Reporters – 19/01/2020

Features This Week

Red Bull believes that they are building the foundation for a championship challenge next year. They finished strongly last year, but could the regulation changes allow Max Verstappen to be the teams first champion since Sebastian Vettel…

Red Bull has foundations for 2021 challenge – Verstappen

Max Verstappen believes that he and Red Bull now has the foundation to allow the team to challenge for the title next year. Despite his age, the dutchman is entering his sixth season in the sport and is ranked alongside six times champion Lewis Hamilton by team principals and journalists.

Last season, Verstappen beat both Ferrari drivers to finish third in the drivers’ championship after Red Bull’s switch from Renault engines to Honda, and though he remained some 135 points behind champion Hamilton. He now believes that the pieces are there for him to challenge for a title.

Asked by, if he now saw a foundation for a title challenge at Red Bull, Verstappen said, “I think so. I think we are in the right direction. There’s no question about that. Now, it’s just about how much development we can push through for next year. I more or less know, I just hope it’s going to be enough.”

“Next year, there are no real changes in the regulations anyway, so you can just build on what you have now. And with a second-year working with Honda, I think that should help.” He says that the engine performance improved massively last year, and the team knows where they need to improve this year.

The Dutchman could be key in the 2021 driver market as he has already stated it is crucial for him to see Red Bull at the sharp end from the very start of the season, rather than playing catch-up as it often has during the hybrid era.

Verstappen says the team knows that they need to be there from the start of the season. Reflecting on 2019, he says it was “very positive” for both himself as a driver and his outfit in terms of executing on race weekends.

He believes that the team maximised their results in the early part of last season when they couldn’t challenge for wins. Adding “So if we can keep that up, then we can have a strong year.


The movements like Extinction Rebellion and climate change protests in the headlines how does Formula One respond? Most of its emissions come from logistics, one of the toughest areas to reduce emissions. How can it be done?

Responding to climate change

Last year in response to the climate emergency called by some countries, Liberty announced plans to be carbon neutral by 2030, and plans are already afoot for the next generation of engines, scheduled to be introduced in 2025, to run on carbon-neutral synthetic fuels.

The current cars must have 5.75% of bio-components, and the plan is to almost double that to 10% in 2021. However, the 2030 target is ambitious as the idea to capture carbon from the atmosphere and turn it into liquid fuel by combining it with hydrogen from water.

FIA president Jean Todt told BBC News, “Motorsport can be at risk for two reasons – one, the environment, and two a big crash. Safety and environment are crucial to secure the future of motorsport.”

“We are working with the teams and engine suppliers and all experts available, and if costs are involved I am happy for the FIA to take that on board.”

F1 chief executive Chase Carey added: “We don’t have a completely detailed road-map but the role we want to play is a leadership role. [We hope to be] at the forefront of showing what’s possible.”

The actual on-track action contributes less than per cent of the sports 256,551 tones of carbon emissions in 2018. The biggest challenge is reducing the carbon emissions from the supply chains and logistics operation.


Formula One can be exciting and throws up amazing drama. Chief technical officer Pat Symonds believes that wiring up the fans to research what excites them could show what working for the show…

Wiring up fans to measure excitement

Formula One’s research into fans want to see from its on-track product has included wiring some fans up during live races to measure their excitement levels.

Next year, the sport will have a complete overhaul of its sporting and technical regulations in 2021 and has been working to better understand what fans want to see. Chief technical officer Pat Symonds said F1 was tapping into fans’ emotional levels during the 2019 season.

Symonds said at the Autosport International, he said “We absolutely are focused on what’s good for the sport and what makes a good race. You’d be amazed at the amount of analysis we’re doing on that.”

“It’s even down to things like we have people who are wired up while they watch races, and we look at that galvanic skin response to see their emotions while they’re watching races.”

He says from the research they are starting to understand what is important because the skin response in the sweat gland reflects the intensity of emotions.


Dementia is a condition which is expected to affect 131.5 million worldwide by 2050 but could Formula One help beat the disease. Sir Jackie Stewart, whose wife Lady Helen believes it can. He spoke to BBC Scotland about his hopes of beating the disease…

Stewart’s race against dementia

Sir Jackie Stewart believes that F1’s ability to find quick solutions is hastening the race to find a cure for dementia. The three-times champion set up the charity Race Against Dementia two years ago, after his wife Lady Helen was diagnosed with the disease.

His wife has limited short-term memory and impaired mobility, requiring round-the-clock care, and he had become dismayed at the speed of progress in medical research. Stewart’s organisation has given PhD students Formula One team experience.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, the three-times champion said, “Our PhDs go to Red Bull and McLaren and see how things are done more quickly.”

“For 30 years, billions have been spent to try and get a cure for dementia and it’s failed, not only for preventive medicine but for corrective medicine.”

Sir Jackie says that billions have been spent to try and find a cure for dementia and it’s failed both for preventive medicine but for corrective medicine. He described the situation as “simply unacceptable in today’s world in my opinion. We’ve got to do it a different way.”

“The systems are different in F1, the motivation is faster, the fear of being beaten is absolutely amazing. I think we’re going in the right direction in that respect.”

Stewart who led the campaign in the 1960s and 70s to improve safety in Formula One described Lady Helen’s dementia as “the biggest (challenge) I’ve ever faced.”

Stewart was also a champion at clay pigeon shooting and is still involved in F1 sponsorship but admits: “Helen’s challenge for me now is the biggest one I’ve ever faced.”

“Helen and I have been married for coming up to 58 years. She was my timekeeper, my lap charter as well as being the mother of two very successful young men and we have nine grandchildren.”

He says they are lucky they can afford round the clock home care around that clock but admits that it hurts very badly.


That’s all from this edition, goodbye


Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.