Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Frederic Vasseur
    Frederic Vasseur

    Magnussen, Palmer in running for 2017 – Vasseur

  • Villeneuve no longer Raikkonen critic
  • Vettel 'struggling' at Ferrari – Lauda
  • Wolff: Mercedes to work further on starts
  • Vettel revels in home podium for Ferrari
  • Palmer: Nasr deserves grid drop for clash

Magnussen, Palmer in running for 2017 – Vasseur
(GMM) Renault's existing drivers are still in the running for the race seats in 2017.

That is the claim of the French works team's boss Frederic Vasseur, after the 'silly season' heated up at Monza with announcements by Felipe Massa and Jenson Button.

"By late September, early October, it should be a lot clearer," Vasseur told France's RMC Sport.

"Part of my job is to keep an eye on all the drivers in the paddock and the other series. Of course this includes the team's drivers, because I know them well," he said, referring to Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer.

"Compared to the others, they have the advantage of being here and creating a link between themselves, the engineers and me.

"I also know that, for the future, drivers will be key. Not only for results, but also for the motivation of the team," Vasseur added.

It is believed Esteban Ocon, who has just been promoted from being the Renault reserve to the Manor race seat, is in pole position for a 2017 seat.

"Esteban is someone I know very well," said Vasseur. "He drove for me in the past and I saw him grow. I know his level of involvement and determination. He knows where he comes from and where he wants to go."

Motor mouth Jacques Villeneuve
Motor mouth Jacques Villeneuve

Villeneuve no longer Raikkonen critic
(GMM) Jacques Villeneuve says he is no longer a critic of Kimi Raikkonen.

Earlier, the 1997 world champion regularly hit out at the performance and questionable motivation of the Ferrari driver.

But Villeneuve said at Monza: "I have become a Kimi fan.

"I'm very surprised by how much Kimi has improved, and how well he is currently driving," the French Canadian said of the 2007 world champion.

"He seems to be more concentrated than ever before," Villeneuve told the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.

"A couple of years ago, Kimi seemed bored, as if he was only there because he had a contract. But now everything is different.

"Kimi seems to be happy, he speaks a lot with the press, he is highly motivated and clearly he is enjoying his driving.

"I think his happiness has come from his family life with his wife and son. It's like everything in Kimi's life is in balance," Villeneuve added.

Lauda (R) knows that without Aldo Costa (who Mercedes stole from Ferrari) or Adrian Newey, Ferrari and Vettel cannot win the F1 title
Lauda (R) knows that without Aldo Costa (who Mercedes stole from Ferrari) or Adrian Newey, Ferrari and Vettel cannot win the F1 title

Vettel 'struggling' at Ferrari – Lauda
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel is currently "struggling" in his role as Ferrari's lead driver.

That is the view of Ferrari legend and current Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda, as the fabled Maranello team writes off its chances of winning the 2016 title.

"We wanted to win and have a say in the title," team boss Maurizio Arrivabene said after the Italian grand prix. "We did not make it.

"A few weeks ago we initiated countermeasures and we see the first effects now, but the full effect will be in 2017.

"The atmosphere in the team is good. We know where we want to go. We just need more time," he added.

Lauda, meanwhile, compares Ferrari's current situation to when he arrived in the 70s, or before the Michael Schumacher era delivered its meteoric success more recently.

"It seems to me that the old, well-known and fundamental Ferrari problems still exist," he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

"The people at Ferrari are very emotional: if it goes well, they are relaxed and casual, which is bad for continuous success. And if it's not going well, there is a merciless pressure from the outside and the inside, creating a rush and quick fixes."

Lauda agrees that German Vettel was initially hailed as a Schumacher-like figure for Ferrari in the wake of the end of the failed Fernando Alonso era.

"Sebastian came as a beacon of hope to Ferrari; a kind of savior as Michael Schumacher was. At the beginning it worked quite well," said Lauda, "but at the moment Sebastian is struggling in this role.

"I cannot say exactly why, but we see that Kimi Raikkonen is often faster, which for me means that Sebastian is weaker. He is certainly not in the role that he expects from himself and Ferrari expect of him.

