Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Down 120 HP to Mercedes, Honda plans to increase 45-50 HP in Spa. However, Mercedes has not used any of their tokens yet. Will they roll out another 100 HP?

    Honda set for 50 horse power step – reports

  • Button backs Montoya's plan to improve F1
  • Trouble brewing over planned 2016 calendar
  • Vettel 'a threat' to Mercedes' title – Hakkinen
  • Baku welcomes summer date on 2016 calendar
  • Formula 1 Returns To Germany & The Hockenheimring

Honda set for 50 horse power step – reports
(GMM) Struggling Honda is preparing to take a significant step forward of up to 50 horse power after the summer break.

Under severe pressure from works partner McLaren, the Japanese marque's F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai announced in Hungary that a big upgrade is finally coming in time for Spa.

The Spanish sports newspaper Marca reports that the upgrade will involve Honda trading in most or all of its remaining performance 'tokens', with a source saying it will amount to about 45 horse power.

McLaren team boss Eric Boullier had said in Hungary: "We still lack 120hp compared to Mercedes. So we need to continue to work under high pressure."

The Frenchman is also quoted by the Japanese broadcaster NHK: "I hope that Honda is aware of the situation and has a plan to make up for lost time.

"You cannot buy time of course, but you can add resources. So where 450 people is sufficient now for Mercedes, Honda needs 700 so that we can catch up," said Boullier.

So far, Arai has resisted a lot of the pressure being applied by an increasingly distressed McLaren, which led to rumors the Japanese might be stepped down.

But an insider told Speed Week that Arai in fact retains the backing of Takahiro Hachigo, Honda's new CEO.

"Arai is a long-time friend of Hachigo and has won the trust of the new CEO," the source said.

And Arai insisted that Honda made real progress in Hungary, where for the first time in 2015 the troublesome 'power unit' was reportedly run at full speed.

"There were no limitations, no restrictions and it worked out," he is quoted by Brazil's UOL Esporte.

"Honestly, I am very happy. I want to say thank you to the team and thank you for the support at the factories in Sakura (Japan) and Woking. There are many people working hard and the result can be seen now."

Juan Monotya happy to be racing where the driver makes a difference
Juan Monotya happy to be racing where the driver makes a difference

Button backs Montoya's plan to improve F1
(GMM) Jenson Button has backed former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya's proposal to spice up the sport "straight away".

Asked about F1's high-profile struggle to maintain its position at the very pinnacle of motor sport, former McLaren and Williams driver Montoya suggested that tire and brake temperature sensors should simply be banned.

The Colombian, who has raced in Nascar and nod Indycar since leaving F1 last decade, said today's grand prix stars have become "lazy" because they are fed too much information about the tires and brakes by engineers.

"If you take all that away it becomes a feel thing again," he had said recently.

When asked about Montoya's comments, his former contemporary Button, today a McLaren driver, answered: "That's how it was in the past.

"Nobody was giving you any temperatures so you had to feel if they were getting too hot or not," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

"So Juan Pablo is right, and I never would have thought we would have the same opinion!"

Monisha Kaltenborn crying again
Monisha Kaltenborn crying again

Trouble brewing over planned 2016 calendar
(GMM) Discontent is brewing over F1's proposed calendar for 2016.

After the most recent meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, the FIA declared that a 21-date provisional schedule for next year "was approved".

Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn, however, expressed concerns that stretching beyond an agreed limit of 20 races will require "additional staff and resources".

And Red Bull's Christian Horner added: "Tough for the whole factory not to have a summer break. I think it's important that we have one."

When asked about the loss of the summer break and pushing beyond 20 races, an unnamed boss from the F1 midfield told Auto Motor und Sport: "Both are violations of the regulations.

"So it is only possible if all the teams agree. And not all of them do."

The report added, however, that no team has lodged a formal complaint so far.

That could be because it is only a provisional calendar, and quite often a race or two is dropped before a season's ultimate schedule is finalized.

Germany, for instance, is scheduled to return in 2016 after a break this year.

But Ecclestone said: "I don't know what's going to happen with Germany. We have a contract, so if they honor the contract, they should be there."

Another endangered race is Monza.

"Probably Monza," Ecclestone said when asked by Spain's Movistar F1 if one of the proposed 21 races could be dropped.

You know, if I had the extra 100 HP Lewis has I would have a chance
You know, if I had the extra 100 HP Lewis has I would have a chance

Vettel 'a threat' to Mercedes' title – Hakkinen
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel is in the hunt for the 2015 title.

