Budget cap alone cut cost – Todt
FIA President Jean Todt says that a budget cap alone cannot be relied on to bring down the cost of the sport. Though the sports owners Liberty Media want to bring in a cost cap, Todt believes that it would be wrong for the sport to rely on a cap to control costs.
Instead, he says that a cost cap needs to be part of a wider package of measures aimed at reducing the cost of the sport, or the idea risks failure. Todt told Motorsport.com “We have been talking about cost control/cost cap for a while. I believe it is a good move, but for me it has to be a combination.”
“We need to make regulations which will have some impact on the actual costs. To simply say we are going make a cost cap, I don’t think it will work. So far, any attempt has not worked.”
“We have to be able to agree something that will be more sophisticated in order to achieve that.” This winter Liberty Media has been having discussions with individual teams about a budget cap. While teams agree something needs to be done to reduce to costs, but there is scepticism about whether or not a cost cap is workable.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner is unsure about its policing, which has always been one of the reasons that attempt in the past to introduce it have failed.
He echoes Todt’s idea that getting other rules in place to limit costs is essential if the cost cap itself is not to come under too much scrutiny. He added, “I’m not a huge fan of budget caps because I question how policeable it is – because everyone’s corporate structure is different.”
Hamilton favourite for fifth title
Nigel Mansell believes that Lewis Hamilton is the “hot favourite” to win another world title in 2018. However, he has warned that Red Bulls Max Verstappen is ready for a shoot of the championship to become the youngest world champion in the history of the sport.
Going into this season Hamilton and his main challenger Sebastian Vettel are both tied with four titles each. But Mansell believes that the Englishman being the reigning champion will give him the edge over Vettel.
Speaking at Autosport International, Mansell told Sky Sports “Lewis’ strength is the team, Mercedes. The depth and capacity of the Mercedes team is second to none in Formula One.”
“This year let’s hope a few more teams are pitching in there but, for me, Lewis is hot favourite for getting another championship in 2018.” Hamilton and Vettel are already the favourites, but Mansell has also said he is expecting things from Red Bull.
“Red Bull should be challenging. Daniel Ricciardo is a marvellous driver and Max Verstappen is ready to try and win his first world championship.”
Talking about Hamilton’s use of social media and the controversy around a post on Christmas day, where he told his nephew “boys don’t wear dresses”, Mansell urged Hamilton to focus on setting further milestones on track in F1 2018.
“What I would encourage Lewis and his fans to get across, he has an incredible opportunity to set new records,” said Mansell.
“You’re in the best team with the best car, there isn’t the depth of competition there used to be, make hay when the sun shines. Just like Michael Schumacher did for three or four years.”
Ferrari “fired up” to beat Mercedes – Vettel
Ferrari has learnt from the lessons from last season and is “completely fired up” to beat Mercedes in 2018 says Sebastian Vettel. The Scuderia enjoyed their most successful season in recent memory, but a run of poor reliability in the second half of the season cost Ferrari the title.
Vettel believes that the team will come back stronger this year, saying that the gains made last winter proves that the team can make gains. He told ESPN “The step that we have done in 2017 was incredible. The way the team has come out with a competitive car at the beginning.”
“The way we have improved both chassis and engine, on all fronts I think it has been outstanding. We have been close for most of the year, not close enough when it mattered, but that’s what happened.” Vettel says the conclusions from the second half of the season will help the team pull off a more sustained title charge in 2018.
He says the team will be pushing hard over the winter and we know what we need to do. Vettel says the team “ had two or three races that turned out to be very costly, for different reasons and, they’ve [Mercedes] been very, very strong, very consistent.”
“In the end, we weren’t good enough to take it to the last race and take the championship. So, I think we know what we need to do. There are lessons that were obvious, some were a bit more hidden but I’m sure we’ll dig deep enough and try to find all of them.”
Former F1 driver and inventor Dan Gurney dies aged eighty-six
The former Formula One driver Daniel ‘Dan’ Gurney has died aged eighty-six. The American was the first driver to spray champagne on the podium.
His first taste of F1 came at the non-championship Riverside Grand Prix, which attracted the attention of Ferrari. He made his F1 debut the following season with podiums at the Nurburgring and in Lisbon.
On his debut in Portugal, he was the fastest of the Ferrari’s, before fourth place at Monza. But his relationship with the Scuderia became strained and he left for BRM.
His time with BRM was marked only by unreliability, frustration and tragedy. A brake failure in the Dutch Grand Prix caused a crash that broke his arm and killed a spectator.
He then spent the next two seasons with Porsche where he finished fourth and fifth in the championship. His time with Porsche saw him take the first pole at the Nurburgring and his first wins at Rouen-les-Essart, plus the non-championship round at Solitude.
When Porsche pulled out at the end of 1962, he teamed up with Jack Brabham who saw his potential as a driver with a engineers brain. Dan was the man who broke through to score this new constructor’s first championship triumph, at Rouen once more.
If he had stayed with the team he could have been champion the following season, but he joined Colin Chapmen at Lotus.
He was already quicker than the proprietor himself, who in turn was quicker than the man he brought in to replace Gurney, Denny Hulme. It was Brabham and Hulme who won the titles in those two years. But Dan, having seen both Brabham and, thanks to Indy car racing, Lotus, from the inside, decided to strike out on his own as a constructor.
It was his engineering smarts that saw the invention of what is now known as the Gurney flap, a small lip to add to wings which multiplied the downforce they provided for minimal additional drag.
Kubica deserves race seat
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola says that Robert Kubica “deserves the opportunity” to return to Formula One and “show us his potential again.”
The Polish driver took part in the post-Abu Dhabi tyre test to allow Williams to see whether he is capable of returning to the sport after life-changing injuries following a rally crash in 2011. It’s now understood that the vacant Williams seat will now go to former Renault reserve Sergey Sirotkin.
Sirotkin, who impressed during his own running for Williams in Abu Dhabi and carries substantial backing from Russian bank SMP. But Isola believes that Kubica needs more time to adapt given his injuries and given the way the sport has changed over the last seven years.
Isola told Motorsport.com “The point is that he was not driving since long time and needed some time to adapt. I believe he did a good job, honestly. Then, the decision to take one driver or another is a different story.”
“I’m not criticising the decision. I’m just saying, for me, he deserves the opportunity, the possibility to show us his potential again. He had to learn to the car. Also, it was two sessions of half a day each, so to learn all the package is not so easy.”
Isola says that he is not a young driver and Kubica needs time to adapt, but his performance was good enough.
Kubica tested for Renault and Williams using specially adapted controls, but otherwise insists he suffers no physical limitations to his driving, a position Isola supports from his own observation.