While there’s no F1 racing this weekend, there’s plenty happening behind the scenes – particularly in the aftermath of Daniel Ricciardo’s return!
Elsewhere, Christian Horner has been on the offensive again against his Mercedes frenemy Toto Wolff, while we have also nailed down where Nyck de Vries ranks among the shortest-tenured F1 drivers this century after his axing by Red Bull.
So, now that we have set the scene, let us take you into the thick of the action.
Might Red Bull have their eye on someone other than Daniel Ricciardo?
While the popular Australian has secured a race seat for the rest of the 2023 season, giving him a chance to impress his Red Bull bosses alongside Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri, he has a long way to go to convince the likes of Christian Horner and Helmut Marko he’s a good option for a long-term race seat.
Given that the purpose of AlphTauri is to help refine drivers ahead of joining Red Bull, Ricciardo’s advanced age means he’s not quite in line with their usual ethos.
Nyck de Vries was not Red Bull’s first choice for the 2023 seat in the first place, with the team having tried to secure IndyCar star Colton Herta initially – only to be denied by the FIA as they refused to make a concession and grant him a super licence.
But what of Alex Palou? The Spaniard looks set for a second IndyCar title in three years, and is currently a reserve driver for McLaren’s F1 effort.
According to former Williams team manager turned journalist Peter Windsor, Palou could be the driver Red Bull are intrigued by for next season.
“When Palou was the driver of the McLaren in Austin last year, I said that of all the young drivers that had been given a chance in those two races by far and away the best-looking was Alex Palou,” he said.
“I’ve always thought he’s a short-corner driver, he looked that way in Formula 3 when he was driving for Campos, and it was Adrian [Campos] we should be thanking for Palou’s career. I really rate him. I think he’s really good.
“It’s a shame he’s not in Formula 1 right now because if he’s so successful in IndyCar he’s probably going to stay there and we won’t see him, but I think he’s really good.
“I think he would have looked really good in an AlphaTauri this year alongside Yuki Tsunoda.
“I really rate Palou. I think he’s very good.”
Daniel Ricciardo reveals Red Bull’s expectations for him
Speaking of Ricciardo, given he has half a season to try impressing despite having very little preparation time ahead of his F1 return in Hungary, the Australian has given an extensive interview to the official Formula 1 website.
In it, he spoke about his time away from the sport, as well as the moment he realised he still had the desire for competition buried inside him.
But, most importantly, he went through what Red Bull have told him they expect him to achieve over the coming weeks and months.
“Just be a legend,” he joked.
“They expect results and performances. I think until I get in the car, it’s hard to define what that is. Is it a P8? Is it a P14?
“Obviously, there’s two races and then the summer break. I don’t think there’s a ‘you have to do this before August’ but I also don’t expect to get off to a slow start, I want to hit the ground running and try and use what I’ve learned in this time off.”
Sebastian Vettel shares his thoughts after Nyck de Vries’ sacking
The retired four-time World Champion was due to be driving a McLaren at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on Saturday, only to sit around twiddling his thumbs instead as the event was called off due to strong winds and stormy conditions.
Instead of caning the MP4-4 up the hill, Vettel instead gave an interview to ITV in which he shared his thoughts on how Nyck de Vries’ F1 career was brutally cut short by Red Bull.
“I have to be honest, it’s obviously a shame for Nick,” he said.
“The way it came to an end. I think he got given a great chance, maybe things didn’t happen for him the way he expected or people expected but it’s also a bit harsh when it comes to a very sudden stop. It’s brutal.
“Because especially I think Nyck… I mean I met him last year for the first time and he seemed like a really good person and he is a good driver. He won the F2 championship, he won international championships so he’s well recognised and I hope that this doesn’t put a dent in his confidence.”
Former Ferrari chief invests into Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin
Former Ferrari chairman Luca di Montemelo is reported as having pumped $4 million into Aston Martin, with BusinessF1 claiming Montezemlo believes Aston Martin to be on course to match Ferrari’s valuation of $35 billion.
Di Montezemolo, who left his role at Ferrari in 2014, and Stroll are said to have a long-standing relationship stretching back to the days when Tommy Hilfiger – the clothing company where Stroll was once a major investor – had a sponsorship arrangement with the Ferrari F1 team.
Former F1 team boss ready to start watching the sport again
Claire Williams, who oversaw Williams’ F1 team on behalf of her father Sir Frank between 2013 and 2020, is ready to start paying attention to the sport again.
Williams sold up their family-run team in 2020, passing on the entire operation to US investment company Dorilton Capital. Having been forced into the sale due to financial woes, Williams admitted it’s taken three years to get to a point where she can start watching Formula 1 on television once again.
“I don’t watch it anymore,” she told the UK’s Sun newspaper.
“It has been a really conscious decision because I’m still recovering from taking a step back. Leaving my team has left an enormous gap. We were reluctant sellers. Life took us down that road where we were forced to sell.
“I’m getting to that point now where I’m going to start watching again.
“It is still quite painful and difficult seeing someone else run the team that was once in our family and life.”