Six weeks today, and we’ll have witnessed the first race of the 2024 season. Hang in there, folks. For now, here’s Saturday’s F1 news.
Talk of Red Bull and AlphaTauri’s collaboration increasing has gone beyond McLaren’s misgivings as Mercedes have weighed in, and a surfing legend has made an offer to Lewis Hamilton.
All that and more in Saturday’s F1 news selection.
Mercedes unperturbed by Red Bull ‘B’ team talk
Mercedes technical director James Allison has explained why the team are not as concerned as some of their rivals about Red Bull and AlphaTauri’s increased collaboration in 2024, chiefly because of how tightly the regulations are written.
Zak Brown of McLaren has been particularly vocal on wanting a clampdown on multi-team ownership in Formula 1 because of creating an unfair advantage, but Allison has explained why the two Red Bull teams moving closer together is not as much of an issue from Mercedes’ point of view.
“I’m not entirely sure what the nature of the relationships between those two teams is, but I am clear on what the rules are,” Allison said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“And it is that other than the very limited part of the car where you are permitted to supply parts, and therefore a certain amount of technical data alongside those parts, in every other respect the rules are very tight about not passing on anything that could be regarded as intellectual property from one team to another.
“The way that rule is written is very broad and very powerful, and it pretty much makes any communication not permitted.
“If two teams have a strong relationship with each other, it can only really be a strong commercial relationship. It cannot be a strong technical or a strong sporting relationship because the rules forbid that.”
Surfing legend offers Lewis Hamilton chance to design race track
Kelly Slater, 11-time World Surf League champion, has revealed he is trying to reach out to Lewis Hamilton to try and get him to design a track for him.
Hamilton’s off-track exploits go far beyond Formula 1, with his interests taking him into multiple different fields. Hamilton has spoken of his own admiration for Slater before, and the surfer is trying to get the seven-time World Champion on board for his own project.
As reported by Beach Grit, Slater said: “I’m trying to talk Lewis Hamilton into designing an electric racing car course, like a track, electric car track. Even if you don’t surf it’ll be the best place ever.”
Robert Kubica confident against Fernando Alonso if Ferrari dream happened
Robert Kubica believed he would have been able to fight Fernando Alonso in the same car at Ferrari, if his dream of driving at the Scuderia had come to pass.
The Pole’s life almost ended in a rallying accident and while his return to Formula 1 years later was a remarkable enough feat in itself, he did not reach the heights that had put him in reported contention to move to Maranello eventually.
For all the mutual respect he and Alonso have for each other, he feels confident in what would have been his ability at that time.
“Me and Alonso at Ferrari? I have always respected Fernando and I still do,” Kubica told Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“When we raced in F1 the esteem was mutual. It is often said that for a driver the team-mate is the first opponent to beat, but I’ve always thought that to win you have to beat everyone, including your team-mate.
“Beating Fernando in the same car would not have been difficult, I would have enjoyed the challenge anyway.
“We think alike on so many things and having two drivers who get along well in the box is an advantage for a team.”
Bernie Ecclestone flippant on George Russell
Bernie Ecclestone made an off-hand comment that will unlikely sit well with George Russell when describing Mercedes’ season, believing he “wasn’t as goos as he thought he was”.
Russell endured a difficult season alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, getting roundly out-performed in the Drivers’ standings – though the team were still able to secure second behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship.
“[Lewis] Hamilton failed a bit and [George] Russell wasn’t as good as he thought he was either,” Ecclestone has been widely quoted as telling German publication Bild.
“Still, they shouldn’t have lost so dramatically.”
Alpine hint again at potential pink colour scheme
Having raced in pink at the opening rounds of the 2022 and 2023 seasons, Alpine posted a picture on social media on Saturday that hinted that they may well do the same again.
BWT are their title sponsors, with pink being very much their colour going back to their days sponsoring Racing Point, and ‘Team Enstone’ are hinting that it will feature prominently once again on the car this season.
Will it be for the first few races, as in the past couple of seasons, or even beyond that? We’ll have to wait and see.