Green Notebook from Mauquenchy

Getting home from the British Grand Prix normally involves driving south from Silverstone, around the miserable M25 and then south to Newhaven (which has not been new since the 16th century). This is a small port on the south coast on England, to the east of Brighton, between chalk cliffs. From there one takes a ferry across The Channel to Dieppe, a similar port between two chalk cliffs. The journey takes around five hours and one can get a cabin and sleep half a night before setting off across France. The Newhaven-Dieppe ferry is not very glamorous, although those with a taste for the bizarre might like to know that Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh spent time as a crew member on the ferry route, going  backwards and forwards between France and England. It is doubtful that he gained much inspiration from this, although white cliffs have been known to inspire.

When you leave the ferry port in Dieppe the road climbs quickly to the top of the chalk plateau (the reason for the white cliffs) and soon you arrive at a roundabout. Dull stuff, unless you know the history. If you turn to the east you are on the main straight of the Circuit de la Seine-Inférieure, home of the second the Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France in 1907. There is nothing there now, but once there were pits, a vast ornate wooden grandstand and a giant scoreboard, which was never up to date.

Today most travellers turn west and the road they take descends into the flat valley of the River Arques, close to Dieppe’s hippodrome and to the Alpine car factory (Dieppe is Alpine’s home town). You arrive in the strangely-named suburb of Rouxmesnil-Bouteilles, now a drab industrial area with its only saving grace being a kart track, hidden away behind a Nestlé factory, where they manufacture Nescafe. You are soon out in the country and it is a delight to be rushing through the lanes at an hour when these still belong to crows and rabbits, with occasional cats on the prowl for small animals to torture. It is a bewitching time of day, particularly in the summer, when the warmth from the earth rises into the cool sky and mists form before your eyes. If lit by the sun these turn the world into an unworldly and beautiful place.

And thus it was that I found myself in a misty Mauquenchy, the perfect antidote after the Silverstone weekend, filled as it was with people and traffic jams.

There was a time, 35 years ago, when the village of Mauquenchy nearly became famous in Formula 1.  The Automobile Club Normand (ACN), which ran the Rouen Les Essarts racing circuit, realised that its track was to dangerous for international races and was looking for somewhere to build a new F1-spec race track. Mauquenchy has a quiet and secluded valley, surrounded by hills on all sides, and the ACN thought this would be a great venue for a circuit. The mayor of Forges-Les-Eaux, a picturesque spa town nearby, was excited by the project, as was Jean-Luc Therier, a local who was one of France’s biggest rallying stars at the time. The Larousse-Calmels F1 team also liked the idea as it would provide them with a new home, which would develop into a motorsport hub and thus help the local economy.

It was all sound logic.

The bad news was that France’s President at the time, Francois Mitterrand, was a man who knew how to keep his friends happy and had a plan to redevelop the Magny-Cours circuit. This would become the home of the Ligier F1 team (and a motorsport hub… etc etc). With the help of Pierre Beregovoy, who was the mayor of nearby Nevers (and Mitterand’s Minister of the Economy), the project in Magny-Cours trumped Mauquenchy. And so the Norman plan was recycled and they built a hippodrome instead. This pulls in a few people, no doubt, but for Forges-Les-Eaux many of its visitors today come on two wheels, on a cycle path that links London to Paris, known as the “Avenue Verte” (the green avenue), which uses disused railways converted into cycle paths. It always make me smile when cyclists try to exercise their moral superiority about the environment, because it brings out the devil in me and I ask: “What’s the most polluting sporting event in the world?” The answer, of course, is the Tour de France because while the 176 riders involved don’t leave much of an environmental footprint, the 14 million fans who drive to watch pump out a lot of exhaust gases.

Protesters do not generally target the Tour de France because everyone thinks that riding bicycles transforms a person into an angel with toe-clips. F1 on the other hand, ends with up a bunch of people thinking it is smart to walk on to a racing circuit to draw attention to the use of oil. Well, David Baldwin, Emily Brocklebank, Alasdair Gibson, Louis McKechnie, Bethany Mogie and Joshua Smith (collectively known as the Silverstone protesters), if you knew what you were talking about you would have targeted the Tour de France.

