Daniel Ricciardo, Logan Sargeant, Haas and More

Jackson Wheeler
8 Min Read

Daniel Ricciardo is set for an Austin return, McLaren’s tire change breaks records, and there’s a Bear on the prowl at Haas. Autoweek rounds up some off-track talking points from the Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix.

Ricciardo Poised for Austin Comeback

AlphaTauri F1 diver Ricciardo is expected to return to Formula 1 action at the Oct. 20-22 United States Grand Prix. Ricciardo sustained a fractured hand in a practice crash in the Netherlands in late August and has missed five races during his recovery and rehabilitation process.

Ricciardo had a simulator day ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix to assess his position but opted to err on the side of caution and sat out the weekend, enabling Liam Lawson to have a fifth race for AlphaTauri. Ricciardo, who is already confirmed alongside incumbent Yuki Tsunoda for 2024 at AlphaTauri, is a popular figure in the United States and has had a long-standing affinity with the country, in particular Austin.

auto prix f1 qat

Four tires in 1.80 seconds is a record now owned by McLaren.


McLaren Sets F1 Pit Record

McLaren’s stock has risen on-track lately with the squad emerging as the second-fastest team in recent events. Oscar Piastri won F1 Sprint on Saturday and was runner-up to Max Verstappen in the race, while Lando Norris was third on both occasions, making back-to-back double podium finishes for McLaren. It is now within reach of Aston Martin’s fourth in the championship and if such form continues then you wouldn’t completely rule out a pursuit of second spot overall.

McLaren has also been improving in other areas and in Sunday’s race its crew set a new world record for the fastest Formula 1 pit stop. Norris’ second tire change, on lap 27, was undertaken in an incredible 1.80 seconds, beating the 1.82 recorded by Red Bull at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix.

McLaren’s crew achieved the feat despite the size of the cars and tires having increased in recent years, while also having to contend with the hot, humid and sticky conditions in Qatar’s race.

formula 1 qatar grand prix 2023

American Logan Sargeant is being giving every chance to keep his seat at Williams.

NurPhoto//Getty Images

Williams to Give Sargeant Time for Reach Targets

It is unlikely that the final seat on the 2024 Formula 1 grid will be confirmed until after the end of the season.

It has been an atypically quiet silly season with 19 of the current 20 drivers (including AlphaTauri regular Daniel Ricciardo) assured of their place with their current employers. Williams rookie Logan Sargeant is the outlier but the team has regularly insisted that he remains their priority heading into next season.

When asked for a timeframe on a decision Williams boss James Vowles said: “I suspect it’ll be to the end of the season. I think we’ve already committed to the direction of travel we’re in, he has targets to that and it’d be wrong to go against that decision point. So end of the year.”

Sargeant suffered another trying weekend in Qatar; pace-wise the young American was close to teammate Alex Albon but he spun off in Sprint, before retiring from the Grand Prix midway due to feeling unwell in the exceptionally difficult conditions.

f1 grand prix of qatar

Qatar will be hosting Formula 1 racing into the next decade.

Kym Illman//Getty Images

Lusail’s Return Marks Start of Long-Term Deal

Qatar is becoming a big player in the developing competition between Gulf states on the Formula 1 calendar. Its first event in 2021 was as a one-off stand-in but it signed a 10-year deal that began in 2023, while national airline Qatar Airways became a major partner of Formula 1, replacing Dubai’s Emirates.

Qatar’s infrastructure was heavily upgraded ahead of last year’s soccer World Cup and it is now turning its attention to other sporting events, most prominently Formula 1, and it completely renovated the pits and paddock complex at Lusail ahead of the long-term deal. The paddock was not quite finished in stages, and there were a few teething troubles, with some of the organization haphazard and poorly thought through.

Most of the media spent the weekend wrapped in hoodies and blankets—the latter provided by the circuit—because the air conditioning was jammed on an exceptionally cold setting.

Formula 1 put the weekend attendance at 120,000, which felt slightly optimistic, but it is only the start of the championship’s presence in a country that is keen to splash the cash (and it has plenty in reserve) and enhance its status on the global stage.

Qatar will move to the penultimate round of 2024, a week before the finale in Abu Dhabi, meaning Formula 1’s season will be bookended with a pair of events in the region (Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will be the first two rounds).

prema racing team's british driver oliver bearman is seen in

SOPA Images//Getty Images

Bearman Gets Haas Outings

Ferrari-backed junior driver Oliver Bearman will make his Formula 1 practice debut with Haas this month. Bearman, 18, is sixth in this year’s Formula 2 championship but has regularly impressed, taking four victories, including in both races in Baku.

Per Formula 1 regulations each team must run a rookie driver in two FP1 sessions and Bearman ticks the box for Haas; he will drive the VF-23 in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi. British driver Bearman spent the Qatar Grand Prix weekend embedded within Haas and was spotted taking in Sunday’s grid.

“I am so happy to be joining Haas driving in Mexico and Abu Dhabi,” said Bearman. “Getting to Formula 1 has been my dream since I was go-karting so to be driving a car for the first time this year is really special. I’m grateful to the team, and of course Ferrari, for allowing me this chance. I’m working hard to make sure I’m ready to support the team as best I can on both occasions.”

Haas has already retained both of its current drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg, for the 2024 season. Bearman is expected to remain in Formula 2 with Prema in 2024.

F3 Champion Bortoleto Joins McLaren

Formula 3 champion Gabriel Bortoleto has joined McLaren’s young driver program. The 18-year-old Brazilian, a protégé of Fernando Alonso’s management group, put in a mature and consistent season to win the tertiary category and has now been taken under McLaren’s wing.

Bortoleto’s plans for 2024 have not yet been outlined but he is expected to step up to Formula 2.

Share This Article
Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
Leave a comment