Otmar Szafnauer with quote of the season as Red Bull curse strikes again – F1 news round-up

Jamie Woodhouse
Alpine's Otmar Szafnauer at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

Alpine's Otmar Szafnauer at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

Another week is complete in the world of Formula 1 and as expected it went out with a bang featuring many key talking points.

Sunday July 30 also marked the final day for Otmar Szafnauer as Alpine team boss, and a guy who is never shy to break out some golden lines signed-off with perhaps his best yet.

Red Bull meanwhile have another broken trophy to their name, this time Lando Norris completely free of blame.

Otmar Szafnauer and the nine pregnant women

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher and Sam Cooper

We told you this was gold, let us explain!

Alpine on Friday announced an exodus of top-tier staff at the team, Pat Fry departing for pastures new at Williams, while team boss Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane were given their marching orders.

Grand Prix Sunday in Belgium then was Szafnauer’s final day with the team, and in an attempt to put some visualisation on his belief that he was not given enough time to improve the team, he came up with a phrase which he apparently always uses.

“I always say, you can’t get nine women pregnant and hope you have a baby in a month,” he told Sky Deutschland.

Read more – Otmar Szafnauer: You can’t get nine women pregnant and hope you have a baby in a month

Another broken trophy at Red Bull

Red Bull had a trio of trophies to pose with for their post-Belgian GP celebrations, having claimed a one-two finish, but they did not all make it to the end unscathed.

As the Red Bull stampede towards the camera was unleashed, this time it was Red Bull’s winning constructor trophy which was left a little worse for wear.

Max Verstappen could not believe it was all happening again, though at least this time it was not his winner’s trophy!

Read more: Broken trophy curse strikes Red Bull again in Belgian Grand Prix celebrations

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Toto Wolff talks “cheeky and “annoying” Max Verstappen

The “old married couple” as Red Bull boss Christian Horner terms them, that being Verstappen and his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, had further squabbles during the Belgian Grand Prix, stemming from Verstappen using up more tyre life than ‘GP’ had been comfortable with.

The exchanges were brought up to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff after the race, who while branding Verstappen “a bit cheeky” and “annoying” in them, also felt he had earned the right to be that way.

“He has all reason, all reasons to be a bit cheeky,” Wolff told media, including PlanetF1.com.

“He’s just driving everybody else around in circles and it’s on merit.”

Read more: Toto Wolff passes judgement on ‘cheeky’ and ‘annoying’ Max Verstappen

Christian Horner’s message to fans on Red Bull dominance

There really is no stopping Red Bull and Verstappen these days, with team and driver having scored their 13th and eighth win on the bounce respectively with their triumph in Belgium.

As Horner pointed out, that makes it 20 wins from 21 outings for the Red Bull team, and while he knows this is not exactly what the fans will want to see, he stresses the significance of what is a record-breaking run of dominance for Red Bull.

“I know it might not be popular with the fans because it’s predictable, but we’re just focused on trying to extract the best that we can,” he told Sky F1.

“And it’s a very special moment for this team because it’s historic, 1988 was the last time that anything like this was achieved, and to think that we’ve been the team that have been able to break that is something we could have only dreamed about.”

Read more: Christian Horner addresses F1 fans who are fed up with ‘predictable’ Red Bull wins

Lewis Hamilton bounces his way through Belgian GP

The dreaded porpoising phenomenon was the bane of Mercedes’ existence during the opening races of last season as the team struggled to get their W13 riding smooth, rather than bouncing around and giving Hamilton and George Russell a rough ride.

And it seems the issue is slowly creeping back in for Mercedes, with Hamilton reporting fresh troubles at Spa-Francorchamps.

“Rear end is our biggest issue and then we had big bouncing this weekend, so we’re back to the bouncing like we had last year,” he told Sky F1.

“I know what I want, I’m praying for it and just waiting for the day we get it.”

Read more: Lewis Hamilton ‘praying’ for Mercedes changes as year-old problem returns

Read next: Toto Wolff paints bleak Mercedes picture: We were in ‘a vicious cycle’