Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
2019 F1 calendar waiting on Miami troubles
|Will Miami be on the 2019 F1 calendar? The Miami liberals have not filed their lawsuits and marched with their hate signs yet. They'll likely kill it.|
- Renault engine 'really a problem' - Verstappen
- FIA says no to F1 test for Dan Ticktum
- Hulkenberg: Haas, not McLaren now Renault’s biggest threat
- Haas defend 'fair' Ferrari partnership
- COTA boss believes his track can co-exist with Miami
- Kubica had Ferrari contract for 2012
- Villeneuve: Raikkonen penalty less severe if he hit Bottas
2019 F1 calendar waiting on Miami troubles
(GMM) Liberty Media is waiting on progress in Miami before finalizing the 2018 calendar.
It has emerged that the opening seven races on next year's schedule - every race between March and June - have now been fixed: Australia, Bahrain, China, Azerbaijan, Spain, Monaco and Canada.
And the season finale will take place on December 1 in Abu Dhabi.
"The rest of the calendar depends on whether the planned grand prix in Miami takes place," reported Auto Motor und Sport.
There are several issues with Liberty's plans in Miami, but the latest one means that a contract was not signed by a July 1 deadline set by the city.
"As of right now a contract has not been finalized," Stephanie Severino, of Miami's communications office, told Forbes journalist Christian Sylt.
If Miami's troubles can be overcome, it seems an October race date is likely, on a 2019 calendar that will once again probably host 21 grands prix.
"The conversation around 22-23 races is, I think, a few years out," said McLaren boss Zak Brown.
"But if you put another two or three races on the calendar - a Miami, a New York, another one in Asia, some big markets - it's pretty attractive commercially to our partners," he added.
Renault engine 'really a problem' - Verstappen
|Verstappen is making excuses. Maybe he should not crash so often so the team can work on making his car faster rather than stitching it back together all the time|
(GMM) Max Verstappen says Red Bull's title chances have taken a dive.
Although the Dutchman won in Austria, he says at the most recent races, Renault's power deficit has become a much bigger problem.
"I think we have the strongest chassis of anyone," said Verstappen. "If we had the Mercedes or Ferrari engine, they would never see us again.
"But now we have too little speed on the straight. It's really a problem.
"Since Ferrari and Mercedes did their engine upgrade, the deficit has really increased," he added.
He said the biggest example of that was Silverstone, where he says Red Bull was "slow".
And Germany next weekend could also be a problem.
"It's eight corners and many straights in between them," Verstappen said of Hockenheim.
"But you never know, we could achieve good results thanks to incidents and safety cars. But it won't be easy," he told De Telegraaf newspaper.
"I think after that we can really compete in Hungary, Singapore and Mexico. I think on average we lose six, seven tenths because of the engine, but there are perhaps four tenths we can compensate for elsewhere.
"So yes, I see opportunities there," he added.
FIA says no to F1 test for Dan Ticktum
(GMM) Red Bull has hit an obstacle as it tries to promote its next young F1 hotshot.
The energy drink company has been looking for a potential replacement for struggling Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley.
It found him in the form of Daniel Ticktum, a 19-year-old Briton and Red Bull junior driver.
A few years, ago, Ticktum made headlines when he was banned from motor sport for deliberately crashing into a rival.
But now he's under Dr Helmut Marko's wing.
"It's no coincidence that his program has proven so successful," said Ticktum. "I think it's his philosophy for young drivers -- urging them to get on with things, and the lessons he gets them to learn."
Now, Marko wants Ticktum to make the next step with a F1 test in the session to take place after the Hungarian grand prix.
But the FIA's super license rules do not allow it.
"He drives great races in Formula 3 but has not yet scored the points for the license. But how are we supposed to bring our young drivers to formula one?" Marko told Auto Motor und Sport.
If Ticktum cannot drive in Hungary, Marko will pencil him in for the Abu Dhabi test at the end of the season.
Ticktum thinks he is ready.
"I know I'm quick enough and good enough to make F1, but I need to focus on some pieces of the puzzle -- but I'm a lot closer to the finished article," he said.
Hulkenberg: Haas, not McLaren now Renault’s biggest threat
|The Haas car is fast, but its drivers keeping hitting things|
Nico Hulkenberg believes Haas has overtaken McLaren in Formula 1’s pecking order and is quickly establishing itself as Renault’s biggest threat in 2018’s tight midfield battle.
