Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Will he stay or will he go?
    Will he stay or will he go?

    Button undecided over next career step

  • Arrivabene plays down Vettel, Allison rumors
  • F1 rules on agenda for strategy group
  • Hungary GP 'very boring' – Montagny
  • McLaren should be on podium by now – Ramirez
  • Wolff: Hungary result 'really satisfying'
  • Button questions radio-related penalty
  • Vettel: Ferrari had raw pace for podium
  • Hamilton says race start was 'everything'

Button undecided over next career step
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen could be left as the clear elder statesman of F1 should Jenson Button retire at the end of the season.

While the Finn has signed on for another year with Ferrari, the similarly 36-year-old Button says he is not yet decided whether to keep racing beyond 2016.

Asked if he was surprised Raikkonen elected to push on for 2017, Button told the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat: "I don't know his situation or the background so I wouldn't have been surprised either way."

Raikkonen, however, debuted a year later than Button and then spent a couple of seasons in world rallying, so is still more than 50 races off Button's career race tally.

Button, on the other hand, is set to crack the ultra-rare 300 GP mark.

"300 is a long time," he admitted. "Only Rubens (Barrichello) and Michael (Schumacher) have driven more."

Asked if he is interested in targeting Barrichello's record tally of 323, he answered: "If I want to. The question is whether I want to or not. At the moment I don't know the answer."

McLaren is known to be considering replacing Button with Stoffel Vandoorne, but Williams is reportedly interested in signing up the 36-year-old.

"The only reason I would want to be in F1 next year would be to go for race wins, whether that's McLaren or somewhere else," he said.

However, Button is set to take over from Mika Hakkinen as McLaren's longest-serving F1 driver.

Asked if he is surprised by that statistic, Button said: "When I think about Mika and how early he retired, I understand why I'm about to go past him."

Arrivabene plays down Vettel, Allison rumors
(GMM) Maurizio Arrivabene has broken his silence to play down speculation Ferrari could be about to lose Sebastian Vettel and James Allison.

Team boss Arrivabene had a low-profile Hungarian grand prix, refusing to speak to the English speaking media amid reports the Maranello team is in crisis.

One rumor was sparked by Red Bull boss Christian Horner, who said he sensed Vettel might soon want to switch to Mercedes.

"Sebastian never said once that he doesn't like the atmosphere in Ferrari," Italian reporters quoted Arrivabene as saying in Budapest.

"On the contrary, he has said numerous times that he is very comfortable in the team.

"A couple of months ago, journalists began to ask Kimi the same question, and after him it was my turn, that (James) Allison would soon take my place.

"Now that we confirm the contract with Kimi the press is saying that Allison is leaving! You know what? Please, let us work in peace," he added.

Arrivabene denied that morale at Ferrari is low.

"That's not true," the Italian insisted. "This is a strong and united team. This supposedly low morale is all just stories to try to make us have low morale, but we never give up — never, never, never."

F1 rules on agenda for strategy group
(GMM) The abundance of rules in F1 today will be discussed by the strategy group in Geneva later this week.

Throughout the Hungarian GP weekend, complaints about the regulations were abundant, including when Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg continued to argue about the yellow flag incident of qualifying.

"Rules are rules," their Mercedes team boss, Toto Wolff, insisted.

"If Lewis raised this issue, it is only because there are too many rules. We need to do something to reduce the amount of rules and make them simpler and easier."

Ferrari, meanwhile, was furious that the stewards did not penalize Max Verstappen for his defending tactics in the race with Kimi Raikkonen.

"Why do we even have rules," Raikkonen wondered by Finnish television MTV, "if they decide 'This is ok', 'This is not'?

"It is one of the things with F1 today that needs to change. It just looks bad and it's not fair. If there is a rule, it should be applied exactly the same way each time."

"The rules," argued team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, "have become too complex where they should be clear and simple.

"This issue has already been put on the agenda of the next strategy group meeting, because we want to race, not sit buried in all sorts of documents," he added.

