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F1 Australian GP: Thursday live updates

Autosport's latest Formula 1 updates ahead of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix

As Formula 1 heads to Australia for the third round, there have been plenty of talking points in the week running up to it.

With Red Bull having taken almost the maximum number of points from the first two races, teams are looking into how they can stop the charge. Aston Martin are looking to evaluate wing choices to see if it can counter the top speed of Red Bull, while 

Further down the grid, Williams are pleased to be the second most improved team of 2023, while Williams team principal James Vowles said the team has got its "spark" back.

The race in Australia will be McLaren driver Oscar Piastri's first one at home, and despite poor results from the team, McLaren team principal Andrea Stella says that Piastri is making "really strong progress" in the team


By: Tom Jeffries

Status: Stopped

How F1's new era has exposed the downside of its most important rule

The cost cap has certainly made an impact in the world of Formula 1, with Red Bull notably getting on the wrong side of it in 2022. Despite the perceived success though, it's not as rosy as you might think. Find out why in Jonathan Noble's article here:

Stella: New McLaren technical structure will “unleash” potential

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella said earlier today that the team was planning a “B-spec” upgrade to the car ahead of the summer break, and has followed up with more information on how a new structure will help the team.

Following the departure of technical director James Key there are now three technical directors at McLaren – Davide Sanchez (car concept and performance), Neil Houldey (engineering and design) and Peter Prodromou (aerodynamics). It’s the latter’s contribution that has been restricted, says Stella, and so he hopes that having a three-pronged approach will help the team to improve performance.

Read more here:

Russell, Norris back calls to reduce F1 practice time

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said earlier in the week that he is “a supporter of the cancellation of free practice sessions”, and two drivers – George Russell and Lando Norris – have followed with their support.

Russell claimed he “[doesn’t] think it’s right that Formula 1 has three times the amount of practice that you have in the F3 and F2 categories”, though said that “no practice would be too little”. Norris also stated that he enjoys the idea of reduced practice, saying “FP1 into qualifying, that nature of it, I do love. It puts me under pressure, puts the engineers under a bit more pressure and we get straight to the action.”

Read their full thoughts here:

Martin Whitaker: From working with Senna to running the Saudi Arabian GP

The Saudi Arabian GP has been run three times in a 16-month period, as it went from the penultimate race of the 2021 season to the second race on the 2023 calendar. Here, Martin Whitaker – who heads race promoter Saudi Motorsport Company – talks about his journey in F1 and how he came to be where he is now:

F1 penalties: What penalties can drivers receive and how do they get banned?

With Alpine driver Pierre Gasly starting down a possible one-race ban, we've covered what different penalties drivers can get and how they can affect their races. Find out all you need to know here:

F1 grid box tweaks will not eradicate problems, says Alonso

F1 announced earlier that grid boxes would be made 20cm wider, increasing from 2.5m to 2.7m to try and curb penalties for improperly lining up in a grid slot following penalties for Ocon and Alonso in the opening rounds. This won’t eradicate the problem though, said Alonso, while Ocon said that drivers “can’t see anything from where [they] are sitting”. Read more here:

Perez: Red Bull no longer a one-car F1 operation

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez feels that the team is fully behind him in his fight for a first world title, suggesting that the team no longer has an unofficial number one driver as may have been the case in previous seasons.

Speaking ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Perez said: “I really believe I have the full support of the team as much as Max does”, and that he “will have every opportunity to win the championship as much as Max”.

Read more here:

Hill: Piastri will avoid snowball effect that hit Mick Schumacher in F1

1996 F1 world champion Damon Hill doesn’t believe that McLaren newcomer Oscar Piastri will face the “massive snowball effect” that hit Haas’ Mick Schumacher and led to him being dropped. Read more here:

Hulkenberg planning full Ferrari sim programme

Haas F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg made his full-time comeback this year, having not done a full season since 2019. To help reacclimate to F1, he’s said that he’ll be using the Maranello simulator “every couple of weeks or so”. Read more here:

Hamilton calls out position of W14 cockpit for giving “worst feelings”

While Mercedes has made considerable progress from the start of 2022, putting the porpoising issues of last season behind them, the W14 is still struggling to compete against rivals.

Team boss Toto Wolff has already said that the team is planning to change its design philosophy, and Lewis Hamilton has given some more detail on the issues with the car – saying it feels like he’s “sitting on the front wheels” when he drives it. Read more here:

Sainz details 2023 F1 car problems after Ferrari analysis

After a disappointing start to the 2023 season with reliability and straight line speed issues, Carlos Sainz has given some details on the issues facing the team and its SF-23 car. Read more here:

McLaren planning “B-spec” upgrade before F1 summer break

McLaren got off to a poor start to the 2023 season, and are currently at the bottom of both standings tables. To remedy this, team boss Andrea Stella said that a major upgrade, “kind of a B-spec car”, will be coming before the summer break. Read more here:

FIA clamps down on F1 teams pitwall celebrations

F1 team personnel will no longer be allowed to hang over the pitwall – a common celebration – following a decision from race director Niels Wittich. Read more here:

Hamilton welcomes Brazilian court judgement against Piquet

Nelson Piquet received a £780,000 fine from a Brazilian court for comments about made about Lewis Hamilton on a 2021 podcast. Read Hamilton's reaction to the fine here:

Verstappen: Illness in Jeddah made me feel like "lung missing"

Red Bull's Max Verstappen said that his pre-Jeddah illness made him feel like he was "missing a lung", but that this weekend "should be alright". Read more here:

FIA widens F1 grid boxes after Ocon and Alonso penalty controversies

After Ocon and Alonso picked up penalties in the first two races for lining up too far outside of their grid slot, F1 has opted to increase the size of the grid box by 20cm. Read more here:

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