Hamilton prouder of promoting equality this year
Lewis Hamilton says he is “much prouder” of the work he has done to promote equality this year than the prospect of winning a seventh title. The Englishman will equal Michael Schumacher’s seven titles if team-mate Valtteri Bottas does not outscore him by more than seven points.
If the Finn wins, Hamilton can still clinch the championship with second place as long as Bottas does not set the fastest lap, which earns a point.
Hamilton said, “The drivers’ title doesn’t necessarily impact people’s lives. Trying to improve conditions for people around the world – equal human rights – that’s the most important thing to me.” He says he would be incredibly proud to do that.
But said winning the title would also send a message to kids that you have to dream bigger than you think you can dream and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t go for that.
As always in the past few years, Hamilton said he hadn’t thought about the prospect of a seventh title, and was “just focused on trying to do a good job, just taking it one race at a time, trying to do the best we can as a team, not thinking about anything else.”
He added: “I have learned not to add pressure that’s unnecessary. I have four races to battle for those points so I don’t put it all onto one weekend, one day.”
Hamilton says he needs to approach it exactly as I have in the past but accepts that it will hit him eventually as he hasn’t thought about winning a seventh title.
Hamilton hasn’t begun contract negotiations with Mercedes for 2021, however, gave the strongest indications yet that he would continue to race on next year. Saying “The numbers and the figures and the titles and all that stuff perhaps appears to mean more from the outside.”
“I remember watching Michael get seven and thinking: ‘Wow.’ But when you’re in it, it’s different. We’re going to continue to fight for more championships, continue to try to improve and continue to race and do what we love doing.”
Asked about the negotiations he said, “hadn’t got all the answers to what I want to do yet”.
Challenge of Turn Eight
Max Verstappen says he would rather his ‘head fall off’ through Turn Eight in Istanbul than wear neck padding for the ‘brutal’ forces drivers are expected to face.
The triple apex corner sometimes called Diabolica, is regarded as one of the best corners in F1. Drivers know that with downforce incredible physical challenge through what could be now a completely flat-out complex.
While some drivers have drivers will have the option of adding some extra padding to their cockpit to help rest their neck, Max Verstappen says under no circumstance will he consider it.
He says the ribbing he got from his father Jos after using padding during his first F3 test means he doesn’t want to risk any repeat banter. Saying “I remember my very first F3 test I did. After one day I couldn’t hold my neck straight. And then I had to put the padding in, and my dad was laughing at me for using that.”
“Since that day I refused to put padding next to my head. I prefer that my head falls off, than running with padding. So, it will be the same also this weekend.”
Williams driver George Russell said: “I’ve learned that it’s going to be brutal for us drivers. With the current speeds of these modern-day Formula 1 cars, that should be flat, and hopefully, for half of the race, it should be flat out.”
“I can’t remember how long the duration of that corner is, but it’s 4-5 G of load, which is like the equivalent of 45 kilos, 50 kilos on our necks that we have to sustain for the six seconds. That’s going to be a real task.”
Perez prepared to take sabbatical in 2021
Sergio Perez could take a sabbatical from racing in 2021 if he cannot find a seat in for next season. The Mexican will leave Racing Point at the end of the season, after the team triggered an exit clause in his contract, paving the way for four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel to join in his place.
Perez has been linked with drives at several teams, including Alfa Romeo, Williams and Haas, but appears only to have an option at Red Bull remaining for next year.
Red Bull are considering whether to replace Alexander Albon with a more experienced driver for next year, with Perez appearing to be the leading candidate. Speaking ahead f this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix, Perez said there was “nothing yet” to report.
He said, “We just have to wait and see, the season is coming soon to an end. As I’ve said before, until the teams announce their drivers, everything is an option. Every team that hasn’t announced their line-up, it’s an option. So we will see.”
With the end of the season now a month away, there appears little options for the Mexican. Perez was most strongly linked with a move to Williams in recent weeks, only for the team to confirm it would be retaining George Russell and Nicholas Latifi as planned for next year.
Asked by Motorsport.com how far advanced talks were with Williams, Perez replied: “I’ve always kept my talks private. I think it’s the way it always should be.
Williams acting team principal tests positive for Coronavirus
Williams acting team principal Simon Roberts will miss this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix after testing positive for Coronavirus.
Williams, last in the championship with four races remaining, said Roberts had not travelled to Istanbul or been in close contact with any other members of the race team. They said e had been negative on Monday but tested again after showing minor symptoms.
A statement said, “Simon is feeling otherwise well but will now isolate for the required 10-day period as per UK national guidelines whilst supporting trackside operations remotely this weekend.”
“Dave Redding, Team Manager, and Chief Engineer of Vehicle Design, Adam Carter, will assume his responsibilities on the ground in Turkey.” Roberts has been acting team principal since the team was sold to US-based Dorilton Capital and the founding family departed.
Williams said last week that they had registered several positive COVID-19 cases during the two previous races in Portugal and Italy.
Last week, when the weekly figures were published the team said several members of the trackside team were isolating after being identified as close contacts of those who tested positive.
Binotto to work from home
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto will be absent from this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul, instead of running the team from its base in Maranello.
Recently the Italian announced he would miss some of the remaining races in the current season to see how feasible it was to manage the team remotely. Today sporting director Laurent Mekies confirmed Binotto would be working from Maranello this weekend.
