Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Vandoorne ride safe
    Vandoorne ride safe

    Vandoorne future safe despite Dennis exit

  • Haug backs Rosberg to tie up title
  • Small team race seats 'like auction' – Nasr snr
  • Mayor invites Ecclestone to buy Interlagos
  • Aki Hintsa 'revolutionized F1' – Salo
  • Verstappen 'calm' amid Senna comparisons
  • Whiting doubts F1 can have simpler rules
  • New Series Chair Chase Carey Makes F1 Strategy Group Debut In Geneva
  • Force India and Manor beg Ecclestone for money

Vandoorne future safe despite Dennis exit
(GMM) A Belgian F1 expert has played down rumors Ron Dennis' departure from McLaren will endanger Stoffel Vandoorne's future.

Team supremo Dennis has been ousted after a bitter shareholders' dispute, just one race before Vandoorne is set to replace Jenson Button as Fernando Alonso's 2017 teammate.

Belgian Vandoorne is a protege of Dennis'.

But Het Nieuwsblad journalist and commentator Gert Vermersch told Belgium's Sporza: "This will not affect Vandoorne.

"Stoffel came to McLaren because of other people as well," he insisted.

Another driver brought to McLaren and championed by Dennis is Mika Hakkinen, who admitted his former boss will be shocked and disappointed with the latest events.

Some believe it is Dennis' personality that finally put his fellow shareholders off-side, but Hakkinen told Gulf News that the 69-year-old is not overbearing.

"No, not at all," the Finn insisted.

"I had a fantastic time. Without him, I wouldn't have been twice a world champion.

"He was a very tough leader for the drivers. He worked me very hard and my teammates. Ron was able to organize this very well. I believe he's a great leader.

"But generations change and people change and think a little bit differently these days," Hakkinen said.

It is believed F1 sponsorship guru Zak Brown is favorite to succeed Dennis, but Martin Whitmarsh, Jost Capito and Eric Boullier are also being linked with the role.

"I know Zak personally and he's a fantastic guy," said Hakkinen, who won all 20 of his grands prix with McLaren. "He's a gentleman who definitely can motivate you for success."

Norbert Haug
Norbert Haug

Haug backs Rosberg to tie up title
(GMM) Norbert Haug has backed Nico Rosberg to put the lid on his first world championship next weekend in Abu Dhabi.

A third place will seal the 2016 crown for the German, but former Mercedes boss Haug thinks that although Lewis Hamilton is finishing in top form, Rosberg will deserve his title.

"Nico has kept developing, he has won nine races this year which is statistically almost every second one. You can't do this success even in the best team with luck, only with skill," Haug told Germany's Sport Bild.

"Whoever can keep focused for many years, not being put off by setbacks and the winning of his teammate, deserves this title especially," he added.

So Haug backed Rosberg to keep his consistency and nerve in Abu Dhabi, notwithstanding the heat of a championship finale.

"I think Nico is strong enough to tackle his match point like any other race," he told Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper.

Felipe Nasr's father says most F1 seats goes to the highest bidder. This of course means F1 is not a sport.
Felipe Nasr's father says most F1 seats goes to the highest bidder. This of course means F1 is not a sport.

Small team race seats 'like auction' – Nasr snr
(GMM) Felipe Nasr's father has played down claims the Brazilian may have hurt rather than helped his chances of keeping the Sauber seat in 2017.

By passing Manor for tenth in the constructors' championship in Brazil, Sauber stands to benefit to the tune of dozens of millions — while Manor loses the same amount.

So with Nasr's Banco do Brasil sponsorship wavering, it is suggested Manor will now need to turn to pay drivers in 2017, paving the way for Mercedes' Pascal Wehrlein to replace Nasr at Sauber.

But Nasr's father, Samir Nasr, sees it the other way around.

"The points he got in Brazil can change a lot for him," Nasr snr told Brazil's UOL.

That is despite the fact that Wehrlein would bring millions to Sauber in promised Mercedes backing.

Samir Nasr insisted: "The other driver can bring $5 million, but on the track, my son has made over $11 million for the team."

He lamented the fact that it may be financial issues that ultimately leave Nasr in the cold.

"The problem is that the smaller teams have become like an auction — the one who brings more, with the sports in the background.

"But we are seeking sponsorship," Samir added. "I think things can change now with this result."

Mayor tells Bernie to put his money where his mouth is
Mayor tells Bernie to put his money where his mouth is

Mayor invites Ecclestone to buy Interlagos
(GMM) New Sao Paulo mayor Joao Doria has confirmed reports F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone could rescue the Brazilian grand prix.

With the Interlagos race already under a cloud for 2017, Ecclestone hinted last week that with new mayor Doria looking to privatize the track, he might be the buyer.

Doria has now told EFE news agency: "We will have a meeting with the organisers of formula one in Brazil next week. They obviously know our position.

"I invite Bernie Ecclestone and all those who are international formula one promoters to form a consortium and participate in the privatization program at Interlagos," the Sao Paulo mayor added.

When asked what his vision is for Interlagos, Doria answered: "It will be the same as that in Abu Dhabi, one of the most modern race tracks in the world."

Aki Hintsa 'revolutionized F1' – Salo
(GMM) Dr Aki Hintsa's legacy can still be seen up and down the F1 grid, according to former driver Mika Salo.

