Beginning of the end finally? For McLaren and Honda
The disastrous relationship between McLaren and Honda appears as if it is about to come to an end. The relationship between the two has been strained over the last year because of the uncompetitive and unreliable power unit that Honda has delivered.
McLaren ended their relationship with Mercedes to rekindle their partnership with Honda in 2015, the aim was to rekindle the dominance they had in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. But the last two and half years have been marked by reliability problems and seen the team finish in the bottom end of the constructors’ championship.
Over the last few weeks, there have been numerous reports saying that the divorce is imminent and that is now likely to trigger a domino effect. McLaren is expected to switch to Renault, Toro Rosso switching to Honda and Red Bull releasing Carlos Sainz to join Renault.
McLaren has been expressing their dissatisfaction with Honda this year but Honda has been reluctant to end its relationship. But, now McLaren can go ahead as Honda has a partner to keep themselves in Formula One.
Ironically, the reason why McLaren joined up with Honda was that they believed the current engine regulations make it impossible for a customer team to win a championship.
For Toro Rosso it means that they would become the Honda works team, this has also prompted suggestions that Red Bull could switch to Honda in the future.
For McLaren, it increases their chances of trying to retain Alonso for 2018 and now needs to convince him to stay with the team.
Gasly on stand by
Pierre Gasly has confirmed that he is in the frame to make his move into Formula One at the Malaysian Grand Prix, should Carlos Sainz move to Renault this season.
Gasly has emerged as the favourite to fill the second seat should the move to Renault be finalised for Sainz. The Spaniard would effectively be loaned to the French team for 2018, though there are moves to bring forward that to October.
There has been no final decision has been taken on when Sainz will move across, Gasly thinks the situation will be sorted in the next few days before teams arrive in Singapore. The Frenchman told Motorsport.com “Yeah, I know there are few things going on at the moment. We will see in the next couple of days what will happen.”
“For me, it will be amazing. It’s been my dream and I’ve been working really hard to get there. I’m still pushing every day to make it happen. So for me it will be unbelievable.”
Gasly’s next Super Formula race is next weekend, but the double header final round of the season is the season takes place the same weekend as the United States Grand Prix.
Following his second consecutive victory at Autopolis at the weekend, Gasly is now second overall in the championship standings – and says he is enjoying his Japanese experience.
No need to fear remaining races – Vettel
Sebastian Vettel says that Ferrari has no reason to fear any of the remaining races. Ferrari are expected to be in a strong at this weekends Singapore Grand Prix, as the team has been stronger than Mercedes on high downforce circuits this season.
While Mercedes say they are bracing for a tough weekend, the remaining races are expected to swing back towards them. However, Vettel disagrees with that assessment saying that there is no reason Ferrari cannot stay competitive after this weekend.
When told by ESPN the circuits after Singapore might not suit Ferrari, Vettel said: “Well, I know how to read but I don’t really care what’s written on the paper. They’re all tracks that I like, to be honest, so I’m very much looking forward to them.”
“I think we are here to race, so if it’s hard it’s good. Easy is boring. I think that’s what we all want and I’m definitely looking forward to it.” The German has recently lost the lead of the championship but says that he is expecting upgrades from Ferrari in the coming races.
Vettel says that Mercedes has a edge on Saturday and Sunday, but there is no need to high the teams strengths and there are plenty of positives.
Adding “I’m more focused on what’s going on inside us, inside Ferrari and it makes me quite positive, what’s coming, so we just need to see and then there’s always the extra element of racing that you can’t predict.”
Haas could be putting Williams under pressure
Gene Haas says that his Haas team would be putting Williams under pressure in the constructor’s championship if they had not made mistakes during this season.
The American team has already scored six more points than they managed in their rookie season, with nine races remaining. However, the team has continued with brake issues and has struggled to find consistent form.
Haas believes that his team could be above Toro Rosso and near Williams if they didn’t have so many self-inflicted setbacks this year. Despite a 24-point lead over McLaren in ninth, Haas told ESPN “I’m not comfortable with the points lead we have because I think in any given race we could drop back a position or two in the constructors’ series because we’re all so close.”
“If anything, I feel a little bit on needles because our biggest problem is execution, minimising mistakes, that seems to be our worst area.” Haas says that the team could have had more points if there were less mistakes and if they were more consistent
Ricciardo looks to Rossi for inspiration
The enduring ability of the seven times Moto GP champion Valentino Rossi to hold his racing ability against others is an inspiration to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
The Australian is holding off against the pressure of his much younger team-mate Max Verstappen and says that coping with that pressure has been a significant learning experience.
Rossi is now in his late thirties but has managed to adapt the way he rides his bike to respond to the challenges posed by youngsters. Ricciardo told Autosport “I’ve never really had it before, I’ve never had a much younger kid. Before that I was always the younger one, or the same in terms of age and hype”
“So it was probably a little bit like [Seb] Vettel’s position with me when I came into Red Bull. I think Max had more hype behind him than I did! I think Max had more hype behind him than I did!”
“It is what Valentino Rossi has been dealing with for the last 10 years, I guess.” Ricciardo says that the young talent coming into the sport are getting better and better, and its important to “learn from your bad days as well” and avoid being “stubborn”.