No serious bids for new teams
FIA President Jean Todt says that he had no offers which e deems serious enough for new teams to enter Formula One. Earlier this year, Zoran Stefanovic began a second bid to enter the sport after his 2010 bid failed.
There are understood to be a number of parties interested in entering the sport, including a Chinese group which are evaluating entering the sport. But despite Todt speaking to interested parties, he has seen nothing serious enough to opening the tendering process.
Asked at a press conference, if he had any reasonable offers, Todt replied “Not something I will comment on as a very serious offer. When we will see there is some serious offer [we will open a tender].”
“As we did when Haas came to Formula 1, we understood there was some serious interest so we created a tender.” Previously Formula One had a maximum grid of twenty-six cars, however, it has not featured that many since mid-1995.
Todt added that the current agreement is for a maximum grid of twenty-four cars, however, that’s with a “never say never” if the situation presents itself for a twenty-six car grid.
Adding “Not something I will comment on as a very serious offer,” said Todt when asked if he had had any reasonable offers.
“When we will see there is some serious offer [we will open a tender] – as we did when Haas came to Formula 1, we understood there was some serious interest so we created a tender.”
McLaren has back up plans
McLaren says it has serval back up plans should Fernando Alonso decide to leave the team at the end of the season. The Spaniard has made it clear that he would stay with the team should it be capable of challenging for wins.
How competitive McLaren are will depend on which power unit they decide to use, with the team currently attempting to negotiate a split with Honda and a move to Renault.
Asked by ESPN, what would happen if Alonso decided not to continue at McLaren next year, executive director Zak Brown said “We’ve got another plan. He hasn’t signed with us yet, negotiations are ongoing and going very well.”
“But you’ve got to have a Plan B and C in the event that you don’t reach an agreement, and we’ve got those plans.” The Spaniard has been highly critical of Honda over the past two and half years, but Brown says that he hasn’t issued an ultimatum of ‘me or Honda.’
Brown added “these decisions can be based on whether he thinks we’re going to be competitive or not. He’s not going to be engine-specific in his desires.” A chance of a move to the other leading teams looks impossible as both Red Bull and Ferrari retaining both their drivers, with Mercedes expected to follow shortly.
Another option could be returning to Renault for a third time or joining Williams, however, that would be unlikely to result in the race wins Alonso desires.
An option should Alonso leave for McLaren could be Lando Norris would drove in the Budapest test, but Brown said he doesn’t think he has enough experience.
Mustn’t do knee-jerk reaction to grid penalties
Haas’s team principal Guenther Steiner has warned that Formula One must not make knee-jerk reactions in the wake of the farcical situation at the Italian Grand Prix.
Nine of the twenty cars were hit with grid penalties because of car related problems. This lead to a gird which looked dramatically different to the order in which qualifying ended on Saturday afternoon. Even before the grid fiasco, F1’s managing director Ross Brawn said that the sport was considering scraping grid penalties altogether.
While Steiner says he has no problem with the current rules, he says an alternative solution would be difficult to find. Speaking about the engine penalties, Steiner told ESPN “If you get only one grid position or something, again the big teams will go away even further because they would change everything, every time, evolve it and be faster. They would make up the grid penalties with being faster.”
“Look at Verstappen, or Ricciardo, 35 [positions] and he still finished fourth… The big teams they can make it up and if we reduce the grid penalties, there’s no point to do it. The again we would just spend more money because don’t care about the grid penalties as we would make it up.”
Asked if the sport should change the rules around penalties he said while you must have penalties for exceeding allocations they need to work. One suggestion is that the constructors could be docked points with drivers retaining points for mechanical failures.
He said “You could play it to win the drivers’ championship. What is worth more, the constructors’ or the drivers’? Some people think like this, some others. If you want to just focus on winning on the drivers’ so every time you have a new engine, everything new in and the manufacturer gets last but the driver wins.”
However, that could prove costly for customer teams, as they could take penalties for failure which are out of their control, while a works team doesn’t pay the price.
Steiner added “We know the rules. Is it looking good or not? The penalties are given a reason because people are doing a bad job. It’s not like they were penalised, they knew before and if they don’t do a good job, or good enough, then that’s what they get.”
Ultrasofts favoured for Singapore
Pirelli have announced the drivers’ tyre allocations for next weekends Singapore Grand Prix. For this race, the Italian manufacturer has nominated their softest their softest tyre compounds, the purple ultrasofts, the red supersofts, and the yellow softs.
The Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have nine ultrasofts, while Hamilton has spilt the remainder of his allocation to give him two sets of both the supersofts and softs, Bottas has elected for three supersofts and a soft.,
Both Ferrari’s have ten ultrasofts, but Sebastian Vettel has favoured the softs taking two sets while Kimi Raikkonen has two supersofts, that gives them both a single set of the supersoft and soft respectively.
All the Red Bull, Williams, Force India, McLaren and Renault drivers, have the same allocation ten ultrasofts, two supersofts and a soft. Both Haas have eight supersofts, four supersofts and a softs.
Both Toro Rosso’s have nine ultrasofts, three supersofts and a soft. Sauber are the only team who have varied there allocation between drivers, with Wherlein having nine ultrasofts and two of both the supersofts and softs. While Ericsson has ten ultrasofts and two supersofts and soft.
“Completely different” Sauber for 2018
Sauber Team Principal Fred Vasseur says that the teams 2018 car will be a “completely different” design to the teams current one. Sauber is currently bottom of the constructors’ championship and has begun to silp further behind as the season has continued.
The team has been hampered this season by the team running a 2016 Ferrari power unit, but also by the teams financial problems at the beginning of last year. When he took over from Monisha Kaltenborn, his first move was cancelling the Honda deal and agreeing to a new deal with Ferrari.
Vasseur says that the team will have a “completely new” design and “The car is already in the wind tunnel and I think we are doing a decent job.”
The Swiss team still needs to work out what its new arrangements are with Ferrari and whether it will involve any additional components, though Vasseur has previously suggested the collaboration will not go as far as Haas’s Ferrari arrangement.
Vasseur said “We are still discussing the parameters of the Ferrari collaboration, but [the carry over will] probably less than 20%. The current one [car] is 2016 so to try and carry over to 2018… we have to start from scratch.”
“It’s also the reason the car [has] long [been] in the windtunnel. The global picture of the car will be completely different.” Also the car will be the first which will be designed by technical director Jorg Zander, who did not join the team until the eve of the 2017 season.
Vasseur understands the vast scale of the challenge ahead for Sauber but feels if the team can boost its workforce, it can close the gap to the midfield.
“It’s always difficult to have a target because it will depend on the guys around us on the grid. It will be difficult to come back into the midfield. It’s a big step and there is no big change in the regulations for next year.”
You missed your chance – Ocon
Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley says despite the interest in Esteban Ocon, rival teams have missed their chance. Ocon and his team-mate Sergio Perez have been lined to join Nico Hulkenberg at Renault next season.
Ocon was Renault’s reserve driver last season as well as being Mercedes test driver before he moved to Manor last August. He then moved to Force India on a ‘multi year’ deal and has scored points in twelve races this season.
Ocon is contracted with Force India until 2019 and Fernley said it is keen to reap the rewards of securing him early. Fernley told Autosport “We’ll do everything in our power to maintain the driver line-up we have today. We’re in a very fortunate position in that.”
“Like the top three teams, we’ve got two super-talented drivers, and we’re going to need that in order to battle for fourth place in 2018, or hopefully even go higher.”
He says that the last thing the team wants to do is lose Ocon and from a contractual point of view its clear that he is contracted for 2018, with an option for 2019.