F1 Report Word on Beat

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The MEXICAN GP has secured a three-year extension to its contract – which runs out after this year’s event – meaning it will remain on the calendar until at least 2022. Ahead of the confirmation, Mexico City’s mayor said: “I also want to tell you that this is thanks to a group of businessmen who made this possible because this time the city is not using any public funds.”

RED BULL is promoting ALEX ALBON to its senior team from the Belgian GP, with PIERRE GASLY swapping places and returning to Toro Rosso for the balance of the campaign. Gasly has struggled for form since graduating to Red Bull at the start of this season.

Liberty has confirmed that F1’s plan is to go to 24 RACES by 2021, but to do so with the same number of power units as currently used. However, in discussions about a 22nd race next year, some teams are asking for an extension on the components. “We support a 22nd race [in 2020] if that means more revenue,” said Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto, “but we need to be careful about the extra costs. If for 2021 we are discussing 24 races but no extra engines, increasing the number of units for next year would be simply wrong, because it would mean more revenues but then more costs, which would make no sense.”

Other teams are not supportive of a 22nd race next year, regardless. CLAIRE WILLIAMS said in Hungary: “I don’t even think there should be 21 races. Personally, I think there should be five fewer.” All 10 teams are required to be in agreement for an extra race to be added.

The discussion about a 22nd race has come as the regional Catalunya government is believed to have approved a plan to contribute to funding that would rescue Barcelona’s SPANISH GRAND PRIX – previously set to be dropped from the calendar next year. The Spanish and German Grands Prix had been expected to make way for the additions of Vietnam and Holland.   

Mercedes would not be willing to underwrite a GERMAN GP on the 2020 calendar, after having supported this year’s race, hence its probable disappearance next season. Hockenheim, meanwhile, is being redeveloped to house an extended Porsche driving centre.

MAX VERSTAPPEN, on being asked after qualifying on pole in Hungary how his practice starts had gone, given how bad his getaways from the front row had been in Austria and Germany, replied: “Yeah, they were all good.” An amused VALTTERI BOTTAS, who’d qualified alongside him in Hungary, chipped in with, “I had a really good practice start.”
MV: “Yeah? I had a wheelie off the line!
VB: “Yeah? Me too!”

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