Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Wolff denies Mercedes cheated

    Button expecting quick decision over 2016

  • Wolff denies Mercedes 'got away with' cheating
  • Ecclestone says Hamilton lifestyle going 'too far'
  • F1 'must work better with its partners' – Hembery
  • Renault still deciding, but no Merc engine for Red Bull
  • Monza fate no clearer after Renzi meeting
  • Alonso to maintain 'patience' with McLaren – Briatore
  • Arrivabene points finger at Raikkonen for bad start
  • Raikkonen says he 'did everything correctly' before start
  • Vettel: Losing Monza would 'rip F1's heart out'

Jenson Button
Jenson Button

Button expecting quick decision over 2016
(GMM) Jenson Button is expecting a quick decision over his future at McLaren.

Last year, the F1 world in general was critical of McLaren's long dithering over whether the popular 2009 world champion would be kept on board for 2015.

Now, the matter of Button's future is back on the agenda, with McLaren said to be undecided over whether to take up the 'option' in his existing contract that will include a pay-rise.

"I think that's something we need to discuss away from the circuit over the next few weeks," Button said at Monza.

The 35-year-old has also been linked with a move away from F1, perhaps by becoming a presenter on the BBC motoring program Top Gear.

"Hopefully over the next few weeks we can decide, either way," Button added.

"I think the whole team understands that we shouldn't have waited that long last year, whichever way it was going to go," he said.

"That won't happen again. That is one thing we have talked about, Ron (Dennis) and myself, but we've not gone into any details at all. I will know more in a couple of weeks."

Wolff denies Mercedes 'got away with' cheating
(GMM) Toto Wolff has slammed the conspiracy theorists who think Mercedes got caught cheating at Monza.

Ultimately, the stewards let Lewis Hamilton keep his win, eventually agreeing with Mercedes that the discrepancy in the pressures had occurred between the garage and the grid.

But GP2 driver Mitch Evans was distinctly unimpressed, having been thrown out of qualifying at Monza over the very same issue the day before.

"Love that consistency," he said sarcastically on Twitter. "Can I have my front row back then please?"

The international media's reaction to the Hamilton decision has also been mixed, with the Swiss outlet 20 Minuten surmising that the world champion "got away with it".

Der Spiegel called it a "Victory in the grey area".

But Spain's El Confidencial wondered of the otherwise-dominant Mercedes: "Why would they cheat?"

Team boss Wolff said: "After Spa we worked very intensely with Pirelli to make these tires safe — and now we should do something so ridiculous?

"That is not cynical — this is bullsh*t!"

F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda concurred, saying there had simply been a measuring discrepancy in the enforcement of a new rule.

"This is the first time in my life that I face a problem of this kind related to the pressure of the tires," said the triple world champion.

"When measured on the grid, the blankets have been off for a while, the pressure drops. During the race, they rise again.

"If our Pirelli guy sets the correct pressure on behalf of the tire manufacturer, then that's all we can do," Lauda added.

Hamilton was criticized for his blonde hair, but people forget Hamilton is half white. If 100% white people dye their hair blonde, why can't he?
Hamilton was criticized for his blonde hair, but people forget Hamilton is half white. If 100% white people dye their hair blonde, why can't he?

Ecclestone says Hamilton lifestyle going 'too far'
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone is no longer so sure about Lewis Hamilton's extravagant lifestyle.

Earlier, the F1 supremo hailed the Mercedes driver as the ideal world champion as he is constantly in the spotlight.

But a few days ago, Ecclestone said he thinks Hamilton might now be going "over the top".

"Maybe he's gone too far in recent months," the 84-year-old now tells Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

Indeed, in recent weeks and months, Hamilton has been 'twerking' topless with Rihanna, smoking cigars, cavorting with rappers, constantly travelling and at Monza he turned up with blonde hair and a new eagle tattoo on his neck.

He then caused outrage on Twitter on Sunday when he wore a cap and headphones during the minute's silence for the death of Justin Wilson.

"I honestly hadn't realized it was a minute of silence," Hamilton said. "My sincere apologies."

When asked about Hamilton's latest exploits, Ecclestone answered: "I don't know if it's good for him."

Earlier, Ecclestone had criticized the fiercely private Sebastian Vettel.

But he now says: "People are beginning to respect Sebastian that he is the way he is. I don't want everybody to be like Lewis.

"Perhaps it was unfair to criticize Sebastian. Actually he's a bit like me.

"We don't want the limelight. I want to do my work, and if there is no drama then I'll see if I can make one! But the big show, I'll leave that to the others," added Ecclestone.

