Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Will Verstappen learn from his Monaco mistakes?
    Will Verstappen learn from his Monaco mistakes?

    Verstappen takes lesson and new engine to Canada

  • F1's next safety push is 'biometrics' – FIA
  • Moss says Magnussen 'refreshingly different'
  • FIA's Whiting tips Kvyat to bounce back
  • Mick Schumacher says F3 'the next step'
  • Dennis statements are 'extra motivation' – Boullier
  • No Baku night race plans yet – promoter
  • Why we should all pay attention to Martin Sorrell’s views on F1’s future

Verstappen takes lesson and new engine to Canada
(GMM) With a new engine in his car and a lesson in his pocket, Max Verstappen says he is ready for Montreal.

After winning in Barcelona, the 18-year-old came crashing back to earth with crashes in both qualifying and the race in Monaco.

100,000 Dutch countrymen, however, were cheering him on at Zandvoort last weekend, as Verstappen and his father Jos demonstrated F1 cars.

"I have signed a lot of autographs," Max told the local De Telegraaf newspaper.

But he said he is not letting the hype get to him.

"It's great to see people excited," said Verstappen, "which must mean you are doing something good.

"Of course I'm proud but I'm still staying calm and quiet," he added.

His father Jos, also a former F1 driver, said he is also proud that his son has managed to stir so much enthusiasm in their native Holland.

"Let's be honest, his performance has been incredibly good," said Jos. "Except in Monaco of course but Max is someone who learns from his mistakes."

So with that lesson in his pocket and also the new Renault engine specification used to such good effect by Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, Max is now looking forward to Canada.

"Hopefully with the new engine update it should be a positive race for us," he said. "We'll try and aim for a podium."

F1's next safety push is 'biometrics' – FIA
(GMM) The next step in safety for formula one will be biometrics, the FIA has revealed.

In the latest edition of the governing body's in-house magazine Auto, the FIA released some of the findings from the crash suffered by Fernando Alonso in Melbourne, based upon the new-in-2016 high speed cameras.

That camera showed that the Spaniard's helmet impacted the cockpit sides twice during the crash, tying in with similar data recorded by his in-ear accelerometer.

"The next step is biometrics — gathering data from drivers such as heart rate, body heat and even sweat levels," the FIA's research chief Laurent Mekies said.

"I hope that we will be able to put something on a driver before the end of the season, at least in a test," he added.

The biometrics will be in addition to the new 'halo' cockpit protection for 2017, and plans for more driver-facing cameras to gather and compare data prior, during and after crashes.

"You could imagine a million things tomorrow — you could imagine us trying to estimate the loads on the actual upper body of the drivers through the safety belts, for instance," Mekies added.

"It is something that will never stop as much as safety research will never stop and we will continue to push the boundaries to gain a deeper understanding."

Kevin Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen

Moss says Magnussen 'refreshingly different'
(GMM) F1 legend Sir Stirling Moss has hailed Kevin Magnussen for being a "refreshingly different" driver on today's grid.

86-year-old Moss, widely regarded as the best driver never to have won the title, made the comments after a recent meeting in his home with the Danish racer.

According to the Danish newspaper BT, the meeting was facilitated by Matt Bishop, the communications boss at Magnussen's old team McLaren and still a friend today.

"I knew that Matt knew Sir Stirling so I asked if he could get me an autograph," Magnussen, who now drives for Renault, said.

"But Matt said 'Let's visit him'. We were invited to lunch with Sir Stirling and Lady Susie in their house in Mayfair and it was overwhelming to meet him. He is such a legend," the 23-year-old added.

Moss, who won 16 grands prix until his retirement in 1961, said he also enjoyed meeting Magnussen and showing him his old racing scrapbooks.

"He is a nice young man and was really very interested in hearing about my career. On that point, he is refreshingly different from most young formula one drivers: it seems that Kevin really understands how important the sport's history is," said the Briton.

"I am really pleased that he got the chance at Renault and I'm sure he will do very well," Moss added.

Charlie Whiting
Charlie Whiting

FIA's Whiting tips Kvyat to bounce back
(GMM) Charlie Whiting has played down suggestions Daniil Kvyat has become the 'bad boy' of formula one.

Russian Kvyat incurred Sebastian Vettel's wrath in China, lost his Red Bull seat after a calamitous start in Russia, and will serve a grid penalty this weekend in Montreal after crashing with Kevin Magnussen in Monaco.

"Yes he has been involved in incidents for which he was penalized," FIA race director Charlie Whiting told Russian media including the Tass news agency.

"But he is a very good driver, I really like and respect him," Whiting added.

"Yes he's had incidents but I don't think he will always be the worst offender," the Briton said.

Now racing for Toro Rosso, 22-year-old Kvyat has sounded particularly frustrated recently, indicating he might be looking to leave the Red Bull family altogether.

