Efter många turer fick Alpine rätt mot FIA angående den bestraffning Fernando Alonso fick efter loppet i USA där hans bil, efter att HAAS protesterat, ansågs ha körts på ett osäkert sätt. Alpine protesterade mot bestraffningen då de ansåg att HAAS lämnat in sin protest för sent och att den därför aldrig skulle ha behandlats. Det knepiga i kråksången är att FIA efter detta ansåg att Alpines protest mot protesten även den kommit in för sent och att de inte skulle få sin sak prövad. Då valde Alpine att gå en annan väg, nämligen att via FIA Court of Apeal hävda sin rätt att få ärendet översett igen, vilket man har rätt inom 14 dagar efter händelsen om man kan visa nya bevis som inte fanns tillgängliga vid tillfället för deras bestraffning.
Allt kokar ner i när HAAS protest i USA lämnades in där de fått extra tid för att kunna lämna in den vilket Alpine hävdar var fel och har nu fått rätt. Jag går inte på det i detalj för det är nästan fånigt krångligt hur sådant här kan bli. Lägger beslutet här nedan så kan ni läsa igenom och bilda er en egen uppfattning. Man skulle kunna säga att det som hänt är väldigt Formel 1-igt:)
Vidare har vi nu också fått besked om att både Red Bull och Aston Martin gått med på en s k ABA, Agreed Breach of Agreement. Vilke typ av bestraffning det blir plus alla detaljer i ärendet ska presenteras innan starten av FP1 i kväll. Det mesta pekar mot att Red Bull får både ett monetärt och sportsligt straff, böter och minskad tid i vindtunnel
Till sist kommer här Scott Mitchells senaste alster där han går igenom nyheten att det som väntat blev Sauber som AUDI väljer att köpa in sig i och vilka implikationer detta kan få. Scott funderar även lite kring Red Bulls brott mot kostnadstaket och hur vi ska se på detta mot bakgrund av att teamet sen dess vunnit två förartitlar och en kontruktörstitel.
What Sauber’s Audi deal means for a great F1 underdog
To nobody’s great surprise, Sauber will become the Audi works team in 2026. It’s a massive opportunity for Sauber, which has always been a popular F1 team and has had an up-and-down history.
I always thought of Sauber as the great symbol for what an F1 underdog could achieve. The Red Bull/Petronas-liveried cars were among my personal favourites as a kid and its 2001 season felt like a great act of giantkilling. Since then, Sauber’s fortunes have swung wildly. The BMW years were great but the financial rot that set in afterwards could have killed the team entirely.
The exact ownership structure of Sauber since mid-2016 has never been entirely clear but all credit to Finn Rausing and his associates for saving a popular and extremely competent organisation from the abyss. Sauber’s recovery from its low point In 2017 has been slow and difficult at times but the team has been diligent.
This year it has shown there are still some glaring weaknesses, mainly operationally although I am still not 100% convinced by the development and production capabilities. I think this is where Audi will be investing as much as it can to make improvements.
Audi will have its work cut out to win in F1. There has never been an Audi F1 project (although it was part of the Auto Union programme that was a massive grand prix racing force in the years before the world championship as we now know it). Matching the existing manufacturers will be a tough ask. And integrating the engine facility in Germany with the Swiss car design/race team headquarters is going to pose challenges.
There will be time to make it work. I suspect after the final year as ‘Alfa Romeo’ in 2023 we will see the team return to running under the Sauber name in 2024 and 2025, then rebrand once it is able to abandon its Ferrari customer engine deal in 2026 and use the brand new Audi engine for the first time. In the meantime, we await word on any potential personnel changes and when the first whispers will emerge about the driver line-up (beyond the very unoriginal links between Audi and a German driver, which can only be Mick Schumacher for now).
Full credit to Audi for going for it. And well done to Sauber for being shrewd and realising what an opportunity this is. I’ve always got the impression Rausing does things quite smartly at Sauber: he’s withdrawn, lets the team gets on with it, has always met his financial commitments and has the team’s long-term prospects at heart. A great deal has come along to sell and he’s taken it because he knows what this could mean for Sauber – and I’m sure he will stay involved in some way.
Anyway, this is good news for F1. A new manufacturer is coming in and strengthening an existing team, potentially finally tapping into its full potential. It keeps F1 in a feel-good moment off the back of what was an ultra-successful United States Grand Prix with record attendance and an entertaining race (largely thanks to Valtteri Bottas spinning out and Red Bull botching Max Verstappen’s pitstop).
After what was the worst possible worst 24 hours around what should have been a fuss-free focus on Verstappen and his mighty 2022 title victory in Japan, we have got back to more pleasing topics. But I do want to return to one that’s a bit more serious.
Red Bull’s lingering cost cap controversy means people are questioning the validity of both of Verstappen’s championships. I understand why. Any extra money that could have been spent on development in 2021 would have helped Red Bull. And there could be knock on benefits for this year. So people will be frustrated by the idea Red Bull could have had an unfair advantage.
I cannot say whether it did. Red Bull argues that the alleged overspend made no difference because it came from areas that were accounted for differently – I guess the argument being that they would have made cuts in other areas and the car development spend was entirely unaffected. That sounds a bit too convenient for me, but my point here is not to defend Red Bull. I feel some sympathy for Verstappen.
He was great in 2021 and however controversial the end of the season was, I still felt he was a worthy champion. Likewise, he now deserves all the plaudits for winning this championship in the manner he is, for he has been exceptional all season and could rewrite some incredible F1 records before the year ends. He’s matched the all-time win record for a single season and I wouldn’t bet against him breaking it this weekend in Mexico.