Brazilian GP storm threat as Lewis Hamilton involvement in Mercedes departure speculated – F1 news round-up

Thomas Maher
Lewis Hamilton pictured with a Brazilian flag during the 2022 race in Sao Paolo.

Lewis Hamilton pictured with a Brazilian flag during the 2022 race in Sao Paolo.

Wednesday’s F1 news round-up looks ahead to some of the biggest storylines of the day ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

We’re heading into the final weekend of this current triple-header, with F1 touching down in Sao Paolo for its annual expedition to Interlagos.

With one eye on last weekend’s race in Mexico and also looking ahead to Brazil, check out all of Wednesday’s big F1 news headlines!

Might Brazilian GP storm spoil Mercedes’ last chance?

Having won last year’s race in Brazil as Red Bull fumbled the ball, Mercedes’ best chance at pulling off a win in 2023 is likely this weekend’s event at Interlagos.

In our preview for this weekend, Luke Murphy explores the likely favourites for what could be a chaotic weekend – what with it being (once again!) a Sprint race weekend, while the weather forecast is less than favourable…

Read more: Wild Brazilian Grand Prix weather could scupper Mercedes final win chance

‘Heads could roll’ at Aston Martin over 2023 downfall

Having started the year as one of the fastest teams on the grid, Aston Martin’s slipping down the grid has been particularly steep and dramatic as Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll now struggle to even score points.

It’s prompted 2015 Le Mans LMP2 race winner Richard Bradley to speculate that some staff may lose their jobs quite quickly in 2024 if the situation isn’t reversed fast.

“They’re gonna have a serious, serious winter otherwise a lot of people are going to have their heads rolling and getting a few P45s I think,” he said.

“If you’ve gone down a path with a philosophy, unless you completely change the philosophy and then you’ve got all the issues that come with having to learn that, to be this bad at this stage they’re in quite big trouble.”

Read more: Aston Martin are in ‘big trouble’ which could see ‘heads rolling’

Was Lewis Hamilton involved in Mike Elliott resignation?

On Tuesday, Mercedes announced that former technical director and current chief technical officer Mike Elliott is leaving the team – eight months on from his own assessment of the technical strengths of the team that led to himself and James Allison swapping back to their previous roles.

With Lewis Hamilton having previously indicated unhappiness with the direction of the Mercedes development and concept of the W13 and W14, Sky Sports journalist Craig Slater has suggested Hamilton’s influence might have played a part in Elliott’s decision-making.

“The rearrangement at Mercedes over the last two years, not saying Lewis was negative in any way in 2022, but there was a kind sobriety and restraint about the way he would speak,” he said.

“And I sense now, he’s much more on the front foot again. I think he feels that yes, the building blocks and the right people are in place, in terms of where the car development is going.

“That little quote I made was almost, was that in reference to Mike Elliott, or the engineers who want to go a different way from the kind of Red Bull path that Mercedes has now adopted.

“But you just get the sense, Lewis feels that at least the right personnel are in the right spots with Allison in the lead.”

Read more: Sky F1 reporter speculates over Lewis Hamilton involvement in Mike Elliott swap

Fernando Alonso ‘most likely’ to continue with Aston Martin, despite rumours

One rumour that’s circulated recently is that Fernando Alonso could be off to Red Bull, or perhaps even retire from F1 due to pessimism about the direction of the struggling Aston Martin.

With sources indicating to that a move to Red Bull is not on the cards, Slater also had an opinion on what Alonso might do next year – particularly since it’s been speculated Lawrence Stroll is considering selling up.

“Is he so pessimistic about Aston next year that he might not carry on?” he said.

“As far as I understand it, the appetite for Aston Martin to continue with Alonso is still pretty strong too, nor do I understand that there’s any prospect of Lawrence Stroll selling up and quitting either, which has been a popular line of online exploration.

“So I think most likely he will continue with Aston Martin next year. I think that looks like, as far as I can ascertain at this point, what’s going to go on there.”

Read more: Revealed: Fernando Alonso’s ‘most likely’ move amid Red Bull and retirement rumours

Max Verstappen’s unusual preparation for the Qatar Grand Prix

Verstappen wrapped up his third world title on Saturday in Qatar, finishing second in the sprint race, and promptly went out afterward to celebrate.

This included having a couple of beverages that probably weren’t the best preparation for the Grand Prix on Sunday, as Christian Horner revealed.

“He won the Championship in Qatar and I said ‘Okay, let’s get the whole team together. We’ll just have a couple of drinks. It’s not every day you win a World Championship,’” he said.

“But it was unusual to win it on a Saturday, right? We’ve a grand prix by the way in 42 degrees on Sunday. So everybody needs to be in bed at a sensible time.

“Max is five gin and tonics in and we need to stop, everybody needs to go to bed now. So everybody was hanging [hungover] on Sunday.

“You’ve got all the drivers passing out with the heat, I think Max was on some kind of detox!”

Read more: Christian Horner reveals Max Verstappen’s ‘five gin and tonics’ preparation for Qatar GP