Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Mario Illien
    Mario Illien

    Ilmor would need sponsor for F1 foray – Illien

  • Father hopeful Kubica will get Williams seat
  • Honda wants to beat Renault in 2018
  • Sauber set for driver, Alfa Romeo announcements
  • Mazepin gets tire test run with Force India
  • Todt to run unchallenged in FIA election
  • Perez: No pressure for Force India at finale

Ilmor would need sponsor for F1 foray – Illien
(GMM) Mario Illien has played down suggestions Ilmor might be set to re-enter F1 in 2021.

Liberty Media hopes that by simplifying the engine rules, independent players like Ilmor and Cosworth will consider launching projects.

But Ilmor co-founder and chief Illien says that is unlikely.

He said of the 2021 plan: "In principle it is the right direction — the technology must become simpler and cheaper.

"But for a private manufacturer, we cannot do it without outside help.

"I could not develop a business model like we have in Indycar, because I would have probably only one or two customers. And if one does not pay the bill, I'm dead.

"Without a sponsor behind me I could not build this engine for formula one," Illien told Auto Motor und Sport.

Father hopeful Kubica will get Williams seat

Artur Kubica
Artur Kubica

(GMM) Robert Kubica's father has added weight to speculation the Polish driver is definitely returning to the F1 grid for 2018.

Despite having denied a contract for next year is set in stone, Williams has at least confirmed that the former Renault and BMW driver will test in Abu Dhabi next week.

The next step would appear to be an actual signature on paper for the 32-year-old, whose first F1 career ended in early 2011 when he almost severed his forearm in a rallying crash.

"Some say he should never have driven rallies," Artur Kubica told the Polish source Newsweekowi.

"With the BMW Sauber contract, he was banned from rallying. But as Renault wanted him so much, the same ban was not put in the contract," Kubica snr explained.

It is believed the hold up in Kubica's 2018 contract is due to paperwork, especially that which is related to personal insurance that was paid out to Kubica after his 2011 crash.

But Artur Kubica insisted: "I believe he'll get the Williams seat and that he will drive fast. The question is whether he will be the same Robert that he was seven years ago."

Honda wants to beat Renault in 2018

Who will Alonso blame next year when the Honda Powered Toro Rosso smokes his McLaren on the straights?
Who will Alonso blame next year if the Honda Powered Toro Rosso smokes his McLaren on the straights?

(GMM) Honda has set the minimum target of overtaking rival engine maker Renault in 2018.

After three abysmal years with the Japanese supplier, McLaren has dumped Honda and will next year swap engine deals with the currently Renault-powered Toro Rosso.

Since 2015, Honda's has been clearly the slowest engine on the grid, but boss Yusuke Hasegawa insisted: "I think we're reducing the gap, even if we are not close enough yet.

"Obviously we hope to do more over the winter," he is quoted by El Mundo Deportivo.

"We must definitely reach Renault and overtake them" in 2018, the Japanese added.

"Our goal for 2018 is to go beyond overtaking Renault, even if we do not want to reveal our plans right now," said Hasegawa.

Sauber set for driver, Alfa Romeo announcements

Leclerc expected to drive the Alfa Romeo powered Sauber
Leclerc expected to drive the Alfa Romeo powered Sauber

(GMM) Sauber is shaping up to make announcements this week in Abu Dhabi.

It is expected that Pascal Wehrlein will leave the Swiss team after Sunday's 2017 finale in Abu Dhabi, to be replaced for next year by Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc.

But Sauber's ties to Ferrari could be getting even stronger.

We reported recently that Sauber is under pressure to also evacuate the other seat, even though it is currently occupied by Marcus Ericsson, who is very close to the team's owners.

But Ferrari wants its other junior, Antonio Giovinazzi, to also drive for Sauber in 2018.

"We will do the (driver) announcement, I hope, in Abu Dhabi," Sauber team boss Frederic Vasseur said.

And media reports including Speed Week and the Swiss daily Blick say there could be another announcement in Abu Dhabi.

For months, it has been rumored that Sauber's engines next year could be rebranded as Alfa Romeo, the Ferrari-linked luxury car brand. Italian sources say that deal is now effectively done.

Mazepin gets tire test run with Force India

Nikita Mazepin
Nikita Mazepin

Nikita Mazepin will return to Formula 1 test action with Force India during next week's post-race tire running at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Formula 1 teams will stay on at the venue for two days of running next Tuesday and Wednesday, each supplying one car, in order to aid Pirelli's development of its 2018 rubber.

Mazepin will pilot the VJM10 on Tuesday, before regular racers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon take over to share Wednesday's running.

The 18-year-old previously tested for Force India at Silverstone last year, and again in Hungary this season.

Mazepin finished 10th in this year's European Formula 3 Championship, his second season in the category, taking a trio of podiums in the process.

Todt to run unchallenged in FIA election

Jean Todt
Jean Todt

Jean Todt is poised for a third term as the FIA's President after he was listed as the only candidate for the upcoming election.

Todt became President of the FIA in 2009 and was reelected for a second four-year term in 2013.

Todt confirmed in May that he would stand for another term, and on Wednesday the FIA published the list of candidates for next month's election.

As Todt is the sole person standing for the role, he will automatically be elected when the General Assembly meets in Paris on December 8th.

Consequently, Todt will remain at the helm of motorsport's governing body until 2021, when the next elections are scheduled to take place.

Perez: No pressure for Force India at finale

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez says that Force India can compete without pressure at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with fourth in the standings secure.

Force India confirmed the position with a 15th double points finish of the season at the Mexican Grand Prix, repeating its achievement from 2016, despite a major rule change.

Perez hopes the team can end the season in style this weekend, free from the pressure of battling for a lucrative championship position.

"I enjoy driving at Yas Marina," said Perez.

"It's a track where we've been strong for the last few years and I would love to end the year on a high with a strong result.

"The final race is always a strange feeling because it's your last opportunity to drive the VJM10 and you don't know what next year will bring.

"We don't have any pressure because fourth place in the championship is confirmed, so I can focus on simply enjoying the experience and getting the best result possible."

Perez holds seventh in the standings, behind only the Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull drivers, with team-mate Esteban Ocon 11 points back.

"As a team we can be satisfied with our season," added Perez.

"Finishing fourth is the best we could achieve and, on a personal level, finishing just behind the top six drivers makes me feel proud.

"We just need to make sure we deliver this weekend and end the season well."

Force India has again broken its points record, currently sitting on 177.

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