“fake news” about Ferrari’s leadership – Arrivabene
Ferrari’s team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has hit out at “false news” about the future of the team’s technical director Mattia Binotto, saying they are designed to “create instability” within the team
Following Lewis Hamilton’s title win in Mexico, there have been reports that the strained relationship between the two would temp Binotto to leave the team. Binotto has been credited as the man who turned around the team’s performance since James Allison move to Mercedes.
Following a restructure of the team’s technical departments, Binotto said his aim was “to build the team as a team, and set the right objectives, deal with them – try to be ambitious”.
Speaking to Italian media and asked about his and Binotto’s future, he said, “Let’s make it clear once and for all. The rumours about Mattia are a fake news, put around to create instability in the team, an attempt to try to create problems where there are no problems, and I do not want to comment on false rumours anymore.”
“During this season there have been many attempts at destabilization, sometimes with stories about the drivers, others about the technicians. My position? [Arrivabene smiles] Ask the managing director [Louis] Camilleri.”
The Italian said that the team was in no rush to bolster the technical team for 2019. Saying “If there are reinforcements they will arrive without any haste, I stress it, and [only] if we need to have them. The line is that of stability if there are additions [they] will not undermine the soundness of the existing group.”
Smedley to leave Williams at end of season
Williams’s Head of Vehicle Performance Rob Smedley is to leave the team at the end of the season. Smedley joined Williams from Ferrari in 2014 as head of performance engineering in a newly-created role as the team sought to bounce back from a tough 2013 campaign.
He guided the team to third places in 2014-15 and fifth place in 2016-17, but the team has failed to match that this season and still looking at how it can respond to its tough season. For the team it is the third senior departure from its technical team this year.
Smedley said he has not decided on what he will do next, while Williams has no immediate replacement as it is thought to still be evaluating changes behind-the-scenes in response to its tough season.
In a statement, Smedley said “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Williams. The team has been through great change since I joined in 2014 and it has been a pleasure to have played a part in that. Williams is a very special team within the F1 community and I’m certain that with all the talent that we have here they will go on and do better things.”
He says he is going to take some time out of the sport before deciding on what he wants to do next. Smedley’s career began at Jordan in 2001, before joining Ferrari three years later.
Smedley is best known as Felipe Massa’s race engineer at Ferrari between 2006-13, leaving when Massa joined Williams in 2014. Together they nearly won the 2008 championship but were involved in the controversy around the 2010 German Grand Prix.
Smedley illegally instructed Massa, with the words “Fernando is faster than you,” to allow teammate Fernando Alonso to pass him. Earning Ferrari, a £64,700 fine.
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal added: “It has been a pleasure having Rob in our team for the last four years and we will miss him both personally and professionally.”
“During his time with us, he has made a significant contribution to the team through his role, but he’s also been just a great person to have at Grove, inspiring many with his enthusiasm and passion for Formula One
Toro Rosso and Kvyat lost trust in each other
Toro Rosso’s team principal Franz Tost says that the team and Daniil Kvyat both “lost a little bit of trust in each other” in their last stint together.
Kvyat returned to Toro Rosso after being dropped during the 2016 season to make way for Max Verstappen at Red Bull Racing, but he left the Red Bull stable entirely before the end of 2017 as Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley were called up to complete the season.
However, the Russian will return to the team next year and is expected to be partnered by rookie Alexander Albon. Tost admits the last time Kvyat returned to Toro Rosso, the circumstances made it hard for him.
Tost told Motorsport.com, “He was very welcome because we rate him as a good driver, but in the end, it didn’t work as well as we expected. There were many crashes, the car was also not so competitive or easy to drive, and if you are then not so fixed and supported, then it’s a difficult one.”
“It was a very tough decision [to release Kvyat in 2017], but I think it was the best decision, because I had the feeling that both parties lost a little bit the trust in each other.”
