Category: f1 news

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.

Marko blames both Verstappen, Ricciardo for Ba…

Marko blames both Verstappen, Ricciardo for Baku crash:

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has blamed
both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo for the collision that took
them out of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

After several feisty moments between the two Red Bulls,
who raced closely throughout the F1 race in Baku, they both retired on
the spot after Ricciardo ran into the back of Verstappen on the brakes
for Turn 1.

When asked for his reaction to the incident, Marko told Sky Sports: “We let the drivers race and then they are doing that. Unbelievable. Both were wrong.

"It was a racing accident between the two, there was not more fault for one or the other.

"We always let the drivers race, we don’t have a number one, we don’t
have a number two, but we expect responsibility from the drivers.”

Marko added that the matter had been discussed internally at Red Bull, and that interfering with the race from the pit wall was “against our philosophy”.

Both drivers said their focus after the incident was on apologising to the team rather than finding anyone to blame.

“It’s just really disappointing for the team, we lost a lot of points today, unnecessarily,” Verstappen told TV crews.

“I don’t think we need to speak about whose fault [it is] because at
the end of the day we are racing for a team, we are representing a lot
of people and when this happens it’s not good for both of us.

"Before that, it was hard racing but fair, we gave each other space,
of course we had a little brush with the wheels, but in racing that can
happen. 

"As racing drivers you go for every inch, of course you’re not happy
when you collide as team-mates, but we are very fair to each other, so
we spoke immediately after the race.

"I don’t think letting us not race anymore is the way forward, but we will talk about it and see what happens.”

Ricciardo said he was grateful that Red Bull allows its drivers to race hard on track together.

When asked how things were with Verstappen, he said: “We’re not into
each other right now, it’s more just about saying sorry to the team,
just apologise the best way we can.

"We don’t want to be in that situation. [I’m] just down I guess, for
the situation. [I’m] thankful that we’re allowed to race, especially,
myself and Max, we love to race. That’s cool.

"We did get close already in the race a few times, touching,
sometimes we were on the limit. Unfortunately it’s ended how it did.
It’s not a nice situation.

"We both feel pretty bad that it ended like that, and for the team it’s pretty crappy.”

Explaining his perspective on the incident, he added: “I thought the
gap was on the inside, and once I was there I had to commit to that.

"But yeah, it’s just, let’s say, heartbroken for how the team must feel right now.”

Bottas didn’t see debris that cost him Baku wi…

Bottas didn’t see debris that cost him Baku win:

Valtteri Bottas says he had the Azerbaijan Grand
Prix “under control” until sustaining the puncture that took him out of
the lead with a handful of laps remaining.

Bottas had managed the final restart of the race, having jumped ahead of Sebastian Vettel by pitting under the safety car when Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen collided.

The Finn steered around Vettel when the Ferrari
man overshot the first corner, and looked set to take his first win of
the season when he picked up a right-rear puncture due to debris on the
start/finish straight with three laps remaining.

“It’s just unfortunate and unlucky,” said Bottas. “I think this track
is difficult, street circuits in general with a lot of crashes will
always be an issue, this time [it] was so unlucky.

“I had no idea at any point that I ran over any debris, I didn’t see
anything, I didn’t feel anything, so I was just very, very unlucky.

“It felt [like] a good race to then, safety car restart everything
was under control. I could pull a bit of a gap, then this happened – I
just had no idea that I run over some debris, can’t say much more.                           

“It felt like last couple of races have been quite close that
[Mercedes] are winning, good thing for us as a team Lewis won, good
points, but for myself, yeah… try again in two weeks.”

When asked how he’d pick himself up from the disappointment, Bottas replied: “Maybe 10 pints of beer and we will be fine!

"I will get through it – of course you always need to get through
difficulties, it is part of racing although at the moment it is very
painful.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the manner of Bottas’s exit was
“brutal” after he’d controlled the final restart from the front.

“I think it must feel terrible because he pulled away, that was for
me amazing to see, to lose the race three laps to the end because of
debris on track is just brutal,” he said.

Alonso: Other drivers would have “parked” with…

Alonso: Other drivers would have “parked” with my damage:

Fernando Alonso believes other drivers would have
“parked their cars” had they suffered the kind of damage he had at the
start of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The McLaren
driver was hit by the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin on the opening lap
and was forced to crawl back to the pits with two punctured tyres which
disintegrated as he tried to reach it.

After replacing the front wing and the wheels, Alonso returned to the
race and managed to recover to seventh position despite the damage to
the floor of his car.

Alonso said the position was the result of “persistence and pride” and labelled his performance as the best of his life.

“Very crazy. Another seventh place but I think today was the result
of persistence and pride, because I think no one would have reached the
pitlane, first of all,” Alonso said.

“They would have parked the car and if they could reach the pitlane they would have retired the car.

"But we didn’t park or retire the car and fought for every tenth,
every lap, close to the walls all race long and, I think it was the best
race of my life."     

He added: "I’m happy with the points. It was probably one of the best
races that I’ve done in a long time, or the best race of my life. I
reached the pitlane thanks to a miracle. I didn’t have two wheels or
front wing or floor or anything.

