Confusion over Vettel punishment
The FIA has not disqualified Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Earlier today, a document appeared online appearing to be from the sport’s governing body, saying that he has been disqualified from the race.
Last week, the FIA began its formal investigation into whether further action should be taken over the collision. These outlets reported that the four times champion had disqualified from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and docked 12 points.
The Italian magazine sort clarification with the FIA confirming it was a fake. Many of these stories have now been taken down by these websites
Vettel could still face sanction. These are the options open to the FIA, but there has been, as yet, no official source to confirm what his punishment will be.
Force India drivers reminded about conduct
Force India says they have “reminded” both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon about acceptable conduct following their costly crash during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Perez and Ocon were battling over fourth and fifth when the ran into the back of each other, following the second Safety Car causing damage to both cars. Perez eventually retired while Ocon finished sixth, costing the team their first double podium.
The Baku clash followed controversy in Montreal after the team discussed swapping the drivers around to attack the podium. Team Principal, Vijay Mallya says the team will not be imposing any sort of orders and hopes Perez and Ocon have learnt lessons from Baku.
Mallya told Sky Sports “We certainly played our part in a dramatic race and it’s still frustrating to ponder what might have been had things played out differently.”
“Since Baku, we’ve had some conversations internally and reminded our drivers that the team must always come first. It’s never acceptable for team-mates to make contact with each other and it certainly cost us points in Baku.”
However, Mallya says that the collision will not change their approach and he hopes the drivers have learnt valuable lessons.
Force India should go strongly this weekend, last season the team took their first front row in nine years. The Mercedes engine should again play to the team’s strengths.
Mercedes quitting is fake news
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has called on Channel 4’s Eddie Jordan to stop repeating “fake news” about the future of the team in Formula One.
The former team owner has consistently repeated doubts about the German manufacturer’s commitment as a works team. He suggests that major sponsors could leave the team soon.
In Azerbaijan, Jordan claimed that the team could be sold to a group of Chinese investors. Wolff is upset because Jordan’s comments have planted doubts in the minds of employees of both the race team and the Mercedes engine facility in Brixworth.
Wolff told Autosport “I stop laughing when it’s about making jokes on the back of 1500 employees that care about their future. And I said it in an interview with him, that this is a too serious a topic for me.”
“We are not leaving F1, none of our sponsors is leaving F1, we are pretty happy where we are.” Jordan remains adamant that Mercedes will withdraw if they are not getting enough from their investment.
He said “I’ve never said they will pull out. I’ve said Mercedes are in the business for marketing and technical reasons, they are not in the business of love.”
“And they will go when it suits them. I don’t think I said what the right time is.”
Red Bull looking to ExxonMobil for gains
Red Bull will be looking for a gain in performance at the British Grand Prix, as its fuel supplier, ExxonMobil will be looking to unlock more performance from its Renault engine.
Red Bull expected the French manufacturer to introduce a major upgrade in Baku, but Renault says that there are no major upgrades until 2018, however, there will be incremental gains for the rest of the year.
That means that the team looked to ExxonMobil for gains this year, with another new fuel planned for next weekend’s British Grand Prix.
ExxonMobil Global Motorsport Technology Manager David Tsurusaki told Autosport “For the first step, we made a good gain,” [The gain from the second fuel] is not as much as the first fuel, but I think it’s a positive incremental step.
“We don’t talk about the numbers but it’s enough to rationalise a change. Internally, we’re talking about introducing it at Silverstone, depending on validation.” Fuel is growing ever more important in the hybrid era, with Ferrari’s partner Shell claiming to have made a 25% gain in 2015.
ExxonMobil had planned three upgrades this season, however, this appears now unlikely as it only officially working with Red Bull in January.
Renault downplay reliability issues
Renault has been downplaying the recent reliability issues which have affected it’s customer and works teams will be solved by an upgrade for the Austrian Grand Prix.
The first Renault-powered victory of the season came in Baku from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, however half of the cars retired because of reliability issues. Jolyon Palmer’s disappointing season continued with a misfire from the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) of his works Renault.
However, there was some progress in Baku because a new power mode unlocked around two-tenths in performance without new parts. The French manufacturer believes that the new components will solve the reliability issues.
Engine technical director, Remi Taffin told ESPN “In terms of performance we were able to demonstrate on a very power-sensitive circuit that we have made another step forward.”
“This was not through new components, but rather through our continual quest for more power and improvement, concentrating on the details and optimising every element of the package.” He says Nico Hulkenberg running in the top ten was good.
Taffin added that the reliability issues ion track should not detract from the progress made. He also says new procedures have been put in place to catch any issues before the cars take to the track
Speaking about the Austrian Grand Prix, he said “We will consolidate the power improvement made for Baku and aim to deliver more. There is no big plan with brand new upgrades, just continual improvement of the entire package.”
Things can only get better – Palmer
Renault’s Jolyon Palmer believes that things cannot get worse for him following another tough weekend in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The British driver crashed in first practice, causing him to miss second practice. Saturday didn’t get better as a fuel leak and fire stopped him and caused him to miss qualifying.
He started the race twentieth, but after experiencing a misfire on the way to the grid he had to stop just seven laps in. After the race, Palmer said “There’s nothing I can do about it. Obviously, the pressure’s on, it’s not been a good start to the season.”
“When you miss a practice, you miss a qualifying, and you barely do the race, it can’t get worse than this.” Palmer added that he is really confident and he was looking for good points in Austria.