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  1. #101
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    Marko claims Mercedes F1 atmosphere ‘tense’ after Vowles exit.
    Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko claims that there is unease within the Mercedes Formula 1 team following the exit of James Vowles.
    25th January 2023, 11:47
    by Fergal Walsh
    Motorsport Week

    When asked if he was worried that Vowles could shape Williams into a B-team for Mercedes, Marko said: “No, I have completely different information. Vowles went of his own accord and – so it is said – even takes good engineers with him. My sources tell me that’s why the mood at Mercedes is so tense.”

    However, while Marko was cautious over whether Vowles’ exit could hurt Mercedes form next year, the Austrian states that he expects the Brackley-based outfit to be Red Bull’s biggest competitor this year.

    “We’ll see,” he said. “However, I still believe that Mercedes will be our biggest challenger when it comes to defending our title.”

    ‘Mercedes F1 atmosphere tense’;

    How Williams Hired Away Mercedes’s Strategy Director, James Vowles
    January 17, 2023 6:49 PM
    By Madeline Coleman Sports Illustrated
    News & Observer, North Carolina

    Throughout his 21-year F1 career, he’s been part of more than 120 race victories and played key roles in winning nine constructors’ championships. Williams Racing’s announcement of hiring James Vowles as the Formula One team’s new team principal shocked many, but it wasn’t because he’s not a qualified candidate.

    He’s overseen more than 120 race victories and played a key role in nine constructors’ titles. And for the last 13 years, he’s been with Mercedes in key engineering and strategy roles, working his way to being the motorsport strategy director. Now, Vowles replaces Jost Capito, who stepped down as Williams’s CEO and team boss in December. Vowles told select media that the conversations between the Grove outfit and himself began “over the last month or so,” adding that it wasn’t a complete “cold call” given the relationships within F1.

    “From my perspective, the conversation just started picking up initially because it’s an incredible opportunity and I feel like I can add to it,” he said, per “And really from both sides, both Williams and myself, we concluded that the fit is very, very good after a number of meetings with the board. We actually found a way of working, a way of thinking, a way of approaching things, culture, people, systems, was incredibly aligned.”

    ‘How Williams Hired James Vowles’;

    Vowles taking engineers from Mercedes
    JANUARY 25, 2023
    Motorsport Week

    "Vowles went of his own accord and, so it is said, is even taking good engineers with him. My sources tell me that's why the mood at Mercedes is so tense," the Austrian added.

    ‘Taking engineers’;

    ANALYSIS: Why Williams made Mercedes’ James Vowles their new Team Principal
    16 January 2023
    Lawrence Barretto
    F1 Correspondent & Presenter
    Formula One - Official Site

    Williams are F1’s second most successful team in terms of constructors’ championships won, but have struggled to replicate that form and compete at the front since the turn of the century. They have finished last three times in the last four years.

    Owners Dorilton Capital decided late last year that things needed to change, and thus parted ways with Capito – while removing FX Demaison from his role as Technical Director. At the time, they didn’t have a replacement ready to go, with sources suggesting there were more than 10 under consideration.

    Vowles was high on their list – and Dorilton moved swiftly, getting the deal over the line in a month or so. Vowles says he told Mercedes boss Toto Wolff of the offer “a few weeks ago, into the New Year” and said the Austrian, as he expected, was “incredibly good” about the news.

    ‘New Team Principal’;

    ‘Like a divorce’: James Vowles opens up on Mercedes exit as he denies claim

    James Vowles will join Williams as their team principal at the start of next month.
    16 January 2023
    by Jack Devonport

    While a move from being a strategy director to a team principal may seem as a massive leap, Vowles has explained that he has been working towards this role for a while and that he feels more than ready for his Mercedes ‘divorce’.

    “Fortunately, I’m not seeing it… it is a leap, it is a jump, but I don’t think it’s a massive leap,” he claimed. “I think this journey towards team principal has been one that has been in my head for many years, and Toto and Mercedes have been incredibly kind in order to provide me a pathway to get there.”

    “However, it’s the same if I asked any of you to change what you’re doing and move onto a different organisation, even perhaps if you’re doing the same job. The best analogy I can use so far is almost like a divorce. It’s hard. That’s a lot of people that are incredibly close to me, that I’ve grown up with.”

    ‘A Divorce’;

  2. #102
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    TEAM GUIDE: Aston Martin's complex F1 roots – and how they're aiming to fulfil lofty title ambitions.
    Welcome to the beginner’s guide to Aston Martin – the British marque aiming for World Championship success, with ex-Red Bull expertise and a two-time champion at the wheel…
    26 January 2023
    Samarth Kanal
    Staff Writer
    Formula One - Official Site

    Fernando Alonso #14: 2 World Championships, 32 wins, 98 podiums, 22 pole positions, 2061 points, 355 starts
    Lance Stroll #18: 3 podiums, 1 pole position, 194 points, 122 starts

    Double world champion Fernando Alonso joins Aston Martin for this year after spending two seasons with Alpine, the team formerly known as Renault and with whom Alonso won his two titles in 2005 and 2006. The Spaniard spent 2019 and '20 pursuing other motorsports before deciding on a return to F1.

