Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Dr. Helmu Marko says F1 needs emotions
    Dr. Helmut Marko says F1 needs emotions

    Marko backs Vettel after 'road rage'

  • Villeneuve also backs Vettel after Hamilton incident
  • Wolff argues against further penalty for Vettel
  • Renault still interested in Sainz Jr.
  • Rio keen on Brazil GP switch – promoter
  • Force India says driver clash 'unacceptable'
  • Bottas not worried about Mercedes future
  • Haas brake struggles 'unacceptable' – Grosjean
  • Verstappen faces fine for skipping media duties
  • Honda to run new engine in Austria
  • Sainz Jr. calls first-lap spin a 'sacrifice'
  • Massa feels double podium within reach
  • Silverstone gets four-day track schedule

Marko backs Vettel after 'road rage'
(GMM) Not everyone is siding against Sebastian Vettel following his apparently deliberate crash into championship rival Lewis Hamilton in Baku.

Most in F1, including the specialist press, pointed the finger of blame squarely at the Ferrari driver, after his apparent 'road rage' moment.

"Vettel lost his nerve," said Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Corriere dello Sport added: "Vettel lost his head like a teenager."

But another Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, thinks both Vettel and Mercedes' Hamilton behaved badly.

"The two star drivers behaved like two undisciplined road users," it declared. "Between them, nothing will be the same again."

Dr Helmut Marko, the Red Bull official who groomed Vettel and brought him into F1, agrees.

"Hamilton brake-tested Vettel," said the Austrian. "Vettel got angry and had his revenge, and when Mercedes did not attach Hamilton's headrest properly, justice was balanced."

As for how he can excuse Vettel's apparent act of violence against his competitor, Marko explained: "This happened at very low speed, behind the safety car.

"And a racing driver must have emotions. We should be happy because we need human emotions not technocratic rules."

Villeneuve also backs Vettel after Hamilton incident

Jacques Villeneuve
Jacques Villeneuve

Jacques Villeneuve has also defended Sebastian Vettel's angry swerve at Lewis Hamilton in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, saying the incident shows that Formula 1 drivers have emotions.

"They're going 10mph, who cares?

"Of course it was ugly, but ultimately Lewis brake-tested him.

"I'm a driver, I've been there. Whenever a driver did that to me, then I would do whatever Seb did.

"He got a penalty, the biggest he could get I guess according to the new rules."

"I don't think he was trying to hit him," said the 1997 champion.

"He had one hand on the wheel and was looking at him and pointing the finger.

"You don't hit with your wheels turned like that, you will break your own car, and with one hand – if you're going to hit someone, you have two hands on the wheel!

"In a way I am happy to see that drivers have emotions. It's good, it's fun.

"We have the two guys fighting for the championship, getting angry with each other, and ultimately no damage was done.

"What's the big issue? It's great TV, it's good to see that they're on it.

"Much nicer than Lewis asking [Valtteri] Bottas to slow Vettel down. That was embarrassing."

"Bottas didn't get a penalty for running into Kimi [Raikkonen]," said Villeneuve.

"But at the same time the rules should allow racing and mistakes.

"I'm happy there was no penalty, but then others shouldn't get them either.

"It was racing, and one just made a mistake and ran into the other.

"But I would like to see more penalties for weaving, which we hardly ever see – that's the big issue.

"In Montreal I think [Stoffel] Vandoorne did it at one point, and at least [Carlos] Sainz [Jr] got a penalty.

"We see some extreme weaving and that should be penalised,

"What Bottas did, that was just poor driving, but it's racing.

"What Vettel did was not nice, not sportsmanlike, but good to see."

Wolff argues against further penalty for Vettel

Wolff and Lauda
Wolff and Lauda

(GMM) Toto Wolff thinks Sebastian Vettel's act of Baku 'road rage' should now be forgotten.

As the Ferrari driver runs through his super license 'penalty points', there are rumors the FIA is still contemplating further sanctions for his apparent deliberate crash into Lewis Hamilton last Sunday.

Auto Motor und Sport quoted a Baku race steward as saying they "almost" decided to disqualify Vettel during the race.

What is clear is that, between the championship contenders, emotions ran high not just during the race but also afterwards.

Mercedes' Hamilton suggested he would not answer a call from Vettel to discuss the incident.

But Mercedes chief Wolff said: "I think they should talk with each other once tempers have cooled.

"I think in a few days time Seb will realize that his action was not great.

"Definitely the events were not helpful for the future of their relationship, but it was always clear that this could happen.

"I think there is still respect between the two of them. They are two greats of the sport."

Meanwhile, Wolff thinks the issue of further penalties for Vettel should not be revisited by the FIA.

"He got his penalty already so it's over. My head is already in Spielberg," he insisted.

Renault still interested in Sainz Jr.

