Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Bernie praises Brazil police
    Bernie praises Brazil police

    Ecclestone hails police after kidnapping raid

  • Italy backs Rosberg over FIA penalty
  • Haryanto pushing hard for Spa backing
  • Hockenheim wants help to secure German GP future
  • Hamilton sued over $4.6m Grenada villa
  • Rosberg 'lost the title' in July – Montagny
  • Horner praises 'team player' Verstappen
  • Ricciardo wins 'Driver of the Day' vote

Ecclestone hails police after kidnapping raid
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has hailed Brazilian police after his mother-in-law was freed unhurt from kidnappers following a daring raid.

British newspapers report that the mastermind of the attempted $37 million ransom operation was a helicopter pilot who worked for the F1 supremo during the annual Brazilian grand prix.

85-year-old Ecclestone told the 'papers: "I'm very happy. The last few days haven't been very good. This isn't a good thing to happen to you and your family.

"The police officers we dealt with were fantastic," the F1 chief executive added. "They did an unbelievable job. It was absolutely first class."

Charlie Whiting criticized
Charlie Whiting told to let drivers race

Italy backs Rosberg over FIA penalty
(GMM) The Italian media has backed Nico Rosberg after he was penalized for an overtaking move on Max Verstappen at Hockenheim.

"Lewis (Hamilton) knows," Dutch teen Verstappen smiled after the German grand prix, referring to what happened between the Mercedes teammates in Austria.

The stewards levied a penalty against German Rosberg at Hockenheim, ruling that he drove Verstappen off the track.

Even Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda didn't mind the penalty.

"I understand it's a 50-50 decision because he (Rosberg) went too wide," he said.

Ironically, it was the normally Ferrari-supporting Italian media who lashed out at the FIA's reaction.

"Rosberg's penalty was nonsense," said Giorgio Terruzzi, writing for Corriere della Sera.

"The fact is that Nico cheated Max, but this is a race."

La Gazzetta dello Sport's Umberto Zapelloni agreed: "We have too little overtaking anyway, so this should not be punished."

And Autosprint editor Alberto Sabbatini said sarcastically: "I suggest to Charlie Whiting that, in future, cars instead drive one at a time against the clock like in downhill skiing."

Haryanto - if he brings more money he will drive
Haryanto – if he brings more money he will drive

Haryanto pushing hard for Spa backing
(GMM) Rio Haryanto says his management will not be resting during F1's summer break.

At present, the Indonesian may not return to the cockpit of his Manor at Spa later this month, after his government-linked backing ran dry.

"The summer holiday is the right time to take a rest, but I won't be able to relax as my team is working hard to ensure my participation in the second half of the season," Haryanto told the Jakarta Globe.

Spain's El Mundo Deportivo newspaper reports that McLaren has decided against paying for its protege Stoffel Vandoorne to step into Haryanto's cockpit.

France's L'Equipe and other international publications say it is much more likely that Esteban Ocon, the Mercedes-backed French youngster currently on loan to Renault, is a much more likely candidate.

Hockenheim wants help to secure German GP future
(GMM) A cloud continues to hang over the future of the German grand prix.

The Nurburgring's woes meant there was no race in Germany last year, and it appears unlikely the track will be able to resume its alternation deal with the Hockenheim for 2017.

"2017 is the Nurburgring’s turn," track chief Georg Seiler told DPA news agency after Hockenheim staged Germany's F1 return last weekend.

Seiler had targeted a crowd of at least 60,000 on Sunday to ensure Hockenheim breaks even, but the final figure was just short of that, at 57,000.

"On the positive side we sold more tickets than in 2014 so the trend is right," he told Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper.

"We already have a contract for 2018 and will comply with it. Then we'll see," Seiler added.

"A lot of water will flow down the Rhine before 2019," he said.

But what about 2017?

Seiler said "anything is possible", but only if there is no "risk" that Hockenheim will left with a bill to pay.

And he said that goes for 2019 and beyond, as well.

"Formula one should stay at Hockenheim, but the contract in the future must be that there is no risk," Seiler told the German website

"There are many people within the F1 supply train that make money," he said. "It cannot be that we provide the playground only for others to make money."

He said Mercedes has already supported the circuit by way of advertising and marketing.

"I would be happy if Mercedes wants to continue with us as a formula one partner. I am also thinking of all the suppliers and other companies that are also part of the overall business," added Seiler.

Hamilton sued
Hamilton sued

Hamilton sued over $4.6m Grenada villa
(GMM) World champion Lewis Hamilton is in a $4.6 million legal battle with an Italian property developer.

The Sun newspaper reports that the 2016 world championship leader ordered a luxury villa be built in Grenada, where his father's family emigrated from, including a custom recording studio, gym and private jetty.

