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F1 Season Preview | Podcast Ep 876

Formula 1 Podcast
The Parc Fermé F1 Podcast

Join Paul and me as we preview the 2024 Formula 1 season. We cover each team and driver and share our thoughts on what it will take to be successful in the new season.

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Takeaways

  • The inter-team battles within McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, and Aston Martin will be exciting to watch.
  • The departure of Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes will change the dynamic within the team.
  • Ferrari needs to address their rear tire wear and stability issues to improve their performance.
  • Red Bull remains the team to beat, but Sergio Perez needs to improve his performance to secure his seat. Media representation can be challenging, as it is difficult to accurately portray individuals behind the scenes.
  • The performance and prospects of Sauber (Alfa Romeo) and Alpine are discussed, with a focus on their drivers.
  • The drivers at Williams Racing and Haas F1 Team are evaluated, considering their potential for success.
  • Overall, the conversation provides insights into the current state of Formula 1 teams and drivers.

Chapters

00:00Introduction and Bathurst Recap
05:09Season Opener and Drive to Survive
09:23Ranking the Liveries
13:02Testing and Team Observations
24:15McLaren: Norris vs. Piastri
28:03Mercedes: Russell and Hamilton’s Departure
31:49Ferrari: Leclerc and Sainz
36:29Red Bull: Verstappen and Perez
47:31Aston Martin: Alonso and Stroll
54:15Introduction and Discussion on Media Representation
55:06Review of Sauber (Alfa Romeo) and Alpine
56:20Discussion on the Drivers at Sauber (Alfa Romeo) and Alpine
57:17Analysis of the Drivers at Sauber (Alfa Romeo) and Alpine
57:50Evaluation of the Drivers at Sauber (Alfa Romeo) and Alpine
59:30Overview of Williams Racing
01:00:05Discussion on Haas F1 Team
01:04:16Evaluation of Haas F1 Team
01:10:27Summary and Conclusion

Testing recap

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 23: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01 on track during day three of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on February 23, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202402230723 // Usage for editorial use only //

The 2024 testing sessions, like years before them, are difficult to learn much from a competitive standpoint to the casual eye. All teams are running different programs, different tires, fuel weight, aerodynamic setup and much more.

The sessions are really an allotted time for teams to learn just how their CFD and wind tunnel data correlates to actual running on track and they do a tremendous amount data harvesting, calculations, suspension changes, tire changes and just about every other facet on their car to try an understand how compliant the cars are to changes and potential future development.

Having said that, testing actually can reveal quite a bit to seasoned professionals in each team. They done this long enough to know what they are looking at with their own car as well as other teams.

If a car wiggles a bit under throttle application, other teams know what it takes to solve a problem like that. If it isn’t that sharp and decisive on corner turn-in, they know what it takes to fix those issues and if the car they are observing through three days isn’t resolving those issues, there could be a larger issue.

Regardless, there are earmarks that teams and F1 journalists look for to find comparison such as Jonathan Noble’s piece over here at Autosport. It suggests that a long-run program by Carlos Sainz vs Sergio Perez was similar enough to draw potential conclusions about Ferrari’s pace. Jonathan may very well be right but I would say that in the hands of Max Verstappen, it may not be as straightforward as it seems and obviously Jonathan knows that as well.

There is also an interesting breakdown of the testing over at F1 that would, on the surface of things, suggest that the Bull’s are two tenths ahead instead of the seven to nine tenths of last year.

Suffice it to say, the testing, for me, really boils down to fast lap and, critically, the number of laps without issues or reliability. To those ends, I tend to see a few things but I’ve also seen teams show up for the first race with some seriously different kit on their car from what they launched or tested so the jury is still out and we won’t really know until Q3 at Bahrain.

Here are the totals from the 3-day testing session:

Fastest Times (over all 3 days)

DriverTeamTimeDayTyre
SainzFerrari1m29.921sThursdayC4
LeclercFerrari1m30.322sFridayC4
RussellMercedes1m30.368sFridayC4
ZhouSauber1m30.647sFridayC4
PerezRed Bull1m30.679sThursdayC3
VerstappenRed Bull1m30.755sFridayC3
TsunodaRB1m30.775sFridayC4
AlbonWilliams1m30.984sFridayC4
PiastriMcLaren1m31.03sFridayC3
HamiltonMercedes1m31.066sThursdayC3
AlonsoAston Martin1m31.159sFridayC3
NorrisMcLaren1m31.256sThursdayC3
RicciardoRB1m31.361sThursdayC4
HulkenbergHaas1m31.686sFridayC3
StrollAston Martin1m32.029sThursdayC3
OconAlpine1m32.061sThursdayC3
GaslyAlpine1m32.149sFridayC3
BottasSauber1m32.227sThursdayC3
SargeantWilliams1m32.578sThursdayC4
MagnussenHaas1m33.053sFridayC3

