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Podcast

GP Racing Podcast: Bottas mullet magic, Ferrari fiasco and McLaren's moves

The latest Flat Chat podcast from GP Racing magazine leads on Valtteri Bottas becoming the first and possibly the last F1 driver on the cover with a moustache and mullet.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, leads Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23, and Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Bottas is the subject of an exclusive no-holds-barred interview (and an unusual photoshoot) in GP Racing this month. Now free of the corporate leash he’s enjoying life – and racing – once again. He explains why he rejected advice to ‘be more evil’ while at Mercedes and why he’s taking a stand for drivers to be able to express themselves.

GP Racing columnists Mark Gallagher and Matt Kew join editor Stuart Codling to discuss this latest incarnation of Bottas as well as some of the most recent developments in F1.

As senior Ferrari engineer David Sanchez leaves for McLaren, the panel reflect on the chaos which seems to be enveloping the teams currently in the wake of the dominant Red Bull outfit. If former Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto was as much a victim of regime change in the boardroom as of operational problems on track, why is his successor Fred Vasseur – the preferred choice of the new executives – seemingly at loggerheads with CEO Benedetto Vigna?

While team principal and senior executive squabble over peripheral topics such as who gets a paddock pass, the team has bigger issues to face: a car concept that may not be working and a lead driver, Charles Leclerc, who may be on the verge of throwing Ferrari over for a better offer when his contract expires.

PLUS: How Vasseur has begun Ferrari’s mission to keep Leclerc on side

At McLaren, meanwhile, what is the thinking behind yet another management restructure? Having dropped the much-derided 'matrix management' system three years ago in favour of a conventional top-down hierarchy, McLaren's decision to have three technical leaders represents a major pivot.

Elsewhere on the grid another team with a new leader, Williams, has enjoyed an unexpectedly positive start to the season considering the latest upheaval over the winter. First impressions are that new boss James Vowles is taking exactly the right approach to dealing with the problems which have pegged Williams back in recent years: measured and diplomatic, but decisive, as befits a leader with a background in engineering and strategy. It’s the opposite tactic to that recently adopted by AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost, who seems to be following the playbook of Antonio Conte at Tottenham Hotspur by throwing his backroom staff under the bus…

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