Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Toto Wolff
    Toto Wolff

    Reliability takes hit as teams push limits – Wolff

  • Massa could stay at Williams in 2018
  • Lauda to watch Alonso's Indy 500 bid
  • Teams 'exaggerating' data to Pirelli
  • Lauda would 'veto' McLaren-Mercedes deal
  • Hulkenberg: Monaco should suit Renault
  • Hamilton drops drinks bottle to save weight
  • Future Of British Grand Prix At Silverstone In Doubt Due To Rising Fees

Reliability takes hit as teams push limits – Wolff
(GMM) Engine reliability has taken a hit in 2017 as manufacturers push to "the absolute limit".

That is the claim of Mercedes chief Toto Wolff, when asked about the obvious fact that many teams are having more trouble with power unit reliability so far this year.

As to why that is even though the current engine regulations are now three years old, Wolff said: "Because we are all going to the absolute limit.

"You cannot afford to give up a hundredth of a second in a fight like the one between us and Ferrari," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

But although engine performance is obviously important, Valtteri Bottas said reliability could actually be a major factor in the outcome of the championship.

"A zero point score could hurt in the end," the Finn said.

"If Lewis (Hamilton) had the problem (in Barcelona), Sebastian (Vettel) would now be more than 30 points ahead."

Massa could stay at Williams in 2018

Felipe Massa
Felipe Massa

(GMM) Felipe Massa says he would consider staying in F1 beyond the end of this season.

Actually, the Brazilian veteran 'retired' at the end of last year but was convinced by Williams to return as Valtteri Bottas moved up to the works Mercedes team.

And now the 36-year-old says: "If things continue to go so well, I would consider staying."

He said he has been particularly impressed with the positive effect triggered by Williams' new technical chiefs Paddy Lowe and Dirk de Beer.

"Development is now much more logical and aggressive," Massa is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Lauda to watch Alonso's Indy 500 bid

Fernando Alonso at Indy
Fernando Alonso at Indy

(GMM) Niki Lauda says he will be following every lap of Fernando Alonso's bid to win the Indy 500 on Sunday.

McLaren driver Alonso's shock Indy project has been controversial, as it means he must skip the prestigious Monaco grand prix.

But F1 legend Lauda said he admires the move.

"I am following Alonso's adventure closely," the Mercedes team chairman told Blick, a Swiss newspaper.

"A victory at Indy is for eternity. In my time, a team would never have allowed me to go there even though I had offers," Lauda, who drove for Ferrari and McLaren, added.

"Following the race on TV is a must for me," he added.

Teams 'exaggerating' data to Pirelli

Pirelli Tires
Pirelli Tires

(GMM) Pirelli has admitted some teams have "exaggerated" downforce values as the F1 supplier sets its tire operating guidelines before grands prix.

In Barcelona, the Italian marque's popular decision in 2017 to allow teams to use lower minimum tire pressures came to a halt in Friday practice.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport has a theory as to why that happened.

The report said Mercedes has struggled on the lower pressures in 2017, after utterly dominating in previous years with higher pressures.

Then, ahead of the Spanish grand prix, Pirelli increased the mandatory pressure guidelines after analyzing downforce data provided by the various teams.

"The suspicion in the paddock is that Pirelli is deliberately being fed excessively high downforce data in order to keep tire pressures high. It is said to be always the same two teams who deliver the wrong data," said correspondent Michael Schmidt.

Pirelli's Mario Isola said: "It is true that some of the downforce values prove in reality to have been exaggerated.

"But such a policy would have little effect, because we can always change the pressures if we feel it is safe to do so."

Lauda would 'veto' McLaren-Mercedes deal

Lauda (R) does not want any more competition
Lauda (R) does not want any more competition

(GMM) Niki Lauda says he would "veto" a supply of customer Mercedes engines for struggling former F1 grandee McLaren.

Although consistently denied, persistent rumors have said the beleaguered British team's patience with Honda is finally up.

But Toto Wolff, the Mercedes chief, denies the solution will be as simple as a reunion of the old McLaren-Mercedes name.

"It's important for formula one that Honda remains," he said. "I have no doubt that they will solve their problems."

And Mercedes team chairman Lauda's denial is even clearer.

When asked about a potential McLaren-Mercedes deal, he said: "I would veto it. Two years ago, I pleaded for us to give Red Bull our engines.

