At 19, Frenchman Isack Hadjar completed his first laps in a Formula 1 car, during a free practice session for the last Mexican Grand Prix. Young star of the Red Bull galaxy, Hadjar already seems to have a future in the premier discipline.
Isack Hadjar will never forget this Friday, October 27, which he describes as “best day of his life”. Twenty-five dream laps in the AlphaTauri on the Mexico circuit, no errors and a seventeenth time, 1s4 behind his teammate of the day Daniel Ricciardo, which is a great performance on a track that Hadjar did not know. “Isack had never been in a Formula 1 car and had never driven in Mexico, neither in F3 nor in F2,” explains Franz Tost, director of AlphaTauri. A first session in Europe, at Silverstone or Paul-Ricard, would have been simpler. I told him to enjoy the moment, his first time behind the wheel of an F1 car, without pressure. ‘The rest, you don’t care!’ As soon as he sat in the car, he was calm and focused, and he did a good job. His technical feedback was impressive, it matched what we saw on the telemetry readings. He rode really well. ”
The managers of Red Bull, owners of the world champion team and Alpha-Tauri, which serves as a nursery for drivers, are enthusiastic about the driving and attitude of Isack Hadjar, a determined young man with a whole character and spontaneous, which makes him very endearing. This boy has a freshness that stands out in the sometimes formatted world of Formula 1. His account of his first day in F1, full of authenticity and honesty, is touching. “I arrived quite early in the morning, four hours before the tests,” says Isack Hadjar. I was very stressed, honestly I was really scared because I had never driven an F1 car. I had breakfast, had several briefings with the engineers, then my physio warmed me up. I couldn’t believe I was going to drive an F1 car. I put on my wetsuit and I was like, ‘What the hell is the plan? I’m going to drive an F1 car, it’s crazy!’ The time passed quickly, I feel like I arrived at the circuit and two seconds later I was in the car. As I headed towards the garage, I was even more apprehensive because it is not an easy track. I had prepared myself really well for the simulator, but F1 is so complicated that when you get into the car you say to yourself: ‘Damn, I forgot everything. ‘I was a little stressed. When I turned on the engine, the heart was beating really hard, but as soon as the 1,000 horsepower kicked in, I came back down, I was in my thing. Then, we hit the track and implemented the plan as planned, without making too many mistakes. T ost told me that I had done a very good job, I believe it sincerely, for a very first it was good. ” After a pat on the shoulder of his foal, a rare display of affection from the austere Austrian boss, Tost completes his analysis: “We were impressed by his calm. Isack tried all three types of tires, and he did very well each time. I hope this doesn’t go down as the happiest day of his life, because I think he will win races and championships. ”
Formula 1 sporting regulations require teams to offer two free practice sessions per year to a beginner driver in order to discover the discipline, because testing with current cars outside of Grands Prix is prohibited. Hadjar therefore completed his first laps in F1 in Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri among nineteen other drivers. “I was hallucinated when I came out of the pits the first time seeing Leclerc in the mirrors. It’s also crazy to share the track with Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, guys I’ve always watched,” he repeats.
This day represents a huge ray of sunshine in Isack Hadjar’s season. Engaged by Red Bull in the Formula 2 championship, he was only in 14th place overall before the last round at the end of November. A disappointing result for his first season in the discipline, after an impressive 2022 in Formula 3, where, despite his beginner status, he finished fourth. Next season, Hadjar will surely return to Formula 2, with the objective of winning the title and opening wide the door to Formula 1, which is already ajar. “He has a future in Formula 1, I see him in F1 in 2025 or 2026,” says Tost. Before that, there will be another very beautiful day, November 24 in Abu Dhabi. This time, he will get into the Red Bull, the world champion car with Max Verstappen, during the first free practice session. “Before coming to Mexico, I already knew that I was going to ride the Red Bull in Abu Dhabi,” says Hadjar. Driving the AlphaT auri was good preparation, I know a little better how an F1 car works. At the end of the tests, I was just happy, I felt a relaxation, I said to myself: ‘That’s it, you did your first F1 tests and it was less hard than you thought. ‘The stress I had before this session couldn’t be worse. In Abu Dhabi, driving the best car in the world will be a blast. ” Going from one of the cars at the back of the pack to the one that has won almost everything will inevitably be another unforgettable moment. It was with an interested eye that Christian Horner, the boss of the Red Bull team, followed Hadjar’s tests in the Alpha-Tauri. “Isack did a very good job, without making any mistakes, constate Horner. He had a reasonable approach. It’s a very good start to his brief career in Formula 1. It was important before he could get into a Red Bull. ”
Born September 28, 2004, Isack Hadjar can therefore aim to arrive in Formula 1 in 2025 if he has a convincing season in F2 next year. He would then be 20 and a half years old, which would make him the second youngest Frenchman to start in F1 behind Ocon (19 years and 11 months) but ahead of Gasly (21 years and 7 months). Depending on how the Red Bull galaxy works, he would start in the AlphaTauri team (which will soon change its name) before hoping for a move to Red Bull. Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo succeeded in this transfer. Gasly, Albon, Kvyat, a little less. And others were never promoted, such as Vergne, Buemi, Hartley, Bourdais or Tsunoda. There is therefore a long way to go to realize the prediction of victories and titles put forward by Franz Tost. Isack Hadjar, a boy in a hurry, likes it when everything goes quickly, but he still has time to blossom. Because, as Daniel Ricciardo, his teammate said in the space of an hour in the AlphaTauri garage, “Isack is only 19, he’s still a baby.”
Second title for Rovanperä
At 23, Kalle Rovanperä has just won his second consecutive world rally champion title. For comparison, Sébastien Loeb won his first crown at 30, and Sébastien Ogier at 29. The Finn was able to settle for second place behind Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) at the Central European Rally to win the championship, following Evans’ accident. There will therefore be no more issues for the last round in Japan (from November 16 to 19), where Ogier will be present.
Opening of the ticket office
After the success of the centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans last June and its 325,000 spectators, the premier endurance event will take place on June 15 and 16, 2024. The ticket office will open this Wednesday, November 15. Due to the enthusiasm generated by the previous edition, ticket sales will be limited to six tickets per person. The field in the premier category promises to be exceptional with Ferrari, winner in 2023, Toyota, Porsche, Cadillac, Peugeot and newcomers Lamborghini, BMW and Alpine.
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