The latest chapter in a summer of remarkable driver market bombshells has confirmed that Charles Leclerc will join Ferrari after only one season in Formula 1, swapping seats with Kimi Raikkonen for 2019.
The news has generally been met with excitement – Leclerc will be the second youngest Ferrari driver in F1 history when he rolls off the grid as a 21-year-old in Melbourne next season and as one of the most promising talents of his generation, it’s a golden opportunity that has been merited.
But it’s not just Leclerc who emerges from the news as a winner – in fact, nearly every party involved in this particular story can look upon the news positively.
On Tuesday morning, the FIA announced that changes will be made to Formula 1’s technical regulations ahead of the 2019 season in order to promote more overtaking. At face value, this proposition is mouthwatering to fans who enjoyed the novelty of seeing Daniel Ricciardo tear from sixth to first in a frenetic 10 laps during the Chinese Grand Prix.
However, could an early step towards the new-look F1 of 2021 be a dangerous distraction that could ultimately devalue the art of overtaking?
Nico Hulkenberg has always possessed an ability to deliver impressive speed over one lap. His recent qualifying statistics not only demonstrate a continued adeptness at maximising a Saturday afternoon, but they also make a case for rating Hulkenberg as one of Formula 1’s strongest qualifiers.
Ferrari’s scintillating pace, Grosjean’s excellent sixth and Ricciardo’s heartbreak were all big stories in the opening qualifying session of the new era. It was a Saturday with plot points aplenty, yet one of the most fascinating and awe-inspiring tales came in the battle to progress from Q1. Unusual, but stick with me on this one.
Unusual, but stick with me on this one.
2016 GP2 Series runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi has been parachuted into the Sauber seat vacated by Pascal Wehrlein, who following his accident at January’s Race of Champions and subsequent truncation of his winter training programme, is not sufficiently fit to complete a race distance.
Finding out that you are to make your Grand Prix debut on the morning of Qualifying day is hardly ideal. No one told Gio that though.
Launch week has commenced this morning, with Sauber tweeting the first photo of their 2017 challenger – the C36 – which sports a stunning new livery. Sauber celebrates 25 years in the sport this season, and their paint shop has crafted a suitably striking blue, white and gold livery to commemorate the milestone.
The colour scheme may well have proved an early hit with fans – even if some have dubbed it a Ligier – but it does potentially mask some looming issues on Sauber’s horizon, despite last years eleventh-hour investment.
Well, that soggy Sunday in Brazil has had some ramifications. Following a meeting of employees at the Banbury base on Friday morning, Manor Racing have once again been placed into administration. Once again, they will need to initiate a great escape if they are to make the grid in Melbourne.
It’s a stark reminder of how F1’s small teams are feeling the pinch under the current regulations.