The screen of the official F1 website remained black for a long time, nothing remaining of the euphoria that had accompanied the race weekend in Texas. An hour before Saturday’s US Grand Prix qualifiers, Red Bull employees received the email they had been dreading for weeks – the quiet patriarch had succumbed to his serious illness. Immediately there was peace in the divided paddock, and the management of the series promised: “We will always remember him as a titan of motorsport.”
His love for the premier class began with an advertising patch on the racing suit of his Austrian compatriot Gerhard Berger in 1989. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also raced in Red Bull livery. For Wolff, the 78-year-old Mateschitz was not only “larger than life”, but was also the individual “who made the greatest contribution to F1.” Before the 19th World Championship race, instead of a minute’s silence, there was a round of applause and the song “Start me up” by the Rolling Stones, the Austrian’s favorite band.
Without Mateschitz, the defending champion freely and openly admits that he would not be sitting in this cockpit. The Dutchman even went so far: “Without him I wouldn’t have a life.” The last meeting with him a few weeks ago is now even more valuable. It was clear that there would only be one or two options in Austin to give something back: to win the Constructors’ title, if possible with a win. At the end of an entertaining race, Verstappen was able to put a hook behind both, not even a bitchy impact wrench and an eleven-second pit stop could slow him down.
That shows the superiority of the car, but also the class of the champion. After crossing the finish line, team boss Christian Horner radioed into the cockpit: “You’re world champion, we’re world champions – thank you, Dietrich.” Horner and Verstappen were in tears during the Austrian anthem. Verstappen’s first team win means a lot: “It’s so important for everyone.” But he promised not to let up for the near future. why. With win number 13 of the season, he equaled the record held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. One is still going. For themselves. And for Didy.
The assumption that there will only be 20 cockpits in the coming F1 season is no longer entirely correct. Driver number 21 is already 58 years old, but passes as a rookie. His name: Brad Pitt. His intention: to shoot parts of the F1 cinema film in real surroundings during the race weekends. Presumably the majority of the filming will take place on location at the premiere of the race in Las Vegas, if only because of the proximity to Hollywood. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Joseph Kosinski presented the film technology to the team bosses in Austin. Racing fans can look forward to effects like those in “Top Gun: Maverick”. A guest role by Lewis Hamilton was initially planned for the sequel to the aviator epic, but the shooting dates collided with the World Cup calendar. The record world champion acts as a consultant and co-producer for the F1 strip.
So close, just five more laps to keep the series going. Hamilton has won at least one race in each of his 15 years in F1 and he hasn’t come as close to his 104th career win all year as he did in Texas. A number of laps in the lead aren’t a reason to celebrate per se for a record champion, but this time he found the feeling he had been missing for so long “fantastic”. The team have been working for this all year and it will pay off: “We’ll keep pushing, at some point it will happen.”
To be able to fight hard wheel to wheel with Max Verstappen for the first time since Abu Dhabi, even if it was just for a couple of corners, gives me lift and drive. “Small hamster steps” are those, also confirmed team boss Toto Wolff. There was more in the eyes of the Austrian again: “Second is not good enough, but this time we didn’t have the pace. Next time maybe…” Red Bull have now been given enough trophies.
Three more corners and then the entertaining US Grand Prix is over. Sebastian Vettel, who in the meantime was even able to take a lead in his Aston Martin, sees the rear of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas-Ferrari in front of him. Last chance to get eighth place. The instinct of a four-time world champion is back, potentiated by the anger in the stomach to have lost the almost certain sixth place through a broken jack during the pit stop. Overtaking the Dane is one of the most unpleasant tasks in F1, but Vettel puts everything on one card, misses from the slipstream, collects important points for Aston Martin.
Fernando Alonso was later downgraded to seventh place. The Hessian deserved the honor of being voted Driver of the Day again in his fourth to last Grand Prix. “I had to overtake where you don’t normally overtake,” said the man from Heppenheim. There was a twinkle in his eyes. In Austin they are also doing something for his good conscience – 296 trees, one for each of his previous Formula 1 races, are planted around the Circuit of the Americas.
He still needs a few points for the F1 driving license called super license, but the German Williams team boss Jost Capito has confirmed that Formula 2 driver Logan Sargeant will take over the cockpit from Nicholas Latifi next year. The decisive factor for the 21-year-old over the candidate Mick Schumacher is not just his decent performance in the second racing league. Above all, his passport is important: Sargeant comes from Fort Lauderdale in Florida. The premier class finally has its US pilot, and the Williams investors, who also come from the United States, have a compatriot at the start. In Austin, Sargeant was already allowed to take part in a training session. More are to follow. “We think he’s ready to race now. If he collects enough super license points after the weekend in Abu Dhabi, he’ll be our second driver,” says Capito. If not, he still has a substitute up his sleeve.
So close again. But then again nothing. Mick Schumacher was able to fulfill the ultimatum of the racing team owner Gene Haas, that he urgently needed to score points for a contract extension, to a large extent, drove up to sixth place, later he stayed in ninth and tenth place. But in the decisive phase of the season and perhaps of his career, he certainly didn’t lease his racing luck. The Haas team’s pit stop came at the wrong time, combined with the wrong tire choice.
Then Schumacher first picked up carbon splinters that damaged the car, and finally Nicholas Latifi crashed into his side. “After that it went downhill,” summed up Schumacher Junior, anger and disappointment could be read from the tense facial features. Rank 15 is not really a recommendation, especially if the teammate gets countable. Schumacher still believes in the good things in his racing team, but he has never really had his back: “I think they saw what I can do, especially in the early stages. The pace is there.” The hope remains after team boss Günther Steiner attested to him “a fantastic job” at the beginning.