Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Tost waiting on Renault

    Tost waiting for Renault's decision on future

  • Wolff says Haas' F1 approach 'smart'
  • 2017 tire call put into Ecclestone's hands
  • Allison confirms Jock Clear joining Ferrari
  • Bianchi head impact measured at 254G – report
  • Sauber still in touch with BMW – boss
  • Montezemolo 'a good front man' for F1 – Ecclestone
  • Hungary an important test for Williams – Massa
  • Stuck 'cannot understand' Ecclestone's German GP stance
  • Sauber renews drivers contracts

Tost waiting for Renault's decision on future
(GMM) Next to the Jules Bianchi tragedy and Ferrari's 2016 lineup, another key topic in Hungary this weekend will be the future of Renault.

The latest reports suggest that amid the French carmaker's deliberations about buying Lotus, Renault wants an upgrade in official F1 income.

Earlier, Renault had even been linked with a buyout of the second Red Bull team, Toro Rosso, but boss Franz Tost doubts that is now a likelihood.

"I don't know what was decided by Renault for its future," the Austrian told Italy's Omnicorse.

"Three or four months ago they came to see the factory at Faenza and then they also went to Bicester to get an idea of our facilities there.

"The negotiation went on for a while but then I started to get the feeling that Renault was not really interested in acquiring Toro Rosso," Tost added.

If Renault and Red Bull do separate, it could mean Toro Rosso needs to look for a new engine supplier, even though currently the sides are contractually bound for 2016.

"I would say we have to wait a couple of months," Tost said. "First we need to understand what Renault wants to do.

"Once they make their decision we will understand if we have to talk with the other manufacturers or not. For example with Ferrari we had a successful partnership several years ago, but at the moment there is nothing decided."

In the more immediate future, Toro Rosso and Red Bull are hoping Renault can make a much-needed step in performance this season.

There are rumors of a 'new engine' featuring Renault's token upgrades at Spa-Francorchamps, after the summer break.

"I do not expect a new engine in Spa," Tost responded, "but we'll see. I think we will have a development, but that will come later in the season.

"The hope is that the performance can be improved, respecting the promises that were made by Renault," he added.

Hass' association with Ferrari should pay dividends
Hass' association with Ferrari should pay dividends

Wolff says Haas' F1 approach 'smart'
(GMM) Another team boss has called F1 newcomer Gene Haas' approach to building up his 2016 outfit "smart".

Californian Haas, already a co-owner of a Nascar team, is entering F1 next year to promote his machine tool company Haas Automation.

His commercial and technical alliance with Ferrari, however, has raised eyebrows up and down pitlane, to the point that the FIA recently sent an inspector to Maranello to ensure the wind tunnel program is above board.

"If the FIA does an inspection and finds nothing, then for me there is no doubt that everything conforms to the current regulations," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was quoted by Speed Week.

"I find that the cooperation between Ferrari and Haas can pave new ways of working, which is very interesting," he added.

"I think the way Gene Haas is coming into formula one is very clever," Wolff said, "and it opens up a whole range of possibilities."

Agreeing with Wolff's assessment is another F1 team boss, Franz Tost, who heads the second Red Bull-owned team Toro Rosso.

Some years ago, the Faenza based team, having earlier raced with essentially a Red Bull chassis, had to alter its Haas-like approach to F1 due to a tightening of the 'customer car' restrictions.

Asked if F1 has now swung back towards customer cars, Tost told Italy's Omnicorse: "In reality there has been no real regulatory change, because it will be Dallara who is manufacturing their (Haas') cars.

"Everything else, from the wings to the suspension and the power unit will come from Ferrari.

"I think Haas was smart in dealing with this situation, because it is not easy to get into formula one from scratch. So I think they have gone in the best direction to be competitive enough from the beginning," added Tost.

Will Pirelli or Michelin pay more money to Bernie for the tire contract?
Will Pirelli or Michelin pay more money to Bernie for the tire contract?

2017 tire call put into Ecclestone's hands
(GMM) The decision about F1's tire supplier for 2016 has been moved into the hands of Bernie Ecclestone.

On Monday, we reported that both Michelin and Pirelli had satisfied the FIA that they are both technically competent to be considered for the 2017-2019 contract to serve F1 as its future sole supplier.

Incumbent Pirelli is said to be F1 supremo Ecclestone's favorite, but there is also speculation FIA president Jean Todt, a Frenchman, may be keen to see Michelin secure the deal.

"I have no fear of us being pushed out," Pirelli's F1 chief Paul Hembery told the German newspaper Bild early this week.

"We are fighting as we'd be happy to stay," he added.

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that, now that the two applicants have been green-lighted by the FIA, it is Ecclestone who will take the final decision.

