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What we learned from Friday F1 practice at the British GP



Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz closed in on Max Verstappen in sheer speed at the end of opening practice for the 2023 Formula 1 British Grand Prix, but a closer look at the data reveals that the Red Bull driver was almost as fast as the race. No pressure.

In the other Ferrari, electrical problems meant Charles Leclerc missed all of FP2, while the Aston Martin driver had a few glitches on his machine that disrupted the afternoon session. The overall situation was tougher at Mercedes, which resulted in the home fans having less reason than usual to cheer Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Thankfully, Silverstone was well attended and Williams had a surprisingly strong performance in both FP1 and FP2.

Here’s everything we know on Friday at the 2023 British Grand Prix.

story of the day

FP1 kicks off at 1230 local time – feels different than normal.

A race in the Austrian sprint, with the development race heating up behind Red Bull, a number of teams are experimenting with test events in the opening stint, with the usual aim of finding a baseline setup option. There is flow ie sufficient aerodynamic rake.

In a not-so-shocking twist, Red Bull leads here – with Verstappen leading by 1m 28.600s, with team-mate Sergio Perez 0.448s behind. Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc finished fourth and fifth (0.668s and 0.680s behind respectively), but Alex Albon caused a stir, giving his Williams a welcome Third place – 0.489 seconds behind.

In the second race, which started after 1600 points, it was business as usual in terms of how the teams applied themselves – no more testing, just insight into the new, stronger structure of the Pirelli tires now in use.

Verstappen unstoppable at Silverstone on Friday

Verstappen unstoppable at Silverstone on Friday

Photography: Jack Grant/ motorsport pictures

As can be seen from the times below, Verstappen was again in the lead, but this time Sainz caught up with the Dutchman, trailing by 0.022s.

The FP2 race on the other side of the Ferrari garage was not a pleasant one, as a short circuit forced Leclerc to miss the entire second one-hour race, which was delayed by five minutes as the track needed a clean sweep after several line breaks and collisions in the previous one. In Formula Two qualifying.

FP2 Overall Sequence

Location driver team time gap
1 Verstappen red bull 1 minute 28.078 seconds
2 Sainz ferrari 1 minute 28.100 seconds +0.022 seconds
3 albon williams 1 minute 28.296 seconds +0.218 seconds
4 stroll aston martin 1 minute 28.866 seconds +0.788 seconds
5 Hulkenberg Hass 1 minute 28.880 seconds +0.802 seconds
6 Gasly Alps 1 minute 28.889 seconds +0.811 seconds
7 plate McLaren 1 minute 28.926 seconds +0.848 seconds
8 week alfa romeo 1 minute 29 seconds 225 seconds +1.147 seconds
9 Russell mercedes benz 1 minute 29 seconds 238 seconds +1.160 seconds
10 Kakuda alpha taurus 1 minute 29 seconds 483 seconds +1,405p

There was indeed much joy in the pits for Williams as Logan Sargeant took the second specially-painted FW45 after Albon finished third again in FP2 to back up his FP1 results Pushed to fifth, behind Perez. The team feels like it has regained the high-speed prowess it showed in Canada, but despite this, its high ranking surprised even the blue team players.

Given all the usual caveats about fuel load and engine mode application, we could see the start of the Silverstone weekend picture, which looks very good for Red Bull and not so good for Ferrari, despite only one lap of its pace

The other front-runners for 2023 find themselves in quite a conflict in FP2.

Aston Martin’s soft tire qualifying sim was interrupted by car problems – Fernando Alonso pitted for AMR22 rim problem, Lance Stroll The left side mirror needs to be repaired because it is loosely fitted.

Stroll ended up as Aston’s top driver, finishing sixth, but his long run late in the FP2 race was complicated when a rock kicked by another car hit him a finger, which caused him considerable pain.

Mercedes ended FP2 with two British drivers dropping out of the top ten. Like another British driver, Lando Norris, in 14th place – though at least London-born Albon was driving his Grove-built Williams back to the hometown audience. something.

