Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • Jenson Button - another year in F1
    Jenson Button – another year in F1

    Button to 'probably' stay in F1

  • New teammate Ocon 'interesting' – Wehrlein
  • Sauber looks to rebuild tattered team
  • Public needs 'miracle' to see Schumacher again
  • Sainz impressed with McLaren progress
  • Vettel knows Ferrari form will take time
  • Haas unmoved over Gutierrez rumors
  • Perez plays down Renault sponsor clash
  • Toro Rosso signs new sponsor

Button to 'probably' stay in F1
(GMM) Jenson Button says his plans beyond 2016 will be known "soon".

It is strongly rumored that McLaren-Honda will end its seven-year relationship with the 2009 world champion by replacing him with Stoffel Vandoorne.

Button, 36, has subsequently been linked with a return to Williams.

"I am almost there with my thought process and you will hear about it soon," Button told reporters said Button.

"It will be soon enough. But I'll tell you this: I will probably be back at Spa in 2017," he added.

Ocon buried teammate Pascal Wehrlein in his first session with Manor
Ocon buried teammate Pascal Wehrlein in his first session with Manor

New teammate Ocon 'interesting' – Wehrlein
(GMM) Pascal Wehrlein used the summer break to sit his theory test for the C1 truck license category.

"I will take the practical part after the season," the Manor driver is quoted by Speed Week, explaining that away from the track, he wants to drive vehicles that exceed 3.5 tons.

For now, his focus is on a new challenge — beating fellow Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon, the highly-rated replacement for the out-of-funds Rio Haryanto.

"It should be interesting," Wehrlein said at Spa.

"But for me, it's not such a big change. I always want to be the fastest, no matter who is in the other car.

"I will be ok with the pressure," the young German told Bild newspaper. "I have never driven against him, but I've watched him and he's fast. Together we will be a good reference for the team."

Ocon himself has even bigger targets — beating his old foe Max Verstappen.

"It's good to be back racing in the same class as Max," Ocon, 19, said. In 2014, the pair were in European F3 and Ocon emerged as the champion.

"He is still my reference point that I hope for many more great fights with Max," Ocon added.

Ericsson backers saved Sauber
Ericsson backers saved Sauber

Sauber looks to rebuild tattered team
(GMM) Sauber is starting to rebuild its tattered organization after almost succumbing to financial woes in 2016.

The Swiss team has been bought out and rescued by a mysterious investment group, which reportedly has close ties to Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson.

Sauber is not commenting on that, but the outfit has arrived at Spa-Francorchamps with a new package for its Ferrari-powered car — including a short nose.

"We are re-discovering the fun of racing again," an unnamed team member told the Swiss newspaper Blick.

"It is noticeable at Hinwil in every area. There in the uncertain period, many people left."

So Sauber has commenced a new process of recruitment.

"We are having many conversations," team manager Beat Zehnder admitted. "But most good engineers have a half-year waiting period until they are allowed to work somewhere else."

The new, shorter nose, however, should give an immediately performance boost.

"Difficult to say," Zehnder answered. "Maybe three tenths. That would be a lot, unless the competition has found four tenths over the summer break."

Speculation is that Schumacher is paralyzed and essentially a vegetable
Speculation is that Schumacher will never be seen again

Public needs 'miracle' to see Schumacher again
(GMM) A "miracle" is what is needed if the public wants to ever again see F1 legend Michael Schumacher.

That is the downbeat news of Gerd Kramer, on the day that the F1 world celebrated the 25th anniversary of Schumacher's grand prix debut at Spa in 1991.

A quarter of a century on, almost nothing is known about 47-year-old Schumacher's current health condition, following his late 2013 skiing crash and brain injuries.

"He is in a more than difficult situation, and it would need a miracle to see him in public again," Kramer, a former sports marketing chief for Mercedes, told the German broadcaster N24.

Kramer said he will never forget August 25, 1991, as he was instrumental in arranging for the then Mercedes-backed Schumacher to make his debut for Jordan.

"It was a very special day and will always remain that way for me," he said.

Sainz impressed with McLaren progress
(GMM) Carlos Sainz says he has been impressed with the progress being made by McLaren-Honda.

After a shocking 2015, the new Anglo-Japanese collaboration has been making gradual progress this year and has arrived at Spa with a new Honda engine that will benefit from a full 7 tokens of performance upgrades.

"They are almost the fourth car already and if their development works, they could be the surprise of the end of the season," Toro Rosso driver Sainz said.

"Great news for him and bad for us," the Spaniard, referring to his countryman and friend Fernando Alonso, is quoted by the Spanish daily Marca.

Indeed, McLaren is seventh in the constructors' championship but just 3 points behind Toro Rosso. Losing sixth would cost "important money for Toro Rosso", Sainz admitted.

Sebastian Vettel knows without Costa or Newey designing the Ferrari, it will be a long time before another win
Sebastian Vettel knows without Costa or Newey designing the Ferrari, it will be a long time before another win

Vettel knows Ferrari form will take time
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel says he remains patient as Ferrari builds back up to winning form.

Before the summer break, Red Bull overtook Ferrari as the second-fastest team behind Mercedes, just as news was confirmed that technical boss James Allison had left.

"We have a lot of good people," Kimi Raikkonen said at Spa. "That's not our problem. We just have to work harder."

