Latest F1 news in brief – Sunday

  • Wolff lays down the law
    Wolff lays down the law

    Another crash could mean Mercedes driver banned – Wolff

  • McLaren-Honda to fight Mercedes in 2017 – Alonso
  • Raikkonen negotiated new deal alone – manager
  • Verstappen progress still impressing F1 paddock
  • Ferrari no longer Mercedes' main rival – Ecclestone
  • Massa 'on the list' for 2017 contract – Williams
  • Honda may work during August shutdown
  • Pirelli advises maximum stint lengths
  • King to get Manor test run at Silverstone

Another crash could mean Mercedes driver banned – Wolff
(GMM) Toto Wolff says another collision between Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg could result in the imposition of team orders or even race bans.

With the silver-clad duo first and second on the grid at Silverstone, Mercedes chief Wolff would not divulge what deterrents have been put in place to prevent a recurrence of an Austrian GP-style crash.

But he did not deny that team orders or even one of the drivers being suspended are among the options.

"Such things are not the ideal scenario, of course," Wolff told German television RTL.

"But the two of them have a great responsibility to this brand Mercedes, for our team spirit and our partners and sponsors, and for all of the Mercedes employees around the world.

"If all of this work is thrown away with a collision, then at some point there has to be a sanction. It must come to an end," he added.

When asked specifically if a race ban is among the options, he confirmed: "Yes, that may be a consequence."

However, world champion Hamilton said after securing pole in front of his home crowd on Saturday that he will race Rosberg to the first corner as usual.

"Of course what we have been told will be at the back of our minds for sure, but that does not mean that we can't continue to drive hard as we have done," he said.

Rosberg agreed: "Yeah, we're still battling out there. It's just a small modification to how — but that's it."

However, even racing purist and Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda is warning the duo to be very careful.

"There is always the option to get off the throttle," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. "Whoever wants to be world champion needs to have points.

"I would prefer to lose one or two places than to fly off the track," Lauda added.

Fernando Alonso thinks McLaren will challenge Mercedes' Aldo Costa car. Is Costa retiring? That would be the only way.
Fernando Alonso thinks McLaren will challenge Mercedes' Aldo Costa car. Is Costa retiring? That would be the only way.

McLaren-Honda to fight Mercedes in 2017 – Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has switched his focus to 2017, reassured that he made the right decision to build up the new McLaren-Honda project over three years.

The Spaniard has been in the top ten with his improved Honda engine throughout the British grand prix weekend.

"Qualifying was always going to be more difficult because we don't have Mercedes' 'magic button'," Alonso told Spanish reporters at Silverstone.

"But we still got one car into Q3. Last year we were three or four seconds off or something so I think we can be satisfied.

"Of course we want to win, but only the two Mercedes can at the moment. Everyone else is just watching them, some are a little closer or a little further behind but with a poor progression so I prefer to be in this project which is really improving.

"Hopefully in the next races and especially next year we can be in the fight with them," Alonso added.

He said Honda's new engine has been a boost in Britain as has a revised front wing, while a "new aerodynamic package" is now planned for Hungary.

"The objective for this second part of the championship is to try to learn everything we can for the car next year," Alonso continued.

"So the feeling is of satisfaction, especially coming from the frustration of last year where the aim was to try to finish, cross your fingers, get penalty after penalty. This year we are learning with the car but at least in a fun way," he added.

Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen

Raikkonen negotiated new deal alone – manager
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen negotiated his new Ferrari contract without the assistance of his long-time manager.

"The agreement was done completely in Kimi's hands," the Finn's manager Steve Robertson told the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomate.

Although Ferrari reportedly looked at replacing the 36-year-old for 2017, Raikkonen has ultimately been re-signed as Sebastian Vettel's teammate.

"Kimi called me on Thursday to say Ferrari wants to continue with him, asking for the lawyers to take care of the paperwork," Robertson revealed.

"It all happened in one day, with only a couple of key people involved in the negotiations," he added.

Robertson continued: "Kimi told me in the spring that he wants to continue. So it's fantastic that his dream continues. I'm really happy for him."

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Verstappen progress still impressing F1 paddock
(GMM) Max Verstappen is continuing to impress the F1 paddock with his meteoric rise to F1 stardom.

Five races after winning on debut for Red Bull after his Toro Rosso switch, the 18-year-old finally out-qualified his teammate Daniel Ricciardo on Saturday.

Australian Ricciardo said at Silverstone that the outcome "sucks".

"It's always hard to be beaten by your teammate," he admitted.

Max's father, former F1 driver Jos Verstappen, told Brazil's Globo: "I think he is now starting to explore the car better than before."

Chief engineer Paul Monaghan agreed: "Max is working better with the engineers now."

And team boss Christian Horner added: "We see now that Max is gaining more confidence with a flying lap and is working better with the engineers to get more out of the car for himself.

Even the F1 legends agree, with Sir Jackie Stewart declaring ahead of the British grand prix that Verstappen is "the best driver who has arrived in F1 for many years".

And 1996 world champion Damon Hill added: "What strikes me most is the confidence he has at such a young age and with such little experience.

"We'll see him at the top in formula one for many years."

