Newey's genius unrivalled, Alonso defies age: what we learned from the Brazilian GP

Picture: Chris Graythen / Getty Images via Red Bull Content Pool.

Picture: Chris Graythen / Getty Images via Red Bull Content Pool.

Published Nov 7, 2023


Max Verstappen and Red Bull continued their domination of the Formula One season on Sunday while their rivals, once again, toiled in frustrated pursuit.

On the evidence of a frantic Brazilian Grand Prix, only McLaren, with a strong second half of the season, have lifted themselves into a position to maintain a challenge and dream of success next year.

Aston Martin may have bounced back after a lean run, but like Ferrari and Mercedes who left Interlagos cursing their equipment and their luck, their form has been too patchy to promise much in 2024.

AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from Sunday's contest:

Newey's genius is unrivalled

Red Bull have a three-time champion driver and, at his best, an able number two in Verstappen and Sergio Perez, but the key contributor to their dominance is design genius Adrian Newey.

The 64-year-old chief technical officer of the Milton Keynes-based team has built a car and technical team that have won 19 of 20 races this year.

That statistic confirms not only the sheer speed of Newey's car, but also its reliability in all conditions and on all circuits except for the unique challenge of the heat and humidity of Singapore's street track.

For next year, Newey is almost certain to raise the bar again with his unparalleled mastery of ground effect aerodynamics while the rest, led by the much-improved McLaren, adopt and adapt his car designs.

For Aston Martin, Ferrari and Mercedes in particular, it is vital to understand the sometime-capricious nature of their cars, which as Mercedes showed in Brazil, can dazzle one week and infuriate the next.

Alonso shows age is no problem

Fernando Alonso produced a memorable drive to third place, winning an epic late duel with Perez, and a fine podium finish for Aston Martin, shrugging aside his 42 years with smiling aplomb.

The way his drive stirred the passions of a big Brazilian crowd, who were singing his name as he cavorted on the podium, confirmed his status among the greatest drivers in F1 history.

His comments afterwards confirmed also that he is revelling in his new lease of life with the rapidly-expanding Silverstone-based Aston Martin team that may next year prove to be an embarrassing thorn in Mercedes' side if, as a customer team, they out-perform the factory outfit.

Las Vegas is a journey into the unknown for all

After three contrasting events in the Americas, the return to race in the United States at Las Vegas on November 18 will be an expensive gamble for Formula One.

The race is the first promoted directly by Formula One's commercial rights holders Liberty Media who have faced rising capital costs in building the infrastructure.

Reports at the weekend suggested the project was already more than $35 million above an original budget of $400 million for buying land and building a pits and paddock complex.

Teams and drivers are treating it as an adventure.

"I think we are there more for the show than the racing, if you look at the layout of the track," said an unimpressed Verstappen, whose presence in Nevada will be important for both driving and marketing.

"I'm actually not that into it. I'm more like 'I'll go and do my thing and be gone again..'"

Agence France-Presse

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