Sainz in talks to join Ferrari
Carlos Sainz looks set to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari next season with an announcement in this week, according to various reports. Yesterday it was announced that the four-time champion would be leaving at the end of 2020 after both parties agreed to break off talks over a new contract.
Sources have told Motorsport.com, the Italian and Spanish media, that Ferrari has moved quickly to do a deal with the McLaren driver and an announcement is expected from Ferrari in the coming days confirming Sainz as Charles Leclerc’s new teammate from 2021.
The twenty-five-year-old had an impressive first season with McLaren scoring the team’s first podium in nearly six years at the Brazilian Grand Prix. McLaren had already commenced early talks with Sainz on extending his current contract, which was due to expire at the end of the year.
Daniel Ricciardo would be of interest to Ferrari, however, it’s now believed that his focus is on a move to McLaren. These moves would back up Lewis Hamilton’s claims that “dream move to Ferrari” were not true, ending speculation last month of him moving to Ferrari.
It would also mean that Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas will l be left to focus on retaining his seat with Mercedes to remain at the front of the grid. Sainz’s move to Ferrari will be the latest big step in a career trajectory that has accelerated quickly since his exit from Toro Rosso in late 2017.
A product of Red Bull’s junior programme, Sainz won the Formula Renault 3.5 title in 2014 before moving up to F1 the following year, partnering Max Verstappen. He joined McLaren following year at Renault in 2018.
Sainz showed he was able to form a close relationship with rookie teammate Lando Norris off-track, Sainz was able to impress behind the wheel as he finished sixth in the championship, leading the midfield drivers.
He also led McLaren to fourth place in the constructors’ championship, its best finish since 2012.
No room for Vettel at Red Bull – Marko
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko insists that there’s no room for Sebastian Vettel alongside Max Verstappen at the Red Bull in 2021. Saying that the potential salary requirements would make such a move impossible.
Marko is adamant that Vettel is a “non-topic” for the team and the parent company. Vettel has remained on friendly terms with the Red Bull camp since he left for Ferrari at the end of 2014.
Earlier in the year, Marko told Sky Sports Germany, that a return to the team for Vettel was unlikely, explaining that his view “for very simple monetary reasons. We can’t afford two such top stars.” At the time Vettel’s availability for 2021 was only theoretical.
However, now that the four-time world champion is free Marko has not changed his mind. Speaking to Motorsport.com, he said, “My statement was no two ‘Vs’ at Red Bull Racing. That we don’t want to afford financially. And we can’t afford it either.”
Marko also downplayed the speculation that money was not a critical issue in his discussions with the Italian team, pointing out that the Maranello still proposed a higher figure than Red Bull would be prepared to pay. Saying, “The amounts Ferrari offered to him and what [Alex] Albon earns in comparison are miles apart.”
Marko admitted that “we are always in contact,” but stressed that Vettel “has been informed that at the moment the situation is fixed with Max as number one driver. We cannot and will not afford two top stars.”
Budget cap set to be agreed
The teams are set to vote on a five-year plan for a lower cost cap to run from next season, and barring any late surprises the changes look likely to be passed.
Lowering the cap has been under debate since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic when it became clear that the sport would be hit financially. Following several video meetings involving team bosses, F1 and the FIA, the revised headline numbers have now been formally incorporated into an updated version of the financial regulations, which were first issued in October.
That latest document was sent to the teams this week and is currently being analysed. The original cap of $175m will be cut to $145m for 2021 then be reduced to $140m in 2022 and $135m in 2023, it will then remain at that level for three years
although there should be a “correction” to take account of inflation, as was provided for in the original rules for the fourth and fifth seasons with the $175m cap. After 2024, the numbers will be reviewed.
Changes agreed earlier in the year by the World Motor Sport Council designed to streamline the decision-making process, only six of the ten teams have to vote in favour for the changes to be agreed, and then passed to the WMSC for formal ratification.
That means that even if three teams most impacted – Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull Racing – vote no, the changes will still automatically go through.
But it is unknown how much the top three teams will use influence over their partner teams to force them to vote against the change. They are concerned about far more job losses, or reallocation of resources outside F1 than they had been planning for.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner wrote on the team’s website, “The problem is, so much is made about the figure of the cost cap that I believe it is missing the point. F1 teams will always spend whatever budget they have available to them. Plus, an extra 10 per cent.”
