Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • 2018 F1 cars will race with the Halo
    2018 F1 cars will race with the Halo

    FIA mandates 'Halo' for 2018

  • Carey wants more German teams in F1
  • Kubica confident he can drive 2017 car
  • Perez should only leave for Ferrari – Mallya
  • Sainz Jr. has learned from saga over future
  • Hamilton sure British GP will be saved
  • Three teams carry out Pirelli tire testing
  • Brown: Alonso 'very clear' he wants F1 stay
  • Steve Nielsen appointed as Formula 1's Sporting Director
  • Video: One Crazy Day at Silverstone, with Lewis Hamilton

FIA mandates 'Halo' for 2018
(GMM) The controversial frontal protection concept called 'Halo' will make its mandatory debut on all formula one cars next year.

After Silverstone practice, Sebastian Vettel said the transparent alternative called 'Shield' made him dizzy, while car designers complained that time had run out to iron out all of the problems for a 2018 debut.

"There's a lot of a lot to get through to ensure that this is a thoroughly developed and sorted package to put on next year's car," said Red Bull's Paul Monaghan.

The earlier, 'Halo' variant was however tested extensively last season, and so after Wednesday's strategy group meeting, the FIA announced that it will be compulsory to race next year.

"The FIA confirms the introduction of the Halo for 2018," read a statement.

"With the support of the teams, certain features of its design will be further enhanced.

"Having developed and evaluated a large number of devices over the past five years, it had become clear that the Halo presents the best overall safety performance," the FIA added.

Grand Prix Drivers' Association president Alex Wurz said on Twitter: "(It's) definitely not the most aesthetic thing.

"But on the positive, please consider that safer cars means we can race much faster and harder in the future."

Carey wants more German teams in F1

Chase Cary might get more German manufacturers now that F1 is changing its silly engine formula
Chase Cary might get more German manufacturers now that F1 is changing its silly engine formula

(GMM) F1 CEO Chase Carey says he wants more German carmakers to join the category.

Not just that, the American – who now runs the sport in ousted F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone's wake – told Germany's Sport Bild he will fight to keep a German grand prix on the calendar.

Absent in 2017, Hockenheim returns to the schedule for 2018 and Carey said: "We have a German champion, a German car as champion, a German fighting for the title this year and we would like to have more German teams.

"The German grand prix has a great history and we want to fight for it to continue," he added.

Asked if by 'more German teams' he is referring to BMW, Porsche or Audi, Carey admitted: "Of course.

"Our goal is that companies like that want to run teams in formula one, and it's why we are adjusting the technical and economic conditions."

Carey also announced that Liberty Media will name a conference room at F1's new London headquarters after legend Michael Schumacher.

"Michael is a cult figure of the sport," said the American.

"He defines the ultimate in a F1 racing driver, so we will pay tribute by naming one of the conference rooms after him."

Kubica confident he can drive 2017 car

Robert Kubica
Robert Kubica

(GMM) Robert Kubica says the idea of testing this year's Renault car does not faze him.

Speculation the former grand prix winner could return to F1 after a more than six year absence is gaining traction, after Renault gave him two recent outings in the 2012 car.

Team boss Cyril Abiteboul says he is happy with the result, but will not comment on reports the next step for the 32-year-old is a post-Hungarian GP test in the 2017 car, perhaps a Friday practice session, and even a race seat to replace struggling Jolyon Palmer.

"I don't want to add to the speculation," said the Frenchman.

"Right now the focus is on getting the most out of the current lineup and package that we have, and then we'll be thinking about 2018 in due course."

Kubica, however, said that despite the limited movement in his permanently injured right arm, even the thought of driving the ultra-fast 2017 cars no longer bother him.

"The differences are mainly in cornering performance, but this is only a matter of habit and work," he told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

"If the others can do it, I do not see why I shouldn't be able to as well.

"So if before Renault had the courage and confidence to let me try, let's say I can match that now," said the former BMW and Renault driver.

"It will take training and preparation, but I now know that I can get back to the driver I was before. And without false modesty, I can say that my level in 2010 was high," he continued.

"I realize now that I have managed to take back what fate took from me in that accident in 2011.

"When I saw the car ready for me in the box at Valencia, I thought 'This is the passion I have always felt, this is my life'. At the second test at Le Castellet, the feeling was even clearer.

"I knew I did not have to worry and felt a sense of peace in the cockpit that had been missing for six years. The rest happened almost by magic and remains with me, no matter what happens next," Kubica added.

