Reaction to Andretti approval and Liam Lawson given another race – F1 news round-up

Sam Cooper
Andretti Global boss Michael Andretti.

Michael Andretti in the paddock.

Race week for Qatar started with not on-track discussions but instead all the talk was of Andretti receiving the FIA seal of approval.

After four applicants submitted a bid to the sport’s governing body, Andretti was the sole candidate to be given the green light and now their fate is a matter for FOM.

With a few days until proceedings in Qatar get underway, there was plenty of Andretti talk as well as AlphaTauri making a driver decision.

Liam Lawson, not Daniel Ricciardo, in the AlphaTauri car for Qatar

When Daniel Ricciardo first broke his hand in Zandvoort, Qatar was quickly put forward as a possible return date for the Australian but it appears his recovery is taking a little longer than expected.

His team, AlphaTauri, have instead confirmed it will be Liam Lawson in the car once again with Ricciardo expected to now be back for the following race in Austin.

Read more – AlphaTauri make decision on Daniel Ricciardo as Liam Lawson learns Qatar GP fate

Price put forward for Andretti F1 entry

If you have been following Andretti’s trials and tribulations to get onto the grid, you may have gathered what one of the big hurdles is – money.

The current 10 outfits are mostly unwilling to split their pie a little bit more and Sky F1 pundit Karun Chandhock has put a price on how much he thinks Andretti’s arrival could cost each team.

However, the former HRT driver points out this could be made up by increasing the anti-dilution fund with suggestions earlier this year that it could be tripled from $200 million to $600m.

Reacting to the FIA’s announcement about Andretti, Chandhok wrote on X: “Would like to see them on the grid! More cars is good for F1 & young drivers.

“Told by one TP that existing teams would lose $11 million per year by slicing the pie 11 ways.

“If Andretti are willing to put in the $600 million to compensate the teams, that covers them for five years.”

Read more – True cost of Andretti arrival revealed as potential $600m deal softens blow

Lewis Hamilton’s former team-mate lifts lid on Mercedes star

Plenty of drivers have lined up alongside Lewis Hamilton during his lengthy career but one of his first ever team-mates was Matthew Howson, a successful racing driver and an LMP2 winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Howson became Hamilton’s partner in what was the future F1 World Champion’s first experience of single seaters and even then, Howson could tell how talented he was.

“In 2001, I went to Formula Renault in the winter series with Manor Motorsport, and they were a very top team at that time,” he told the On Track GP podcast..

“I still remember the first time they told me who my teammates were going to be, because the first name they gave me was a guy called Nelson van der Pol, who was a world karting champion.

“I was like, ‘That’s quite tough’. They said another chap called Ben Reeves, very young, so I was not really sure about him, and then someone called Lewis Hamilton.

“It’s a bit of a joke because, even then, we all knew who Lewis was. He had been blazing a trail in the karting and he had this link with McLaren, which obviously was McLaren-Mercedes at the time.

“I was moving into Manor Formula Renault, where Kimi Raikkonen had just left, he had just won the championship. So, all of a sudden, I found myself amongst all of these names. It was the first time Lewis ever raced a car, and he was my teammate.”

Read more – Lewis Hamilton’s first team-mate lifts lid on perceived ‘arrogant’ traits

All is not well at Alpine

Lately it seems Alpine is never too far away from an internal crisis. Having fired Otmar Szafnauer ahead of the summer break, the French outfit have been trying to put the pieces back together and the Renault CEO has had some strong words about what will come next.

But it is the words of Luca de Meo which have made former Jordan Grand Prix and Cosworth head Mark Gallagher describe him as “impatient.”

“We all like people like Otmar Szafnauer, he has been around for a long time,” Gallagher said.

“Alan Permane, 34 years at Enstone and, perhaps less so, Laurent Rossi, the chief executive of Alpine who has been in the sport for two and a half years and not left a major impact on it other than calling his own team amateurish, which wasn’t a great leadership technique.

“But I think the thing that struck me about the changes is that Luca de Meo has taken the gloves off. He is running one of the largest automotive groups in the world, he has decided to make Alpine the performance brand.

“Between now and 2030, they plan to launch seven Alpine models and this is an incredible target. So they’re planning to try and achieve €2 billion of revenue in three years’ time and, by the end of the decade, €8 billion of revenue for Alpine as a brand.

“So he’s taking that brand from Ground Zero to making it a serious player in the performance automotive sector. The marketing of that is through F1. It is the pinnacle of their motorsport marketing, and he is clearly unimpressed and underwhelmed by the team’s performance. He doesn’t like just where they are. He wants to see them move forward, he’s impatient.”

Read more – ‘Gloves are off’ at Alpine as Renault CEO hits the ‘reset button’