F1 Today – 17/05/2021

F1 Today

Hamilton and Verstappen crash is a “matter of time”

McLaren F1 CEO Zak Brown believes it is only a matter of time before Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen clash on track. The Mercedes and Red Bull drivers have fought very closely in the opening four races of the season, despite going wheel to wheel when fighting for wins this season they have managed to keep it clean so far.

However, Brown thinks that the intensity of their rivalry makes it inevitable that at some point there will be a controversial coming together between them. peaking at the launch of McLaren’s Gulf livery for the Monaco Grand Prix, he said, “I think rivalries are great for the sport and having those two guys go at it is good.”

“Hopefully, at some point over the course a year, that creates an opportunity for us, because I think it is just a matter of time until they both are determined to not let up in to Turn One and neither come out.”

Brown thinks that the head-to-head between Hamilton and Verstappen is a huge positive for F1, and has helped the sport see the best of both drivers. Adding, “I think it’s great for F1. Lewis has had a pretty easy ride out, apart from his one year with Nico [Rosberg].”

The American believes it is a great rivalry, with Verstappen taking the next step, but Hamilton is a smart driver waiting to strike with his experience coming through. Lando Norris who has at some races has had the best seat to watch, says they have been fun to watch, and offer an interesting view into the different approaches from both drivers.

Norris added “Max goes for those opportunities, like Turn One. It was quite a risky thing. If Lewis had turned in, they would have crashed. So Max was pretty committed with his move. But they are the opportunities Max needs to take at this stage because they [Red Bull] are a bit slower.”

 

Reports of a new partnership for Hamilton

Sir Lewis Hamilton has started working in partnership with renowned sports and media talent manager Penni Thow according to Motorsport.com. The partnership is expected to mainly focus on the development of Hamilton’s Project 44 business.

Recent ventures include the launch of The Hamilton Commission, created to improve representation of black people in UK motorsport, and establishing the X44 team which competes in the Extreme E all-electric off-road racing championship.

Thow will work with Hamilton to build the project which will also support the seven-times champions racing career, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and entertainment pursuits while the Mercedes driver focuses on his Formula 1 career.

A source close to P44 said: “Lewis is committed to and focused on his racing career for a number of years ahead but through this partnership, is able to build and grow his business for the longer term.”

Canadian born and New York-based, Thow is the founder and chief executive officer of Copper, an investment and talent advisory firm that specialises in entertainment, media, fashion, sports, technology, and philanthropy. Before that Copper Thow was instrumental in building SB Projects as its executive vice president.

She worked alongside American music mogul Scooter Braun, who is best known for managing artists Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and J Balvin and more. SB Projects has recently been sold to h Ithaca Holdings in a $1 billion deal to South Korean firm HYBE.

Thow also helped launch the One Love Manchester benefit concert – led by Grande in response to the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing which raised in excess of £17 million for the British Red Cross.

 

Ferrari wants simpler solution for F1’s track limits

Ferrari has called on the FIA to use “simpler” solutions for track limits as they believe that white lines are not the answer to the current problem. In the opening four races of this year, there have been a number of incidents that has involved the policing of track limits.

The bulk of the track limits complaints have come from Red Bull, who saw Max Verstappen lose out on a race win, a pole position and a fastest lap because of track limits violations in the opening four races. In Barcelona the Dutchman said that the sport should look at using a “hard limit” at circuits instead of white lines, making it clearer for drivers and fans.

Following a meeting between teams, Liberty Media and the FIA the matter has been referred for review by the working group on track limits.

Charles Leclerc agreed that a kerb would be a better way for track limits to be policed moving forward, feeling it was hard for drivers to properly judge where the car was when using white lines.

He said, “Personally I’d like the kerb to be the track limit, because we can actually feel the vibrations of the kerb. With the white line, we are so low in the cars, it is very difficult to judge whether you are two centimetres off the white line or on the white line.”

“So I like to have the kerbs, but I just think that whatever is in place should be consistent and I think this we all agree between the drivers, that we just want something to be consistent and the same for everywhere.”

However, the biggest challenge when it comes to installing new kerbs and gravel traps at circuits is to ensure they can host a variety of categories beyond F1. Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz understand having gravel or grass as the track limits was not possible at all tracks, but wanted to see more kerbs used.

Sainz said “I think the FIA and everyone is realising that the direction that these modern tracks are following is probably not the ideal one for track limits. In the end, it’s making their life very, very difficult. So yeah, respecting the safety standards, for me the best solution would be put down gravel or grass after the exit kerbs.

