Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Massa calls clash a racing incident
    Massa calls clash a racing incident

    Mercedes clash 'a racing incident' – Massa

  • Button not thinking British GP to be last
  • Honda's progress best in F1 – Alonso
  • Palmer aware 2016 could be only home GP
  • Family still wants 'privacy' for Schumacher – manager
  • Mallya determined to enjoy rare GP appearance
  • Sauber withdraws from Silverstone testing
  • Vettel tire failure blamed on debris

Mercedes clash 'a racing incident' – Massa
(GMM) Felipe Massa has played down the furor surrounding the Mercedes drivers' latest crash, saying what happened in Austria was just a "racing incident".

Before Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg headed to Silverstone on Thursday, they started the day at Mercedes' nearby Brackley HQ for a stern meeting with boss Toto Wolff.

It is believed Wolff will warn them of strict and clear consequences if they continue to tangle, although team orders have been avoided for now.

"We will present them with a new concept," team chairman Niki Lauda told Bild newspaper.

Marc Surer, a former F1 driver and now German-language TV pundit, said Mercedes has taken the right decision.

"Yes," he told Germany's Sky broadcaster. "Many people say formula one is already boring because of Mercedes, so to introduce team orders would only have made it worse."

1996 world champion Damon Hill agrees, declaring that if Mercedes had brought down team orders, the drivers would probably have ignored them anyway.

And "fans would rebel against the idea", he added.

Williams driver Massa, meanwhile, can't see what all the fuss is about.

He told Brazil's Band News FM: "I think it was a racing incident.

"On the last lap, who wouldn't try to fight for position? It's totally normal.

"In my view it was a racing accident, but when it's with two drivers from the same team it causes a big problem," added the F1 veteran.

Jenson Button
Jenson Button

Button not thinking British GP to be last
(GMM) Jenson Button insists he is not heading into the British grand prix thinking it could be his last home race.

But the F1 veteran, who is F1's longest-serving active driver, admitted that it bothers him that Silverstone is one of the only tracks on the calendar on which he has never even scored a podium.

"I think it's the only race with Sochi where I haven't been on the podium," he said in an interview with Brazil's UOL. "It hurts a little.

"It's the only thing about my career that's disappointing," said the 2009 world champion.

The 36-year-old McLaren-Honda driver is unlikely to put that statistic right this year, which will be his seventeenth consecutive British grand prix amid rumors he will be replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne for 2017.

"I don't know if it will be my last year or if there is still a lot ahead of me so it makes no sense to think about it," Button insisted.

Fernando Alonso happy
Fernando Alonso happy

Honda's progress best in F1 – Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso insists he is "happy" with his life, despite the fact a full decade has passed him by without adding a third title to his tally.

Once, the Spaniard admitted he would give his right arm for another world championship, but ahead of the British grand prix he declared: "I'm very happy."

Alonso was helping Honda to launch its new NSX road car with laps at the Estoril track in Portugal, prior to travelling to Britain for this weekend's F1 race.

"Logically I would prefer to fight for the title but I am aware of the project and the challenge and the desire everyone has," Spanish newspapers quoted him as saying.

"I cannot complain about anything. I have a lot more than I ever dreamed of, I have the circuit project in Asturias, we have started the summer camp with 122 kids, I have health, family so I'm in one of my best moments," Alonso insisted.

And not just that, Alonso said he now sees light at the end of the McLaren-Honda tunnel.

"As I said last weekend in Austria, we are the manufacturer who, a year and a half after starting a new project, has made the most progress with power," he said.

Jolyon Palmer for 2016, no check, no drive
Jolyon Palmer for 2016, no check, no drive

Palmer aware 2016 could be only home GP
(GMM) Jolyon Palmer says he will savor his home race at Silverstone this weekend, because it could be his only shot at racing in a British grand prix.

But the 25-year-old rookie said "crappy" recent rumors of his demise were actually been greatly exaggerated.

"It's not nice to see but I know myself that the story's rubbish and at the end of the day what's said in the media is not going to affect the Renault bosses' decision whether I get the drive or not," Palmer said.

Indeed, shining in the yellow Renault – which was actually designed mainly by the cash-strapped Lotus team – has been difficult for Palmer due to its lack of competitiveness.

"It's difficult when car is very difficult to drive and you're fighting at the back with very little to gain and you've got cars coming past you that are so much quicker," he is quoted by the Telegraph.

"Hopefully in coming races and end of the year we'll be a lot stronger, I'll be more experienced and can put it all together."

