Mercedes braced for Red Bull fightback in Hungary

Mercedes are preparing for Red Bull to throw everything at them in the next race of the 2021... The post Mercedes braced for Red Bull fightback in Hungary appeared first on F1i.com.

Mercedes braced for Red Bull fightback in Hungary

Mercedes are preparing for Red Bull to throw everything at them in the next race of the 2021 season, the Hungarian Grand Prix on August 1 as they seek revenge for the controversial events at Silverstone.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen clashes on the opening lap of the British GP with Verstappen spinning off into the gravel and a huge impact with the tyre barrier at Copse. Although penalised for causing the collision, Hamilton went on to win the race.

That means there is just now eight points between the two drivers in the championship standings, with Red Bull's lead in the constructors battle reduced to just four points.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner pledged this week that "we will all be fully motivated to retain our championship lead" next week.

"Hungary will be a different challenge for the car," he said. "Max won’t dwell on anything from Silverstone and wants to do his talking on-track.

"He is determined to put this incident behind him and use it as added motivation for the rest of the season, as are we."

The Mercedes team management has taken Horner's words as advance warning that they will be pulling no punches at the Hungaroring and that it will be a much tighter battle between the two teams.

"[Silverstone] is one of our best tracks," he told media including RacingNews365.com this week. "It would be naive for us to think that we can go [to the Hungaroring] and expect to carry this performance.

"Red Bull are going to be good at a high downforce circuit," he predicted. Frankly they're good at every circuit at the moment.

"They're going to be a bit bruised after the experience [in the British GP], so I'm sure that they're going to come back really strong.

"They're a difficult team to beat, but I think we're a strong team and we'll be putting everything into it to try and win."

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing wins the sprint race and claims pole position with Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. 17.07.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Shovlin added that his team was aiming to be in the lead of the championship battle going into F1's summer break following the Hungary race.

"We're about halfway through the championship, there's very fine margins in terms of the points," he noted. "For us, we're just going to throw everything at it now to try and get through.

"If we can get ourselves ahead, going into the summer break, that would be fantastic," he said. "So that's probably the target that we'll set ourselves.

"But I think it's a stretch target," he admitted. "We've shown here that anything's possible - you've just got to keep going and trying to get better, trying to improve."

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Qatar could host GP amid 2021 calendar uncertainty

Qatar is the latest venue believed to be on the list of potential candidates to hold a Grand... The post Qatar could host GP amid 2021 calendar uncertainty appeared first on F1i.com.

Qatar could host GP amid 2021 calendar uncertainty

Qatar is the latest venue believed to be on the list of potential candidates to hold a Grand Prix later in the year, if the coronavirus pandemic continues to force short notice changes and cancellations to the schedule.

So far the 2021 season had proceeded fairly smoothly despite the risk of disruption to the schedule due to COVID. However some races such as China, Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands and Canada have had to be cancelled or indefinitely postponed.

But now there are fears that some of the flyaway races planned for the second half of the year might also have to be abandoned, leaving F1 bosses scrambling to find enough replacement venues to maintain the proposed 23-race season.

So far, a second race in Austria and a planned GP at Turkey's Istanbul Park in October have helped fill the gaps, although there remains a vacant 'TBA' spot in November that still needs to be decided.

On top of that, local COVID infection rates have put a big question mark over the races set to be held in Japan, Brazil and Mexico.

A second round at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas is rumoured as a possible replacement for Japan. That could take place on October 17, a week later than the current date for Suzuka, which would enable a back-to-back doubleheader with the United States GP on the 24th.

An alternative proposal could see Brazil and Mexico pulled forward to fill those slots, followed by a week off before the two American rounds.

Rumours were recently stoked by COTA boss Bobby Epstein revealing that a major headline act had been secured for the Grand Prix - with the Rolling Stones separately announced as performing at the venue on November 20.

Other possibilities being considered by F1 bosses include a second race in Bahrain, which has already hosted the season opener in March.

A second race there is likely to use the oval-like 'Outer Loop' of the Bahrain International Circuit, as happened in last year's truncated season.

If held in late November it would make sense as part of a run of three Middle Eastern races together with Saudi Araba and Abu Dhabi closing out the season in December.

In the same spirit, Qatar would also make a natural addition to this part of the season.

The Losail International Circuit has long hosted the opening round of the MotoGP motorcycling world championship and has repeatedly expressed interest in holding a Formula 1 race.

The proposals have been turned down in the past due to how close it is geographically to Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, but the requirement to find extra venues for 2021 may overrule such concerns.

The need to deliver a full 23-race season has very real and significant implications for this year's F1 world championship.

With the title battle razor thin this season, any last minute changes to the number of races remaining could have a serious impact to the outcome of the championships as it would disadvantage the team running second needing to catch up.

And with Mercedes and Red Bull cars performing differently at the various types of tracks, the nature of the circuits that stay on the calendar - or are dropped, or end up being added - could easily swing the advantage to one team or the other.

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