F1 Today – 18/11/2016

F1 Today

Button narrowing options for 2017

Jenson Button is narrowing down what he wants to do next season when he takes a break from Formula one. The McLaren driver has ruled out Le Mans but is looking at Super GT or Rallycross next year.

Button will remain with the team next season but us able to look and race in other series, while remaining as there reserve and test driver. When asked by Autosport if he was free to do whatever he wanted or had to stick to Honda machinery, Button replied “I don’t think it has to be, but obviously those are the easiest programmes for me to do.”

“I’m sure they wouldn’t want me racing for a main competitor of Honda, which is completely understandable. I won’t be racing at Le Mans next year, for example. The right opportunity isn’t there.” Button mentioned the Super GT 1000km of Suzuka but the logistics maybe difficult and says rallycross in America that could work.

Button says there is lots of options, hinting he might chose to have more of a rest. Hondas rally program is based in and may limit him, or Red Bull could give him a more options.

Asked if he might contest a full rallycross season in 2017, Button replied: “That won’t happen next year. In the future, definitely. It’s a massively growing sport, especially with Audi pulling out of Le Mans and VW pulling out of rallying. I know their main aim is not rallycross but it will definitely help their rallycross programme.”

But said he did not want to be full time racing saying the Suzuka 1000km had more appeal than a full Super GT campaign.


Lecrlc opts not to drive in FP1

Haas’s reserve driver Charles Leclerc has decided not to drive in FP1 for Haas at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Monegasque driver was due to drive alongside Romain Grosjean in the session.

However he announced yesterday that he wants to focus on his GP3 duties. The 19-year-old is currently leading the GP3 championship ahead of the Abu Dhabi race weekend by 29 points from Alexander Albon.

He tweeted “A really hard decision to make but I won’t be driving in Abu Dhabi during the Free Practice 1 with [Haas] because of the timetable. I want to be 100 percent focused on my GP3 title. Doing the FP1 would have meant I had to jump from the F1 straight into GP3’s qualifying.”

Leclerc drove last weekend in Brazil plus in Britain, Hungary and Germany.


King to do Abu Dhabi practice

Jordan King will also be driving in the first practice session for Manor at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. King who tested for the team in Austin will have his second chance at the race where he is also competing in GP2.

King will be driving in place of Esteban Ocon who is leaving for Force India. Racing Director Dave Ryan said “We’re pleased to welcome Jordan back to the cockpit for his second planned FP1 session. We have a busy programme of testing items lined up for him again.”


One team could dominate warns Brawn

Ross Brawn says that next year’s regulation changes will make it possible that one team could dominate the sport in the same way Mercedes have for the past three seasons.

Mercedes have won the majority of the races since the introduction of the V6 hybrids in 2014. This is also partly due to the foundations Brawn laid with the structure of the team, which has led to their domination of the sport for the last three years.

Brawn told ESPN “I think there are definitely some positives to what’s happening in 2017. I think the reality is the longer you leave the regulations the same, the closer the teams get — and you are starting to see that now.”

“Mercedes is still winning but people are starting to nip at their heels and more time with the same regulations would make that even closer I’m sure.” He says the new regulations will create the same issue as they maybe a team which gets ahead early.

Red Bull were behind next years changes and there aero expertise is expected to see them have success but Brawn says don’t underestimate Mercedes. Brawn is also concerned about the impact it has on racing, it is thought up to five seconds can be found per lap with the changes.

He says “What one hopes is that it improves the racing from the point of view that it is much more challenging for the drivers physically.”


Verstappen not listening to comparisons

Max Verstappen is not listening to the comparisons between him a Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna following his driving at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner say that his charge to third was  “right up there” with F1’s most famous rain performances.

In a Facebook Live Q&A for Red Bull’s sponsors, Verstappen said he was flattered but keen not to get carried away. He said “It’s very nice that people say those things, but for me the most important thing is just to focus on myself and stay very neutral on all those comments.”

“Always try to improve yourself and fly high. It’s important in the car to stay with two feet on the ground – not only try, just do it.” The Dutchman admits that there was no hero in F1 but has admired his father career saying “I had a lot of respect for my dad and what he did himself and in the end for me, but aside from that nothing”

When asked what advice he would give to Lance Stroll, who will replace him as the youngest driver next year, he said “The most important thing is you have to focus on yourself and be relaxed,” Verstappen said.

“Just jump in the car and start to learn it and start to understand. It’s not something where you should say ‘you should straight away go as fast as you can’.” He added there will be a lot of media attention and focus on yourself.


Hawkers apology

The sunglasses firm which Sergio Perez dumped over comments following Donald Trumps victory in the US Election has issued a apology and made an donation to a children’s charity.

Hawkers said on the day after the election that Mexicans to buy its products to hide their ‘crying eyes tomorrow when you are building the wall,” Trump has vowed to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep out Mexicans who he called rapists and Murderers.

This prompted Perez to terminate his ties with the company, which meant a run of 20,000 special edition glasses had to be scrapped. In a apology the company brought an advert in the El Universal apologising for their error and said they plan to donate £20,276 to charity

The advert read “Dear Sergio, sometimes we have accidents. You, more than anybody else, knows this. Although we don’t expect this accident to be forgotten, we will do everything possible to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

“We will continue to be with you, with the people of Mexico and with all those who oppose discrimination and racism in the world.” The advert also blamed the Trump gaffe on a community manager.


Hoping for “big things” – Ocon

Esteban Ocon says he is hoping with Force India they can achieve “big things”. The Frenchman was announced as the replacement for Nico Hulkenberg after starting his F1 career at Spa in August.

Ocon started his season in DTM before moving into a race seat during the summer break replacing Rio Haryanto. He has tested for the team before and  is determined to live up to the team’s expectations of him.

When asked what had been the main factor for Force India, he told ESPN “I think they believe in me. They think we can achieve great things together and they want a strong driver to replace Nico [Hulkenberg], which is a hard task but I will do my best to replace him in the best way possible.”

Ocon dismissed that he lacks the experience to be successful at a team which outperforms its budget saying “I will do everything I can to just make the best result possible. Everything they ask me, I will do it and even more.”

“I will be there in the factory a lot doing simulator a lot. We already spoke about that and we agreed that without hard work, it won’t work. So hard work is needed.” He added that he has been driving F1 cars and been around the paddock since 2014.

When asked if Renault had been waiting for his decision, he replied: “There was an option of Renault, there was an option of Force India, it was waiting for what everyone wanted. It came like this, I don’t know why it came like this, but it did.”

Ocon said it was his decision, despite having multi-year contract is between Mercedes and Force India.


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.

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