Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
Ferrari obstructing camera view in Singapore
|Ferrari is not going to let other teams see its secrets by watching their camera feed so they came up with this engine cooling contraption|
- Vettel not expecting team orders
- Vandoorne, Ocon, admit F1 exits approaching
- Stroll not commenting on Force India switch
- Red Bull excluding Ricciardo from meetings
- Leclerc won't be Vettel's 'number 2'
- Vandoorne had no chance at McLaren - Verstappen
- 2019 budget to be 'healthy' - Williams
- Alonso to announce 2019 plans next month
- Haas to announce full 2019 lineup soon
Ferrari obstructing camera view in Singapore
(GMM) Ferrari has found a loophole after being told by the FIA to remove a dry ice bag from its roll-bar camera.
At recent races, the Italian team was obstructing the view from the onboard camera while the red cars were in the pits by using a bag of ice.
The FIA did not buy the argument that the ice was being used for cooling purposes.
So in Singapore, one of the hottest races of the season, a new solution has emerged.
It is a bespoke cooling fan, which obscures not the camera's entire view, but just the pictures of cockpit and steering wheel settings that might have been seen by rival teams.
Auto Motor und Sport reports that Mercedes is using a similar airbox 'cooling' solution this weekend in Singapore.
"We are curious as to how the issue will develop in the coming races," said correspondent Tobias Gruner.
Vettel not expecting team orders
|Sebastian Vettel blew his title chances|
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel says he is not expecting 'team orders' to be issued in Singapore.
Last time out at Monza, the German was angry because Ferrari apparently did not instruct teammate Kimi Raikkonen to play a 'team role'.
"We have drivers, not butlers," boss Maurizio Arrivabene had said.
So now with Raikkonen definitely leaving the team, the Finn seems even less inclined to help Vettel with his championship quest.
"I only drive one car," he said in Singapore.
Vettel said the issue isn't bothering him.
"Each team does it differently," he said, perhaps referring to Mercedes whose Valtteri Bottas obviously played a team role at Monza.
"There are situations where it makes sense. Monza may not have been perfect and I had my say. But it has nothing to do with my relationship with Kimi. We are both adults," Vettel added.
Ferrari is the clear favorite in Singapore, but Vettel acknowledged that he cannot afford to make any more mistakes as he chases Lewis Hamilton's lead.
"I am my own biggest enemy," he admitted.
Vandoorne, Ocon, admit F1 exits approaching
|Perez (R) stays and Ocon (L) goes. Why? Perez brings a much larger check.|
(GMM) Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Ocon have admitted that their F1 careers could be racing towards the checkered flag.
Belgian Vandoorne is losing his McLaren seat, while talented Frenchman Ocon looks set to be ousted at Force India by Lance Stroll, whose billionaire father Lawrence has bought the team.
"There are some indications that I am in the same kind of trouble as Ocon," Vandoorne said in Singapore.
"Every day it seems that another option closes to me."
He said it would be "nice to know" why McLaren decided to replace him for 2019 with rookie Lando Norris.
"Now we are looking at my options, not only in formula one," said Vandoorne.
Fernando Alonso, Vandoorne's current teammate, admitted it is a problem for formula one.
"I think it shows how bad the sport is in this sense. One driver who dominated Formula 2 will not continue, while another (Charles Leclerc) goes to Ferrari," he said.
Ocon told reporters in Singapore that his chances of staying in F1 next year "get smaller" with every passing day.
"It's hard to believe that a month ago everything was fine for me and now I'm in this situation," he said.
But Ocon also admitted that Williams could be an option.
"Negotiations are underway, possibly with Williams as well, but so far nothing is clear," he said.
Stroll not commenting on Force India switch
|Lance Stroll will drive for daddy's team in 2019|
(GMM) Lance Stroll is giving nothing away about his immediate future.
It is strongly rumored that, after Sunday's Singapore grand prix, the Williams driver will oust Esteban Ocon at Force India.
That Silverstone based team has just been bought by Stroll's billionaire father, Lawrence.
But Lance said in Singapore: "I'm still with Williams, and I'm racing one race at a time.
"I put on my helmet and go on the track. That's all," he told La Presse.
Many have lamented Ocon's predicament, believing that the talented Frenchman arguably deserves a place more than the well-funded Stroll.
"That does not bother me," Stroll insisted.
"Formula one is a business, and there are several teams in formula one. He has a management team and people around him like all the other drivers.
"But he's obviously talented and it would be sad if he's not here," he added.
Red Bull excluding Ricciardo from meetings
|Ricciardo will now get the same treatment Vettel got from Red Bull once they knew he was leaving|
(GMM) Daniel Ricciardo is set to be given the cold shoulder by Red Bull.
The Australian is moving from the energy drink-owned team to Renault for 2019 and beyond.
"From Singapore, Daniel is excluded from any meetings that concern the future," Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko told Bild newspaper.
