McLaren yet to look at 2017 driver – Boullier
Eric Boullier says McLaren has not begun discussions about who will drive alongside Fernando Alonso next season. Jenson Button’s contract runs out at the end of the season with Alonso having another season left on his contract.
McLaren have had interest in there reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who won the GP2 title in 2015, scored a point on his F1 debut subbing for the injured Alonso in this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, and claimed a podium on his debut in Japan’s Super Formula.
Vandoorne has been a target for other teams but chairman Ron Dennis is keen to hold onto the Belgian until they decide on the second car.
Autosport asked Boullier if this situation creates some stress for McLaren in terms of its future driver line-up “No. Absolutely nothing. We have not started discussing anything with any drivers. It’s too early in the season and it would be too distracting for the team.”
Boullier added it was “part of the game” to hold off on contract negotiations in order to keep the drivers on their toes and performing at their best. Button has been used to this but was asked again whether he wanted to continue in F1 with McLaren beyond the end of this season.
“I have not thought about the Canadian Grand Prix yet let alone next year,” he said on Saturday in Monte Carlo. “That’s all I have for you.”
Wet tyres led to poor performance
Fernando Alonso says that McLaren struggled to get the wet tyres switched on which led to their poor performance in Monaco. The team finished in the points with both cars but they feel they could of done more on a circuit where engine power is not key.
Alonso finished fifth after starting tenth but says McLaren needs to improve the way it manages its tyres. He told Motorsport.com “Tyres were quite a big issue for us,” said Alonso. “They are not switching on properly. That is quite a big thing for qualifying performance.”
“It is true the driver has a bigger input but it [Monaco] is a specific circuit with specific needs: driveability, downforce, but downforce that doesn’t work at other circuits because it is not efficient.”
Team-mate Jenson Button says that getting the tyrEs to work was difficult, especially while trying to avoid altering the car’s balance. “We feel the weaknesses in balance. But if you try and work with the set-up and improve in one, you take away from another.”
We’ve had the car in a reasonable place most of the weekend but we’re playing with something which isn’t as quick as a Red Bull. We’ve struggled a lot with understeer, especially in.” he added
Last minute seats added
Organisers of the Canadian Grand Prix have announced they are building more grandstands a week before the race because of a n increase in demand. The race most popular seats have already been sold along with Family grandstand.
Event organisers say attendance will be much bigger and the rise of sales is because of the last two races.
Speaking to Motorsport.com Francois Dumontier, President and CEO of Octane Racing Group said “Max Verstappen’s recent win in Spain, the exciting Monaco Grand Prix, the warm weather that has finally settled in and the fact that our event is presented during the second weekend of June contribute to the successful sales were are seeing right now.”
Montreal is one of the classic circuits and gives some great action. While it’s a street style circuit overtaking is possible.
Silverstone development on hold
Plans to build a arena inside Silverstone’s Stowe corner have been put on hold at present until its future has been resolved. The owners the British Racing Drivers’ Club have entered into negotiations with Jaguar Landrover to buy the circuit.
Until the deal is done the managing director Patrick Allen neds wait patiently to pursue his plans to further enhance the business. He says he is “looking to create an arena in and around Stowe, so we’ll have grandstands all around Stowe, and then we can do things like Race of Champions, World Rallycross and music concerts.”
He told Autosport “I think we miss an arena structure, for want of a better word, to create an atmosphere because what we have are grandstands, but they are over 550 acres, and what we need to do is create this atmosphere within a smaller area.”
He says he likes what Mexico has done with the Foro Sol stadium which has the circuit running through it. He says he wants the circuit to become “a destination venue for leisure and entertainment, with motorsport at its core, but not solely dedicated or exclusive to motorsport.”
He says he wants to make the circuit lest dependant on Formula One for income. But all depends on when the circuit and who buys the circuit.
Not giving up on title
Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene has refused to rule out a title charge after the team’s disappointing results in Monaco. Arrivabene set the team the challenge during their launch in January.
So far this season the team has struggled with a variety of different problems and being out raced by Red Bull in Barcelona and Monaco. Red Bulls up turn has meant they have closed the gap to the Italian team.
Arrivabene has refused the idea of Ferrari’s shot at the world championship telling Crash.net “No way. No way, because you saw the result from here is quite good, Lewis Hamilton is coming back and what we have to do is keep our concentration, keep focus on the races and to look forward.”
Arrivabene says that Ferrari needs to learn from their recent mistakes where they have failed to produce optimum pace in the pole position shootout but demonstrating the required speed in other sessions.
He added “I take the lessons and we need to really understand what the problem is. If you recall in Q1 not only in Barcelona because it’s another story but here in Q1 we did a 1:14.1s and we are slower in Q3. So that is the problem that we have to look for.”
Singapore tyre choices
Pirelli have announced the tyre which teams will be able to pick from for September’s Singapore Grand Prix. The announcement is made before the choices for Belgium and Italy because they have to be announced four weeks earlier for non-European races.
The teams will be choosing from the same as in Monaco the soft, super soft and ultra-soft tyres. Only one set of the ultra-soft tyre to be used in the final part of qualifying.
That set will be given back to Pirelli after Q3 for those who qualify in the top 10, but the remaining drivers will keep it for the race. Teams are free to choose the remaining 10 sets for use during the weekend.
Pirelli will be expected announce the Belgian and Japan tyre choices around the end of June with Italian and United States at the beginning of July.
Wehrlein real alternative
Toto Wolff says that Pascal Wehrlein is a real alternative for Mercedes as early as next year should negotiations with Nico Rosberg falter. Its belived that talks about extending Rosberg’s stay at the German team could be fraught.
There are reports the German wants a similar £26 million deal as team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Wolff told Sports Bild “Right now, our goal is to continue with Nico. But if we do not come together, we have to think of something else.”
Wolff suggested that although Rosberg has been driving impressively over the last seven or eight months, Mercedes is also in a strong bargaining position.
“We know that we have the strongest car, a very strong team and are well positioned for the future as well,” he insisted. “That would be the main argument for Nico.
He says if another top driver makes an approach he will tell them we look at our contracted drivers first.