(L to R): Oscar Piastri, Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Suzuka, 2023

Verstappen names McLaren duo as most promising F1 driver pairing

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen explained why he believes McLaren have the most promising driver line-up.

In brief

McLaren pair impress Verstappen

Asked who he would pick to drive for a Formula 1 team – excluding himself – the reigning world champion named McLaren team mates Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

“I would take Lando and Oscar,” he told Auto Motor und Sport. “So the McLaren pairing. Both are good.

“Lando is just a little older than Oscar. I think Oscar is a fast rookie. He still has things to learn, such as improving his racing pace. But from what I see, he’s a smart guy. He will win his races.”

De Ferran family pays tribute to Gil

The family of Gil de Ferran has paid tribute to the multiple IndyCar champion and Indianapolis 500 winner who died at the end of last year. His daughter Anna de Ferran wrote in a social media post also thanked those who had sent messages about her father.

“It is truly heart warming to see the words respect, champion, intelligent, humble, deep connection and integrity come up so often,” she wrote.

“While my father left us too young, he died the way we believe he would have wanted – driving a race car with my brother at his side. He left us without pain with his last act being to place his foot on the brake so my brother was able to come home safely with us that evening. That story in itself is testament to the level of thought, care, selflessness and love he put into everything he did.”

Ferrari pass crash test, Red Bull not cleared yet

Ferrari have already passed the first crash test for their new chassis, codenamed 676, according to Autosprint. The same publication reports Red Bull’s new RB20 did not pass its test first time. However the development is unlikely to prove a significant setback for the world champions.

Wharton to FREC after Ferrari exit

Former Ferrari Driver Academy member James Wharton will stay with the Prema team as he moves up from Italian Formula 4 to compete in the Formula Regional European Championship. “We have had a great relationship with James so far, and we look forward to having him with us for 2024 as well,” said team principal Rene Roisin. “He always fought for wins and podiums in every championship, so we trust him to be able to do the same in FRECA.

“We know this is a particularly tricky series, but we are confident we will manage to make all the steps we need to maximize our potential together and have a successful learning experience.”

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Comment of the day

Alexander Albon has performed well at Williams but does that necessarily mean he deserves the chance to return to Red Bull?

I’m not curious at all to see Albon back in a Red Bull.

In the article the other day, he literally said that with the knowledge and experience of today, he’d now do a better job at Red Bull. I’m quite sure that’s true. It’s also very likely true for (almost) every other driver. What he does not say, is how much better he would be. Which is a wise choice, and somewhat in contrast to what Perez generally vents.

I think, all in all, that Red Bull is not an environment where Albon would thrive. He needs to be at ease within his team.

If he were thrown the opportunity, he might seize it. I doubt it is something he actively seeks himself, though, and I’d rather see him be successful at other teams than lose faith again at Red Bull.
Coventry Climax

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Anne Lambert, Timi, Bosley and Gitanes!

On this day in motorsport

  • On this day in 1996 the creation of the Stewart Grand Prix team – now Red Bull – was announced at the Detroit Motor Show

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Verstappen names McLaren duo as most promising F1 driver pairing”

  1. He just doesn’t want either of them as his teammates. :)

    1. Don’t think it would bother him too much, to be honest – at least while he’s the team leader at Red Bull, consistently having cars tailored to suit him.
      However – if he suddenly went to McLaren, where the car is already designed for someone else….

      1. In the interview he says something completely different.
        But maybe you know more than he does.

      2. The problem isn’t the team. Or Verstappen. Or the car. It’s the fans. You probably don’t want your fave to drive alongside Verstappen, nor Alonso, or Hamilton for that matter. Because these drivers will end up beating your fave no matter which team they’re paired at.

        Verstappen suddenly went to Red Bull mid-season where the car didn’t get build for him and when he was a young teen with almost no experience and we know what happened. Why would things be any different multiple years, experience, and three world championships later?

        1. The problem isn’t the team. Or Verstappen. Or the car. It’s the fans.

          It probably is – for people who have any kind of bias in their perception of F1.
          Of those three names listed, only Alonso has a clear record against all team-mates in F1 (by points) with the nearest challenger/s being a draw (including where both drivers finish with 0 points).

