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Alpine’s Otmar Szafnauer: “Today was all about staying composed under pressure”

Otmar Szafnauer reflected on a ‘brilliant’ Monaco Grand Prix for the BWT Alpine F1 Team as they secured their first podium finish of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season on Sunday.

Esteban Ocon took third place around the Circuit de Monaco despite rain playing havoc and pressure from Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Lewis Hamilton, while Pierre Gasly backed up his team-mate by taking seventh place as Alpine secured their best points haul of the year so far.

Szafnauer, the Team Principal of the Enstone-based team, praised everyone within the team for their hard work in building a car capable of fighting for the top three in Monaco, and for staying calm despite the weather making pit call decisions tricky to get right.

The American also praised the ‘world class drives’ of both Ocon and Gasly, and he says everyone at Alpine must look at this result as motivation to ensure this becomes a more common occurrence for the team as they look to regain their place within the elite teams in Formula 1.

“What a brilliant day for the team here in Monaco,” said Szafnauer.  “Congratulations to everybody today, from those trackside, to our staff members across Enstone and Viry for their hard work in delivering a car that has proved its capability to fight for the podium.

Monaco Result ‘A Significant Marker for how far we’ve travelled together’ – Mike Krack

Mike Krack said Fernando Alonso’s second place finish in the Monaco Grand Prix was a ‘tremendous result’ for the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team and proof of just how far the team has come.

Alonso started on the front row for Sunday’s race at the Circuit de Monaco and was Max Verstappen’s closest challenger throughout the seventy-eight lap race, with the Spaniard securing his best result of the season despite an extra pit stop, needed when the rain intensified around the circuit a lap after he had switched to another set of dry tyres.

Krack, the Team Principal of the Silverstone-based team, said the additional stop to switch to intermediates did not affect the final result as he felt Verstappen and Oracle Red Bull Racing were out of reach on Sunday, but second place was a fantastic outcome for everyone at Aston Martin.

“Starting from the front row and finishing second with Fernando in the Monaco Grand Prix is a tremendous result for the whole team – and a significant marker for how far we’ve travelled together,” said Krack.

“This was a difficult race to manage: we fitted Fernando with the Hard compound, hoping to use the strategy to jump Max later in the race. Then the rain came! Initially, the downpour wasn’t too heavy, and we fitted Mediums because an old, worn Hard tyre is incredibly difficult to manage on a wet track.

Lewis Hamilton: “Difficult to know here in Monaco how the upgrades were performing”

Lewis Hamilton was happy with his fourth place finish in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, but the Briton says it is too early to know whether the updates the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team brought to the principality are a step in the right direction.

Mercedes brought a heavily revised car to Monaco, particularly with the reintroduction of sidepods to the W14, but the unique nature of the track meant they were unable to learn as much as they would like to see just where the updated car sits compared to their rivals.

Hamilton praised his team back at the factories for the updates, and he rewarded them with a top four finish amid difficult conditions in Monaco, but it will only be in Spain next week when the team begin to understand just what the upgraded car is capable of.

“I’m really happy with today’s result,” said Hamilton.  “We moved forwards in the race and that’s not an easy task here in Monaco.

“Coming into the weekend, I didn’t know where we would stand. To come out with fourth and fifth is great points for the Team. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone back at the factories for pushing and bringing these upgrades.

Monaco Podium “must serve as motivation to keep progressing as a team” – Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon was one of the stars of the Monaco Grand Prix, with the BWT Alpine F1 Team driver securing a well-earned third place finish and a place on the podium on Sunday afternoon.

Ocon started third after an excellent lap during Saturday’s Qualifying session at the Circuit de Monaco, and he and his team made all the right decisions during the race, even pitting for intermediate tyres at the right time when the rain began to fall.

He withstood pressure from Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Lewis Hamilton in the final laps to secure that final position on the podium, with Ocon becoming the first Frenchman since Olivier Panis back in 1996 to finish inside the top three in the principality.

“What a feeling! I’m so happy for the team for this amazing achievement of finishing third on this fantastic circuit and legendary event in Monaco,” said Ocon.  “Thanks to the entire team both at Viry and Enstone and here at the track for what we have achieved together.

“Everyone has been working so hard and this result is for them. This must serve as motivation to keep progressing as a team and keep updating the car throughout this season.

Fernando Alonso: “There was no chance to win today – wet or dry”

Fernando Alonso secured his best result of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season on Sunday, with the Spaniard taking second place behind Max Verstappen in a tricky Monaco Grand Prix.

The Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team driver finished where he started at the Circuit de Monaco, but a late race rain shower made life difficult for all drivers, and Alonso was caught out by the conditions after pitting for dry weather tyres just a lap before it was clear that intermediate tyres were needed.

Alonso says the decision to remain on dry tyres had felt the right one on the lap he entered the pits for the first time, but the rain intensified enough to warrant a second trip to the pit lane a lap later to put on the intermediate tyres.

Even with the additional pit stop, Alonso does not feel he was in with a chance of fighting against Verstappen for the victory on Sunday, but he was delighted to have secured the best finish of the season for both himself and Aston Martin.

“I’m really happy with this result,” said Alonso.  “The race was not easy – and the rain made it difficult for everybody, and very risky strategically.

SEASON PREVIEW: 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship

After a long winter break for the teams to recharge and refresh, the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship is back. The second season of the all-electric era of the sport launches at Montalegre, Portugal on 3/4 June. With a few driver, calendar, and rule changes for the new year, here is your guide of what to look out for in the upcoming season.


Credit: Rallycross Promotor GmbH

The 2023 calendar features a wealth of returning favourites and rallycross classics. After such a lengthy break, the championship crams a lot of action into a relatively short space of time. Kicking off at Montalegre, the championship then heads to Scandinavia for rounds at Hell, Norway, and then the Magic Weekend at Höljes, Sweden. This year’s event promises to be doubly special, as it will be World RX’s 100th event.

Then we see a quartet of returning favourites, conspicuous by their absence from the 2022 calendar. Firstly, rallycross returns to its birthplace on 22/23 July for the British round at Lydden Hill. This will be World RX’s first round on the newly reconfigured track layout and will also feature some classic rallycross machinery in action, so it promises to be an event not to be missed. After that, the championship returns to Mettet, Belgium, scene of some spectacular battles over the years, before heading to the legendary Estering, Germany, home of World RX’s most famous opening turn. After a break, the championship heads to the southern hemisphere for the World RX of Cape Town in October, before culminating at the first ever World RX street circuit in Hong Kong. With 10 rounds over 8 events, and a mix of rallycross classics and new territory, this calendar promises to provide thrilling racing all season long.

Rule Changes

Much like its European relative, the biggest change in the rules comes with the reshaping of the weekend format. Rallycross fans, rejoice: the progression race has gone. The series is returning to a more traditional format as enjoyed from 2014-2021. The SuperPole shootout remains to determine the grid for the first heat race. There will then be four heat races spread over the two days (three races in the case of double-header events, with two rounds happening over two days). The top three drivers overall will receive championship points (3 for 1st, 2 for 2nd, and 1 for 3rd), and the results will also determine the semi-final grid.

Those grids have returned to a staggered formation, with six cars spread over three rows, making the results of the heats much more important. The top three from each semi will progress to the final. The winner of the final will be declared the overall event winner and will walk away with 20 points. 2nd will receive 16, then descending from 14 for 3rd position. The promoters hope that this combination of a small amount of points in the heats and the grand prize at the end will encourage the drivers “to push as fast as possible in the early stages of the competition while preserving the ‘winner-takes-all’ anticipation ahead of the final.“

Max Verstappen excited to win in Monaco after dealing with “complicated” weather conditions

Max Verstappen achieved his second-career Monaco Grand Prix victory for Red Bull Racing, converting his pole position after contending with unexpectedly tricky conditions in the latter half of the race.

Verstappen’s first stint saw him well in the lead, but he said that he had to take into account the strategy of Fernando Alonso chasing from behind– forcing him to extend his stint on his starting mediums.

“It’s super nice to win here again in Monaco! It was actually quite a difficult race, we were on the medium to begin with and Fernando on the hard compound, so we didn’t want the first stint to be that long but we had to stay out.”

What would have been a relatively uncomplicated run to the finish for the championship leader quickly turned questionable when a light rain began in certain sections of the circuit. 

Soon after being told by his team on the radio to come in for intermediates whenever he felt it was becoming difficult to stay on track, Verstappen elected to move onto the treaded tyres. The decision was a favorable one, as it suddenly started full-on raining in the race’s closing stages, leading to ice-like conditions which lead Verstappen and several others to come into contact with the barriers on several occasions. 

Roberto Merhi Replaces Oliver Rowland as Briton Departs Mahindra Racing

In a surprise announcement ahead of next weekend’s Jakarta E-Prix double-header, Mahindra Racing have revealed that ex-Manor Marussia F1 Team driver Roberto Merhi will be replacing Oliver Rowland, who has departed the team after spending eighteen months with the Indian manufacturer.

