Marchionne repeats quit threats
Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has repeated the threat to pull the Italian manufacturer out of the sport again, after hearing Liberty’s long term plans for the sport which were presented by the sports owners Liberty Media.
Until now, the team has been tight lipped by the outlined five point plan which was presented, but now Marchionne has refused to back down on the threat to walk away. Speaking to shareholders, the Italian said “If F1 becomes more of a spectacle than a sport, if we go in the direction of NASCAR races, then Ferrari will leave,” he said at a shareholders’ meeting, reported by AFP. “If there are any proposals that distort F1, I think Ferrari will pull out.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who has warned to take Marchionne’s statements seriously, called the Liberty proposal a “0starting point of dialogue” but said many of the finer details needed clarifying. Marchionne says it is those details which will ultimately influence Ferrari’s long-term decision.
Marchionne added “We are working with Liberty Media to find acceptable solutions. We had a proposal from Liberty 10 days ago, we expect to know the details and then we will make choices in the interest of Ferrari.”
Verstappen Sr’s disappointment over son’s driving
Max Verstappen’s father and former F1 driver Jos, says that his son needs to think more in heat of battle, following his clash with Sebastian Vettel during the Chinese Grand Prix.
Speaking on Dutch TV Jos admitted that it was Max’s move which led to Vettel’s spin which he was awarded a ten-second penalty for, he says that his son needs to avoid in future. He told Dutch TV Ziggo “The overtake on Vettel really wasn’t on. That wasn’t possible. It was an error of judgement.”
“In some circumstances, Max just has to think more. I don’t want him to change his driving style. He passed two people at the start. He did that perfectly. That’s what we all want to see. But we don’t want to see these kinds of actions. He needs to have it under control. He needs to think.
He says that Max knows that these incidents can’t happen and says the media magnified the incident that he didn’t think that there was a problem with the incident that he had with Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain.
Saying it’s a racing incident and they’re both taking the blame. He did it really well. He has to take more risks with his Red Bull because the top speed is lower than the Mercedes.”
Asked about the treatment by the media, Jos said “Max is being put under the magnifying glass, also because of his age. If you look at the last race in China, then [Fernando] Alonso pushed Vettel wide, and not just a little bit. And that’s not being talked about.
“Max did that to a lesser degree and that’s all people talk about. At least he let Hamilton live. Max is being butchered by the press and I don’t think that’s correct.”
Red Bull win “good motivation” for McLaren – Alonso
Fernando Alonso says that the win for Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo at the Chinese Grand Prix is “good motivation” for McLaren, but admits the team needs to do a better job.
Ricciardo’s Red Bull team uses the same engine as McLaren, while the Australian won the race from sixth, the Spaniard finished the race seventh and thirty seconds off the pace. Alonso conceded Sunday’s result leaves McLaren with no place to hide.
When asked by Motorsport.com, if he was disappointed he didn’t win the race, Alonso said: “Well, I think it was a little bit too optimistic for us to think about the win. But it showed us the potential of the power unit.”
“It gives us good motivation that with this power unit we will be able to fight if we do a good job on the chassis side. We are not quite there yet. We need to close that gap and we need to work harder on the chassis side.”
Despite the lack of pace, Alonso currently is sixth in the championship and believes that he has had a positive start. Saying “We know that we have to improve, no doubts. We can’t hide that. But at the same time, we are doing our job on Sundays and scoring as many points as possible for the team.”
However, says the team needs to continue to improve the car and that they are not in the top group yet.
Recent races show “erratic” decisions – Wolff
Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff says that the excitement of the last to Grand Prix’s in Bahrain and China, have shown that the sport’s decision making to be “a little bit erratic.”
While the sport is looking at the long-term picture with regulation changes for 2021, the teams and Liberty are also looking at tweaks to increase overtaking with changes to aero regulations for 2019, as a direct reaction to an uneventful opening race in Australia.
But the Melbourne race was then followed by entertaining races in Bahrain and China, and Wolff sees this as evidence that F1 had overreacted in the aftermath of the season opener.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, the Austrian said: “It shows that we are a little bit erratic with our decisions, and one race makes people try to do things that maybe are sometimes not necessary.”
“This is how Formula One always was. [In China] we had a first stint that you could have judged as being boring. And we had a second half of the race, a second 60 percent of the race, that was unbelievable motor racing.”
Asked if it was the domination of the sport by Mercedes, jokingly he replied “I wish we were back in the past and had that situation…”
Force India team principal Bob Fernley agreed that changes should be properly considered, while also suggesting that the sport should take the opportunity to introduce elements of Liberty’s 2021 package earlier, when possible.
“I think we should let it roll a little bit longer, and see where we go. I think there are other things that we could look at and start introducing leading towards the 2021 programme.”
Teams go for ultras for Baku
Tyre supplier Pirelli has announced the driver’s tyre allocations for next weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. For the race on the streets of the country’s capital Baku, the manufacturer has gone on step softer than last year with the ultrasofts, supersoft and soft being nominated.
Both Mercedes, Toro Rosso’s, Force India’s and Haas’s have gone for nine ultrasofts. Lewis Hamilton, both Force India’s have split the remain four sets to give them two sets of supersofts and softs. While Valtteri Bottas and both of the Haas’s have three sets of supersofts and a soft.
Both Ferrari’s and Sauber’s have ten ultrasofts, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc going for supersoft and two softs. While their teammates Kimi Raikkonen and Marcus Ericsson have two supersofts and a soft.
Both Red Bull’s have eight ultras, three supersofts and two softs. Both Williams has gone for eight ultras, but Lance Stroll has an extra supersoft and a single soft, while teammate Sergey Sirotkin has three supersofts and two softs.
Both Renaults have seven ultras, four supersofts and two soft. Both Toro Rosso’s have eight ultras, three supersofts and a soft. Fernando Alonso has nine ultrasofts, three supersofts and his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne has ten ultrasofts, two supersofts both have a single soft