Parc Ferme: F1 Driver dilemmas

Parc Ferme: F1 Driver dilemmas

Parc Ferme: F1 Driver dilemmas

If Max Verstappen took anything away from his victory in the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP in Jeddah last week, it should be the sheer driveability of the RB20.

Unlike the recalcitrant divas of the other teams, Adrian Newey’s latest offering is proving to be the most willing of dance partners with a penchant for the young Dutchman’s style.

Not an easy race

Probably the biggest challenge for the current Formula 1 World Champion at the weekend was not pulling away from the competition but keeping them close enough. Finishing thirteen seconds ahead of his teammate and eighteen seconds in front of Charles Leclerc flattered to deceive. Flattered Sergio Perez and Ferrari, that is. I have no doubt Verstappen could have comfortably doubled that figure if he or the team had been inclined.

Max Inc.

Meanwhile, rumours about a possible “Mexit” from Red Bull continued to the rounds of the F1 Paddock. Clever management and commercial foresight are turning the twenty-four-year-old into a corporation.

With a GT3 team already on the way, we can look into our crystal balls and easily imagine we see Verstappen F1 Racing in the swirling mist. However, much of this work could be undone if he continues to pin his badge to Helmut Marko and leave Red Bull.

Max Verstappen who?

max mercedes-003

A truculent jump into the arms of Mercedes or any other team will create a gap for a number of other drivers capable of taking his place.

Verstappen should remember that George Russell, Alex Albon, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri could all win the World Championship in the RB20. They may not dominate, but that’s not a requirement, either for Red Bull or F1. In fact, FOM et al. may support the idea.

However, moving elsewhere may undermine Max’s image of invulnerability when forced to drive a car that doesn’t suit his preferences. Red Bull, without a doubt, would like to retain his services, but not at any price. The only constants in the team’s success have been Christian Horner and Helmut Marko. And the latter’s reign is almost at an end either way. Maybe it’s better to keep Horner if a choice is forced.

Getting his bearings

Wow, Oliver Bearman was everyone’s favourite at the end of the race weekend. Having made an impressive debut at a circuit that eats anyone who is not on top of their game. The question now, though, is what next?

There’s no prancing horse seat for the foreseeable future, and another year in F2 is not a way forward. This leaves the second seat at the Ferrari-powered Haas team as an option.

Despite Kevin Magnusson’s recent mobile roadblock efforts to push “the Hulk” into the points, he’s the one who might be replaced.

Don’t forget Liam!

SUZUKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 22: Liam Lawson of New Zealand and Scuderia AlphaTauri prepares to drive in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on September 22, 2023 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202309220145 // Usage for editorial use only //

Whilst VCARB might have had a weekend much like their team name (forgettable), they need to remember Liam Lawson and what he did last year and then compare and contrast.

Daniel Ricciardo is not delivering the goodies and looks more like Nyck De Vries than his former self. The unforced spin towards the end of the race said it all. Whilst he might be Christian Horner’s BFF, he should not be there – something the Good Doctor’s been saying for a while. Time to push the ejector seat button.

Finally, one of the carriages of the world’s most expensive train set went off the rails early on in the race. While Fernando Alonso was keeping up the pace at the front, “Junior” tested the robustness of his Aston Martin’s steering arm by clipping the wall. Consequently, he then proceeded to test the Tec pro. Fortunately, the latter held up, unlike his car and any hope of finishing in the top of anything. F1, it’s a tough world!