McLaren need to be proactive over destiny
McLaren boss Zak Brown says the team needs to be “proactive” in taking charge of the destiny following another difficult weekend at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Last week, Brown launched what is being interpreted as a final warning to engine supplier Honda. That was before Fernando Alonso missed scoring the team’s first points of the season, by just under two laps while running tenth on Sunday.
That latest retirement the tenth in seven races means that McLaren remains firmly rooted to the bottom of the Constructors Championship. Asked by Sky Sports after the race what discussions would be held with the team’s executive committee in the coming days, Brown dropped a further hint that a divorce from Honda is on the cards.
Brown said “Just talking about what the different options are and the different things that we can maybe do to fix this situation. This just kind of reinforces that we can’t just sit around and wait for things to come good. We need to be proactive in that.”
When asked if an announcement could be made before next race in Baku, Brown said: “Probably not, we’ve got to see how we get over the next few races.”
At one point Alonso during the race said “embarrassing power” when running a certain engine mode. Now, with another Honda failure chalked up, Alonso is expecting a further raft of grid penalties at the next race in Azerbaijan.
Mallya faces fresh charges in new extradition request
Force India Team Principal and co-owner Vijay Mallya could face further charges following a second request from Indian authorities for his extradition to the country.
Malaya was arrested by the Metropolitan Police, in April on behalf of the Indian authorities, who accuse him of fraud.
Mallya’s lawyer, Ben Watson, told a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday that India is believed to be preparing a second extradition request with further separate charges. Watson said he didn’t know the contents.
India is trying to extradite him over unpaid loans and debt of up to a billion pounds relating to the collapse of his Kingfisher Airlines, and Malaya denies the charges, claiming he is a victim of a witch hunt.
A hearing will begin days after the Austrian Grand Prix next month, with a full hearing in December.
Aaron Watkins, the lawyer representing the Indian government, told the court that prosecutors in Britain were still waiting for documentation and evidence from India and this was expected to arrive in the next month.
However, any delays or a second extradition request could push the case back to April next year, the court heard. Extraditions c an be appealed.
Also, a judge would need to decide if Mallya has committed of alleged crimes would be offences in Britain as well as India.
That ruling can be challenged in a higher court before being passed to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, for approval. That decision can also be appealed to the courts.
Force India may change rules of engagement
Force India have admitted the team may need to change the team’s rules of engagement between Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon following a dispute over team orders during the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Force India duo was chasing down the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages of the race, with Ocon demanding the team allow him to pass Perez as he believed he had a better chance of getting past the Red Bull.
The team did not order Perez to release Ocon but they were unable to pass Ricciardo and were themselves passed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
In a tweet quoting deputy team principal Bob Fernley, the team said “We chose to let the drivers race. They were tough with each other on the track, but it was a fair fight.”
In response team principal Vijay Mallya response was “@ForceIndiaF1 New guidelines will follow as we are happily in that coveted space.” Fernley also says that the team could learn from the situation for the future.
He told Autosport “There are positives and negatives with happened. And what it has done is highlight an issue we have – which is quite a compliment – that we have two incredibly quick drivers.”
“So we maybe have to review our positions on how we do things in the future. It is a nice problem to have, and we should not let it take away from us what was still a fantastic result for the team.”
Asked if he was frustrated that the team had lost its best podium chance of 2017 so far, instead of finishing fifth and sixth, Fernley said: “I am not really frustrated. I think we have just got to look at it.”
“If we have to change the policy of how we work, that is a separate decision. We have always allowed the drivers to race. We should not have recriminations on that at the end of the day.”
Another tweet from Mallya read “our policy of no team orders continues but I will specify guidelines to achieve best team result.”
Perez hits back in team orders dispute
Sergio Perez has hit back as the dispute over Force India’s use of team orders during the Canadian Grand Prix continues. The Mexican refused to allow team-mate Esteban Ocon past after he came under pressure from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Perez told Autosport, that he does not understand what the fuss was all about because Force India never ordered him to move aside. “The problem is that the press has created these stories – because I’ve never disobeyed an order. All we had was a discussion about whether to let Ocon pass me.”
“But I increased my speed and approached Ricciardo, and that was it. At no time did I ignore my team. I am here to give the best results to Force India and if I get an order, I will follow it. But here, there was no order.”
Ocon feels that he could have challenged Ricciardo for third, but Perez says they have cleared things up t and that there was no problem between them.
Perez said “Yes, all is well between Ocon and me. Everyone on the team feels there is a good atmosphere, especially after an excellent result and on a weekend where we were as competitive as we were.”
First one two feels different – Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton says his first one-two finish with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas feels different to the twenty-seven he had alongside Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton and Rosberg had been locked in intense battles over three years as they fought for titles causing strain on their friendship. Bottas replaced Rosberg this season, and seven races in Hamilton says the maturity of his new teammate had helped create a more relaxed environment at Mercedes.
When asked if it felt any different scoring a one-two with Bottas instead of Rosberg, Hamilton said “It’s always a great thing for a team to achieve a one-two, it’s always special. I think experiencing it with Valtteri is definitely different.”
“I think the chemistry Valtteri and I have is different. I think the working environment we’ve both experienced this year is on a complete other level, on a professional level that’s been above any other year that I have experienced.”
He said that Bottas’s maturity and the way Mercedes works has given them a fair platform to fight.
Mercedes are facing a fight this season with Ferrari, who have been more consistent in the opening seven races.
Renault dismiss power unit upgrade claim
Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul has dismissed the suggestions that Red Bull could take a major power unit for the next race in Azerbaijan and says that the French manufacturer will not be introducing an upgrade until 2018.
Red Bull has this season lagged behind the frontrunners Ferrari and Mercedes because of a lack of power, but a substantial aerodynamic upgrade introduced in Barcelona has helped minimise the deficit.
Despite preparing themselves for three tough races in Canada, Azerbaijan and Austria, but managed an encouraging podium finish in Montreal. There is expected to be a boost for Baku, this means that Red Bull are targeting a return to form in the second half of the season.
Abiteboul told F1.com “It was Red Bull who said that there would be an upgrade [in Baku]. There are upgrades permanently — every single race we are making some small improvements.”
“Last year we created a huge expectation and we came with an upgrade that had a big impact. But we can’t repeat that every year.” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, has joked the team was “going to church every week to pray” for a swift update from engine supplier Renault.
Abiteboul says there will be no “magic bullet”, but regular small updates to provide performance and reliability improvements between now and the end of the season.
Supersoft favourites for Baku
Mercedes and Ferrari have chosen the same tyre allocation for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Tyre supplier Pirelli gave the teams the choice of the medium, soft and the supersoft, which is the same as in 2016.
The Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Haas drivers have all be allocated eight supersoft, four softs and a set of mediums.
The Toro Rosso and Force India’s have all be allocated nine supersoft, three softs and a set of mediums. The Haas’s, Renault’s and the Williams of Felipe Massa have all be allocated eight supersoft, four softs and one of the mediums.
The McLaren’s have all be allocated ten supersoft, two softs and a set of mediums.
The only team to varying the allocation between drivers was Sauber, with Pascal Wehrlein having nine supersoft, four softs and a set of mediums. While team-mate Marcus Ericsson has eight supersoft, three softs and two mediums.