F1 veteran Jenson Button called it a "joke" that he was penalized for being told over the radio how to resolve an hydraulic problem.

"Stopping an incident should be praised, not penalized," he said. "The sport's got a long way to go before it's good again."

Hungary GP 'very boring' – Montagny
(GMM) Former F1 driver Franck Montagny said the spectacle of the 2016 season hit a low in Hungary.

"Unfortunately this race was very boring," he told the French newspaper Le Point.

"I hope we don't see many other grands prix like this, with very few surprises," said the former Super Aguri driver.

Montagny said the race was won effectively at the first corner, when Lewis Hamilton overtook his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

"I would have expected, given the way he took pole position, that the German would defend a little more," he said.

"One then had the impression that Hamilton played with Rosberg throughout the race.

"It's almost like he (Hamilton) needed a challenge to demonstrate that he could return to the highest level," said Montagny, referring to the fact that Hamilton took the lead of the world championship for the first time in 2016.

Montagny said Hungary also confirmed the mid-season slump of Ferrari.

"It's not going well," he said, "and more importantly is that they look completely lost. I think the biggest problem for them is the constant pressure from the Italian press."

McLaren should be on podium by now – Ramirez
(GMM) Retired McLaren veteran Jo Ramirez says he thinks the Woking team is behind schedule.

The Mexican, famed for his closeness to Ayrton Senna during his days as team coordinator, told the Spanish newspaper AS that he expected McLaren to be higher up at the mid-season point of 2016.

"It's true they are better (than before)," Ramirez said, "but we must also bear in mind that this is a circuit than benefits them.

"I think at this stage of the season and on a track like this they should already be fighting for the podium," the 74-year-old added.

Ramirez said McLaren has at least ended its nightmare of 2015.

"It's clear that this year has nothing to do with last year," he said. "At least they are able to compete with the other cars."

As for Fernando Alonso, Ramirez added: "I hope Fernando continues to trust the team and does not lose motivation because eventually they will get there, even though it will not be easy."

Wolff loves it when Mercedes crushes everyone else. This is what happens when Aldo Costa designs your cars
Wolff loves it when Mercedes crushes everyone else. This is what happens when Aldo Costa designs your cars

Wolff: Hungary result 'really satisfying'
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has described the team's 1-2 result at the Hungarian Grand Prix as "really satisfying", given the team's below-par record at the race in recent seasons.

Prior to the 2016 event, the Hungaroring marked the only circuit on the current calendar where Mercedes had failed to win a race during the latest turbocharged engine era.

But after Daniel Ricciardo's win for Red Bull in 2014, and Sebastian Vettel's for Ferrari in 2015, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg recorded a 1-2 for Mercedes this time out.

"To take a one-two finish at a circuit that hasn't been so good to us in the past two years is really satisfying," commented Wolff, as he reflected on the Grand Prix.

"This place has been Red Bull and Ferrari territory, so it just shows what a great place we have got to with our chassis and engine package that we were able to take such a strong finish and control the race like we did.

"It was a race that needed a lot of management and we had told the drivers all weekend that winning would depend on making the tires last – they both did this really well.

"When things got a bit close for comfort, we asked Lewis to pick up the pace and he responded well to build the gap we needed after Red Bull rolled the dice with Ricciardo's strategy."

Hamilton now leads Rosberg by six points but Wolff reckons little has changed.

"There has been a lot of talk about the championship situation but, if this was a football match, we'd have only just completed the first half – there's still a very long way to go this season," he said.

"We have seen a lot of action so far and I'm sure there will be much more to come…"

Button questions radio-related penalty
Jenson Button has questioned why he received a penalty for radio messages that related to a brake issue in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Button suddenly lost ground in the early stages of the race and was told by his engineer: "Do not shift, we have lost hydraulic pressure".

Button, when told of his drive-through penalty, replied: "So the brake pedal going to the floor is not classed as a safety issue? Interesting."