Albon was strong in both races on Friday and finished tied with teammate Logan Sargent for 5th

Albon was strong in both races on Friday and finished tied with teammate Logan Sargent for 5th

Photography: Simon Galloway/ motorsport pictures

The Black Arrows drivers lamented the 30°C heat of FP2 and they continued to struggle in the conditions. Hamilton also had to abandon the first lap of his qualifying sim after struggling to get his car to the apex of the first stage.

New tires present new challenges but Red Bull looks strong no matter the pace of the race

The long data collection exercise late in FP2 involved much more running than usual, given the team was trying out new tyres. Haas even covered nearly half the Grand Prix distance, with Nico Hulkenberg battling hard on the hard courts.

With all the usual caveats about fuel load and engine mode application, we could see the start of the Silverstone weekend pictures, which looked very good for Red Bull and not so good for Ferrari, although it only had one lap to go Speed, and Mercedes feels it has a car that can contend for a podium, but it’s going to be hard to get into the top ten right now.

Soft tire average

Location team lock up Average
1 red bull 1 minute 33 seconds 603 seconds 9 laps
2 aston martin 1 minute 33.982 seconds 10 laps
3 mercedes benz 1 minute 34 seconds 441 seconds 13 laps
4 ferrari 1 minute 34.506 seconds 11 laps
5 alpha taurus 1 minute 34 seconds 541 seconds 9 laps
6 alfa romeo 1 minute 34 seconds 840 seconds 9 laps
7 McLaren 1 minute 34 seconds 695 seconds 12 laps

Not applicable – Williams, Haas and Alpine

Pirelli believes that all three composite materials have the potential to be viable race options this weekend, with many teams deciding to take a long time evaluating soft materials in FP2.

As can be seen above, Red Bull has a considerable lead on this tyre, compared to its usually closest pursuers. That suggests it’s running on a standardized fuel load and lets drivers manage their speed based on what they know their tires are doing on other tracks, rather than pumping more like other teams.

Aston will be very encouraged by its performance on the soft tyre. The same goes for Mercedes – although its average gap to Red Bull is as high as 0.838 seconds. That’s because Hamilton’s results in that race were very consistent and have actually improved in his last few Tour races, with the seven-time world champion feeling his balance has improved as the tires wear down .

Mercedes also felt its updated front wing brought progress to the race, but that was overshadowed by the wind and tire factors at play today.

Mercedes fitted a new front wing but both Hamilton and Russell struggled on Friday and neither finished in the top 10

Mercedes fitted a new front wing but both Hamilton and Russell struggled on Friday and neither finished in the top 10

Photography: Simon Galloway/ motorsport pictures

In the former, there was a healthy crosswind blowing through the car as it turned through the Loop, Laffield, Stowe and Club. That’s quite a challenge, except for Stowe, who has his own downforce requirements, as low-speed corners are not an area in which ground-effect cars do well.

This means all riders are struggling with the extra rear side slip, which has a knock-on effect on tire preservation. In addition, FP2 also had to deal with higher track temperatures. That means trying to keep the front tires in perfect temperature balance, and the driver losing grip on the front axle if things go wrong.

Ferrari trailed its typical rivals on the long run on the soft tyres, but it was back to being Red Bull’s closest challenger on the medium tyres – albeit by such a wide margin that one suspects there might be a significant fuel load difference.

Medium tire average

Location team lock up Average
1 red bull 1 minute 33.016 seconds 7 laps
2 ferrari 1 minute 33 seconds 976 seconds 6 laps
3 aston martin 1 minute 34 seconds 416 seconds 13 laps
4 Alps 1 minute 34.556 seconds 11 laps
5 mercedes benz 1 minute 34 seconds 619 seconds 6 laps
6 williams 1 minute 34.666 seconds 15 laps
7 Hass 1 minute 35 seconds 049 seconds 8 laps
8 alfa romeo 1 minute 35 seconds 167 seconds 10 laps

Not applicable – McLaren and AlphaTauri

If the soft tires do not end up being part of the race strategy, Ferrari’s performance on the medium tyres, for the rest of the weekend, will be very important.

