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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Wolff and Lauda in 2017
    Wolff and Lauda in 2017
    Wolff sure Lauda will make F1 return
  • McLaren car 'extremely poor' - Vandoorne
  • F1 reveals first images of 2021 car
  • Zak Brown Calls For Liberty Media To Stick With Rules Revamp
  • F1 British Grand Prix To Be Shown On Channel 4, Sky In '19
  • Ocon Not Being on Grid in 2019 would be 'a complete shame for Formula 1' - Berger
  • Third cars for guest drivers would boost Formula 1 - Mario Andretti

Wolff sure Lauda will make F1 return
(GMM) Toto Wolff says he is sure Niki Lauda will eventually return to the F1 paddock.

We reported recently that, as he recovers from a lung transplant in intensive care, the Mercedes team chairman will not attend any of the remaining seven grands prix in 2018.

But Wolff, Lauda's closest colleague, is confident the F1 legend will be back.

"Niki is of course physically weakened, but otherwise there is no difference at all," the Mercedes team boss told Kronen Zeitung newspaper.

"He has lost nothing of his dry humor. He has so much power and is such a phenomenal fighter that I'm really convinced Niki will be back in the paddock."

For instance, Wolff says the 69-year-old is actively hounding him for information as he sits out the races in his Vienna hospital bed.

"He wants to know everything about the team and the drivers. He asked me to bombard him with emails at the end of each practice and race day," he revealed.

One rumor is that Abu Dhabi in late November, the 2018 season finale, has been penciled in for Lauda's return to F1.

"The doctors cannot answer this question yet," said Wolff when asked about the likely recovery timeframe, "but Niki is in good hands."

McLaren car 'extremely poor' - Vandoorne

Vandoorne in the slug McLaren F1 car
Vandoorne in the slug McLaren F1 car

(GMM) Stoffel Vandoorne has vowed to "give everything" in the remaining races of 2018, even after being dropped by McLaren.

The Belgian was once a highly rated protege of the beleaguered British team, but he is being replaced by new McLaren rookie Lando Norris for 2019.

"Although I'm very much looking to the future since I confirmed I won't be racing for McLaren next season, I'm also 100 per cent determined to give everything for the remaining races this season," Vandoorne said.

"Both the team and I are pushing very hard to get the best results we can with what we have."

Not normally a controversial figure, Vandoorne has complained about the McLaren car recently, and especially its poor reliability.

But even team boss Zak Brown admits the 2018 machine is not good.

"We continue to push, but unfortunately we have built an extremely poor car that does not respond to changes," he is quoted by El Mundo Deportivo.

"Other teams developed better than us while we seem to have regressed. But we will not give up because we are identifying the problems we have and trying to solve them.

"2019 must be an intermediate step but we probably will not have our full technical capacity until the 2020 car arrives," Brown added.

F1 reveals first images of 2021 car

Ross Brawn shows rendering of 2021 car
Ross Brawn shows rendering of 2021 car

A concept vision for how Formula 1 cars could look in 2021 has leaked across social media ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

F1's managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn produced the vision for the new look grand prix car in a 'Tech Talk' seminar that had been put on by race organisers in Singapore on Wednesday night.

Although the technical seminar took place behind closed doors, images of the concept car quickly circulated on social media.

The concept comes as F1 moves to finalize an overhaul of car rules for 2021 in a bid to make grand prix racing more exciting and more attractive to fans.

The mock-up of the Ferrari features several design differences to the current cars, including the 18-inch wheels that form part of the future F1 tire tender contract.

The front wings are simpler, with more aggressively sculpted endplates that extend much higher.

The bodywork around the sidepods is less complicated, and the engine cover and rear wing appear to be joined. Autosport

Zak Brown Calls For Liberty Media To Stick With Rules Revamp

In F1 circles Zak Brown is being accused of running McLaren into the ground
In F1 circles Zak Brown is being accused of running McLaren into the ground

Formula 1's "current problems should act as a spur -- rather than a deterrent" -- for Liberty Media to "push on with a major rules revamp" for '21, McLaren F1 Exec Dir Zak Brown said, according to Jonathan Noble of MOTORSPORT.

In the wake of a "growing performance gulf" between the top three teams and the rest of the grid, the "near collapse" of Force India and a situation where top drivers like Esteban Ocon "may miss out on seats, Brown thinks the time has come for action."

Brown: "I think we have all seen it coming, and I don't envy what Liberty inherited because this started a while ago. Bernie [Ecclestone] had control of it and was keeping it together, but it was a bit of a ticking time bomb, and now some things have exploded. And I've said this to them [Liberty], and it is not nice, but sometimes you need things to actually break to be able to fix them."

