F1 Today – 01/11/2016

F1 Today

Vettel faced FIA misconduct inquiry  

The FIA has begun an investigation in Sebastian Vettel’s conduct during the Mexican Grand Prix. The German driver repeated swore during his battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who he accused of moving under breaking before repeating telling race director Charlie Whiting to “F*** Off.”

Speaking to the Daily Mail FIA President Jean Todt said “We have people assembling evidence about the incident. Then we have to see if any action has to be taken or not.” The Daily Telegraph has also been reporting that the FIA are  ‘under huge pressure’ to penalise Vettel.

Christian Horner, Vettel’s former boss and Verstappen’s boss told Sky Sports “In any sport, emotions run high but what you cannot do is criticise the referee. I would be surprised if that went reprimanded.”

Its unknown what penalty could be imposed but a fine is unlikely to be place as it wouldn’t impact him. Some of the options the FIA have are a grid drop or suspending his licence for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The German has apologised to Whiting he confirmed.

Whiting told the newspaper “Given he has done that, I’m not too hung up on it personally, but it remains to be seen how my boss may wish to pursue the matter.” Vettel was awarded third post-race but following further investigations both Vettel and Verstappen were awarded penalties with them now fifth and fourth respectively.


Dropping of investgation

However as this went to published it was emerging that the FIA was dropping the investgation into Sebastian Vettel’s conduct following letters of apology to the FIA on Monday and went to see Whiting after the race to apologise.

A statement from the FIA condemned the use of offensive language, especially when directed at officials and fellow participants. The governing body added it expected all participants to be “respectful and mindful” of the example they set the public and the younger generation.


War of words – Ferrari attack Red Bull

Ferrari will not take lessons from Red Bull’s Helmut Marko as the row over Sebastian Vettel’s conduct during the Mexican Grand Prix, Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene says.

The German driver repeated swore during his battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who he accused of moving under breaking and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo says Vettel should be penalised for it. As reported above the FIA have begun an investigation into the German’s conduct during the race.  Marko has defended Max Verstappen in the face of repeated criticism for moving in the braking zones while defending position.

Arrivabene says he was surprised by the decision to penalise his driver, when asked for his view of the incident by reporters after the race, replied: “I think everybody has to think about their [own] problem. Accusing others is not correct. I’m not taking lessons of education from Helmut Marko, and anybody else.”

Verstappen says Vettel’s s behaviour on track and over team radio as “ridiculous”, but Vettel defended his reaction as the consequence of “emotions and adrenaline pumping high”.

As reported above the investigation focused on his conduct including telling Whiting to “F*** off” over team radio.


Out of my hands says Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton says that his hopes for a fourth title is hard to take as it is not in his hands. The world champion is currently nineteen point behind his team-mate Nico Rosberg who he needs to be off the podium in the next two races and win to retain his crown.

He declared before Mexico he was aiming “to be the best I’ve ever been” in the final three races of the year, Hamilton has also now admitted he is aware his best may still not be enough.

“It’s great to be performing as I know I can perform and not having car problems,” he told reporters in Mexico. “Being able to show that pace out there and in the last race is a great feeling. I feel like I generally do most of the season.” Hamilton knows what it is like going into the final two races with it all or nothing winning once and losing once.

Rosberg knows he can win his first title in Brazil if he wins the race, irrespective of where Hamilton finishes. Interlagos for Hamilton has been the setting for both tears of joy and upset. But Hamilton said if he loses it wouldn’t be the same pain as nine years ago

He told Sky Sports “I don’t think you can prepare to lose, but I’ve experienced it before. I lost in 2007, I know it won’t be as painful as then, and I’ve lost many races, I’ve lost championships through my career so it’s not like I haven’t experienced it.”

“And, of course, I’m in a scenario right now I know there’s more of a chance that I will lose it than the chance I will win it. It’s hard to swallow, but it is what it is.”