I bumped into David Richards of Motorsport UK at one point during the weekend and he said that he was busy trying to get a meeting with the protesters, in order to explain to them why they would be wrong to target the Grand Prix, because they obviously did not know about F1’s amazingly efficient engines and how this is filtering down through the industry…

Silverstone saw the launches of various worthy projects, designed to create a perfect world. I do worry about the F1 campaign to be carbon neutral by 2030, not because I am opposed to the concept, which clearly I am not, but I do think that if the sport is going to make such claims, it must also include the emissions created by spectators in the calculations. 

What the sport has to do is to tell the story of what it is doing for emissions technology (which is amazing) and to argue that it should be viewed as part of the solution, rather than the problem. In this respect the sport has only itself to blame.

The Formula 1 group is looking more and more at urban circuits with mass transit in order to address this problem, but the down side of this is that in time we will lose some famous places if the strategy continues. Races in the middle of nowhere are no longer popular. Circuits out in the wilds are struggling to get F1’s attention. The Nürburgring is gone already. Paul Ricard and Spa are on the verge of disappearing. Everyone loves Spa, despite its drawbacks, but it is hard to argue that because it is a famous place in racing, it should be allowed to produce lots of emissions. The ultimate irony is that Spa was originally laid out where it is because it had railway stations in Francorchamps, Stavelot and Malmedy. The latter two were lost when the circuit was shortened and passenger trains to Francorchamps stopped in 1959, with the rails being torn up in the early 1970s. You can still see where the tracks used to run and ponder that if they were still there today, the track might have a very different future. Putting back railways costs a fortune but at Spa the path of the old railway was transformed into a cycle track, known as Pré-Ravel Ligne 44a and so those of an energetic nature can still cycle to the races. But will they?

A sport is only as good as its fans. It’s no good fixing all the F1 emissions if the fans arrive in gas-guzzling urban tractors and sit in jams for hours on end, pumping out exhaust fumes.

We had a race last year at Zandvoort where most cars were banned and fans came either by train or by bicycle and it worked out very well.

The truth is that if these old rural circuits want to survive, they need to adapt and transportation infrastructure is important.

All this brings me, by a roundabout route, to the big rumour of the Silverstone weekend which is that Audi AG has reached an agreement to acquire the Sauber team. We already know that Porsche is leaping enthusiastically into bed with Red Bull and now its sister brand Audi wants to go racing as well. Why? Because the new F1 rules in 2026 are exactly what the industry wants as it heads towards sustainability, with hyper-efficient engines and synthetic fuels. There may be others that want to jump on the bandwagon as well…

The whisper is that the deal is worth around $450 million and will see Audi acquiring 75 percent of the shares in the team, valuing it at $600 million. The sale is conditional on the technical rules of F1 for 2026 being confirmed by the FIA but will be a phased deal over three years with Audi taking control of a first 25 percent of the shares in 2023, another 25 percent in 2024 and a third 25 percent in 2025. The remaining 25 percent will be retained by Finn Rausing – who is one of the owners of Tetra Pak Laval, a firm which has annual revenues of $16.3 billion. The team will go on using Ferrari engines and being called Alfa Romeo until the end of the current formula at the end of 2025. After that it will transform into an Audi operation, with engines being built by Audi Sport GmbH in Germany. It cannot happen any quicker than that because you cannot have an Audi chassis powered by a Ferrari engine.

There was another interesting rumour kicking around in Silverstone about Alpine selling some of its shares to the Chinese car company Geely. This makes perfect sense given that Geely owns Lotus and the Norfolk firm is involved in joint venture with Alpine to build electric cars, while Alpine’s parent Renault and Geely are reportedly planning a joint venture to sell hybrid cars in the Chinese market. Renault is also helping Geely get into the US market using the Renault Samsung plant in South Korea. There is a trade deal between South Korea and the US which allows Korean automakers to import vehicles into the US tariff-free. There is no doubt that the best way to promote Lotus would be to use Grand Prix racing, where the firm has huge heritage, so perhaps we might one day see Alpine (which was called Lotus F1 a few years ago) either reverting to that name or with an engine supply to a Lotus-branded team. Who knows?

