Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • It will be business as usual for the powerful Mercedes at Suzuka
    In Singapore they could not use their power advantage, but it will be business as usual for the powerful Mercedes engine at Suzuka

    Verstappen thought of father as he defied team orders

  • Suzuka will be 'business as usual' after Mercedes slump
  • Toro Rosso wants engine uncertainty to end
  • Mercedes admits close to Manor engine deal
  • Horner hints Verstappen to have Red Bull future
  • Rossi overcomes radio loss on debut
  • Ferrari promises Singapore 'not a one-off'
  • Red Bull: Ferrari our only engine option

Verstappen thought of father as he defied team orders
(GMM) Max Verstappen has admitted to thinking about his forceful father when Toro Rosso issued team orders during the Singapore grand prix.

Told to let his teammate Carlos Sainz past so that the Spaniard on fresher tires could try to attack the car ahead, 17-year-old Verstappen instantly shouted back "No!"

"He was asked four times to let me go and didn't," Sainz told Spanish reporters afterwards. "That's a little embarrassing.

Verstappen defied team orders
Verstappen defied team orders

"I felt that I could catch the Force India, but Max made his choice and it was to not listen."

Dutchman Verstappen, however, defended his defiance on the basis that he had worked hard throughout the race for his position, fighting up from dead last.

"I didn't see a reason to let him past," he told De Telegraaf newspaper, "and if it was the other way around, he wouldn't have let me past either."

Sainz disputed that, insisting that while he and Verstappen get on well, they are "rivals" that do often need to think above the interests of the team.

Verstappen, however, admitted to knowing that if he had moved over for Sainz, he would have incurred the wrath of his feisty father and former F1 driver Jos.

"He told me that he would have kicked me in the balls if I had let him past," the teenager smiled.

And ultimately, Verstappen's defiance received the backing of his boss Franz Tost.

"Max was right," he said. "If Carlos had been much faster, he would have got closer, but he always remained a few tenths behind. In the end it was therefore the right decision, and that's what I told them."

Tost said he is sure the disagreement will not lead to an escalation of hostilities between Sainz and Verstappen.

"I expect absolutely no dispute," he insisted. "Both are professional enough."

Verstappen confirmed: "I talked to Carlos and everything is fine. This will not have any major impact."

With his near 100 HP advantage, Lewis Hamilton will run away and hide at Suzuka
With his near 100 HP advantage, Lewis Hamilton will run away and hide at Suzuka

Suzuka will be 'business as usual' after Mercedes slump
(GMM) All eyes are on Mercedes as the team otherwise dominant in the 'power unit' era suffered a mysterious loss of form in Singapore.

One might be forgiven for thinking Fernando Alonso would recoil at his old team Ferrari's third win of the season on Sunday.

But the McLaren-Honda driver told Italy's Rai: "It's nice to see people other than Mercedes on the podium. We will have to take a picture and put it on the wall as they have dominated for two years.

"I'm happy for my friends at Ferrari," Alonso insisted, "and I hope it continues."

Much more than happy, meanwhile, is Ferrari's team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, who according to some promised before the start of the season to walk barefoot up the hills near Maranello if a red car wins three times in 2015.

"Actually I said four wins," he grinned, "which is why I want us now to have five wins!"

Ferrari took an undoubted step forward recently with the introduction of another engine specification, but also clearly faster in Singapore was Red Bull.

"It is difficult to understand what happened with Mercedes here," said Red Bull's Christian Horner.

"I think if it's the same in Japan next weekend, then Ferrari even has a chance at the world championship. But we could get to Suzuka and it's business as usual," he added.

Mercedes will certainly be hoping so.

"I don't think we could have lost so much in our car in such a short space of time between the last race (at Monza) and here," boss Toto Wolff said before leaving Singapore.

But he also admitted that the problem in Singapore remains a mystery for now.

"We cannot write it off as a one-off," said Wolff. "We need to analyze the situation and find the cause.

"I would like to go to Suzuka without this headache, then we would only have to worry about a possible typhoon," he half-smiled.

Wolff said early analysis shows that Pirelli's new tire pressure rules played "no role" in what happened at Suzuka, and eased his pessimism with comfort in Mercedes' record of utter domination to date.

"The car has not lost its aerodynamic qualities overnight," he said. "The engine is not suddenly no longer a good engine."

Even Ferrari's Arrivabene knows that, as he was asked if Singapore signaled the potential start of a 'new era' for F1.

