F1 Today – 10/12/2018

F1 Today

Red Bull “really encouraged” by Honda

Red Bull says that they are “really encouraged” by the recent progress made by Honda. Next season, the Anglo-Austrian team will switch from Renault to Honda power and say they will adopt a different approach to their relationship with Honda compared to the style of McLaren.

Honda had a fractious relationship with McLaren and that partnership came to an end in 2016 before becoming Toro Rosso’s exclusive power supplie last season. In 2019, they will return to the sharp end of the grid with Red Bull, who are determined not to follow McLaren’s perceived manner of micromanaging Honda.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports, “We have done the diverse opposite to McLaren. We’ve said ‘go and build the best engine you can, and then tell us what size radiators you want and we will make it fit’.”

Red Bull have decided to switch to the Japanese manufacturer because they believe that they have more potential to deliver as much power as both Ferrari and Mercedes. He says that month by month the gap between Honda and both Mercedes and Ferrari, is definitely closing giving them encouragement about the progress being made.

Red Bull will run a Honda engine for the first time during pre-season testing at Barcelona, with the first test starting on February 18.

Hamilton crowned a five times champion

Lewis Hamilton has been formally crowned as a five timesworld champion at the FIA Gala in St Petersburg on Friday, with the Englishman saying he was looking forward to more success in the future.

Hamilton, Britain’s most successful driver, also was named by the media as the personality of the year, denying Red Bull’s Max Verstappen a fourth in a row. Hamilton said “It does feel incredible.”

Asked if matching Michael Schumacher’s seven titles was his goal, Hamilton says that was his ultimate goal but he has never had that as the target, but says he would give it a try.

He added “I’ve just signed for another two years…so I’m excited about the next couple of years. But right now I’m happy that over. Next year’s going to be so tough, the seasons are getting longer and longer. I don’t know how long I’m going to go, currently two years sounds good for me.”

Hamilton said that he wanted his parents there, but they and himself had problems with the visa process.

Mercedes F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff picked up the constructors, as well as being jointly awarded along with the teams non-executive chairman Niki Lauda the FIA president’s special award.

The three times champion continues to recover from a lung transplant in July. Speaking about the recovery of Lauda, Wolff said “He sends regards, he is recovering very well. Next time he’s going to be here.”

Charles Leclerc, Vettel’s teammate at Ferrari next year, was the rookie of the year for the second successive season after winning the Formula Two title in 2017.

The Action of the Year, voted by fans worldwide, went Finnish rally driver Teemu Suninen for a massive slide on his home event.

Ghosn charged with financial misconduct

Japanese prosecutors have charged Renault’s parent company Nissan and its CEO Carlos Ghosn with financial misconduct, accusing him of under-reporting his pay package over a five-year period.

He has also been re-arrested on further allegations of under-stating his pay, which is likely to keep him in detention until 30 December. Mr Ghosn has previously denied the accusations, and Nissan has also been charged.

Today was the last day that they could hold him without charge. Ghosn says that the accusations are invalided as they do not relate to his salary, but to future payments that he was expected to receive after retirement.

Nissan says that it was taking the matter “extremely seriously.” In a statement, the car giant said, “Making false disclosures in annual securities reports greatly harms the integrity of Nissan’s public disclosures in the securities markets, and the company expresses its deepest regret.”

If the Brazilian is convicted he could spend ten years in prison and/or a fine of £4.9m, according to the Japanese regulator, theSecurities and Exchange Surveillance Commission.

Originally, prosecutors said that Mr Ghosn and senior executive Greg Kelly – who has also been charged with financial misconduct -had conspired to understate Mr Ghosn’s pay from 2011 to 2015.

Mr Ghosn proved influential in the manufacturers return to Formula One in 2016, as well as being the architect of the Renault-Nissan alliance, and brought Mitsubishi on board in 2016. In the past, he has been hailed a heroin Japan for turning around the ailing Nissan.

Court approves extradition for Mallya

A London court has ruled that the former owner of Force India Vijay Mallya can be extradited from the UK to India to face fraud charges. The ruling has now been handed to the interior minister Sajid Javid for final approval.

