Latest F1 news in brief – Sunday

  • Pirelli's wide 2017 tires
    Pirelli's wide 2017 tires have to be tested

    Time short for 2017 tire testing – Pirelli

  • Monza negotiations moved on to Monaco
  • Wolff excuses Hamilton for bad mood in Monaco
  • Verstappen will bounce back in 2016 – Doornbos
  • Grosjean hopes to end France's winning drought
  • Button wants to keep McLaren-Honda seat
  • Massa admits he could leave Williams
  • Toro Rosso returns to Renault for 2017
  • Jost Capito not starting work yet – Boullier
  • Hamilton: Technical problems the norm now

Time short for 2017 tire testing – Pirelli
(GMM) Pirelli has finally signed on the dotted line with the FIA, confirming it will definitely stay as F1's official supplier in 2017 and beyond.

The Italian marque on Saturday marked the occasion by revealing what next year's wider, bigger and faster tires will look like on an F1 show car in the Monaco paddock.

"This is the first version," racing manager Mario Isola said.

The next step for the much bigger and more aggressive-looking tires will be test action in August with 2015 cars modified to simulate 2017 levels of downforce produced by Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes.

"We have to do a concentrated test plan, because we have to see the final version (of tires) by the end of November or December," Isola is quoted by Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

"We do not have much time.

"The new tires and cars will be between 4 and 5 seconds per lap faster," he revealed.

Monza
Monza

Monza negotiations moved on to Monaco
(GMM) Monza's long and troubled negotiations over the future of the Italian grand prix have moved onto Monaco.

Corriere della Sera newspaper reports that Angelo Sticchi Damiani, president of the Italian automobile club, met in the Principality with Bernie Ecclestone as Monza tries to secure a new contract beyond September's race.

"We addressed all the issues, directly and indirectly, on the issue of Monza," Damiani said.

"I think one of the major problems have been too many misunderstandings and wrong interpretations. So I explained the situation clearly, indicating who can do what when it comes to the money," he added.

Damiani did not, however, want to comment further on speculation Imola is trying to use the uncertainty to boost its chances of poaching the race from Monza.

"I have already said some unpleasant things in recent days and do not want to repeat them," he insisted.

Hamilton in bad mood, can't stomach always getting beat
Hamilton in bad mood, can't stomach always getting beat

Wolff excuses Hamilton for bad mood in Monaco
(GMM) Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton's bad mood on Saturday was understandable.

Reporters said the reigning world champion – usually calm and chirpy in 2016 – was obviously annoyed in Monaco after yet another engine glitch left him just third on the grid.

The Briton said reliability trouble has "become the norm" on his car this year.

"You can't overtake here, so…" Hamilton said.

"I've had many bad years in racing and this is another. Today was the crucial day so… tomorrow's just another day. I will do whatever I can but I don't expect too much.

"If the car keeps going I will be fighting as hard as I can with these guys," he added.

Wolff, Mercedes' team boss, said Hamilton is excused for being grumpy to be starting F1's 'jewel in the crown' race behind Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg.

"We're all upset we keep having these gremlins but we need to sort it out. Lewis wears his heart on his sleeve and when he's had a bad day, you see that."

Having a very good day, meanwhile, was Red Bull's Ricciardo, breaking through for his first pole of his F1 career and surprising many by beating the normally-dominant Mercedes.

"They (Red Bull) were better. Simple," said Mercedes' Niki Lauda.

Ferrari, on the other hand, look to have now fallen behind Red Bull as the second force in F1, with Sebastian Vettel just fourth.

"We saw Ferrari as our closest competitor and now we need to question that," admitted championship leader Nico Rosberg.

"Of course Monaco is a very unique track, so let's not come to any conclusions here," he added.

Verstappen will be fine
Verstappen will be fine

Verstappen will bounce back in 2016 – Doornbos
(GMM) Max Verstappen will bounce back from his crash to earth in Monaco, according to fellow Dutch racer Robert Doornbos.

After all the praise and plaudits following Barcelona, where the 18-year-old became F1's youngest ever winner, Verstappen crashed to earth during Q1 in Monaco with a thumping impact into the unforgiving barriers.

Former Red Bull driver Doornbos, however, tipped Verstappen to succeed over the longer game.

"I seriously think Max has the makings to finish behind the Mercedes drivers," he said. "I think he can be third or fourth in the world championship. That would be a real world-class performance."

Even though he has only just switched from Toro Rosso, Verstappen is currently sixth in the points standings, ten points behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

But Max is at the back of the grid for Sunday's race, while it is teammate Ricciardo scooping all the plaudits with his maiden pole position.

"Ricciardo is a super talent," Doornbos is quoted by De Telegraaf, "and what happened with Max in Barcelona was a real slap in the face for him.

"Last year he (Ricciardo) had a dip, but this season I see he is very strong."

Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean

Grosjean hopes to end France's winning drought
(GMM) Romain Grosjean is hoping France will not have to wait twenty more years for its next grand prix win.

Monaco this weekend is the 20th anniversary of Olivier Panis' fortuitous win in a Ligier — the last time a French driver has won a formula one race.

Now 49, Panis thinks the biggest problem has been a lack of French support for developing drivers.

"I think the 'loi Evin' did so much harm to French motor sport," Panis, referring to the anti-alcohol and tobacco legislations introduced in the 90s, told RMC.

"I was lucky to arrive in F1 with the help of Elf and a cigarette brand — without them I would never have been there," he said.

"So when I hear about 'pay drivers' today it makes me laugh, because we were all pay drivers. I hope that the arrival of Renault will do a lot of good for French motor sport that will help French drivers get to formula one," Panis added.

