Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Todt wants to put lipstick on a pig and paint the Halo for the leader
    Todt wants to put lipstick on a pig and paint the Halo for the leader

    Special Halo color for title leader – Todt

  • Bottas staying at Mercedes in 2018 – Lauda
  • Hamilton wants to know Schumacher condition
  • Pregnant Williams to miss last races of 2017
  • Ferrari 'embarrassing' at Monza – Marchionne
  • Wolff admits having 'coffee' with Verstappen
  • F1 officials 'too conservative' in rain – Horner
  • Brown: Alonso stay 'very likely' with Renault
  • Wolff: Ferrari's Monza display a one-off
  • Arrivabene reflects on 'difficult' home event

Special Halo color for title leader – Todt
(GMM) Jean Todt has an idea to spice up the popularity of the 'Halo' safety innovation for 2018.

Many drivers, insiders and fans are unhappy that the cockpit protection system will affect the aesthetics and 'DNA' of formula one from next year.

FIA president Todt said at Monza that Halo is being brought in to keep the drivers safe, even though many of those on the grid already feel 'too safe'.

"That is why we need responsible people leading the sport," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

"When I announced that we will introduce Halo for the 2018 season of Formula E, there was no criticism," Todt added.

"And also with the introduction of Halo for Formula 2 next year I hear no negative comments. This shows that people already get used to it."

Still, Halo remains unpopular and controversial among many F1 fans.

Todt said: "I've heard an idea I like — that we should give the championship leader a Halo in a special color.

"However, I have also heard that some teams have already sold the space on the Halo to sponsors," he added.

Bottas staying at Mercedes in 2018 – Lauda

Bottas back with Mercedes in 2018
Bottas back with Mercedes in 2018

(GMM) Mercedes is now poised to announce that Valtteri Bottas is staying put for 2018.

Team boss Toto Wolff said at Monza that keeping the Finn at the team for a second season is a "no brainer".

Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda now tells the German broadcaster RTL: "I can say that he will be racing with us next year.

"Toto will arrange it and then the supervisory board will have to agree," he said on the sidelines of the Italian grand prix.

Hamilton wants to know Schumacher condition
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton says he would like to know the current physical condition of F1 legend Michael Schumacher.

At Monza, the Briton sped past the all-time record for pole positions – 68 – formerly held by seven time world champion Schumacher.

"For everything he did for the sport and raising the bar, to be able to raise that bar once more is an honor," said the Mercedes driver.

Schumacher has not been seen in public since his near-fatal skiing crash in late 2013, and almost nothing is known about the extent of his brain injuries.

Hamilton said at Monza: "I would love to speak to his wife and see how things are. Time will tell."

Pregnant Williams to miss last races of 2017

Williams to give birth
Williams to give birth

(GMM) Team boss Claire Williams will not attend any more races in 2017.

The 41-year-old, who is the daughter of team founder Sir Frank Williams, is due to give birth to her first child – a baby boy – in the coming days.

Claire said at Monza that she will be working from home from now on this season.

"It's a bit strange because I've been here for so many years and I'm going to miss the last races of the year," she said.

"I'm a little sad because this (the paddock) is my home, it's my office," Williams added.

Ferrari 'embarrassing' at Monza – Marchionne

Ferrari was out to lunch at Monza
Ferrari was out to lunch at Monza

(GMM) Sergio Marchionne says Ferrari's performance at home at Monza was "embarrassing".

As Mercedes drove to a one-two, the team's drivers admitted they turned down their engines while easily beating Ferrari's third-placed Sebastian Vettel to the podium.

"Mercedes power is definitely better than Ferrari power," said new championship leader Lewis Hamilton on the podium, to the jeers of the Tifosi.

However, just a week ago at Spa, the 2017 Ferrari actually looked quicker than the Mercedes, and prior to that Vettel led an all-red one-two in Hungary.

But president Marchionne said at Monza: "If I look at the difference between Mercedes and Ferrari today, it's embarrassing.

