Alfa Romeo have appointed Alessandro Alunni Bravi as team representative following Frederic Vasseur's exit to Ferrari.

Part of the Sauber Group since 2017, Alunni Bravi's new role effectively fills that of a team principal and he will "represent the team in all official functions at race weekends and away from the track".

The appointment marks one of the first major tasks completed by Andreas Seidl, who joined as the new CEO of the Sauber Group last month from McLaren.

"I am delighted to confirm the appointment of Alessandro Alunni Bravi to the role of team representative, in addition to his existing duties of managing director of the Group," Seidl said.

"His vast experience in motorsport has equipped him with all the tools he needs to succeed, and his intimate knowledge of the team, of which he has been part for more than five years, will ensure stability and continuity in our progression.

"Alessandro representing the team during the Formula One championship will allow me to focus on growing the Group and preparing for the challenges and opportunities that await us.

"I thank Alessandro for his belief in our vision and I welcome him to this additional position: I am convinced this is another valuable addition to what is without any doubt a very strong team, from the drivers to the management team, to each one of our employees, capable of building on last year's success and creating a bright future for Sauber."

The team is entering a transitional period this year, with the Alfa Romeo naming deal expiring at the end of the 2023 season and will be replaced by Audi, who officially enters F1 in 2026.

Testing ahead of the new season begins in Spain next month, with the first race taking place in Bahrain on March 20.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem made it clear that Formula One's governing body has a say on who controls the series' commercial rights.

The civil war between the FIA and F1 took another twist this week after Ben Sulayem expressed concern about reports that Saudi Arabia is interested in buying the sport for a mammoth $20billion (£16.15bn) fee.

F1 responded fiercely, insisting that owners Liberty Media has the "exclusive right" to "exploit the commercial rights".

Ben Sulayem is not backing down, however, with his belief that the FIA still has a decisive say on the matter.

"The championship is ours. We have only rented it out," he said at the Monte Carlo rally, per Auto Motor und Sport.

"So far there are only rumours about a possible sale. But the FIA should have a say and be able to offer advice."

Two decades ago, a 100-year lease deal was agreed between the FIA and former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone for a reported fee of $300m (£242m) – a figure significantly lower than the motorsport's current value.

Despite that, it is reported that a 'Don King clause' hands the FIA veto power over any sale.

Ben Sulayem has regularly been at loggerheads with F1 since taking charge of the FIA in December 2021, recently publicly backing Andretti's proposed entry alongside General Motors and adopting a tough stance against drivers wearing jewellery during the 2022 season.

Max Verstappen is confident Red Bull will use the punishments issued for budget cap breaches as "extra motivation" to succeed in 2023.

The team, who won the Constructor's Championship for the first time since 2013 last season, have been hit with wind tunnel testing restrictions and CFD limitations after they were judged to have breached financial regulations.

The full impact of those punishments is unclear but a reduction in time allowed in the wind tunnel could lead Red Bull to fall behind their rivals in aerodynamic developments, causing them to lose time on the fastest sections of Formula One tracks.

Rivals Ferrari are reported to have made significant gains ahead of the 2023 campaign, with their car said to be a second faster than their 2022 vehicle, while Mercedes made clear improvements at the back end of last season.

However, Verstappen, bidding to win a third consecutive championship, expects Red Bull to be in the running and feels the punishments issued can provide additional encouragement for the team.

"Well, I mean, it will affect us, but how much? I don't know yet," he told the F1's official website.

"I'm confident that the team, and the people we have, can use that as extra motivation to try and do even better. I know, of course, they always give their best.

"But we have a very competitive car, we have a lot of great ideas, I think, already for next year as well with the car, and hopefully it’s going to be enough."

F1 teams head to Bahrain in February for pre-season testing, before the new campaign begins in Sakhir on March 5.

Formula One has decided against replacing the cancelled Chinese Grand Prix in the 2023 calendar, which remains a 23-race season.

Shanghai was set to host China's first race since 2019 on April 16, making it the fourth date on the calendar.

But the race was cancelled in December due to China's zero-COVID policy, with the country still implementing strict rules in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus.

It was deemed unfeasible to host a race in Shanghai, with F1 subsequently considering potential replacement destinations elsewhere.

Portimao in Portugal and Istanbul in Turkey were apparently in contention, but it was confirmed on Tuesday that the season will remain 23 races instead.

