Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday

  • Alin Prost backs new Raikkonen Ferrari deal
    Alain Prost backs new Raikkonen Ferrari deal

    Prost backs Raikkonen's new Ferrari deal

  • Capelli 'cannot see' Monza losing F1 to Imola
  • Ferrari needs 'quiet approach' amid crisis – Brawn
  • Alonso says 2017 title 'is the goal'
  • Renault admits 2017 driver lineup still open
  • Mercedes musing switch to 2017 project – Wolff
  • Williams Announces New Partnership with Thales
  • Williams brings new floor to Hungary

Prost backs Raikkonen's new Ferrari deal
(GMM) F1 legend Alain Prost has backed Ferrari's decision to stick with Kimi Raikkonen.

Finn Raikkonen's new contract for 2017 has been controversial, given the fact younger chargers like Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo or Romain Grosjean were reportedly keen to join the fabled Maranello marque.

But Prost, who was actually fired by Ferrari in his second season with the team in 1991, backed the Scuderia's call.

"Kimi is an icon in formula one and the sport needs personalities like that," the Frenchman told Canal Plus.

"My view is that Ferrari's decision to extend his contract was quite logical, especially given the rule change that is coming.

"It would have been too disturbing to have another driver, and a younger one too, when they are still trying to rebuild the team with Sebastian Vettel," Prost added.

"As we saw at Silverstone, Ferrari is now the third force behind Red Bull and more difficult for them. They were fighting with Force India all race so they have a lot to do and they need some stability and calm because they are not at the level they should be.

"So I think it's not a bad decision to keep Kimi for another year," Prost said.

Ivan Capelli
Ivan Capelli

Capelli 'cannot see' Monza losing F1 to Imola
(GMM) Former F1 driver Ivan Capelli says he is confident Monza will soon end its troubles and cement its place on the 2017 calendar.

This week, reports have suggested Bernie Ecclestone is on the cusp of switching the Italian grand prix from Monza to Imola, citing "political problems".

Capelli is now president of the automobile club of Milan, which is in that political mix.

"It is just technicalities that need a clear framework that we already know will be formalized this week," he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"The money is there. If it were to go to Imola, it is because there is a will that is beyond all of that but right now, I cannot see it," Capelli added.

He denied that a solution to the situation between Monza and Imola is that the two circuits annually alternate the Italian grand prix.

"No," Capelli said, "because there was always the Italian grand prix at Monza, and rightly so. I think the goal is to sign for four more years."

Ross Brawn
Ross Brawn

Ferrari needs 'quiet approach' amid crisis – Brawn
(GMM) Ross Brawn has urged Ferrari to take a "quiet approach" to its quest for the world championship.

The Maranello marque has not won a drivers' title since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, despite new president Sergio Marchionne having predicted spoils this year.

But the Italian media thinks Ferrari is back in 'crisis', reporting strong rumors that James Allison is on the verge of stepping down as technical boss.

Brawn, Ferrari's now retired former technical director, has played down claims he is looking for a way back into F1, saying he has no desire for another "24-7" role.

Actually, he thinks the Maranello team should stick with Allison.

"They've got some very good people there," Brawn told Britain's Sky recently. "James Allison is excellent and if they give him the resources and give him the time, and put the infrastructure around him and great drivers, then they'll achieve success.

"But they mustn't overreact and they mustn't be reactive to what the media is saying," he insisted.

Indeed, Brawn said the great strength of the ultra-successful Michael Schumacher era is that he and Jean Todt were fiercely guarded by then president Luca di Montezemolo.

Brawn thinks Ferrari once again needs a "quiet approach".

"It's very easy to wind up the whole system and then it starts to get reactive rather than proper planning, proper organization," he said.

"It's important that Ferrari still respect what they have to do but they do it progressively and they do it quietly."

Brawn also backed top driver Sebastian Vettel's current approach, which he says reminds him of how Schumacher operated at Ferrari.

"It would be disastrous if Seb started to criticize the team externally," he said.

"I'm sure if he's anything like Michael he's very strong internally. He's defending the team, he's not being openly critical, he's not winding things up so I think he's taking the right approach," Brawn added.

Fernando Alonso suffering from hallucinations apparantly
Fernando Alonso suffering from hallucinations apparently

Alonso says 2017 title 'is the goal'
(GMM) Fernando Alonso is still not ruling out a tilt for the 2017 title.

Soon, McLaren-Honda will welcome its new chief executive to Woking – current VW racing director Jost Capito – and Spaniard Alonso agrees that the German has a big task ahead.

"There are many things that need to be improved to be able to return to the top," he told the Italian magazine Autosprint.

"Aside from the power unit and aerodynamics, there are still many small mistakes that we're making every day during the race weekend," Alonso explained.

The 34-year-old doesn't hide that he might have expected slightly faster progress with the new McLaren-Honda project after switching from Ferrari.

But Alonso insists: "I knew from the beginning that it wouldn't be easy. We started from a very low point with the performance of the power unit, but in terms of preparation, a lot has been done in a very short time."

Indeed, he claims McLaren-Honda's improvement this year has been better than any other team, and tips that big steps in performance are next.

"That (performance) will arrive next year," said Alonso.

He admits that a key to 2016 was Honda's decision to replace Yasuhisa Arai with Yusuke Hasegawa.

"Let's say that with the new organization structure came faster progress," said Alonso.

"The new boss came directly from racing, in the past he was an engineer and is more open to new ideas and a new philosophy.

