Aston Martin’s review of Vettel’s disqualification rejected
Aston Martin’s attempt to get a review of Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification from the Hungarian Grand Prix has been dismissed by the FIA. The team has now said that it’s “considering its position in respect of its outstanding appeal,” against the penalty which cost the four-time champion second in Budapest.
The appeal is still ongoing, although the latest verdict from the FIA stewards is a major blow to Aston Martin’s hopes of success. Vettel was thrown out of the race after the technical delegate failed to extract the one-litre fuel sample in post-race scrutineering. But the team claimed they were able to get 1.44 litres, despite Jo Bauer, FIA technical delegate only being able to extract 0.3litres.
The team says they had “discovered significant new evidence” in the case. The stewards met with Aston Martin personnel – including team boss Otmar Szafnauer – on Monday afternoon, with the team claiming that a “fuel system failure” led to them not having the required amount of fuel after the race.
However, while the FIA accepted the information was an ‘new element’, they said that it did not matter why there was less than a litre of fuel in the car. A statement said, “the technical regulations unequivocally call for a remaining amount of 1-litre and does not allow any exceptions.”
“Therefore, for the assessment of whether or not 1-litre requirement was broken, it does not make a difference why there was less than 1-litre. There may be a couple of explanations why at the end of a race the remaining amount is insufficient.”
“In any case, it remains the sole responsibility of the competitor to ensure the car is in conformity with the regulations at all times and it shall be no defence to claim that no performance advantage was obtained.
“In order to affirm a relevant fact, Aston Martin would have had to present facts that actually more than 1-litre of fuel was remaining.” Following the ruling, the team announced they were considering their options, and there is a separate review case still ongoing.
CEO and team principal Otmar Szafnauer says they continue to consider the appeal against the Vettel penalty decision, which is separate to their right of review case. He said, “We felt that the evidence we presented was relevant and demonstrated to the FIA that he should have been reinstated following his disqualification.”
“Unfortunately, the FIA took a different view and, even though that the accuracy of our new evidence was not contested, Sebastian’s disqualification has been upheld on the basis that the new evidence was not deemed ‘relevant’.”
The provisional result, moved Sir Lewis Hamilton from third to second in the finishing order with the extra points increasing his title advantage over Max Verstappen to eight points. Aston Martin also dropped back behind AlphaTauri to seventh in the Constructors’ Championship.
Ferrari announces ‘significant power unit update
Ferrari has announced plans for a ‘significant’ upgrade later this season when they introduced its final power unit of the season. Although they are limited to just one upgrade from last year, it has emerged that the Italian manufacturer had not introduced all the changes it wants.
The three other manufactures all introduced their new units at the start of the season and must now stick with that power unit spec, while Ferrari has been running some elements of last years power unit. Having run only some upgraded parts in its much-improved 2021 engine, it is therefore allowed to introduce newly designed elements when it brings in its final power unit of the campaign.
While it is not clear when they will be introduced, team principal Mattia Binotto has confirmed they will not be introduced before Monza in a month. That means that the new power unit that Charles Leclerc will have to run from the Belgian GP, as the result of his Hungarian GP crash, will be to the current spec.
Speaking about the engine upgrade plan, Binotto said: “We will bring power unit developments. Just to clarify what the regulations are in 2021: you may have a brand new power unit in 2021. It means that you may bring an update in all the components of the power unit, whatever it is ICE, turbo, MGU-H, batteries, MGU-K, etc.”
He explained that despite earlier reports of the team having an all-new power unit at the start of the season, there are still running components of last years unit. The new components are an evolution of last years components, which he hopes will be “a significant step for the end of the season.”
With the new power unit not coming until after Monza, Ferrari is bracing itself for a tough time at the power-dependent tracks in Belgium and Italy. Binotto admitted that Spa could be a difficult race saying at worst they are seven-tenths off as the circuit is power dependant.
This years regulation forcing the teams to one unit for the season introduced because of the pandemic has been scraped. Instead, the rules state that a single upgrade can be introduced at any moment during the current season that teams choose.
Renault engine chief leaves after twenty-two years
Renault’s engine technical director Remi Taffin has left the French manufacturer after twenty-two years. The Frenchman has left Alpine by ‘mutual agreement last month a spokesman confirmed to Motorsport.com and is not looking for a direct replacement.
Taffin has been part of Renault’s F1 programme since 1999, in his early career worked as an engine engineer for many drivers. He then stepped up to take control of the French manufacturers F1 activities in 2009 than at the start of the hybrid era, became director of operations.