That leaves a four-week gap between the third race in Australia on April 2 and the fourth race in Azerbaijan on April 30.

"Formula 1 can confirm that the 2023 season will consist of 23 races," a statement read.

"That means the season will kick off with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 5, and finish in Abu Dhabi on November 26, with the brand new Las Vegas Grand Prix joining the calendar a week before the season finale."

In November 2021, F1 signed a contract extension through 2025 with the Chinese Grand Prix. 

However, this will be the fourth year in a row that China has been unable to host a race on the F1 calendar due to COVID-19.

Pre-season testing will commence on February 23 after the 10 teams unveil their new cars for the year earlier that month.

 

Williams have named James Vowles as their team principal for the 2023 Formula One campaign, prising him from his role as Mercedes' strategy director.

Williams finished bottom of the constructors' championship standings in 2022, the fourth time they have done so in the last five seasons.

That led Jost Capito to step down as team principal after two years at the helm, and Vowles will replace him on February 20 after being released from his contract with Mercedes.

Vowles has been with Mercedes since the team's 2010 inception, helping them win eight consecutive constructors' titles between 2014 and 2021 before they were usurped by Red Bull last year.

"I cannot wait to start with Williams Racing," Vowles told the team's website. "It's an honour to join a team with such an incredibly rich heritage.

"The team is an icon of our sport, one I greatly respect, and I am very much looking forward to the challenge.

"Williams Racing have placed their faith and trust in me, and I will do the same in return. The team has tremendous potential, and our journey together starts in a matter of weeks."

Williams' 2023 car will be launched on February 6, with newcomer Logan Sargeant set to partner Alex Albon in the upcoming campaign.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who previously worked at Williams, backed Vowles to make a success of his new role.

Wolff said: "While we are naturally sad to be saying goodbye to such a capable member of the team, I have no doubts whatsoever that he has all the necessary skills to become a fantastic team principal in Formula One.

"We wish him every success and are delighted that he will take this next step in his career with Williams, a strong technical partner of ours and one that has a place close to my own heart."

FIA chief Mohammed Ben Sulayem is adamant Formula One should be "encouraging" companies like General Motors to enter the sport.

Andretti, partnering with GM brand Cadillac, expressed intentions last week to join the F1 grid, though their announcement was met with a lukewarm response from within the sport.

It has been reported there is concern whether Andretti would "add value" to F1, particularly given the team's desire to base themselves in the United States and not in Europe, where the rest of the sport is homed.

Previous failures of Toyota and Jaguar in the 2000s serve as evidence of the difficulties in meeting the demands of F1, particularly as, at least initially, the Andretti/Cadillac name would be merely added to a Renault engine.

Additions of original equipment manufacturers (OEM) are seen as a more tangible prospect for an F1 expansion, though Ben Sulayem feels F1 should not be shutting the door to alternative approaches.

"Today there are two sides of sustainability. There is sustainability of the environment, and there is sustainability of the sport," he told reporters at the Dakar Rally.

"If you want to sustain the sport, you have to open it to the rest of the manufacturers. And to us, we are allowed to have 12 teams on the grid.

"To have a big company like GM, which is one of the top five in the world, we should be encouraging them to come to Formula 1. That is the way I would like to see the future: having an OEM in with sustainability.

"Every single partner there [in F1], or stakeholder there, should be welcoming an OEM, especially from America. You have three races there [in the United States], and we don't have maybe a racer, a driver, and for sure we don't have an OEM.

"I welcome anyone to fill up the 12 [spots], but proper teams. We have accepted good teams but also smaller teams, like Haas and Sauber. I hope that this will change, and we will be able to have a proper team on the grid. It will be odd [to be] at 11, and not 10 or 12. But we'll see."

However, despite already publicly hitting out at the "adverse reaction" to Andretti's proposed entry, Ben Sulayem made it clear he is not yet at a stage where he is ready to fully approve the proposals.

"There is the due diligence. There is a process, we wait, and it goes. As an FIA or a president, I didn't say yes [we approved it]: we opened it. So let them see," he added.

"Are they going to succeed? Will they tick the boxes? Will they be able to be there? We cannot just go and rely on what's going on, we have to look for the future."

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has hit out at "adverse reaction" to the announcement that Andretti and General Motors are joining forces in a bid to enter Formula One.

Andretti, partnering with GM's Cadillac brand, announced their desire to become the 11th team on the grid on Friday.

