Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen, Las Vegas Strip Circuit, 2023

“Nothing I can do” to defend with top speed deficit – Alonso

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso fears he will struggle to keep cars behind him in the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

In brief

Alonso fears “nothing I can do” to defend from rivals

Alonso says he expects to have a difficult time keeping rivals behind him during the Las Vegas Grand Prix due to their relatively low straightline speed. The Aston Martins of Alonso and team mate Lance Stroll were the slowest cars measured at the timing line on the pit straight during qualifying, which Alonso admitted made him concerned for the race.

“I think we’ve been the slowest car on the straight for 22 races, so that is not a surprise that on the longest straight of the championship we are struggling a little bit,” he said.

Asked if he was concerned he would be vulnerable during the grand prix from cars behind him, Alonso replied “100%. Nothing I can do.”

Hamilton’s first Mercedes fetches record price

The Mercedes W04 Lewis Hamilton drove to his first grand prix victory for the team at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2013 has set a new record for the highest fetching price for a modern F1 car at a public auction.

Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013 from McLaren and raced chassis number 04 in the first 17 rounds of the championship, including a single victory in that year’s race at the Hungaroring. Chassis 04 went for auction at RM Sotheby’s with an estimated price of between $10m-$15m, but was eventually sold for a total of $18.8m (£15.09m).

It is the only car raced by Mercedes since their return to Formula 1 as a manufacturer in 2010 not owned by the team, by team principal Toto Wolff or by Hamilton himself.

Albon reveals delta failure

Alexander Albon has revealed he struggled without a delta time available in the cockpit of his Williams during qualifying. He was one of six drivers who failed to adhere to the maximum lap time between the two Safety Car lines in the session, but all six were cleared of driving unnecessarily slowly.

“My delta time wasn’t working, so I didn’t [know],” he said. “Nowadays they are so strict on our [maximum] Safety Car line times and because it wasn’t working I was stressed because I didn’t want to get a penalty for no reason. So I was reliant on the radio to tell me whether I was going too quickly or not.”

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Comment of the day

With Max Verstappen expressing scepticism over the Las Vegas Grand Prix, reader Alan Dove shares his view about the most thrilling motorsport event held in Las Vegas this month…

In addition to Max’s comments all I can say about all this saga is Tom Kutscher and his SKUSA team should be absolute lauded for the superb SuperNationals karting event they did this year after having to leave their traditional weekend slot and venue (Rio Hotel, Las Vegas) because of F1.

They had to move to the Las Vegas Super Speedway and work out several compromises. I can’t imagine the stress they have gone through this year having to deal with F1’s decision to race in Las Vegas this month.

That’s a motorsport event with actual heart (and one that doesn’t inconvenience and cost residents) that takes place on the ‘Strip’ – well, it used to. The fact F1 just waltzed in and figuratively kicked out America’s biggest kart event (if not the world’s) is quite eye-opening. The sport that gives them ALL of their drivers and just kicked to the kerb with no thought, no help, nothing. It’ll survive and thrive at the Speedway of course, but it isn’t quite the same at its traditional venue.
Alan Dove

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Joao and Matteo!

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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7 comments on ““Nothing I can do” to defend with top speed deficit – Alonso”

  1. That BBC story could kick off those accusations of Verstappen child-abuse all over again…
    Goodnight all, off to bed (with my picture of Roscoe on the nightstand), somehow not excited enough to lose any sleep on this “iconic” F1 “event” but will hopefully catch the Macau race.

  2. It’s interesting when you see the difference between ideologies such as between Max and Toto. I think it’s unquestionable that both care deeply about F1.

    Toto seems to think this event is the best ever, the new standard, taking F1 to new heights. Max seems to think it’s the wrong direction, not the spirit of F1.

    I think the way the world is structured necessitates sometimes making a deal with the devil to be successful. In F1’s case that’s Liberty.

