Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday

  • Max is disappointed with how 2017 has gone
    Max is disappointed with how 2017 has gone

    Verstappen 'disappointed' in 2017 – father

  • Verstappen to finish second in Hungary – father
  • Berger to rescue embattled racing series
  • Haas move a blow for Ferrari influence – Minardi
  • Ocon eyeing podium, prioritizing consistency
  • Haas expects Hungary to show brake gains
  • Boullier optimistic over Hungary prospects
  • Ferrari previews Hungarian Grand Prix

Verstappen 'disappointed' in 2017 – father

If Verstappen can get in front of Vettel in Hungary he will block him all the way to the finish
If Verstappen can get in front of Vettel in Hungary he will block him all the way to the finish

(GMM) Max Verstappen is "disappointed" for one of the first times in his meteoric motor racing career.

That is the claim of the young Dutch driver's father Jos, who was also a formula one driver.

Recently, speculation 19-year-old Verstappen wants out of his 2018 and 2019 commitment to Red Bull to accept an offer by Ferrari has been rife.

Speaking to the Dutch broadcaster RTL GP, Max's dad Jos denied a move to Ferrari is imminent, but said pressure is on Red Bull to deliver a winning car.

"Max wants to become a champion and he will do anything to win," Jos said.

"Right now he does not have such an opportunity, but he uses this year to become stronger.

"Next year, it is clear what our goals are," Verstappen senior added. "We want to win, and if this does not happen, the situation will become more complicated.

"At the moment Max cannot do anything. He is doing everything right, and he feels good in his skin, but he just wants to win.

"That's what you notice about Max," explained Jos. "The disappointment that he cannot win, which is why he has had some problems. He has never experienced that (not winning) before."

Verstappen to finish second in Hungary – father

Jos (R) says Max (L) will beat the Mercedes in Hungary
Jos (R) says Max (L) will beat the Mercedes in Hungary

(GMM) Max Verstappen will have a car good enough to split F1's title protagonists this weekend in Hungary.

That is the prediction of the 19-year-old's father Jos, amid reports Red Bull will use a controversial Adrian Newey-penned new front wing at the circuit tipped to particularly favor the energy drink-owned team's car.

"Max is definitely in the top three" in Hungary, Verstappen senior predicted to the Dutch broadcaster RTL GP.

"I think it will be Vettel, Max, Hamilton," the former Minardi driver added.

"I think Red Bull is coming with some updates, so let's hope they work and then we look good."

Berger to rescue embattled racing series

The only way Berger can save the DTM is if he convinces them to switch to electric cars. If not we suspect Audi and BMW will follow Mercedes out the door
The only way Berger can save the DTM is if he convinces them to switch to electric cars. If not we suspect Audi and BMW will follow Mercedes out the door

(GMM) F1 legend Gerhard Berger is tasked with rescuing the embattled German touring car series DTM after this week's shock news.

Mercedes, the reigning F1 champion, has shocked the racing world by announcing it is pulling out of DTM in order to debut in the electric Formula E series from 2019.

"The news hit me like a club," former Ferrari and McLaren driver Berger, the new DTM series boss, told Auto Bild.

It is indeed a big shock for DTM, as the only other manufacturers in the series are Audi and BMW.

"The consequences for the racing series and Audi cannot be predicted now," Audi chief Dieter Gass said.

A DTM spokesman said: "We need to respect Mercedes' decision in a sporting and fair way."

But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said pulling out of DTM is because "the Zeitgeist is moving in a different direction".

Berger responded: "Mercedes has made its announcement with a long lead time until the end of 2018. This leaves the (governing body) ITR with time to analyze the situation and put forward a viable concept for the future.

"DTM is one of the most important touring car series in the world," he told DPA news agency.

Haas move a blow for Ferrari influence – Minardi

Arrivabene doesn't care
Arrivabene doesn't care

(GMM) Former F1 chief Gian Carlo Minardi thinks Ferrari may be struggling to wield its influence among customer teams.

Although the American outfit Haas is unofficially referred to as a Ferrari 'B' team, owner Gene Haas has announced that it will keep Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen next year.

That is despite speculation Ferrari reserve Antonio Giovinazzi will join the team for 2018.

At the same time, Sauber is linked with a switch to Honda power for 2018, now backed by news Honda-backed Nobuharu Matsushita will drive for the Swiss team in the post-Hungary GP test.

So when asked about Haas' unchanging drivers for 2018, former F1 team owner Minardi said: "If that were the case, it would be a missed opportunity for Ferrari.

"I remain optimistic and I want to think it is only a move to maintain the serenity within a team that is doing very well, with the goal of winning as many points in the second half of the season," he added.

But Minardi said if Giovinazzi doesn't make his full-time debut with Haas next year, "It would be a defeat for the entire Ferrari system for young drivers".

"It would then be obvious that Ferrari drivers do not enjoy any protection. Ferrari would no longer have any decision-making power over its customers, but for now I refuse to think of such a scenario," he said.

Ocon eyeing podium, prioritizing consistency

Ocon is dying to stand on the podium with his pretty pink uniform
Ocon is dying to stand on the podium with his pretty pink uniform

Force India youngster Esteban Ocon says he hopes to claim his maiden Formula 1 podium during the second half of 2017, but is wary that consistency must be prioritized.

Ocon joined Force India at the start of the year and has scored points in nine of the 10 Grands Prix, with a best of fifth in Spain, to hold eighth place in the championship.

Ocon expressed satisfaction at his and Force India's form during the opening half of the campaign, but feels the partnership has the potential to flourish further across the rest of 2017.

"I have to say I'm very happy with how things have gone since I joined the team," said Ocon.