The report said the FIA had confirmed that the commercial rights holder, headed by Ecclestone, will handle the negotiations with Pirelli and Michelin.

The 84-year-old Briton's decision must then be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council at the end of September in Paris.

La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Michelin might be willing to supply its tires free of charge to the teams, which is something not offered currently by Pirelli.

But Michelin also wants F1 to drop its current 13-inch wheel profile and revert to a more modern configuration of at least 18 inches.

Speaking to Russia's Championat, Pirelli engineer Matteo Braga warned: "You've got to understand that the big teams will be able to adapt more quickly (to a change) than the smaller teams."

For 2016, the final year in Pirelli's current contract, the marque has reportedly been asked to give teams 'free choice' in their selection of two dry compounds for each grand prix.

Braga warned again: "If we choose the tires, the teams are all on an equal footing, but if everyone chooses their own, the fans will never know if it is the driver or the tire choice that was the best."

What Pirelli is prepared to change for 2016 is the current predominance of one-stop strategy races.

"At present, for various reasons, one stop races are common," Hembery is quoted by Finland's Turun Sanomat.

"We will sit with the teams and Bernie Ecclestone if there is a willingness for two to three stop races," he promised.

Hembery said more testing would help Pirelli to better hit its targets.

"One (test) car for three days and 500-600 kilometers a day would improve the situation a lot," he said.

Jock Clear
Jock Clear

Allison confirms Jock Clear joining Ferrari
(GMM) Ferrari has confirmed the impending arrival at Maranello of former Mercedes engineer Jock Clear.

Just before last Christmas, Mercedes confirmed reports that reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton's highly-experienced performance engineer Clear is leaving the team.

Earlier reports had suggested Briton Clear, also well known for working alongside champions Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, was headed to Ferrari.

"After leaving Mercedes, Clear cannot now work in formula one for a year," the German newspaper Bild had claimed.

However, it was expected that Ferrari would want Clear to join the team earlier than that, meaning it must reach an agreement with Mercedes.

Clear's impending arrival at Ferrari was confirmed this week by technical boss James Allison, during a wide-ranging interview with the Italian magazine Autosprint.

It is believed Clear will head up the engineering team at Ferrari in a role similar to that previously held by Pat Fry, who departed at the end of last year.

Bianchi head impact measured at 254G – report
(GMM) Jules Bianchi was subjected to a brutal force of 254G in his 2014 crash at Suzuka that ultimately cost the talented Frenchman his life.

The Hungarian grand prix will be run and won in somber mood this weekend, with many of the late Bianchi's on-track colleagues having just attended his funeral in Nice.

F1 will officially mark his death with a minute's silence on the grid, cars will carry the 'CiaoJules' hashtag, Manor will add the word 'Jules' to its sidepods and Ferrari will decorate its garage in honor of the fallen 25-year-old.

And now, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport has published formerly-secret accident data from the Suzuka crash, including that Bianchi's 126km impact with the recovery tractor subjected his head to an incredible 254G.

Reporting about the magazine's claims, Bild newspaper said the impact was equivalent to 1,400 kilograms on Bianchi's helmet.

"It was like dropping the car from 48 meters in the air to the ground," Andy Mellor, the FIA Institute's technical advisor, said.

Bild newspaper also reported that Bianchi's wish was for his body to be cremated, with the ashes scattered at sea on the French Mediterranean coast.

Monisha Kaltenborn
Monisha Kaltenborn

Sauber still in touch with BMW – boss
(GMM) Monisha Kaltenborn says Sauber remains in contact with its former owner and works partner BMW.

BMW, the German carmaker, bought the Swiss private team ahead of the 2006 season, rebranding it BMW-Sauber and winning the 2008 Canadian grand prix before pulling out of formula one the following season.

Since then, once again as an independent, Sauber has struggled in the midfield, often for mere survival.

But co-owner and boss Kaltenborn insists the Hinwil based team is always ready to leap forwards in the event of a boosted budget.

"We have always been in the midfield and for BMW (we) were a pretty good platform to enter as the majority owner," she is quoted by Germany's motorsport-magazin.

"Then we made a jump in the shortest possible time and that shows what drives us to make the most of our finances," Kaltenborn added.

She explained that, even in the works days, the number of BMW-specific staff at Hinwil could be counted on a hand or two.

"This shows that if we have the right type of financing, we can make a huge leap forwards," said Kaltenborn. "But of course you need a little more to go all the way forward."

She is not even ruling out a return to F1 for BMW one day.

"They know us personally very well and we have good contacts with them. They know what they want and so it makes no sense to try to persuade them. We'll see," said Kaltenborn.