But Hamilton reportedly pulled out of the deal when he split with his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, prompting Italian developer Bernardo Bertucci to sue him.

"I really trusted him," said Bertucci. "One day when the villa was half built I received an email from him saying that he didn't want to go ahead.

"I am pretty sure he knows he didn't behave correctly with me."

The Sun said Hamilton actually won the Grenada Supreme Court case initially, but Bertucci is now appealing.

"I didn't want to take legal action but it is very difficult to sell a personalized villa like this," he added.

A spokesman for the Mercedes driver did not comment.

Nico Rosberg the ultimate choker
Nico Rosberg the ultimate choker

Rosberg 'lost the title' in July – Montagny
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton may now be a sure bet to win his third consecutive world championship this year.

Earlier with a 43-point deficit to Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, a winning streak has seen Hamilton race into the summer break with a 19-point lead.

"He has become a winning machine," said Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Spain's Marca said the month of July was a "slap in the face" for Rosberg with no less than four defeats, while even Germany's Bild wondered: "Tick-tack – title gone?"

Team boss Toto Wolff left Hockenheim agreeing that, "on a good day", Hamilton is basically "unbeatable".

The 31-year-old Briton doesn't deny it.

"I didn't know he (Wolff) would say that. I never feel invincible or unbeatable, but I do feel when I'm at my strongest, number one is where I will be."

Former F1 driver Franck Montagny suspects Hockenheim may be a big psychological blow for Rosberg, after dominating the weekend, setting pole but then messing up the start and struggling in the race.

"For me, Nico Rosberg has lost the championship," the Frenchman told Le Point newspaper.

"I don't know if he will really enjoy the break now. I suspect he will be constantly looking for solutions, calling his engineers, and ultimately not resting.

"In any case, I am quite sure that Hamilton will take full advantage of the break," Montagny added.

Horner happy with double podium result in Germany
Horner happy with double podium result in Germany

Horner praises 'team player' Verstappen
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner hailed Max Verstappen's role as a "team player" after ceding position to Daniel Ricciardo during the German Grand Prix.

Verstappen had previously voiced his frustration at team instructions while racing with Toro Rosso, refusing to allow Carlos Sainz Jr. through in Singapore last year, and questioning the team's strategy in Australia.

Verstappen passed Ricciardo around the outside of Turn 1 at the start but as their strategies played out, Ricciardo caught Verstappen during the third stint of the race.

Verstappen backed off along the Parabolika, enabling Ricciardo to move into second, as the Dutch youngster completed the podium positions in third.

"He's demonstrated beyond any doubt he is a team player," said Horner, when asked of Verstappen's approach.

"We fitted the Super Soft tire to Max in the first stop to try and cover [Nico] Rosberg, and took a different route with Daniel fitting the Soft tire.

"Then after Rosberg picked up his penalty the objective was very much to ensure we got both drivers ahead.

"Daniel was on the faster tire and closing very quickly on Max, we asked, he [Verstappen] released him [Ricciardo] quickly, rather than lose time fighting each other.

"[This was] to ensure both were able to get ahead of Rosberg, with his five-second penalty, and Max immediately did that efficiently.

"It was the result of great team work between the whole team and obviously the two race drivers."

Horner added that the dynamic between his drivers remains "very healthy", after they shared the podium for the first time.

"It's very healthy, there's great respect between the two of them," he said.

"As far as team-mates go, they seem to like each other, and they want similar things from the car – beyond that they're both very, very fast.

"Hockenheim went in Daniel's favor, Barcelona was in Max's favor, so it's the swings and roundabouts of a season, and both drivers have done an outstanding job."

Daniel Ricciardo in Germany
Daniel Ricciardo in Germany

Ricciardo wins 'Driver of the Day' vote
Daniel Ricciardo has been voted 'Driver of the Day' following the German Grand Prix.

Ricciardo qualified third at Hockenheim, behind only the Mercedes drivers, and emerged as Lewis Hamilton's nearest challenger at the end of the race, in which the frontrunners split their tire strategies.

Ricciardo initially lost out to Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen at the first corner, but moved back ahead in the third stint, on softer tires, and was secure in second position after Nico Rosberg's penalty.

Seven different drivers have won the award over the first 12 rounds of the campaign.

'Driver of the Day' awards in 2016:

Australia – Romain Grosjean (6th)
Bahrain – Romain Grosjean (5th)
China – Daniil Kvyat (3rd)
Russia – Kevin Magnussen (7th)
Spain – Max Verstappen (1st)
Monaco – Sergio Perez (3rd)
Canada – Max Verstappen (4th)
Azerbaijan – Sergio Perez (3rd)
Austria – Max Verstappen (2nd)
Britain – Max Verstappen (2nd)
Hungary – Kimi Raikkonen (6th)
Germany – Daniel Ricciardo (2nd)

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