Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday (Update)

Pascal Wehrlein returns to DTM where drivers get paid to drive
Pascal Wehrlein returns to DTM where drivers get paid to drive

UPDATE Update shown in red below.


  • Wehrlein not ruling out 2019 comeback
  • Rosberg still not thinking of F1 comeback
  • Magnussen moving from Denmark to Dubai
  • Grid girl ban 'a shame' – Gasly
  • Mercedes: We are trying to identify the next Lewis Hamilton
  • Renault to partner French Grand Prix New

Wehrlein not ruling out 2019 comeback
(GMM) Pascal Wehrlein is not ruling out a potential return to F1 for 2019.

The German was ousted when Sauber signed F2 champion Charles Leclerc to partner his former teammate Marcus Ericsson for this year.

Wehrlein, 23, is therefore returning to DTM, where he won the title in 2015 before moving into F1.

"Unfortunately I didn't get a seat in formula one but DTM has always been an option. That's why the move is relatively easy for me."

He said losing out at Sauber to the Ferrari-backed Leclerc is not something he regrets because the decision was "not in my power".

"We could not raise EUR 15 million for the year," Wehrlein told Germany's Auto Bild. "It's disappointing that it didn't work out but that's the business."

He will, however, be Mercedes' F1 reserve driver this year, and he might also combine his DTM racing program with Super Formula in Japan.

"It may well be that there will be an additional program as well as the reserve role in formula one," Wehrlein admitted.

As for potentially returning to F1 in 2019, Wehrlein is unsure, even though he is not giving up on the series "at least this year".

"It's difficult to plan for 2019 so it's too early to say in which direction it will go," he added.

But Wehrlein admitted that winning the DTM title again would help his chances of an F1 comeback.

"If I'm right up there again, I think so," he said. "It could put me in a better situation.

"After all, if you drive at the back for two years, formula one forgets you a bit. Hopefully next year I'll be in a good position to find the cockpit that I want."

Rosberg still not thinking of F1 comeback

Nico Rosberg will probably never race again
Nico Rosberg will not race, preferring to stay home and make babies

(GMM) Nico Rosberg insists he is still not giving any thoughts to a potential racing comeback.

Days after winning the 2016 world championship, the German stunned the motor sport world by suddenly quitting both Mercedes and formula one.

And he now tells Bunte magazine: "I have not ever felt the desire for a comeback as a racing driver."

The 32-year-old said his mind is instead focused on potentially adding more children to his young family.

"I'm all for having a football team," the father of two daughters smiled. "There is really nothing that has overwhelmed me."

But he admitted that the real decision is his wife Vivian's, after she suffered difficult pregnancies in the past.

"The decision is therefore entirely up to her," Rosberg confirmed.

Magnussen moving from Denmark to Dubai

Like Alonso, Magnussen moves to Dubai, which has no income tax
Like Alonso, Magnussen moves to Dubai, which has no income tax

(GMM) Kevin Magnussen is relocating from his native Denmark to Dubai.

BT newspaper said the Haas driver has already sold his existing apartment and will move into his new one in Dubai next week.

"I have an apartment in the area called Dubai Marina, which is near the international airport," Magnussen said.

Already living in Dubai is popular F1 driver Fernando Alonso.

"Dubai is far more central than Copenhagen when you look at the F1 calendar," said Magnussen.

"I can save a lot of travel days by living in Dubai that I can use for training. And the weather is similar to the temperatures of many F1 races. So it's something that hopefully will make me a better driver," he added.

And Magnussen, 25, said a new personal trainer will be joining him in Dubai, but not his girlfriend Louise.

"We are still together but we did not live together in Copenhagen," he explained. "She must take care of her job, so she will stay in Denmark for now."

Grid girl ban 'a shame' – Gasly

Pierre Gasly disagrees with the F1 mental midgets
Pierre Gasly disagrees with the F1 mental midgets

(GMM) Pierre Gasly has added yet another voice to concerns about F1's 'grid girls' ban.