Sir Frank taken ill in Monza

Williams have over the weekend announced that co-founder and team principal Sir Frank Williams was taken ill at the Italian Grand Prix in September. The teams CEO Mike O’Driscoll has been filling in for him as team boss at the track as his daughter has chosen to remain in the UK with her father.

A statement said “He’s had a tough time in hospital, he’s contracted pneumonia. He is making a recovery, a slow and steady recovery. We hope to see him back at Grove (the team headquarters) very soon. We all know how determined he is.”

He added that Ms Williams should return to her and Sir Frank’s duties in the paddock for the Abu Dhabi at the end of the month. But said she has been managing the team from Grove during the races.

There was no word on when Sir Frank is expected to return to work.


Haas got nothing right – Grosjean

Haas “got nothing right” during the Mexican Grand Prix and that is the reason why the team recent struggles remain a mystery according to Romain Grosjean. The American team scored their first point since June at their home race in Austin.

However, during the Mexico City weekend the Frenchman qualified on the back row of the grid and described the situation as “unacceptable”. Grosjean has remained unhappy with his brakes, despite Haas trying a new brake material from supplier Brembo, and was baffled by a handling imbalance.

Haas changed the floor in an attempt to solve the issue but Grosjean told Autosport “I don’t know what happened this weekend. We tried to change a few parts to analyse what was going wrong but we didn’t find the problem. The car was just nowhere in the race so it was very difficult to handle, to drive – we got nothing right.”

When asked what the problem was he said it was inconsistency and he doesn’t know what is going on and why it has not been behaving the way it should. Team-mate Esteban Gutierrez described his home race as the American team’s worst of its debut season and while he conceded Haas does not yet know why, he believes it knows in which direction it needs to push.

He says “We dropped pretty much in the last couple of races and we have to work as a team to get back to where we were. There has been a lot of ups and downs, but this was definitely the worst weekend that we have had so far in terms of performance.”


Ocon could replace Hulkenberg

Esteban Ocon could be in line to move to Force India to replace Nico Hulkenberg which is seen as the next key piece of the driver market. But this many need agreement from both Renault and Mercedes.

With only a few seat left drivers lower down are waiting to see what Renault, Haas, Sauber and Manor as drivers and their managers wait to see what happens in the wake of Nico Hulkenberg’s recent exit from Force India. Ocon is said to be the key target for the team.

Ocon has  a long-term contract with Mercedes, he is currently under an option to Renault for 2017, which is believed to expire at the end of next week. It is believed that an agreement will be made in a few days if Renault don’t take the option.

Sources have told Motorsport.com that Force India is the most likely outcome, with Renault having accepted that developing a driver who is a protege of Mercedes and could be called back is not a logical move, even if Ocon’s French nationality has obvious appeal.

Also, it has been reported that Berine Ecclestone has lobbied Force India to take Felipe Nasr to keep a Brazilian on the grid and in a competitive car. The country has had at least one driver on the grid since 1970. If that seat is filled by Nasr it kick starts a frantic month of deals as the season draws to a close.


Brawn set for role with FOM – Allen

Journalist and former ITV/BBC commentator James Allen believes that former Benetton, Ferrari, Honda, Brawn GP and Mercedes boss Ross Brawn could be set for a return as the sports sporting director.

Allen says that, Brawn’s responsibilities would include liaising between the F1 teams and the ruling body, the FIA. The sports new owners Liberty Media are working on plans to help improve F1, and Brawn could be a part of it. In extracts his book due out on Thursday Brawn indicated he was prepared to a role like this.

Brawn wrote “For sure, trying to help F1 become a better F1 would be appealing. It would be the one thing that could be interesting.

“If you ask me what F1 needs, it needs a plan; a three-year and a five-year plan. My view is we haven’t got the ideal structure for creating that plan and implementing it over time”

Total Competition: Lessons in Strategy from Formula One is released on Thursday


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