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Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • The wider Pirellis and higher downforce have made passing in F1 near impossible
    The wider Pirellis and higher downforce have made passing in F1 near impossible
    Halo, Pirelli adding to overtake problem - Perez
  • Zak Brown 'the right boss' for Alonso
  • Villeneuve slams Lauda over father jibe
  • Williams: We have to fix this car
  • McLaren open to lending out Norris, but rules out long-term deal
  • Expanded calendar has to make financial sense insist teams
  • Jenson Button engaged to former Playboy model

Halo, Pirelli adding to overtake problem - Perez
(GMM) Sergio Perez thinks the heavy Halo cockpit protection layout and Pirelli tires could be adding to F1's overtaking problem.

It is undeniable that last Sunday's Canadian grand prix on the normally exciting Montreal layout was dull.

"We cannot disagree that qualifying in Monaco and Canada were more exciting than the races themselves," F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn said.

"You expect that at Monaco, but in Montreal the winner is normally not decided until the very end."

Sebastian Vettel said after winning in Canada that F1 has always been like that and always will be.

" I don't like how people today are so short sighted. We had seven races this year and I think some were phenomenal, some were boring.

"But next week the World Cup is starting and I promise you that a lot of the games will not be exciting, but still people will watch it," the Ferrari driver said.

And Brawn says that the exciting thing about F1 in 2018 is that the championship fight is close.

"I agree with Vettel," he said. "Not every race can be exciting, even if that's what we're looking for. People will watch for the championship anyway.

"Like Vettel, I'm also a football fan."

Brawn said one solution Liberty Media is nonetheless working on is a budget cap, to bring the slowest teams closer to the powerfully funded front runners.

But Force India's Sergio Perez thinks another couple of ideas would help.

"I don't understand why it was so impossible to overtake," he told Speed Week after Montreal. "The cars are heavier this year because of Halo, and that doesn't help. But the pace difference you need for an overtake is enormous.

"I think that as long as Pirelli does nothing dramatic, we'll probably always have boring races."

Zak Brown 'the right boss' for Alonso

Zak Brown lets Alonso do whatever the heck he wants to
Zak Brown lets Alonso do whatever the heck he wants to

(GMM) Fernando Alonso says he is definitely not done with racing.

The Spaniard is a fan of surfing, which explains the origin of his Kimoa lifestyle brand.

"I need more free time to practice it," the McLaren driver told AS newspaper.

"Maybe in the future when I retire I can explore it a little more."

But contrary to recent speculation, retirement is actually nowhere close.

He's still full time at McLaren, racing at Le Mans this weekend, and considering Indycar for 2019.

"People think I'm doing other challenges because things are not going well in formula one. But I was trying to come here (Le Mans) when I was with Ferrari in 2013, when I was winning in F1," Alonso said.

And he said other F1 drivers will also want to take on the same challenges as him.

"The only problem is that in F1 your boss doesn't allow you to do that. You have to find the right boss," said Alonso.

Indeed, McLaren's Zak Brown is freely letting Alonso explore his diverse racing desires.

"He's a driver inside him and understands the needs of a driver," Alonso said of Brown. "He then translates his vision to McLaren, which is not just a formula one team but a wider part of motor sport."

Villeneuve slams Lauda over father jibe

Lauda (R) was replaced at Ferrari by Gilles Villeneuve
Lauda (R) was replaced at Ferrari by Gilles Villeneuve

(GMM) Jacques Villeneuve has lashed out not only at Max Verstappen, but also F1 legend Niki Lauda.

Villeneuve, the outspoken 1997 world champion, called Verstappen "a child" after the Dutch driver threatened to "head butt" journalists in Montreal.

But it was subsequent comments by Lauda that really got Villeneuve fired up.

Lauda, a contemporary of F1 legend Gilles Villeneuve, said the famous Canadian racer was a lot like Verstappen.

Jacques, Gilles' son, reacted angrily to that comparison.

"Maybe Lauda is still dealing with Ferrari's decision to replace him with my father," he told Le Journal de Montreal.