Paul Hembery back-left
Paul Hembery back-left

F1 'must work better with its partners' – Hembery
(GMM) Paul Hembery has warned that F1 needs to make some changes if it is going to keep tire suppliers on side into the future.

Pirelli has been the sport's official partner since 2011, but it is currently locked in a battle with Michelin for the contract beyond 2016.

It has been a tumultuous and often highly controversial five-year tenure for Pirelli so far, with the latest dramas being the blowouts of Spa-Francorchamps and the Monza tire pressure saga.

Bernie Ecclestone sounds keen to keep Pirelli on board, but boss Hembery said at Monza that more testing is a condition of the brand staying in 2017.

And meetings were held at Monza whereby it was agreed that drivers need to keep their criticisms of Pirelli behind closed doors.

"We have an agreement (now) that there should be a clearer exchange between us all so that we're aiming for the same things going forward," said Hembery.

And speaking to the German news agency SID, he added: "Most of the time I enjoy my job, but it can sometimes be pretty thankless.

"Formula one is a good sport but that doesn't mean there aren't things that should change. I think expectations need to be much more realistic, based on what we can and we cannot do," said Hembery.

Crucially, however, Hembery said Pirelli continues to have the solid backing of Ecclestone, which he says is "important, especially for the sport.

"If we are not there, they still need a tire supplier. And if other people look at what sometimes happens in here, they might get the impression that it is not possible to do the job as you would like to.

"Formula one has to show that it can work with its partners," Hembery added.

Red Bull will likely run Ferrari engines in 2016
Red Bull will likely run Ferrari engines in 2016

Renault still deciding, but no Merc engine for Red Bull
(GMM) Cyril Abiteboul has played down reports that Renault has now decided to buy Lotus.

After a long period of obvious negotiations between the two sides, the rumor swept the Monza paddock on Sunday that a deal has finally been done.

"As we sit here and talk, it is still not decided yet," Abiteboul, managing director of Renault Sport F1, told Speed Week.

However, there is now strong speculation that Red Bull and Renault will definitely split for 2016, even though it is not clear who Red Bull's next partner will be.

For instance, earlier at the weekend it was said that Daimler – particularly its marketing department – had green-lighted a supply of Mercedes power for the energy drink-owned team for 2016.

But now, Bild newspaper says: "We have learned that Red Bull will not get Mercedes engines in 2016."

The report said Red Bull officials met with Ferrari at Monza, "but there is no agreement yet".

What appears more definite for now is that Renault will eventually do the Lotus deal.

Abiteboul said: "Renault has had a leading role in formula one for many years, and we want to stay.

"The decision lies with the Renault Group and our president Carlos Ghosn.

"We are aware that the role of pure engine supplier is no longer desirable. The consequence is that either you leave altogether or you return with a factory team.

"I would personally be very sorry if Renault leaves F1. We have been connected to the sport in different ways for the past 38 years," Abiteboul added.

He also admitted that the delay in an improved engine specification for the Red Bull teams later this year, originally promised for Sochi, is connected to Renault's current deliberations.

"Naturally, it depends on what we do in the future. If Renault decides to leave formula one, then we don't need to bring an improved engine," said Abiteboul.

Monza is magic, if F1 loses it, the sport will take a big hit
Monza is magic, if F1 loses it, the sport will take a big hit

Monza fate no clearer after Renzi meeting
(GMM) Monza's future on the F1 calendar appeared no clearer on Sunday, despite the attendance of the Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.

Renzi, Italy's new 40-year-old PM, arrived at the fabled Autodromo and quickly entered Bernie Ecclestone's motor home, La Gazzetta dello Sport said.

The 10-minute meeting took place before the usual incredible podium scenes, in which an emotional Sebastian Vettel appeared in red colors for the first time.

"If we take this (race) away for any shit*y money reasons I think you are basically ripping our hearts out," was the German's message to Ecclestone.

But eyes are now being cast at the politicians, as the race organizers struggle to put together the money to meet Ecclestone's EUR 25 million per year race fee.

Gazzetta said that when reporters asked Renzi on Sunday "Will you save Monza?", he did not respond.

But Monza mayor Roberto Scanagatti said: "The prime minister has committed to Monza. His presence here is testimony that the government has an interest in the grand prix remaining here."

Alonso is very jealous of Vettel
Alonso is very jealous of Vettel

Alonso to maintain 'patience' with McLaren – Briatore
(GMM) Flavio Briatore says Fernando Alonso is maintaining his "patience" with McLaren-Honda.

Paddock rumors indicate that all is no longer well between McLaren and Honda, as team chiefs reportedly lobby for Yasuhisa Arai's scalp before damage is done to the brand.

