Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
Liberty eyes F1 budget cap for 2021
|Ferrari spends over $400 million per year on F1|
- Sainz Jr. still waiting for news about future
- Renault could not supply four teams - Stoll
- Honda deal failure 'McLaren's fault' - Ecclestone
- Mercedes not re-thinking F1 project until 2020
- Kubica eyeing F1 options beyond Renault
- Wolff races 1990 DTM car in Germany
- No new Singapore GP contract yet - Carey
Liberty eyes F1 budget cap for 2021
(GMM) Liberty Media is looking to introduce a budget cap of EUR 150 million per team from 2021.
Germany's Sport Bild reports that the new F1 owner intends to bring in the dramatic rule to compliment the cheaper engine rules, with teams then allowed to spend a further EUR 50 million on marketing, hospitality and drivers.
The smaller teams are obviously supportive of the move to level the playing field.
"That number (EUR 150m) would actually be an increase for us," said Haas team owner Gene Haas.
"I think the bigger problem is the bigger teams."
Indeed, staff numbers counting 1000 plus are no longer unusual at the top of F1, so the biggest impact of the budget cap would be the forced loss of hundreds of jobs.
"That's where the new owners are going to run into some big obstacles," said Haas. "You just can't change it overnight."
But that's where the pre-2021 'glide path' comes in, with even Mercedes' Toto Wolff saying he is open to budget cap discussions about that.
"I think we all live in the same financial reality, we have all seen teams growing dramatically over the years and we are all very sensible about wanting to somehow contain it," he said.
"The discussions that have been happening are at a very early stage but I think there is no big disagreement."
Sainz Jr. still waiting for news about future
(GMM) Carlos Sainz Jr. says he is still waiting for news about his future in F1.
|Carlos Sainz Jr.|
Widespread reports say the Spaniard is definitely heading from Toro Rosso to the works Renault team for 2018, and maybe even from Malaysia next month to replace the point-less Jolyon Palmer.
But Sainz, 23, is confirming nothing.
"Maybe I have the same information as you," he told Spanish radio Cadena Cope ahead of the Singapore grand prix.
"Already from June, after clarifying a number of things in a clear and direct conversation with them, I left my future in the hands of Red Bull.
"From then I have not done anything except wait and trust what they decide," Sainz added.
He denied that his future is inextricably tied up with the McLaren-Honda split, as McLaren and Toro Rosso swap engine partners for 2018.
"It would seem to be good if (Fernando) Alonso goes with McLaren-Renault, but what McLaren and Renault do doesn't affect me much," said Sainz.
"I'm only thinking about my weekend in Singapore."
Renault could not supply four teams - Stoll
(GMM) The world of F1 is heading to Singapore expecting news about the McLaren-Honda split to become official.
It is now an open secret that McLaren will instead team up with Renault, in a complex deal that involves Toro Rosso taking over the Honda deal.
Asked why Renault simply didn't add a fourth team to its F1 roster rather than losing Toro Rosso, Renault F1 president Jerome Stoll said at the Frankfurt Motor Show: "Technically, we cannot.
"Otherwise, it would be to the detriment of one of the three teams we supply," he is quoted in a French-language AFP report.
"After all we are not a simple supplier in F1, but an actual actor of the competition. Our problem is the strategy we have put in place to reach the podium by 2020."
It is widely believed that, tied up with the complex deal, Toro Rosso owner Red Bull has agreed to release Carlos Sainz to the works Renault team.
That is despite the fact that some see Frenchman Esteban Ocon as a more natural teammate for German Nico Hulkenberg at Renault.
Asked about that, Stoll said: "We talk to everyone.
"You have to see who is not free, who is free completely, or who is partially free with an elastic to go back. With Esteban, he has a contract with Mercedes," he explained.
"So if he comes, it is for a given period. So is it interesting to have him for this period and then, when it could get even better, that elastic is pulled? It may make sense or it may not."
One interpretation is that the driver market will become even more interesting after 2018, when the deals of many drivers expire.
But Stoll said: "In fact, there will not be so many places, since Vettel and Hamilton have re-signed. So those who target Mercedes and Ferrari are likely to be disappointed.
"We are a very good option for very good drivers," he added.
Honda deal failure 'McLaren's fault' - Ecclestone
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that the complex McLaren-Renault deal is "done".
Although no longer the hands-on F1 supremo, the sport's 86-year-old 'chairman emeritus' told the Daily Mail newspaper he has no doubt the McLaren-Honda split has paved the way for Fernando Alonso to stay in the sport.
"The Renault deal is all done," he said. "Alonso staying is super news."
However, Ecclestone is not sure McLaren's switch from struggling Honda power to customer Renault engines will be a silver bullet for the once-great British team.
