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Will Qatar Crown Max?

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Posted on October 5, 2023 Tags:

Daniel to miss Losail

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Even if Mexican ace Sergio Perez wins the Sprint race, Max will secure the title by finishing sixth or higher.

In fact, Cheko needs to finish at least third – with Max having a rare brain fade – to mathematically remain in contention.

Max’s 13th win of the season has left him on 400 points, while Sergio holds little more than half of that tally on 223, a massive 177 behind with only 180 up for grabs across the final six rounds of the season, three of which are Sprints.

Top Six Drivers’ Standings at Qatar Grand Prix

1Max VERSTAPPENRed Bull Racing400 points
2Sergio PEREZRed Bull Racing223
3Lewis HAMILTONMercedes190
4Fernando ALONSOAston Martin174
5Carlos SAINZFerrari150
6Charles LECLERCFerrari135

Update on Daniel

While Daniel Ricciardo’s simulator sessions have been going well, he’s still not at 100% and the push now seems to be getting him fully fit for the United States F1 Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, October 20-22. It would be a fitting relaunch for Daniel.

AlphaTauri’s chief engineer Jonathan Eddolls said in Japan the team would ensure Daniel was “in the best possible condition” before allowing him back in the car.

The Aussie has now missed races in the Netherlands, Italy, Singapore, Japan and Qatar.

F1 cars very different now

But in many ways, according to Pirelli’s Head of Motorsport, it’s another new beginning, as the cars are now very different to those we saw a couple of years ago. And the Losail circuit has been completely resurfaced, with modified kerbs as well.

•             Doha is a night race, with qualifying and the grand prix starting at 20:00 (local time). On Saturday, the Sprint Shootout starts at 16:00 and the Sprint race itself at 20:30.

There are no support races on the schedule, which means that the track will not be rubbered in from other cars.

Data collected in ’21 only relatively useful

Losail International Circuit

Mario Isola. Head of Pirelli Motorsport.

Reminiscent of famous Turn 8 at Istanbul

The series of corners between Turns 12 and 14 is quite reminiscent of the famous Turn 8 at Istanbul: one of the most demanding corners for tyres in the recent history of Formula 1.

This sequence is also one of the most influential factors to a good lap time.

The fact that 11 of the 16 corners are right-handers puts particular stress on the left of the car, especially at the front, but the energy levels seen going through the tyres in 2021 were still quite well-balanced between the two axles.

Doha, Qatar

Just one hour of free practice is available Friday to determine the set-up and assess tyre behaviour over long runs.

But the later time of the sessions compared to 2021 should lead to a wider temperature range than was seen two years ago.

That session happens in the heat of the day – which will warm up the asphalt – as opposed to qualifying and the two races, which take place at night.

As well as new asphalt, there is also new infrastructure at Losail. The pit garages, originally designed for MotoGP, have been enlarged and increased in number. There’s also a new race control facility and media centre.

•             The only Qatar Grand Prix held so far was won by Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver, who started from pole, won ahead of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull (which set fastest lap) and Fernando Alonso, driving for Alpine at the time.

•             A wide range of strategies was seen two years ago. Half the drivers started on Softs with the other half on Mediums, while the number of pit stops varied from one to three. Hamilton won with a two-stopper, completing two initial stints on the medium tyre before a final stint on the Hard.

So, as Mario says, everything is in place for an interesting weekend as well as perhaps a few surprises; the ability to adapt quickly and well to the track could deliver a significant advantage.

The Bathurst mountain – the place to be this weekend!

There’s a whole bunch of talented West Aussies in the mix during the weekend. They include current championship leader Brodie Kostecki in the Coca-Cola by Erebus #99 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, partnering David Russell.       And multiple Bathurst winner and reigning champ Garth Tander teaming up with 2017 winner David Reynolds and the Penrite Racing Ford Mustang.

I’m a great fan of Swiss-born Simona De Silvestro who makes her welcome return to Supercars in a Shell V-Power Racing Team wildcard Ford #98 for Dick Johnson Racing, with rookie Kai Allen. She was the first full-time female driver in the Supercars era in 2017 when she joined Nissan Motorsport.

Below are links to the current full schedule of events from Thursday, this week, so you won’t miss a trick.

2023 Repco Bathurst 1000 | Supercars

2023 Repco Supercars | Broadcasting Schedule | Supercars

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