Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Wealthy Flavio Briatore always has trophy girl hanging off his shoulder. In this case it's his much younger wife Elisabetta Gregoraci
    Wealthy Flavio Briatore, with trophy girl wife Elisabetta Gregoraci, thinks Ferrari should have hired Max Verstappen. They could not, Red Bull had him under contract

    Ferrari should have signed Verstappen – Briatore

  • Renault ran out of engine parts in 2017 – Verstappen
  • Kubica 'strong option' for Williams test – Lowe
  • Magnussen tunes out F1 rumors
  • F1 owner says Brazil security 'not our responsibility'
  • Mercedes clinches 2017 DHL pit stop award
  • Perez: I could have beaten Massa, Alonso
  • Ultra Softs preferred for Abu Dhabi GP

Ferrari should have signed Verstappen – Briatore
(GMM) Flavio Briatore thinks Ferrari has made a mistake by not signing Max Verstappen for the future.

Dutchman Verstappen, 20, is regarded as a definite champion of the future, but he has been signed up by Red Bull through 2020.

Before that happened, Ferrari re-signed the Finnish veteran Kimi Raikkonen for 2018.

"I don't know what (Sergio) Marchionne will do, he is unpredictable," said Briatore.

"But with Raikkonen you will never win the constructors' title," the Italian and former Renault team boss told Rai radio.

"To win you need two good drivers, and Ferrari does not have that," he insisted.

"I would sign Verstappen with my eyes closed. He is the only real driver that people want to see — a gladiator that they do everything to penalize in every race," he added.

Briatore also hailed Lewis Hamilton's 2017 title triumph, saying: "This year he was more motivated on the track than in the disco."

Meanwhile, F1 legend Niki Lauda thinks Ferrari president Marchionne was right to say that driver mistakes cost Ferrari the chance to beat Hamilton.

"I know Sergio well and like me he says what he thinks, although sometimes I'm a little more diplomatic," the Mercedes team chairman told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"But I understand. They lost the championship — it's right to be critical."

Renault ran out of engine parts in 2017 – Verstappen

Max Verstappen knows that Renault had to sacrifice reliability in an effort to catch Mercedes in HP
Max Verstappen knows that Renault had to sacrifice reliability in an effort to catch Mercedes in HP

(GMM) Max Verstappen has admitted Renault turned down the power in Brazil.

The Red Bull driver won two weeks earlier in Mexico, but finished just fifth in Brazil.

At the same time, the second Red Bull team Toro Rosso was warring on the sidelines with engine supplier Renault.

Verstappen admits that, at the end of the season, Renault has simply run out of spare engine parts as it focuses instead on 2018.

"On the one hand I can understand that," he is quoted by De Telegraaf newspaper.

"But on the other, if you have so many problems with reliability during the season, then as a supplier you have to do what you can to have enough parts on the shelf.

"That just seems logical," 20-year-old Verstappen added. "It's frustrating but we also have to accept it.

"After four very good races it's a bit of a pity, but you also have to be realistic. The car itself was good" in Brazil, he said.

Niki Lauda, the Mercedes team chairman, thinks both Renault and Ferrari messed up their seasons in 2017 due to reliability.

"As we had a car with erratic performance, we could not afford any engine problems," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"So Toto and I asked Andy Cowell what was more important: to find a tenth or to remain reliable? After all, you cannot win a championship without reliability.

"Ferrari and Renault privileged their search for performance and lost grands prix," Lauda added.

Kubica 'strong option' for Williams test – Lowe

Paddy Lowe
Paddy Lowe

(GMM) Paddy Lowe says Robert Kubica is "definitely a strong option" to get the green light for a test in Abu Dhabi.

For several days, it has been rumored that the former Renault and BMW driver will get a chance to prove himself in Williams' 2017 car in the post-race Abu Dhabi test following the forthcoming season finale.

"We are considering what the best options are for the two days of tire testing, and he (Kubica) is definitely a strong option," team boss Lowe told the Finnish broadcaster C More.

With Felipe Massa retiring, there are other candidates to replace the Brazilian veteran as well, including Paul di Resta, Pascal Wehrlein and Daniil Kvyat.

"We're open minded," Lowe said.

"The important thing is that we have the best lineup next year in terms of performance."

It is rumored that Toro Rosso refugee Kvyat would bring Russian sponsors to Williams, but Russian motor racing chief Igor Yermilin thinks Kubica has the best chance.

"In purely sporting terms, they are approximately equal, but from the point of view of PR, probably the Kubica story is preferable," he told Sportbox.

Magnussen tunes out F1 rumors

Kevin Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen

(GMM) Kevin Magnussen says he no longer pays attention to F1 rumors.

In recent days, weeks and months, the Danish driver has been called the 'bad boy' of F1.

And now Haas is reportedly under pressure from its technical partner Ferrari to replace him with Antonio Giovinazzi for 2018, notwithstanding Magnussen's firm contract.

Magnussen, though, says he has tuned out the rumors.

"One thing I stopped a while ago is looking at social media," the 25-year-old told Ekstra Bladet newspaper.

"It has helped a lot. I don't care what people say about me. If someone says something negative, journalists tell me anyway but I'm not actually bothered.

"Of course, it's not my goal to be unpopular, but to get results sometimes you have to put your elbows out a bit."

Magnussen is referring to a spate of complaints from rival drivers about his aggressive driving tactics.

"I don't want to be the most popular among the other drivers," he insisted. "What matters to me is the results and what the stewards say.

"And this year I've only got one penalty because of my driving, and that means I'm not so bad.

"In the paddock I have friends, but not among the drivers. But it would never work anyway, so I don't mind," Magnussen added.

