F1 reveals Saudi Arabia street circuit & Alonso's metal jaw | In The News

21-03-2021 18:18

The countdown to the start of the season is on and preparations are stepping up which of course means there has been plenty going on in the world of Formula 1 over the last week. So here's a recap of the biggest stories from the last seven days!

Pre-season testing

This time last week pre-season testing in Bahrain had just concluded as over the three days we got our first look at the 2021 grid. In years gone by Mercedes have been the standard but not this year! Max Verstappen led the way for Red Bull setting the fastest time of the weekend on Sunday. The Dutchman's time of 1: 28.960 was the fastest time of the whole event and he was joined in the top two by another Honda powered car Yuki Tsunoda who showcased what he could be capable of this year. 

Mercedes are still strong favorites but they had a weird weekend to say the least! Bottas topped the timesheets on day two but Mercedes never really got going, struggling with some reliability issues and they drove the fewest number of laps out of the entire field so plenty to ponder for them! 

There were strong weekends for McLaren who showed glimpses of real potential and Alpha Tauri with Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly showing they can be a force in the midfield! However it was a seriously underwhelming weekend for a popular pick for best of the rest in the form of Aston Martin. The return of the famous brand and racing green, it was set up to be a huge season but it was a struggle for Sebastian Vettel 's new team who completed the second fewest number of laps and had issues with the Mercedes gearbox. 

Looking ahead to next week and the season opener, Mercedes remain hot favorites for the race in Sakhir which is the third of the last four races to be held at the circuit. However, don't be shocked if Red Bull are the leading force as F1 returns!

Alonso's metal jaw

One man who made his F1 return last weekend was Fernando Alonso as he stepped into an Alpine F1 car. It’s been a challenging winter break for the Spaniard as he suffered a cycling accident during the offseason and revealed he’s got metal plates in his jaw which he will be racing with this season. He hopes to have them removed at the end of the year but we are glad to see him fully recovered and back on the Formula 1 grid!

Murray Walker

Next, we have the sad news of Murray Walker’s passing at the age of 97. Walker was a beloved commentator in the world of sport let alone motorsport, making his radio commentary debut for the BBC at the 1949 British Grand Prix.

Walker went full time in F1 from 1978 and during his time with the mic, he struck up a partnership with James Hunt. The pair didn’t always get on and on one occasion the producer was forced to come between them after a dispute over the microphone. The pair entertained the masses until Hunt’s death in 1992 but Walker would continue with his last full-time race being the 2001 US Grand Prix. 
In 1996 he was awarded an OBE for his services to broadcasting and was also honoured by the Royal Television Society as well as with a BAFTA in 2002!

Saudia Arabia layout unveiled

And finally, we got our first look at the Saudi Arabia street circuit layout. At just over 6 kilometers long, the circuit in Jeddah will feature 27 turns and potentially three DRS zones. The first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is ​​set to take place at the start of December and it is safe to say it is going to be a rapid one even by F1 standards!

What do you think of the new Saudi Arabia circuit? Let us know in the comments below! Enjoyed the video? Check out the GP Blog YouTube channel!

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