Renault unfairly dependent on Hulkenberg
Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul says the team reliance on Nico Hulkenberg is “almost unfair” and that Jolyon Palmer “has to deliver” by scoring points.
The Englishman who is in his second season of Formula One has not scored any points, while his German team-mate has been in the points in four of the last five races. This has called speculation about Palmer’s long-term future.
When asked by Autosport, if Palmer was under treat by a replacement, Abiteboul said “No one is safe in F1. F1 is not an environment where anyone can say loudly, ‘I’m safe.’”
“To a certain degree, there are two questions. There is Jo, and there is a second driver. Right now my focus is on Jo. Jo has to deliver.”
“What would happen then, I don’t want to elaborate on that, and even further, who would be stepping in, because that’s absolutely not the point for today.” He says the team has a point scoring car but is very dependent on Hulkenberg for points and that is unfair.
Adding “When Nico is out of the game, including for reasons beyond his control like [in Monaco] when he had his gearbox failure, we struggle to finish in the points, despite a number of cars that were also not finishing the race.”
Abiteboul has targeted sixth in the constructors but says to achieve that they need Palmer to be in the points. He concedes that Palmer had endured some bad luck in the early races, losing valuable track time in Renault’s RS17.
A great way to lose money – Hyundai
South Korean car giant Hyundai has ruled out entering Formula One, calling the sport ‘a great way to lose money.’
Speaking at a media event sub-brand, its boss, Albert Biermann, was scathing of F1’s ability to shed money. He said “Formula 1 is like burning money. There are more interesting ways of burning money.”
Top F1 teams such as Ferrari, Mercedes-AMG and Red Bull each spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on the sport.
Formula One can be a great marketing tool, but it comes with risks as money doesn’t lead to success on the track. However, it comes with rewards should it pay off.
Honda’s return to Formula One has cost millions, but results haven’t come to McLaren and the relationship between the two appears to be at breaking point.
Malaysia would return if racing improved
The promoter of the Malaysian Grand Prix says he would consider bringing the race back if racing improved. This year’s race will be the last after the organisers came to an arrangement with new owners Liberty Media to terminate its deal a year early.
Last year the countries government asked the deal be terminated early because they were not prepared to give their financial backing to the race.
Asked by Motorsport.com, if he would welcome F1 back in the future, Sepang International Circuit chief executive Dato’ Razlan Razali “Of course – the circuit is there. If it ticks all the boxes, we will take it back. We want to see how exciting F1 is again. The new owners need to take back control of F1 and the racing.
“Bernie [Ecclestone] lost a bit of control with the FIA. The drastic regulation change for 2014, with the new V6 engines, was the beginning of the downward spiral of F1.” Razali says that racing has become less exciting and has less impact.
Last year’s race, under half the race day tickets were sold and that was despite Sepang being the cheapest on the calendar. Razali says the addition of Singapore in 2008, impacted on corporate client income.
When asked if alternating with Singapore was an option, Razali said before he took over the option was refused by Sepang, but if the option was offered again, he would take it.
Razali hinted at the possibility of Sepang acting as an F1 testing venue, but he is unsure there would be enough interest. Saying “I’m exploring the idea of testing. But I’m not sure if fans will want to come and watch cars testing. It would also be an issue of cost.”
Force India should have used team orders
Force India has admitted the team should have imposed team orders and switched Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon in the closing stages of last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
The pair were chasing down the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages of Sunday’s race, with Ocon feeling he was on better tyres and asked the team to ask Perez to let him past. But, he refused.
While the team didn’t go as far as imposing team orders, chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer say it may have done better if they did impose team orders. He told Autosport “Hindsight is a wonderful thing because you have more information.”
“What I would have done is perhaps swap them earlier – just after the Ferraris pitted. Do it then and it is easy. You can get your tyres back up to temperature and there is no risk from behind.”
“Then, if it doesn’t happen, you still have time to swap back. We didn’t do that, we started discussing it a bit late and then after it was too late.” Szafnauer says the pit wall debate was complicated because of concerns about losing time in a swap, and the risk of dropping tyre temperatures.
Carey to start 24 Hours of Le Mans
Formula One CEO Chase Carey will be the official starter for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans which is being seen as a move which is being seen as “demonstrating new ties forged” between different series.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg won the race in 2015 but was unable to defend his crown as last year’s race clashed with the Grand Prix of Europe. Some accused then F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, of doing it on purpose.
However, earlier this year meetings with Moto GP owners Dorna and Liberty Media have made it clear they want greater co-operation with other international series, including avoiding calendar clashes where possible.
The president circuit operator Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), Pierre Fillon said “I’m delighted that Chase Carey immediately accepted the invitation to be 2017 race starter. By starting the race side by side, we will be demonstrating the new ties forged between the ACO and Formula One.”
He added, “Chase Carey as head of Formula One, the time has come to work together on the sporting calendar, to ensure fans can follow the Grand Prix and endurance racing seasons and enjoy both disciplines to the full.”