Lewis Hamilton reveals the Queen told him off at the Royal lunch
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Formula One is set to return this week as testing in Bahrain begins on Thursday ahead of the 2023 season’s curtain-raiser, as there has been plenty of controversies already before the cars have even taken to a track. Max Verstappen will be hoping to claim a hat-trick of world championships after victories in 2022 and 2021, though Lewis Hamilton is aiming for sole ownership of the most titles in F1 history as he is currently tied with Michael Schumacher on seven wins. Here, Express Sport looks at the latest news in the world of F1.
Hamilton’s contract situation
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff hinted at a new contract for Hamilton last week at the team’s launch of their new car. The Brit previously admitted that talks had not begun on an extension last month, raising fears that the 38-year-old may walk away at the end of his current contract.
His existing deal runs until the end of the season but Wolff admitted that talks have started with the driver. “We’ve done a few of these contracts in the past and they change little so it’s not usually complex apart from the obvious terms.
“We’ve had a first chat but I don’t want to commit to any timeline because it’s not important for him and for us – it runs a full year and we’ll find the right time.”
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Verstappen hit with huge FIA bill
Verstappen is set to pay the FIA more than any other driver in F1 for his Super Licence in 2023. Hamilton will fork out just the sixth-highest amount, while Oscar Piastri and Nico Hulkenberg will pay just the base amount.
After the base fee, drivers with the most championship points from the previous season pay more as Verstappen will be charged a record £855,585 for his Super Licence, £846,353 more than Piastri and Hulkenberg.
The FIA is set to take a whopping £22.11m from the 10 teams, including £5.17million from Red Bull while Verstappen has been a vocal critic of the regulation.
Rivals suspicious of new Ferrari car
Ferrari’s rivals have reportedly raised concerns with the FIA over the legality of their new car, having unveiled the SF-23 with a tweak to the S-Duct concept, according to Formu1a. Several teams have requested clarification from the governing body over whether the switch is legal.
Requests are not uncommon as teams often attempt to find loopholes in the technical rules, though Ferrari are said to be “certain that the solutions adopted on the SF-23 are fully within the rules”.
New team principal Frederic Vasseur has previously claimed that the team are “all optimistic” about the challenger they’ve built. “If you don’t have the reliability, then you are not able to do these three days and then you start on the wrong foot,” Vasseur said.
“We have done the mileage we needed to do on the dyno and we are all optimistic, but only Bahrain will tell us where we are in terms of engine performance. So far it is ok.”
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