Mercedes take steps solve erratic behaviour
Mercedes technical boss James Allison believes that the team has taken steps to get on top of the erratic behaviour of the teams 2017 car, which he says will help the team deliver a much stronger overall package next season.
While Mercedes are on course to seal their fourth back-to-back drivers and constructor’s championships, this season has seen the ango-german team needing to fight a resurgent Ferrari. In addition, at various circuits they have failed to match the Ferrari, with team boss Toto Wolff has frequently labelled a “diva”.
In Singapore and Malaysia, while Mercedes had better weekends, Ferrari gifted them points following the team’s self-destruction at races that they should have won. Mercedes struggled for pace throughout both weekends as the circuits highlighted the weaknesses of the car.
Asked by ESPN, about the unpredictable nature of the team’s car, Allison said “Well it is difficult, but it doesn’t disobey the laws of physics. It is clearly understandable but that does not mean that it is always very easy to get the very best of it.
“It’s been a challenge this year to achieve the results that we have with it, nevertheless we have achieved some pretty decent outcomes with it so it’s not been a bad machine for us.” He says that next season the team wants a car they can get every bit from.
However, he believes that 2019 will be a different challenge because he says all teams will have better understanding of how these cars behave giving everyone a chance to show their true colours.
He added “The overall difficulty to be the quickest will remain the same because the new challenge of refining your current weapon will be the same for everyone.”
Ferrari can win final four races – Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen believes that his Ferrari team can win the final four Grand Prix’s of the season, if the team can cut out their mistakes and get on top of their problems.
Ferrari’s hopes of their first championship win in a decade have all but vanished, as the team now trails Mercedes by one hundred and forty five points, while Sebastian Vettel is fifty-nine points behind Lewis Hamilton. That means the championships could be wrapped up in Austin this weekend.
The reason the teams hopes have vanished is because Vettel and Raikkonen were wiped out on the first lap in Singapore, while in Malaysia Vettel suffered an engine failure in Malaysia that prevented him from doing a timed lap and Raikkonen suffered a similar issue that stopped him from starting the race.
While things did not get much better in Japan, as the Finn took a five-place grid penalty after a crash in final practice. Asked by Motorsport.com, which of the final four races – United States, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi – offered Ferrari the best chance of victory, Raikkonen said: “Any of them, as long as we do everything as well as possible.
“It’s a bit unknown; the tracks are different from each other. So we go every weekend, start from zero and do the best that we can and avoid the issues and mistakes.” Ferrari had a car capable of taking a one-two in Singapore and arguably, Malaysia, while in Japan, it should have pushed Mercedes hard.
However, the combination of driver error, technical issues, and bad luck contributed to Ferrari scoring less than a quarter than what Mercedes have scored.
Essential switch for Saniz
Carlos Sainz says that his late season move to Renault is essential preparation which he needs to perform at his best. Sainz is replacing Jolyon Palmer from Austin after Renault brought him out of his contract.
One reason why Renault decided to bring the Spaniard in early was because Palmer was unable to deliver compared to his teammate Nico Hulkenberg. Also the team in bottom of the fight for fifth position. Sainz says scoring points is his main objective but it will also be key to ensure he goes into 2018 in the best shape possible.
Asked by ESPN, how important it was to secure an early switch, Sainz said: “I think it’s very important. I wouldn’t have minded to finish this season with Toro Rosso but this opportunity gives me a chance to get to know everyone inside the team, get to know my engineers, start to adapt myself to the car and the car to myself.”
“From there start a baseline that hopefully these next four races will help for next year. And if I can also help the team score some points that would be amazing.” Sainz admits it is going to be difficult to adapt and says he wants to be on the pace as soon as possible.
Sainz comfortably beat his teammate Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso and was evenly matched with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen when they were teammates. However, says that he expects to be tested by Hulkenberg, saying “It’s going to be difficult [to beat Hulkenberg] because I have been for 16 driving a car, he has been 16 races driving a car I haven’t driven. So it will take a bit of time to adapt to it.”
However, says he is targeting to be as quick as possible as soon as possible.
Liberty don’t want me at races – Ecclestone
Formula One’s chairman emeritus Bernie Ecclestone has claimed that Liberty Media do not want him attending Grand Prix’s anymore. Liberty ousted Ecclestone in a coup when they took over the sport in January.
American businessman Chase Carey has replaced him as CEO, with Sean Bratches as commercial and Ross Brawn as sporting managing directors respectively. While he was given the honorary role of chairman emeritus, says he no longer has an office at race weekends.
Ecclestone told the Daily Mail “Chase sent a message to one of the girls in the office to tell me that they haven’t got so many offices at the circuits — only what the race promoter gives them.”
“There are three of them [Carey, Bratches and Brawn] so the three offices are being used. So basically they don’t want me to come to races. It would have been just as easy to have said that to me. Anyway, I have obliged them.”
Ecclestone says that he expected to stay as CEO until June/July this year as part of the transition to new ownership. He says he the new owners have done very little to change the sport since they took control.
He says “They haven’t done anything yet as far as I can see. They said they wouldn’t talk, they would act. They said I talked before doing anything. I didn’t. I got things done quietly. All they do is talk..”
Speaking about the title race between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, he said he believes that Hamilton will seal his fourth title in Austin this weekend. Saying “He has driven superbly this season, while Ferrari awoke and then fell asleep.”
Ultras turn pink for breast cancer
Pirelli has turned the ultrasoft tyres pink for this weekend United States Grand Prix as part of the sports push to help raise awareness of breast cancer.
This weekend the sport has organised a number of initiatives to show support for the Susan G Komen breast cancer charity, tyre supplier Pirelli has joined in to help. In a one-off move, the Italian manufacturer announced that it was turning the purple-walled tyres pink for this weekends.
In a short statement Pirelli said “Pirelli is completely behind this key initiative, using its tyres to get the impactful message across. It’s a symbol of solidarity and commitment, as well as a powerful reminder of the importance of the cause. So, this weekend, make sure you think pink.”
The Susan G Komen organisation has helped raise $920million since 1982, and now has a presence in more than 60 countries.
Button describes Hamilton as “a bit wired
Jenson Button says in his new autobiography that he found his former McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton “a bit wired.” In his book called Life at the Limit, he describes Hamilton as “a brilliant, mercurial driver”.
However, he says the 32-year-old was “unpredictable” and he “regretted that despite our similarities, we were never really friends”. Button praises Hamilton for “really coming on over the past few years”.
He added: “He’s matured, become a bit of a statesman and a great representative of the sport.” Button retired from the sport after a one of race in Monaco this season , says he will never race again in F1.
He says the death in 2014 of his father, with whom he was very close and who accompanied him to nearly all his races, had taken the fun out of it. “I’ve been offered drives in F1 but I’m not interested, although I will race in the future. Just not F1. Not without dad.”