 

Years away from multi-team title fight – Alonso

Fernando Alonso says he is expecting it to take “two or three years” past 2022 before next years regulation changes to allow multiple teams to battle for the title. The changes which were due to come in this year, but were postponed by a year because of the pandemic.

When the two times champion announced his return to the sport early last year, he highlighted the changes to the regulations aimed at shaking up the championship’s competitive order as a key factor behind his decision.

When asked by Motorsport.com if the impact of minor rule changes – such as the tweaks to the rear floor rules, on the 2020-2021 pecking order encouraged him that multiple teams could be fighting for titles next year when the wholesale changes arrive, Alonso said: “In terms of fighting for the championship and other possibilities, [it’s] difficult to know.

“I think the first year [of new rules], there is always one team that gets something extra when there is a new regulation set, that interprets the rules a little bit different and maybe get an advantage. But, hopefully, after two or three years, that new set of regulations that comes in 2022 will [mean] very close action between many teams and is better for the future.”

Alonso says he thinks that the new regulation covers all the clever things as many as possible, with certain parts of the cars being standardised for all the teams to try and create closer competition.

Although the F1 field has closed up considerably since the end of 2020, the leading positions have still been dominated by just the Mercedes and Red Bull cars so far this season.

When discussing the idea that 2021 was a preparation year ahead of the rules reset for his Alpine team, Alonso said taking that approach was “difficult” because “every weekend you are on a racetrack, you are just a competitive person and you want to deliver and you want to race and you want to perform well”.

He believes that everyone on the grid accepts this was a preparation year as well as a test year for 2022, with things like the sprint races.

 

Grosjean makes IndyCar debut

Romain Grosjean took his first IndyCar pole and finished second on his debut at the Indianapolis Grand Prix. The Frenchman made was 0.126 seconds faster than Josef Newgarden.

Grosjean’s F1 career ended in a horrific accident at the Bahrain Grand Prix in November, but will make a one-off return for a demonstration run at the French Grand Prix in June.

Saturday’s race was won by Dutch driver Rinus VeeKay, who pulled a three-wide move on Alex Palou, Colton Herta, and Pato O’Ward in what is quickly becoming a changing of the guard in IndyCar. Grosjean reclaimed the lead when VeeKay pitted, setting up a potential second showdown.

However, Grosjean then lost the lead of the race to VeeKay following a pit stop, to finish runner up five seconds ahead.

Grosjean led a race-high 44 laps and finished second for his first podium finish since 2015 in Formula One. The Frenchman survived a fiery crash in Bahrain last November that left him with severe scarring on his hands and marked the end of his F1 career.

He won the pole for the race in just his third IndyCar start – his first pole in 10 years – and the crowd at Indy cheered at the fence for him following his finish.

 

McLaren unveils retro livery for Monaco

McLaren will race with a one-off livery following a deal with one of its sponsors Gulf Oil at this weekends Monaco Grand Prix. The British team have revealed a reworked version of one of motorsport’s most iconic and legendary liveries in the Principality.

The Gulf Oil company returned to the team as a strategic partner in July 2020, having first been associated with the Bruce McLaren-founded team in the 1960s. The Gulf livery was famously raced by Ford and Porsche in sportscars, with the latter’s 917 also the car that Steve McQueen drove in the 1971 film Le Mans.

McLaren ran the iconic colours on the way to finishing second at Le Mans in 1997, but Monaco will be the first time the scheme has been used by anyone in F1. Its drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo will also have one-off race suits in the same colour scheme as well as retro helmets, which will be raffled of for the mental health charity and partner Mind.

CEO Zak Brown said, “This will be McLaren’s homage to Gulf’s celebrated race car design We’re enormous fans of brave and bold design, and the striking Gulf blue is among the most loved liveries in racing, a celebrated piece of culture which transcends the world of motorsport.

“Design has always been important to McLaren – you see this in everything we do from our return to papaya to our stunning headquarters, the McLaren Technology Centre. We’re excited to exhibit this as a team and celebrate our proud association with Gulf in Monaco.”

The new livery will make its debut on Thursday during first practice.

 

Russell “Very close” to Hamilton in early career

Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson believes George Russell is achieving “very close” to Sir Lewis Hamilton’s early career performances and “has the potential” to emulate his subsequent success.