While on this subject, it is also said that part of the Aramco sponsorship deal with Aston Martin was a commitment from the team to build its own F1 engines in 2026. That will cost a lot… Aston Martin’s financial situation is creating headlines in financial newspapers as the firm’s share price is light and its debt load heavy. The company continues to make positive noises but the number-crunchers are sceptical. There are rumours that the Saudis might buy into the business.

Billionaires have different rules to the rest of us, although the presence of Vijay Mallya was a reminder that things don’t always end up well. Still, the bigger the billionaire the more fluffy the cushions that they have to break their fall. When it comes to billionaires F1 has a lot of them – some with more cash than others. One thinks of Mateschitz, Latifi, Rausing and the Strolls. Not to mention the Al-Khalifas of Bahrain, the Agnellis and others who like to play at the F1 tables.

I’ve always found that the richest folk always make the least noise and that was definitely true at Silverstone where there was a man who is worth more than Mateschitz, Rausing and the Latifis combined, walking around the paddock. Rob Walton mentioned in conversation that he was a small investor in McLaren, as a member of the consortium that owns about 33 percent of the team. He does like cars (he has a car collection worth several hundred million) and it is said that he has about $60 billion to play with thanks to the family’s involvement in Walmart… and so F1 does not really faze him. He seemed to be enjoying his weekend.

When one considers the big players in this world, the scrambling over a few millions seems somehow rather tawdry, but that is part of the F1 game from week to week.

The driver market is beginning to burble and it may be that we are going to have some earthquakes soon. There are lots of assumptions being made about who will go where in 2023 and I sense that some of them are false assumptions. There have been rumours for some time regarding the future of Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin F1, with the suggestion being that the four-time World Champion will retire at the end of the year, at the age of 35, and will be replaced by 23-year-old Mick Schumacher. There is much interest as well in Alpine. The team saying that there are no decisions yet about the team’s driver line-up for 2023, but things seem to be on the move. Esteban Ocon is under contract until the end of 2024, while Fernando Alonso’s contract with Alpine finishes this year. The team’s third driver Oscar Piastri has a contract, but Alpine must provide the Australian with an F1 drive in 2023 or else he is free to leave. As with all F1 contracts there is an option date by which point a deal must be agreed. This is often the end of July, which means that a driver who does not have a deal for the following year still has the time to find an alternative. The thinking in recent weeks has been that the team would agree to another two-year contract with Fernando Alonso for 2023 and 2024. Alonso is 41 at the end of July and so would be 43 by the end of the contract. Having said that, Fernando is obviously still quick, having started on the front row of the grid in Canada recently. Dropping Alonso in favour of Piastri would be a controversial thing to do, even if the logic is to prepare Piastri and not risk losing him. On the face of it, Piastri’s only real option was to join Williams, replacing Nicholas Latifi, but Piastri’s manager Mark Webber is a cunning fellow and also a mate of his former Porsche colleague Andreas Seidl, now team principal of McLaren. Seidl it seems is interested in Piastri.

Daniel has a McLaren contract for next year but it is fair to say that he has been a disappointment, despite winning last year in Italy. One might conjecture that McLaren might offer Daniel an elegant exit by putting him into IndyCars as it has not yet confirmed whether Felix Rosenqvist will race IndyCar or Formula E next year. But spies in the US are suggesting that this is not a real option as McLaren will be running Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi and Alex Palou, the current IndyCar champion, who is currently racing for Chip Ganassi.