Tost says that the Russian wasn’t happy with the teams work, and they weren’t happy with some races. But he believes Kvyat deserves another chance after a year as Ferrari’s development driver.
Adding “He deserves to be in F1, he is very fast, and I hope that this one year sabbatical will help him to get everything together and to show his real talent and his abilities and his speed.”
Hamilton wants to get “close” Schumacher
Lewis Hamilton has set himself the target of at least getting “close” to Michael Schumacher’s all time records in the remainder of his Formula One career.
Hamilton sealed his fifth world title in Mexico to equal Juan Manuel Fangio putting him only two behind the Germans title. The Englishman is just twenty behind Schumacher in terms of race wins and has already passed his pole record.
Hamilton is contracted to Mercedes until the end of 2020, but isn’t taking anything for granted. He told Motorsport.com, “The way I’ve always approached it is I’ve just been really thankful for the ones I have.”
“I’m very, very fortunate to be up here now, obviously with more than most people have, and I don’t take that for granted. Whether or not I’m going to have the chance to win more, who knows? I’m going to give it everything to do so.”
He says that the record of ninety-one, was a lot of wins and there is still a long way to go, his aim now is to at least get close to that.
Hamilton said Schumacher was a “genius” to implement himself into Ferrari the way he did in the mid-‘90s and set up a streak of five straight titles from 2000-2004.
If Hamilton hadn’t lost the 2007 championship by a point and had beaten Nico Rosberg in 2016, he would be celebrating the same run with Mercedes that Schumacher had with Ferrari.
But Hamilton said he could “never, ever personally classify myself as the best” but was honoured to be in the company of Schumacher and Fangio as only the third driver to reach five titles.
Red Bull to be boosted by ExxonMobil
Red Bull’s hopes of further progress next season could be boosted further by fuel an lubricants supplier ExxonMobil saying its in the best position it has been in for years.
Honda’s promising engine development this season has lifted Red Bull’s optimism it can target strong results from the off when its partnership with the manufacturer starts next year. Honda is needing to finalise its engine specification soon.
While the American oil and gas company has announced it is much further ahead with its planning for 2019 than it was last year. With the current turbo-hybrid formula putting the onus on fuel supplier and manufacturers working together, such a step could help push Honda on further.
ExxonMobil’s global motorsports technology manager David Tsurusaki told Autosport: “When we had this announcement with Honda and Toro Rosso last year, it meant only getting ready for Barcelona testing in December – which was a short timeline.
“But now, after a year of continuous change, adjustments and testing, we have already been working on 2019 – which is really where you want to be. You don’t want to be doing all your upgrades and preparations during the year, and then at the end of it start working on 2019. You want to be working on 2019 pretty early.”
Sainz wants a strong finish to the season
Carlos Sainz says it was important for him to finish the season strongly with Renault after it was announced in the summer that he would be replaced by Daniel Riccardo.
Following the announcement, he soon signed a deal to replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren. Although being out of the French manufacturer could have prompted Sainz to ease off, he says the situation actually helped inspire him to push harder and deliver four points finishes since the summer break.
He told Autosport, “For me, it would have been very easy after the summer just to say ‘well, let’s finish the year and think about next year’ But I really felt I had something left in Renault.”
“Not to prove, but I just wanted to finish the year strongly. I found a lot of motivation after the summer break, after Spa, to say ‘I want to finish the year strongly with them’”
Sainz says that he has a very good relationship with the team and they been pushing flat out since then. He is proud of where the car has progressed throughout the season and that the points are still coming.
Having originally been on loan from Red Bull this season, the Spaniard’s hopes of staying at Renault were dented because he was not released from his contract early enough.
Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul making it clear that his Red Bull ties, rather than any lack of talent, meant he was not an option for 2019, Sainz says his current form is no surprise to him.
Saying “the situation, life was taking us to this point. I think they are still happy that I am going to McLaren with a Renault power. And I am sure we’re going to have a successful time.”