"I can't see why McLaren will be any happier with Renault than they are with Honda," he said.
"It wasn't Honda's fault things didn't work out, it was McLaren's. Every day they had a fight about everything, instead of working with them, which was a little bit stupid."
Mercedes not re-thinking F1 project until 2020
(GMM) Mercedes is not yet thinking about its future in F1 beyond 2020.
That is the claim of Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of the German carmaker's parent Daimler.
Mercedes' future in motor racing has been the subject of recent speculation, after it announced its impending withdrawal from DTM and decision to join Formula E from 2019.
Speaking at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Zetsche said: "Formula one is linked to our history and our brand.
"It is a component that has helped us develop the brand and make it younger, so for now I do not see a change of strategy until 2021. The Concorde agreement will last until that date and I am not even thinking about it," he added.
Zetsche was speaking after Mercedes launched the $5 million Project One supercar, featuring a 1000hp hybrid F1 engine.
"We decided to leave DTM and start the project in Formula E," he explained. "At the moment this series is a social and PR platform, but we want to help to increase the competition between the teams."
Kubica eyeing F1 options beyond Renault
(GMM) Robert Kubica is exploring his options at other teams for 2018.
|Robert Kubica finding no room at Renault|
The news comes amid widespread reports the French works team Renault is set to pair current Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz with Nico Hulkenberg next year.
Kubica had been a contender for a 2018 seat after a spate of tests, but boss Cyril Abiteboul recently revealed his doubts.
"I don't want to create speculation and I don't want to put on the team some obligation to go further because there is an interest from the public to see Robert back," said the Frenchman.
"We would all like Robert to be back, but it has to make sense," Abiteboul added.
So with Sainz heading to Renault, the latest news is that Kubica has asked to be released from an agreement with the French team so he can explore other options for 2018.
Speed Week reports that those other options are Sauber and Williams.
Williams may be interested in the 32-year-old former BMW and Renault driver to replace Felipe Massa.
Mercedes-backed Pascal Wehrlein may have been another option for Williams next year, but because the British team is sponsored by alcohol brand Martini, teenager Lance Stroll's teammate needs to be over the age of 25.
Amid all the Kubica rumors, there is one figure who is not barracking for the Pole's comeback.
"Honestly, I don't understand," said 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, whose own F1 career ended in 2006 when BMW replaced him with Kubica mid-season.
"Firstly, what driver is offered a return after six years?" he told the Belgian website F1nal-lap.
"Also, he was already struggling against Petrov at the end of his career. He won a race, like Maldonado did, but after that what? And then he is no longer 100 per cent.
"I think if he did not have his problem (injury), he would never have been given a second chance. What bothers me the most is that it's a media thing, with plenty of other drivers more deserving of a second chance," said Villeneuve.
Villeneuve, now a pundit for Italian TV, admits he has never got on with Kubica on a personal level -- particularly during their shared time at BMW.
"At the time, he was unbearable," said the French Canadian.
"For me, it was a terrible time. You know, in the paddock you have to be respectful. Respectful of what was achieved by others and the environment in which we operate.
"So I have a little trouble imagining something positive about his return to F1," Villeneuve added.
Wolff races 1990 DTM car in Germany
(GMM) Toto Wolff made his return to competitive motor racing last weekend at the Nurburgring.
The Mercedes boss drove a 1990 Mercedes 190 DTM in a race against other historic cars, including one driven by former F1 driver Christian Danner.
However, the 45-year-old Austrian actually promised his wife Susie some years ago that he would never again race competitively.
Wolff raced in Formula Ford and the Austrian rally and FIA GT championships, and in 2009 was lucky to survive an horror 270kph crash when trying to break the Nordschleife lap record.
He smiled when asked about his 2017 comeback: "Susie was not amused.
"It was a lot of fun to drive that car," Wolff added. "I do not regret it. It once again clarified why I ended up in this sport."
No new Singapore GP contract yet - Carey
(GMM) Chase Carey says he wants Singapore to stay on the F1 calendar.
The spectacular night race in the Asian city-state has become one of the most popular stops on the annual F1 calendar.
But a deal beyond this weekend's event has not yet been agreed, with Singapore being allocated mere provisional status on the 2018 race schedule.
F1 chief executive Carey said on Wednesday: "We are actively engaged with our partners. Our goal is to reach a new deal.
"We have a great relationship with our partners, a deal has not been concluded but discussions are still ongoing," he told the local Straits Times newspaper on the sidelines of a sport conference in Singapore.
Carey continued: "Singapore anchors our Asian strategy, it is the signature race for Asia.
"This is the marquee race and our goal is to renew the contract. It is certainly a race we are proud of."