If McLaren makes Piastri an offer, it would probably be a better choice than a Williams and so one can see that Oscar would prefer that. It is also a splendid lever to get Alpine to ditch Alonso because Piastri is seen as the real deal, rather than being Alonso the real deal from 20 years ago, who never quite delivered on his potential. Alpine has already lost Guanyu Zhou to Alfa Romeo and the Chinese driver is now beginning to show his paces and his value for the Chinese market… The thing that might mess up this scenario is that McLaren remains intent on becoming an American-style F1 team with Zak Brown, some US investors, who have the clout to buy out the Bahrainis, if they wish to depart and the possibility of Colton Herta being good enough for F1. He should begin testing soon and so we can find out, but he has an IndyCar deal with Andretti for 2023 so his arrival would not be before 2024.

The only other story of major interest in the Green Notebook in Silverstone is the suggestion that South Africa will definitely have a place on the 2023 calendar. The word is that a deal has been agreed with a South African promoter to hold a race, but that the event will no have any overt funding from the government. This does not mean the authorities will not help with tax breaks and such things but it will not provide actual funding, because President Cyril Ramaphosa does not want to put himself into a situation where he could be accused of spending government money on a sport he enjoys, when the country (and he himself) have other problems. The government can always get involved later if things improve. Formula 1 wants to visit Africa in order to strengthen its inclusion programmes, which aim to treat everywhere the same – and make money from everyone.

As I finish writing up these notes, I find myself in Nuremberg, bound for Austria where we will have another race… and another Green Notebook…

89 thoughts on “Green Notebook from Mauquenchy

  1. With the amount of driving you’re doing What country has the most expensive & cheapest fuel also how much does it add to your trip to Silverstone

    1. I’ve just been round Europe on a motorbike and would rank as follows (least to most expensive)

      1. Germany – €1.87 / litre
      2. Luxembourg €1.91 / litre
      3. France €1.95
      4. Holland €2.25
      5. Switzerland €2.40

      So Germany & Luxembourg cheaper than UK (1.17 EUR/GBP rate), France similar and Holland/Switzerland more.

  2. The Palou move would be interesting. Marshall Pruett writes that Palou to AMSP is a non-starter until 2024, at the earliest, due to his contract. Would they move Ricciardo to Indy cars for a single year and, if they did so, would he retain his F1 compensation which is extravagant according to Indycar standards? Or send Ricciardo to Formula E for 2023, hold steady with the Indycar team, and bring Palou in for 2024? That’s why they call it Silly Season, I imagine.

  3. Thursday is the highlight of my week.
    How come you’re the only journalist with these stories.
    Thanks Joe and have a great time in Austria.
    Cheers Leslie

  4. Always love the descriptions of travel. So very interesting to weave travel with racing history! Enjoy combining the posting with Google maps to find for example, the straight of the Circuit de la Seine-Inférieure, or the village of Mauquenchy. Ho Chi Minh! Thanks for the nice notebook posting. Close racing at Silverstone. Wish, like many others, the racing was naturally that close without the lead driver needing to have a damaged car. At least it’s not 2002 or 1992, but still…

  5. Hi Joe, Palou to McLaren IndyCar deal seems to be dead – there has indeed been an approach but Palou has a firm contract with Ganassi for next year and after McLaren poached Rosenqvist away under him Chip is not keen on doing McLaren any favors. At least that was the word during the Road America weekend. Right now it appears McLaren are looking at Rinus VeeKay whose ECR contract is up at the end of this year…

      1. Surprise, surprise, with announcements of Palou to McLaren today Joe is in fact right again. Well done sir.

    1. If AMSP are trying to sign morw lead drivers, I wonder if that is because Pato is still in the running to replace Ricciardo next year?

  6. Joe

    I went to the A1 race at Zandvoort in 2006 (I think it was) and like most caught the train. It ran like clockwork and was pleasant, but I like train travel. If you have a seat it’s relaxing to let someone else do the work. I imagine with the scale of fans in Orange, it is probably different now, but at least that option for as there right from the start

    To link this notebook to the new race. The Gautrain does not go near the new circuit built adjacent to Kyalami and I went to the 1993 race and it was a travel nightmare, cars broken into as we had to park miles away and catch buses to the circuit. Cannot see how the carbon element will be any better now. Curiosity the talk of a London race has gone quiet. As Silverstone is as rural to an large extent as Spa, where does this leave them in the rush to urban.