Cyril Abiteboul
Cyril Abiteboul

(GMM) Renault has admitted it still has "an eye" on Carlos Sainz Jr.

Last year, the French works team made a move for the young Spaniard, but found him securely under contract to Toro Rosso and Red Bull.

In the meantime, 22-year-old Sainz has been linked with a potential move to McLaren for 2018.

But Renault is also still interested.

"Honestly, we do have an eye on him," team boss Cyril Abiteboul told Spain's Movistar broadcaster.

"I understand he has a long-term contract with Red Bull, but we have many conversations with them. We will see," the Frenchman added.

"He has a contract for next year, but I do not deny that we have an interest should he be available."

Rio keen on Brazil GP switch – promoter
(GMM) Brazilian grand prix promoter Tamas Rohonyi has admitted Rio de Janeiro is interested in hosting the country's F1 race.

Currently, Brazil's race is held at Interlagos, but as Bernie Ecclestone left his post as F1 CEO, he warned that the future of the event near Sao Paulo was in doubt.

However, local promoter Tamas Rohonyi told UOL Esporte that a contract is in place until 2020.

"There is nothing (about the contract) that can be changed," he said. "After 2020, if there is privatization (of the circuit) then it depends on the new owner.

"But I think the mayor understands that losing this race track would be the end of motor sport in the country."

However, he did admit that Rio is interested in F1.

"The mayor of Rio, in fact all the mayors of Rio in the last 20 years, have asked us to go back there," said Rohonyi. "But with the contracts there was not even an opportunity to discuss it.

"If there is, then we will certainly talk."

Force India says driver clash 'unacceptable'

Perez in his 'pretty pink' Force India
Perez in his 'pretty pink' Force India

(GMM) Force India's race drivers are to be told that what happened in Baku at the weekend was "unacceptable".

That is the news from the Silverstone based team's sporting boss Otmar Szafnauer, following the latest run-in between Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.

After the team orders saga of Montreal, both drivers complained after Baku about their race clash.

But Szafnauer is quoted by L'Equipe as saying both were to blame.

"I would say it's 50-50, or 55-45.

"The worst thing you can do is hit your teammate," he said.

"It was tricky because on a circuit with walls, Sergio would otherwise have had room and everything would have been fine.

"So we're going to go over the incident with them and tell them it's unacceptable. They cannot fight each other.

"It's bad enough when you hit another driver, but if it's your teammate, you risk ruining the team's whole race. But they're aware of that — they're intelligent guys."

Bottas not worried about Mercedes future

Bottas will be re-signed.
Bottas will be re-signed.

(GMM) Valtteri Bottas insists he is still not worried about his future at Mercedes.

Although performing solidly, the Finn has been told by boss Toto Wolff that the team is not ready to re-sign him for 2018.

But that was before Baku, where Bottas finished second.

"I did not sign anything after this race!" he revealed.

"Of course I always want to drive well and prove that I deserve to drive for this team. I hope that Baku was a perfect example," said Bottas.

"But as Toto says, there is no rush and it's still early. I'm happy with the way things are.

"As I already said on Thursday, in my formula one career I've never had any certainty about the future until August or September. Sometimes even January! So it's not new for me," he added.

Haas brake struggles 'unacceptable' – Grosjean

Grosjean (L) is always complaining about the Haas brakes. Meanwhile his younger teammate, Magnussen (R) keeps beating him
Grosjean (L) is always complaining about the Haas brakes. Meanwhile his younger teammate, Magnussen (R) keeps beating him

(GMM) Romain Grosjean left Baku furious that Haas is yet to get to the bottom of a recurring brake problem.

The Frenchman has bemoaned the American team's issues with brakes since its inception last year, but Azerbaijan was a particularly troubled race for the 31-year-old.

After the race, Haas' team statement said under Grosjean's name: "No post-race comments were made."

But France's Canal Plus quotes him as saying: "We didn't have the slightest hope of success the whole weekend.

"Now we need to ask ourselves questions and find answers," Grosjean added.

"It's unacceptable that in the course of the five weekend sessions, the same problem on one car cannot be solved.

"At one point I even had doubts about my own safety. The situation is simply dangerous," he insisted.

Verstappen faces fine for skipping media duties

'Mad' Max Verstappen drives like a madman and usually breaks his car or one of his competitors
'Mad' Max Verstappen drives like a madman and usually breaks his car or one of his competitors

(GMM) Max Verstappen is facing a EUR 25,000 fine for skipping his mandatory press duties after Sunday's race in Baku.

Openly unhappy about his recent troubles at Red Bull, the Dutchman left the Azerbaijan street circuit after the race without talking to the media.

De Telegraaf newspaper claims Verstappen could face a hefty fine as a result.

"I did not want to talk to the press at the time," the 19-year-old told Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport Totaal.