Mallya fled India in March 2016, after his airline Kingfishercollapsed and defaulted on debts of more than £785m. He denies  “fleeing” from India, and says he made an “unconditional” offer to pay back the sum in full in July. Mr Mallya attended WestminsterMagistrates Court for the hearing.

Following the hearing, Mr Mallya declined to say if he would appeal against the ruling. He told reporters “My legal team will be reviewing the judgment in detail and determining the next steps forward.” The businessman claims he is a victim of a witch hunt.

The fall from grace as one of India’s richest man has been dramatic. His fortune was built on beer before buying cricket teams and a F1 team. His F1 team was placed into administration by the other shareholders to force the sale to a consortium led by the Canadian billionaire Lawence Stroll.

The charges are all based on  financial irregularities at Kingfisher Airlines. His monetary affairs are being investigated by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate, which handles financial crimes.

Nick Vamos, partner at Peters & Peters and former head of extradition at the Crown Prosecution Service, said the court decision was “a hugely significant judgment for the Indian government. Although Mallya failed to convince the court that his prosecution was politically motivated.”

“The Indian authorities pulled out all of the stops to achieve this result and undoubtedly will try to make political capital from it back home.” He has fourteen days to appeal.

The airline collapsed in 2012, after making annual losses for five years in a row and finally collapsed after lenders refused to give it fresh loans. Mr Mallya’s total debts, including unpaid wages and operating costs, are estimated to exceed $1bn.

Ferrari must address pace deficit – Vettel

Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari needs to address its lack of pace at ”too many” races if they are to have any chance of winning the title next season.

Despite the team enjoying strong pace in the early part of a season, a number of mistakes by the team and Vettel as well as Mercedes upping there game, allowed Mercedes to seal the title. Vettel thinks that if Ferrari is going to make the next step and come out on top in 2019 it needs to ensure that it addresses its weak points first.

Asked at the FIA Gala in Russia about what he needed from his Ferrari next year, Vettel said: “Better performance. I think it is very simple. We had our races where we were very close and very competitive, and overall our car this year has been more an all-round car which worked on all tracks.”

“So we had our highlights and I think most of them we used. But then we had too many races where we were not quite there. Sometimes [it was] by a tenth or two but sometimes a bit more, where we were left with not much to do over a weekend.”

Reflecting on his season, he says that Bahrain was now his favourite race of the season, after initially not liking it. Saying “I think the other one that has to be mentioned is Canada, especially 40 years after Gilles [Villeneuve] with Ferrari [won]. It was a very emotional day.”

He added: “I think it was a long year, we had our ups and down. Most of us followed it very closely but we were able as a team to do another step.

“Still, the last step is missing to make sure that we have a word until the end of the championship and fight for it all the way, and not just for parts of the season.”

Williams needs Kubica’s “fighting spirit”

William’s deputy team principal Claire Williams says that her team needs Robert Kubica’s “fighting spirit” as it bids to recover from a terrible 2018. Kubica is returning to the sport after an eight year break, following a life changing rally accident in 2011.

The Pole has signed for the British team following its worst constructors’ championship finish in its history, after placing last of the ten teams. Speaking about his progress since he missed out on a 2018 drive, Ms Williams said “Robert has done a great job for the team this year. He’s pushed really hard in the reserve driver role, he’s done so great work for us on the racetrack as well.”

“But next year, as I’ve talked about, is a new start for Williams and I spent a lot of time with Robert over the course of this year. I really enjoy his company, just his fighting spirit. We need that in this team at the moment.” She says now the team needs everyone pushing now, and Kubica is a great addition.

Ms Williams says that a significant addition to the team for the future, and his tenacity after not earning a race drive this year, and his willingness to join the team in another role, made a significant impression.

She says that she was impressed when he didn’t get the race seat for 2018, he still took on the reserve role, beleiving that says a lot about his personality.

Kubica has brought significant sponsorship to Williams,which has announced a deal with Polish fuel company PKN ORLEN that will have branding on the rear wing, nose, airbox and mirrors of the 2019 car. Williams stated that the 33-year-old was the number one choice for the team based on its assessment criteria.

Saying “He’s absolutely ready. We undertook that evaluation process, and he came out on top of the pile. It was always a question of making sure that we secured the best talent, [with] many other factors taken into consideration.”

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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