Manor more attractive – Lowdon
Manor sporting director Graeme Lowdon says Manor will be a more attractive proposition in the 2016 driver market.
The team will next year use a Mercedes engine and parts from Williams which should move them up and allow Manor to compete in the midfield. Meaning the team will be in a better position to pick and choose a driver line-up.
The team currently have three drivers Will Stevens, Alexander Rossi and Roberto Merhi who don’t know whether they will be retained. Lowdon told Autosport “You look at the spread of performance on the grid at the minute, and if you take us out of the equation it’s still a sizeable spread.”
He added “But that said, I think drivers can come into teams now pretty much anywhere on the grid, and have the opportunity to show the teams and sponsors what they can do.”
He says the team will be more attractive to younger drivers and the team will have more money to spend in 2016. With the teams switch to Mercedes the German Pascal Wehrlein has been heavily linked to the team.
Lowdon said that Wehrlein was “ part of a pool of very talented drivers at the moment, but there are others and I wouldn’t want to single any person out.”
Engines must be the same
The FIA has released the new updated regulations for next season which means all teams must use 2016 engines. The rules say all customer and works teams are required to be identical.
Article 23.5 of next year’s rules say “Only power units which are identical to the power unit that has been homologated by the FIA in accordance with Appendix 4 of these regulations may be used at an Event during the 2016- 2020 Championship seasons.”
The announcement plays into the hands of Red Bull who are looking for a new partner and have only been offered a 2015 spec Ferrari engine.
In Sochi Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko told Formula1.com that his team “definitely would not take any engine – it has to be an engine that is capable of racing at the front and midterm gives us the chance to fight for the championship.”
The rules are aimed to stop the works teams taking an advantage over customer teams. Also teams will be allowed two exhausts next season, raising the possibility of a return of exhaust-blown aerodynamics.
Reliability “worse and worse” – Rosberg
Nico Rosberg says that Mercedes reliability is getting “worse and worse”. The German was forced to switch back to an old spec engine in Monza after a leak was discovered in the cooling system that contaminated his upgraded power unit.
This lead to Rosberg’s retirement in the race, while his team-mate Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire in Singapore. The team return to form in Suzkua and Sochi wasn’t trouble free as Rosberg was forced once again forced to retire after a throttle pedal failure.
Even Hamilton encountered a problem with his rear wing late on in the race, although it was not enough of a problem to deny him the win. Rosberg said the lack of reliability was strange.
He told Autosport “Just when this year it looked like we were looking so good on reliability, to then have quite a few issues, it’s surprising and it’s got worse and worse now through the season.”
Adding “In the last couple of months we’ve had loads more issues, race stoppers and things like that.” He says they must look into the area because they haven’t made as big steps as we thought.
Facing repercussions – Fernley
Bob Fernley is accepting the risk that Force India and Sauber may face repercussions after they made a complaint to the European Commission about the governance and payment structure.
The teams claim that the sports “system of dividing revenues and determining how Formula 1 rules are set is both unfair and unlawful.” Under the treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) that prohibit anti-competitive agreements and the abuse of dominant market positions.
The commissioner Margrethe Vestager will decide by the end of the year whether there is a case to answer. Fernley Force India’s deputy team principal is expecting fall out whatever the outcome with commercial rights holders CVC Capital Partners, understood to be unhappy.
He said “We’re big boys, we know what the risks are. Will there be repercussions? Probably, in due course.” Adding “But if you feel strongly about something and you’re not prepared to take care of your own convictions then you shouldn’t be doing it.”
Fernley says they was little option to close the playing field to the big four Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren. He said “It was a very, very hard decision to have to take.”
Finish on a high – Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg thinks he can finish on high this season despite being caught up in the first lap incident in Sochi. The remaining four races will of the season should play to the hands of the team and other Mercedes powered teams.
He says Austin should be positive because the track has “Similar characteristics to this track, very flowing medium/high speed corners dominate, and recently the car has performed quite well there. So should be more points and more positive stuff.”
He says he looks to have “four strong races to the end of the season, and then finish the season on a high note.” He added he wanted to get the best out of the car.
Hulkenberg said he was “a passenger” when he started to spin in front of the pack at the start of the Russian GP. He lost control of his Force India at Turn 2, was clipped by the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen and then hit hard by Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber.