Red Bull’s DRS gain exposed as Danica Patrick doubles down – F1 news round-up

Thomas Maher
Sergio Perez leads Lewis Hamilton at Les Combes. Belgium July 2023. F1

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez leads Lewis Hamilton and several others into the braking zone at Les Combes. Belgium July 2023.

Pressing on into the second week of the F1 summer break, let’s catch up on all the latest Formula 1 news…

Approaching the halfway point of the summer break, there’s plenty of rumours swirling around the paddock – as well as all the usual mid-season analysis.

In Tuesday’s F1 news round-up, Red Bull’s DRS figures comes under the microscope, while Mattia Binotto appears to have found himself new employment on the grid…

Red Bull’s DRS gain figures exposed

While it’s been well-known all year that Red Bull’s DRS is perhaps the most powerful on the entire grid, the full extent of the advantage hasn’t been laid bare… until now.

An analysis from German publication Auto Motor und Sport has revealed that, while Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were slower through Eau Rouge and Raidillon than others, they were incredibly fast by the time they hit the brakes at the end of the Kemmel Straight a few seconds later.

As summarised by Mercedes’ chief technical officer Mike Elliott: “It’s incredible how much lap time Red Bull gains as soon as the rear wing is open. When we put the speed curves on top of each other, we can hardly believe it ourselves.”

Read more: Belgian Grand Prix data highlights massive Red Bull DRS gain

Mattia Binotto set for quick return to F1?

It’s only been eight months since Mattia Binotto left Ferrari for some quiet time at home after resigning from his role as team boss, but there’s no keeping a good man down if reports in French media are to be believed.

A report from L’Auto Journal in France claims that Binotto was at the Belgian Grand Prix weekend and stayed for the post-race Pirelli tyre test, and they claim he has already agreed terms to become Alpine team boss, following conversations with Renault CEO Luca de Meo.

Any announcement of his arrival could come potentially as early as September, keeping in mind gardening leave commitments to Ferrari that would prevent him from joining rival teams before a set period has elapsed.

Read more: Rumours intensify with ex-F1 team boss set for very quick return

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Danica Patrick doubles down on stance regarding female racing drivers

Having caused a stir with comments she made about female racing drivers lacking a “masculine, aggressive mindset” that’s required for motorsport, the former IndyCar and NASCAR star has doubled down by saying the pursuit for a female F1 driver is something that doesn’t concern her.

“Well, you’re assuming I want that, you’re assuming that that is important to me, and it’s not,” she told the Sky F1 podcast.

“It’s always like an interesting stance I have on it. I think that what makes a sport really popular is great racing. You can have half the field out there [be] women, and have it be follow-the-leader, and it’s not going to be interesting to watch.”

Read more: Danica Patrick doubles down: ‘Finding female F1 driver isn’t important to me’

Alpine’s “biggest problem” suggested as reason for Otmar Szafnauer split

With Otmar Szafnauer now back in the United States after his split from Alpine following the Belgian Grand Prix, a former colleague of his from their time together at Aston Martin believes Szafnauer is the victim of Alpine’s “biggest problem”.

Matt Bishop, former communications chief with Aston Martin in 2021 as Szafnauer ran the team, said the American-Romanian had come out worst of arguing his case with Alpine’s head honchos.

“[Alpine’s] biggest problem is that it is supervised by corporate ‘suits’ not in England but in France, who have little knowledge or understanding of F1,” he said.

“If you bought a football team, would you hire orchestral conductors to manage it for you? No.

“If you were on the board of a basketball franchise, would you ask your headhunters to find executives with experience in the mining industry? No. Do lawyers make good doctors? No.

“Yet Alpine jettisoned Szafnauer (team principal) and Alan Permane (sporting director) purely because, expert and realistic as they both were and are, they refused to be browbeaten by French ‘suits’ who had never worked in F1 before into accepting an accelerated plan that dictated that world championships must be conjured out of nothing and nowhere in no time.”

Read more: How Alpine’s ‘biggest problem’ cost team boss Otmar Szafnauer his job

Christian Horner sheds light on “toughest job in F1”

Forget being the FIA Race Director, or team boss of a highly-successful race team, Christian Horner believes being Max Verstappen’s teammate is actually the toughest gig in F1.

With Sergio Perez having a very mixed year in the second RB19, Horner praised the Mexican for the resilience he’s shown during their almost-three seasons together.

“I think that’s a tough gig for anybody, you’ve got to be mentally very, very resilient to deal and cope with that,” he said.

“It’s a very, very tough seat and I think you’ve almost got to switch off to what he’s doing and just drive to the best of your ability and see where it takes you.

“Being Max’s team-mate is never going to be an easy gig, and I think Checo’s actually done very well the last two-and-a-half years to achieve and do what he’s done.

Read more: Revealed: Christian Horner identifies the ‘toughest job in Formula 1’

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