"The brand has not been damaged yet as there is such a strong record over many, many years," said McLaren boss Eric Boullier.

"But if we cannot find and bring new sponsors, there is damage. It will be more difficult to bring sponsors in unless we show that we are a team on the move and we can get points quickly."

Until now, however, Spaniard Alonso – often said to be moody and trouble-making – has kept calm and patient, insisting that McLaren-Honda will ultimately succeed.

But when asked if Alonso is basically "wasting" his career at McLaren, Briatore said at Monza: "He made a choice, it could be right or wrong, but it is not sad."

Briatore, the former Renault chief, still oversees Alonso's management, as he told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "The economic agreement with McLaren is important. While they pay, we stay there with patience.

"Honda? It is as though they trained for the Olympics, beginning two years beforehand but then going there with worn-out shoes," he added.

Arrivabene blames Raikkonen
Arrivabene blames Raikkonen

Arrivabene points finger at Raikkonen for bad start
Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has speculated that Kimi Raikkonen was probably to blame for his failure to get away from the grid at the start of the Italian Grand Prix.

Raikkonen had put his Ferrari on the front row, after edging out teammate Sebastian Vettel in qualifying to line-up second. However, a disastrous start saw him drop right to the back and while he did recover and finish fifth, it was very much a missed opportunity.

Quizzed on what happened after the race, Arrivabene said they have still to analyze it precisely, but he speculated that "finger" trouble was the issue.

"If it's a technical issue we will let you know, but at the moment it looked like he was struggling, or messing a bit, with his finger to follow the procedure. But to make an accusation before I have data is wrong," he told reporters at Monza.

"What I can say to be positive is that on Saturday he made a fantastic qualifying and on Sunday into the race, starting from that position, he was doing very good overtaking and we were happy.

"Of course, if you are asking what the ideal situation would be it was to see Kimi go and pass for first in the first corner and to have Vettel second or third.

"This would be ideal, but we have to be happy because we had a driver who was second, we are still second in the constructors' championship.

"That's fine."

Raikkonen flubbed the start at Monza
Raikkonen flubbed the start at Monza

Raikkonen says he 'did everything correctly' before start
Kimi Raikkonen feels that he "did everything correctly" ahead of his nightmare start at the Italian Grand Prix, during which he dropped from second to the back of the pack.

Raikkonen, who had out-qualified Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, initially remained stationary as the lights went out, with rivals darting past on the run down to the first chicane.

Although a spirited fightback saw the Finn cross the line in fifth position, he expressed his frustrating at missing out on a return to the podium, and was at a loss to explain his poor getaway.

"I don't know exactly what happened at the start," conceded Raikkonen.

"As far as I know I did everything correctly, but the car went into the anti-stall and did not move at all. I still don't have the right explanation about what happened, but it's a really bad thing that cost us a lot.

"If you start from second place and, after a few seconds, you're in last position, it's not easy to see the positive side of the race: we wasted a big opportunity to fight at the front."

Raikkonen was nonetheless encouraged by the speed of his car throughout the weekend.

"Obviously I'm a bit disappointed, as we were hoping for a better result in our home race, but if we think that after the first hundred meters we were last it was still a good result," he said.

"Overall we had a pretty good speed all weekend so in a way we have to be happy for what we have done because here we were expecting more difficulties.

"I was surprised that we could get through some cars that are very fast on the straights, this shows that we are doing the right things, pushing the car in the right direction and improving in all areas."

Everyone loves the spirit of Monza
Everyone loves the spirit of Monza

Vettel: Losing Monza would 'rip F1's heart out'
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel believes that Formula 1's heart would be "ripped out" if the Italian Grand Prix dropped off the calendar.

Monza's current contract expires after the 2016 season, with talks ongoing between F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and track officials.

Vettel experienced his first Monza podium as a Ferrari driver by finishing second in Sunday's race, and says the sport must not lose the race.

"This is the best second place I have ever had," said Vettel.

"If we take this away from the calendar for any s****y money reason you are basically ripping our hearts out. The emotions here are incredible."

Lewis Hamilton, whose victory is in doubt over a potential tire breach, also spoke out in support of the race, stating: "This circuit is such a special one for all the drivers.

"When you stand on that podium you feel incredibly proud to be among all the greats that have stood up there, and the sea of fans is unlike anything I've seen.

"It's one of the best tracks in the world. It has to stay for moral reasons."

Felipe Massa, who finished third, added: "Here we are in the history of Formula 1.

"When I see the podium here, people screaming and crying, we cannot lose that."

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