Hamilton respects Rosberg more now – Wolff
- Vettel not yet impressed with 2017 tires
- Bottas says future looks 'positive'
- Alonso recommends Sainz for McLaren future
- Massa, Nasr worried over Brazil GP future
- Haas waiting for driver 'silly season'
- Verstappen made Ricciardo 'better' driver
- Sauber needs reserve driver in 2017 – boss
- Renault drivers still in dark over future
- Hockenheim says no 2017 contract yet
- Canada chiefs confident over 2017 F1 race
- Puma Posts Video Of Finnish Driver Raikkonen In Sauna To Promote F1 Racing Suits
- Perez threatens to quit F1 and take his check elsewhere
Hamilton respects Rosberg more now – Wolff
(GMM) Toto Wolff thinks world champion Lewis Hamilton respects Nico Rosberg more than ever in 2016.
"I think the respect was always there," the Mercedes team boss told German television RTL.
"But this season we see a Nico who is simply operating on an even higher level. You always have more respect for someone who can beat you," Wolff added.
Indeed, although Hamilton is a triple world champion, Rosberg has won the last three races on the trot and now narrowly leads the points standings.
Hamilton said in Malaysia that he thinks losing some mechanics to Rosberg's side of the garage may have had an effect this year.
"The biggest effect it can have on the driver is psychologically, but it's not something I want to go into," he told reporters.
Rosberg may also be trying to turn up the psychological pressure on Hamilton by commenting on rumors that his British teammate is learning to speak German.
"Well, I wish him luck," Rosberg, responding to suggestions Hamilton would like to speak in bosses Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda's native tongue, told Bild newspaper.
"He also wanted to learn Italian and Spanish and as far as I know it didn't go well," Rosberg, a fluent speaker in six languages, added.
|Vettel testing the wide Pirellis that will ruin any racing F1 has left|
Vettel not yet impressed with 2017 tires
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has admitted he is not yet overly impressed with Pirelli's new tires for 2017.
Ferrari, as well as Mercedes and Red Bull, have been helping the Italian supplier prepare for next year's new rules, featuring bigger and wider slicks.
But Ferrari's Vettel said: "The (2017) tire, in terms of grip, is quite similar to what we have now.
"Probably a little better, but I think also the cars we are using are not entirely appropriate to reflect the conditions for 2017," he is quoted by Spain's Marca.
Indeed, Pirelli has indicated that the modified 2015 mule cars produced by the three teams are not producing enough downforce.
Vettel added: "I think Pirelli is still in the early days and there are still a lot of changes to be made, so I'm very interested in seeing what there is in Abu Dhabi, which I think is probably the closest to what we will have next year."
Bottas says future looks 'positive'
(GMM) Valtteri Bottas is still not ready to confirm that he is staying at Williams in 2017.
It is now widely believed that Williams will line up next year with Canadian rookie Lance Stroll alongside team regular and Finn Bottas.
"I do not have anything new to inform," Bottas told Turun Sanomat newspaper at Sepang.
"The only thing I emphasize is that all is well — everything is positive."
And he did not want to comment on the rumors about Stroll, whose father is the fashion billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
|Alonso plugs countryman Carlos Sainz Jr.|
Alonso recommends Sainz Jr. for McLaren future
(GMM) Fernando Alonso says Carlos Sainz Jr. would be a good McLaren-Honda driver for the future.
Stoffel Vandoorne is replacing F1 veteran Jenson Button next year, and Alonso is currently refusing to commit to the Anglo-Japanese collaboration beyond the end of his 2017 contract.
"I think it would be a good place for Carlos," the Spaniard is quoted by El Mundo Deportivo newspaper.
"I think McLaren-Honda is a combination that is assured success," Alonso added. "Hopefully Carlos finds the winning car that he deserves, either here or somewhere else."
Alonso's comments coincided with Sainz telling the Spanish broadcaster Movistar that he wants a winning car by 2018.
It comes a day after Sainz admitted that Renault had expressed some interest.
"My career is guided by Helmut Marko," he said. "People think my father is my manager but everything passes through Helmut Marko's hands. For all I know, Helmut wants me at his 'B' team in case something happens on his 'A' team."
Massa, Nasr worried over Brazil GP future
(GMM) F1's two Brazilian drivers are worried amid speculation Interlagos could fall off the race calendar.
Recently, Brazilian grand prix promoter Tamas Rohonyi criticized Felipe Massa for suggesting the future of the race in Sao Paulo was in doubt.
But then the FIA this week published its 2017 calendar showing Brazil with mere provisional status.
"I had just answered a question," Massa told Brazil's Globo, when asked about Rohonyi's criticism.
"I have no idea about the terms of the contract, how it works, I just said that because of the difficult times in Brazil there is a chance of this happening."