"But our goal has not changed. What the Tifosi saw today was simply not the real Ferrari.

"Something has gone wrong."

Indeed, amid Mercedes' Monza dominance, team chairman Niki Lauda admitted that Ferrari should "easily win" on the tight and twisty Singapore layout in a fortnight.

Marchionne agrees: "Yes, I think so.

"But that does not change that a week ago we were very close to victory and perhaps had even the best car. Then something happened.

"For the first time this season we were below expectations in the race, so obviously we have work to do. But while Monza is Monza, the world championship is still long.

"But the others were almost one second ahead of us, and that's impossible. That is not Ferrari," Marchionne said.

Wolff admits having 'coffee' with Verstappen

Wolff eyeing Verstappen for 2019
Wolff eyeing Verstappen for 2019

(GMM) Toto Wolff has admitted he met with Max Verstappen's father at Monza.

Amid the high-profile talks involving McLaren, Honda, Toro Rosso and F1 officials at the scene of the Italian grand prix, another notable meeting took place rather more quietly.

It was between Wolff, the Mercedes team boss, and former F1 driver Jos Verstappen, amid rumors his frustrated son Max wants to leave Red Bull.

Wolff told the German broadcaster Sky: "Firstly, I know Jos since he was a driver.

"We've both got a friend who was there visiting us, Niki (Lauda) and I were sitting in the office, our two Dutch friends were there so we had a cup of coffee."

But when asked if the meeting is a sign that Mercedes is interested in signing Max, Wolff insisted: "For next year clearly not — he is not available.

"After that, he is one of the names that you definitely must have on the radar. Max is one of the great formula one stars of the future, but there are many others as well like Valtteri, Daniel (Ricciardo) and Esteban Ocon."

Mercedes is set to announce a new one-year contract with Lewis Hamilton's current teammate Valtteri Bottas.

F1 officials 'too conservative' in rain – Horner

It was pretty wet
It was pretty wet

(GMM) Christian Horner has criticized F1 officials for acting "too conservatively" during Saturday's rain-affected qualifying session at Monza.

The local and international audience reacted with frustration as race control repeatedly delayed in 15 minute increments the qualifying session due to rain.

"To be honest, I think they acted very conservatively. I would say too conservatively," Red Bull boss Horner said.

"Formula one is not a sport that requires exceptionally normal weather.

"From a safety standpoint it is understandable that there was some caution in this instance, but we could have got back onto the track a lot sooner," he added.

Asked if he will bring up the topic at the next F1 strategy group meeting, however, Horner said: "I think this is more an internal matter for the FIA."

Brown: Alonso stay 'very likely' with Renault

Zak Brown thinks Alonso will stay
Zak Brown thinks Alonso will stay

Fernando Alonso would be "very likely" to stay with McLaren for the 2018 campaign if the team switches to Renault power, according to Zak Brown.

McLaren is expected to make an announcement over its future power unit plans this week, amid Honda's struggle to produce a reliable and competitive engine.

Honda boss Yusuke Hasegawa told GPUpdate.net at the Italian Grand Prix that it is "very clear" Alonso does not want to stay with Honda, unless rapid improvement is displayed.

"It is very clear: if we don't introduce anything, and stay with the current performance, McLaren or Fernando doesn't stay with us – it is very clear," he said.

And asked about the prospect of securing a Renault engine, Brown admitted that it would help to secure Alonso's services for another year.

"I think it's very likely [to convince him]," McLaren chief Brown told Sky Sports.

"I seem to have a lot of breakfasts now with Fernando… he loves the team, he's passionate as ever to drive, he wants to be in Formula 1 and wants us to be more competitive."

Brown, though, would not rule out Alonso, McLaren and Honda sticking together.

"We will further review this week," he commented.

"I wouldn't say it's a foregone conclusion that if we do stay with Honda he won't remain with us."

Another potential twist to the situation is Christian Horner's revelation that Red Bull has a veto over which teams Renault supplies, but suggested it will not be used.