"I feel stronger with every race and I think there is even more potential in the second half of the year.

"My objective is still to try and get a podium, but the priority is to keep picking up the points in every race – that's what we need as a team.

"We just need to keep being consistent."

Ocon made his Formula 1 debut in Belgium last year, with Manor, meaning the Hungarian Grand Prix is the only event the Frenchman has yet to tackle on the current calendar.

However, he has experience at the circuit from his stints in Formula 3 and GP3, and believes the layout of the track complements his driving style.

"I love Budapest and the Hungaroring, it's my favorite track of the year," he said.

"I had a special weekend there when I was racing in Formula Three with two wins and a second place, and a double podium in GP3.

"It's just a track that's very satisfying to drive. When you get into the rhythm it feels great because you can really lean on the car and attack the curbs.

"It's a circuit that suits me as a driver and my driving style."

Haas expects Hungary to show brake gains

Grosjean always complains about the Haas brakes
Grosjean always complains about the Haas brakes

Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner says the Hungarian Grand Prix will be a better indicator of its progress with brakes, as it continues to evaluate both Brembo and Carbon Industrie products.

Brakes have become a prominent theme at Haas, with Romain Grosjean particularly sensitive to the material used, and has trialed offerings from both Brembo and Carbon Industrie.

Grosjean has long preferred Carbon Industrie and ran with its updated products at the British Grand Prix, having tested both in practice, though team-mate Kevin Magnussen stuck with Brembo.

With brakes being more of a factor at the Hungaroring than Silverstone – due to the respective circuit characteristics – Steiner believes this weekend will provide a truer test for Haas.

"We made one step toward understanding the new brakes," Steiner said of its evaluation at the British Grand Prix.

"There is a second step because in Silverstone there is no hard braking – it's one of the circuits where you use the brakes less than in all of the other circuits.

"Hungary is the opposite. You use the brakes quite a bit and you have no time to cool them down because there are no big straights.

"So, we continue our testing and see where we get in FP1 and FP2, and then decide what we are going to do for the race."

On which products he will run at the Hungaroring, Grosjean commented: "When we've got the latest from Brembo, I'm happy with them.

"But if we can run the Carbon Industries, I'm probably going to stick with them."

Boullier optimistic over Hungary prospects

Eric Boullier
Eric Boullier

McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier has expressed optimism that the squad can maintain its current upward momentum in Hungary this weekend, and use it as a platform for the second half of 2017.

McLaren-Honda has endured a troubled season, amid a lack of reliability and performance, though has made progress in recent races, aided by the introduction of Honda's Spec 3 power unit.

Stoffel Vandoorne made it through to Q3 in Britain and classified 11th, before completing two full days of running in the MCL32 at a wet Magny Cours, as part of Pirelli's 2018 tire development.

Boullier is confident that McLaren can make further progress over the second half of the season, starting at the Hungaroring, where the weaknesses of its package should be alleviated.

"Our pace at Silverstone was marginally better than we initially expected on what is considered to be a power-hungry circuit, and therefore a track traditionally more difficult for our car to adapt to," said Boullier.

"Hungary is a completely different proposition, and one that theoretically gives us optimism that we can put the strengths of our car to the test and better take the fight to our rivals.

"Together with Honda we're working hard to improve our reliability, and avoiding incurring grid penalties – especially on this track, where our car has the potential to perform more favorably, will be key to increasing our points tally.

"On the back of a successful tire test with Pirelli, we hope to continue this momentum with a strong result in Budapest.

"[Hopefully we can] follow it with useful mileage during the post-race in-season test, which we'll as a platform for further development in the second half of the season."

Honda chief Yusuke Hasegawa added: "Despite showing improved competitiveness during the last few races, we're yet to translate this into on-track results.

"Having said that, we're pleased with our current development and we now head to Hungary feeling more positive about the race weekend."

Ferrari previews Hungarian Grand Prix

Hungary Flag
Hungary Flag

Remember the first time Formula 1 came to Hungary in 1986? The Soviet Union was still in existence and the host nation was part of what was known as the Eastern Bloc. The Hungaroring circuit was slow and twisty, with overtaking all but impossible and the facilities were Spartan. Today it’s been modernized, with the long staircase to the top paddock now a thing of the past.

However, the track has retained its characteristics, despite a few modifications over the years. At the Hungaroring, just a few kilometers from the wonderful city of Budapest, qualifying counts a lot more than at many other circuits.

Having said that, Scuderia Ferrari’s first win on Magyar soil came from the sixth row of the grid. That’s where Nigel Mansell qualified in 1989, over two seconds off the pole time! He staged an amazing climb up the order, including a famous passing move on Ayrton Senna, who hesitated momentarily before lapping Stefan Johansson.

Different times of course and yet, all the wins for the Reds at this track had something magic about them: after Mansell’s came Michael Schumacher’s “strategic" win in ’98, with the memorable radio chat between the driver and the pitwall crew: “do you think you can go from a two stop to a three?"

Indeed he did and how. Then came victories for Michael and Rubens Barrichello in 2001 and 2002, which delivered the championship title; the 2004 hat trick of pole, the win and race fastest lap, again courtesy of Schumi.

And lastly, Seb Vettel’s lightning start two years ago, before running a solitary race all the way to the highest step of the podium.

The Hungarian track is one of the shortest and most demanding when it comes to levels of aerodynamic downforce. The heat and tire degradation (here we will have the Medium, Soft and Supersoft) are other factors to take into consideration. The chance of rain over the weekend is very low, which is good for the fans who will be able to enjoy the great view on offer here.

Ferrari looks ahead to the Hungarian GP by assessing some of the key challenges posed by the Hungaroring.

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