- The fallout from last Sunday’s tedious French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard continued throughout Thursday’s media briefings in Austria, with a spotlight being placed on F1’s future and where the sport is anticipated to go from 2021 onwards. Much of the debate had been stoked by Lewis Hamilton’s post-race comments in France, leading to others chipping in with their views on F1’s current state.

- All of the drivers were in agreement that major changes are required for 2021, with most citing the difficulty to follow other cars are being a major sticking point. Max Verstappen also highlighted issues with tyres that prevented drivers from following others closely and maintaining tyre performance, and added that he thought there was still too much difference in engine performance through the field.

- Hamilton also added in some more ideas, again criticising the weight of the current cars which have put braking technology “on the limit” and also impact on tyre wear. Those combined with the high temperatures expected in Austria made Hamilton fearful of the race that could unfold on Sunday, saying he anticipates a lot of lift and coasting from drivers.

Daniel Ricciardo revealed he sometimes thinks about the spectacle for fans while he is in the car during races. “Sometimes in the car during the race, I am thinking about the people watching the race - I kid you not,” Ricciardo said. “I think ‘I hope there is a battle somewhere in front of me because right now nothing is happening [around me]’. I am aware of it for sure, and as a racer I want everything to be closer, but as a spectator I’d want to be watching something closer.”

- Ricciardo joked that F1 should go back to the year 1714 to solve its current problems: “Before it existed there was no issues.” When it was noted Mercedes also didn’t exist in 1714, he laughed and said: “Problem solved!”

- After his initial angst on Twitter following his two penalties at the end of the French Grand Prix, Ricciardo said he “got over it pretty quickly”, but said he believed applying two penalties remained harsh” “With the one I would have already dropped to 10th. Give me one point for trying. Nothing against Gasly but he was not in our battle at all, and he kind of steals the points. I didn’t think that justified it.”

Pierre Gasly hosted one of the best-attended media sessions of the day in Austria amid whispers about his future at Red Bull following a difficult start to the season. However, he said he had no concerns about his future: “I think at the moment no-one is happy, and I’m the first one not happy at the performance.” Communication is understood to be a major issue on Gasly’s side of the Red Bull garage.

- One name linked with Red Bull is – ah, yes, quite the throwback – Daniil Kvyat, who raced for the team in 2015 and the first four races of 2016. Kvyat gave no thought to the rumours though, stressing he was focused on his current duties at Toro Rosso, and his upcoming fatherhood with his partner Kelly Piquet due to give birth around the British Grand Prix weekend.

- Another driver who has struggled to make a splash so far this year is Antonio Giovinazzi, who is the only non-Williams racer yet to score a point this year. Giovinazzi said his confidence remained high despite the early-season struggles, boosted by his recent good form in qualifying up against teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Alexander Albon is due to start at the back of the grid on Sunday after taking a new power unit, upgrading to Honda’s ‘Spec 3’ engine. Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg are also reported to be due to take new parts (and subsequent penalties) following Renault’s updated engine arriving in France.

- The detection point for the DRS zone on the main straight has been pushed back by 30 metres, putting it closer to the final corner at Turn 10. Austria will once again run with three DRS zones: one on the main straight; one from Turn 1 to Turn 3; and one from Turn 3 to Turn 4.

- Red Bull junior Pato O’Ward will make his Formula 2 debut this weekend in Austria, replacing the banned Mahaveer Raghunathan at MP Motorsport. O’Ward has been racing in IndyCar this year after winning the Indy Lights title in 2018, but is facing funding uncertainty to keep racing in the United States. Red Bull is known not to be contributing any funding to his U.S. racing activities, but this weekend appears to be a first step towards moving up the European ladder.

-  The other driver changes in F2 see Arjun Maini return, having joined Campos in place of Dorian Boccolacci, and Ryan Tveter make his debut in the category in place of Ralph Boschung. In F3, Giorgio Carrara takes up the vacant #15 seat at Jenzer Motorsport, last raced in by Artem Petrov in Spain.



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