Ecclestone says Ferrari falling behind
Ecclestone says Ferrari falling behind

Ferrari no longer Mercedes' main rival – Ecclestone
(GMM) Red Bull has overtaken Ferrari as the new main challenger for Mercedes in F1.

That is the view of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, as the great Maranello marque continued to falter at Silverstone.

The new Achilles Heel is the gearbox, with Sebastian Vettel not only outqualified by Red Bull in Britain but demoted on the grid by yet another gearbox problem.

"If we knew that, we would do something about it," the German driver, when asked about the cause of the recurring problem, said.

"But I don't think there is a fundamental problem with the car because these problems have only cropped up in the last races. So we need to quickly understand what has changed."

Not only that, Ferrari is a long way from the leading Mercedes pace this weekend at Silverstone.

Asked why, Vettel said: "It's a good question but I don't know the answer. We are losing time in all three sectors, so they simply have a better car on the straights and in the corners."

Ferrari has new parts at Silverstone, but Vettel explained: "It is a step in the right direction but unfortunately not enough."

Ecclestone told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that he senses a trend in the recent effort of Mercedes' main rivals to catch up.

"I see Red Bull as the major challenger now," he said. "I think they will be the biggest challenger in 2017, although for formula one it would be better if it was Ferrari."

Asked what he thinks Ferrari is doing wrong, Ecclestone answered: "Sergio Marchionne is doing a super job. But he has too many other things he does as well.

"If you want to bring Ferrari back to the top, it's a 7 day a week, 24 hour a day job. Nothing against Maurizio Arrivabene, but he is a different character to Marchionne."

Felipe Massa
Felipe Massa

Massa 'on the list' for 2017 contract – Williams
(GMM) Felipe Massa is at "the top of the list" to stay at Williams next year.

That is the claim of the Grove team's deputy boss Claire Williams, having declared earlier at Silverstone that the Williams lineup for 2017 is yet to be decided.

Jenson Button is being strongly linked with a switch from McLaren-Honda, and Claire Williams doesn't deny that, but she insists the team is not simply waiting for McLaren's call.

"I said a few weeks ago that our decision has nothing to do with what other teams do.

"We have many options available so we need to make the best decision for our team and our business," Williams explained.

The paddock mood is that Valtteri Bottas is likely to keep his place, with any Williams newcomer to replace Brazilian veteran Massa.

But Williams says Massa, 35, is definitely "on the list" for 2017.

"This is Felipe's third year in our team and he's done a great job for us," she told Brazil's Band News FM.

"It's amazing to have him as part of our team. So of course with all the experience he brings to us, he is at the top of the list."

Asked if another Brazilian – the strongly Banco do Brazil-backed driver Felipe Nasr who currently races for Sauber – is also on the list, Williams answered: "I cannot confirm who we're talking to."

Honda may work during August shutdown
(GMM) Honda could keep working throughout the August factory shutdown period, it has emerged.

To cut costs and give hard-working staff a break in a busy race calendar, teams must close their factories for a period during the long break between the German and Belgian grands prix.

But suppliers are not subject to the same agreement, meaning McLaren's works partner may be able to keep working in August.

"I think all the departments relating to the development of the chassis must obey these rules," McLaren team boss Eric Boullier said at Silverstone.

"As for Honda, I hope they will continue to work in August," he admitted. "The situation at Renault and Ferrari may be different, because their teams are organized in a different way."

Honda's F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa commented: "We plan to do a certain amount of work in August, but we still have to double-check with the regulations."

Pirelli F1 tires
Pirelli F1 tires

Pirelli advises maximum stint lengths
Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli has made maximum stint recommendations for its three compounds at the British Grand Prix, with two pit-stops set to be the favored race strategy.

Pirelli has brought the Soft, Medium and Hard rubber to Silverstone, a combination that was used in Spain, and has also been confirmed for the Malaysian and Japanese flyaways.

It recommends no more than 26 laps on the Hard, 28 on the Medium, and 15 on the Soft – graining on the Hard is why its "useful life" is expected to be less than that of the Medium.

Pirelli therefore expects a two-stop strategy to be the quickest in Sunday's race, comprising two stints of 12 laps on the Soft compound, with one 28-lap stint on the Medium tire.

Pirelli added, however, that the figures do not represent "guaranteed" minimum lap numbers for each compound, with teams still responsible for determining their own plans.

Sebastian Vettel suffered a dramatic tire failure at the previous Austrian Grand Prix, having completed almost 30 laps on his first set of Super Softs, including qualifying mileage.

Jordan King
Jordan King

King to get Manor test run at Silverstone
Manor has announced its line-up for the post-British Grand Prix test at Silverstone, with development driver Jordan King scheduled to get his first run of the year.

British racer King, 22, signed for Manor at the start of 2015 and got his first taste of Formula 1 machinery during the post-season Pirelli tire test in Abu Dhabi.

King will drive the Mercedes-powered MRT05 on the second day of the test session, which runs from July 12-13, taking over from regular driver Rio Haryanto.

King is combining his Formula 1 duties with another season in the GP2 Series, and currently holds ninth in the standings, after taking his maiden win in Austria.

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