Category: f1 news

McLaren Formula 1 – McLaren confirms Fernando …

McLaren Formula 1 – McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso decision:

Fernando will not race in Formula 1 in 2019

McLaren Racing today confirms that double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso will not race in Formula 1 in 2019.

Fernando, who turned 37 in July, is competing in his 17th F1 season, his fifth with McLaren, and has amassed 32 wins, 22 pole positions and 97 podiums to date. Beyond his two titles – in 2005 he became the then-youngest world champion in F1 history – Fernando has been championship runner-up three times.


Zak Brown, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Racing, commented:

“Fernando is not only an outstanding ambassador for McLaren but also for Formula 1. His 17 years in the sport, as arguably the pre-eminent driver of his generation and undoubtedly an F1 great, have added another layer to Formula 1’s rich history.

“There is a time for everyone to make a change and Fernando has decided the end of this season to be his. We respect his decision, even if we believe he is in the finest form of his career. Our open dialogue with Fernando has meant we could plan for this eventuality.

“While evaluating his future during the past months, Fernando’s competitiveness has been undimmed. He has continued to perform at the highest level throughout, as we know he will do in the remaining nine races of this year’s championship.

“I know that the entire team joins me in paying tribute to Fernando’s enormous contribution to McLaren; he is a legend both for the championship and for the team. Fernando is an important part of our story and will join an illustrious line of McLaren drivers. On behalf of Shaikh Mohammed, Mansour and our entire board, we wish Fernando every success in the future.”


Fernando Alonso commented:

“After 17 wonderful years in this amazing sport, it’s time for me to make a change and move on. I have enjoyed every single minute of those incredible seasons and I cannot thank enough the people who have contributed to make them all so special.

“There are still several grands prix to go this season, and I will take part in them with more commitment and passion than ever.

“Let’s see what the future brings; new exciting challenges are around the corner. I’m having one of the happiest times ever in my life but I need to go on exploring new adventures.

“I want to thank everyone at McLaren. My heart is with the team forever. I know they will come back stronger and better in the future and it could be the right moment for me to be back in the series; that would make me really happy. I have built so many great relationships with many fantastic people at McLaren, and they have given me the opportunity to broaden my horizons and race in other categories. I feel I am a more complete driver now than ever.

“I made this decision some months ago and it was a firm one. Nevertheless, I would like to sincerely thank Chase Carey and Liberty Media for the efforts made to change my mind and everyone who has contacted me during this time.

“Finally, I would also like to thank my former teams, team-mates, competitors, colleagues, partners, journalists and everyone I have worked with in my F1 career. And, especially, my fans all over the world. I am quite sure our paths will cross again in the future.”

Stroll-backed consortium saves Force India

Stroll-backed consortium saves Force India:

The administrators for the Force India Formula 1 team have accepted a bid from a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll.

Force India has been in administration since the Friday before the Hungarian Grand Prix as parties involved sought to protect it against the threat of a winding-up order over mounting debts.

It was confirmed on Tuesday evening that a consortium, led by Stroll, had been assembled with the assistance of Force India’s chief operations officer Otmar Szafnauer and the team’s senior management.

A deal has agreed with the joint administrators, appointed by FRP Advisory, to return the team to solvency.

Stroll’s fellow investors are Canadian entrepreneur Andre Desmarais, Jonathan Dudman of Monaco Sports and Management, fashion business leader John Idol, telecommunications investor John McCaw Jr, financial expert Michael de Picciotto, and Stroll’s business partner Silas Chou.

Force India’s creditors will be paid in full, all 405 jobs at the team have been saved and ongoing funding has been guaranteed.

The new set-up, which signed an exclusivity agreement on Tuesday, takes over ownership of the team from Vijay Mallya and Orange India Holdings Sarl.

“This outcome secures the future of the Force India team in Formula 1 and will allow our team of racers to compete to our full potential,” said Szafnauer.

“I am delighted that we have the support of a consortium of investors who believe in us as a team and who see the considerable business potential that Force India has within F1 now and in the future.

“At Force India, our expertise and commitment has meant that we have always punched above our weight and this new investment ensures that we have a bright future ahead of us.

“I also would like to thank Vijay, the Sahara Group and the Mol family for all of their support and taking the team as far as their circumstances would allow.”

