Abu Dhabi GP cancellation threat addressed as Mercedes discover breakthrough – F1 news round-up

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton in action at the US Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton driving the Mercedes W14.

It has been another busy day in the world of Formula 1 as media Thursday kicked-off the Brazilian Grand Prix race weekend.

On the eve of Round 19 of F1 2023, speculation emerged regarding the final round in Abu Dhabi being under threat of cancellation, while Mercedes see “crucial” positive signs in their recent upgrades looking ahead to F1 2024.

All this and more, so let us dive into the action…

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will not be cancelled

As Formula 1 personnel arrived at Interlagos, rumours were swirling that the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the final weekend of November could be cancelled, due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas military conflict.

PlanetF1.com understands from sources within some F1 teams that the topic of cancellation has been broached internally but also has been informed that such concerns have been overblown at this point.

Read more: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix cancellation fears addressed by well-placed sources

Mercedes upgrades provide breakthrough for F1 2024

Mercedes are intent on returning to the title picture next season, but if they are to do that, then the W15 needs to represent a serious improvement on their current challenger.

With that in mind, Mercedes introduced a new floor at the United States Grand Prix and the data coming back is pleasing the team greatly.

“We collect a lot of data off the car. So pressures off the floor, pressures off the wings, loads on the car and all that data is correlating really well with what we’re seeing in the wind tunnel,” said technical director James Allison.

“And that’s crucial for next year, because this floor is actually a step towards the development direction that we want to take for 2024. So very encouraging signs, but still a lot of work ahead of us.”

Read more: Mercedes discover crucial breakthrough ahead of W15 arrival in 2024

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FIA make pit-lane impeding clampdown

The US and Mexican GPs saw multiple drivers investigated by the stewards for impeding by stopping in the fast lane of the pit lane.

This came about as a consequence of a maximum time being implemented for out-laps, meaning some drivers found stopping at the pit exit as a way around breaching the time while still creating a gap to a car on track.

But, ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, race director Niels Wittich has made it clear that stopping in the fast lane will be considered as a breach of the regulations by driving “unnecessarily slow”.

Read more: FIA make crucial change to combat growing F1 issue ahead of Brazilian GP

Fernando Alonso warns of “consequences” for F1 retirement rumours

There has been a great deal of talk surrounding Alonso between the Mexican and Brazilian GPs with rumours at complete opposite ends of the scale, from joining Red Bull next season all the way to retiring from Formula 1.

Alonso though has now had the chance to respond to this speculation.

Ahead of the Brazilian GP, Alonso held a media conference, Brazilian journalist Julianne Cerasoli among those present.

And she reported that Alonso suggested “there are consequences” to spreading misinformation.

“I respect those of you who have been here for years, are professionals, do your job,” he said. “These rumours are coming from people who are not in this room, who are just doing this for fun. But there are consequences.”

Read more: Fernando Alonso threatens ‘consequences’ after false rumours spread

Red Bull team orders debate returns for Max Verstappen

It was at the Brazilian Grand Prix last season that tensions flared in the Red Bull camp, Verstappen refusing to yield position as requested to team-mate Sergio Perez, Verstappen saying the team knew his reasons for doing so.

And as Formula 1 returns to Interlagos, with a P2 finish in the Drivers’ Championship on the line for Perez once more, Verstappen was pressed on whether he would be more willing to help Perez this time if required?

“Last year, it wasn’t really well spoken about before we got into the race weekend,” he said.

“But yeah, let’s just hope that we don’t get into that situation – I think it’s better for everyone.”

Read more: Max Verstappen opens up on potential team orders to help Sergio Perez in Brazil

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