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The F1 Rumor Mill Is Swirling About Max Verstappen

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Max Verstappen reportedly threatened to leave Red Bull following his win in Saudi Arabia on March 9. Christian Horner, the head of the Red Bull team, said there is a possibility that Verstappen will leave the team after rifts have emerged. 

Red Bull doesn’t have the ability to stop the Dutch driver from leaving. The reigning champion is under contract until 2028, but Red Bull said they wouldn’t force anyone who doesn’t want to be a part of the team to stay. They don’t want to use the contract to keep Verstappen hostage. If anyone wants to leave Red Bull, they’re free to do so at any time.

Horner Says He’s Mended Relationship With Verstappen

Horner claims he’s still close with Verstappen and that it won’t impact the Red Bull’s performance this year. He believes the team is operating smoothly, and there’s no in-fighting or distractions. Horner said, “I’m aware of all that noise, but it hasn’t distracted the team from the job, and we are one team now.”

Red Bull has been copping it from all sides recently. Horner was involved in a scandal relating to an affair with a colleague at Red Bull, which has been dismissed, but his reported text messages are still floating around the internet.  

Marko and Horner in a Battle for Control of Red Bull

Post a bizarre sequence of events , Red Bull’s director of motorsport, Helmut Marko came out and said he was being investigated and may be suspended after giving press inside scoops about the Horner investigation. Verstappen immediately backed the Austrian former driver and said he’d leave if Marko was booted from the team.

After going public, Marko had a top-secret meeting with Oliver Mintzlaff, Red Bull’s chief executive, and the potential suspension was dropped. However, there’s definitely a power struggle going on at Red Bull, with Horner in one corner and Verstappen and Marko in the other. 

Then Jos Verstappen threw his two cents in and came after Horner. He declared that Horner should step down following the scandal. 

After coming under fire from Jos Verstappen, Horner couldn’t help but make a thinly veiled attack on his son. The team leader said that no one is more important than the team and Red Bull’s success is based on the work of many people. The comments sound ridiculous, considering that Verstappen may be the most talented driver F1 has ever seen, and if he leaves, so does Red Bull’s position as the competition leader.

Horner wants everyone to forget about the scandal and move on. However, we’ll see if Verstappen and his father will play ball. There are also two wings within Red Bull that are butting heads. On one side, you have the Thais, who have majority ownership of the parent company and are firmly behind Horner. Then, on the Austrian side, the company directors are in favor of Verstappen and Marko. 

It remains to be seen who will come out on top in this jockeying for position. However, don’t believe Horner for a second that the issue is put to bed and that he’s on great terms with Max Verstappen. If Verstappen’s father believes Horner should be shown the door, then Max probably shares that opinion as well. Max even came out in defense of his father following the comments about Horner. Max said his father wasn’t a liar and refused to condemn the comments.

Oliver Bearman Shines in Saudi Arabia

Another story dominating the headlines is the emergence of Ferrari’s Oliver Bearman. In his very first F1 race in Saudi Arabia, he finished seventh and looked like a seasoned pro out on the track. The Brit even impressed Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time Formula One champion said, “He did such a phenomenal job, and it just showed he’s a really bright future star.” Although Bearman isn’t expected to feature again this season, he’s certainly turned plenty of heads in his bid for a 2025 seat.

Even though things aren’t so rosy off the track for Red Bull, Verstappen continues to dominate. The Dutch phenomenon again looks untouchable this season. The championship already looks over as other drivers can’t come close to him. His only challenge comes from his teammate Sergio Perez and maybe Charles Leclerc, but they have just a glimmer of hope. The only question this Formula One season is how many races Verstappen will win!

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Formula 1

Formula One Has Taken Data Analytics to New Heights Thanks to AI

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Formula One Racing

Formula One has always been a sport that blends machine and human performance. While the drivers get the glory, behind the scenes, a team of tech whizzes and engineers crunch the data, which informs everything from driving strategy to car design. 

F1 teams are now so dependent on data that Christian Horner, the CEO of Red Bull Racing, said that data is in the team’s lifeblood. Red Bull uses data to rate drivers, and it’s a big reason why their cars have been so successful in recent years. 

F1 Cars Are Decked Out In 300+ Sensors

A Formula One car lives and dies by its aerodynamics. Scientists are constantly trying to figure out the best design based on how the airflow interacts with the car as it moves around the track. This scientific field is known as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and is a key aspect of F1.

F1 cars are equipped with 300+ sensors, which can send 3 GB of race data. The sensors collect data throughout the race and even in practice sessions. 

CFD, combined with data analysis, has transformed F1 races. Fans almost universally wanted more wheel-to-wheel racing where drivers are almost touching each other on every corner and constantly overtaking one another.

F1 engineers realized that the current car designs were preventing this close wheel-to-wheel racing. The modern cars were creating turbulence behind their careers, which was acting as a barrier and preventing rival drivers from closing the distance.

