Ecclestone’s surprise comment and more – F1 Recap 13.09.2023

FIA’s New Stance on Flexi-Wings in Formula 1

Starting from the Singapore Grand Prix, the FIA has intensified its regulations concerning the design of front and rear wings to prevent teams from exploiting flexible parts. As initially disclosed by, the FIA now requires all design drawings of wings before the Marina Bay race to ensure compliance. The authority has banned specific wing concepts that it deems violate the rules. This encompasses wing elements that move or rotate relative to their attached bodywork, the utilization of elastomeric (rubber) fillets that allow localized deflection, and designs that employ soft trailing edges to facilitate flexing.

The FIA’s single-seater director, Nikolas Tombazis, in an exclusive interview with’s Italian site, shed light on the rationale behind the stricter stance on flexi-wings. He mentioned, “In the F1 regulations we have many flexibility criteria… these tests are never perfect because the direction of the [test] load you apply is always a bit different from the load that is on the track when it experiences genuine aerodynamic force.” Tombazis highlighted that some teams have been cleverly circumventing the rules, including using designs concealed beneath rubber coverings. He elaborated, “If under a carbon surface, we have levers that allow a deflection in one direction and not in another, we can consider this a mechanism.” Tombazis indicated that teams had been leveraging this with both individual front-wing elements and the attachments with the nose. He concluded by emphasizing the FIA’s commitment to ensuring fairness and adherence to the rules.

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Gasly on Alpine Changes: “We’ve Moved On”

Pierre Gasly, the Alpine F1 driver, has commented on the recent upheaval within the team, emphasizing that they have turned the page and are focusing on the future. Over the summer, Alpine underwent significant changes with key figures like Laurent Rossi, Otmar Szafnauer, Alan Permane, and Pat Fry being asked to leave. Bruno Famin took control of the team, and several internal promotions took place.

Despite these internal shifts, which could potentially destabilize a team, Gasly remains optimistic about the atmosphere at Enstone. He stated, “We have great ambitions as a team, and as a driver, all I want is to drive the fastest car possible. I’m very grateful to Laurent, Otmar, Alan, and Pat for their support and services, but as a team, we’ve moved on and are focusing solely on the members who are part of the team now.”

Gasly also highlighted the positive energy within the garage, with everyone working towards a common goal under the leadership of Bruno Famin and Julian Rouse. He fondly recalled racing for Rouse during his Formula Renault 3.5 days with Arden in 2014, where they finished second in the championship behind Carlos Sainz.

Reflecting on recent races, Gasly celebrated his unexpected podium finish at Zandvoort, attributing it to a strategic decision to pit early for intermediate tires. He described the feeling of being on an F1 podium as incredible and expressed his desire to experience it more frequently.

However, the team’s performance at Monza was a stark contrast. Due to the inefficiency of the Renault power unit, neither Gasly nor Esteban Ocon made it to Q2. Gasly admitted, “If Zandvoort was a massive high, Monza was certainly a bitter low.” He acknowledged the challenges faced at Monza but viewed the weekend as a learning experience. Looking ahead, Gasly expressed his determination to bounce back at Marina Bay, aiming for a good result and points for the team.


James Vowles: What’s More Important for Williams in Singapore than Points

In the second third of the 2023 Formula 1 season, Williams has been a standout performer in the mid-field, securing 20 points in the last seven Grand Prix races. This performance has solidified their position at seventh in the World Championship. However, as the Singapore city race approaches, is Williams a contender for points?

James Vowles, the team principal of Williams, seems cautious about their prospects in Singapore. He doesn’t sound overly optimistic about replicating the consecutive point finishes from Zandvoort and Monza. Vowles mentioned, “There are a few elements that won’t suit our package.” When asked about potential results for Williams drivers Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant, Vowles stated, “I don’t think we’ll finish last. I believe we can still compete, and if we get everything right, we might even score a point. But we have to be realistic about our package.”