    The oldest driver on the grid joins 24-year-old Canadian Lance Stroll, who is about to begin his fourth full season with the team. Lance made his F1 debut with Williams back in 2017 and joined Racing Point in 2019 after Force India were purchased by a consortium led by his father.

    ‘Aiming to fulfil lofty title ambitions’;

    Krack: Aston 'credible and acting' in F1 while rivals 'talk'.
    Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack says his team walks the walk in Formula 1, while its mid-field rivals just "talk".
    26/01/2023 at 14:54
    Michael Delaney

    Krack insists Aston's actions are well aligned with its ambitions and rhetoric. "The green team stands out because we are expanding, we are very serious about our ambitions", he told Spain's AS.”

    "It’s not just words, we are building a new headquarters, a new wind tunnel, we have hired a lot of very good people. It’s a matter of making everything work together, but the potential of our project is absolutely real.”

    "There are teams that say yes, that in three years they will be winning, that in a hundred races they will be winning, but what are they doing to win?" Krack's remarks appeared to be directed at McLaren and Alpine, two teams that comprehensively outpaced Aston last season.

    ‘Aston Martin team walks the walk in Formula 1’;

    Aston Martin takes aim at rival midfield teams for lack of ambition
    26/01/2023, 10:41
    by Taylor Powling
    Motorsport Week

    Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack has criticised the Formula 1 competition for what he’s perceived as continued talk without the necessary action when it comes to making gains towards the front of the grid. Alonso surprised many when he opted to trade Alpine for Aston Martin over the winter.

    However, Krack states the British marque’s newest recruit held absolutely no reservations about investing in the project being assembled at his new home. “That’s why Fernando was clear about it so quickly, in fact we didn’t even have to convince him, he already knew it. He has his contacts everywhere,” said Krack. “We are credible, we are not only talking, we are acting.”

    While Sebastian Vettel became the next high-profile name to exit F1 at the end of last year, Alonso is still going strong at the age of 41 and Krack believes the Spanish driver can remain behind the wheel by the point in which the team hopes to be on an equal pedestal with the sport’s elite.

    “He has his contacts everywhere”;

    New Alonso-influenced Aston Martin is ‘95% different’ says deputy tech chief, as he promises ‘clever innovations’ to AMR23
    23 January 2023
    Formula One - Official Site

    Aston Martin have two-time champion Fernando Alonso at the wheel and a brand new challenger set to be unveiled very soon – and the team's deputy technical chief Eric Blandin has hinted that the AMR23 will be a massive departure from last year's car.

    "We took all our learnings from last year's car and applied them to this year's car. So much of the AMR23 is new, it's completely different from the AMR22. We've changed more than 90 per cent of the parts and more than 95 per cent of the aerodynamic surfaces are different," said Blandin in an interview on Aston Martin's website.

    "We've implemented a few clever innovations on the new car – they're the icing on the cake. They're a nice-to-have, but not a must-have. It's great when you find a small loophole and can use it to your advantage, but it's not often you can base an entire car around it. Instead, it's essential to get the basics right, and then you can add things."

    ‘95% different’;

    No grand targets despite signing Alonso says Krack
    JANUARY 26, 2023

    Wins and the Formula 1 title are not yet on Aston Martin's radar for 2023. That is the insistence of boss Mike Krack, even though the Silverstone based team is now heralded as one of the most aggressively-developing and ambitious midfield teams on the grid.

    "You say that he does not have many years of F1 left but I am not sure he agrees with that," Krack told the Spanish publication. "If you have someone with this level of motivation, as we have seen with Valentino Rossi, and it's combined with the motivation, dedication and the physical and mental preparation and his talent and experience, I don't think it means time is running out."

    The risk, of course, is that Alonso will put too much pressure on Aston Martin. "I've only heard good things about him," Krack laughed. "You hear stories of course but I like to live my own experience and until now I have only had good relations. I don't expect any problems with Fernando as long as we give him a fast car and we are transparent."

    ‘No grand targets’;

  3. #103
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    The Maranello team lost out on several points due to strategy errors during the 2022 Formula 1 season.
    27th Jan 2023, 15:05
    Nathan Hartley

    Like Binotto, Vasseur believes that the strategy department wasn’t entirely to blame. Instead the Frenchman believes that there are deeper issues within the team, affecting their potential performance. However, Vasseur still admits that the strategy needs to be improved, hence why discussions are being made within the team. The 54-year-old thinks that Ferrari’s solution involves more than just personnel at the strategy front.

