Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Ron Dennis isn't smiling now
    Ron Dennis isn't smiling now

    Ron Dennis exit 'a shame' – Ecclestone

  • Wolff fears tech trouble will decide title
  • Ecclestone admits supporting Nasr for 2017
  • Gutierrez plays down Steiner altercation
  • Ecclestone hints at buying Interlagos
  • Ecclestone cool on internet streaming idea
  • 2017 rules should improve rain races – Verstappen
  • Brawn plays down Schumacher improvement quote
  • Senna-Verstappen comparison is right – Berger
  • Renault flags third driver role for Sirotkin

Ron Dennis exit 'a shame' – Ecclestone
(GMM) F1 and McLaren this week look set to farewell Ron Dennis.

Reports have circulated for some time that the Woking team's 'supremo' has lost a power struggle with fellow shareholders and will be imminently ousted.

Britain's Daily Mail claims the 69-year-old will be told on Tuesday that he must accept a lesser role or be axed altogether.

When asked to comment, team boss Eric Boullier said: "Ron is chairman and group CEO of McLaren today."

But F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone appeared to confirm Dennis' impending departure in conversation with the Spanish broadcaster Movistar.

"It's a shame because Ron is part of formula one. I hate to see him go.

"Maybe the board will change its mind and Ron will stay," he added.

With a car so dominant no one can touch it, Wolff has still managed to artificially make the title go down to the final race
With a car so dominant no one can touch it, Wolff has still managed to artificially make the title go down to the final race

Wolff fears tech trouble will decide title
(GMM) Nico Rosberg will still deserve the 2016 title even if Lewis Hamilton extends his winning streak to four races in Abu Dhabi.

After a spate of technical troubles this year, Mercedes' Hamilton is having to fight back while Rosberg nurses his points lead to the Abu Dhabi finale next weekend.

"I am happy that in the same car I am beating Nico and he is driving at his best right now," Hamilton told British newspapers after winning in Brazil.

The perception is that Hamilton is perhaps the more deserving champion — but not everyone sees it that way.

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport said after Interlagos: "In the Brazilian rain, Rosberg had only to avoid risks and he did that."

And former Mercedes boss Ross Brawn told The Guardian that while Hamilton is on form, "Nico has been impressive too.

"Whoever wins it will deserve it, but for his tenacity and determination, I'd edge slightly to Nico."

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff insists he remains impartial, insisting only that he hopes the team can give the dueling duo reliability for their finale.

"What I fear most of all is technical problems, but it cannot be ruled out," said the Austrian.

Ecclestone wants a Russian driver for the Russian race, a Brazilian driver for the Brazil race, etc. but does nothing about an American driver for the American race
Ecclestone wants a Russian driver for the Russian race, a Brazilian driver for the Brazil race, etc. but does nothing about an American driver for the American race

Ecclestone admits supporting Nasr for 2017
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he is not sure if F1 will have a Brazilian driver on the grid next year.

It is reported that, to safeguard the important Brazilian television market, the F1 supremo has been actively campaigning for Sauber's Nasr to find a 2017 seat.

But with Felipe Massa retiring, it is a real possibility there will be no Brazilians on the grid.

When asked about that, Ecclestone told Brazil's Globo: "At this moment I can't say."

Asked if Nasr at least has a chance to stay, the 86-year-old added: "I hope so, I really want to see him on the grid in 2017."

As for whether he has actively campaigned on Nasr's behalf, Ecclestone confirmed: "Yes, and I will continue to help, but I do not have the ability to impose a driver on a team."

Ride-buyer Esteban Gutierrez might be history
Ride-buyer Esteban Gutierrez might be history

Gutierrez plays down Steiner altercation
(GMM) Esteban Gutierrez has denied his relationship with Haas is breaking down.

After the parties confirmed the Mexican is being replaced by Kevin Magnussen next year, Gutierrez was spotted in a heated garage exchange with boss Gunther Steiner during the Brazilian grand prix.

Footage showed a furious Gutierrez being grabbed by the arm by Steiner after the driver threw his gloves.

Gutierrez is quoted by Spain's Marca: "I was very angry about the situation but not with anyone. It was just the wrong time and we laughed about it afterwards.

"It seemed that something serious had happened, but it was nothing like that," he added.

Gutierrez had retired from the race with a technical problem, just days after saying his exit from Haas was "not fair" given the troubles he has had in 2016.

