Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Raikkonen was out of tires and a sitting duck on the final lap
    Raikkonen was out of tires and a sitting duck on the final lap

    Lauda to seek out Whiting after Verstappen penalty

  • Verstappen penalty call "the worst I've ever seen" – Lauda
  • Kvyat yet to discuss future with Marko
  • Ferrari 'easy to beat' when emotional – Lauda
  • Marchionne plays down Arrivabene axe reports
  • Marchionne tips 2021 engine rules 'quarrels'
  • Vettel admits he lacked Hamilton's pace
  • Hamilton: Pre-race set-up changes crucial
  • Bottas left to lament late-race tire wear

Lauda to seek out Whiting after Verstappen penalty
(GMM) Niki Lauda says he will speak to F1 race director Charlie Whiting after Max Verstappen's controversial expulsion from the podium in Austin.

The Red Bull driver was only told while he was in the post-race preparation room on Sunday that Kimi Raikkonen would be taking the final podium step instead.

Stewards had given Verstappen a penalty for cutting a corner while overtaking Raikkonen.

The Dutchman and his father Jos were furious.

Max, 20, called a steward who he thinks is a regular penalty-giving offender a "moron", while his dad Jos raged at the FIA.

"If it's true that Charlie Whiting is behind the decision, then he should immediately resign," the former Minardi driver told Ziggo Sport Totaal.

Red Bull chiefs Christian Horner and Dr Helmut Marko were also furious, saying many other drivers also exceeded track limits in Austin without being punished.

Even their counterpart at Mercedes, F1 legend Niki Lauda, agrees.

"Last year, when the stewards were punishing everything, we had a long meeting with Charlie Whiting and said 'Let the racing drivers be racing drivers'," he told German television.

"I don't understand why we have now gone back to the stone age with something that is bad for the sport," Lauda added.

One of the stewards on duty in Austin, former F1 driver Mika Salo, agreed with Lauda when he said enforcing painted white lines to delineate the track is not ideal in F1.

But the Finn told Ilta Sanomat newspaper that there was "nothing else" the stewards could do in this case.

"Other drivers who did it did not benefit, and this was the only situation that came before us for examination," Salo insisted.

"Max drove a great race, but the last move was just too much," he said.

Verstappen penalty call "the worst I've ever seen" – Lauda

Wolff and Lauda sticking up for their future driver?
Wolff and Lauda sticking up for their future driver?

Mercedes Formula 1 chairman Niki Lauda has labelled the call to penalize Max Verstappen in the United States Grand Prix as the worst decision he’s ever seen.

Red Bull driver Verstappen was given a five-second penalty after passing the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen down the inside of COTA's Turn 17 on the last lap of the race.

This dropped him back from third to fourth, as he had been deemed to have gained an advantage by putting all four wheels off-track.

Reacting to the penalty, Lauda said: "This decision is the worst I’ve ever seen. He [Verstappen] did nothing wrong. We’re racing drivers, we’re not on a normal road.

"It’s ridiculous to destroy the sport with this kind of decision."

Lauda recalled that all parties had agreed in a meeting last year to allow drivers to race without unnecessary interference.

“We got the stewards in to tell us how fast stewards could go during a race," he said. “Because it always says ‘under investigation'.
So we complained about that.

"The stewards were in, [Jean] Todt asked everybody, Charlie [Whiting] was there, we were there, and there we agreed all together that unless it is dangerous, the stewards would not interfere.

“Very simple. If they drive over [each other] and go upside down, only then they [the stewards] will come in. It was the beginning of last year."

Lauda added that the Verstappen penalty meant the matter would have to be discussed again.

"Next strategy [group] meeting we need to bring it up to the agenda and start it all over again. Because we cannot do that, it’s going too far.

"There was nothing to interfere with, it was a normal overtaking."

The three-time world champion insisted that F1 drivers should be allowed to use all the available road surface.

“Charlie argues all the time there’s white lines and you cannot drive over them. Why cannot you drive over white lines if it is possible? Build a wall there if you want.

"As long as there is normal circuit, you can use it. A white line is not a limit. We agreed this all, last year it was all agreed. And now we get this decision. I think it’s completely wrong." Motorsport

Kvyat yet to discuss future with Marko

Daniil Kvyat needs to deliver a large check
Daniil Kvyat needs to deliver a large check

(GMM) Daniil Kvyat says he still has not sat down to discuss his future in F1 with Dr Helmut Marko.

Earlier, amid great uncertainty about what comes next for the embattled Russian, Kvyat said he has been promised a meeting with Red Bull kingpin Marko.

Then on Sunday, Kvyat said he was delighted with his performance in Austin as he returned to the Toro Rosso cockpit in Gasly's absence.

"It was my best race this year," he said.

"I came here with a new approach to use all the knowledge that I have. I feel I have become stronger psychologically, with a new motivation.

"With a few weeks rest I was able to disconnect and can again feel great potential and used it. I hope I still have the chance to take further advantage of what I have learned," Kvyat, 23, added.

"Every day I have been asked if I think this weekend is the most important in my career, and if it was, I think I could not have done anything better."

But Marko, the Red Bull driver manager, says he will decide between Kvyat, Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley for the remaining three races of 2017 and then for next year.

Marko seemed happy with Hartley's debut in the US.

"In the long runs he is already very good," said the Austrian. "This is impressive. And his technical statements to the engineers are outstanding."

When asked if he has now had his much-feted meeting with Marko, Kvyat answered: "No, I have not.

"But I do not want to answer questions about this. When I meet, you will know everything," Kvyat added.

Ferrari 'easy to beat' when emotional – Lauda

Wolff and Lauda celebrate another crushing blow by Mercedes
Wolff and Lauda celebrate another crushing blow by Mercedes

(GMM) Ferrari is "easy to beat" when emotions are running high at the Italian team.

