Renault not responsible for Ocon’s plight
Renault is not responsible for the reason why Esteban Ocon has been struggling to find a seat in Formula One next season.
The Mercedes backed driver is facing a year on the slide lines after a deal for him to move to Renault fell through when the French car manufacturer opted to take Daniel Ricciardo instead.
Since then, its emerged that they let other options fall away because it had a handshake agreement with Renault that a deal would be done. However, Renaults F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul believes that they have been singled out for leaving him without a seat.
He told Motorsport.com, “I think that Esteban is currently in the middle of a situation of a very adverse set of circumstances, and I think Renault is only a small factor in all of that.”
“We are a factor but I think we are only a small factor. And I think we should not exaggerate the fact that, again, that we are just a small factor.” Abiteboul says that they mustn’t forget it was a Mercedes decision on driver line up, and that the Force India situation has also played a role.
Mercedes F1 CEO Toto Wolff revealed last week, that Renault had urged Mercedes not to pursue an opportunity Ocon had with McLaren so it could finalise its own deal. It was that action, allied to the handshake, that left Wolff disappointed with how things had turned out.
Wolff said “A ready contract and a handshake commitment was given to ensure that he [Ocon] would not go to the other team, and based on that handshake commitment the decision was taken. But eventually, the ‘agreement’ that was made didn’t happen.”
Asked about the handshake with Mercedes, Abiteboul said: “I don’t want to add, frankly, a story to a story because then it keeps on going and going.”
Haas appeal against Monza disqualification date set
Haas’s appeal against Romain Grosjean’s disqualification from the Italian Grand Prix will be heard by the FIA Court on Thursday 1st of November in Paris, the sports governing body has confirmed.
The Frenchman was excluded from the race after the steward deemed that the front of the floor did not have the required 50mm radius edges at the front, Haas insists it had not had enough time to respond to a technical clarification that had been issued before F1’s summer break.
It had asked for special dispensation to run its latest version in Italy prior to making changes to Singapore, but it was thrown out because of a post-race protest from rival Renault.
The team believed that the stewards were wrong to exclude Grosjean from his sixth-place finish at Monza for running an illegal floor.
The case will be heard by the independent International Court of Appeal for the Thursday after the Mexican Grand Prix.
Williams still looking at 2019 options
Williams is still to make a decision about their driver line up for next season, it now believed that an announcement will not come before the end of the season.
The British team are one of three teams who are yet to announce or confirm both its drivers for 2019. While the team are expected to confirm Sergey Sirotkin there remains questions about who will partner him, as Lance Stroll is expected to move to Force India, after his father led a consortium buy-out of the team.
Speaking to Sky Sports, deputy team principal Claire Williams said “We are going through an intensive evaluation process, we want to make good decisions going into 2019. We are not quite there yet.”
Mercedes are expected to ask the team if they can place Esteban Ocon in Stroll’s seat, and last week talks were held in Russia about the potential switch. Ms Williams added “We have a number of drivers on our list but l don’t want to say who they are. There are a lot of opportunities out there.”
Williams has had a tough season and is currently tenth in the constructors, all this for one of the sports greats which dominated the sport in the late 1990’s. The team has admitted this hasn’t been the season they wanted, and Ms Williams says it’s not simply about bringing more performance to car.
Adding “There is so much hard work going on at Grove, and work you might not expect – it isn’t just about bringing performance to the race car, although that is a critical point, but there is a lot of work going on around culture, structure, to make sure we are a team fit for purpose next year.”
Kvyat a “more mature” driver – Marko
Red Bull say that Daniil Kvyat who was dropped by Red Bull in May 2016 and by Toro Rosso last October, deserves another chance in F1 because he has changed and is “more mature”, according to motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.
The Russian who first joined Toro Rosso in 2014 earned himself a seat with Red Bull in 2015. However, following a disappointing 2017, he was dropped entirely from the Red Bull program this time last year. Now, Marko believes that after a year with Ferrari, Kvyat is a more mature personality.
The Austrian told Sky Sports, “Daniil changed – he is a far more mature personality. He was working with a different team so he saw the whole atmosphere, working programme, and he also found out how difficult it is to get a Formula 1 seat.”
“We give him a third chance because we always believed he was very fast, but his mental problems, we think he has solved. He is a far more mature driver and I’m sure we will see some very positive races from him.”
Marko says that Kvyat went to Ferrari and believed there was a chance to drive for the team, but realised there wasn’t and that’s when the talks restarted with Red Bull.
Kvyat is also happy to be back in the fold saying that “we are grown up enough to be able to turn the page and have a fresh start. I do feel you always change through your life. This year has been a bit different for me, it’s been a year away from racing but yet it was a very important year.”
Kvyat made his debut in 2014 before being promoted to Red Bull, he outscored his teammate Daniel Ricciardo. His disastrous start to 2016, where he collided with Vettel twice, saw him be demoted in favour of Max Verstappen.
He was finally dropped entirely by Red Bull after last years Japanese Grand Prix.
Ferrari to launch a new livery
Autosport says it has been told that Ferrari will be launching a new livery on their cars at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. The changes are part of an initiative by the team’s title sponsor Philip Morris International.
The scale of the rebranding of Ferrari’s SF71H is yet not clear, but teaser images and a video leaked ahead of the official revealing at Suzuka on Thursday hint at new logos in prime spots – such as the engine cover, bargeboards and rear wing.
However, because of tobacco advertising rules in much of Europe and the Americas, it cannot have its name directly on the car.
Instead, the change of colours marks a fresh push by the company to transform its business activities – especially in the fields of science, technology and innovation.
As part of a new deal between Ferrari and Philip Morris reached earlier this year, it declared would be a key platform for its efforts to develop smoke-free technologies that moved away from its tobacco origins.
Markelov Sr arrested by Russian authorities
Valery Markelov who was considering launching legal action against FRP Advisory over the sale of Force India has been arrested by Russian authorities in Moscow.
The Basmanny District Court of Moscow approved on Tuesday a motion on the election of a preventive measure in the form of detention for Markelov Sr.
The approved motion is related to an alleged breach of Article 291, Section 5 the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which covers bribery “committed on a very large scale”. Reports on the RIA news agency, say that Mr Markelov bribed the former interior minister Dmitry Zakharchenko.
Markelov Jr., who joined Renault as test and development driver at the start of 2018, drove Carlos Sainz’s RS18 in first practice in Sochi, placing 15th.
The 24-year-old is in his fifth full season in the GP2/F2 series, and finished runner-up to new Ferrari F1 signing Charles Leclerc last year.
Last month it was reported that Markelov was considering legal action in the UK against Force India’s administrators over the sale of the team to Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll.
The Russian businessman is a co-owner of the 1520 Group, a major contractor of the state-owned Russian Railways company. He also owns fuel trader Moboil, which is likewise a Russian Railways contractor.
Logos for the both the 1520 Group and Moboil adorned Markelov’s F2 2018 car in Sochi, while in the past he has also run Russian Railways branding.