Accidental F1 2024 announcement as drivers snub Abu Dhabi dinner – F1 news round-up

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc battle into Turn 1 at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Red Bull's Max Verstappen duel.

It is time to dive into the latest key headlines from the world of Formula 1 in the aftermath of the 2023 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Williams boss James Vowles said a decision would be taken on Logan Sargeant’s future after the season was over, but did he let the cat out of the bag mere seconds later? Max Verstappen meanwhile was among the high-profile absentees from the F1 driver dinner in Abu Dhabi.

All this and more, so let us bring you up to speed…

Williams accidentally confirm Logan Sargeant for F1 2024?

Formula 1 is only a Sargeant confirmation away from an unchanged grid for F1 2024, the American rookie having limped across the finish line in his final audition to remain with Williams for a second season.

However, a radio message between Sargeant and his team in Abu Dhabi, not broadcast on the world feed, suggests the decision has been made, one that will be a huge relief to Sargeant.

“Looking forward to the winter together and many more,” was Vowles’ message among the exchanges.

Read more: F1’s worst-kept secret? Williams ‘accidentally confirm’ F1 2024 driver line-up

No full house this time for Abu Dhabi driver dinner

Last year Sebastian Vettel’s farewell brought all 20 drivers together around the table in Abu Dhabi, but this time around, the get-together was nowhere near as well-attended.

Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris were among the absentees.

Read more: Big names absent as nine F1 drivers skip post-season Abu Dhabi dinner recommends

F1 penalty points: Red Bull driver ends 2023 season top of FIA naughty list

F1 driver contracts: What is the current contract status of every driver on the 2023 grid?

Martin Brundle cannot understand Max Verstappen “villain” feel

As Sky F1 pundit Brundle looked back on the F1 2023 campaign, he heaped praise on the dominant three-time World Champion Verstappen, though said the Dutchman has not been completely flawless.

His degrading of the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix confused Brundle, though as the former racer revealed that Verstappen was subject to booing in Abu Dhabi, he expressed his lack of understanding for why Verstappen continues to carry the “villain” tag.

“I don’t understand why he’s still seen as the villain, but the fans will make up their own minds,” Brundle wrote in his Sky F1 column.

Read more: Abu Dhabi boos for Max Verstappen as Martin Brundle questions ‘vocal downer’

Max Verstappen needs new performance coach

Having won a remarkable 19 of the 22 grands prix in F1 2023, Verstappen will, should the RB20 be anywhere near as dominant as the RB19, hope to perhaps raise that benchmark even further with 24 rounds on the F1 2024 calendar.

However, he will go into that campaign without his performance coach Bradley Scanes, a partnership which has yielded 46 Verstappen victories.

Read more: Max Verstappen blow as key Red Bull team member walks away

Alex Palou admits McLaren contract breach

Another duo who parted ways, on far less hospitable terms, is Palou and McLaren.

A deal was in place for Palou to race for McLaren in IndyCar for 2024 and serve as their F1 reserve driver, only for Palou to tell McLaren that he had no intention of honouring their contract, instead signing an extension with Chip Ganassi Racing through to 2026.

And with McLaren chasing $23 million in damages, the Associated Press has reported details from Palou’s response documents, where he admits to breaching his McLaren contract.

Read more: Major update in Alex Palou-McLaren saga as legal battle rolls on