Daniel Ricciardo is ready for his first outing in Red Bull’s 2023 car this week. Ricciardo returned to Red Bull as the third driver this year, having left McLaren, and will take part in the post-British Grand Prix tire test on Wednesday.
Red Bull, Haas and Williams teams have remained at Silverstone for the test, with Pirelli dictating the running plan. Enhanced components are not allowed. Mercedes and McLaren will return to the circuit on Thursday to test prototype hubcaps designed to reduce road spray in wet conditions.
“It will be great to see him where he is,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner. “Both in terms of pace and mentally, physically and also to get his feedback on this car. So I think it’s a good chance for him to get back behind the wheel of a car that has just won the British Grand Prix.
Horner stressed that a return to racing for Riccardo is “not something we’re planning, that’s for sure”, with Sergio Perez under contract for 2024.
APX GP, Brad Pitt Get involved
It was occasionally a headache to see unfamiliar faces in new team kit and new overalls at Silverstone, but that was due to the new Apple/Bruckheimer movie going into production.
APX GP, the fictional 11th team, firmly established itself in the Silverstone paddock, with its own garage, two evolved Formula 2 cars and a motorhome. Brad Pitt, the star of the as-yet-untitled film, even took part in Friday night’s drivers’ briefing – mainly to provide an update on the current field’s production – as he and co-star Damson Idris hit the gridiron during the national anthem .
The two cars were also at the back of the regular grid in the build-up to the race, while Formula 1 staff went about their business as usual. Pitt revealed to Sky Sports at Silverstone that Javier Bardem is also part of the cast. Pitt and the production’s stunt drivers used gaps in the schedule over the weekend to film in the black-and-gold livery machines.
New Aston Martin F1 factory opened
Aston Martin held its first event at its new factory – officially named the Technology Campus – on Thursday.
The impressive facility was recently opened and Lance Stroll marked the occasion by driving a Formula 1 car through the central boulevard around which the design offices and various departments are located. The state-of-the-art structure was built next to the old Silverstone factory and the entire team has now moved to the new environment. Today (Monday) demolition of the old facility will begin, with a second building being constructed to house Aston Martin’s staff restaurant and fitness centre.
Development of the third building, which will house the team’s new wind tunnel, is already underway and is expected to be operational by the end of 2024.
“It was fascinating to see the facilities, all the people there in the same room, manufacturing our own parts of the car,” said Fernando Alonso. “It’s a step forward, I think, we’ll need a few years to sort everything out and maximize the potential. But it clearly shows Aston Martin’s ambition and we should be proud.”
Button wide-eyed at the 1992 F1 car
At Silverstone, Williams kicked off the celebration of its 800th Grand Prix with a special livery and numerous events.
Part of the crowd was Jenson Button who demonstrated Williams’ 1992 title-winning car, the FW14B, ahead of the Sunday morning race. Considered one of the most iconic Formula 1 machines, the FW14B dominated the 1992 season in the hands of Nigel Mansell. Button, who made his debut in Formula 1 for Williams in 2000 and is now an ambassador for the team, was wide-eyed after the experience.
“It was incredible,” said Button. “It was quite emotional to drive the car that was really the car of my childhood. I remember sitting on the couch with my dad and watching all the races and watching Nigel take the title, and this was the car he won that championship for Williams in. Once you get on track, the sound of that engine is so beautiful. You never know what to expect when you drive a vintage car – this one is 31 years old – but it is very fast! The high speed is sensational and goes way beyond what I expected.”
And keep an eye on Williams’ various social media channels – on Tuesday it will unveil the Gulf-inspired livery it will run at the Grands Prix in Singapore, Japan and Qatar later this season.
Formula 2 battle gets tighter
There are only five rounds left in this year’s 13-event Formula 2 Championship and the battle for the title is getting fiercer.
Mercedes-backed Frederik Vesti was involved in a feature race collision on Sunday, which took him out of the race, allowing Sauber junior Théo Pourchaire to within six points after being classified third.
The Feature race was dominated by Alpine protégé Victor Martins, who overcame a time penalty to take victory from pole position.
In Formula 3, Gabriel Bortoleto, a protege of Fernando Alonso, has a healthy 36-point lead over Pepe Marti, who is also part of Alonso’s A14 Management schedule, with just three rounds to go. Bortoleto came second at Silverstone in a race won by Oliver Goethe.