Total Laps (over all 3 days)

TeamLaps completed
Haas439
Ferrari416
Red Bull390
Aston Martin378
Sauber378
RB366
Mercedes361
Alpine334
McLaren327
Williams298

Horner did what? | Podcast Ep 875

Formula 1 Podcast
The Parc Fermé F1 Podcast

Join Grace and me as we talk about the Christian Horner debacle, new Sprint race rules and an idea of our own, Mercedes and the silly season, car launches and more.

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Takeaways
  • The controversy surrounding Christian Horner and Red Bull has generated a lot of speculation, but it’s important to wait for more information before jumping to conclusions.
  • The tweaked sprint race weekend regulations, which allow teams to make adjustments after the sprint race, are a step in the right direction, but some fans still prefer the elimination of the sprint race altogether.
  • The car launches have showcased a lot of raw carbon fiber and matte finishes, but Todd and Grace would like to see more vibrant colors and painted cars on the grid.
  • It’s important for teams to have effective crisis PR management strategies in place to address allegations and control the narrative. The absence of a yellow team in Formula 1 sparks curiosity and nostalgia for Renault’s black and yellow livery.
  • Speculation about Lewis Hamilton’s replacement at Mercedes raises questions about the team’s long-term strategy and the potential for a junior driver to be chosen.
  • The 10-year deal between Silverstone and F1 ensures the British Grand Prix remains a staple on the calendar.
  • The recent departures at the FIA raise concerns about the organization’s stability and future.
  • The MotoGP series ‘There Can Only Be One’ and the MotoPod podcast are recommended for motorsport enthusiasts.
  • Amusing and puzzling headlines in the world of motorsports provide entertainment and confusion.

Chapters

00:00Introduction and Formula One News
02:07Christian Horner Controversy
13:46Tweaked Sprint Race Weekend Regulations
24:09Car Launches
28:19Favorite Car Designs
31:28The Mystery of the Yellow Team
34:08Speculations on Lewis Hamilton’s Replacement at Mercedes
40:06Silverstone F1 Secures 10-Year Deal
44:09Departures at the FIA Raise Concerns
49:06MotoGP Series Recommendation: There Can Only Be One
51:48Recommendation: MotoPod Podcast
52:16No Shit Headlines
57:22Closing Remarks and Thank You

Revised Sprint Weekend

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 19: Pierre Gasly of France and Scuderia AlphaTauri waves to the crowd on the drivers parade ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 19, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202206191248 // Usage for editorial use only //

The FIA have changed the Sprint weekend process to allow for car set-up changes prior to Sunday’s race.

You’ll recall that last year the cars were in Parc Fermé condition after FP1 and this meant very little could be done to the car over the balance of the weekend to improve its performance but this has changed.

With the new format, FP1 is followed by a shootout and sprint under an initial parc ferme. This allows teams to make adjustments to their cars before a second parc ferme period applies to the main qualifying as well as the race.

An interesting article over at Autosport quoted Alpine driver Pierre Gasly as saying:

“I think that’s great,” said Gasly. “I think that was missing, definitely. We ended up last year having amazing, brilliant, genius guys on a Friday afternoon being forbidden to touch anything on our car.

“That’s what they are paid for, that’s why they are the best. It was a bit sad, because they have much more to bring to the table than just one or two clicks of front flap and tyre pressure.

“F1 is the top of engineering, and I think it’s great we still give them the opportunity to always make these continuous improvements through the weekend.”

Pierre is correct and this was one of the biggest issues with the Sprint race weekend format. Once you made your initial runs, you were locked into the weekend. The thought here is that it would add an element of randomness in on-track performance but it negates the real value of an outstanding team or the ability to recover.

It’s a good move by the FIA but it could only be bettered by doing away with eh Sprint weekend but that’s just my opinion. Every time a car races, there should be a clear and definitive point in it racing. Up until the Sprint race concept, F1 raced for a championship. The Sprint is raced for entertainment mainly.