Race organizers hit back at the FIA's provisional status by insisting Interlagos has a valid contract.
Massa said: "I said the risk is independent of whether you have a contract or not. Germany has a contract and we were not there last year.
"For Bernie to start talking, putting pressure, we know that something is going on, and now the calendar comes out with a question mark," he added.
Also worried about the future is Sauber driver Felipe Nasr.
"I had heard rumors about the race," he is quoted by UOL. "It would be very sad to lose a race with so much history in formula one, not just for us drivers but also for the audience.
"For me, it would be a huge loss," said Nasr.
Haas waiting for driver 'silly season'
(GMM) Romain Grosjean says he feels so good about his future in F1 that he bought a house last week.
It is expected the Frenchman will stay at Haas, but the news is yet to be confirmed.
"If I saw 100 per cent (sure), it will mean I have something to announce," he smiled. "So let's say somewhere between 91 and 99pc!"
And team boss Gunther Steiner also smiled: "I think he will continue to be able to pay for his house."
It is believed the Grosjean holdup is because of uncertainty with the other seat, which is currently occupied by Esteban Gutierrez.
Steiner ruled out the Ferrari-backed rookie Charles Leclerc.
"We need a driver who can score points immediately," he said.
Interestingly, Grosjean has scored all 28 of Haas' points in 2016, while Mexican Gutierrez is yet to open his account.
"Let's see," Steiner said when asked about Gutierrez.
"A few races ago, we said we were prepared to wait for some time. In Singapore, he did a good job and the problems at the start were not his fault. So we'll see how he will go in Malaysia."
Steiner admitted that Haas is also waiting to see how the driver 'silly season' pans out.
Gutierrez has been in the headlines recently as the subject of widespread criticism of his backmarker driving, including by Toto Wolff.
"It is clear that he (Wolff) has never driven an F1 car," Gutierrez is quoted by France's Auto Hebdo. "But I don't see it as a danger to my reputation.
"I think it is the contrary, because it gives me publicity, so I should thank him," he added.
Verstappen made Ricciardo 'better' driver
(GMM) Red Bull's race drivers have admitted they are each pushing the other on in 2017.
"When Max arrived at Red Bull, it made me take a step forward," Daniel Ricciardo said at Sepang.
Earlier this year, Red Bull made a mid-season driver change, sending Daniil Kvyat back to Toro Rosso and promoting the Dutch sensation Verstappen.
"I thought I looked good compared to Daniil in the first few races before Russia," Australian Ricciardo added. "But then Max came, and it turned out that I could do even better."
When told about Ricciardo's comments, 18-year-old Verstappen said: "I have made progress too.
"From the beginning we have had an excellent working relationship — he is a very open and easy going guy and I think it's all good for the team."
Sauber needs reserve driver in 2017 – boss
(GMM) Sauber has acknowledged it may need to appoint an official reserve driver for 2017.
Until a buyout deal, the Swiss team spent the first part of the championship fighting for mere financial survival.
Now in Malaysia, Marcus Ericsson has arrived from a training camp in Thailand covered in bandages, having crashed his road bicycle at 45kph.
Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn admits it has raised a potential issue for the future, even though the Swede is fit to drive at Sepang.
"We do not have a reserve driver, so if the injury was more serious we would have had a problem," he said.
"Perhaps we would consider an option with Ferrari's reserve drivers, but in any case, we need to resolve this issue for next year," Kaltenborn added.
Sauber's buyout deal is closely linked with Ericsson's Swedish backers, but the driver is refusing to say if he will even drive for the team in 2017.
"Sooner or later I will know," the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet quotes Ericsson as saying.
"As far as I know, my management is speaking with the teams that still have vacancies."
Renault drivers still in dark over future
(GMM) Renault's two drivers are still in the dark over whether they will drive for the French works team in 2017.
"As far as I know there are still two seats for next year and I hear the names in the rumor mill, but it is the team's decision what they want to do in the future," British rookie Jolyon Palmer is quoted by the Times.
The Danish media, meanwhile, has been closely monitoring the situation, with BT newspaper reporting that Renault's 2017 option on Kevin Magnussen will expire at midnight on Friday.
"It's frustrating not knowing what I'm doing next year," the 23-year-old admitted.
He did admit, however, that as from Saturday, he is contractually free to negotiate with other teams.
"I don't actually have a manager," said Magnussen. But BT reports that his sponsor, the billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, has been attending recent races.
"I'm talking with a lot of people in the paddock," Magnussen added, "but the only thing I can really do is give my best on the track."
Hockenheim says no 2017 contract yet
(GMM) Track boss Georg Seiler says Hockenheim does not yet have a contract to host the German grand prix in 2017.
Earlier this week, the FIA published a race calendar for next year featuring a provisional race date for the track.
