Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Daniel Ricciardo has nowhere to go but Red Bull
    Daniel Ricciardo has nowhere to go but Red Bull

    Ricciardo ready to announce Red Bull deal

  • Alonso defends Vandoorne amid Sauber rumor
  • German 'alliance' tries to save Hockenheim GP
  • Red Bull not questioning Ferrari legality
  • Ferrari move big risk for Leclerc – Vasseur
  • Formula 1's tributes pour in for Sergio Marchionne
  • Verstappen – The Hungaroring Is "Very Difficult To Master"

Ricciardo ready to announce Red Bull deal
(GMM) Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull are now ready to make an announcement about the future.

Earlier, the Australian was flirting with a move to Ferrari or Mercedes, but it appears a new deal with Red Bull has now definitely been done.

Hungary this weekend is the last race before a much-needed gap in the busy calendar, with Auto Motor und Sport quoting Ricciardo as saying: "An announcement before the summer break is realistic."

He did not deny that he and Red Bull chiefs have been negotiating about money and the contract length.

"The length of the contract is an issue, because so much will change over the next few years," said Ricciardo.

But it all seems to have been decided now, with an announcement expected in Hungary before the summer break and factory shutdown.

"I want to go on break with a clear mind, so it feels like a break," said Ricciardo.

"A few years ago when I was making the transition from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, that all happened during the break and it wasn't a fun August for me.

"Obviously Red Bull have committed to Honda, so they've kind of got all the cards on the table and things are getting to a point where I know what's what. Hopefully I'll have something for everyone soon," he added.

Alonso defends Vandoorne amid Sauber rumor

Vandoorne's days at McLaren may be coming to an end
Vandoorne's days at McLaren may be coming to an end

(GMM) Fernando Alonso has leapt to the defense of his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne.

It is believed McLaren is considering ousting the struggling Belgian in favor of young charger Lando Norris.

And Auto Motor und Sport reports that a representative of Vandoorne's management team was spotted in the Sauber motor home at Hockenheim.

The Swiss team is having a surprisingly good 2018 season, with Sauber boss Frederic Vasseur declaring: "We are now interesting for drivers who didn't think of us before."

But Spaniard Alonso says Vandoorne is still doing a good job for McLaren.

He said at Hockenheim that something is wrong with Vandoorne's car lately, adding: "If you look at my previous teammates, they were much further away than Stoffel is.

"In 2014, Kimi was six or seven tenths away in each race," Alonso said. "Now it's less.

"There's nothing to criticize him (Vandoorne) for. Because of his track record, people should give him time, or remember the results of qualifying from last year or before Silverstone."

German 'alliance' tries to save Hockenheim GP

Hockenheim not a definite for 2019
Hockenheim not a definite for 2019

(GMM) Talks to rescue the German grand prix are continuing apace.

Hockenheim and Liberty Media have so far failed to negotiate a mutually acceptable race fee for 2019.

But the delayed plans in Miami means Germany is suddenly back on Liberty's agenda.

The rescue talks have the backing of Germany's two automobile clubs, ADAC and AVD.

"We held talks with Liberty Media about the future of formula one in Germany over the weekend," ADAC president Hermann Tomczyk told Kolner Express newspaper.

Also on board with the German 'alliance' is the DMSB, which is Germany's motor racing governing body.

"We have long had an exchange with the race tracks, the automobile clubs and the politicians and welcome the new alliance to support the Hockenheimring," said DMSB president Hans-Joachim Stuck.

"Mercedes is doing a lot with the grandstands and marketing, but the Volkswagen Group is struggling with its formula one entry as the manufacturers already there now want to stick with the complicated hybrid technology," he added.

Also at Hockenheim for talks was Andreas Scheuer, the federal transport minister.

"I got to know Chase Carey who is a smart businessman who hopefully will do a lot of good, even for a race in Germany," he said.

As for Hockenheim itself, CEO Georg Seiler says the main problem is that the terms offered by Liberty expose it to unnecessary financial risk.

