Latest F1 news in brief – Sunday

  • Wolff thinks F1 too safe
    Wolff thinks F1 too safe

    Wolff thinks F1 'over cautious' on safety

  • Wolff plays down threat to Bottas' F1 future
  • Red Bull well-positioned for future – Marko
  • Ferrari racing heavier car in Hungary
  • Pirelli expects two-stop Hungarian GP
  • Alonso: McLaren must 'finish the job'

Wolff thinks F1 'over cautious' on safety
(GMM) Toto Wolff thinks F1 has become "a little over-cautious" in the wake of Jules Bianchi's death.

After a stewards inquiry on Saturday, Nico Rosberg was able to keep his pole position although some rivals – including teammate Lewis Hamilton – questioned whether he had slowed sufficiently for a yellow flag.

"Nico only lost a tenth," said the reigning world champion, while Daniel Ricciardo also complained that the Fernando Alonso spin cost him a shot at pole.

Hamilton added: "If that's really what we are allowed to do in future it's a different rule for all us drivers."

Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko called it a "farce" that despite setting his fastest overall sector in the yellow flag zone, Rosberg kept his pole.

But earlier in qualifying at the Hungaroring, it was the hour-long Q1 session that was capturing attention amid delays for rain and constant red-flag interruptions.

When asked if F1 is being too cautious in the name of safety, Ricciardo answered: "The only thing I feel is hungry. I had a light lunch and now I'm hungry."

Mercedes chief Wolff, however, backed race director Charlie Whiting's decision to be cautious on this occasion.

"There was too much water," he said.

"But Silverstone was another case," Speed Week quotes Wolff as saying. "I would have done a few laps behind the safety car then a normal start.

"But because of the Bianchi accident we are perhaps in some situations a little over-cautious at the moment," he added.

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko agrees, but thinks the sport is at least moving in the right direction with its switch to faster and more aggressive cars for 2017.

"Formula one fans need to say 'That's something I won't do myself'. It got so popular because risk was a part of the sport.

"This safety that we have now is nonsense. And this idiocy with the Halo system will completely destroy formula one," Marko told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

"These tarmac run-off areas and the crazy idea with curbs that smash suspension and now driving over the white line with one, two, three or four wheels — it has nothing to do with racing. So many things are wrong," he insisted.

And when asked about certain world champions who argue about the importance of safety, Marko fired: "(Jenson) Button, who earns 10 million, should retire.

"Safety is all well and good, but it cannot be that skiing is more dangerous than formula one," he added.

Rumor has it Lance Stoll bought the 2nd Williams seat in 2017 for $35M
Rumor has it Lance Stroll bought the 2nd Williams seat alongside Bottas in 2017 for $35M

Wolff plays down threat to Bottas' F1 future
(GMM) Toto Wolff has played down the uncertainty surrounding Valtteri Bottas' future on the F1 grid.

According to rumors, Williams is considering a full shake-up of its current driver lineup for 2017, with development driver Lance Stroll's billionaire father said to have put together $35 million in backing.

And Jenson Button is currently the other favorite.

"I hope that he's in formula one next year," technical director Pat Symonds said in Hungary, "whether it be with Williams or elsewhere."

Finn Bottas also admitted the uncertainty in Hungary, saying that his outlook for 2017 "is still open at this point".

The 26-year-old's career is co-managed by Didier Coton, Mika Hakkinen as well as Toto Wolff, who is also Mercedes' team boss.

Wolff told the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat in Hungary: "Valtteri is an integral part of the Williams team at this time.

"It is about team stability there, as it is with us (Mercedes). No Finns have to be concerned about Valtteri's future," Wolff insisted.

Dr Helmut Marko
Dr Helmut Marko

Red Bull well-positioned for future – Marko
(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko is confident Red Bull will be ready to challenge Mercedes for the title in 2017.

The energy drink-owned team has taken over from Ferrari as F1's second-fastest team and now Marko is looking ahead to a proper title charge next year.

"It is crucial that for next year Renault brings a completely new engine with the same performance as Mercedes," he told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

"Since our chassis is normally the best in formula one, we will be well positioned," Marko added.

He said that with Mercedes now under attack and Ferrari struggling, bids to attract Red Bull's staff are in full force.

"Of course, it's always like that," said Marko. "Also from Mercedes. Or do you think that Niki Lauda dropping by on our Adrian Newey is by chance?

"But we have our top people tied to Red Bull until 2020," he insisted.

