Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Former teammate Hamilton and Button both say no to IndyCar
    Former teammates at McLaren, Brits Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button both say no to IndyCar. The last two drivers killed in IndyCar were British

    Pirelli to monitor pressures in-race from Monaco

  • Button, Hamilton say no to Indycar
  • Verstappen enjoyed post-win partying
  • Ferrari pushing over limit to catch Mercedes – Vettel
  • Real estate development threatens Monaco GP
  • Honda not confirming Canada upgrade yet
  • Jean Alesi's son steps up to GP3
  • Red Bull denies Ricciardo given losing strategy
  • Wehrlein pushing to advance F1 career
  • Hamilton ruled out of Silverstone test
  • Vandoorne: McLaren better 'in every area'
  • Verstappen enjoys extra time in RB12

Pirelli to monitor pressures in-race from Monaco
(GMM) F1 is fast-tracking a system whereby Pirelli and the governing FIA can monitor cars' tire pressures live during a race.

Last week, we reported rumors some teams may have found a loophole around Pirelli's controversial minimum tire pressure rules, with trick wheel rims designed to let out pressure whilst the car is running on track.

Now, it emerges that the sport is fast-tracking a solution, with technology to monitor the pressures during the actual sessions ready to be rolled out in Monaco next weekend.

"This is something we were working on for next year," Pirelli Paul Hembery told Britain's Sky in Barcelona. "It's coming a little early now but it's essential from our point of view."

Button, Hamilton say no to Indycar
(GMM) Two fellow champions have no intention of following Fernando Alonso into Indycar once their F1 careers end.

Two-time world champion Alonso told the Spanish press last month: "There are three competitions at the top of the legend of motor sport: Monaco, Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500.

"I know it's difficult to win all three but it would be a great challenge."

Alonso's current teammate and the 2009 world champion Jenson Button, however, said of Indycar: "Too dangerous."

And, also according to Auto Motor und Sport, reigning triple world champion Lewis Hamilton added: "When Nigel Mansell raced in 1993, the cars were still cool. Today not."

The Verstappens both stayed to party
The Verstappens both stayed to party

Verstappen enjoyed post-win partying
(GMM) F1's newest and youngest-ever winner appears to have enjoyed his post-race celebrations after the Spanish grand prix.

Just 18, some wondered if the Dutchman was even old enough to drink the champagne he sprayed on the podium.

"Yes. It tastes very nice," he confirmed.

Asked if he saw his normally-hard father Jos crying beneath the podium on Sunday, Max said: "I was looking for him but I couldn't (see him), there were too many people.

"But I saw it later on the video and it was very nice."

Verstappen, freshly switched from Toro Rosso after Red Bull sensationally ousted Daniil Kvyat, was back to work for Red Bull on Wednesday at the Barcelona test.

"I could try many things that I couldn't during the race weekend and it was perfect in that regard," Max is quoted by Spain's Diario As newspaper on Wednesday.

He also tried Renault's high-profile new engine specification, which he hopes will still be fitted to the RB12 in Monaco next weekend.

"You always want more power, right? We'll have to see whether we use it in Monaco or not," Verstappen added.

"Anyway I'm looking forward to Monaco, where the atmosphere is very special and in qualifying you go closer to the limit than anywhere else."

As for last Sunday's post-race partying, Max admitted: "It was very good, or at least the things I can remember."

The Ferrari wasn't designed by Aldo Costa and it's probably still using a standard battery instead of a graphene ultracapacitor
The Ferrari wasn't designed by Aldo Costa and it's probably still using a standard battery instead of a graphene ultracapacitor

Ferrari pushing over limit to catch Mercedes – Vettel
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari's aggressive strategy of full attack will not always work out for the ambitious Maranello team.

The German insists he is driving a better car than in 2015, even though a year ago he had already won the first of his three races for the season.

"We have become better, it's just the results don't show it yet," Vettel told Germany's Sport Bild.

"There is still a gap to Mercedes, that's true, but it has become much smaller. You can't just move mountains overnight," he said.

Barcelona was obviously a setback for Ferrari, with the red team not even able to capitalize on Mercedes' double-DNF, as Red Bull's Max Verstappen won.

Ferrari has been working on the cause of its sudden qualifying pace problem at the Barcelona test this week.

After a long pause before answering, Vettel said: "We are giving everything — sometimes maybe even a little too much. But we have to try everything."

