F1 Today – 17/09/2021

F1 Today

Hamilton-Verstappen crashes can’t be compared – Masi

FIA race director Michael Masi says Max Verstappen’s penalty for his clash with Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix can’t be compared to the one the Mercedes driver got at Silverstone. On the opening lap of the race, the two championship rivals made contact with Verstappen crashing hard into the wall.

For the Silverstone crash, Hamilton received a ten-second penalty for the accident, but still managed to win the race. The duo clashed again at the Italian GP last weekend, although this time both retired on the spot. The stewards found Verstappen was predominantly to blame for the accident and hit him with a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Russia.

Although the penalty could rule out Verstappen from the fight for victory, Masi believes it can’t be compared with Hamilton’s at Silverstone because giving Verstappen a time penalty at Monza would not have done anything since he had retired.

Masi told Motorsport.com, “I think one of the things that we’ve generally agreed amongst the teams is that a five-second or a 10-second penalty, give or take, is there or thereabouts between the two of them.”

“So you know, you need to look at it on the basis of if they had continued, it would have been the time penalty in the race. However, they didn’t. In Silverstone, you can’t compare them at all, you’ve got two cars taken out in one incident, versus one car taken out in another incident.”

The Australian says that he is not worried about a further escalation in the title fight between Verstappen and Hamilton, leading to more incidents in the remaining races. Masi says that there is a pattern of escalation, depending on which person you’re looking at supporting.


Alonso says Hamilton & Verstappen did “what they should do,”

Fernando Alonso says that both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen did “what they should do,” in their collision at the Italian Grand Prix. The two title rivals crashed into each other when Hamilton re-joined following his pit stop at the first chicane as they fought for the lead.

Although opinion was divided on who was to blame, FIA stewards deemed Verstappen was predominantly at fault and handed him a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Sochi. However, Alonso disagrees, describing it as a racing incident, but accepted the accident looked more serious with Verstappen’s car going airborne and ending on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes.

The Alpine driver told Motorsport.com, “They are there, both champions, and they are always fighting to the limit and today… seems an unfortunate position and corner and kerb, the car jumps a little bit, and then they touch tyre with tyre, and the rubber makes a car fly.”

“But it’s low speed, you know, they are at 30 or 40km/h, there is no danger, there is no nothing. So I don’t think that was a big thing. Silverstone probably yes, but today it was just a racing incident.”

Alonso says that both drivers did what they should do, and touched each other. Describing it as a typical manoeuvre in that chicane, pointing out that Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc as well as Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez, touched in the same way.


Turkey removed from red list

The British government has removed Turkey from the countries red list meaning this year’s Grand Prix can go ahead in three week’s time without UK based personnel facing a mandatory ten-day hotel quarantine.

From Monday 4 October, countries will no longer be divided into green, amber, or red lists. The amber and green lists are being merged into a “Rest of World” list (ROW for short).

The race was postponed in May after it was added as the replacement for Montreal, two weeks later the British government added it to the red list making the race unviable for the teams.


Schumacher “would give up everything” to talk with his father

Mick Schumacher says “would give up everything” just for the chance to talk to his father Michael about motor racing. His father seven-time champion is regarded as one of the best drivers of all time but suffered serious head and brain injuries in a skiing accident in the French resort of Grenoble in December 2013.

Updates on his condition have been rare as he continues rehabilitation at the family’s Switzerland home. On Thursday, Netflix released a documentary about his life with his wife Corinna said her husband is “different, but here”.

In his first interview about his father since making his debut with Haas this season, Mick spoke poignantly about his father and his wish that they could discuss their shared career path. Mick said, “I think dad and me, we would understand each other now in a different way now.”

“Simply because we speak a similar language, the language of motorsport. And that we would have so much more to talk about. That’s where my head is most of the time. Thinking that it would be cool that would be. I would give up everything just for that.”

Ahead of his debut in Bahrain in March, Mick described his father as his ‘hero.’

The documentary features unseen footage from Schumacher’s career and previously unreleased family films. Many of them show the Schumacher family together.

Mick said these are the memories he carries with him today. Saying, “When I think about the past now, the images that pop up in my head are usually the four of us having fun. I see images of us driving a go-kart in the meadow.”

“I see images of us when we’re out and about with the ponies, sitting on the carriage. Really many moments that resonate with joy.”