Lewis at Ferrari, Andretti at home | Podcast Ep 874

Formula 1 Podcast
The Parc Fermé F1 Podcast

Join Grace and me as we discuss Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari and F1’s denial of Andretti to Formula 1.

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Takeaways

  • Character development is crucial in creating compelling narratives in sports documentaries.
  • Daytona is an iconic track in NASCAR and should have been given more historical context and significance in the series.
  • Exploring the rich history of NASCAR could have made the series more engaging and informative.
  • The comparison to a MotoGP game highlights the potential for more captivating storytelling in motorsports content.
  • The lack of interest and disappointment expressed by the conversation participants suggests that the series failed to meet their expectations.

Chapters

00:00Introduction and Patreon Support
05:00Lewis Hamilton’s Move to Ferrari
13:00Lewis Hamilton’s Motivation
18:00Ferrari’s Role and Decision
27:00Driver Harmony and Team Dynamics
33:00Mercedes’ Decision and Challenges
36:07The Impact of Lewis Hamilton’s Departure on Mercedes
46:36Speculation on the Replacement for Lewis Hamilton
51:47Controversy Surrounding Andretti’s Rejection from F1
01:03:09Allegations Against Christian Horner
01:05:50Review of NASCAR’s Drive to Survive Series
01:09:26The Lack of Character Development for Denny Hamlin
01:10:21The Importance of Daytona
01:11:38The Missed Opportunity to Explore NASCAR’s History
01:12:37Comparison to MotoGP Game
01:13:27Overall Disappointment and Lack of Interest

Red Bull investigating Horner allegations

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE - JULY 22: Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on from the pitwall during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 22, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202207220600 // Usage for editorial use only //

Red Bull’s Christian Horner is under internal investigation due to allegations of inappropriate behavior according to news reports. The team released a statement:

“After being made aware of certain recent allegations, the company launched an independent investigation,” a Red Bull statement said.

“This process, which is already under way, is being carried out by an external specialist barrister.

“The company takes these matters extremely seriously and the investigation will be completed as soon as practically possible. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”

I’ve read several articles and some posts on social media that range from insider info to pure speculation. The immediate assumption is that of a sexual harassment nature but other articles suggest it was due to controlling behavior. It’s unclear what the allegations are at this time but Horner denies the allegations entirely.

Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton could be on the verge of making a shock move to Ferrari for the 2025 season according to reports. Certainly this has the social media and sports world buzzing about the prospect as it comes on the heels of Lewis inking a fresh 2-year deal with Mercedes last year but assumptions are that there is an escape clause in his contract.

There’s an old axiom in F1 that every driver dreams of driving for Ferrari at one point or another such is the history of the Ferrari name in motorsport. Lewis himself has talked about that prospect in the past but despite overtures to Hamilton from Ferrari over the years, the 7-time champ hasn’t made the move.

The report suggests the discussions are int he final stages and could be concluded later this week. It’s interesting timing on this deal as Lewis just switched his management team as well.

What doe sit all mean? I might mean that Carlos Sainz—who has yet to extend his contract beyond 2024 while Charles Leclerc just extended his on a multi-year deal—might be the open seat for Lewis.

It also means that there would be a seat open at Mercedes and you have to consider there will be many interested in that seat. One wonders if Lando Norris might not be a candidate or Oscar Piastri. One might suggest that Carlos Sainz would be interested along with just about every other driver on the grid including Alex Albon.

Lewis had made moves in the past that were worrying for fans such as moving from McLaren to Mercedes but he read the tea leaves perfectly with that move so could Ferrari be on the verge of a potential championship-winning car? No secret Lewis is looking for his 8th title, the question is, could Ferrari provide it.

I also think Lewis’s idea of retiring and remaining on the Mercedes payroll with a similar salary for his off-track efforts and social media platform may not be something that’s realistic.

Let’s be honest, as many drivers close in on retirement, the thought of replacing a $40M/yr salary becomes very elusive and many will make a fundamental move to continue their income and lifestyle. Perhaps Ferrari represents a continuation of the income Lewis is used to? Just guessing here. It might be a good option if he felt Mercedes weren’t willing to go beyond his on-track compensation levels.

The bigger question might be less about Lewis’s motivation for moving to Ferrari but just how well he might fit in at the Scuderia given they have a lead driver in Charles Leclerc. Charles is very talented and very hungry to win a title and I can see some conflict of interest there.

