Force India upgrades depend on the resolution of ownership
Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer says that the team will be able to bring upgrades once the ownership situation is resolved. The team entered administration last Friday after Sergio Perez took the team to court.
While the team has upgrades ready to go into production, it has been unable to manufacture them because of the financial pressure. This has impacted on the teams on the teams on track results, with Esteban Ocon thirteenth and Sergio Perez fourteenth.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Szafnauer says that once the team has new owners in place, the potential influx of funding will enable it to go ahead with production of updates. These upgrades should be the teams’ final upgrades of the season.
He said, “We weren’t that far off, maybe two to three tenths off some of the midfield runners. But we just didn’t have the pace. We’ve got to bring some more updates, and then we’ll be faster and hopefully, we’ll be able to do that.”
“The designs are done, so it’s just a matter of paying suppliers to start building the tools and making the car parts. It doesn’t happen overnight, but we’ll be able to implement those plans. “We should be able to have some good updates, hopefully, significant ones, but only time will tell.”
Despite the teams’ financial woes, the team remains seven points behind Haas and seven ahead of McLaren. That means that upgrades are key if the team is to avoid slipping back down the field and that would see the team lose prize money.
At the penultimate race before the summer break, Force India technical director Andrew Green said he believed Force India was still in the fight for fourth but needed to bring upgrades.
“There are a few teams in that portion of the grid who seem to be just swapping places and alternating the scoring of points. It could take one extraordinary race to push someone out of reach or another team into contention.”
Ricciardo wants a “fresh start” at Renault
Daniel Ricciardo says he is leaving Red Bull at the end of the season because he needs a “fresh start somewhere else”. On Friday, the Australian shocked the paddock and Red Bull when he announced he was joining Renault on a two year deal.
In a video posted on his website, Ricciardo said “It was by far the toughest decision I’ve made in my racing career but in 29 years living on this Earth, it was actually one of the toughest life decisions I’ve made.”
“I felt it was a time now where it was good for me to move on and have a fresh start somewhere else. I think it will be healthy for me – so excited for what lies ahead with Renault.”
Ricciardo had been expected to resign for Red Bull, after Mercedes resigned Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, while its looks like Ferrari are most likely to retain Kimi Raikkonen. That meant that it was unlikely that the austrilian would be leaving Red Bull.
At Silverstone, he said “Not every door has closed but it is looking more and more likely that the other [top] teams will remain with their line-ups. If it wasn’t Red Bull, they [Mercedes and Ferrari] are the two most attractive options. So if they are not possible it’s hard for me to be convinced there is a better option than Red Bull.”
Ricciardo also strongly hinted he was going to resgin, las Wednesday he told reporters in Budapest that the Red Bull deal, “It will definitely be done by Spa.”
The ‘it’, however, turned out to be something very different.
Although McLaren, who believe they were “pretty close” to signing Ricciardo after offering the 29-year-old a sizeable pay rise, Renault were thought to be no more than an outside option for the Australian.
According to reports, Christian Horner was so surprised by Ricciardo’s decision the Red Bull boss initially thought his driver was joking when Ricciardo phoned on Thursday night to inform him he was switching to Renault – Red Bull’s long-time engine suppliers but who have been dropped for 2019.
Lauda making good progress following surgery
The hospital in Vienna treating Mercedes non-executive director and three times champion Niki Lauda says he is making good progress following a double lung transplant last week.
Minimal information has been realised about the health of the sixty-nine-year-old since the operation. The damage was caused by his fiery accident on Nordschleife during the 1976 German Grand Prix.
On Monday a statement released by the Austrian general hospital and Medical University of Vienna said developments after the transplant were “very satisfactory”.
It detailed that 24 hours after the operation, Lauda was fully conscious and could be extubated and breathe independently.
The statement added: “Since then there has been a continuous improvement. All organs function well. The patient will continue to be cared for at AKH Wien until he recovers completely.”
The Austrian hospital performs around 120 lung transplants a year. Lauda’s surgery was conducted by Walter Klepetko and Konrad Hotzenecker, consultant thoracic surgeons.
Reports say that Lauda could return to work soon. However, while Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff, last week urged his colleague a fast but sensible recovery.
