Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monza, 2022

Verstappen not dwelling on chance to clinch title this weekend

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In the round-up: Runaway F1 points leader Max Verstappen says he isn’t thinking about winning his second world championship this weekend.

In brief

Verstappen’s focus not on title this weekend

Verstappen can clinch his second world championship in three days’ time but he says he is keeping thoughts of that from his mind.

The Red Bull driver leads by 116 points after winning the last five grands prix. If his lead is at least 138 points by Sunday evening he will win the title.

A race win with Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc finishing far enough behind will make him championship again. But he says he isn’t dwelling on the arithmetic.

“I don’t really think about the championship,” he said. “I just want to have a positive weekend on track and take it race by race, there’s no rush.”

F1 is racing in Singapore for the first time since 2019, the last two races having been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We haven’t been to Singapore for a while so it will be interesting to see how the track has evolved,” he said. “It’s definitely one of the best races of the year and it’s a beautiful place to be. It’s important to have a good qualifying lap here so we’ll be focussing on that.

“During the race we just have to be ready for anything as there’s usually a lot of Safety Cars. In general, it’s a challenging circuit, the humidity is tough on the body and it’s very difficult to do a perfect lap because of tight turns and how close the walls are.”

Singapore extends DRS zones for F1’s return

The first and third DRS zones on the Marina Bay street circuit have been extended by five metres each for F1’s return this weekend.

The first DRS zone, on the straight between turns five and six, used to begin 53 metres after turn five. For 2022, the activation point has been moved back five metres so drivers can use DRS 48m after the corner.

The second DRS zone, situation after the turn 13 hairpin with its detection point on the preceding bridge section, is unchanged. However the third zone, which used to begin 48m after the final corner, will now start 43m after the apex of turn 23.

W Series wants to add reversed-grid races

Chadwick can clinch third W Series title this weekend
W Series’ CEO Catherine Bond Muir says she would like to see reversed-grid races again in her championship, after the series successfully trialled the format in 2019.

A non-championship race was held at Assen that year as W Series supported the DTM, and the victory battle was decided in a photo finish. Since then it has run on the F1 support bill, where scheduling has been tighter, although it has been able to hold two races in a weekend twice last year and twice this year.

But although the championship could be clinched this weekend by Jamie Chadwick, who has dominated much of the 2022 season, Bond Muir said the series is unlikely to vary its format to add interest to the final rounds.

“I just don’t think that under our rules we’re able to do that quickly,” she explained. “I think with DTM, we had a lot more time and that reversed-grid race was an extra race, so to speak.

“And racing with F1, our time is limited and very prescribed. So unfortunately, in this instance, I don’t think we can. But it would be nice to have and I definitely would love to have a reversed grid again, given how good it was in 2019. But at the moment, that’s not to be this season.”

Exclusive Autosport makes first Road to Indy signings

Exclusive Autosport ran Louis Foster to this year’s Indy Pro 2000 title, and the team has already started filling its books for 2023.

Its IP2000 line-up will be bolstered by the arrival of Yuven Sundaramoorthy, who came 10th in his rookie season this year. Before that he won races in USF2000, where Exclusive has retained Jacob Douglas for a second season.

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Comment of the day

The FIA’s rejection of a 2023 superlicence for IndyCar star Colton Herta may have ended his hopes of racing in F1 for the time being, but it reinvigorated the discussion over the purpose of the points system that dictates who can and cannot qualify for the superlicence.

The FIA needs to figure out if the purpose of the superlicence program is to protect it’s home-grown feeder system or if it is there to ensure the grid is made up of drivers who can handle F1 in terms of both the on-track action as well as the off-track action. If it is the former then they might as well just stop pretending that other series can gain points. If it’s the latter, then they should think harder about the point distribution system.

But to be honest, if we look at the current IndyCar situation, what driver who is a top contender year after year for an IndyCar championship is going to want to move to F1? It is really only someone like Villeneuve who totally dominated the series and was looking for something to challenge him. But the way IndyCar is now with the parity between the cars, it would be hard to find someone who is so dominant.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Donwatters!

On this day in motorsport

The United States Grand Prix saw a strange, staged finish today in 2002
  • 20 years ago today Michael Schumacher tried to orchestrate a dead heat in the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis – and accidentally let Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello win by 0.011 seconds

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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26 comments on “Verstappen not dwelling on chance to clinch title this weekend”

  1. W Series

    “could not offer guarantees that the season would go on to the final double-header in Austin and Mexico if Chadwick wins this weekend, or even that all the drivers would be paid their prize money. ”

    “Whisper is one of W Series’ biggest creditors and the company, founded by David Coulthard and Jake Humphrey, usually sends a crew of 15 to 20 people to races. But it will not be sending anyone out to Asia this weekend as W Series tries desperately to raise the funds necessary to stay afloat. ”

    Not good for the W Series.

    1. But ultimately not a great loss if it folds.

      It is terribly lacking in competition.
      Right now as things are, the series is completely useless as it provides nothing to drivers, viewers or sponsors.

      1. hahaha, that you see 1 leading is not really an issue, after that there is enough battle still.
        The leader is just good. (maybe look at f1)
        And if you knew, there is also a part that are participating, because it is exactly that lack of Formula-changes for girls/woman.

        The setup is also exactly there because the bias of people like S.

        1. May I ask what bias it is that you think I have, @jehannes?

    2. I had no idea W Series was struggling. I don’t know how it is structured – what it costs a team to enter, how much a sticker on a car costs? Transport etc. The more I think about, I struggle to see where the money coming in is coming from.

      I really hope it doesn’t fold. We might think of Coulthard and Humphrey as being wealthy, but there is wealthy and then there’s global motorsport series wealthy. I suspect Bernie could afford to back it, but there aren’t many others in that bracket.

