Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday

  • Wolff defends Hamilton

    Wolff defends Hamilton after dire Hungary GP

  • Renault close to deciding F1 future – Ecclestone
  • Singapore tweaks set to boost overtaking
  • Rossi hints at Haas talks
  • Monza takes step towards securing GP
  • F1 would welcome Mosley back – Ecclestone
  • Hamilton Expects Chaotic Starts After Formula 1 Bans Electronic Aids
  • Singapore GP announces changes to F1 circuit near Empress Place
  • Marko lauds 'perfect' Verstappen performance

Wolff defends Hamilton after dire Hungary GP
(GMM) For the first time in the 'power unit' era otherwise dominated by the German team, Mercedes "did not deserve" a podium finish in Hungary.

That is the admission of team boss Toto Wolff, even though he defended the erratic driving of reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton was slammed by the British press for his performance last Sunday, as the Daily Mail said it resembled someone on the road "after eight pints".

The Telegraph said it was the kind of "rash performance" from Hamilton that "holds back his elevation to the status of being a truly great champion".

But Wolff said it is not fair to be too critical.

However, he admitted: "Whoever makes as many mistakes as we did in Budapest does not deserve to be on the podium.

"But we do not need to put our head in the sand. Our drivers are still in positions one and two and we have a solid lead in the constructors' championship as well," Wolff told the Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper.

"We are putting all our energy into the search for errors and solutions, not for someone to blame."

As for Hamilton's calamitous performance, Wolff said: "You have to remember that there are people sitting in these cars.

"Just 24 hours earlier, the same Lewis did an outstanding qualifying and everyone said so, so please do not assume now that he has some sort of problem."

Wolff admitted, however, that if Mercedes can have days like Sunday, then the now 42-point gap between Hamilton's lead and the chasing Sebastian Vettel cannot be ignored.

"That (gap) is not even two race wins," said the Austrian, "so we are far from being able to drive relaxed and casually to the end of the season.

"You can never write off Ferrari."

Ecclestone expects Renault to stay
Ecclestone expects Renault to stay

Renault close to deciding F1 future – Ecclestone
(GMM) Among Renault's top brass, it is decision time.

That is the claim of the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, reporting that CEO Carlos Ghosn, Alain Prost and Cyril Abiteboul all met in Paris on Tuesday.

"Renault are close to a decision," said F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

"Formula one is still good for them but they have to decide whether they want to supply engines or go back to running a team," he told The Times newspaper, as Renault and Lotus now openly admit that talks are taking place.

"We want them to stay, obviously," Ecclestone added, "but I think we will know soon what is happening."

Writing in the Swiss newspaper Blick, veteran correspondent Roger Benoit said that despite rumors to the contrary, Renault is committed to honoring its engine supply contracts with Red Bull and Toro Rosso next year.

But it is clear that the relationship between Renault and Red Bull is dysfunctional, and so an agreement to mutually terminate the deal also cannot be ruled out.

"I think if they stay in they need to do the job properly," team boss Christian Horner told BBC's Radio 4. "You can't be half in or half out in F1.

"They have those decisions to make in the near future and it will be interesting to see what they decide," he added.

Singapore tweaks set to boost overtaking
(GMM) A tweak to the layout of Singapore's F1 street circuit could boost overtaking.

That is the view of track engineer Jonathan Giesecke, who has overseen the tweak that was made due to city enhancements in the area around turns 11 to 13 of the highly-popular F1 night race layout.

The local Channel Newsasia said the amended turn 11 will now be slightly slower, cars will now use the left lane of Anderson Bridge, and the hairpin at turn 13 is now wider.

The changes have been approved by the governing FIA.

"It's a fantastic challenge to translate changes to Singapore's Civic District into improvements to the Marina Bay street circuit," said Giesecke.

"I expect the modifications from Turns 11 to 13 will enable closer racing and the potential for additional passing opportunities," he added.

Will there be an American on the F1 grid in 2016?
Will there be an American on the F1 grid in 2016?

Rossi hints at Haas talks
(GMM) GP2 driver Alexander Rossi is not ruling out a move into formula one next year with the new American team Haas.

The closely Ferrari-aligned Haas has played down reports it categorically wants an American in the cockpit, insisting that a pair of drivers with experience would be ideal for its first season on the grid.

23-year-old Rossi is both an American and a rookie, but he has hinted that talks are nonetheless taking place with Haas.

"At this stage of the year there are always talks," he told the Dutch publication Formule 1.

"There is not much to say," Rossi, a former Marussia and Caterham test driver, added.

"They (Haas) are now trying to get their team off the ground and will choose what drivers they want at the end of the year — and it's only July now."

Asked if he feels ready to race in F1, he insisted: "I have felt ready for a while.

"I do not regret that I stayed in GP2 for a third season. Last winter I thought about Indycars but I came to Europe in 2009 to make my dream of being a formula one driver come true, and this is the best way to do that," Rossi added.

Monza takes step towards securing GP
(GMM) Monza has reportedly taken a major step towards securing the future of its historic Italian grand prix.

Local media reports say the Senate has belatedly agreed to make EUR 20 million in funding for the F1 race and the modernization of the Monza circuit exempt from tax.

"It is an important signal that indicates the government's willingness to ensure the continuation of the Italian grand prix," former F1 driver Ivan Capelli, now president of the Milan automobile club, is quoted by L'Eco di Bergamo newspaper.

And Andrea Dell'Orto, boss of the race promoter Sias, said he will now meet with local mayors in Milan and Monza and thereafter "continue negotiations for the renewal of the contract with Bernie Ecclestone".

"We believed, and now finally we can save the Italian grand prix at Monza," said Lombardy's regional sport minister Antonio Rossi.