For George Russell at Mercedes, I think this would be great news. Not having Lewis there means the team would not be hyper-focused on Hamilton’s title pursuit and more focused on getting George his first title.

Mercedes beat Ferrari in the championship last year so let’s see if this rumor comes true and if Ferrari can deliver a race-winning car for Charles and Lewis. Then, let’s see how Charles reacts to that intra-team battle.

F1 rejects Andretti

A few years ago, The FIA would have a period of open inquest as to any potential new teams that might want to join Formula 1. The FIA would review the applications and determine if any teams would be allowed to join the grid as long as they met the criteria. This begat many new teams such as HRT, Marussia, BAR Honda, BMW, Toyota, Brawn GP, Super Aguri, Stewart/Jaguar etc.

There was a change to the current Concorde Agreement which involved an approval process by Formula One Management or FOM. This wouldn’t have been a feature that the former FIA president Max Mosley would have stood for but it’s now in the agreement.

As such, while the FIA did open a new-team inquiry process and approved Andretti Autosport’s entry application, FOM has declined Andretti’s application for the foreseeable future.

The statement did suggest that the door might be open for a potential entrance into F1 in 2028. The main reasoning was:

“Our assessment process has established that the presence of an 11th team would not, on its own, provide value to the championship. The most significant way in which a new entrant would bring value is by being competitive. We do not believe that the applicant would be a competitive participant.”

Quite frankly, I find this stunning. This was never a prerequisite for Haas F1, HRT, Marussia/Manor, Lotus F1, Renault (when they bought Lotus), Mercedes (when they bought Brawn GP), Red Bull (when they bought Jaguar or Jaguar when they bought Stewart).

When the NFL, NHL or MLB expanded, was it a prerequisite that the team had to be competitive right out of the box? If it was, that’s news to me. F1 knows as well as anyone that a brand new team will most likely not be as competitive and Audi may prove that to us when they re-brand Sauber. It takes time to get your sea legs in F1 against the world’s best.

In the end, I don’t think the desire for a competitive team is the prime mover here, it’s prize fund money. Andretti could be, or another existing team, left out in the cold with no prize money at the end of the year despite the massive amount required for new entrants to offset this very fact. Here is what FOM said:

“The addition of an 11th team would place an operational burden on race promoters, would subject some of them to significant costs, and would reduce the technical, operational and commercial spaces of the other competitors,” it added.

“We were not able to identify any material expected positive effect on CRH financial results, as a key indicator of the pure commercial value of the championship.”

Another point made involved the use of customer engines. Andretti would need to source engines from, presumably Renault, for the 2025/26 seasons and FOM felt that it would be better if they came with their own saying:

“We would look differently on an application for the entry of a team into the 2028 championship with a GM power unit, either as a GM works team or as a GM customer team designing all allowable components in-house,” added F1.

“In this case there would be additional factors to consider in respect of the value that the Applicant would bring to the Championship, in particular in respect of bringing a prestigious new OEM to the sport as a PU supplier.”

Again, this was not required of Haas F1, Red Bull, HRT, Marussia, Lotus. Super Aguri, Force India, Brawn GP, and isn’t currently required for McLaren, Aston Martin, Haas, Sauber, Williams or Red Bull and Visa CashApp RB.

In what world does a new team have to come with it’s own chassis, engine, gearbox and electronics given half the current grid doesn’t have it themselves? Apart from Andretti showing how they would immediately increase the value of the series, how could F1 assure GM and Andretti that owning it’s own engine and gearbox would make them competitive and the investment logical given their performance projections over the next 5-10 years? Surely getting in F1 under the “Listed Parts” program like Haas F1 did would give a team some runway to get their program up and running.

If Andretti is going to put up a half or three quarters of a billion dollars into their F1 program, surely there are milestones and performance metrics that they would like to achieve while working with GM to evolve into the sport as a supplier. This takes time and patience.

FOM might argue that this series is not a rapid prototyping business model program for GM to dabble in, only to decide to pull the plug and leave. Perhaps they want more commitment from GM-hence their comment about it being a full works team—and this might offer more permanency in their revenue investment and potential. One might argue that GM’s interest may not have been fully evident and there could be a case of Andretti parting ways with GM and sticking with Renault engines should they decide to. No guarantees in essence. I’m not sure, this is all supposition on my part, of course.

I can’t think of a team on this grid that had to go through this level of deliberation and discussion nor were they subject to this kind of requirement before. If that were the case, the grid might only have five teams.

A sad decision as I think Andretti would have made the sport better and certainly would have played a bigger role in the American interest in F1. You can blow a lot of smoke to create a smoke screen to obscure the real prime mover of your decision but as with many things, it all comes down to money. In this case, money the teams and F1 weren’t convinced they would have if Andretti came on board.

This decision, to not allow a fully funded operation like Andretti with 100’s of millions invested in the F1 program, makes operations like Haas F1 seem like a sour anecdote. Gene Haas has been vocal about his unwillingness to invest more in his team unless he sees results while Andretti was investing millions and bringing one of the largest car makers in the world with them.

As a side note, I will be interested to hear what the FIA say about this if anything.

Is Lando scared of Max? | Podcast Ep 873

Formula 1 Podcast
The Parc Fermé F1 Podcast

Join Grace and me as we discuss the new contracts for Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc. Was Lando scared to go to Red Bull like some are saying? What is Alpha Tauri’s new name? Visa Cash Cow F1? Wait, Andretti already built and F1 car?

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SummaryIn this episode, Todd and Grace discuss Formula One news, including contract extensions for Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc. They also review the Rolex 24 from Daytona and share their thoughts on Lando Norris’ comments about racing against Max Verstappen. Finally, they discuss potential drivers who could pair well with Verstappen at Red Bull and clarify the role of F-Duct and Komatsu in the sport. In this part of the conversation, the principal themes include Renault’s path through Formula One, Liberty Media’s value and investments, Lewis Hamilton’s change in management, Toro Rosso’s name change to AlphaTauri, and Michael Andretti’s car project. The conversation covers various topics including proof of concept and backing, albums and sound bites, bike launches and Formula One, Ducati’s Vroom-like event, Audi and Ducati collaboration, no-shit headlines, Red Bull’s young driver program, F1 legends and famous WAGs, interest in wives and girlfriends, thank you to Patreon supporters, apologies for technical difficulties, interacting with the live audience, promoting the podcast, and closing remarks.

Takeaways

  • Contract extensions provide stability for drivers and their teams.
  • Timing and team dynamics play a significant role in driver decisions.
  • Winning races is not the sole measure of a driver’s skill or potential.
  • Pairing drivers with complementary personalities can lead to successful partnerships. Renault’s journey in Formula One would make for an interesting book
  • Liberty Media is the most valuable sports empire
  • Lewis Hamilton has changed his management team
  • Toro Rosso has been renamed AlphaTauri
  • Michael Andretti is working on a car project
Chapters
00:00Introduction and Formula One News
07:11Review of the Rolex 24 from Daytona
11:35Contract Extensions for Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc
22:26Lando Norris’ Comments on Racing Against Max Verstappen
26:50Potential Drivers to Pair with Max Verstappen at Red Bull
29:39Clarification on F-Duct and Komatsu’s Role
31:59Renault’s Path Through Formula One
34:10Liberty Media’s Value and Investments
41:59Lewis Hamilton’s Change in Management
48:53Toro Rosso’s Name Change to AlphaTauri
58:23Visa Cash App Red Bull Formula One Team
01:00:45Michael Andretti’s Car Project
01:02:45Proof of Concept and Backing
01:03:13Albums and Sound Bites
01:03:35Bike Launches and Formula One
01:04:03Ducati’s Vroom-Like Event
01:05:28Audi and Ducati Collaboration
01:06:33No-Shit Headlines
01:07:28Red Bull’s Young Driver Program
01:07:57F1 Legends and Famous WAGs
01:10:30Interest in Wives and Girlfriends
01:13:39Thank You to Patreon Supporters
01:14:15Apologies for Technical Difficulties
01:15:11Interacting with Live Audience
01:16:10Promoting the Podcast
01:16:33Closing Remarks
Liberty Article I wrote a few years ago: https://theparcferme.com/is-libertys-f1-deal-consolidating-too-much-control/

McLaren extend Lando Norris deal

Lando Norris, McLaren, with Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren

Lando Norris extends his contract with McLaren in what the team are calling a multi-year deal. While his current contract wasn’t set to expire until 2025, it did leave the door open for other teams, such as Red Bull, Audi and Mercedes, to snoop around.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown said:

“A multi-year extension that goes well beyond his current contract.”

“I’m delighted that we’re continuing our relationship with Lando for multiple years to come. It’s been a fantastic journey over the last six years, and he has shown fantastic commitment and desire to push the team forward and get McLaren back to the front of the grid.”