At this point, two races are expected, and it appears Ferrari may already be considering spreading its tactics across the car – provided Leclerc’s electronic problems are resolved for the rest of the weekend. Compared to Red Bull and Leclerc’s set, Sainz has a new set of hard tires, while the four drivers’ new medium tires are the opposite.

Ferrari has developed a strong race strategy of late, but its qualifying penalty has made news for Ferrari – because of their poor performance. That would coincide with a change in temperature or rainfall (think Spain and Canada more than Austria), which is what FP3 is predicting, and possibly tomorrow’s qualifying session at Silverstone.

Leclerc fails to spark in second practice as electrical issue forces him out

Leclerc fails to spark in second practice as electrical issue forces him out

Photography: James Sutton/ motorsport pictures

What do they say:

Max Verstappen: “It was a really good day for us. I think the track was slippery at first, but I also think it was due to the high pressure we were running on the tyres. Of course, it’s the same for everyone …but that made it a bit difficult to get up to speed. But I think overall the car performed very well. We’re very happy with the way it’s been done – it’s been very good in both races and we can do what we planned … the long run looks good too. So, very positive.

Carlos Sainz: “We need to keep working on tire management and race pace. That should be our main focus tomorrow, because today we can see that in one lap we did well. Overall we are very happy with today , but of course there is still some work to be done.”

Fernando Alonso: “It was very windy today, which made it tricky to race, but the car felt good. We tested a few things in two races, and we have a lot more to analyze tonight. The weather looks like it could change tomorrow. , so let’s see what kind of situation we’re facing.”

Lewis Hamilton: “To be honest, it didn’t feel particularly good. But it definitely felt worse for others because they weren’t as fast or maybe had more degrees. For whatever reason, the last part of my run started to feel more stable. It could be the wind, it could be the balance, or I’m used to the balance. The song is actually trying to weigh the scales in the whole process and make compromises here and there. The scales have such fine edges and such big The balance window. It goes back and forth, it’s never just here, you can drive it. It’s like one end of the spectrum to the other, from braking to cornering, to the middle, to the exit of each corner. So It was a good fight.”

Mercedes need to make big progress overnight if Hamilton wants ninth British GP win

Mercedes need to make big progress overnight if Hamilton wants ninth British GP win

Photography: Mark Sutton/ motorsport pictures


Vandoorne to drive Aston Martin F1 car in Pirelli tyre test at Spa




Aston reserve driver Vandoorne will share driving duties with team principal Lance Stroll, while Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri will each drive a day for McLaren.

It will be the Belgian’s first time driving an active F1 car on track since December 2020 when he represented Mercedes in Abu Dhabi testing.

While the Spa test will focus on Pirelli’s no-carpet tyres, it will give Vandoorne a valuable opportunity to sample the 2023 car, helping him correlate with Aston Martin’s simulator work.

If either Stroll or Fernando Alonso were unwell at any point for the rest of the season, his life would also be made easier.

The 31-year-old shared the Aston substitute with defending Formula Two champion Felipe Drugovich, and the two took turns on call.

Dubovic drove the AMR23 for two days during the Bahrain test in February, when Stroll was not present, and he had the opportunity to test drive the AMR23. Since then, the Brazilian has continued to rack up more miles in private testing of the 2021 car.

Stoffel Vandoorne, Reserve Driver, Aston Martin F1 Team

Stoffel Vandoorne, Reserve Driver, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photography: Mark Sutton/ motorsport pictures

As well as his role at Aston, Vandoorne is one of McLaren’s backup drivers and his performance at Spa will also make it easier for him to step into the MCL60 should the need arise.

As well as giving him a general feel for downforce levels for 2023, the two cars share the Mercedes powerplant and thus have similar settings on their respective steering wheels.

Also read:

Vandoorne made his F1 debut for McLaren in Bahrain in 2016, replacing current Aston team-mate Alonso.

He then completed two full seasons in 2017 and 2018, the first with Honda power and the second with Renault. He finished 16th at the World Championships in both seasons, with a best finish of seventh.

He was dropped by McLaren at the end of 2018, but has since rebuilt his career in Formula E, winning the 2021-22 championship for Mercedes and serving as an F1 substitute.

He currently drives for the DS Penske Formula E team and is also a substitute for the Peugeot WEC team.

