Vettel, Hamilton criticism shows I’m in their heads – Verstappen

Max Verstappen says criticism from Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel over his driving shows he has gotten into their heads ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton and Vettel both said Verstappen is the most aggressive driver on the grid and that they race him differently to others following the Mexican Grand Prix, where the championship leader claimed he was “torpedoed” by the Dutchman at the start. Verstappen was asked about the comments ahead of this weekend’s race in Austin and said he believes them to be inaccurate but shows he has an effect on his rivals.

I think from my side it only shows that I’m in their heads and I guess that’s a good thing, but I don’t need to dig in to other people in the press conferences because first of all I think it’s a bit disrespectful, and I prefer to fight on track, which I love to do. Of course I like to fight hard but on the edge.

“If they want me to stay behind, it’s better to stay at home. I really want to take the fight to them because that’s what we are here for. We are racers, we in Formula 1, I think we are the best out there, and we do fight for victories because that’s what I live for.”

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Brawn warns: Cost-cap breach could result in title loss

Brawn warns: Cost-cap breach could result in title loss

F1 chief Ross Brawn has warned competitors that a fraudulent breach of the sport’s future cost-cap provisions could potentially cost a team its championship.

The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council ratified on Thursday Formula 1’s 2021 technical, sporting and financial regulations.

A major component of Grand Prix racing’s future rulebook and Liberty Media’s quest to level the playing field for the teams is the sport’s $175 million budget cap, currently based on a 21-race calendar.

Formula 1’s auditors will implement controls and processes in 2020 as a dry run before the cost-cap’s formal introduction a year later.

While teams will still be allowed to spend at will next year, any violation of the $175 million limit from 2021 could lead to dire consequences for teams that fail to comply.

It is worth noting however that an extensive list of exemptions, such as driver salaries and marketing expenses, are set to be excluded from the teams’ budgets.

“Financial regulations are the dramatic change in F1,” Brawn said.

“We’ve tried for these in the past, and we’ve not been successful. I think the crucial thing about the financial regulations now is that they are part of the FIA regulations.

“So the sanctions for breaching financial regulations will be sporting penalties of some sort, depending on the severity of the breach.

“Whereas before we had the resource restriction, which was a gentlemen’s agreement between teams – well there’s not many gentlemen in the paddock I’m afraid, and that was a failure.

“But this has teeth. If you fraudulently breach the financial regulations, you will be losing your championship. So it has serious consequences if teams breach these regulations.”

Brawn admitted that the specific auditing processes associated with the cost-cutting measures will likely require some fine-tuning in the coming years.

“We’ve got a very strong team of financial experts within the FIA and within F1, and we’ve sought outside support on this,” explained the Briton.

“Deloitte are one of the experts on sports finances, they’ve been very involved with the football world, and you can see the positive effect that’s starting to have.

©Formula1

“They’ve been pretty well thought out, but they will need development, like any regulation.

“I fully expect that we are going to have challenges in the future to implement this, but it’s absolutely essential for the good of F1 that we have a control on the finances and how much is spent in F1.

“They are essential for the well-being of F1. Budgets have been escalating. F1 is almost a victim of its own success in that the rewards of success are so valuable that the justification for investment keeps coming.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Texas coronation on Sunday for King Lewis The Sixth

Texas coronation on Sunday for King Lewis The Sixth

Lewis Hamilton may not need to score even a point in Austin to become only the second six-times Formula 1 world champion, but the Mercedes driver will want to celebrate in style on Sunday.

The Briton is the most successful driver in United States Grand Prix history, his six wins including five in Texas, and he has every intention of adding to the tally after winning in Mexico last weekend.

“The track is fantastic and it’s been a good hunting ground for me, so very excited to go there and who knows whether we can get the job done,” Hamilton said. “We’ll hopefully have a good race there.”

The chances of him not getting the job done in a country that has become a home from home, and where he has become the face of Formula One in magazines and on television chat shows, look remoter than remote.

Austin is a favourite track for the 34-year-old and he will also be fancied to round up his Texan win tally to six on Sunday.

That would take his career total to 84 wins, seven behind the all-time record set by Ferrari great Michael Schumacher on his way to seven titles.

If Hamilton finishes eighth on Sunday then the title is won regardless, but he will not need to score any points at all to continue for another year as champion if teammate and sole rival Valtteri Bottas does not win.

Bottas, 74 points behind with three races remaining worth a maximum 78, has yet to finish higher than fifth in Texas and this time the Finn needs to score at least 23 points more than Hamilton to take the battle to Brazil.

Both Mercedes drivers also have to contend with a frustrated Ferrari, race winners last year with now departed Kimi Raikkonen and determined to turn their qualifying prowess into something more substantial.

Ferrari have been on pole position for six consecutive races, with front row lockouts in the last two, but without success since Singapore in September.

“We have started the past six races from pole position but have only gone on to win three of them and we certainly want to do better than that,” said team boss Mattia Binotto. “Austin will hopefully give us a good opportunity to do so.”

Red Bull will also hope to be on in the mix as Max Verstappen makes his 100th start and aims to put a difficult Mexican weekend behind him.

The winner in Texas has always come from the top two on the starting grid. Mercedes have started the last five races there from the top slot.

There is plenty at stake further down the pecking order, with the battle raging for position in the constructors’ championship already won by Mercedes.

While the top three teams — Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull — are locked in and McLaren also look safe in fourth, the rest are scrapping for positions that carry big financial implications when the prize money is handed out.

Renault are a hefty 38 behind McLaren but only nine points clear of Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso and Racing Point, who are tied on 64. Alfa Romeo, on 35, are just seven clear of ninth-placed Haas.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Wolff: Hamilton could shatter Schumacher F1 records

Wolff: Hamilton could shatter Schumacher F1 records

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff can see Lewis Hamilton going on to smash Michael Schumacher’s greatest Formula 1 records, the win and title milestones once considered sure to stand the test of time, in years to come.

The 34-year-old Briton is set to seal his sixth world championship — one short of Schumacher’s seven — at the U.S. Grand Prix in Texas on Sunday. Another race victory would leave him only seven short of the great German’s 91.

“I think he’s going to race as long as he feels he enjoys it and that he is competitive enough,” Wolff told Reuters when asked whether he felt Hamilton might race into his 40s like Schumacher.

“There is an age factor, that isn’t kicking in and that hasn’t happened (yet). Kimi (Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion for Ferrari and now with Alfa Romeo) has had his 40th birthday so why not?”

“In between we need to continue to deliver a good enough car. If we do that, then yes he could shatter (Schumacher’s records),” added the Austrian, whose team have been pushed hard by Ferrari this season.

Schumacher, who won five titles in a row for Ferrari between 2000 and 2004, retired in 2012 at the age of 43. Hamilton, now on 83 victories, has maintained an average of 10 wins a season for the past six years with the dominant team of the sport’s V6 turbo hybrid era.

“I think it’s exciting. It’s an exciting potential new target,” Wolff said of the prospect of chasing Schumacher’s tally. “Of course the pressure will increase but if he would not be able to cope with pressure, he wouldn’t be a five or six times world champion.”

Formula One is set for a major rules overhaul from 2021, with technical and financial changes aimed at creating a more level playing field among teams and to make it easier for drivers to overtake.

Mercedes have already won this year’s constructors’ championship and are sure of completing an unprecedented sixth title double in succession.

Wolff said Mercedes, who have one of the biggest budgets and are set to provide engines to four of the 10 teams in 2021, relished the opportunity 2021 represented.

“This team has won in 2009, 2014, 2017 and 2019 — every year that there has been a change. We are really looking forward to this change,” he declared.

In 2009, the Brawn GP team won both titles with a ‘double diffuser’ concept that wrong-footed rivals and left them rushing to catch up.

Mercedes promptly bought the team and returned as a manufacturer in 2010. The V6 turbo era started in 2014, with the Mercedes engine immediately proving a cut above the rest.

Wolff said the will to win was as strong as ever, and referred to a comment made by the New Zealand coach ahead of the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to England in Japan.

“Put in very simple words, he was asked whether there was a risk of losing against England and he said: ‘You’ve got to be careful of the hungry animal, because if the animal is hungry it’s going to eat you’.

“We are very aware of the hunger and ambition of other teams,” said Wolff. “Every single person in this team is hungry. It hasn’t changed.”

Hamilton has well-documented interests outside Formula One, in music and fashion, and is outspoken on environmental issues that have attracted criticism because of his jet-setting lifestyle in a fuel-burning sport.

Wolff hailed the Briton as “one of the greatest racing drivers that ever existed” and made clear that he could count on full support.

“I think that having a message that goes beyond racing is important. I find it positive for him to utilise his impact and his audiences to transmit another message and that is around environment. That is praiseworthy,” he said.

The Austrian saw more criticism coming from Britain than elsewhere, for reasons he could not fully understand, but added that “criticism can be quite a force” for motivation.

He also saw parallels with Schumacher’s career for how Hamilton might be seen in future, “It is a funny thing with extraordinary achievements that they are recognised and praised much more once a career has ended.”

“Michael, while in the middle of his career, polarised a lot. There was a lot of criticism. Today there is not one person who doesn’t speak about him as the greatest of all time. At the moment he is still leading the table.”

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

2021 F1 car estimated to be 3-3.5s slower than 2019

2021 F1 car estimated to be 3-3.5s slower than 2019

Formula 1’s 2021 cars are expected to be around 3-3.5 seconds per lap slower than the current regulations, according to the FIA.

The next generation of car will feature radically different aerodynamics that have been developed to allow cars to follow each other much more closely without being disturbed significantly by the wake of the car in front. Simulations suggest the 2021 car will lose just 14% of aerodynamic performance when one car length behind another car, compared to 45% at present, and just 6% at three car lengths as opposed to 32% now.

However, with the cars set to be 25kg (55lb) heavier, the changes come with a loss of overall car pace that is likely to mark a return to lap times seen towards the end of the previous generation of car.

“We haven’t been focusing on an exact level of performance. Clearly we cannot predict exactly where the downforce will end up compared to current cars. It will be a bit less after the development has been carried out, but even the car that has been developed in CFD and run in the windtunnel has already got a respectable amount of performance and has been developed by essentially a relatively small number of aerodynamicists and hours in the windtunnel compared to a normal team. Therefore we are quite confident that the performance will not be a key parameter.”

The new rules will peg lap times back to 2016 levels. Image by Hone/LAT

Ross Brawn added that the current cars may be quicker, but they have harmed F1 through being unable to race closely.

“Just to put that into perspective, that’s the performance of a 2016 car,” Brawn said. “These cars from 2016 to 2017 had a huge increase in downforce. It’s worth thinking back on that experience because it was done for reasons I don’t understand. The huge increase of downforce was ‘let’s make the cars go faster, that must make Formula 1 better’. All we’ve done is we’ve actually made it worse because the cars can’t race each other.

“It’s an example of an un-thought-through program. So the cars are very quick now but they’re not raceable. The reality is the performance of the new cars is going to be about where we were in 2016, and I don’t think anyone was ever complaining about the cars being slow.”

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

F1 raises calendar limit to 25 races; shortens race weekends

Formula 1 has increased the maximum number of races in a season to 25 from 2021 onward as a result of changes to the race weekend schedule.

The 2021 sporting, technical and financial regulations were approved and presented on Thursday, addressing items such as a $175 million cost cap and radical changes to the cars to allow for closer racing. The race weekend format will also change, with Friday’s track action taking place later in the day to allow teams to arrive a day later at each venue, with a view to allowing the schedule to accommodate up to 25 races per season.

“I think the key changes are that the maximum number of races will increase to 25,” Formula 1’s managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn said. “But in correspondence with that, we’re changing the format of the race weekend. Our promoters rely on a three-day race weekend, but we’re changing the format on a Friday so that all the activities that sometimes take place on a Thursday will be condensed into a Friday.

“So for instance, scrutineering will take place on a Friday morning and there will be two sessions – possibly shorter – on a Friday afternoon. We’ll still get pretty close to the same amount of track time, but we’ll make it more efficient. The teams have been very cooperative on this process and they have given us very strong feedback that most of them feel they can come to a race meeting at least one day later than they currently do. So that’s been the objective.

“And over the race weekend, the number of working hours that the teams are permitted to carry out will be reduced as well. So the curfew will be much stronger, and there will be less available working hours for the teams to take the load off the personnel.”

While a maximum of 25 races will be allowed, it was clarified that the higher number is not a target at this stage. Another way of limiting costs and the weekend workload comes with the introduction of a reference specification, where teams submit the car specs they will run ahead of the weekend.

“When you turn up on a Friday, the car that you scrutineer is the car you will race,” Brawn said. “You won’t be able to race different pieces of bodywork. You will on a Friday be able to try things, so if on a Friday you want to try a new front wing you can do that, but you can’t race it. The idea behind that is to stop the necessity to build lots of parts in case that front wing works.

“In current Formula 1, you want to take a new front wing to a track, you want to try it, you’re concerned it may work well and therefore you need to make two or three of them when you turn up at a track so both drivers can have it and you’ve got a spare. Suddenly you’ve got a huge expense, and you’re flying parts in at the last minute to satisfy that need. So there’s some sensible housekeeping being done on the way we operate over a weekend to take a lot of strain off the teams.”

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Financial regulations are ‘a dramatic change’ – Brawn

Formula 1’s managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn says new financial regulations including a cost cap will mark “a dramatic change” within the sport.

The 2021 regulations were approved on Thursday and presented in full at Circuit of the Americas ahead of the Untied States Grand Prix. As well as technical and sporting regulations, new financial regulations were published, including a cost cap of $175 million per season. Key exclusions from that figure are driver costs, the salaries of the three highest paid employees, marketing costs and non-F1 activities, and Brawn says they are the standout new aspect of F1’s direction.

“Financial regulations are the big change, a dramatic change in Formula 1,” Brawn said. “We’ve tried for these in the past, and we’ve not been successful.

“I think the crucial thing about the financial regulations now is that they’re part of the FIA regulations. So the sanctions from breaching financial regulations will be sporting penalties of some sort, depending on the severity of the breach. Whereas before we had the Resource Restriction Agreement, which was a gentleman’s agreement between teams. Well, there’s not many gentlemen in the paddock I’m afraid, and that was a failure. But this has teeth.

