Williams' questionable F1 sponsor – Up/Down in Austin


Thought the age of whacky F1 sponsors was over? Think again...

5 Logan Sargeant Williams US GP 2023 2

America: the home of understatement


It almost happened – it was so close. Verstappen vs Hamilton. Mouthy firebrand vs slightly sanctimonious heavyweight. The weekend’s US GP nearly summoned those heady days of 2021, back when those two aces were at each other’s throats, all anyone you met talked about was F1 and it seemed like the championship was on top of the world.

Back in the here and now (well, yesterday) the Brit didn’t quite catch the Dutchman, but had a good go, reminding us of when F1 wasn’t boring. And then he got disqualified anyway. What better way to illustrate the futility of it all?

His and Leclerc’s DSQ meant a beleaguered rookie finally scored his first point, while the usual wheeling and dealing, nauseating merchandise pushes and latest race promoter gaffes kept everyone entertained.

Here’s what was going up and down in Austin, Texas.


Goin’ Up

Malnutritious deal

4 Logan Sargeant Williams US GP 2023 2

Albon can only peak over the bottom of our picture frame after Sargeant’s monster upgrade


Having been singed by the afterburn of mysterious previous title sponsor Rokit and jibbed late in the day by the infamous Rich Energy, you might have thought Williams would have lost the appetite for volatile multi-faceted businesses led by unpredictable, svengali-like Richard Branson wannabes.

Not so, with Grove  announcing this weekend a mildly psychedelic-sounding “multi-dimensional agreement” with THG (formerly The Hut Group) taking the form of My Protein logos on team equipment.

THG is run by CEO Matt Moulding, known for his bizarre social media presence (sound familiar Haas fans?) that involves long, rambling and seemingly pointless rants about life in business on LinkedIn and Instagram – a recent Motor Sport favourite involved quoting an Alanis Morrisette song.

The company has gone through serious financial flux in recent times, posting a loss of £550m in the previous financial year and back in 2014 was forced to pay out £10m after being involved in a multi-million-pound fraud case. Looking forward to seeing how this all turns out.


String-backed for extra purchase

George Russell Mercededs merchandise

His vintage just dropped


Check out the new ‘Vintage Inspired drop’ to commemorate Formula Partridge’s 100th race. Disappointed it wasn’t called ‘Sports Casual’. Anyway, surely no stylish historic-inspired collection is complete without a Spitfire wallet, Racing Green Motor Sport notebook and retro Suixtil driving gloves? Aha! etc.

George Russell Partridge

Ever seen this guy…

Russell Partridge 2

…and this guy in the same place? Didn’t think so


Barking up wrong strategy

2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2023 US GP

Absolute planks


Mercedes got the incorrect end of the stick in Austin, thinking Verstappen was just managing his tyres when in fact had a brake pedal issue. This meant it plumped for the sub-optimal off-set pit strategy. Then Hamilton was disqualified anyway. Oh dear.


Bad signs

The US GP promoter managed to both ominously replace Lance Stroll with Aramco Martin reserve driver Felipe Drugovich in a banner and spell Daniel Ricciardo’s name wrong above his pitbox. Nice.


Goin’ Up

To the point

Logan Sargeant Williams US GP 2023 2

He did it


After one of the most difficult debut F1 seasons in years, Logan Sargeant scored a point at long last in Austin! Can he save his seat at Grove?



Golf wants some grand prix magic: F1 drivers will be enlisted in ‘Swing to Survive’, a live Netflix crossover vehicle with PGA stars broadcasting Nov 14 – showing racing’s massive appeal now, in spite of rumours of its popularity boom reducing (i.e. it’s still more exciting than golf).


Climbing the mountain

Trent-Alexander Arnold 2023 Spanish GP

Wrong car Trent

Getty Images

A great press week for Otro Capital /Apex Investment group, which has announced the latest tranche of celebrities to have invested in Alpine – a team which is collecting stakeholders like Chelsea collects footballers.

Trent Alexander‑Arnold, Anthony Joshua, Juan Mata, Alexander Zverev, Rory McIlroy, Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, Ryan Reynolds and Rob Rob McElhenney are all now among the celeb investors.

Low-risk (due to the relatively small amounts involved), high-profile buy-ins seems to be all the rage at Alpine. Now they just need to sort out that rubbish car and work out who’s team boss and they’re sorted.


Rising star

Myles Rowe IndyCar 2023

Myles Rowe: one to watch for F1 fans who have Sky


Credit to Sky Sports F1 for joining the dots and promoting IndyCar’s most exciting prospect, young rising star Myles Rowe, during its US GP coverage this weekend.

The Georgia-native became the first African-American to win a single-seater championship on the Indy ladder this year, and in recognition Sky brought him over to the UK to tour the Aston Martin F1 factory, and then surprised him with a visit by his childhood hero, Fernando Alonso.

Rowe will compete next year in the F2-equivalent Indy NXT series, racing under the Force Indy initiative funded by IndyCar CEO Roger Penske, designed to give people from ethnic-minority backgrounds opportunities in motor sport.

IndyCar is a brilliant series but needs a star – the charismatic Rowe could be that person, as long as F1 doesn’t get there first.