      1. Has much to do with that it’s based in the UK and that the country is just sinking after the brexit and now with this idiotoc economic plan from the new PM, no independent economist has confidence in it and the value of the pound shows that.

        I hope all series/teams and the FIA will see the importance and not just support it with words to have it continue to exist.

    3. The only person so far to come out of W Series with any real credibility is Jamie Chadwick.

      1) She has been so far ahead of the competition, the rest (and there is some real talent amongst them) look like amateurs.
      2) The series looks pointless, as even Jamie can’t get a drive in a higher formula – so it isn’t serving its purpose.
      3) The lack of competition to Jamie means that the series is struggling for viewers.

      I think that we need to get female drivers in higher levels of motorsport to make the sport more relevant – but I don’t think W Series is the way, and was luke warm to it all along. Segregation is not the way to equality.

      1. Exactly the reason why it must exist, females can not enter and stay in those upper series because there is a lack of quantity and there for also quality.
        And to only see chadwick as a professional driver in there is just silly.

      2. She can get a drive as far as I heard, just would have to settle for a midfield team from what I understood, should try it, so we could see the level of a dominant w series person.

        1. In F2 i’d like that.
          F3 would make no sense since there cars are comparable to F3.

          Yet F3 and F2 should always have female presence, that’s one of the goals for this series, though it should be happening without them.

    4. Quickly looking at the accounts filed with Companies House, they lost £15m last year, the shareholders are pumping in money (£10m last year), the director (Bond Muir) is owed £5m. I don’t see this turning around.

  2. I never understood if Schumacher was genuinely trying to orchestrate the closest finish in F1 history as he claimed in the press conference afterwards. Or if he was simply slowing right down for a crawling formation finish and Barrichello ‘accidentally’ squirted the throttle and took the win.

    Any insight into this ?

    1. He was trying to return the favour for Austria 2002, when Rubens lifted off the straight just before the finish line to let Schumi by. I guess both if them had made it a point to show how obvious it was when they were handing their teammate the win.

      1. Shshsh. You are not following the propaganda machine.

  3. CotD – the FIA knows full well what the super licence system is for. It is for supporting their own junior series structure, and only accepting the most successful and high-profile drivers from outside of it.
    The second paragraph is spot-on – why would a top-level driver in a top-level (driver-oriented) spec series want to cross to F1 to race in an inferior competition?
    There’s only a tiny chance that they’d get a race or championship winning seat, even without considering the time taken to adapt to the vastly different challenges and circumstances F1 contains.

    1. Competitors with the ambition of being seen as the best in the world.
      Competitors with the ambition to earn multiple millions a year.
      The ambitious people that are interested in driving the fastest cars in the world and that understand that F1 is more than a drivers competition.

      Race fans used to be interested in engineering.

    2. Yeah and keep bumping the price of an F2 seat up… the FIA can properly milk the F2 cow if it’s the only feasible way of getting into F1. Why change this so there are other paths to F1 that they don’t profit from? I’d be surprised if there are any tweaks to the super license system in the near future, even if the top Indy drivers could thrive in F1.

      1. Yep, agreed.
        But then, this is business.

    3. F1 is probably the most competitive driver-orientated series!

      It just not a driver competition for race wins every race but a competition for race seats throughout the years. The best drivers tend to survive and end up in the best seats.

      1. The best drivers tend to survive and end up in the best seats.

        I’ve never believed that, and have no reason to.
        F1 consistently shows that money and politics regularly prevent top drivers from attaining the good seats or getting the best from them, and also that many of the longest F1 careers are held by so-called ‘journeymen’ or others who have long passed their prime (in terms of results, at least).

        F1 is, and always has been, a car and team series – not a real driver series.
        The WDC is the most useless and false ‘championship’ in motorsport. IMO….

        Having said that, there’s certainly some truth that drivers (and their management) are more competitive off-track in trying to get into those good seats than they are on-track, in whatever they eventually end up in.

        1. F1 is, and always has been, a car and team series – not a real driver series.
          The WDC is the most useless and false ‘championship’ in motorsport. IMO….

          I fully agree with you there.
          I even argued in the past that the podium ceremony should be the 3 top team finishers, with the winning driver on the side podium.
          But most other fans want to see a personalised hero (or villain) I guess.

          I tried to make a point that F1 still recognises, and mostly rewards, the top drivers (Hamilton, Verstappen, Alonso, Vettel) and they can pick the seats they want (until they burn the bridges). That makes it also driver-orientated in my book. My books are like my glasses: half full ;)

          1. Yep. Good points. Definitely like the podium idea.
            Indeed, many do like their F1 ‘story’ with a good guy/bad buy dynamic that they create for themselves.

            From a marketing perspective, F1 is very much about the drivers.
            From a sporting perspective, however…. Not so much. They are merely an ingredient rather than the product.
            If this were a spec series where the driver makes the bulk of the difference in performance, there’d be no way Alonso would be moving to one of the slowest cars on the grid, and Ricciardo left without a car at all.

            I guess my F1 book is like my glass – usually empty. The good stuff was inside it, but now it’s all gone. ;)
            It was tasty when it was there, though…

  4. The 5-meter addition won’t improve overtaking, but oh well, not all tracks are overtaking-friendly anyway.

    The virtual circuit is nicely flowing.

  5. though there were only 17 races that year compared with 22 now.

    That should have been the sub heading… Big difference between July and September, and really just highlights how meaningless more races in the season can make the races towards the tail end.

    1. We need to look beyond a championship fight though, it’s very rare that you actually have 2 drivers fighting till the end, even with a shorter calendar. I think you need to take it race by race, then you won’t mind even a 30-races calendar.

  6. The 1968 was just in the jungle…. if you look now it’s in the middle of the city changed into a citytrack….

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