"Formula one does not exist without this race that is part of racing history. To go without it would be madness, doing irreparable harm to our country and to F1," he added.

And Lombardy president Roberto Maroni was quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport: "With this tax free investment, we can now close the deal with Ecclestone by early September."

Ecclestone, however, admitted he is frustrated with promoters like Monza, who believe they have a "right" to always be on an ever-expanding calendar.

"We've got all these people who have had formula one for a long time who think it's their right, and they can go to sleep and not do all the things that others are prepared to do," he told Spain's Movistar broadcaster.

"What's sad is that I made a deal two years ago, and they forgot it. That's what is sad," Ecclestone insisted.

Ecclestone says F1 needs Max Mosley
Ecclestone says F1 needs Max Mosley

F1 would welcome Mosley back – Ecclestone
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone thinks F1 is too democratic.

"The trouble is that formula one today is too much of a democracy. And I'm a little bit against democracy," the sport's so-called 'supremo' told the Spanish F1 broadcaster Movistar.

For years, the now 84-year-old Briton ruled formula one hand-in-hand with the similarly autocratic Max Mosley.

But today, the FIA is led by the much more appeasing Jean Todt.

"The difficulty is getting everybody to agree," Ecclestone said in the interview.

"If we could get the FIA to agree, we could do whatever we felt was the right thing to do."

He despises the current 'power unit' engine formula, but he also thinks the rules regime in other areas has made the sport "too clinical".

"'Do not do this, you can't do that'," Ecclestone charged.

He said F1 should become more of a "driver championship", as at present the cars are too much under the control of engineers on the pitwall.

"The funny thing is that the drivers don't like it. They want to be in charge," said Ecclestone.

And when asked if he would welcome Mosley back to the paddock, Ecclestone answered: "It would be nice to have Max back again. I think most people would."

Finally, Ecclestone admitted he has been surprised by how much Honda has struggled since returning to F1 this year, saying he knows both the Japanese carmaker as well as McLaren are "not happy".

"Everybody thought the Honda engine would be fantastic," he said, "including me. And I know absolutely, 100 per cent, Fernando (Alonso) is not happy."

Hamilton Expects Chaotic Starts After Formula 1 Bans Electronic Aids
New rules "banning the significant electronic aids and guidance from the pitwall that help drivers to make quick getaways come into force" from the next F1 grand prix, according Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has "suffered terrible starts at the past two races." He recovered to win the British Grand Prix, but he put in "one of the most erratic performances of his career in Budapest on Sunday."

Hamilton described his race to sixth as "laughable." However, he believes that starts "will now be crucial and predicted that the first few seconds of the final nine races this year could verge on chaos as drivers struggle to judge how their cars are behaving."

Hamilton dismissed fears that too many cars suffering uncontrollable starts "could be dangerous." But he said, "I expect more unpredictable starts. I imagine it is going to get worse. It’s not dangerous, it’s racing." The startline ban "is the first sign that Formula One is acting to curb the power of engineers with their laptops over the drivers." London Times

Drivers now cross the Anderson bridge on the other side

Singapore GP announces changes to F1 circuit near Empress Place
Race promoter Singapore GP announced on Tuesday several modifications to the Marina Bay Street Circuit ahead of September's Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix.

The stretch from Turn 11 to Turn 13 will be modified to accommodate the enhancement works for the new Civic District, which aims to integrate the areas at Esplanade Park and Empress Place.

The right-hand Turn 11 will be re-aligned to sit tighter with the left-hand side of Fullerton Road for a slightly slower corner speed compared to last year's race. The left-hand Turn 12 will be modified slightly so that drivers now enter the left lane of Anderson Bridge. The Turn 13 hairpin turn will be widened by one meter to enable more overtaking opportunities.

Meanwhile, the new 220m Jubilee Bridge – which links the Merlion Park to the Esplanade promenade – has also been incorporated into the Circuit Park, providing spectators with an excellent vantage point of the fireworks display once the checkered flag is waved.

Patrons can now access the Circuit Park via a new gate at the Merlion Park. Ticketholders are advised to visit the official website (www.singaporegp.sg) to be updated on the new Circuit Park gate locations.

Said Colin Syn, Singapore GP's deputy chairman: "It's a win-win situation that the development of the new arts, culture and lifestyle precinct will provide an upgraded experience, but also potentially make for closer racing at this year's F1 Singapore Grand Prix."

Marko lauds 'perfect' Verstappen performance
Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko hailed Max Verstappen's "perfect" performance during the Hungarian Grand Prix as the Dutch rookie collected fourth position.

Verstappen survived a drive-through penalty for a Safety Car infringement en route to a career-high finish, securing Toro Rosso's best Formula 1 result since 2008.

"It was perfect," Marko told GPUpdate.net when asked about Verstappen's race.

"He didn't do any mistakes. Strategy and pitstops, everything was working. He did get a drive-through, but luckily this didn't change the result.

"He is learning and this is for sure not all we will see from him. He is in a fantastic environment. He has so much to learn. The more pressure he has, the less easy he can develop.

"But the results thus far have been fantastic. Who would have thought he would get a fourth place before the mid-point of the season?"

Verstappen's father, former Formula 1 driver Jos, was also thrilled by the showing.

"It was exciting," said Verstappen Sr. "You never knew what else might happen. I was standing with my fingers crossed hoping that he would reach the checkered flag.

"I'm very happy with this result. It's good before the summer break. For the team this is also very important: this fourth place means 12 points.

"After the result, I can of course only be positive. He is good at learning. I thought he was very strong in qualifying. He made progress during the sessions.

"In Austria he was also very good in qualifying. In Britain, qualifying was not so great, but that was because there was a problem with the car. But I definitely see progress with Max.

"In the races he was always strong. If he keeps going, he will get there."

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