Force India won’t stop Hulkenberg leaving
Force India will not stop Nico Hulkenberg leaving the team according to Motorsport.com. Hulkenberg is believed to be close to making the move and it is believed to have a preliminary deal with the Renault team.
The deal maybe complicated by the fact that Hulkenberg has a contract in place with Force India for 2017. While the chance of a deal being done Force India insists that there hasn’t been a approach from Renault or the German.
A source told the website “Nico has been too good a driver and too loyal over the years for the team to stand in his way.”
“If a driver like Nico, who at 29-years-old, has a chance with a manufacturer that would set him up for life, why would a team get in the way of that?” The moves looks to be happening but there has been insistence from The team that no formal move has been made.
Deputy team principal Bob Fernley told Motorsport.com about the Hulkenberg situation: “There is nothing. It is purely conjecture. We have had no approaches and nothing whatsoever. So as far as we are concerned sitting here today we have two drivers under contract.”
When asked if they would release Hulkenberg Fernley wouldn’t comment saying “we have drivers under contract.”
Haas making progress
Gunther Steiner says Haas’s performance at Suzuka is clear evidence that the team is making progress even thou they failed to score points. The team made it through to Q3 for the first time but failed to convert that into points.
In Japan Romain Grosjean qualified eighth and Esteban Gutierrez tenth, which is the first time both were in the top ten. This should of lead of them to score points in the race. But the team left the race without scoring points, however Steiner suggested the blow of leaving Suzuka without points was softened by the fact the team had shown progress leading up to and throughout the weekend.
He told Motorsport.com “The encouraging thing is what we know what the car can do. Seven times 11th, it’s not a great feeling, but the good thing is – we know we can do it.”
“If you look at it, the five good teams were in front of us with two cars, nobody drops out, it [the outcome] is logical. We took the fight to the Williams, we couldn’t pull it off because they had an advantage in picking their advantage with strategy.” Steiner says it is encouraging that the team are not stagnating.
Steiner adds “Our plate was full after Malaysia, to sort out the problems we had and also try to make the car quicker, to get a better set-up. I think, everybody worked hard and we achieved a lot in a very short time.”
The team is getting more efficient but its takes time and the experience is the only think you can’t buy, he added.
Rosberg tyre test hindered by weather
Bad weather hindered Nico Rosberg yesterday as he became the latest driver to test Pirelli’s new prototype wider tyres for next season.
The current championship leader drove a modified 2015 car which has been modified to simulate increased downforce loads, at the Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday, completing 60 laps.
Rosberg could only manage 46 laps on the slick tyre before the rain moved him giving Pirelli time to gain some data with regard to its wet-weather tyres. However, the test failed to provide enough representative information overall.
A statement from Pirelli “Unfortunately, cool temperatures in the morning (with track temperatures of 17 degrees centigrade at the beginning of the test) and the rain in the afternoon hindered the work that was done today, making it difficult to obtain representative tyre data.”
The conditions meant they were unable to get heat into the tyres. Pirelli wants next year’s test to take place in Bahrain but the teams are divided on this, Red Bull and Williams determined for the two tests to remain in Barcelona, citing cost and logistical reasons, while Mercedes and Ferrari back Pirelli’s preference for winter testing to move back to Bahrain.
Pirelli are now fighting for pre-season testing to be moved to Bahrain.
Hamilton pulls out of test
Lewis Hamilton pulled out of the Pirelli tyre test yesterday to rest a sore foot says Mercedes. The current champion was due to test with a modified car the 2017 tyres and was replaced by team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton was expected to test today as well, but a spokesman said German reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein, who races for Manor, would stand in for Hamilton on Thursday.
“Lewis had some discomfort in his foot after training on Tuesday. It was agreed he wouldn’t test so he could rest it and get physio to be in good shape for Austin, which he will be. No concerns on that front.” Said a spokesman for Mercedes
Hamilton is currently behind team-mate Nico Rosberg with four races remaining, meaning that even if he wins everyone it will still not be enough if Rosberg finishes second each time.
The Briton won his third title in Austin last year when Rosberg started on pole but made a mistake that gifted his team mate the victory. The team had said then that Hamilton had to be back in Europe as soon as possible to be ready for Wednesday testing.
“Staggering” aero gains – Symonds
The aero gains made through next year’s regulations changes are “staggering” according to Williams technical director Pat Symonds. Next season cars will have wider front and rear wings and tyres, with a view to making F1 cars three-to-five seconds per lap faster.
This may offer Williams away back to third after dropping behind Red Bull in this years championship. Symonds says there is no reference point, and he is also mindful of what its rivals could be doing.
Asked how the team is shaping up for 2017 by Autosport, Symonds said: “It’s really hard to say because the gains we are making on aerodynamics on next year’s car are just staggering.”
“Every week in the windtunnel it’s just pulling downforce onto the thing, but I can’t believe we are alone on that. I’m sure that’s happening in 11 windtunnels around the world, so you just never know.”
Symonds say there is normally targets for aerodynamics but next year you can’t say what the target is until testing. He has also been surprised by Pirelli’s gains and asking how they found that.
Webber to retire from motorsport
Former F1 driver and Channel 4’s pundit Mark Webber has announced he will retire from motorsport at the end of this year’s World Endurance Championship.
Webber left Red Bull in 2013 before racing for Porsche for three seasons winning the 2015 championship. The Australian will become a ‘special representative’ of the German carmaker following the season-ending Six Hours of Bahrain in November. Webber said “I have arrived where I belong. Porsche is the brand I always loved most and the one that suits me the best.”
“I will miss the sheer speed, downforce and competition, but I want to leave on a high and I’m very much looking forward to my new tasks.” Webber has been working first for the BBC then more regularly on Channel 4 as an analyst covering F1 and the WEC.
Webber added “It was a big change from Formula 1 to LMP1 and an entirely new experience. But it came at the right time for me.”