That is the claim of former double world champion Mika Hakkinen, after Ferrari's Vettel broke through for an unexpected second victory of the season in Hungary.

It means the German's gap to Mercedes' Nico Rosberg is now just 21 points, while just another 21 points further up the table is Lewis Hamilton's championship lead.

"Vettel is a threat," Hakkinen told his sponsor Hermes in an exclusive interview.

"The season is only half over so there are still a huge number of points at stake. Vettel is doing an extremely good job at the moment," the former McLaren driver added.

Hakkinen also hailed the surge in form of the young Russian driver Daniil Kvyat, who earlier this year seemed easily outclassed by his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

But Hakkinen, 46, says the tables have turned.

"Kvyat is currently putting pressure on Ricciardo, which is putting the Australian in situations like what we saw in Hungary," he said.

Indeed, Rosberg admitted his anger with Ricciardo following their on-track clash, which cost the Mercedes driver a lot of points.

"Daniel is a nice guy," Rosberg wrote in his column for Bild newspaper. "But in Hungary he overdid it. It was absolutely my corner although the FIA did not punish him, and I have to accept that."

Hakkinen concluded: "Ricciardo is a respected and good driver, but he is clearly under pressure to perform at the moment."

Arif Rahimov
Arif Rahimov

Baku welcomes summer date on 2016 calendar
(GMM) Organizers of the inaugural grand prix in the Azerbaijan capital Baku have welcomed their summer race date on the 2016 calendar.

The Baku race, scheduled to take place on city streets in the former Soviet state, has controversially pushed the F1 schedule over its limit of 20 grands prix.

Race chief Arif Rahimov, however, is delighted with the July 17 date.

"From the beginning I asked Mr. Ecclestone to give us a date in the summer," he is quoted by Russia's Championat.

"Baku in July is usually 30 to 32 degrees, so very similar to what we saw in Hungary last weekend.

"From the very beginning," added the race CEO, "there was a lot of support on the part of Bernie Ecclestone.

"He was interested in the project, especially after his first visit to Baku in October last year. From his comments, I realized that he liked the city and made sure that we made the right decision to have the race in Baku," added Rahimov.

Formula 1 Returns To Germany & The Hockenheimring
Exactly one year before the 2016 F1 German Grand Prix, the Hockenheimring is delighted to announce the start of advance ticket sales for the eagerly awaited return of Formula 1 to German soil.

From this Friday at 14:00, tickets for 2016 Formula 1 German Grand Prix – taking place the weekend of July 29-31, 2016 at the famous Hockenheimring in Baden-Württemberg – will be made available to all F1 fans.

This year’s offerings include a revised, family-friendly pricing structure with significantly discounted ticket packages, which will make a visit to the home of F1 in Germany an even more attractive option than ever for old and new fans alike.

Weekend Tickets From 99 Euros
Being fast is worth it: customers will be able to avail of a limited special early bird offering in the first ticket sales phase – which lasts until 30 September 2015. For the price of a standard Sunday ticket, you will be able to get three whole days of racing action. That means, you could experience an entire Formula 1 race weekend at the Motodrom from just €99!

New Prices For New Fans
As the promoter of the 2016 Formula 1 German Grand Prix, the Hockenheim-Ring GmbH is specifically excited to engage families with its new ticket pricing structure and also to inspire young people to come and witness the highest level of motorsport in the world for themselves. Entry for children up to 6 years of age is free of charge (without a seat reservation), while children and youths under the age of 16 can purchase tickets for every seat bar the South Stand Upper Tier for only €45 (Sunday) or €50 (weekend).

One Ticket, Many Perspectives
As in 2014, all ticket holders will have the opportunity to watch the race from several viewpoints. Friday offers a free choice of seating on the open Grandstands while the spectator areas on the Parabolica and Hairpin sections are freely accessible on each race day. This means that fans will benefit from being able to experience the thrilling high-speed action at various points of the classic circuit throughout the F1 weekend.

Anticipation at the Hockenheimring
"We are delighted to host another Formula 1 race in Germany after a year's break. The signs for German fans in particular so far are very good: Sebastian Vettel, racing for the first time in a Ferrari on home soil will be dueling with Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes – a scenario that many fans will be relishing. We are excited to welcome F1 and its incredible fans back to Hockenheim and are looking forward to a packed Motodrom next July," said Georg Seiler, Managing Director of the Hockenheim-Ring GmbH.

Advance Tickets go on Sale on July 31, 2015 at 14:00.

You can book your Formula 1 tickets via the online ticket shop at or during business hours via the ticket hotline +49 (0) 6205 – 950 222.

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