Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Lauda and Wolff will be sad if F1 takes away their monopoly on F1
    Lauda and Wolff will be sad if F1 takes away their monopoly on F1

    Lauda denies Mercedes to join F1 quit threat

  • Massa to accept FIA role
  • Red Bull hoping to get through Renault parts crisis
  • Villeneuve, Montoya, question Kubica comeback
  • Bottas must become F1 'killer' – Wolff
  • Toro Rosso signs deal with Casio

Lauda denies Mercedes to join F1 quit threat
(GMM) Niki Lauda has denied that Mercedes might join Ferrari in threatening to quit F1.

"That's nonsense," the F1 legend and team chairman told Auto Motor und Sport.

But it is clear that the manufacturers, including Renault, are not happy with Liberty Media's plans for an all-new engine formula beyond 2020.

"We first want to see the bigger picture and know where formula one will be in 2021," said Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul.

They are also unhappy about the proposed budget cap, with some figures wondering why Liberty Media – the commercial rights holder – is even stepping into the FIA's area of making the rules.

Ross Brawn upsetting the big boys
Ross Brawn upsetting the big boys

"Why? Because the rules also determine the commercial success of the sport," said F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn.

And he thinks the expensive, complicated and quiet 'power units' of today are simply "the wrong product for good racing".

For instance, he said that if the engine parts are cheaper, unpopular rules like grid penalties for changed components can be scrapped.

"If a homologated off-the-shelf turbo costs $3000, it doesn't matter how many are used in the season," said Brawn.

Another standard part could be batteries.

"We would have no problem with that," said Abiteboul. "Renault is a carmaker, not a battery maker."

But despite opposition in other areas from other manufacturers, Brawn said F1 must be determined to change.

"We cannot continue like this," he said. "What happens if we lose one or two of the existing manufacturers if their results do not improve?"

Brawn has apologized for upsetting Ferrari and Mercedes with the way the proposals were made, but said Liberty now has "12 months" to negotiate with them.

But he doubts he would do a U-turn over the decision to scrap MGU-H.

"The argument would have to be very convincing," said Brawn.

Massa to accept FIA role
(GMM) The soon-to-be-retired Felipe Massa is set to take on an FIA role in the future.

Waldner Bernardo, president of Brazil's automobile federation, has confirmed local reports that suggest the departing Williams driver will represent Brazil at the World Motor Sport Council.

"Normally the (federation) president nominates himself to be part of the World Council," Bernardo told Globo.

"But I understand that Felipe Massa might be more useful than I am at the FIA.

"I invited him and on Tuesday, before going to Europe, he called me to say he had talked to his father, his friends, and understood that he could do something more for the sport," he added.

Red Bull hoping to get through Renault parts crisis

Renault engines have been detonating all year, just ask Verstappen
Renault engines have been detonating all year, just ask Verstappen

(GMM) Red Bull is hoping for the best as the troubled end to engine supplier Renault's season concludes next weekend in Abu Dhabi.

In Brazil, emotions spilled over between the French manufacturer and Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso, as each accused the other of being to blame for reliability problems.

Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost said he will not apologize.

"If the team is being criticized and I feel it is not correct, then we need to make a statement and that's exactly what we did," he said, according to UOL.

On behalf of Red Bull, Dr Helmut Marko tried to heal the wounds but said neither team is happy.

"Of course it's not satisfactory," he said. "They did not solve the problems and parts are running out. Unfortunately Toro Rosso was affected more than the other teams and that's why emotions were high.

"But we discussed it, made a statement and everything is ok."

Now, with no more Renault spare parts on the shelf at all, Red Bull and Toro Rosso are just hoping to make it through the Abu Dhabi finale.

Already in Brazil, after a run of great races for Max Verstappen in particular, performance was throttled.

"We are glad the engines survived," Red Bull's Christian Horner admitted to Auto Motor und Sport.

But when asked what will happen if parts fail in practice in Abu Dhabi, he answered: "We don't want that to happen. It would be an expensive job to sort that out."

What is clear is that Horner does not blame the actual Renault mechanics, who have been working particularly hard at recent races.

"What the Renault mechanics have done is a small miracle," he said.

"For weeks they have been making old parts workable and screwing them on from one car to another."

Villeneuve, Montoya, question Kubica comeback

Villeneuve thinks Kubica will be a safety risk
Villeneuve thinks Kubica will be a safety risk

(GMM) Two former F1 drivers have cast doubt on Robert Kubica's ability to successfully return to formula one next year.

More authoritative sources are now joining French broadcaster Canal Plus in claiming that after a test for the Pole in Abu Dhabi, Kubica will be announced as Lance Stroll's teammate at Williams for 2018.

