Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Would someone please tell Arrivabene the 2016 title chase is over.
    Arrivabene not giving up

    Ferrari won't give up on 2016 title – Arrivabene

  • Mercedes eyes 'step back' to recover reliability
  • Mick missing Michael on road to F1 – Max
  • Raikkonen unsure about future beyond 2016
  • Father has accepted Ratzenberger death
  • Ecclestone still waiting for Monza GP progress
  • Marko to have 'serious word' with Kvyat
  • Mercedes' gap to rivals 'catastrophic'
  • Kvyat, Sainz & Gutierrez all given penalty points
  • Arrivabene: Marchionne won't be amused

A reminder for Arrivabene that Italian Aldo Costa used to be Ferrari's genius, but they let him get away to Mercedes
A reminder for Arrivabene that Italian Aldo Costa used to be Ferrari's designer, but they let him get away to Mercedes

Ferrari won't give up on 2016 title – Arrivabene
(GMM) Maurizio Arrivabene insists Ferrari must keep its eye on the goal of winning the 2016 world championship.

Amid reliability troubles and recent race incidents for Sebastian Vettel, some suggest the pace and points gap to Mercedes is already looking insurmountable.

Team boss Arrivabene, however, is staying upbeat.

"Everyone was aware before the season that an enormous task was in front of us," he told Italian media after the Russian grand prix.

"For the world title, Ferrari must not give up and I will not allow it," Arrivabene insisted. "We have 17 race weekends still ahead of us and I am not convinced that the championship train is pulling out of the station."

However, the Vettel-Daniil Kvyat crashes aside, Sochi was not a good weekend for Ferrari in terms of pace.

Arrivabene said: "Yes, but due to the circuit characteristics of Sochi we also expected this.

"It must not happen again but I am convinced that we will be much stronger in the next circuits compared to here. Firstly because these circuits suit our car better and because the recent developments on the engine are more of an advantage on circuits like Barcelona."

He is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport: "Ferrari has the human, technical and financial resources to stay in the race and reverse the current trend of the championship."

Wolff and Lauda
Wolff and Lauda

Mercedes eyes 'step back' to recover reliability
(GMM) Mercedes chiefs Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff say priority number 1 is for the reigning champions to solve car reliability problems.

While Nico Rosberg utterly dominated at Sochi, his teammate Lewis Hamilton has suffered repeated technical problems that have caused some conspiracy theories to surface.

Boss Wolff, however, said the German marque demonstrated its loyalty to the reigning world champion by rushing a part to Sochi by private plane that prevented a further penalty.

"The box came off the plane and within 90 seconds was out of the airport. I have no idea how Bernie (Ecclestone) managed to do that," he smiled to Bild newspaper.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, the next private plane was flown out of Sochi by team chairman Niki Lauda, who will stop off at Brackley to ensure the team is straight to work on ending the series of engine problems.

That is because Hamilton suffered yet another technical glitch in the race in the form of a water leak, while telemetry from Rosberg's winning car showed indications of a fault.

"For a moment we thought Nico's race was over," Wolff said, referring to Sunday's race winner.

Lauda added: "I'm worried about the reliability of our engines but I trust our people to solve it.

"What man can build, he can also understand and fix."

Wolff insists Mercedes will not panic, explaining that the problems are just the result of being pushed harder by rivals so far in 2016.

"The longer the rules are stable, the more difficult it is to find a few more horse power," he said.

"Internally, we call our engine guy Andy Cowell 'Mr. Performance', because he wants to get everything out of it that is humanly possible.

"But we might have to take a small step back and ensure that we are giving the drivers a car with which they can get to the finish line," Wolff is quoted by RTL broadcaster.

Mick Schumacher could use his father's help
Mick Schumacher could use his father's help

Mick missing Michael on road to F1 – Max
(GMM) Max Verstappen has predicted a tough road to formula one for another son of a famous former driver.

The young Dutchman was 17 when he made his sensational grand prix debut last year — the same age that Mick Schumacher is today.