France's Auto Hebdo jokingly asked the Toro Rosso driver if there is a connection between the 2018 ban and the fact that Gasly is making his full-time F1 debut this year.

"It's not my fault!" he laughed.

"Personally, I find it a shame because grid girls were part of the DNA and the glamorous side of formula one."

Mercedes: We are trying to identify the next Lewis Hamilton

Toto Wolff
Toto Wolff

Although Mercedes chief Toto Wolff believes it is a no-brainer that Lewis Hamilton continues with the team for the foreseeable future, at the same time he is covering his bases by supporting talent through the team’s junior driver development program that has uncovered the likes of Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein.

Wolff revealed in his season preview, “We are trying to keep our eyes open to identify the next Lewis Hamilton for in five, six or seven years when Lewis eventually decides he has had enough of Formula 1. We are approaching this with a completely open mindset."

“We are even looking at karting. We are supporting a young Italian boy who is barely 12 years old. We enjoy doing that. It is just about identifying the talent, no matter where they are at the moment."

Ocon was one of the true sensations of the 2017 season while Wehrlein had a solid year with Sauber, but was unlucky to be ousted from the team as they aligned themselves closer to Ferrari and his seat was taken by Charles Leclerc.

Wolff pointed out, “Every year, we set objectives for the boys and they have matched those objectives last year. The bar is rising."

“If you want to qualify for a Mercedes, you need to be quick, make no mistakes, work well within your team, be respected by your team and energize your team. All of these factors that we try to capture and measure. We will see where they end up in a years’ time."

But for the immediate future their Four times F1 world champion Hamilton is their top priority, “Lewis has become such an important pillar within the team, it is a no-brainer that we continue with each other."

“The discussions are ongoing and with a very positive mindset. It is just a matter of time when we seal it and put the signature to the document," added Wolff whose team will be hunting their tenth successive titles in 2018.

Renault to partner French Grand Prix

Paul Ricard, new home of the French GP
Paul Ricard, new home of the French GP

Renault is revving up its preparations for the return of F1 to France later this year, after confirming an official partnership with the Grand Prix de France Public Interest Group (GIP).

Groupe Renault's presence over the grand prix weekend will be a very visible and high-profile one, with a distinctive yellow grandstand, several thousand guests, a fleet of official vehicles for the circuit's use, a bespoke brand area and countless Fan Zone activities where the many fans expected to attend the race will be able to show their support for Renault's F1 team.

"Formula 1's return to France will be a great moment for all of the country's sporting fans and motoring aficionados," said Cyril Abiteboul. "This partnership represents a wonderful opportunity for Groupe Renault to demonstrate our commitment to motorsport and our support for the French Grand Prix. The event will similarly offer our team the chance to showcase its ambition at the very highest level. It promises to be a proud moment for team members as they participate in their other home grand prix… just like they already do at Silverstone."

"This agreement gives us the opportunity to engage wholeheartedly with this summer's French Grand Prix as we support our team," added Bastien Schupp, ‎Vice President of Global Brand Strategy and Marketing Communications, Groupe Renault. "Motorsport has always played an important role in the history of the Renault brand, and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate our 120th anniversary alongside fans of the sport at Circuit Paul Ricard!"

"The French automotive industry is one of our country's finest assets and a source of national pride," said Christian Estrosi, President, French Grand Prix GIP – Le Castellet. "Now that we have successfully secured the return of the French Grand Prix to the Formula 1 calendar after a ten-year absence, Renault has the opportunity to show off the excellence of its engineering and technology which is continually pushing back the boundaries on home soil. I am delighted that we have reached an ambitious agreement with Renault and I would like to thank them for their commitment to this collective adventure.

"There is a genuine French drive in Formula 1 today, with the nation represented by a home team, French team managers working for other teams, three drivers on the grid and a long list of other key French players in the sport.

"With less than five months to go before the race, the teams that are the driving force behind the French Grand Prix and the administrations involved in the public interest group are doing their utmost to ensure that the French national anthem rings out loud and proud over our region and across the country as a whole when the race starts on June 24.

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