Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Lauda says Brawn is not the right guy to replace Ecclestone and he is right
    Lauda says Brawn is not the right guy to replace Ecclestone and he is right

    Ecclestone 'can't be replaced' by Brawn – Lauda

  • Hakkinen impressed with Raikkonen's form
  • Capelli hopes new Monza GP uncertainty ends
  • Sauber will survive Audi's Le Mans withdrawal
  • Overtaking may be harder in 2017 – Perez
  • Rosberg should target win, title in Brazil – Berger
  • Red Bull 'closer and closer' to Mercedes
  • Hamilton suggests softer tires for Mexico

Ecclestone 'can't be replaced' by Brawn – Lauda
(GMM) Ross Brawn has denied reports he is set to replace Bernie Ecclestone as F1 supremo.

It emerged this week that the former Ferrari and Mercedes chief has been lined up by new F1 owners Liberty to be the sporting CEO, in a role that seemingly clashes with Ecclestone's job.

Brawn denies it.

"I'm doing a little consulting to help them better understand F1 but that's all," he told the BBC.

Brawn also said the future "all depends" on 86-year-old Ecclestone.

For his part, Ecclestone does not seem willing to go.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, it may be significant that in Mexico last weekend, the FOM pavilion was actually labelled "Mr. E".

And Ecclestone sounds lukewarm about Brawn having a job in the area of F1's commercial rights.

But "I would be very pleased if he went to the FIA," he told Germany's Auto Bild.

And Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda also played down the idea that Brawn could 'replace' Ecclestone.

"Ross is an excellent engineer," he told the German newspaper Bild, "but a gifted businessman like Bernie Ecclestone cannot be replaced."

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost agrees that it will not be a case of Ecclestone simply being replaced by someone.

"I think the taking-over process takes time," he said. "I assume that next year and also the year after it will be a combination of Bernie and Liberty together."

And Force India chief Bob Fernley also said it would not be wise for F1 to transition too quickly.

"We need Bernie to help the transition into the new ownership," he said.

Kimi has come alive this year
Kimi has come alive this year

Hakkinen impressed with Raikkonen's form
(GMM) Mika Hakkinen says he has been impressed with the form of his countryman Kimi Raikkonen in 2016.

While some think his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel is struggling with frustration this year, Finn Raikkonen has overcome his own difficulties of the recent past to compare strongly with the quadruple world champion.

Raikkonen thinks his improvement has something to do with changes made this year.

"There are some changes in the staff I work with and so far they do an excellent job," he is quoted by the Dutch publication Formule 1.

"There are a lot of little details, and if they are all right it has a big impact on your lap," Raikkonen added.

Former double world champion Hakkinen said: "I am positively surprised by how Kimi is doing compared to Sebastian.

"Everyone looks only at the entire season and the winners, but if you look at the races selectively you can see that Kimi is beating a four time champion," he told Speed Week.

Ivan Capelli
Ivan Capelli

Capelli hopes new Monza GP uncertainty ends
(GMM) Italian motor racing official Ivan Capelli hopes the latest delay over a contract for next year's grand prix at Monza ends soon.

At the historic race in September, a long period of uncertainty apparently ended when Bernie Ecclestone and Monza officials announced a new deal.

However, the F1 supremo said the actual contract had to be signed in the days that followed — but pen was never put to paper, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

"Ecclestone is elusive," the newspaper quotes Milan automobile club president Capelli as saying.

"We hope to get out of this impasse as soon as possible," he added.

Notwithstanding the uncertainty, only Canada, Germany and Brazil were given asterisks and provisional status on the 2017 race calendar that was published in late September.

Ericsson in the Sauber at Austin
Ericsson in the Sauber at Austin

Sauber will survive Audi's Le Mans withdrawal
(GMM) Sauber will survive Audi's withdrawal from the world endurance championship including Le Mans.

That is the claim of Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, even though the German carmaker was a major client of the Swiss team's state of the art wind tunnel.

But the report says that even though Audi is pulling out of Le Mans, it will continue to use Sauber's Hinwil tunnel for its DTM and Audi programs.

And the end of Audi's exclusive agreement means Sauber can offer its tunnel to other customers as well.

Sauber almost collapsed financially this year, but after being rescued by Swiss investors, the team announced that it will use the 2016 Ferrari engine next year.

Boss Monisha Kaltenborn insists this was the engineers' decision, allowing a team with a limited budget to focus early on the 2017 regulations.

But Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost isn't sure Sauber's decision is wise.

"I don't know all the reasons and background story why Sauber decided to go with this year's engine, but I wouldn't like to be in this situation.

"It's a big disadvantage on the performance side to run with last year's engine," he said, after Toro Rosso had to accept Ferrari's 2015 unit this year.

