Capito leaves McLaren
Jost Capito has left McLaren after just five months with the team. Capito was appointed has the team’s CEO in September by former Chairman Ron Dennis. There had been speculation that Capito position was untenable following the coup which removed Dennis.
A McLaren spokesman said: “Regrettably, we have not been able to find common ground on what is and will be needed to make the team successful again.”
The McLaren spokesman added that Capito, the former head of Volkswagen Motorsport, had “a strong commitment to bringing success back to McLaren.
“He wanted to build again a winning team and fully focus on making the McLaren F1 car competitive, with the aim of winning World Championships in coming years.”
Sources close to Capito say he has not been involved in the day to day running of the team since early December but had remained formally an employee. He has only recently agreed on departure terms.
Engines as important – Webber
Former F1 Driver and Channel 4’s Mark Webber believes that engine performance this season will be even more important, with the revised aero regulations.
This season the aerodynamic rules have changed plus wider tyres are being introduced, this should increase lap times by five seconds due to the increase cornering speeds. The minimum weight also raised by 26kg from 2016, Webber believes the additional weight and drag will increase the focus on power output.
Webber told Autosport “”The cars are going to have a lot more downforce, it’s going to be more power sensitive than ever. You’ll need a bigger engine more than you ever have done, because of wider tyres and more drag.”
“The cars are getting quite heavy, with the wider tyres, which is a bit unfortunate because it will slow them down.” He adds. Webber says the gains should be good for both the sporting side because the cars are going to be quicker.
“”The drivers will be earning their money again, and they’ll be sweating on the podium again, which will be great. They’ll be going back to lap times like we used to do 10 years ago.” He added.
Hamilton Sr’s warning to Bottas
Antony Hamilton says he hopes his son’s new team-mate Valtteri Bottas is ready for going up against Lewis, warning “it could be a career-ending move when you go up against Lewis.”
Bottas is joining Mercedes following the retirement of Nico Rosberg, just days after winning the title which prompted Finn’s move from Williams. Hamilton Sr believes Bottas’s will be facing his three times champion son at the peak of his power.
He told Sky Sports “Anybody who goes up against Lewis needs to have planned their career correctly because it could be a career-ending move when you go up against Lewis.”
“I personally think, while he’s getting older and more mature, he’s still actually heading towards the prime of his career. So Lewis is going to be a force to be reckoned with this year.” Added Hamilton Sr.
Hamilton was narrowly beaten by Rosberg to the title last season and was the second time in the Briton’s ten seasons of F1 that he had been outscored by a team-mate over a full campaign. Rosberg’s retirement means he will not have the chance to fight back the title.
But Hamilton Sr said this would not have been an extra motivating factor for the 32-year-old in 2017. “Lewis only ever thinks about winning. He’s happy for Nico, like we all are to be quite honest. We’ve known him a long time and Nico has really worked hard.”
Despite F1 regulation changes designed to shake up the sport, Hamilton remains favourite for a fourth title.
8,000 design Hamilton’s helmet
Lewis Hamilton has received over 8,000 entries in his competition to design his helmet for this season. Hamilton launched the competition just under fortnight ago and says his Instagram account he was overwhelmed by the interest and would need some time to decide on a winner.
The Briton posted: “Wow, over 8,000…Thanks for all the helmet designs and putting in so much effort #TeamLH!! Some really great entries in there. As the competition’s now closed I’m going to be looking through to see the design that I’d like to pick.”
“There’s quite a few entries to go through, so this might take some time but hoping to announce the winner in the next few days. More soon…” Hamilton will use the design for the whole season because of the regulation change requiring one helmet for the season, barring a special one of race.
The winner will also pick up a full-sized replica that has been signed by the Mercedes driver.
Baku sees boost in ticket sales
Organisers of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, say their push to move the race back a week this year has paid off, with interest and ticket sales. Last year’s race, clashed with the 24 Hours of Le Mans which impacted on fan attendance and media coverage.
This year the race was renamed the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and moved back a week, which the race promotor Arif Rahimov said has been positive, with fan interest increasing ahead of the 2017 event. Speaking in London, he said, “Obviously it is good to have more media and spectators in Azerbaijan for the race.”
“Last year, a lot of people got the chance to see what the race looks like and it attracted a lot of international spectators, and we are happy that those spectators won’t have to choose between the two races.”
He says the race now not being back to back with another race gives more time to prepare. The race failed to sell out fast last season, but Rahimov says he is encouraged with interest this year, as he thinks locals are now more engaged with the event after watching it on television.
When asked by Motorsport.com about how ticket sales were going, Rahimov said: “They are definitely up – from the trend that we see right now, in the same period of time it was last year, we have sold five times as many tickets as were sold in the same period last year.”
Texas refuses to release info on race cost
The Texan attorney general has refused to release information about how much the organisers of the United States Grand Prix receive from the taxpayer over the last two years.
The Circuit of the Americas receives more than $20 million in taxpayer funds to help pay for the event. The news agency AP requested the attorney general release details of total payments, rights fees and negotiations with the circuit remain secret. F1 attorneys said releasing those details would have harm negotiations for other races.
But Paxton cited the Supreme Court ruling which allows government agencies and contractors to keep some contract payment details secret.