Can Vettel pull off a 2nd straight win in Singapore?
Race for Singapore win could be close
- Verstappen no fan of 'Halo' system
- Nyck de Vries eyes Vandoorne's McLaren role
- Verstappen tells Lauda to go to psychiatrist too
- Wolff plays down Ecclestone successor reports
- Palmer's father could be British GP savior
- Alonso, Hamilton set to run 'halo' in Singapore
- Arrivabene defends Ferrari's two-stop strategy
- Giovinazzi gets Ferrari F1 simulator run
Race for Singapore win could be close
(GMM) The race could be on for victory in next weekend's Singapore grand prix.
The inter-team fight for the title, however, is all but over, with Ferrari having already ceded defeat to Mercedes.
"I have already said a few times that work on the 2017 car began very early and very intensely," said team boss Maurizio Arrivabene.
"Now, we want to secure second in the world championship, win races and show a strong Ferrari. Our best chances I see as Singapore, Suzuka and Austin," he added.
Indeed, Singapore could be a close-run battle.
Last year, it was Sebastian Vettel who won under lights, with Mercedes suffering its mysterious performance slump.
"In the briefing (at Monza), we discussed our preparations for Singapore, as we didn't do the best job last year," admitted Mercedes' Toto Wolff.
"In Singapore, we will see if our solutions were right."
In truth, it will probably be Red Bull rather than Ferrari pushing Mercedes the hardest in Singapore.
"Singapore, Sepang, Suzuka and Mexico are our tracks," team boss Christian Horner told Auto Motor und Sport.
And Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko revealed to the German magazine that the team is bringing "new parts" for the car, while Renault has an "upgrade for the engine".
However, F1 legend Gerhard Berger tips Mercedes to keep dominating.
"We saw (at Monza) how big Mercedes' lead still is," he told Sky Deutschland.
"We can only hope that over the winter something happens so that the races are more exciting at the front next year," said Berger.
|Verstappen no fan of Halo|
Verstappen no fan of 'Halo' system
(GMM) Max Verstappen has admitted he is no fan of the 'Halo'.
The 18-year-old became the latest driver to try the controversial cockpit protection system at Monza, as the governing FIA seeks the feedback of the entire grid before introducing it in 2018.
Verstappen told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf: "It is difficult to get in and out of the car with the Halo.
"Also, I could see very little in the mirrors," the Red Bull driver added.
"I think quite a lot of time is still needed to further develop this system. What would be the best change for it? Probably to take it off," said Verstappen.
|Nyck de Vries|
Nyck de Vries eyes Vandoorne's McLaren role
(GMM) The next young charger is now stepping up a notch at McLaren.
The British team announced at Monza that veteran Jenson Button is stepping aside for 2017, to be replaced by hot 24-year-old Belgian rookie Stoffel Vandoorne.
That is also good news for Nyck de Vries, a 21-year-old Dutchman who is also part of McLaren's development programmed.
"It is very good that Stoffel is now getting the chance he deserves," de Vries is quoted by the Dutch website formule1.nl.
He admitted the move is also good for his future.
"There will be some more space, which is obviously good," said de Vries. "McLaren had Kevin Magnussen and now Stoffel is being given a chance.
"So do I have hope? Yes, but on the other hand while it is close it (F1) is still far away," the GP3 frontrunner, who is managed by Lewis Hamilton's father Anthony, added.
"You have to keep proving yourself time and time again, otherwise it goes nowhere."
De Vries currently drives in GP3 for ART, and is tipped to step up to the main F1 feeder category GP2 next year, but he warns: "In this sport there are no guarantees.
"I don't know. We will have to wait."
As for what appears to be his sure path to the F1 grid in the future, de Vries also cautions: "To the outside world it may appear that these things are very planned, but they're not.
"If you consider McLaren, 2000 employees and a car that is performing a little below par, then Nyck de Vries is not first on their list of priorities," he said. "So we have to live with that."
|Max Verstappen tells Lauda to go pound sand|
Verstappen tells Lauda to go to psychiatrist too
(GMM) Max Verstappen has told his critics to "get used to" his on-track style.
The 18-year-old was the hot topic of conversation in the Monza paddock, a week after riling Kimi Raikkonen and many of his rivals at Spa.
F1 legend Niki Lauda even urged the Dutchman to go to a "psychiatrist" to temper his aggression.
"If I go, then we might as well go together," Verstappen laughed, as he appeared on the Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport Totaal.
As for Finn Raikkonen's criticism, however, Max added: "If I was Kimi, I would have said the same thing on the radio."
But Verstappen said the criticism "doesn't change much for me — on the track, I do my own thing. Some actions may be viewed critically, but then they just have to get used to it, I guess."
Wolff plays down Ecclestone successor reports
(GMM) Toto Wolff has played down suggestions he would make an ideal successor to Bernie Ecclestone.
As speculation swirls about new majority owners for F1's commercial rights, it has been suggested F1 supremo Ecclestone's long reign could end imminently.
Amid that talk, the 85-year-old chief executive this week said Wolff, the Mercedes team boss, could "absolutely" take over in theory.
"He has the skills to do the job," Ecclestone told the German newspaper Bild.
Now, to the same newspaper, 44-year-old Wolff replied: "I am of course flattered when such a man, who has made formula one what it is over many decades, has trust in me.
"But I am wholeheartedly with Mercedes and will stay here," he insisted.
Bild said team co-owner Wolff's current contract with Mercedes runs until 2017.
Palmer's father could be British GP savior
(GMM) Jolyon Palmer's father has emerged as a potential savior for the British grand prix.
F1 business journalist Christian Sylt has reported that the future of the historic race is in doubt, now writing in the Telegraph that the current owner, the British Racing Drivers' Club, is "distancing itself" from the track amid losses.
"We are definitely interested in making an offer for Silverstone and have a lot of confidence in our ability to bring a great deal of stability to it and a vision for the future," said Jonathan Palmer, whose son Jolyon races for Renault.
Dr Palmer is also a former F1 driver, whose company MotorSport Vision owns four British racing tracks.
|Hamilton to test Halo|
Alonso, Hamilton set to run 'halo' in Singapore
Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton will become the latest drivers to run the 'halo' during practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, according to McLaren and Mercedes.
Formula 1 bosses recently voted to delay the introduction of extra cockpit protection until the 2018 season, and teams have since ramped up tests with the preferred halo device.
Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, Force India, Toro Rosso and McLaren have all carried out trial runs at recent Grands Prix, with Alonso and Hamilton now set to join the list.
McLaren technical chief Tim Goss feels the tests have been "very instructive" so far.
"For McLaren, running [the halo device] with Jenson [Button] at Monza has allowed us to gain insight into its performance in both tight chicanes and high-speed corners," he said.
"The plan is for Fernando to try it in Singapore, which will offer up a number of different variables: the circuit is lit, with some very tight corners, and with plenty of Armco barriers.
"His thoughts [on the halo device] will be fed back into the working group as the teams progress with the ongoing development of head protection alternatives."
Button admitted that the halo felt "a little strange" on his run.
"The trial was OK," Button reported of his evaluation at Monza.
"There were no major issues with it; perhaps it could be a little more difficult to see the lights on the start-line and in the pit-stops, but there are still so many possibilities to move things around.
"It feels a little strange: at 200mph, instead of focusing on the next corner, you're focusing on something dead ahead of your eyes – which can make you a little cross-eyed."
It is not yet clear if other drivers will test the halo in Singapore.
|Arrivabene defends strategy|
Arrivabene defends Ferrari's two-stop strategy
Maurizio Arrivabene says he "laughed" at comments that Ferrari should have mirrored Mercedes' Italian Grand Prix strategy, insisting his team made the right choice.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen executed a two-stop plan (Super Soft/Super Soft/Soft) from row two, as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton pitted once (Soft/Medium).
Ferrari initially split Mercedes, after Hamilton's poor start, but fell back to third and fourth after their second stops, finishing over 20 seconds off race-winner Rosberg.
"I heard straight after the race comments from people who said maybe one stop was a better strategy," said Arrivabene, when asked about Ferrari's performance.
"I was laughing at it, together with our engineers.
"Mercedes had to protect itself, to go for one stop, but we were doing the opposite, we were aggressive.
"If we did the same strategy of them [the Mercedes drivers], then we would have been 11 seconds slower than what we were, so we adopted the faster strategy."
Earlier in the weekend, Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne stated that Ferrari had "failed" on its 2016 targets, but Arrivabene is hopeful of a stronger end to the season.
"Of course, we've failed on achieving our targets this year," he admitted.
"But one month ago, we took action, and since the last two races things are going a bit better.
"The atmosphere in the team is very positive, everybody is looking forward to race after race for this year, and working for next year – we just need a bit of time, that's it."
Giovinazzi gets Ferrari F1 simulator run
GP2 championship contender Antonio Giovinazzi conducted a test session in Ferrari's dedicated Formula 1 simulator at Maranello on Monday, the squad has revealed.
Italian racer Giovinazzi, 22, sits second in the GP2 standings, in his rookie season, 10 points behind Red Bull-backed Pierre Gasly, with two rounds of the campaign remaining.
Giovinazzi does not hold any links to a Formula 1 team at present.
"It was a very enjoyable experience and I would like to thank Ferrari for this opportunity," Giovinazzi explained to the official Ferrari website, reacting to his first run in a Formula 1 simulator.
"However, now it's straight back to concentrating fully on my GP2 program."
Giovinazzi is currently the highest-placed rookie in GP2, having taken a double victory in Baku, further wins at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, and three more podium finishes.