Williams co-founder and former technical boss Patrick Head backed the team's decision to give Kubica a test after the forthcoming F1 finale.

"Robert was one of the best drivers in F1 of recent years," he is quoted by Finland's Turun Sanomat.

"Only he knows how ready he is for the challenge. He was seriously injured, and Williams wants to find out what his situation is.

"If he is able to perform from a physical point of view, he is a very good choice," Head added.

Brazil's Globo claims that while other drivers were considered to replace Felipe Massa next year, Kubica's talent and a reported EUR 8 million in sponsorship collated in part by co-manager Nico Rosberg clinched the deal.

But not everyone is convinced.

1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve thinks Kubica's permanently injured right arm means the 32-year-old is a safety risk.

"It's not just about the test where he has to get out of a stationary car with the Halo, which is already quite hard," the Canadian told Germany's Auto Bild.

"What about a start where he has to abruptly dodge an object? I doubt you can do that with one hand. From my own experience I know you cannot," Villeneuve said.

"I think the FIA needs to think carefully about how they can be 100 per cent sure that Robert is able to avoid accidents. Kubica himself should also think carefully about whether he wants to.

"This is not about laptimes, he also has a responsibility to his colleagues. The same is true of Williams. If there is a serious accident, the responsibility will be great," Villeneuve added.

Another former Williams driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, agrees.

"Honestly, it's a joke," said the Colombian.

"I'm sure Robert is no longer 100 per cent capable of pushing a formula one car to the limit."

The media report claims current F1 drivers may raise the issue of Kubica's apparent F1 return in the FIA briefing in Abu Dhabi next Friday.

Bottas must become F1 'killer' – Wolff

Toto, you can start by having Aldo Costa design the car to fit Bottas' driving style. Right now it's designed 100% for Hamilton and Bottas says it does not work for him
Toto, you can start by having Aldo Costa design the car to fit Bottas' driving style. Right now it's designed 100% for Hamilton and Bottas says it does not work for him

(GMM) Toto Wolff has urged second Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas to become more of an F1 "killer".

After winning his fourth world championship, Lewis Hamilton is being hailed by his Mercedes chiefs.

"It's been rock and roll with Lewis all year round," team boss Wolff is quoted by Dutch source Formule 1.

To La Gazzetta dello Sport, team chairman Niki Lauda agrees: "Our car was not the best this year.

"In the last three years, our advantage would even have made me world champion. But with the strong Ferrari this year it must be said that Lewis gave us the title and not the other way around," he added.

As for Bottas, the Finn's first season with Mercedes has been up and down.

He had a solid start to 2017, but then entered a clear and admitted trough.

"Valtteri has since slowly but surely recovered," Wolff insists. "But he still needs to be more of a killer."

He is almost certainly referring to Brazil, where despite starting from pole Bottas was passed at the start by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

Lauda said little except to insist that Bottas "deserved second place" last Sunday, while Jacques Villeneuve said almost being caught in the race by Hamilton – who started last – was "embarrassing" for the 28-year-old.

However, Wolff defended Bottas.

"When Ferrari turned up the engine power at the end, you could see there was little difference between the cars," he said.

And Bottas said: "I am very disappointed. I lost it at the start.

"After that it was very close with them and I tried to put pressure on Sebastian but it didn't lead to anything.

"Obviously it's not good for me in the battle for second place in the championship. He's got quite a good lead now so we need some miracles in Abu Dhabi," he admitted.

Toro Rosso signs deal with Casio
Scuderia Toro Rosso is happy to announce that the already established official partnership with Casio Computer Co., Ltd. has been renewed for another two-years, from January 2018.

What makes us tick:

Youthful energy and outstanding technological innovation in the passionate pursuit for speed are certainly key factors for both Scuderia Toro Rosso and Casio: these qualities perfectly match the brand concept for sporty EDIFICE metal chronographs.

Under the concept of “Speed and Intelligence," the EDIFICE brand evokes the sense of velocity and energy that is found in motorsports.

EDIFICE also features stopwatch and world time functions that have been advancing based on cutting-edge electronics technology. In recent years, Casio has released models equipped with its original Connected Engine.

This module connects to a time server through a paired smartphone, ensuring the watch displays accurate local time anywhere in the world and also automatically updates the daylight saving time and time zone information. As high-performance chronographs that combine bold designs with advanced and varied functions, EDIFICE watches enjoy a strong following among motorsports enthusiasts.

Casio and EDIFICE logos will again appear on the drivers’ racing suits, as well as on the nose sections of our cars.

Casio and Scuderia Toro Rosso will continue promoting the EDIFICE brand worldwide together… our clocks keep ticking!

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