"That needs to change," Lauda added. "Ferrari needs Vettel as the hope and the anchor for success."

A slow start hit Hamilton again
A slow start hit Hamilton again

Wolff: Mercedes to work further on starts
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Mercedes will work further on improving its race start procedures after Lewis Hamilton's tardy getaway in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who had claimed pole position by half a second, bogged down at the start and dropped to sixth, with team-mate Nico Rosberg taking a lead he would not relinquish.

Hamilton salvaged second, passing Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Williams' Valtteri Bottas, before clearing two-stopping Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen.

"We obviously changed the rules this year in order to make the process more manual and more variable, and we are seeing that play out," Wolff stated after the race.

"When you start from the front row, poor starts are more visible and good ones not so obvious, so we need to be careful jumping to conclusions [over the cause].

"Lewis said on the radio that it was his fault but he also followed all his procedures in a good way – it's simply not an easy thing to get right and there are a lot of different factors at play.

"But there is no blame game: we will come together, analyze everything, learn our lessons and keep on improving so we don't find ourselves losing places off the line."

Wolff heaped praise on Rosberg for a "perfect" drive to victory, which saw him slash Hamilton's championship advantage to just two points ahead of the final flyaway stint.

"Looking at the big picture, we have a perfectly balanced championship battle, with two points between Nico and Lewis after 14 races [out of 21]," Wolff went on to comment.

"The pendulum will keep swinging back and forth to the end of the season, I am sure; it will give us some more grey hairs but I think it will be a great fight for the fans to watch."

Post-race ceremonies at Monza Sunday
Post-race ceremonies at Monza Sunday

Vettel revels in home podium for Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel described a "mega day" for Ferrari at the Italian Grand Prix as he returned to the podium for the first time since Baku by claiming third position.

Vettel challenged Mercedes' Nico Rosberg for the lead at the start of the race but slotted into second position, as Ferrari adopted a two-stop strategy.

Vettel slipped behind the recovering Lewis Hamilton as the strategies played out but was nonetheless able to collect a rostrum finish for the second successive year at Monza.

"It was a good start; I got a bit stuck, maybe I should have gone to the left, but I went in the middle and was side-by-side with Nico."

"He did a good job braking for Turn 1, I was hoping he would go on the brakes sooner but he didn't. [There was] another crack into Turn 4, but I wasn't close enough.

"They [Mercedes] are a bit quicker than us in race pace, you could see in the end the result was fairly clear.

"But still it's been a mega day for Ferrari to get so much support."

Vettel expanded on the passion for Ferrari, hailing the commitment of the Monza fans.

"Coming into the track, leaving late at night, they're happy to wave with all the Ferrari kit and flags," he said.

"It's great to see the passion in this country for Ferrari."

Jolyon Palmer
Jolyon Palmer

Palmer: Nasr deserves grid drop for clash
Jolyon Palmer feels that Felipe Nasr deserves to be given a grid penalty for their collision in the early stages of the Italian Grand Prix.

Palmer and Nasr went wheel-to-wheel through the first chicane on the second lap, but clashed when the Sauber moved across on the Renault.

Nasr picked up a 10-second penalty for his actions, though both drivers retired, and Palmer wants the stewards to take further action.

"I had a really good start and made up a lot of places," said Palmer.

"I was trying to pass Nasr, we went side-by-side through Turn 1 and then he ran me off the road off the road at Turn 2, so we crashed and I had damage.

"He was not racing very fairly, and it ended both our races.

He added: "I think he should have a grid drop, to be fair.

"We've got to race fairly, and if you just drive someone clean off the track when you're side-by-side… the only choice I have is to go into the gravel or we crash.

"I think there's better racing in GP2 and GP3 than that."

Nasr offered his side and said the contact took him by surprise.

"Firstly I had a good start and the car was feeling good," he said.

"From my side, all I did was I went into the first chicane ahead of Jolyon, and when I was exiting the chicane I just saw a big hit on my rear tires, so that was it, race over…"

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