Updated: Mar 1
F1 on Twitter
Open testing for 2022, War in Ukraine, and Andretti 2024 headline a hectic news week for Formula One.
Starting with the news story heard around the world, Russia this past Wednesday, began a deadly invasion into a free democratic country in Ukraine which led to some headlines inside the Formula One paddock. Formula One released a statement on Friday saying the Russian Grand Prix, currently scheduled for September 25th at the Sochi Autodrome has been canceled due to Russia's transgressions.
"We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation," F1 said in a statement Friday. "Formula 1, the FIA, and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances."
This comes days after two of the most popular drivers in F1 denounced Russian activity in Ukraine. Former F1 champion Sebastian Vettel said he would not race and protest a race held in Russia. 2021 Champion Max Verstappen echoed Vettel's comments and also commented that the Formula One paddock as a whole shared the same sentiments.
Also on Friday, the news landed on Hass F1 Team hard as their Russian driver, Nikita Mazepin was sponsored by a major Russian company Uralkali. On Thursday, Haas F1 team removed all branding of Uralkali off the car and team equipment and chose to run a plain white livery on the final day of testing. Team Manager Guenther Steiner said that Haas F1 can run the whole season without funding from the Russian company for 2022.
The Formula One racing teams and drivers descended upon Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, home of the Spanish Grand Prix for the first of two preseason testing sessions before the season begins March 20th at Bahrain.
On day one if you were looking at a timesheet, you would notice very little has changed from 2021 as Lewis Hamilton and the silver arrows at Mercedes-AMG topped the charts with a 1:19.138. Sergio Perez and Team Red Bull finished P3, while Lando Norris and McLaren finished second on day one.
Day two saw Charles Leclerc and Ferrari top the charts with 1:19.689. The word "porpoising" was the hot button topic of the day. As teams in the NASCAR Cup Series are figuring out, with a new car comes new issues to fix before the start of the season. Porpoising is caused by the new downforce measures from the new car. Underneath the car is a pair of venturi tunnels that introduce ground effect to Formula One for the first time since 1983. By having those tunnels underneath the car, the faster the car goes the lower to the track surface the car is to the ground, when the pressure becomes too high, the car then pops back off the racing surface, which makes the car look like it is bouncing down the fast straights of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The third and final day of testing was a wet one as it was the only day that saw wet racing conditions and to no one's surprise, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell of Mercedes-AMG were 1-2 on the timesheet for the last day. Day three was also the day that we saw the all-white livery of the Haas F1 Team as the team removed sponsor branding of the Russian agriculture business, Uralkali off the Hass F1 Ferrari. Mazepin did manage to drive the car for nine laps until an oil leak ended their day.
The next off-season test is in Bahrain for another three-day test on March 10-12.
Andretti to Formula One:
With interest in Formula One growing rapidly in the United States, it would be fitting that another American-owned team would head to the Formula One paddock. What if I also told you that the team would be running with the name of one of the most famed and respected last names in racing that conjure up racing memories with just the word being said. Much like Earnhardt, Schumacher, and Foyt. One name can conjure memories in all three major series in racing: Andretti.
Michael Andretti elaborated on the tweet sent out by his father Mario Andretti sent out a couple of weeks ago that sent shockwaves in the open-wheel community.
“We wanted to get it out there,” Michael Andretti said. “We wanted them to see that we feel that we can get a lot of support from the fans and hopefully that can help Formula One see how it could help the series. We feel we bring a lot to the party, especially with Liberty and what they’re doing in the U.S., pushing the U.S. market. If we were to have a U.S. team, a U.S. driver, I think that would go a long way for the popularity of Formula One in the United States.”
This push to get into F1 started last October by Andretti revealing that a deal to buy a majority stake in Alfa Romeo fell through which was the catalyst for 2024. Andretti elaborated and said that he does have the $200 million entry fee to get the groundwork started. Along with the financial side, he does want all teams fielded by Andretti to be under one roof in Indianapolis with an engineering campus in the UK. Doubling down on his interest is that Michael stated that he would like to be part of the developmental series and enter in F2 and F3.
On Friday with an interview with IndyCar reporter David Land, Mario Andretti announced that the engine supplier to Andretti Global would-be Renault. Which would be the second team on the grid to have that supplier other than Team Alpine.
For more Formula One news throughout the season, stay right here at Racing Refresh. Follow me on Twitter @TheCollinBest
We here at Racing Refresh denounce the actions by the Russian government on the people of Ukraine and stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.