“If you fraudulently breach the financial regulations, you will be losing your championship. So it has serious consequences if teams breach these regulations. They’ve been pretty well thought-out, but they will need development, like any new regulation. Even the current regulations, as you know, the current sporting and technical regulations are constantly in discussion, and this won’t be any different.

“So I fully expect that we’re going to have challenges in the future to implement this, but it’s absolutely essential for the good of Formula 1 that we have a control on the finances, and how much we spend in Formula 1.

“I won’t go through the details, but there’s a number of exclusions. We’re excluding marketing, for instance. Non-Formula 1 activities aren’t in there. We’ve tried to capture really the things that make the competitive difference between the teams, and the areas where they can spend money and gain a competitive advantage, we’ve tried to control those areas.”

Brawn says the details F1 has gone into should not be overlooked, employing external expertise to help develop and implement the new regulations.

“We’ve got a very strong team of financial experts within the FIA and within Formula 1, and we’ve sought outside support on this,” he said.

“Deloitte have been involved – Deloitte are one of the experts in sports finances, they’ve been very involved with the football world, and you can see the effect that is now starting to have on football, the positive effect it is starting to have.

“So we have had a very strong group of experts, and that will continue. We’re not going to stand those people down, they’re going to continue to help introduce these regulations and develop them.”.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Teams should commit to new F1 ASAP – Todt, Carey

FIA president Jean Todt says Formula 1 teams should agree new commercial agreements “as soon as possible” following the publication of the 2021 regulations.

New technical, commercial and financial regulations were agreed and approved by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) on Thursday, including a cost cap at $175 million and radically different cars designed to allow closer racing. While the unanimous WMSC approval includes a vote from Ferrari, the teams do not currently have commercial agreements – known as the Concorde Agreement – to race in F1 beyond the end of 2020, and Todt wants them to move quickly to commit.

“There is no specific rules in terms of latest date for entering, but it’s just a question of good sense,” Todt said. “Now the regulations are quite clear, what is missing will come very shortly. All the things that needed to be known are known, and it’s in the best interests of everybody to commit as soon as possible.

“The teams are employing hundreds of people, there are sponsors behind them, there are so many things behind that people need to commit as soon as possible to secure the good process of the 2021 championship. So I would hope that the good sense will prevail and that we will be in the best condition to start the 2021 championship.

“If that will not be the case, we will then of course have the opportunity of opening the process to allow new teams to come in.”

F1 CEO Chase Carey added that there has not been a delay on that front, with teams simply not having prioritized that aspect of negotiations and only recently developing specific agreements.

“The regulations are approved, the don’t require signing,” Carey said. “In terms of the governance and profit-sharing components – which are not regulatory per se, but are more agreements with the teams – the don’t have a specific deadline. What we’ve put in place will be the rules in 2021. 

“We’d like to get them (commercial agreements) finalized and signed as soon as possible. In fairness to the teams, while we’ve gone through all the material concepts with them, it’s only in the last few weeks we’ve distributed the detailed agreements. Because these regulations had a hard date to be approved – which was the end of October – they’ve been more the focus from an agreement perspective.

“The teams in recent weeks have gotten the formal, complete agreements relating to the other components. So we are looking to finalize those as soon as possible, but they will be the rules that are in place for 2021.”

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Carey: A watershed moment for all our fans

Carey: A watershed moment for all our fans

Formula 1 presented a dramatic overhaul of the sport on Thursday with a new car and regulations aimed at producing closer and cheaper competition from 2021 as well as more exciting and environmentally-friendly racing.

The new technical, sporting and financial rules include a budget cap and represent the fruit of two years of discussions between stakeholders including teams, the governing FIA and U.S.-based commercial rights holders Liberty Media.

The regulations were earlier approved unanimously by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council, with talks continuing over governance and profit-sharing.

“The goal has always been to improve the competition and action on the track and at the same time make the sport a healthier and attractive business for all,” Formula One chairman Chase Carey told a U.S. Grand Prix news conference.

“The unanimous approval of the rules by the World Motorsport Council is a watershed moment and will help deliver more exciting wheel-to-wheel racing for all our fans.”

Ferrari, the sport’s oldest and most successful team, said what had been voted on was a good starting point.

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul said the rules confirmed the vision for a “more equitable, more entertaining and more sustainable sport.

“These measures represent significant opportunities for a team like ours, increasing our prospects to reduce the gap to the front and challenge for wins and titles in a reasonable time frame,” added the Frenchman.

The 2021 cars will be some 25kg heavier and are the product of a changed aerodynamic approach, with simpler front wings, no bargeboards and bigger wheels.

The budget cap has been set at $175 million for each team, about half the amount some of the top outfits like Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull spend at present but still much more than some others can muster.

Driver salaries, marketing costs, non-Formula One activities and the wages of a team’s three highest-paid executives will not be included in the cap.

Formula One’s managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn recognised the new cars would be slower, by some three seconds a lap, but still as quick as the 2016 crop and easier to follow and overtake.

“The cars are very quick now, but they are not raceable,” added the Briton, who said the new ones would be much more robust than current cars that shed their bodywork far too easily.

He warned that any team caught breaking the cost controls would be in serious trouble.

“This has teeth. If you fraudulently breach the financial regulations, you will be losing your championship,” he said.

FIA president Jean Todt, speaking by video link from Geneva, said the 2021 regulations represented a “truly collaborative effort” and “a new chapter for Formula One”.

He added that environmental considerations were a crucial element for the governing body.

From 2021, the aim is to double the renewable content of fuel to 20% with plans to increase that in subsequent years.

“Formula One already has the most efficient engines in the world, and we will continue to work on new technologies and fuels to push these boundaries further,” said Todt.

The sport will stick with the existing V6 turbo hybrid engines introduced in 2014 after abandoning plans to change them.

Brawn said the maximum number of races will increase to 25 but with shorter race weekends with current Thursday activities, such as scrutineering, condensed into Friday so that teams can turn up a day later.

Full Transcript

Chase Carey, Chairman and CEO, Formula 1: “Formula 1 is an incredible sport with a great history, heroes and fans all over the world.”

“We deeply respect the DNA of Formula 1, which is a combination of great sporting competition, uniquely talented and courageous drivers, dedicated teams and cutting-edge technology. The goal has always been to improve the competition and action on the track and at the same time make the sport a healthier and attractive business for all.

“The approval of the rules by the World Motor Sport Council is a watershed moment and will help deliver more exciting wheel-to-wheel racing for all our fans. The new rules have emerged from a detailed two-year process of examining technical, sporting, and financial issues in order to develop a package of regulations.

“We made many changes during the process as we received input by the teams and other stakeholders and we firmly believe we achieved the goals we had set out to deliver. These regulations are an important and major step, however, this is an ongoing process and we will continue to improve these regulations and take further steps to enable our sport to grow and achieve its full potential.

“One of the most important initiatives we will be addressing as we go forward is the environmental impact of our sport. We already have the most efficient engine in the world and in the next few weeks we will be launching plans to reduce and ultimately eliminate environmental impact of our sport and business. We have always been at the leading edge of the automobile industry and we believe we can play a leadership role on this critical issue, as well.”

Jean Todt, FIA President: “After more than two years of intense research and development, of close collaboration with our partners at Formula 1, and with the support of the teams and drivers, circuit designers, the single tyre supplier, Pirelli and all F1 stakeholders, the FIA is proud to publish today the set of regulations that will define the future of Formula 1 from 2021 onwards.

“It is a major change in how the pinnacle of motorsports will be run, and for the first time, we have addressed the technical, sporting and financial aspects all at once. The 2021 regulations have been a truly collaborative effort, and I believe this to be a great achievement.”

“A crucial element for the FIA moving forward will be the environmental considerations – Formula 1 already has the most efficient engines in the world, and we will continue to work on new technologies and fuels to push these boundaries further. What the FIA publishes today is the best framework we could possibly have to benefit competitors and stakeholders, while ensuring an exciting future for our sport.”

Inside Line: Bad examples and role models

Inside Line: Bad examples and role models

A week ago I had the good fortune and privilege to handle media for Team UAE at the recent Rotax MAX 2019 Grand Finals in Naples from 20 to 26 October, where a small but disturbing saga took place.

In among a week of non-stop stories, when 360 karters from over 60 countries descended on the Sarno, Italy for the 20th edition of the Rotax MAX Grand Finals, I tell the tale of young Oli Pylka and his hot-headed moment after a tight battle for the Junior MAX (under-16s) title Grand Finals Saturday.

Team Poland’s Pylka,  who was a hot favourite for the Junior MAX title, was starting from the front row for the final ahead of a strong and close field in which half a second covered the top 12 drivers and another half a second the rest the of the 36 drivers in the field.

From the start, Pylka took an early lead and set the pace.  He was chased by the pack as they swapped positions on the slipstream friendly main straight and jousted through the tight and tricky corners of a venue, that has hosted the likes of Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg when they were karting in during their respective junior careers.

From the moment the flag dropped a game of cat and mouse developed at the front and it was riveting stuff with several drivers going for it in the way that karting at this level allows.

Team New Zealand’s Clay Osborne was in among the posse chasing Pylka and on lap 12 of the tense 17 lap race, the race the Kiwi who was duelling with his Polish rival emerged the better as they rubbed and raced at the front in a group of half a dozen or so.

When the dust had settled it was Pylka who was the loser as the incident compromised his and him dropped down the order to 12th position with Osborne taking the well-deserved title for driving a gutsy and smart race.

When the race ended Pylka, who eventually crossed the line 11th, sprang out of his kart and sprinted under the media terrace into the weigh-bridge parc ferme area where the winner had parked his kart. It was clear that Pylka was not going to congratulate Osborne.

As Osborne sat there soaking in the reality of being champion, Pylka unleashed a couple of blows at the bewildered winner and had it not been for the timely actions of Pylka’s shocked mechanic who separatied his charge from the new champion things might have been a lot worse.

Pylka only managed to land a punch to the helmet of Osborne (as the photo I took (above) of the incident shows) but the damage was done and thus the young Pole was DQ-ed from the event.

Since then it became clear that there are parallels to a year ago in Brazil when Max also launched a similar (if not as physical) attack on Esteban Ocon and although no punch was landed that day, the intent was clearly there.

But this incident certainly raises the issue of being a responsible role model and not lowering the bar of sportsmanship in our sport and that there is some truth in what Jacques Villeneuve had to say of the Dutchman’s antics in Mexico: “I think he’s a bad role model.”

Thus whether he likes it or not, Max’s status in the sport as a highly visible driver on the F1 grid, means he must realise that his actions, like attacking a rival or pompously ignoring yellow flags, have far greater consequences than he imagines.

For aspiring young drivers who idolize  Max Verstappen could it not be a subliminal trigger?  If Max can do it, why can’t I?

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

US Grand Prix: Thursday’s build up in pictures

US Grand Prix: Thursday’s build up in pictures

Although the buzz of the day at COTA on Thursday was mainly centered around the release of F1’s 2021 regulations, there was a lot more going on. Including a NASCAR initiation session with Tony Stewart for Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. Check out the pictures from day 1 at the US Grand Prix.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

F1 presents 2021 regulations after WMSC approval

F1 presents 2021 regulations after WMSC approval

Formula 1 has presented its 2021 regulations after radical changes received unanimous approval from the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC).

2021 will see new technical, sporting and financial regulations, including the introduction of a cost cap that will limit team expenditure to $175 million per season, with some exceptions. The cars themselves have been designed to allow cars to follow more closely — with a big reduction on the amount of influence on a following car — with a focus on ground effect.

“Formula 1 is an incredible sport with a great history, heroes and fans all over the world,” F1 CEO Chase Carey said. “We deeply respect the DNA of Formula 1, which is a combination of great sporting competition, uniquely talented and courageous drivers, dedicated teams and cutting edge technology.

“The goal has always been to improve the competition and action on the track and at the same time make the sport a healthier and attractive business for all. The approval of the rules by the World Motor Sport Council is a watershed moment and will help deliver more exciting wheel-to-wheel racing for all our fans.

“The new rules have emerged from a detailed two-year process of examining technical, sporting, and financial issues in order to develop a package of regulations. We made many changes during the process as we received input by the teams and other stakeholders and we firmly believe we achieved the goals we had set out to deliver.

“These regulations are not a cure to all our issues. They are an important and major step, however — this is an ongoing process and we will continue to improve these regulations and take further steps to enable our sport to grow and achieve its full potential.

“One of the most important initiatives we will be addressing as we go forward is the environmental impact of our sport. We already have the most efficient engine in the world and in the next few weeks we will be launching plans to reduce and ultimately eliminate environmental impact of our sport and business. We have always been at the leading edge of the automobile industry and we believe we can play a leadership role on this critical issue, as well.”

FIA president Jean Todt says the regulations are the result of more than two years of work and research, and praised Carey for his focus in ensuring a cost cap was introduced.

“It is a major change in how the pinnacle of motorsports will be run, and for the first time, we have addressed the technical, sporting and financial aspects all at once,” Todt said. “The 2021 regulations have been a truly collaborative effort, and I believe this to be a great achievement. A crucial element for the FIA moving forward will be the environmental considerations — Formula 1 already has the most efficient engines in the world, and we will continue to work on new technologies and fuels to push these boundaries further.

“What the FIA publishes today is the best framework we could possibly have to benefit competitors and stakeholders, while ensuring an exciting future for our sport.”

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Verstappen hits back at ‘silly’ comments by Hamilton

Verstappen hits back at ‘silly’ comments by Hamilton

Max Verstappen dismissed Lewis Hamilton’s comments about having to give him extra space when racing wheel-to-wheel as “silly”, admitting he’s a hard racer but also a fair one.

Hamilton and Verstappen came into contact on the opening lap of last weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, and while the Mercedes driver only suffered minor consequences, the squabble set back Verstappen who later picked up a puncture while attempting to make up lost ground on Valtteri Bottas.

In the post-race media conference, Hamilton revisited the incident, admitting he doesn’t race Verstappen like he races other drivers, insisting he leaves a margin to account for the Dutchman’s often aggressive maneuvers.

Ahead of this weekend’s US Grand Prix, the Dutchman took exception to his rival’s comments.

“I think from my side it was a bit of a silly comment to make, because I think I’m always a hard racer, but fair,” Verstappen said.

“I think it’s just not correct. But of course it’s easy to have a dig at someone.

“From my side, it’s fine. It’s always positive when they talk about you because that means you’re in their heads. I just focus on my driving, and I think that’s enough said.”

Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing 29.09.2019.

The 22-year-old Red Bull charger added that if anything, Hamilton’s opinion was an indication that he was “in his head”.

“I think that from my side it already shows that I’m in their heads. I guess that’s a good thing,” he said.

“But from our side, I don’t need to dig into other people in a press conference, because first of all I think it’s a bit disrespectful as well, and I prefer to fight on track, which I love to do.

“And of course I like to fight hard, but on the edge, otherwise, if they want me to stay behind, it’s also better to stay at home.

“You want to take the fight to them, because that’s what we are here for, we are racers, we are Formula 1, I think we are the best out there, and we do fight for victories because that’s what I live for.”

Verstappen also acknowledged his mistake in qualifying in Mexico, where he was hit with a three-place grid drop by the stewards for not respecting the yellow flag deployed at the scene of Bottas’ crash at the final corner of the track.

The Red Bull driver said he was wrong to force the issue at the end of Q3 and considered in hindsight that his penalty was justified.

“I didn’t need to go for that laptime, because I was already on pole position,” he said;

“What was going through my head through that lap was, you don’t know what the other guys are doing, if they are improving, are they beating your pole laptime.

“So, I didn’t see the yellow flag, I improved my laptime, I didn’t need to do it, but also in hindsight I think next time I am anyway going to lift even if they would improve [on] my laptime just because they got lucky they were in front of the accident.

“It is what it is, but of course at the moment we are still not in a position to fight for pole position all the time, so of course I was enjoying the moment as well.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Abiteboul: New rules bring ‘significant opportunities’ for Renault

Abiteboul: New rules bring ‘significant opportunities’ for Renault

Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul believes the sport’s 2021 regulations will deliver “significant opportunities” for the French outfit in the future.

The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council cast a positive vote on F1’s 2021 rules, finally setting in stone a regulation platform that has been practically two years in the making.

While Abiteboul recognizes that a fair amount of refining remains in the works, the Renault chief welcomed the direction in which the sport is now officially heading.

“The approval of the 2021 financial, technical and sporting regulations by the FIA World Motor Sport Council marks the conclusion of a very comprehensive work by Formula One, the FIA and the teams,” Abiteboul said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“They also confirm the vision laid down by Formula One’s new ownership for a more equitable, more entertaining and more sustainable sport, without betraying the DNA that made us love this complex sport, and to which Renault has been loyal since 42 years.

©Renault

“Despite some compromises made to bring together the diversity of models created by the current Concorde Agreement and its unsustainable discrepancies, these measures represent significant opportunities for a team like ours, increasing our prospects to reduce the gap to the front and challenge for wins and titles in a reasonable time frame.

“We will continue to work together to fine tune these regulations, but the fact the fundamentals are now secured will allow us to plan the developments required between now and the first race of 2021.”

Despite Abiteboul’s positive feedback on the regs, Renault’s future in F1 beyond next season is up in the air following recent changes to the car maker’s management and interim CEO Clotilde Delbos decision to undertake a full strategic review of the company’s vision, which includes its involvement in F1.

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

This is what Formula 1 in 2021 and beyond will look like

This is what Formula 1 in 2021 and beyond will look like

image (8)

image (9)

image

image (1)

image (2)

image (3)

image (4)

image (5)

image (6)

image (7)

<
>

Formula 1 stakeholders and rule-makers have revealed a bold new vision for the future of the sport at the highest level but what’s actually changing?

This is what F1 for 2021 and beyond will look like in the wake of the latest regulations published today on the officila F1 .

Better-looking cars

2021 F1 cars will have a radical new design philosophy and striking new look – with sweeping bodywork, simplified front wings, bigger rear wings, increased underbody aerodynamics, wheel wake control devices, simplified suspension and low-profile tyres with 18-inch rims.

It’s also proposed that the wheel rims will be fitted with a rotating LED display panel, to provide information to spectators, while a bodywork display panel is also proposed for the same reason.

Closer racing

Though aesthetics were a major consideration, the changes outlined above aren’t just cosmetic – over several years, both Formula 1 and the FIA have been working tirelessly to design cars that can race more closely.

Key to that was finding a solution to the loss of downforce that the current cars experience when running in another car’s wake. Running in dirty air behind another car, a 2019 machine could lose more than 40% downforce. But with the 2021 car design, this drops to around 5-10%, with airflow coming off the new cars both cleaner and directed higher, meaning it has significantly less impact on drivers following, giving them the chance not just to overtake, but to battle.

Fairer finances

For the first time ever, Formula 1 will introduce spending restrictions to make the sport fairer and more sustainable. A cost cap will be set at $175m per team, per year, and applies to anything that covers on-track performance – but excludes marketing costs, the salaries of drivers, and of the top three personnel at any team.

The F1 cost cap will end the growing spending gap between F1’s big spenders and those with fewer resources, and the on-track performance differential this brings.

Fewer upgrades, more standard parts and more limits on components

In addition to the new financial rules, there are some big changes to the technical and sporting regulations. Rules have been put in place to limit car upgrades over race weekends, and the number of in-season aero upgrades, reducing the costly development arms race that can result in a less competitive grid.

There will also be the introduction of certain standardised parts (such as fuel pumps), parts that must have a prescribed design (such as wheel covers), and increased restrictions on the number of times some components, like brake pads, can be replaced.

Power units remain the same as now, but exhaust systems have been added to the list of PU components that are limited in number per season, with each driver able to use six before penalty.

Cars will get slightly heavier as a result of the new tyres, changes in PU materials to save costs, and further safety measures. Tyre blankets, meanwhile, will remain for 2021 and 2022, albeit with restrictions.

Revised race weekends

There will also be small but significant changes to the race weekend structure, which will be condensed, in order to improve the fan experience and help teams deal with an expanded calendar, with the maximum number of races in a season now 25.

The pre-race press conference will be switched from Thursday to Friday, ahead of the first and second practice sessions, while cars will now be in parc ferme conditions (i.e. in race trim) from the start of FP3.

FP3 also marks the point at which the teams must return their cars to the ‘reference specification’ presented for scrutineering before FP1, so any bodywork trialled in practice must be removed.

Furthermore, all teams must run at least two practice sessions during the year using drivers who have completed two Grands Prix or fewer – giving more chance for the next generation to shine.

Less wind tunnel testing

There will also be small but significant changes to the race weekend structure, which will be condensed, in order to improve the fan experience and help teams deal with an expanded calendar, with the maximum number of races in a season now 25.

The pre-race press conference will be switched from Thursday to Friday, ahead of the first and second practice sessions, while cars will now be in parc ferme conditions (i.e. in race trim) from the start of FP3.

FP3 also marks the point at which the teams must return their cars to the ‘reference specification’ presented for scrutineering before FP1, so any bodywork trialled in practice must be removed.

Furthermore, all teams must run at least two practice sessions during the year using drivers who have completed two Grands Prix or fewer – giving more chance for the next generation to shine.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Gallery: A look at tomorrow’s Formula 1 car

Gallery: A look at tomorrow’s Formula 1 car

With the introduction of Formula 1’s new technical rules will come new designs from teams in 2021.

Liberty Media has offered a rendition that offers a glimpse of what the F1 car will potentially look like.

All images by Formula 1.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Codemasters extends exclusive Formula 1 partnership

Codemasters extends exclusive Formula 1 partnership

Video game producer Codemasters has extended its exclusive licensing deal with Formula 1 until 2025, with a further option for the 2026 and 2027 seasons.

The British software developer and publisher has held exclusive rights to develop F1’s offical game since 2008 and won many awards for its outstanding work, its virtual instalments inching closer to the real world of Grand Prix racing with every new release.

“Since 2008, Codemasters has been an invaluable partner to the franchise, consistently creating games of the highest quality and enabling fans to get even closer to the world of F1,” said Frank Arthofer, Director of Digital and Licensing at Formula 1.

“Together we share a common vision for increasing the global appeal of F1 and the official video game of the FIA Formula One World Championship continues to be a key part of that strategy.”

©Codemasters

Codemasters is also the official game for the Esport Pro Series which entered its third year in 2019, with 5.5 million viewers converging last year to the virtual platform online and on TV.

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

FIA gives green light to Formula 1’s 2021 regulations

FIA gives green light to Formula 1’s 2021 regulations

As expected, the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council has adopted F1’s 2021 technical, sporting and financial regulations, paving the way for perhaps the most significant evolution in the history of Grand Prix racing.

After more than two years of gestation, discussions, debate and an equal dose of controversy, Formula 1 has chosen its future direction.

“The unanimous approval of the rules by the World Motor Sports Council is a watershed moment and will allow us to deliver more wheel-to-wheel racing for all our fans,” said F1’s CEO Chase Carey.

Formula 1’s future technical regulations, thoroughly researched and designed by F1’s internal team of specialists, are destined first and foremost to increase the competition on the track by allowing drivers to race each other more closely and facilitate overtaking.

To achieve the goal of closer racing, F1’s chiefs have gone down the road of a simplification of aerodynamics, with the bulk of the aero generated from beneath the car rather than form wings and various appendices.

©Formula1

Limited scope with regard to design coupled with the introduction of a $175 million cost cap will hopefully narrow the gap between the sport’s front-runners and the midfield teams.

Formula 1 will also introduce 18-inch wheels in 2021, but on the power unit front, changes will only be minimal, contrary to the quest for simplification that was initially expected at the outset of the regulation overhaul.

Formula 1 has underlined the fact that the 2021 regulations “will be married to a new governance and profit-sharing structure”, with negotiations still ongoing between the sport’s bosses and the teams.

“It is a major change in how the pinnacle of motor sports will be run, and for the first time, we have addressed the technical, sporting and financial aspects all at once,” said FIA president Todt.

“The 2021 regulations have been a truly collaborative effort, and I believe this to be a great achievement.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Ferrari heads into final races to ‘further develop’ for 2020

Ferrari heads into final races to ‘further develop’ for 2020

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto will manage his team’s efforts in Austin with one eye on its performance at COTA and another on the Scuderia’s development for 2020.

After dominating proceedings after F1’s summer break, Ferrari conceded three successive defeats to Mercedes, even as the Italian outfit has outpaced its German rival in qualifying on each occasion.

Binotto believes Ferrari has fine-tuned its SF90 package to allow it to challenge for race wins at every venue. But that assessment will need validation in Austin this weekend.

“We have started the last six races from pole position but have only gone on to win three of them and we certainly want to do better than that,” said the Swiss engineer.

“We are encouraged by the fact that we now have a package that allows us to fight for wins on most tracks.

“It’s a significant improvement on how we started the year and credit must go to all the people in Maranello and at the track, who have worked so hard to fight back from where we started.

“We need to use the last three races of this season to further develop as a group and to operate in the sharpest possible manner in order to be better prepared for next year.

“It is a very tight field at the front and every detail matters if we want to win more often.”

Binotto believes that like last weekend in Mexico, tyres will once again factor into the team’s performance at the Circuit of the Americas.

“It is a very challenging track with many different combinations of corner,” he added.

“Of course everyone will be looking to see what happens with the tyres after the surprising longevity of Pirelli’s hard compound last week in Mexico.

“We are aware that every track can produce its own particular surprises and our aim is to be ready to react to whatever situation might arise.”

Sebastian Vettel was relieved to see that weather forecast are calling for dry conditions, contrary to last year when the opening day of running was limited by the heavy rain.

“The forecast for this year is dry but quite cool,” Vettel said.

“It should be a good circuit for us but, as we saw last year, we can take nothing for granted and the competition is also strong.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Carey ‘feels good’ ahead of crucial vote on 2021 regs

Carey ‘feels good’ ahead of crucial vote on 2021 regs

Ahead of today’s crucial vote on Formula 1’s 2021 rules, CEO Chase Carey is confident the sport’s future regulation platform will finally be set in stone.

It’s crunch time for Formula 1, with the FIA’s Motor Sport Council voting today to accept or dismiss Grand Prix racing’s revised set of technical, sporting and financial rules.

Several teams, including Mercedes and Red Bull, recently pushed for a one-year delay of the rules, arguing that several areas of the regulations required more development.

But Carey isn’t expecting any last-minute drama to unfold ahead of the WMSC’s gathering and vote

“I never want to guess a vote, we feel good about the vote,” Carey said on Wednesday during a Formula One Group investor meeting webcast.

“We’ve gone through a long process and engaged with the teams. We took the World Motor Sport Council through what’s being voted on earlier this month.

“I guess I am hopeful and expecting the vote to be approved, but at the end of the day, you don’t control votes.

“No matter how much we feel we’re in a good place, we’ve had agreement with the teams for a long time on the goals we are trying to achieve here. When you’ve got 10 teams, every team has its own twist and turn on specifics.

“But I think it’s a positive step. It isn’t like we have a bunch of things backed up that are awaiting this, but in terms of momentum going forward and looking to the future, it’s an important and positive step.”

While F1’s technical, sporting and financial 2021 provisions shall be settled by Thursday’s vote, Carey insisted that a revision of the sport’s governance and profit-sharing rules – which would equate to a new Concorde Agreement for the teams – will be decided at a later date.

“Realistically what we put out is the structure of the business starting in 2021,” Carey explained.

“Our goal would be to get things signed off as soon as possible with the teams, just to remove the uncertainty around it.

“Essentially come 2021 we can say this is the way the sport is governed, and this is the way the sport operates,” Carey said;

“We obviously have the capability to create deadlines inside that. But the regulations had an approval process that they have to go through.

“These are more bilateral agreements that you can obviously create deadlines to, but the reality ends up being they are agreements about how the sport will be run and operated for the 2021 season.

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF90 leads at the start of the race.

With regard to governance, Carey also hinted at a simplified structure guiding F1 in the future.

“I don’t want to get into specifics of what we’re proposed to the teams but I think the primary goal is to simplify the governing structure,” Carey said.

“I think today we feel we have a very cumbersome governing structure – there’s two layers of approval, very complicated votes, a lot of different parties that get involved.

“If there was one goal overriding in this — it’s a complicated sport with complicated issues already.

“It’s to simplify the decision-making structure so that we can move forward and not have the type of dynamics we’ve had to some degree in the past.”

Chase Carey (USA) Formula One Group Chairman with Jean Todt (FRA) FIA President.

As F1 ushers in a new era in 2021, teams will need to comply with the sport’s $175 million budget cap constraints.