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McLaren “true contenders” for F1 best of the rest tag




McLaren has only scored one point after three rounds in 2023 as it struggles to find the car competitive.

But both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri have seen plenty of upgrades in recent races, allowing the former to finish second in a row, while Piastri has finished in the top five in each of his past two races.

Despite being 136 points behind second-placed Mercedes in the constructors’ championship, Russell believes McLaren is a real threat for the remainder of the race behind leaders Red Bull.

“Obviously they’re a real contender for second fastest team,” Russell said of Woking.

“Oddly enough, Aston Martin was clearly second at the start of the year.

“And they don’t seem to be that competitive now. Ferrari haven’t made much progress. McLaren has made huge progress.

“So without McLaren we’d be very, very happy with the progress we’ve made. Leading the midfield, widening the gap and closing in on Red Bull.

“McLaren has just fully embraced it. But that makes you optimistic that bigger strides are possible.

“I believe in my team. I think it gives us the confidence and optimism to take this step towards Red Bull.

“We’re not too focused on McLaren, Aston or Ferrari. We’re focused on Red Bull. We’re trying to make that big step.”

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photography: Steve Etherington/ motorsport pictures

Russell fought his way back from 18th on the grid at last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, jumping to sixth at the checkered flag after Mercedes strategists told him 11th was his favorite.

Russell was pleased with the final result, but felt it was “proof” of a “missed opportunity” for Hungary.

Also read:

“The strategy tells me that if we maximize everything, the P11 is the most realistic, the P7 is the most realistic,” Russell told Autosport.

“Sixth place without a safety car, without a VSC, it’s a really great result.

“But it also proved that this weekend could be a missed opportunity. I believe I could have gone there with Lewis yesterday, it’s one of my favorite circuits and the car always does well here.

“When you have two cars out there, fighting for second gives you more options, and Lewis is also very strong. If things turned out a little differently, he would also be P2.

“So as a missed opportunity we will learn from it. But the positive side is we are leading Aston and Ferrari.”

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Top speed, car sizes, race weekends and more compared




Formula 1 has relied on junior classes to develop the next generation of drivers, and its teams are eager to snag their brightest talent.

The ‘old’ Formula 2 car was a ruleset rather than its own separate entity, sometimes sharing the grid with F1, and later rule changes made the two cars separate championships.

The second class was renamed the F3000 in 1985 as the series switched to a naturally aspirated engine formula and extended the life of the earlier Cosworth DFV lineage. Throughout the life of the F3000, different engine and chassis suppliers came and went, with companies including Reynard, Lola, Ralt and March among them, all producing cars before the championship became a single specification.

When the F3000 championship began to fade due to declining team interest and declining track quality, the second level of racing was reborn in 2005. Bernie Ecclestone tried to bring the junior championship to F1’s bottom line and, along with Flavio Briatore and Bruno Michel, helped build the GP2 series.

GP2 became the FIA ​​Formula Two Championship in 2017, but many key hallmarks of GP2’s early series have stood the test of time. The GP3 series, a third-tier category designed to compete with the myriad Formula 3 championships around it, was added to the F1 Act in 2010 and became FIA ​​Formula 3 in 2019.

There are major differences in the way F2 is run compared to F1, there are subtle changes in form and there are big differences in the overall performance of the cars. The following are the key areas of comparison between F1 and F2.

F1 vs. F2 – key differences


Formula 1

Formula Two

top speed

220+ mph

208 mph

Minimum weight including driver

798 kg

788 kg




engine size

1.6 liter V6

3.4 liter V6

Approximate Power

1,000 horsepower

620 hp

car size

5.63m x 2m x 0.95m

5.22m x 1.9m x 1.09m

tire size

18 inches

18 inches

game every weekend

One (two for sprint weekends)

Two (one sprint, one feature)

game length

305 km/190 miles

Sprint – 120 km/74.5 miles

Features – 170 km/105.6 miles






twenty two

2023 Pole Times – Red Bull Ring

1 point 04.391

1 meter 14,643

2023 Pole Times – Monaco

1 meter 11.365

1 meter 21.053

2023 Pole Times – Silverstone

1 meter 26.720

1 meter 39,832

Current single-spec F2 cars can be seen as simpler, smaller versions of F1 cars

Current single-spec F2 cars can be seen as simpler, smaller versions of F1 cars

Photography: Simon Galloway/ motorsport pictures

What is the difference between F1 and F2 racing?

