Hamilton heading for a fifth title
Lewis Hamilton has been described as being “more complete than ever before” ahead of a weekend where he could seal his fifth title. The Mercedes driver will seal that title if he outscores Sebastian Vettel by eight points at the Circuit of the Americas.
Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas are looking for their third one-two in a row, as well as that the Englishman will be looking for his fourth back to back win in Austin and his fifth in a row since the summer break.
The stunning form which has seen the 33-year-old on the brink of another title has been praised by his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. Wolff told Sky Sports “With six race victories in the last seven races, Lewis has shown what a class act he is.”
“Both on and off the track he is more complete than ever before, showing commanding performance in the car and challenging the entire team to perform to higher levels at the same time.”
Speaking in New York on Wednesday, Hamilton says that after achieving his goal of equalling boyhood hero Ayrton Senna, the aim of seven times champion Michael Schumacher was never his aim
Speaking to Reuters, Hamilton said “Honestly that has never been my goal. I started out with the goal to match Ayrton Senna or to equalise with Ayrton Senna who is my … who’s the guy that I aspire to be like.”
“And I equalled him two years ago. So since then it’s kind of been going into unknown territory.” Hamilton says Schumacher’s markers are quite a long way off but is looking to work hard and enjoy what he loves to see where it goes.
Asked if he was changing his approach for this weekend, he said he wasn’t and was going the approach which has worked this season.
Hamilton has won nine races so far this season and looks likely to end the year in double figures, which is no mean feat considering he feels this year has been tougher than any he has experienced before.
So what are the title maths and what does Lewis Hamilton need to do to win the title this weekend? And how does Sebastian Vettel stop him? Hamilton must outscore Vettel by eight points to seal that fifth title.
Here are the calculations
- If Hamilton wins in Austin, Vettel must finish second to take the title fight on to the Mexican GP
- If Hamilton finishes second, Vettel must finish fourth
- If Hamilton finishes third, Vettel must finish sixth
- If Hamilton finishes fourth, Vettel must finish seventh
- If Hamilton finishes fifth, Vettel must finish eighth
- If Hamilton finishes sixth, Vettel must finish 10th
- If Hamilton finishes seventh or lower, the title race goes on to Mexico City
Perez signs a one-year contract extension
Sergio Perez has signed a one-year contract extension with Force India. The team announced a deal ahead of the United States Grand Prix, extending his stay with the team for a sixth season.
The Mexican said “I am very happy to finally announce my future and I’m really motivated for 2019. Force India has been my home since 2014 and has allowed me to grow as a driver and show my skills on track. We have achieved so much success in the last five seasons but I think the best is yet to come.”
Force India has not announced who will drive alongside the Mexican next year, however, it is expected that Williams driver Lance Stroll will drive alongside him, following his father’s buyout of the team earlier this year.
CEO and team principal, Otmar Szafnauer added “I’m pleased that Sergio will continue his journey with us in 2019. Over the last five years, Sergio has confirmed his position as one of the most talented and consistent drivers on the Formula One grid.”
“He gives us valuable stability going forward and is a huge asset to the team. As we begin an exciting new chapter in the life of this team, we are delighted that Sergio will race with us going forward.
Perez has been key to the team, scoring four hundred and ninety-one points since joining in 2014. He has built himself a reputation as one of the grid’s most consistent and underrated drivers.
He even helped Force India when they were in financial need earlier this year, starting administration proceedings against the team as one of the creditors to “save the jobs” of their 400-strong workforce.
FIA clear Mercedes wheel hubs
The FIA has given Mercedes the all clear to continue using its wheel hub rim, after Ferrari requested clarification. Sources have revealed that Ferrari approached the FIA in regards to the rear wheel rim and hub design that its title rival had used in recent races.
Ferrari asked why Mercedes was able to run with a rim design that featured a collection of holes that appeared similar to a concept that Red Bull was banned from using at the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix.
Under the then-article 3.15 of the Formula 1 Technical Regulations, teams were told that “any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance” must be “rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car” and must remain “immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car”.
The rims introduced by Mercedes are designed to help cool the rear tyres, they have improved the teams’ tyre management. The FIA then looked in detail at the Mercedes design and concept, which one source described as “interesting”.
The investigation has concluded that Mercedes’ design has different intentions to the 2012 Red Bull system and is compliant with the regulations.
Both Mercedes and Ferrari have been informed about the FIA’s ruling on the matter.
Renault plans all-new engine
Renault is planning an all-new engine for next season in another push to try and close the deficit it has to both Mercedes and Ferrari. Since the V6 hybrid era began, the French manufacturer has firmly been behind both teams and ahead of Honda.
