Red Bull future sorted – Ecclestone
Berine Ecclestone says that Red Bull’s future in Formula One is “sorted” and is adamant that the company will not leave the sport. Owner Dietrich Mateschitz and others have made repeated threats to pull both of its teams out of F1 if it cannot find competitive engines for Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso.
The magazine Autosport say they understand that Red Bull and Renault are talking after they appeared to be heading for a messy divorce. Ecclestone says there treat to quit was legitimate, but he believes the matter has now been resolved.
There had been talks during the summer that Red Bull were to get a Mercedes engine could be badged by Aston Martin, but the deal was rejected by the German manufacturer at board level.
Meanwhile Toro Rosso is now in talks with Ferrari to land a supply of year-old power units for next season which looks be unlikely as Red Bull looks to veto the rules. (see below)
Ecclestone confirmed that Red Bull are committed long term and they know it would be costly to leave the sport.
Key decisions in Austin
Formula One teams will need to make a clear agreement in Austin whether to allow the calendar to be expanded to twenty one races and should manufacturers be allowed to give older engines to customer teams.
The current calendar has been expanded to include Baku in Azerbaijan and Germany is scheduled to return after being cancelled this year because of financial problems. The changes according to the regulations can now be made only “with the unanimous agreement of all competitors entered in the 2016 championship, save for changes made by the FIA for safety reasons”.
Also there is a debate about the rules blocking Manor from running a 2015 engine. Which is being used by Red Bull to prevent them being given one as they search for a new engine partner after parting with Renault.
Renault and Honda will catch up
Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost believes that Renault and Honda will reduce their performance deficit to the front-running Mercedes and Ferrari power units next season.
The team are currently looking for a new engine partner after there relationship and big team Red Bull broke down leaving them currently without an engine supplier. Speaking to Formula1.com Tost said he is expecting them to be much closer.
He said “If not then the FIA has to look into the [engine development] token story so that everybody who is behind gets extra development freedom until we have parity. But as I just said, I am sure that those behind will catch up, at the latest by 2017”
Tost says parting with Renault is the right thing to do as they hope they can return to Ferrari power after two years with the French manufacturer. Renault could only supply one team next year if they complete a take over of Lotus.
I will follow orders – Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen says he would follow team orders if it help to keep his team-mate Sebastian Vettel keep alive his hopes of winning the title. Vettel is Lewis Hamilton’s closest challenger however he only needs to win the United States Grand Prix to be champion and Vettel to be third or lower.
Raikkonen is out of the race this year but told Autosport “We know what are the rules and it’s a normal thing. I’m not in the championship fight and if it comes to that it’s fine.”
Adding “It’s a normal thing, we try to make the maximum for the team. He is still in a fight, so there are no issues.”
However team boss Maurizio Arrivabene says he has no plans to use team orders to help Vettel get the strongest result – but hinted that may change as the season draws to a close.
Saying “We were not considering the championship in that part of the race and then they swapped positions by themselves. There’s no need at that time. Of course at the time we have a need we will reconsider the situation differently.”
Need to be a top of our game
Force India believes they need to be on top of their game if they are going to finish ahead of Lotus in the constructors championship. The team have moved up to third in the championship.
The recent strong results have helped and they are currently fifth in the constructors with twenty five points over Lotus. Bob Fernley the Deputy Team Principal isn’t taking anything for granted.
He told Motorsport.com “It’s put some clean air between us, and we need it because Lotus are a good team. It only takes a good weekend for them and we are under pressure again, so we need to be on our game.”
He says thou the team strategy call paid off in Sochi he is aware that Force India does not have the pace to be mixing it right at the front in normal circumstances.
However, its push up the grid has left it in the position where good opportunities are available.
No decision and completely open
Manor’s CEO Graeme Lowdon says the team has not made a final decision on their 2016 line up saying there options are ‘completely open’.
The team look to be on track to make a good step next year after agreeing to an engine deal with Mercedes and a technical partnership with Williams. It has been reported that Mercedes test driver Pascal Wehrlein to drive for the team next season.
Other drivers that are reported to be in the frame are Alex Rossi, Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens are also in contention for a full-time drive. Lowdon says the decision on who will drive for Manor in 2016 will be made towards the end of the ongoing season and is feeling galvanised by his team’s progress over the course of the year.
He says the field is completely open.