It is rumored Bernie Ecclestone could become the semi-promoter of the race, taking ticket receipts in exchange for a lower race fee.
Hockenheim chief Seiler said clarity in the situation will take "a few weeks", but insisting that he will not accept the situation where the track could make "a loss".
"At the moment we do not have a contract for 2017," he told the German news agency SID.
Canada chiefs confident over 2017 F1 race
Organizers of the Canadian Grand Prix say they remain "confident" that an agreement will be reached between local officials and Formula 1 management in order for next year's event to go ahead.
The Canadian Grand Prix has been absent only three times since 1967 but its race was listed as 'subject to confirmation' on the provisional 2017 Formula 1 calendar.
Canada signed a 10-year contract extension in 2014, which was set to lead to upgraded paddock and race control facilities, though developments have so far not materialized.
Francois Dumontier, President of the Octane Racing Group, which promotes the Canadian Grand Prix, is optimistic that negotiations will come to a successful end.
"Every year, we hope to have the privilege to secure the dates that kick off the summer festivities in Montreal and this year is no exception," he said.
"2017 will be a particularly special year for us, as we will be celebrating ''50 years of Formula 1 in Canada''.
"The presence of the asterisk [on the calendar] is due to the ongoing negotiations between Formula 1 and other local stakeholders, negotiations from which we are kept informed.
"We are entirely confident that [Montreal] Mayor Denis Coderre as well as his administration will be able to come to an agreement as quickly as possible.
"We know that many fans are already planning their visit to Montreal for the Grand Prix and showing much enthusiasm and interest."
Next year's Canadian Grand Prix is provisionally scheduled for June 11.
Puma Posts Video Of Finnish Driver Raikkonen In Sauna To Promote F1 Racing Suits
German sportswear company Puma on Thursday posted a video of Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen in a sauna on social media.
The Finnish F1 world champion is seen relaxing in his Puma racing suit in the steamy environment. Puma strategically launched the video ahead of this weekend's Malaysian F1 Grand Prix. The race at the Sepang Int'l Circuit is considered the hottest on the F1 calendar, with drivers comparing the heat in their cars to sitting in a sauna.
The video, which was released across Puma Motorsport's social media channels, shows "the Iceman" preparing for Sunday's expected hot conditions.
The video is supposed to showcase Puma's "expertly engineered" racing suit that "regulates body temperature." The video was created by Salzburg-based digital agency Loop and filmed in a sauna in Switzerland, a Puma spokesperson told SBD Global.
Raikkonen is one of six drivers on the grid racing in Puma gear. The company is an official supplier of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull. Puma did not disclose any information regarding the production costs for the 38-second video. HJ Mai/SBD
If video does not play, click here.
Perez threatens to quit F1 and take his check elsewhere
Sergio Perez has warned he might look at other options beyond Formula 1 if his future is not resolved by the end of next week.
Having been courted by Renault over the summer only for a lack of clarity behind the scenes to scupper the move, Perez is almost certain to remain with Force India for 2017.
But continued delays in getting the deal over the line mean an element of doubt remains, with Perez setting a deadline of next week's Japanese Grand Prix to finalize matters or he will consider a move elsewhere in F1 or other motorsport.
"I believe that next week is crucial to sort out my future, so by next week I need to know if the option [to stay in F1] remains or if I have to look somewhere else," said Perez.
"I really hope by next weekend we will all know. It's obviously taking longer than expected, but it's all going in the right direction, so I hope next weekend we will know."
Asked to explain the hold up, Perez replied: "My deals are quite complicated in that my sponsors have to do deals as well, so we have to make sure everything is in place.
"Hopefully they can come to an agreement soon because if they don't then it will be quite difficult."
Perez has confirmed he is "concentrating on one team", adding: "There are some interesting options on the table.
"At the moment I hope it works out with one team, and if it doesn't then by next week we will have to look at something else.
"Obviously I want to keep my career in Formula 1 going, but I cannot wait much longer."
Perez added he is "not worried" as he believes himself to be "in a good position".
"Thankfully there is a lot of interest out there that makes you feel that way," he said.
"At the end of the day if things don't work out as planned then you have to look at somewhere else, but it's not something that bothers me too much."
The 26-year-old has dismissed suggestions of waiting until his home race in Mexico at the end of October to make any kind of announcement.
"I don't think I can take that long because the longer you take the fewer options are available, and people are not going to wait forever for you," said Perez.
Speculation has surfaced that the reason behind the delay is Perez is only looking for a one-year deal in order to keep his options open for 2018 and a potential move to Ferrari.
Perez said: "Other people are saying that, but for me it's more important going into the next generation of cars with a team I know, and with people around me I know, and build from that.
"I don't even know where I'll be in 2017, so 2018 is miles ahead." Autosport