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F1 Q&A following Canada: Perez at Red Bull plus the future of Ricciardo and Sainz

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In a thrilling Canadian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen of Red Bull took home the victory for the sixth race this year.
Mercedes had better form, both Ferraris were unable to finish, while McLaren’s Lando Norris led the race twice before having to settle for second.

Andrew Benson, a BBC Sport F1 journalist, responds to your queries after the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve race.

How likely do you think Daniel Ricciardo is to stay with RB in 2025 after his Montreal performance? – After a lackluster start to the season, David Ricciardo’s performance for RB in the Canadian Grand Prix—qualifying in an incredible fifth place and finishing in the points in eighth place, despite a five-second penalty for jumping the start—was precisely what he needed.
Jacques Villeneuve, a pundit on Sky television, criticized Ricciardo harshly during the weekend, posing the question, “Why is he still in F1?”

That did not sit well with Ricciardo. Whatever one’s opinion of Villeneuve’s remarks, Red Bull has not been satisfied with Ricciardo’s performance since he returned to Formula One.
Midway through the previous season, he took Nyck de Vries’ seat with the team that went by the name Alpha Tauri. Unfortunately, he broke his hand in an accident at the Dutch Grand Prix, which was just his third race back, which caused him to miss five races.

With the exception of a standout performance in Mexico, he was often slower than teammate Yuki Tsunoda in the tournaments he did compete in last year. With the rare exception, like the sprint qualifying session in China and now Canada, the pattern has persisted this year.
In this year’s grand prix qualifying sessions, Ricciardo is 7-2 behind Tsunoda and on average moves a little slower. The issue with it is that Red Bull does not consider the Japanese driver to be among the best.

For this reason, Ricciardo is now in danger of losing his spot in the starting Red Bull squad rather than being viewed as Sergio Perez’s successor.
Liam Lawson, the reserve driver, is in the waiting area. However, Christian Horner, the team’s principal, is now protecting Ricciardo. Which path Red Bull takes in selecting a Tsunoda partner at what is currently termed RB in 2025 is still up in the air.
Do you think Carlos Sainz will soon be joining a major team again? – Mick

Ferrari is letting rid of Carlos Sainz at the end of the current season since they have recruited Lewis Hamilton to compete with Charles Leclerc in 2025.

With potential openings at Red Bull and Mercedes, Sainz had hoped to rejoin a top team, but those ambitions have now been shattered.
Given Sergio Perez’s inconsistent results, Red Bull decided to re-sign the Mexican driver for another two seasons, a move that is not entirely understood by the Formula One community. Meanwhile, Mercedes is clearly working to elevate its Italian youngster Andrea Kimi Antonelli.
Sainz now needs to decide between Williams for the next season and Sauber, who will become Audi in 2026.

He is Audi’s first pick to guide the team into the next chapter of their F1 history. Furthermore, this appears to be the most appealing choice on paper—a large company with a sizable budget dedicated to medium-term success.
The issue is that Sauber is the F1 team with the lowest performance this year, and most people think it will take Audi a long time to get them back on track. In the near future, Williams could be a more desirable choice.

The big Formula One teams have expressed their opinions about drivers, and it is obvious that Sainz is not one of them else he would not be in this predicament. Given this, it’s unlikely that he will drive an elite vehicle anytime soon. However, in Formula One, anything can happen, so it cannot be completely ruled out.

‘Running in unclean air’ is undesirable, but ‘catching a tow’ is excellent when one automobile follows another. What’s the distinction, and which one applies when? – Chris
Despite being at various points in the circuit, they are essentially byproducts of the same process.
When an automobile is said to be “running in dirty air,” it indicates that it is sufficiently near to the one in front for the airflow to be impacted.

F1 vehicles require smooth, well-ventilated air to operate at peak efficiency. Running behind another vehicle causes “dirty” airflow to strike the vehicle since it is not clean. This results in a decrease in downforce since the aerodynamics are not as effective. similar to airplane turbulence.

