Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Jos Verstappen (L) and son Max
    Jos Verstappen (L) and son Max wanted to leave Red Bull but now all of a sudden they are happy because the Red Bull is a winning car again

    Red Bull is true 'top team' for Verstappen – father

  • Ferrari not ruling out using 'veto' for engine rules
  • Boss admits Haas may have started 2018 car too early
  • Vettel 'not afraid of Hamilton'
  • Aston Martin CEO Encouraged By FIA's '21 Proposals For Formula 1
  • Brawn: Hamilton could match Schumacher
  • Arrivabene: Ferrari doesn't need 'revolution'
  • Hartley happy with progress between races

Red Bull is true 'top team' for Verstappen – father
(GMM) Max Verstappen's father is confident the 20-year-old has selected a true "top team" to race for through 2020.

The young Dutch sensation had been linked with potential moves to Mercedes or Ferrari, but instead extended his stay at Red Bull for the next three years.

And former F1 driver Jos Verstappen, Max's father and co-manager, said he is comfortable with that choice.

"The team has moved heaven and earth to become more competitive again," Verstappen told Ziggo Sport Totaal.

"When you look at the state of the car at the beginning of the season and how good it is now, that answers the question of what makes a top team," Jos added.

"And all the changes made fit wonderfully with Max's driving style, which is noticeable on the stopwatch," he said.

Verstappen snr, who raced for teams including Benetton and Minardi, also thinks Max can end the 2017 season on a high.

"In Brazil we hope for a little rain," he smiled, "and then Max can show what he can do, as he managed last year.

"I guess in qualifying the other top teams will be a little stronger, but in the race Red Bull should be able to keep up," said Jos.

Ferrari not ruling out using 'veto' for engine rules

Arrivabene wants to keep F1's expense and sick sounding engines
Arrivabene wants to keep F1's expense and sick sounding engines

(GMM) Ferrari is not ruling out using its controversial 'veto' to block Liberty Media's plans for the future of F1.

Already, it is believed manufacturers Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault are opposing the new F1 owner's plans to make substantial changes to the engine rules for 2021.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has accused the two top teams in particular of simply "blocking" the obvious need for serious engine changes.

"In some way or the other, we are always blocking Red Bull in the mind of Christian," said Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene.

The Italian insists Ferrari and Mercedes actually have every right to express strong opinions about the engines, because "it's our business".

"It's not a question of Mercedes or Ferrari blocking here or blocking there," he said.

Arrivabene said Ferrari wants to "keep the same engine architecture" for 2021, reduce costs, improve performance and boost the show.

"Normally you have the simple equation: what and how?" he added. "For sure it's not Ferrari or Mercedes driving the show, but they are the people who are manufacturing the engines."

And so Arrivabene said Ferrari will not rule out wielding its unique and historic power of "veto" to stop changes it considers are wrong.

"At a certain point we apply our right to do a veto for good reason at that time," he said.

"But within serious people and people who have a clear idea, people who understand what they are talking about, I think you don't need any veto," the Italian added.

Boss admits Haas may have started 2018 car too early

Gunther Steiner screwed up again
Gunther Steiner screwed up again

(GMM) Gunther Steiner said only time will tell if Haas' decision to abandon the 2017 car project quite early was the right one.

The American team's boss made an early call this year to move the focus to the 2018 car, which is hurting performance at the end of this season.

"We took a decision to change focus to the 2018 car because we wanted to make some fundamental changes that we could not transfer 100 per cent from this car," he told Ekstra Bladet newspaper.

But Steiner acknowledges that the project shift from 2017 to 2018 may actually have occurred too early.

"We stopped a bit early, in hindsight," he said.

"Should we have done that? I don't know. The verdict will only come in February when we test — whether it was worth it or not.

"Right now we have a nice wind tunnel model with a lot of numbers, but I don't know what the teams that further developed their 2017 car can carry over to their 2018 car.

"We will only find out when we see them all on the track," Steiner added.

Like all the 2018 cars, Haas' next machine will have to be fitted with 'Halo', but Steiner said the team has not been focused on track testing the device in free practice this year.

"To be honest, until next year, we have other priorities for practice other than Halo," he said.

Vettel 'not afraid of Hamilton'

Vettel can only dream of beating Hamilton. Ferrari will have to steal Aldo Costa back
Vettel can only dream of beating Hamilton. Ferrari will have to steal Aldo Costa back

(GMM) Sebastian Vettel is already setting his sights on stopping Lewis Hamilton from winning yet another title in 2018.

