Hulkenberg an option for Renault
Renault boss Fred Vasseur has said that Nico Hulkenberg is one of “two or three” options for their line up next season, but says nothing has been finalised yet.
According to Motorsport.com the German driver is on the verge of moving to the French manufacture next season and despite having a contract with Force India. However it is understood that Hulkenberg has a break clause in his contract with Force India.
Renault has not announced any drivers for 2017, but the French manufacturer is keen on signing an experienced racer after having run Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer this season. Vasseur told the French Broadcaster Canal Plus “This is one of several options, but nothing is done yet. So many drivers are announced as joining us that if we had all of them, we’d rather have a football team than an F1 team!”
“Hulkenberg is an option, like another two or three.” He added when asked if the German and French driver Esteban Ocon, who is believed to be on their list for drivers he said “It could be an interesting option. Just like a Finn with a Belgian or a German with a Russian. There are many options.”
Foolish to write Hamilton off – Horner
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner believes it would be foolish to write Lewis Hamilton’s chance of taking the title. With four races to go and 100 points still to play for, Hamilton is 33 points adrift of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ standings.
Hamilton has not had a win since the summer break after heading into it with a 19-point lead following a run of six victories in seven grands prix. Speaking to Autosport Horner said “In any sport you see sportsmen get on the crest of a wave and everything falls right for them, and it’s going Nico’s way at the moment.
“Lewis has had quite a few tough weekends this year, but he’ll brush himself down and will fight back. He only needs that sniff of something – a DNF [did not finish] from Nico and a win from Lewis and he’s right back in the game again, so things can change very quickly.” Added Horner.
Horner gave the example of Kimi Raikkonen steeling the title from Hamilton by a single point in 2007.
News – In – Brief
- Horner to become father – Geri Horner announced on Monday evening that she and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner are expecting their first child as a couple. Both of them have children from previous marriages.
- Mercedes celebration – Mercedes have celebrated their third successive constructors championship at Brixworth today. The team sealed the title in Japan and returned home on Monday but Toto Wolff says the drivers were not now unleashed for a full-on battle.
A “plateau” in Japan – Boullier
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier believes that the rivals of Honda will “plateau” in there development allowing them to continue to make progress. Honda had a difficult season last year but this season have shown progress in there development.
The team had hoped that they could have a good weekend in Japan for Honda’s home race where both cars where outside the points with Fernando Alonso describing it as “a nasty surprise” as the car did not suit Suzuka. Boullier believes that Honda take advantage of the lack of restrictions as it still has the most to gain.
Boullier told Autosport “The maturity of the Honda project [relative to other manufacturers] means it will keep growing up, and this is where the biggest gain will still be found,” Boullier told Autosport.
“The engine regulations have one good point about them, and that’s the quantity of fuel you can use, which means you limit the amount of energy you can use at any time.
There is a limit to Honda’s development of the currnet power unit as they are three years behind the other manufactuers.
With other aero changes next season Boullier is convinced McLaren will remain on an upward curve of improvement as he said: “I’m confident we will keep catching up. I know much more than you guys what’s going on behind the scenes, and that makes me confident we will carry on catching up.”
Sauber to run 2016 engine next year
Sauber will run a 2016 specification Ferrari engine because they say it will allow them put more of their focus on the aerodynamic changes. Next season new aero rules, tyres and wider body work are to be introduced which should see increased cornering speeds and significantly reduced lap times.
The changes were delayed for months as teams couldn’t reach a deal until April this year so the team’s principal Monisha Kaltenborn made the decision to stick with Ferrari’s 2016 power unit.
Kaltenborn told Autosport “The prime reason for it was that we really wanted to have the ability to focus more on the chassis development. This decision was taken when the rules were not 100% sure.”
“We decided to go this way in the early part of the year, to be sure that if last minute changes come up we can react to them while focusing on chassis development.” She added. Kaltenborn says while the decision was made before the new investment it didn’t influence the decision.
Toro Rosso have had a good season despite using a 2015 spec engine and while they were competitive early on, it’s form took a big dip a third of the way through the campaign.
While the technical regulations are changing the engine regulations will be unrestricted after this year, which means engine manufacturers could potentially make bigger strides in-season. When asked if she was concerned by Toro Rosso’s struggles with an old engine, Kaltenborn said: “It’s not a worry, it’s a challenge.
She dismissed the claim the team was behind with development because it of its earlier search for funding because “planning doesn’t cost you anything”.
America tyre choices
Pirelli have announced the drivers tyre selections for the United States Grand Prix. For this race the teams had the medium, soft and supersoft tyres to choose from.
Both Merced’s have gone for six supersofts, Hamilton has one less soft and three medium while Rosberg has five softs and two medium. Both Ferrari’s have seven supersofts, five softs and one medium. Both Red Bulls have chosen the same six supersofts, three softs and four mediums.
The Williams drivers have seven supersoft but Felipe Massa has four softs to Valtteri Bottas’s three, Bottas also has three mediums but Massa has two. Force India’s will have three mediums with Nico Hulkenberg having a extra soft losing a set of supersofts, Perez has eight supersofts.
Both Renaults have six supersofts with Kevin Magnussen having an extra soft compared to Jolyon Palmers five medium. Both Sabuer’s and Haas’s Romain Grosjean have seven supersofts, five softs and a medium. Both Manors have five of each the supersoft and soft plus three mediums.
Both McLaren’s have six supersofts, four softs and three mediums.