Formula 1 has taken its summer vacation after a series of four Grands Prix in five weekends. Automatic week sums up some of the off-track news from the Hungarian GP.
Elsewhere in Silly Season
Sebastian Vettel’s decision to retire and Fernando Alonso’s shock change to replace him at Aston Martin for 2023 mean two of the biggest names involved in the silly season have made their respective choices.
Further seismic news from this time is unlikely (but not necessarily impossible). Second seats at AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo and Haas are yet to be confirmed, but Yuki Tsunoda and Zhou Guanyu are both expected to stay for 2023.
Haas, meanwhile, is expected to make a call in September on the seat influenced by power unit partner Ferrari and currently occupied by an improving Mick Schumacher.
Williams is the team where a change is most likely. Williams CEO Jost Capito has told German media in Hungary that Alexander Albon should stay – he is a good fit for the team and has performed well in his return season. Nicholas Latifi (pictured above) is less assured, now in his third year at Williams, with his financial backing having helped Williams through rocky waters he has now navigated.
American Logan Sargeant makes her FP1 debut
Logan Sargeant will make his Grand Prix weekend debut at his home in Austin on October 21. Sargeant will drive Williams’ FW44 in place of Latifi for Friday’s first one-hour practice session. The Formula 2 driver joined Williams’ young driver program at the end of 2021 and then took an outing in last year’s car at the end of the season’s rookie test. This will be Sargeant’s first on-track race in a Grand Prix event.
“To have the chance to participate in the United States Grand Prix is something extremely special for me,” said Sargeant. “The goal for me will be to learn as much as I can in the new generation of cars. I’m looking forward to making the most of this experience and really enjoying it.
Williams sporting director Sven Smeets said “Logan has shown a great level of ability and maturity so far this season through his achievements on and off the track. He has delivered winning performances in Formula 2 at the the height of his hard work in the simulation sessions, it seemed only fair to reward those achievements with the opportunity for him to participate in a free practice session in Austin.
Nicholas Latifi shines on Saturday
There was an unusual result in Saturday’s rainy practice session at the Hungaroring. When the drivers switched to intermediate tyres, the times started to drop, with the usual suspects swapping the lead. It wasn’t until the checkered flag fell that it was the only full-time driver without a 2022 point – Nicholas Latifi, who finished fastest. Fans cheered for Latifi’s achievement and there was also a huge cheer in the media center for a surprise result.
I was pleasantly surprised, even before passing P1,” Latifi said on pace. “Everyone was lapping at the same time on the track, we did something good and I’m clearly not a bad driver. It’s still difficult to drive, it was a great moral victory, a great morale boost.
However, in the dry qualifying session, Williams and Latifi fell back to average, with a mistake in the final corner relegating him to last on the grid.
“I mean, he’s the literal zero hero,” he joked afterward.
Lewis Hamilton visits the W series
The W series received a distinguished guest in Hungary when Lewis Hamilton visited the service race paddock to meet championship organizers and drivers. Hamilton explained that he had watched most of the races and had long wanted to go to the other paddock and find out more.
“It’s great that we have the W series, but as a sport we need to do a lot more to get young girls into the sport,” Hamilton said. “For these women, there is no [career] W-series progression [and] it’s been three years now.
On track in the W Series, Alice Powell held off a push from Jamie Chadwick to claim her first win of the year and end the two-time defending champion’s undefeated start to 2022. Chadwick still holds a sizable 75 advantage points with four rounds to go and is all but assured of a third consecutive title.
A suspended F1 Junior, another on the edge of the abyss
Alpine Academy member Olli Caldwell has been suspended from the next round of the Formula 2 season in Belgium after picking up 12 penalty points in Hungary.
Rookie Caldwell racked up seven on his Bahrain debut: two for being out of position at the start and five for various track limit violations. More penalty points came in Saudi Arabia, for obstruction, and in Italy, for dangerous pit lane driving and obstruction once again. In Austria and Hungary, exceeding track limits has come with penalty points, the last of which brought Caldwell to the 12-point mark which triggers a one-lap suspension.
Williams F1 test driver Roy Nissany is, meanwhile, also set to sit out an event after hitting 11 penalty points in Hungary.
As for the race, the youngster supported by Sauber Théo Pourchaire took victory in Hungary almost 21 points behind leader Felipe Drugovich.
Bottas visits the Women’s Tour de France
Valtteri Bottas has long been a cycling fan and in his spare time has competed in endurance mountain biking, doing reasonably well.
Bottas’ partner Tiffany Cromwell competes professionally in road cycling for the Canyon/Sram Racing team and was part of the Women’s Tour de France, reviving the women’s version of the famous event for the first time since 2009. Bottas followed the TDFF from the race director‘s car between the French and Hungarian Grands Prix, and was pictured handing out bottles during the pit stop as he got involved in the action.
“It was very cool to witness this amazing event for a few stages,” he said. “If you haven’t been there this year, make sure you don’t miss next year’s TDFF. It’s great to see women’s sport getting some well-deserved exposure!
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