Perez should only leave for Ferrari – Mallya

Mallya wants to keep both of his drivers
Mallya wants to keep both of his drivers

(GMM) Vijay Mallya says he would be happy if Force India lines up with the same drivers next year.

The former Indian billionaire made a rare paddock visit at Silverstone last weekend, as his passport has been seized over his legal dispute with Indian authorities.

So for now, he cannot leave the UK, but he hit back at suggestions he is looking to sell the Silverstone based team.

"There are no contacts," Mallya told Auto Motor und Sport.

"Over 10 years we have gained respect and had success. I would now like to enjoy it," he insisted.

The 61-year-old is also still running the team, although he insists he is not running away from his legal problems.

"I will face my responsibilities in India," said Mallya. "But until now there has been only allegations and not a single piece of hard evidence.

"But the team would survive without me, so I sleep peacefully as I know Force India is well positioned."

Mallya is considering dropping the word 'India' from the team's name for 2018, but he would like to keep both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon on board.

He said Frenchman Ocon is already under contract for 2018, and thinks Mexican Perez should only consider moving if Ferrari calls him.

"Otherwise, he is in the best hands with us, and I think he appreciates that," said Mallya.

Sainz Jr. has learned from saga over future

Carlos Sainz Jr. learns to keep his mouth shut
Carlos Sainz Jr. learns to keep his mouth shut

Carlos Sainz Jr. says he has learned from the confusion over his Formula 1 future, which swirled around the Spaniard at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Sainz Jr. suggested that remaining with Toro Rosso for a fourth season was "unlikely", though was swiftly rebuked by senior figures at Red Bull, who insisted he would be staying into 2018.

Sainz Jr. clarified his comments following the Red Bull Ring event, and feels that the situation has now been resolved.

"I think there was a bit [of confusion], I've learned from it," said Sainz Jr.

"Obviously as a 22-year-old driver you learn from these kinds of things.

"The air was cleared immediately once we started our conversations [after Austria]; at that point it was forgotten.

"I kept focusing on my job like I've done the whole season."

Sainz Jr. added that he still has a healthy relationship with Red Bull management in the wake of his comments, following the clear-the-air talks.

"After Austria, we cleared everything, we clarified everything, what was said, what was not intended to be said, and we explained everything to each other," said Sainz Jr.

"We were playing tennis at a barbecue, enjoying our time, me and Christian [Horner], and [Helmut] Marko was the referee!

"So we had a good time, the air is clear, I'm a Red Bull driver, inside the Red Bull program, confirmed for Toro Rosso next year.

"I'm looking forward to changing the result [from Silverstone] into Hungary."

Sainz Jr. holds ninth position in this year's championship, having amassed 29 points.

Hamilton sure British GP will be saved

Of course British GP will be saved, it's all posturing at this point
Of course British GP will be saved, it's all posturing at this point

Lewis Hamilton says he "doesn't believe for a second" that the British Grand Prix will fall off the Formula 1 calendar, despite Silverstone's owners triggering a break clause to drop the event after 2019.

Silverstone, which hosted the inaugural Formula 1 race back in 1950, has been the home of the British Grand Prix since 1987, and penned a contract extension in 2010, through to 2026.

However, Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club, last week activated a break clause in the contract, allowing it to relinquish hosting duties after 2019.

Both the BRDC and Formula 1 owners Liberty Media have expressed a desire to keep the British Grand Prix on the roster into 2020, though the latter party has opted against specifying a location.

Hamilton, who claimed victory at the British Grand Prix for the fifth time in his career, and fourth in a row, is sure that a solution will be found.

"I've said it many times, I feel like this is the home of motorsport," Hamilton said of Silverstone.

"The UK, we've obviously got lots of teams here. You see the crowd that we have every Grand Prix. There's no reason to not have a Grand Prix.

"I could understand if there was no-one turning up and it was costing a lot – but the fans save up and spend so much money on these weekends.

"I think it would be a real shame to lose it. I don't believe for a second that we will lose the British Grand Prix because the world would erupt, I think.

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, expressed similar sentiments.

"I would be also really sad not to race [at Silverstone]," Bottas said.

"It is a track everyone loves and I personally think it's one of the best venues for the fans.

"Formula 1 definitely needs the British Grand Prix, because of all the history and most of the teams are based here."

Three teams carry out Pirelli tire testing
Williams, Haas and McLaren carried out further 2018 tire testing with Pirelli at Silverstone and Magny Cours respectively on Wednesday.

