Not 100% happy but no doubts in Kubica’s mind
Robert Kubica has said that he was “not 100 percent happy” with his first drive in a 2017-spec Formula One car, but played down the question-marks over his fitness and said he would easily repeat his 142-lap stint again.
The test gave the team the chance to assess his pace and fitness, following his drives in older cars earlier this year. However, questions remain about his abilities to contest a Grand Prix because of the limitations of the right arm he nearly lost in a horrific rally crash on the eve of the 2011 season.
Kubica impressed with him managing the second high lap count of the test and said that he has no doubt in his mind he could replicate the distance again if he had to.
“Hungary we know it’s a difficult track, it’s one of the most physical tracks. Coming here, [Renault driver] Nico Hulkenberg said the same, that if I will be able to drive here, probably I’ll be able to drive everywhere.
“It has been hard work but I think most of the drivers had hard time today behind the wheel. You can predict it wasn’t easy, which I’m not hiding, but it was good. In the end, we have done over 140 laps. I could drive I think tomorrow easily so fitness level is good, which is a good sign.”
He admitted there are things he needs to improve but says that he made progress and during the afternoon he felt like a different driver.
Kubica added, “ if I was driving tomorrow I’d have some idea where I can improve, and for sure I can feel more familiar with the car and everything will come easier and more natural which is the target.”
In the fight for long haul
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has confidence that the team are in the title fight for the long haul and know what they need to develop to keep themselves in the race for the championship.
In Hungary Vettel extended his lead to fourteen points in Hungary and with the team also reducing the deficit to Mercedes in the constructors. But Ferrari has only won one race after the summer break since 2011 in 2015, but Vettel has confidence that the 2017-spec Maranello team is a more formidable proposition.
Vettel told his media briefing in Budapest “If you have the right results coming your way you start to pick up a bit of momentum and so it’s up to us to keep it going. But I’m quite confident we have the right people, we know how to build a strong car, and we have improved the engine this year massively, so everything is going in the right direction.”
Vettel added that he has confidence that the team will be fighting Mercedes and the team are aiming to develop the SF70-H to the point where it is ahead of Mercedes at all tracks.
Saying “ it’s true to also say Mercedes here and there have been more competitive and we have been a little bit behind. We know what the car needs.”
“We want to be the best on every track we go to and we’re working on it. We have quite a good understanding of what the car needs and now we have a bit of time to look into a couple of things in a bit more peace and calm.”
Magnussen a “wannabe Verstappen” – Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg’s spat with Haas’s Kevin Magnussen continues to rumbled on this week with him labelling the Dane as “wannabe Verstappen.”
The pair clashed in the closing stages of the Hungarian Grand Prix, as Hulkenberg attempted a move around the outside of Turn Two with Magnussen forcing the Renault driver off the road at the exit of the corner and, despite holding onto the position, was later issued a five-second penalty for the incident. Hulkenberg confronting Magnussen in the TV pen.
Leading to this exchange;
Hulkenberg “Once again, the most unsporting driver on the grid.”
Magnussen “suck my balls, mate”
Hulkenberg “You did a really good job.”
Writing for Sport1 Hulkenberg wrote “I wish there were as many people talking about the race. At the moment we have different challenges in Formula One than the balls of a wannabe Verstappen.”
“I’m not the kind of guy to curry favour with the public after the race, and I don’t need to insult someone. If I have a problem with somebody, I go ahead and say what’s on my mind.”
Hulkenberg says he was able to take Magnussen’s retort in good humour.
Saying “With Kevin it’s like having a little brother. You know he is not able to defend himself in any other way. Therefore, it’s easy to take his remarks with a smile on your face.”
Verstappen to clear air with Ricciardo
Max Verstappen says he will probably speak again to team-mate Daniel Ricciardo about their collision on the opening lap of the Hungarian Grand Prix, to make sure there are no lingering tensions.
Verstappen immediate apologised to his teammate about taking him out after he slid into him on the opening lap of the race, taking himself out on the spot. Though the Austrilian has accepted his teammates apology, Verstappen thing another conversation about the matter might be worthwhile.