Verstappen's father Jos, who was once the great Michael Schumacher's teammate, caused a stir last week when he said young Mick is not as good as the seven time world champion.

"I have only seen Mick in karting," Max told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

"His situation is difficult. He has such an incredible amount of pressure, because his father was so successful in F1. Whatever he does, whatever mistake he makes, the cameras are on him.

"It's not easy for him but he's doing it well so far. But going in the footsteps of his father is really not easy — he is the greatest of all time," Max added.

Another hurdle for Mick, according to young Verstappen, is that Michael is currently not able to help him on the hard path to F1.

"Of course Mick is missing his father on the way to F1," he said. "He is a great personality and could have given him important contacts. It is a shame that Michael cannot support him at the moment."

In contrast, things could hardly be going better for young Verstappen, in his second F1 season and now tipped to move up to a top team for 2017.

"It is definitely better than if no one is talking about you," he smiled when asked about the apparent interest of Mercedes and Ferrari.

"But the fact is that I feel very comfortable here. My relationship with Red Bull is excellent. But next year I want to be on the podium, that's for sure."

Could this be Kimi's last year?
Could this be Kimi's last year?

Raikkonen unsure about future beyond 2016
(GMM) The pressure on Kimi Raikkonen is mounting.

The Finn, whose Ferrari contract runs out this year, opened his 2016 podium account on Sunday but boss Maurizio Arrivabene hinted he expected more.

"Raikkonen? He had a good race but after the safety car it could have been better," the Italian is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport after the Sochi race.

On Saturday, the 2007 world champion qualified just fourth, behind Williams' Valtteri Bottas.

"I think it would have been ideal for him to be third and therefore starting on the front row," Sebastian Vettel, at the prospect of taking a grid penalty in Russia, had said after qualifying.

So when asked on Sunday if he is doing enough to secure a new deal for 2017, the 36-year-old Raikkonen answered: "I don't know.

"Obviously I have a passion for racing but many things are not in our hands. We can only try to do our best and then see what the future will bring."

Father has accepted Ratzenberger death
(GMM) 22 years on, the father of Roland Ratzenberger says he and his wife have accepted the tragic death of their son.

Most thoughts over the weekend at Sochi were about the F1 legend Ayrton Senna, as Sunday was the first grand prix since that fateful day at Imola in 1994 on which a race was held on 1 May.

But Austrian backmarker Ratzenberger, then 33, had been killed at the wheel of his Simtek during qualifying the day before Senna died.

"I have accepted what happened," his father, Rudolf, told Auto Bild at the weekend.

"In hindsight, my wife and I often think 'What if Roland had become paralyzed?' Or when we think about the dreadful fate of Michael Schumacher and that it might have happened (to Roland).

"So you can perhaps imagine something worse," Rudolf Ratzenberger added.

"While the worst thing that can happen to you is to lose your life, for parents I think there are even worse scenarios than a sudden death and the certainty that it's over."

Growing impatient waiting for the Italians to meet his terms
Growing impatient waiting for the Italians to meet his terms

Ecclestone still waiting for Monza GP progress
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has suggested the uncertainty over the future of Monza's F1 race could continue to drag.

Reports suggested political and bureaucratic progress was made in the last couple of weeks over the expiring Italian grand prix deal, but F1 supremo Ecclestone is not as optimistic.

"This year the race is (happening) for sure but for the next few years I don't know," the 85-year-old was quoted by Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport at Sochi.

"We have talked about it but they are Italian, so we will probably know something on the Thursday before the race," he joked.

Ecclestone said he is more optimistic about the rest of the 2016 season, even though he caused a stir early this year by saying he wouldn't bother buying tickets.

"I am satisfied and I think it's much better than last year," said the Briton. "More interesting.

"Now we have Hamilton and Vettel in the role of chasers. Ferrari? There are still a lot of races, so I think we need to wait before we judge them," Ecclestone added.

Marko will probably tell Kvyat if he hits Vettel one more time he will be replaced on the Red Bull team
Marko will probably tell Kvyat if he hits Vettel one more time he will be replaced on the Red Bull team

Marko to have 'serious word' with Kvyat
(GMM) Maurizio Arrivabene on Sunday said Daniil Kvyat could mount no justified defense of his driving after colliding with Sebastian Vettel twice at Sochi.