Mekies told Motorsport.com, “Mattia has always approached his role in an innovative way, trying to think outside the box.”
“He has come up with a method of working that gives the flexibility to manage the priorities in the most efficient way possible: he had already adopted this approach when he was technical director and has applied it even more so now as team principal.” He admitted it maybe strange not seeing Binotto physically in the briefings or on the pit wall.
This could be part of the future, with an ever growing race calendar all the teams are looking at the best rotate their staff in order to avoid burnout, reaching as far up as the senior management.
At Imola, Binotto said it was crucial Ferrari looked after its staff to ensure they had the “right level of efficiency, concentration and focus” despite the challenges of next year’s bumper calendar.
Pre-season testing could be reduced in 2021
Motorsport.com says it has learnt that pre-season testing is likely to be reduced further for 2021, with three days testing in Bahrain. As part of measures to support Formula One through the coronavirus pandemic, teams have agreed to cut back to just three days of testing before next season.
The three-day test is likely to be held in Bahrain, but a final decision on the venue has not yet been taken. The circuit has not held any pre-season tests since 2014, although it held the third test in both 2018 and 2019.
On Tuesday the 2021 provisional calendar for the 2021 season earlier this week, with a planned start in Australia on 19 – 21 March. A date for testing hasn’t been announced but the later date means it possible testing could start at the beginning of March.
Although teams are always happy to maximise any test running afforded to them, many said during the 2020 pre-season that even six days was more than necessary.
Racing Point technical chief Andrew Green said he would have been happy with four days of testing, believing it could create more unpredictability. He said in February, “I think it goes with what F1 want as far as trying to mix things up.”
“Does everyone want ultra-reliable cars when they first hit the first race? I think a week for me – two days on, day off, two days – is fine, go do it, and see what happens.” The comments were made before it was agreed to carry over the 2020 cars into 2021 to save costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
W Series to support eight races
The W Series will support eight Grand Prix’s during its second season in 2021. The female-only series called off its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic when it was due to run for the first time alongside F1 at the United States and Mexico City Grands Prix.
Ross Brawn, F1’s managing director of motorsport, said, “it is a really important moment for us to welcome W Series as partners for eight races this season They have been a beacon to many since they began racing in 2019.”
“We believe it is incredibly important to give everyone the chance to reach the highest levels of our sport and their partnership with Formula 1 next season shows our determination and commitment to showcase their exciting series and the importance of building greater diversity across the sport.”
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series’ chief executive officer, said: “After such a successful inaugural season , we at W Series are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Formula 1 for 2021 and beyond.”
“Formula 1 is by some margin the world’s premier motor racing series, and, when we promised that W Series would be bigger and better in the future, partnering with Formula 1 was always our ultimate objective.”
It was announced last year that the series is now eligible for FIA Super Licence points will also be an important factor.
Edwards steps down as Channel 4’s lead commentator
Channel 4’s lead commentator Ben Edwards will stand down from the role at the end of the 2020 season. The English broadcaster has been the lead commentator for the UK’s free-to-air F1 coverage since 2011, when he joined the BBC, and moved to Channel 4 in 2016.
Edwards has been partnered with David Coulthard since 2011. Through out his career as a journalist and commentator, he has reported several other motorsport championships, including IndyCar and the British Touring Car Championship, through his career.
He is also an avid club racer in his spare time and a former national-level open-wheel racing champion.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Channel 4 announced that Edwards had decided to step down from his role at the end of the season. Edwards said, “Commentating on F1 for the last nine years has been a real privilege, but it’s time for me to step back from the front line of such an intense world and take a wider perspective on motorsport and life.”
“Working with DC, Steve [Jones] and the C4 crew has been incredibly rewarding and I wish them all the best. I’ll be tuning in!”
Coulthard, who is also the co-director of Whisper Films which produces Channel 4 F1 coverage, added, “Ben is first and foremost in my eyes a racer, combine that with an attention to detail and encyclopaedic knowledge of Formula 1 and what you have is an individual who is unique in his broadcasting role.”
Channel 4 did not state who would replace Edwards in the role, but that it would make an announcement “in due course”.
The weekend ahead
This weekend the focus is going to be again on Lewis Hamilton, various scenarios can make him the second driver in history to claim a seventh world title, see the Prixview. Hamilton has won in Istanbul before which could give him the slight edge over Valtteri Bottas.
This is a key period in the year with four races in five weeks, teams cannot afford to drop the ball and the focus is going to be on the battle for third in the constructors. Red Bull has secured second in the constructors, but maybe the biggest challengers to Mercedes the difficulty reducing the gap between themselves and the champions.
The midfield as we have seen throughout this season will be close, Racing Point who I think will be leading, are locked in the battle for third with McLaren and Renault. They have the edge given the Mercedes engine and aero package.
Istanbul, we haven’t raced at since 2011, and we are coming into this weekend in late autumn in the middle east. Looking at the design of the circuit design again like most of the Tilke designed ones, it favours high speed in the corners.
You can join us for LIVE coverage of this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix via Twitter @FormulaOneVault with Qualifying 14:45/11:45 and race coverage on Sunday, 12:40/09:40 lights out 13:10 / 10:10