It emerged this week that, after a battle with cancer, the 58-year-old former McLaren doctor has passed away.

Dr Hintsa worked with several F1 drivers according to his philosophy of unlocking the full potential from human performance.

"Aki revolutionized F1 in this way," former Ferrari driver and F1 pundit and steward Salo told the Finnish broadcaster MTV.

"He brought a whole new perspective to many coaches who are still here. Aki changed the mentality for many of the drivers," he added.

Max Verstappen had brand new rain tires at end of Brazilian GP whereas all the drivers he passed were on tires that were on the car the entire race. The F1 media is fawning all over him.
Max Verstappen had brand new rain tires at end of Brazilian GP whereas all the drivers he passed were on tires that were on the car the entire race and worn out

Verstappen 'calm' amid Senna comparisons
(GMM) Max Verstappen says he is determined to keep his feet planted amid comparisons with the great Ayrton Senna.

Many believe the young Dutchman's performance in Brazil was the best in F1 since Senna's amazing display in similarly wet conditions at Donington in 1993.

Indeed, F1 legend Niki Lauda, who is team chairman at Red Bull's arch rival Mercedes, hailed Max's performance with a rare dip of his famous red cap when talking to his father Jos after the race.

"He does not do it very often, so it's very nice to see that he did it towards my father," Verstappen told the Dutch media at a sponsor event in Amsterdam.

What really triggered the Senna comparisons was the way Verstappen, 19, abandoned the usual racing line at Interlagos as he searched successfully for more grip.

"I was already trying many different racing lines behind the safety car," he confirmed.

"It was a bit like karting, only in a bigger car, but at the limit, sliding and slithering."

As for all the talk of him being Senna-esque, however, Verstappen vowed to not let it all go to his head.

"It is all very well what is written, but it's important to remain cool and calm," he said. "You should always keep improving, because it's never good enough."

Charlie Whiting
Charlie Whiting

Whiting doubts F1 can have simpler rules
(GMM) Charlie Whiting has played down moves to dramatically simplify the F1 rulebook.

F1's decision-making Strategy Group, featuring Bernie Ecclestone and the teams, met in Geneva this week and vowed to push the FIA to slash the rules that penalize drivers for their racing style.

But F1 race director Charlie Whiting said he doubts a simple rule book, like that seen in the 70s and 80s, can be achieved.

"Unfortunately I think the whole sport has become more complex," he said.

"All the rules on driving could be summed up with: drivers must drive safely. But when you have a simple rule like that, you are continually asked exactly what does that mean? Can we do this? Can we do that?" added Whiting.

"So I personally don't see any likelihood of the rules becoming simpler, because we do have a complex sport, that's really how it is and that's how it's developed over the last 20 or so years."

However, Germany's Auto Bild claims that Whiting is proposing to improve the way penalties are applied by appointing a permanent steward.

"Whiting is pushing the team bosses to sign a joint letter to FIA president Jean Todt," the report said.

And Whiting also defended his decision to red-flag the race in Brazil last weekend for the second time, to the displeasure of many.

"The rain was constantly changing in intensity," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"The drivers at the front wanted to race, of course, because they had the best visibility. But most of the drivers said the conditions were just as bad."

Whiting also revealed two F1 names who he said gave the best and most impartial advice during the Interlagos race about the track conditions: Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat.

"They gave us the most valuable and neutral advice," he confirmed.

Chase Carey
Chase Carey

New Series Chair Chase Carey Makes F1 Strategy Group Debut In Geneva
New F1 Chair Chase Carey "made his Formula 1 Strategy Group meeting debut when it convened in Geneva on Wednesday," according to Lawrence Barretto of AUTOSPORT.

The meeting featured representatives from Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams, McLaren, Force India and the FIA along with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone and Carey.

The idea of simplifying F1's regulations and long-term strategic thinking "was high on the agenda."

Several paddock figures "have voiced their concern in recent weeks that F1 is over-regulated in the wake of penalties for driving offences."

No firm decisions were made in Geneva, but it is understood "there was general agreement that the rules need to be made clearer." Autosport

MOTORSPORT's Adam Cooper reported Ecclestone "is adamant that the sport is over-regulated, and he is particularly frustrated" by anything related to driving offenses.

He said, "Generally we need to have a good look. There are too many rules and too many regulations. You need lawyers and doctors and God knows what else to be in F1 today."

Ecclestone is adamant that FIA Race Dir Charlie Whiting — the man responsible for writing the rules — "should start afresh."

Ecclestone: "You can’t repair an old house, better to pull it down and start again. He’s got enough people. We don’t need to wait." Motorsport

Ecclestone needs to advance the teams money or they will fold
Ecclestone needs to advance the teams money or they will fold

Force India and Manor beg Ecclestone for money
Lawrence Barretto of AUTOSPORT wrote that Force India and Manor "have made a request" to Ecclestone for an "advance on its championship payments for next year."

The two teams "made a similar request around this time last year, along with Sauber, and it was accepted."

Each request "will require unanimous consent from the other teams before Ecclestone can facilitate the advance."

It is believed Force India's request "has nothing to do with budget, which is understood to be in place for next season, but rather to ease cash
flow during the next couple of months." Autosport

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