Five issues that need resolving during F1 summer break

Formula 1 takes a well-earned break for much of August, but that does not mean that all falls quiet.

While the action of a race weekend will cease for a little under a month, there are topics involving teams, drivers, Formula 1 and the governing body, the FIA, which will require continued attention.

So, Planet Sport takes a took at the five issues which, summer break or not, can not be temporarily swept under the carpet.

Ferrari strategy and reliability problems

Ferrari's Leclerc and Sainz at Austrian GP

If pace alone decided the state of Formula 1's title battles, then Ferrari and Red Bull would pretty much be tied at the top of the standings, but alas, they're not.

While the Ferrari has often been a match for the Red Bull during the opening half of the season, and at times superior, Ferrari have shot themselves in the foot far too many times, leaving Charles Leclerc way behind Max Verstappen in the Drivers' Championship, while Ferrari trail Red Bull by a considerable margin in the Constructors' standings.

Questionable decisions cost Ferrari again recently in France - a call to pit Carlos Sainz for a second time meaning that he fell out of contention for a top-three finish.

The drivers have oftentimes not been able to rely on the Ferrari power unit either, which has twice forced Charles Leclerc to retire while leading. Sainz has also had his fair share of power unit failures.

Already Ferrari's title hopes are hanging by a thread, further issues with reliability or strategy after the summer break would surely seal their fate.

Ongoing row over the Spa Technical Directive

Ferrari chase Max Verstappen at Austrian GP

After the major regulation changes introduced for 2022, some teams struggled with their challengers bouncing down the straights, a feature of cars using ground-effect aerodynamics like Formula 1 now does.

The FIA will look to address the bouncing with a Technical Directive as of the Belgian Grand Prix, the first outing after the summer break.

Red Bull though has led the criticism against this ruling, suggesting that it came about in response to the struggles of Mercedes.

And looking further ahead to 2023, reports are circulating which suggesr that more than half of the teams are ready to protest changes relating to the floors on the cars, aimed at putting a stop to the bouncing phenomenon, known as 'porpoising', for good.

The FIA has major work to do before Spa then if they are to bring these teams back on the same page.

Sergio Perez's form

After winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Perez was talking about challenging for the 2022 title, rather than playing a supporting role to Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen.

Slowly though Perez's form has started to tail off, the Mexican racer saying that the upgrades introduced by Red Bull are taking the RB18 further away from his comfort zone.

While Verstappen and Red Bull hold comfortable leads in their respective championships, Red Bull need Perez in the mix, especially if Ferrari get over their strategy and reliability problems to start putting wins on the board consistently.

There is also the threat that Mercedes could return to form, so Red Bull need to make sure that Perez is back to his best after the summer break with 10 races of the season remaining.

Changing of the F1 guard?

Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso

After Kimi Raikkonen decided to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season, the sport has now lost another of the old guard in Sebastian Vettel.

The four-time World Champion will leave following the conclusion of the 2022 campaign, creating an open space at Aston Martin.

This news is set to kick-start F1's annual silly season, where paddock whispers will power up the rumour mill once again.

Fernando Alonso, another of F1's old guard with over 300 race appearances to his name, also has a decision to make with his contract expiring in December.

Does he stay another year with Alpine? Could he be tempted to replace Vettel at Aston Martin? Or, does he follow in Vettel's footsteps and bid farewell to the sport again?

Aston Martin's decision as to which driver replaces Vettel will create a domino effect for the rest of the teams still yet to decide on their 2023 line-up, especially if they decide to approach a driver already under contract. Watch this space...

The 2023 calendar

Formula 1 will soon need to reveal its schedule for 2023 so that plans can be put in place, but uncertainty remains over the venues which will feature on it.

We know already that the Las Vegas Grand Prix will debut in 2023, while Qatar will also return, but there are many more pieces to the puzzle.

Formula 1 is believed to be in talks with Kyalami over the return of the South African Grand Prix, perhaps as soon as 2023, while the Belgian and French GPs are said to be in danger of dropping off the schedule. Monaco also does not have a deal agreed yet beyond 2022.

With talk of an increase to 24 rounds, perhaps featuring races grouped geographically, the summer break marks the perfect opportunity for Formula 1 to wrap-up talks and decide on a calendar for next season.

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