Raikkonen deserves more points – Vettel
Sebastian Vettel says his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen has not got the results from his performances this season. The German leads the championship, while Raikkonen has only one podium and is thirty-seven points behind his team-mate.
Raikkonen was fourth in Melbourne and fifth in Shanghai, which prompted President Sergio Marchionne to say he wanted talks about the Finns form. He also was fourth in Bahrain and said “everything is fine” in his relationship with Marchionne.
Vettel has been understanding of Raikkonen early form, believing they will improve as the season goes on. He told Autosport “”He probably didn’t have the races he deserved.”
“I see exactly what happens and things didn’t go 100% in his direction so far but I don’t think there’s any doubt inside the paddock that he’s one of the most talented drivers we have.” Vettel added he thinks nobody could go into the WRC, then come back and be on the pace again.
Raikkonen believes things can get better if Ferrari improves the “small details” given the close margins between the top four drivers. The Finn admitted that he has had a rough start to the season, but says Sochi was a step forward.
“We have been more happy with how things have been running but we still only finished third. We keep trying and keep improving and I’m sure we’ll get there.”
He added, “But the small details have to be exactly there and then you will get the first place.” He also says because the top four are very close that small differences will make all the difference in the end.
No magic bullets for Mercedes
Mercedes say there are “no magic bullets” to understand the set-up problems which affected Lewis Hamilton in Sochi. But the team has vowed to rediscover his form, starting with this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton finished off the podium in Sochi for the first time since last June, after a weekend in which he struggled to match his team-mate Valtteri Bottas. The Englishman said he had “some ideas” about what had gone wrong.
Speaking about what went wrong, team boss Toto Wolff told Sky Sports “We have spent our time since then unpicking what happened to understand why we couldn’t get the car in the right window.”
“So he could feel comfortable with it – there are no magic bullets to understanding that. We must give him the tools he needs to do the job in the next races and that will be a big focus for us.”
Bottas took his maiden win in Sochi, Wolff has described that as “exceptional.” This means that Mercedes only have a single-point advantage in the Constructors’ Championship.
However, Mercedes are aware they still have work to do to if they are to stay with Ferrari as the season progresses. Wolff says “The prevailing feeling is that there is lots of homework to do to come back stronger with a car that can perform on a consistent level every weekend.”
He says he feels the team is moving in the right direction but there is work to do. Wolff says the team was not spectacular in Barcelona testing and “If we deliver the best possible work from Friday onwards, then we’ll be ready to win and fight with Ferrari.”
2016 prize money split
Autosport has revealed that Ferrari is to receive the largest share of the revenues for 2016. At the start of each season Formula One Management projects revenues.
This year FOM’s turnover is estimated to be $1.83bn, with underlying revenues estimated to be $1.38bn. 68% of the projected revenue split between qualifying teams.
However that figure of $1.83bn is down 3.5% on 2015, this is because of anticipated increases in marketing costs in line with FOM owner Liberty’s plans, and a reduction in the number of Grand Prix’s from 21 to 20.
The payments will be made over nine months and the amount each team are based on championship position and performance, plus past success and individual arrangements.
Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren have received the CCB bonus which equals $143m. Ferrari also receives a long-standing team payment while Williams collects a heritage payment.
Red Bull receives an extra payment for being the first team to sign the current bi-lateral agreement, which runs to 2020, and this totals $35m.
Mercedes and Red Bull have their own agreements, plus Mercedes earn a bonus for winning two championships. But Mercedes have earned $9m less than Ferrari.
If the pot was shared out equally, each team would get $94m. That would leave Ferrari’s payment down by $86m while Sauber, the final team to qualify for Column 1 and 2 payments, would receive an extra $45m.
Alonso doesn’t know what to expect
Fernando Alonso says he has no idea what to expect from race weekend to race weekend, following McLaren’s tough opening four races of the season.
McLaren’s season so far has been hindered by reliability problems, this has resulted in three DNFs and two DNSs between the two cars. The issues seem to be a significant deficit in performance as well, but Alonso says they need to focus on reliability first.
Alonso told ESPN “After a run of difficult races for us, I’m not sure what we can expect from this weekend. We’re expecting some various new parts — which we bring to every race”
“But we can’t really focus too much on performance until we have solved our reliability issues. That’s always our focus.” he added. He says McLaren are working extremely hard to get to the bottom of the problems.
Alonso says he knows the team is working hard to get to the bottom of their recent problems and is hopeful of a smooth race weekend. He added, “the most important thing will be to maximise whatever grid slot we achieve on Saturday, on race day.”
Despite the updates to the car this weekend in Spain, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says there is no reason to expect a big leap forwards.
Saying “While the start of the year and the first round of fly-way races have not been easy for McLaren-Honda, we’re looking forward to returning to Barcelona marking the start of the European leg of the season.”
But warned not to anticipate huge changes in the team’s fortunes, but getting Stoffel to the end of the race in Sochi was a small reward.
He says he “hope we’ll be able to complete some solid running and see an improvement in our reliability. It would be good to kick off the European races with some positive momentum.”
Massa’s relationship with Stroll reminds him of Schumacher
Felipe Massa says that working with his rookie Williams team-mate Lance Stroll reminds him of being mentored at Ferrari, but the seven-times champion Michael Schumacher.
Massa came out of retirement after Valtteri Bottas, who was originally signed to partner Stroll left the team to replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes. In 2006, Massa worked with Schumacher before his first retirement.
When asked by Autosport, if dynamics within the team reminded him of his relationship with Schumacher, he said “Yeah, I think so – I think I am passing [information] to Lance a little bit easier than Michael was passing to me!”
“I was asking more than what he was giving – but he was giving, he was giving a lot. For sure, when I was in front, he was not 100% happy.” He says that he was asking Schumacher a lot, as he saw him as a teacher.
Massa says that he is being as helpful as he could to Stroll and has been passing everything to him.
Hamilton tops Sunday Times Rich List
Lewis Hamilton has retained the top spot on this year’s Sunday Times Rich List. The three times world champion increased his wealth by over £25m and has a total wealth of £131m.
Hamilton took the top spot because of his multi-million-pound contract with Mercedes and a string of lucrative sponsorship deals including with L’Oréal, IWC watches and Bombardier.
Once again Hamilton hit back against claims he doesn’t pay tax in the UK. Insisting he is paying tax on all his UK earnings but says he doesn’t earn all his money in the UK.
Hamilton told the newspaper “I race in 19 different countries, so I earn my money in 20 different places and I pay tax in several different places, and I pay a lot here as well.”
“I am contributing to the country and, not only that, I help keep a team of more than 1,000 people employed. I am part of a much bigger picture.” Hamilton knows winning his fourth world championship could see his wages rise and bring a huge bonus.
McLaren’s reserve driver Jenson Button is fourth on the list, his wealth being £86m, up £9m in 2016-17.