Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Rosberg should still get a new contract from Mercedes, but Wehrlein is looming
    Rosberg should still get a new contract from Mercedes, but Wehrlein is looming

    Clash will not hurt Rosberg contract talks – Wolff

  • Manor punts Sauber into prize-money peril
  • FIA says Aeroscreen not scrapped yet
  • Ferrari helping Pirelli with tire explosion probe
  • F1 needs more races like Austria – Mateschitz
  • Rosberg questions Hamilton's driving
  • Wehrlein: Manor point 'very important'

Clash will not hurt Rosberg contract talks – Wolff
(GMM) Although furious after Sunday's Austrian grand prix, Toto Wolff said events at the Red Bull Ring will not affect the contract negotiations over a new deal for Nico Rosberg.

Before Rosberg was penalized for running teammate Lewis Hamilton off the track in a last-lap incident that cost Mercedes a certain one-two, team boss Wolff had flagged a likely new multi-year deal for the German beyond 2016.

But Red Bull chief Christian Horner thinks the latest run-in between the warring silver-clad duo shows that the German squad's driver lineup may now be "untenable".

Wolff agreed that yet another collision between the pair was "disrespectful" to the more than 1000 people who build Mercedes' cars.

"It needs to end," he said. "It seems that talking doesn't bring us any further."

Wolff was referring to the specter of team orders, telling German television Sky: "If they show they cannot understand how to race the car, we will have to think for them.

"Nothing has been decided but all possibilities are on the table."

But Wolff insisted that although Rosberg is yet to sign a new contract, Sunday's events will not affect the contract negotiations.

"We all need to cool down a little and solve this before Silverstone," he said. "But what happened today has no influence in our long-term planning with Nico."

Wolff also told the Finnish broadcaster MTV: "I can say clearly that it will not affect the negotiations at all.

"Nico and the team are seeking a long-term solution. Every good relationship has its difficult moments and this is one of them," he added.

Nasr in the hapless Sauber
Nasr in the hapless Sauber

Manor punts Sauber into prize-money peril
(GMM) Austria 2016 set the scene for both good and bad news regarding the future of the struggling Sauber team.

The Swiss outfit went into the Red Bull Ring event sounding confident about the future, after finally paying staff and indicating a rescue buyout deal is on the cards for the near future.

But then came Pascal Wehrlein's superb weekend in the Styrian mountains.

The Manor rookie drove to a sensational 12th on the grid and an even more stunning tenth placed finish, netting an ultra-rare point for the backmarker team.

Wehrlein, 21, told Auto Motor und Sport the point is of "vital importance to the team", referring to the fact that it elevates Manor into the top ten teams that benefit from Bernie Ecclestone's lucrative post-season prize money.

The only point-less team that is dead last in the championship now, is Sauber.

"This means that the team, all of us, has to react, and that means developing the car," Sauber driver Felipe Nasr told Brazil's UOL Esporte.

"Clearly it's time to upgrade the car, which is scheduled to happen after Silverstone," he added.

But boss and co-owner Monisha Kaltenborn indicated that the Sauber package will get an immediate boost ahead of this weekend's British grand prix.

"At this engine track, we got everything possible out of the car," she said before departing Austria.

"At the next race we will get a (Ferrari) engine upgrade and will do everything to move forward."

The aeroscreen put on hold until 2018
The aeroscreen put on hold until 2018

FIA says Aeroscreen not scrapped yet
(GMM) Ferrari will try again to debut the updated 'Halo 2' cockpit protection this weekend ahead of the British grand prix.

The Maranello team intended to run the revised, titanium technology with a modified cockpit position over an installation lap in Friday practice in Austria, but Sebastian Vettel's car developed a technical problem and the Halo run was aborted.

But it is now believed that 'Halo 2' will make its appearance this Friday at Silverstone.

It comes after the FIA shelved for now the rival, Red Bull-devised 'Aeroscreen' concept, with Red Bull saying it did not have the time or resources at the moment to do necessary developments.

That was bad news for some people, who believe that the open-topped, windshield-like device is more aesthetically appealing than Halo.

"This is about safety, not beauty," Australian Daniel Ricciardo is quoted by Speed Week, "but I have always said that the windshield solution looks better than Halo.

"I think it would be a real shame if that project was stopped."

The FIA's safety chief Laurent Mekies, however, said Aeroscreen has simply been put on the back burner.

"Development of the Aeroscreen is frozen only for 2017," he reportedly said.

"We had a deadline and would have struggled to get two different concepts ready in time. But when we have finished the Halo, I am sure that we will then look at Aeroscreen very closely again," Mekies added.

Vettel climbs from his crashed Ferrari
Vettel climbs from his crashed Ferrari

Ferrari helping Pirelli with tire explosion probe
(GMM) Ferrari and Pirelli are investigating the race-ending tire explosion that stopped Sebastian Vettel in his tracks on Sunday.

The German driver was leading the Austrian grand prix when a rear tire exploded and ended his race at the Red Bull Ring.

Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene denied suggestions Ferrari pushed the boundaries by running the tires for too long on Vettel's car.

"No," he said. "We wanted to go even longer and had plenty of feedback from Seb that we were on the safe side.

"There were no signs on the telemetry, nothing from Sebastian that there was something wrong. Then the tire broke," added the Italian.

Coming at the end of a weekend in which several cars' suspensions were destroyed over harsh new curbs at the Red Bull Ring, Arrivabene said that could not be ruled out as the cause.