A foul-mouthed German Vettel was incensed after being punted out of the Russian grand prix by the young local, and even Kvyat's boss Dr Helmut Marko admitted the youngster was in the wrong.

"This time he (Vettel) was rightly annoyed, yes," Marko, referring not only to Sochi but another incident between Kvyat and Vettel in China two weeks ago, told motorsport-magazin.com.

Asked what Vettel had told Red Bull officials after the Sochi incident, Marko revealed: "That we need to have a serious word with Kvyat, and he's right."

The incident comes at exactly the wrong time for the 22-year-old, amid speculation Red Bull will surely promote Max Verstappen to the senior team for 2017.

Kvyat admitted he was in the wrong, but he also argued that he had simply been caught out ahead of the second rear-end contact that left Vettel in the barrier.

"I'm not Superman," he told the Finnish broadcaster MTV. "If someone slows down in such a fast bend, I did not have time to react."

But Ferrari chief Arrivabene had no sympathy, joking when almost run into by a photographer ahead of a post-race interview: "Was that Kvyat?"

Told that Kvyat had said Vettel suddenly slowed, the Italian responded: "When I look at our data, I cannot share this impression.

"I think you only need to look at the TV pictures and everything is clear.

"I have always promised you (the media) that I want to be honest. So I said after China that Kvyat did nothing wrong. I did not complain. Kvyat did his job in Shanghai.

"But this time I really can find nothing that would pass as an excuse for the Russian," he added.

Even Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admitted it had been Kvyat's fault.

"He was perhaps a little overexcited because it was his home race," he told Bild newspaper. "But he's a young driver and he will learn from it."

F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda was even more critical, telling the German broadcaster Sky that "If I was Vettel I'd kill him.

"The FIA should think about giving him a warning," the famous Austrian added.

Kvyat did, however, receive a ten second stop-and-go penalty and have 3 penalty points added to his F1 super license.

"I think the punishment for Kvyat is enough," Igor Ermilin, the presidential advisor to the Russian automobile federation, told Tass news agency.

"Kvyat might have been a little more attentive in the situation with Vettel, although it was very hard for him with the severity of the pressure of his home race," he added.

And then there is the pressure posed by the prospect of Kvyat losing his race seat for 2017.

"To avoid this happening, he will need to make progress throughout the season and convince the team to sign a new contract with him," Nikolay Martsenko, a Russian driver and pundit, told Sportbox.

"Or he will need to convince another good team, which is possible because there is enough time. I hope everything will work out for Daniil," he added.

The Mercedes gap to its rivals is just as big as the Ferrari gap was to its rivals when Aldo Costa designed the Ferrari in the Michael Schumacher era
The Mercedes gap to its rivals is just as big as the Ferrari gap was to its rivals when Aldo Costa designed the Ferrari in the Michael Schumacher era

Mercedes' gap to rivals 'catastrophic'
(GMM) A Russian official on Sunday expressed concern that Mercedes' continuing dominance is hurting formula one.

"The difference between Mercedes and the other teams is catastrophic," Igor Ermilin, the presidential advisor to the Russian automobile federation, told Tass news agency after the country's grand prix.

While there have been signs Ferrari and Red Bull are finally closing the gap to Mercedes, at Sochi the silver team's advantage was almost a second in qualifying and in the race Nico Rosberg won with ease.

"This gap creates the problem of a loss of interest in the race, because the result is clear from the beginning," Ermilin added.

"Today, with the best material, technical and human resources and with such a gap and the rules not changing, they will always have the opportunity to win the race," he said.

The chassis and tire regulations are changing for 2017, but Bernie Ecclestone admitted at Sochi that he thinks the new agreement on the engine rules for the next two years might not go far enough.

His biggest gripe is that Ferrari, Renault and Honda are struggling under the current regime to close the gap.