"We cannot legally take the risk as Hockenheimring GmbH," he said. "But we are available as an organizer."

F1 supremo Chase Carey told Bild newspaper: "We do not want to give up on Germany, which is an important market for us."

Red Bull not questioning Ferrari legality

Red Bull is not joining the rest of the F1 crybabies who when they are inferior after 4 years of being superior start whining
Red Bull is not joining the rest of the F1 crybabies who when they are inferior, after 4 years of being superior, start whining

(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko says Red Bull is not joining those who are pointing fingers of suspicion at Ferrari.

For the first time in the 'power unit' era, Ferrari is now clearly ahead of Mercedes with its F1 engine.

It is believed the Italian team has devised a clever but controversial system to get more electrical power than expected out of its hybrid elements.

Mercedes is skeptical.

"I'm not saying that it's true, but if someone was prepared to risk their reputation, then there is very little possibility of policing this," said boss Toto Wolff.

"It's a highly complex technology. So with all the skepticism and paranoia that exists in formula one, we have to trust the integrity of people and organizations, and we do that.

"We trust the FIA and we trust our competitors, because that is the only way we can compete on a Sunday," he added.

But Red Bull's Marko raises his eyebrows not at Ferrari, but at the suspicions being cast on the Italian team by Mercedes.

"Mercedes had the best engine for four years, but now Ferrari does," he told Auto Bild.

"They should accept that and not wash their dirty clothes. At Red Bull, we do not participate in these rumors. We know what Sebastian (Vettel) can do, including in engine development.

"He has made sure that Ferrari overtook Mercedes," Marko added.

"Now Mercedes always needs luck to win," he said. "If everything goes normally, Ferrari is ahead."

Ferrari move big risk for Leclerc – Vasseur

Frederic Vasseur does not want to lose his best driver
Frederic Vasseur does not want to lose his best driver

(GMM) Frederic Vasseur says he is unsure how Charles Leclerc would adapt to life as a Ferrari driver.

Monaco-born Leclerc is clearly one of the most highly rated F1 rookies in history, and some think Ferrari is ready to promote him to the Maranello team for 2019.

But Vasseur, who runs the Alfa Romeo-sponsored Sauber team, thinks Ferrari would also do well to leave the 20-year-old where he is for now.

"Moving from Sauber to Ferrari is a big step," the Frenchman told La Derniere Heure.

"We cannot predict what will happen, especially when it comes to drivers getting some money."

Indeed, at just 20 years old and after just a single season in F1, it is believed Leclerc could be paid as much as EUR 5 million in 2019.

Vasseur said: "In the last 20 years, there have been plenty of drivers who did very good first seasons in F1.

"I will not give names, but as soon as they touched their first check, they had trouble," he explained. "They lost their roots because they discovered new things in life and lost a little bit of what they were doing.

"So we cannot anticipate," he added. "That's why Ferrari is a big leap for Charles. And it's why Ferrari has always hesitated to take very young drivers. They know very well the pressure that is in their system.

"But I'm not too worried about Charles," said Vasseur.

Formula 1's tributes pour in for Sergio Marchionne

Bernie Ecclestone and Sergio Marchionne
Bernie Ecclestone and Sergio Marchionne

While expected, the heartbreaking news of Sergio Marchionne's passing still sent a shock wave through Formula 1's tight-knit community, generating in its aftermath a steady flow of tributes to the ex-Ferrari boss' legacy and achievements.

The 66-year-old Fiat Chrysler and Ferrari boss died on Wednesday from complications resulting from a shoulder surgery he underwent last week in Zurich.

First in line to pay homage to the ex-Ferrari boss' legacy, Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey described Marchionne as "both a leader and a friend."

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sergio Marchionne," he added. “He was a great leader of not just Formula 1 and the automobile world, but the business world overall.

“He led with great passion, energy and insight, and inspired all around him. His contributions to Formula 1 are immeasurable.

