Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • How big will Vettel's new deal with Ferrari be? He current 3-year deal was $50 million the first year, $30 million in years 2 and 3, plus bonuses for a package around $125 million
    How big will Vettel's new deal with Ferrari be? His current 3-year deal was $50 million the first year, $30 million in years 2 and 3, plus bonuses, for a package around $125 million. We suspect he will get $50 per year this time and sign another 3-year deal.

    Ferrari 'ready' to extend Vettel deal

  • Wolff looking ahead to 2019 driver market
  • Bosses 'sorry' about Verstappen problems
  • Alonso not ruling out Ferrari for 2018
  • Vandoorne 'took step forward' in Austria
  • Liberty hits out at Silverstone 'posturing'
  • Whiting defends FIA jump start system
  • Red Bull writes off 2017 championship
  • Mercedes 'letting Hamilton down' – Wolff
  • Kvyat needs 'cold shower' before next race
  • Williams pair keen to understand Q1 exit
  • Hamilton sees British GP as 'clean slate'

Ferrari 'ready' to extend Vettel deal
(GMM) Ferrari is ready to sign a new contract with Sebastian Vettel.

The 2017 championship leader's first three-year deal contract with the Maranello team runs out this year.

President Sergio Marchionne is quoted by Italian media: "I have told him very clearly that we are ready if he wants to stay with us.

"It's up to him."

Vettel, 30, said recently that amid his championship battle with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, he is not rushing to enter contract talks.

Wolff looking ahead to 2019 driver market

Everyone is eyeing Verstappen for 2019
Everyone is eyeing Verstappen for 2019

(GMM) Mercedes looks set to keep Valtteri Bottas on board for 2018.

Since replacing Nico Rosberg, the Finn has won two races and is just 15 points behind his triple world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton.

But boss Toto Wolff said another factor in play is the driver market for 2019, when big names including Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen may be available and Hamilton's current deal expires.

Some insiders therefore believe Mercedes will ink a new one-year contract with Bottas to fill the gap for 2018.

"The market will be quite interesting in 2019 so you have to plan ahead," boss Wolff told Bild newspaper.

Bosses 'sorry' about Verstappen problems

A downbeat Verstappen
A downbeat Verstappen

(GMM) Red Bull chiefs have apologized for Max Verstappen's run of disastrous car reliability in 2017.

Amid rumors the Dutchman wants out of his 2018 contract, Verstappen has been decrying his constant technical problems, including a clutch failure in Austria.

"After a while you think 'How long can this go on?'" the 19-year-old is quoted by De Telegraaf newspaper.

"I know the team is working hard and doing their best, but something else is always breaking."

When asked what his bosses Christian Horner, Dr Helmut Marko and Dietrich Mateschitz have said during this period, Verstappen answered: "What did they say?

"Sorry, sorry, sorry. That should not happen. Yes, I have told them clearly I am not happy, but I think they see that already," he insisted.

Verstappen's mood combined with the unreliability has only fueled rumors of a Ferrari switch, but Red Bull says it has the youngster under firm contract.

"Despite the fact that there is a lot of speculation, there are no problems with our drivers," boss Horner insisted. "They're doing a fantastic job.

"I wouldn't want any other drivers in our cars."

Nonetheless, the rumors persist.

Italy's Autosprint quotes Verstappen as saying: "We have a contract and I think the team can do a good job.

"But the whole package must be able to get results and I think, at the moment, that is not the case. We can see clearly that we are not the fastest on the straight.

"It is absolutely not a good time and I am very disappointed, but it will be important to continue to push everyone forward, because there are still a lot of races," he added.

Alonso not ruling out Ferrari for 2018

Alonso will not be going to Ferrari
Alonso will not be going to Ferrari

(GMM) Fernando Alonso says it is not the right time of year to be counting or ruling out his possibilities for the future.

The fiery McLaren-Honda driver is clearly on the market for 2018, but Mercedes and now Ferrari have said they are not interested in signing him up for now.

When asked specifically about Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne publicly saying no to his Ferrari return, Alonso responded: "Right now is not the time. I will speak about it from September.

"It is normal that at this moment it is not possible to talk about the market because Ferrari and Mercedes are fighting for the championship and stability must be their first priority," he told Sky Italia.

"For now Ferrari has a small advantage (in the championship) and I hope that they can manage it well," Alonso added.