    It leads to terrible stories like FP1 and the CotD, but at the end of the day they’ve brought a lot more eyes and therefore money to F1 than Ecclestone ever could.

    More money means more investment, which in theory means a better product for all. I wonder where it’s all headed over the next decade.

    1. Coventry Climax
      19th November 2023, 1:13

      More money means more investment, which in theory means a better product for all. I wonder where it’s all headed over the next decade.

      That’s a theory that won’t stick. For years, it was Ferrari with (one of) the biggest budgets, but it never got them any further up the road.
      Arguably, having less money creates the need to be more inventive and gets you a more clever product.
      Bottom line is, the amount of money makes no difference; it’s more how and on what the money is spent that does the trick. Vegas being a recent example: so much money spent, yet they neglected to sufficiently check the drainage and valve covers. And it certainly isn’t a better product over many, many other circuits, with so much of the money spent on things totally irrelevant to the core of the business; motorracing.
      Obviously, some things require a certain minimum; you can’t run an F1 team on a dime, but also, there’s no specific optimum, as it’ll change with the people in charge of the budget.
      Force India punched way above their weight for quite some time, whereas teams with a lot bigger budgets just seemed to squander it.
      This is in part why I’m opposed of the budget cap.

      I think Verstappen cares more about actual racing than Wolff, who’s much more into the business side and profitability of it all. To himself, mainly. Where Verstappen’s passion is about the act of racing, Wolff’s passion is way more about the dollars it brings.

      Give me people that stay true of themselves over those that make a deal with the devil any day, any industry.

      1. Coventry Climax, is that really the case, or is it more that the drain cover issue is being exaggerated by the sort of fan who had already decided that they were going to complain about everything surrounding this race?

        When, back in 2020, we also had the concrete surround of a drain collapse at the Portimao circuit, forcing FP3 to be cut short and qualifying to be postponed whilst they made emergency repairs, we didn’t have people ranting that the circuit owners were incompetent and had done a bad job because they “lacked the passion for racing”.

        There were only a handful of people on this site who complained when Russell’s chassis was written off in Baku in 2019, and similarly limited sympathy for Haas in 2017 in Sepang for Grosjean’s crash after striking a loose drain cover. Some showed some sympathy, but others also posted the sentiment “it’s motorsport – these things happen, now get over it”.

        When a more popular circuit is involved, there has been a stronger tendency to ascribe the events to randomness and to say that it was unlucky on the part of the team involved. Similarly, the fact that this incident involved Ferrari seems to have resulted in a higher level of manufactured outrage – we see it in the fact that nobody here could care less about Alpine’s damaged chassis. How much of the apparent outrage is really about the issues we had at the circuit, and how much is being manufactured by self-declared purists to show off how much of a traditionalist they are to other other self-declared purists?

    2. Eccelstone did more to grow the sport than any other person in F1’s history. He was just no longer the right man to run F1 when we reached the age of social media. He just didn’t get how it could grow the sport. I have little to no patience to understand how TikTok could be used to grow my business. If I couldn’t recognize my ignorance on the subject and push aside my disdain for the platform to delegate to someone who knew how to work with it, it’d be time for me to step aside.

    3. but at the end of the day they’ve brought a lot more eyes and therefore money to F1 than Ecclestone ever could.

      On the contrary, Bernie was largely responsible for taking F1 from a glorified club racing series to a globally successful corporation – without resorting to such divisive and controversial means that Liberty are currently keen on exploiting.
      Bernie ran F1’s commercial side in such a way as to sell a sport and an engineering competition, whereas Liberty are merely selling a marketing space to whoever is even mildly interested in any part of it – even if for only a few minutes.
      Liberty have also morphed it from an open competition into a closed-off franchise system – great for the existing teams, terrible for everyone else.

      More money means more investment, which in theory means a better product for all.

      Theory and reality do not always align – and this is a great example of that.

  3. Well, SuperNationals event can’t take place on the weekend before Thanksgiving again next year.

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