In Mexico, Mercedes' Hamilton matched Vettel's career tally by securing his fourth drivers' crown.

"Only very few athletes on the planet have four world championship titles in their pockets, so that must be honored," Ferrari driver Vettel told Sport Bild.

"Looking at the season, Lewis was the better man and that's why he earned the title."

And now, Briton Hamilton is already setting his sights on number five.

Vettel said: "You never know what will happen in the future. But next season I will do my utmost to keep Lewis from getting the fifth title.

"2017 was his year but 2018 is another story," the German added. "Then everything starts again from zero.

"As Ferrari, we are on the right track and I firmly believe that we can be at the front in 2018."

That is despite the fact that most insiders agree that Hamilton is in almost scarily good form.

But Vettel insisted: "I am not afraid of Lewis.

"On the contrary, I like racing against him. Because if you win against a Lewis Hamilton, you're proud because you know that the level he drives at is extremely high."

Vettel also believes Ferrari is up to the challenge of taking on not only Mercedes next year, but also Red Bull.

"We have to get even better, and we will," he declared. "After all, we know we're not fighting against Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck."

Aston Martin CEO Encouraged By FIA's '21 Proposals For Formula 1

Andy Palmer
Andy Palmer

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer "reacted positively" to the initial announcement made by FIA and Formula One Management which revealed their initial vision for the sport post-'20, according to PLANET F1.

Aston Martin has already stepped up its involvement within Formula 1, "employing staff with experience working for Ferrari and becoming a title sponsor for Red Bull next season."

Although there has been some criticism for the key features of the '21 blueprint, Aston Martin will "continue to monitor the situation and be a part of the ongoing discussion."

Palmer: "Aston Martin attended the recent FIA meeting and has been deeply involved through its submissions on potential solutions. …

The key will be how development costs are controlled to make participation by independent engine suppliers a viable possibility." PLANET F1

The BBC's Andrew Benson reported Mercedes "cast doubt" on the new engine regulations proposed for F1 in '21.

Mercedes Motorsport Dir Toto Wolff said that he has "strong skepticism" about whether the ideas are the right way forward. He said, "This is their vision and proposal and we haven't accepted it. The flaw of the concept is that it's a completely new engine and new investment."

FIA and F1 have proposed keeping the current engine architecture of a 1.6-liter turbo V6 hybrid but "removing one of the two hybrid elements."

Wolff said that he was "surprised" that FIA published so much detail on the new engine when the manufacturers had been told in a meeting on the same day that the plans were "a proposal of a vision for 2021" that would be subject to further discussion and refinement at F1's various rule-making entities. BBC

Brawn: Hamilton could match Schumacher

Hamilton dreams of surpassing Schumacher. He can do it as they both had Aldo Costa designed race cars
Hamilton dreams of surpassing Schumacher. He can do it as they both had Aldo Costa designed race cars

Ross Brawn reckons Lewis Hamilton could go on to challenge Michael Schumacher's records of victories and titles before retiring, given his current form.

Hamilton secured a fourth crown at the recent Mexican Grand Prix, edging closer to Schumacher's seven, and is also within 30 of the German's record 91 race wins.

Brawn, now involved in Formula 1's management, played a key role in bringing Hamilton to Mercedes in 2013, and worked with Schumacher for all of his seven titles.

Asked if he feels Schumacher's all-time victory/title records are in sight for Hamilton, who will turn 33 in January, Brawn told Sky Sports: "I think they are.

"When that happened [Schumacher setting the benchmark] I couldn't imagine it being beaten, but looking at the way that Lewis is performing…

"He made hard work of it [by finishing ninth in Mexico], but apart from that he's been exemplary all year."

Hamilton has joined a small group of drivers to win four or more titles.

Schumacher leads the way on seven, followed by Juan Manuel Fangio on five, with Hamilton, 2017 title rival Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost all on four.

"You've got to say he's one of the greats, comparable with any of the iconic characters in Formula 1," said Brawn, assessing Hamilton's position in Formula 1 history.

Hamilton himself played down comparisons with Schumacher shortly after clinching his latest title and insisted that he is simply focused on improving year-on-year.

"I think, first and foremost, we all know how exceptional Michael was, and his records have lasted for so long," he commented.

"There's one particular record which is going to be very hard for anyone to catch.

"Each year I don't set a goal to make records, I have a goal of somehow… improving certain areas where you feel you could be better."

