Max Verstappen setback, Ecclestone shakes up Hamilton saga, McLaren legal battle

F1: Verstappen 'most nervous he's felt' when learning to drift cars

It’s now just over a week until lights out in Zandvoort where Max Verstappen will hope for a ninth consecutive Grand Prix win, on home turf. He and his F1 rivals should return to action rested and refreshed after a month-long summer break, which has left fans longing for more as the second half of the season beckons.

It’s been three long weeks since Verstappen clinched his eighth win on the spin, crossing the line with a dominant 22-second lead at Spa-Francorchamps. To say the Dutchman has set the standard this season would be an understatement, with his 125-point buffer in the Drivers’ Championship making him just about unbeatable in 2023.

There is still a battle on for the podium places, however, with Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton all in contention. Only Red Bull have won a Grand Prix this year, so there is plenty to pride left to fight for once the action resumes.

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McLaren legal battle

McLaren are embroiled in a legal situation heading into the Dutch Grand Prix as health organisations in the Netherlands are unhappy with one of the sponsors on the MCL36.

Velo is the brand creating a buzz in the Netherlands with McLaren standing by their sponsorship deal.

Dutch health organisations are unhappy with the brand, owned by British American Tobacco, being front and centre on a car that will be seen by millions at next weekend’s Grand Prix.

Velo sell ‘100 per cent tobacco-free’ nicotine pouches with the product seen as an alternative to smoking.

McLaren insist they are abiding by the rules of the country by not changing their sponsorship on their car. “All branding carried on McLaren race cars fully complies with regulatory requirements and advertising standards of each country we race in,” said the team.

Ecclestone shakes up Hamilton saga

Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has backtracked on quotes from earlier this year surrounding the 2008 World Championship.

Felipe Massa has long been aggrieved at losing the title to Lewis Hamilton 15 years ago, with the controversy stemming from Nelson Piquet Jr purposefully crashing out of the Singapore Grand Prix.

Earlier this year, Ecclestone was quoted as saying that he and Max Mosley knew about Piquet Jr’s purposeful crash and failed to act on it.

However, he has since told Reuters: “I don’t remember any of this, to be honest. I don’t remember giving that interview for sure.”

Max Verstappen setback

Max Verstappen is facing an unexpected obstacle ahead of his home race at Zandvoort later this month.

Taxi drivers are threatening to shut down the roads to the circuit which would prevent fans, including his famous Orange Army, from accessing the venue following a regulation change from local authorities.

Given the municipality has a population of just over 17,000 people, it is important that local businesses can maximise their income throughout the weekend.

However, following a change in the organisation of the event, taxi companies from outside the immediate vicinity will be unable to operate near the circuit on the race weekend.

As reported by Dutch news outlet Noordhollands Dagblad, this has caused outrage amongst local taxi drivers who usually capitalise on the footfall in the region throughout the Dutch GP weekend to boost their earnings.

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