Although it was believed that the Spec-C introduced in the second half of the season would be the basis for 2019, they have revealed next season they will have a complete overhaul of the power unit. This is because they have reached the end of the development cycle with the spec.
Speaking about 2019 to Motorsport.com, F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said “Given the ambition in terms of power improvement for next year, pretty much all of the engine will be new. Not only on ERS side, because there is little power and little performance to extract there, but the rest of the ICE will be new.
“That is why we need to be a little bit careful and that is why we need to be extremely drastic and have lots of discipline on planning and milestones to make sure that we are not putting ourselves in a difficult position at the start of the season.”
Renault has been encouraged by the progress that its dyno work for next year, it is looking to iron out the issues that it has with the turbocharger, MGU-K this season. So far, Abiteboul says that there hasn’t been any issues.
Abiteboul explained that an all-new power unit for 2019 was prompted by the belief that all manufacturers are still finding scope for big gains with the V6 turbo hybrids – meaning that no one can afford to sit back and consolidate where they have.
Adding “In my opinion what is paying the most in F1 is stability, stability of the objective, of the vision, of the organisation, of the priorities. But at the same time, being brave enough to look at what is not good enough or what is not working.”
Tost calls for barge board ban
Toro Rosso’s team principal Franz Tost has called for an outright ban on bargeboards in a push to make cars look better. Liberty Media is working on ways of improving the sport, including how the cars look for the next set of regulations from 2021.
The latest regulations introduced last year allowed teams more freedom around the sidepods. Tost is adamant that if F1 is serious about making cars looks good in the future, then this is something that Liberty needs to clamp down on.
In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com, he said “With Ross Brawn, Pat Symonds and the specialists on the aerodynamic side, they know what to do just to get rid of all these additional aerodynamic devices – and then you have a clean car.”
“For example, if I would write a regulation, and it would be totally easy, to get rid of all these bargeboard things and all these additional wings. These all make the car maybe a few tenths faster, but the picture of the car is not any more so clean, and that is not any more so tidy.”
“Therefore I would simply, from the regulation side, forbid all those things, and it’s possible to do this. They just must do it.”
Liberty has recently revealed concepts images, with Tost saying that he would like to tidy up the bodywork and be more aggressive. But says that it is going in the right direction.
Coke announces four-race deal with McLaren
McLaren has announced a four-race sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola which will see the brand appear on a Formula One car for the first time. Although the deal only runs until Abu Dhabi, it is likely that there are options to extend the deal.
Coke has been involved in grand prix racing before, when its energy drink Burn was a sponsor of Lotus from 2012. The McLaren deal is the first time the parent company’s name and logos have been utilised in such a way in F1 though.
Cokes logos, as well as those of sub-brands Dasani and SmartWater, will appear on the McLaren race cars and the overalls of Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne and Lando Norris.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown said: “Coca-Cola has a rich history of sponsorship and a record of innovative activations and we are honoured the company has chosen to partner with McLaren to explore opportunities in Formula 1.”
“Formula 1 as a sport is changing, as are we as a team, and we’re looking forward to introducing Coca-Cola to the potential that our team and fantastic, global sport represents.”
Ricardo Fort, vice president, sports partnerships, Coca-Cola, added: “We are looking forward to this activation with McLaren, both our companies are innovators, and we are both looking to further connect with youth.
The Weekend Ahead
This weekend F1 heads to Texas to start a three-race tour of the Americas, where it is highly likely that Lewis Hamilton will be crowned a five-time champion. The Circuit of The Americas has been a really strong circuit for Hamilton and Mercedes, they have won all but one race in Texas, including one with McLaren.
COTA has many of the corners where Mercedes have been very strong this season. Looking at Hamilton through the Esses at Suzuka and Maggots and Becketts at Silverstone Mercedes should be strong on single lap pace this weekend.
Ferrari, however, has put in some surprises at these circuits, Hockenheim in the wet comes to mind. COTA has the same corner where of course Vettel crashed out while leading that race. Ferrari knows that realistically its over, but they will keep pushing and won’t give up on the title.
We are in Texas, last year this race had a new format to the show and I’m not aware of another introduction like last year. Eyes naturally are on Haas this weekend they are in the strongest position for a good home race, yes Montreal is nearer but they want a result here.
Lewis Hamilton could wrap up the title at the United States Grand Prix, and we will bring you full coverage throughout the weekend, as well as the Mexican Grand Prix. F1 Today is taking a break next week, we return Tuesday 30th October.