Carey dismissed concerns that the top teams may be tempted to overspend in 2020, in order to mitigate the effects of the budget cap that will be introduced a year later.

“There’s been noise around it, but realistically these teams are rebuilding the car every year no matter what,” said the F1 boss.

“This is a transition, and we feel it’s important to move forward with the transition.

“Some of the arguments that were put were arguments to try to defer the implementation as opposed to issues about what are the consequences of the transition.

“What we’re really doing is transitioning to a long-term structure that’s healthier for the business, healthier for the sport on the track, healthier for the teams in it.

“The transition through to that next year, they’re going to do what they do every year when they go in and rebuild the car.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Masi: I’ll speak to Max and the other drivers

Masi: I’ll speak to Max and the other drivers

The Federation International D’Automobile (FIA), Formula 1’s governing body will emphasize to Max Verstappen and others the importance of respecting yellow warning flags for safety after the Red Bull driver failed to slow in Mexican Grand Prix qualifying.

The Dutch 22-year-old was handed a three-place grid drop for Sunday’s race, stripping him of pole position for a race he had won the previous two years.

The penalty came after Verstappen recognised in a post-qualifying news conference that he was aware Valtteri Bottas had crashed his Mercedes at the end of the session but had not slowed as required.

Race director Michael Masi said he had already asked stewards to investigate before the youngster made the comments to reporters, and the Dutchman had not talked himself into a penalty.

“What he said was irrelevant to me because I was already in motion,” said the official for the governing FIA, adding that the reason it took time for Verstappen to be summoned was because stewards were dealing with another incident.

Drivers are warned routinely that they have to slow for yellow warning flags and be prepared to take immediate action to avoid any wreckage or marshals on track.

French driver Jules Bianchi suffered ultimately fatal head injuries when he crashed his Marussia car at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

Yellow flag rules were revised after a panel investigating that accident found Bianchi “did not slow sufficiently to avoid losing control” when he crashed into a recovery tractor at a wet Suzuka.

This year has also seen a driver fatality at a grand prix weekend, Frenchman Anthoine Hubert in the F2 support series at Spa in Belgium.

Verstappen’s response on Saturday to a question about safety sounded dismissive.

“Do we have to go there? To safety? I think we know what we are doing — otherwise we would not be driving an F1 car,” replied the driver, who also collected a three-place grid drop in Russia last year for the same offence. It’s qualifying and, yeah, you go for it.”

Masi said the subject of yellow flags would be raised with all the drivers before next weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, “We’ll have that discussion at the next drivers’ meeting with all of them. As we have done in a collaborative manner all year.”

“I’ve read the comments but I’ll speak to Max and the other drivers one on one and go from there. We’ll have a discussion and deal with it as we do other matters.”

Verstappen finished sixth in Sunday’s race after an eventful opening few laps in which he was in collision with both Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Bottas and went to the back of the field.

Race winner Hamilton said he had been “torpedoed” by Verstappen, and referred to the Dutch driver as someone who needed to be left a lot of space.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Alonso: After the Dakar I want to try Indy again

Alonso: After the Dakar I want to try Indy again

alonso indy

Fernando Alonso quest for the Triple Crown of Motorsport is still very much on his mind as he prepared for his debut in this year’s Dakar Rally, as he signalled his intent to do the Indianapolis 500 again.

At the same time, the double F1 World Champion admitted he will study the soon-to-be-released 2021 Formula 1 rules in detail.

The 38-year-old Spaniard will tackle Dakar and the Indy 500 next year, but told Corriere dello Sport that is leaving the door open for a return to Formula 1 in 2021, “After the Dakar I want to try Indy again.”

“But then I will study the new Formula 1 rules very carefully. When they are officially announced, and I believe there really will be a chance for more than just one team to win, then my return would be a real option,” Alonso added.

Chase Carey, Ross Brawn, Nikolas Tombazis and Jean Todt will announce the highly anticipated and controversial 2021 rules in Austin on Thursday.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Hulkenberg: I am not desperate to stay in Formula 1

Hulkenberg: I am not desperate to stay in Formula 1

Nico Hulkenberg does not think he will return to Formula 1 if he fails to find a place on the 2020 grid as only two or three seats remain to be filled.

The vacant cockpits are at Alfa Romeo, Williams and Red Bull, and all of those teams have more likely candidates than the 32-year-old German.

“At the moment I have no news,” the soon-to-be out of work driver told Auto Bild. “It will take a bit longer than I hoped.”

Almost a decade ago, Hulkenberg made his F1 debut for Williams in 2010 but lost his seat at the end of the year. In 2012, he returned after a year as Force India’s test driver, “At the beginning of my career, in 2010, that was possible. Now, towards the end of my career, I doubt it.”

There is a rumour that Hulkenberg could accept a role as a Ferrari development driver. But if he sounds resigned about his fate, the former Sauber driver insisted leaving Formula 1 would not be the end of the world.

“Sometimes it’s suggested from the outside that I’m desperate to stay in F1. That’s wrong. I love Formula 1, I love racing, and I want to go on. But if not, I’ve had ten good years of highs and lows, I’ve seen everything, and I’ll be fine with it,” he added.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Carey: We feel good about the vote

Carey: We feel good about the vote

Formula 1 chief Chase Carey says his colleagues in charge of plotting the sport’s future “feel good” about the crucial next few days.

Thursday is the already-delayed deadline for finalisation of the hotly-contested 2021 rules, and F1 CEO Carey will front the presentation of those rules in Austin ahead of the US GP.

However, until mere days ago, it was said that many of the teams are not happy about the proposed rules. Ferrari has even threatened to use its unique veto.

But Carey told an investor call: “We feel good about the vote. We’ve gone through a long process, engaged with the teams, we took the World Motor Sport Council through what’s been voted on earlier this month.

“I’m hopeful and expecting the vote to be approved – but you don’t control the vote,” he added.

Carey admitted that one of the biggest concerns has been about the budget cap. Big teams have proposed that the rules be delayed until 2022 so that next year is not a budget cap-free spending spree to prepare for 2021.

“There’s been noise around the cost cap, but realistically these teams are rebuilding the car every year, no matter what,” he said.

“This is a transition and we feel it’s important to move forward with that transition. What we are really doing is transitioning to a long term structure that is healthier for the business, healthier for the sport on the track, healthier for the teams in it.”

After the rules presentation in Austin, a meeting with the teams is scheduled for November 5, where signing a new Concorde Agreement will be discussed.

The risk for F1 is that many teams will refuse to sign up for 2021 unless there is a further rules delay.

“Wind tunnel and CFD capacity are already limited, so a delay is not going to help from the money side,” McLaren boss Andreas Seidl said. “What the big teams are trying is just another delaying tactic.”

F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn agrees, saying any delay will just hurt Formula 1 because the existing cars are getting “worse every year” in terms of wheel-to-wheel racing.

“Last Sunday, although the conditions were good and there was a third DRS zone, there were not many exciting duels,” he said. “We have put a lot of work into developing these new rules for the long-term interest of the sport.”

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

ESPN Formula 1 viewership continues to break records

ESPN Formula 1 viewership continues to break records

The live telecast of the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix on ABC drew the largest U.S. television audience on record for the event since its return in 2015, another mark in the season-long trend of audience growth for the championship across ESPN networks.

The race had an average audience of 850,000 viewers on ABC, an increase of 11 percent over the race on ABC last year (769,000) and up three percent from the NBC audience of 826,000 in 2017. The Mexican Grand Prix audience peaked at 1,014,168 as Lewis Hamilton scored his 10th win of the 2019 season.

The audience for the Mexican Grand Prix was the third-largest of the season on ESPN networks, following the Canadian Grand Prix on ABC (1.1 million average viewers) and the Monaco Grand Prix on ESPN (908,000).

Through 18 races this season, Formula 1 is averaging 671,000 viewers on ESPN networks, an increase of 19 percent over the average of 561,000 at this point last year on ESPN networks and up 24 percent from the average of 542,000 on NBC networks in 2017.

All but three of the 18 races this season have seen year-over-year viewership increases on ESPN networks.

The Formula 1 season continues this weekend with the United States Grand Prix. The race airs at 1:30 p.m. ET on ABC on Sunday, Nov. 3, from Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Haas preview the United States Grand Prix

Haas preview the United States Grand Prix

After a difficult Mexican Grand Prix, there truly is no place like home as Haas F1 Team heads home to the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas.

The only American team competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship, Haas F1 Team finally gets to race on home soil after the majority of its Formula One brethren enjoyed home grands prix of their own.

Part of that Texas soil includes Haas Hill, located between turns 18-19 on the 5.513-kilometer (3.426-mile), 20-turn track, where throngs of Haas F1 Team fans have gathered since 2016 to cheer on the organization that in less than four years is already 21st on the list of teams that have scored the most points in their Formula One histories – and this is in a sport enjoying its 70th anniversary and celebrated its 1,000th grand prix back in April.

Despite a frustrating season that currently has Haas F1 Team ninth in the constructors’ standings, seven points behind eighth-place Alfa Romeo and 27 points ahead of 10th-place Williams, the American squad remains bullish on its chances at COTA.

Drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen have both earned points-paying drives at COTA. In the second Formula One race at the track in 2013, Grosjean finished a career-best second to the dominant Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel.

It’s one of three point-paying results Grosjean has achieved in his seven career Formula 1 starts at COTA. Teammate Magnussen finished in the points in his first Formula 1 start at COTA in 2014 when he came home eighth. And in his most recent Formula 1 start at COTA last year, Magnussen finished ninth, although not according to the record books.

That’s because in post-race technical inspection, FIA Stewards determined that Magnussen’s racecar consumed more than the maximum allotment of 105 kilograms of fuel during the 56-lap race.

Having a thirsty engine is appropriate for a team that has remained hungry, even after finishing an impressive fifth in the constructors’ ranks last year. Haas F1 Team’s strong showing in 2018 coincided with the incredibly stout performance of its counterpart in NASCAR – Stewart-Haas Racing.

Gene Haas, founder and chairman of Haas F1 Team, co-owns Stewart-Haas Racing with three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. That outfit racked up 16 wins, 15 poles, 60 top-fives, 115 top-10s and 3,949 laps led in 2018 between its four-car NASCAR Cup Series team and two-car NASCAR Xfinity Series team.

The Formula 1 paddock will get a taste of what Stewart-Haas Racing is all about on Thursday when Stewart himself brings his No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Mustang onto the track for a demonstration run.

Then, he’ll turn the seat over to Grosjean and Magnussen, who will each get to wheel the 1,452-kilogram (3,200-pound) racecar around America’s only purpose-built Formula One track. It will be a stark contrast between the 733-kilogram (1,616-pound) Haas VF-19 that the duo will race throughout the United States Grand Prix weekend.

Contrast best describes a lap around COTA. It is a counter-clockwise circuit – one of only five on the 22-race Formula One calendar, joining Azerbaijan, Singapore, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Just 14 percent of a lap around COTA is spent under braking, with drivers at full throttle for nearly 60 percent of their lap.

High speed and rapid changes of direction comprise the layout between turns two and 10, with this first sector akin to the Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel complex at Silverstone Circuit in England.

The end of the lap from turn 12 through turn 20 before hitting the front stretch features low-speed combinations of mainly second-gear corners.

The long back straight, however, prevents teams from running maximum downforce as drivers want to retain as much speed as possible to either attack or defend through the tight turn 12. This corner, along with the uphill run to turn one and the hairpin in turn 11, provide good passing opportunities.

All of this makes the United States Grand Prix a race no one wants to pass up, and it’s one with special purpose for Haas F1 Team.

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

Sports are big in America and right now, baseball’s World Series is underway, basketball and hockey have started their respective seasons, and football is right in the heart of its season. And in motorsports, NASCAR is in the semi-final stage of its playoffs, with the third-to-last race of the season happening just a few hours away on Sunday in Fort Worth. It’s a crowded landscape. How can Formula One, and the United States Grand Prix in particular, stand out from the crowd?
GS: “I think Formula One has made good progress over the last few years in the United States. The viewing figures are up and the United States Grand Prix in Austin is almost always sold out. I think progress is being made. It is difficult, as it’s a crowded space there with sports, but viewership is increasing. I think Circuit of the Americas has helped a lot to achieve that, and I think Haas F1 Team – with Gene Haas investing in the team – has also helped achieve a lot in terms of making it more popular in the United States. I’m sure there’s a lot more to come.”

It appears Formula One is closer to having a second race in America, perhaps as early as 2021, in Miami. How helpful will a second race in the United States be to increasing Formula One’s popularity in America, as well as the popularity of Haas F1 Team?
GS: “Absolutely, it will help. For Haas F1 Team, more races in America is good. But, more than for Haas – Formula One in general – having more races in the United States is good. Miami is a place where I think Formula One is already followed quite a lot. Having it near a big city is always nice and cool. We hope it will happen.”

On Thursday, your drivers will get a taste of a NASCAR stock car with instruction from three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. What can they expect when they drive that 3,200-pound (1,451-kilogram) Ford Mustang around COTA?
GS: “I’m sure the guys will love it, as will Tony – he likes to do this stuff. For Tony to be back in a big car, on a big circuit, it’ll be cool. Our drivers, I’m sure they will enjoy it. Kevin tested a sprint car last year and he loved it. NASCAR cars are big, powerful machines. I think people will enjoy seeing it.”

You’ve managed NASCAR teams and Formula One teams. While the style of cars and the technology associated with the cars are different, are there some similar methodologies when it comes to finding speed and getting the most out of team personnel?
GS: “Absolutely. All motor racing at the top level – and NASCAR is top level, and Formula One – it’s all very similar in terms of trying to get the best people for the job. The opposition is always pushing. There’s never a day where you can rest. You just need to work harder and smarter than anybody else – then you have success. They are very similar, not as cars and technology, but in terms of managing a team, there’s not a big difference.”

Romain Grosjean

As a driver for the only American team in Formula One, what’s it like to compete in the United States Grand Prix?
RG: “It gives me a lot of pride. It’s a great pleasure. Obviously, having an American team in Formula One returning in 2016, 30 years since the previous one, it was big. Every year we see great support in the United States. I have the French Grand Prix as a home race, but also the United States Grand Prix is a very special one. I’m very much looking forward to it. We see a lot of support. Even though it’s not always been our best race, in terms of results, we always give it the maximum we can. We’ll do the same again this year and, hopefully, make our fans proud.”