"He was also a true friend to all of us and he will be deeply missed. At this difficult time we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues."

FIA President Jean Todt naturally followed suit, underscoring Marchionne's outstanding automotive accomplishments:

"It is with great sadness that I learned that Sergio Marchionne tragically and unexpectedly passed away," said the Frenchman.

"Sergio achieved a colossal amount for the automotive industry and motor sport worldwide. He dedicated himself fully to turn around the FIAT-Chrysler group and put all his energy to bring Scuderia Ferrari back to the top.

"He was an endearing, upstanding and brave man, an unconventional and visionary leader. He was an eminent member of the FIA F1 Strategy Group and of the FIA High-Level Panel for Road Safety. His death is a considerable loss.

"On behalf of the entire FIA community, all my thoughts go out to his family, his friends and his Ferrari and Fiat-Chrysler group teams."

A ally as well as an inevitable foe, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, in the name of the manufacturer, took to Twitter to praise Marchionne's work.

"This is a sad day for all of us in @F1. We have a lost a huge supporter of our sport, a fierce competitor, an ally and a friend," Wolff wrote on Twitter.

"Our heartfelt sympathies are with Sergio's family and all at @ScuderiaFerrari at this difficult time."

McLaren also expressed its condolences on Twitter.

Red Bull Racing, Ferrari's front-running rival along with Mercedes, sent its condolences to the Marchionne family:

"Condolences to the family and friends of Sergio Marchionne. A great competitor on and off track @scuderiaferrari. Riposi in pace."

Red Bull's junior outfit also paid tribute to the former Ferrari chief:

"A sad day for Motorsport. All of us at Scuderia Toro Rosso are saddened to learn of Sergio Marchionne's death. Our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the @ScuderiaFerrari team."

Renault and Haas joined their fellow F1 teams, expressing their condolences on Twitter:

"Our deepest condolences go to Sergio Marchionne's family, friends and to @ScuderiaFerrari on this sad day. May you rest in peace Sergio," wrote Renault.

On Instagram, former Scuderia driver Felipe Massa posted a picture of himself with Sergio Marchionne.

"What a sad day !! We lost a leader in Motorsport and in the Sport #SergioMarchionne all my thoughts are with his family. Rip ��"

The tributes to the remarkable Sergio Marchionne from friends, colleagues and competitors will likely continue to pour in today and for the remainder of the week as everyone remembers an inspiring and tireless leader, and a man who during his career powerfully engaged at many levels, took smart risks, and was repeatedly willing to challenge orthodoxy.

Verstappen – The Hungaroring Is "Very Difficult To Master"

Max Verstappen - Hungary 2017
Max Verstappen – Hungary 2017

Max Verstappen has said the Hungaroring is a circuit that is “very difficult to master" as Formula One arrives in Hungary for the last race before the summer break.

The Dutchman was in the headlines at last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix as he collided with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team-mate Daniel Ricciardo on the exit of turn two and admits that is just one of a number difficult parts of the track.

“The Hungaroring is very difficult to master. It begins with very hard braking into Turn 1 before an off camber Turn 2 which tries to push you off from the inside.

“It is an important circuit to be precise in order to be online for the next corner. Turn 4 is almost blind so you need to be cautious and build up throughout the weekend.

“Sector 2 is pretty narrow and twisty so you need to take extra care here. Turn 11, the fast right hander is probably my favorite corner on the track, when you get it right it is a nice feeling.

“A good exit from the final corner is important as the straight is long so carrying speed is vital."

Budapest is a city that proves to be quite popular with the drivers and Verstappen says he tries to take in everything that the city has to offer when he’s not at the circuit.

“Budapest is a cool city, it has a reputation as a bit of a “party town" but I have not had chance to experience that yet! Walking on the banks of the ‘Nube is nice and gives a chance to see both parts of the city, Buda and pest.

“I’ll always try to fit in a good helping of Goulash while I’m in Hungary as I really enjoy this dish, usually on Sunday evening."

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