Pirelli is permitted 25 days of in-season running in order to hone its products, and all 10 teams have opted to assist with testing this year, sampling 2018 prototype rubber.

Williams rookie Lance Stroll and Haas' Antonio Giovinazzi were in action once more at Silverstone, completing a combined 103 laps on Slick, Intermediate and Wet rubber, as the two-day program concluded.

Meanwhile, Stoffel Vandoorne piloted the MCL32 at a wet Magny Cours, which hosted the French Grand Prix between 1991 and 2008.

Vandoorne racked up 135 laps on Wets, with testing set to continue on Thursday.

The tests are carried out 'blind', meaning neither driver nor team is aware of the compounds being used, while data will be shared between all squads.

Brown: Alonso 'very clear' he wants F1 stay

Alonso makes over $30 million a year in F1. There is 0.00% chance he would race in IndyCar
Alonso makes over $30 million a year in F1. There is 0.00% chance he would race in IndyCar where most drivers have to buy their ride

McLaren chief Zak Brown says Fernando Alonso has made it "very clear" that he wants to remain in Formula 1 next year, as the Spaniard's time frame for making a decision on his future edges nearer.

Alonso, in the final year of his McLaren contract, has previously outlined that his motorsport future is "very open" – with a decision to be taken in the autumn – and expects there to be movement in the driver market.

However, Mercedes has indicated that Valtteri Bottas is likely to be retained, Ferrari has ruled out re-signing the Spaniard, while Red Bull has insisted its line-up will not change.

Alonso has emphasized that he wants to be in a winning car in 2018, prompting talks of an IndyCar switch, having competed at the Indianapolis 500 earlier this year, in which he challenged for victory.

Brown, though, believes Alonso's immediate future lies in Formula 1, following discussions over dinner during the British Grand Prix weekend.

"We had a great dinner with Fernando – he picked up the bill," Brown joked at Silverstone.

"We've got a good understanding with Fernando, he loves the environment [at McLaren].

"Stoffel [Vandoorne] is doing a good job given very difficult circumstances for a rookie, [so] I like where we are on the driver front and said we'd pick that up after the summer break.

On Alonso and IndyCar, Brown replied: "I think he [Alonso] loved IndyCar, I think he definitely wants to go back and do the Indy 500 when the time is right.

"He's made it very clear he wants to be in Formula 1 next year, so I think the chances of him being in IndyCar are highly unlikely; the chances of him being in IndyCar at some point are maybe as much as likely."

Brown added that discussions are ongoing with power unit supplier Honda in a bid to turn around its predicament, following a difficult opening half of 2017.

McLaren-Honda has been beset by a lack of reliability and performance, and holds last place in the Constructors' Championship, its sole points coming in the attrition-filled Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

"We need a much more competitive engine," said Brown.

"The relationship with Honda has been and remains fine on a personal level, but as we've made it widely known we need a much more competitive power plant and that is the conversation we're having.

"We're continuing to have conversations with them in how we're going to get ourselves more competitive next year."

Brown also made it clear that whatever happens between Sauber and Honda, with the outlined 2018 partnership rumored to be in doubt, will not have an effect on McLaren's plans.

"Whatever Sauber does or doesn't do doesn't impact us," Brown asserted.

"We're focused on our needs and I'm not worried about changing landscape of other racing teams."

Steve Nielsen appointed as Formula 1's Sporting Director

Steve Nielsen
Steve Nielsen

Steve Nielsen has been appointed as Formula 1’s Sporting Director, and will report directly to Ross Brawn, with the Briton to take up his role at the start of August.

Nielsen has worked in Team Manager and Sporting Director roles at various Formula 1 teams, most recently with Williams.

Williams announced earlier in 2017 that Nielsen would step away at the end of July, citing his desire to reduce his travel commitments.

Nielsen will now join Formula 1’s team, which has been gradually expanded since Liberty Media’s takeover of the sport earlier this year.

“I have known Steve for many years and have seen at first hand his skills and ability," commented Brawn.

"His appointment will strengthen the working group we are setting up to work with the FIA and the teams in defining a framework for the technical and sporting regulations for Formula 1’s next phase.

"Steve's main responsibility will be related to sporting and organizational matters, for example by attending the meetings of the Sporting Working Group."

One Crazy Day at Silverstone, with Lewis Hamilton
An exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at Lewis Hamilton​'s 2017​ British Grand Prix victory celebrations with the incredible Silverstone​ crowds!

Leave a Reply