"Every day in formula one the rumors are different and contradictory," Igor Ermilin, the presidential advisor to the Russian automobile federation, told Sport-Express.

"That several teams including Williams are interested in him is no secret," he added, "but a lot will depend on how the rest of this season goes."

For his part, Kvyat says he has put his latest frustration behind him.

"The frustration from the last race in Monaco is now forgotten and has made me even more determined to show what I'm capable of doing," he said.

Mick Schumacher
Mick Schumacher

Mick Schumacher says F3 'the next step'
(GMM) Mick Schumacher is beginning to turn his mind to the next step in his race towards formula one.

Under the intense spotlight not only of his surname but the fact his famous father Michael is still struggling to recover from serious injuries, teen Mick made the switch from karts to single seaters last year.

Now 17, the young German has added the Italian Formula 4 series to his program for 2016.

But it was in the German F4 series round at the Lausitzring at the weekend that Schumacher so impressed, securing pole and winning not one but two races under the watchful eye of his mother Corinna and manager Sabine Kehm.

And now, Mick is starting to think about his next step – Formula 3.

It is from Europe's premier F3 series that Max Verstappen, who is a year older than Schumacher, leapt straight from relative obscurity to F1 stardom.

"For sure," Mick Schumacher told Kolner Express newspaper, "the next step is Formula 3. The competition is really high. That would be the next step," he said.

Eric Boullier, like his boss Ron Dennis, are hallucinating if they think they are going to beat the Aldo Costa designed Mercedes and Adrian Newey designed Red Bulls
Eric Boullier, like his boss Ron Dennis, are hallucinating if they think they are going to beat the Aldo Costa designed Mercedes and Adrian Newey designed Red Bulls

Dennis statements are 'extra motivation' – Boullier
(GMM) Eric Boullier has defended McLaren supremo Ron Dennis' right to predict forthcoming F1 dominance for the Woking based team.

While the team has improved markedly since its horror 2015, Honda-powered McLaren is still a long way from being able to challenge on merit for podiums, let alone take on the established dominance of Mercedes.

Nonetheless, McLaren Group chairman Dennis recently declared that "the next world champions after Mercedes will be McLaren. We'll get to that goal before other people," he insisted.

But although it raised eyebrows, team boss Boullier said Dennis has the right to make that sort of statement.

"First of all you know what the ambition of McLaren is, and this is what we are targeting," said the Frenchman.

"I think this statement from Ron — you know he has a great career, he is a legend in formula one and I think it's also an extra motivation for all of us to achieve what we want to," Boullier added.

No Baku night race plans yet – promoter
(GMM) F1's newest street venue has no immediate plans to step up to night race status.

Although all eyes are on Montreal ahead of this weekend's Canadian round, the sport will quickly move on to the Azerbaijan capital of Baku early next week for the second instalment of a hectic 'flyaway' double-header.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting is currently in Baku, giving the spectacular street circuit the final green light.

"You can see the quality of all the installations wherever you look," said the Briton.

Indeed, the closest look was enjoyed by local 19-year-old driver Gulheseyn Abdullayev over a four-lap test of the circuit in a GP3 car.

"Baku does not fall behind other street circuits, I would say it even exceeds other street tracks," he said afterwards.

In fact, Baku is different to most street circuits in that it is lined by historic buildings and includes a particularly narrow section defined by an old town wall.

But it will also be remarkably fast, with the authoritative Auto Motor und Sport predicting that engines will be stressed even more than at Spa or Monza.

Whiting said: "If I had to compare one circuit to this one, it would be Singapore, but the speed here will be much higher."

What will be conspicuously different to Singapore, however, is that Baku will take place under natural rather than artificial flood lighting.

But race promoter Arif Rahimov admitted that the topic of a night race has at least been discussed.

"A night race brings with it additional costs and added complexity in the construction of the circuit," he told Russia's Championat.

"I think in the first year we have enough problems without lighting, so there is no clear plan for that. Maybe one day.

"Baku is very beautiful at night, but our city is also beautiful in the afternoon," Rahimov added.

Sir Martin Sorrell
Sir Martin Sorrell

Why we should all pay attention to Martin Sorrell’s views on F1’s future
Formula 1 board member Sir Martin Sorrell doesn’t speak very often about the sport, so when he does we should listen writes James Allen.

Hitting the nail squarely on the head, he accuses it of being “too tactical and not strategic enough" and urges the sport to “invest in order to gain – sacrifice some short-term effects in order to make high returns in the future," when it comes to digital content and platforms. He will find many allies among the thought leaders in the paddock with that view.

The 71 year old CEO of advertising giant WPP has orbited F1 for many years, as a longtime friend and ally of Sir Jackie Stewart and more recently appointed to the F1 Board by private equity firm CVC, which has the controlling stake in the commercial side of the business. Sorrell and Bernie Ecclestone have not always seen eye to eye by any means and he has been highly critical of some of Ecclestone’s pronouncements in the past, particularly the riff about Hitler and Saddam Hussein in the Times a few years back.