He said “We have missed him by our side in Hockenheim and Hungary, and can’t wait to have him back with us. The recovery he faces is not a race. But I’m sure he will soon be telling every nurse and doctor that he has had enough of hospital.”
Sainz an option for McLaren
McLaren’s team principal Zak Brown says that Carlos Sainz would be an option for McLaren next season, if he becomes a free agent. Sainz could replace either drivers, as both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne not having contracts.
Sainz becomes a free agent on the first of October unless Red Bull decide to take up the option on his contract. The Spaniard will be replaced at Renault by Daniel Ricciardo, but Red Bull now have to chose between Sainz, Pierre Gasly or Brendon Hartley to fill his seat.
Speaking before Speaking before Ricciardo’s surprise move, McLaren boss Zak Brown had identified Sainz as an appealing option. He told Motorsport.com, “We think Carlos is an excellent race car driver. Of course Carlos is potentially on the market, we don’t know his exact situation at Renault and Red Bull.”
“But he’s certainly someone that as you go down the shortlist of drivers you’d consider putting in a race car. If he was free, and if we had a seat, he would certainly be high up on the consideration set.”
If McLaren is unable to pursue Sainz, or chooses not to, it is expected that one of Vandoorne or McLaren reserve driver Lando Norris would partner Alonso.
What McLaren would do if Alonso chooses to retire is unknown. Brown says that the team has long term contract with both drivers, and they were not making a decision until after the break.
Adding ““We’re still reviewing, analysing what’s ultimately the best combination for McLaren moving forward. Stoffel is very much part of that consideration set.”
It has been reported that if Norris isn’t moved into a race seat next season, he would become a free agent. McLaren could however, give him a free-practice role in preparation for a 2020 McLaren drive, instead of making his debut with another team.
Teams stock up on softs
Pirelli has announced the drivers tyre allocations for both the Belgian and Italian Grand Prix’s, for the final two European races the have nominated the harder end of the soft compounds the supersofts and Softs as well as the mediums.
For the race at Spa, Both Mercedes have chosen six sets of Supersoft, four Softs and three Mediums. While both Ferrari’s have chosen seven supersofts, with Sebastian Vettel going for four softs and two mediums, while teammate Kimi Raikkonen has five softs and a medium.
Red Bull have varied the tyres for both drivers, with Daniel Ricciardo going for eight supersofts, four softs and a medium. His teammate Max Verstappen has gone for seven supersofts, five softs and and a medium.
Both Force India’s have gone for eight supersofts, three softs and two mediums. Both Williams have gone nine supersofts, but Lance Stroll has two of both the softs and mediums, his teammate Sergey Sirotkin has three softs and a medium.
Both Renaults, Toro Rosso’s, Haas’s and Saubers have gone for eight supersofts. With Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly going for four softs and two Mediums, there teammates Carlos Sainz and Brendon Hartley, as well as Romain Grosjean have three softs and two mediums.
Both McLaren’s have five supersofts and mediums, with five softs. With both Haas’s and Sauber’s going for eight supersofts, Romain Grosjean and Charles Leclerc have three softs and two mediums. Their teammates Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson have four soft and a medium.
Teams continue theme for Monza
for the race at Monza, both Mercedes have gone for eight supersofts while Lewis Hamilton has gone for three softs and two mediums. His teammate Valtteri Bottas has gone for four softs and mediums.
Both Ferrari and Sauber have gone for ten supersofts, with Sebastian Vettel and Marcus Ericsson going for one soft and two mediums. Teammates Kimi Raikkonen and Charles Leclerc have two softs and a medium.
Renault and Toro Rosso have also gone for eight supersofts, with Perrie Gasly and both Renaults going for three softs and two mediums. While Brendon Hartley has gone for four softs and a medium. Both Force India’s have gone for ten supersofts, two softs and a medium.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has gone for eight supersofts, three softs and two mediums. His teammate Max Verstappen has seven supersofts, five softs and a medium.
Both Williams and Haas’s have nine softs, with Lance Stroll and Romain Grosjean having three softs and one medium. Their teammates Sergey Sirotkin and Kevin Magnussen have two of both the softs and mediums.
Both McLaren’s have seven supersofts, four softs and two mediums.