Word on the beat, July 2021

Calendar chaos, secret votes and staff snatching: behind the scenes in F1

Jenson Button crosses the start finish line at the 2006 US Grand Prix

Will F1 return to Indianapolis in 2021?

Grand Prix Photo

The F1 calendar remains in a state of Covid-flux. After the cancelled Canadian GP’s intended stand-in of Istanbul was in turn cancelled after Turkey was put on the UK’s Covid red list, there will now be two races at the Red Bull Ring (as was the case last year). With question marks around the feasibility of Mexico and Brazil there is the possibility of a second American race, at the Indianapolis road course. The scheduled races at Singapore, Japan and Australia still have varying degrees of certainty around them.

McLaren’s Zak Brown has called for secret ballots in F1 voting matters among the teams, feeling that the customer teams invariably vote with their suppliers.

The sprint race qualifying format is set to be trialled at Silverstone, Monza and one other venue this year.

Flexi-wings will be further regulated by the FIA after Mercedes pointed to on-board footage of the Red Bull wing appearing to lower at speed. A new protocol is set to take effect from the French Grand Prix.

Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates his 2015 Indy 500 victory

Montoya: Indy 500 winner in 2015


Juan Pablo Montoya will contest the Indy 500 for Arrow McLaren SP, following the Fernando Alonso path of McLaren old boys who’d left the team under controversial circumstances in the Noughties teaming up once more. Montoya will be trying for a third victory in the event to add to those of 2000 and 2015.

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff claims that the new Red Bull Powertrains concern had been offering “lottery money” to staff at Mercedes HPP after Red Bull announced the recruitment of five engineers from Mercedes’ Brackley power unit manufacturer.

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