Security fears see tyre test cancelled
McLaren and Pirelli have cancelled a two-day tyre test which was scheduled to take place at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace this week. The Italian manufacturer says it was the target of “a robbery attempt” on Sunday night which its security team “neutralised.”
This was the fourth security incident for Formula One personnel in the last week. The FIA say they were targeted last week, on Friday night eight members of Mercedes were robbed at gunpoint and Sauber were targeted on Saturday.
A statement from Pirelli said, “After a weekend where similar episodes occurred with other teams, it has been decided to cancel the tyre test planned on the Brazilian circuit with Team McLaren.”
“The decision, shared with McLaren, the FIA and Formula 1, was made in the interest of the safety of the personnel, both McLaren’s and our own, who would have participated in the test.”
McLaren added, “The safety of our people has always been our top priority, and, given recent events, we felt that it was an unnecessary risk to proceed.” Disappointed is not a strong enough word.
Another statement from FOM added “But is not our call, and it is not our responsibility. Security within the circuit is up to the promoter, and they have to liaise with the local authorities.
“We have our own security team that travels with us, and they were liaising with the local authorities. We are actively involved, but we cannot be experts in every city we go to.”
Toro Rosso expected to confirm Gasly and Hartley
Toro Rosso is expected to confirm imminently that Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley will be the team’s race drivers next season. It has been clear ever since Japanese Grand Prix that the team were going to retain both drivers for 2018.
In Brazil, Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko suggested that an announcement wasn’t too far away. He told Autosport “Maybe Toro Rosso makes a press release with some substantial news.”
Asked if that meant soon after Brazil, he replied: “I guess so. I don’t know, we’ll have to see. We have other problems at the moment.”
Team principal Franz Tost says Gasly and Hartley have proved to be “strong assets” for Toro Rosso but underlined that the timing of the 2018 line-up announcement was not in his hands.
He added “This is in the hands of Red Bull to decide. Both drivers are strong assets to the team, and therefore I don’t see any others going in the car for next year. But once more it’s a decision of Red Bull, and they will announce this.”
Ferrari proved how strong we are – Arrivabene
Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene says that the team’s victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix proved how strong the team’s current car is. Sebastian Vettel took the lead after jumping pole man Valtteri Bottas into Turn One which was key to his win.
Vettel retained the lead as the team’s strategy got him back in front to maintain the lead during the only round of pit stops, and that gave him his fifth victory of the season. After the race, Vettel admitted the win had come as a “great relief” for Ferrari after the Italian team missed out on a first world championship title in a decade to Mercedes.
Driver error and reliability problems cost the team both world championships, allowing Mercedes to wrap the constructors up in Austin with Lewis Hamilton sealing the drivers in Mexico. Speaking about the weekend Arrivabene told ESPN “Already in qualifying, it was clear that the SF70H was quick and well prepared.”
“On Sunday, we got the confirmation that we have a very good car at our disposal. The result of this race is also down to the great job carried out by the team not forgetting the drivers who, on the day, know how to step up to the mark.”
Ferrari’s win at Interlagos was the teams first since the Hungarian Grand Prix and Vettel believes it was crucial to hit back in response to Mercedes’ recent strong form. Vettel said, “I think this was one of the most difficult races of the season.”
“Valtteri was always very close and we had the same pace, but I pushed very hard and managed to pull a gap. This win is very important for me and for the team. After such a long time it’s been great to achieve it.”
Reduction in engines “sucks” – Hamilton
Four times world champion Lewis Hamilton says it “sucks” that the limit of engines that drivers can use next season is being reduced from four to three before they incur grid penalties.
The Mercedes driver says that reducing the number of engines means that drivers would mean that the drivers wouldn’t be able to push as often. Also, that the increased weight due to the introduction of the halo and the need to manage engines was making racing unappealing.
Hamilton told BBC News “I don’t like the idea of going to three. That sucks. Sprinting is what we are missing in F1. The car is going to be a bus next year, it is going to be so heavy, like a Nascar.” The four-time champion says he was able to push harder because he had fitted a new power unit.
He added “The braking distances get longer, the brakes are always on fire, on the limit. It sounds negative but as a racer, we want fast, nimble cars where we can attack always every single lap.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says he believes that five is enough for the entire season but plans to stop the reduction to three next season has failed. Also, the customer teams have expressed concern that they are penalised for engine failures rather than manufacturers.
Ultras favourite for Abu Dhabi
Pirelli has announced the driver’s tyre selections for the final race of the year. For next weekends Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the tyre manufacturer has gone for it softest tyre compounds with the ultrasoft, supersoft and soft compounds being allocated for drivers to choose from.
Both Mercedes have chosen nine sets of the ultrasoft tyres with world champion Lewis Hamilton splitting the remainder to give himself two sets of both the supersoft and soft compounds, while Valtteri Bottas has three supersofts and a single soft. Daniel Ricciardo has ten ultrasoft and two softs, with teammate Max Verstappen, has nine ultrasoft and three supersoft, with them both having a single soft.
Both Ferrari, McLaren and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson have ten ultrasofts, two supersofts and a soft. Both Toro Rossos have nine ultrasofts, three supersofts and a soft. Both Renaults have eight ultrasofts, four supersofts and a soft.
Both Haas’s have nine ultrasofts as well as two of both the supersofts and softs. Force India have varied the selection between both drivers, Sergio Perez has ten ultrasofts, two supersofts and a soft, while Esteban Ocon has nine ultrasofts and two of both the ultrasofts and softs.
Both Williams has ten ultrasofts, with Felipe Massa having two supersofts plus a soft, Lance Stroll has one supersoft and two softs.
Brazil showed Alonso as a “competitive animal”
Fernando Alonso’s drive to eighth place in the Brazilian Grand Prix highlighted what a “competitive animal” the Spaniard is according to McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier.
Despite McLaren being bottom of the speed trap times, the Spaniard qualified seventh and started sixth thanks to penalties for other drivers. He also ran as high as fifth, before losing ground to Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo early on.
But he did catch back up with the Brazilian but was unable to find his way past in the closing stages. Boullier told ESPN “Fernando’s performance was a timely reminder of just what a competitive animal he remains.
“When he was given the green-light from the strategists to attack Massa, he was utterly relentless, driving each lap as if it were a qualifying lap, and narrowing the gap.”