"They changed the tyres and they told me the car was heavily damaged
so I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish or that I would be very slow.

"But I started overtaking cars and then with the safety car I gained some positions in the end.”

The McLaren
driver admitted he had “feared the worst” when he was informed about
the damage to his car, and conceded the result came as a surprise.

When asked how much laptime the damage was costing him, he said: “I
don’t know. I haven’t seen the car or talked to the team, but they told
me significant damage and when they say that it’s usually bad news
because if it’s little they said you only have a damaged wing that
shouldn’t be a problem.

"When they said significant damage I feared the worst. A surprising result with a car that was damaged.”

Teammate Stoffel Vandoorne completed another double-points finish for McLaren with ninth position.

Ferrari hit with hefty fine for pitstop incide…

Ferrari hit with hefty fine for pitstop incident:

Ferrari has been fined 50,000 Euros for the botched
pitstop that ended with one of its mechanics suffering a broken leg at
the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Kimi Raikkonen had come into the pits for his second stop of the race when there was a problem at the left rear of the car.

Despite the wheel not having been removed, Raikkonen was instructed that the stop had been completed and he left the pit box.   

As he accelerated away, he hit the mechanic who had been standing
there with the replacement wheel – running over the crew member’s leg
and breaking it.

The FIA summoned Ferrari to hear its explanation for what had gone wrong, and in the end handed down a hefty 50,000 Euro sanction.

In a statement issued by the stewards, the FIA said: “The Stewards
determined that the car was released unsafely in breach of Art. 28.13
a). The team released the car in a manner endangering team personnel and
causing injury.”

Vettel defends Hamilton’s “dickhead” remark

Vettel defends Hamilton’s “dickhead” remark:

Sebastian Vettel has launched a strong defence of
Formula 1 rival Lewis Hamilton over comments the Mercedes driver made
about Max Verstappen straight after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Hamilton
was heard calling Verstappen “a dickhead” in the drivers’ room before
the podium ceremony, prompting questions about it in the post-race press
conference.

But when Hamilton was asked about what he said, race winner Vettel interjected and expressed sympathy for his rival.

“Can I answer that?” Vettel said. “It’s not fair – I don’t know what Lewis did, we’ve all been in that situation.

"We fight someone and sometimes we go wheel-to-wheel, and it’s close, and we have a lot of adrenaline going.

"Do you think, if you compare it to football, if you have a
microphone on a footballer’s mouth that everything he says is something
nice, and it’s a nice message when the guy tackles him and sometimes he
fouls him?

"I don’t think it’s justified to give us this kind of shit question and making up a story out of nothing.”

Vettel said it was normal for a driver to react emotionally in high-pressure situations.           

“We are just racing, we are full of adrenaline and we say these
things,” he added. “If I hit you in your face, you are not going to tell
me, ‘Sebastian, that wasn’t nice’.

"It’s a human reaction, and sometimes I feel it’s all a bit blown up
and artificial if we have these questions trying to make something out
of nothing.”

Hamilton, who told TV crews “emotion is always firing when you get
out of the car”, said he couldn’t “really remember” making the comment,
before referencing that he recalled it being in the podium room.

“I realised I had to back out, but he continued to come across, and
that didn’t leave me any room, so we ended up touching,” he said.

“I was just really grateful that my car wasn’t broken and I could continue.

"That would have really been difficult. My thoughts are on the world championship, and I’ve lost two races now.

"I am 17 points down already after just two races. Hopefully when we go to the next race we will have a better fight with the Ferraris.”

Netflix to air major F1 documentary series in …

Netflix to air major F1 documentary series in 2019:

A new Formula 1 documentary series based on the 2018 season will air on Netflix early next year.

It comes on the heels of the successful Grand Prix Driver series about McLaren’s troubled 2017 season, which was recently shown on Amazon.

The Netflix deal is also one of the first that the F1 organisation
has concluded with a major global brand under Liberty’s ownership.

Production company Box-to-Box Films has been granted full access to the F1 paddock, teams and drivers for the 10-episode series.

One of the men behind it is executive producer James Gay Rees, who was also responsible for the acclaimed Senna and the Academy Award-winning Amy, as well as successful documentaries about Bansky and Oasis.

F1 says that the series will “reveal the intense fight for the heart,
soul, and direction for the future of this multi-billion dollar
business.”

The deal has been well received by teams, whose sponsors now have the
chance to reach an audience who might not follow regular race coverage.

McLaren boss Zak Brown, who sanctioned the earlier Amazon series, said that the Netflix deal was a positive development for the sport.       

“It’s really good news,” he told Motorsport.com. “Our Amazon Prime
series went over really well with the fans, and showed them parts of the
sport that no one’s ever seen.

"The Netflix series will be a deep dive into the sport, as opposed to
one team. I think some teams will give more access than others, by
their choice.

"People who wouldn’t normally be exposed to it will see it, find it fascinating, and hopefully that leads to more viewers.”

