Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday

  • Max 'The Boss' Verstappen
    Max 'The Boss' Verstappen

    Jos thinks son Max is the new 'Boss'

  • Three-car top teams would spice up F1 – Wolff
  • Ecclestone says Mosley not returning to F1
  • Red Bull 'waiting' for Renault amid engine crisis
  • Rule tweaks give Honda, Renault 'room to breathe' – Wolff
  • Still 'hope' for Schumacher recovery – Brawn
  • Renault brings upgraded unit to Austin
  • Ecclestone wants to force V8s for 2016
  • Honda development going in 'good direction'

Jos thinks son Max is the new 'Boss'
(GMM) As an F1 driver, he was affectionately known as Jos 'The Boss' Verstappen.

It was a tribute to his bravery and audacity, particularly when wheel-to-wheel with a rival, and it is in this area that his 18-year-old son is now also turning heads.

However, Max's nerve landed him in the wall in a terrifying shunt at Monaco, and he had The Boss' heart in his mouth again recently at Spa.

"We talk about certain corners, curbs or overtakes," Verstappen senior said at a sponsor event earlier this week.

"Like the one at Spa, where he passed Nasr on the outside. Of course, it was a beautiful move, but not entirely without danger at 300kph.

"Max cannot think that will work out every time," the 43-year-old former Benetton and Minardi driver said.

Max's father admits, however, that his own lack of fear does appear to have been passed to the next generation.

"When I raced myself, I would sometimes think about it (fear) but you know you're the one in control," said Jos.

"Now Max is racing I occasionally think about it again, especially on tracks where there's more danger. Look at Sochi, not exactly risk-free if you look at the accidents there. I sometimes worry, but Max is so keen to race so I hope nothing happens to him," he added.

But a lack of fear alone does not explain why Max is now the hottest property on the driver market, and linked with a third car at Ferrari in the event that Red Bull pulls the plug on F1.

"After that fast turn leading to the chicane (at Suzuka)," recalled Jos, "the car will hover around the same speed to save energy. So Max changed the settings which meant that the car kept accelerating instead of maintaining the same speed.

"That's why it looked so easy when he passed (teammate Carlos) Sainz," he added. "Max had already thought about this himself before he was positioned behind Sainz. That's an extra skill that Max has."

Wolff likes idea of 3-car team
Wolff likes idea of 3-car team

Three-car top teams would spice up F1 – Wolff
(GMM) Mercedes is keen and ready in the event that F1 needs to deploy three-car teams as quickly as 2016.

That is the admission of Toto Wolff, who sounds even more enthusiastic about expanding the teams already at the front of the grid than helping to resolve the crisis that could leave Red Bull's two teams without engines.

So if it falls to the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren to add third cars and drivers to their respective garages, "I think it would give the driver market some movement and it would be exciting for the fans," boss Wolff told Spox.

"I think it would excite the fans seeing guys like (Mercedes' Pascal) Wehrlein and (McLaren junior) Stoffel Vandoorne taking on the superstars in those cars," he added.

The devil, however, could be in the detail, as expanding to three-car operations could simply add to the predictability of F1 in the already controversial new power unit era.

Wolff agreed: "We must ensure that there are not three Mercedes or three Ferraris on the podium. This is the kind of detail that we would have to work out.

"Personally, I like the idea, but I alone do not make the rules," he acknowledged.

Wolff's 'plan B' to give new DTM champion Wehrlein his race debut next year is Manor, but the German has denied that the backmarker team's new engine contract gives Mercedes first pick over the occupant of the cockpit.

Indeed, Auto Motor und Sport said Wolff and Manor are currently arguing over money, with the team demanding $10 million and Mercedes willing to pay only $3m.

"There are various alternatives," Wolff is quoted by the German broadcaster RTL. "But we are not willing to get Pascal into a car at any price."

Ecclestone and Mosley
Ecclestone and Mosley

Ecclestone says Mosley not returning to F1
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has played down suggestions he is trying to engineer a return to power for his old F1 sparring partner Max Mosley.

As the sport's problems mount up, it was with surprise and suspicion this week that F1 supremo Ecclestone sat for a 30-minute television interview alongside the former FIA president.

Ecclestone has identified new FIA chief Jean Todt's deferral to democracy and unwillingness to boldly intervene as a problem, having already admitted that turning on Mosley during the News of the World scandal is a rare "regret".

