Max Verstappen is set for a lovely paycheque and increase for 2024, while Fernando Alonso has ranked his 2023 F1 season.
Both Ferrari drivers are out of contract at the end of next year as well, but the chairman of the Scuderia is keen on the idea of retaining both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz moving forward.
All that and more, in today’s selection of F1 news.
Max Verstappen in line for massive paycheque and raise
A report into F1’s highest-paid drivers has shown that Max Verstappen is, unsurprisingly, the sport’s most well-remunerated driver.
For the second season on the trot, Verstappen tops the list with his $70m earned, formed by a base salary of $45m and a whopping $25m in bonuses to show for his unprecedented F1 2023 dominance.
However, the Dutch driver is in line for a further increase for 2024 as he kicks off the first year of a new Red Bull contract extension, which Forbes says will bring about a salary increase for the three-time World Champion.
Sergio Perez Abu Dhabi penalty will have ‘irked’ Red Bull – David Coulthard
David Coulthard suspects Sergio Perez picking up a five-second time penalty in Abu Dhabi will have annoyed Red Bull – as it meant Mercedes finished as runners-up in the Constructors’ Championship after a close fight with Ferrari.
“That five-second penalty I guess will irk Red Bull,” Coulthard suggested, “because Mercedes then get second in the Constructors’ and that’s probably their biggest rival in terms of future competition.”
“Checo had the move done, on board, he’s not gone super aggressive on the braking. Watch the steering, he turns in, turns away, and that then just creates that little bit of push.
“It doesn’t make any sense. That was clumsy and definitely his fault.”
Franz Tost explains ‘no longer trusting engineers’ comment from early 2023
Departing AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost made headlines early this year as he revealed a lack of trust in his engineers after the team showed up with an uncompetitive car for the Bahrain Grand Prix, despite claims of big improvements ahead of the season.
Opening up on that time period ahead of his final season in charge at Faenza, Tost has explained what he meant by not trusting his staff.
“I visited them at the aero department. They told me figures and they said ‘the car will be fantastic. Really good performance, very good figures in CFT, as well as in the wind tunnel, and blah blah blah.’
“Then we came to Bahrain and I did not need to wait for the race. I knew already after the test that we are nowhere.
“If I don’t trust anymore the people, then they are out. This was the case.
“We changed them and brought in some new people, so we have now hopefully a good team in the aero department.
“I must say, all the upgrades they brought this year so far worked acceptably.”
Fernando Alonso ranks F1 2023 season as one of his best
Given he’s been in F1 for more than two decades, including two world title wins, it takes a big season from Fernando Alonso to rank as one of his best.
But a big season is exactly what Alonso produced in 2023, and the Spaniard acknowledged his strong year as being up there with 2012 as his very best within a long career in F1.
“It’s a dream season for many people in Aston Martin, including myself,” he said.
“This is completely unexpected, completely unreal to be fourth in the championship.
“2012 and this season, for me, are the best in my career and a position that I could never have imagined at the beginning of the year with the car performance we had.”
Jack Doohan ready for F1 after Alpine test
Alpine junior Jack Doohan believes he is now ready to make the leap into F1 should the opportunity arise in 2024, as he targets climbing into the sport regardless for 2025.
Having tested with the Enstone team in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, following his FP1 outing ahead of the Grand Prix, Doohan said it’s given him the confidence he can match race drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon.
“I think, if I needed to jump in, I’d be more than ready to, I think I could match the guys for sure,” he said.
“I knew I could extract the one-lap pace advantage and try and get a lot of time out of it but today, really doing back-to-back 10-lap runs and running at different stages, different tyre management, and seeing that I was able to be in the mix and be strong and be one of the guys out there who was setting good times and having that good management, it’s good confidence for myself and for the team.
“It makes me feel like that I do belong here.”