Alonso drove for the Maranello based team between 2010 and 2014.

Vandoorne 'took step forward' in Austria
(GMM) Stoffel Vandoorne left Austria feeling more upbeat about the future at McLaren-Honda.

Earlier, the team's Anglo-Japanese collaboration appeared destined for divorce, while Belgian rookie Vandoorne was being consistently outclassed by Fernando Alonso.

But Vandoorne said he felt happier overall as he left Austria, as reports emerged that team executive Zak Brown retains his faith in the 25-year-old driver.

"I think our performance was really good," Vandoorne told Belgian broadcaster RTBF.

"I felt confident in the car although it was impossible for us to overtake, but we have taken a step forward and must continue in this way now," he added.

"We were performing well, even if we miss that little boost of the engine in qualifying, but we do not have too many problems. I took a step forward with the team as well and I hope it continues in the next races," Vandoorne said.

Liberty hits out at Silverstone 'posturing'

Silverstone
Silverstone

(GMM) F1 owner Liberty Media has hit out at what it regards as "posturing" by British grand prix promoter the BRDC.

It is believed the Silverstone-owning British Racing Drivers' Club has now told Liberty it is exercising a 2019 break clause in its race deal.

Liberty says that decision is "regrettable".

"Our focus is to preserve the British grand prix," a Liberty spokesperson said.

"We will carry on negotiating with the promoter in good faith and in private to reach a fair and equitable solution."

Silverstone claims that, despite attracting full crowds, it is unable to break even due to the current contract fee negotiated by ousted F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

However, insiders have warned that wagering on a renegotiation could backfire.

Liberty is hosting a demonstration of F1 teams and drivers in London this week, amid new rumors that Silverstone could be replaced by a street race in the capital.

"London is always open to hosting the world's best sports events," The Times newspaper quotes London mayor Sadiq Khan as saying.

"We have had no approach from F1 about a race. We would need to consider the full impact of a race weekend on air pollution and safety," he added.

Whiting defends FIA jump start system

So Bottas did jump the start, but not enough to be penalized
So Bottas did jump the start, but not enough to be penalized

(GMM) Charlie Whiting says there is nothing wrong with F1's jump start system.

Video evidence showed Valtteri Bottas' front wheels were moving before the five lights went out in Austria, and Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo were convinced that the Mercedes driver indeed jumped the start.

But F1 steward Mika Salo said there is some tolerance in the system, explaining to the Finnish press that the decision to not penalize Bottas was based solely on "the data".

"If it had been a jump start, the sensor would have gone off. But it did not, so it's pointless to discuss it," said Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda.

F1 race director Charlie Whiting also defended the FIA's system.

"We have been using it for 20 years and it has not failed a single time in either direction," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

Red Bull writes off 2017 championship

Christian Horner
Christian Horner

(GMM) Christian Horner has backed frustrated team driver Max Verstappen in declaring the 2017 world championship basically over for Red Bull.

After yet another technical retirement in Austria, and amid rumors he wants out of the team, Verstappen declared: "I no longer think about the world championship, but having good individual races."

Some interpreted the comment as capitulation just as Red Bull's performance is closing right up on Mercedes and Ferrari.

But Max's boss Christian Horner said: "I think the championships for us are not even worth thinking about. We're a bit in no man's land.

"What we're very focused on is building on the progress that we've seen, particularly since Barcelona and ensuring that the second half of the year for us is more competitive than the first half," he added.

At the halfway point of the championship, Daniel Ricciardo is 64 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel. Dutchman Verstappen is a further 62 points adrift.

Mercedes 'letting Hamilton down' – Wolff
(GMM) Mercedes must up its game to help Lewis Hamilton win the 2017 world championship.

That is the admission of team bosses Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda, who acknowledged that the Briton's fight against Sebastian Vettel took a hit in the last two races.

"I will now be consulting with Toto because something must happen. 20 points is a lot," team chairman Lauda told Germany's RTL television after Austria.

Wolff agrees: "We let him (Hamilton) down with the headrest in Baku, we let him down with the gearbox here (Austria). Now it's time to strike back."

Hamilton agrees that, with half of the season now gone, it is important for him to hit back straight away at his home race in Silverstone this weekend.

"I don't have a crystal ball but with 20 points behind it doesn't look great.

"Within one race it could switch," Hamilton added, "but the bigger the gap gets, the more the pressure builds."

