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Alonso: "The car is amazing, however, a bit of a lonely race."

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Fernando Alonso scored his fourth podium of the season in third at the Miami Grand Prix today and is already looking forward to more top results in the upcoming triple. But despite the results, he does have a ‘lonely race’ in his sights.

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Mercedes and Ferrari set for crucial 2024 no-blanket Pirelli F1 tyre test

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The race in Barcelona is significant because Pirelli raced on its 2024 tires just once before the FIA ​​made a final decision on whether to go ahead with the original race plan – after the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where Red Bull took part. There is no blanket for the game next season.

Current rules say the blankets will remain in place until 2024, and a decision on whether to change and abandon them must be made by July 31.

Several drivers who tested early prototypes of the blanketless tires in winter were not happy with them, with Lewis Hamilton calling them “dangerous”.

However, testing after the Bahrain Grand Prix showed more promise and Pirelli believes next week’s race in Spain will represent a further step.

An early design of the future structure will be used for this year’s British Grand Prix and was tested by drivers in Barcelona on Friday.

The FIA ​​has approved the carpetless all-wet tyres, which were first used by Sergio Perez and the Haas drivers during the Monaco Grand Prix.

“It’s very important for us,” Pirelli’s chief engineer Simone Berra told Autosport of the Barcelona race.

“We’re testing most of the compounds, we have a lot of variants. We’re trying to test different structures to move forward because the goal is to have no blankets in 2024.

“So we need a structure that obviously needs to have good integrity, a high level of integrity, but needs to work really well at the start of the run when the pressure is lower and help the compound get to temperature and become in the operating range .

“So we’re continuing to develop new structures. Then we’ll start looking at new families of compounds that don’t use blankets. So I think that’s going to be a good test for us.

“The Barcelona we know is representative because we have high-speed sections. It’s a normal track, a more complete track compared to Bahrain when we tested at the beginning of the season.”

While not entirely representative, Bella believes the Bahrain test has helped point Pirelli in the right direction, with the tires due to run in Spain next week meeting the requirements.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Photography: Andy Horn / motorsport pictures

“I think we’ve gotten some interesting stuff,” he said. “Obviously Bahrain is not really important for all circuits because you have a high temperature on the track and you have high traction demands and braking demands.

“So we need to test the new structure on different tracks where you have high lateral loads, higher severity and maybe cooler temperatures compared to Bahrain, just to see where we’re going in a good direction effort.

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“When we were testing in Bahrain, we had some good options out of the box. But there were still some things that needed to be fine-tuned, finalized, and this was a new proposal.

“So that’s what the test is for. We’re trying to develop a structure that helps generate the temperature on the tyre, so that the compound can work. That means the structure is less stiff and can increase stiffness as pressure increases .”

Bella believes Pirelli will finally get the FIA’s approval to ditch blankets in 2024.

The test will also see the Mercedes track debut of the team’s reserve driver Mick Schumacher, who will tackle the W14 on Wednesday after George Russell entered the race the previous day.

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Fernando vs Verstappen; who beats whom? 'Man, that is hard'

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While Fernando Alonso is not yet in contention for a win in 2023, the Spaniard’s performance in a relatively strong Aston Martin looks like a comeback. With a slightly better car, the nearly 42-year-old F1 driver could challenge Max Verstappen. A fight that everyone, including Pedro de la Rosa, wanted to see.

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McLaren repurposes old F1 factory as new composites facility

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The new composites department will be based at the same factory McLaren used before it moved its huge MTC facility two miles away from Woking center in 2003, and will start production later this summer.

The team believes the investment in its new manufacturing process is comparable to other major infrastructure upgrades that are also nearing completion, including its new MTC wind tunnel and F1 driving simulator.

It is equipping the new composites facility with the latest machines needed for this type of work, compared to the tools it already uses.

By moving the composites department to a dedicated stand-alone facility away from the MTC, it is understood McLaren will save significant time in the production of parts for its F1 machines, as well as the initial build process for new cars.

Speaking about the department relocation for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, McLaren team principal Andrea Stella explained: “I am delighted to say that the old factory has been converted into the new McLaren racing complex.

“This is really the final sprint and it will be done in a few months. It’s an amazing project.

“We’ve created some space at the MTC that we’ll use for traditional cars.”

McLaren old Formula 1 factory

McLaren old Formula 1 factory

Photography: McLaren

McLaren also owns another building near the old site, which is about to open as a new composites factory, and which currently houses most of its historic F1 car collection – although the MTC still has a large collection.

The warehouse for extra legacy machinery (pictured above) is also used to store spare kits – such as F1 weekend garage and pit wall components – for use by the McLaren team.

Once the legacy car is moved and permanently displayed on MTC’s famous Front Boulevard area, it will continue to be used to house such equipment.

Autosport was part of a select group of media who toured the building that currently houses the heritage collection outside the MTC, with team chief operating officer Piers Thynne outlining why historic cars and other elements – including parts Original drawings and the laptops needed to start and maintain old cars – an important development for McLaren.

McLaren old Formula 1 factory

McLaren old Formula 1 factory

Photography: McLaren

“The legacy teams are definitely part of the Formula 1 organization and it’s an interesting story as to why they’re there (away from the MTC in the current building),” Thynne said.

“We have invested heavily in various infrastructure projects in Formula 1, which has allowed us to have a longer ‘holiday’ in the warehouse than we originally wanted.

“But it’s related to our long-term infrastructure projects — wind tunnels, simulators, new complex facilities and other work that’s going on at the MTC.

“So, they’re on vacation there, they’re going to be back at the MTC at the end of the year, and rightly in front of the house on the boulevard.

“It’s important to have these show cars around us to remind everyone of our rich history.

“Apart from our day-to-day work, any inspiration (McLaren employees) might need, you can see it on the way to lunch or for a drink.”

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