This weekend, your team owner, Gene Haas, will have his Formula One team competing in Austin, Texas, and his NASCAR team, Stewart-Haas Racing, competing three hours north in Fort Worth, Texas. How much do you pay attention to the goings-on with Stewart-Haas Racing, and how helpful is to have a team owner who is so well versed in motorsports?
RG: “I pretty much follow all the NASCAR results. It’s very exciting and the team’s been doing well this year. Obviously, the playoffs is the time it gets very sexy, but I’m always keeping an eye on Stewart-Haas Racing. Having Gene Haas, knowing racing, knowing how it works, helps us a lot. He understands things cannot always go directly as we would like, and he’s been very helpful in our building of the Haas team. Obviously, NASCAR and Formula One are different, but he gets the big picture, and that is helping us a lot.”

Since Haas F1 Team’s debut, you’ve talked about wanting to drive a stock car. Thursday at COTA, you’ll finally get your chance, with instruction from three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart. Do you have any idea what it will be like to drive a 3,200-pound (1,451-kilogram) Ford Mustang around COTA?
RG: “No, not really. I think we just need to slam the brakes a bit earlier than we do with a Formula One car. We’ll see how the engine responds to throttle application. I can’t wait. The sound of it’s going to be great. I think it’s going to be a good experience. I think having Tony Stewart helping us and giving us advice is going to be bloody amazing.”

What’s the closest thing to a stock car you’ve driven, and when was it?
“I guess it would be the Ford GT1 car I drove in 2010 in the FIA GT1 Championship.”

You equaled your career-best Formula One finish (second) at COTA in 2013. Talk about that race and any moments that stand out, particularly the start where you managed to get away from the dominant Red Bulls.
RG: “The start was very special. I had a really good one. The Red Bulls were so much faster than we were. I had to do something like 50 laps of the grand prix with Mark Webber on my gearbox. He was trying everything he could to pass me. At the time we had manual KERS, and I was using it wisely at different places every lap, just to do something different to keep him behind. It was an amazing race. I had a bit too much champagne on the podium, which made the press conference fun.”

Kevin Magnussen

As a driver for the only American team in Formula One, what’s it like to compete in the United States Grand Prix?
KM: “It’s definitely a race I look forward to going to. It’s our home race, one we really want to do well at. We’ve certainly got a lot of support there and that provides an extra boost, extra motivation. It’s great to go there and see all the Haas fans in our T-shirts, especially up at Haas Hill where we see all the fans together there. We haven’t had great results there, but it’s definitely the one where we feel at home, and we want to do well.”

This weekend, your team owner, Gene Haas, will have his Formula One team competing in Austin, Texas, and his NASCAR team, Stewart-Haas Racing, competing three hours north in Fort Worth, Texas. How much do you pay attention to the goings-on with Stewart-Haas Racing, and how helpful is to have a team owner who is so well versed in motorsports?
KM: “First of all, it’s no secret that Gene is a real racer. He’s been in motorsports a long time and he’s been hugely successful. We’re obviously still building up with the Formula One team, but we’ve got our best years ahead of us, I’m sure. Certainly, with the NASCAR team, they’ve been incredibly successful – they still are. I follow what they’re doing and I’m always cheering on their drivers.”

Since joining Haas F1 Team, you’ve talked about wanting to drive a stock car. Thursday at COTA, you’ll finally get your chance, with instruction from three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart. Do you have any idea what it will be like to drive a 3,200-pound (1,451-kilogram) Ford Mustang around COTA?
KM: “I don’t have any idea how it’ll be. I’ve never driven a NASCAR before. I’m pretty certain it’s going to be very different to the other car I drive around COTA. It’s going to be a very interesting experience. A NASCAR is such an iconic racecar. I’ve always been eager to try one. Of course, it’s usually in its element on an oval, but they do race on road courses, as well. It’ll be interesting to have a go and have a bit of fun.”

What’s the closest thing to a stock car you’ve driven, and when was it?
KM: “I drove a GT2 car once, and a DTM, but I don’t think they’re similar to a stock car, even though they’re touring cars. A DTM car is very aerodynamic. They have a lot of downforce. A stock car hardly has any downforce.”

This won’t be the first time you’ve received driving instruction from Stewart. He helped you get the feel of a winged sprint car last October. Stewart wears many hats, but what’s he like as a driving coach/instructor?
KM: “I found my feet in that sprint car last October pretty quickly thanks to his advice, and also thanks to him jumping in the car and showing how it’s done before I got in. I had a great time with Tony. He’s a great driving instructor and he knows his way around these things. His experience and knowledge when it comes to stock cars is probably just as impressive.”

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Renault Preview the United States Grand Prix

Renault Preview the United States Grand Prix

Renault F1 Team previews the nineteenth race weekend of the 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the Emirates United States Grand Prix.

Drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo share their thoughts on the challenges of the Circuit of the Americas and their feelings after last weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Nico Hülkenberg: “Austin has a really cool vibe, so it’s always fun going to Texas for this race. It’s a great event, always a lot going on, so it’s enjoyable for us drivers, the team and also the fans. In terms of the circuit, it’s one of the more challenging and fun ones for a driver. You could say it has similarities to places like Silverstone or Suzuka; ultimate driving tracks where there are fast changes of direction, brave corners and little room for error. It’s a very well-designed circuit. Clearly, it was a pity not to have scored more points [in Mexico] and that was down to a number of factors. Thinking of the positives, we turned around our qualifying result into points and the team showed great spirit throughout the weekend with everything going on. I enjoy racing in Austin, my mindset is on doing a good job and there’s no reason why we can’t do that.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “I love the USA and the city of Austin. I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles and I really enjoy the American vibe. Austin is one of the highlights of the year, for me. The racing spectacle is great, the atmosphere in the paddock, and in Austin itself, is always good, so that makes it a very fun one to attend. This year, it’s really exciting to be taking part in the Los Angeles Fan Festival on Hollywood Boulevard. Driving a Formula 1 car there will be seriously cool, so I’m looking forward to putting on a show and doing some donuts there! Mexico was a fun race for us. We did well to make the Hard tyre last on our first stint and that put us in really good stead to work our way through the order.
It’s important we keep the positivity within the team and the results will follow. We’re moving forward with all eyes on some Texan success. Let’s go, ya’ll!”

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Williams preview the United States Grand Prix

Williams preview the United States Grand Prix

We cross the border for the final leg of the last back-to-back of the season, as we go Stateside for Round 19 of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Austin’s popular Circuit of the Americas is a favourite amongst drivers and fans, not least due to its lively off-track atmosphere.

The United States Grand Prix is a new track for both Robert and George, but one that they are looking forward to. Nicholas Latifi will drive his penultimate FP1 of the season, this time in George’s car.

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: “For the second of the back-to-back races, we head north to Austin and the COTA circuit. Since it joined the Formula One calendar, the Circuit of the Americas has been a firm favourite with the drivers and fans alike. The circuit features a series of signature corners as well as the daunting climb up to T1, which adds to the spectacle of the race start.

“The weather in Austin in October can range from very cold to oppressively hot and can change rapidly. Where 2019 ends up in this range of conditions will dictate how the tyres behave and will likely have a large influence on the race result. To cope with the demands of this circuit, Pirelli have again provided the three middle compounds from their range. Although the same compounds as raced in Mexico, their behaviour will be different, and a typical Friday programme will involve understanding their performance at low and high fuel.

“With the end of the 2019 season almost in sight, we begin in earnest our trackside preparations for 2020 with some additional tyres testing on Friday. Pirelli have provided each car with 2 sets of tyres in the 2020 construction and so we can expect to see more running than usual during FP1 and FP2 as the teams begin their preparations ahead of the post-season Abu Dhabi tyre test.

“Nicholas joins us again this weekend, this time driving George’s car in FP1. Our programme will include further aerodynamic testing, 2020 tyre testing, and our usual qualifying and race preparation. If the weather is kind, then Friday could be an extremely busy day.”

Robert Kubica: “I know very little about the track in Austin. I know what I have seen from footage and the simulator, but it will be a new track for me. From what I can see it looks like a challenging circuit, especially the first part of it. However, I am looking forward to a new experience.”

George Russell: “Austin is a track and a race that I have been looking forward to for a very long time. Out of the newer circuits it is definitely the best one out there, it has such an amazing flow to it. It is a track similar to Silverstone, with an incredibly fun first sector. I have been there the last two years and it was always a great atmosphere, so I am really looking forward to it.”

Nicholas Latifi: “Coming off an FP1 last week I feel that I am more in the rhythm of the car, which is important when you only have a limited number of laps in the session. Austin in probably one of the tracks on the calendar that I am most looking forward to driving that I have not yet driven.

“It seems like a track that has a bit of everything and the first sector, with all the fast-flowing corners, is exactly what I love in these high downforce cars. It’s not so often that I get to drive new tracks for the first time so I’m looking forward to that challenge and hopefully I’ll be able to get up to speed quickly.”

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

McLaren preview the United States Grand Prix

McLaren preview the United States Grand Prix

Bruce McLaren won the first-ever United States Grand Prix on 12 December 1959. The race was staged at Sebring, in Florida – one of 10 venues to have hosted the grand prix over the last 60 years.

Since 2012 the Circuit of the Americas, in Texas, has been the home of the USGP. It’s the country’s first purpose-built Formula 1 track and its layout plays to the strengths of F1 cars. Sector One is fast and flowing; Sector Two has a long straight and sector 3 has a mix of slow and long corners. COTA is also one of five anti-clockwise tracks on the 2019 calendar.

Carlos Sainz: “The US Grand Prix is a very special event for me, marking my 100th Formula 1 start. To be an F1 driver has been my dream and my ambition for as long as I can remember, so to be hitting my 100th race at only 25 years old is a really significant moment.

“After a tough Sunday in Mexico, the whole team is willing to hit the track again at Austin this week. It is important that we keep focused and working hard until the last race. COTA is one of the most exciting tracks on the calendar and always delivers interesting racing, with the entire first sector being very fun to drive in these F1 cars. Getting Turn One right can really pay off later in that sector, so I look forward to jumping back in the car on Friday and getting set up for quali and the race.”

Lando Norris: “I’m looking forward to putting Mexico behind me and focusing on the next race. COTA is one of my favourite circuits and I’ve been working hard to prepare for the weekend. Having taken part in FP1 last year, it’s not a completely new track to me, so I know I’ll be able to hit the ground running on Friday.

“We know that the battle for fourth place isn’t quite wrapped up yet, so we’ll be pushing hard to maximise our championship position in Austin.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “After a Sunday to forget in Mexico, we head north to the US in anticipation of an exciting race. We’re looking to learn from last weekend and come back stronger for the final three races. We know that the Constructors’ is not done until its done, so we need to keep it in our hands as we see the season out.

“A back-to-back always poses operational challenges, especially at the fly-aways, but we’re prepared and focussed on performing at 100 per cent in Austin.”

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Mexican GP win proved Mercedes is still ‘hungry’ – Wolff

Mexican GP win proved Mercedes is still ‘hungry’ – Wolff

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said his team’s triumph in the Mexican Grand Prix two weeks after sealing the Constructors’ title in Japan underlined how “hungry” the Silver Arrows squad remains.

Lewis Hamilton collected his 83rd career win in F1 in Mexico, pushing himself closer to a sixth title.

But Mercedes crossed a significant milestone at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the German outfit clinching its 100th victory as a constructor in F1, its first win gifted to the team by Juan Manuel Fangio at the French Grand Prix at Reims in 1954.

“After we secured the Constructors’ trophy in Japan, we said that we wanted to end this season in style and the race in Mexico was the first proof of that,” Wolff commented in Mercedes US Grand Prix preview.

“It underlined how hungry this team still is – everyone keeps on pushing for the best possible result.

“It was the 100th victory for Mercedes-Benz in the F1 world championship – a great milestone in our motorsport tradition and an achievement that is testament to the skill and dedication of the many people who have contributed to our heritage.”

©Mercedes/Wolfgang Wilhelm

Since the advent of the hybrid era in F1 in 2014, Mercedes has collected four wins at the Circuit of the Americas, all delivered by Hamilton. But last year, Kimi Raikkonen’s popular triumph for Ferrari put a halt to the Mercedes stampede in Texas.

“We have a decent track record in Austin,” said Wolff. “However, we had a difficult weekend in Texas last year as we struggled with tyre management.

“The W10 treats its tyres more gently than our 2018 car, so this should be less of an issue this year.

“CotA has produced great racing with lots of overtaking, so we hope for another spectacular Sunday in Austin.

“The crowd is usually very enthusiastic and I’m sure we’ll meet a lot of new fans thanks to the success of the F1 Netflix series in the US.

“It’s great to see the growing TV audience numbers in the American market and we’ll fight hard to make sure that this year’s race will contribute to the increasing interest in our sport.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Alonso could fill third Arrow McLaren SP seat at Indy

Alonso could fill third Arrow McLaren SP seat at Indy

Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt confirmed that Fernando Alonso remains an “option” for the team’s likely third entry for the 2020 Indy 500.

The new entity formed by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and McLaren Racing revealed its 2020 IndyCar line-up yesterday, with Mexican Pato O’Ward and 2019 Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew set to contest next year’s championship.

However, Schmidt said there was a strong likelihood that Arrow McLaren SP would field a third at Indy as it has been customary for the team, with Alonso a strong candidate for seat.

The two-time world champion enjoyed a remarkable baptism of fire at Indy in 2017 with a McLaren entered car run by Andretti Autosport.

But the Spaniard’s return to the Brickyard for the 103rd running of the legendary event last spring was a complete disaster, with Alonso failing to qualify a car that was ill-prepared and poorly managed by the inexperienced McLaren crews despite its one-off association with full-time IndyCar outfit Carlin.

©Indycar

“We absolutely have had a history of 12 years of running a third car at Indy, and still plan to do that and Fernando remains an option but nothing’s confirmed,” said Schmidt, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“In the deal came all the McLaren equipment, which means we have plenty of equipment and we have historically always run a third just because of our commercial partner demand and we expect to do that again this year.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Midweek Wrap: Max Madness, Miami in Doubt, Haas in Trouble

Midweek Wrap: Max Madness, Miami in Doubt, Haas in Trouble

On the eve of the USGP, the past week saw American-centric topics come to the forefront in F1, with the usual Max Verstappen hysteria thrown-in for good measure.

