Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Vettel's Pirelli fails
    Vettel's Pirelli fails

    Ferrari tire failure blame 'obvious' – Arrivabene

  • Haas turns 'full focus' to 2018 car
  • Bottas accepts he 'got lucky' with second
  • Force India musing two options for name change
  • Alonso pushing for McLaren's engine decision
  • Red Bull to consider Sainz release – Horner
  • Verstappen says Ferrari rumors 'positive'
  • Bottas set for 2018 Mercedes deal – Wolff
  • Pirelli: Ferrari tire issues 'totally different'
  • Raikkonen: Ferrari lacking to Mercedes

Ferrari tire failure blame 'obvious' – Arrivabene
(GMM) Pirelli is looking into the tire failures that cost Sebastian Vettel almost his entire championship lead at Silverstone.

Vettel's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen also suffered a tire delamination late in the British grand prix,.

"We are investigating," Pirelli chief Mario Isola said.

"The tires will be sent to Milan and studied," he revealed, "and we also need to see more setup data by the teams."

One suggestion was that Ferrari's particular setup, combined with the high downforce produced by the 2017 car, at least contributed to the problems.

Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene, however, made clear his feelings about the blame.

"Although the reasons to us are obvious, it is not Ferrari's style to complain about losing a second and fourth place," he is quoted by Bild newspaper.

But Vettel commented: "I don't think anyone is particularly to blame. With hindsight everything is easy."

As for his decimated championship lead, which now stands at just a single point over Lewis Hamilton, the German added: "There is no reason for panic or concern.

"The last races were not quite as good, but I think we cannot forget how far away we were last year.

"It is true that Mercedes was stronger in the last races, but I think the biggest problem for us is qualifying. At the same time we have a fast car and once we work on a few things, it could be a different picture again," said Vettel.

Haas turns 'full focus' to 2018 car

The Haas team has given up on 2017
The Haas team has given up on 2017

(GMM) F1's American team Haas is turning its attention to building a better car for 2018.

"Our full focus is on 2018 now," team boss Gunther Steiner confirmed to Ekstra Bladet newspaper.

In its second year on the grid, the Ferrari-linked team is seventh out of the ten teams in the championship, with Romain Grosjean struggling in particular with brake problems.

But Steiner said Haas made progress with the brakes at Silverstone.

"Both drivers were fine with the brakes, but this track was just one step towards the final solution," he said.

Bottas accepts he 'got lucky' with second

The start and Hamilton is already long gone
The start and Hamilton is already long gone

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas believes Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen was out of reach in the battle for second position at the British Grand Prix, before his compatriot was slowed by late tire drama.

Bottas started from ninth on the grid at Silverstone, after a gearbox penalty, but quickly moved into fifth, narrowly behind the battle between Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.

Running on the Soft tires, Bottas was able to prolong his first stint and made his pit-stop later than his rivals, in the process clearing Verstappen.

Equipped with Super Softs, Bottas closed in and swept past Vettel, before setting off in pursuit of Raikkonen, though the Mercedes driver appeared too far adrift to close the gap.

However, Raikkonen suffered a front-left tire failure with three laps remaining, enabling Bottas to move ahead, completing a Mercedes 1-2.

"For us as a team it was really a perfect weekend for the circumstances," he said, having followed team-mate Lewis Hamilton home.

"It's just amazing what we've done today, the car was so good to drive, it was really quick, the team did perfect strategy for both of us, me and Lewis.

"I started the race with Soft tires, I had to run really long and we actually extended the first stint quite a bit because everything was still looking good.

"Towards the end on Super Softs the pace was good with the fresh tires.

"I got through on Sebastian, and was closing on Kimi, but I think realistically he was too far away for me to get P2, so I got lucky.

"On the other hand he got unlucky to lose his second place in the end, but a 1-2 is perfect."

Bottas' fourth straight podium finish enabled him to move to within 23 points of title leader Vettel, who came home only seventh after also suffering from late tire dramas.

Force India musing two options for name change

How about calling it Pretty Pink Racing?
How about calling it Pretty Pink Racing?

(GMM) Force India has written up a short-list of potential new team names for the 2018 season and beyond.

Keen to attract more international sponsors, and amid his legal troubles with Indian authorities, owner Vijay Mallya is determined to drop the word 'India' from his Silverstone-based team's name at the end of this year.

"Name changes should be rare, so whatever decision we make, the new name should remain for at least the next ten years," said the former Indian billionaire.

"We have discussed the situation internally and proposed to call it Force One. We checked to see if the name was used by anyone, so we immediately filed some registrations.