Stroll had been linked with investing in Force India for some time and its need for a new owner presented an opportunity to become more directly involved.

He has been backing Williams through support for his son Lance, who has driven for the British team since making his F1 debut last season.

Several other parties had expressed interest, including two US consortiums and a British firm.

“It is rare that a company can be rescued and returned to a position of solvency,” said joint administrator Geoff Rowley.

“The quality of the various interested parties has been impressive and required careful consideration as the administration has progressed.

“Having followed a robust process, in the end we were left with a highly-credible offer to save the company and restore solvency.

“Funding to support the team will be made available from today, and significantly more will be available once the company emerges from administration which we expect within the next two to three weeks.”

Now that a bid has been accepted the administrator will look to confirm finer details, including finalising the agreement to buy the team and agree elements like the contract to use Mercedes engines transferring to the new company.

The team has owed money to several creditors, notably Mercedes and driver Sergio Perez, who used this to trigger the action that led to Force India being put into administration at the request of senior members of the team.

Force India needs the change of ownership to be completed so it can commission suppliers to produce upgraded parts, which will be crucial in its championship battle.

The team is currently sixth in the constructors’ contest, seven points behind Haas and 23 behind fourth-placed Renault.

Trident terminates banned Ferrucci’s contract

Trident terminates banned Ferrucci’s contract:

Trident Motorsport has parted ways with banned Haas Formula 1 junior driver Santino Ferrucci, after the Formula 2 driver crashed into his teammate and drove with a phone in his hand.

Ferrucci is banned for the next two events – Hungary and Spa – after driving into the left-rear of Arjun Maini’s car on the cool-down lap after the Silverstone Sprint race.

The two had clashed in both Silverstone races.

Ferrucci was also fined €66,000 for driving without a glove on, also holding a mobile phone while transitioning between paddocks in his F2 car.

Trident has cited Ferrucci’s actions, as well as payment issues, for the reason of the contract termination.

The statement read: “Trident Motorsport informs to have communicated to Santino Ferrucci and to its guarantor, a company represented by Mr. Michael Ferrucci, the termination of the contract with the Team.

"This decision was motivated by the events – which are now of public domain – occurred at Silverstone, as well as by the serious breach of driver’s payment obligations.

"Since the beginning of the championship, the driver justified its payment default with alleged failure by his sponsors to fulfil their obligations.

"It seems weird that, despite such kind of issues, Santino Ferrucci had the resources needed to enter the Detroit IndyCar race from June 1-3 while, at the same time, he was not honoring his agreement with Trident Motorsport.

"Trident gave mandate to its lawyers in order to activate all the procedures needed to fully recover its credits towards the driver.”

Kubica had signed Ferrari F1 deal for 2012 sea…

Kubica had signed Ferrari F1 deal for 2012 season:

Robert Kubica has confirmed he signed a contract to race for Ferrari in Formula 1 before suffering the rallying crash that left him with severe injuries and interrupted his career.

Kubica was competing on the Ronde di Andora rally prior to the start of the 2011 F1 season when he crashed into a guardrail and suffered life-threatening injuries.

He has not raced in F1 since, though returned to grand prix weekend action this season for the first time since the 2010 Abu Dhabi GP in his role as test and reserve driver for Williams having failed to land a race seat for 2018.

It has long been thought that Kubica had an agreement to move from Renault to Ferrari for the 2012 season, but that was never formally acknowledged by either party in public.

Speaking on F1’s podcast, Kubica revealed he had considered backing out of the Andorran event but did not want to let down the team that organised the opportunity.

He was also aware that “the team I was going to drive for next year, I was not allowed to rally”.

Pressed by host Tom Clarkson on whether he had signed for Ferrari to partner Fernando Alonso in 2012 Kubica replied: “Yes.”

Kubica said he signed a contract with then-Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali and would have earned less money than at Renault.

Kubica said: “[The] First [goal] is to enter F1. Second is to become established in F1, so you have good value, a good reputation, which is more difficult than to enter.

"Third, you win a world championship or become a Ferrari driver. I haven’t won a world championship, in the end I haven’t become a Ferrari driver but I was very close.”

Kubica said the knowledge that he had lost out on a Ferrari move did not make it harder for him in the aftermath of his crash.

