McLaren expect stronger pace in Japan

In the round-up: McLaren look forward to this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, fresh from making the podium in Singapore on a less favourable track.

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In brief

McLaren “curious to see” how quick their car is at Suzuka

McLaren matched their best race result of the last two years in last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix as Lando Norris finished second. He was the fist of the team’s drivers to get his hands on their latest update last and Oscar Piastri will get the same this weekend.

While the team is not talking up their chances of winning this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, they expect Suzuka will suit the McLaren MCL60 more than the Marina Bay street circuit did.

“On the paper, it should be more suitable than Singapore,” said McLaren team principal Andrea Stella. “The high-speed section and smooth track” are “the main two reasons really why it should be more suitable than the circuit in Singapore,” he explained.

“There’s a couple of corners which are a bit tricky, which is the hairpin and the last chicane, and I’m really curious to see how we do there. It’s two very important corners for lap time. But I would say sector one should suit our car. So from a genuinely technical point of view, the absolute level of competitiveness will depend on how we do in the hairpin and the chicane.”

Vettel brings bee houses to Suzuka

Four-times Formula 1 world champion and biodiversity enthusiast Sebastian Vettel has returned to Suzuka delivering bee houses to the track. The kerbs at turn two have been painted black-and-yellow to celebrate the bees’ arrival, with their houses located on a grass mound behind the barriers on the inside of the corner.

“I’m very, very excited. We are launching a new project called Buzzin Corner. We’re at turn two at Suzuka, my favourite track,” said Vettel. “Together with the title ‘Buzzin Corner’, we are racing for biodiversity. I want to with this project create awareness around the importance and subject of biodiversity.”

Vettel says “the bee is the perfect ambassador” for his project. “We will have an activation tomorrow [Thursday] with drivers, without taking too much of the surprise element away. But we will be having these insect hotels that I installed, and it will be tomorrow at 4pm.”

Haas praise Hulkenberg

Haas’ director of engineering Ayao Komatsu has praised Nico Hulkenberg’s impact this year for enabling the team to find the performance level of its VF-23 car.

“The VF-23 has weaknesses but one good point to start with is that our qualifying performances have been good. Nico brought such an amazing baseline, so we knew the limit of the car in qualifying, but at the same time it was clear that our long-run race pace was the issue,” said Komatsu.

“So, we’ve been really focused on that and even on the driver’s side, they’ve been open to it from day one. Of course, when the car is not great, it’s so important that the trackside team, the design office, and the aerodynamics team communicate with each other really well and understand what we need to improve.”

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Tsunoda’s racing career turned into comic series

AlphaTauri F1 driver Yuki Tsunoda has had his racing career chronicled in a trilogy of comics which is available to buy for a limited time.

Online auction company Catawiki is behind ‘The Yuki Trilogy’, which chronicles “the life and adventures of the Scuderia AlphaTauri driving star, from his unexpected race beginnings to deeply personal off-grid moments”. Tsunoda will sign the printed editions, that will be on sale in an auction running to 1st October.

Award-winning manga artist Inko Ai Takita collaborated with Tsunoda on the writing and drawing of the comic series, with Tsunoda introducing his fondness for his mother’s chicken recipe into the storyline.

“To witness my story through the lens of manga feels both nostalgic and exciting. It is a new glimpse into my journey,” said Tsunoda. Catawiki will also auction Tsunoda and Max Verstappen’s old race suits, as well as a Toro Rosso STR5 car from the 2010 F1 season.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Nick!

On this day in motorsport

Sebastian Vettel comfortably took pole position for Red Bull in Singapore today in 2013

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