Clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh will not affect F1
The Azerbaijani government says recent fighting with Armenia in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region will not affect the Grand Prix in June. Sixteen Azerbaijani troops have been killed in the two days of clashes.
Each side blame each other for the fighting 155 miles away from the capital Baku where the race will be held. a spokesman for the sports and youth ministry, said Sunday that the fighting “has no effect on events being hosted in the country,” including F1.
“Azerbaijan always, to the highest standard, keeps athletes, tourists, fans and all participants safe at any events taking place in the country.” The region has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces and the Armenian military since a war ended in 1994 with no resolution of the area’s status.
The clashes between the two sides are regular.
Tyre contract not signed
The contract with Pirelli to continue supply tyres from 2017 has not been signed off by the sports governing body the FIA. However the delay is not unusual according to the race director Charlie Whiting.
Whiting said “Pirelli wanted the targets that they were asked to achieve to be put into the contract. They want more specific items in the contract regarding testing. They really just want a guarantee of testing,” he said.
“If we are going to set them targets, they want the tools with which to achieve those targets. Those are really the only points. I think everything else is sorted but they just want this guarantee of tests.” Whiting added Pirelli would like the possibility of testing with their own car something he said thinks it’s all quite achievable in the short term.
Teams are currently restricted to strict limits on track testing before and during the season but the regulations now allow for 12 days of tire testing. These plans are all part of plans to make cars around five seconds quicker a lap, harder to drive and create more downforce.
Tyres selection for Shanghai
Pirelli have announced the drivers tyre selections for next weekends Chinese Grand Prix. The tyres which drivers have available to them for the race are the medium, soft and super-soft.
Both Mercedes drivers have taken five sets of the red super-soft but they have chosen other amounts for the soft and mediums with Nico Rosberg taking five set of the softs while Lewis Hamilton has spilt them equally between the two compounds.
Ferrari, in contrast, has chosen six sets of super-softs, four sets of softs and three mediums for both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
Roman Grosjean’s fifth place in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix for Haas was partly down to the way the Frenchman picked his tyres.
In Melbourne, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen jumped Rosberg and Hamilton at the start and potentially had a winning strategy until the race was stopped and re-started after Fernando Alonso’s big crash.
Ferrari are real challenge – Rosberg
Nico Rosberg says that the results in Australia and Bahrain suggest that Ferrari are looking like they can pose a real challenge. The German has had a good start to the season scoring the maximum fifty points but he says there no illusions about the challenges ahead.
“We know Ferrari are super close, we saw it in qualifying and we need to keep pushing. They haven’t shown what they are able to do yet in these first two races.”
“They’ve had so many mishaps that have cost them dearly so we haven’t seen the real Ferrari yet. We need to be careful, they are coming at us strong.” Rosberg has won the last five races but in the last two the Ferraris looked to be close.
Ferrari have had bad luck with two retirements in both races. “It’s clear we would have seen a different race if Sebastian had not been forced to retire before the start,” commented Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff.
Aggregate qualifying a “s***” idea – Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has labelled the proposal to bring a aggregate qualifying system as “s**.” The idea comes following criticism for the little-loved elimination rules, which were used for the second time on Saturday.
The idea if introduced will mean that the driver’s two best times in each of the three knockout sessions are combined to set the order. But there hasn’t been an agreement on whether it should be introduced.
Vettel is clearly not a fan he told Sky Sports News “It’s time to go to the circus. It’s a good idea if you want random things to happen, but Formula 1 should be about racing. It’s a s*** idea.” The idea will means drivers will have the two best laps added together to qualify.
If it was used last weekend Lewis Hamilton have lost pole to team-mate Nico Rosberg as his two fastest laps in Q3 were quicker when combined than his team-mate’s, who was only fourth fastest after the first runs after an error at the final corner.
Former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo agreed saying “Qualifying is about that one perfect lap. To have an aggregate, it starts to sound more like some form of endurance racing. I wouldn’t be too keen on that.”