He told Motorsport.com “I’ve talked to him, but we will probably talk again before the next race at some point. We have always had a very good relationship.”
Asked if he felt things were back to normal after their post-race chat, Verstappen said: “I think so. But I will keep this between me and Daniel.”
Verstappen says the that the collision was as a onsequence of both of them attempting to move forward at a track where overtaking is very difficult – so early positions were more important than normal.
“You know, the first lap needs to happen, and you need to try and get in the best possible position,” he said. “That’s when you go for it, because that will be your position. You do everything you can, of course, to move forward.
“I locked up and from then onwards you are just a passenger in your own car. Look, we were both looking to move towards the front. I locked up because I had another car in front of me and then I hit Daniel. That is of course not want you want, but you don’t do it on purpose.”
McLaren set engine deadline
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has indicated earlier ths week that the team needs to decide on what engine they will be running in 2018, by the end of the month.
McLaren already has a contract with Honda for next season, but the continuing tension and lack of performance has raised questions about the long term future of the relationship. The team are looking at the options, but Ferrari and Mercedes have made it clear they will not supply engines to McLaren for next year – while Honda is doing the same.
When asked by Motorsport.com, how late a team could leave it to make a final call on the engine, considering the deadlines required for car design, Boullier said: “Technically you could change an engine in 12 weeks.
“You can change it anytime before the season up to three months before. If you want to do a base design around an engine, it’s September.” Should they make that call it would leave twelve weeks until the first test on February 26th.
Fernando Alonso, who is out of contract at the end of the year says that he will make his decision about his future in September.
There was signs of progress in Hungary, with both Alonso and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne will started seventh and eighth respectively.
Belgium tyre choices
Pirelli has announced the drivers tyre choices for the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August, with the Ultrasoftts being the tyre of choice. The Ultrasofts have been picked for Spa, in a bid to create more exciting racing.
Both Mercedes and Haas’s have seven sets of the ultrasofts, with Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean chosing three supersofts and four softs. There team-mates Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen have four supersofts anf three softs.
Red Bull and McLaren has taken an aggressive option chosing nine sets of the Ultrasofts, with both Red Bulls three supersofts and a single soft. While Fernando Alonso has two sets of both the supersofts and softs, team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne as three supersofts and a single soft
Ferrari, Renault, Toro Rosso, Williams and Force India’s have the same allocation for there drivers, Ferrari have seven ultrasofts, three of both the supersofts and softs. The Force India’s have six ultrasofts, four supersofts and three softs.
Toro Rosso’s and Renault have eight ultrasofts, three supersofts and two softs. Williams have seven ultrasofts, five supersofts and a soft. The Saubers have seven ultrasofts with pascal Wehrlen having three of both the supersofts and softs, while Ericson has a extra supersoft.
Each driver must save for Q3 one set of the softest of the three nominated compounds.
Toro Rosso and Honda talks progressing
Talks between Toro Rosso and Honda about a engine deal for next season appear to be progressing after Red Bull’s advisor Helmut Marko and Honda boss Masashi Yamamoto meet on Tuesday.
The Japanese manufacturer is keen to supply another team and had a deal with Sauber, which the team has cancelled. Honda feel the extra data it would gather would help the development with the works team McLaren.
The Italian team appears to be the leading candidate and that is despite them already having a deal with Renault. Motorsport.com says they understand that the talks between Marko and Yamamoto have been foucsed on Toro Rosso, but they may want a option for the senior Red Bull team for he future if Honda improves its performance sufficiently.
Red Bull wants to have works status and a future deal could mean that McLaren could pull out of the deal. It’s also understood that should the deal go through McLaren could supply the gearbox to Toro Rosso.
Toro Rosso deal will effectively replace the Sauber customer deal that fell through, it is believed McLaren would not stand in the way. But it is understood the outfit would not be keen for rival Red Bull to get the engine and would consider vetoing such an arrangement.