However, he did admit that it provides “additional pain now”.

“My recovery was so hard itself that for the first 16-18 months it did not hurt,” said Kubica. “I was fighting, I was concentrating on recovery, I was going through a difficult period.

"The more time was going the more difficult it was becoming, because the hope that things can get sorted are disappearing.

"There were moments I was recovering extraordinarily good and there were then months when surgeries went wrong and I went back six months instead of improving.

"It was painful [not racing in F1] but it was not more painful because I knew I was going to race for Ferrari.”

Kubica said he was not rallying “purely for fun” and had pursued the discipline because he had “the desire to become a more complete driver, to find something others don’t have or that I can improve”.

“I was not happy to be as good as I was,” said Kubica. “I need more. I thought rallying would give me this. And it gave me [that]. The problem is I paid too high a price.”

Lauda: Ferrari mistakes “unfair and not funny”

Lauda: Ferrari mistakes “unfair and not funny”:

The collisions between Ferrari and Mercedes drivers
in the past two Formula 1 races are “unfair” and “not funny”, says Niki
Lauda.

Kimi
Raikkonen tipped Lewis Hamilton into a spin at the start of the British
Grand Prix on Sunday, after Sebastian Vettel did the same to Valtteri
Bottas in France two weeks ago.

Hamilton dropped to last but charged back to second at his home race.

Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda told Motorsport.com: “Lewis did
an incredible job today, no question about it. Everything was going
right.

"The accident was unfair basically, because it’s the second time a Ferrari hits us in the first corner, and it’s not funny. But that’s the way it is.”

Vettel received a five-second penalty for hitting Bottas at Paul
Ricard while Raikkonen picked up a 10-second penalty for the Hamilton
clash on Sunday.

“First of all it was wrong when they gave Vettel five seconds,” Lauda told Sky Sports F1.

“At least now they gave Kimi 10 seconds at least. The stewards realised what’s going on here.

"But that’s the way it is. It should not have been, but for me,
Lewis’s job, being last, coming all the way to second, shows what
performance he had here.                    

"So, I say without the crash he would have won the race.”

Vettel won the race after a thrilling conclusion in which he wrested
the lead from Bottas, who along with Hamilton had stayed out on slightly
old tyres under a safety car.

Ferrari swapped Vettel and Raikkonen onto fresh softs, costing them track position but giving them chance to attack.

Hamilton was able to resist Raikkonen and ended up second as Bottas slipped from first to fourth in the closing stages.

After Mercedes came under much scrutiny for its strategy in Austria,
Lauda said that on this occasion “we were absolutely right, we did
nothing wrong”.

“Valtteri had some problems with the tyres near the end, yes, but if
he had come in the pits he would have had even more trouble,” Lauda
said.

“I think Lewis could have won the race without crashing on the first
lap, but nevertheless to come from last to second, is fantastic.

"The question is it’s such a close call, Bottas did a very good job
to defend his position with Vettel as long as he could, but then it was
over.

"It worked out for Lewis, it didn’t work out for Bottas.”

Mercedes’ deliberate crash suggestion “silly” …

Mercedes’ deliberate crash suggestion “silly” – Vettel:

Sebastian Vettel says it is “quite silly” to accuse
Ferrari of deliberately hitting the Mercedes drivers after Kimi
Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton clashed in Formula 1’s British Grand Prix.

Raikkonen
locked up and turfed Hamilton into a spin on the opening lap at
Silverstone, two races after Vettel made a mistake at the start of the
French GP and wiped out Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton recovered to second, beating Raikkonen, but referred to “interesting tactics” from Ferrari
on the podium and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said they had
questioned whether the incident was “deliberate or incompetence”.

Asked to comment on the suggestion it was intentional, British GP winner Vettel said: “Why? Things can happen.

"It’s quite silly to think that anything that happened was
deliberate. I, at least, would struggle to be that precise and take
somebody out.

"In France I lost my wing, so I screwed my race. I think it’s easy to attack and have a great move and easy to have an incident.

"I only saw it briefly but I don’t think there was any intention and I find it a bit unnecessary to even go there.”

Raikkonen also dismissed the suggestion as nonsense, saying: “Funnily
enough you start blaming us but I locked up a wheel and unfortunately
we touched.                          