Kvyat needs 'cold shower' before next race

Kvyat
Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat says he simply "lost all my references" before triggering a first-corner collision, involving Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen, at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Kvyat locked up both front tires under braking for Turn 1 and ran into Alonso, whose McLaren then struck Verstappen's Red Bull, with both spinning out.

Verstappen had started the race fifth but a clutch problem dropped him down the order, putting him on the fringes of the top 10 when the incident occurred.

Stewards deemed that Kvyat was at fault and gave him a drive-through penalty, along with two penalty points, bringing his rolling 12-month total to seven.

"Regarding the start, it was a good one, even if I had to suddenly go around my team-mate [Carlos Sainz Jr.]," said Kvyat, explaining his initial launch away from the grid.

"I then couldn't see too much of what was happening in front of me.

"I think Verstappen had a problem too, so Alonso reacted to that – he saw it, I didn't, so he took a step back while, on the other hand, I lost all my references.

"I tried to do my best but ended up colliding, unfortunately."

Kvyat added that he needs a "cold shower" before the next round.

"It's upsetting for me and for the others for sure, but these things happen to all drivers, [and] now I just need a cold shower before Silverstone," he went on to comment.

"I will have a look into it, correct what needs to be corrected and move on."

Sainz Jr. also retired from the race amid engine woes.

Williams pair keen to understand Q1 exit

Felipe Massa
Felipe Massa

Williams drivers Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll say they are eager to fully understand the team's double Q1 exit in Austria, after recovering to the points on race day.

Massa and Stroll reached Q3 at the previous round in Baku, and ran up front in a dramatic race, but struggled through practice and qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.

Having repeatedly complained about balance issues, they placed only 17th and 18th in qualifying, marking Williams' first double Q1 elimination since the 2014 season.

However, in the race, both drivers made strong starts to move into the top 10, with Massa running ninth throughout, and Stroll taking the final point in 10th.

"I had a really good start, getting through the issues that were happening in corner one, and overtaking cars," commented Massa, as he reflected on his race.

"It was a fantastic first lap, as the pace was great, compared to qualifying, which is something we need to work to understand, so that we don't repeat starting out of position.

"At the end it was a bit disappointing not to be able to pass [Esteban] Ocon, but I was just losing a lot of grip in the high-speed corners behind him, and he had good speed on the straight.

"I'm so happy with my race and it's good to have both cars in the points."

Stroll expressed satisfaction at keeping Kevin Magnussen at bay, prior to the Haas driver's retirement, before fending off Renault's Jolyon Palmer in the closing stages.

"It goes to show anything can happen in a race and it is not over on a Saturday," he said.

"I am feeling very positive as I started 18th, finished 10th and picked up another point.

"It wasn't an easy race, although the start was good and we managed to gain some places.

"I knew after the start we were in a good position, so it was just a matter of staying focused, not making any mistakes and saving the brakes and tires towards the end of the race.

"First, there was Magnussen putting pressure on me, and then at the end Palmer, but I just needed to defend as I know around here it is quite difficult to overtake.

"We just need to figure out what happened in qualifying and try to cure it for the next race."

Hamilton sees British GP as 'clean slate'

Hamilton expects to win at home
Hamilton expects to win at home

Lewis Hamilton says he is viewing his home race, the British Grand Prix, as a "clean slate", after losing further ground to championship leader Sebastian Vettel in Austria.

Vettel arrived at the Red Bull Ring 14 points clear of Hamilton, having escaped further sanction earlier in the week, after running into his rival behind the Safety Car in Azerbaijan.

And Hamilton's chances of cutting Vettel's advantage were hurt by an unscheduled gearbox change, his Mercedes dropping from third to eighth after qualifying.

Vettel held second throughout, while Hamilton recovered to fourth, meaning the Ferrari driver holds a 20-point lead as the season nears its midway point.

Asked if he can take any heart from his recovery, despite Vettel's lead growing, Hamilton commented: "That's all I can do, so I will, and I'll just move on."

Put to him that he was not his usual self this weekend, given the recent controversy, he replied: "I think that would just be an assumption, I feel good, it's obviously been difficult, so what else can I say?"

Hamilton has already turned his attention to bouncing back on home soil.

"I have a couple of down days now, I'll look forward to seeing the home crowd, and I hope that we won't approach Silverstone with any problems," he added.

"We'll hopefully start with a clean slate then."

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