Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • With Ocon off to Manor, GP2 driver Sirotkin might get the call if one of Renault's current ride-buyers checks stop coming
    With Ocon off to Manor, GP2 driver Sirotkin might get the call if one of Renault's current ride-buyers checks stop coming

    No new reserve driver for Renault

  • Summer break at right time for Kvyat – Petrov
  • Magnussen must do more to secure future – pundit
  • Sainz Jr. felt 'at eye level' with Verstappen
  • Raikkonen has 'good chance' at Spa – Salo
  • Sponsor to leave Manor livery from Spa
  • James Key the next Adrian Newey says Tost
  • Massa: Maybe I will not be here next year
  • When did F1 last have a grid this good?

No new reserve driver for Renault
(GMM) Renault says it will not appoint an official replacement for reserve driver Esteban Ocon.

Ocon has been called up to make his F1 race debut from the forthcoming Belgian grand prix and beyond, replacing Manor's out-of-funds Rio Haryanto.

"It is an outstanding opportunity for Esteban to gather mileage and race experience in a young, stable and very professional team," said Renault's Cyril Abiteboul.

Renault will clearly take the opportunity to assess Ocon's potential with a view to a race cockpit for 2017.

But what about 2016? Ocon was on loan from Mercedes as Renault's official reserve driver – so will the French marque now appoint a replacement?

"We won't be naming another third driver," Renault declared. "One of our lucky drivers already under contract will get the call if needed!"

Renault is referring to 20-year-old Canadian Nicholas Latifi, and the GP2 series leader and Russian Sergey Sirotkin.

Daniil Kvyat
Daniil Kvyat

Summer break at right time for Kvyat – Petrov
(GMM) Former F1 driver Vitaly Petrov thinks the summer break came just at the right time for his Russian countryman Daniil Kvyat.

Kvyat, who after Petrov was the second ever Russian in F1, has struggled for form since losing his Red Bull seat this year.

There are now rumors he could also lose his place at the energy drink squad's junior outfit Toro Rosso, but Petrov urged caution amid that speculation.

"There are always a lot of rumors but they're not always true," he told Russia's Sportbox.

"What is most important is that the negative information does not psychologically influence Daniil.

"Now, everything is still in his hands. In principle, the break will allow him to relax from the pressure of F1 and recharge his batteries so he can show his best abilities.

"I think everything will be ok for him," Petrov added.

Magnussen's ride-buyer checks are not big enough to guarantee his ride
Magnussen's ride-buyer checks are not big enough to guarantee his ride

Magnussen must do more to secure future – pundit
(GMM) Kevin Magnussen has work to do in order to secure his future in F1.

That is the claim of Jason Watt, a fellow Dane and former F3000 driver who said Renault has plenty of options for its 2017 lineup – including Magnussen's current teammate Jolyon Palmer.

"That's his main problem," Watt told Ekstra Bladet newspaper. "Palmer has started to grow with the task. So it looks like Kevin's level has dropped."

If that trend continues, Watt said Palmer will look like an attractive option for 2017, as his backers pay "probably four times" what Magnussen's do.

Watt said Magnussen also needs to do more on the track.

"There are those moments when you think 'I would like to see more from him'. So that the international press cannot help but say he should have his chance," he added.

Carlos Sainz Jr.
Carlos Sainz Jr.

Sainz Jr. felt 'at eye level' with Verstappen
(GMM) The quiet achiever in F1 says he is looking forward to shining again in 2017.

Carlos Sainz Jr. began the season alongside Max Verstappen, performing well until the latter was surprisingly called up to replace Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull Racing.

Many, however, believe that Sainz would have performed just as well if it had been him who got the promotion.

"When we were together at Toro Rosso, there were only a couple of tenths between us. Sometimes the pendulum was with him, then it swung back to me.

"We were more or less at eye level," the Spaniard told Auto Motor und Sport.

So while Verstappen got the boost to the front of the grid, Sainz was left at Toro Rosso, who have increasingly struggled with a 2015 Ferrari engine that is not being developed.

"Put it this way: it's certainly not an advantage," he admits. "McLaren (Honda) has made up ground and on tracks like Spa and Monza, we will find it hard."

The good news for Sainz is that he is definitely staying in F1 – with Toro Rosso – for 2017.

"It's a good feeling," he admitted. "Especially so early in the season. I know from personal experience how nervous you feel if you are not confirmed. And I really look forward to a third year at Toro Rosso."

Sainz is confident about 2017, in part, because Toro Rosso is stepping up to full 2017-spec Renault power next year.

He said: "When you see the progress Renault has made in the last few months, then I'm really confident."

Salo is hallucinating. Ferrari has no chance to beat Mercedes
Salo is hallucinating. Ferrari has no chance to beat Mercedes

Raikkonen has 'good chance' at Spa – Salo
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen has a good chance of a strong result once the summer break ends next weekend.

That is the view of fellow Finn and former F1 driver Mika Salo.

Commenting on the recent news that Ferrari has renewed its deal with Raikkonen for 2017, Salo said: "Fortunately Kimi has been given more time.

"After all, he has lost nothing in his driving ability," he told Iltalehti newspaper.

"However, a long period with no wins may have taken his toll, and he has a tough teammate (Sebastian Vettel). But in Belgium Kimi has a good chance, because it's a track that suits him well," Salo, also a former Ferrari driver, added.

Sponsor to leave Manor livery from Spa
(GMM) A prominent sponsor will be missing from the livery of Manor's 2016 car once the summer break ends at Spa next weekend.

Even though Rio Haryanto's funding had dried up before the recent Hockenheim round, the branding of Indonesian state-owned oil company Pertamina remained on the Manor livery.