There are hurdles to overcome, however, the biggest being a reported $200million fee that would be split among existing teams as consolation for the reduced amount they would receive in shared revenue.

Any addition would not occur to 2026 at the earliest, a year where Audi will make their bow having completed a takeover of Alfa Romeo/Sauber, but Ben Sulayem has noted some of the negative responses.

"It is surprising that there has been some adverse reaction to the Cadillac and Andretti news," he posted on Twitter.

"The FIA has accepted the entries of smaller, successful organisations in recent years. We should be encouraging prospective F1 entries from global manufacturers like GM and thoroughbred racers like Andretti and others.

"Interest from teams in growth markets adds diversity and broadens F1's appeal."

America is a targeted area of growth for F1, with Miami joining the list of venues last year and the addition of Las Vegas in 2023.

The Andretti Global team have announced plans to enter Formula One, joining forces with General Motors and the Cadillac brand.

Andretti is a name steeped in F1 history, with Mario Andretti winning the 1978 world title and his son, Michael, also a former driver on the grid.

Thursday's announcement by the American set-up follows FIA chairman Mohammed Ben Sulayem stating this week he intends to launch a formal process for expressions of interest for prospective new F1 teams.

That has opened the door for Andretti's plans, with Andretti Global chairman Michael Andretti saying in a joint statement: "I feel that we are well suited to be a new team for Formula One and can bring value to the series and our partners, and excitement for the fans.

"I'm proud to have GM and Cadillac alongside us as we pursue this goal. GM and Andretti share a legacy born out of the love of racing.

"We now have the opportunity to combine our motorsport passions and dedication to innovation to build a true American F1 bid."

However, any new additions to the grid require the approval of F1, and it has been reported there is no prospect of a new team joining before 2026.

Andretti failed with a previous attempt to enter F1, with a 2021 bid to buy Sauber, but there remains an eagerness to join the grid for the next era of the sport – which is set to undergo significant changes in 2026.

Formula One is introducing a new engine formula that year, significantly increasing the power produced by the electrical part of hybrid engines and using synthetic, fully sustainable fuels – and there is already one new team set to join in 2026, following Audi's purchase of the Alfa Romero/Sauber team.

With Audi taking over an existing team, their transition onto the grid is far less complicated than the scenario for Andretti, who would require an expansion and would have to front a reported $200m fee that would be split among existing teams to offset any loss of prize money due to another team joining the revenue share.

F1 has had 10 teams on the grid since the 2015 season and issued a statement in response to Andretti's interest, which read: "There is great interest in the F1 project at this time, with a number of conversations continuing that are not as visible as others.

"We all want to ensure the championship remains credible and stable and any new entrant request will be assessed on criteria to meet those objectives by all the relevant stakeholders."

Mick Schumacher's move to Mercedes in a third-driver role is a "win-win situation", former Formula One driver Ralf Schumacher believes.

The younger Schumacher, son of racing great Michael Schumacher and nephew of Ralf, was left without a seat on the Formula One grid for 2023 following Haas' decision not to hand him a fresh deal – instead opting to bring in Nico Hulkenberg.

Schumacher then brought an end to his four-year allegiance with Ferrari, where he was a member of the young driver academy, which freed him up to join Mercedes for the 2023 campaign.

He will serve as an understudy to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell next year, stepping up into a racing role should either of the pair be unable to feature, and Ralf feels it is the perfect fit.

"I think it's a win-win situation for both sides," he told Sky Sports in Germany.

"One, for the team they have a great driver, if they need a replacement short term, if one of the drivers for some reason cannot drive. And the next is of course that he is now in the team where he can learn a lot, first of all through a new structure, a big structure.

"For me, I think it's a great opportunity. Because he now has an experienced team, with two experienced team-mates, and above all, for a change, a team that is happy that he is there."

A return to the grid in a full racing capacity is still the aim for Mick Schumacher and, with Audi competing as a works team from 2025, Ralf expects the German manufacturer to be interested in his nephew's services.

 "He has the opportunity to develop further. He deserves and belongs a chance - actually of driving a car - but at least as a replacement for test drivers and as a third drive," he added.

"I think that's a great thing, but I could also imagine that Audi [could be interested] since there aren't really any German drivers on the market.