Max Sticks His Foot in It: What an eventful weekend for Max Verstappen – and not in a good way, either. Seemingly public enemy number one in Mexico, the criticism has been coming-in thick-and-fast both for his foolish refusal to lift-off under yellows in Saturday qualifying, and his coming-together with Lewis Hamilton on Sunday. A guy who before the summer break could seemingly do no wrong, now it seems like he can do no right.

At least in the case of the incident on Saturday, I think it’s fairly warranted. I mean, he already had pole for crying out loud, knowingly risks it by not slowing, and then smugly admits to it in the press conference – that was never going to go down well. Sunday is less troublesome, if only because the man leading the criticism is no angel himself, and certainly had a part to play in that particular incident.

However, through both cases, I think we’re seeing that the ‘Mad Max’ of yore is not completely gone, and I for one am not that surprised. He’s been in F1 – and indeed been a force in F1 – for long enough now that it’s easy to forget he’s still very young at 22, and while that doesn’t excuse his behaviour by any means, it’s also not that far removed from his more-prattish teenage years that we should expect him to have completely grown out of it. Having not been 22 that long ago myself, I know how immature you can still be at that age, and really, all the rest of us can do is keep on his case and hope he eventually does move past it.

Another US race DOA? It’s the market F1 has been trying to crack for years, and while I think most would agree CoTA has been a success, attempts to bring more GPs stateside have proven far less fruitful, with Miami seemingly headed in that direction.

Already subjected to delays with funding and finding an appropriate venue, the race is now being opposed by local residents who don’t want 1000HP monsters tearing up their local streets.

Whether or not their opposition actually proves successful, I think it highlights the biggest difficulty of hosting more races in the US, which is that the vast majority of the public either doesn’t know, or doesn’t understand the sport. To them it’s just a nuisance, and there’s no guarantee the necessary work and road closures will be made up for with increased tourist revenue.

Even if personally I would love a race in Miami (I’d be first in line for a press credential!) the better move for F1 and Liberty if they are serious about growing the sport in the US is to shelve this second-GP idea, take whatever funds they’ve set aside for it, and put it towards marketing the product. It’s all well and good to say “build it, and they will come”, but you have to have enough people to come in the first place.

Haas Wave the White Flag: Suffice to say, it’s been a rough year for Haas, and it seems like with three races remaining, they’ve essentially thrown in the towel.

Reading through the various statements from team personnel over the weekend, you could see the focus now is on just surviving until 2020 – indeed, Romain Grosjean said literally that – which is a sorry turn of events for a team that was not that long ago punching well above its weight class.

For his part, Guenther Steiner has been willing to take at least some of the blame, and yet while that’s better than some other team principals *cough* Cyril Abiteboul *cough*, I do wonder if his time at the helm might be coming to an end. As good as he is for a soundbyte, he also seems devoid of ways to stop the rot, and his decision to bring back both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean further speaks to that. The last thing this sport needs is another Williams, yet I worry if things continue as they have in 2020, that’s exactly what we’ll end up with.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

MEDLAND: Verstappen’s problem isn’t his driving. It’s his attitude

MEDLAND: Verstappen’s problem isn’t his driving. It’s his attitude

I really should be sat here writing about a Max Verstappen win at the Mexican Grand Prix, not a Lewis Hamilton one.

Verstappen was in superb form for much of the weekend in Mexico City, which shouldn’t really have come as a surprise given his recent record at the venue. But one error proved massively costly, and also revealed what is perhaps his one real weakness.

When Valtteri Bottas crashed at the end of qualifying and the yellow flags came out, the game was up for anyone else on track. Hamilton got lucky that he was so close to the incident that there were no yellow flags, but he appeared to lose a little bit of time anyway.

Sebastian Vettel backed off completely, because there was a car in the wall and yellow flags on track, but Verstappen didn’t. In fact, Verstappen stayed completely flat, and set the fastest final sector as well as improving his lap time.

Now, there were mitigating circumstances. Bottas’ crash actually severed the chord that linked the marshal post to the light box that would display the yellow flag, and also to race control. That meant that no matter how many times the marshal pressed the button to display a flashing yellow light and alert drivers and teams on their dashboards and pit walls, nothing was happening.

Similarly, the final corner is a right-hander that drivers are accelerating through at full throttle, so their eyes are looking across to the right rather than up to the left where the yellow flag was then waving. But Vettel saw it and backed off, and everyone had seen the crash, so Red Bull could still have radioed its driver.

But it’s not Verstappen’s driving that was the big error here. Look at Hamilton. He also tried to complete his lap. Racing drivers are competitive beasts and have huge faith in their abilities, so in making a split-second decision not to lift – as dangerous as that was with a car in the wall – I can kind of understand it.

Verstappen set his fastest qualifying time under yellows in Mexico – and had little interest in talking about it afterwards. Image by Portlock/LAT

The problem was that when asked about that decision afterwards, Verstappen showed a complete lack of understanding about what he had done.

I’m a big fan of Verstappen. He’s great to watch. He’s aggressive, fast, takes no prisoners and says it as it is. In so many ways, I don’t want that to change. But he needs to learn where he crossed the line last weekend.

Asked whether he lifted, he smirked that he didn’t and that he knew what he was doing. He belittled the questions – pushed by ESPN’s Laurence Edmondson on numerous occasions – that the FIA might take issue with his final sector on safety grounds.

“I think we all know what a yellow flag means,” Verstappen said.

“Why didn’t you back off then, if you saw the yellow?” Edmondson countered.

Well, it doesn’t matter, does it?”

“Well it might, if the FIA look into it.”

“Well, then delete my lap. The second. The other lap was fine as well.”

“Not from a safety perspective? Any concerns?”

Do we have to go there? To safety? I think we know what we are doing – otherwise we would not be driving an F1 car. It’s qualifying, and yeah, you go for it. But like I said before, if they want to delete the lap, then delete the lap.”

Firstly, deleting the lap was never an option. It was a little arrogant to suggest he could get away without punishment for such an infraction, himself referencing that his first lap was quick enough.

But the bigger issue is the fact that he suggests the rules don’t apply to him. He almost suggests they don’t apply to anyone who drives in F1, because they ‘know what they are doing.

Bottas drives an F1 car, too. He knows what he’s doing. And he made a mistake, because they all push to the absolute limit and sometimes mistakes happen. Verstappen himself has even crashed at the very same corner – albeit much further back, and as a much less experienced driver.

Admittedly, Verstappen was not asked if he saw a yellow flag and ignored it, but for him to suggest he could ignore the incident because he’s good enough to is not an attitude that can be allowed to stand. It’s not about his talent. For all he knew, debris could have given Bottas a puncture and caused his crash, and could still have been on the track and done the same to him. Or a component on his car could have failed. There are multiple aspects that are out of his hands.

It’s the sort of attitude that alienates Verstappen at times, and then leads to him being unfairly judged. He did nothing wrong in the rest of the race. His incident with Hamilton at Turn 1 was close racing at its best, and Hamilton must know the dangers of risking a move around the outside against any driver. Plus it was Hamilton’s own oversteer moment – whether initiated by a slight touch with Verstappen or not – that led to both going off at Turn 2.

Verstappen’s approach makes him an easy target for rivals like Lewis Hamilton, who – probably unfairly – pointed the finger at the Dutchman after their scrap in Mexico City. Image by Tee/LAT

Verstappen didn’t complain about it afterwards, but Hamilton was critical of being “torpedoed” by the Dutchman. Hardly.

Similarly, his move on Bottas was opportunistic, aggressive, but clean until the very end of the pass. Both cars had space on track when contact happened, and it was late in the corner when Bottas had clearly seen the move unfolding. A racing incident at worst.

Yet both were referenced by the Mercedes drivers as examples of where Verstappen is aggressive and needs to be given a wide berth. Vettel agreed with both, with a knowing smile from Hamilton alongside him. Yet Verstappen was the one hit by Vettel at Silverstone, and at Suzuka last year. Bottas was the one who pushed too far and paid a costly price in qualifying. Hamilton was even angered by a potentially dangerous defense from Vettel on the straight at the start in Mexico.

When asked about Verstappen (and to be fair, it must be remembered they were directly asked), it was easy for them to criticize. But if he had the right of reply, Verstappen could easily even up the argument.

That’s why it’s not his driving that’s the problem. It’s his attitude. It makes him an easy target, because while all the drivers push the boundaries in the same way and always feel they are in the right, Verstappen seems to lack the ability to acknowledge when he’s wrong, even if it is rare.

If he had admitted he was wrong in Mexico on Saturday, it wouldn’t have saved him from a penalty as the FIA insists an investigation was coming anyway given his sector time. But it would improve the perception that he has a greater tendency to be in the wrong than others that his rivals spoke of.

Keeping that aura of needing to be given space is good for Verstappen on track, but showing the disregard for the rules off it that he did in Mexico needs to be addressed to help him in future.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Carey wants simplified F1 governance structure, confident of 2021 approval

Liberty Media wants to simplify the governance structure in Formula 1 as part of its ongoing discussions with teams ahead of the planned introduction of new regulations.

A vote is set for Thursday on the financial, technical and sporting regulations for 2021, with a cost cap expected to be introduced as well as a radical change to the cars in order to make them better suited for racing. Speaking during a Formula 1 Group investor meeting, F1 CEO Chase Carey says part of the changes he’s hoping to implement relate to the governance structure, with numerous stakeholders currently involved in decision making through the Strategy Group, F1 Commission and finally the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC).

“I don’t want to get into specifics of what we’re proposed to the teams but I think the primary goal is to simplify the governing structure,” Carey said. “I think today we feel we have a very cumbersome governing structure — there’s two layers of approval, very complicated votes, a lot of different parties that get involved.

“If there was one goal overriding in this — it’s a complicated sport with complicated issues already — it’s to simplify the decision-making structure so that we can move forward and not have the type of dynamics we’ve had to some degree in the past.”

With the 2021 regulations set to be finalized on Thursday, Carey is confident the teams will approve the sport’s future direction but warns any changes will not be immediate.

“Essentially, the five elements to the discussion we’ve been having with teams, three are regulatory — financial, technical and sporting — and then those three will be voted on tomorrow. So they include the cost cap and things like that — elements like that in finance. Technical regulations deal with aero of the car and things like that for the racing future.

“Two other elements are not subject to a vote — governance and profit-sharing. We’re in advanced discussions with teams on those. It ends up being 10 individual agreements with the teams. Certainly the whole process is in an advanced stage; those three will get voted on tomorrow, the others are more unilaterally within the teams.

“We feel good about the vote. We’ve gone through a long process, engaged with the teams, we took the WMSC through what’s been voted on earlier this month. I’m hopeful and expecting the vote to be approved but at the end of the day you don’t control a vote.

“I think having it done is a positive. I don’t know if it is a game-changing process, but it’s never done until it’s done. There won’t be a flood of things that happen behind it but I think it’s a positive step to go forward, just as I think it (has some) uncertainty. No matter how much we feel we’re in a good place, we’ve had agreement with the teams for a long time on the goals we’re trying to achieve but with 10 teams, every team has its own twists and turns on specifics.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

F1 ‘still engaged’ with Miami despite ’clear hurdles to get over’

Formula 1 is still hopeful of bringing a grand prix to Miami despite a vote that has added road blocks to its prospects.

On Tuesday, Miami-Dade County commissioners passed two resolutions that could impact on the planned race. One gives commissioners the power to prohibit road closures related to racing events near or in residential areas, and the other was an ordinance to give Miami Gardens residents a public hearing on races proposed in the Hard Rock Stadium’s district.

Following those votes, F1 CEO Chase Carey (pictured above) told a Formula 1 Group investor meeting that the votes do not end hopes to host a race at the stadium venue.

“Miami, we are still engaged,” Carey said. “There are clear hurdles to get over, we have to address — we had a vote yesterday that created new issues for us to try and address. I wasn’t in Miami, so I don’t have the details as what are the steps from here to there, but we do have hurdles to overcome now to put the race in Miami, but that is ongoing.”

Carey says there is strong interest in further races wanting a spot on the calendar, following the addition of races in Zandvoort and Hanoi for next season.

“One of the things we’ve been particularly enthused about is the breadth of interest in places hosting races, which I think if anything has increased in the last year plus. And I think we have discussions literally on every continent other than Antarctica. Countries we do race in, countries we don’t race in, they’re varying degrees of discussions.

“Our capacity to add races is quite limited, so the demand exceeds supply. The vast majority of our races are long-term agreements and we want them to be long-term agreements — we value that partnership. But there will always be some turnover. If you look at this year we have two new races Zandvoort and Vietnam, and one race not continuing in Germany.

“So I think we do feel excited about it, and some of it in traditional markets, some in new markets, like the U.S. and China. The discussions are in varying stages depending on which one and I’m not going to handicap individual discussions.”

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Latifi back in the Williams saddle at COTA

Latifi back in the Williams saddle at COTA

Williams reserve driver Nicholas Latifi will be back in the saddle in Texas this week, taking over from George Russell in the US Grand Prix’s first practice session at the Circuit of the Americas.

Latifi will enjoy back-to-back outings with the British outfit having ran last week in FP1 in Mexico City.

“Coming off an FP1 last week I feel that I am more in the rhythm of the car, which is important when you only have a limited number of laps in the session,” the Canadian said.

“Austin in probably one of the tracks on the calendar that I am most looking forward to driving that I have not yet driven.

“It seems like a track that has a bit of everything and the first sector, with all the fast-flowing corners, is exactly what I love in these high downforce cars.

“It’s not so often that I get to drive new tracks for the first time so I’m looking forward to that challenge and hopefully I’ll be able to get up to speed quickly.”

Latifi was satisfied overall with his fourth session with Williams and the contribution he was able to make to the team’s set-up preparations.

“I was pleased with how FP1 went,” the 24-year-old commented on his website.

“It was a clean session and I gathered the data the team needed. It wasn’t possible to compare lap times with George as we were on different run plans.

“I was on quite an old package, as the team is limited with spares, so understandably I didn’t want to risk damage for Robert.

“Considering what I lost in pure performance from the parts I was where I wanted to be, and exactly where the team wanted me to be, so I can take some positivity from that!”

Dave Robson, Williams’ senior race engineer, says the Grove-based outfit will effectively kick start its preparations for next season when it samples, along with its rivals, a couple of set of 2020-spec tyres supplied by Pirelli.