Lando Norris said:

“It’s a great feeling to be staying in papaya. I’ve grown up with McLaren and feel at home here, the team are like family to me. The journey so far has been exciting, we’ve had ups and downs, but last season showed our desire to get back to competing at the front of the grid.

“The work Zak, Andrea and the whole team have put in over the last year has been incredible and I’m confident in challenging for wins with McLaren. I’m excited to create more amazing memories and continue working hard with everyone at MTC for the next few years.”

This announcement, just 24 hours after Ferrari announced their re-signing of Charles Leclerc, leaves McLaren solid through 2026 when Oscar Piastri’s contract comes to an end.

Leclerc extends Ferrari deal for ‘several more seasons’

BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, BAHRAIN - MARCH 20: Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1st position, and Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, 2nd position, with their trophies during the Bahrain GP at Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday March 20, 2022 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Steven Tee / LAT Images)

Charles Leclerc has signed a multi-year contract extension to remain at Ferrari for “several years”. According to reports, it is believed to be an extension through the 2026 season.

It’s a logical move for both Leclerc and Ferrari as there are few places Charles might have gone and Ferrari are certainly banking on Leclerc’s talent to deliver wins should they get their car dialed in for 2024. Charles said:

“I’m very pleased to know that I will be wearing the Scuderia Ferrari race suit for several more seasons to come,” Leclerc said.

“To race for this team has been my dream since I was three years old: I used to watch the Monaco Grand Prix from the window of a friend’s apartment at Ste. Devote corner and I would always look out for the red cars.

“This team is my second family ever since I joined the Ferrari Driver Academy in 2016 and we have achieved a lot together, fighting through thick and thin over the past five years.

“However, I believe the best is yet to come and I can’t wait for this season to start, to make further progress and be competitive at every race. My dream remains that of winning the World Championship with Ferrari and I’m sure that in the years ahead, we will enjoy great times together and make our fans happy.”

Team boss Fred Vassuer said:

“Charles’ bond to the Scuderia goes beyond that of just a driver and a team, as he has been part of the Ferrari family for eight years now, dating back to a time before he first sported the Prancing Horse emblem on his race suit,” said Vasseur.

“His values and those of our team are intertwined and so it was natural for us to be in agreement on extending our collaboration.

“We know him for his incessant desire to push himself to the limit and we appreciate his extraordinary abilities when it comes to fighting and overtaking in a race.

“We are determined to give Charles a winning car and I know that his determination and commitment are elements that can make the difference in helping us reach our goals.”

This leaves a question mark over teammate Carlos Sainz as he would like to get his future sorted as soon as possible too. Clearly Carlos is also looking for a long-term deal similar to Charles.

Madrid joins F1 calendar in 2026

Formula 1 announced that the Spanish Grand Prix will be held in Madrid from 2026 to 2035 following an agreement with IFEMA MADRID to include both street and non-street sections.The circuit will feature 20 corners, with a projected qualifying lap time of 1 minute 32 seconds.

It is initially projected to accomodate 110,000 fans per day across grandstand, general admission, and VIP hospitality, while there are plans to grow the circuit’s capacity to 140,000 per day which would make Madrid one of the largest venues on the F1 calendar. Located five minutes from the Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez airport, the Spanish Grand Prix will become one of the most accessible races.

IFEMA MADRID’s comprehensive proposal received widespread support from national, regional, and local government, including key stakeholders such as the Regional Government of Madrid, the Madrid City Council, and the Chamber of Commerce.

The Grand Prix is expected to generate a projected €450m to the city’s economy per year.

“Madrid is an incredible city with amazing sporting and cultural heritage, and today’s announcement begins an exciting new chapter for F1 in Spain,” said Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1.

“I would like to thank the team at IFEMA MADRID, the Regional Government of Madrid and the city’s Mayor for putting together a fantastic proposal. It truly epitomises Formula 1’s vision to create a multi-day spectacle of sport and entertainment that delivers maximum value for fans and embraces innovation and sustainability.”

So where does this leave the Spanish GP in Barcelona? Domenicali says:

“For the avoidance of doubt and to clarify here, the fact we are in Madrid is not excluding the fact we could stay in Barcelona for the future,” he says.

“Looking ahead, there are discussions in place to see if we can really extend our collaboration with Barcelona, with whom we have a very good relationship, for the future.”