When the manufacturer decided to return to the sport as a fully fledge works team, Taffin was prompted to engine technical director being tasked with pushing forward its power unit development. While Renault had endured its fair share of frustrations during the early hybrid era, it managed to get a few wins with Red Bull, and took its first win in over a decade in Budapest.
Renault continues to work on a new power unit for 2022, which it hopes will close the gap to Mercedes and Honda/Red Bull, it has now emerged and been confirmed to the website that Taffin left Renault by ‘mutual agreement’ at the start of July.
It is understood Renault is not looking for a direct replacement and instead plans to divide Taffin’s former responsibilities amongst current staff.
Although Renault’s current power unit performance is behind its main rivals, the engine is effectively now in its third season due to enforced delays in the introduction of its new design. Speaking last week, executive director Marcin Budkowski said the situation was not perfect, but there remained optimistic about its engine plans for the future.
He said, “We’ve had the same engine we’re using for the third consecutive year, with very, very small changes in 2020 and 2021. It’s a 2019 engine we are using, and as a result, some of our competitors made gains that we haven’t.”
Budkowski says the original plan was to introduce the power unit this year, but they decided to delay that due to restrictions and home working caused by the pandemic making it unable to deliver the power unit this season.
Adding “So we’re in a slightly non-ideal situation where we had to delay our new power unit, which has improvements to propulsive power and energy management, and the kind of usual things that make you quicker on a straight line.”
Tost gives Alpha Tauri a five out ten for the season so far
Alpha Tauri team principal Franz Tost has given his team a five out of ten for the first half of the season, warning that the team will “have to get it together” to fight for fifth in the constructor’s championship.
Red Bull’s sister team has impressed this season in the midfield with one of the fastest cars which has allowed Pierre Gasly to qualify on the front three rows eight times in the first eleven races, as well as a podium in Baku. While teammate Yuki Tsunoda also showed flashes of promise but has generally struggled to match his more experienced teammate and made his fair share of rookie error
However, Esteban Ocon’s victory in Budapest saw Alpine move ahead in the battle for fifth and Aston Martin looked competitive, with Sebastian Vettel finishing on the podium before being disqualified for a technical infringement. Going into the final race before the summer break, Tost praised his team for its “very competitive” start but was left slightly dissatisfied as it couldn’t always convert the car’s potential into points.
When asked by Motorsport.com, to give his team a score out of ten for the first part of 2021, Tost said: “It’s in the middle. I would say a five. A five means, out of ten, there is still another 50% to improve. We had some really good races, some highlights. When I look generally to the start of the season, we were very competitive, like we are now as well.”
“The last three races [before Budapest] I’m not so satisfied, because we scored only four points. And this of course was not enough. It’s a hard fight. We have very strong teams near to us, with Aston Martin and Alpine, and we have to get it together to finish in fifth position.”
Alpha Tauri has been mainly carried by Gasly this year, the Frenchman scoring fifty of the teams sixty-eight points. Tost praised his performance level but continued his message to give Tsunoda more time to become a more consistent performer. He also said he didn’t care which driver was delivering
Saying, “Pierre is doing a fantastic job. He is driving really on a very, very high level, and he shows the potential of the car. I must say that the potential is there to finish fifth in the constructors’ championship. But of course, we have to get it together.
“Yuki is a rookie and Formula 1 nowadays is really very, very professional. It’s on a very, very high level, also on the technical side.”
Tost says he thinks from the outside the team are underestimated with the team needing to give its young drivers time, pointing out you cannot come from other categories thinking you can have immediate success.
Latifa’s seventh place in Hungary proves he deserves to be in F1
Williams CEO Jost Capito says that Nicolas Laifti’s seventh place in the Hungarian Grand Prix proves the Canadian deserves his place in Formula One. Latifi has never managed to out-qualify teammate George Russell on average being half a second slower.
Williams have yet to reveal what the future holds for Latifi, but it is believed it is very likely he will be in the car next season. Regardless of what lies ahead, Capito was full of praise for his driver and feels the points score bodes well.
Capito, told F1.com, “This was the first time Nicky scored points in F1 – and it had to come “I’m sure it will be a big boost for him and give him a lot self-confidence. Qualifying behind George and the finishing ahead for sure is a big motivator for him.”
“I was impressed with how Nicky brought it home amid the pressure of running in the points comfortably for the first time. At one point, he was third. To keep his head down and deliver was very impressive. It shows how much Nicky deserves to be in F1.”
Latifi made his race more difficult for himself when he didn’t switch to his dry helmet, which meant he had to drive with his visor cracked open for the duration of the race for some ventilation.