‘We thought we were king of the race, then realised we were nowhere’ – Gasly

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In the round-up: Pierre Gasly said he thought he was on course for a much stronger result in the Belgian Grand Prix when rain arrived.

In brief

Gasly’s hopes dashed in Belgian GP

Gasly finished 11th, three places behind team mate Esteban Ocon at Spa, but at one point he looked on for a stronger result. After falling from 12th to 16th on lap one, he reached seventh once others started to pit, and extended his first stint when it became clear rain was coming.

But his hopes the rain would force his rivals to pit again did not materialise. “We were thinking it was going to rain,” said Gasly. “For three laps we thought we were the king of the race. And then after we realised we were nowhere.”

His eventual pit stop dropped him to 17th, but a swathe of second stops from rivals meant after two laps he was up to 11th. Knowing he would then lose all those positions if he pitted again, Gasly stuck with the one-stop strategy to the end. He was only 2.863 seconds off a points finish, but admitted “ultimately the one-stop was a bit ambitious.”

Formula E star Bird leaves Jaguar

Last weekend’s London EPrix marked Sam Bird’s final outing in Formula E with Jaguar after three seasons together.

Bird spent the first six seasons of FE driving for Virgin Racing, picking up nine wins in that time and coming third in the 2017-18 standings.

He joined Jaguar for 2021 and won on his second start with the team, with a second win later that year putting him sixth in the championship. After that he signed a two-year deal, and has since had two win-free seasons. The first one ended early as he broke his left hand in a crash, with a best finish of fourth from the year, and this season he had four podiums but missed two races again and ended up eighth in the points table.

“What a ride. What a team. To everyone at Jaguar Racing: thank you. I loved every second. Yes there were low points but also some amazing highs. We achieved some amazing things together. I’ll carry some of these memories forever,” said Bird.

Jaguar appeared to confirm Bird’s continued presence in the series, as the team thanked Bird for “three unforgettable seasons with amazing achievements” and said “we wish you all the best in your next FE chapter.”

Robin Frijns is also on the move, after spending less than a full season at Abt Cupra.

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Capacity increase for Miami GP

Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Miami International Autodrome, 2023
More spaces for fans in Miami next year
The Miami Grand Prix promoters have increased the spectator capacity at the race to 100,000 for the third running of the event next year.

Tickets are now on sale for the third edition of F1’s Miami Grand Prix, with prices for three-day grandstand tickets on 3rd-5th May 2024 starting at US $675 (£526). The cheapest tickets for seating on the pit straight to see practice, qualifying and the race are $1,600 (£1,247).

Post-season tests confirmed for F1’s support series

Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3, the two main feeder and support series to Formula 1, have announced their post-season test dates.

The F3 season concludes at the Italian Grand Prix in a month’s time, and following a one-month break teams will be back for three tests. The first is at Jerez (5th-6th October), a track last raced at in 2017 when the series was known as GP3, then there’s three days off before the next test at Barcelona (10th-11th October). The test action concludes at Imola (23rd-24th October), a track FIA F3 was supposed to race at this year before local flooding led to the round being cancelled.

F2 has two rounds after the summer break, then 12 weeks later concludes its season in Abu Dhabi. After two days off, there is then three days of testing there from 29th November to 1st December. F1 is expected to use the track for its post-season test, which several F2 stars will likely feature in, but is yet to confirm its post-season schedule.

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Comment of the day

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted he is not maximising his AlphaTauri yet, two races into his F1 return, but how quickly will the grand prix winner need to do that to retain his seat alongside Yuki Tsunoda?

If they expected Nyck de Vries to be at least on par with Yuki if not ahead then I would argue more is expected of Ricciardo. He has ’til the end of the season to prove himself, but he needs to be consistently ahead of Yuki to even think of retaining that seat another year never mind dreams of dropping into the main team early.

I like Ricciardo but I really want to see Lawson get his chance from next year, he’s already been overlooked twice now in favor of experience yet it’s Yuki that’s scoring the points.
Le Jimster

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jack Lenox!

On this day in motorsport

  • 25 years ago today a home win for Nick Heidfeld at the Hockenheimring brought him closer to F3000 points leader Juan Pablo Montoya

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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19 comments on “‘We thought we were king of the race, then realised we were nowhere’ – Gasly”

  1. The Miami Grand Prix promoters have increased the spectator capacity at the race to 100,000 for the third running of the event next year.

    IIRC Miami had fire sale ticket prices just before the race this year as they couldn’t sell them all, and now they’re adding seats…… These prices are getting ridiculous, especially Las Vegas. Watch out liberty, you just might kill the golden goose.