In F1, each team designs its own chassis according to a set of well-defined technical regulations laid down by the FIA. For the 2022 ruleset, the FIA ​​has updated the wording of the rules to better define the bounding box within which bodies can be developed and build a system more in line with the proliferation of available CAD products.

It features a range of safety systems such as a roll cage, halo and anti-intrusion panels mounted around the monocoque. There are also anti-collision structures on the side, front and rear of the car to minimize the impact on the driver in the car.

F2 is a single-spec series with all teams using the Dallara F2 2018 model. The car and driver must weigh a minimum of 788kg and feature F1 standard safety features such as the aforementioned crash structures and halos. Use only parts supplied by Dallara, Hewland or sold by F2 promoters.

F2 cars use floor venturi tunnels, which F1 adopts in 2022, 40 years after banning ground-effect aerodynamics. These designs aren’t as extreme as those in F1, but they work on the same principle, and the car is also enhanced with front and rear wings to create downforce. Like F1, F2 cars are fitted with a Drag Reduction System (DRS), which operates on the same parameters as its parent series.

While F1 cars typically reach speeds in excess of 220 mph during a race, with DRS switched on, an F2 car could theoretically hit 208 mph at full low downforce.

What is the difference between F1 and F2 tires?

Pirelli supplies all championships on the official F1 ladder, and F2 and F3 also use the Italian company’s rubber.

F2 started using 18-inch tires in 2020, two years before entering F1. F2 tires are slightly narrower than F1 tires and generally have less grip because of the naturally lower speeds of the junior series cars.

There are four dry-weather tire compounds for the F2: hard, medium, soft and supersoft – with the first three using the same white, yellow and red color coding as the F1. Extra soft textures are indicated by purple text on the side walls. Each car is supplied with five sets of dry weather tires per wheel, consisting of two of the prescribed compounds, with a set of “premium” tires to be returned after practice. Three sets of wet tires are also available – the F2 has no intermediate compound.

Tire blankets are banned in F2, meaning drivers must warm up their tires naturally. This often creates a larger offset during the pit stops, with drivers leaving the pits vulnerable to those who have already completed laps in the new group.

The “primary” and “option” compounds (harder tires are the main tires and softer tires are the options) must be used during featured races, and pit stops are required to replace them. Tire parking is allowed during a sprint, but not mandatory. Since only two dry compounds are used each weekend, Pirelli and F2 decide which tire to use before the weekend. There may be a single step in the compound (for example, medium and soft), or there may be a larger step for greater excursions (for example, medium and extra soft).

620bhp Mecachrome F2 engine

620bhp Mecachrome F2 engine

Photography: Sutton Images

What is the difference between F1 and F2 powertrains?

F1 has used a turbo-hybrid system since 2014, with a turbocharger and a motor-generator set on the rear axle to form a hybrid package. The internal combustion engine is a 1.6-liter V6. By 2022, F1 engines run on E10 fuel, where 10% of the fuel composition consists of combustibles of biosourced origin.

The MGU-K in an F1 car can produce up to 160bhp for a total power output of around 1000bhp. Figures for F1’s current four powertrain manufacturers (Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Red Bull Powertrain) vary but are all believed to have efficiencies in excess of 50%.

F2’s single-spec powertrain is produced by French manufacturer Mecachrome, which briefly participated in F1 in 1998 and 1999, and took over Renault’s engine program. The Mecachrome unit was a 3.4-litre V6 engine, virtually the same one used in the F3, but with a modified turbocharger from Van der Lee. It produces around 620bhp and is driven by a six-speed Hewland gearbox.

To ensure fairness in powertrain supply, Mecachrome units are randomly assigned to teams, as there may be minor differences in overall power output.