Bela Bajaria, vice-president of content for Netflix, said: “This
partnership with F1 furthers our mission of working with world-class
brands and production partners to produce best-in-class unscripted
series.”

“F1 is a global sport that we are actively repositioning from a
motorsport company to a media and entertainment brand,” said F1
commercial boss Sean Bratches.

“The agreement with Netflix serves to chronicle the fascinating story
of what transpires behind the scenes during a grand prix season.

"This is a perspective of the sport that has yet to be unveiled to
fans around the world. This series will unleash a compelling vantage
point to the sport that will delight fans and serve as a catalyst to
entice new fans.”

Wolff doesn’t want Bottas to feel pressure aft…

Wolff doesn’t want Bottas to feel pressure after crash:

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he will not allow
Valtteri Bottas to feel that he is under any extra pressure to deliver,
despite his crash in Australian Grand Prix qualifying.

Bottas’ shunt in Q3 in Melbourne has come on a weekend when he has been unable to match the pace of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

And with the Finn’s contract up for renewal at the end of the year, a
difficult start to the campaign will have done him few favours in
proving he is the right man for the job.

Wolff is adamant however that he has full faith in his driver, even
though he accepts that the qualifying incident will not have been good
for his confidence.

“This is a moment where you could start to question yourself,” said
Wolff. “This in race one is not good for the psychology of the drivers.

“We’re trying to give him all the support we can, and obviously it’s
very early days for our team championship. Starting P15 in Melbourne is
obviously not an easy starting position.”

When asked what he could do in terms of helping support Bottas, Wolff
said: “Well, just show understanding for the situation, and not on the
contrary increase the pressure.”

Wolff’s emotions when he saw Bottas crashing during qualifying were
captured on television – but he said that the moment was more about
feeling bad for the Finn rather than his own disappointment.                 

“My reaction with the F-word was probably about the psychological effect it could have on Valtteri,” said Wolff.

“Lewis was faster throughout the session and then in the last run
before that, he put sector two and especially sector three together, and
he had a purple sector three.

“He lacked in sector one. And you know where you need to gain time,
you carry enough speed into Turn 1, the grip is not there and you shunt
it into the wall.”

Bottas himself said he was not too dejected about what had happened – and would not let the situation get to him.

“Honestly it’s not too bad,” he said. “Of course initially it was
very disappointing but I’m already looking forward to the race.

“I accept it’s one mistake and like I said it can happen anywhere.
Sometimes you get away with it, this time I didn’t. Everybody makes
mistakes so there’s no big word inside my head.

"I’m just looking forward to tomorrow. In the next qualifying I’ll go flat out again and take risks.”

“Upset” Gasly admits he was “too greedy” in qu…

“Upset” Gasly admits he was “too greedy” in qualifying:

A dejected Pierre Gasly rued being “too greedy” on
his decisive lap in Australian Grand Prix qualifying, as a mistake
consigned the Frenchman to last on the grid for Formula 1’s season
opener.

The
Toro Rosso-Honda driver locked up and went off-track at the Turn 3
right-hander on his final attempt in the opening qualifying segment in
Melbourne, leaving him 20th and last on the grid.

Gasly believes the mistake denied him a much better result, as he
says he was two tenths up on teammate Brendon Hartley before the error –
a gap which, if maintained over the rest of the lap, would’ve
comfortably seen him through to Q2.

“It was looking great,” Gasly said. “First run wasn’t that clean but
second run was coming good, up to Turn 3 I think I was two tenths up on
Brendon’s lap, it would’ve put us in the mix for Q2 and that’s where I
think we should’ve been.

“The potential was there to be in Q2, so I’m really disappointed. I
have been too greedy and in the end it cost us a lot of places, so [it’s
a] big shame.”

Asked to explain the error, he elaborated: “[I was] just trying to
brake slightly later, five metres later than the first run, just locked
up and when I tried to turn, it just went straight.

“It’s not much but I just pushed over the limit and in the end it cost us massively.

“I didn’t do any [mistakes] this year so far and I do one in the
f***ing qualifying, first qualifying of the year. For this, I am so
upset.”

Teammate Brendon Hartley, 16th on the grid, was “frustrated” to miss
out on a Q2 berth by 0.029s, especially as he felt he’d lost time in the
first corner.   

“I just braked a bit early, underestimated the evolution in grip and threw away two tenths on the inside kerb,” Hartley said.

“The rest of the lap was pretty clean to be honest – everyone will have a similar story.”

Both Toro Rossos did two only runs in Q1 as part of an “aggressive”
approach, and Hartley reckoned that using up an extra set of tyres would
have all but assured progression.

He stressed, however: “Hindsight’s always brilliant, and one tenth quicker by me and we wouldn’t be having the discussion.”

And despite both of the team’s drivers exiting in Q1, Hartley insisted the STR13 was “definitely good enough today”.

He added: “I would say that it’s encouraging that with one or two
tenths we could have been three or four places up and just on the cusp
of that top-10 position.

“On the other side, it’s just a little bit frustrating to be P16 and
not get a chance to fight in Q2. It’s an encouraging start, but 16th is
kind of the worst place to be.”