Asked, then, if errors are forgivable as Ferrari pushes to catch and beat Mercedes, Vettel admitted: "No. The technical problems we have had were not in the plan.

"But catching up is always a balancing act. Perhaps some improvements have come a bit too early, but if we think something is an advantage in speed, we want to bring it to the track as quickly as possible."

Space is already tight in Monaco
Space is already tight in Monaco

Real estate development threatens Monaco GP
(GMM) The future of the Monaco grand prix is under threat, race organizer Michel Boeri has warned.

"The project of Mr. Caroli, if it were to happen, would automatically lead to the end of the formula one grand prix. I guarantee it," Boeri, president of the organizing Automobile Club de Monaco, told the local Nice-Matin newspaper.

Caroli Group is a Monaco real estate development company, who according to Nice-Matin is planning to develop a new district near the port including shops, restaurants and museums.

Boeri said: "The ACM is not qualified to comment on the urban, economic and cultural decisions of the government, but it can warn about the harmful consequences of this project to the future of the F1 race and all motor sport events in Monaco."

Space is famously tight in Monaco for the huge travelling circus of formula one, and Nice-Matin said the Caroli Group proposes to take over an area used as the F1 TV compound.

"No TV compound, no grand prix," Boeri warned.

Yusuke Hasegawa
Yusuke Hasegawa

Honda not confirming Canada upgrade yet
(GMM) Honda's Yusuke Hasegawa has played down growing reports that McLaren will get a highly-anticipated engine upgrade in Montreal next month.

"It doesn't necessarily have to be Canada," the Japanese is quoted by the Spanish sports daily Marca. "We do not know when we will use the tokens."

Honda and McLaren officials are on the record in admitting their relief that the controversial 'token' development system, designed to curb wild spending by manufacturers in F1, is being scrapped altogether for 2017.

"We are developing all the time," admitted Hasegawa, "and if we didn't need to worry about the tokens we would be prepared for this upgrade.

"But at the moment we have not finalized the (token) plan yet," he said.

Marca cited sources in saying the next upgrade is already on the test benches.

Giuliano Alesi and his father Jean - Italians living in France
Giuliano Alesi and his father Jean – Italians living in France

Jean Alesi's son steps up to GP3
(GMM) Jean Alesi's well-known F1 face will be a common sight in the paddock this year.

That's because his 16-year-old French son Giuliano, whose mother is Jean's Japanese wife Kumiko Goto, has stepped up into the F1 feeder category GP3 this year.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Alesi Jr will spend up to two years in the junior category.

"Each season will cost EUR 700,000," his father, who won a single grand prix for Ferrari in 1995, said.

Another well-known face in the Barcelona paddock last weekend was Pedro de la Rosa, the former McLaren and Ferrari test driver.

"I wanted to go to WEC (Le Mans) this year but found no place," the 45-year-old Spaniard said.

De la Rosa is working as a pundit for the Spanish broadcaster Movistar, but he revealed that he is also going back to school.

"I am completing my training in economics," said the veteran of over 100 grands prix.

"In July I have my first exam."

Was Ricciardo given a losing strategy. Like Vettel before him, when you might be leaving Red Bull you become 2nd best real quick
Was Ricciardo given a losing strategy. Like Vettel before him, when you might be leaving Red Bull you become 2nd best real quick

Red Bull denies Ricciardo given losing strategy
(GMM) Red Bull has denied Max Verstappen was deliberately given the preferred race strategy to win last Sunday's Spanish grand prix.

While the young Dutchman – who had qualified just behind his teammate on Saturday – was celebrating his first race win on debut for Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo was openly unhappy.

"I will pull the guys aside who I need to ask what the deal was," the normally-grinning Australian said.

Indeed, Ricciardo was switched to a clearly-inferior three stop strategy during the race — as was Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

Both men were unhappy, unlike Verstappen and Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen who diced until the last meters of the race on the two-stop option.

A strategist from a rival team was quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "Red Bull put Ricciardo on the worst possible strategy.

"From the outside, it looked as though the team wanted Verstappen to win, and then Ferrari made the mistake of reacting to Ricciardo's strategy with Vettel."

But team boss Christian Horner defended Red Bull's decision to put Ricciardo on a three-stop.

"It was clear that Ferrari could only beat us if they tried with three stops, so it made sense to put the better-placed car with Vettel and at that time it was Ricciardo.

"You're always smarter afterwards," he added.

