São Paulo’s event is, how shall we say it politely, not the most organized or efficient stop on the Formula 1 schedule.
The circuit's age and location in the district of Interlagos means there are natural limitations, though at the end of Sunday’s race there was a serious lapse in organization. A large group of spectators was able to gain access early at Turn 1 ahead of the usual track invasion, when the lower half of the midfield group were still circulating after just taking the checkered flag.
There were insufficient security measures in place, and the FIA summoned the organizers, who “candidly admitted the failures” and “agreed with the FIA’s report that this was an unacceptable situation which could have had disastrous consequences.”
A thorough investigation is to take place while the FIA has mandated that a remedial plan be submitted by the end of January. The matter has also been referred to the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council—which meets next in early December—to determine if there is a requirement for further sanctions.
Haas Track Limits Hearing Set for Wednesday
The Haas F1 Team's right of review into the results of the U.S. Grand Prix will be held on Wednesday afternoon.
Haas lodged a protest amid its unhappiness that several rivals exceeded track limits at Turn 6 at Circuit of the Americas and were not sanctioned. It is understood that Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll, Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant are the drivers Haas has looked at, with the FIA summoning representatives from Red Bull, Aston Martin and Williams to the hearing, which will take place virtually.
The hearing will take place in two stages: the first is to determine whether evidence Haas has presented is new, significant, or was unavailable to the stewards at the time. If the criteria is met then a second part of the hearing will take place to discuss the matter at hand.
Haas Hopes to Keep Fittipaldi in the Fold
Haas is hoping to retain the services of Pietro Fittipaldi next year in spite of his full-time IndyCar commitments.
Fittipaldi has only raced sporadically across the past few years while holding a position of Haas’ reserve driver. That has led to occasional test outings and most notably two race appearances at the end of 2020 when Romain Grosjean was sidelined. Fittipaldi will compete for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2024 but Haas is eager to still use the Brazilian.
“Pietro is a part of the family at Haas, and everyone is very happy about him getting a full-time drive in IndyCar because then at least he can go out there and compete at a very high level,” said Haas boss Guenther Steiner. “If he will be a part of the team with us next year depends a bit on the calendar and what matches up or not, but as I said he’s part of our family, so if possible, we’ll try to keep him on board.”
F1 Revenue Grows in Q3 2023
Formula 1 revenue grew year-on-year in the third quarter of 2023. Liberty Media revealed that Formula 1 had an overall revenue of $887 million in Q3 2023, versus $715 million in Q3 2022, albeit with the slight caveat that one more event (eight versus seven) was held in the corresponding period.
Liberty Media outlined that primary revenue increased partly because of higher race promotion fees as well as greater payments from renewed broadcast deals. Formula 1 also outlined that it incurred $8 million of costs associated with the planning of the upcoming Las Vegas GP during Q3 2023.
“Formula 1 continues to experience sell-out crowds, record race attendance and strong growth across our social and digital platforms, outpacing that of other major sports leagues,” said Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. “This growth is attracting commercial partners, including our recent agreement with American Express that marks the first new sports vertical they have sponsored in over a decade.”
Is Williams Setting Up 2025 Seat Shootout?
Williams has placed a second driver in Formula 2 in 2024 with 18-year-old Zak O’Sullivan to race for the front-running ART Grand Prix squad.
O’Sullivan was runner-up in this year’s Formula 3 championship and he will now step up to Formula 2 with the team that has run current title leader Théo Pourchaire. O’Sullivan joins fellow Williams young driver Franco Colapinto as a Formula 2 rookie, creating an obvious path to a prospective Formula 1 seat in 2025 should either perform.
O’Sullivan will also participate in FP1 at the Abu Dhabi GP while he and Colapinto will then share driving duties in the young driver test on the following Tuesday. There is also the presence of highly-rated Mercedes protégé Andrea Kimi Antonelli in Formula 2, and given the connections between Mercedes and Williams there is a pathway for the Italian to emulate the trajectory of George Russell if he shines in 2024.
There is always a chance that Williams could be forced into taking a rookie anyway if Alex Albon keeps improving, with rival teams already interested in prising the Anglo-Thai out of his multi-year deal.
American Logan Sargeant, who finished 11th in São Paulo, is not yet confirmed for 2024 but is expected to stay at the team.