But Haryanto has now been replaced with the French Mercedes and Renault-backed rookie Esteban Ocon for the rest of the season.

And a Pertamina spokeswoman told the Jakarta Post newspaper: "The Manor Racing team has offered to let us continue advertising on its cars. However, we have decided to discontinue the advertising."

The report said Haryanto had only paid half of his promised EUR 15 million to Manor in 2016, with EUR 5 million provided by Pertamina, and the rest by his family.

An Indonesian sports ministry spokesman said: "The government thanks the Manor team, which had given an opportunity to Rio to participate in the 2016 season."

James Key
James Key

James Key the next Adrian Newey says Tost
Toro Rosso F1 boss Franz Tost sees no reason why technical director James Key cannot become the next Adrian Newey, while word is that Ferrari are aggressively courting the impressive young designer.

Asked by the official F1 website if Key could be the successor of Newey as the eminent F1 designer of the new era, Tost replied, "Why not? But it will depend much on where the regulations go. As always in life it is a matter of being in the right place at the right time."

"James has developed a lot in the last few years, and he has built up an excellent team around him," Tost added. "Adrian Newey is simply much more experienced, but I am convinced that James will be one of the top technical personalities in F1 in a couple of years."

Key is now highly rated within the F1 paddock, top teams have taken notice of the Englishman's talents and amid turmoil and change at Ferrari, the Toro Rosso man has invariably been linked to the Maranello outfit.

Tost is not overly concerned and explained why, "Of course it is always a person's ambition to do as they want – but nevertheless James has a contract with Toro Rosso and I expect that he will respect this contract."

"This is the point where I have to use the confidential word! And we want to keep it [length of the contract] confidential," insisted Tost.

Key joined Jordan in 1998 spending several years as a data engineer, then became race engineer for Takuma Sato. Following a year in the Wind Tunnel he transferred to the Vehicle Dynamics department, eventually becoming the department head during the team's final few seasons as Jordan.

Shortly after the team's ownership transferred to MF1 Racing, he became Technical Director during 2005 following a brief period as Technical Coordinator.

At 33 he was one of the youngest Technical Directors of a Formula 1 team. Key retained his position during the team's transition through Spyker to Force India.
In April 2010 he left Force India to join the Sauber, replacing Willy Rampf as Technical Director, where he remained until departing in February 2012.

On 6 September 2012, it was announced that Key had joined Toro Rosso as Technical Director, replacing Giorgio Ascanelli.

Felipe Massa tired of having 0% chance of winning
Felipe Massa tired of having 0% chance of winning

Massa: Maybe I will not be here next year
Felipe Massa is in the middle of his fourteenth full season on the Formula 1 grid and while his presence in 2017 is yet to be confirmed, the Brazilian resigned to the fact he may not find what he is looking for from a team for 2017.

Massa told ESPN, "I'm doing what I love to do, which is racing, but I'm not here just to participate. I'm here to do what I feel that I can do, and to feel happy and to feel that I am an important key in the team that I am working for, and if I don't have that I'm not interested to carry on.

"You always have some interests outside but I think maybe when the decision is one hundred per cent sure, we will see what we are looking at after that."

Massa has been with Williams since 2014, but the likes of Jenson Button and even Sergio Perez are being linked to the team for next season. Both Massa and current teammate Valtteri Bottas yet to be confirmed by the Grove outfit.

Massa revealed that he is talking to teams beyond Williams, "Talks are for sure happening since a little bit of time. I would not say just here, in this team, but around. I think now we don't have 100 percent the right answer and at the time will be the right answer, so we see what is going to happen.

"I don't want to really say names of teams or whatever but I am interested in being able to drive in a team that I feel important, that I feel that we can have a good result, a good job, and if I don't have that, maybe I will not be here next year," concluded Massa.

Class of 2016
Class of 2016

When did F1 last have a grid this good?
The Formula One grid will line up at Spa-Francorchamps in two weeks’ time with a strengthened line-up of drivers.

Big things are expected from Esteban Ocon, who beat Max Verstappen to the European Formula Three championship two years ago and has replaced Rio Haryanto at Manor.

Ocon joins what was already a particularly strong F1 field, boasting five world champions and four other race winners. A raft of champions from junior categories fill the remaining spaces and even those who are known to bring budgets for their seats have won titles in significant junior series:

Driver Notable accomplishments
Lewis Hamilton Three-times world champion, 49 grand prix wins
Nico Rosberg 19 grand prix wins
Sebastian Vettel Four-times world champion, 42 grand prix wins
Kimi Raikkonen World champion, 20 grand prix wins
Felipe Massa 11 grand prix wins
Valtteri Bottas GP3 champion, nine F1 podiums
Daniel Ricciardo Three grand prix wins
Max Verstappen One grand prix win
Nico Hulkenberg Le Mans 24 Hours winner, GP2 champion
Sergio Perez Seven F1 podiums
Kevin Magnussen Formula Renault 3.5 champion, one F1 podium
Jolyon Palmer GP2 champion
Daniil Kvyat GP3 champion, two F1 podiums
Carlos Sainz Jnr Formula Renault 3.5 champion
Marcus Ericsson Japanese Formula Three champion
Felipe Nasr British Formula Three champion, European Formula BMW champion
Fernando Alonso Two-times world champion, 32 grand prix victories
Jenson Button World champion, 15 grand prix wins
Pascal Wehrlein DTM champion
Esteban Ocon GP3 champion, European Formula Three champion
Romain Grosjean GP2 champion, ten F1 podiums
Esteban Gutierrez GP3 champion

We often look back on past championships as being golden ages for driving talent. But is it time we acknowledged the current crop as being among the best we have seen?

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