With F1 looking to add more teams eventually, it came as a surprise that there was an 11th team in the Silverstone paddock. Called APX GP, the team featured an exciting driver pairing with the experienced Sonny Hayes and a young rookie, Joshua Pearce.
Before you frantically search the web for their records, this is a fictional team in the new F1 movie directed by Joseph Kosinski and produced by Apple Studios, with Hollywood star Brad Pitt (right) playing the role of Hayes.
The crew began filming at Silverstone, with the crew driving an F2 car between sessions to film. Pitt and British actor Damien Idris, who plays Pearce, were also seen on the grid before the race during the national anthem and even attended the drivers’ briefing on Friday to explain how they would conduct the filming.
The last movie based on F1 was Runwhich chronicled the 1976 title battle between Niki Lauda and James Hunt and was a huge hit.
The previous fictional film based on F1, Grand Prix was released in 1966 and won three Academy Awards. With Lewis Hamilton also involved in the production as a consultant/co-producer, there is hope and expectation that fans will get a great racing movie.
Moving from reel to live action, at the recently concluded British Grand Prix Dutchman Max Verstappen took his eighth win of the season and sixth in a row this year. For Red Bull, it is the 10th win of the season and the 11th win in a row since the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi last year. The record 11 wins have ensured that the energy drink giant equals McLaren’s record set in 1988 for the most consecutive wins by a team.
The win and fastest lap point mean Verstappen has a 99-point lead over teammate Sergio Perez, who had another poor weekend and finished sixth. The Mexican driver failed to reach the third and third (final) part of the classification for the fifth consecutive race and had to start from 15th position.
Bright spots for McLaren
One of the big disappointments of the 2023 season has been McLaren, which started the year with a fundamentally flawed design and has been bouncing back ever since. The disastrous start to the season also cost their Technical Director, James Key, his job. The team said that the improvements it brought in Baku, Azerbaijan, were how the season should have started. In Austria, the former champions brought another significant improvement that only Lando Norris had, and he finished fourth, proving the team was on the right track.
McLaren achieved their best result of the season at Silverstone, finishing second and fourth. Norris and his teammate Piastri, who also had the upgrades, had a brilliant qualifying session and started second and third respectively. In the race, Norris passed Verstappen at the start and led the race for four laps before the reigning champion reclaimed the position. However, Norris and Piastri were able to hold their own, taking second and third places. Unfortunately, Hamilton got ahead of Piastri when he pitted during the safety car period, while the latter had stopped a few laps earlier. While the car may not be competitive at every track, at least the team can take heart from the fact that its updates are working and it’s heading in the right development direction.
The fan-favorite set returns
Just days after the British Grand Prix, under fire AlphaTauri driver Nyck de Vries lost his job after a poor start to his first season, with Daniel Ricciardo taking his Hungarian GP place.
The Dutch driver earned the job after his impressive debut for Williams at last year’s Italian Grand Prix, where he scored a point on his debut. Impressed with the driver, Dr. Helmut Marko, a Red Bull adviser and head of its junior driver program, recruited de Vries to AlphaTauri (Red Bull’s sister team).
De Vries has had a difficult start in the slowest car on the grid and has been slower than teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who is in his third year with the team. Dr. Marko is known for being ruthless towards young drivers, and the Red Bull system has a habit of dropping drivers to the bottom quickly and kicking them out if they don’t show instant results. What is interesting is the selection of Ricciardo, whom McLaren sacked after two bad years, rather than promoting a youngster, as AlphaTauri’s raison d’être is to recruit promising young drivers.
The Australian is a reserve driver for the Red Bull family and has been doing simulation. He gives a chance to gauge whether Ricciardo has regained his mojo after struggling with McLaren’s peculiar demands. The move could also be a way to keep Perez on his toes, although the Mexican is on a 2024 contract. It will be interesting to see how Ricciardo fares.