Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • Charlie Whiting (far left) had to show up at yesterday's press conference for drivers to explain the F1 rules
    Charlie Whiting (far left) had to show up at yesterday's press conference for drivers to explain the F1 rules

    Whiting appearance shows F1 too complex – Sainz

  • Alonso tells Rosberg 'anything can happen'
  • Wehrlein disappointed to miss Force India seat
  • Renault kept Palmer for 'continuity' – Vasseur
  • Ecclestone discusses Brazil GP with president Temer
  • Stroll gives Williams financial boost – Bottas
  • Vettel: Ferrari title 'a question of time'
  • Magnussen: Renault's offer not good enough

Whiting appearance shows F1 too complex – Sainz
(GMM) Carlos Sainz has rejected the notion that Charlie Whiting's unusual appearance during the drivers press conference in Brazil was good for clarity.

With confusion abounding after controversial maneuvers and penalties in Mexico two weeks ago, the FIA broke protocol to have F1 race director Whiting sit in as the international press met with drivers on Thursday.

But Toro Rosso's Sainz told the Spanish media: "I'd prefer if Whiting was not at the press conference.

"Do you think my uncle or grandfather understood the great detail of why Verstappen was punished but not Hamilton?

"F1 is too complex today and to get the point of Whiting having to go to the press conference is not something we should have to reach," Sainz added.

Sainz's criticism of the complexity of F1 rules bureaucracy today came as Ferrari officially urged the Mexican grand prix stewards to "review their decision" of 11 days ago to take away Sebastian Vettel's podium.

"In light of its importance as a precedent for the future, and in order to provide clarity in the application of the rules in future events, Scuderia Ferrari believes that the decision should be reconsidered by the stewards," the team said.

However, while Whiting on Thursday addressed the Hamilton, Verstappen and Vettel incidents of Mexico, Fernando Alonso thinks the F1 official was there for a different reason.

"I do not think Charlie went to the press conference for what happened with Hamilton and Verstappen," said the Spaniard, "but for something much more serious that happened in Mexico.

"I have nothing to comment," Alonso added.

The Spanish press speculated that Alonso was referring to Vettel's verbal tirade against Whiting on the radio.

Alonso plays head games with Rosberg
Alonso plays head games with Rosberg

Alonso tells Rosberg 'anything can happen'
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has warned Nico Rosberg that "anything can happen" that could prevent him from winning the 2016 title.

But the two-time world champion insists that if the German does beat Lewis Hamilton to the championship either this weekend in Brazil or in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg will have deserved it.

"Apart from last year, when Lewis was superior, the two have been very competitive and very close," Alonso told Spanish journalists at Interlagos.

"The first year (2014) the title was decided in the last race, and the difference between them now again varies between circuit and circuit.

"Nico has shown that he is a very consistent driver and generally they have been very evenly matched," he added.

A win for Rosberg in Brazil will guarantee him the crown with a race to spare, but a second place will mean a mere points finish in Abu Dhabi will be enough.

However, Alonso warned: "I have been in these positions and not won. I know that anything can happen and reliability can play an important factor."

Pascal Wehrlein wasn't good enough for Force India, but his less experienced teammate was, or Ocon wrote a larger check
Pascal Wehrlein wasn't good enough for Force India, but his less experienced teammate was, or did Ocon wrote a larger check?

Wehrlein disappointed to miss Force India seat
(GMM) Pascal Wehrlein could not hide his disappointment after it emerged that Manor teammate Esteban Ocon is moving up to Force India for 2017.

Both backed by Mercedes, German Wehrlein is the more experienced of the pair but he has been overlooked for the more competitive seat.

"Toto (Wolff) called me," he said. "He said Force India chose Esteban and I will have to understand why that is or what I can improve from my side."

It is now almost certain that Wehrlein will stay with Manor for a second season, perhaps to be joined by the Haas refugee Esteban Gutierrez.

Wehrlein said in Brazil: "It is not the end of the world, it is a missed opportunity but I am happy to stay here and try to make another step next year."

Asked how he is coping with the news that the younger and less experienced Frenchman Ocon got the Force India drive ahead of him, Wehrlein said: "I have to deal with it.

"I can say something bad now but that will not help me. It has been coming for days and yesterday I got the confirmation and all I can do is wish Esteban all the best.

"I will now continue to show on the track what I have in me — this is a small step back but no more," he insisted.

Renault kept Palmer because his check was large enough
Renault kept Palmer because his check was large enough

Renault kept Palmer for 'continuity' – Vasseur
(GMM) Kevin Magnussen has revealed that he turned down an offer to stay with Renault for 2017.

Instead, the French works team has retained Jolyon Palmer to join the incoming Nico Hulkenberg next year.

Many have questioned the Palmer re-signing, given that the Briton has been generally outperformed by Dane Magnussen this year and is significantly supported by backers linked with his father, former driver Jonathan Palmer.

But team boss Frederic Vasseur insists that Palmer fully deserves his place.

"We had planned to decide based on the outcome of the final races, and in several grands prix Jolyon performed at the level of Kevin and achieved excellent results.

"He is developing rapidly and next year even more so we decided to continue," the Frenchman told the Infosport Plus broadcaster.

"Also, we wanted to keep the continuity, because next year's car will be completely new because of the regulations and there are very few tests in the winter," said Vasseur.

With Magnussen departing, the former McLaren driver will be unveiled in the coming hours as Romain Grosjean's new teammate at Haas for 2017 and beyond.

Current Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez has already announced his looming departure, and team boss Gunther Steiner said at Interlagos: "I hope I can announce my plans this weekend, yes."