And Mosley has also said of Ecclestone's role in ending his long reign: "Bernie would be the first to say that was a major mistake."

The joint ZDF interview might simply have been a message to Todt that, if F1 is going to fix its problems, it might take more of a Mosley-style approach.

Ecclestone agrees: "I think Jean is slowly but surely coming around to realizing that we've got to pull some teeth out and we've got to get on and do it.

"If there's a bit of pain, that's how it is," he told the Telegraph.

As for the chance that Mosley is going to actually return to F1, Ecclestone insisted: "No, no, no. He's nothing to do with formula one anymore.

"He was only there because the TV people wanted to do an interview. He's nothing to do with it."

Is Ecclestone telling Mateschitz, 'look you have to apologize to Renault in public.'
Is Ecclestone telling Mateschitz, 'look you have to apologize to Renault in public.'

Red Bull 'waiting' for Renault amid engine crisis
(GMM) Red Bull and Renault are still inching closer to divorce, whilst the prospect of reconciliation hangs in the air as a faint sign of hope.

That is because, with Mercedes and Ferrari having ruled out ending the Red Bull engine crisis, simply patching up the damaged relationship with Renault could now be the energy drink company's last chance to stay in F1.

Omnicorse, a specialist Italian publication, claims that Renault have ruled out reversing their decision to go elsewhere at least until Red Bull publicly apologizes.

Up and down pitlane, sympathy for Red Bull is also low, given the outfit's brash outspokenness, often spilling into the territory of hostility.

"It would be easier if Red Bull would sit down and solve their problems behind closed doors," Mercedes' Toto Wolff agreed in an interview with Spox.

There are, however, signs that Red Bull and Renault could patch up their tattered relationship.

On the bright side is the eight glorious world championships won jointly between 2010 and 2013, before Red Bull began to so publicly berate Renault's performance in the new 'power unit' era.

Earlier, it was said the Renault divorce was definitely complete, but Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is quoted by Germany's RTL: "Officially, nothing is finished with Renault.

"It's difficult to see what will happen but nothing is impossible. Pretty much everything is open," he added.

Another new sign of positivity is that Renault has finally decided to make available to Red Bull the upgrade, encapsulating almost all of its 12 in-season 'tokens'.

Originally scheduled for Sochi, there was speculation Renault was going to hold back the upgrade until 2016. So the fact that it could now be used by Red Bull in Austin is a sign that the warring spouses might get back together.

But even if there is the possibility of reconciliation, time is running out, with Dietrich Mateschitz having set an end-of-October deadline.

Indeed, by next weekend's Mexican grand prix it will already be 1 November, with Helmut Marko having revealed: "I hope that by the race in Austin, we know where we are going."

Horner added: "We've been waiting since May to understand what their (Renault's) intentions are. Are they in, are they out?

"Are they going to have their own team? Are they a supplier or not? We are waiting for them," added the Briton.

Plenty of engine tokens for 2016
Plenty of engine tokens for 2016

Rule tweaks give Honda, Renault 'room to breathe' – Wolff
(GMM) Mercedes agreed for F1 to ease its engine development restrictions because the sport needs more competitive teams.

That is the claim of Toto Wolff, after a key engine summit in Geneva last week also saw the FIA and Ferrari agree to tweaks that should help struggling Renault and Honda to catch up next year.

For 2016, the existing rules dictated that manufacturers would get only 25 'tokens', and all of them would have to be used before the start of the season.

However, at the Geneva meeting, it was agreed that the number of tokens next year will be increased to 32, with manufacturers also allowed to use them throughout the race season.

"In this case, we have put our hat on that we need a platform with competitive teams," Wolff told the German-language Spox.

"Honda and Renault want to be fighting with us at eye-level," he admitted. "So we cannot just take the hard line and always optimize the rules in our direction.

"Sometimes you have to give the others room to breathe. Honda entered a year later. Renault decided to become a factory team again.

"In this respect, an easing of the regulations is appropriate, saving us all this discussion that 'engine development is frozen and the others cannot catch up'," said Wolff.

"There is a level playing field, and I think that's important."

Still 'hope' for Schumacher recovery – Brawn
(GMM) One of Michael Schumacher's closest friends and former colleagues says there is still "hope" the F1 legend will recover.