F2 is currently being used as a test bed to assist F1 in developing more sustainable fuel, using Aramco-produced fuel with 55% of its content from sustainable bio-sources, with the aim of increasing this figure to 100% by 2026/27. The Saudi oil brand replaced longtime supplier Elf as the sole producer of the F2 fuel.

How much does F1 cost compared to F2?

In recent years, Formula 1 has been constrained by a cost cap of about $135 million through 2023, with some minor adjustments for inflation and other ancillary costs. The cost cap covers most development and operating costs, but excludes driver salaries, salaries of the team’s three highest-paid employees, travel costs and marketing expenses. As Red Bull found out in 2022, violating this cap carries a range of penalties depending on the extent of the overrun.

The bulk of this budget comes from the FIA’s prize money, investment and sponsorship mix. Some teams, such as Red Bull and Mercedes, are self-sufficient in terms of bonuses and sponsors and do not require direct input from their ownership structures.

F2 teams have much smaller budgets, and with the series’ fairly limited reach, teams will rarely start the season with a full sponsor portfolio ready to fund every race. As such, drivers should pay for their rides through their own sponsors or a driver academy.

Depending on the team, the budget of an F2 driver can vary from 2 million to 3 million euros, and can even exceed this budget to get a seat in a better team. To keep costs down, F2 limited the number of employees working on each car on race weekends and designed the cars to be relatively cheap. A team can buy a complete F2 car, without the engine, for around 500,000 euros.

George Russell, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc are recent notable F2 graduates entering F1

George Russell, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc are recent notable F2 graduates entering F1

Photography: Glenn Dunbar/ motorsport pictures

How do drivers get from F2 to F1?

To compete in F2, drivers must hold an A or B international FIA license. They cannot conduct private tests on F2 machines, only the group tests offered by the series. There are also restrictions on the single-seater cars that drivers can test in private, and if a driver is double-duty in another category, they must commit to racing in F2 in the event of any conflict.

Depending on a driver’s final standing at the end of the F2 season, they may receive Superlicense points to help qualify for F1. To obtain a super license to compete in F1, a driver needs to earn 40 points.

The distribution of Super License points is:

end of season position

SL points

first place


second place


third place


fourth place


the fifth place


sixth place


Number 7


number 8




No. 10


These can be applied cumulatively over the course of three seasons.

F1 VS F2 weekend format

F1 has been running in the same basic format for years, with FP1 and FP2 taking place on Fridays, each one hour long. FP3 races are also one hour long and take place on the Saturday before the three-stage qualifying format in place since 2006. F1 races must be at least 305 kilometers in length (excluding Monaco) and must not exceed two hours in duration, with a three-hour window if any red flags are raised.

However, sprint weekends are different and that changes for 2023. The only practice session kicked off with Friday’s race, followed by qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Sprint qualifying and the race are both held on Saturdays, with 2023 seeing six sprint weekends for added variety.

F2 has a practice session lasting 45 minutes on Friday, with a half-hour qualifying session later in the day. It’s effectively a time trial and drivers just need to maintain the fastest lap at the end of the race to secure pole for Sunday’s race.

Many F1 teams have junior drivers in F2 teams

Many F1 teams have junior drivers in F2 teams

Photography: Red Bull Content Pool

The sprint race takes place on Saturday, using the same grid as qualifying, but with the top ten swapped. The number of laps “equal to the minimum number of complete laps over a distance of 120 km (100 km in Monaco)”, according to the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system, the score is finally dropped to eighth place, and the fastest lap points are awarded to the top 10 competitors.

The F2 weekend’s featured race “should be equal to the minimum number of complete laps over a distance of 170km (140km in Monaco, 160km in Budapest)”. It features mandatory pit stops where drivers must use both primary and optional compounds during the race. If a driver pits before completing the sixth lap, the mandatory stop does not count. This information is also not recorded if a driver stops under the Virtual Safety Car unless they are already in the pits when the VSC is triggered.

F2 attempted three weekend races in 2021, but the practice was generally unpopular and canceled for 2022 due to gaps left on the calendar. Prior to this, the main race was held on Saturday, and the starting position of the sprint race was determined by the results and the reversal of the top eight.

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