GPUpdate.net spotted Horner leaving the McLaren Brand Centre on Sunday morning.

"We have a veto over who potentially Renault could supply, but of course, if there was a straightforward switch, that would be very straightforward," Horner told Sky Sports.

"It was something that went into the contract 10 years ago when dear old [former McLaren chief] Ron Dennis wouldn't give us a Mercedes engine.

"Theoretically we could do [veto a Renault supply deal]."

At present, Renault powers Red Bull and Toro Rosso, alongside a works team, with current regulations stipulating that manufacturers can only supply three teams.

A deadline of Sunday evening was rumored to have been set by Toro Rosso regarding its 2018 engine supply, following talks with Honda over the summer.

Wolff: Ferrari's Monza display a one-off

Wolff knows his Aldo Costa designed cars are going to win the title
Wolff knows his Aldo Costa designed cars are going to win the title

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff described Ferrari's Italian Grand Prix performance as an "outlier", after the reigning World Champion team cruised to a 1-2 at Monza on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton controlled proceedings to register his sixth victory of the campaign, while Valtteri Bottas recovered from a sub-par getaway to finish in second place.

Mercedes' drivers finished half a minute clear of lead Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, while Daniel Ricciardo ran the alternate strategy to pass Kimi Räikkönen for fourth, having started from 16th on the grid.

Wolff believes that Ferrari "made a step back" at Monza, and did not expect his Mercedes team to hold such a comfortable advantage.

"For me, it looks like this weekend Ferrari has made a step back, somehow," he said.

"I think we were very solid, but they haven't performed in the way everybody expected.

"Red Bull started from the back of the grid, almost finishing in P3, [so] there's just something that is out of sync here, something is not how it should be, so I can understand [if] they're upset about it.

"This morning, based on the Friday long runs, we thought they would be closer, considering their Spa performance.

"I cannot tell you what the gap was [on the pre-race analysis] but certainly 30 plus seconds is something that is an outlier."

Wolff also praised the work undertaken by Mercedes during the build-up to the Monza weekend, off the back of Ferrari's greater-than-expected display in Belgium.

"I think that the job the guys did analyzing the deficit that we had in Spa was very awesome," he said.

"Straight from the get-go [at Monza] we had a car that was really solid, and good to drive.

"During yesterday's qualifying there were so many opportunities to make a mistake and the car was good from the get-go… lots of grip, a good margin.

"It was the same today; we proved that we have recovered well from Budapest and also in a certain sense from Spa, and are progressing with the car."

Mercedes holds a 62-point advantage over Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship following its eighth victory of the season.

Arrivabene reflects on 'difficult' home event

Maurizio Arrivabene wasn't smiling after the race
Maurizio Arrivabene wasn't smiling after the race

Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene was left to lament a "difficult" home event for the operation as rival Mercedes executed a 1-2 finish at the Italian Grand Prix.

Ferrari, bidding to end a seven-year home drought, struggled in wet conditions in Q3, meaning Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel lined up from only the third row of the grid.

Vettel made swift progress to wind up third, albeit over half a minute behind the dominant Mercedes pair, while Räikkönen was a lowly fifth, having claimed he almost spun a few times.

As a result, Ferrari lost further ground in the Constructors' Championship, and now sits 62 points behind Mercedes.

"It's been a difficult weekend at a track that definitely didn't suit the technical characteristics of the SF70H," said Arrivabene.

"The great crowd of our fans here at Monza supported us all the way and the entire team thanks them for that.

"After a far from ideal qualifying in the wet, Sebastian managed to get the better of the drivers directly ahead of him on the grid and thus make it to the podium.

"As for Kimi, he had a more difficult time due to the balance on his car being inconsistent.

"Despite the fact that everyone in the team did their utmost, we cannot be satisfied with this result.

"We will tackle the next race in Singapore with our feet on the ground and with our usual determination."

Ferrari has claimed four wins this season, to Mercedes' eight.

Leave a Reply