Aston Martin confirm Vettel and Stroll

Aston Martin has confirmed that Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll will remain with the team. The four-time champion had an option to remain with the team next year and has now confirmed he wants to continue with the team next season.

The German joined Aston Martin following six years at Ferrari, the last two of which were difficult as he faced the challenge of new team-mate Charles Leclerc, and then a final season which he started knowing the team had already signed his replacement.

His hopes of winning a fifth title appeared to disintegrate at Hockenheim in 2018, when he crashed out while leading in the wet. Over the next two and a half years, mistakes became more common and damaged his reputation.

Vettel said, “The look of the new generation of Formula 1 cars is very different and the new technical regulations should give us cars that can race much more closely than recently. More exciting racing will be great for the drivers as well as for the fans. I believe in the strength of our new growing team, so I am already looking forward to 2022.”

He has had an up-and-down 2021 season, taking a podium at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix amid a mix of both strong and unconvincing performances. Team owner Lawrence Stroll, father of Vettel’s team-mate, said earlier this week that he was “delighted” with Vettel.

Stroll added on Thursday: “Both Lance and Sebastian have delivered some excellent performances. They have had more than their fair share of bad luck, but in 2022 we are delighted to be continuing with such an excellent blend of youthful talent and experienced expertise.”


Zhou favourite for Alfa Romeo seat

Guanyu Zhou is reported to be the favourite for the second Alfa Romeo seat, although team principal Fred Vasseur says no decision has been made. The Chinese Driver has had a strong season in F2 but has left the Alpine Academy, making him the most likely driver to join Valtteri Bottas next season.

According to Motorsport.com, its sources suggest that a deal is all but agreed, and now just needs to be signed off. However, Vasseur insists that Alfa Romeo remains open-minded about what it does for next year, and it especially wants a wait a little bit to see how the F2 season ends.

For as well as Zhou being on its radar, Alfa Romeo also wants to check on the progress of Sauber academy driver Theo Pourchaire. Meanwhile Antonio Giovinazzi is hoping that his recent strong performances will see him retained.

Asked by the website, if Zhou was on Alfa Romeo’s shortlist, Vasseur said: “Zhou is doing a good job in F2. For sure he is on the list. But it’s not only due to the fact that he is Chinese, that he is a frontrunner in F2. He won some races and I think every single team in F1 is looking after him.”

“But we have the first four events [of F2, that] went a bit different. Now they are coming back to more standard tracks. And the young guys in F2, they have more experience and then we will see in two or three events where we are and what is the evolution of every single driver in F2.”

Zhou is currently second in the championship, after Oscar Piastri’s victory in the feature race at the Italian Grand Prix saw the South African take a fifteen point lead in the driver’s championship.

While Pourchaire has been strong in F2 this season, Vasseur has suggested that his lack of experience in F1 machinery, having only completed one test in an old car at the Hungaroring last month, could be a factor working against him. He says a decision will be made after Sochi.


Neale to leave McLaren

McLaren Racing managing director Jonathan Neale who has been with the team for two decades will leave the team this year. Neale originally joined McLaren as its F11 operations director in 2001, before moving up to become the team’s managing director in 2005.

He played a hugged part in Lewis Hamilton’s first world championship in 2008. Neale has been one of the great survivors despite several coups and management changes since 2015, remaining in the post and often represented McLaren in team meetings, including in F1’s Strategy Group.

As team boss Ron Dennis’ second tenure came to an end in 2016, Neale stepped away from any direct involvement with the day-to-day running of the F1 outfit as he became chief operating officer of the McLaren Group.

He has continued in that role, which encompasses McLaren Racing, McLaren Automotive and McLaren Applied Technologies, until now. McLaren has confirmed, however, that Neale will be stepping down at an unspecified point later in the year.

The change comes after years of changes to the business as it attempted to recover from years at the back of the grid, which hit the groups finances before the pandemic. In July the McLaren Group announced that it had been given a £550 million boost of fresh investment from Saudi Arabian backers.

MSP acquired a fifteen percent stake in McLaren initially, but could increase its shareholding to a maximum of thirty-three percent by the end of 2022. As well as attracting new investors, McLaren also agreed this year a sale and leaseback deal for its McLaren Technology Centre to provide it with a boost of capital.


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