It was announced by the team Sunday morning that a “mutual agreement” had been reached between Rowland and the side for the Briton to vacate his seat for the remaining seven races of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, starting next weekend in Indonesia.

Having joined Mahindra at the start of Season Eight, Rowland has enjoyed minimal success, with his best result with the team having been second in the first race of the season finale double-header in Seoul last August. This year has been a disaster so far for Rowland, who’s reportedly not been pleased with the progress made by Mahindra’s Gen3 powertrain, which is arguably the weakest on the grid.

Rowland has claimed just two points finishes this year, with the Briton having finished sixth in Hyderabad and tenth in the second of two races in Berlin. His departure perhaps shows some of the frustrations amongst the team, who have failed to build on from Lucas di Grassi‘s podium at the season-opener.

Merhi enters the side having driven for them in the recent Rookie test in Berlin, where he impressed Team Principal Frederic Bertrand. The experienced Spaniard will at least have more time to get up to speed than normal next weekend given that it’s a double-header, with him being “determined” and “up for the challenge” of competing in the challenging series.

Dramatic battle sees Verstappen take his third pole of the season in Monaco

The high pressure of Saturday Qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix has once again proven to be intense and dynamic, with Max Verstappen ultimately taking pole position after a nail-biting final minute of running, now set to start alongside Fernando Alonso on the front row on race day. 

As per usual around the streets of Monte Carlo, drivers were pushing for every fraction of a second while fighting to avoid a clash with the barriers– and this year Sergio Pérez was the one to see his qualifying come to an early end. 

Q1: Sergio Perez crashes out, both Haas cars eliminated

The field’s lower runners were first out to take on the 3.337km long circuit, looking to squeeze as much time on track as possible during the session’s first fifteen minute segment. As the first laps came through, the contenders for the front rows were already asserting themselves, with Verstappen putting in a 1:13.784 to take an early lead, followed by team-mate Perez and the drivers of Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team, Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll. 

With just over eleven minutes left, Pérez endured a high speed crash at Sainte Dévote, putting him out of the running early on and causing a red flag. His time of 1:13.850 placed him fifth in the standings when the flag was flown, but he would drop down into the relegation zone soon after the session resumed and the circuit continued to grip up.

Track evolution allowed for a constant shuffling of the field as the session continued, with the likes of Alex Albon and Yuki Tsunoda holding the top spot at some point in Q1. Verstappen’s next time of 1:12.644 allowed him to set the pace with about five minutes left. 

Jaguar TCS Racing Reveal Successful Use Of Re-Refined Castrol Transmission Fluid

Jaguar TCS Racing became the first team in the history of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship at the Monaco E-Prix to run re-refined transmission fluid, something they’d been working towards with long-time partner Castrol.

At the Circuit de Monaco at the start of May, the Coventry-based team successfully completed the iconic E-Prix using re-refined Castrol ON EV Transmission Fluid in its cars, becoming the first team in the series to make use of a circular transmission fluid.

It is a meteoric achievement which Jaguar and Castrol have been working tirelessly towards since 2019, when Castrol became the manufacturer’s official EV-fluids partner.

“The use of re-refined EV transmission fluid is a great demonstration of circularity in action on the race track and supports the wider company ambition to adopt circular economy principles so we can reduce the use of virgin materials,” said Rosella Cardone, Director and Head of Sustainability Office at JLR.

“We have a clear aim to achieve carbon net zero by 2039 and embed sustainability into the JLR DNA.”

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher is a renowned former Formula One racing driver from Germany. Here are some key points about Michael Schumacher:

  1. Career Achievements: Michael Schumacher is widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time. He had an illustrious career, achieving numerous records and accolades, including:

    • Seven-time Formula One World Champion (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004).
    • Most World Championship titles in Formula One history.
    • Most wins in Formula One history (91).
    • Most pole positions in Formula One history (68).
    • Most fastest laps in Formula One history (77).
  2. Teams and Racing Career: Schumacher made his Formula One debut in 1991 with the Jordan team. He later raced for Benetton (1991-1995) and Ferrari (1996-2006, 2010-2012). Schumacher had great success with Ferrari, winning five consecutive World Championships from 2000 to 2004.

  3. Driving Style and Skills: Schumacher was known for his exceptional driving skills and aggressive racing style. He possessed great technical expertise, strategic thinking, and consistency. Schumacher was highly competitive and often pushed the limits on the track.

  4. Ferrari Era: Schumacher's years with Ferrari are considered the most successful period of his career. He played a crucial role in turning the struggling Ferrari team into a dominant force in Formula One. Schumacher's partnership with Ferrari led to multiple victories and established him as an icon of the sport.