"Honestly, I don't care about a new era," said the Italian. "I care about winning."

Franz Tost
Franz Tost – center, top

Toro Rosso wants engine uncertainty to end
(GMM) Boss Franz Tost says he wants a quick decision to be taken about Toro Rosso's engine supplier for 2016.

Although Red Bull chiefs have insisted the senior team can afford a longer delay, Tost says the situation is slightly different for Faenza based Toro Rosso.

It is believed that, at least behind the scenes, Red Bull and Renault have agreed to definitely part ways at the end of the season.

However, Mercedes is refusing to be Red Bull's alternative supplier and Honda is not yet offering deals for customers, meaning the only options left are Ferrari power or to quit F1.

"We have had good talks with Renault and the results are likely to be clear to everyone," said Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner.

"There is a good dialogue now with Ferrari but the ball is in their court. We are waiting for an answer.

"If we do not have an engine, we cannot race, that is obvious," the Briton added.

It is believed that, facing the very real prospect of Red Bull and Toro Rosso being left without engines, Bernie Ecclestone is now stepping in.

The feeling in the paddock is that, while Red Bull has made threats before, this one is genuinely serious.

"Red Bull leaving would be critical to the entire sport," Mercedes' team chairman and F1 legend Niki Lauda admitted.

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, however, said in Singapore: "I'm not worried yet. I think we've still got time.

"I think if we're in this position in December, then maybe I'm a bit worried.

"Maybe then I'm facing a year of getting paid to do nothing," he grinned.

Slightly more worried, however, is Tost, boss of the similarly Red Bull-owned secondary team Toro Rosso.

"We are a smaller team," he told the Austrian broadcaster ORF. "We have only half the people that the other team has.

"We have to start in early October with the design of the car, otherwise it will not be ready in time.

"It is important," added Tost, "that we know what power unit we are using, because each manufacturer has different dimensions and we know that in formula one, every millimeter counts."

John Booth may get Mercedes engines for his minnow Manor team
John Booth may get Mercedes engines for his minnow Manor team

Mercedes admits close to Manor engine deal
(GMM) Mercedes is now all but confirming that it will begin to supply engines to the British backmarker Manor from 2016.

As well as running its works team, the German marque already supplies its industry-leading 'power unit' to customers Williams, Force India and Lotus.

But with Lotus set to be bought by Renault, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff declared in Singapore that "If Lotus goes to Renault, this (Manor) is definitely an interesting team.

"It is a real racing team that is soundly financed," he told the German news agency SID.

"And maybe they will have a cooperation on the chassis with Williams, which then makes it even easier because Williams is also a customer (of Mercedes)," he added.

Niki Lauda, the Mercedes team chairman, also confirmed the news, telling the German broadcaster Sky that Mercedes has a "fourth team" for its power unit next year.

Lauda insisted there were never serious talks to supply engines to Red Bull next year, partly because its owner Dietrich Mateschitz was always reluctant to work with the three-pointed star.

"That is why time passed and we had to decide who we are supplying engines to," said the triple world champion.

So if Manor now becomes Mercedes-powered, a door could open for the German camp to slot its official reserve Pascal Wehrlein onto the 2016 race grid.

Wolff is reluctant to talk about it.

"As important as the subject is," he said, "Pascal needs to focus at the moment on winning in DTM. Then we will see if we can accommodate him in formula one."

With just two rounds to go, German Wehrlein, 20, leads the DTM standings for Mercedes by 14 points.

Horner plans to move Verstappen up to Red Bull when he can
Horner plans to move Verstappen up to Red Bull when he can

Horner hints Verstappen to have Red Bull future
(GMM) Max Verstappen may be about to leap into contention for a meteoric promotion to Red Bull Racing.

Hot on the heels of his sensational debut as a 17-year-old and recent rumors linking him with Ferrari, the latest gossip is that the talented Dutchman is now shaping up for a move from Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso.

Interestingly, Red Bull has left the door on its 2016 lineup slightly ajar, indicating that Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat are staying but not actually announcing the news officially for now.

"Ricciardo," said team boss Horner, "is on a long-term contract as is Dany Kvyat, who obviously, from our perspective, has options that we have to exercise at certain points in time."

Verstappen, meanwhile, catapulted straight from F3 to F1 last winter and, in Singapore, continued to astound with his fighting drive from the back and controversial defiance of team orders.

Horner admitted the young Dutchman, to finally turn 18 next week, is on Red Bull's radar.

