Parc Ferme: Baku Budgets, Blags and Bad Dads

Performers in traditional costume, with Azerbaijan flags on the grid

If the Monaco Grand Prix was a financial concern for the Teams, then this weekend’s Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix must be a terrifying prospect.

Formally the fastest track on the calendar until the arrival of Jeddah. The Baku circuit combines Monaco’s close proximity walls and barriers with the high speeds of Monza. Not a good fiscal combination when you have a budget cap to manage.

Add to this a straight that results in the PU running at full tilt for 26 secs, and you have the potential for some serious budget damage.

The “bean counters” for the teams running the “Bash Street Kids”, namely Stroll, Schumacher, and Latifi, will be particularly nervous. Maybe the respective team principals will be asking these boys to not exceed what’s in their “talent bag” over the race weekend? Let us see.

Meanwhile, Ferrari has announced that Charles Leclerc will be using power unit 2 with a new turbo and MGU-H. I can’t help but feel sorry for the Monegasque driver of late. If he fell in a barrel of tits, he’d probably still come up sucking his thumb (unlike Checo at the Monaco after-party).

Ferrari have a cunning plan provided their lads keep the F1-75 out of the Baku walls

F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan - Qualifying baku

Mattia Binotto has suggested that Ferrari have a “cunning plan” to take on “The Bulls” in Baku. A brave declaration on the face of it since the circuit has become a bit of a stronghold for the energy drink team.

Let us hope it’s better than the last “cunning plan” they employed at Monaco, where the team successfully snatched defeat from the jaws of victory!

Apparently, when the team manager enquired as to Leclerc’s opinion over what transpired he replied – “grande merde” or something to that effect.

There are also suggestions that Red Bull had some issues in Monaco over the RB18’s inability to “turn in” like a Ferrari. With their pull-rod suspension system proving to be too stiff for the non-aero corners.

Max struggled at Monaco to “link one-up” and this was one of the problems cited as a factor, although it didn’t seem to faze his teammate and eventual race winner – Sergio Perez.

Regardless, the Azerbaijan track has some similar corners to the principality and there is a concern they (he) may struggle again.

In all forms of motorsport Racing Dads are best seen and not heard

Jos-Max-UAE-2-2021 baku azerbailjan

However, I think Max’s real problem may lie closer to home. Literally. The good doctor and Christian Horner already seem to be on the case, seemingly working towards “toeing” Verstappen senior out of the Pit Box.

It is a well-known fact that “Racing Dads” are best seen and not heard. Many try to live their racing dreams vicariously through their sons. “Jos the Boss” certainly seems to fit that profile. Making himself both seen and heard as he publicly whinged to the press about Max not being prioritised over Checo.

I know Perez has just inked a new contract and improved his salary but I’m sure it pales in comparison with the mega-dollar multi-year deal signed by the new World Champion.

My recommendation to Jos is simple. First, he should put his hand in the air, and then having done so, slap himself very hard in the face! After completing this task, he should then close the pit garage door from the outside, and let his son get on with doing what he does far better than he ever did. That is: win F1 races.

Finally, a rumour has emerged that Mercedes is bringing a major upgrade (chassis/aero orientated) to the Azerbaijan race. Baku is usually a racing snooze fest as the teams wait for an inevitable safety car or two. But if Mercedes can properly join the party, we might have something that resembles a race. Fingers crossed.