That is the view of Niki Lauda, a former Ferrari driver who is now the team chairman at the Maranello marque's arch-rival Mercedes.

Despite an earlier strong challenge, Sebastian Vettel's 2017 title campaign fell apart recently amid car failures, and new rumors team Maurizio Arrivabene could be sacked as a direct consequence.

But Lauda said that sort of chaos would simply show that Ferrari is falling back into bad old habits.

"Ferrari is hard to beat when there is inner peace and trust in their own performance," he told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag in Austin.

"But they are easy to beat when they stand in their own way with performance pressure, high expectations and when people are emotional and insecure," Lauda added.

Mercedes beat Ferrari to the 2017 constructors' world championship on Sunday. Lewis Hamilton needs only to finish fifth in Mexico this weekend to win his fourth drivers' crown.

Marchionne tips 2021 engine rules 'quarrels'

Sergio Marchionne
Sergio Marchionne

(GMM) Sergio Marchionne says he will not sacrifice "Ferrari DNA" in the next round of talks about the 2021 engine rules.

Red Bull's re-signing of Max Verstappen has many paddock insiders wondering what the energy drink-owned team knows about the next set of engine rules.

With costs out of control and Mercedes and Ferrari dominating, some believe many parts of the new 2021 engines will be standardized, and that some of these measures could be brought in early in 2020.

Ferrari president Marchionne said in Austin: "There will be a series of meetings from now until the end of the year on engine development in 2020-2021.

"The thing I make comment on, and I believe that my position will be shared by Mercedes, is that technical knowledge cannot be undone by the need to reduce costs," he said.

"I am the first to say we need to reduce costs," Marchionne added, "but we cannot do this by removing Ferrari DNA.

"It is a very delicate discourse in which there will be quarrels until the right equilibrium is found."

Vettel admits he lacked Hamilton's pace

Vettel knows the Ferrari cannot match the Aldo Costa Mercedes
Vettel knows the Ferrari cannot match the Aldo Costa designed Mercedes

Sebastian Vettel has conceded that Ferrari lacked the pace to fight with Lewis Hamilton at the United States Grand Prix, after finishing second to his Mercedes rival.

Vettel, having qualified second, held hopes of battling Hamilton for victory, and grabbed the lead on the run to Turn 1, before attempting to pull clear.

However, Vettel was soon overhauled by Hamilton, who surged ahead, while Vettel switched to a two-stop strategy, as opposed to Hamilton's sole stop.

Vettel came out in fourth place but quickly returned to second, though conceded that Hamilton was out of reach, irrespective of the strategy.

"I think at the start it was looking good," said Vettel.

"Obviously we got past Lewis, but fairly quickly we realized that we couldn't go at his pace today, so well done and congratulations to him.

"Then I think we were in a bit of no man's land.

"It was close after the first pit-stop again, but obviously [I was] stuck again and towards the end we decided to pit again for some fresh tires.

"It was a bit more exciting, the last couple of laps especially, but overall, not the result that we wanted.

"There was no real secret other than they [Mercedes] were quicker than us, so I think we have to admit that today in the race we couldn't go at their pace.

"I don't think it's down to the strategy."

A downbeat Vettel conceded that his title prospects "don't look good", with the Ferrari driver now 66 behind Hamilton, and just 75 up for grabs over the final three races.

Hamilton: Pre-race set-up changes crucial

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton believes set-up changes before the race were a big factor in securing victory at the United States Grand Prix.

Despite losing out at the start to title rival Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton took just a handful of laps to reclaim the race lead with a DRS-assisted pass heading to Turn 12.

After going on to secure his ninth win of the season, Hamilton commented that a complete change of wind direction affected the feel of the car.

"I had so much fun out there today, the track was completely different to how it was yesterday," said Hamilton.

"Yesterday you braked into Turn 1 with a head wind, halfway round, then the rear became light and you get wheelspin.

"Through the Esses was like, 'Wow', the best it's ever been. You get the headwind, so maximum downforce and you can really throw it around."

On the pre-race set-up changes, he said: "All I can say is we worked hard on trying to get a balance that worked for qualifying and the race.

"The couple of laps I did to the grid were the first time with this wind change and I had to make some big changes, [and we are] obviously only allowed to change wing and some differential settings

"I made these changes, and it made the car so good, so I'm happy with it."

Victory for Hamilton at the Circuit of the Americas means that he only needs a fifth place finish at the next race in Mexico to secure his fourth drivers' title.

Bottas left to lament late-race tire wear

Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas conceded that it was "not possible" for him to execute a one-stop strategy, after the Finn struggled with the durability of his Soft tires.

Bottas swatted aside an early threat from Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo to hold third and emerged in the hunt for second, as he and team-mate Lewis Hamilton, along with Kimi Räikkönen, stopped just once.

While Hamilton maintained a buffer up front, Bottas was overhauled by Räikkönen, before falling prey to the two-stopping Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen.

Bottas ultimately stopped for a second time during the closing stages, after a lock-up, and trailed home fifth, continuing his difficult run of form.

"Today was a tough day for me," said Bottas.

"In the first three-quarters of the race, everything was going quite well and the pace was not bad.

"However, I couldn't make the one-stop strategy work with all the fighting with Sebastian and Kimi in the second stint.

"That was wearing the Soft tires off quite a bit, they started to go and it simply was not possible to stick to just one stop.

"I tried everything I could to defend, but it was too late, so unfortunately we had to pit again.

"I'm still disappointed with my race, and I will need a few moments to get over it."

Bottas is now mathematically out of contention for this year's championship.

Leave a Reply