Formula 1: Crazy about cherry blossom season – Sport

Five-foot-seven, and this height seems to be enhanced. The four colleagues sitting on the sofa next to Yuki Tsunoda during a talk before the Japanese Grand Prix, all a head taller than the local hero. They’re having a lot of fun when Tsunoda talks about his fan base, which is apparently talented in crafts: “I got a mini-mini version of myself as a lucky charm. A real tiny one, but with a racing suit and a helmet.” Max Verstappen intervenes: “Maybe it was you yourself?” Tsunoda replies with a hint of doubt: “Maybe, yes.” Collective laughter, and the Japanese himself is laughing loudest. The mood in the scandal-plagued racing series has actually not been as relaxed as it was before the fourth round of the World Championship tomorrow.

What a difference a little ingenuity can make. Seen from the smallest Yuki, they are little people close, which was thought up by the best-selling author Haruki Murakami. As an expert in parallel worlds, he would have really enjoyed the premier class, in which it is not always easy to distinguish between good and bad intentions. In the sloping paddock at Suzuka, the premier class turns out to be a fantasy formula.

This time, the classic on the sloping asphalt eight takes place earlier than ever before in the year. It’s cherry blossom, the branches are even sprouting on Max Verstappen’s sponsorship cap. Six months ago, at the last race on the Suzuka International Racing Course The world champion also arrived with a defeat against Carlos Sainz under his belt. Back then, all the discussions revolved around a lack of form and a desire for revenge, until these were driven to the ground by the Dutchman. There was no discussion about the traveling staff in the fall. Things are completely different this time silly season The transfer poker mentioned has already begun.

“There are a lot of interested parties, we are in a luxury position,” says Christian Horner

All because an exit clause in Max Verstappen’s pension contract with Red Bull became known in the wake of the affair surrounding Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. When asked about his prospects for the coming racing year, Verstappen shocked the Grand Prix community in Suzuka with the succinct sentence: “That depends on whether I still want to drive next year…” Just having fun! The 26-year-old then hastens to claim that he is very happy where he is now. With a little imagination you could even believe that, as long as it relates to the car, it’s guaranteed to be true.

As if the house row and the power struggles in the champion team had never happened, Christian Horner confirmed on Friday that the world champion would “one hundred percent” remain with the racing team in 2025. The Brit is even more fond of talking about the second cockpit, which he has to give away in any case because Sergio Perez’s contract is expiring: “There are a lot of interested parties, we are in a luxury position.”

If you think of Murakami and his wonderful charades, you don’t want to let a boring statement destroy your thoughts, especially since that’s a thing with transparency in Formula 1 anyway. Everyone hides their true interests. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff makes no secret of his intentions, which are at least rumored by Lawrence Stroll, the owner of Aston Martin. Both would like to sign Red Bull designer Adrian Newey in a double pack with Max Verstappen; Ferrari is said to have already negotiated with the Brit. How nice it is to imagine such a dream team.

A new candidate for Mercedes: 17-year-old Italian Andrea Kimi Antonelli

Fernando Alonso turns out to be a proven spoilsport, just like on the racetrack. The Spaniard, whose contract with Aston Martin expires at the end of the year, still dreams of a third title at 42. Of course, his manager Flavio Briatore also placed him at Red Bull before his heart operation, and also at Mercedes. Stay on the lookout until it becomes clear what will really happen to Verstappen in the near future. Keeping all options open seems like a clever strategy in a market that Mercedes mastermind Toto Wolff, who is certainly not unresponsive, respectfully describes as “very dynamic”. Like Alonso, the Austrian doesn’t want to be pushed, but he knows that he has to be ready at all times: “I already have the order of my candidates in my head.” This also includes the 17-year-old Italian Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who has already completed his first test laps in a Mercedes. If he doesn’t get Verstappen, who had already slipped through his fingers once, then he’ll just grow a champion himself. What a dream!

The momentum of surprise, see Ferrari’s coup with Lewis Hamilton, should not be underestimated in this frantic business. Even though most of the bee hotels that Sebastian Vettel set up in the second corner last year have now been relocated, the Heppenheimer is currently omnipresent in Japan. For this buzz From a distance, a few sentences from the BBC in which everything could point to a possible comeback or say exactly the opposite are enough. “Sometimes I think about returning,” says the 36-year-old, who has just tested a Porsche prototype. He follows the driver market and what is currently happening there: “But it is not my top priority.”

Which logically looks completely different with Carlos Sainz. Freshly strengthened by his third Grand Prix victory, the 29-year-old flirts with his unemployment, but is already longing for a new, supposedly better cockpit. In addition to the usual suspects Mercedes and Aston Martin, his list also includes the future Audi factory team: “Now it’s about which options are realistic. It’s time to step on the gas in the transfer market and get things in order.”

While everyone is still strategizing, the first successful transfer of the season has just been completed in secret. Lee Stevenson, the front man at Red Bull Racing’s pit stops for a decade and a half, will become chief mechanic at the Sauber racing team with immediate effect. Jack fantasies, they could be from Murakami.

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