In the round-up: Max Verstappen names the Miami Grand Prix his favourite race of 2023 so far.
Verstappen names best race of 2023 so far
Having won 10 of the 12 grands prix so far this year, Verstappen said it was “difficult to choose” his highlight of the season so far. “There have been a lot of nice ones, some of them more straightforward.
“I think the one actually which I really enjoy was like back in time in Miami,” Verstappen decided, picking a race he won from ninth on the grid after passing his pole-winning team mate Sergio Perez.
“It’s a tough track, also to get through the field, but we managed I think that whole race quite well – after, of course, the tough qualifying. So probably for me, that was a very enjoyable one.”
Verstappen was speaking after his latest win of the season at Spa-Francorchamps, where he started sixth. “But also today, the last one in Hungary – there are a lot of nice ones,” he said.
“I think also throughout the first part of the season, we have improved as a team. And also from my side, I feel more comfortable in the car. It’s all about little details. So a lot of enjoyable moments. It’s tough to pick one.”
Armstrong: Results reflect performance in IndyCar more than F2
Former Formula 2 driver turned IndyCar racer Marcus Armstrong says results in his current series give a better indication of performance. Armstrong had as many top-eight finishes in his first eight IndyCar races as he did in the first eight races of his best Formula 2 season.
“We won three races last year in F2 [and] obviously I haven’t won three races this year but I feel like getting a result in IndyCar, your performance directly correlates to your results,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans.
“Many times in F2 I’ve had races where I felt like I was the fastest on track and I ended up finishing P12 just because of some massive tyre degradation in the last 10 laps or something like that. Being top 10 I think in IndyCar cars is one thing, being top three is another.”
Armstrong has impressed in his debut season and is the top rookie despite not running the oval rounds. Nonetheless he believes “there’s still a big step to be made to be to be consistently with” his Ganassi team mates. “There’s a step to be made to be inside the top three.
“You can’t understate how high the level is right at the very pointy end of IndyCar. So I’m just going to keep trying to find bits and pieces to get there.”
Pirelli conclude F1 tyre test
The second day of Pirelli’s latest Formula 1 tyre test took place at Spa-Francorchamps on Wednesday, with Lando Norris driving for McLaren while Aston Martin called up their reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
Rain through the morning and also the afternoon meant all running was done on intermediate and wet compound tyres. Vandoorne set 53 laps and managed to break into 1’57 on lap times on his return to an F1 cockpit, while Norris set 40 laps and was three seconds slower.
BMW signs Robin Frijns as works driver
Two days on from leaving the Abt Cupra Formula E team, Robin Frijns has been announced as a works BMW driver.
The 31-year-old was previously a works driver for BMW’s fierce rival Audi, and represented them in touring car racing, sports car racing and FE. He also has a past relationship with BMW, having won the 2010 Formula BMW Europe title.
Frijns’ first duty as a works driver will be helping to develop the brand’s new M Hybrid V8 prototype sports car for the top class of the World Endurance Championship. The development is being done by W Racing Team, who Frijns became Blancpain GT Series champion with in 2015 and GT Sprint Cup champion in 2017. He last raced for them in 2021.
“It’s fantastic to return to BMW M Motorsport after so many years – the place it all started for me in FBMW Europe,” said Frijns. “I am looking forward to the new challenges, which will include being part of the test programme for the WEC entry in 2024 with the BMW M Hybrid V8. The prospect of driving this car and, in doing so, becoming part of a new golden era of motor racing is great motivation.”
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