“With the end of the 2019 season almost in sight, we begin in earnest our trackside preparations for 2020 with some additional tyres testing on Friday

“Pirelli have provided each car with 2 sets of tyres in the 2020 construction and so we can expect to see more running than usual during FP1 and FP2 as the teams begin their preparations ahead of the post-season Abu Dhabi tyre test.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

McLaren SP reveals 2020 IndyCar line-up – drops Hinchcliffe

McLaren SP reveals 2020 IndyCar line-up – drops Hinchcliffe

Arrow McLaren SP has signed up Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew for its 2020 IndyCar campaign, the team parting ways with incumbent James Hinchcliffe.

O’Ward and Askew, who join the new entity as former and current Indy Lights champions respectively, will compete in the full 2020 IndyCar season.

“With our background in Indy Lights, I’ve followed Oliver and Pato closely over the last few years on the Road to Indy,” said Arrow McLaren SP co-owner, Sam Schmidt.

“I couldn’t think of a better pairing as we write the first chapter in Arrow McLaren SP’s story. They’ve proven their skills on the Road to Indy and with an Indy Lights championship each, they are ready and deserving of full-time seats in IndyCar.

“I have no doubt that Oliver and Pato are the right drivers to move Arrow McLaren SP forward.”

A former Red Bull junior, the 20-year-old O’Ward was released from the energy drink’s programme earlier this month.

The nomination means that Hinchliffe will move on from the team he joined back in 2015, having scored thee wins with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the past.

Hincliffe will remain contracted to Arrow McLaren SP but is free to secure alternative opportunities for 2020.

It was initially believed that the experienced Canadian would remain a member of the new McLaren SP entity, but Hincliffe’s close ties to Honda may have precluded the 32-year-old from continuing to race for a team that is switching its engine allegiance to Chevrolet for 2020.

Arrow McLaren SP’s late decision on its line-up is a blow for the Mayor of Hinchtown as good racing opportunities are scarce at this stage. But as a top class driver, Hinch might be tempted by a change of scenery. Could NASCAR come calling?

“James has been a great ambassador for our team, and for the sport, over the last five years,” said Schmidt.

“Our history dates back to his early days in Indy Lights and we’ve been on a tremendous journey together. Most impressive was James’s determination to come back after his accident in 2015.

“I have the utmost respect for James and would like to thank him for his hard work and accomplishments during that period and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Proud Binotto says Ferrari engine suspicions are ‘a shame’

Proud Binotto says Ferrari engine suspicions are ‘a shame’

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto says he is “proud” of the hard work done by his engineers to improve the Scuderia’s power unit, insisting that calling into question its legality is “a shame”.

Ferrari’s edge in terms of sheer power has been clearly demonstrated on the track.

But the magnitude of the Italian outfit’s advances on the power front has generated suspicions among its rivals, who have queried the FIA on certain elements of the engine that they believe are perhaps transgressing the technical regulations.

Binotto confidently responded to the rumors by encouraging a formal protest, as it would allow Ferrari to clear its name once and for all.

“First, all the F1 teams are working very hard to build competitive advantages,” Binotto told Motorsport.com.

“We have worked very hard to improve our power unit package which was not the best when the regulations came into force in 2014.

“If we are in front now, we should simply be proud of it. We need to be clear, it’s somehow a shame reading what I read on the internet or in newspapers.

“Other competitors had an advantage in the past and nobody put any blame on that,” added the Swiss engineer.

“As Ferrari, when we got a disadvantage on the power unit, the only thing we put is effort in trying to address it and improve our power unit.

“It would be a lot more fair to not read or hear some comments.”

©Ferrari

Binotto insisted that all F1’s manufacturers are consistently under the scrutiny of the FIA. To date, he has not been given any indication by the governing body that something fishy may be going on under the bodywork of Ferrari’s SF90.

“The FIA is always and continuously looking at the telemetry data, always looking at all power unit’s compliance to the regulations, and is always inspecting as they did every single year and every single race,” Binotto said.

“I have no clear facts of protests or anybody indicating anything special to the FIA.

“We’ve got an advantage there, maybe not as big as people may believe, but it’s only down to hard work and we are very proud of it.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Red Mist: What happens when they clip the boss?

Red Mist: What happens when they clip the boss?

Tell me something. What happens when a family loses its leader?

Let me tell you. It’s a total casino. The soldiers want to be the bagmen, the goombah eyes the wiseguy; people get pinched, others eat alone, the zips circle and the underbosses and consigliere have their hands full. Every man and his dog is out to make the bones.

To be plain, there’s blood on the street — all hell breaks loose when the person who held it all together, becomes dearly departed.

It’s the same in any family — when a patriarch passes, everything every member holds dear, the pecking order and how it all works, ends up in the air. It all changes forever. In business too — a strong leader suddenly removed from power can very well see the forsaken company shutting down through the ensuing mayhem.

So consider that as I take you back to late last July. You may remember that Ferrari was on a charge — Sebastian Vettel had won his brilliant fourth race of the season at Silverstone and it really and truly seemed that the Scuderia finally had dominant Mercedes-Benz covered. All the work done to turn parent company Fiat, and then Ferrari around, was finally working — the boss’ passionate leadership was paying off.

Then Sergio Marchionne was not well. Next thing he was gone.

My first thought was, ’shit, now what?’ Ferrari found itself rudderless in the torrent and as it happens when a Capo is clipped, your boss or your father dies, all hell broke loose. The timing could not have been worse — I was convinced that Marchionne’s huge loss was about to rock the team he had made his own. Damn, it did so too.

The rot set in on track — Seb went off all on his own at Hockenheim and while he bounced back with a second in Hungary and a win at Spa, it properly fell apart after that. Hamilton out-fumbled him at Monza and except for Kimi’s one-off at Austin, it was all Mercedes.

Back at Maranello, the mattresses were out and it was every soldier for himself — the underbosses had it through the eye and the consiglieri were dodging a one-way ride as chaos ruled the Ferrari Family. Gradually, however, the administration began to rebuild — the Old Cigarette Seller and his lieutenants were snuffed out and the Tall Captain and his gumbahs put in place, while the Casa got new Capi as a fresh Marlboro Man took the previous Don’s Grandson by the hand.

Slowly, slowly, Ferrari started to catch that monkey again, but it was never going to be a quick fix; the chasm left by Marchionne’s passing has proven a tough nut to crack.

Into that untested and shaky environment, the new soldier found a lardy, lazy goombah — Leclerc soon got into Vettel’s head and if that was not bad enough, the Scuderia’s luck could not have been worse. The Canada catastrophe, then Austria and more too as Ferrari appeared to do its utmost to shoot itself in both feet.

Trouble is, it was not doing that, all the team was trying to get right, was find back its feet. That took time. The cracks grew —  Charl got even better of dizzy Seb and a year on from his 2018 fiasco, Vettel suffered another Italian nightmare, while his kid teammate trotted to off his second win on the run at Monza.

Critically, however, Ferrari was winning again and for the past six races, it has yet again proven itself a formidable Formula 1 force. Never mind, the real Sebastian Vettel has stood up since Singapore and he’s been sharp ever since. There’s nothing like a couple of thousand laps in a kart to blow those cobwebs away. Now with that win and a couple of seconds from the past four races, it is he who now has the lad on the back foot.

That’s a good thing — what’s better than two bitter Ferrari teammates fighting it out upfront? Haven’t seen that for a while.

Back to Mexico, perhaps there were issues around Charles’ pitstop, but a bunch of other teams had the same. And Seb drove another solid race, even if Lewis beat him fair and square. Being suckered into believing that Hamilton would stop again and losing track position on another stupid F1 circuit, must be addressed. F1 rules that prevent real racing, rather than promoting it, also needs attention.

Let’s hope that new 2021 F1 rules package changes all that but for now, Ferrari news seems strong again. From what I can see, the mattresses are packed away, the outfit has sorted its issues and the crew has opened those books again. Bring it on — Forza Ferrari!

Glossary of Lingo

  • Administration: top management
  • Bagman: collects/cleans/distributes money.
  • Books Open: possibility of promotion
  • Books Closed: no possibility of promotion
  • Boss; Don: head of the family
  • Button: hit man
  • Capo: crew chief
  • Capo dei Capi: boss of all bosses
  • Casa: house
  • Casino: commotion
  • Clip: murder (also whack/hit/pop/burn/ice/contract out)
  • Consigliere: adviser consulted before making decisions.
  • Crew, Soldier: troops
  • Eat Alone: be greedy.
  • Family: organised clan.
  • Goombah: senior associate
  • Made Man: inducted member of the family.
  • Make Bones: gain credibility by killing someone.
  • Mattresses: going to war
  • Outfit: a clan, or family within the Mafia.
  • Through the eye: the mob is watching you
  • Underboss: second in command
  • Wiseguy: made man
  • Zips: newer immigrant Italian mafiosi.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Kimi launches fashion range with West Coast Choppers

Kimi launches fashion range with West Coast Choppers

Kimi Raikkonen is a Man of Few Words so when he speaks we tend to listen, thus when he offers his good name to a new fashion brand from the house of an iconic one, that’s a huge talking point because this is a rare occasion for The Iceman!

Kimi, a 2007 F1 World Champion, a veteran of over 300 grand prix starts, a 21-time winner of those, with 103 podiums to his name, has partnered with Jesse James of West Coast Choppers to launch the KIMI by West Coast Choppers range of merchandise.

The exciting new range broke cover during a press conference at West Coast Choppers headquarters in Austin on Tuesday, where Jesse and Kimi spoke about their plans and vision for the new range which combines Kimi’s love for choppers and motorcycle culture to his prowess as one of the best Formula 1 drivers of the past two decades.

James said of the venture: “The West Coast Chopper brand is based in Holland since early 2000s. I’ve been a big Formula 1 fan, and Rupert and Johan, who manage the brand in Europe, always wanted to get our foot in the door. I feel like a lot of the same fans who like West Coast Chopper stuff are into Formula 1

“We were talking about the idea (and I’m friends with pretty much the whole crew of the Mercedes team) and I asked them if they had a contact for Kimi because I [needed] someone to represent the brand and create a sub-brand under his name. I thought that would be a pretty good idea so that’s how we got hooked up.

“We just started talking and then our graphic designer – who’s Canadian – started putting together designs and ideas and the more we looked at it, the more I looked at Kimi’s attitude and perspective, is really the same as mine. We’re people persons!”

Kimi added, “I’m very happy that this happened. Over the years there’s been a lot of different things that I’ve been asked if I want to do this or that, but I only try to do them when I feel it’s right, and when it fits me and this was absolutely one of those. Yeah, it was quite easy to say: okay, let’s do it and see what happens.

“I’ve seen, obviously, Jesse on TV for many years, and I think it’s a great opportunity. I’m excited about it and hopefully, the people who buy it are excited also.”

According to West Coach Choppers, “The collection reflects the dedication, determination and hard work needed to get to the very top with a hat tipped to the blue-collar backgrounds of both Jesse and Kimi.

“The products are made of high-quality fabrics using the finest craftsmanship to deliver a unique product where the focus is on attention to detail. Exactly how Kimi and Jesse are as people.

“The wide launch collection carries t-shirts, headwear, jackets and sweatshirts for men, women and kids. Soon new products will be added including accessories, shorts and other products. The range will be dynamic and will evolve during the course of different seasons and developed on a need to basis to keep the look continuously current and original.”

Kimi is, without doubt, one of the, if not the most popular racing driver on the planet and has been so for the past two decades. Fans love his no-nonsense approach, his genius as a driver and his “I do it my way” attitude.

And it appears that this will be the ethos with his new fashion brand and explained the process, “I’ve seen a lot of different designs, and then it was up to me to choose something that I like and then it was all together. So it’s not just me, but yeah, there were a lot of different designs to start with and then narrow it down to where we ended up.

“It’s for everybody’s kids not just mine (laughter) but obviously my daughter is going to use it and my son too. Even I am going to use it because I chose it,” added the Iceman.

On the day of the launch, the website www.kimibywestcoastchoppers.com went live offering the products to the public, with shipping worldwide on competitive rates.

James explained the logistical side of the range, “Goods will be shipped from Europe enabling a fast delivery to every part of the world with local customer service points in both Europe as USA, so good service can be assured.

“Further to that, the products will appear live for the first time within the F1 circus this weekend at the US Fl GP at COTA. The products are exposed and will be for sale in the F1 Fan village where it will have a designated space at one of the vending locations.

“From here the collection will be offered at all Fl GP’s from now on into 2020, making Kimi the only driver having his own personal collection at display around the Fl calendar. The brand has already been picked up by numerous channels and distributors and we welcome enquiries from trade and fans.”

Kimi is in Austin for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas where he will line-up on the grid for Alfa Romeo to contest his 313th Formula 1 race. Last year he won at the venue as a Ferrari driver.

Photos are Copyright Free & Press Release Source Here>>>

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Marko ‘annoyed’ by Red Bull setbacks given ‘fast car’

Marko ‘annoyed’ by Red Bull setbacks given ‘fast car’

Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko admitted to being frustrated by Max Verstappen’s inability to challenge for top spoils in Mexico given his car’s speed advantage on hard tyres during the race.

Verstappen’s Mexican Grand Prix suffered a setback at the outset when the Dutchman spared with Lewis Hamilton in the first corner and then picked up a puncture when dueling with Mercedes’ second driver Valtteri Bottas.

That contact forced an early pitstop on Verstappen who then fought his way through the field and back up to sixth with a spirited drive on the hard tyre.

Marko admitted Verstappen could have been a bit more careful during his skirmish with Hamilton in the first corner given his car’s speed advantage as he later demonstrated during his stint on the hard compound tyre.

“Max was two seconds faster than the leader on the race on the hard tyres,” the Austrian told Auto Motor und Sport.

“If you have such a fast car then that’s really annoying.

“That [the first corner] was a bit unfortunate. Hamilton went a little off the line and then got too close to Max who went on to the grass.

“Unfortunately, it was still a bit wet. That’s how he lost so much time.”

Referring to Hamilton’s post-race comments about the need to give Verstappen extra space during wheel-to-wheel battles, Marko suggested that the Mercedes driver had failed to do just that at Turn 1, and neither did Bottas a few laps later.

“Hamilton did not do that in the first corner, I saw him leave no extra space there,” affirmed Marko.

“Bottas could have been a bit more careful. It looked like he did not see Max. And then he slashes the tyre for us. The maneuver by Max was actually very good. But the result was unfortunately very bad.”

