Budget cap needed to reduce performance gaps – Lowe
Williams technical director Paddy Lowe says if Formula One wants to reduce the performance gaps in a sport then a spending cap must be implemented as a priority.
Since the current 1.6 litre hybrid V6’s where brought in in 2014, the sport has been dominated by Mercedes which has prompted the sports rule makes to look at ways of levelling the field. The new aero regulations brought in this year brought Ferrari and Red Bull closer to Mercedes but didn’t stop them winning both championships before the end of the season.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has claimed that Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull were as much as one and half seconds clear of the rest of the pack at the start of 2017. Yesterday engine manufacturers were handed a solution that allows for cheaper, louder and sufficiently powerful engines that remain relevant to future automotive technology.
Lowe believes the engine situation isn’t the biggest challenge for the sport. He told ESPN, “I think when you look at F1 although there is a lot of discussions about the problems with engines — it isn’t the biggest problem in the sport.”
He added that the biggest problem is the performance difference between the top three and the rest of the top six teams. Adding “I think this is one of the problems in the sport where the [spending] gap is extremely large. We need to find some great wisdom to get through that.”
Many in the paddock believe that the new engine formula will bring greater competition. However, Lowe believes that stability in regulation-making would eventually solve the issue of performance disparity among teams.
Aston Martin “encourage” by 2021 regulations
Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer says that he is “encouraged” by the director of the new engine formula which was outlined by the sport’s bosses yesterday.
On Tuesday the teams, the FIA, Liberty Media, engine manufacturers both new and existing, meet in Paris to outline the objectives of the new regulations due to be introduced in 2021. Aston has been recruiting staff with experience in the sport, as it evaluates entering the sport as an engine supplier.
In a statement, Palmer said, “Aston Martin attended the recent FIA meeting and has been deeply involved through its submissions on potential solutions.”
“We are encouraged by the directions being taken and continue to study a potential Aston Martin solution for 2021. The key will be how development costs are controlled to make participation by independent engine suppliers a viable possibility.”
The final details of the regulations will be agreed by the end of 2018, but the overall concept is expected within the next two months. The current proposal is for a 1.6-litre V6 turbo hybrid engine, but running it at 3000rpm high “to improve the sound”.
Aston has played an active role in the engine discussions, submitting a document to the FIA outlining its vision of how the new engine formula could shape up earlier this year.
Hamilton says he needs to raise his game
Four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton says he will need to continue to raise his game further if he is to fend of Max Verstappen in the future. The Dutchman took victory in Mexico, following the collision between Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
Though Hamilton has won nine races this season, he is wary of the growing threat being posed by Verstappen. Hamilton told Autosport “I want to be better next year. The challenge is going to be even bigger from Ferrari and Red Bull next year.”
“Formula 1 doesn’t sleep. It doesn’t stand still. There is always someone there waiting to take my position. I’ve got Max sitting there waiting to take it.” He added.
Hamilton says that is already motivated him for next season, saying that the three-way fight in Mexico was a taster of what’s to come next season.
The four times world champion described Verstappen as an “exceptional driver” saying he is “a potential world champion in Max and he is only going to get stronger with age because he is a lot of raw talent.”
Mexico says no to June move
The promoter of the Mexican Grand Prix says there is no chance he would accept moving the race to June, despite the push from the organisers of the United States Grand Prix pushing for them to be split on the calendar.
For the past three seasons, the races have been placed back to back on the calendar. The promoter of the Austin race has repeatedly called for the events to be separated because he thinks it will help boost attendance at his race.
Speaking to Reuters earlier this month, Epstein again said he hoped that Mexico could be shifted to June to become twinned with Canada. “It would certainly be better for the promoter if the races were further apart on the calendar. Mexico with Canada. We’d be with Brazil.”
But Mexico’s organiser Alejandro Soberon has ruled out that possibility and said that the wet weather in June would make it impossible for him to accept a date then.
“Bobby is a fantastic guy and I love him. I think he has a good idea to separate the races, but I think Bobby should move back to June, which would be great for him,” he said.
He says it would make more sense to have the Austin race tied to the Canadian Grand Prix as they are closer and you could create packages for both. However, the Austin was due to be held in June but was moved back because of the heat of the Texas summer and its effects on teams, drivers and spectators.
Speaking about renewing the deal beyond 2019, he said it was a no-brainer that the deal would be extended. However that needs to wait until after next July’s general election.
Alonso a “racing monster”
McLaren boss Zak Brown has joked that the team has created a “racing monster” ahead of Fernando Alonso’s sports car debut in January at the Daytona 24 hours.
The Spaniard has signed up to race for Brown’s United Autosports team in the Daytona International Speedway’s famous endurance race. As part of Alonso’s new contract with the team, he is allowed to race in other series as long as it doesn’t impact his Formula One career.
He has made it clear that he wants to win the remaining legs of motorsport’s ‘Triple Crown’ over the forthcoming years, the Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours.
Speaking about how the opportunity came up, Brown told Sky Sports “We’d had some light conversations, we talk about different racing all the time, and I was with Fernando and Luis [Garcia Abad] his manager and he said ‘I want to do Daytona’.”
“I’m kind of getting used to it after Indy! I turned around to Luis and said ‘he’s serious isn’t he?’ And he said ‘oh yeah’ so I didn’t have to ask twice.”
In Mexico Alonso said he wants to be regarded as a great all rounder. He said “I want to be the best driver in the world and to do that you need to win in different series, compete in different cars and sometimes you need to go out of this small world of Formula One.”
The Daytona race is being seen as a step towards a Le Mans race, which takes place between the Canadian and French Grands Prix.
“Clearly he has got an interest in Le Mans and wants to go back to Indy,” added Brown.