Unsure about qualifying – Ecclestone
Berine Ecclestone says he is unsure about the new knock-out qualifying format which will be introduce at next weekends Australian Grand Prix. The new format will see drivers knocked out at regular intervals.
While Ecclestone voted for changes he admitted he is still unsure about it but feels something had to be done to mix up the grid. He said in an interview with Sky Sports News that he voted for the changes because something needs to be done but he is not sure this is the right thing.
He said “I wanted to do was leave qualifying currently as it is because I think it is probably in some ways more exciting than the race.”
“Then whoever won the race before the session, the last race, we’d have to come up with some sort of a format so that the winner would have time added onto their qualifying to mix the grid up.”
Surtees criticises views on the halo
Sir John Surtees has urged world champion Lewis Hamilton to change his view on the halo head protection. Hamilton has described the change as “too drastic” and the “worst-looking” modification in Formula 1 history.
The motorsport legend’s son was killed during a Formula Two (F2) race at Brands Hatch in 2009 after being struck on the head by a stray tyre. Since the incident there have been others, including two in F1 with Felipe Massa who survived and Jules Bianchi who died last July.
Speaking to BBC News he said “Lewis could perhaps think a little more about the ‘halo’ and think about the responsibility he does have as a world champion.”
“Change comes about and sometimes changes are forced upon one. It may be that the governing body, just because of the momentum and the fact that they have gone this way, will have no option but to impose these regulations.”
He says they sport can’t afford “any serious injury or fatal accident as we had in the last two years.”
Easing Team orders – Wolff
Mercedes boss has told a team event in Stuttgart that the team has eased its team orders restrictions for 2016 because Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are now more comfortable together.
Toto Wolff says last season Hamilton and Rosberg were free to race within limitations including boundaries on how far their strategies could varies. Hamilton last year questioned some off the decisions made by the team.
He said they are “reducing the rules because we have got more comfortable in working with each other. There is great respect among the individuals. I don’t feel it will be different than it has been in the last years.” This is not a risk even thou Ferrari appear to be nearer.
New regulations mean the team has too limit the amount of information given to the driver during a race. He says “It puts more pressure and brings in additional new effort for the drivers. By continuing with those regulations, our role has been to step back a little bit”
Driver market begins for 2017
The season hasn’t even started but the driver market for 2017 has already got underway with big names out of contract at the end of the season.
Big names like McLaren’s Jenson Button, Williams Felipe Massa and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, could lose their seats at the end of the year as they enter the twilight of their F1 Careers.
Its not only the older drivers the 30-year old Nico Rosberg could lose his seat as Mercedes warned him and team-mate Lewis Hamilton could be asked to leave if their relationship deaerates further. But there are many out to gain their seats.
Both Red Bull drivers could be under treat from Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. Ferrari’s links with Haas put both Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez in their sights.
Haas sign development driver
Haas have announced it has signed 17-year old Santino Ferrucci, as its development driver. The America will race in GP3 this season attending F1 races and taking part in tests and in team’s simulator programme.
Ferrucci has raced in British F3 where he became the youngest race winner in 2014. Last year he completed in Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand and took part in 25 races in the Formula 3 European Championship, including one podium finish at-Spa Francorchamps.
Team Principal Guenther Steiner said “In Formula One, developing your personnel is as important as developing your racecar. You can’t have one without the other
“Santino Ferrucci has done a very good job of proving himself in each of the racing series he’s competed in, and his maturity outside of the racecar is impressive. We see Santino as a young, American driver with a lot of potential.”
Ferrucci added “My goal since I first started racing was to become a Formula One driver, and to be an American who is part of an American team is something I take a tremendous amount of pride.”
Foolish not to consider staying
Fernando Alonso would be “foolish” not to consider staying at McLaren-Honda when his current Formula 1 deal expires in 2017 according to racing director Eric Boullier.
Boullier played a key role in paving the way for Alonso to return to the team last year on a three year deal. After a poor season in 2015 there were reports that Alonso could take a sabbatical in 2016 if performances did not improve.
He called on him to keep faith in the team if they still not ready to challenge next season. Boullier says you can’t provide timescales on howlong it will take to return to the top of the sport. He said “You cannot say in racing, ‘in three years we will be world champion’. The guy who says this will be wrong.”
“You can say, ‘we will be world champion between three and five years’. To this I agree, but you can’t say we will be world champions in 2017. He [Alonso] would be foolish already to decide to stop after three years.”
Boullier says he believes the reason why there still engaged in the project is because “of a transparent process they will know when we will hit our target. So then it’s an open discussion – ‘do we stay or do we do it within this three years’ frame?'”