Another busy day of Formula 1 news is in the books, so it is time to bring you up to speed with the key headlines.
Seven-time grand prix winner René Arnoux has been keeping a close eye on Max Verstappen’s on-board footage to spot what truly sets him and the Red Bull RB19 apart from the rest, while for Lewis Hamilton, it is the return of a specific race, rather than just an eighth World title, that needs ticking off the F1 bucket list before he can retire.
All this and more, so let us get stuck into the action…
Max Verstappen cornering ability in RB19 highlighted
Verstappen was truly in a league of his own in F1 2023, winning a sensational 19 grands prix out of 22 as he stormed to a third World Championship.
Former Renault and Ferrari driver Arnoux spent some time analysis footage on-board with Verstappen in the RB19, noticing that the Red Bull driver can ace his line through the corners to devastating effect compared to his rivals.
“Take a look at the on-board camera footage. Max brakes, turns, holds the steering wheel still and draws a clean line through the corner,” Arnoux told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“The other drivers have to constantly make corrections at the wheel.”
Lewis Hamilton needs to race in South Africa before retirement
Hamilton is expected to be around in F1 for at least another few years, having recently penned a new Mercedes deal running until the end of 2025, but at the age of 38, Hamilton is certainly closer now to the end of his F1 career than the start.
Winning an eighth World Championship, which would give him the outright F1 record, is often put out there as a crucial factor for Hamilton in any F1 retirement consideration, but we now know it is not the only condition.
“I’m working in the background to get South Africa on the race [calendar],” Hamilton told media in Abu Dhabi.
“That’s like such a dream for me, I’ve got to stay until they get that race.”
Red Bull have hidden gems up their sleeves
If Hamilton is to contend for an eighth F1 title, then Mercedes will need to deliver a challenger much improved on the W13 and W14 to put him in contention against Verstappen.
As rivals will gladly point out though, for any improvement they make, it is an unknown how much Red Bull also have left to find, which it seems could be quite a lot.
“I think through every single scenario that I think could happen and I look at the rules and I look at how the team might react and I try to come up with an idea,” Red Bull’s sporting director Jonathan Wheatley said on Red Bull’s podcast.
“So I look like I’m completely in control in the time. I’ve put hours of thought into it and if I’ve done my job well, I think I’m very well prepared going into that event. Sometimes there’s a few hidden gems in there, which people have forgotten about.”
Max Verstappen accused of ‘ruining’ F1 World Championship
Verstappen’s relentless F1 2023 form left rivals with precious little look-in on the victory scene, his team-mate Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz the only others to win a grands prix, Perez taking two and Sainz emerging victorious in Singapore.
And former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore believes Verstappen’s dominance had a negative impact on the season.
“Unfortunately, Max Verstappen ruined the World Championship a bit,” Briatore told Italian publication Autosprint.
“I hope there will be a bit more excitement next year, because otherwise it won’t be fun anymore.”
Bahrain wealth fund strengthen McLaren Group control
Mumtalakat, the sovereign wealth fund of Bahrain, has agreed a “full recapitalisation” of McLaren Group, which is set to bring about a “simplified share structure and streamlined governance process”.
PlanetF1.com reached out to McLaren Group and McLaren Racing for comment, with the proportion of the company now owned by Mumtalakat remaining unknown after the announcement, but had not received a response at time of publication.