Lando Norris: McLaren “determined to push forward and score points over the double-header”

McLaren’s Lando Norris aims for further development and strong results at this season’s Monaco Grand Prix, which comes after the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix due to flooding. 

Though Norris was disappointed by the cancellation of the race weekend at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, where he achieved podiums in both 2021 and 2022, he agreed with the decision made in order to ensure the safety of all involved. 

“Firstly, I’d like to send my best wishes to everybody affected by the flooding in the Emilia-Romagna region. We all love racing at Imola, but safety comes first, and I support the decision for last week’s Grand Prix to be cancelled. We’ll be back, and I hope everyone remains safe during these difficult times.”

Norris looks forward to competing in Monaco, a venue that saw him earn a podium in 2021. Just as in 2021, we will once again see the McLaren’s contender don a one-off livery on the streets of Monte Carlo, this time as a recognition of McLaren’s sixty years of racing. 

The livery takes inspiration from the three cars that secured the outfit the prestigious “Triple Crown” of motorsport, which includes the iconic Monaco event. 

PREVIEW: 2023 SCORE World Desert Championship – Baja 500

The month of June brings summertime to Mexico, and SCORE International will usher in the changing of seasons with the 55th Baja 500 on 3 June.

Rob MacCachren is the reigning winner on four wheels while Juan Carlos Salvatierra is the defending bike victor. Both entries will hope to rebound after struggling with mechanical problems in the season-opening San Felipe 250.

The starting order is set based on the results from San Felipe, meaning that race’s winner Luke McMillin will open for the cars whereas Ciaran Naran does so for bikes. Those who did not run the opener will draw for their start positions on Friday.

The Course

The route measures 473.67 miles for the pro classes and 440.72 for the sportsman divisions, consisting of a clockwise loop starting and ending in Ensenada. It is ten miles longer than the 2022 layout and fairly resembles the 2008 and 2009 layouts with its brief run along the coast from Route Miles 350 through 370.

There are two physical checkpoints at RM 211.62 and RM 326.64 along with 187 virtual checkpoints.

U.S. Air Force becomes Championship Off-Road title sponsor

The United States Air Force has expanded its partnership with Championship Off-Road ahead of the 2023 season, acquiring co-naming rights to formally dub the series AMSOIL Championship Off-Road presented by the U.S. Air Force.

“The U.S. Air Force has been an amazing partner for long time and we couldn’t be happier to be working with them again this summer,” said Carl Schubitzke, president of COR owner International Series of Champions. “Their activations and work are second to none, and we are excited to enhance that energy with Champ Off-Road. Their increased partnership and presence will allow us to continue bringing first-class racing to off-road enthusiasts worldwide.”

The branch has worked with the series since the inaugural season in 2021 and even longer with its ISOC sister championship Championship Snocross. Besides having the Air Force’s branding in advertising space, the partnership also includes the USAF Watch Party, an online campaign for fans to post images of themselves watching races regardless of location. Swearing-in ceremonies also take place at races.

The Pro 4 truck of Kyle Chaney, who finished seventh in points in 2022, also has Air Force backing.

Military sponsorships have drawn mixed reception on their efficacy for recruiting, especially as such efforts rely on taxpayer money. After every service branch of the United States Armed Forces, as well as the National Guard, sponsored NASCAR teams in the 2000s, only the Air Force remains today; via its sponsorship programme at the Air Force Recruiting Service, the USAF currently backs Legacy Motor Club’s Erik Jones in NASCAR and sponsored NTT IndyCar Series team Ed Carpenter Racing and Conor Daly until 2022.

Formula E Announce Key Broadcast Team Changes for Jakarta E-Prix

Ahead of next weekend’s tenth and eleventh rounds of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Jakarta, the all-electric series has announced several key changes to the broadcasting team, following the surprise departure of commentator Jack Nicholls.

It was announced on Thursday afternoon by Formula E that after being the championship’s lead commentator since the first race in Beijing back in 2014, Nicholls would be replaced by former Channel 4 Formula 1 commentator Ben Edwards. The reasoning for Nicholls’ departure is yet to be announced, with Edwards set to be the sport’s lead commentator for the remainder of Season Nine.

Edwards is “very excited” to be commentating on Formula E from next weekend’s Jakarta E-Prix double-header, with the commentary veteran feeling “delighted to be joining the team”.

“I am very excited to get back behind the mic with Formula E as the on-track action this season is a commentator’s dream.” said Edwards, as per Formula E.

“The championship is more competitive than ever and I get to bring that to life for viewers around the world. I’m delighted to be joining the team and calling the action in Jakarta.”