For Marko, the takeaway from Mexico is that despite last weekend’s disappointing result, Red Bull’s performance level will allow it to challenge for race wins in the final races of the 2019 season.

“We’ve always had a fast car except for Singapore and Russia,” he said.

“In Singapore, we spoiled the setup, in Russia, the new fuel was not available. There was a lack of power.

“But I expect that we can go for the victories on the next tracks.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Schumacher: ‘What my dad was to Vettel, Seb is for me’

Schumacher: ‘What my dad was to Vettel, Seb is for me’

Ferrari Driver Academy member Mick Schumacher has drawn a parallel between his relationship with Sebastian Vettel and the link between the latter and the young hopeful’s legendary father.

Schumacher is on the verge of completing his first campaign in Formula 2, but a major highlight of the 20-year-old’s 2019 season will remain his F1 debut with Ferrari in Bahrain last spring.

As a member of the House of Maranello’s driver academy, Schumacher was awarded test days with the Scuderia and Alfa Romeo, but the young German admits the lure of the former has unsurprisingly always been irresistible.

“I feel drawn to Ferrari,” Schuamcher said in an exclusive interview with Motorsport-Magazin’s Christian Menath.

“I grew up with them and have always driven for Italian teams with the exception of one season.

“Even early on, when I was in karting, I drove for Tony Kart in a completely Italian team. The only year I haven’t worked with Italians was in 2015 when I competed in Formula 4 with Van Amersfoort.

“I’m back now with Italians once again at Prema. The passion they have for motorsport is just terrific.

“You appreciate that all the more at Ferrari. Walking around Maranello or Fiorano feels really special. It’s just one big happy family. You feel good when you’re there, part of the Ferrari family.”

As Schumacher follows in the footsteps of his famous father, there is no lack of support for the young charger’s ambitions.

And Vettel is one man who has given him loads of encouragement, just like the four-time world champion was himself spurred on during his formative years in the sport by Michael Schumacher.

“I’ve got a great deal of respect for him,” Mick admitted. “We talk a lot about motorsport.

“I try to get tips from him and put them into practice. He’s been in the sport quite a few more years than me, so every conversation we have helps.

“I think what my dad was to Sebastian, he is for me, someone that I’m close to, with whom I can talk about motorsport.”

Schumacher’s maiden season in F2 hasn’t been an easy task, but he also feels that the difficult times he endured this season have strengthened him for the future, and for F1.

“The hard times make us stronger,” he said. “If we can manage to turn things around so that it works out positive for us in the end, then we’ve learned more than if everything had gone well right from the start.

“If at some point, you join Formula 1 and then suddenly find that nothing’s going right, then the pressure is enormous.

“These are situations that can completely break a driver. However, the person who has been through it all before and has overcome hard times is inured to it and can handle the situation better, in my opinion.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Mercedes: Floor damage in Mexico cost Hamilton 7 seconds!

Mercedes: Floor damage in Mexico cost Hamilton 7 seconds!

Mercedes tech boss James Allison says the floor damage suffered by Lewis Hamilton following his first lap tangle with Max Verstappen in Mexico cost the Briton an estimated 7 seconds.

Hamilton and Verstappen made contact in Turn 1 shortly after the start and the result was a big piece of the ‘wouvre panel’ located on the Mercedes W10’s floor flying off.

However, perfect strategy and a flawless drive by the reigning world champion allowed Hamilton to secure his tenth win of the season.

“When Lewis and Verstappen tangled at the start there was actually a reasonable amount of damage to Lewis’s car in the subsequent collision,” Allison explained in the team’s Pure Pitwall debrief on Youtube.

“If you watch the race footage carefully, you’ll just see a strip of bodywork flying up past the camera and that strip of bodywork was a piece of Lewis’s floor disappearing from the scene.

“That strip of bodywork is a thing we call the ‘wouvre panel’ and it runs down the outside edge of the floor.

“There was also a little bit of damage to the front wing endplate and these two things combined to give Lewis a loss of aerodynamic downforce equivalent to about 0.1s per lap.”

While the loss in performance per lap may have appeared marginal, it amounted to quite a significant amount of time of the course of the entire race as Allison underlined.

“It might not sound a lot but if you remember that the race is 70 laps long, then over the course of that entire race, that’s worth about seven seconds.

“Remembering that at the end of the race Lewis was less than two seconds in front of Vettel, you can see that those seven seconds are a meaningful amount.

“It adds emphasis to the fact this was a very fine, very controlled drive that Lewis put in on Sunday, able to stay ahead of the Ferrari, showing good pace and good consistency despite carrying that damage throughout.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Brawn: Verstappen ‘showed his age or lack of it’ in Mexico

Brawn: Verstappen ‘showed his age or lack of it’ in Mexico

Ross Brawn says Max Verstappen must learn from his mistakes, with F1’s managing director of motorsport insisting the Red Bull driver “showed his age or lack of it” in Mexico.

Verstappen was on cloud nine after setting the fastest lap in qualifying, but the Dutchman’s enthusiasm was tempered by a three-spot grid penalty handed by the stewards for failing to slow after Valtteri Bottas’ crash at the end of Q3.

Verstappen launched his race on Sunday with the bit between his teeth, only to tangle with Lewis Hamilton at the first corner before picking up a puncture after a light contact with Bottas.

The 22-year-old did well however to recover to finish sixth overall, a performance appreciated by F1 fans who voted him as their “driver of the day”.

However, Brawn believes Verstappen still needs to learn from his errors, insisting his young age provides him with plenty of room for improvement.

“Max made a few mistakes that cost him dearly,” Brawn said in his usual post-race debrief.

“Starting on Saturday when he ignored yellow flags following Valtteri Bottas’ Q3 crash, and afterwards blatantly admitting that he had not reduced his speed.

“Then, on Sunday, the red mist came down on the first lap as he tangled with Hamilton in Turn 2 after the start.

“To make matters worse he picked up a puncture following a somewhat ambitious move past Bottas in the stadium section a few laps later. And that was pretty much that.”

“There will be little consolation in his spirited fight back to sixth from P20 that involved a marathon 66-lap stint on hard tyres.

“The Dutchman showed his age or lack of it. He’s still only 22 and so there is plenty of room for improvement,” Brawn added.

“The important thing is to learn from one’s mistakes, which applies even if you’re 50 but perhaps a little more so at 22.

“You have to win the ones you should win and the ones you shouldn’t as demonstrated by Lewis – that is how you become a world champion.”

Indeed, Brawn praised Hamilton and Mercedes for the pair’s Mexican masterclass and the skill and strategy it demonstrated to overcome its opposition.

“In some ways, this race reflected the season as a whole – this year is the first in the hybrid era in which Mercedes’ technical superiority has been challenged,” Brawn said.

“But at the same time the driver and team have found a way of getting the best out of their package, making the most of any unexpected circumstances and the mistakes of others.

“Record beating runs are built like this.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Miami county puts up a roadblock in front of F1

Miami county puts up a roadblock in front of F1

Miami-Dade County commissioners have just made it harder for Liberty Media to bring Formula 1 to their city, erecting a roadblock that gives local authorities the right to prohibit racing on public roads located around the Hard Rock Stadium.

As plans for a Miami Grand Prix taking place at the home of the NFL’s Dolphins grew clearer earlier this year, protests from local residents of Miami Gardens have grown louder.

On Tuesday, after hours of public hearings from all engaged parties, county commissioners passed a resolution that would prevent public road closures related to racing events in residential areas of Miami Gardens, a decision that virtually scraps F1’s proposed track layout.

Commissioners also passed a second ordinance requiring a large-scale public hearing among Miami Gardens residents to decide whether they want a race in the vicinity of their neighborhoods.

While both measures are aimed at derailing the process of bringing F1 cars to the Hard Rock Stadium and to its vast parking lot, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has the theoretical power to veto both measures.

Gimenez pointed to the potential annual economic benefits, estimated at $400 million, delivered to the city by F1, and therefore urged residents, the Dolphins and race organizers to reach an agreement.

“Nobody is going to be 100 percent happy, but we need to come to a middle ground,” Gimenez said. “It is a world-class event, it is like having a Super Bowl here every year in Miami Dade County.”

.

But the barrage of opposition to the event appears to be growing larger by the day, with former county commissioner Betty T Ferguson leading the resistance, underlining F1’s “deadly effects” linked to air and noise pollution.

“The majority of residents in Miami Gardens do not want to see F1 racing at Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Gardens city council voted to oppose Formula 1,” said Ferguson.

“We have seen too often deep pockets paint rosy pictures and have their way, only to the embarrassment of the county at a later date. Don’t allow F1 promoters to come in and roll over us over, like we’re not even humans.

“They can produce all kinds of phony statements about how they can mitigate the deadly effects, but we can never erase deadly health damage, and possibly permanent hearing loss, especially to children. Even the county’s own study verifies the deadly effects.

“No permission for road closure or special events should be given to the Dolphins without full public hearing.”

That crucial public hearing is scheduled to take place in December.

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Binotto: They should protest!

Binotto: They should protest!

Ferrari F1 boss Mattia Binotto is daring his team’s rivals to lodge a protest against the Italian team’s 2019 Formula 1 power unit amid rumours that key rivals suspect the engine could be illegal.

“We’re talking about 50 horsepower on the straights,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is quoted by Blick.

The Swiss newspaper’s veteran correspondent Roger Benoit says one team has already asked the FIA to look into the situation with Ferrari’s engine.

Ferrari team boss Binotto reportedly hit back: “They should protest! Then we could all see how stupid their allegations are and the rumours would disappear.”

Binotto is more focused on turning Ferrari’s obvious qualifying advantage into more race victories, “We have six consecutive pole positions but three victories in the last six races. We want more than this.

“But it is undoubtedly an improvement over how we started the season. We see the last three races as a test bench to learn to operate in the best possible way for next season,” added the Scuderia’s team boss.

Big Question: Are Ferrari cheating?

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Steiner: I blame the team and a large part of blame is for me

Steiner: I blame the team and a large part of blame is for me

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner admits there is nothing the American team can do to fix the team’s woeful 2019 Formula 1 car.

In the past days, race drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean have been suggesting that Haas has totally written off the rest of the season.

Team boss Steiner confirmed to Ekstra Bladet, “The best news is that there are only three races left. For the long run, it is at least positive that we have identified a fundamental aerodynamic problem.

“With the rule changes for this season, we went in the wrong direction. We didn’t see it clearly enough and went down a road where we can no longer develop the car. We are in a dead-end. We could try to develop as crazily as we want, but with this concept, it’s not going to work,” Steiner added.

For most of the year, Haas has blamed Pirelli’s difficult 2019 tyres. But Steiner admits that the biggest problem is the 2019 car.

“Mechanically, the car is good. It’s solid. To point fingers, the problem is the aerodynamics. But I do not want to point fingers at individuals,” he said.

“I blame the team, and a large part of the blame is for me. I also blame myself for not seeing the lack of progress in the updates.”

Big Question: Is Guenther the right guy for the job?

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Jos Verstappen: Max is getting into their heads

Jos Verstappen: Max is getting into their heads

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel feel “threatened” by Max Verstappen, according to the young Dutch driver’s father.

In Mexico, world champion Hamilton hit out at Verstappen’s aggressive driving, and Vettel said he would “copy-paste” that opinion.

“I think Lewis feels threatened by Max,” Jos Verstappen told Ziggo Sport. “Max is getting into their heads, which is not surprising. Give Max a good car next season and then we’ll see.”

However, Verstappen has been roundly criticised for his behaviour in Mexico, including ignoring the yellow flags and getting involved in collisions in the race.

But Red Bull is not joining that criticism. Helmut Marko said his biggest concern is the way Verstappen openly admitted to not slowing down for Valtteri Bottas’ qualifying crash.

“The only thing we can accuse him of is that he needs to be a little more diplomatic with his answers,” Marko said.

Big Question: Are Lewis and Seb threatened by Max?

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Barcelona keen on Grand Prix beyond 2020

Barcelona keen on Grand Prix beyond 2020

Barcelona Aerial view photo

Organisers of the Spanish Grand Prix are looking to re-open talks with Formula 1 about a new race deal for the 2021 world championship season.

Barcelona looked set to be axed from next year’s schedule until an unique one-year deal for 2020 was agreed by Liberty Media.

That deal involved convincing the F1 teams to attend an unprecedented 22nd race next year.

And now, Barcelona race organisers are preparing for new talks with Liberty Media about 2021.

“Obviously, everything that was worked out this year is not thrown away,” circuit boss Joan Fontsere told El Mundo Deportivo newspaper. “It is the basis for future agreements. Our will is to continue to have the highest quality events, among them Formula 1.

“So when the current F1 calendar ends, we will begin to lay the foundations for future discussions. Those negotiations have not started yet,” he added.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Wolff: It is our responsibility to respect the DNA of Formula 1

Wolff: It is our responsibility to respect the DNA of Formula 1

Toto+Wolff+F1+Testing+Barcelona+Day+One+8ObrTWuuCUFx

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has admitted he voted down Liberty Media’s proposal to test a radical new qualifying format in 2020.

Ross Brawn, the F1 sporting director, had revealed a plan to trial a new format next year over three grand prix weekends. The idea was to base qualifying on a reverse-grid sprint race.

“We were just asking for the opportunity for three races to try the format,” Brawn said. “The teams initially said they would agree with it and then two teams put their hand up at the last meeting and said they wouldn’t agree with it.”

Wolff told L’Equipe that Mercedes was one of those two teams, “I did it because we have to respect the DNA of Formula 1. It is our responsibility.

“It wasn’t to keep a supposed advantage, because we probably would have found ourselves in front of Ferrari, based on their current pace in qualifying.

“But when you watch the 100-metre final at the Olympic Games, Usain Bolt doesn’t start five metres behind the others to improve the show,” Wolff added.

Liberty Media could revive the sprint race idea for 2021 when it has more control over the sporting regulations.

Brawn admitted that it is the “current governance system” in F1 that thwarted Liberty’s 2020 plans. It is rumoured that from 2021 onwards, a simple majority vote could result in rule changes.

“It’s frustrating that we’ve not been able to do that but I think that’s – unfortunately – the classic problem with Formula 1,” he said of the 2020 proposal.

Sign up to get all the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Subscribe to the F1 and Coffee Podcast on Spotify and iTunes, and our YouTube Channel

Facebook Login JavaScript Example