Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Mick Schumacher breaks hand

    Schumacher's son breaks hand in crash

  • Marko blames F1 for smaller Austria GP crowd
  • Alonso still happy with 'risky' McLaren move
  • 'No excuses' after Raikkonen spin – Arrivabene
  • F1 must end 'incomprehensible rules' – Marchionne
  • No corruption scandal in F1 – Todt

Schumacher's son breaks hand in crash
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's son ended his second weekend as a single seater race driver in hospital.

Amid intense scrutiny and global media interest, the 16-year-old German won a race on his Formula 4 debut in April.

But round two of the German junior series was much more difficult for the son of a F1 legend, as he qualified down the field and crashed.

And the second race of the weekend at Austria's Red Bull Ring also ended with a crash for young Schumacher, as he was nudged from behind into the pitwall by a rival.

German media reports say an "uncomplicated fracture" in his right hand was diagnosed in hospital.

A 25% drop in attendance expected this year in Austria
A 25% drop in attendance expected this year in Austria

Marko blames F1 for smaller Austria GP crowd
(GMM) Red Bull is struggling to fill the grandstands ahead of its second race as a formula one race promoter.

Last year, the energy drink company achieved a full house of 95,000 spectators for race day at the Austrian grand prix.

But the local news agency APA says only 60-70,000 spectators are expected at the Red Bull Ring next weekend.

Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko is in no doubt as to the reason.

"It is the overall situation in formula one (to blame)," he said in Canada.

"We have this incredible dominance of Mercedes which has taken away the tension."

Marko said the current generation of cars is also not "spectacular" or "loud" enough, with F1 officials now regularly meeting to discuss how to make the cars faster for 2017.

But Austrian Marko insisted: "Everyone is talking too much and doing too little.

"Everyone thinks more about how to get his own advantage than what is really good for the sport," said Marko.

Alonso says he made the right move
Alonso says he made the right move

Alonso still happy with 'risky' McLaren move
(GMM) Fernando Alonso showed the first signs of frustration on Sunday as he accused McLaren-Honda of making him look like an "amateur".

Asked to save fuel during the Canadian grand prix, the Spaniard hit back via radio: "I don't want (to), I don't want!"

Told that he would have "big problems" later in the race if he did not save fuel, Alonso replied: "Already I have big problems — driving like this, looking like amateur."

The radio disagreement only highlighted McLaren-Honda's competitive crisis at present, having lured Alonso to the new project with the highest salary in all of F1.

But one reporter told Alonso in Montreal that, with an underpowered, fuel-thirsty and unreliable engine, "This is not what you signed up for is it?"

Indeed, Canada was a horror weekend for the Anglo-Japanese collaboration, but team supremo Ron Dennis said that a car upgrade for Austria could mean McLaren will "surprise a few people" there.

And Alonso insists he has no regrets about switching from Ferrari, even if Bernie Ecclestone gave an emphatic "No" in Canada when asked if he thinks the Spaniard will ever win another title.

But Alonso said he made the right move.

"To be fifth or sixth in the races and third in the championship (for Ferrari), we made a risky decision," he is quoted by Spain's El Confidencial, "which was to go to McLaren-Honda.

"We are paying the price now, but if I hadn't (moved) I would be fifth or sixth. I am happy and I have an optimism for the future that I did not have before," Alonso added.

Raikkonen's ob on the line after needless spin
Raikkonen's ob on the line after needless spin

'No excuses' after Raikkonen spin – Arrivabene
(GMM) Maurizio Arrivabene struggled to hide his anger after the Canadian grand prix.

With Sebastian Vettel struggling through the field following reliability problems and a penalty, Ferrari's podium challenge was left to teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who is pushing to have his contract extended for 2016.

Boss Arrivabene already had the Finn on notice to up his game in qualifying, and Raikkonen was on course for a sure podium in Montreal when he spun.

"It may be a case of contributory negligence," Arrivabene said, "as he said the same thing happened last year."

Indeed, Raikkonen suggested the problem might be related to a post-pitstop engine setting issue, but he insisted "something odd" happened rather than a basic driving error.

But when asked for his first thoughts after the race, Arrivabene could not contain his fury.

Asked by Sky Italia to give his thoughts, he said: "I'd better not say what I am thinking right know.

"We have thrown away a podium, that's the truth. There are no excuses," Arrivabene charged.

"The podium may seem boring now, but being off the podium is even worse," he added.

Ferrari is said to have added almost 30 horse power with its Canada engine upgrade, and Arrivabene said: "No excuses, I expected us to be better with the update, but instead we are further back."

Worse still for Raikkonen, one of his chief rivals for the 2016 Ferrari seat – Williams' Valtteri Bottas – inherited the podium place.

The spin was also in the rare presence of Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne, who was asked about Raikkonen's future just before the start of the race.

"First, we have the pleasure to see him race, and from there we will decide," Marchionne said.

