Word on the beat, December 2021

Next season’s F1 calendar could be a gruelling one: behind the scenes in F1

Fernando Alonso in Alpine F1 garage

Grand Prix Photo

● The confirmation of the proposed 2022 F1 calendar shows 23 races in 36 weeks, with an early finish to avoid a clash with the World Cup. This has created some consternation within the teams about human fatigue but AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost was having none of it, commenting in Istanbul, “If there are people who don’t like the calendar, they should just quit.”

● This is the response by Fernando Alonso, above, about him using the Sochi Turn 2 escape road on the first lap of the Russian GP for no obvious reason: “It was to see the questions I would get in Istanbul. Just to confirm when I do things, they have a repercussion on the following event. So now, maybe they change the run-off area in Lap 1 in the first couple of corners. I’ve been the idiot on-track for most of the championship while I’ve been overtaken from the outside of the asphalt by many for the first races. Even in Austria, nothing happened. There were no questions on the following race. Now after Sochi, when I do it, there is a question. So it’s a confirmation.”

● A consortium led by Michael Andretti, below, is understood to be in talks to take over the Alfa-Sauber F1 operation, with a plan to purchase a controlling interest in Islero Investments, which owns Sauber Motorsport and Engineering. Andretti Autosport IndyCar race winner Colton Herta has been mentioned as a possibility for the F1 Alfa seat alongside Valtteri Bottas.

Michael Andretti in 2019

● Former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has returned to F1 as CEO of the new Aston Martin Performance Technologies. Aston Martin F1 CEO and team principal Otmar Szafnauer now reports to Whitmarsh, who in turn reports to team owner Lawrence Stroll.

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