  2. Re: COTD that’s fair. I didn’t see how l Danny lost so many places early but he did seem to pass a lot of people and end up where he was in spa. Lets see where things are in 3 races?

    I do think Lawson is in AT next year. I don’t think RB have concerns about his speed, I think they want to make sure he’s psychologically ready for F1, so have been putting him out of his comfort zone and letting him grow. He seems more of a complete package now and I’m basing that on how he comes across in interviews mostly. I wonder if they might use Danny at AT as a mentor?? Assuming he shows he’s better than Yuki over the remaining races…

  3. …it was announced that Szafnauer would be departing from his role as team principal after just 18 months in charge.

    If you set someone a task which is so difficult you are sure they will fail at it, and they fail to achieve the supposed result, then haven’t they done what you wanted them to do? Here we have Szafnauer, whose job was to get Alpine to be winning races and such like results, but he was given the same engine as his predecessor, and now his successor is supposed to get better results with that same engine, which many believe is the weakest engine on the grid.

    1. That’s a fair insight. At the end of the day Szafnauer is a scapegoat for more systemic issues which at the core it is a lack of investment (from French Government) that matches the big 3.

      At least Alpine now have an extra few years of excuses for not being in the lead teams before they blame the next CEO. Or maybe it’s 18 months?

      1. At the end of the day Szafnauer is a scapegoat for more systemic issues which at the core it is a lack of investment

        As most senior person at the racing team (until recently recently) Szafnauer was responsible to RESOLVE those systemic issues.
        And if he thought it could only be done with more money then he should have found a solution for that (sponsors, investors, rearrange budgets).
        And if he didn’t get the support from the guys at Alpine Cars and Renault to achieve what he promised, then he should have resigned.

        PS 18 months is more than enough to show you’re on the right track.

        1. “Either achieve an impossible task, or quit!”

          18 months is nothing in such conditions anymore. F1’s development pace has contracted in equal proportion to its scope.

  4. Alpine has generally been a pretty big disappointment this season despite that partly being down to unfortunate DNF-causing issues & collisions, but even on pure pace.
    Specifically in the last race, Gasly indeed was pretty much nowhere, struggling to get past Albon, etc.

    Good COTD & I especially agree on Lawson that he should get a chance next season as performing well in a series like SF as a rookie is effectively impossible to overlook, so assuming Checo doesn’t give a reason for sacking by his performance level anymore, he’d replace the current AT driver that performs worse over the remaining season, which would be especially bad for Danny Ric if he’d be the one given his ambition, most likely meaning his F1 career ending for good.

    1. Lawson never even won a single F2 race yet people see more potential in him than a guy who was lighting up F1 his entire career until McLaren. 🤦‍♂️ And let’s not forget 2022 was the one epically bad season. 2021 was disappointing, but not bad by any means.

      RBR have a lot more data than us on Lawson and they’re not sentimental at all. If they thought he was some star in the making, he’d have been promoted already and Daniel would be dropped.

  5. Even though there are probably things going on at Alpine that don’t necessarily relate 1:1 with the people being dumped, it’s nevertheless good to see them take decisive action. Whatever else is true, Alpine was definitely not heading towards the front of the grid.

    F1 teams on the whole have been thorough embarrassed by Red Bull’s (likely soon to be unprecedented) dominance. A lot of the people in senior roles at other teams have a resume of continued failure. Replacing them now gives their replacement much more influence over the next season than when a team does it after the season. You see this now with Vasseur at Ferrari; it’s basically a wasted season with an abandoned Binotto design.

    1. Agree with your comment, but the Ferrari issue is a bit different.
      Ferrari develops a pretty decent car (albeit a bit underwhelming with the upgrades). It’s the racing organisation though that is lacking most. There is no excuse for Vasseur to not have an impact there early in his first season.

      1. Coventry Climax
        1st August 2023, 12:09

        Of which (racing organisation) he has not yet shown signs to be on top of.

        Can’t be sure, but I suspect he’s fighting the same forces that his predecessors fought, and I feel that that’s where the real effective personnel changes should have taken place.

  6. I sometimes feel like a lone defender of Ricciardo on this website. That’s no reflection on the COTD, which I think raises some fair points, but I am concerned about the narrative surrounding Daniel. I can understand many fans have been disappointed and let down by his performances at McLaren, but I fear some fans have become entrenched in the opinion that he has ‘lost it’ forever and are determined to shoehorn in any old result to build a case.