"It shows that investing in youth works," he told the Guardian. "We have demonstrated it with Sebastian, Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat and these two youngsters (Verstappen and Toro Rosso teammate Carlos Sainz)."

As for meteoric Verstappen, Horner said: "Max is doing a great job and he is probably going to give us a headache in a season or two.

"It is a great problem to have and the driver quality we possess within our group is fantastic."

Horner said recently at Monza, however, that Red Bull would think hard before changing its current driver lineup, particularly as Ricciardo and Kvyat are performing well.

"Well, changing drivers in any team is quite a big thing," he insisted.

"The drivers are pretty fundamental components and I think that if ever you're going to change, you want to change for the better."

Rossi, here ahead of Rosberg, had no radio the second half of the race
Rossi, here ahead of Rosberg, had no radio the second half of the race

Rossi overcomes radio loss on debut
Alexander Rossi overcame a mid-race loss of radio communication to lead home Manor team-mate Will Stevens and mark a "successful" debut at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Rossi replaced Roberto Merhi at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, and is also scheduled to appear for the backmarker team in Japan, the United States, Mexico and Brazil.

Rossi initially lost ground to Stevens off the line, but made a move later on the opening lap, and held the place – despite losing his radio – through to the checkered flag.

"My Formula 1 debut has been a long time coming, but it has been pretty special," said Rossi.

"All the hard work to get here paid off and it was a fantastic feeling to be racing in my first ever Grand Prix.

"I didn't get the best of starts, and as the procedure is quite new to me, it's something I'll need to work on. I recovered quite well though and got a good run into Turn 5, where I was able to get past my team-mate.

"Everything was going well until around the midpoint of the race, when I lost radio communications.

"This was particularly challenging because of the second Safety Car period and I wasn't able to receive instructions from the team about when to unlap myself.

"Despite that, I think we managed everything well and I'm very appreciative of all the effort put in by the team to make my Grand Prix debut a successful one."

Sergio Marchionne
Sergio Marchionne

Ferrari promises Singapore 'not a one-off'
Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne has promised that the Italian manufacturer's performance at the Singapore Grand Prix was "not just a one-off".

Sebastian Vettel converted pole position into victory at Marina Bay, while Kimi Raikkonen came home third, marking Ferrari's first double podium since 2013.

"Congratulations to everyone involved in this fantastic victory," said Marchionne.

"Sebastian Vettel drove like a real champion and everyone on the team, both on the track and back home in Maranello, did an absolutely perfect job.

"I'm also delighted for Kimi Raikkonen. It is wonderful to see him back on the podium too. It has been too long since two Ferrari drivers were in the first three across the line.

"This was a major victory on a difficult circuit and I'd like to dedicate it to all our tifosi who have been so steadfast in their affection and support.

"On behalf of everyone in Ferrari, I promise them this race is not just a one-off but a huge step forward on our road back to staying at the top and hearing the Italian national anthem played a lot more often."

Horner says Ferrari their only option in 2016
Horner says Ferrari their only option in 2016

Red Bull: Ferrari our only engine option
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has made clear that it is "Ferrari or nothing" regarding the outfit's power unit supply for the 2016 season.

Red Bull is close to officially splitting with current supplier Renault, which looks set to take over Lotus and return as a fully-fledged manufacturer outfit.

When asked by Sky Sports at the Singapore Grand Prix if Red Bull will be powered by Renault next season, Horner plainly responded: "Unlikely."

He added: "It's probably a Ferrari or nothing. It really is as simple as that. It's a Ferrari engine or… at the moment Mercedes won't supply, and there's no other option."

Horner said Red Bull formally requested the use of Mercedes engines at Silverstone, before the German manufacturer opted against a supply agreement.

"They've [Mercedes] made it abundantly clear, their position; it was our first option but it was always going to be a bit of a long shot," Horner went on to explain.

"Ferrari have a great history of supplying strong customer engines, and their engines look pretty strong at the moment, so subject to an agreement with Renault that would be our priority."

Horner admits a solution is needed quickly to ensure that Red Bull's 2016 car can be produced on time.

"As far as our side, yes it's getting very tight on time, but there's still time to do that; we're in the second part of September now, but by the end of the month there needs to be a conclusion," he said.

"The onus is really on the powers that be to come up with a solution or risk losing not just Red Bull, but Toro Rosso as well. There is a chance, how big that chance is doesn't really depend on us, it depends on others.

"Hopefully Ferrari can supply and there won't be an issue. But if they can't, we have a major issue."

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