F1 Today – 08/09/2020

F1 Today

Racing Point withdraws brake duct appeal

Racing Point has announced they have withdrawn its appeal over the brake duct row after receiving clarification on listed parts rules.

Racing Point was given fifteen-point constructors’ championship penalty and a €400,000 fine after it was deemed to have used an illegal design process for its 2020 rear brake ducts. The team has now announced it has withdrawn that challenge to the FIA’s International Court of Appeal in a bid to get the rules clarified and have its penalty overturned.

But following talks with teams and clarifications from the FIA over rules on the use of listed and non-listed parts, Racing Point said on Sunday it has withdrawn its appeal.

Racing Point said, “We welcome the resolution the teams have agreed, and we’re pleased the FIA has provided much-needed clarification of the rules on listed and non-listed parts.”

“The stewards and all parties involved in the appeals process recognise that there was a lack of clarity in the regulations and that we did not deliberately break them. Now that the ambiguity around the regulations has been settled, we have decided to withdraw our appeal in the wider interests of the sport.”

Racing Point says that the issue has been a distraction for everyone, and now was the time to focus on racing hard and providing excitement and entertainment for the millions of F1 fans around the world.

It means Ferrari is now the only team still proceeding with its appeal against the FIA’s ruling, following withdrawals from McLaren, Renault and Williams over the case after they initially planned a protest.

Ferrari says it was willing to withdraw its appeal so long as clarifications were made regarding car copying.

Binotto said, “If regulations will be put in place, or a technical directive for the future in 2021 where we are pretty sure it will not be possible to copy, we are ready to withdraw our appeal.”


No shortcuts for “suffering” Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel says there are no shortcuts out of Ferrari’s “suffering” right now, as the team digests the fallout from a disappointing Italian Grand Prix. The team had their worst race at Monza since 1998, with Vettel retiring with a brake failure and teammate Charles Leclerc crashing heavily at the Parabolica.

This followed another uncompetitive qualifying and race at Spa, where the team also failed to score points. Vettel says that things are difficult now and it was getting hard to keep it in his head.

He said following the race, “It is grown to my body so naturally, it should be up, but maybe right now it is a little bit hanging to one side. There are no shortcuts in life and we are in this position because we probably deserve to be.”

“We are suffering, the whole team is suffering, and I am one part of the team.” Ferrari had hoped for some improved fortunes in Italy, after struggles at Spa, meant neither Vettel nor Leclerc could finish in the points.

The double retirement for Ferrari came admits continuing struggles for performance and ahead of its 1,000th Grand Prix at Mugello this weekend. But Vettel sees scope for Ferrari to turn its situation around before the end of the season, even if he concedes that there is no real quick fix to its problems.

Adding, “It is very difficult for us at the moment for the whole team. But we are in that position and we need to try to do the best we can to have a worthy ending to the season.


Gasly says he’s “ready” for Red Bull

Pierre Gasly feels he is “ready” to return to Red Bull Racing should the team wish to recall him following his shock win at the Italian Grand Prix.

The Frenchman scored his maiden win at Monza capitalising on a red flag stoppage and a penalty for Lewis Hamilton, before fending off Carlos Sainz in the closing stages. The win came a year after he lost his seat with Red Bull, and his podium in Brazil last year.

Gasly’s win comes as his replacement at Red Bull Alex Albon has not been able to deliver as strong results in situations where he has been the leading Red Bull. Victory at Monza has now allowed Gasly to close to within five points of Albon in the championship.

Despite this Red Bull has insisted d it is not considering dropping Albon, but Gasly said following his victory that he felt ready to return if the team were to bring him back.

Gasly told Motorsport.com, “I think I’m ready, but it’s not up to me to make that call. The only thing I’ve done since they moved me back to Toro Rosso has been just to focus on myself and just show what I can do.”

“When I get the right tools in my hand I’m really happy that the performance we’ve shown. I’m not only talking about Brazil, but I think generally, we’ve been pretty strong most of the time. We’ve had some really strong qualifying’s, really strong races since. We’ll see what happens.”

Gasly’s win was the second for the team, after Sebastian Vettel took their first at Monza in another freak result in 2008.