"But the decision is still pending as there is a new proposal — Force Racing," Mallya added.

"We are negotiating with partners, with sponsors, so we will think it through thoroughly and then decide."

Meanwhile, although Sergio Perez's place in the team is up for grabs for 2018, Mallya said he is very happy to have his young teammate Esteban Ocon already under contract.

"Esteban will get better and better as he gets experience," he said.

"With the talent that he has, I am very pleased that we signed a multi-year contract with him," added Mallya.

Alonso pushing for McLaren's engine decision

Alonso is probably gone if McLaren stays with Honda
Alonso is probably gone if McLaren stays with Honda

(GMM) Fernando Alonso says he would like to know the identity of McLaren's 2018 engine supplier as soon as possible.

Amid suggestions a McLaren-Honda divorce is on the cards, it has emerged that the British team has held talks with potential alternatives Mercedes, Renault and even Ferrari.

The outcome could affect Alonso's future.

"It's a team decision," he said at Silverstone, "but definitely the sooner a decision is made the better prepared you are for next year.

"So I imagine they will try to make a decision soon, which I will obviously support," Alonso added.

As for how the outcome will affect his decision about what to do for 2018, Alonso answered: "It's hard to guess because there are many combinations of cars and engines.

"But we have clearly identified what we lack, so if we can improve that, we can be competitive."

Red Bull to consider Sainz Jr. release – Horner

Horner will take money for Sainz Jr.
Horner will take money for Sainz Jr.

(GMM) Red Bull chiefs and Carlos Sainz Jr. have hit back at suggestions the Spanish driver will switch to Renault ahead of the forthcoming Hungarian GP.

It is claimed Renault wants to immediately oust struggling British driver Jolyon Palmer and replace him with Sainz, who currently drives for the Red Bull-owned junior team Toro Rosso.

The rumor dates back to Austria, when Red Bull slammed 22-year-old Sainz for not pledging his future to Toro Rosso despite having his contract extended for 2018.

Now, amid the Renault switch rumors, Sainz said: "It would be very strange if I had not been told about this if it was happening.

"The last thing I heard was that I was a Toro Rosso driver," he told the Movistar broadcaster.

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul issued a clearer denial, insisting: "Sainz will definitely not replace Palmer in Hungary."

But the Frenchman has previously indicated his interest in signing up Sainz for the future.

Red Bull chiefs Helmut Marko, Christian Horner and Franz Tost sound open to the possibility of releasing Sainz to another team for an appropriate buy-out fee.

"A lot is written in the media, but Carlos will be with Toro Rosso in Hungary," said Marko. "And I am currently assuming that he will drive with us for the rest of the season."

Toro Rosso boss Tost added: "According to my current knowledge, Carlos Sainz Jr. is driving for us in Hungary."

And Red Bull's Horner commented: "Carlos has a contract that expires in two years.

"If some other team wants him and wants to make us a serious offer, we are ready to consider it. But I doubt this will happen by Hungary."

Also linked with a potential mid-season Renault switch is Pascal Wehrlein, whose current Sauber seat could then be filled by the ousted Palmer.

Verstappen says Ferrari rumors 'positive'

Verstappen is highly valued by Red Bull
Verstappen is highly valued by Red Bull

(GMM) Max Verstappen has described rumors linking him with a move to Ferrari as "positive".

Amid his reliability problems, an underpowered Renault engine and obvious outward frustration in 2017, rumors have suggested Ferrari is serious about poaching the 19-year-old.

However, he has a firm contract for 2018 and 2019, and Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko says he would not consider releasing the young Dutchman even for EUR 100 million.

"100 million? Cool, I'm more expensive than a footballer!" Verstappen said at Silverstone.

"It is always very positive when someone values you like that."

When asked to comment on reports of talks between himself or his father Jos and Ferrari, however, Verstappen said: "I am not talking about what's happening.

"I have a contract with Red Bull, and we'll see."

When asked if the contract really does run until 2019, Verstappen answered: "I'm not talking about the term, but right now I have a contract."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said at Silverstone that the energy drink company would consider releasing Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz to a rival team for the right price.

As for Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, he insisted: "They have a hard commitment to Red Bull Racing, and we will not give them up for any price."

Bottas set for 2018 Mercedes deal – Wolff


(GMM) Valtteri Bottas looks set to secure a one-year extension to his Mercedes contract for 2018.

The Finn signed a one-year deal to replace the suddenly-retired Nico Rosberg this year, and has been pushing for a "long-term" commitment by the German team.

The good news for Bottas is that Mercedes seems to want to keep him.

"I'm really satisfied with Valtteri," boss Toto Wolff told the Finnish broadcaster C More at Silverstone.