  7. Excellent stuff. I’m currently reading this on a pleasantly cool morning whilst sat on the balcony of my hotel at Champagnuex in the Savoie overlooking the Rhone Alpes and had a similar experience to you this morning. Albeit static.

    Keeping my on topic, we’re headed to watch Day 7 (Friday) of the TdF — but on a motorbike, because of carbon footprint (which is a lie — it’s down to speed, freedom and the feeling of being alive!).

  8. I love this blog. I like the travel details and the local history. And obviously the F1 rumours and analysis. Thanks.

  9. Hi Joe,

    You mention a potential rebrand (again) of Alpine to Lotus. Do Geeley just own Group Lotus, or do they also own Team Lotus as well?

    And on the whole McLaren and IndyCar drivers front, do you know why they seem to have gone off the idea of giving Pato O’Ward more F1 seat time? I understood that the feedback from the Young Drivers Test was positive, but then it went all quiet and there was the contract kerfuffle.

    1. Back in 2011 the High Court ruled that Tony Fernandes owned the Team Lotus name. What he’s done with it subsequently is a question for people with sharper Google-fu than me.

    2. Didn’t Genii ultimately buy the rights to the Team Lotus name from Fernandes? What’s happened to those rights since – still with Genii, transferred to Renault (unlikely), or sold on again?

      I never understood the judgement at the time. David Hunt’s rights to the name were from opportunistic scavenging from the bankruptcy proceedings of the moribund F1 team. Meanwhile Group Lotus have and had an uninterrupted history as a going concern since being founded by Chapman and run alongside the race team under a shared brand.

    3. Time to dust off that incredibly complex flowchart of ownership of the lotus name(s) which was either on here or in GP+ a few years back…

  10. It was only last week that the chaps at Missed Apex Podcast were discussing the sale of Denver Broncos to the Walton family and wondering if F1 would ever be attractive…

  11. Although it wouldn’t solve the Piastri conundrum, what do you think about a straight seat swap – Pato O’Ward and RIcciardo? Although I’m sure it would be seen as a ‘demotion’ for RIC, surely that would be preferable to the potential alternative of being bought out of a contract to free up a seat?

  12. Hi Joe, Thanks very much, very insightful as always! Their was a lot of press speculation that Piastri would be announced at Williams during Silverstone, so your McLaren interest is very timely and makes a lot of sense. I know this is F1, but do you see other potential shocks in the next few months? Personally it seems to me (albeit from far far away) that Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso firmly want to continue. Would you assign more than 30% chance one of these drivers may retire?

  13. You seem to have an axe to grid regarding Alonso. Never quite delivered lol.
    Anyone winning F2 is the real deal to some , but to others its just someone a bit better in a pool of average drivers. Even Latifi has won F2 races.
    You can have a conveyor belt leading to F1 but it doesn’t mean they are all any good. Ask red bull.
    You may as well have a conveyor belt for the next Steve Jobs or Elon Musk.
    Alonso just makes average teams look bad as they are not good enough for his ability. A rookie gives Alpine breathing space. So being that the french are a bit trecherous they could boot him to save some top jobs for a year or two.

  14. Dear Joe

    Your writing is marvellous. Thank you!

    Amnon Needham

    Sent From iPhone


  15. Actually there was an attempt at a climate demonstration close to the end of one of the Danish stages in the Tour de France. A small group tried to block the road but they were quickly removed by the local spectators. A second attempt ended up the same way and this time they got the message, that this might not be such a good idea and thus the demonstration turned into nothing. The TV-coverage never noticed it and it has not been mentioned much in the newspapers – at least not here in Denmark.

    1. The chaps at ITV4 did a piece or two on the environmental impact of pro cycling during last year’s TdF which, last time I looked, were still available on the ITV Cycling web site.

