Alexander Albon, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024 pre-season test

“No tenth team anymore” in close F1 field – Albon

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In the round-up: Alexander Albon expect the Formula 1 field will be even closer than last season.

In brief

‘No tenth team anymore’ – Albon

Albon believes the midfield battle will be tighter than ever heading into the new season this weekend.

Despite Red Bull’s dominance throughout the 2023 season, the field spread between the front and rear of the field was historically low. However, Albon expects it could be even tighter this season.

“To be honest, I don’t think the positions have changed so much,” he said. “I don’t think that the order is going to be so different, but the grouping has tightened up massively. There is not really a P10 team anymore.

“Obviously Red Bull might have a little bit of an advantage and there’s still a top midfield section and a bottom midfield section – but that’s kind of our hunting ground. I think, depending on the circuit and what track suits us or not, we’ll be either in the midfield or a little bit further back. But that’s all to see. I don’t think anyone really knows where we are right now.”

Press conference change suits Verstappen

In 2022 Max Verstappen complained F1’s pre-race media arrangements wasted too much of drivers’ time. He questioned why they were expected to speak to each member of the broadcast media in turn, then attend a group press conference with written media.

“What you see in other sports, when they have a press conference, there are a lot of mics just brought together and actually instead of giving the broadcasters just two questions each, they all have basically six, eight or ten questions just in one go and they can all broadcast it,” he said.

The thrice-champion should therefore approve of the new-look press conference format introduced yesterday ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix. The broadcast media were grouped together in the same way written media have been for decades, sparing drivers the drudgery of repeatedly answering the same questions.

WRC to drop hybrids for new electric class

The FIA has confirmed the World Rally Championship will scrap the hybrid element of its current Rally1 cars from next season.

WRC joined Formula 1 and the World Endurance Championship in having hybrid elements to power units when it introduced the concept in 2022. However, the governing body announced plans to remove the hybrid unit in Rally1 cars from next season.

Instead, the FIA says it plans to introduce a full electric category into the series “at the earliest opportunity” which will “achieve parity of performance with Rally1 cars running on sustainable fuel.”

F1 23 comes to PS+

PlayStation players who subscribe to PS+ will be able to redeem and play F1 23 next week when it becomes one of the service’s four monthly games for March.

All subscribers on any tier of the service can download and play the most recently released official F1 game for as long as they are subscribed to the service, provided they redeem the game between Tuesday 5th March and Monday 1st April.

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Comment of the day

With Formula 1 tweaking its rules around drivers going too slowly in qualifying, Roger Ayles can see a problem ahead of Friday’s session…

The thing with the latest attempt at stopping drivers driving too slowly in qualifying is that, like with many of the silly regulations in F1, it’s trying to fix the symptom rather than the cause.

The issue of driving exceptionally slowly in qualifying is a relatively new thing that came about as a result of the high degradation tyres, the limited number of tyres/compounds and how ridiculously temperature sensitive they are now as well as the really high mandated starting pressures.

If you drive too fast on the out lap, you spike the tyre temperatures which not only sees you start the lap with less grip but also means, as temperatures and pressures go higher over the lap, you’re just losing more and more time as well as increasing the amount of degradation the tyre is suffering over the lap.

And once you do the lap, you want to bring the temperatures down as quickly as possible and minimise any extra stress that has been put through the tyre just in case you end up needing that set in the race.

If they gave them better tires that didn’t have artificially high levels of degradation, weren’t as temperature sensitive and didn’t force teams to run such ridiculously high pressures then they wouldn’t need to baby them so much on out/in laps to begin with.

But instead, let’s just bring in more silly regulations for the already over-regulated and inflated rulebook that will serve no purpose other than create more loop holes, controversy and inconsistency which is effectively the only thing any of the silly over-regulation over the past 20 years has done!
Roger Ayles

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28 comments on ““No tenth team anymore” in close F1 field – Albon”

  1. This enlightening video contains content from Formula One Management, who has heartily blocked it from display on this website, application, event or product.

    Put them in a room with Formula Two Management.


    24 races over the limit, most people seem to agree by the comments

    1. The F1 subreddit is not a good representation of anything in my opinion. I say that as someone who’s browsed that sub since it was created. A lot of the people there are newer fans and casual fans. Nothing wrong with that but I don’t think they represent the majority of fans’ views. Reddit users also tend to be younger, under 30. Which again, nothing wrong with that but what’s the average age of an F1 fan(someone who watches every race)?

      I like seeing Reddit F1 fans’ comments and perspectives but they have quite different views, even compared to this sites commenters.

      I like 24 races and wouldn’t mind seeing more. I’m probably an outlier and fully admit it. Motorsports are the only ‘sport’ I watch, I’d love to see more if it!

      1. It’s not just reddit though.

        Every poll & survey conducted be it on social media platforms, fan run sites like this or those conducted by broadcasters, media or F1 or the FIA themselves have consistently come back with results showing that a majority of fans think 20+ is too many with a pretty overwhelming majority saying that 18/19 is the ideal number.

        It also tends to be the longer time/more dedicated fans who are more against 20+ races with the younger & more casual audiences who dip in & out during the season not really caring about the number of races as they tend to not plan to watch them all anyway.

        The overwhelming feeling in the paddock itself is that 20 should be the maximum & for as much as some of the broadcasters like to say ‘the more the better’ many of those of starting to rotate on-air talent or move towards more remote based coverage because they don’t want to attend more than 20 either.

