No crisis but a storm at Ferrari – Binotto
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has admitted the famous F1 team are in the “midst of a storm”, but insists there is “no crisis” despite hitting a crushing new 2020 low at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Neither Sebastian Vettel or Charles Leclerc finished Sunday’s race in the points, with the team being the eighth fastest team and finishing outside the points for the first time in a decade. But Binotto is adamant that the Scuderia can recover. Speaking to Sky Sports Italy, Binotto said, “Is there a crisis? No, there isn’t.”
“It’s a very bad result during an extremely tough season. We knew it would be from the winter tests, Covid and the new regulations. We have to have tight deadlines, we’re in the midst of a storm, but we have to look ahead and work hard for our futures.”
Sunday was the latest setback for Ferrari, Spa highlighted the weaknesses of the car and power unit around high-speed circuits with the team failing to score points. While Ferrari power also accounted for six of the bottom eight runners in qualifying. Binotto admitted that they could not hide it.
Adding “We’re short on speed and aerodynamic efficiency. My message for the fans is that we understand them and we’re sorry. What’s happening is the car has lost power compared with 2019, just as they all have.”
As the team heads to its home Grand Prix at Monza, Binotto insisted that the team remained united but says there is a disappointment but admitted there was no immediate fix.
Adding “We’re very united. There’s no tension, but there is a feeling of disappointment and frustration, which we have to turn into determination.”
Vettel remains “focused on F1”
Sebastian Vettel says he remains “focused on Formula One” as he continues to think about his future, and is yet to consider any alternative series or championships.
Four-time champion Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the season after the team opted against renewing his contract beyond the end of the year. Its been confirmed that he had talks with Renault, before they signed Fernando Alonso, and has been linked to a Racing Point seat, which will be rebranded as Aston Martin, but the German driver said he still has “no news on his future”.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he was willing to join a squad that had not won a race in a number of years, Vettel said he only wanted to remain in F1 “to achieve something” with a team that had the potential to fight and improve.
He added, “I don’t have much interest to sign up for a team that is not going to be in a position to fight for something worth fighting for, [and] is going in a good direction in the future.”
“I think the big unknown as well is the rules for ’22. Obviously, a lot of teams are hoping that it would change a lot of things. I think we will have to wait and see. I’ll let you know as soon as I have some news.”
Vettel says he remains focused on F1 and is not considering a move outside F1.
At thirty-three, Vettel is not nearing retirement age for a driver, let alone a four-times world champion. But he says he is said he would be open to taking a break from the sport while admitting he saw his future in the car rather than in management.
F1 needs to move away from one-stop races
Christian Horner says that Formula One needs to move away from one-stop races if it is to avoid boring spectacles like the Belgian Grand Prix. The race at Spa turned into one of tyre management affair once drivers made an early switch to the hard compound during a safety car period.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both admitted that the race was not enjoyable, with them both needing to manage the tyres. The Englishman said after the race, “It’s not something I particularly enjoy. You want to be able to attack, and push-push-push-push-push, do a stop, push-push-push.:
Horner believes one-stop races is inevitably lead to situations where drivers go into tyre conservation mode, which is not good for entertainment.
He told Autosport, “I think one-stop races are always boring. I think that you need to have two to three-stop races. I think that mixes the order up, it mixes the strategy up.”
“And I think that we’ve always seen that one-stop races, where drivers are driving under the tyre, trying to conserve the tyre, it is very tough. I think that you need some more variability of strategy in order to create offsets between the cars.”
Horner believes that where a one stop strategy is the fastest, that will lead to situation where drivers go into tyre conservation mode – which is not good for entertainment.
Saying “I think one stop races are always boring. I think that you need to have two to three-stop races. I think that mixes the order up, it mixes the strategy up.” He says that one stop races are becoming ones where drivers are driving to the tyres.
Asked if the best way to achieve what he wanted was with Pirelli being more aggressive with its tyre compound choices, Horner said: “In an ideal world. I think the most fundamental thing that we need to do is to increase the amount of strategies that you can go into a race with.”
Race director Michael Masi, however, believes that one-stop races are not necessarily the problem, saying that its harsh to connect one-stop races to boring races saying that there has been boring two-stop races.
He says that Pirelli is working closely with everyone involved to meet the needs of the drivers and team.
Tsunoda in a “good position” for Alpha Tauri seat
Alpha Tauri team principal Franz Tost says that Yuki Tsunoda is in a “good position” to graduate to F1 at Red Bull’s junior team for 2021. The member of the young driver programme and also backed by Honda, he is currently third in Formula Two and won the sprint race at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Alpha Tauri, Red Bull’s junior squad, are yet to name either of their drivers for next season, although Pierre Gasly’s form makes it highly likely he will at least stay on.
Asked by Sky Sports, about Tsunoda’s chances of a seat, Tost said: “He’s in a good position. It depends now how he’s doing in the next races because he needs the super licence. Then it’s a decision from [the] Red Bull side and normally this decision is being taken September-October.”
