F1 Today – 12/12/2018

F1 Today

Vettel admits that Marchionne death impacted Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel has admitted that the death of Ferrari’s chainman Sergio Marchionne had a impact on the team this season, and was a “big loss” for the team. The teams CEO and Chairman died in the days leading up to theHungarian Grand Prix, following surgical complications.

The Italian is credited with turning around Ferrari’s business and Formula One operations, with the team posing a significant challenge to Mercedes since 2017. In an interview released today, the German told Crash.net “The passing of our chairman, Mr Marchionne obviously had an impact and was tough.”

“I think it’s up to us to look into every single detail and make sure we come out as a stronger group, enabling us to build a stronger package for next year and for the future.” Ferrari’s failure to capitalise on what appeared to be the strongest car saw the team come under fire, for failing to capitalise on what was arguably the strongest package of the field and making a number of operational and driver-related errors throughout the campaign.

Former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn, drew a link to Marchionne’s passing and the Scuderia’s subsequent lack of performance, winning just twice in the remaining nine rounds that followed Hungary.

Speaking at the end-of-season prize giving ceremony at St Petersburg, Vettel added: “Certainly it was a big loss. The day-to-day business continued, I think people knew what was their job and knew what to do, but surely it wasn’t easy for us.”

Vettel says that the team tried to continue in the best mental manor possible and that the best legacy was trying to move forward.

Bottas is a “alpha” driver like Hamilton

Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff has reiterated how important Valtteri Bottas was in the team securing both the drivers and constructors championship this season, describing them both as “alpha” drivers.

Bottas failed to win a race this season, while on his way to his fifth title Hamilton equalled his career best with eleven wins. The Finn missed out on two wins this season, the first in Baku because of a puncher and in Sochi he gave up a win to help his teammates title hopes.

Wolff has defended Bottas’s record this season given the number-two role he was forced into by circumstance, and declared to Motorsport.com, “we wouldn’t have won thedrivers’ championship or the constructors’ championship without Valtteri”.

“To strike the right balance between having two alpha pilots in the car, that are able to push each other, but equally maintain a positive dynamic within the team, a productive working environment is key. Valtteri, even with his bad luck, did never allow the spirit and the mindset to drop within the organisation.”

Wolff says that Bottas was always able to maintain high sprits and kept the team from becoming dysfunctional, as losing out can be draining.

Bottas could of lead the championship after Baku where a late puncher cost him the win. It will be hard to say and debated into thefuture if that was the moment his season and championship campaign.

He was hit by Sebastian Vettel at the first corner in France, then retired from the next race in Austria after starting from pole. Strategic decisions went against him in Britain and Hungary, which meant Bottas went into the summer break, trailing Hamilton by 81 points.

But despite his difficulties in the first half of the season, Wolff says that he believes Bottas performed at a higher level and believes he can become and is focused on being a Mercedes champion.

Wolff added “I am sure that it is a big blow that you significant challenge digest and he has not let this negatively affect the team. He needs some time off to recharge the batteries and come back again for another world championship.”

Ricciardo lost sleep over poor results

Daniel Ricciardo says that he was losing sleep during the second half of the season because of the misfortune which plagued his final races as a Red Bull driver.

The Australian, who will join Renault in 2019, had been as high as third following his second win of the season in Monaco. However, Ricciardo suffered reliability issues and had more retirements than other driver, leading to penalties.

He grew increasingly frustrated as his issues piled up, and has now admitted that some of the mental strain may have impacted his form in addition to simply costing him results.

Ricciardo told Motorsport.com, “For sure a lot went on this year and I’d be naive to think it didn’t affect me at some points. It’s not like I can pinpoint a race and be like ‘that race went badly because I had too much on my mind’.”

“I think it’s draining and when your mind is ticking over, sometimes rather than sleeping eight hours you’re sleeping six hours and then the accumulation of that might slow down your reaction or your reflexes.” However he insisted that he didn’t want to make it sound like an excuse.

After back to back retirements in Texas and Mexico City, he said that he was ‘looking forward to giving up his seat.’ In a Red Bull podcast, he said that his side of the garage were as heart broken as he was and they worked harder than me.

Hamilton looking to learn something new

Lewis Hamilton says that when he retires from Formula One is he “intrigued to learn something new”, rather than the “easy” option of continuing in the sport.

This season as well as winning his fifth title, he has spent more time on his other projects in fashion, education and conservation. But his biggest project has been designing and launching a clothing range with Tommy Hilfiger.

Speaking at an event for Mercedes partner Hewlett Packard Enterprises, the five-time world champion said he that he does not “like to think too much about retirement.”

However, he said he was attracted by the prospect of pursuing other opportunities when he stops racing. He said “I don’t really know what’s beyond F1. A lot of sportsmen and women, when they stop competing, they’ve done it their whole life.”

“I’ve been racing since I was eight. All my focus has been on this. In my part-time role outside F1 I’m trying to figure out what else I want to do or get involved in.”

“Naturally it’s super-easy for me to come to all the grands prix after I’ve been racing, even be the number two to Toto (Wolff) perhaps.”

“I’ve been racing it for years, I know it just as well as anyone else. [But] I’m more intrigued to learn something new.” This year, Hamilton committed himself to a new two year deal and like most drivers, he said that his future beyond 2020 depends on the next set of regulations and Concorde Agreement.

Comparing notes with Alonso

Carlos Sainz says that after the Abu Dhabi test where he joined McLaren, he compared notes with Fernando Alonso. Sainz will replace his fellow Spaniard next season, after Alonso decided to retire from the sport after four unsuccessful seasons with McLaren.

The team has been in decline since its last victory in 2012 and will start the 2019 season with a new driver line-up and heavily-revised technical team. McLaren will be hoping that the changes can allow the team to return to the front.

Speaking at the ‘Salute to Speed’ launch event at the team’s factory in Woking, he said he exchanged voice notes on the handling of this year’s MCL33 with Alonso but would speak in more depth at a later date. He said“We’ve sent each other a couple of voice notes regarding the balance of the carin the test, how it compared to the Renault etc.

“We [Alonso and I] haven’t sat completely around a table and discussed the direction of the team or what’s going to happen or where the team is going, but we’ve sent each other voice notes commenting on car balance, the things we like or don’t like.”

Norris didn’t want to copy Rossi

Lando Norris says he chose not to use ‘46’ as his race number on his car because he didn’t want to be a “copycat.” The Englishman has long used the number in his junior career, but it has a close association with the seven times Moto GP champion Valentino Rossi.

In the end, Norris chose #4 instead because of how the digit looked, as well as its scope for use in the social media hashtag #L4ndo. Speaking at the launch of McLaren’s OnePlus 6T McLaren special edition phone this week, he told reporters “There is a story behind #4: but the story is that there is no story”

“The hashtag is great. But there has not been a number I have used consecutively in all the series. I had #31, I had #11, and in karting I had #33 and #46, but none of them meant a lot to me. So I just went with the one that looked the best. That’s the best reason!”

The 46 has been used by the Italian in tests before, but has only raced once in F1 by Will Stevens used it for Caterham in a one-off appearance for the team at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Alexander Albon has yet decide if he will use the number, he has used the number in his junior career.  


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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