He says “I believe the solution should be looking at what drives those costs up in the first place and that is the R&D cost of building and developing cars in the hope of being competitive.” Horner described it as impossible to compare the business models of teams because they are all different.
Horner has been pushing the idea of the big teams selling their cars to the smaller teams at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
The first Grand Prix seventy years on
Today marks seventy years since the first Formula One championship race was held at Silverstone. The opening race of the 1950 season was very different from the race we now know.
Organisers soon realised the importance of the race and the BRDC knew they had to step up a gear, and the necessity of getting it right on the day was rendered more urgent when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother accepted an invitation to attend, and the event became “Royal Silverstone.”
That prompted the first major upgrade of the circuit, the creation of Stowe, Club, Abbey, Becketts and Copse, still familiar today, was already established. Remember that just five years earlier this was an airfield and Britain was fighting a war.
Speaking about that race, Murray Walker said “I was just there as a punter. I suspect I paid in those days! I remember first of all the euphoria of just having a Grand Prix, and secondly the even greater euphoria of having some foreign cars and superstars there, like Ascari and Villoresi.
At 3 pm the race got underway Farina held the lead the way until the pit stop. While Fangio led for a lap but made a mistake at Stowe when Farina got back in front, until the pit stop. Farina’s stop allowed Fangio back into the lead until he hit a straw bale at Stowe.
Farina retook the lead and led sixty-three of the seventy lap race while Reg Parnell survived a clash with a hare that dented his radiator grille, and finished a distant third. Giraud-Cabantous and Rosier were a couple of laps down in their Lago-Talbots and thus took the final points.
Read more in a special report
Ferrari unveils it Coronavirus ventilator
Ferrari has unveiled its version of a ventilator which has been designed to help coronavirus patients. Ferrari has been working with the Italian Institute of Technology based in Genoa, Ferrari engineers from across its F1, GT racing and road car divisions have worked on the project codenamed ‘FI5’.
The FI5 is a pulmonary ventilator designed to assist people suffering from the virus, Italy has had one of the worst outbreaks of the virus. The first two prototypes of the FI5 ventilator were assembled last week, and it has since passed all the required functionality tests.
Its design has been made open-source, which allow other engineering groups from countries all over the world to produce their version.
Ferrari is now looking for partners in Italy for the production phase of the ventilator as it begins to prepare its factory to resume F1 operations once the FIA-imposed shutdown ends.
Ferrari F1 team principal Mattia Binotto, said “The challenge of COVID-19 was one we wanted to take on. FI5 is the contribution we made as the Scuderia, fielding the very essence of what makes a Formula 1 team and more importantly, all the characteristics that make Ferrari special.”
“Its passion, its creativity and its desire to improve. This project was a very stimulating experience as well as being truly rewarding for all those involved, who worked side by side with our colleagues from IIT and the other partners”
Professor Giorgio Metta, Scientific Director of the Italian Institute of Technology, says that the project is an example of the ingenuity, technology and determination which are an essential part of our procedures.
Adding, “The technological transfer of research is one of the central elements of our strategy. There are several projects that are taking shape along these lines.”
“However, what we have done with Ferrari goes further than that. It is a project initiated because of an urgent health emergency in our society to which we have responded very quickly.”
Pirelli’s challenges for restarting season
Pirelli’s head of F1 Mario Isola has outlined the complex challenges that lie ahead if Grands Prix is to restart in July, but he sees no insurmountable obstacle that could stop the sport getting the show back on the road.
Speaking about the challenges to Motorsport.com, Isola says that Pirelli has several things it needs to resolved before the season begins. This includes ramping up tyre production in response to a compressed calendar, as well as finding solutions to minimise the risk of virus transmission between his staff and F1 teams at events.
Saying, “We are trying to work with an approach of flexibility. The current regulation says that we need to know the tyres in advance, by eight weeks for European events and 14 weeks for overseas events. Obviously, this is not valid in this particular situation.”
Isola says that the stockpile of tyres for the opening races could be used when the season gets going, having recovered the tyres sent to the first few races. The equipment for European events is slightly less complicated because we use trucks and not containers.
But says they will need to ramp up production soon, with them needing 35,000 tyres in a couple of months and they are discussing standard
With F1 planning for teams to remain in their own ‘bubble’ at events – so they do not mix with other competitors – Isola said that one thing that still needed resolving was how companies like his that work across all outfits can safely operate.
Saying “I know the plan of Formula 1 to keep the teams as a ‘bubble’ to avoid contacts between teams. The problem is that we are everywhere,” he said.