Perez is right - the mental midgets have made F1 faster - a faster parade
Perez is right – the mental midgets have made F1 faster – a faster parade

Overtaking may be harder in 2017 – Perez
(GMM) Sergio Perez is not so sure F1's new regulations will deliver on their full promise next year.

To deliver a more spectacular product to the public, the cars will be faster and the tires grippier next year, delivering a 5 second per lap boost.

"Next year we will have to adapt to the new generation of cars," said Mexican driver Perez.

"The speeds will increase but it doesn't mean the races will be more spectacular. It may actually be even more difficult to overtake," he told France's Auto Hebdo.

Perez was actually Renault's first choice for 2017, but the 26-year-old turned the French works team down in order to stay at Force India.

"It was an interesting option because Renault is a big factory team," he said.

"But we must remember that Force India is fourth in the constructors' championship and the three top teams have no rivals.

"So by signing with Renault, in the best case I would have remained at the same level. In addition to that, I know everything here and the team has done a lot for my career, so I wanted to stay," he said.

Can Rosberg put Hamilton away in Brazil?
Can Rosberg put Hamilton away in Brazil?

Rosberg should target win, title in Brazil – Berger
(GMM) Two former grand prix winners are tipping Nico Rosberg to wrap up his first world championship next weekend in Brazil.

Although his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton has won the last two races, Gerhard Berger thinks Rosberg was simply driving tactically in Austin and Mexico to protect his big points lead.

"I believe Nico didn't want to risk anything in Mexico and was avoiding danger," the Austrian, who earlier this year helped German Rosberg negotiate his new contract, told Germany's Sport Bild.

"But now he can decide everything with a victory. If it was me, I would try to put it in the bag in Brazil.

"This will mean driving aggressively against Hamilton, who has more to lose from now on," Berger added.

1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve also thinks Rosberg should come out fighting in Brazil, the penultimate race of the 2016 season before the Abu Dhabi finale.

"Nico needs to be on pole and win the start," said the French Canadian.

"And he needs to use Hamilton's statistics in Brazil against him, because he has never been able to win there."

Costa stopped delveloping this year's Mercedes and is working on next year's so, yes, Red Bull is inching closer
Costa stopped developing this year's Mercedes and is working on next year's so, yes, Red Bull is inching closer

Red Bull 'closer and closer' to Mercedes
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner believes his squad is edging "closer and closer" to Mercedes following its performance at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Red Bull split the Mercedes drivers in Singapore and Japan, either side of Daniel Ricciardo's triumph in Malaysia, while in Mexico Max Verstappen challenged Nico Rosberg for second mid-race.

Verstappen eventually classified fourth, having been penalized for cutting the first complex while defending against Sebastian Vettel, instead elevating Ricciardo into third, after Vettel was also sanctioned.

"We are looking forward to the final two races and it's encouraging to see we are getting closer and closer to Mercedes," Horner said.

"For Max to be able to have a go at Nico, having tailed him all the way through the race is really good news.

"We are chipping away and you are not seeing the margins Mercedes have had in previous years which bodes well not just for this year but for a more competitive Formula 1 in 2017."

Ricciardo's eventual podium result enabled the Australian to clinch third position in the championship, the second time in three years he has been 'best of the rest' behind the Mercedes drivers.

"I'm delighted for Daniel in having secured third place in the championship, he's had an excellent season and deserves it," said Horner.

"Daniel and Max have been driving brilliantly well, pushing each other on, they've both raised the bar and the level that they are operating at now is good to witness."

With Mercedes out front, the more tire marbles/klag the better - so no one can pass
With Mercedes out front, the more tire marbles/klag the better – so no one can pass. Hamilton is no dummy

Hamilton suggests softer tires for Mexico
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has suggested that Pirelli should bring softer tires to Mexican Grands Prix in the future, after most elected to stop just once during last Sunday's race.

Hamilton, who won the race, completed a one-stop strategy, switching from Softs to Mediums, having elected not to use the Super Soft compound, which was also available to teams.

Sauber's Marcus Ericsson and Renault's Jolyon Palmer were both able to complete 69 laps on the Medium compound, with Ericsson recording his best finish of the campaign in doing so.

"I would say that we should bring a much, much softer tire here," Hamilton said when asked how Mexico could improve.

"One stop, I don't know if that's exciting for the fans but more stops, maybe a tire that, for once, doesn't go as far.

"The Medium tire we could do the whole race with. So, I don't know, maybe that would enable us to have more battles, more struggles out there.

"It was generally very easy on those tires. So it makes the race a lot easier."

Pirelli introduced an Ultra Soft tire for this season, which has been used in Monaco, Canada, Austria and Singapore, with the compound also set to be raced in the Abu Dhabi finale.

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