Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • Kvyat not told real reason he was sacked
    Kvyat not told real reason he was sacked

    Kvyat given 'just words' not reason for decision

  • Ricciardo surprised by Kvyat decision
  • Bottas waiting for 2017 'silly season'
  • Marchionne's pressure not negative – Vettel
  • Spa not hurt by Shell's sponsor axe – promoter
  • 'Hearsay' replaces real information about Schu
  • Ferrari engine only Sauber update in Spain – Nasr
  • Massa opposed to visor tear-off ban
  • Hulkenberg happy with Force India upgrade
  • Dennis says no Honda customers before title
  • Williams Announces New Partnership Agreement with Global Finanz Organization

Kvyat given 'just words' not reason for decision
(GMM) Daniil Kvyat was stoical but admittedly unhappy on Thursday as the world's media pressed him about being dropped by Red Bull.

"First of all, I think the word 'dropped' is a bit heavy because I still get quite a good chance with Toro Rosso," said the Russian.

But he did admit that the decision had left him unhappy.

"Just words," he is quoted as answering by the French broadcaster Canal Plus, when asked what explanation Dr Helmut Marko had given him during a 20-minute phone call that he says interrupted an episode of – aptly – 'Game of Thrones'.

"Of course it was a confusing decision but I could do nothing but accept it," said the 22-year-old.

The timing of the decision came just after Sochi, where he ran into the Ferrari twice, but Sebastian Vettel thinks it actually has nothing to do with that.

"I learned that it (Red Bull's decision) had been decided before (Russia)," Vettel, Red Bull's former quadruple world champion, said on Thursday.

Kvyat agreed: "I think it's been for a while they (Red Bull) wanted this and the opportunity came and the decision was taken."

That decision, of course, was to pluck the teen F1 sensation Max Verstappen out of the 2017 'silly season' and sign him up to a long-term contract.

But Kvyat says he also had a valid 2017 deal.

"I cannot be happy with the decision, in the way it came, in the timing, because the team deal was there and suddenly it's completely changed," he said.

Kvyat told Italian television: "It was pretty obvious it was going to happen, but I think it happened fairly early, just after the first podium of the season.

"I must say that it was not nice," he admitted.

Indeed, Kvyat on Thursday removed all reference to Red Bull on his Twitter and Facebook profile pages, as they now reads only: 'Formula 1 driver DK26'.

2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen hinted that, in F1, there is always more to the story.

"Basically it's not my business," he said. "Max Verstappen would not get a place at Red Bull if he didn't deserve it. But I don't and you don't know the whole story. Very few people will and ever will, and that's the way it is in F1."

Ricciardo had no idea about Verstappen move up
Ricciardo had no idea about Verstappen move up

Ricciardo surprised by Kvyat decision
(GMM) Daniel Ricciardo on Thursday said he was taken by surprise when he saw on his mobile last week that Dr Helmut Marko was calling from Graz.

When you see that, "You know that something is up," the Australian smiled in Barcelona.

Marko told Ricciardo that he has a new teammate in the form of Max Verstappen. "Honestly I would have expected it in the second half of the season, not so early," he said.

That Red Bull was looking for a place in the premier team for Verstappen, however – amid Ferrari and Mercedes' interest – was common knowledge in the paddock.

"Make no mistake," said team boss Christian Horner, "he's one of the hottest properties in formula one at the moment.

"I think this kills off the driver market regarding Red Bull drivers, certainly for the foreseeable future," he added.

But Ricciardo also said he should not be surprised that Red Bull is ramping up the pressure on all four of its drivers in F1.

"It's to put the drivers under pressure to see what they're made of," he said. "They did the same with Vettel and me.

"Personally, I'm not worried about pressure from teammates. I see Max as another challenge but I have enough confidence in my abilities," Ricciardo insisted.

"I think they hope he can push me and I can push him and we can be a strong duo for years to come. I guess that's the vision," he added.

As suggested by Ricciardo, Vettel knows the squeeze of the Red Bull program. "I think they spend a lot of money promoting young talent," said the German.

"Clearly there is pressure and you have to deliver. Whether you succeed depends on many factors."

One factor, undoubtedly, is politics, and Kvyat indicated that he might have been caught off-guard on this occasion.

"I learned quite a lot in the last few days, last few weeks and it's made me very strong," said the Russian.

Mercedes' world champion Lewis Hamilton worries that the Red Bull machine might actually be too harsh on drivers like Kvyat.

"I hope it doesn't hinder either of their careers," he said, also referring to Verstappen, "because they've got bright futures ahead of them.

"Too much pressure, too much stress, too much expectation too early on can lead the wrong way," Hamilton added.

