Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • Vettel in last year's ROC in Miami
    Vettel in last year's ROC in Miami

    Vettel to skip 2018 Race of Champions

  • Mercedes, Renault express power unit concerns
  • Luyendyk: F1 can learn from IndyCar stewards
  • Horner: Red Bull will beat McLaren in 2018
  • 2018 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix On Sale From November 6th

Vettel to skip 2018 Race of Champions
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has counted himself out of next year's running of the well-known Race of Champions event.

Fans of the fun annual event were surprised recently when it was announced that it would be held next January in the controversial Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Vettel is a Race of Champions regular, reportedly having attended every event since 2009.

But just days after losing the 2017 title to Lewis Hamilton, he has announced that he will not be attending Race of Champions next year.

Germany's Sport Bild quoted the Ferrari driver as saying he will instead be working in the Ferrari simulator.

"My goal is to take Ferrari back to the top," said Vettel.

"I think it would be magical to take the title back to Maranello, just like Michael Schumacher managed to do. He still inspires me," said the 30-year-old.

Mercedes, Renault express power unit concerns

Toto Wolff fighting to keep Mercedes' unfair advantage
Toto Wolff fighting to keep Mercedes' unfair advantage

Mercedes and Renault bosses have expressed concerns over the proposed regulatory framework for Formula 1's next power unit cycle, which will begin in 2021.

On Tuesday, following a meeting in Paris, F1 chiefs announced that a 1.6-liter V6 hybrid is set to be retained, but as part of a simpler, cheaper and louder package.

In a bid to reduce costs, improve the sound of the engine and boost the appeal for fans, several changes will be made to the current V6 unit, which arrived in 2014.

Key features of the 2021 power unit:

– 1.6-liter, V6 turbo hybrid
– 3000 rpm higher engine running speed range to improve the sound
– Prescriptive internal design parameters to restrict development costs and discourage extreme designs and running conditions
– Removal of the MGU-H
– More powerful MGU-K with focus on manual driver deployment in race together with option to save up energy over several laps to give a driver controlled tactical element to racing
– Single turbo with dimensional constraints and weight limits
– Standard energy store and control electronics
– High level of external prescriptive design to give 'plug-and-play' engine/chassis/transmission swap capability
– Intention to investigate tighter fuel regulations and limits on number of fuels used

Mercedes boss Wolff, though, is unconvinced, expressing surprise at the amount of information revealed, and claiming that none of the current manufacturers were "particularly impressed".

"This is their [F1's] vision and proposal, and we haven't accepted it," he told BBC Sport.

"The flaw of the concept is that it's a completely new engine and new investment.

"It portrays it in a way of this is how we're going forward and none of the current OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) were particularly impressed.

"The new concept needs to tackle the deficit that has been outlined – development costs and noise level – and all that needs to be linked with a global view of F1.

"We haven't seen any of that [with the announcement]."

Renault chief Abiteboul, meanwhile, doubts that new companies will be attracted.

"I don't see how what has been presented would be offering a model for an independent engine manufacturer," he said of the proposals.

"Maybe it would lower the cost of access for a car maker, but you would still need a substantial amount of marketing dollars to spend into research and development to make any business plan work for the new engine.

"And that is actually our problem, that we need to spend again, just like a new entrant would have to spend.

"But I don't think an Ilmor or a Cosworth (previous engine suppliers) will be able to go for it independently without the subsidizes of another car company."

He also expressed concerns about the potential removal of the MGU-H, the element of the power unit which recovers energy from the turbo.

"My problem with the removal of the MGU-H is that as soon as you do that it is a new engine," he said.

"It fundamentally changes the way the energy is managed within the engine, the way that the turbo is working and so on and so forth.

"It is a new combustion concept, a new way to manage turbo lag and efficiency, so it is new design of turbo."

Ferrari and Honda have yet to comment following Tuesday's meeting.

Luyendyk: F1 can learn from IndyCar stewards

Arie Luyendyk
Arie Luyendyk

Formula 1 can learn from IndyCar following the controversy involving Max Verstappen at the United States Grand Prix, reckons series steward Arie Luyendyk.

Verstappen overtook Kimi Räikkönen on the final lap of the race but was pushed back to fourth after the stewards deemed that he left the track and gained an advantage.

Verstappen hit out at the penalty, after several other track limits situations went unpunished, blasting "one idiot steward", referring to Garry Connelly.

Meanwhile, Mika Salo, the dedicated driver steward for the weekend, faced death threats from Verstappen fans angered by the decision.

Luyendyk, a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, is one of three permanent members on IndyCar's stewarding panel, along with Max Papis and Dan Davis.

To improve consistency, he feels that Formula 1 should consider a similar set-up moving forward, rather than changing key members of the panel on a race-by-race basis.

"You need a fixed panel," Luyendyk told GPUpdate.net.

"During a Grand Prix weekend there is no time to be creative with rules and penalties.

"The rulebook is very complicated and you aren't going to tell me that a guy like Mika Salo, who just wanders by to be a race steward for a weekend, knows the entire book of regulations.

"Just put a few guys in that spot who will be there every weekend, who will get to know the characters of the drivers better, which makes it a lot easier to judge."