Asked about Bottas and Mercedes for 2018, he added: "I think looking at his performance, it really is a no brainer.

"But it's not just about next year but also the years after. We have to put all the puzzle pieces together.

"After the race in Budapest I will think about it some more on the beach," Wolff smiled.

Wolff's reference to the years after 2018 is an indication that Mercedes could make a move for Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso or another top driver for 2019 and beyond.

As for Bottas in 2018, Wolff said: "I think yes, we are 90 per cent ready."

Pirelli: Ferrari tire issues 'totally different'

Raikkonen's Pirelli fails
Raikkonen's Pirelli fails

Pirelli says the tire issues suffered by Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages of the British Grand Prix were "totally different".

Ferrari's drivers suffered failures within the space of a couple of minutes, as most of the field pushed the limit on one-stop strategies, amid Pirelli's two-stop advice.

Raikkonen dropped from second to third, behind Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas, while Vettel fell to seventh, only narrowly holding onto his title lead over winner Lewis Hamilton.

"Two totally different troubles, totally, totally different," explained a Pirelli spokesman, when asked about the failures following the race.

"Both of them very much to the finish of the tires, which is normal on a track like this after such a race.

"I remind you how much quicker they [the cars] were compared to last year, it was five seconds quicker, which is a huge thing, absolutely the highest gap of all the 10 races gone so far.

"Silverstone is very much working up the tires, especially the front-left.

"Sebastian got a fail, a puncture, he was very much in the end. From what? We don't know exactly.

"For sure, he flat-spotted when he was fighting with Bottas. Maybe he was fighting sometimes on the curb, because he was defending a position and so on. But he was simply making his job.

Vettel's Pirelli fails
Vettel's Pirelli fails

"The difference with Kimi is that when he came to the pits, the tire was totally inflated, he was not having a total failure to the tire – it was worn out, of course."

Pirelli is now working closely with Ferrari to determine the exact causes.

"We are analyzing deeply the two tires, because the things are different," the spokesman continued.

"We are fully analyzing them together with Ferrari, because we want to go to the very final point, to what originated the failures.

"With Kimi, the tire is inflated, and you see all the tread worn out, starting to show the cable. With Vettel, you see the tire worn out, which was broken on the inside, because of a puncture."

Red Bull pitted Max Verstappen for a second time late in the race, amid blistering, the Dutchman's engineer stating: "What happened to Sebastian is exactly why we pitted you".

"Red Bull saw that the performance was finished, exactly as when Vettel said on the radio, 'I have no front-left', because the performance was lost," added the spokesman.

"They stopped again for caution, because they knew that by stopping they were not losing positions, so for them it was much easier [than it was for Ferrari]."

Raikkonen: Ferrari lacking to Mercedes

Raikkonen sees clearly now that the Aldo Costa designed Mercedes is superior to his Ferrari
Raikkonen sees clearly now that the Aldo Costa designed Mercedes is superior to his Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen says Ferrari "didn't have enough speed" compared to Mercedes, as he trailed Lewis Hamilton, prior to late tire drama at the British Grand Prix.

Front-row starter Raikkonen slotted into second position and gradually drifted away from leader Hamilton, with the Briton preserving a 10-second advantage up front.

Raikkonen nonetheless held a comfortable buffer over Valtteri Bottas, though was slowed by a front-left tire failure with three laps remaining, necessitating an additional pit-stop.

Raikkonen emerged in fourth, but moved up to third a lap later, when Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel was also hit by a similar-looking tire problem.

"We had all weekend a few places [corners] that were quite difficult for us," said Raikkonen.

"I tried to hang on to Lewis, tried to keep the gap, but we just didn't have enough speed.

"In the end the gap [over Bottas] was fine for us, but then two laps from the end, just before Turn 6, on the first straight, the left tire… it didn't explode but the rubber part came off suddenly.

"I don't think I hit anything, everything felt normal before just that moment, luckily I came back quite fast, but we destroyed the front wing after that because tire was flapping around.

"I was very unlucky, and then in a way lucky, [but] I didn't want to see that [for] Seb it happened to him a lap later… I don't know.

Your grandmother could be fast in the Aldo Costa designed Mercedes
Your grandmother could be fast in the Aldo Costa designed Mercedes

"We could have been second today, but we didn't really have the speed against Lewis.

"We have some work to be done; it was a decent start, but once we fell behind [Hamilton] there was not really a chance to beat him."

Raikkonen holds fifth in the standings, having amassed 98 points, while Ferrari has not triumphed since May's Monaco Grand Prix, when Vettel led home a 1-2.

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