In the round-up: Mercedes admit they took a more conservative approach to their car set-up at the Brazilian Grand Prix following Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification two races earlier.
Mercedes were “conservative after Austin”
The Brazilian Grand Prix was the first sprint race weekend since Hamilton’s disqualification for excessive plank wear in the Austin round. With only a single practice session to set their car up, Mercedes were anxious to avoid a repeat and played it safe by raising their ride height.
Mercedes’ head of vehicle performance Riccardo Musconi admitted this was a contributory factory behind the team’s poor performance at Interlagos.
“First of all we were faced again with an enigma of tyres,” he said in a video released by the team. “We can see them switching on and off within a few degrees, so it’s very, very difficult to be on top of them.
“The second thing was the degradation. We were not at the best end of it as we normally are, so that’s a new thing for us to explore and understand.
“The third thing was that we were perhaps too conservative with the ride heights after Austin. Possibly, and part of the answer may be there, but we don’t think that explains the full picture as we saw it unfolding at the weekend.”
Although he claimed his second-best regular qualifying result in nine rounds, then qualified 12th for the sprint race, Nico Hulkenberg said he had “no performance” with his Haas VF-23 in Brazil.
He finished the 24-lap sprint race down in 18th and a minute behind the winner, and was a lapped 12th in the grand prix after a dramatic start which eliminated team mate Kevin Magnussen.
“It was a typical start situation where it got too tight there, and it was very similar to what happened to me in the sprint in Qatar, I got sandwiched. You can’t really bail out at that point, so I made contact with [Alex] Albon which then put him into Kevin,” said Hulkenberg. “There was damage but the red flag allowed us to repair it, so the car was fine, there was just no performance this weekend.”
GB3 runner-up joins Macau grid
Alex Dunne will make his Formula 3 debut in next weekend’s Macau Grand Prix. The Irish 17-year-old was last year’s British Formula 4 champion and Italian F4 runner-up, then this year came second in the GB3 championship with Hitech GP. He will stay with the team for the FIA F3 World Cup appearance.
ART Grand Prix has announced a change in their line-up for the event, with Gregoire Saucy vacating the number 21 car and being replaced by Nyck de Vries’ protege Laurens van Hoepen who was 10th in this year’s Formula Regional European Championship.
'Verstappen sees it differently. 'The NBA survived when the Chicago Bulls were dominating,' he says. 'At the time, or even afterwards, people are like, ‘Oh, that was amazing'. If you are a real fan of the sport, you should be able to appreciate a team doing very well.' Slight quibble: Michael Jordan’s teams, in the 1990s, won three of their six NBA titles on late game-winning shots, in tight series. They didn’t sweep every play-off series with ease. That’s what Verstappen’s doing now.'
Zhuo Guanyu: 'A few seconds in, I just looked at the steering wheel for help as everyone went right by me. If I’m being honest with you? In that moment... I felt the pressure. I felt the weight of a whole country, the scrutiny that came with getting the seat, the expectations I put on myself — I felt it all.'
'The FIA and ACO are looking to make further improvements to their Balance of Performance system in the Hypercar class for the 2024 World Endurance Championship season, although series executives have stressed that competitors must not rest solely on the process.'
'Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti has chosen Brendon Hartley and Colton Herta as the endurance co-drivers for the full IMSA Endurance Cup during the 2024 IMSA season. Hartley will join Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque in the number 10 Acura ARX-06 while Herta will co-pilot the number 40 sister car with Jordan Taylor and Louis Deletraz. WTR Andretti plans to announce additional drivers for the Daytona 24 Hours in the coming weeks.'
'Esteban Masson is diversifying. The 18-year-old Frenchman, used to single-seaters, found himself in the deep end of the FIA World Endurance Championship during the 8 Hours of Bahrain. The native of Montreal was associated with two very experienced drivers in the discipline with Daniel Serra and Takeshi Kimura. It was also a meeting with the latter that led Masson to participate in the final round of the 2023 WEC.'
'The game could be stuck in limbo for years, missing this boom period and leaving the growing sim racing community without a way to fall in love with it. Which is where EA comes in. EA is one of the most hated game developers around, just ask any FC 24 or Madden player about them. But they also happen to own Codemasters, the studio that has developed the F1 game for more than a decade.'
'Construction work to repave roads and build grandstands and stanchions has taken place over several months. For visitors and locals, this construction has made navigating the city an exercise in patience. Driving or walking from one resort to another can take much longer than usual. Many visitors are complaining that the construction has ruined views of popular attractions.'
'The UK wants another crack at the world land speed record and needs a driver for its Bloodhound supersonic car. To be in the running, you'll need to prove you can handle travelling at more than 800mph (1,290kph), and have a major sponsorship deal behind you. Bloodhound has been sitting in the Coventry Transport Museum since impressing on testing runs in South Africa's Kalahari Desert in 2019. To go racing again and break the land speed record would likely cost £12m'
'Extreme E has won two prestigious accolades at the third annual British Association for Sustainable Sport Awards. XE received the Strategic Leadership Award, while the championship’s social impact and fan engagement strategist Naganethra Reddy won the highly-coveted Rising Star Award.'
We always endeavour to credit original sources. If you have a tip for a link relating to single-seater motorsport to feature in the next RaceFans round-up please send it to us via the contact form.