He added: "Being a race steward is a very interesting job in which you have a lot of responsibilities.

"You need to be fair towards everyone, and that wasn't the case in Austin, for example.

"The punishment for Verstappen was a let-down for the fans and that's bad, because Formula 1 and the United States haven't been a match made in heaven so far."

Luyendyk and his team report to Race Director Brian Barnhart, whose role is comparable to Charlie Whiting's.

Horner: Red Bull will beat McLaren in 2018

Horner and Marko expect to beat McLaren in 2018. Both teams will have the Renault engine
Horner and Marko expect to beat McLaren in 2018. Both teams will have the Renault engine

Red Bull expects to remain the benchmark for Renault in 2018, despite McLaren taking on the manufacturer's engines, according to team boss Christian Horner.

Red Bull has won three races so far this season, including Max Verstappen's victory at the recent Mexican Grand Prix, with McLaren last triumphing back in 2012.

Renault, meanwhile, returned to works status last season, after a stint as an engine supplier, and occupies seventh in this year's championship standings.

"McLaren's a great team with strong drivers and we look forward to competing with them on track," Horner told Reuters, looking to the 2018 season.

"We've made great progress in the second half of this year and obviously our target and objective is to carry that momentum through into 2018.

"They [Renault] have a benchmark in Red Bull."

Red Bull has outscored Ferrari over the second half of the season, amid engine, chassis and fuel upgrades, and is hopeful of a stronger start next year.

"We've got pretty much regulation stability so the lessons we take out of [the] RB13 will go into [the] 14," he commented, following 2017's aero changes.

"Obviously we're hopeful that on the engine side performance and reliability improve over the winter – they are fundamental aspects for us.

"I think we've demonstrated that we've got a really competitive chassis.

"If we can take [the] learnings into next year's car then hopefully we can start on a stronger footing than the second or so that we were off at the start of the year."

2018 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix On Sale From November 6th

Baku City Circuit
Baku City Circuit

Baku City Circuit (BCC) today announced that tickets for the 2018 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix will be available to purchase online via www.bakucitycircuit.com from November 6th 2017. The third successive Formula 1 race to be staged on the streets of Azerbaijan’s capital city is taking place on the weekend of April 27th – 29th 2018, the first time the race will be staged in Baku at this time of year.

Furthermore, BCC is offering fans a limited supply of special ‘early bird’ discounts of 20% on the cost of all 4-day tickets. This exciting offer will be available until December 31st 2017, after which the cost of tickets will revert back to their original price. BCC is encouraging people to act fast and book their tickets for the 2018 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix as soon as possible while this offer is available.

A 4-day ticket includes grandstand access to not only the three days of racing as well as all accompanying entertainment offerings but also to a special Public Pit Lane Walk on Thursday 26th April. This unique experience was hugely popular last year and saw thousands of fans enter the sport’s inner sanctum where they witnessed the teams’ engineers and mechanics applying the finishing touches to the cars in their respective garages ahead of what turned out to be one of the most dramatic F1 races in recent memory.

The 2017 F1 race weekend in Baku was widely recognized as the most exciting and unpredictable race of the season so far, with the two title contenders, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, literally clashing on track in one of the most memorable incidents in the sport’s history. Ultimately, the race ended with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo unexpectedly securing the win ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and the youngest rookie to ever secure a spot on the podium, Williams’ 18-year-old Lance Stroll. It was truly an unforgettable race set against the backdrop of Azerbaijan’s stunning capital on one the most challenging circuits on the F1 calendar.

BCC’s Executive Director, Arif Rahimov, welcomed today’s announcement and urged fans to make sure they don’t lose out on this discount opportunity: “We are delighted to announce the launch of our ticket sales for the third Formula 1 race weekend in Baku this coming April. It is always important to us to offer fans something special ahead of the return of F1 to Azerbaijan and we believe that our early bird discount offering will once again act as a strong incentive for people from both home and abroad to book their weekend tickets as early as possible. Last year’s race was truly spectacular, producing a battle for the ages when our beautiful circuit finally came into its own. With this year’s race scheduled to take place in April – which can offer unpredictable weather conditions here in Baku – we are expecting the unexpected when F1 arrives back in town! We are excited to showcase our beautiful city and race track to the world once more and continue to establish this event as one of the unmissable race weekends on the F1 calendar. I would advise fans to act fast and get their tickets while they are still available!"

In addition to the discounted 4-day ticket offering, special ‘Junior’ tickets for children aged 2-15 will also be made available to families travelling to the event together.

Daily Roaming Tickets will also be on offer to those preferring to watch the action from different locations on the track on various standing areas and podiums.

Discounted 4-day adult ticket prices range from AZN160 – AZN560 while the daily Roaming Tickets will range from AZN60 – AZN150 (cost in US$ will be determined by currency rate on day of purchase).

With only 2 months to avail of this special discount offer to witness the world’s greatest race cars once again speed through the streets of this stunning city, the message from Baku City Circuit to the world’s F1 audience is very simple: get your early bird tickets while you still can and join us in Baku in 2018!

For more information on how to purchase tickets and plan your stay in Baku for the 2018 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix please visit: www.bakucitycircuit.com

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