Key talking points ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix

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With the pit lane walk just over, the final preparation for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix has officially started today. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó reports from the busy Hungaroring paddock.

Back in the pit lane

Fans could return to the Hungaroring Pit Lane again this year after the unexpected outburst of the coronavirus pandemic forced the promoters to cancel the popular programme for a couple of years. However, given the increased popularity of the Formula One, the Hungarian Grand Prix promoters decided to limit the number of fans who can access the pit lane. Tickets could be purchased for €25.

The track walk lasted a bit over two hours with fans getting the chance of witnessing the new cars in close proximity as most of the teams rolled their machines to the entry of the pit lane for measurements. With teams like Mercedes, Alpine, AlphaTauri, Ferrari and McLaren conducting pit stop practice during this period of time, fans could also witness the details that are hidden in this intense work of the mechanics.

Drivers usually do not make any appearances during the pit lane walk. However, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel walked down the pit lane, receiving many greeting on the day when he announced his retirement. In the closing stages of the pit lane walk, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc rolled out on a bike to complete a lap around the twisty Hungaroring.

Perez to become team boss

Despite remaining eager to continue to compete in Formula One, Red Bull Racing driver Sergio Perez is set to become team boss in the electric powerboat series that will be established by Formula E founder Aljandro Agag.

The Mexican will own one of the twelve teams that is set to make up the grid of the inaugural season of the innovative new series. Perez has great connections to Agag as he drove for his GP2 team back in 2010.

Commenting on the new project, Perez said: “I’m really excited at the prospect of becoming a new team owner in E1 and having a team representing Mexico in the UIM E1 world championship.

“Given my relationship with Alejandro, I’ve kept a close eye on what he’s been doing and his various championships, and I think what he’s achieved with promoting more sustainable forms of motorsport is commendable. Seeing a racing team flying the flag for Mexico on a global stage will be amazing and I cannot wait to watch the RaceBird in action for the first time,” the Mexican concluded.

End of an era for Vettel

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has made a shocking announcement today by confirming that he would leave the sport at the end of the current season. Withstanding the temptation of the social media platforms, the German released his Instagram account today which was followed by the shocking announcement.

Explaining his decision, the Aston Martin driver said: „I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula One over the past 15 years - there are far too many to mention and thank.

„The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it; at the end of the year I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next; it is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family. But today is not about saying goodbye. Rather, it is about saying thank you - to everyone - not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula One could not exist,” Vettel concluded.

No rest for the reigning world champions

Mercedes chief technical officer James Allison confirmed that the Anglo-German squad will not stop brining upgrades to its troublesome W13 despite the limits posed by the cost cap.

The Brackley-based outfit started the year on the back foot after discovering a series of issues with its new car. Although the W13 features many innovations like the zweo-sidepod concept, the team was unable to unlock its full potential as it struggle to cure the porpoising and bouncing of the car.

The team has brought a series of upgrades all through the season so far by introducing major developments at Imola, Barcelona and Silverstone. The team has now revealed that it won’t stop upgrade its car despite the cost cap that seriously limits the opportunities of teams of bringing new elements.

Speaking in the team’s French Grand Prix debrief, Allison confirmed: “In terms of the upgrades themselves, yes, they are incremental steps, they are small steps that were added to the car, but the important point is we have plans to introduce far, far more across the races that follow.

“We won’t be able in one go just to catch up and be with Ferrari and Red Bull. But hopefully, as you have seen across the season so far, we are incrementally closing that gap down and we have more to come.”

Capito finds himself in big dilemma

Williams team boss Jost Capito will need to spend many hours by sorting out his driver line-up for the coming season. While Alexander Albon is set to spend another year with the Grove-based outfit, the team’s Canadian racer Nicholas Latifi is widely expect to lose his race seat for 2023.

With Alpine expected to retain the services of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso alongside Esteban Ocon, Williams has been tipped to sign reigning Formula 2 champion, Alpine’s junior driver Oscar Piastri in a loan-style deal. While this deal seemed to be done and dust, Williams’ own junior driver Logan Sargeant has entered the fray after delivering eye-catching performance in the recent Formula 2 races.

Asked about his plans regarding Williams’ 2023 driver line-up, Capito told reportes: “It would be a great headache, wouldn’t it? I’ve had worse ones! Of course we are impressed, it’s his first season in F2 and we didn’t put any pressure on him so he has the time to develop. “He’s really impressed us how quick he got to grips with the car, the tyre management and his results. How he got the pole [at Paul Ricard] was really impressive and he will be in a Formula 1 car in the future, I’m absolutely convinced.”

Porsche’s F1 buy-in of Red Bull leaked

Volkswagen has been long tipped to enter Formula One with its two brands Porsche and Audi. While the German manufacturer is waiting for the sport to finalize the new engine rules that will be introduced in 2026, a document published by Morocco’s Conseil de la Concurrence that has been leaked revealed that Porsche intend to acquire a 50% stake in Red Bull Technology Ltd.

After Honda quit the sport at the end of last year, Red Bull established its own powertrain division which could serve as the facility where Porsche designs and manufacturers its own F1 engines.

Volkswagen’s other brand Audi has been linked with a potential buy out of the Sauber outfit.