Ben’s Midweek Report: Head Returns, Ferrari Drama, Mick Debuts

Heartbreak and intrigue in equal measure at Ferrari, a familiar face returning to save Williams, April Fools pranks and more – this was the last seven days in the F1 world.

It’s been an eventful seven days in the F1 world, to say the least. Even before Charles Leclerc’s engine decided to cark it in Bahrain, we fans had been given a lot to digest and dissect. Read on for a look back at the some of the bigger stories of the past week.


Patrick Head returns to Williams: About as far removed from their glory days as they’ve ever been, Williams are seemingly trying to regain some of that old magic by bringing back the man behind their 9 constructor’s championships. Rehired as a consultant, it’s going to be a big ask for the 72-year-old to improve the lacklustre pace of their current challenger, but maybe what the FW42 really needs is the famously-fiery Head yelling at it.

Human rights groups keep the pressure on F1 and Bahrain: A longstanding issue in the gulf state ever since the cancellation of the 2011 GP, the discussion surrounding this year’s race suggests it won’t go away any time soon, either. As nice as it would be if sport was completely separate from politics, the fact is that the Bahraini regime hosts the race with the express purpose of promoting their country (with a “record” weekend attendance of just 97,000 they’re certainly not making money), and as long as their human rights record remains poor, that’s going to bring controversy.

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix, Sunday - Steve Etherington

Sympathy for Leclerc: Unsurprisingly in the wake of his unfortunate finish on Sunday, the kind words and gestures have been quick to flow for Charles Leclerc. I thought Lewis Hamilton’s words of encouragement in the cool-down room were particularly nice, and show that even in a sport that basically requires you to go for your rivals’ throats, there’s still room for a bit of class.

Pressure on Vettel: As disastrous a race as it was for Leclerc, it wasn’t much better for Sebastian Vettel. Not only was he out-paced by his inexperienced teammate, but he was certifiably punked by Lewis Hamilton in a weekend performance that has earned significant criticism, while also raising serious doubts about his position as Ferrari’s number one driver.

Schumi Jr makes his Ferrari debut: The feel-good story of the year keeps on getting better, as Mick Schumacher literally stepped into the red shoes of his father Michael and took his first laps in a Ferrari in testing on Tuesday. Unfortunately for him, his timesheet-topping time was bested by a late charge from Max Verstappen, who probably roots for Jafar when he watches Aladdin.

F1 gets in on the April Fools fun: From the Formula 1 subreddit being turned into r/WECfeederseries, to the official F1 twitter replacing drivers with dogs, to Nico Rosberg announcing a comeback, to our own proclamation of a Fernando Alonso-Toyota partnership for 2021, there were plenty of pranks to go around – that said, the best one has to be McLaren waiting until Alonso left to finally deliver a decent car.