Haas missed a number of opportunities to score big results early on this season despite boasting one of the strongest packages of the midfield teams, but successive points finishes across F1’s first-ever triple header - including its best result of the year in Austria - has lifted the American squad up to fifth in the constructors’ standings.
The two teams are separated by just 19 points as the battle over fourth place continues to intensify. McLaren was expected to provide new engine suppliers Renault with a serious challenge for ‘best of the rest’ status this year, but Hulkenberg feels the Woking-based outfit has slipped back as the season has progressed.
When asked if he feels Haas now poses the greatest threat to Renault, Hulkenberg replied: “It looks like it now, since the last couple of weekends. I think its shifted around with Haas coming through more and McLaren seem to have lost out a little bit.
“We take them seriously because they are fast. How they got there doesn’t really play a role for me, they are strong at the moment and we just have to deal with it.
“They fulfilled their potential [in Austria], whereas before they’ve really missed out. The momentum sometimes swings around, but at the end of the day they have a strong car and a good package.”
Teammate Carlos Sainz agreed, adding the Enstone-based outfit has improvements to make over one-lap after Haas out-qualified both Renault drivers in Austria and Silverstone.
Haas defend 'fair' Ferrari partnership
|The Haas (Ferrari 'B" team) gets all its speed from Ferrari|
Fernando Alonso may feel he's racing against "three Ferrari teams" but Guenther Steiner insists there is nothing wrong with Haas' close ties to Ferrari.
Haas may be fifth, currently second in the midfield battle, but it could have been a different story were it not for wasted opportunities through crashes and bungled pit stops.
The team is fifth, 21 points behind Renault and three ahead of seventh-placed McLaren.
Haas' form had Alonso stating that his McLaren team are having to take on "three" Ferrari teams with Sauber also coming good this season.
This has led to Steiner once again defending Haas' close ties with engine supplier Ferrari.
"I think it's fair - it's in the regulations to do it like this and the regulations were made by the people that are complaining," Steiner told Sky F1.
"I think it's fair in the sense that we do our own development of aero, we just take the parts which in the rules are clearly defined that we can use. I feel very good about it."
Haas not only use Ferrari engines but also all the allotted parts that are permissible for teams to share.
COTA boss believes his track can co-exist with Miami
Though the proposed F1 race in Miami faces a few hurdles before it finally goes ahead, it is almost certain that it will go ahead, as the sports owners seek to expand the sport in their own American backyard.
Despite the fact that in its efforts to meet the ever increasing hosting fees - of which for Miami there will be none - the Circuit of the Americas has had to resort to staging high-profile pop concerts over Grand Prix weekends in a bid to get people through the turnstiles, circuit owner Bobby Epstein is confident that the arrival of Miami will not overly impact his event.
"Miami comes with its own big challenges the first couple of years, just as we saw with Mexico the first couple of years," he said, according to ESPN.
"You really have competition for the F1 fan," he continues. "They're very different experiences and different events. Miami will make for great backdrops and TV and accomplish a lot of those goals.
"Within the time we've had to be able to try and create an all-around weekend fan experience, Austin has some experience in that the town is big enough to allow for a great fan experience both on and off the track but it's small enough for people to embrace F1 when they come here and really take over the city.
"So I think it's a different experience in Miami but I think they both can successfully co-exist together. The first couple of years will put real pressure on us to up our game."
For the most part, over the years the sport has treated its American fan-base shabbily, while there were periods with a couple of annual races there were also long periods with none. And while there were events on great track, there were also events in car parks... not forgetting the debacle that was Indianapolis 2005.
Epstein appreciates that initially, two events in America could result in a certain amount of pain for the promoters but in the long run the move, and Liberty's determination to expand the home fan-base, will pay off.
"It's not just fans, it's also the sponsors and people that would activate that at two events," he says. "There's not necessarily time for both to share the same part of the calendar.
"Logistically for F1 it's completely understandable. For the promoter it's less desirable... less than desirable, in fact!
"Sometimes competition is a really good thing and sometimes it can be painful," he admits. "But as the F1 audience grows in the U.S. it will matter a lot less."
Despite the threat posed to his event, be it Miami or the ever increasing hosting fees, Epstein believes the race at COTA - a track popular with all the drivers - remains viable.
"I think it's mutual expectation that we want to keep going," he says. "Lewis called it his favorite track in the world. It was made for F1.