    Whilst speaking to, Vasseur explains what changes he planned to make at the Maranello outfit before the season started. “When you are speaking about strategy or aerodynamics or another topic, you have to avoid being just focused on the top of the pyramid.”

    “Very often, when you are speaking about strategy, it’s much more a matter of organisation than just the guy who is on the pitwall. I’m trying to understand exactly what’s happened on every single mistake and what’s happened last year. And to try to know if it’s a matter of decision, if it’s a matter of organisation, or of communication?”

    ‘Wasn’t entirely to blame’;

    Vasseur 'really convinced' Ferrari has everything to win F1 title
    27/01/2023 at 09:34
    Phillip van Osten

    New Ferrari team boss Frédéric Vasseurs says the Italian outfit has "everything it needs" to win the F1 title but it has to put "everything together" to do the job. "I'm really convinced that Ferrari today, and, for sure, my experience is limited to the last two weeks, but we have everything to win," Vasseur said on Thursday in his first meeting with the media.

    "We have to put everything together to do a good job, but we have everything to be able to win. You can have a look on the results of the last decades that the wheel is always running, and it's just a matter of continuous improvement for me.”

    "If we are doing a better job than the others in a couple of months or years, then we will be able to win. Nothing is set in stone. If you have a look at some teams that were in a very dominant situation a couple of years ago, they are nowhere today.”

    'Really convinced';

    Ferrari 'wakes up' for the new season at Fiorano
    25/01/2023 at 17:07
    Andrew Lewin

    The Ferrari team has been holding its traditional three day 'wake up test' to launch the new racing year, with outings for Carlos Sainz, Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Shwartzman at the team's test track in Fiorano.

    Teams aren't allowed to use newer specification cars in private tests, other than very limited running on 'filming days' intended to produce sponsorship and marketing footage.

    The private 'wake up test' has become something of a tradition for Ferrari, and has proved useful for drivers, mechanics and engineers alike to get back into the swing of things.

    'Wakes up'

    F1: Frederic Vasseur addresses suggestions of Ferrari favouring one driver over the other
    Published: 27 Jan 2023, 10:30
    By George Dagless
    Give Me Sport

    Frederic Vasseur has said that it has been made ‘crystal clear’ to both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz that Ferrari will not have a number 1 driver, at least to start with this coming F1 season.

    The Prancing Horse burst out of the starting gates in 2022 with two wins from the opening three Grands Prix but, soon after, it began to stumble with reliability issues, strategy errors and mistakes creeping in.

    Indeed, as they faltered, Red Bull grew stronger and stronger and, before too long, the championship was a foregone conclusion.

    ‘Crystal clear’ no number 1’;

    Vasseur reveals talks with Binotto and Todt in preparation for Ferrari start
    2023 F1 season
    Posted on 27th January 2023, 14:50
    Written by Keith Collantine and Claire Cottingham

    New Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur revealed he has spoken to two notable predecessors in preparation for taking over the role. He has already met with Mattia Binotto, who has been replaced by Vasseur after four years in charge of the Scuderia. Vasseur was approached to take over his position shortly after last year’s season finale.

    “The process was crystal clear,” Vasseur told selected media including RaceFans. “Even if we had some rumours in the press before Abu Dhabi or during Abu Dhabi, we didn’t discuss before. We had the first discussion the week after Abu Dhabi and it was very, very quick as a process.”

    “Then I had a call with Mattia and I even met Mattia during the handover and we had a one-to-one discussion and I [will] thank Mattia for this because I appreciated the move from Mattia. They had to wait for me to discuss together, it was really appreciated from my side.”

    ‘Vasseur reveals talks’;

    ‘Joke’ 30bhp Ferrari gain claims highlight a sensitive F1 issue
    27th Jan 2023, 07:06
    By Mark Hughes
    The Race

    New Ferrari Formula 1 boss Frederic Vasseur insists that rumours of a 30bhp performance boost from the 2023 power unit are ‘a joke’ and that all power unit development during the off-season has been concentrated on fixing the reliability issue which blighted the team’s 2022 season.

    This distinction between reliability and performance upgrades has always been set to be a particular bone of contention, from the time of the specification freeze last year. Vasseur says that the early indications from dyno testing suggest the reliability problem has been brought under control.

    “So far it looks OK,” he says, “but the reality of the track is a different aspect. A couple of issues the teams – not just Ferrari – were seeing was coming from track issues, bouncing vibration and we’ll have a much better picture in testing in Bahrain.”