However in an interview with the official website the advertising guru comes out strongly supportive of Ecclestone’s management of the sport. He also makes some very interesting observations about the next steps for F1 as a media business, which chime with many of the things we have been saying on JA on F1 lately about Virtual Reality and the notion of ‘beyond broadcast’ in F1.

Sorrell begins by setting out his stall, seeing F1’s future positioning very much as an entertainment," It is entertainment and it competes with other entertainments – and not with other racing formats. It competes with people’s time on a weekend. So you have to deliver. In that – and that is my personal view – Singapore delivers the most value, as they think about it as a complete entertainment event, on and off track."

Singapore is arguably F1’s most important race today, certainly a blue print for how an event should be funded in a government/private entrepreneur joint venture and with all the other entertainments alongside. Today they announced this year’s concerts will feature Queen.

Where it gets really interesting is Sorrell’s view on Virtual Reality and how that cane dovetail with the technologies already in place in F1 and with the platforms available today technologically. The next SKY TV deal is said to be heavily based on Virtual Reality offerings.

Sorrell says: “Virtual Reality for Formula One could be fantastic – driving the car! In the Ridley Scott film ‘The Martian’ you can do that. I have lifted off in the space craft from the surface of Mars, walked in space and looked down into deep space and got terrified, with the headphones and the goggles. The technology is already incredible and will improve massively in the next few years. Think about what you could do.

“And there are some – Bernie and others – who are embracing new technologies. When Sky UK started to broadcast there was an argument that audience would come down because it is pay TV. But the actual quality of the production and the use of technology and the engagement of the viewer is much better than it ever was. The product is simply better. But in the end, getting a flat fee for broadcasting rights is not necessarily the answer in the long run. That might be the old model: to get a fixed fee. You have to start to think about other models and how they can generate interest – what it can do for a brand in the future – and about the fact that revenue can also be generated in many other ways… Just look at the one and a half million people at the free Rolling Stones concert in Cuba. And Cuba is not Central Park! So just use your imagination as to what kind of revenue can be made…"

Sorrell is well aware what attracts the global companies who sponsor F1 and participate in it on various levels, deriving benefit from its global reach. Although still led by Europe in terms of its TV audience, the sport is well established in the so called emerging markets and Sorrell is quite clear where the opportunity lies, which corresponds with why most new sponsors of the last ten years that have come into the sport, have picked F1,“The next billion consumers are not going to come from the US or Western Europe – they are coming from Asia, Latin America and Africa. Formula One follows our strategy: fast growing markets, data, and digital. All those three things Formula One has. And it involves a stunning array of companies," he says.

Apart from the VR insights, the piece that will be most talked about in this fascinating interview on is his defense of Ecclestone’s position.

“He enjoys it – he’s been doing it for such a long time. He has an entrenched position. The truth be known, he is unique, right? And somebody who is unique – and this will get me into trouble – by definition cannot be replaced. By definition. Formula One does very well. It is a very interesting asset. Could it be run in a different way? Sure it could be. Could it be improved? I’m sure it could. But all I can say is, it seems to do pretty well.

“He is very entrepreneurial. He has created a 1.7 billion dollar a year business. He has created employment for a massive number of people. He has created an industry and pushed technologies. So yes – all these entrepreneurial qualities. Media is a critical area; entertainment is a critical area; digital is a critical area. Geography is important. He has to be able to deal at the highest levels politically. So by definition, he is impossible to replace.

“So whoever will do it in the future has to be different. Should two people run it? I disagree. When you have two people challenge for the same job and you keep them both and call them co-CEOs, or the whole fiasco of a ‘merger of equals’… there is no such a thing. So if there should be dreams of dual leadership, the chances of success are limited. But Bernie is still at the top of his game I have noticed. If I were to be super critical, I would say Formula One is too tactical and not strategic enough. And that brings us back to the digital issue: you may have to invest in order to gain – sacrifice some short-term effects in order to make high returns in the future."

Returning to the in-point of this post; Sorrell’s observation that F1 can be too tactical without being strategic, his intervention here hasn’t happened by chance. It is interesting that he has chosen to publicly support someone of whom he has been critical in the past. So – why and why now?

There is plenty going on behind the scenes at the moment, with the car manufacturers in F1, led by Ferrari’s Sergio Marchionne, continuing to pose a significant threat to Ecclestone’s position.

Sorrell is an authoritative voice and one with business gravitas. He’s a CVC ally. The subtext is subtle, but clear; his business is advertising and media, while the car makers business is making cars.

He sees Bernie as being borderline irreplaceable and he sees a bright future for the sport now that the realization has hit home that digital rights and content are the future of the sport. James Allen on F1

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