F1 owner says Brazil security 'not our responsibility'


(GMM) F1 has hit the ball into the court of the race organizers, after a spate of violent incidents surrounding the Brazilian grand prix.

Multiple teams suffered armed or violent robbery attempts during the race weekend as they traveled from Interlagos to hotels.

And now Pirelli has called off a planned post-race tire test with McLaren, after a van containing staff of the F1 supplier became the latest victim of the notorious Sao Paulo crime.

The situation has triggered speculation F1 might not return to Interlagos, amid rumors Rio de Janeiro or Florianopolis might be alternative grand prix venues.

F1 owner Liberty Media has been late to officially respond to the Sao Paulo violence, but a spokesperson now insists that disappointment "is not a strong enough word".

The sport is putting the ball in race organizers' court, making clear it requires a strong response.

"It is not our responsibility," the spokesperson insisted.

"We are just the commercial rights holder. We sell those rights to the local promoter and security within the circuit is their responsibility.

"We have our own security team that travels with us and we are actively involved, but we cannot be experts in every city we go to.

"We have a year between now and the next race to get it sorted, and we would be extremely disappointed if things have not been looked at," the spokesperson added.

Mercedes clinches 2017 DHL pit stop award
Formula 1 champions Mercedes has clinched the 2017 DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award with a round to spare, taking the accolade from Williams.

While Williams led the way in Brazil, servicing Lance Stroll in just 2.10 seconds, Mercedes has amassed a sufficient points buffer over its rival to take the honors.

DHL introduced the award in 2015, with the overall title decided on a points classification – 25, 18, 15 and so on – for the 10 quickest pit stops at each Grand Prix.

Williams led the way mid-season but Mercedes moved clear, having set the quickest pit stop time in five of the eight races held since the summer break.

Mercedes has accrued 465 points, establishing a 51-point advantage to Williams, with only 43 up for grabs at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix later this month.

Red Bull holds third place in the standings, with Ferrari fourth.

Despite losing its crown, Williams nonetheless continues to hold the accolade of the fastest pit stop of the year, having serviced Felipe Massa in just 2.02s at the British Grand Prix.

Race Team Driver Time
Australia Williams Felipe Massa 2.34s
China Williams Felipe Massa 2.52s
Bahrain Williams Felipe Massa 2.34s
Russia Red Bull Max Verstappen 2.33s
Spain Mercedes Lewis Hamilton 2.39s
Monaco Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo 2.60s
Canada Williams Lance Stroll 2.17s
Europe Ferrari Sebastian Vettel 2.62s
Austria Williams Lance Stroll 2.19s
Britain Williams Felipe Massa 2.02s
Hungary Williams Paul di Resta 2.29s
Belgium Mercedes Lewis Hamilton 2.35s
Italy Mercedes Valtteri Bottas 2.15s
Singapore Mercedes Lewis Hamilton 2.27s
Malaysia Red Bull Max Verstappen 2.21s
Japan Red Bull Max Verstappen 2.29s
United States Mercedes Valtteri Bottas 2.15s
Mexico Mercedes Valtteri Bottas 2.19s
Brazil Williams Lance Stroll 2.10s

Perez: I could have beaten Massa, Alonso

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez is adamant that he could have beaten Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso to seventh in the Brazilian Grand Prix, had he not been forced wide on the first lap.

Perez, who started fifth, was squeezed onto the curb by Alonso through the right-hand element of the Senna 'S' and put two wheels on the grass, which enabled Massa to jump past.

He extended his first stint on Super Softs in a bid to make up lost ground, but despite closing back in on Alonso and Massa, and attacking in the final laps, he could not overtake.

Massa crossed the line half a second clear of Alonso, with Perez just a tenth further back, and the Force India drivers reckons he needed one more lap to reclaim at least one of the spots.

"Things got quite complicated on lap one," said Perez, who ended up ninth, with Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo clearing the group on their recoveries to fourth and sixth respectively.

"Alonso pushed me wide at Turn 2. I was on the grass and lost another position to Massa. That was very costly for my race because I spent the whole afternoon trying to recover.

"We certainly had the pace to finish in seventh, but the very high track temperatures made things difficult because as soon as you tried to attack you suffered with massive tire degradation.

"We tried to change our strategy to overcome things, but it wasn't enough to recover the seventh place.

"In the final few laps I was very close to Massa and Alonso. Massa was quick in the final sector, while Alonso was fast through sector two and had the benefit of DRS to help him defend down the straights.

"Maybe if there had been one more lap it would have been enough to overtake them.

"Considering the way things unfolded, I'm happy with the result, but not totally satisfied."

Perez's team-mate, Esteban Ocon, retired on the opening lap of the race after being taken out by Romain Grosjean, who claimed that a puncture caused the collision.

Ultra Softs preferred for Abu Dhabi GP

Pirelli wants fans to vote on what these Pink Ladies should be called
Pirelli wants fans to vote on what these Pink Ladies should be called

Formula 1 drivers have overwhelmingly preferred the Ultra Soft tire for the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi, with Pirelli revealing their compound choices.

The tire company has selected its three softest compounds, the Ultra Soft, Super Soft and Soft, in order to cope with the demands of the Yas Marina Circuit.

Of their 13 available sets, all bar the Renault drivers have selected either nine or 10 batches of the purple-banded Ultra Soft, continuing the typical 2017 trend.

As per usual, one set of Ultra Softs must be cast aside for use only in Q3, while either the Super Softs or Softs must be run for a stint of the 55-lap Grand Prix, assuming dry conditions prevail.

Pirelli is to introduce a new pink-banded compound in 2018, after complaints that its 2017 range were too hard, having adopted a conservative approach in the wake of the sport's new regulations.

Fans have been asked to decide on its name: The Mega Soft, Extreme Soft or Hyper Soft.

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