Verstappen tops washed-out FP3 session at Istanbul

A rain soaked FP3 session allowed Red Bull's Max Verstappen to achieve a clean sweep in free practice... The post Verstappen tops washed-out FP3 session at Istanbul appeared first on F1i.com.

Verstappen tops washed-out FP3 session at Istanbul

A rain soaked FP3 session allowed Red Bull's Max Verstappen to achieve a clean sweep in free practice at Istanbul Park.

But the treacherous conditions limited running, with several drivers, including Lewis Hamilton, not setting a time while others ventured out only to find themselves quickly facing the wrong way, overall conditions that were a prelude to a very uncertain afternoon qualifying session.

Saturday at Istanbul dawned cold and overcast, but by the time the pitlane sprung into life, a drizzle of rain had set in, an element that would only accentuate the track's grip issues.

A wet FP3 session would normally compel drivers to refrain from any significant running, but with conditions expected to extend into the afternoon, cautiously testing the waters would prove useful.

Racing Point's Sergio Perez was offered the award for first spin of the day, while Ferrari's Leclerc navigated his way to the top of the time sheet in the early part of the session.

A few other drivers found themselves facing the wrong way as the rain showed no signs of letting up.

A run on the intermediate tyre propelled Max Verstappen to the top, while a spin by Leclerc at Turn 3 brought the Scuderia driver perilously close to the barriers.

As the rain got heavier, the traffic on the track dwindled, with few drivers seeing the point of risking damage just hours ahead of qualifying.

AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo's contenders pressed on however, until Antonio Giovinazzi pushed his luck, spun into the gravel and nearly took the front end off his C39.

Lewis Hamilton indulged in a few exploratory laps before he radioed in to tell his team what everyone already knew: "There's just no grip here, shocking!" quipped the Mercedes driver.

The washed-out and unrepresentative session thus concluded with - for the record - Verstappen completing a clean sweep in free practice.

The only positive takeaway from the soggy morning session was that it will have added another layer of uncertainty for this afternoon's qualifying.

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Horner says 2021 F1 schedule 'on the limit of human tolerance'

Christian Horner says F1 teams will be pushed to the brink in 2021, during a season that is... The post Horner says 2021 F1 schedule 'on the limit of human tolerance' appeared first on F1i.com.

Horner says 2021 F1 schedule 'on the limit of human tolerance'

Christian Horner says F1 teams will be pushed to the brink in 2021, during a season that is set to include a record 23 races spread around the world.

Formula 1 released its provisional 2021 schedule earlier this week, a campaign that will kick off in Melbourne on March 21 and conclude in Abu Dhabi on December 5.

In addition to the 23 races spread across the season, teams will endure two triple-headers, with Spa, Zandvoort and Monza taking place on consecutive weekends and Russia, Singapore and Japan also unfolding over a three-week period.

This year's season has unfolded at a frantic pace due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent necessity to pack 17 events within a five-month time period.

But Horner says teams' human resources will be stretched to the absolute limit in 2021.

"There has been lots made of the 23 races on next year’s calendar as we are seeing the demand for F1 races increase," said the Red Bull Racing team boss.

"But when you look at the races this season, where we have 17 races between July and the end of the season, it has been pretty intense.

"So looking at 23 races over a season compared to what we have done this year in such a short space of time, it looks a lot more straightforward.

"But it is a lot, and it will be demanding. Yes, there is a bit less testing so that compensates fractionally, but it will be a challenge for all team members.

"Less so for the drivers as they fly in and out slightly later than the team, but a lot for everyone else.

"There are some great races planned, but of course it is on the limit of human tolerance."

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner was none too happy with the prospect of dealing with a pair of triple headers next year. But the Italian said the grueling schedule was an inevitable consequence of the calendar's expansion.

"I think they are necessary if you want to do 23 races, because we also want to have a few weeks off in August," he said.

"If you want to do that, you just have to live with the downside of doing the triple-headers.

"What we need to do to manage the people is give them time off when we are not racing," Steiner added.

"The people at some teams do [this] already, the race team doesn’t come into the factory.

"Something like this we need to start to think about, how can we minimise people going into factories because actually they are not really needed there anymore because the cars fly from one place to the other anyway.

"So it’s a little bit of reshuffling the people we have got. Maybe they work more intense for a shorter period of time and then have a more intense time off, something like this.

"I don’t have all the answers but I think we need to find them and there is a way to find them.

"But I think if you want to do 23 races, we need to live with triple-headers. It almost cannot be done without it."

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