More to come from Ferrari – Vettel
Sebastian Vettel says there is still a lot to come from Ferrari with his determination to win a championship at the team not wavering. The German lost this years championship to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, after a tough second half of the season.
Vettel who has signed a contract to stay at Ferrari until the end of 2020, he expects the team to come back stronger next season. Asked by Sky Sports about his four-year title drought, he said “That’s not the way I look at it, I don’t count the days.”
“I want to win the world championship for Ferrari. That’s what I want. That’s my goal and we have to realise that it doesn’t work out this year.” Despite leading the world championship until September, his hopes of the title came undone with reliability issues and both his own and Ferrari’s mistakes.
Asked if Lewis Hamilton won because he was the better driver or had the better car, Vettel replied: “I don’t like that. We had a straight fight.
“It was great for us this year, as well for them, but I don’t want to in any way take any glory away from him. He deserves every bit of it. Two races to go, he seals the championship and he deserves to win.”
“Very positive” dynamics with Hamilton – Rosberg
Outgoing world champion Nico Rosberg says he found the internal dynamics with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes “very positive” last season. The two drivers relationship became strained over the last three seasons as they fought for the title.
Last month, Hamilton suggested that Rosberg’s retirement at the end of 2016 had helped him to reach a new level because his departure had created an improved atmosphere in Mercedes.
When asked to respond, Rosberg used a quote from Hamilton “When you have two strong drivers in the team as we had, well, when the battle is within the team, it’s like a hurricane with strong energy and it is just stuck in the room.” He said that quote was quite a compliment.
The German suggested that he would not have done anything differently last season and says it was quite a positive season. He says the motivation was to drive, but it was an extremely intense and challenging battle.
Rosberg and Hamilton had been childhood friends and rivals in karting before their relationship broke down during their F1 title fights. Rosberg says he is open to having “normal” conversations with Hamilton again, now they are no longer competitors.
He added, “I’ve always had great respect for him, I don’t have anything against him, he was just a competitor and then naturally there was this difficult situation, but the base respect was always there.”
Paradise Papers: Mallya dodged a £1BN tax bill
More details have emerged from the Paradise Papers about the Force India Boss Vijay Mallya’s business dealing. Documents released by the BBC and the ICIJ show that he dodge a one billion pound tax bill by moving money via the British Virgin Islands.
Mallya is already wanted by Indian police to face charges of corruption and fraud relating to the collapse of Kingfisher Airlines in 2013. These new allegations are relating to four subsidiaries of United Spirits saying bank accounts in the British Virgin Islands to lander over a billion pounds between to 2008 and 2014.
The money trail goes back a year earlier, as the documents suggest that over a billion was borrowed by Mallya in 2007, to acquire Scotch maker Whye & Mackay at a hugely discounted rate via several intermediate subsidiaries.
Later, United Spirits deployed more money to service the debt. After acquiring United Spirits, Diageo divested Whyte & Mackay at a deep discount possibly leading to a substantial write-off in 2014.
A spokesman for Diageo said “These intra-corporate loans pre-dated Diageo acquiring its interest in United Spirits in July 2013. After Diageo took control of United Spirits, all outstanding loan amounts have been disclosed and adequately provided for in company accounts.”
Money syphoning is just the latest in a list of allegations of fraud facing Mallya. It is alleged the money was used to finance F-1 racing, Kingfisher Airlines, and his jet-setting lifestyle, and Diageo was aware of these money flows.
Meanwhile, the Indian Interior Minster Kirin Rijij said yesterday that he raised it with the UK’s immigration minister Branden Lewis. Adding “We are grateful to the UK’s immigration minister for being considerate to our opinion; we raised 13 extradition cases and 16 under mutual legal assistance treaty.”
Mallya denies wrongdoing and claims he is being witch-hunted by the media.
Force India look for new approaches
Force India team principal Vijay Mallya says he is happy now the team has sealed fourth place in the constructors for them to adopt new approaches in the final two races of the season.
A double points score in Mexico means the team has sealed the championship, after their most successful season in the sport and scoring more points this season than they managed in the whole of last year.
Mallya is keen for Force India to take more risks and suggested the team might run different drivers during Friday practice sessions so they can learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of its car ahead of next season.
Mallya told ESPN “With fourth place secure, we have the freedom to take a new approach into the remaining races. Perhaps by trying some different things or different Friday drivers in the car to see what we can learn for next year.”
“We can also be more aggressive with strategies and take more risks. We’re still hungry for strong results and want to end the season on a high note.”
Chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer recently suggested that the team was considering relaxing team orders, which had been introduced following a number of collisions earlier this year. He echoed Mallya’s comments that taking a risky approach in the final two rounds could benefit Force India.
“We’ve got to think differently in the next two races and do experiments or do things differently that will help for next year at the expense of this year, because this year doesn’t matter.”
Russell to make practice debut
GP3 champion George Russell will make his race weekend debut when he takes part in first practice for Force India at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Ru will drive in place of Sergio Perez in Interlagos, before getting another chance in Abu Dhabi driving Esteban Ocon’s car.
Russel said “”I’m extremely excited to be driving in free practice for Force India in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. 2017 has already been a year full of great opportunities and to top off the season with these two outings feels fantastic.”
“I’ve never driven the VJM10 before or driven at Interlagos, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge.” The Englishman won this year’s GP3 championship last month ahead of the season finale the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Russel has also tested for Mercedes in Budapest following the Hungarian Grand Prix and is expected that he will move into Formula Two next year.
Force India boss Vijay Mallya said “We are happy to give George this opportunity. He’s an up-and-coming talent and we’ve followed his success in GP3 closely.”
“George has already been in our simulator several times and has worked well with the team. Now that we have secured fourth place in the championship, it’s the ideal time to look to the future.”
Marseille to hold F1 Live
The streets of Marseille will hold an F1 Live event to help promote the French Grand Prix. The event will be similar to the one held in London in July with promoters and Liberty Media promising a “big show.”
The race is returning to the country after a decade and will take place at Paul Ricard. Director of the race Gilles Dufeigneux told Motorsport.com “There will be a big show in Marseille, in the build-up to the race, like what was done in London this year before Silverstone.”
“As far as the grand prix itself is concerned, there will be a fan zone like the one that’s been developed this year since the Spanish Grand Prix. It was very impressive at Silverstone and Spa.”
He says that he travelled to Mexico City to see what they offer. Adding “It was very professional. The fan zones include simulators, tyre changing in the pits, waving the chequered flags and merchandising with a lot of F1-themed merchandise.”
Dufeigneux says that the date is yet to be determined but is expected to take place the week before the race, scheduled for June 24.