Speaking after the race, the 2009 World Champion commented: "We had a brake sensor problem early on, which meant the pedal went to the floor, and it's never nice for a driver to get that feeling.

"The brakes just weren't there, which was a big safety concern.

"The team told me to make a switch change on the steering wheel to make sure it wouldn't happen again, and it duly resolved itself, but we got a penalty for the communication.

"We pitted so that they could give me the information I needed, but I guess we should have pitted earlier than we did. Having said that, it didn't really matter as I was last anyway.

"I completely understand that drivers shouldn't be fed information that helps us drive our cars – we should be able to deal with that job ourselves, and in fact I love that challenge.

"But when it's a safety concern, I don't think you should get penalized for preventing an accident.

"When you have a power unit that's so complex, a driver can't figure out everything for himself."

He summed up: "It's a regulation that shouldn't be in place at this level of a sport which is so good in so many other ways, and I think commonsense should now prevail."

Button ultimately retired from the race with an oil leak.

Vettel was faster than Ricciardo
Vettel was faster than Ricciardo

Vettel: Ferrari had raw pace for podium
Sebastian Vettel rued what might have been after narrowly missing out on a podium to Daniel Ricciardo at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Vettel started fifth but soon rose to fourth, between the Red Bull drivers, as he jumped Max Verstappen at the first round of pit-stops.

Vettel looked set for a lonely run to the finish, but began to close in on Ricciardo, who made his second stop earlier, in the final laps.

Despite his best efforts, Vettel was unable to make a move stick, but says his Ferrari was "a lot faster" than the Red Bull at that stage.

"We were a lot faster, but it's Hungary, where you need to be not just a lot faster," commented Vettel, when asked about his battle with Ricciardo after the race.

"I think we probably had half a second to a second on hand at the end, as he was starting to drop off and doing small mistakes, but it was not enough to get past.

"We had a fresher set [of tires]. It was an early stop for him, to go on his final set. We knew we would come back at the end, and as I said we were faster.

"I think the car was fine. In terms of pace we're not matching the Mercedes, as they seem to be in a league of their own, but we were right behind [with Red Bull].

"We had the pace to go on the podium, but it's clear that if you are ahead you can be fairly aggressive, which Red Bull was, and there was no way to get past."

Vettel also played down his latest rant over lapped traffic.

"In the heat of the moment you shout because you have a feeling that you lose more time than others," he said, when asked about previous blue flag incidents.

"I think it's very difficult, actually, to be in their shoes.

"You need to also respect the fact that they are racing as well, and I think that they are trying to do their best, but obviously the nature of this track doesn't help.

"I don't think it's worse, it's just related to this track."

Red Bull is now just one point behind second-placed Ferrari.

F1 is so boring, after the start it's just a Mercedes parade. The only thing missing are the floats
F1 is so boring, after the start it's just a Mercedes parade. The only thing missing are the floats and marching bands

Hamilton says race start was 'everything'
Lewis Hamilton says the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix was "everything" as he usurped Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg for victory.

Hamilton dived up the inside of Rosberg into Turn 1, and also fended off Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, to move into the lead of the race.

Hamilton went on to record his fifth win at the Hungaroring, one more than Michael Schumacher, and take over at the top of the standings.

"In the race, the start was everything," said Hamilton, who now leads Rosberg by six points, with one more event before the summer break.

"I had one of the Red Bulls by the side of me, so I was struggling quite a lot into Turn 1, but the team did a fantastic job with the strategy and preparing the car.

"A huge thanks to the team, this is a great result for us."

Rosberg agreed that the start was crucial to the outcome.

"It was all down to the start," the German commented.

"I lost out a little bit and then into Turn 1, with Daniel on the outside and Lewis on the inside, I ran out of space and had to bail out of it, and that was it really.

"I was happy to take Daniel back at Turn 2, and from there I was trying to put all the pressure possible on Lewis, but of course it's not possible to pass on this track."

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