"We are already working in the direction of 2019 and do not want him to take anything to Renault," he explained.
However, Marko said there is no fear that Ricciardo could actually be ousted before the end of the season.
"Daniel will finish the season with us. He will get all the information in Singapore because it could be our last chance of winning this year," he added.
Leclerc won't be Vettel's 'number 2'
|Charles Leclerc aims to beat Vettel not be a slave driver like Bottas is to Hamilton|
(GMM) Charles Leclerc says he will not be Sebastian Vettel's 'number 2' driver in 2019.
Asked in Singapore if his new contract has a clause making clear his subservient status alongside Vettel, the Monaco-born rookie said: "Oh no. No, no, no, no.
"We start the season as equals," the Dutch publication Formule 1 quotes him as saying.
Vettel and the departing Kimi Raikkonen are good friends, but Leclerc admits he hardly knows German Vettel.
"I don't know him very well, but he's always nice to me," he said. "If I did well in the simulator, he always sent me a text message.
"I think it will work well with him," Leclerc, 20, added.
"But I'm not going to Ferrari to learn. The Ferrari is good enough this year and if that is the case again in 2019, the title must be the goal even if it is a big challenge," he said.
Vandoorne had no chance at McLaren - Verstappen
|Will Vandoorne weed his garden in 2019 or try IndyCar?|
(GMM) Max Verstappen thinks Stoffel Vandoorne struggled to get a fair go at McLaren.
Belgian Vandoorne has been ousted by the British team for 2019, after apparently struggling to shine alongside Fernando Alonso.
But Verstappen is quoted by the Dutch publication Formule 1: "I never thought he had a good chance with Fernando.
"I really like Stoffel. He's a very good driver. Fernando has the same car, but I think he always had newer parts.
"That's a shame, because with such a large team as McLaren you would expect they would always have two versions of something new.
"I don't think he had a very good chance against Fernando and of course you pay for that," the Red Bull driver added.
Verstappen said it will "not happen" that Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso will now snap up Vandoorne and rescue his career.
"No. Maybe I know who is going there," the Dutchman smiled.
2019 budget to be 'healthy' - Williams
|Claire Williams expects plenty of ride-buyer money for 2019|
(GMM) Williams will have a "healthy budget" next year.
That is the defiant claim of Claire Williams, the boss of the once-great British team.
Williams is losing title sponsor Martini and Lawrence Stroll's millions, and also a lot of official F1 prize money as it languishes as the slowest team in 2018.
At an event ahead of the Singapore grand prix, one reporter asked Claire if the Oxfordshire based team is in obvious financial decline.
A PR representative attempted to shut down the question, but Williams insisted: "No, I would like to answer.
"We are on the stock exchange so our numbers are open. There's so much speculation about our financial position, but we have a healthy budget for 2018 and we will have a healthy budget next year too," she said.
Williams said the 2018 car is flawed aerodynamically, but insisted that extraordinary efforts to find and fix the problem have taken place on track.
"Our competitive situation has allowed us to scrutinize everything, which we probably couldn't have done if we were in fifth place," Williams is quoted by Speed Week.
The situation is at least good news for Sergey Sirotkin, the team's Russian driver who is strongly backed by SMP Bank.
"Officially I have no information," he said in Singapore, "but I know the role I play and how I am valued, so I have no serious cause for concern.
"I will be very proud if I continue to work with the team and return with them to success."
Alonso to announce 2019 plans next month
|Alonso stringing IndyCar along|
(GMM) Fernando Alonso is still giving nothing away about his future.
The Spaniard is definitely leaving F1 at the end of the year, but on the menu for 2019 could be Le Mans, Indycar and now even Nascar.
"What I will do depends on what makes me happy," the McLaren driver told El Mundo Deportivo in Singapore.
"I am trying to do something special and be the best driver in the motor racing world, not just F1," Alonso added.
"I am checking several things and in a month I hope to have everything ready to say it. With some options, I have to see what I need to be prepared to be competitive before accepting or postponing the challenge," he explained.
Haas to announce full 2019 lineup soon
|Steiner will announce his 100% non-American lineup soon|
(GMM) Haas will announce its entire driver lineup for the 2019 season in one hit.
In recent days, it has been rumored that while Kevin Magnussen's place at the American team looks safe, Romain Grosjean could be ousted.
"Nothing is announced yet, but it's close," Dane Magnussen is quoted by BT newspaper in Singapore.
The latest rumor is that Frenchman Grosjean, having earlier struggled in 2018, will now also be retained by Haas.
Team boss Gunther Steiner said in Singapore: "I think we will announce everything in the next two weeks.
"The last details are being discussed, but it will not take long. We will announce both drivers rather than do it twice and avoid unnecessary questions about who the second driver is," he added.
Steiner admitted that Charles Leclerc had been an option for 2019 until he was signed up by Ferrari.
"Charles was wanted by many teams, but unless Ferrari released him from his obligations, I couldn't do anything," he said.