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“No tenth team anymore” in close F1 field – Albon

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In the round-up: Alexander Albon expect the Formula 1 field will be even closer than last season.

In brief

‘No tenth team anymore’ – Albon

Albon believes the midfield battle will be tighter than ever heading into the new season this weekend.

Despite Red Bull’s dominance throughout the 2023 season, the field spread between the front and rear of the field was historically low. However, Albon expects it could be even tighter this season.

“To be honest, I don’t think the positions have changed so much,” he said. “I don’t think that the order is going to be so different, but the grouping has tightened up massively. There is not really a P10 team anymore.

“Obviously Red Bull might have a little bit of an advantage and there’s still a top midfield section and a bottom midfield section – but that’s kind of our hunting ground. I think, depending on the circuit and what track suits us or not, we’ll be either in the midfield or a little bit further back. But that’s all to see. I don’t think anyone really knows where we are right now.”

Press conference change suits Verstappen

In 2022 Max Verstappen complained F1’s pre-race media arrangements wasted too much of drivers’ time. He questioned why they were expected to speak to each member of the broadcast media in turn, then attend a group press conference with written media.

“What you see in other sports, when they have a press conference, there are a lot of mics just brought together and actually instead of giving the broadcasters just two questions each, they all have basically six, eight or ten questions just in one go and they can all broadcast it,” he said.

The thrice-champion should therefore approve of the new-look press conference format introduced yesterday ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix. The broadcast media were grouped together in the same way written media have been for decades, sparing drivers the drudgery of repeatedly answering the same questions.

WRC to drop hybrids for new electric class

The FIA has confirmed the World Rally Championship will scrap the hybrid element of its current Rally1 cars from next season.

WRC joined Formula 1 and the World Endurance Championship in having hybrid elements to power units when it introduced the concept in 2022. However, the governing body announced plans to remove the hybrid unit in Rally1 cars from next season.

Instead, the FIA says it plans to introduce a full electric category into the series “at the earliest opportunity” which will “achieve parity of performance with Rally1 cars running on sustainable fuel.”

F1 23 comes to PS+

PlayStation players who subscribe to PS+ will be able to redeem and play F1 23 next week when it becomes one of the service’s four monthly games for March.

All subscribers on any tier of the service can download and play the most recently released official F1 game for as long as they are subscribed to the service, provided they redeem the game between Tuesday 5th March and Monday 1st April.

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  • Born on this day – leap year day – in 1932: American racer Masten Gregory, who raced in F1 and won the 1965 Le Mans 24 Hours in a Ferrari shared with Jochen Rindt and Ed Hugus

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