"I agree that Verstappen takes risks like my father did, but there is a big difference -- my father had respect for his opponents and learned from his mistakes.

"He had a completely different upbringing. Quite frankly I don't understand the comparison at all," Villeneuve added.

Williams: We have to fix this car

The first Williams car produced under Paddy Lowe's watch has been a disaster
The first Williams car produced under Paddy Lowe's watch has been a disaster

Williams endured yet another woeful grand prix weekend, this time in Canada where their cars were visibly off the pace with Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin struggling with a problematic race car which team chief Claire Williams wants to be sorted out asap.

Much has been written about the ongoing slide of the once mighty Williams, in a nutshell the first car produced under Paddy Lowe’s watch has been a disaster… and heads have rolled including that of (previously) highly rated Dirk de Beer.

Nevertheless, Williams insisted on Sky Sports, “We have to fix this car. We don’t give up, we can’t give up during a season as we’re an independent team. If we gave up our sponsors would probably give up and we can’t afford to do that.”

“It is hard work, we have also got to look at next year’s car but this is going to be the bedrock of next year’s car. We have got to get this car right if we are going to make steps forward next season.”

From the first race in Melbourne, their drivers knew that the FW41 was a lemon but credit to rookie Sirotkin for making the most of a rough deal. On the other hand, Stroll was much more vocal about his disenchantment earlier in the season but has since toned it down, but things are no better with his car.

Williams acknowledged, “It hasn’t been the best year and it is really difficult. It is difficult to keep morale up but the guys are doing a great job. It’s been the one thing I’ve been quite surprised by, how strong the morale is and everyone has dug in really deep and found the Williams fighting spirit.”

“That’s all we can ask from them at the moment. We are putting them through the mill but everyone is working really hard and we have to get ourselves out of this.”

“The support that we are getting at the moment means an awful lot. I know we have let our fans down and I hate that. I’m dreading going to Silverstone because people deserve better from us. All we can do is work through this together as a team and that’s what we are doing. Everyone is fighting.”

De Beer appears to have been the fall guy for the failings of this year’s design, alternatively, technical chief Lowe would have been sent packing for the setback.

But Williams is clearly backing Lowe to get them out of the hole he has dug for them, “We have a recovery plan in place that Paddy has set in motion off the back of Barcelona and we just need to work through that. Unfortunately, though, turning things around when you have the issues that we have isn’t the work of a moment. It’s patience that we need.”

“We have some fantastic people at Williams who are working really hard for us and all under Paddy’s direction. Paddy has got some great credentials and we need to trust in him and trust in the team that we have working for us at the moment that we can get us out of this,” added Williams.

The Grove outfit lie tenth in the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship standings on four points scored by Stroll at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. They trail their closest rivals by eight points.

McLaren open to lending out Norris, but rules out long-term deal

Norris 'flattered' by Toro Rosso interest
Norris 'flattered' by Toro Rosso interest

Zak Brown says he would loan Lando Norris to another formula one team for experience.

Recently, Formula 2 championship leader Norris - a McLaren junior driver - was linked with a mid-season move to Toro Rosso to replace struggling Brendon Hartley.

The rumor was played down, but McLaren executive Brown said that in theory, he would let Norris go.

"We would like him to get experience somewhere," he confirmed.

"Lando is a McLaren driver and we think he has a bright future here, but if an opportunity came elsewhere we would seriously consider it. But we have got no interest in letting Lando go anywhere long term," Brown added.

With both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne's future up in the air for next season, the Woking-based outfit wants to keep its options open, including the possibility of promoting Norris to a full-time race seat with McLaren next year.

Chances of seeing Norris behind the wheel of a Toro Rosso this year appear remote, but Brown would however ponder a short-term offer for the F2 racer, if it helped the McLaren junior gain a head start on the future.

"If there was an opportunity for Lando to gain experience then that’s something we would consider," Brown responded when asked last weekend in Montreal if he would be interested in loaning Norris to Toro Rosso this season.

