Word on the beat, June 2022

A South African Grand Prix Kyalami looms, as does Porsche and Audi...

Max-Verstappen-watches-Charles-Leclerc-drive-past-after-retiring-from-the-2022-Australian-Grand-Prix

Golden boots, but not currently the golden boy: Verstappen suffered his second retirement in three grands prix in Australia

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● F1 is probably going back to Kyalami, in either 2024 or ’25, for a new South African Grand Prix. Monaco – with France and Belgium – may be one of the races which becomes biennial.

● Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto below is urging restraint in the team’s development programme this year, despite its strong position in the championship. Speaking after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, he said, “It’s not just a question of being ready to bring new parts. With budgets capped we have to be sure that we don’t spend all our money in the first races. There are no major developments expected during the next races. These capped budgets will have a significant influence on the pace of development. I think that’s a key element.” Previously, Binotto has questioned how Mercedes and Red Bull could afford to make such big upgrades to their cars prior to the first race yet remain within the strict budget cap.

Helmut Marko below has given the strongest sign yet that Pierre Gasly–currently in the Red Bull junior team AlphaTauri – may be set for a return to the senior team next year. “We have a contract with him until 2023. If this contract expires and we can’t offer him a chance for promotion, we will most likely lose him and we don’t want that.” Sergio Pérez, who scored his career-first pole position in Jeddah, is contracted only for this season.

Audi and Porsche are set to embark on their 2026 F1 projects with two separate power units, despite them both being part of the VW Group. Porsche is likely to team up with Red Bull Powertrains. Audi will take over a Porsche 2014 F1 concept engine with its own engineers and the company is looking to buy an existing team.