As the two-year anniversary of the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver's horror skiing accident looms, official news about his condition has now completely dried up.

The latest media reports indicate that Schumacher, listed at the height of his powers in F1 as weighing 75kg, has lost a staggering 30 kilograms, with his round-the-clock medical treatment now costing the family some $150,000 a week.

Ross Brawn, a prominent management figure throughout 46-year-old Schumacher's record-setting successes, says he keeps in touch with his friend.

"We try and keep a balance of going to see him against calling and not being a pain," he told the Daily Express newspaper.

"I've been to see him a few times. Corinna calls me occasionally and keeps me updated," Brawn revealed.

"We just keep praying every day that he'll recover to a stage where … it's slow, but there's always hope."

Will Renault's engine upgrades in Austin shock the paddock?
Will Renault's engine upgrades in Austin shock the paddock?

Renault brings upgraded unit to Austin
Renault will have its new specification of power unit available to its customer teams, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, at this weekend's United States Grand Prix, should the squads elect to use it.

Renault had not used any of its available development tokens so far in 2015 but will bring an updated engine to Austin, as it bids to close the gap on Mercedes and Ferrari.

Red Bull has not yet decided whether to use the new specification, as any change will mean that Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat will sustain a grid penalty for the race at the Circuit of the Americas.

"We will have our new specification of power unit available to use in Austin," said Renault Director of Operations Remi Taffin.

"The primary changes involve the internals of the ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] to give improved power and efficiency.

"We know that introducing the new power unit will incur a grid penalty so the decision to use will be made in full consultation with the teams. At this point of the season obviously points are crucial so if circumstances allow then we will use on track.

"Our reliability has been good in the last three races and performance more in line with our expectations; both our teams just need a clean weekend to show the improved potential of both packages."

Bernie wants the screaming V8s back
Bernie wants the screaming V8s back

Ecclestone wants to force V8s for 2016
Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes that the sport should drop the current turbocharged V6 power units in favor of a return to V8 engines for 2016, even without consent from the teams.

Ecclestone has repeatedly spoken out against the 1.6-litre V6 units, which were introduced for the 2014 campaign, lamenting a greater focus on efficiency and lack of engine noise.

Although any changes to the regulations would normally require unanimous agreement of the teams, Ecclestone is confident that he would be able to push through such a plan.

"I don't think we should get consent from the teams," Ecclestone told The Independent.

"I think we should just do it and say to them, 'If you don't like it you can go to arbitration'. We could get the V8s back next year. People can build them in no time so we ought to do it."

Ecclestone is also eager to see an independent engine supplier return to the Formula 1 paddock, given the current engine dilemma facing Red Bull and junior team Toro Rosso.

"If Ferrari only agreed to supply one customer engine, Mercedes only agreed to supply one, nobody would have any engines. That's exactly what the situation is," Ecclestone went on to explain.

"We need an independent engine supplier. I've been on about this now for a year and a half."

Yasuhisa Arai happy with Honda's progress
Yasuhisa Arai happy with Honda's progress

Honda development going in 'good direction'
Honda motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai says the previous Russian Grand Prix proved that the firm's season-long engine development push is going in a "good direction".

Honda used the final four of its allocated engine development tokens ahead of the Sochi event, with three spent on the combustion of the engine, and one on exhaust upgrades.

Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso – who both raced with older-spec engines – finished ninth and 10th, although Alonso was later penalized and dropped to 11th.

Arai made clear that the focus for the remainder of the season will be to "fine tune" these upgrades, starting with this weekend's United States Grand Prix in Austin.

"Our goal is to gather more data throughout the remaining races, especially from our new ICE introduced in Sochi two weeks ago," explained Arai.

"The team has confirmed that the development direction is good, so we will now work on fine tuning it for the remaining four races.

"It will be interesting to see how this will work together with the updated aero package this weekend."

McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier is also encouraged by what he has seen.

"We can't be too pleased with taking home two points at the last Grand Prix in Russia," began Boullier.

"But it does go some way to validating the relentless hard work being undertaken by every member of the McLaren-Honda team, and the constant strive for better reliability and trouble-free weekends.

"It also means we go to Austin on the back of an encouraging weekend and hungry for another more positive performance as we near the end of the season."

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