"Lando is a McLaren driver. He has a bright future here, but we do not have an interest in letting Lando go anywhere on a long-term deal."

Alonso's immediate attention will be focused on Le Mans this weekend. But longer term, an exit from Grand Prix racing at the end of the year would appear likely given McLaren's current under-performance.

"I don't know, 2019 is still a long way ahead," replied the Spaniard when asked by Sky Sports about his plans for the future.

"Normally, I try to take my decisions after the summer break and this year is no different.

"An important decision is coming for sure."

Expanded calendar has to make financial sense insist teams

Robert Fernley
Robert Fernley

It is a matter of fact that if FOM gets its way and finally introduces a budget cap, one of the main areas where teams will seek to save money will be their headcount.

However, with the sport's owners looking to expand the calendar - with some claiming as many as 25 races - teams argue that they would actually need to employ more staff.

Furthermore, in the wake of two races that were almost instantly forgettable, such was the lack of racing, there are fears the sport is putting quantity before quality.

"You have to look at the human logistics in a lot of this," says Force India's Robert Fernley.

"Twenty races, we're very much on the edge of being able to maintain it with one crew, one travelling crew in particular. So once you start moving in beyond that, occasionally we can go to 21 and then we go back to 19 and we can cope with all of that, but once you get a sustained amount of races that are going well up into the twenties, we're going to have to bring in revolving crews and there's a huge cost to that and these are the things we've got to look at so there needs to be just a look at how are we going to do it logistically.

"It's quite capable from a show point of view," he admitted, "but it will change how we, as teams, operate."

"From a human perspective it's a tough on our guys who are having to spend such a huge amount of time away from home," added Claire Williams.

"Maybe drawing the calendar out, starting earlier and finishing later gives more of a break but it actually then takes away time that we have to build our cars over the winter but also for the guys to spend good quality time at home with their families over the winter.

"From a purely sporting fan perspective, if it's from a saturated market, then great if we have more races if we can go to more markets, particularly within America, I think that would crucial for our sport, but if we are to do that then it has to make financial sense and those races that come on the calendar have to come on because they are paying to do so.

"I don't see why teams should be expected to go to new races for nothing," she added, clearly referring to the planned race in Miami which it is said will see FOM - and thereby the teams - share the costs of hosting the event while (hopefully) reaping the profits, "and then the price fund pot dilutes down even further and it's just costing the teams more and more and that shouldn't be the case.

"I think it makes financial sense to do more races and if we can then do it with more people and rotating crews, it could be done," added Sauber's Guenther Steiner. "But I think there is a second factor in there, which is the saturation of the public. How much do they want to see F1? If F1 is on every weekend, every year, every weekend, are we not on a downward spiral?

"I think Liberty Media is aware of this, I don't think there is a big plan in place to go to 25 or 24 races. I think it will always be between 20 and 22 and starting earlier and ending later maybe gives us a little bit more freedom not to have the back-to-back-to-back like we will have in a few weeks. I think they are well aware that there is a saturation factor for the human element and for what the customer actually wants so I don't think they will exaggerate."

Jenson Button engaged to former Playboy model

Brittny Ward
Brittny Ward

Brittny Ward has announced her engagement to Formula 1 driver Jenson Button.

The former Playboy model made the announcement on her Instagram page, where she shared a photo of herself and her new fiancé.

Barefoot in the sand, the pair are seen looking lovingly into each other’s eyes in the sweet snap.

The pair have been dating for two years The pair have been dating for two years [Instagram/Brittny Ward]

Wearing matching navy suits, it seems as though the photo may have been taken as part of an engagement photoshoot.

Brittny’s engagement ring can be prominently seen as she holds on to the F1 ace’s face.

She captioned the post: “Soon to be Mrs. Button,” alongside a ring emoji.

Their engagement comes after the pair have been dating for two years.

The pair began their relationship in March 2016, just three months after Jenson’s split from first wife Jessica Michibata was announced.

Jenson’s latest proposal comes just three years after his and Jessica’s divorce.

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