Five place grid penalty for Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton has been given a five place grid penalty after a unscheduled gearbox change ahead of his weekends Chinese Grand Prix. Hamilton has had a difficult start to the season and is seventeen points behind team-mate Nico Rosberg in the championship.
Mercedes said Hamilton was at risk of retirement as je sustained damage in Bahrain and they would rather change it than risk a retirement as Shanghai “was the best place to make the change and take the penalty”. The circuit is high speed and the circuit offers some of the best overtaking opportunities of the next four races.
This years regulations say drivers must use one box for consecutive six races. Hamilton wrote on his Instagram “This weekend is going to be tough. I will start with a 5 place grid penalty due to a gearbox change but because of you guys I feel energised, motivated, and confident that we can regain ground lost.”
The next four rounds in Sochi, Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Montreal are some of the more difficult circuits to overtake as three of the four
Penalty but still he is a treat – Rosberg
Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg has warned that despite his penalty Hamilton will still be a threat during the Grand Prix. As reported above Hamilton has five place grid penalty after a unscheduled gearbox change.
Rosberg believes that Hamilton will be at the front of the race early on in Sunday’s race. He told Sky Sports “It is always a massive challenge out there and it will be again this weekend. Even Lewis with a five-place grid penalty is going to be a big threat.”
He added “How many times has he shown last year that when he starts ninth or whatever he is straight up to third? So definitely I am remaining fully focussed, I’m fighting for the win definitely, but it won’t be an easy one for sure.” It will be the first time since last year’s Singapore GP that the two Mercedes cars haven’t lined-up alongside each other on the front row of the grid.
Alonso provisionally allowed to race
Fernando Alonso has been provisional cleared to take part in this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix. The FIA has decided to allow him to take part in practice one before he has further tests before the second session.
The Spaniard was involved in a huge crash at the season opener where he suffered lung and rib injuries. He was ruled out of Bahrain because the FIA said that his chest scans “showed insufficient resolution of the signs to allow him to compete”.
Fia medical delegate Jean-Charles Piette barred Alonso from racing in Bahrain because of his injuries. Speaking before the decision by the FIA Alonso said that he felt “100%” but expected the FIA to want to examine him after first practice.
He told BBC News “I guess the normal thing will be after the first session that I feel OK because F1 is a very unique sport. It doesn’t matter what activity you do before racing, with the unique position I am sitting in, with the G-forces, everything can change in the car.”
If he feels OK and the FIA he will take part this weekend. Alonso added that he would not have flown to China for the race had he not been confident in his condition.
News – in – brief
- Seventeen way bill – Lewis Hamilton has called the way drivers tried to spilt the bill for their dinner on Wednesday night was “the most ridiculous thing” he has seen them do. He said he suggest that the higher paid should pay and he paid the deposit.
- Nose job for Williams – Williams have decided that Valtteri Bottas will run the updated front nose this weekend rather than team-mate Felipe Massa as they haven’t managed to build two. Massa used the wing last time out in Bahrain the team have a policy where they treat drivers equally regardless of position.
Pirelli gives prototypes but still no contract
Pirelli has given teams there first set of wind tunnel tyres of the new 2017 tyres designs. Next year the sport will introduce wider tyres but the Italian manufacturer has yet to have the contract signed off by the governing body the FIA.
Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery had said in Bahrain: “We will provide the wind tunnel tyres when the agreement has been signed by the FIA.” But there are reports while they want to sign the deal they are reluctant until the teams agree on the 2017 regulations. But there are hopes that these problems can be sorted out soon.
Pirelli has been hoping that the rules will be changed to allow them to test themselves as they have the same restrictions as the teams.
Hembery said earlier this month that there are now time pressures to get the testing situation finalised an agreement will need to be in place in the next few weeks if Pirelli is going to be able to provide 2017 tyres.
He told Motorsport.com “In practice, we are at the limit already. There are only six months of work left in order to study and implement the whole thing, and it’s not easy.”
“The teams want a perfect tyre but week after week it is becoming less and less feasible. Our deadline is [the end of] April.” He added.
New chassis but still baffled – Nasr
Saubers Felipe Nasr will have a new chassis for the Russian Grand Prix if the Brazilian continues to struggle at this weeks race in China. The Brazilian has been baffled by the way the car has behaved in the opening two rounds.
Nasr says that the problems he had were not evident on the chassis Sauber used in pre-season testing – which team-mate Marcus Ericsson has used for races – but that his car was “completely different” when it arrived for Melbourne.
He told Autosport “”[It’s different] especially under braking into the apex of the corners, when you’re trying to carry speed. With the car we tested in Barcelona that was clearly a positive point for me.”
“You could feel the rear was very stable the whole way into the corner, just helping you to take the car to the exit. But since we’ve put the car [on track] in Australia we’ve been lacking this stability a lot.”
The team will run identical setup on both their cars to try and find the problem and have the option of a third chassis in Sochi.