Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Carey says 21 races for 2018
    Carey says 21 races for 2018

    Carey announces 21 races for 2018

  • F1 changes cars after Monger crash
  • Ferrari has caught Mercedes on race starts
  • Alonso at Indy doesn't hurt F1 – Steiner
  • Raikkonen plays down 'wheelbase' story
  • Sponsor enabled Wolff switch – Wolff
  • Monaco win unlikely for Red Bull – Newey
  • Stroll expects difficult first Monaco GP
  • Cesare Fiorio 'improving' after cycling crash
  • Toro Rosso drivers want Renault 'progress'
  • No pressure for Button in Monaco – Kvyat

Carey announces 21 races for 2018
(GMM) F1 chief executive Chase Carey has announced that there will be 21 grands prix next year.

That is just one race more than this season, despite the fact the sport's new owners Liberty Media have hinted that the calendar could expand to as many as 25.

"There will be 21 next year," American Carey told Auto Motor und Sport.

"But the list of places that are interested fills a page. The priority is to make the 21 races that we do have better."

However, Carey said he does have his eye on adding at least another US race in a 'destination city', like New York, Miami or Las Vegas.

"We have five or six cities in the United States that are interested," he added.

Another possibility is that existing race promoters could actually drop out, particularly after Bernie Ecclestone recently admitted he had overcharged them.

Carey, however, said the problem is that F1 has not been delivering value.

"It's not enough to sign a contract and then say 'See you next year'. There must be more coming from our side.

"So we need to sit down with the organisers who have problems. But we have no plans to renegotiate the current agreements," he insisted. "Our product has a certain value and it's not as if we do not have alternatives."

F1 changes cars after Monger crash
(GMM) F1 has reacted to the Billy Monger crash by tweaking the design of the 2017 cars.

Recently, the British youngster crashed into a stationary car during a Formula 4 race and subsequently had both his legs amputated.

F1 has reacted.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that, ahead of the Monaco round, every car had to make modifications to the jack-supports at the rear of the car.

The offending part, located beneath the rear crash structure, had to be redesigned by each team so that it is no longer sharp or projectile-shaped.

The German report said that, in the F4 crash, the sharp rear jack support had ripped through the front crash structure of Monger's car.

Correspondent Michael Schmidt said: "On Wednesday, Jo Bauer checked all cars to see if they meet the new regulation."

Ferrari has caught Mercedes on race starts
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has admitted Ferrari has caught up with Mercedes' race start technology in 2017.

Mercedes entered the season with field-leading technology for the race starts, but a reporter told Hamilton in Monaco that Ferrari has now copied that approach.

Asked if the German team has lost its advantage, Hamilton said: "I don't know if we've lost it. It (Barcelona) was just one race.

"If you look at the averages of all the cars, we have had the best starts so far this season.

"So as a team we are the leaders, but definitely in the last race Ferrari was a little bit stronger. But I think the last race also showed that the start isn't everything," the Spanish grand prix winner added.

Alonso at Indy doesn't hurt F1 – Steiner
(GMM) Gunther Steiner has played down claims Fernando Alonso's Indy 500 foray this weekend hurts formula one.

F1 chief executive Chase Carey has said it would be better if the Spaniard was in Monaco, and Haas chief Steiner agrees that the big winner is Indycar.

"I think Fernando helps Indy more than formula one. But I also see no disadvantage for F1," said Steiner.

"I also think it will be a one-off, because let's be honest: why would anyone want to miss Monaco? With Fernando, it's clear why he did it, but it would be more difficult for an Indycar driver to prove himself in formula one.

"And let's say Lewis Hamilton wanted to do it: ask Toto (Wolff) if he would agree," he added, according to Speed Week.

However, it could be a different matter for McLaren drivers.

The British team's new executive Zak Brown hinted that McLaren might be considering a full-time Indycar foray.

"It (Indycar) is something that we're definitely going to discuss and (we) have met with Indycar, and are certainly interested in competing in some way, shape or form in the not-too-distant future," he said.

Raikkonen plays down 'wheelbase' story
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen is not sure the 'wheelbase' factor will tip the balance in Ferrari's favor this weekend at Monaco.

Mercedes has headed into the famous street race worrying publicly about how its particularly long-wheelbase car will suit the tight corners.