It is believed switching to Sauber or Manor, or returning to be third driver at Ferrari, are his options for 2017.

"I was angry with the situation because it has been the case all year, it is not a nice place to be in but I will never give up," Gutierrez said.

His last race for Haas will be next weekend in Abu Dhabi.

"I will do the best job possible," said the 25-year-old. "I am a professional and I want the best for the team as well.

"I still have a lot ahead of me in my career, so I want to leave the team in a good position."

Would Bernie really buy Interlagos?
Would Bernie really buy Interlagos?

Ecclestone hints at buying Interlagos
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has admitted the future of the long-running Brazilian grand prix at Interlagos remains "absolutely" uncertain.

With the Sao Paulo race having only a provisional date on the 2017 calendar, the F1 supremo met with new Brazilian president Michel Temer last week.

When asked why the Interlagos race is under a cloud, Ecclestone told Globo Esporte: "Financial reasons."

So when asked about his meeting in Brasilia with president Temer, the 86-year-old answered: "It was very good. We talked about general matters, nothing in particular. It was a good visit."

As for whether Interlagos' troubles were brought up, Ecclestone said: "He knows more or less what we need, and what we would like to happen."

One theory is that, with Sao Paulo's new mayor Joao Doria saying he would like to privatize Interlagos, Ecclestone could buy the historic track.

"It depends on how he wants to sell it," Ecclestone answered. "Maybe I'm interested in doing business.

"If they sell to someone else it could be more difficult to keep the race here," he added.

When asked if he is planning to meet with the new mayor, Ecclestone answered: "No, I'm returning to Europe but before Christmas I will be in Brazil.

"I do want to meet him, yes."

Ecclestone thinks American must be stupid. If you stream content on the internet TV ratings go down and you cannot get the big TV deals F1 currently enjoys. It would all collapse.
Ecclestone thinks American must be stupid. If you stream content on the internet TV ratings go down and you cannot get the big TV deals F1 currently enjoys. It would all collapse.

Ecclestone cool on internet streaming idea
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has given a cool reception to some of Liberty Media's apparent plans for the future of F1.

One rumored change is that the sport will move into the realm of internet streaming, even though the commercial success of F1 was built on the F1 supremo's insistence that exclusive TV rights be sold to broadcasters.

When asked about that, Ecclestone told Brazil's Globo: "I have no idea how they can do both. If I had known how, I would have done it."

Ecclestone, 86, admitted that Liberty's methods seem almost diametrically opposed to the way that predecessor CVC ran F1.

"Absolutely. The way the Americans do business is very different to what we do in Europe," he said.

Currently, F1 is in uncertain times, with the Liberty deal not yet complete and Ecclestone apparently resisting the changeover.

He said: "If they buy the rest of the company, they can do what they want, although the regulations also involve the FIA."

Ecclestone remains a highly controversial figure, even supporting the recent election of Donald Trump in the US.

"Trump's election is the best thing that could have happened to the world," he insists.

"I have met him a few times and, believe me, it will be better for the world."

He is less sure about F1's next move to faster and more aggressive cars for 2017.

"We need to wait for the tests to see how the cars are," said Ecclestone. "But one thing will not change: I'm sure Mercedes will continue to dominate F1."

Poor kid is so naive. Those new wide tires will throw up even more spray in the rain and ruin the races, not make them better.
Poor kid is so naive. Those new wide tires will throw up even more spray in the rain and ruin the races, not make them better.

2017 rules should improve rain races – Verstappen
(GMM) Max Verstappen hopes F1's 2017 regulations will mean the sport can return to racing properly in wet weather.

In Brazil, paying spectators booed and jeered at the multiple and lengthy safety car and red flag periods triggered by the rainy conditions.

"I believe the (Jules) Bianchi case is a factor," German-language pundit Marc Surer told Bild newspaper.

"The FIA is worried they will again be blamed for an accident."

But while there is certainly an element of caution to Charlie Whiting's decisions in wet races, Carlos Sainz insists the conditions were very poor on Sunday.

"I understand the decisions of race control," he told Spain's El Mundo Deportivo, "because there really was a lot of aquaplaning.

"From home it's very easy to see 'Why are they not racing!' But it was really tough. Kimi Raikkonen spun 10 meters in front of me at 300 kilometers per hour — can you imagine what a crash that could have been?"

What he doesn't agree with was how many laps the cars circulated behind the safety car for.