Magnussen smiled when asked by the Danish broadcaster TV3 in Brazil if Haas is his destination.

"Let's see what happens," he said.

What the 24-year-old would say is that it was his choice to leave Renault.

"They offered me a one year contract, and it was pretty much fine, but it was more the feeling," Magnussen explained.

"They needed someone who could drive the car for one year, so they already had some other drivers in their head," he added.

"I did what I could to continue the cooperation, but what they had to offer was just not enough for me," said Magnussen.

"The whole process of extending options and not using them, and knowing they offered the seat to so many different drivers made me feel that there was not a particularly good structure and therefore I chose to say no thanks.

"Also I wanted to have a longer contract, they couldn't offer it to me and it confirmed to me what they have in mind," he added.

Ecclestone tells the Brazilian President how much to cough up
Ecclestone tells the Brazilian President how much to cough up

Ecclestone discusses Brazil GP with president Temer
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone detoured to the Brazilian capital Brasilia on his way to the Brazilian grand prix in Sao Paulo.

According to the local news source UOL, the F1 supremo met with new Brazilian president Michel Temer.

"UOL Esporte has found that the issue of discussion was the continuation of the grand prix of Brazil at Interlagos after 2016," the report claims.

Indeed, long-time F1 host Interlagos has been granted only provisional status on the 2017 race calendar, reportedly after organisers fell behind with promised circuit upgrades.

UOL claims Ecclestone and Temer spoke for more than 30 minutes, amid rumors F1's 86-year-old CEO considers Brasilia and Buenos Aires (Argentina) to be potential alternative South American hosts for the sport.

Lawrence Stroll (R) wrote a large check for his son to drive a Williams

Stroll gives Williams financial boost – Bottas
(GMM) Valtteri Bottas has admitted Lance Stroll's arrival in 2017 will give a financial boost to the Williams team.

The Finnish broadcaster MTV reports that along with 18-year-old Stroll, whose father is the Canadian fashion mogul Lawrence Stroll, will come an injection of backing to the tune of some EUR 30 million.

"Of course it will definitely help the team financially," long-time Williams driver Bottas admitted.

"That's a positive for us, because we have always been a bit on the back foot with the budget compared to many other teams," the Finn added.

But Bottas was also quick to point out that Stroll comes with solid talent and credentials.

"He has done well in previous categories and is certainly a talented guy," he said.

It will also be new territory for Bottas, as he has always had a more experienced teammate in F1: first Pastor Maldonado, and then the retiring Felipe Massa since 2014.

"Now it's the first time I'm the more experienced teammate," the 27-year-old confirmed.

"I really feel ready to take on a bigger role and give direction to the development of the car," Bottas said.

"I'm also ready for someone else to learn something from me," he added.

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Sebastian Vettel is in denial – he knows you do not win titles in F1 unless Aldo Costa or Adrian Newey design your car

Vettel: Ferrari title 'a question of time'
Sebastian Vettel remains adamant that he will win a Formula 1 title with Ferrari, despite enduring a difficult 2016 campaign, off the back of an encouraging first year.

Vettel linked up with Ferrari in 2015 and emerged as the greatest threat to Mercedes' hegemony, claiming three Grand Prix wins and finishing third overall in the standings.

However, Ferrari has slipped back this year amid a lack of pace, reliability issues and strategic errors, and Vettel had only finished on the podium once in the past 11 races.

"Generally I think I'm positive, looking forward," Vettel commented.

"Obviously it was a big step when I decided to change, at the time when I did.

"It was clear that it would take some time, [but] we had a great season last year, we got closer and closer to Mercedes, so the hopes and expectations for this year were high.

"I think it's normal when you finish second in the Constructors' you aim to finish first.

"We haven't achieved what we set out to achieve [this season] but nevertheless our main target is to win the championship, to fight for the championship.

"I think there is a lot of change that I see, a lot of change that is going on inside the team that will make us stronger, so I'm pretty confident about that."

He summed up: "I guess it's a question of time."

Vettel is currently fourth in the standings on 187 points, nine ahead of Ferrari team-mate Kimi Räikkönen, with Max Verstappen a further point adrift.

When Magnussen says Renault's offer was not good enough, what he means is Renault wanted him to write a larger check than the anti-American Haas team did
When Magnussen says Renault's offer was not good enough, what he means is Renault wanted him to write a larger check than the anti-American Haas team did

Magnussen: Renault's offer not good enough
Outgoing Renault driver Kevin Magnussen says his offer from Renault was "not good enough" and that he made the choice to leave the outfit at the end of the season.

Magnussen linked up with Renault in February after Pastor Maldonado's funding fell through and has scored eight points during a difficult campaign for the returning manufacturer.

Magnussen had hoped to finalize his future plans before Formula 1's flyaway Grands Prix but Renault deliberated over its 2017 line-up, before signing Nico Hülkenberg.

Renault announced earlier in the week that Jolyon Palmer would be staying on for 2017, while Magnussen is poised to switch to Haas, with Esteban Gutiérrez on the way out.

"It was my decision [to leave]," Magnussen told reporters.

"I had an offer, but not a good enough offer that I could take it.

"It was more the failing of commitment from Renault's side. If they had committed to a longer contract I would probably have looked at that much more seriously.

"But it was more the feeling of them not really committing, taking so long and offering the drive to so many drivers – I think at one point the Pope had an offer!

"It was a bit messy, so it's better for me to leave."

When asked to compare Haas' prospects to Renault's for 2017, he said: "I think it could be better and obviously I hope it will be better. I think it will be competitive."

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