Saturday’s F1 news centres once again around speculation on the future of Sergio Perez at Red Bull, and Yuki Tsunoda has now put his name forward to partner Max Verstappen in future.
The AlphaTauri driver said he would relish the challenge of trying to take on the Dutchman in the same car, even though he admitted the areas in which he knows Verstappen would have the edge at the moment, so he knows where he needs to improve.
In any case, let’s dive into Saturday’s F1 news headlines from around the sport as we have a non-race weekend before a triple-header looms.
Red Bull reportedly have ’emergency’ plan in event of Sergio Perez departure
A social media rumour that Sergio Perez is set to retire at the end of the season was rubbished by sources close to the Mexican driver when approached by PlanetF1.com, but a report from Germany has claimed that Daniel Ricciardo would be Red Bull’s choice to replace him for 2024 if he decided to leave.
This in turn could create a turn of events that could see Liam Lawson return to AlphaTauri on a full-time basis in 2024, though Helmut Marko and Christian Horner maintain that Perez will see out his contract with Red Bull.
Perez more than anyone will want to silence the doubters with strong performances for the remainder of the season, holding a 30-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton in second place in the Drivers’ standings.
Yuki Tsunoda wants to test himself in equal machinery to Max Verstappen
There would be a significant queue of drivers who want to partner Max Verstappen in 2025, including both AlphaTauri drivers – and Yuki Tsunoda has now said publicly that he wants to test himself against the three-time World Champion in the same car.
He acknowledged that the consistency and adaptability of Verstappen in mixed conditions is what currently sets him apart, but in a dry qualifying session, he does not believe there would be much between them.
“To be honest, I would like to drive in the same car, because I don’t know it,” Tsunoda said, in responding to a question about Verstappen’s main strengths.
“Obviously, it’s easy to say he’s good. But [at the] same time, we never drive together, and obviously the car is different, so it’s hard to say about the driving difference.”
Nelson Piquet fine annulled after offensive Lewis Hamilton comments
Having made racially charged comments about Lewis Hamilton last year that landed him with a fine worth more than £800,000, Nelson Piquet has now seen that fine wiped and he will no longer be forced to pay.
Having appealed against a court ruling in which Piquet was found to have racially discriminated against Hamilton, but the decision has now been overturned.
“There is no demonstration of hate speech,” Brazilian publication Metropoles quotes the judge of the case as having said. “The use of colloquial [informal] language, even if it is inspired by subtle or involuntary racism, even if it is inappropriate, does not bring with it sufficient gravity and relevance to characterise collective damage.”
Jenson Button quells Sebastian Vettel endurance team-mate talk
After Jota team boss Sam Hignett confirmed he has held talks with both Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button over joining his Porsche Hypercar team next season, along with former F1 favourite Robert Kubica, the 2009 World Champion has denied this will be the case.
Button, who is competing in IMSA for the first time at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta this weekend, stated: “I didn’t say anything about a link up with Seb” after conducting an interview about his future in which he revealed he has options to compete in the World Endurance Championship full-time, as well as IMSA.
Aston Martin making significant progress as new factory takes shape
Aston Martin shared a further progress update on their new factory on Saturday, with the £200m facility at Silverstone now very much in phase two of its construction.
The office building is now in use for most of the team’s staff, and they are looking to open ‘Building Two’ which, among other things, will house their new simulator, by January 2024 – in only a couple of months.
Once that takes place, focus will turn to the wind tunnel, and given how important it is to have a wind tunnel on-site, these will all be huge milestones in their development as a team.