The F1 came together with the governing body, the FIA, and leveraged a huge pile of data provided by Amazon Web Services to figure out what adaptions needed to be made to the cars. Ultimately, teams were able to reduce turbulence by altering the underbody of the car and creating a ground effect where the air sucks the car down towards the track.

Computational fluid dynamics is a very specialized field that requires a team of high-flying and highly paid-scientists to conduct the simulations. Also, no matter how good the scientists are, they need access to large amounts of data and computing power.

However, computational fluid dynamics has become a critical part of Formula One racing. It’s used extensively in the design process of new cars and to analyze the performance of new add-ons to existing vehicles. CFD can also quickly identify problems and help teams get back in the race by making the necessary adaptations.

Simulations and Virtual Racing Radically Enhance Driving Skill

AI-powered simulations have become the Holy Grail for Formula One teams. F1 teams now run billions of simulations on races to identify all the potential variables and come up with solutions on how to interact with them during the event. 

The simulations are only possible thanks to the incredible data they have access to from Oracle, Amazon, and Dell. Simulations have taken a lot of guesswork out of racing. Teams now have an accurate idea of how everything from the track condition to crashes to pit stops to the weather will impact their driver and to what extent. They can even accurately predict, for example, how likely a crash is on a certain corner.

Simulations have also decreased the price of testing, which can be blown extremely quickly in Formula One. Instead of spending hours and hours on the track, simulations are used to test new designs and assess just how well the car will handle the intensity of an F1 race. Engineers can quickly identify issues before they’re discovered on the track. 

All this high-tech data has only recently been used to its full potential, thanks to AI. F1 teams are constantly tweaking things from race to race. The only way to crunch the data and come up with usable insights is through AI-powered models, which can run millions of simulations in the blink of an eye.

The AI-powered models and simulations aren’t just for engineers. They’re an incredible training tool for drivers who can race around the track over and over again without risk of injury, ruining very expensive cars, or placing their bodies under stress. Drivers study the AI-generated insights and incorporate them into their racing strategy. Drivers have a clear strategy on how to navigate certain aspects of the race, from straights to corners to pit stops, all thanks to hours spent on simulations.

Read more: Robots on the Court? AI Ball Machine Heats Up Tennis Training

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Verstappen and Russell Advocate for Driver Safety in Call for Car Changes

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Max Verstappen - Driver for Red Bull Racing - Formula 1

George Russell and Max Verstappen are demanding F1 cars be raised to protect drivers’ safety. Currently, Formula One cars have a front ride height of 30 to 35 millimeters and a rear ride height of 75 to 80 millimeters. Russell said the impact drivers feel when cars hit bumps is a risk to drivers’ health. He called the current F1 car heights “unsustainable.”

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen spoke to the governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), after winning the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix. He advised the FIA that the low car heights were causing distress to drivers’ spines which face compression when cars hit bumps at high speeds.

The Dutch driver cited impacts being too high as he demanded that the F1 alter the drive heights and add the changes to the new regulations set to debut in 2026.

However, he’s worried that the FIA won’t do anything about car heights in the latest rule changes, scheduled to be finalized in June. Verstappen said, “We still run very low but I don’t think the 2026 car is going to be any different.”

Is this the First Time We’ve Seen F1 Car Height Issues?

We first started hearing drivers complaining about car heights in 2022, when rule changes reinstated Venturi underfloors. The underfloors create a ground effect, generating increased downforce and grip. The result is the car and driver are pulled down to the track.

Venturi underfloors feature a special inverted wing design that creates a low-pressure area under the car. The downforce is created by expanding the airflow as it goes rearward. To optimally create downforce, F1 cars must be very low to the ground and feature stiff suspension.

The downforce increases as F1 cars reach maximum speed down straights, literally pulling the car closer and closer to the track. During these phases of the race, drivers can feel serious discomfort in their spines. Russell considers it “unsustainable to keep running the cars like this” and is one of many drivers airing that concern with F1.

F1 Cars Are Millimeters from the Ground

As F1 cars pick up speed, they get lower and lower. Russell explained that the difference in height between the start and end of a straight: the length of an AA battery at the beginning decreases to just the size of a chickpea by the end. Even a minuscule bump sends a shockwave through a driver’s body, setting their teeth rattling, and having a strong compression effect on their backs. 

F1 brought in the rule changes because it believed that overtaking maneuvers would become more frequent due to the increased downforce. The idea was that the pack of drivers would be closer by controlling aerodynamic wake.

Mercedes’ technical director James Allison was never convinced about the theory of controlling aerodynamic wake. He believes that the car heights should be increased as it won’t impact races. A slight boost to ride heights and body roll won’t suddenly make F1 races uncompetitive; drivers will still be able to follow each other, and there’ll be regular overtaking maneuvers.

