dull and the reasons are well established. They would only be interesting if they had the drivers compete in equal Porsche Cup cars with a random grid.

  11. Americans loving FE. Racing in the rain could solve NASCAR’s popularity decrease.

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