"That’s how it goes sometimes. It’s easy to say after the last couple of races but we’ve been hit plenty of times in the past.”

Vettel’s mistake in France was punished by a five-second time penalty
that was not enough to drop him behind Bottas, who had to limp back to
the pits for a new set of tyres.

Raikkonen was eventually beaten by Hamilton but his own 10-second
penalty did not actually drop him behind the Mercedes during the race.

Asked to elaborate on his “interesting tactics” comment, Hamilton said: “All I’d say is it’s now two races one of the Ferraris has taken out one of the Mercedes.

"A five-second penalty and a 10-second penalty doesn’t appear to feel…ultimately it spoils the race.

"There’s a lot of points there that Valtteri and I have lost in those two scenarios.

"We’ve just got to try to position ourselves better so we are not
exposed to the red cars because who knows whether that’s going to happen
again.

"We’ve got to work hard as a team to try to lock out the front row and make sure we’re fully ahead of these guys.”

Ferrari crashes “deliberate or incompetence” -…

Ferrari crashes “deliberate or incompetence” – Mercedes:

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has suggested Ferrari’s
opening-lap collisions with his drivers are either ‘deliberate or
incompetence’ after Lewis Hamilton was spun around by Kimi Raikkonen at
the British Grand Prix.

Just
two races on from Valtteri Bottas being hit at the French Grand Prix by
Sebastian Vettel at the first corner, Raikkonen made a mistake at
Silverstone and clouted Hamilton at Turn 3 – earning himself a 10-second
penalty.

Although Hamilton recovered well to finish second, Wolff was far from
happy about seeing his team facing a fightback again through no fault
of its own.

Asked by Sky for his view on the incident, Wolff said: “A racing
incident. Unfortunate because Le Castellet first time we got taken out
and now it is the second time we got taken out.

“It is a lot of constructor points. In [technical director] James
Allison’s words, ‘do you think it is deliberate or incompetence?’. So
this leaves us with a judgement.”

Wolff’s questions about Ferrari come after Hamilton also dropped a hint that there could be more behind the first corner clashes.                    

“Our team did an amazing job this weekend, we have so much support and so much pressure for us all,” he said.

“Interesting tactics I would say from their side, but we will do what we can to fight them and improve in the next races.”

Strategy call

Although frustrated by the first period of the race, Wolff said
Mercedes did the right thing at the end in not changing tyres during the
first safety car period, even though it left Valtteri Bottas exposed in
the lead.

“I think it worked because we gained track position,” he said. “At
the end we had a two and four, and that was better than where we were
running before.

“I think it was absolutely the right call. Nevertheless we knew it was going to be very difficult in the end.”

Raikkonen says he deserved penalty for hitting…

Raikkonen says he deserved penalty for hitting Hamilton:

Kimi Raikkonen said he deserved the penalty he
received for colliding with Lewis Hamilton at the start of the British
Grand Prix.

Hamilton
dropped to the back of the field after Raikkonen locked up and slid
into his right-rear corner at Village, the first braking zone of the
lap.

Raikkonen was given a 10-second penalty for the collision, which
prompted suspicion from Mercedes, with Hamilton referring to
“interesting tactics” from Ferrari,
and senior Mercedes figures suggesting it was “deliberate or
incompetence”, following Sebastian Vettel’s recent collision with
Valtteri Bottas at the start of the French Grand Prix.

The Finn recovered from serving the penalty at his first pitstop to
finish third at Silverstone, passing countryman Valtteri Bottas late on
to claim the final step on the podium.                           

When asked in parc ferme after the race if the penalty was fair, Raikkonen said: “Yeah, it was my mistake. That’s fine.

"I deserve it and I took the 10 seconds and kept fighting. That’s how it goes.

"Obviously on the third corner I locked a wheel and ended up hitting Lewis in the rear corner and he spun.

"My bad, that is how it goes sometimes. It was not a straightforward race.”

Boullier defends McLaren amid staff dissent re…

Boullier defends McLaren amid staff dissent reports:

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has defended
both the team and himself against critical reports in the British media
which hinted at dissatisfaction amongst the Woking staff.

The Mail on Sunday suggested last weekend that some McLaren employees would like to see former boss Martin Whitmarsh return to the camp.