To gain a super licence Tsunoda would need him to finish in the top three. Its also been confirmed that he will drive for the team in the post-season Abu Dhabi test in December.
Seventeen Japanese drivers have started an F1 Grand Prix – but none since former Toyota, Sauber and Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi in 2014. One of Honda’s aims since returning to the sport is to get a Japanese driver back into F1.
Honda’s technical director Toyoharu Tanabe, the Japanese manufacturer’s F1 technical director, is hopeful Tsunoda is on the road to make it 18 soon.
He added, “Since he has started this year in Formula 2, he has showed good performance in practice, qualifying and the race. We are waiting for a Japanese Formula 1 driver so we are excited watching his performance at the track. It’s a good sign that F1 team people look at his performance.”
One thing which look certain is a race is on for promotion if either Kimi Raikkonen or Antonio Giovinazzi aren’t retained by Alfa Romeo, with three Ferrari backed drivers, championship leader Robert Shwartzman, second-placed Callum Ilott and fourth-placed Mick Schumacher, looking to gain a seat in F1.
Raikkonen, who turns forty-one in October, says he is undecided about his future.
2020 has proved unpredictable so far, the second move in the driver market with Lewis Hamilton is expected to kick off the next round of moves. Which has been stalled for the last four months.
Hamilton speaks of “weight” of global events
Lewis Hamilton has spoken about “a lot of weight on my heart”, amid the global events of 2020. The six-times champion has been leading the campaign for greater diversity and opportunity in both motorsport and society.
Following the death of Chadwick Boseman, the American actor best known for playing the superhero Black Panther, Hamilton dedicated his pole position at Spa-Francorchamps to a man he described as having “moved a generation”.
The Mercedes driver dedicated his win to the actor, while reflected on the emotion he felt on hearing the news on Saturday morning of Boseman’s passing.
Hamilton on his build-up to the Spa weekend, saying, “I think that naturally, we had that week off, I got good training at home and arrived here feeling fairly relaxed, and then obviously I woke up yesterday morning and… I mean, I’ve generally been feeling a lot of weight on my heart, spirit.”
“You know, when you’re watching the news, when you see what’s happening around the world and I feel really quite affected by it and then obviously I was so incredibly proud when Chadwick was Black Panther.”
“I mentioned all the reasons yesterday, as a kid, dreaming of superheroes and finally see someone, a superhero of a similar colour to me, was really just such a remarkable moment, I think, for the black community.”
Hamilton has spoken out against the British governments handling of Coronavirus, about racism, over the last few months.
Russell thankful for the Halo
George Russell says he felt thankful Formula One cars are equipped with a Halo safety device after crashing out of the Belgian Grand Prix.
On the tenth lap of Sunday’s race, the Williams was forced to take avoiding action after Antonio Giovinazzi lost control of his Alfa Romeo at Fanges. That meant Russell had to drive to the right to avoid Giovinazzi’s car as it bounced off the wall and back into the racing line.
Russell’s car made contact with the front-left wheel of Giovinazzi’s car, which had come loose from the car, sending the Williams straight into the tyre barrier on the other side of the track. Both drivers were unhurt and immediately climbed out of their car.
Following the accident, Russell praised the halo, he told ESPN, “If I went to the right, that’s where Antonio’s car was, and at the left side of the track, I had a massive impact with the tyre.”
“But I have to say you feel much safer in the car now with the Halo. When I saw this massive tyre coming towards me, it was quite scary, to be honest.”
Giovinazzi added “Unfortunately I had a snap of oversteer on the exit, nothing I could do. I’m just sorry for my team after what happened today. But I have to reset my mind right now for Italy.”
Turkish organisers plan for 100,000 fans
Organisers of the Turkish Grand Prix say they are hoping to attract a crowd of 100,000 spectators for its comeback race this year, after announcing the event would be open to the public.
Istanbul Park will host a one-off, for now, race on the 13 – 15 November holding its first race since 2011. Organisers had initially if the event would be open to spectators, Vural Ak, the chairman of promoters Intercity, said at a press conference on Tuesday that the public will be allowed in.
With the track being located in a wide-open space, Ak said that he believed the venue could safely accommodate up to 100,000 spectators – which is half its full capacity. However, hinted that this plan could change if there is a spike in the virus.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Ak said, “We have to be prepared for anything,” he said. “If the disease becomes worse than today, then the race can be done without spectators. However, we know the capacity of this track.”
“Around 220,000 spectators can watch the race in the grandstands and in the open areas. At the moment for safety reasons, if we close some sections, about 100,000 spectators will be able to watch the race by following social distancing rules.”
The operator of the circuit are more interested in a successful race, tickets are being sold at three Lira a day, around £3.
Although the Turkish venue has not hosted an F1 race since 2011, Ak said the track condition was still up to standard.
Saying “An official came and looked at the asphalt and the infrastructure and thanked us, saying that almost everything was like the first day. However, with only two-and-a-half months to go, a more experienced team will come and see what updates need to be made.”