Hamilton broke the pole position record earlier this season.

Arrivabene: Ferrari doesn't need 'revolution'

Arrivabene is right , Ferrari does not need a 'revolution', it just needs its designer Aldo Costa back from Mercedes
Arrivabene is right , Ferrari does not need a 'revolution', it just needs its designer Aldo Costa back from Mercedes

Maurizio Arrivabene believes that minor changes will be enough for Ferrari to return to title-winning ways next season, after its 2017 championship challenge unraveled.

Ferrari pushed Mercedes for both titles over the first half of the season, with Vettel leading the Drivers' standings at the summer break, but fell back amid a disastrous trio of Asian races.

After getting caught up in a first-lap clash in Singapore, which involved Red Bull's Max Verstappen, Vettel and team-mate Kimi Räikkönen suffered costly engine issues in Malaysia and Japan.

Mercedes duly wrapped up a fourth successive title in the United States, before Hamilton secured a fourth crown in Mexico, with Brazil and Abu Dhabi still to come.

However, despite the disappointment of dropping out of contention, team boss Arrivabene hailed Ferrari's progress in 2017, and expressed confidence over a "united" workforce.

"We have a lot of positives, in all honesty, because I saw quite a young team working very, very well on the car here and in Maranello," said Arrivabene, assessing the season.

"The guys are very united, they are exchanging information, they are very focused and they are quite young, so no one was expecting the performance that we have this year.

"Mattia [Binotto], our Technical Director, is leading the technical properly. He knows, deeper and deeper, Ferrari, and I have to say and together we are exchanging our opinion, information.

"He's got his engineering point of view, I've got a different point of view, but we are always very well aligned.

"Unfortunately, we lost a key opportunity due to a small detail related to a technical issue that we have, mainly from a supplier, but sometimes it is in the detail, it's a learning for us, it's a learning for them.

"We are looking forward to the future, to do better and better and better but we are focused."

Asked what needs to change at Ferrari to take the 'next and last step' in 2018, Arrivabene said: "It's not a question of revolution, it's a question of adjustment.

"This year we paid a heavy fee for detail and I said we need to be a bit more focused on the processes, we need to be more focused in other areas

"But the good positive is that this is a team that is not giving up, it is a team that is learning from the mistakes and it is a team that is fully committed."

Ferrari last won a title in 2008, when it claimed the Constructors' crown, while Räikkönen remains the Scuderia's most recent Drivers' champion, with his 2007 triumph.

Hartley happy with progress between races

Brendon Hartley nixed IndyCar deal with Ganassi to be a backmarker in F1
Brendon Hartley nixed IndyCar deal with Ganassi to be a backmarker in F1

Brendon Hartley says he is happy with the progress he made over the course of his second Grand Prix weekend, despite being hindered by technical issues.

Hartley was called up by Toro Rosso to replace Super Formula-bound Pierre Gasly in the United States, following a previous stint on Red Bull's scheme.

Hartley stayed on for Mexico, as Gasly returned to the fold, the pair expected to form Toro Rosso's line-up in 2018, with Daniil Kvyat now officially axed.

Having dropped out in Q1 in Austin, Hartley reached Q2 Aut¢dromo Hermanos Rodríguez, before an engine failure halted his charge, which led to a grid penalty for new components.

He made progress in the race to rise from 17th to the fringes of the top 10, before another engine issue struck and forced him into retirement.

Despite the outcome, Hartley was pleased with his gains.

"It's always disappointing not to finish a race, but I'm still smiling because I've made progress compared to Austin," reflected Hartley.

"It's just a shame that the race was cut short – it's been quite a tough weekend.

"[We had] issues on Friday, I then couldn't make progress in Q2 once the engine went and in the race I lost power at the end of the straight line, then saw the white smoke and was asked to stop…

"It would've been good to get to the end of the race because I was enjoying all the battles!

"I now look forward to the next couple of races, hopefully things will go smoother, [we can] get to the end of the race and see where we end up!"

Gasly also endured engine woes, completing just 12 laps through practice and missing qualifying, before recovering from his own grid penalty to 13th.

"It was good to finally drive on this track after a very tough weekend where I completed very few laps before the race," he commented.

"Unfortunately, the race wasn't as good as we wanted it to be.

"It took me a couple of laps to get used to the track and the car, but at least I continued to gain experience in the car, which was very useful, and go to the end of the race.

"We will now need to work hard and keep on improving for the next race weekend in Brazil."

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