Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • No German GP in 2019. Promoters lose too much money on F1 if they do not have government backing
    No German GP in 2019. Promoters lose too much money on F1 if they do not have government backing

    Hockenheim not on 2019 calendar

  • F1 set to announce new engine rules
  • Red Bull will remain strong with Honda – Alonso
  • Red Bull 'closer' to Ricciardo deal – Marko
  • Austrian Grand Prix: Resurgent Hamilton starts favorite
  • Pirelli announces tire choices for Monza

Hockenheim not on 2019 calendar
(GMM) There will be no German grand prix at Hockenheim in 2019.

The circuit is hosting a race next month, but organisers have been unable to reach a new deal with F1 owner Liberty Media.

"We are not surprised but of course it's a great pity," Hockenheim boss Georg Seiler told Sport Bild as well as DPA news agency.

"We talked with Liberty Media but made it clear time and time again that we are interested in continuing only if the financial risk is minimized.

"We have not been able to reach a viable model at least for the upcoming season," he added.

Seiler said Hockenheim is now hoping for a comeback in 2020.

"The goal remains a fundamentally changed business model," he said. "To what extent our ideas can be aligned with those of formula one in the future, we will see."

As for next month's German grand prix, Seiler said Hockenheim is hoping to attract a crowd of 70,000 on Sunday, which would mean financially breaking even.

It is possible that Liberty Media will now pursue its talks with the Nurburgring.

"Since the beginning of 2017, we have had proactive negotiations with Liberty Media and, in March 2018, we discussed new opportunities for cooperation," said chief executive Mirco Markfort.

"Our proposals are on the table, now it's up to Liberty Media to decide," the Nurburgring chief added.

F1 set to announce new engine rules
(GMM) F1 looks poised to announce its new engine regulations for 2021.

It is expected that the FIA and Liberty Media will simplify the rules and attract new manufacturers like Porsche by, among other things, dropping the MGU-H unit.

"It's a very complicated process with lots of meetings and the manufacturers discussing every detail," FIA race director Charlie Whiting told Auto Hebdo.

"But I think we will very soon have a clear idea of what the 2021 engines will look like," he added.

The French report said the regulations might even be known before the end of June — in the next few days.

The uncertainty about the engines and other aspects of the 2021 regulations is why drivers like Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton are looking to sign only two year contracts.

"No reasonable driver will sign for longer than the end of 2020," Mercedes' Hamilton said. "At the moment nobody even knows what the engine regulations are."

Red Bull will remain strong with Honda – Alonso

Alonso's whining about Honda drove them out of McLaren, when in fact the McLaren chassis is garbage. He will live to regret it every time the Red Bull with Honda power blows past him
Alonso's whining about Honda drove them out of McLaren, when in fact the McLaren chassis is garbage. He will live to regret it every time the Red Bull with Honda power blows past him

(GMM) Fernando Alonso says Red Bull will remain a strong team even after switching to Honda power.

Alonso had a bad experience with works Honda engines with McLaren between 2015 and last year.

But he says Red Bull will remain F1's best chassis maker.

"There is always a reference team with its chassis and it doesn't matter if it's Renault or Honda, I don't think it will change much," the Spaniard is quoted by Marca.

And Zak Brown, who was among those who made the decision to dump Honda, thinks the Japanese manufacturer has improved since the end of the McLaren era.

"Honda has clearly taken a step forward this year and learned from the past three years," he said.

"It's a great company and of course they have made progress."

But Honda is looking ahead, vowing to work on its 'spec 3' 2018 engine for Toro Rosso and clearly already preparing for the new works Red Bull era.

"This year's specification is almost all defined, so the last half of the year will see us focused on developing solutions for the next season," said Masashi Yamamoto, according to Autosprint.

"All other updates will be focused on the engine for next season," he added.

"The first three years with McLaren were very, very, very important, as it was three years of learning what we had lost since the last time we had been in formula one.

"We are very grateful for those three years. Then came the union with Toro Rosso and from the beginning we understood that it would be a great collaboration and that we were ready to take the next step," Yamamoto added.

"We want to win races and, to do so, we decided that joining Red Bull is the right choice."

Red Bull 'closer' to Ricciardo deal – Marko

Marko and Ricciardo
Marko and Ricciardo

(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko says Red Bull is getting "closer" to re-signing Daniel Ricciardo for 2019.

The Australian has been linked with potential moves to Ferrari, Mercedes or even McLaren or Renault.

But now that Red Bull's Honda engine deal is in place, team consultant Marko said efforts are now moving onto getting Ricciardo's signature on a page.

Actually, he admitted that the Honda deal is not quite finalized.

"A few details must be fine-tuned," he told Speed Week.

"But we have had a close relationship with Toro Rosso and Honda," he added.

"For the first time we are becoming a factory team. And in resources and methodology, we recognize Honda as the most promising option. We can go for victories with Honda in 2019," Marko said.

He said a new deal with Ricciardo is then the next step.

"We've had more discussions recently," the Austrian revealed.

"We're getting closer to each other. To speak in Mercedes jargon, it's just about the details."

And there is also more potential for the rest of the season with Renault, Marko insisted.

"On Saturday we will get the stronger mode for qualifying, which was promised since Canada," he said.

"But we don't know how much stronger it will be and how much we will catch up with Mercedes and Ferrari who have always had the party mode," added Marko.

Austrian Grand Prix: Resurgent Hamilton starts favorite

Hamilton will dominate from here on out
Hamilton will dominate from here on out

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team will be hoping for more of the same at this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

After dominating last Sunday’s French Grand Prix to claim his 65th career victory, the four-time champion arrives in the Styrian Alps with a 14-point lead in this year’s title chase and a sense of reinvigoration thanks to his updated engine.

On another picturesque circuit with traffic access problems this weekend, where power will again be a major factor, Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas will start as favorites for Sunday’s race, albeit reluctantly.

After a disappointing performance on one of Hamilton’s favorite circuits, at Montreal in Canada, their French triumph came on a day when chief rival and fellow-four-time champion Sebastian Vettel experienced another of his periodic days to forget. His opening lap collision with Bottas ruined both of their races and ensured Hamilton had a straightforward afternoon as he regained championship lead. He will do all he can to avoid a repeat.

Both Hamilton and Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff stressed after last Sunday’s win that they can take nothing for granted in this yo-yo season, the Englishman saying he intended to stay grounded and to approach each race the same. Wolff strove to play down any newly-perceived advantage in speed, thanks to the upgraded Mercedes engine.

“Do we have the best engine now?" he said. “Very difficult to say because when you look at the data, the quickest car on the straight was Kimi (Raikkonen of Ferrari), but we believe he was maybe running a different aero configuration."

He added that both Hamilton and Vettel have enjoyed 17 points leads already this season and forecast that their fortunes would continue to swing on a race by race basis. “I think what you saw in Montreal in comparison to Le Castellet is that marginal gains matter," he added.

Pirelli announces tire choices for Monza
Pirelli has announced medium, soft, and supersoft for the Italian GP

Tires so Far
Tires so Far

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