      Also, since Bernard Hinault won the 1985 Tour using the then-new clipless pedal system from Look (based on ski binding technology) only a few throwback track sprinters have continued to use toeclips 😉

    2. Stage 10 of the Tour on July 12th had to be stopped for several minutes because of a climate protest. Having just read this column, it made me wonder if this is where they got the idea to protest the Tour. Didn’t realize there were other attempts as well.

  16. Thanks Joe. The Notebook is such a great start to the day. Pretty photo.

    If you hadn’t had time to catch a news broadcast you, once again, were ahead of the news cycle. Air Canada has this week been named the world’s worst for delays, by whoever judges these things. The good news is that once they have been thoroughly aggravated by the airlines and customs and finally escape the airport, we can supply a tourist with an abundance of calming scenery.

  17. Joe, our foremost living artist David Hockney is a neighbour of yours in Normandy. Why don’t you bring him to the races with you?
    He might do your portrait for the Monaco paddock club…

  18. So are you saying that Piastri is now a free agent, and that if Webber can get him in to Mclaren he can take it even if Alpine want to send him to Williams?

  19. The relatively recently started Piastri replacing Ricciardo rumor is interesting, albeit I’ll truly buy into this rumor (or Ricciardo getting replaced/sacked generally) only if it becomes concrete later.
    So far merely speculation, so I’m still fully confident the latter will get to see through his existing contract stint & that Piastri replaces Latifi at Williams, but we’ll find out eventually.
    However, Piastri moving to Mclaren rather than Williams, as has seemed likely, might be Latifi’s savior, although he could still get sacked for someone else like De Vries. We’ll see.

    1. If it was pure speculation I’d not have written about it. You should perhaps humour me and accept that being around F1 gives me a slightly better idea of what is happening than the average commenter on social media.

      1. Bless you, Joe. I admire your eternal optimism 🤣 On a more serious note, thank you for yet another wonderful Green Notebook .

  20. Great notebook as ever.

    I have to say I find the emissions of spectators going to the races interesting, but also a bit non-sensical.

    If they don’t want the carbon of people driving to race’s in combustion cars, put a £5 carbon tax per car park space which then goes towards offsetting and the problem is simply solved. But lets take the new race in South Africa for example. The majority of the spectators there are likely to come from outside the country, so does it “the last mile” of if the track is a city circuit with public transport, or Kylami which is 30 minutes from the airport, when everyone has got an Airbus or Boeing to get there.

    I get the feeling Liberty are repeating what Bernie did in realising they can make more money out of street circuits than they do permanent venues, as much as anything because MotoGP can’t then turn up a few months later for a tiny fee, admittedly with a far smaller global audience.

    Incidentally, the 28 helicopters that came from London to Silverstone on Sunday morning used up more fuel than the F1 cars throughout the whole weekend.

    1. Silverstone already has a parking tax for the grand prix, to park at the public car parks at the circuit thesedays it costs nearly as much as it used to for a premium ticket sitting in a stand for the race 30 years ago, ie 60quid plus, consequently a bunch of enterprising firms have started renting out fields near to the circuit for half the cost. But the vast majority of fans are either camping near by, or using the park & ride services. Its only the media, sponsors, BRDC members & invited guests not rich enough to helicopter in who choose to “drive” to the circuit during GP weekend.

  21. Mr. Walton and his daughter and son-in-law purchased the Denver Bronco American football team in June for $4.65 billion, the highest price ever paid for an NFL team.

  22. RE: Rob Walton: he recently purchased my local American football team, the Denver Broncos, for the very reasonable price of $4.65 billion USD. That’s a record price for a North American sports franchise. I don’t think he’d break a sweat if he wanted to buy an F1 team.