"It seemed wise not to respond right away. In the race I was in such a good position and the team expects me to do my best, so I expect the same from the team."

Asked what the problem was, Verstappen said: "The problem is that Renault is the only engine that doesn't work. But that's separate."

He said he has both Monday and Tuesday away from the team and is then due to be on the simulator on Wednesday.

"The big advantage is that the engine cannot break," Verstappen said.

As for whether he stuck around in Baku to help his teammate Daniel Ricciardo celebrate a surprise victory, Verstappen answered: "What do you think?"

Honda to run new engine in Austria
(GMM) Honda will bring another engine upgrade to the next race in Austria.

Although the Japanese manufacturer looks set to be dumped by its works partner McLaren, Honda took a minor upgrade to Azerbaijan last weekend.

And now, Honda chief Yusuke Hasegawa says the long-awaited 'specification 3' unit is due to run in Austria next weekend.

"In the meantime, we will continue our development with our best efforts in order to continue closing the gap," said the Japanese.

However, McLaren and its drivers do not sound upbeat about the future with Honda.

Despite the improvement, Stoffel Vandoorne said Honda was clearly the least powered engine in the field on the long Baku straight.

"We were faster than the Saubers but we could not do anything against them on the straight," he told the Belgian broadcaster RTBF.

"I think with the power deficit that we have, the team deserved its first points after a very difficult period for us.

"But there is still a lot of work to be done," Vandoorne added. "We are still a long way behind."

Sainz Jr. calls first-lap spin a 'sacrifice'

Carlos Sainz Jr.
Carlos Sainz Jr.

Carlos Sainz Jr. labelled his first-lap spin at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as a "sacrifice" as he rotated his STR12 in order to avoid Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat.

Kvyat took the outside approach to Turn 1 but went deep, utilizing the run-off, and emerged back on track narrowly ahead of Sainz Jr., who subsequently spun.

Sainz Jr. re-joined at the back of the field but ultimately worked his way forward amid a litany of incidents elsewhere and finished in eighth place.

"When I got to Turn 1 I saw Daniil re-joining the track and I had to quickly avoid crashing into him, which would've been a disaster for the team," said Sainz Jr.

"I spun, but it was a sacrifice I had to do.

"From then onwards, I kept calm, was very patient, and we recovered from last to eighth without making any mistakes.

"I have to say it was difficult to keep focused with so many things happening: Safety Cars, the red flag… and I can say I'm satisfied with the result in the end!"

Kvyat has vowed to keep fighting after suffering his third retirement of the season, caused by a complete electronic shutdown on his STR12.

"It's extremely disappointing, because I think we could've scored good points," he said.

"Up until the race, the weekend had been perfect and I tried my best but, when things out of my control happen, I can't do more.

"I will keep on fighting and working hard; I just need to do my job like I always do and not let days like this get me down."

Toro Rosso slipped to sixth place in the Constructors' Championship, four points behind Williams, as a result of Lance Stroll's podium.

Massa feels double podium within reach

Felipe Massa in Baku
Felipe Massa in Baku

Felipe Massa feels a double podium finish was within reach for Williams at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as he retired while challenging for the top three positions.

Massa made progress early on and briefly challenged Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel for second place, before holding third during the red flag phase, ahead of team-mate Lance Stroll.

However, Massa's FW40 developed a suspension problem as the race resumed, leaving his car "shaking" along the straights, as he was powerless to prevent rivals from passing.

Massa ultimately retired, while Stroll went on to finish on the podium, having narrowly lost out on second to Valtteri Bottas across the line.

"I'm so disappointed… the race was going the perfect way for me, with the start, the overtaking, the pace," said Massa.

"On the restart the car just started shaking on the straight and I didn't have the speed, other cars were passing me so easily. I also couldn't do the corners because it was shaking so badly.

"We had the opportunity to have both cars on the podium, and maybe even a victory."

Williams chief Paddy Lowe believes Massa's post-restart failure cost him victory.

"Felipe had an internal suspension failure, which I'm very upset about," Lowe said.

"Without that issue we really believe that Felipe could have won the race and we could even have had a double podium.

"Felipe's had a fantastic season so far and he's been a great support to Lance, so it's a shame that he can't celebrate with us."

Silverstone gets four-day track schedule
Silverstone has published a new schedule for this year's British Grand Prix, with track action to take place from Thursday through Sunday (July 13-16).

European events are usually held over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but some feeder category running will now be brought forward to Thursday.

Formula 2 and GP3 practice sessions will run on Thursday afternoon, with their qualifying sessions to follow Formula 1 practice on Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, a Formula 2 drivers' parade will be staged for the first time, along with a parade to celebrate the 40th anniversaries of Williams and Renault in Formula 1.

Formula 1's three-day schedule has not been altered.

British Grand Prix timetable

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