He added, "I have never thought that F1 is too big to fail. But I think the industry as a whole has an arrogance that it will just take care of itself, it always has." While a "major overhaul of engine rules" for '21 is "looking unlikely," Brown "hopes that plans for a budget cap and new car rules do not get watered down" MOTORSPORT

F1 British Grand Prix To Be Shown On Channel 4, Sky In '19
The Formula 1 British Grand Prix will be shown live on both Channel 4 and Sky in '19 as "part of a new partnership between the broadcasters," according to the BBC.

Channel 4, which is free-to-air, also secured highlights of all races, while Sky "will carry every race live on its subscription-only F1 channel."

Channel 4 won the U.K. free-to-air rights from the BBC in '16. As part of the deal, Channel 4 will screen series one of Sky drama Tin Star, while Channel 4 box sets will be available to Sky customers. BBC

Ocon Not Being on Grid in 2019 would be 'a complete shame for Formula 1' - Berger

Gerhard Berger
Gerhard Berger

Gerhard Berger would not like to see Esteban Ocon return to the DTM Series in 2019 as he feels the Frenchman has done more than enough to warrant a place on the Formula 1 grid.

Berger, a ten-time winner in Formula, said it would be sad if the highly talented Frenchman lose his place in Formula 1, although it looks likely to happen as Lance Stroll continues to be linked with a move to the Racing Point Force India F1 Team sooner rather than later following Lawrence Stroll’s buy out of the squad during the summer break.

Ocon had been linked with moves to the Renault Sport Formula One Team and McLaren F1 Team in recent weeks but both avenues have now passed him by as both outfits have announced their driver line-ups for next season, with the Frenchman’s links to Mercedes-Benz being a turn-off for them.

The Frenchman raced in DTM before he was called to race for the Manor Racing MRT squad in Formula 1 back in 2016, but current DTM boss Berger would rather see Ocon on the Formula 1 grid rather than back with a roof over his head and in the German-based Touring Car championship.

“No, I would not like to have Ocon because it means he would not be in Formula 1 and I think it would be a complete shame for Formula 1 to lose such a talent,” said Berger to Motorsport.com.

“It should be the other way around [with DTM drivers going to F1]. We would like to position our drivers in F1 because they are good enough.”

Third cars for guest drivers would boost Formula 1 - Mario Andretti

1968 USA Grand Prix at Watkins Glen - Mario Andretti on pole in a third works Lotus
1968 USA Grand Prix at Watkins Glen - Mario Andretti on pole in a third works Lotus

Formula 1 legend Mario Andretti believes top F1 teams should run third cars for guest drivers at certain grands prix.

The 1978 world champion got his first F1 opportunity in that situation and, having read Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff's recent suggestion that teams should have third cars for young drivers, wants to see the practice reintroduced.

In 1968 then USAC Indycar frontrunner Andretti drove a third works Lotus in the United States GP at Watkins Glen, earning pole position.

Three years later he drove a third works Ferrari in seven races, scoring his first GP win at Kyalami.

"We're always looking for an angle to try to promote F1 in a different way and try to reach out to fans," Andretti told Autosport.

"First of all, that is how I got my break.

"Colin Chapman gave me a ride in a top team in a competitive car, and that's the reason I was on pole in a third car. I won my first race in South Africa with Ferrari as third car.

Andretti third works Lotus on grid at Watkins Glen in 1968 - on pole
Andretti third works Lotus on grid at Watkins Glen in 1968 - on pole

"The point I'm making is it launched my career because I had a competitive car under me.

"The big thing in the States is to reach out to another fanbase. Can you imagine the promotion if say Josef Newgarden as IndyCar champion would be invited by Mercedes or Ferrari or Red Bull as a third car for the US GP? It would add another 40,000 people probably.

"You can hide behind things like the engine situation, but you can work it. The guest car cannot earn points, for instance.

"Wouldn't that be an interesting way to increase the popularity? Bring in a Chinese driver, a Japanese driver, any different country that you go to if you have a star driver that the team is willing to take on just for the race. At least keep the door open for the possibility.

"I realize that times change, but can you imagine the promotion value for the sport? I think it's immeasurable."

Andretti understands why midfield teams do not want to see extra entries from the top three on the grid, but he insists the overall value of his third-car plan to F1 is more significant.

"Competition is competition. You're looking at the big picture," he added.

"If all of a sudden you've got to think about favoring one team, that's not what makes you grow. You've got use every bullet in the gun that you can to try to advance the cause.

"If the thing becomes more popular, then the smaller teams have a better chance to get a bigger sponsor too.

"Any team would obviously have the opportunity, not just the top teams, but what's the point for a current Indy champion to go to Sauber or Haas, where your only chance is maybe a top 10?

"Whoever was invited it could also be a disaster for that individual too, but so be it, that's what it's all about." Adam Cooper/Autosport

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