Indeed, Ferrari took a new specification of engine to the Belgian grand prix, but Auto Motor und Sport says it will not be actually used until Monza next week.

The Italian team does have a new bodywork package at Spa, though, but F1 pundit Marc Surer doubts it will be enough.

"Ferrari has been developing all year," he told the German broadcaster Sky, "but unfortunately the car hasn't got faster.

"Ferrari and Vettel will only win this year with luck."

Luckily for Ferrari, German Vettel says he is patient.

"In formula one, some changes happen quickly but sometimes things can take longer," he said.

"There were four weeks off but in reality we only had one and a half weeks to respond to Hockenheim," Vettel added.

"What we learned will make a little difference here, but we will see more at the races after that," he said.

Esteban Gutierrez taking his Carlos Slim millions elsewhere?
Esteban Gutierrez taking his Carlos Slim millions elsewhere?

Haas unmoved over Gutierrez rumors
(GMM) Haas boss Gunther Steiner will not say if Esteban Gutierrez is staying at the new American team for its second season in 2017.

At Spa, Steiner was asked about the fact that, when questioned by reporters, Gutierrez had replied somewhat cryptically that he will definitely still be on the grid next year.

But the Mexican would not say if he was talking about Haas.

"As I've already said, I do not want to participate in spreading rumors," Haas team principal Steiner responded.

"What I will say is that we are calm because we do not have a problem with drivers. The announcement for next year will be done after some time, but what I don't know is whether Esteban has negotiated somewhere else," he added.

Meanwhile, with multiple teams set to try the controversial Halo concept at Spa and beyond, Steiner reported that Haas has no such plans to follow suit.

"No," he answered, "I think we have to solve many other problems and all our resources are aimed at doing that, especially since the introduction of Halo has been postponed for a year."

Sergio Perez has proven he is better than teammate Nico Hulkenberg
Sergio Perez has proven he is better than teammate Nico Hulkenberg

Perez plays down Renault sponsor clash
(GMM) Sergio Perez has played down suggestions a clash of sponsors could thwart his next move in formula one.

It is believed the on-form Mexican is toying with a move from Force India to Renault for 2017.

Perez is strongly backed by the Mexican billionaire Carlos Sainz, who promotes his Telmex-linked companies in F1.

But it is rumored Renault could change from yellow to blue for 2017, amid reports linking the French marque with a title sponsorship by Movistar, a major Spanish mobile operator.

Telmex and Movistar are direct competitors, so when asked about a potential clash, Perez said at Spa: "When I moved to McLaren, Vodafone was one of the sponsors but it was not an obstacle.

"There are many companies in the Telmex family, so there will always be a way for sponsors to not be an obstacle," he added.

Perez, however, is refusing to say that he is definitely leaving Force India, and sounded apologetic that he is currently unable to commit.

"The decision is not just mine," he said. "It's not that I want to leave the team — I've always said I like it here, I feel comfortable and I believe in the future of Force India.

"I do not want to go into contract details, but hopefully after some time, a decision will be taken."

Toro Rosso signs new sponsor
Scuderia Toro Rosso is pleased to announce the signing of a three-year agreement with Gi Group S.p.A., Italy's leading multinational in the employment market, with headquarters in Milan. The Gi Group logo will appear on Carlos Sainz's and Daniil Kvyat's race suits and race underwear as from the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix.

Thanks to this agreement, Gi Group becomes the team's Official HR partner, developing selection and recruitment processes for qualified personnel with particular emphasis in the field of engineering. Gi Group and Scuderia Toro Rosso will also instigate combined initiatives such as “Formula Future," a training program to select, recruit and train talented young graduates, as well as a “Race Academy" which will create an ad hoc new group of young mechanics of a high standard to become part of the Race Team.

“We are very proud to have signed this partnership agreement with Scuderia Toro Rosso, a company which, like Gi Group, promotes Italian excellence around the world," commented Stefano Colli-Lanzi, CEO of Gi Group. “We believe that, thanks to the know-how of both companies, this partnership will be able to enhance the chances of youngsters interested in embarking on a career in the very competitive and technological environment of Formula 1."

The team's HR and Legal Director, Otello Valenti, is also very pleased about this new agreement: “Success in Formula 1 needs a talented team to work in the best way possible, demonstrating ability, passion, energy and determination. Scuderia Toro Rosso has always sought out and brought on the most talented people and the partnership with Gi Group is a strategic collaboration to support the constant growth of our team.

“Scuderia Toro Rosso and Gi Group share a common vision; striving for excellence through the professional growth of personnel," continued Valenti. “In the world of Human Resources and in Formula 1, one needs to work with speed, competence, organization and creativity to always achieve the best possible result. Like Toro Rosso, Gi Group is an innovative team of proven experience and passion in its own sector. We believe that together, we can successfully tackle the challenges of Formula 1 and obtain ever better results."

“Our results are the fruit of our ability and the effort and tenacity we put into our work," said Team Principal Franz Tost. “Teamwork and very high standards are the key to how we operate and that is something we share with Gi Group, therefore I am pleased that we are going into this partnership with them. In this way we will be able to “give wings" to those who have the motivation, talent and determination to work and excel in Formula 1, where success begins with the people."

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