Williams' Valtteri Bottas concluded: "I like Kvyat. I think he's a good guy.

"It's a shame for him," he told Spain's El Mundo Deportivo, "but it's a team decision and this is formula one."

Bottas would like to drive for a better team, but who?
Bottas would like to drive for a better team, but who?

Bottas waiting for 2017 'silly season'
(GMM) Valtteri Bottas is not ruling out playing a role in the 2017 'silly season'.

A year ago, the Finn found himself in the middle of the rumors about Kimi Raikkonen's future at Ferrari.

Bottas stayed at Williams, where he has had a less than perfect start to 2016 although he finished a solid fourth in Russia.

"It wasn't nice to start the championship with three bad races," he told Spain's El Mundo Deportivo in Barcelona.

He admitted that, to keep his name in the headlines ahead of the new 'silly season', he needs results.

"I do need results but I don't feel extra pressure," said the 26-year-old.

But if he does feel some pressure, it is partly because Williams has slipped behind Red Bull in 2016.

"I think beating Red Bull is quite a realistic goal for us, but if we want to achieve it, we need to develop the car more," Bottas is quoted by Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper.

He admitted that, at some point, he will begin to press the issue of 2017 and whether to stay at Williams or try to switch to another team.

But "Not yet," said Bottas. "Really the very best I can do for my future is to focus on here and now, and every weekend.

"At some point, and I don't know when, but usually the speculation begins sometime in the summer, and then maybe I will start to think a little bit about it.

"I do not have any information about next year yet," he insisted. "But in the summer or early autumn I will see the way it starts to go and whether there are any other places or if I stay here."

Bottas said that if he does stay at Williams, the 2017 rule changes will be a good opportunity for the British team.

"The changes are a great opportunity for everyone to hunt down the best teams," he said.

"With the current rules, Mercedes and Ferrari would stay at the top and be difficult to catch. For us it will be difficult for us to make great progress this year, but in 2017 it is a really good chance," Bottas said.

Vettel puts on a good face knowing Ferrari needs Aldo Costa back
Vettel puts on a good face knowing Ferrari needs Aldo Costa back

Marchionne's pressure not negative – Vettel
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel says the pressure put on Ferrari by its president Sergio Marchionne is positive.

This week, with the Maranello marque having failed to win one of the four races so far, Marchionne declared that he "expects" victory in Barcelona, because Ferrari "deserves" it.

When asked about the effect that sort of pressure has on the team, German Vettel answered: "I don't want to comment on what is in the press but I know enough of what he has told me.

"But it's great to see that he cares and that he is as disappointed and frustrated as we all are that we have not achieved the results that we should have.

"I see it more positively than what the media calls pressure. I think it's good that the president is behind us," Vettel added.

His teammate Kimi Raikkonen also sounded positive on Thursday, saying that while Ferrari is still behind, the gap to Mercedes is no longer huge.

"If you look at how many points are still available, we are not so far away from the top," said the Finn.

Cheers for the Mercedes parade at Spa last year
Cheers for the Mercedes parade at Spa last year

Spa not hurt by Shell's sponsor axe – promoter
(GMM) The promoter of the Belgian grand prix has played down reports the Spa-Francorchamps race has lost its naming sponsor.

Oil giant Shell announced this week that it is pulling its trackside advertising deal with F1 as well as the naming rights to the Belgian race.

But Andre Maes told La Derniere Heure, a Belgian newspaper, that it is Bernie Ecclestone's FOM company that actually collected the sponsorship money.

"On the contrary," he said, "Shell bought from us 500 grandstand tickets.

"We sold out last year and we are 6-7 per cent ahead in pre-sales this year, so I'm not too worried," Maes added.

"The announcement of the promotion of Max Verstappen at Red Bull last week has boosted our sales even more," he said.

The Belgian grand prix takes place on 28 August.

The family should just give an update and end the speculation
The family should just give an update and end the speculation

'Hearsay' replaces real information about Schu
(GMM) A lack of information about Michael Schumacher's condition means "hearsay" is instead being reported by the media about the F1 legend.

That was the view of a Brazilian media panel this week, following speculation the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver is in grave health 30 months after his skiing crash.

"There are no more medical bulletins, so all we get is hearsay," said Gabriel Curty, a journalist for Brazil's UOL.

Flavio Gomes, another journalist, said that unfortunately the latest unofficial news about the great German cannot be ruled out.

"The life of anyone in this situation is fading and will end. It could be a matter of days, months or years," he said.

And Victor Martins, another pundit appearing on the Grande Premio program, added: "No one knows if he will die today or he is in a state that allows him to live for another 15, 20 years."

