F1 Today – 18/09/2020

F1 Today

Sainz “little angry” about Perez being dropped

Carlos Sainz says he is a “little angry” in the way that Sergio Perez has had to make way at Racing Point for the incoming Sebastian Vettel. Although Perez had a long-term deal at Racing Point, the team activated an exit clause in the contract to allow it to cut the contract short and replace him with Vettel.

The move has been controversial because the Mexican was key in helping the team survive when it went into ad administration as Force India in 2018, plus he has shown strong performances throughout his time there.

Sainz says the fact that Perez has been dropped, with his teammate Lance Stroll’s position never under consideration, proves that being fast is not everything in F1.

The Spaniard told Motorsport.com, “What Checo shows is that in F1 not everything is your performance. Judging on purely performance, there is no reason why he should leave Racing Point or they don’t want him. But in F1, there are other interests, things that come with performance that are very important.”

He says that Perez’s exit from the team is a real shame, considering that he practically saved from bankruptcy and that they finally get producing a good car for him.

Sainz remains hopeful, despite the limited chances that Perez can find a seat and continue in F1. Saying, “It makes me a little angry because I have a good relationship with him and I respect him a lot as a driver. It reminds you that this sport is like that, that it gives you very little return.”

He says that the situation with Perez reminds you that the sport can be very political and that performance on the track can have nothing to in deciding your future.

Daniel Ricciardo, who is replacing Sainz at McLaren next year, said he felt it was not too late for Perez to find a race seat for 2021.

Saying “He’s certainly worthy of a seat, to say the least. As a competitor, I rate him, and as a person, I get on with him. It’s obviously fairly late, but it’s not crazy late. I think he’s still got time. What are we September? Yeah, he’s still got time.”


Vettel “perfect fit” for Aston Martin – Szafnauer

Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer says Sebastian Vettel is the “perfect fit” to push Aston Martin forwards from 2021 because he’s in his F1 “prime” and is “highly motivated”.

The four-times champions future was secured last week, when it was announced that he would replace  Sergio Perez at the team currently known as Racing Point, with Vettel hoping to breathe life into that project and indeed his own career.

Vettel’s time at Ferrari has seen him fail to secure a fifth world title, as they struggled to take the fight to Mercedes. Speaking to Sky Sports, Szafnauer said he was confident Vettel will bounce back – stating that he “needs a bit of love” and it is “our job to put our arm around him”.

In an interview with Sky Sports and published on Thursday, Szafnauer said he was confident Vettel will bounce back – stating that he “needs a bit of love” and it is “our job to put our arm around him”.

He added later on in the weekend, “He’s 33 years old, he’s still in the prime of his career. He’s got a vast amount of experience, he’s still highly motivated to do well.”

“He works really hard and we believe with our team, what we want to take it to, and the level that we want to get to – Seb’s a perfect fit for that. I’m confident that he’ll race well.”

Szafnauer also says it was always going to be Perez who made way for Vettel, explaining that Stroll didn’t have a clause in his contract. Also that the young age of the Canadian played its part too.


Williams to benefit from Dorilton’s mindset

Williams acting team principal Simon Roberts says the team can benefit from the competitive mindset that Dorilton Capital has put to use in risk-taking financial markets.

Roberts believes that Dorilton’s understanding of strategy and risk-taking in other fields can be applied to the team as it seeks to improve its competitiveness. He joined the team as managing in May, and he took over his current role after the departure of the Williams family last week.

He previously worked at McLaren for many years, and also had a spell at Force India. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Roberts said, “They’ve been around in the factory for just over a couple of weeks now.”

“So I’ve spent quite a bit of time with them. And we’re looking at all of it, we’re reviewing everything, they’re really interested in what we do. This is all new to them, which is great.

“There are quite a lot of similarities, which I hadn’t appreciated until I talked to them about the competitiveness in the financial world – which I don’t really understand!”

Roberts believes there is a lot of translation from the business world, in areas like thinking, strategy and risk, in F1 which will give Dorilton an insight.

Asked about Dorilton’s knowledge of the sport, he said: “All sorts of people buy and run F1 teams, I think this is yet another approach. If you look at their other companies that they own, they have a portfolio of companies, they are very successful, all long-term projects. And that’s how they’re talking to us. And that’s what they expect from us.”

He says that Dorilton has a big portfolio which is both long term and very successful. Their job is according to Roberts to help and guide the team while Williams gets on with the design and building of the cars.

Although, he says that it is only the process of deciding how to take the team forward is only just getting underway. Roberts also says they need to be careful with the budget cap coming in next season.

Adding “They’re talking really seriously about how this is long term, this isn’t a quick fix. Don’t just come in and wave a magic wand around today. They’re really keen on working with us and, and establishing what are the right things to do. So very early days, we’re just putting the first plans in place.”