Montezemolo 'a good front man' for F1 – Ecclestone
(GMM) Luca di Montezemolo was in the running to take the top job in formula one, Bernie Ecclestone has revealed.

Long-time Ferrari president Montezemolo, 67, left the fabled Maranello marque late last year following a period of conflict with his successor Sergio Marchionne.

He now heads Rome's 2024 Olympic bid as well as the Italian airline Alitalia, but F1 supremo Ecclestone told the Times newspaper that Montezemolo also would have made "a good front man" for formula one.

"The problem would have been that he would have been up front but he is not a day-to-day, hands-on guy," said the 84-year-old Briton.

"He is not going to go through piles of paper. Luca would have taken the first piece of paper and decided it was nothing to do with him. All these things have to be dealt with and I don't know whether Luca would have wanted to do that," Ecclestone added.

Montezemolo was, however, drafted onto the F1 board to be next in line as chairman, Ecclestone said, as Peter Brabeck-Letmathe's health was deteriorating.

"Luca was the right man for the job," Ecclestone said. "He is a good front man for any sport or business. Peter is ok now but Luca could have been the chairman if Peter had stepped down."

Massa says Hungary will be important test for Williams
Massa says Hungary will be important test for Williams

Hungary an important test for Williams – Massa
(GMM) Hungary will be an important test of Williams' prospects for the rest of the 2015 season.

That is the view of Felipe Massa, who says although the FW37 might appear on paper to not suit the twisty Hungaroring, the Grove based team has made good steps forward recently.

That was obvious at Silverstone, when the Brazilian and his teammate Valtteri Bottas outpaced Ferrari throughout most of the weekend in Britain.

Massa told Brazil's UOL: "If we get to Hungary and we are faster than Ferrari again, then undoubtedly it will show that we can be better than them on any type of track."

Stuck 'cannot understand' Ecclestone's German GP stance
(GMM) Hans-Joachim Stuck says he "cannot understand" Bernie Ecclestone having allowed Germany to fall off the 2015 schedule.

Just before the forthcoming four-week summer break, F1 found itself in an unscheduled three-week gap between the grands prix at Silverstone and Hungary.

It is because Germany was scratched from the 2015 schedule, as Ecclestone failed to reach agreement with either of the financially-struggling circuits at the Nurburgring or Hockenheim.

Hockenheim is returning to the calendar as scheduled in 2016, but the future of the historic race is once again in grave doubt beyond that.

And German motor racing legend and former driver Stuck, who is president of the governing body DSMB (Deutscher Motor Sport Bund), says he cannot understand how F1 supremo Ecclestone has allowed the situation to occur.

"For me, it is unthinkable not to have a grand prix in Germany," he told the French magazine Auto Hebdo.

"On the one hand, Mr. Ecclestone is inflexible with regards to the (race) organization rights. It's his decision. But I cannot understand it, because a world championship without Germany is not a world championship."

And as for the new uncertainty surrounding a 2017 race in Germany, Stuck added: "We can only hope that a solution will be found this time."

Sauber renews drivers contracts
Before the summer break, the Sauber F1 Team is pleased to announce the extension of the contracts with Marcus Ericsson (24) and Felipe Nasr (22). The Swede and the Brazilian will again form the driver line-up for the Swiss Team in the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Marcus Ericsson:
“I’m very happy that the Sauber F1 Team has put its trust in my potential for another year. Up to now I have some good memories of my first year with the long-standing Swiss team. I had a great start from the very beginning, and it is worth mentioning my first points in Formula One that I scored right away during the season-opener. I am getting to know everyone within the team more and more, and feel I am being appreciated as a valuable driver. I feel honored to be part of the Sauber Motorsport family, and I will continue to do my very best to succeed."

Felipe Nasr:
“It is great to be driving another season for the Sauber F1 Team. The extension to the contract with the Sauber F1 Team is an important step in my career. During the first half of the season, in what is my rookie year, I was able to gain a lot of experience from a driving perspective as well as on the personal side. Finishing fifth at my first ever Formula One race in Melbourne in the Australian Grand Prix is so far my career highlight. Now I am looking forward to the second half of the season. My objective is to support the team as best I can, and also with regard to the development of the new car."

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal:
“We are pleased about the extension of the contracts with Marcus and Felipe. This early point in time shows that the drivers and the team are sure they are heading in the right direction. We have full confidence in the talents and skills of Marcus and Felipe. Both have shown solid performances, gained experience and learnt quickly. We enjoy having them in the team and they give it a positive boost. Despite their young ages, they work very professionally – on as well as off the track. Marcus and Felipe are already involved in a very dedicated way with the development of next year’s Sauber C35."

Leave a Reply