        1. The overwhelming feeling in the paddock itself is that 20 should be the maximum

          Except for every team’s management…?
          Funny how all it takes for the calendar to expand every time is a bigger financial payout. I guess there’s not such an overwhelming feeling that 20 should be the maximum after all, as it turns out.

          And the broadcasters have finally figured out what the teams seem to never be able to admit – that staff rotation and rostering are both beneficial and necessary.

          1. I agree and noticed the age difference in Reddit too but as you seem to have acknowledged it’s a wide reaching opinion. Even many on this site have stressed they either prefer less or cannot keep up.

            Too many races is to the detriment of the the title whenever there is one

    2. Yellow Baron 24 itself is okay, but some other aspects should be formed in a better way to minimize impact, such as getting rid of triple-headers for good.

      1. Agree – if the calendar was arranged optimally (sets of geographically close double-headers with a week in between each pair of races) it would probably be more bearable for those involved. I do think 24 is close to the limit, however, because there just aren’t that many weeks left in the year without either a) shortening the off-season or b) getting rid of the summer break.

        We don’t talk enough about how cataclysmically stupid the end of last season was. A double-header of two races on literally opposite sides of the world (12 hour difference), after the joint-longest season in F1 history. No wonder people got ill – but it’s not inevitable, with a little more careful planning.

      2. 24 itself is okay, but some other aspects should be formed in a better way to minimize impact, such as getting rid of triple-headers for good.

        If you want to have 24 races without tripple headers, you need 47 weeks to span your season (1 for each race + 1 in between). That leaves 5 weeks for an off-season and/or midseason break. Even if you scrap the mid-season break – which will hardly be popular – you would still be racing from january to november or february to december.

        Not my call, but I doubt that you can organise a 24-round season without triple headers.

        1. “If you want to have 24 races without tripple headers, you need 47 weeks to span your season (1 for each race + 1 in between). ”

          That is not correct – you can still use double headers so 24 races = 12 double headers with each 1 week in between except the summer break that is 3 weeks in between.
          So 24 race weekends + 13 weeks break = 37 weeks leaving 15 weeks so more than 3 months (Dec-Feb).

          This year there are 2 triple headers but they are back to back meaning 6 races in 7 Sundays (Austin 20 Oct to Abu Dhabi 8th Dec) yet there are 2x a 4 week gap between races. The obvious summer break from 28th July to 25th August but also between Singapore on 22nd Sept to Austin on 20th Oct.

          After the summer break (3 weekends without a race) there are 4 races in 5 weekends followed by 3 weekends with no race to then finish with 6 races in 7 weekends.

          1. also between Singapore on 22nd Sept to Austin on 20th Oct.

            That seems like a gap that couldn’t be fixed, probably due to having to move both Japan to spring and Qatar to late autumn, while still guaranteeing Abu Dhabi had the final race (thus pushing the season into December again). It should probably be fixed for 2025.

          2. You are right. I mistook triple headers for double headers.

          3. MichaelN Wrong, a simple solution, even if temporary, would’ve been to move Brazil into that gap & LV earlier if F1 stopped caring about such trivialities as week before Thanksgiving.

      3. It’s essentially 27. I believe either 24 or 27 though are good for the title battle to sustain itself to the end of the season (however rare it may be anyway) so really more races isn’t actually good for the championship. It’s good for money and some fans like more more more. But what quality is there in these 24 weekends. The competition is pretty limited

        1. But what quality is there in these 24 weekends.

          How would the objective quality of each event change if there were fewer of them?

  3. Alex Brundle sounds like a man doing an impression of Martin Brundle…it’s nigh on impossible to tell them apart if you are just listening to them! The tone, the cadence, the way they finish off sentences is just identical.

    1. I can always tell them apart by just listening.

      1. Of course you can, well done.
        But if you don’t hear the similarities, then there’s no helping you.

        1. @eurobrun I get what you mean, but for me, that’s simply about being enough used to hearing Martin’s voice.

    2. It’s emblematic of the lackluster approach to diversity that the best F1TV could come up with is to hire the kid of the SkyUK commentator.

      1. They shouldn’t be hiring for diversity they should be hiring for knowledge and talent. Alex has both.

  4. I.e., like in the last two seasons without a clear-cut backmarker.

    As for press conferences, essentially, the only difference is the day before practice (or qualifying for sprint events) day doesn’t feature pen interviews anymore, but better this way for all involved.

    I didn’t expect WRC to move away from hybrid technology after only three seasons, but since they already use wholly sustainable fuel type, this change won’t have much impact.

    COTD brings up good points, although the tyre compound amount per driver itself is a non-issue generally & could be even even slightly lower as a standard.

    1. It’s truly a shame the tyres F1 has ran on for so long now. It’s as if the base of the tyres back in 2011 has set the tone and regardless of claims they’ve moved away from that philosophy, the tyres still act the same way overall.

      Would like to see F1 use Sustainable fuels if it means they drop the hybrid and increase the rev limit to 15k

      1. The rev limit indeed has been 15k since 2014, but teams have been effectively unable to use that because of fuel flow limit.

  5. Those Gulf helmets are awesome!

  6. Did Albon not get the memo? It no longer matters if one team is by far the slowest. It is now stated policy that a team that is not competitive for podiums and wins does not add anything to F1 and shouldn’t be on the grid.

  7. There is no 10th team. There are 9 teams and Haas lagging behind in 11th.

    1. When I saw the headline “no tenth team”, I wasn’t sure if it meant that there was no team anymore certain to be in tenth, or if it was now official, Red Bull Toro Rosso are one team, not two.

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