"It's too early to say but it's possible," he said.

"It's just strange that we are apparently the only ones with such a problem.

"We are working closely with Pirelli on the analysis. When I started work here (at Ferrari), I said I would always tell the truth, and the truth is I don't know what happened."

The sister car of Kimi Raikkonen went on to finish third in Austria, but Arrivabene would not be drawn on what he thinks Vettel might have achieved.

"Vettel was leading and according to our calculations, he would have finished the race near the front. How far forward, we will never know," he said.

With the two Mercedes drivers clashing yet again, meanwhile, what Arrivabene would say is that similar trouble between Vettel and Raikkonen is much less likely.

"I leave this issue to Toto (Wolff)," said Arrivabene.

"I am happy with Kimi and Seb. I cannot imagine a situation like that at Mercedes with our own two drivers."

Austria is a beautiful track, but did you see all the empty grandstands?
Austria is a beautiful track, but did you see all the empty grandstands?

F1 needs more races like Austria – Mateschitz
(GMM) F1 would be in better health if there were more races like Sunday's Austrian grand prix.

That is the claim of Dietrich Mateschitz, the owner not only of F1's two Red Bull teams but also the picturesque scene in the Styrian mountains of the weekend's race action.

Asked if he is happy with the spectator numbers from the Red Bull Ring event, the Austrian billionaire told Speed Week: "We know already that formula one is not exactly booming.

"But we would only need more races like this one and it would change quickly.

"If Ferrari and ourselves are able to put Mercedes under even more pressure, then the interest will rise again," said Mateschitz.

Red Bull's own performance boost recently has been thanks largely to the team's unbranded engine supplier Renault, he admitted.

"We are absolutely satisfied with the progress of our engine partner," said the 72-year old.

"We now expect another 20 horse power around the Japanese grand prix, which will bring two or three more tenths per lap."

Asked why he thinks Renault has suddenly leapt forward, Mateschitz answered: "The change in management was crucial.

"There are once again racers at work, bringing the necessary commitment and passion. That's why we extended the contract until 2018, but already for 2017 it is looking good," he added.

How Rosberg can question Hamilton's driving is beyond us
How Rosberg can question Hamilton's driving is beyond us

Rosberg questions Hamilton's driving
Nico Rosberg says he was "surprised" by Lewis Hamilton's driving as the Mercedes team-mates collided late in the Austrian Grand Prix.

Rosberg, struggling with his brakes, ran wide at Turn 1 on the final lap of the race, which gave Hamilton an opportunity on the climb to Turn 2.

As they arrived at the corner, Hamilton attempted a move around the outside, but Rosberg forced him wide and the pair collided.

Hamilton escaped and went on to take victory, while Rosberg – with a damaged front wing – limped home in fourth, losing out to Max Verstappen and Kimi Räikkönen.

Rosberg, who is under investigation for causing a collision and driving a damaged car, said after the race: "I'm gutted – it's unbelievable.

"I was sure to win that race and lost it on the last lap. It's pretty intense.

"We were battling, I was struggling a little bit with my brakes, because they got a bit hot in the end, and my tires were degrading, so that gave Lewis the chance.

"I was confident that I could defend and bring it home. I had the inside, a strong position, but went a bit deep into the corner – that's fine as I dictate, I'm on the inside.

"I was just very surprised that Lewis turned in – that caused the collision."

Rosberg's lead over Hamilton has been provisionally cut to 11 points.

Wehrlein scores Manor's first points
Wehrlein scored Manor's first points

Wehrlein: Manor point 'very important'
Pascal Wehrlein says he is aware of how important his maiden points-finish could be after it lifted Manor above Sauber in the standings.

Wehrlein starred at the Austrian Grand Prix to claim 12th on the grid, before profiting from a dramatic race to steal a point late on.

Wehrlein had lost ground due to the timing of the Safety Car, but regained positions as a host of rival drivers retired their cars.

On the final lap, Sergio Pérez crashed, enabling Wehrlein to record his and the rebranded Manor team's first Formula 1 point.

It moves Manor up to 10th position, ahead of the yet-to-score Sauber.

"Under these circumstances, it feels great," said Mercedes-backed Wehrlein, when asked how it felt to become a Formula 1 points-scorer.

"In the middle of the race I thought the race was done, because we were so unlucky with the Safety Car, and I was last after that, so I thought that was it for the day.

"But I kept pushing and trying to manage my tires, because I didn't want to stop again, and at the end I was fighting with [Valtteri] Bottas and [Esteban] Gutiérrez.

"[At the finish] I saw my name in P10 and I thought it must have been Pérez, so I asked the team, as I was lapped, and I wasn't sure what the rule was if you're lapped.

"I hope to score more points this year, or for [Sauber] to not score a point, because I know the prize money is a big difference if you are P11 or P10, so it's very important."

Wehrlein also moved to play down his mistake on the starting grid, when he lined up in 10th position, rather than 12th, after Williams' late call to start Felipe Massa from the pit lane.

"It was the first time for me that there was no box in front of me. I didn't think about it. I just went behind the next guy, I stopped and then I saw Sebastian [Vettel] in his red car," he said.

"I put reverse gear in, went back and just managed to stop the car again before the first [start] light went on, so maybe if it was half a second later I would have got a penalty."

Rio Haryanto crossed the line in 16th position in the other Manor.

Leave a Reply