  23. Oh no. Not another rerun of the Lotus F1 saga. Hope Day Bahar is no where in site and holed up in his Premier Inn…

  24. Thinking more about this. Reckon they are keeping certain things under wraps for.contractual reasons. I.E if Ricciardo gets the boot before his contract ends, Pato is the replacement

  25. If Rob Walton is interested in F1, the money involved would be childs play to him. He recently agreed to pay $4.65 billion for the Denver Broncos (American football) NFL team. The pockets are deep, very deep.

  26. Is there any truth that Honda will return to F1 next year? I’ve read that Red Bull will surrender the IP of the engines back to Honda, so they can develop new engines with Porsche.

    Would this mean that Audi engines will be different from Red Bull Porsche engines? I would assume that they be the same engine but labelled differently.

  27. Hi Joe,

    I assume the FIA will take a close look at the very narrow space between the first barrier and the catch fence where Zhou ended up. I guess it’s one of those instances where a freak accident exposes a weakness in the system.

  28. Many thanks once again for your informed (and free) journalism coupled with the travelogue element. I regularly use the Newhaven-Dieppe route but had no idea about the old track running from that roundabout, will think about that next time – though that’s generally the point where I am still adjusting to driving on the right…

  29. Congrats Joe ; You were last Sunday , say an hour or 2 after the race on Dutch national television and you were called an éminence grise because of the fact you have visited a lot , a lot !! of F1 races .
    After the interview good old Jan Lammers also called you an paddock great who has been on the circuits all the time. So I enjoyed you hearing i.s.o. ” only ” reading , but one small remark ; You could have used a shave , makes you so much looking smarter …

  30. as a reward for your long service to F1 [ actually your age ] did you know that if you book by phone transmanche ferries will give you a discount [ used to be 20%] on newhaven dieppe ?

  31. Was thinking about who got the chanse? Is F1 about the best drivers, no its not!
    F1 should be, the best drivers, but if you think about it, its about the drivers with the best money and connections! Take a look; Alexander Allbon, half owner of Red Bull.
    Mick Schumacher, Dad.
    Kevin Magnussen, father with connections.
    Carlos Sainz, rich farher with contacts!
    Lance Stroll, The name tells you!
    And it goes on, F1 is not about the best driver, it´s about money and conections, like a maffia!
    Hope the best drivers will have a chanse in the future!

    1. Alex Albon is not the half owner of Red Bull. He made his own chances with his talent. F1 is about talent, it is not a mafia.

    2. What a load of ridiculous twaddle (I’ll understand if this is rejected but comments like that get up my goat.)

  32. Love the green notebook. Any insight on what is holding Danny Ric from adapting to the McLaren? It’s not like the car is a prize.

  33. “Protesters do not generally target the Tour de France because everyone thinks that riding bicycles transforms a person into an angel with toe-clips. F1 on the other hand, ends with up a bunch of people thinking it is smart to walk on to a racing circuit to draw attention to the use of oil. Well, David Baldwin, Emily Brocklebank, Alasdair Gibson, Louis McKechnie, Bethany Mogie and Joshua Smith (collectively known as the Silverstone protesters), if you knew what you were talking about you would have targeted the Tour de France.”

    This aged well…

    (or maybe people are smarter and targetted Silverstone, the Premier League and the Tour de France because their high profile events.)

  34. Bernie being indicted on fraud seems to have not been noticed in the F1 media. Is this not news or is it business stuff?

  35. Ow! As a fan since the 60’s, thanks to Rob Walker’s race reports in Road & Track magazine, the very idea that rural venues like Spa could get the ax (even if for very good environmental reasons) breaks my heart. One of the very best days of my (so far) 68 years on Earth was the Sunday I spent at the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen NY in 1978 (Mario’s championship year). Sheer and utter bliss, in a green and pleasant part of New York State. But … the ‘Ring is gone, Monaco is on life support, Brands, Dijon, Mosport Park, Mont Tremblant … oh well.

  36. Joe,

    Don’t take this the wrong way but I actually prefer your travel writing to thy on matters F1!!

    Perhaps it’s because there’s less to disagree with you about 🙂

    Super article! Thanks for sharing and for continuing to share your great output for free.

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