    As I was at pains to highlight in yesterdays comment section – AT clearly split the strategy for wet/dry set-ups. They had one car perform tremendously on Saturday and another tremendously on Sunday. Ricciardo went with the wet weather gamble, likely to suit the characteristics of the Hungary set-up. In q1, DR had a lap time deleted which would have got him through to q2 but didn’t, Yuki finished 11th, in sprint Q Yuki was out in q1 and DR 11th. In the races both finished tenth (earning Yuki a point, singular), with 2 cars in Sainz and Piastri out and in the sprint race Daniel was 10th, Perez out. Given the set up difference I’d put that down to an almost identical weekend, which at Spa in the wet with 10 days at the team and certainly relying on an engineer driven set-up is impressive.

    With regard to Lawson, I think the jury is still out. AT are in this mess because they didn’t believe in him in the winter. Super Formula is a very difficult series to judge – whilst it’s impressive to be fighting at the front there, I don’t think it’s an automatic promotion to F1. Stoffel dominated GP2 in 2015 and came 4th in 2016 in SF. Gasly was 1st in GP2 and then 2nd in SF too. I think F2 is still where the talent is and Pourchaire, Vesti and Bearman all look to have the measure of Lawson. That’s not to forget Drugovich waiting in the wings too. Lawson seems the best Red Bull junior but given AT’s future is always in limbo I’m not sure that’s enough to get him the drive. Red Bull may try to poach some of the other talent in the junior categories first.

    1. You fail to mention Iwasa. Bearman is fast but very reckless. Pourchaire should be dominating in his 3rd year but clearly isn’t

      1. I’m not sure on Iwasa. He has a solid start to the year but isn’t looking particularly hot recently. He had similar form last year.

        Of the guys I mention, I think they have the chance to be in F1 for more than a couple of seasons. It’s difficult to assess the quality of the F2 grid at anytime and if Pourchaire is top that’s all he can do. Bearman is very young too, I see huge potential in him.

        Iwasa and Lawson have never filled me with confidence.

    2. Coventry Climax
      1st August 2023, 12:17

      You’re not the lone defender, you’re among a group of Ricciardo fans.
      The rest take a step back and look at things from the resulting wider perspective, to see what Ricciardo has to do in order to salvage his credibility and career.
      That’s all there’s to it, even if the Ricciardo fans don’t like it.

      Change the name Ricciardo for any other name, if you like.

      1. As I say, I think there has become a narrative that he is a broken toy and some F1 fans are using any old result to suit whichever narrative suits that week.

        For what it’s worth, I’m not a Ricciardo fan – I just think his McLaren time was looked at harshly and there are segments of F1 communities who are desperate to see him fail again. I’m not sure why tbh – perhaps it’s linked to his DTS popularity.

        But I’ve watched every F1 race he’s ever done and I know talent when I see it. 2 bad seasons don’t define a strong career. I received a bit of pushback in April when I said I thought Ricciardo would replace De Vries, for a variety of reasons now proven false. My expectations for Daniel are that he’ll need half a dozen races to be on top of the car and team. Until then we can only look at pointers but using phrases like “more is expected” is premature. Ricciardo is competitive at worst against Yuki, he’s kept his nose clean (which Nyck didn’t) and has brought some.personality to the paddock. It’s been a good comeback already.

    3. I agree @rbalonso. I sometimes feel the same way.

      I too think COTD makes a fair point. I think some people do seem to be very keen to jump on Daniel’s first or smallest mistake though. They have written him off unless he somehow manages to beat Yuki in every competitive session.

      The jury is definitely still out and I did say about a week ago that I thought promotion to the Red Bull first team was a very high expectation. Let’s wait and see though and for now give him the benefit of the doubt.

    4. @rbalonso You make some good points. Maybe a reason people are such vocal detractors is because Ricciardo is very popular and his performances at McLaren make him a somewhat easy target.

      But regarding his current Alpha Tauri stint, I think people are just jumping on the bandwagon either way much to early when there are so few data points to go on. Last week with people already saying he’s got Yuki covered and is going to destroy him over the rest of the season, and this week the opposite (though I can’t understand why as he had a very good Saturday which would have yielded a point in a normal race).

      Either way, it is far too soon for any judgement. I’m personally surprised he was already on Yuki’s pace in any session having been out of the sport for half a season, but we will have a much clearer picture of his level of competitiveness as the rest of the season unfolds, so I see no reason to make any knee-jerk judgements every time he or Yuki has a good or bad session.

  7. Error in the first line, “Gasly finished eighth, three places behind team mate Esteban Ocon at Spa”

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