"I don't know how our long car will go on these corners," admitted Lewis Hamilton.

And team chairman Niki Lauda told Osterreich newspaper: "We designed our car for 20 tracks, but we will find out more after practice."

He also told Kronen Zeitung: "Our car has the longest wheelbase and this can be a disadvantage here, but not necessarily."

Ferrari's Raikkonen, however, played down the story.

"We have the same wheelbase at every circuit, so hopefully the car behaves in the same way as it does everywhere else.

"You need more than just a short wheelbase at Monaco," the Finn is quoted by Speed Week.

Sponsor enabled Wolff switch – Wolff
(GMM) One sponsor could have made the difference when it came to Valtteri Bottas securing the Mercedes seat for 2017.

Team boss Toto Wolff admitted that Bottas' major sponsor at Williams, Antti Aarnio-Wihuri, made the crucial decision to switch his allegiance to Mercedes this year.

"Yes, without it we would have put Pascal Wehrlein with Lewis Hamilton," Wolff is quoted by the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.

"Antti made is possible for us to move Valtteri to us," he added.

"Valtteri certainly has other very important partners, such as Kemppi, but Antti enabled this agreement with Mercedes," Wolff revealed.

Monaco win unlikely for Red Bull – Newey
(GMM) Adrian Newey has admitted Red Bull does not have a strong chance of winning this weekend's Monaco grand prix.

Last year, only a pit bungle cost Daniel Ricciardo victory on the famous streets.

"Last year we had a good chassis," Red Bull's part-time technical boss Newey told Brazil's Globo, "so at Monaco, where you rely less on the engine, we could shine.

"But this year we do not have the best chassis, so we will not have the same opportunity as last year," he added.

"I think we have to improve between now and Singapore, and use that as our next chance," said Newey.

Stroll expects difficult first Monaco GP
(GMM) Lance Stroll has entered Monaco expecting a tough weekend.

Already, the teenage rookie has struggled in 2017 and now insiders are predicting more trouble for Stroll on the famous but unforgiving streets.

Stroll, 18, told Canada's La Presse: "I do not want to be negative, but I expect a difficult weekend.

"This is my first race here, and this circuit does not favor our car."

Cesare Fiorio 'improving' after cycling crash
(GMM) Former Ferrari boss Cesare Fiorio is showing signs of improvement after a recent cycling crash.

Three weeks ago, we reported that the 78-year-old fell whilst cycling in Italy and was in hospital with serious head and other injuries.

Fiorio briefly led Ferrari at the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s, and was also involved with the Ligier and Minardi teams.

La Gazzetta dello Sport now reports that Fiorio is "recovering from brain trauma" and lung injuries, and is making "slow but steady improvement" after being in a five day coma.

Toro Rosso drivers want Renault 'progress'
(GMM) Renault powered drivers are calling on the French marque to improve its 2017 engine.

Some tension is creeping back into the Red Bull-Renault partnership, with Renault taking issue with some recent comments made by its premier customer.

But also Renault-powered in 2017 are the Toro Rosso drivers, whose Daniil Kvyat said of the power unit: "I want more progress.

"I want to say that at its core it is a good engine, but hopefully now Renault will focus on improving the efficiency, because we really need it."

Kvyat's teammate Carlos Sainz says Renault is not guaranteeing when those updates will arrive.

"They say it might be Baku or Austria, but I don't know when. It's definitely out of our control, so I try not to think about it," said the Spaniard.

Sainz said the cause of the issue was that Renault had to stop improving performance in order to fix reliability problems.

No pressure for Button in Monaco – Kvyat
(GMM) Daniil Kvyat says retired F1 driver Jenson Button is under no pressure this weekend at Monaco.

Some have questioned the wisdom of Button's one-off return to replace Fernando Alonso, particularly after the 2009 world champion skipped the Bahrain test last month.

"If Jenson wants to prepare in that way, it's his choice," said Max Verstappen. "I cannot pass judgement.

"I'm not in the same position with his 17 years of experience."

Daniil Kvyat agrees that it was reasonable for Button to prepare only in the McLaren simulator in recent days.

"He is not trying to win a world championship, so one race doesn't mean anything," said the Russian.

"If he is successful, great, but if he is not, there is nothing wrong with that because he can say that he was not able to be ready. So Jenson has nothing to gain and nothing to lose," Kvyat added.

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