"It was always a vision of both parties to have a lasting home base for Formula One in the U.S. so it would be a disappointment all around if it didn't continue. Certainly the terms of the contract are going to decide that."
"We're still trying to deal with a Bernie Ecclestone contract which has its own nuances and challenges. We're both, F1 management and COTA, trying to sort through some of those contract challenges that come from accelerators. The hope of a customer is always that the price of a product becomes less expensive as time goes on."
Kubica had Ferrari contract for 2012
|Kubica in 2011. He could be a Ferrari driver right now|
Robert Kubica has revealed that at the time of his 2011 rally crash, he had a contract to drive for Ferrari in 2012.
The Pole was injured in a horrific accident during the Ronde di Andorra in early 2011, just days after the end of pre-season testing with Renault and weeks ahead of the start of the season.
The accident, which saw a guardrail penetrate the car's cockpit, resulted in partial amputation of the driver's forearm, compound fractures to his right elbow, shoulder and leg, as well as significant loss of blood.
In the months and years that followed, despite the odds being well and truly against him, Kubica fought his way back to F1, contesting the WRC and indeed, winning the World Rally Championship 2 in 2013.
Following what Renault initially insisted was a reward test in early 2017, albeit in a 2012 car, subsequently resulted in further outings and even a shoot-out for the 2018 Williams seat eventually taken by Sergey Sirotkin. However, Kubica was retained by the Grove outfit as test and reserve driver.
Speaking on the official F1 podcast, Kubica has revealed that he had wanted to withdraw from the Andora event but didn't want to let the team down.
Revealing that "the team I was going to drive for next year (2012), I was not allowed to rally", when asked if this was Ferrari, he replies "yes".
"First is to enter F1," he said of a race driver's goals. "Second is to become established in F1, so you have good value, a good reputation, which is more difficult than to enter. Third, you win a world championship or become a Ferrari driver. I haven't won a world championship, in the end I haven't become a Ferrari driver but I was very close."
Revealing that the contract, agreed with (then) team boss Stefano Domenicali, would have seen him earning less money than with Renault, but driving in the red of the legendary Maranello outfit, the Pole insists that missing out on that opportunity did not particularly add to his pain in the months after the crash.
"My recovery was so hard itself that for the first 16-18 months it did not hurt," he said. "I was fighting, I was concentrating on recovery, I was going through a difficult period. The more time was going the more difficult it was becoming, because the hope that things can get sorted are disappearing.
"There were moments I was recovering extraordinarily good and there were then months when surgeries went wrong and I went back six months instead of improving. It was painful but it was not more painful because I knew I was going to race for Ferrari."
Insisting that his original rallying exploits while still driving in F1 were not about fun but rather "the desire to become a more complete driver, to find something others don't have or that I can improve", Kubica admits "I was not happy to be as good as I was... I needed more. I thought rallying would give me this. And it gave me that. The problem is I paid too high a price."
Villeneuve: Raikkonen penalty less severe if he hit Bottas
|Villeneuve says Raikkonen punted the wrong Mercedes at Silverstone|
Amid suggestions by Mercedes that Ferrari employed dirty tricks on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix, Jacques Villeneuve has stirred the pot further by suggesting that Kimi Raikkonen’s 10-second penalty would have been less severe if he hit Valtteri Bottas instead of Lewis Hamilton.
Much has been written about the accusations, retractions, outrage, apologies etc that have characterized this saga, but Villeneuve has another spin to add to the tale.
Working as a pundit for Sky Italia, the Canadian said after the race at Silverstone, “I don’t understand why it’s 10 seconds, and another time it’s five, sometimes it’s nothing. That’s what’s wrong. It’s racing. I don’t like it when there are racing penalties, it should be for dirty driving, which is a different thing, or stupid driving.”
“They decided that it’s Lewis, we’re in the UK, he’s fighting for the championship, that’s worth 10 seconds. If it had been Bottas, it would have been five seconds, that’s the thing. Sometimes you see things like Verstappen in Austria when he touched Kimi.”
“Why wasn’t that a penalty? Just because Kimi didn’t go off? If Kimi had gone off, then it would have been a penalty? That’s what’s wrong, it’s the action that matters, not what happens after the action, ultimately,” added Villeneuve.
On lap one of the race at Silverstone, Hamilton was spun around by Raikkonen and thereafter stormed through the field to finish second behind race winner Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
“He finished second after a crappy start, so he should be happy with that, because he wasn’t going to win this race. Nothing to complain about,” reasoned Villeneuve.