"But that's still a long way off from that point of view. I think where it is now it's in perfect hands and the rest will tell. The nice thing is that from the age of 24 I think he will have a great chance again, no matter where."

Formula One drivers will be required to obtain prior written permission to make "political statements" after the FIA updated its International Sporting Code.

The sport's governing body has added a new clause into its rulebook for next season.

It states: "The general making and display of political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality promoted by the FIA under its Statutes, unless previously approved in writing by the FIA for International Competitions, or by the relevant ASN for national competitions within their jurisdiction."

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, who retired from F1 at end the end of last season, are among the drivers who have made political statements.

There was a ruled chance over attire after Mercedes driver Hamilton wore a T-shirt at the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix protesting against the death of American Breonna Taylor.

He also competed in a rainbow pride helmet during races in the Middle East, while last year Vettel sported a rainbow-coloured T-shirt promoting LGBTQ+ rights ahead of the national anthem at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll were also reprimanded for failing to remove 'We Race As One' T-shirts at the same race as Vettel.

George Russell has faith Mercedes will be much more competitive next season, believing they "just got it wrong" this year.

The Silver Arrows had won eight consecutive constructors' championships heading into 2022, also taking the drivers' title in seven of those seasons – including six for Lewis Hamilton.

But Russell's move to Mercedes coincided with a dismal year for their car, unable to match the pace of Max Verstappen's Red Bull.

Mercedes were third in the constructors' championship, with Russell fourth in the driver standings and Hamilton down in sixth.

That is not a theme Russell expects to continue into 2023, however, confident Mercedes are still capable of producing a title-winning car.

"They haven't forgotten how to build a fast race car," Russell told BBC Radio Norfolk. "We just got it wrong this year.

"We got the philosophy wrong. We went down a route which turned out to be the wrong route.

"Sometimes it takes you a long time to dig yourself out of that hole. Now I feel we've dug ourselves out of that hole and we're building on top of that.

"We are a step behind Red Bull and Ferrari and we've got a lot of catching up to do – but we're definitely going to be in a much stronger position from race one next year than we were this year."

Russell ended his wait for a first career win at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in the penultimate race of the year, but he is hungry for more.

"When you join a team like Mercedes, you're expecting victories," he said. "I felt ready to fight for race wins and championships this year, but you've just got to manage your expectations.

"You've got to change those sights slightly, and it's been really intriguing for me this year, seeing how the team deal with this situation.

"I'm here for the long haul, and even though I wanted victories and [to be] fighting for that championship in 2022, as a team these struggles are going to set us up for the coming years.

"I hope I look back in 10 years' time and say the 2022 season was a positive one in the journey."

Mick Schumacher has joined Mercedes to become the Formula One team's reserve driver.

The son of seven-time F1 world champion Michael, Schumacher lost his 2023 seat with Haas to Nico Hulkenberg after finishing 16th in the 2022 driver standings.

Mercedes have recruited the 23-year-old to be the back-up for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Schumacher's legendary father spent three years with the Brackley-based team during his illustrious F1 career.

Daniel Ricciardo had been linked with the position, but Red Bull confirmed he was returning to the team as their third driver having left for Renault at the end of the 2018 season.

Nyck de Vries, who was Mercedes' reserve driver last season, will drive full-time for AlphaTauri in 2023.

Schumacher said: "I am thrilled to be part of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team as their reserve driver for 2023.

"I am committed to give it my all to contribute to their performance in this very competitive and professional environment.

"I take this as a new start, and I am just excited and grateful to Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team principal and CEO] and everybody involved for putting their trust in me.

"F1 is such a fascinating world, and you never stop learning, so I look forward to absorbing more knowledge and putting in all my efforts for the benefit of the Mercedes team."

Wolff said: "Mick is a talented young driver and we’re delighted to have him join the Team.

"He is a hard worker, has a calm and methodical approach and is still hungry to learn and improve as a driver. These are all important qualities.

"We also know that with two years of experience racing in Formula One under his belt, he will be ready to step into the car at short notice to replace either Lewis or George, should that need arise."

Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey is expecting a "tough year" in the 2023 Formula One season due to punishments issued for the team's budget cap breach.

The constructors' championship winners were handed a $7million fine by the FIA and a reduction of aerodynamic testing time in the wind tunnel, which Newey says will cost the team.

Another dominant year for Red Bull is therefore unexpected, with the punishment opening the door to Ferrari and Mercedes to dethrone two-time drivers' champion Max Verstappen.

