The fallout of the Italian Grand Prix continues into this week, with news flying around of incoming and outgoing drivers, potential FIA regulation changes and more about Daniel Ricciardo’s future in the sport.
Sebastian Vettel confirms first post-F1 event
Soon to be retired four-time champion Sebastian Vettel has confirmed his plans to continue racing following his exit from the sport at the end of the season.
The German will be taking part in the Race of Champions series, usually held during the winter break, racing for Team Germany whom he won six team championships in a row with alongside Michael Schumacher between 2007-2012. Vettel loves to get involved in these tournaments as drivers from different racing disciplines test their mettle against each other.
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Alongside Vettel in the tournament is Finland’s Mika Hakkinen, father and son rally duo Oliver and Petter Solberg, 2021 Extreme E champion Johan Kristofferson and Williams development driver and two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick, who you might remember as the test driver on Amazon Prime Video’s The Grand Tour.
Vettel usually partners up with his former teammate’s son, Mick Schumacher, and we’d expect that to continue this year too.
Daniel Ricciardo Prepared To Leave F1
Daniel Ricciardo was the biggest loser from this season’s contract free-for-all during the summer break. Left without a contract for 2023, the Australian fan favourite is now racing every weekend like it’s his last, as it very well could be.
It looks like Ricciardo has accepted the fact that he might be seeing the exit door from F1 soon too, speaking after the Italian GP: “I’ve certainly accepted if I’m not to be on the grid next year, I’m okay with that.
“I’ve accepted that I’m not going to do everything, or my [team] is not going to do everything just to put me on the grid if it’s not right, or it doesn’t make sense.
“If I am on the grid, I want to know that it’s a place that I can enjoy and feel that I can thrive in, so I don’t want to just jump into a car for the sake of it.”
Ricciardo was unable to finish the race last time out in Monza, having engine problems that saw his McLaren get craned off the track and caused the race to end under safety car conditions.
He’s 14th in the drivers’ championship standings and has struggled to finish inside the points throughout the season, with McLaren accused of not building a suitable car for both of their drivers this season.
Monaco To Agree Multi-Year Contract
Great news for the fans of F1 heritage, as the most famous track on the calendar will be extending its contract. The provisional calendar for next season was released with Monaco featuring, and it looks like a multi-year deal will be signed to keep one third of the ‘Triple Crown’ going for the foreseeable.
In terms of sources and reporting, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said that he expects no less than 23 races next season, before Sky Sports confirmed that there will be no more than 24 races, showing the expected amount of races next season.
F1-Insider and German reporter Tobi Grüner also believes that an agreement has been reached with both parties, and Monaco will have less control over the weekend including the removal of its own TV Director for one provided by Liberty Media, F1’s ownership group.
Teams Clash Over Monza Safety Car Finish Protocol
The big talking point provided by Max Verstappen’s victory at the Italian Grand Prix was around how the race ended. Ricciardo suffered engine issues with just six laps to go, and couldn’t get his car removed from the track without a crane, therefore the cars slowly followed the safety car until the chequered flag, where Max Verstappen easily won his fifth race in a row.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said he believed the ‘FIA were caught sleeping’ by the incident, as he was unhappy that the session wasn’t red flagged to allow at least a few racing laps to take place at the end.
The valued voice of Lewis Hamilton was heard, as he compared the end of the race to last year’s Abu Dhabi GP where the safety car was withdrawn, the lapped cars between Verstappen and himself were told to unlap and the two championship leaders battled out a controversial one-lap showdown.
The safety car protocol was followed more closely this time around, but Hamilton was quick to point out similarities to last year: "There's only one time in the history of the sport where they haven't done the rules like that today."
Red Bull boss Christian Horner also weighed in: “There are lessons to learn, it goes against the principles of all we have discussed,” he said.
“It is not good to finish races under safety cars, if they had known they couldn’t get it going they should have red-flagged it and restarted.”
It looks like the FIA and F1 bosses had a meeting on Monday about changing the rules around to red flag future safety car events with limited laps, so that there will no longer be a situation where a race finishes behind the SC. There is yet to be any further comment from an official source on any changes in protocol.
F1 CEO Backs Reverse Grid & Practice Points Changes
New ideas in sport are often discarded, frowned upon and torn apart at the first available opportunity, as Chelsea owner Todd Boehly is quickly finding out. Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali has brought together some ideas of how he would help attract more attention to the sport following the great success of Netflix’s Drive To Survive series.
The former Ferrari head suggested that ‘purists will always turn up their noses’ to changes in the sport, and followed it by suggesting the use of reverse grids in certain races, where a polesitter would be last and Nicholas Latifi would lead the pack into the first corner. Points earned in qualifying were also suggested.
“In a normal weekend, the one consisting of free practice 1 and 2 on Friday, each session should be given away either points, or single qualifying laps, or a qualification for a different and short Saturday race, instead of the third free practice, perhaps with the mechanism of the reverse grid.” said Domenicali to Italian news outlet Corriere.
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