Another report in Friday’s Daily Mail said that staff
members were frustrated at receiving Cadbury’s Freddo chocolate bars as
bonuses, and again suggested that employees were dissatisfied with the
current management.

Boullier said that it was inevitable that in a large organisation
there would be some unhappy people, and suggested that criticism could
be positive.

“Obviously we are 800 people, we have a lot of support from the workforce and from the engineering,” he said.

“I think it’s a matter of a couple of people who are grumpy, and
actually in some ways it might be good for us, because we’ve had a lot
of feedback, and good feedback.

"There have been a couple of stories about some ‘Chocolate-gate’ in the media today, which have been a bit funny to read.

"Again, it was good because we’ve had tons of emails from people
saying this is a joke. There are maybe a couple of people grumpy, in any
organisation you have some people who agree or disagree.                          

"We don’t know what is the problem of these people, and I think we
have invited them to come and see us to see what the problems are,
rather than talking through the back door.”

Asked by the writer of the Daily Mail articles if he would resign, Boullier was adamant: “No, I will not resign.

"To your question, I know you have written some articles. I’ve won
races and championships with every team I’ve managed before, including
F1, and this is something you cannot take away from me.”

Regarding McLaren’s
goals, Boullier stressed that it had made progress since switching to
Renault, despite the team having failed to run near the front so far
this year.

“The car this year obviously is not working exactly as we expected it
to be, but we are still using this as an experimental experience,
especially this morning for example there were new parts on the car.

"We want to learn from this car, and learn as well working with
Renault, because it’s a different partner from last year, so we have
something new to learn, some of the technical options we have not
explored yet.

"Again it’s a journey. In the last race one of the pipes broke during
the race, and this is something which we investigated, a problem we had
to face, and this is part of the journey, learning to work with
Renault, out new power unit partner.”

Perez keeps Azerbaijan Grand Prix podium

Perez keeps Azerbaijan Grand Prix podium:

Force India Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez has kept
his third-place finish in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, having escaped
punishment following a stewards’ investigation.

Perez
delivered his and Force India’s first F1 podium since the race at the
same venue in 2016, the Mexican recovering from an opening-lap hit from
Sergey Sirotkin to bring the car home in third behind Lewis Hamilton and
Kimi Raikkonen.

He was then summoned to the stewards post-race, alongside fellow
drivers Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen, over alleged improper use of
DRS midway through the grand prix.

The system had malfunctioned during the race, with detection briefly
rendered inactive at the first point and manual operation of the system
permitted.

The stewards said the Perez had “incorrectly activated the system
manually”, but opted to take no further action, as the activations were
brief and no car was overtaken.

“The Stewards heard from Sergio Perez, the driver of car 11, and the
team representative,” an FIA statement read. “The Stewards examined DRS
activation data.

"It is apparent that the move to the ‘default’ setting if the DRS
system malfunctions requires the team to convey to the driver, by radio,
a series of steps to adjust various settings.

"In this case, the DRS light came on and as this was the first time
the driver had experienced a default operation for the DRS, there was
some misunderstanding of the procedure and the driver incorrectly
activated the system manually.

"The system, however, was only activated twice, each time for a short distance before the driver and team recognised the error.             

"The Stewards are satisfied that no car was overtaken through this incorrect use.”

Perez’s Force India teammate Esteban Ocon likewise avoided
punishment, following a stewards’ inquiry into his opening-lap clash
with Raikkonen.

Ocon overtook Ferrari driver Raikkonen at the start of the race, but the Finn attempted to reclaim the spot into the Turn 3 left-hander.

As the Frenchman turned for the corner, the pair collided, sending Ocon’s VJM11 into the outside wall and out of the race.

“The driver of car 7 [Raikkonen] and his team representative conceded
that the collision was typical of a first lap racing incident,” the
stewards’ statement read.

“The driver of car 31 [Ocon] stated that the last vision he had of
car 7 was on the straight after turn 2 which the two cars had
successfully negotiated and that he had not seen car 7 on the inside
into turn 3.

"The driver of car 31 accepted the comments of the stewards that a
driver should not assume another car is not in his proximity just
because he cannot see one, as it is well known that vision from the
current cars is not optimum in some positions.”

Stroll, who finished the race in seventh to score Williams’ first
points of the campaign, and Magnussen, who ended up 13th, both likewise
escaped penalties.