Three month shutdown
Red Bull has expressed opposition to a three month winter shutdown meaning the sport not running through December, January and February. The season will take place next year between April and November with testing in March.
The majority of teams have approved the calendar but Red Bull and McLaren were opposed to the plan. Team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports “For me, it would be better to have some running in February, at least a test or something, because it will be a long time with no news about F1.”
Adding “Unfortunately we were out-voted on that.” Some of the sports smaller teams say that the opposition is a vested interest after recent struggles and the opportunity extra testing would give the two them the chance to close the gap to Mercedes.
Fernando Alonso has been arguing that the restrictions on testing have become too much of a restraint and cuts the chance to make progress.
Tyre u- turn
Pirelli are risking a spat with drivers following the investigation into what caused a spectacular tyre blowout on Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari during the Belgian Grand Prix.
After they race the tyre manufacturer blamed excessive tyre wear, caused by Ferrari’s “risky” strategy, but The Telegraph newspaper says it has learned the failure was caused by a cut to the tyre, likely from a piece of debris or one of the circuit’s curbs.
Pirelli however hasn’t ruled out tyre wear as the contributing factor in the blowout which will be relived in Monza. The issue is likely to cause damage to the fractious relationship which began in 2013 after issues at the British Grand Prix after a series of problems during the race.
Nico Rosberg, who also had a blow out at Spa, has called for changes to the tyre’s construction but Pirelli will run in Monza this weekend without any alterations. Also there are conversions between the drivers’ union Grand Prix Drivers’ Association and Pirelli.
Honda B team viable
McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier says that another team powered by Honda would only be viable if it was not a “distraction” to the partnership’s main Formula 1 partner.
If Honda were to supply another team it may help them with their development of the power unit and may create an junior team with test drivers Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne while world champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button occupy the primary drives.
Rules are moving towards allowing this and Honda could have a relationship like the one between Haas and Ferrari. Boullier told Autosport “I’m not sure we would like to pay the price of having a distraction within Honda or giving some focus to this.”
“We have to balance things. We’ll see in time. We are thinking and we are talking and we are brainstorming.” He added.
Small improvement yields results
Lewis Hamilton believes his improvement on one lap pace is because of him making a small adjustment and changing his attacking approach. The Mercedes driver has had ten poles constantly out qualifying Nico Rosberg in contrast to 2014 when the score was 12 to seven in Rosberg’s favour.
Hamilton poles have helped him secure six victories and four other podiums to leave him 36 points ahead of where he was this time last year. Hamilton said “I will always drive well no matter what but you have to keep working at it.”
Adding “This year, it has been a little tweak in qualifying, a small tweak, but it’s worked. It’s not like I was a disastrous driver in qualifying. I was always quick in qualifying, but it was a bit more attacking back then.”
Hamilton has improved this year and so far hasn’t had a retirement or clashes with Rosberg both and off the track. Both cars have finished points at every race this season.
Sainz takes penalty for Monza
Carlos Sainz will take an engine penalty after problems at the Belgian Grand Prix. Sainz had problems with the power unit after the second formation lap but he did get running again.
However he was forced to retire with eleven laps remaining his fourth successive DNF from a reliability issue. Sainz says he will be facing a penalty but it will put him on the same spec of engine team-mate Max Verstappen.
He told ESPN that he can’t wait to be back in the car even with the change of engine.
He said the “spec seemed to work quite well for [Verstappen] in Spa. I’m positive even if I’ll have to take a 10-place grid penalty … I really want to at least gain all those positions back in the race, as he did in Spa.”