Swiss-born Grosjean, driving for Ferrari-linked Haas, is now France's best hope of another F1 win.

"I remember he (Panis) sent me a message which said 'Please do it (win), because I don't want to be the last'. I'm working on it," said Grosjean.

Jenson Button
Jenson Button wants to stay at McLaren as it gets better

Button wants to keep McLaren-Honda seat
(GMM) Jenson Button says he wants to keep racing with McLaren-Honda.

However, it is slowly becoming an open paddock secret that McLaren intends to replace the 36-year-old with youngster Stoffel Vandoorne for 2017.

Button told Corriere della Sera in Monaco: "While I have the chance to drive a competitive car, and maybe it will be a McLaren next year, my idea is to stay in F1.

"New rules are coming, the cars will be faster, so it would be nice to have that challenge," added the Briton, who began his F1 career as a 20-year-old with Williams in 2000.

When asked specifically about the possibility he could in fact return to Williams in 2017, Button said only: "I like what McLaren and Honda are doing and would like to be there when it succeeds."

He seemed to play down the likelihood of signing any more long-term F1 contracts.

"I have reached the age where I like having the freedom to choose," said Button.

"There may be details that affect the choice, in my case it is the challenge with Alonso and also the new rules that are coming, because we are talking about cars that will be 3-4 seconds per lap faster."

Felipe Massa's F1 career over?
Felipe Massa's F1 career over?

Massa admits he could leave Williams
(GMM) Felipe Massa has admitted that 2016 could be his last season driving for Williams.

Speculation in Monaco is linking not only the Red Bull Racing refugee Daniil Kvyat with Massa's seat for 2017, but also McLaren-Honda's Jenson Button.

Massa, 35 years old and with 11 Ferrari race wins under his belt, admitted the time to start looking around at his options for 2017 is now approaching.

"From the Monaco race, you start talking about things and teams and drivers start working on what the future holds," the Brazilian told UOL Esporte.

"I'm already beginning to understand what can happen, but I don't know yet," Massa added.

He said staying at Williams for a fourth consecutive season next year cannot be ruled out.

"The intention is to try to get into a good position for a few more years," said Massa. "I think that nothing is impossible.

"When your contract is ending, you have to see what is the right way to go. I have the chance to continue in Williams, yes, but also to negotiate with other teams," he revealed.

"We have to try to understand what is happening around us in the market," added Massa, who is managed by FIA president Jean Todt's son, Nicolas.

Just one year with Ferrari engines for Toro Rosso
Just one year with Ferrari engines for Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso returns to Renault for 2017
(GMM) Toro Rosso is returning to Renault power for 2017, it emerged ahead of Sunday's Monaco grand prix.

Earlier in Monaco, technical boss James Key had said the Faenza team wanted to improve its engine situation for 2017, as the year-old Ferrari units "are not developing".

"It would be nice to be current and have a developing unit," he added.

So Red Bull announced on Sunday not only that the premier team's Tag-Heuer branded deal has been extended for 2017 and 2018, but that Toro Rosso is switching camps too.

"After the reconstruction that Renault has undertaken, clear progress has been made which has made it logical to continue," said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

In a statement, Red Bull said the deal would involve the teams being able to "badge the power units as they wish".

Jost Capito
Jost Capito

Jost Capito not starting work yet – Boullier
(GMM) It is understood Jost Capito will start work at McLaren at the end of August.

Capito was actually signed up by the Woking team to be its new chief executive in January, but he said he would only leave his role as VW's racing chief once a successor is appointed.

German Capito, 57, is in Monaco this weekend, triggering speculation he might now be ready to start work.

But team boss Eric Boullier said: "I don't know when exactly he will officially take up his duties.

"But in my view everything is simple. Ron Dennis has the highest position in the McLaren Technology Group. I am race director at all of the races.

"But McLaren Racing has more than 600 employees, and with 20-21 races each year then I'm away from them for about four months of the year. As a race team we have 80 people but more than 500 are at the factory and need to be managed," Boullier added.

"Therefore responsibilities are divided between me and Jost Capito, who will also be responsible for the development strategy of McLaren Racing," he said.

Hamilton having technical issues all the time
With Nico Rosberg preordained to be the 2016 World Champion Hamilton is having technical issues all the time

Hamilton: Technical problems the norm now
Lewis Hamilton says technical problems on his Mercedes are becoming all too regular after another issue struck during Saturday's qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Hamilton's qualifying was compromised for the third time this season when a fuel pump issue stopped his car soon after leaving the garage for his first run in Q3. Although he has yet to retire from a race with a reliability problem this season, the gremlins have been compounded by his own mistakes at the start of races and have given team-mate Nico Rosberg the edge in the championship fight.

Asked if it was frustrating to have so many problems in the opening six races of the year, Hamilton said: "It's just becoming the norm now. It's to be expected."

And he was not optimistic about his chances of victory on Sunday in Monaco.

"What will be, will be. I will do whatever I can. There's many races still ahead. I don't really expect too much from tomorrow. I'm going in with the goal, of course, of trying to overtake the two cars in front — but we shall see."

When it was put to Toto Wolff that Hamilton was no longer dealing with the problems with the upbeat attitude he displayed at the start of the season, the Mercedes boss said he did not expect his driver to hide his feelings.

"Lewis wears the heart on his sleeve and when he has a bad day you can see that and it's fair enough, it's his character but he has bounced back very well after Barcelona," Wolff said. "With some you can see the frustration and others you won't. It's clear that we are all upset about the situation that we keep having those gremlins that spoil our performance. I think that's good, we want him to be authentic." ESPN.co.uk

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