"In the end we should race or not — many laps behind the safety car was the worst thing," said the Spaniard.

Fingers of blame have pointed at Pirelli's wet weather tire, and Max Verstappen thinks the situation should improve for 2017 as downforce increases.

"Of course I think next year we can improve the tires but I think it's a combination of having more horse power and torque now and less downforce," he said.

"I think next year it should be solved — it should be much easier to drive the cars in the wet because of having quite a lot more downforce," said Max.

Poor Michael Schmacher is likely a vegetable and will likely remain that way
Poor Michael Schumacher is likely a vegetable and will likely remain that way

Brawn plays down Schumacher improvement quote
(GMM) Ross Brawn has hit reverse gear after commenting on the mysterious health condition of F1 legend Michael Schumacher.

As one of the few people still let into the embattled former Ferrari and Mercedes driver's inner circle, the media recently seized on his quote that Schumacher has shown "encouraging signs" amid his recovery from brain injuries.

Now asked by the Guardian if he still visits the great German, Brawn answered: "We do.

"We go see him and hope and pray that one day he will make a recovery.

"I was quoted as saying he's improving and it was not what I really meant. The family are conducting his convalescence in private and I need to respect that.

"So I don't want to comment on his condition beyond saying we're extremely hopeful we'll see Michael as we knew him at some point in the future," Brawn added.

Verstappen had new rain tires at the end of the race while everyone had theirs on since the beginning and they were very worn. So of course Verstappen was much faster than everyone else.  The F1 media is fawning all over Verstappen as if he is the second coming of Senna, which of course he is not.
Verstappen had new rain tires at the end of the race while everyone had theirs on since the beginning and they were very worn. So of course Verstappen was much faster than everyone else at the end. The F1 media is fawning all over Verstappen as if he is the second coming of Senna, which of course he is not.

Senna-Verstappen comparison is right – Berger
(GMM) Gerhard Berger agrees that comparisons between the legendary Ayrton Senna and F1 teen sensation Max Verstappen are appropriate.

The Senna comparisons have been made since even before the young Dutchman debuted.

But they are back with a bang after Brazil, where Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko said Verstappen's race reminded him of Senna's legendary Donington 1993.

"The real hero of the day was Verstappen, who spent a Sunday as Senna used to," said Italy's Corriere della Sera.

"At the age of 19, he built the impossible bridge between past and present with his courage and arrogance, putting every other driver under pressure."

Those sort of media and pundit superlatives are commonplace in F1, but Berger gives the Verstappen/Senna comparison real credence.

That is because the Austrian was arguably Senna's most memorable teammate and personal friend.

"Yes, when I see Max, Senna comes to my mind," Berger admitted.

"This is the first time I say something like this, because I was really close to Ayrton and I think he was the greatest.

"In his personality, his driving, his results, his preparation. He was different to everyone.

"I've always respected that and so I avoided comparisons, but with Max it's hard not to," he said.

Referring to Verstappen's performance at Interlagos, Berger said: "It was awesome.

"He was always trying new lines, even behind the safety car he was studying the circuit. Engineers from other teams were even telling their drivers to imitate him.

"He knew exactly what to do, and it's amazing at his age. He sought and found impossible lines, making the others look like schoolboys. His control of the car, as he saw in the incident on the straight was crazy," he added.

As for Verstappen's critics, who say the Red Bull driver is too arrogant, Berger insisted: "Someone like him can afford it."

Sergey Sirotkin - has check will drive
Sergey Sirotkin – has check will drive

Renault flags third driver role for Sirotkin
(GMM) Sergey Sirotkin could move up to the position of third driver at Renault next year.

The Russian began 2016 as the French works team's test driver, but third driver Esteban Ocon has since stepped up to the grid.

Russian GP2 driver Sirotkin drove Renault's car in Friday practice at Interlagos, and team boss Frederic Vasseur said he was "impressive".

It is part of a tie-up between Sirotkin, Renault and the Russian program SMP Racing.

"I would like to continue to develop the cooperation with Sergey," Vasseur is quoted by Russia's Sportbox.

"We need to find options to allow him to spend more time in the car," he added.

"Next season we will have the same test system for young drivers but we need a driver with some experience to help with the car's development. I think Sergey is a suitable candidate," he said.

"Next season will be very difficult for the team and we need not only the two main drivers but also a strong third," added Vasseur.

Vasseur said it is not yet decided if Sirotkin will also stay in GP2 or focus full-time on F1.

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