    ‘ ‘Joke’ 30bhp Ferrari gain’;

  4. #104
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    F1’s new qualifying rule change could backfire after 2016 update went badly wrong.
    F1 is set to introduce a series of changes next season.
    07:01, Sat, Jan 28, 2023
    By Luke Chillingsworth
    Daily and Sunday Express

    F1 will trial a new qualifying format for 2023 in the first change since the disastrous 2016 update. The new rule will see teams forced to run on certain tyre compounds during each segment of qualifying at two events next season.
    It means competitors will be forced to use the hard tyre in Q1, medium tyre in Q2 and soft tyre in Q3. The system moves away from the current rule where drivers can make the decision themselves over which compound to use.

    The update is a bid to improve F1’s sustainability with the number of tyre compounds reduced from 13 to 11 per driver at the select races. Lawmakers believe drivers will use a wide variety of tyres, including the hard which is rarely used due to its low performance.

    An FIA statement read: “This will be done to evaluate the impact of the reduction in tyre allocation on track-running, with the overall intention to move to more sustainable use of tyres in the future." Pirelli boss Mario Isola also backs the new plan, suggesting teams would “save a lot of tyres” under the proposals.

    ‘Qualifying rule change could backfire’;

    F1: FIA chief gives update on potential new arrivals on grid

    Published: 27 Jan 2023, 10:49
    By George Dagless
    Give Me Sport

    FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has said that only Andretti have made their intentions known ‘directly’ about potentially joining the F1 grid. Ben Sulayem called for expressions of interest from parties to potentially join the F1 grid in the future, and Andretti were quick to respond.

    They’ve been vocal about their intentions to try and join the sport for some time, though the feeling from a number of the teams and F1 towards their plans has felt lukewarm at best.

    Indeed, the FIA’s standpoint has been considerably more positive, with president Mohammed Ben Sulayem making no secret over his hopes that Andretti can be successful and join, with them teaming up with General Motors to potentially form an Andretti Cadillac outfit.

    ‘Only Andretti’;

    FIA accused of "targeting" Lewis Hamilton and slammed by House of Lords peer.
    More strong opposition to the FIA's new protest ban has emerged, this time from Lord Scriven who asserts that the F1 governing body's move will "shield host countries from scrutiny".
    19:06, 27 Jan 2023
    By Daniel Moxon F1 Writer

    The FIA has been accused by a House of Lords peer of "targeting" Lewis Hamilton with its "suppression of Formula 1 drivers' voices". Motorsport's governing body has controversially changed the regulations so any driver who wants to protest or make a political statement on a race weekend will need to seek advance permission. Hamilton is one of those who has most often used his platform to highlight social injustice.

    The FIA says the move was made to bring its policies in line with other major sporting organisations like FIFA and the IOC. But its critics have slammed the move and say it supresses the right the drivers have to protest. Scriven wrote: "It is very clear to me that this policy targets Sir Lewis Hamilton, your most outspoken driver, whose comments on countries with abysmal rights records, particularly Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, would have undoubtedly not been well received by these corrupt and abusive regimes.

    He also went on to accuse president Mohammed ben Sulayem of being "discourteous and unprofessional" for ignoring a joint-letter he co-signed a year ago. Scriven questioned by the FIA chief had not responded to their concerns over the human rights implications of racing in Gulf countries.

    The Mirror

    FIA only rented out F1 rights says president
    JANUARY 26, 2023, 09:32

    This week, F1's American owner Liberty Media lashed back at Ben Sulayem after he said the FIA is "cautious" about reports that Saudi Arabia is interested in buying the sport for $20 billion. Formula 1's legal department slammed the FIA chief's comments as "unacceptable", insisting Liberty Media has the "exclusive right" to "exploit the commercial rights".

    F1 concluded by threatening potential legal action against the FIA, indicating that the new-in-2022 president of the Paris-based federation has kicked off a period of potential internal conflict. Dubai-born Ben Sulayem, however, appears reluctant to back down for now.

    "The championship is ours," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport as saying at the Monte Carlo rally. "We have only rented it out." Indeed, just over 20 years ago, a 100-year lease deal was agreed between the FIA and former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone for what the German magazine described as a "ridiculously low" $300 million.

    ‘100-year lease deal’;

    FIA could use ‘Don King Clause’ in escalating row with F1
    26 Jan 2023
    Lewis Larkam

    The FIA could reportedly use a ‘Don King Clause’ to block a potential future sale of F1 amid an escalating row between the two parties.

    It is understood the clause was inserted into the 100-year lease deal - bought two decades ago for $360m by former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone - by ex-FIA president Max Mosley and hands the FIA veto power over any sale.

    FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem appeared to reference the clause, named after the controversial boxing promoter, during his recent appearance at the Monte-Carlo Rally.

    ‘Don King Clause’;

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