Bottas disappointed and amazed not to have won
Valtteri Bottas says that it is “disappointing and amazing” that he is yet to win a race this season. Bottas is ninety-seven points behind his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and has admitted he was open in the next few races to helping Hamilton’s bid for a fifth world championship.
Bottas lost the victory in late April while leading in Baku when he was leading the race after he ran over debris causing a puncher. He believes that the sooner the driver’s championship is resolved it will make it easier for him to win.
He told Motorsport.com, “For me, it’s quite disappointing and amazing that I haven’t won a race this year. It’s been quite close many times, especially in the first third of the season. I really want to win races, that’s why I’m here.”
“I don’t think the only way the next few races is that Lewis is secure in the title. If I have a good pace, a good qualifying, I’m strong in the race, I think I can definitely win – but for sure it’s a bit more simple if Lewis secures the title.”
Despite Mercedes struggles in Singapore in recent years, he is hoping that the Silver Arrows can be more competitive this season. However, Bottas believes that Ferrari will be a threat and that the three top teams will be closer than last year.
Bottas believes that the two top teams remain closely matched, and that tyre usage is the key from weekend to weekend. Saying “It is not much. I think they have a little bit more power, more straight line speed, and in the corners the difference is minimal. It depends on the corners, it depends on which team gets the tyres working better.”
“it definitely will be interesting seeing in Singapore if we have made improvements for that kind of track, but I think all the tracks coming up it really depends how good the upgrades we are bringing are going to be, and which upgrade they are going to bring.”
Marchionne softened tone over regulations – Todt
FIA President Jean Todt says his successor at Ferrari Sergio Marchionne told him before he died, that he felt ‘positive’ about the future direction of F1 when they had a meal in June.
Marchionne had spoken out against Liberty Media’s proposed regulation, political and payment reforms for 2021, and was threatening to pull Ferrari our if he felt the regulations didn’t suit Ferrari.
Todt, Ferrari’s former CEO and team principal, says days before his operation at a dinner with F1 CEO Chase Carey, Marchione revealed signs that opposition to where the sport was heading had faded considerably.
Reflecting on that last meeting, Todt explained: “On June 28 we had a dinner in my office in Geneva. It was him, Chase Carey and myself, to speak about the future of F1.
“And on the 29th, he sent me as SMS to say it was a great meeting, and ‘we will move positively for the sport’. I am sure about those dates, but I am not sure about when he went to hospital.” Marchionne passed away in July following medical complications that came on after surgery.
Todt added: “Normally this dinner was due to be on the Sunday night after the Austrian GP, but he sent me a message to say unfortunately he could not make it, could we change and do it before? So we did it on 28th. And then the tragedy occurred.”
The Frenchman believes that the death of Marchionne is a personal loss for him as well as the motoring industry. Saying “The passion he had and with his style which he had. For me, he was somebody with a great personality.”
“I used to work with him before I was appointed as president of the FIA and we did not always agree. But in the end I quite liked him and I had a lot of respect for him.”
The new CEO Louis Camilleri has already indicated he will have a less aggressive approach in the negotiations about the future of the sport, Todt is keen of a different approach and that Ferrari will stay in F1.
Adding “He loves motor racing, and clearly it will be a completely different style, but he is a great, very talented businessman. He is a very straightforward person, so I am sure as FOM wants, as FIA wants, as I feel the team wants and Ferrari wants, we will be able to do a good job. I am very optimistic.”
20,000 fans call on Ferrari to retain Raikkonen
Over twenty thousand fans have signed a petition calling on Ferrari to retain Kimi Raikkonen for another season, rather than replace the Finn with Sauber driver Charles Leclerc.
The petition on the website change.org argued that replacing the thirty-eight-year-old was “not justifiable” and that Ferrari needed Raikkonen to keep the balance alongside Sebastian Vettel.
However, the petition is highly unlikely to influence Ferrari’s decision, and it is believed the Italian manufacturer has already decided to promote the Monacan to Ferrari, following his impressive debut season with Sauber.
An announcement to that effect is expected soon in Formula One circles, with the sport heading to Singapore for round fourteen of the season this weekend. Raikkonen is the oldest and one of the most popular drivers on the grid, he was the last driver to win a drivers title with Ferrari in 2007.
Nicknamed ‘The Iceman’ for his often glacial demeanour, his quiet and dislike of media and sponsor engagements have also endeared him to many fans who see him as a throwback to a bygone era.
This season, the former champion has appeared to softened and been performing stronger, rasing his game on track. In Monza he scored his hundredth podium finish, with second place.
Former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn, who is now Formula One’s managing director for sporting and technical director, said he had noticed a change in the Finn.
“Since I returned to Formula One last year, I’ve noticed how Kimi has lightened up. It can be spotted in a host of little things, such as spending a bit more time signing autographs or smiling for cameras that in the past would usually have only elicited a scowl.
Mercedes convinced to save German GP
Mercedes F1 CEO Toto Wolff says that F1 CEO Case Carey and commercial managing director Sean Bratches convinced the German car manufacturer to support next years German Grand Prix.
Mercedes will become the title sponsor of next years race at Hockenhiem, after the circuit agreed on a one-year extension with Liberty. Wolff has always maintained that Mercedes would not get involved in promoting or supporting its home race.
However, he insists that circumstances have changed, and that his bosses were convinced by Carey and Bratches that their input would make a difference. He told Motorsport.com, “In Hockenheim on Sunday morning some of our board members were there and Chase and Sean pitched it very well.”
“We had full grandstands, lots of action, and enthusiastic crowds at Hockenheim, and they asked if we were able to bridge the [financial] gap.” He said that Mercedes considered the deal over the summer and the board decided we want a home race.
Wolff added, “I think it’s about finding out how we can best activate the German GP next year and see how to maximise it for the fans, for Mercedes people and for us.”
“We will try to put on a good show, display cars, and decide whether it works for us and whether we want to continue or not. We have an option for 2020.”
Renault only protested as they couldn’t win on track – Haas
Haas’s team principal Guenther Steiner has claimed that Renault only protested about the teams car at the Italian Grand Prix, because they were envois and could not win the midfield battle on track.
Romain Grosjean was disqualified from sixth place, after the floor of his Haas was deemed to be illegal after Renault complained to the stewards. That also brought Renault back into fourth in the constructors championship.
Renault’s successful protest is being “actively appealed” by Haas, however, and Steiner has criticised their French rivals’ tactics. Steiner told Sky Sports, “If they cannot beat you on the track, they try to beat you in court. That is what seems to be happening. You have to work hard to be envied. We’d rather work hard for it and fight even more.”
Steiner also accused the French manufacturer of using ‘paddock gamesmanship’, to get the upper hand in recent months. He added “You take any approach in racing. Is it the right thing to do? I’ll let others determine that.”
Renault led Haas by 37 points earlier this season but, even with Grosjean’s Italy disqualification, they now only hold a 10-point of advantage.
The US team has a significantly smaller budget and work force, but there on track performances have been boosted by the strong Ferrari power unit and there technical partnership with the Italian team. Also, Romain Grosjean has been performing on a more consistent level, compared to the start of the season.
Steiner added, “Our people know where they need to put the effort in. We don’t get distracted when we go racing. We try to always get good results in racing and leave the other stuff offline.”