Robson worked with Hamilton when he made his debut with McLaren in 2007 before the seven-times champion went on to win his first world title the following season. Speaking to Motorsport.com, after the seven-times champion claimed his hundredth pole in Barcelona he explained how it had been clear from early in Hamilton’s time with McLaren that there was “something” he “always had” that suggested the Briton had potential to succeed in motorsport.

Robson also said he had seen similar traits in Russell, a junior driver for Hamilton’s Mercedes operation and regularly tipped to follow in his footsteps when he first met Russell ahead of his rookie F1 season in 2019.

He explained “I think there are definitely some similarities there, and they were obvious from the first time I met George and we ran him in the simulator in Grove. Then we went up and ran him around the airfield in a road car.

“And to do it against some fairly impressive teammates along the way as well [is impressive]. I’ve obviously not worked with him for quite a few years, but it’s something he’s always had, I think.”

“There is just that something about him. That special quality that you can’t really define.  That was obvious right from when he was just a kid and [McLaren] took him testing at Elvington [airfield, for a straight-line aerodynamic test run] – going up and down the runway.”

Robson says that Hamilton got bored stiff from running up and down a runway where most were just chuffed to bits to be in an F1 car.

 

Reutemann out of intensive care

Twelve-time Grand Prix winner, Carlos Reutemann, has left intensive care and been moved to a general ward care in Rosario, according to the latest reports from Argentine media.

Reutemann was transferred from the Santa Fe Hospital to Rosario’s Sanatorio Parque earlier this month after repeated episodes of internal bleeding due to a digestive haemorrhage. He is reported to be stable a week ago, before suffering another haemorrhage the following day, after which it was decided to perform an enteroscopy.

An improvement in Reutemann’s condition was reported on Wednesday, with a medical bulletin saying the politician and former F1 racer is “lucid” and has not shown any further digestive bleeding after Tuesday’s procedure. Yesterday La Capital reported that Reutemann’s ‘s condition has improved, and he has been moved out of ICU.

It said, “This morning the national senator and former governor Carlos Reutemann, who has been hospitalized in Rosario since Saturday, May 8, after being in intensive care for several days, he was transferred to the general ward.”

In a ten year career between 1972 and 1982, the Argentine took part in a hundred and forty-six Grand Prix with Brabham, Ferrari, Williams and Lotus. In 1981, Reutemann came within one point of the world title having led for much of the season, losing out in the end to Brazilian Nelson Piquet.

He also finished third in the championship on three occasions in 1975, 1978 and 1980. Following his retirement, he went on to make two World Rally Championship starts, Reutemann turned his attention to politics and has served in Argentina’s senate since 2003.

He also served two terms as governor of his local state of Santa Fe and was even offered to run for the Argentinian presidency in 2003 but rejected the candidacy.

 

Baku not concerned about Miami in June 2022

Organisers of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix say they no concerns about adding the Miami Grand Prix to the calendar next June and a rising race count. The countries capital Baku will host its fifth grand Prix next month after being cancelled due to the pandemic last year.

F1 announced last month that the Miami Grand Prix would be joining the calendar in 2022, and is anticipated to be held in June, potentially paired with Canada. Baku City Circuit executive director Arif Rahimov said the event promoters had zero concerns about Miami’s addition to the calendar and its impact on the Azerbaijan race, saying that even a back-to-back would be possible.

Rahimov told Motorsport.com, “Being close to us in terms of being in June, we’ve flown from Baku all the way to Canada before. So doing Baku-Miami is not further to race, it’s almost the same distance. We’ve done it before.”

“If they’re in June, they can be back-to-back with Canada, which is logistically possible and not extremely complicated. It’s even less complicated than doing Baku-Canada or Baku-Miami.” He said he didn’t know about next years calendar because so many things are changing.

Rahimov says he thinks that being close to the races in North America could be difficult because there were so many back-and-forths about this year’s race, about all the new things that would be in place.

F1 is yet to announce its plans for next year’s calendar, but is edging closer and closer to a total of 25 races that had been floated by Liberty Media as a target in recent years. This has created concerns amongst teams about burn out and possible saturation it could cause, but Rahimov said he felt no present concerns for Azerbaijan.

Rahimov said, “For live crowds, it depends on the regions where they’re going to do the race. If we’re going to have 25 races and we’re going to add five races in the States, I don’t have many spectators coming from the States or that part of the world anyway. If we’re going to have five races added in the Middle East, that’ll be a problem for us I guess.”

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.