McLaren to do “Everything” to retain Alonso
McLaren’s chief operating officer Jonathan Neale says the team “will do everything” can to try to retain Fernando Alonso next season. The two times world champion has yet to score a podium since returning to the team in 2015 and his current contract expires at the end of the year.
Alonso says he will not be making a decision which could be influenced by the team’s engine situation until September. With Ferrari and Mercedes making it clear they will not supply engines to McLaren for next year, also it would be unlikely that either team would sign the Spaniard.
Neale told Autosport “If I put my personal colours to the mast, I’d love to have Fernando in this team. I know we’ll do everything we can to keep him in this team but I recognise he will have choices – nothing is a given.”
“I think he’s a great guy, he’s one of the best drivers I have ever worked with and I’d love to have him for longer.” Alonso scored McLaren’s best result of the season last weekend in Hungary, battling with Carlos Sainz for sixth.
Asked if he felt Alonso was driving as well as ever, Neale replied: “I do. If you look at how hard it is to overtake in Hungary generally and then look at the move he made on Sainz – that was great.”
Despite the team not having certainty about the engine or the driver line-up, Neal says he is “encouraged” about the teams future. Saying “We’re ready to take that next step for McLaren. Our thoughts are starting to turn to next year’s car and what that is going to look like.”
“Of course the engine stuff is in that mix. We need to land all of that in and before the September timescale so our drivers know who we are going to be and what their plans are going to be.”
Sauber could be Ferrari junior team
Ferrari President and CEO Sergio Marchionne said the team are considering using Sauber as a junior team to develop their young drivers. The move comes after Sauber renewed its deal with Ferrari after tearing up there deal with Honda.
The decision to stick with Ferrari has led to speculation that the deal could become more than just an engine supply deal after Sauber team principal Fred Vasseur suggested that driver lineups would be a point of discussion.
Ferrari has two young drivers Charles Leclerc who leads Formula Two Championship and Antonio Giovinazzi, who made his debut this season with Sauber as a replacement for the injured Pascal Wehrlein. With Ferrari looking set to retain the same line up in 2018, the team needs a way of getting their young drivers into Formula One.
Aske by ESPN, d about a potential junior team collaboration with Sauber, Marchionne replied: “It’s an excellent idea and something we are working on. It’s a very positive thing for us — it’s a chance to have a junior team.”
“We have a pair of exceptional drivers we need to run. We need to find a place to lay the foundations for the Scuderia Ferrari of tomorrow.” But, that could lead to uncertainty about teams future, ask the team is part owned by Longbow Finance, who back Marcus Ericsson.
Next season, Ferrari will continue to supply Sauber and Haas, but Marchionne adds the Scuderia would be open to welcoming other customers, including any new entries to the sport.
Mercedes announce charter jet deal
Mercedes has announced a new partnership with the charter aviation company NetJets a world leader in private aviation. The move is aimed to help the team to reduce travel time for all its employees and improve the efficiency of its logistics as much as possible.
The Berkshire based firm describes itself as a pioneer in private jet travel and claims that it is a worldwide leader in private aviation with the largest and most diverse private jet fleet in the world. Mercedes cited the triple headed as one example of where NetJets could help.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said, “Over the past season, we have been working to optimise every area of our team operations and that includes how we best manage the challenges of race travel.”
“People will automatically think that private aviation means luxury lifestyle – but it has been common practice in Formula One for some time and will provide us with valuable time savings that can then be invested in finding more performance.”
A video filmed over the Hungarian Grand Prix, showed Valtteri Bottas travelling from Monaco to Budapest. In the video, Bottas said that his flight made him relaxed and ready for the weekend.
Netjets Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Patrick Gallagher, said “We’ve always had a keen interest in Formula One racing, and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport is the pinnacle of that. NetJets gives the drivers and team engineers a competitive edge by giving them faster access to tracks like Baku and Spa, at a fraction of the cost of whole aircraft ownership”
I didn’t like being against Red Bull – Sainz
Carlos Sainz says he did not like the feeling of being “against” Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Helmut Marko during the recent confusion over his future in Formula One.
Ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, Sainz said that he did not expect to stay at Toro Rosso for a fourth year, which prompted Marko to suggest the Spaniard should not “bite the hand that feeds you”. Also, Horner said that Red Bull had taken the option on his contract for 2018.
Speaking about his comments, Sainz said his initial comments were a simple case of “sheer ambition”.
He told F1.com “I have my opinion and I said it in that very moment. Maybe I could have used a different wording. It is not something that I enjoyed, seeing Helmut and Christian going against me, but it sometimes happens in a Formula One career.”
“From my side there is nothing else than sheer ambition, and sometimes in the heat of ambition, you say things. But that is me. I have targets and objectives. It should be over – so turn the page.”
Asked about the comment that Horner made about they release him if a “significant” offer was made, he said his sole focus remains trying to get a promotion to Red Bull’s senior team.
Saying “It is my one and only target, to be a Red Bull driver in the future. That is what I want, and that is what I have said a hundred times before.”
Mercedes need to decide who to back – Horner
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says that Mercedes needs to decide whether to back Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas for this year’s world championship.
Bottas’s two wins in the first half of the season has kept the Finn just behind Hamilton and world championship leader Sebastian Vettel. While Vettel has the full support of Ferrari, Mercedes are continuing for the moment anyway to give both of their drivers an equal chance.
That was proved on Hungary when Hamilton letting Bottas through for third place in the Hungarian GP after the Finn had moved aside earlier to attack the Ferraris. But Horner says that approach cannot go on, and expects Mercedes will back Hamilton.
Horner told Autosport “The dilemma that Mercedes have got is that Hamilton is their lead driver and at some point, you have to back a horse. Ultimately it will probably come down to those two guys [Hamilton and Vettel], and Ferrari’s position with Kimi was far clearer.”
Horner says he was impressed that Hamilton honoured his promise to allow Bottas back past if he couldn’t pass Kimi Raikkonen.
Asked if he was surprised Mercedes swapped places at the end, Horner said: “On the one hand, yes, but on the other hand, it would have been harsh on Valtteri, because you are effectively telling him you are out of the championship the moment you did that.”
“I was impressed Lewis gave it back because you are just giving away more points to your biggest rival.”
Sports Moment of year
Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari have been nominated for the ‘Best Sporting Moment of the Year’ at the Laureus World Sports Awards.
Young Frenchman Thomas was seen in tears watching on in the grandstand after Räikkönen retired on lap one of the Spanish Grand Prix. But Ferrari tracked down his family and later invited into the paddock to meet Raikkonen, who gave him a Ferrari cap
Fans can choose their favourite moment on the 1st of each month, from August to December, from a panel of six shortlisted video clips.
The five monthly winners will then compete against each other in another global public vote, with the eventual winner being announced at the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards
For Sale the Ferrari 312T
The Ferrari which carried Nikki Lauda to his drivers’ titles in 1975 and 1977, as well as Jody Scheckter in 1979 as gone up for sale at Bonhams in London.
The Ferrari 312T which took the last constructors championship until the arrival of Michael Schumacher is difficult to place a value on. The car could go for £1.5 to £2.5 million.
This is because the way Ferrari was developing a future car for the turbo and that meant this car was under developed. The car final evolution of the flat-12 Ferrari Grand Prix cars of the 3-liter era.
For any buyer, the car will be easy to run, as the car was built in an era before these hugely complex systems and without the technology that teams use now to develop the modern Grand Prix car.
The car comes in a race-ready condition, accompanied by a considerable package of spare parts. The Magneti Marelli ignition has been replaced by a more reliable contemporary unit.
Scheckter drove Chassis 046 from round three of the championship at Kyalami in South Africa until he crashed it in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix in the fall.