Time as always to check in on all the latest developments that have been happening in the Formula 1 world this last fortnight. Lots of action to report on as always, so let's get under way…
Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku was certainly an eventful one, not least because it was the first race of the year to break up the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen duopoly that has reigned since the start of this season.
In fact, both drivers for Team Mercedes and Team Red Bull crashed out in quite dramatic fashion that we dare say will see them locked in respective crisis meetings before the French Grand Prix on 20th June.
Verstappen blew his left-rear tyre on the pit straight five laps before the end despite having the early lead, whilst Hamilton was uncharacteristically butter fingered and switched on the 'magic' button by mistake, causing him to finish in a dismal 15th place.
Their misfortune, however, meant that Verstappen's Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez won his first Grand Prix of the season, on a final race time of 2:13:36, thus hauling him up to third on the overall Championship rankings for 2021 so far. It was also a great weekend for Sebastian Vettel on Team Aston Martin, who finished a very respectable 2nd to build on the top 5 finish they accrued at the Monaco Grand Prix a couple of weeks ago.
It almost seems par for the course given current circumstances that we bring news of yet another change to the F1 race calendar this year. Bosses announced on Friday last week (4th June) that this year's Singapore Grand Prix, which was due to get underway on 3rd October, has now been cancelled owing to ongoing immigration restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And it seems that the troubles this is causing are far from over, as other Grand Prixs still to come later in the season - including those in Japan, Australia, Mexico and Brazil - are all in doubt, the latter two countries especially owing to their current high coronavirus caseloads.
In the meantime however, options to replace the now cancelled Singapore leg are being considered; amongst them are Istanbul Park in Turkey, the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and even a potential revival of the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Austin leg is currently looking to be the favourite of the proposed replacements, as it would be on 15th - 17th October, the weekend before the American Grand Prix, a particularly appealing option for Liberty Media, who are based in the States and own Formula 1.
In fact, Formula 1 seems to have their sights set across the Atlantic in more ways than one at present. We reported about a month ago on the addition of the Miami Grand Prix to the calendar for 2022, but now F1 boss Stefano Domenicali has ambitions to push more young American drivers into teams.
In fact, to find the last time there was an American born F1 racing driver of note, you have to go back to 2015, when Alexander Rossi raced in five Grand Prixs for Team Manor Marussia. The only current Stateside talent that could potentially make the future switch to Formula 1 is Team Red Bull's Junior racer, Jak Crawford. However, at 16 years old he is still some time away from making the grade.
However, Domenicali clearly understands that it is bound to be a longer process to find the next talent, saying he doesn't expect them to be unearthed "in the next two or three years. But maybe after, yes. I know that there are teams watching other good drivers, that if they're ready, will be a big boost for the American fans."
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