This translates to a decrease in cornering performance due to a reduction of aerodynamic load. The tyres must work harder, which causes them to slide, overheat, and lose grip.
That is, though, when cornering.
A ‘tow’ is an event that occurs along a straight path. When the leading automobile creates a hole in the air, the following car has reduced air resistance, which allows it to accelerate to its maximum speed and facilitates overtaking.

Ironically, the 2022 regulations made following slightly simpler than previously, but they also decreased the tow effect, which meant that overtaking was not significantly easier. Instead, they ensured that the airflow behind a car was less disrupted, allowing cars to run closer together.

Do you believe that Red Bull’s decision to re-sign Sergio Perez was made to placate Max Verstappen and maintain peace? – When Canadian pit-lane reporter Rosanna Tennant of BBC 5 Live posed this same question to Ed Verstappen, he responded, “I don’t think it has anything to do with that.” Stories are always made up by people, but nothing is connected to anything else.”I am content with my current situation. My contract is set to expire in ’28, but my goal is to truly use the entire amount of time left on it. And after that, I’m not even sure whether I want to keep on at all.

“I don’t give it a lot of thought. Simply said, I’m thrilled that Checo signed. It is in his best interest to be aware of your plans for the upcoming years. We have always had a great working relationship. It has always been pleasant and quiet in the squad, and we have strong consistency in that regard, which is equally crucial in a team.”
The animosity that developed between the two drivers in 2022—when the Dutchman thought Perez had purposefully wrecked in Monaco qualifying to guarantee his grid position ahead of Verstappen—is partially covered up by Verstappen’s response.

Furthermore, it ignores his own reality. It has been made clear to BBC Sport by insiders that Verstappen may depart Red Bull in 2026.
Christian Horner, the team’s principal, decided to keep Perez. Additionally, Horner took the decision to maintain stability since pairing Verstappen and Carlos Sainz at Toro Rosso in 2015–16 caused problems within the team, and he didn’t want to take a chance on it occurring again.
Horner favored the current quo as no Red Bull junior driver had a strong enough argument to be promoted alongside Verstappen.

As a new fan, I’m curious as to why only the intermediates are ever utilized and never the full wet tires. – Harrison
The extreme wet tire is not a very good solution, to put it simply. Since it is primarily meant to be driven behind the safety car when it is too muddy to race, the drivers refer to it as “the safety car tyre.”
It has less grip until there is a lot of standing water on the track, but it moves more water than an intermediate.

Due to its speedier tire, drivers will thus always want to be on the intermediate.
The extreme wet soon overheats once significant amounts of water are removed from the track, but the intermediate has the extra benefit of being able to run for considerably longer when circumstances dry out.
All of this was seen in the first few laps of the Canadian Grand Prix. Despite the fact that the track was still quite wet and had a lot of standing water, almost everyone picked inters for the start.

However, the drivers of Haas opted for complete wets, and for a short while in the early going, when the track was still quite wet, they were the fastest vehicles on the course.

Will racing be more entertaining with the installation of moveable front and rear wings and the removal of DRS for the 2026 season?

Nobody is aware. The predicament that Formula One created for itself led to the creation of the current regulations.
First, decisions were made on the new engines. They have been successful in drawing in new manufacturers; as a result, Honda is remaining and Audi and Ford are joining.
However, the engines caused an issue. Compared to presently, the hybrid system provides significantly more than half of their power. However, after removing the MGU-H (motor generator unit – heat) and only permitting recovery from the rear axle, how can one recover all the energy required without running the danger of stability control sneaking in?

The solution was to increase the vehicles’ speed on straightaways and lengthen the stopping distances to provide for more time for the cars to replenish their energy. The active aerodynamics follow.
Additionally, the active wings cannot be utilized for DRS once they are required for that. It was therefore necessary to find another method of providing a car behind an advantage. Thus, the concept of push-to-pass.
However, it’s reasonable to say that the teams are rather concerned about the new rules as they are written now; they claim the cars will be too quick on the straights and too sluggish in the bends.

When FIA single-seater director Nikolas Tombazis stated in Canada that he was willing to make any required adjustments, their worries were somewhat allayed. However, there is still a long way to go before everyone is certain that the 2026 regulations are sound.

What do you think?

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