Allison said, “I don’t think it’s sensible to have cars that hug the ground in the way these cars hug it, and I think the idea that you get good racing by controlling wakes while ignoring tires (is flawed).”

Allison believes ground-effect floors have their place in F1 racing and can make races more exciting. However, the current designs that rely on an ultra-low rear ride height are placing the drivers in unnecessary danger without adding too much to the racing. Allison is adamant that the current ground-effect floors should be redesigned and have no place in the new rules in 2026.

Drivers Feel the Strain

The FIA has apparently become obsessed with the idea of wake management, to the detriment of other aspects of racing, like tires. Drivers are looking for a more balanced approach and are not against ground-effect floors. 

At the moment, the FIA hasn’t publicly commented on the issue. We’ll have to wait to see if they take the drivers’ criticism onboard and lift the car heights. However, it seems to have its heart set on maximizing ground effects with ultra-low car heights. 

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Top Corners to Keep an Eye on This F1 Season

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Circuit de Monaco - F1 Racetrack - Monaco

In the world of Formula One racing, every turn and every bend can make or break the race. The F1 season is filled with different challenges, from the tight corners of Monaco that bring drivers virtually to a stop to the lightning-fast bends of Las Vegas where F1 pilots barely brake. Every track pushes the drivers’ limits in different ways.

Let’s delve into the world of Formula One, where speed rules combined with technical mastery reign supreme, and explore the fastest and slowest corners on the planet’s most famous tracks.

The Slowest Corners in F1

It’s not surprising that two of the slowest corners in F1 can be found at Monaco. The Monaco GP is famous for its tight corners as drivers zip around the streets of the luxury principality perched on the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

1. Circuit de Monaco – Loews Hairpin (27mph / 45kph)

The Loews Hairpin in Monaco is legendary for its demand for precise handling. Located in the center of Monte Carlo, this corner forces drivers to decelerate dramatically, navigating a 180-degree turn that practically doubles back on itself. At just 27mph (45kph), the Loews Hairpin is the pinnacle of slow corners in Formula One. This corner is the epitome of classic Formula One racing and forces drivers to show the utmost patience. If drivers get this corner wrong, the consequences can be catastrophic.

2. Circuit de Monaco – Nouvelle Chicane & Anthony Noghes (34mph / 55kph)

Monaco’s Circuit de Monaco features yet another slow corner, the Nouvelle Chicane & Anthony Noghes. This chicane complex presents drivers with a series of tight turns that require expertly timed braking and smooth acceleration. At 34mph (55kph), it challenges even the most seasoned drivers and adds an element of unpredictability to the Monaco GP.

3. Marina Bay Street Circuit – Turn 13 (34mph / 55kph)

Singapore’s Marina Bay Street Circuit is renowned for its night races and technical layout. Turn 13, with a speed of 34mph (55kph), is one of the slowest corners of all F1 bends. Located amid the city skyline, this corner demands finesse as drivers race around the tight bend, battling the glare of the floodlights.

The Fastest Corners in F1

Not all F1 corners require extreme braking like the ones found in the Monaco GP. In certain races like Las Vegas Strip Circuit, drivers hardly brake at all.

1. Las Vegas Strip Circuit – Turn 17 (195mph / 315kph)

Las Vegas, famous for its glitz and glamour, also hosts one of the fastest corners in Formula One racing. Turn 17 on the Las Vegas Strip Circuit sees cars hurtling down the track at a breathtaking 195mph (315kph). This high-speed corner is a test of aerodynamics and bravery as drivers push the limits of their cars.

2. Las Vegas Strip Circuit – Turn 13 (192mph / 310kph)

Another standout corner on the Las Vegas Strip Circuit is Turn 13, where cars reach speeds of 192mph (310kph). This sweeping curve demands commitment from drivers as they battle the rapid changes in elevation and lateral forces. 

3. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps – Courbe Paul Frere & Blanchimont (192mph / 310kph)

Belgium’s Circuit is revered by drivers and fans for its tricky layout and gorgeous surroundings. The Courbe Paul Frere & Blanchimont corner is one of the fastest and most daunting corners on the circuit, with speeds reaching 192mph (310kph). Drivers must exhibit nerves of steel as they fly through this high-speed chicane.

Corners separate the good Formula One drivers from the great, providing the ultimate test. If you want to see how drivers choose to put the excellent engineering of their cars to the test when they tackle the slowest corners in the F1, don’t miss the Monaco GP and pay special attention to the Loews Hairpin and the Nouvelle Chicane & Anthony Noghes, where drivers need to decelerate to just (27mph / 45kph) and (34mph / 55kph).

If you’re instead looking for speed, then the Las Vegas Grand Prix is the race for you. During turns 17 and 13, drivers need to be extremely light on the brakes unless they want to be overtaken. Drivers tend to fly through these corners at (195mph / 315kph) and (192mph / 310kph)!

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