Asked if he thinks he could have even challenged the two Mercedes this weekend with a normal grid position, German Vettel answered: "Unfortunately we will never know.

"But we didn't expect any miracles with this update. In some races we are closer, but in others further away, as Mercedes are not stupid and they also make progress."

Sergio Marchionne
Sergio Marchionne

F1 must end 'incomprehensible rules' – Marchionne
(GMM) Sergio Marchionne on Sunday made his first appearance at a grand prix since taking over as Ferrari president.

He said in Montreal that the work done by the resurgent Maranello team and its new boss Maurizio Arrivabene so far in 2015 has been "exceptional".

"There is nothing to regret," said the Italian-born Canadian, "even if there are people who speak and say many things."

Marchionne is undoubtedly referring to the barbs fired recently by his predecessor Luca di Montezemolo, who said Ferrari's new chiefs lucked into their success so far in 2015 due to groundwork that had already been laid.

"The reality," Marchionne told Italian reporters, "is that the (2015) car of last October was not ready.

"Since then an amazing job has been done, as all the progress we have made and continue to make every race is almost miraculous," he insisted.

Marchionne said Ferrari might have made even more progress relative to dominant Mercedes if not for the "constraints imposed by the current regulations".

He probably means the current 'engine freeze', which Marchionne says is just one example of how F1 is too complex at present.

"We are trying to simplify things," said Marchionne, referring to trackside talks about the future shape of the rules, and a meeting on Sunday with Bernie Ecclestone.

"This is a sport that has to evolve," he added, "because the most important thing is to have more viewers and yet we have written rules that are completely incomprehensible even to those of us who are involved in the sport.

"Unfortunately, what we did was to build a castle of complex rules in order to defend positions of domination, and even Ferrari is guilty of that."

Marchionne said one step forward would be to bring back refuelling, even though the latest news from Canada is that bosses have freshly decided to scrap the planned reintroduction.

But "We are in favor" of refuelling, Marchionne said on Sunday. He said the decision to cancel the reintroduction was just "an opinion" given in recent meetings.

"We'll see what the committee (Strategy Group) decides. I think another variable that increases the unpredictability of the outcome is a good thing."

Finally, Marchionne said he wants to see Monza keep the Italian grand prix.

"For my part, Monza will not fail," he said, "so if they have problems then we should talk to Bernie (Ecclestone)."

Jean Todt
Jean Todt

No corruption scandal in F1 – Todt
(GMM) F1 will not suffer the same sort of scandal that is currently gripping the world of football.

That is the claim of FIA president Jean Todt.

Currently, officials of FIFA, the world football governing body, are caught up in accusations of fraud, collusion and bribery.

"There is no way that the FIA could have the same problems with corruption that FIFA are experiencing," Todt said at the latest Formula E race in Russia.

It is believed Todt's confidence is due to the split in formula one between the FIA's governance of the sport, and the commercial rights that are owned by CVC and run by Bernie Ecclestone.

Ecclestone told Sky television in Canada: "That's what the agreement was with the European Commission. That's what we agreed.

"I don't know why they never agreed that with the football," he added.

The truth, however, is that F1 has had its corruption scandals, as Ecclestone, 84, only narrowly avoided jail last year amid the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery affair.

And it is reported that the European Commission will consider investigating formula one if small teams lodge a formal complaint about the sport's current governance structure.

In Canada, the discussion about so-called 'customer' or 'franchise' cars moved on, with the biggest teams pushing to be the only 'constructors' in F1, supplying full packages to their smaller rivals.

"The teams aspiring to do that are just trying to secure additional revenues that they are otherwise not entitled to," Sauber team co-owner and boss Monisha Kaltenborn is quoted by the German press.

Force India's Bob Fernley agrees: "That agenda, I believe, is about getting total control from a power and financial point of view.

"I do believe it is a clear power move from those teams," he is quoted by the Telegraph.

Indeed, it is now believed that even Ecclestone is pulling away from the 'franchise teams' idea.

"I don't think we're going to let that happen," the F1 supremo said in Montreal, "because how can you allow one competitor to supply things to another competitor?

"If you and I were running athletes, and I could supply your running shoes, and I made sure yours didn't fit too well … it (franchise teams) can't really happen," Ecclestone added.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, however, reports that Ecclestone has another idea.

Instead of struggling teams having to buy expensive turbo V6 'power units' from the manufacturers, he would like to see older and cheaper engines available.

"Let's say (at a cost of) 6 million euros," he said, explaining that they may be 100 horse power down on the up-to-date power units.

But the power disadvantage, he said, would be corrected with a lower minimum car weight for the smaller teams.

"Let's say 100hp is three seconds" per lap, said Ecclestone. "Then we just have to figure out how much lighter the cars are so they can be competitive."

He estimates a team like that could be run competitively for 80 million euros, "And they can stay independent."

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