So for next year, the hated 'token' system for engine development will be scrapped, while steps will be taken to achieve so-called 'performance convergence'.

F1 supremo Ecclestone, however, is not convinced.

Should Mercedes continue to dominate in 2017, he warned, "That (engine agreement) will all be torn up and we will start again with a new set of regulations, where the engines might be easier."

Kvyat smacked with penalties before and after the race
Kvyat smacked with penalties before and after the race

Kvyat, Sainz & Gutierrez all given penalty points
Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz & Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez have all been given penalty points for race incidents on Sunday.

Kvyat was slapped with three penalty points, on top of his 10 second stop and go penalty. This was after the stewards found him to have caused separate collision during the race.

The Russian hit Sebastian Vettel at Turn 2 on the opening lap, causing a puncture for the German. Moments later, Kvyat hit Vettel again and knocked the Ferrari out of the race.
“Car 26 collided with car 5 twice in consecutive turns," said the steward’s decision.

Esteban Gutierrez was given two penalty points for an incident at the same corner, further back from the Vettel/Kvyat incident. Gutierrez was judged to have hit Nico Hulkenberg, causing the German driver to instantly retire. Carlos Sainz was ruled to have pushed Jolyon Palmer off track during a move around Turn 3.

Kvyat is now on a total of five penalty points, with Sainz & Gutierrez on two. At twelve penalty points over a twelve month period, the driver is given a race ban.

Arrivabene: Marchionne won't be amused
If you recall Sergio Marchionne's expression as Sebastian Vettel clouted teammate Kimi Raikkonen in the first corner at Shanghai – a look that could cause milk to curdle at fifty paces – you can imagine his reaction to yesterday's performance.

Speaking to the official F1 website, team boss Maurizio Arrivabene admitted that he has yet to talk to the company president.

"I have not spoken to him yet, but for sure he is not going to be amused," he said.

Asked about Vettel's reaction to the incident, once he'd returned to the pits, the Italian said: "Well, he was not exactly going ballistic. But of course everybody can understand that he was far from being happy!

"He took a DNF in a race situation just recently… and now a second time, and it has nothing to do with him. That is not really something that makes for a happy face.

Marchionne and Arrivabene
Marchionne and Arrivabene

"Sebastian wants to win, and if something gets in your way that is frustrating. We talked calmly when he came into the garage… but calm didn't mean happy!"

Told of Kvyat's claim that Vettel had slowed massively, Arrivabene replied: "of course – Kvyat hit him! What was Sebastian to do? Fly?"

Asked if there was anything on the telemetry to suggest the German had an issue which might have slowed him, again the Italian snaps.

"To turn to telemetry is not the right way to look at this situation. If we look at the images it is quite clear. Sebastian told me that he touched him one time – just at the beginning, and just a bit – but the second impact was quit hard. And if you touch someone one time and he slows down it does not mean that you have to touch him another time. We don't need telemetry to understand this.

"From my first day I have always promised that I will be transparent and honest. Last time in China I did not complain to Kvyat; I said to myself that he did his job. This time I can't find any excuse for what happened."

All that aside, fact is, Ferrari was never really going to trouble Mercedes too much in Russia. Asked if he was surprised by the advantage the German cars enjoyed at Sochi, the reply is simple.

"On the Sochi circuit yes, I was surprised. Believe me: I don't want this to happen again."

"If I have to define the championship, we love the fight," he continues. "We are looking for big challenges! What has happened is part of the DNA of racing. I don't think things can be explained as bad luck, there are mostly human mistakes behind the story.

"I prefer to have these kind of problems now instead later in the season. But of course we need to make sure that it doesn't happen again.

"Concerning the championship: we are not giving up! The team won't give up and we will put all our energy from now on into the next 17 races! There are still 425 points to be taken. So by only winning the next five races everything is wide open again. Nothing is lost and we're not giving up!

"We have to stop making any more mistakes from our side! Secondly I trust that our performance is much better than what we've shown until now. The characteristics of the tracks that are coming now – and because of the tokens that we've spent – will help us. Of course the others are not sleeping or waiting for us, so we have to fight."

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