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GP Racing UK

GP Racing UK March 2021

Every month, its stunning photography and unrivalled journalism gives readers unparalleled access to the world of grand prix racing. GP Racing captures the drama, asks the questions, and delivers the comment on Formula 1 - one of the most popular and exciting sports in the world.

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United Kingdom
Autosport Media UK Ltd
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12 Issues

in this issue

6 min
win win repeat

Seven wins into a record-breaking sweep of consecutive world championships, Mercedes’ biggest problem is that it makes such brilliance seem easy and effortless, even on its occasional off-days. But that excellence comes at a cost: last season’s title double might have appeared straightforward but it was bought painfully. Wary of a resurgent Ferrari, Merc’s engineers pushed harder than ever, taking risks both with the W11 chassis and its new power unit. Team principal Toto Wolff said it had pushed many of them to breaking point, or even beyond. As the season panned out, flattered by Ferrari and Red Bull proving weaker than expected, Mercedes enjoyed a surprisingly healthy competitive margin. But it isn’t allowing itself to be lulled into complacency, even though F1’s austerity measures dictate that the ‘new’ W12 is…

1 min

George Russell Age 23 Debut Australia 2019 Starts 38 Best result 9th Podiums 0 Best season 18th (2020) After two years of quietly stunning performances in back-of-the-grid machinery, Russell showcased his true ability with that incredible cameo in Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes at the Sakhir GP. By rights, Russell should already be a grand prix winner. Back to the grind now, though, while he waits for Bottas to get flicked. At least Williams is getting its act together again, which should translate into a few more marginal qualifying and lower points scoring battles. They can prove useful in refining a driver’s craft under pressure, and Russell still has one or two creases to iron out. GP RACING VERDICT The best thing about Williams since he joined. Let’s face it, Russell is wasted in this car and should be promoted ASAP. Nicholas Latifi Age…

2 min
ferrari clan regroups

After Ferrari’s worst championship performance since 1980, nothing less than a return to the top three (as a minimum) will do in 2021. To that end, a heavily revised engine will be employed, something that should also help Ferrari’s customers recover from difficult 2020 seasons of their own. Ferrari designed the SF1000 around drag targets that didn’t match engine output, once the FIA decided to clip the Scuderia’s wings on the eve of last season. Rivals estimated a 50bhp loss, which made Ferrari seriously slow in a straight line and left it floundering. Ferrari’s new power unit will feature developments on the internal combustion engine – revised cylinder heads, piston crowns and new alloys have been mooted – as well as improvements to the MGU-H and the combustion process. The Scuderia has…

1 min
mclarenmercedes: the return of an icon

McLaren has come more or less full circle in seven years. Having ended its deal with Mercedes at the end of 2014, it now finds itself using the Silver Arrows’ engines again in 2021. The decision to leave Mercedes and sign with Honda was made on the basis of a belief that it was not possible to win without a works engine. But since then the landscape at McLaren has changed, and so has that of F1. The Honda deal failed to produce results and ended acrimoniously. Ron Dennis was ousted as McLaren chairman in 2017, and Liberty Media has taken over the championship and introduced a budget cap. Now, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown and team principal Andreas Seidl believe a customer engine should not be a barrier to success under…

2 min
bottas vs russell: on a wing(man) and a prayer

Lewis Hamilton’s role is just one plate Toto Wolff must spin as 2021 unfolds, because the identity of the team’s second driver – Hamilton’s ‘wingman’ – is open to question from 2022 onwards. George Russell’s assured stint as Hamilton’s stand-in at last season’s Sakhir GP has had a complicating effect, strengthening Wolff’s hand in negotiations with Lewis. Russell could replace Valtteri Bottas or even Hamilton should the need arise, for while George might lack Lewis’s box-office value he is eminently capable of delivering on track. “With Valtteri, we know exactly what we have,” is Wolff’s telling summation of where the Finn stands. He won’t say Bottas doesn’t have what it takes to challenge for the title, and speaks warmly of “fantastic performances”, and yet his pronouncements are shrouded in equivocation. Despite several…

2 min
red bull’s youth unconvention

Red Bull’s usual driver policy is to focus on youth and promote from within, so the signing of veteran Sergio Pérez, 31, on a one-year deal to partner Max Verstappen represents a clear break with normality. It will puzzle some that Pierre Gasly – demoted from Red Bull for underperformance midway through 2019 but a brilliant race winner for AlphaTauri last season – wasn’t considered for re-promotion, or that his replacement, Alex Albon, wasn’t given a further chance after his improved showing in the final race of last year. But both these drivers are known quantities now, and neither performed consistently well enough relative to Verstappen for Red Bull to feel confident they could do the heavy lifting in a constructors’ battle with Mercedes. Too often Max has been outgunned against Lewis Hamilton…