Nasr in the Sauber
Nasr in the Sauber

Ferrari engine only Sauber update in Spain – Nasr
(GMM) Sauber's only update for the Spanish grand prix is a new Ferrari engine specification.

That is the news of Brazilian driver Felipe Nasr, amid the Swiss team's obvious financial troubles.

Most teams launch significant chassis and aerodynamic upgrades at the first European race of the season.

But Nasr was quoted by Brazil's UOL in Barcelona: "The only update we have this weekend comes from Ferrari."

The works team Ferrari used performance tokens to update its engines in Russia, and now customer Sauber will fit the new power units to its cars in Spain.

"On the aerodynamic side, we have nothing," Nasr admitted. "The others bring updates because, as it is the same track as testing, you can compare the improvement of your car really well here.

"The result of the Spanish grand prix usually ends up dictating what the European season will be like," he added.

Even backmarker Manor has an update for Barcelona, causing Pascal Wehrlein to say this week that moving past Sauber is now the team's goal.

"That they were already close, yes, that was clear," Nasr acknowledged. "What we have to do is focus on our work. It may be that this update from Ferrari helps us a little.

"We will have to do what we can."

Massa wants his tear-offs
Massa wants his tear-offs

Massa opposed to visor tear-off ban
(GMM) Felipe Massa says he does not support the FIA's forthcoming ban on discarding helmet visor tear-offs on the track.

Actually, the ban was originally intended for the start of the 2016 season but F1 will now enforce it as of Monaco later this month.

"I don't think there's a need for it (the ban)," said Williams driver and F1 veteran Massa.

"I have heard arguments that the strips can get into the brake ducts and cause them to overheat, but I've never seen that there were serious accidents because of that reason.

"Instead, the strips play an important role in improving the visibility for the drivers," added the Brazilian. "We should be able to throw them away, if necessary.

"Sometimes the visor gets dirty very quickly, and for safety it is important to be able to clean it straight away," said Massa.

Hulkenberg happy with Force India upgrade
(GMM) Nico Hulkenberg on Thursday sounded upbeat about a major upgrade package introduced by Force India for the Spanish grand prix.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the Silverstone based team has taken "practically a new car" to Barcelona, featuring new wings, floor, sidepods, engine cover and brake ducts for an up to half-second per lap boost.

"The car looks considerably more like a race car. You can see it with the naked eye," German Hulkenberg said.

"What we have now looks significantly closer to what the competition has," he added.

Such a pleasant chap
Such a pleasant chap

Dennis says no Honda customers before title
(GMM) Ron Dennis has indicated he will not give the green light for Honda to begin supplying engines to customer teams.

A new rule means engine manufacturers in F1 must be prepared to supply up to three teams per season, but McLaren supremo Dennis has a reported contractual veto guaranteeing an exclusive works arrangement for the Woking team.

Reports this week have linked Toro Rosso and Force India with potential Honda deals for 2017 but Dennis says it is important for McLaren to focus on its own targets for now.

"If you want to win world championships, plural, which we absolutely do, you have to be aligned with a manufacturer, toe to toe, head to head, and fully prioritized," he said in an interview with F1 Racing magazine.

"And after you're begun to reap the competitive benefits of that mutually loyal one-to-one commitment, and on-track success duly begins to come, then you can consider supplying other teams, but not before," Dennis said in the interview to mark McLaren's 50th anniversary.

"Yes, we at McLaren want to be good formula one citizens, and we always have been, but altruistic behavior of that nature must also be set against a background of fair, pragmatic and sensible business practices.

"So if you want to hear it in blunt terms, let's get to the point where we've won the world championship first and then we'll think about it," he added.

Bottas' Williams leads Gutierrez
Bottas' Williams leads Gutierrez

Williams Announces New Partnership Agreement with Global Finanz Organization
WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING is pleased to announce a new partnership agreement with financial services company Global Finanz Organization AG.

The partnership will see the Financial.org logo appear on the wing mirrors of the Williams Mercedes FW38 as well as in the team environment at the racetrack from the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix onwards. The company logo will also appear on the overalls worn by the team's race drivers from the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix onwards.

Financial.org focuses on providing financial education and knowledge, smart investment, and interactions between its members and financial service providers. Its goal is to build a large global member based financial platform that increases the financial literacy of its users and provides business networking opportunities, allowing them to make smarter decisions with their money.

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal and Commercial Director of Williams, added: "We are delighted to welcome Global Finanz Organization as a new addition to our partner community. We will be working together to use the global and high profile nature of Formula One to raise the profile of their financial platform and ultimately help the website to continue its growth."

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