Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Yes I know, all my deals result in anti-corruption investigations
    Yes I know, all my deals result in anti-corruption investigations

    French authorities investigate Liberty takeover

  • Red Bull started 2018 car design early – Ricciardo
  • Hartley prepares for 'big step' in Austin
  • Pressure on Hamilton's shoulders in Austin – Glock
  • Rosberg not eyeing job as team boss yet

French authorities investigate Liberty takeover
(GMM) French anti-corruption authorities are investigating the FIA over Liberty Media's acquisition of formula one.

The New York Times reports that the body called Parquet National Financier is concerned the Paris-based federation approved the sale of the sport to Liberty despite holding a stake.

The FIA denies it was a conflict of interest.

"We are entirely confident that any investigation would find that the FIA has acted appropriately at all times, and we stand ready and willing to cooperate with any inquiries should any investigation be commenced or clarification sought by the appropriate authorities," the governing body said.

Britain's Serious Fraud Office is also investigating the sale.

The FIA's 1 per cent stake in the sport was agreed in 2013 between president Jean Todt and former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

"This is what they wanted in order for them to go along with it," Ecclestone said.

"A lot of things happen in business that if you look at it you can't understand why it is allowed to happen. Somebody said to me there's a problem.

"I think in the end people were part of it in France and they'll have a look at these things if they think it's wrong," he added.

A spokesperson for Liberty did not comment.

Red Bull started 2018 car design early – Ricciardo

Red Bull now focussing on 2018
Red Bull now focusing on 2018

(GMM) Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull got an early start with the design of its car for 2018.

Many were surprised when, despite the big regulations change, Red Bull began this season clearly behind F1's top two teams Mercedes and Ferrari.

But the former champions have caught up through the year, with Australian Ricciardo and his teammate Max Verstappen each winning a race.

"Of course, it's nice that we got better during the season," Ricciardo said.

"But we have to make sure we are not so far behind at the start of the season," he told the Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport Totaal.

"I feel that our starts are always a bit slow — that's certainly been the case since I started to drive for Red Bull," Ricciardo added.

"But a lot is going to change now. We always thought we started building the car early enough, but maybe it wasn't enough," he said.

"That is why we started even earlier this year. Hopefully, we can fight for the title right from the first race in Melbourne. Mercedes has been winning too much and we want to change that."

Hartley prepares for 'big step' in Austin

Brendon Hartley in the deep end
Brendon Hartley in the deep end

(GMM) Brendon Hartley has admitted getting up to speed straight away in Austin will be difficult.

Toro Rosso owner Red Bull has signed the New Zealander and Le Mans winner to replace Pierre Gasly this weekend, as the Frenchman is racing in Japan.

Hartley, a former Red Bull reserve driver who has never raced in F1, admits he is studying hard.

"I was given instructions for the car which is 50 pages," he told Newstalk ZB radio.

"I will have four hours of practice before qualifying and I'd like to think it's enough to get the speed I need," Hartley, 27, added.

Hartley thinks he was selected by Red Bull because of his success in the top Le Mans category LMP1, where he is a top driver for Porsche.

"If we talk about laptime, the difference is not so great — around 7 to 8 seconds," he said.

"That is not so much, especially in the race.

"I drive very fast cars, so I think Red Bull invited me partly for this reason but also because WEC cars are very technically complex. We use hybrid technologies, so in this regard it is similar to formula one.

"But it's a big step for me, because six or seven years have passed since I drove open wheel cars. But I try to look at things simply as well," Hartley said.

"It's a racing car, it has four wheels, and for a driver to go fast you have all the same physical laws. So in principle it's similar," he added.

There is speculation Hartley's appearance in Austin will not actually be a one off, as he could be asked to return for the final three races of 2017 in the place of Russian Daniil Kvyat.

"It's only by seeing him over the course of two to three weekends at least that they will build up a real picture of what a talent Brendon Hartley really is," former F1 figure Mark Gallagher told Newshub.

Pressure on Hamilton's shoulders in Austin – Glock

What pressure? He is guaranteed the title
What pressure? He is guaranteed the title

(GMM) The pressure has switched from Sebastian Vettel to Lewis Hamilton's shoulders ahead of the US grand prix.

That is the view of Timo Glock, a former F1 driver who will be in the Austin paddock this weekend as a television pundit.

The German, who now races in DTM, is referring to the fact that after a horror tour of Asia for Ferrari, Hamilton is now leading the championship by a huge 59 points with four races to go.

It means the Mercedes driver could actually wrap up the title this weekend.

But when referring to Vettel and his points deficit, Glock said: "He has nothing left to lose.

"The pressure is now on Mercedes really to give Lewis Hamilton a car that works at every race. As for Ferrari and Sebastian, they have no more pressure.

"They just have to give it everything — there's nothing else they can do," Glock, a former Toyota and Marussia driver, told Speed Week.

But he said it is a shame Vettel's championship campaign fell apart in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan in September and October.

"Their car is on par or better than Mercedes on many tracks," said Glock.

"It would have been nice if we had seen a mega fight to the end."

Rosberg not eyeing job as team boss yet

Nico Rosberg as team boss? Really?
Nico Rosberg as team boss?

(GMM) Nico Rosberg is not ruling out a future as a motor racing team boss.

Last weekend, Team Rosberg – founded by the reigning world champion's father Keke – won the DTM championship with Rene Rast at the wheel.

But although he is now retired, Rosberg said he is not involved with the team.

"No, I'm not involved in the DTM team," he said.

But Rosberg, 32, was at the celebratory party.

"It was great," he smiled. "I saw a lot of people who played a huge role in my own career when I drove for Team Rosberg in F3 and Formula BMW.

"It was a great time with lots of memories."

But he told Speed Week he is not currently looking for a management role, despite having also been linked with Mercedes' forthcoming Formula E entry.

"This is not an issue right now," Rosberg said.

"But of course I look at all the options in motor sport. This is my passion, especially formula one. It's why I did the commentary in Japan, and it's also a great challenge for me with the management of Robert Kubica.

"I'm supporting him in his comeback in any way I can," he added.

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