"Things have improved," he added, "but we are aware that we are at least eight months behind the planned targets.

"For next year we want to win the world championship," Alonso revealed. "It may sound strange being where we are, but that is the goal."

Palmer and Magnussen need to bring large checks to buy their 2017 ride

Renault admits 2017 driver lineup still open
(GMM) Renault has admitted that its driver lineup for 2017 remains totally open.

Reports have suggested Jolyon Palmer is in danger of losing his seat at the newly reformed French works team, while teammate Kevin Magnussen is more confident of staying next year.

But neither are under contract for 2017 and team spokesman Andy Stobart told the Danish newspaper BT that the lineup will remain unknown for some time.

"It's too early for us to start discussing what should happen next year," he reportedly said.

"We are more focused on this year and the rest of the season. We are only halfway, so it's too early," he added.

"There is nothing definite on our part, and the rest is just speculation," said Stobart, amid speculation Esteban Ocon is in the running for a seat, as may be Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne.

It is believed Renault has an option to keep Dane Magnussen on board for 2017, but Stobart would not be drawn on when it expires.

"It's a private matter between us and Kevin Magnussen," he insisted.

But BT correspondent Peter Nygaard said F1 options typically expire around September, which would tie into reports that other teams plan to look at their own lineups around that time.

"Normally these options are settled between September and October," he said. "If it gets later than that, Kevin ends up in the same situation he was in at McLaren.

"But I do think Renault is very concentrated on improving the team, including recruiting up to 100 people at Enstone, for next season. On top of that, there are a number of drivers who have not resolved their contractual situation," Nygaard added.

Wolff knows Mercedes is unbeatable so now they start work on the 2017 car
Wolff knows Mercedes is unbeatable so now they start work on the 2017 car

Mercedes musing switch to 2017 project – Wolff
(GMM) Toto Wolff has admitted that managing the transition between focusing on the 2016 and 2017 seasons is currently a major topic at Brackley.

The back-to-back world champions are once again leading the standings in 2016 but under increasing pressure from Red Bull and Ferrari.

But next year, the chassis and tire rules are changing significantly, raising the prospect that teams who switch their focus early could get a head-start for 2017.

"Every week we are analyzing how many resources we want to move in the direction of the 2017 project," Mercedes team boss Wolff told DPA news agency.

"It is a very tricky subject," he said ahead of the Hungarian grand prix, which will mark the half-way point in the current race calendar.

Wolff added: "Some teams stopped their development for 2016 very early. This gives them an advantage, because the learning curve at the beginning of a new set of rules is very steep."

Williams Announces New Partnership with Thales
Williams (ticker: WGF1) is pleased to announce a new technical partnership with Thales, the leader in critical information systems, cyber security and data protection.

As part of the agreement Thales will deliver state-of-the-art cyber security solutions for real-time global telemetry transmission to both WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING and Williams Advanced Engineering, the engineering services and technology division of Williams.

Thales designs, develops and operates resilient and high-performance critical information systems supported by its 2,000 cyber security experts and world class data protection and digital trust management solutions, protecting mission critical data anywhere data resides. Cyber security, especially data protection, is of the utmost importance in the competitive world of Formula One.

The expertise brought by Thales will assist Williams in protecting its confidential high-value data. Thales Datacryptor 5000 delivers high speed data protection with state-of-the-art throughput enhancement and low latency to ensure high assurance, real-time global telemetry transmission from the pitlane back to Williams’ headquarters. Furthermore, with an increasing number of projects being undertaken for external customers through Williams Advanced Engineering, data protection and security has become a priority across the Williams Group.

Speaking about the new partnership Marc Darmon, Executive Vice-President, Secure Communication and Information Systems for Thales said; “Thales is a world class cyber security expert and a globally recognized systems integrator, delivering safety and security critical systems in challenging environments such as Aerospace, Space, Defense, Finance, IT and Technology and Ground Transportation. This agreement builds on the already strong existing relationship between our two companies and our combined skills and expertise. It clearly illustrates Thales’s commitment to accompany its clients in their digital transformation where cyber security is a vital requirement."

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal and Commercial Director of Williams, added; “Williams has undergone a significant digital transformation over the past two years. We are revolutionizing our IT infrastructure to make sure that we are well placed to continue innovating. With the help of Thales, we will be introducing cyber security systems that keep our data secure from wherever we are in the world."

Williams to get new floor
Williams to get new floor

Williams brings new floor to Hungary
Williams will introduce a new floor at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, as the team looks to fend off Force India in the championship standings.

Williams, in fourth, is now just 19 points ahead of Force India, having failed to score in Britain last time out as its rival logged another double top 10 finish.

Pat Symonds, the outfit's technical chief, is optimistic that the updated FW38 will be able to deliver a strong result at the resurfaced Hungaroring circuit.

"Although the Hungaroring is a lower speed circuit than we have visited recently, it is a still a circuit where our car can perform well," said Symonds.

"Valtteri [Bottas] was running fifth last year before a collision dropped him out of the points.

"We are bringing a new floor to this race as part of our continued development.

"But the real focus will be on the expected high temperatures and the completely resurfaced track which will be very demanding on the tires.

"We'd expect to see a mixture of two- and three-stop strategies in the race, with final decisions resting on the exact nature of the new asphalt."

Williams logged double points finishes at the first five rounds of the season, but has added only one more since, at the European Grand Prix.

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