Roberts appointed acting Williams team principal

Simon Roberts has been appointed as acting team principal of Williams for a “transition period” after the Williams family stood down from the team after the Italian Grand Prix.

Last week the team announced that Claire Williams would step down from her role as deputy team principal after the Monza race, with the Williams family leaving the team following the sale to American investment fund Dorilton Capital.

With just four days between Monza and Mugello, Williams has announced Roberts will become acting team principal starting from this weekend. It’s not clear how long he will hold the position, with it being for “transitional period” following the overhaul of senior management personnel at Williams.

Roberts joined the team earlier this year as managing director of its F1 operations, having previously been McLaren’s long-time operations chief. Roberts started his initial role at the beginning of June. He said “I am delighted to be announced as Acting Team Principal for Williams during this transitional period.”

“It is an exciting time ahead for the team, a new era for Williams and one that I am excited to be playing a part in. I look forward to the challenge ahead as we look to take the team back to the front of the grid.”

Roberts’ appointment is the latest change to the Williams senior management team since its takeover by Dorilton Capital, with outgoing Williams CEO Mike O’Driscoll announcing his intention to retire earlier today.

Last week Dorilton announced a new board of directors featuring Dorilton founders Matthew Savage and Darren Fultz, as well as former racing driver and brother in law to the Duchess of Cambridge, James Matthews.

Claire Williams had been offered the chance to stay on at the team but felt it was the “right choice” to leave during the transition period under the new ownership.


Hamilton launches Extreme E team

Lewis Hamilton has launched his new Extreme E team which will race in the first all-electric off-road racing series, which aims to shed light on environmental issues.

For the six-times champion, it marks his first foray into motorsport team ownership, although he will not drive or be involved in the day-to-day operation of the outfit – X44, which references his F1 car number. In a year where Hamilton has been vocal on many issues, he has put his money into a project which aims to tackle one.

Alongside Black Lives Matter and Coronavirus, Hamilton has also called for change to tackle global climate and sustainability issues and says the new series will allow him the chance to help make a positive difference.

Hamilton of the series that starts in 2021, “Extreme E is an exciting new sustainability initiative, and this is a great opportunity to be involved from the outset as a team founder.”

“Of course, my ambitions and commitments with Mercedes in Formula 1 mean that I won’t be operationally involved in X44, but I’m excited to play a different role in this new series, one that brings my vision for a more sustainable and equal world to life.”

Extreme E will race in five remote locations that are already damaged or under threat from climate issues, such as the Brazilian rain forest and the mountains of Nepal, with teams to run male and female drivers.

Hamilton says that Extreme E appealed to him because of its environmental focus, and shows that everyone can make a difference. He says it combines his love of racing and the planet to have a positive impact.


Monza glimpse of what reverse grid race could be

F1 motorsport and technical managing director Ross Brawn believes Sunday’s dramatic Italian Grand Prix offered a glimpse of how exciting reverse-grid qualifying races could be.

Earlier in the year, Liberty Media proposed that for double headers at the same circuit’s to have a qualifying sprint race rather than the segmented format we currently have.

The idea was for the cars to line up in reverse championship order for a short race on Saturday, and then use that order to decide the grid for Sunday’s full-length Grand Prix.

No points would be awarded for the qualifying race, but the hope was that it would create unpredictable results, more excitement and a break from the existing race weekend format.

The idea needed support from all 10 teams to be introduced this year, but reigning champions Mercedes made clear it would block the proposal. F1 accepted Mercedes’ objections and did not put the idea to a vote, but said it would continue to analyse the idea for future seasons.

In his post-race debrief on F1’s Website, Brawn wrote, “Monza was a candidate for a reverse-grid sprint race when we were considering testing the format this year.”

“Unfortunately, we could not move forward with it, but the concept is still something we and the FIA want to work through in the coming months and discuss with the teams for next year.

“We believe that yesterday’s race showed the excitement a mixed-up pack can deliver and with next year’s cars remaining the same as this year — our fans could be treated to the similar drama we saw this weekend at Monza.”

Brawn says that the difficulties some cars faced in trying to overtake will not be solved until F1’s new rules package is introduced in 2022.


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