And by 'top people', Marko said that starts with the drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

"With the long-term contracts of our drivers we wanted to say 'Hello, you can't graze with us.' We are well positioned for 2020.

"Ricciardo is now 27, Verstappen is 19 in September. By 2020 he will probably be at his best. One can only imagine what will happen by then," Marko added.

He insisted that Ferrari will not be fixing any of its current issues with one of Red Bull's highly-rated drivers.

"No. We recognized their problems and made long-term contracts with our people. We have taken away all of the games and speculation.

"Mercedes also has no chance to get our drivers. There are rumors that Hamilton says 'Screw you guys, now I'm an actor'. What do they do then?"

Told that Mercedes is counting on a future with Pascal Wehrlein, Marko scoffed: "The course with Wehrlein, I believe, is incorrect.

"Toto Wolff saw what Red Bull does with its young drivers and believed he could do the same," he added.

Hapless Ferrari
Hapless Ferrari

Ferrari racing heavier car in Hungary
(GMM) Ferrari's car became 2 kilograms heavier ahead of the Hungarian grand prix weekend.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that a turbocharger failure at the Silverstone test resulted in the housing being penetrated.

Reportedly, the FIA demanded that – on safety grounds – Ferrari must beef up the housing for Hungary, resulting in 2 kilograms of extra weight and located in a position that compromises the center of gravity.

It has been another difficult weekend for the Maranello team, amid the Italian press' characterization of a 'crisis' of performance, reliability and management.

Sebastian Vettel was just fifth in qualifying, with McLaren-Honda's Fernando Alonso claiming that if it wasn't for his spin, "I could have been ahead of him".

Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, is a miserable 14th on the grid, but team boss Maurizio Arrivabene played down Saturday's results.

"We made a mistake with Kimi," he is quoted by Finland's Iltalehti.

"As for Seb, he was again faster than the two Red Bulls but unfortunately the yellow flag disrupted the end of his lap."

Pirelli expects two-stop Hungarian GP
Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has outlined a two-stop strategy as the fastest approach to the Hungarian Grand Prix, comprising a stint on Super Softs and two on Softs.

As per the previous round at Silverstone, the firm has recommended maximum stint lengths, advising no more than 14 laps on the Super Soft, and 29 laps on the Soft.

On this basis, the optimal strategy is a two-stop, made up of two 29-lap stints on the Soft, and a 12-lap stint on the Super Soft, faster than both three-stop alternatives.

For this weekend's event at the Hungaroring, Pirelli has supplied its Super Soft, Soft and Medium compounds, though it says the latter is "unlikely" to appear in the race.

All drivers to reach Q3 will begin on the Super Soft, as they posted their best Q2 times on that rubber, though 10th and back will have free choice over their starting tires.

Per driver: Tyre sets available for the Hungarian Grand Prix:

Alonso says McLaren will win in 2017
Alonso says McLaren will win in 2017

Alonso: McLaren must 'finish the job'
Fernando Alonso says he and McLaren team-mate Jenson Button must "finish the job" by converting their top 10 starting positions into a double points finish in Hungary.

Alonso and Button took their strong practice form into a wet/dry qualifying session to reach Q3 together for the first time since McLaren and Honda reunited last year.

Alonso, despite spinning on his final lap, starts seventh, with Button eighth, behind Carlos Sainz Jr.'s Toro Rosso, Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes.

"It's looking good this weekend, this circuit suits our car a little bit better, and I've been P7 in every single session so far," Alonso commented after qualifying.

"We're pretty competitive, and hopefully we can improve on that [in the race].

"On my final lap I braked very late into Turn 6, cut the chicane and lost some time there, so I wanted to recover the lost time. I probably overdrove and at Turn 9 I spun.

"It's a bit frustrating because I think we could have gained a couple of tenths which I lost instead because of my mistake, but anyway P7 is OK, and I'll be starting on the clean side of the track.

"We now need to finish the job tomorrow, hopefully with some points."

Although content with qualifying, Button admits he and McLaren always want more.

"It's pretty good to have both cars in the top 10 but as soon as you do that, that's not enough and you want more," said Button, who was criticized by Sebastian Vettel for alleged blocking.

"I'll be starting on the dirty side of the track, which will be tough, but we'll make the best of it. There's new asphalt here though, and with the rain it might actually make it a bit better than we think.

"We're in front of all the cars we should be racing, but the others in front are too fast for us.

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