Newey has conceded that the team are set for a difficult period in the 2023 season, particularly with regulation changes that will result in "significant aerodynamic change".

"There's no testing, it's very difficult to put an answer to say that [the punishment] will cost us so many tenths of a second per lap," he said.

"But the reduction of internal testing means we can therefore evaluate less, less different components, less different ideas.

"If we're really smart and always puts on the right things on the model, then it doesn't make much difference. But that's not how it works; there are always some parts that you hope will work and don't and vice versa.

"So, it's difficult and it's a restriction for sure that will affect us.

"I think then there's a regulation, a small regulation change over the winter, which is lifting of the floor edge by 50 millimetres, which of course, sounds tiny, but in reality, it's quite a significant aerodynamic change.

"So, like all teams were working to reduce the deficit from that in addition to the normal development that goes on from year to year, I think we've obviously had a good year, particularly in the second half of the season. We do have the best car.

"But Ferrari won't be resting, and they will be kind of sorting out where the weak areas that they had a couple of reliability problems with, and they made a couple of pit wall mistakes. So, they'll be right back.

"And then, of course, Mercedes. They were quite a long way off the pace and evolving. But then they won the last race but one, so we know they will be right there. It's going to be a tough year for sure."

The 2023 Formula One season begins in Bahrain in March, with a record-breaking 24 races scheduled across the year.

Frederic Vasseur is to become Ferrari's new team principal in January after the departure of Mattia Binotto, the team announced on Tuesday.

Vasseur's newly vacant role as Alfa Romeo/Sauber's managing director is then expected to be filled by McLaren boss Andreas Seidl, ahead of Sauber's switch to becoming the Audi factory team in 2026.

Having been with Sauber in the team's various forms since 2017, Vasseur will join a Ferrari outfit that won four races in the 2022 season but remained well off the pace in challenging Red Bull and Max Verstappen for the constructors' and drivers' championships.

Ferrari announced in November that Binotto would step down at the end of the year, allowing Vasseur to join and reunite with Charles Leclerc.

He was in charge of Alfa Romeo during Leclerc's rookie F1 season in 2018.

Vasseur will be aiming to end Ferrari's long title drought, having not won a constructors' or drivers' championship since 2008.

Ferrari are still among the most prestigious and successful Formula One teams despite their long wait for more silverware, and Vasseur is thrilled to be joining such a historic constructor.

"I am truly delighted and honoured to take over the leadership of Scuderia Ferrari as Team Principal," Vasseur said in Ferrari's announcement.

"As someone who has always held a lifelong passion for motorsport, Ferrari has always represented the very pinnacle of the racing world to me."

Benedetto Vigna, Ferrari's CEO, added: "We are delighted to welcome Fred Vasseur to Ferrari as our Team Principal.

"Throughout his career he has successfully combined his technical strengths as a trained engineer with a consistent ability to bring out the best in his drivers and teams.

"This approach and his leadership are what we need to push Ferrari forward with renewed energy."

Vasseur's move comes in the wake of Jost Capito leaving his role as Williams team principal, having finished bottom of the 2022 constructors' standings.

Max Verstappen believes it is unlikely he will be as dominant in the 2023 Formula One season, with regulations allowing his rivals to be more competitive.

The Red Bull ace bounced back from a slow start to the season to dominate the 2022 campaign, securing a record-breaking 15 wins to finish 146 points ahead of his closest rival, Charles Leclerc.

Verstappen expects a much tougher fight from the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes next year, however, with the recent regulation changes allowing everyone to be "closer together".

"The others are not stupid. And certainly with these rules, which are a bit more restrictive than the previous set of rules, everyone is getting closer together," he told RacingNews365.

"All teams now have an idea of ​​which course to take so yes, I expect smaller differences next year, but that's only good. Of course, I hope that we are still ahead, but that is not at all as obvious as this year."

Red Bull's defence of their two titles will be further impacted by sanctions dished out after being found guilty of breaching Formula One's budget cap, with Verstappen questioning the punishment.

The 25-year-old added: "Probably everyone is more motivated because of this. I personally think it is a heavy punishment for what we have done, but yes, what can we do about it?

"It happened and we will see next year what effect it really has had on us."

The new season begins in Bahrain on March 5, with a record-high 24 races scheduled across the course of the year.

Page 1 of 50
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.