Massa announces retirement
Felipe Massa has announced he will retire from the sport After fourteen seasons at the end of the season. The Brazilian who has won eleven races and forty one podiums made the announcement at Monza.
Massa alongside Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams told a news conference “This will be my last season in F1.” Massa who raced for Ferrari between 2006 and 2013 missed out on the 2008 world championship by a single point.
His announcement came ten years after Michael Schumacher announced his retirement at the same circuit. Massa reviled he decided to quit “several months ago” and had not held talks with any teams – including Williams – about a deal for 2017.
Massa said he chose Monza because it was the place where Schumacher announced his first retirement. November’s season-concluding Abu Dhabi GP is set to be his 250th and last race in the sport.
Massa told the news conference “I will enjoy my last eight races in F1 as much as I’ve always done. I just want to say thank you to everybody who is around me and who have followed me in my career.”
Its been a difficult season for the Brazilian with him scoring 39 points. It’s been a career of highs and lows for Massa with him starting at Sauber before moving to Ferrari during three competitive seasons where he took all his wins and lost the 2008 title by a point
Haas to name line up after Monza
Haas Team Principal Gunther Steiner has said the team will looked to name their drivers for the 2017 season soon after the Italian Grand Prix. Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutrierrez have drove for them this year. Neither driver is believed to have a deal in place for 2017, it is thought that Grosjean’s position is secure.
Mercedes may face a dilemma – Wolff
Toto Wolff says Mercedes could have a dilemma if they bring a performance upgrade this season which would only be available penalty free to Nico Rosberg. However insister the manufacturer does not currently have such an upgrade scheduled.
Mercedes introduced an upgraded power unit during the Belgian GP weekend, having used five tokens. Hamilton has three of the latest Spa specification, which will take him to the end of the season. Rosberg has only one new example of the Spa spec, but he can take another power unit later in the season, without penalty.
But if they bring a new power unit for Hamilton it will incur another penalty. The team still has six tokens to use to develop the engine which means Rosberg could move to an engine spec that features improved performance.
In theory, in the remaining races he would thus have an advantage over Hamilton, who will not want to take a further grid penalty to get the new unit.
“If we find another additional upgrade that’s going to be only available to Nico, it’s a difficult one, but that’s motor racing.” Wolff told Motorsport.com.
Wolff confirmed that if Mercedes does find that performance gain, it will probably be made available to Rosberg: “Then we will probably put it, and that’s just how it goes.”
Hamilton added “There’s a certain amount of life which you have, limits which you’re given during the race weekend, and I never even get close to them. Tomorrow I’m going to use my allowance, and I can do that in all the races now.”
However Wolff suggested that Hamilton may be allowed to run his engine ‘turned up’ more than Rosberg should they introduce a new one.
Magnussen cleared to race
The FIA have cleared Renault’s Kevin Magnussen to race after his high speed crash on Sunday at the Belgian Grand Prix. The Dane suffered a cut leg during the accident, which occurred at an estimated speed of 180mph.
Magnussen has been cleared to race by the FIA, the sport’s governing body, after a check-up at Monza on Thursday.
Yesterday Magnussen told Autosport “I’m feeling much better, which is very good news. I’ve had several checks that show I am fit to race in Monza, and I am sure I will be in the car this weekend.”
Vettel apology for Spa
Sebastian Vettel has apologised for triggering his team-mates collision with Max Verstappen at the Belgian Grand Prix.
The accident occurred when Vettel, running on the outside, squeezed Raikkonen who was sandwiched between the German and Verstappen’s Red Bull. As the young Dutchman attacked, the three collided, wrecking each of their races.
However he suggested that Verstappen was also responsible for diving up the inside following a poor start from second on the grid. “It’s clear what happened. The room I gave for Kimi was not for three cars.”
He added “Max had a bad start and was out of the fight but decided to [get involved]. We had three cars with not enough room. If l had to do it again, l would give a little bit more room and at least l would make it – l don’t know about the two cars on the inside.”
Both Ferrari drivers criticised the Dutch teenager prompting a week of Raikkonen and Verstappen arguing about it through the media. Vettel and Raikkonen remain adamant that Verstappen’s style of defending track position needs addressing.
Vettel added “We have nothing to be ashamed of. We should always show respect for each other. It’s the moving in the braking [zone] which is the wrong thing. We need to have another chat.”
Horner hopes of the ‘Verstappen affect’
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he hopes Max Verstappen’s “fighting spirit” will continue to lure the crowds back to Formula One. Verstappen has risen from go-karts to F1 in just four years.
Verstappen has the ability to drive to the limit and pass drivers where no one else has though and pushed some to the limit prompting them to attack his driving style. Horner told Autosport “All the seriously gifted and ambitious drivers have that streak within them.”
He added “I remember Sebastian [Vettel] getting criticised a few years ago, and there have been a few other drivers that history has demonstrated who have shown that fighting spirit.” He says it was good that a 80,000 fans turned up to watch the race.
Horner says he has not seen a crowd like that since the Shumacher days , or Alonso in Spain, or Nigel Mansell at Silverstone. “It has really had an enormous effect, and hopefully we will see that at more venues in future races.”
Verstappen acknowledged the impact of the crowd who also supported him in huge numbers on Friday and Saturday.
Honda has best deployment – Button
Jenson Button believes that Honda now has the best system for deploying engine recovery because of the gains they have made this season.
The current rules allow manufacturers to recover energy from the MGU-H and MGU-K systems, which is then stored in a battery to be deployed around the lap for more power. When Honda returned to the sport they struggled for pace.
Last year Button saying after last year’s Italian Grand Prix he was “waiting for people to come by” on the straights because of Honda’s poor deployment. When asked ahead of this weekend’s Italian GP about racing with such a big power disadvantage, Button told Autosport “Especially here and Spa, it limits your strategy massively, because you can’t keep cars behind on the straights.”
He added “The power unit has moved on a lot, but also with the deployment. We’ve probably got the best deployment out there. I’m much happier coming here.” McLaren was surprised last weekend when Alonso made it from the back of the grid to seventh.
But Button says there is a long way to go before the team are properly competitive and they are making progress at nearly every race. The team are still pushing with things with their current car.