But in the corner of his mind, he knows that amid the rumors and because of his one-year deal, he really needs to savor racing for his home crowd this weekend.

"Definitely," Palmer said.

"I have a one-year contract, so this could be my one and only British grand prix. I hope not but at the same time, I am not there to savor the moment.

"I can enjoy some moments of it but I am 100 per cent focused on making sure this is not my only British grand prix. If it is my only British grand prix, it is because I am not doing a very good job," he admitted.

Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher

Family still wants 'privacy' for Schumacher – manager
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's manager says there is no change for now in the decision to keep the F1 legend's recovery from brain injuries completely private.

Sabine Kehm and the seven time world champion's family have been criticized by some for refusing to publicly update fans about the mysterious state of his health, some two and a half years after he struck his head on rocks whilst skiing.

"We all know that I cannot comment," manager Kehm, who also now handles the burgeoning racing career of Schumacher's 17-year-old son Mick, said this week.

She was speaking at an event to launch a forthcoming F1 drivers' charity football match later this month ahead of the German grand prix, in which Schumacher is to be honored.

"We just have to accept that the family wants to continue to protect their privacy," Kehm is quoted by Kolner Express newspaper.

"Of course, Michael will not disappear but at the moment the private situation is so difficult that unfortunately no insight can be given. There must be understanding for this," she added.

Vijay Mallya has avoided jail so far
Vijay Mallya has avoided jail so far

Mallya determined to enjoy rare GP appearance
(GMM) Vijay Mallya says he is determined to soak up the British grand prix this weekend, having been unable to attend a single race in 2016.

The former billionaire had his passport revoked by the Indian government amid the mess and huge debts associated with his failed airline Kingfisher.

It means he has been stuck in the UK, where the F1 circus will now race this weekend for the British grand prix — just across the road from Force India's Silverstone factory.

"I have missed it so I am going to make full use of Silverstone," said the team's boss and co-owner.

But Mallya knows that once F1 starts packing up again on Sunday night, he will not be able to follow his troops to the next grand prix in Hungary.

"I have a huge defense on these irrational (Indian government) actions, but I am only interested in a legal settlement," he told The Times. "If that means I can't travel for another six months, then so be it."

But that doesn't mean he is not proud of his team, whose Sergio Perez has been on the podium twice in 2016.

And he says even better fortunes could await in the future, if Force India and Sauber's plea to the European Commission for fairer income governance in F1 is successful.

"We are not asking for hundreds of millions," said Mallya. "Just fairness and a level playing field.

"This is the year of the underdog — look at Leicester City. How many people wanted Leicester to win the Premiership? Everyone. But there can be no Leicester in formula one as it is now."

Monisha Kaltenborn says no money to test
Monisha Kaltenborn says no money to test

Sauber withdraws from Silverstone testing
Sauber have announced that they will not be joining the rest of the F1 grid during in-season testing at Silverstone next week after the upcoming British Grand Prix.

The cash-strapped outfit cited it will be too costly for them and would rather save their resources for race weekends.

Adding to their disappointment, the team also won’t be able to gather any information on a new aero package that they were set to test, moving back its’ introduction to later in the season.

Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn has made no secret of their current financial situation, while team manager Beat Zehnder is confident that the team will continue putting in a 100% effort regardless.

“For any details you have to ask Monisha," Zehnder explained.

“Obviously there is a change in atmosphere because now everyone believes again that there is a future.

“The crucial thing was not to give up and I think we can be very proud of our team here on the track and at home that kept on pushing in our very limited areas.

“There was always light at the end of the tunnel.

“But as you know Switzerland has just opened the longest railway tunnel in the world – the light was always there, the tunnel was just massively long. The tunnel is getting shorter now."

It is also worth noting that Sauber missed the Barcelona in-season testing earlier in the year

Debris blamed in Vettel blowout
Debris blamed in Vettel blowout

Vettel tire failure blamed on debris
Sebastian Vettel's tire failure during last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix has been blamed on debris, following an investigation carried out by sole supplier Pirelli.

Vettel started from ninth place on the Super Soft tires and was leading the race, having yet to pit, when his right-rear tire failed as he started his 27th lap.

Vettel was pitched into the pit wall and eliminated from the race.

Pirelli began an investigation and has now concluded that debris was at fault for the incident.

"The few remaining parts of the tire in question, together with an in-depth comparison to other tires used in the race, reveal no signs of fatigue or structural failure in the right-rear tire itself," Pirelli said in a statement.

"Consequently, the issue appears to be caused by an item of debris, which led to the breakage of the tire."

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