Pascal Wehrlein eyes Mercedes someday
Pascal Wehrlein eyes Mercedes someday

Wehrlein pushing to advance F1 career
(GMM) Pascal Wehrlein says he was more than happy to step in at the last minute and test the championship-leading Mercedes on Wednesday.

The German marque turned heads early on Wednesday morning when it suddenly decided against putting Esteban Ocon, also Renault's reserve driver, in the car as per schedule.

Some suspected Mercedes didn't want to give a works rival an information boost by then sending the 19-year-old back to his duties at Renault.

German Wehrlein, who has been loaned by Mercedes to Manor this year, said the last-minute call-up after Nico Rosberg drove the car on Tuesday was "totally unexpected".

"The team called me on Tuesday night. They couldn't complete their testing program and needed an experienced driver. So I went back to the track and did a seat fitting," he is quoted by Speed Week.

The result of Wehrlein's running, however, is that world champion Lewis Hamilton is now locked out of the in-season test scheduled for August at Silverstone.

That is because two of the four in-season test days in 2016 must be driven by drivers without F1 race experience, and Hamilton was unavailable to run in Spain because he was walking the red carpet at an event in Cannes.

Wehrlein's unexpected Mercedes test also came just as rumors swirled about Rosberg being in talks with Ferrari about 2017.

Asked if he had the feeling he was auditioning for a race seat, Wehrlein smiled: "As a driver you always feel like that.

"You can't just sit back, take it easy and hope that somehow you will get a place for the following season. You always have to get everything out of yourself."

Ruled out
Ruled out

Hamilton ruled out of Silverstone test
Lewis Hamilton will not be allowed to take part in the post-British GP test at Silverstone in July.

This follows Mercedes late decision this morning to put Pascal Wehrlein in its car at Barcelona instead of Esteban Ocon, who has yet to drive a Mercedes F1 car.
Mercedes claim that they needed a driver with experience of the car in order to test a number of updates on the F1 W07 Hybrid.

However, the testing regulations state that "each team must allocate at least two of the in-season test days for young driver training tests. No driver who has competed in more than two F1 World Championship races may take part in such tests".

Consequently, both days at Silverstone will see Mercedes need to field a young driver, which will probably mean Ocon getting two days in the car.

McLaren Honda catching up
McLaren Honda catching up

Vandoorne: McLaren better 'in every area'
McLaren reserve Stoffel Vandoorne says the Honda-powered MP4-31 has improved in "every area" from his outing at the Bahrain Grand Prix to this week's in-season test in Spain.

Vandoorne, who replaced the injured Fernando Alonso at Sakhir last month, got to trial McLaren's updated package at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Wednesday.

Vandoorne completed 108 laps en route to the second fastest time.

"The car felt good straight away," said Vandoorne, also racing in Super Formula.

"I had a few laps of adjusting to the car, but it definitely has progressed since I raced it in Bahrain.

"Although it's easier to get into the car having experienced a full race weekend, there is always a need to readjust for Formula 1, especially after racing in Super Formula, but I quickly got used to it.

"The car feels better in every area, with downforce feeling much improved compared to Bahrain.

"As a racing driver, you want to spend as much time as possible in the car, but I try and optimize every moment I have, and I feel like I've had the chance to do that.

"All in all, the progress with the car is good, so I'm happy."

Max back in car on Wednesday in Barcelona
Max back in car on Wednesday in Barcelona

Verstappen enjoys extra time in RB12
Max Verstappen described as "very, very positive" his extra day behind the wheel of Red Bull's RB12 during in-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Verstappen, who claimed victory the Spanish Grand Prix on his debut for the senior team, added 118 more trouble-free laps and posted the quickest time on Wednesday.

"It was good to get back in the car today," said Verstappen.

"The car is good to drive, very enjoyable and we achieved very good mileage.

"For me personally it was good to have the opportunity to get even more comfortable with the car. I was able to try some new things and find ways to improve my performance.

"I learned a lot about the RB12 today, which is very, very positive."

"A big part of the day was for Max to keep working with his crew and his team of engineers, just to build up that rapport," added Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin.

"We've also been looking at the set-up options that he prefers.

"I know he's won a race but ultimately he's only been with us [as a Red Bull driver] a week, so there's still a lot that we need to work on together as we get to know each other.

"We had to go through the various options and evaluate them with Max, see what he likes – things like the layout of his wheel and what he wants to see on the display."

Leave a Reply