Counting Down to the Checkered Flag: Everything you need to know about the Austin Grand Prix.

It’s race week! This weekend, we head to Austin, Texas to the Circuit of the Americas for the 19th round, and the 5th round to include a sprint race. Let’s break down the big stories of the week and look ahead to the race…

If you had told me at the start of the season that Sergio Pérez’s seat would have serious rumours about being up for grabs for next year, I’d be utterly bamboozled by your doubts surrounding the Mexican Minister of Defence himself. But his recent run of poor form in the same car that this year’s world champion Max Verstappen won ten races in a row in has sparked rumours from the paddock that his seat may not be safe for next season. This is despite his contract running up to the end of the 2024 season, where other teams could make good headway in catching up to Verstappen’s Red Bull. It’s clear he needs an ultimatum: if Checo can’t find a way to recover his once-stellar form and support Max as the dependable number two driver we all know he can be, then his future may not lie in Red Bull any longer.

In the driver’s championship battle, Lewis Hamilton has been making an impressive charge for P2 in the standings. Last week in Qatar, his lap 1 tussle with teammate George Russell opened the gap between him and Pérez. Russell’s incredible drive from last to fourth is promising for Mercedes’ performance for the end of this season, helping them secure their position in the constructors fight for second. Will a seven-time world champion snapping at Checo’s heels cause him to crumble once again, or will Pérez prove the doubters wrong?

While Checo faces the pressure to deliver on the F1 stage, he’s not the only one grappling with expectations. Following Oscar Piastri’s incredible results in Japan and Qatar thanks to McLaren’s miraculous turn of form, fellow rookie Logan Sargeant is feeling the papaya-flavoured heat to beat his teammate. Despite glimmers of promise with some great overtakes and making Q3 in the Netherlands, his crash-happy nature is beginning to damage his reputation (and Williams Racing’s bank account). But team boss, James Vowles, has hope yet for the American newcomer, stating last week that the team has ‘a responsibility to give Logan time to show his best’. It’s clear that JV wants to see his academy drivers flourish in the sport, but his lacklustre performances even against his teammate make it only harder for the team to justify Logan’s seat.

Time for some positive news: fan favourite Danny Ric is back! The eight-time race winner has now fully recovered from the nasty wrist injury he sustained in Zandvoort FP2. He is keen to prove himself as the best replacement for Pérez if he fails to revitalise his talent. Ricciardo’s career may have been tainted by a poor stint at McLaren, but his return to a more familiar environment may well be what he needs to leave a lasting legacy for his otherwise incredibly successful career. Do you think Ricciardo will perform well in AlphaTauri? Would he make a good replacement for Pérez? Let us know by DM’ing us on Instagram @Lborolabel.

Shifting gears; everyone’s favourite tyre-chewer Haas have teased a new livery going into this race weekend. The US-owned team are bringing a significant upgrade package to Austin to try and crawl back up the constructor standings in the final races. The VF-23 will be sporting changes to its engine cover, floor and sidepods which Magnussen hopes will provide the team with a better direction to take the car in when the next season rolls around.

You can watch the race on Sky Sports F1, or at JC’s right here at the Student’s Union. Here is a list of start times and dates for all sessions (all times in BST):


– Free Practice: 18:30 – 19:30

– Qualifying: 22:00 – 23:00


– Sprint Shootout: 18:30 – 19:00

– Sprint: 23:00 – 00:00


– Race: 22:00 – 00:00

Stay tuned for the race recap coming this Tuesday, as well as for more race warm-ups, recaps, news, and more!

Edited by: Grace Hughes


Comments are closed.