Friday, October 28, 2022

F1: Quatro Newbie’s Shine at Austin

And One of them will even race in Formula 1 next year!


Spent last weekend Gorging Thyself on the USGP from the Circuit Of The Americas, which it’s hard to believe it was already ten years ago when I attended it’s Debutante Formula 1 race…


Hadn’t thought I’d get to partake Friday’s (Free Practice) FP1 session on Thy Telie’, but I returned Home Justin-time’ to catch the whole Broadcast.


As I was Uber curious how current Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar Driver and 2021 IndyCar Champion Alex Palou would do upon His Formula 1 debut. And I have to say I was suitably impressed.


As it was pretty Funny Hearing Bloody ‘Ol Jense’, aka Jenson Button bemoaning how Alex was “Dirt Tracking” the McLaren into Turn-1, saying that’s No way to drive an F1 Car, before Palou summarily put in a Flyer’ of a lap, only some 1.9 seconds adrift of P1! Which I think was Max Verstappen at that time?


Whilst I enjoyed listening to Jense’ and Ant’, aka Anthony Davidson discussing the merits of Power Steering in Formula 1 vs. Indy Cars lack of it! Along with Button noting how He preferred a “Heavier” steering feedback. And they even played a brief In-car radio snippet of Palou sounding very Happy to be fulfilling His Dream of driving a Formula 1 car in Anger during a Grand Prix weekend!


And then the three Talking Headz’ in the Sky Sports F1 TV Booth further inquired with McLaren F1 Team CEO Andreas Seidl how Palou Had Done? To which Seidl gave the typical Non-comittal He Did a very Good Job PR Speak…


Even better yet, during Saturday’s FP3 Practice session. Following an enjoyable interview with ‘Ol SuperMario’, nee Mario Andretti in the Booth alongside Danica Patrick, their next guest was Alex Palou! For which Palou got a fair bit of interview time!


Whilst I’m not sure if He was mentioned again during the ridiculous 90mins Sunday morning Preamble, which I skipped in favour of the Malaysian Grand Prix MotoGP race’s television coverage…


As it was Good to Hear IndyCar getting it’s due upon the F1 Broadcast! As I’ll try not being too cynical over recalling that Liberty Media has a tiny Ownership stake in Meyer Shank Racing, Me Thinks, and this was just smart Cross Promotional work.


Ultimately the four F1 Rookies predictably Shook Out where I’d have expected them to, with Ferrari’s Robert Shwartzman on top in 16th, with a time of 1:38.951


As the Russian Shwartzman who was born in Israel, now races under an Israeli license.


Palou in the McLaren was P17 at 1:39.911. followed by Alfa Romeo’s Theo Pourchaire at 1:40.175 and Team Willy’s Logan Sargeant at 1:40.325.


Whilst we’ll skip former F1 Driver Antonio Giovinazzi Blotting His Copybook in the Haas! Other than the Italian’s FP1 session was a Nightmare! As Giovinazzi finished last after Clouting the Wall on only lap-3 of the first practice session, Momma Mia!


As I tend to recall, Shwartzman had Soft Pirelli rubber on, with Palou and Pourchaire on the Mediums. With Sargeant also on softs. Thus you’d have to Arse-sume that both Palou and Pourchaire could have theoretically gone faster, albeit we’ve got Zero Clue what each respective Rookie Drivers “test” programme was, other than naturally keeping it “Clean” and Off the Walls!


For comparison’s sake, the (FP1) session’s Fastest runner was Scuderia Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. with a time of 1:36.857. As the Spaniard then summarily claimed His second F1 career Pole with a scorching time of 1:34.356.


Yet as we All know, All of Carlos’s work was Quickly undone in the first corner of the race’s first lap! Where Sainz got somewhat out of shape and was summarily Punted by Mercedes George Russell! With the Ferrari’s radiator being pierced, before Sainz was forced to retire!


As Shwartzman is a former F2 driver and a member of the Ferrari Academy, along with being a current Ferrari F1 Development Driver. While Pourchaire and Sargeant are both currently FIA Formula 2 championship Drivers. With All three expected to no longer be part of the series at season’s end, with Pourchaire becoming an Alfa Romeo F1 Reserve Driver next year.


Interestingly, Williams Racing’s Boss Jost Capito said the day after, that Logan Had Done exactly what they’d expected from Him during FP1, and it was enough to convince them to announce the 21yr Old Yank’ would become the next American to race in F1 during the 2023 Formula 1 season.


With Capito  smartly adding provided Sargeant claimed the necessary points to garner a FIA Super License, presumably in deference to All of the Noise surrounding IndyCar’s Colton Herta’s Failed attempt…


Yet Sargeant is surely a “lock” for this, since He’s currently third overall in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with one round remaining at Abu Dhabi, and only needs to finish fifth Overall. Or Logan can “slide” down to sixth Overall, since Williams plans to run Him in the Mexico and Abu Dhabi  FP1 sessions, which will garner Him an extra two Super License points.


As Logan will be pulling Double duty on Yas Isle when running His third FP1 session along with Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar Driver Pato O’Ward…