The 2023 Formula 1 season will see a slightly altered track layout in Singapore. However, the primary challenge remains the intense heat. “Even though the race takes place in the evening, temperatures still hover around 30°C,” explained Vowles. “This is quite tough on the tires, leading to frequent overheating.” Hence, making predictions is challenging.

For Vowles, the primary objective in Singapore isn’t necessarily about scoring points. He emphasized, “More than anything, we need to learn for 2024. Places like Singapore provide us with that opportunity. We get to understand the limits of our package and setup, which has already allowed us to progress this year.” While he doesn’t expect a performance similar to Monza, Vowles aims to make progress on other fronts with a “complete program.” Nevertheless, the goal remains to “take every point we can.”

The pressure on Sargeant is mounting. While Albon has secured all 21 points for Williams this year, Sargeant is the only full-time driver in 2023 without a top-10 finish. Vowles subtly increased the pressure on Sargeant, stating, “Logan needs to find speed on tracks like Singapore, tracks he’s unfamiliar with and has never raced on, under completely different conditions.” For the F1 rookie, this is the “perfect learning opportunity.”


George Russell on His Journey with Mercedes and Future Aspirations

In a candid conversation with RaceFans, George Russell delves into his experiences and future ambitions with Mercedes. Reflecting on his journey, Russell states, “I always knew when I signed in 2021 that there were no guarantees of success.” Despite Mercedes’ recent challenges, he remains hopeful, noting, “I think the way which the team have worked and the engineering brilliance I’ve seen, that has probably exceeded my expectations.” Russell, who has committed to Mercedes until 2026, emphasizes the synergy within the team and the importance of evolving together. Speaking about his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, he says, “He’s obviously the greatest of all time. I learn a lot on and off the track from him.” Russell’s ultimate aspiration is clear as he mentions, “That is my dream and my goal” in reference to winning a championship with Mercedes.

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Ex-F1 Boss Ecclestone on the 2008 Singapore Scandal: “Massa is Only After Money”

As Formula 1 returns to Singapore, memories of past dramas, manipulations, and legal tussles resurface. In 2008, Bernie Ecclestone introduced the Singapore Grand Prix to the F1 calendar, a move that was widely acclaimed. However, Felipe Massa, the then vice-world champion, now seeks to annul the results of that inaugural race held on September 28th.

Massa’s lawsuit against the FIA comes nearly a decade and a half late. The “Crashgate” scandal, which took place near the equator, has long been settled and almost forgotten. Massa, an eleven-time GP winner, has engaged lawyers from various countries, including Switzerland, claiming that the missed World Championship title (97:98) resulted in significant financial losses for him. Ecclestone commented, “Massa’s clan is only after money. But the chances of that are zero.” He further added that if anyone should have filed a lawsuit against the FIA, it should have been Hamilton with Mercedes after the controversial 2021 finale in Abu Dhabi. “Hamilton and Mercedes could have filed a lawsuit against the FIA ​​after the not very clean 2021 finale in Abu Dhabi.”

In 2008, Benetton’s then-chief, Flavio Briatore, allegedly instructed his driver, Nelson Piquet Jr., to trigger a yellow phase, ensuring Alonso’s victory. Piquet Jr. crashed, causing a yellow flag, and Alonso went on to win. Briatore was later banned for five years, while the drivers faced no penalties. Alonso still maintains, “I knew nothing about it!”

The FIA closed the case with the trophy presentation to Lewis Hamilton in December 2008, and it’s expected to remain that way. The article recalls Massa’s 2010 incident in Hockenheim, where he immediately accepted Ferrari’s team order, allowing Alonso to win, resulting in a $100,000 fine for Ferrari.

In the 2008 Singapore GP, Hamilton finished third behind Alonso and Rosberg. Massa, starting from pole position, missed his chance due to a pit stop error where an internal light malfunctioned, causing him to drive off with the fuel hose attached. The article concludes by highlighting the dramatic finale in Brazil, where Massa was celebrated as the winner and world champion, only for Hamilton to overtake Glock in the rain three turns before the finish, securing his fifth-place and a narrow World Championship win with a score of 98:97.

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