Red Bull to update Verstappen on Honda problems

Red Bull says its planning to update Max Verstappen on what has been done with engine supplier Honda to avoid a repeat of the problems that left him angry at the Tuscan Grand Prix.

Ahead of next weekend’s race in Sochi, team principal Christian Horner is to hold discussions with Verstappen, Honda and the team as they bid to recover from these technical problems which has cost him momentum in the championship.

At Monza, Verstappen had to park his car after Honda spotted an issue in the data, and then the following weekend at Mugello the Dutchman dropped back into the pack when he suddenly lost power after an initial good getaway off the line.

He was subsequently pitched into the gravel trap at the second corner.

Writing on Red Bull’s website, Horner said, “This is what you get with this f**king shit show. Max’s frustration at another DNF is totally understandable.”

“From the very first lap in Mugello, he was on it. We had a very fast car and some real progress has been made with the balance of the car. That is what was so galling for him. In the heat of the moment when you have gone from the adrenaline of the start to the disappointment of ending up in the gravel trap, it is only natural to vent on the radio.”

Horner says the team believed at Mugello they could have taken the fight to Mercedes, but it was going to be hard to beat Lewis Hamilton which never materialised.

Horner stressed that Verstappen’s desire for success is what makes him so successful. Saying, “It was the second race in a row and a huge frustration for him because he is hungry and wants it so badly. If he did not have that hunger, he would not be the driver he is, and the one that we all want to watch fight for victories each weekend.”

The Red Bull boss also is expecting next week in Sochi, that Mercedes will be dominant again, but they believe if Mercedes instruct their drivers to stay off the kerbs. They can be competitive in Sochi and put them under a little bit of pressure, because that is when things can happen.


Alpha Tauri to be boosted by wind tunnel move

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes that sister team Alpha Tauri to be boosted significantly when it switches to Red Bull’s wind tunnel in 2021 will be a significant boost for the Italian team.

Alpha Tauri currently uses its own tunnel in Bicester and is the last F1 team still operating with a 50% scale model rather than the 60% specification used by all of its rivals. The Italian team currently has over a hundred people working on its aero programme.

Restrictions on wind tunnel usage that come into force next year, when teams will be switching their aero R&D programmes to the new 2022 regulations, will free up capacity in Red Bull’s tunnel in Bedford that will allow Alpha Tauri to use it as well.

Earlier in the year, Alpha Tauri technical director Jody Edgington suggested that the move was being discussed, and it has now been confirmed. Recently Horner said Red Bull now sees Alpha Tauri as a “sister team rather than a junior team”, and stressed that the sharing of the tunnel is another step in that process.

He told Sky Sports, “Obviously Alpha Tauri is a rebranded team for this year. I think their aspirations are beyond were Toro Rosso’s were. We have a synergy project within the regulations.”

“For example, the sharing of the wind tunnel will happen for the first time next year, which makes complete sense from a financial perspective. That’s what I was referring too.”

Speaking about the change of approach from Red Bull, Horner’s Alpha Tauri counterpart Franz Tost believes that the change will be a positive and showed the benefits of synergies between the two teams.

Horner added “Currently we are the only team using a 50% wind tunnel and Bedford is 60%. Which obviously will bring us an advantage, because you can make much more valid measurements.”

“The synergy process, we did it quite successfully in the last few years for saving money and improving performance, because Red Bull Technology is on a very high level from the technical standard.”


One new positive case of Coronavirus

The FIA has confirmed that there was one new case of Coronavirus in the week to 17th September.

The FIA says that 1,938 tests were carried out in the week down from 5,589 in the previous week, due to the break between races, but cases remain stable with one case being reported every week in the last month.


The Week Ahead

Next week mark’s the first flyway race of the season in Sochi, this is a circuit we know suits Mercedes they have been unbeaten in Russia since 2014. The main focus I think will be on Daniil Kvyat ahead of his home race and following Pierre Gasly’s win at Monza, there could be extra pressure.

In recent weeks, we have seen very busy Thursday’s with driver moves, I am not expecting that as we are now, I think waiting for Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to make there moves. But, pressure may be mounting on Red Bull, despite insisting that they will not replace Alex Albon.

Ferrari I think need to do some damage limitation now we have had that bold statement from Louis Camilleri and had time to think about it ‘Ferrari not winning until 2022’, I think there will be questions about that. The team I think has changed its media relations.

The spin will focus on the midfield battle, that’s where most of the headlines are being made at the moment.

Now, the focus of Liberty Media is trying to put together a calendar for 2021 although we are expecting a ‘normal’ season. I think they will need to be prepared for more disruption and races being moved about because we are still in admits of a pandemic here.


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.