          Verstappen suddenly went to Red Bull mid-season where the car didn’t get build for him and when he was a young teen with almost no experience and we know what happened.

          Indeed we do. He spent the first two years spinning and running off track a lot.
          And even at that point, Red Bull management (mostly Helmut) couldn’t say a bad word about Verstappen – even when he was crashing into Ricciardo…
          But then, they didn’t say anything negative about Vettel in the same circumstances either, no matter how many ‘supposed’ team orders he disobeyed.

          Why would things be any different multiple years, experience, and three world championships later?

          They aren’t.

      3. The car is not catered to Max. Max is above average able to adjust himself to any material thrown at him. And he then consistently distracts the maximum. It wouldn’t matter much which team he drivers for or what team mate he would have. I do agree with him McLaren has the strongest pairing out there of all teams. 2nd place I would put Ferrari and third Mercedes.

    2. notagrumpyfan
      4th January 2024, 8:22

      Actually, in the interview he picks Lando as his ideal teammate because “he is still young, with a full career ahead. And he can also be very, very fast.”

    3. I’ve never seen any lack of confidence on his part when it comes to his potential or actual team mates; or evidence at all that he ever tried to interfere with who was chosen.

      He does seem to like Lando a lot and also rate him highly as a driver.

      1. Yes, so far he always pushed to improve his team mate, however those he had when he said it were terrible, or at least performing terribly at red bull, like albon; he also said he’d have preferred ricciardo to stay, who is so far the most competitive team mate he had.

  2. I like Bernie Collins a lot. She brings a technical perspective that is far superior to Croft and to a lesser extent Brundle. She should have a bigger presence on the broadcast, especially during quali.

  3. I agree

  4. In relation to the Guardian story, it’ll be interesting to see how Aston Martin does, especially if McLaren can build on their revised 2023 car, and assuming that both Ferrari and Mercedes will be able to take a bigger step now that they’re no longer tied to their compromised 2022 based concepts.

    The investment made by Stroll in this team is an example to the teams languishing in the midfield with seemingly neither a plan nor a desire to do better. Maybe there will be more engagement there if F1 introduces a long overdue point system that puts a point value on all places, and reduces the guaranteed pay out.

  5. Verstappen’s picks seem solid.

    While I think Hamilton is better than Norris right now, he’s not got a very long shelf life left and Norris will only get better where as Hamilton will decline. I think Piastri is the only questionable pick as I think Leclerc, Hamilton, Alonso and Russell have him beat at present. If you take out Hamilton and Alonso due to their shelf life then look between Leclerc and Russell and I think I’d personally take Leclerc out of the 3.

    Of course we may see Piastri stun everyone with his performances next year now his rookie year is done. I certainly hope that’s the case as it’s good for the sport to have more top tier drivers.

    1. @slowmo while i agree with you Oscar Piastri has to improve his race pace a lot (Not that he is slow but handle his tyres rather bad)

      1. But @lowmo, and @macleod, given the others mentioned are considerably further into their careers than Piastri, I do get the ‘most promising’ part of their pairing. No guarantee promise will be fulfilled of course, and some clear things that could be improved, but also still possibility to do so too.

  6. Coventry Climax
    4th January 2024, 13:10

    COTD; thanks RF.
    Came rather unexpected, I must say.
    Must be lack of competition. ;-)

    Haven’t Lando and Verstappen already paired in virtual teams? I guess they know first hand how good they both are.

    Googled Bob Menendez. He’s a bit of an enigma, but politically, he’s basically democratic. Backs the LGBTI+ community for example. He’s also backed a number of (other) things I’m sure the Republicans aren’t happy with, as well as not supported things they would have been happy with.
    He’s been indicted before too, but then also had all charges dropped before. So we’ll see, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if this all turns out to part of certain bigger plan, harming reputations. If we ever get to hear the entire truth, and from both sides, that is.

    1. Lando and Max are teammates in Redcline the online racing team so Max knows Lando very well.

      1. Coventry Climax
        5th January 2024, 10:25

        Have you ever heard of the concept of a rethoric question? That’s a question you ask or write down, even though you already know the answer to it:

        I guess they know first hand how good they both are.

Comments are closed.