"But I wouldn't do it today. We have to concentrate fully on our duel with Ferrari rather than upgrading another of our rivals," the F1 legend told Auto Motor und Sport.

A McLaren-Mercedes deal also seems to have been ruled out by the sporting regulations, which require engine changes for the following season to be registered with the FIA by 15 May.

Hulkenberg: Monaco should suit Renault

Hulkenberg
Hulkenberg

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg believes the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix should play to the manufacturer's strengths, as he bids to continue his points scoring run.

Hulkenberg, following two finishes outside of the top 10, placed ninth in Bahrain, before improving to eighth in Russia and sixth in Spain.

The German, sixth in last year's wet/dry event in Monaco, reckons the R.S.17 can perform strongly, aided by Pirelli's decision to bring the softest trio of compounds.

"The track should suit us, especially with the Super Soft and Ultra Soft tires," he said.

"I am looking forward to race day and obviously I'm aiming for a good result. Last year I performed there quite well and with the new cars it will feel even quicker.

"You need a good rhythm and a good harmony with yourself and the car and feel comfortable.

"Lap times can be tricky to find, but in recent years I have done well, so hopefully we can have another strong performance."

Hulkenberg added that adopting a patient approach is vital in order to secure a strong result in the Principality.

"You have to build it up step by step, session by session," he explained.

"The last thing you want to do is touch a wall as that will take all your confidence away.

"In qualifying you peak and take more risks and get closer to the barriers and really get on the limits, but it is a street circuit, we know what they entail.

"You have to be sensible and totally focused on the task."

Hamilton drops drinks bottle to save weight

Hamilton not carrying a drink bottle to save 2 pounds
Hamilton not carrying a drink bottle to save 2 pounds

Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he is no longer racing with a drinks bottle in order to save some weight, as the margin between Mercedes and Ferrari is now so miniscule, that the smallest of savings can now make the difference.

Spanish Grand Prix winner Hamilton sounded exhausted when communicating with his engineer via team radio, and after the race he explained that he was pushing from start to finish an attempt to regain the lead after losing it to Sebastian Vettel at the start.

"I think it’s dependent on what kind of race you have," he said when questioned on his heavy breathing.

"A lot of the races that we sometimes have to do, where you’re saving fuel, like in the last race for example – I couldn’t push, the car was overheating – whereas [in Spain from] Turn 1 to the end it was flat out and so those races are the most… you’re just using everything you’ve got so for sure, in that first stint, for instance, to stay on Sebastian was a killer."

Matters were made worse by the fact Hamilton has chosen to drop his drinks bottle to save some weight, meaning he's unable to replace any of the roughly 2kg of fluid a driver loses throughout a race.

"Also I don’t carry drinks in my car either to save weight so I’m not having a drink through the race.

"And then at the end, I used everything I had left when I jumped into my team and my heart rate hit the ceiling. I was good when I got out of the car but jumping into… I don’t know if I will do that again. I was a little bit tired after that one."

Future Of British Grand Prix At Silverstone In Doubt Due To Rising Fees
Silverstone "has given the strongest indication yet it may cease hosting the British Grand Prix," putting the future of a Formula 1 race in the U.K. "in doubt," according to Giles Richards of the London GUARDIAN.

Silverstone Circuits Sporting Dir Stuart Pringle "is again considering giving notice" of the circuit's "intent to instigate a break clause" that would allow it to leave its contract in '19 and will make its decision before this year's race on July 16.

He said, "I sincerely hope it won't be the end of grand prix racing at Silverstone but we've made clear to the Formula One management we can't live with the present contract beyond 2019."
The contract, set to run until '26, "includes an escalator clause that raises the hosting fee each year."

It is understood to have been £12M in '10, rising to £27M ($35.1M) by the contract's conclusion. The grand prix is "hugely popular" and attracted 139,000 fans last year, a similar figure to that of '15, "but it is understood the circuit still made a loss" of £2M in '15 and £4M last year.
Liberty Media has said that it "wants to help venues to attract more fans but for Silverstone this is not the problem, it is that rising fees cannot be met" by ticket revenues.

Pringle: "Liberty have got some great ideas and we support their plans for a better show and fan experience. But they will likely take years to produce a significant benefit to the circuits and we haven't got the luxury of time. We need to deal in certainties and not possibilities." The circuit is the only one in the U.K. with the classification to host F1. GUARDIAN

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