F1 Today – 20/04/2021

F1 Today

Miami to host a race in June 2022

Miami will host its first Grand Prix in June 2022, starting a ten-year deal to host a race in the Floridan capital. The announcement on Sunday follows years of work by Liberty Media who wanted a race in a US “destination city” as they seek to grow the sport.

Although the date of the race hasn’t been announced its expected to be part of a double header with Montreal in June, chief executive officer Stefano Domenicali said it would be “in the second quarter of next year”. The race in Miami is the second attempt to try and add a race in the city.

The original plan was for a track that crossed a bridge over the city’s bay, but it did not get the go-ahead amid objections from local politicians and residents. Liberty Media believes that America is a key growth market and believes the race in Miami will help it grow in the country.

Although the Circuit of the Americas which hosts the United States Grand Prix hasn’t yet signed a contract renewal. It was always intended for a second race to join it in 2013, but plans for the Grand Prix of America were cancelled in 2016.

Miami Dolphins chairman Tom Garfinkel, the managing partner of the Miami Grand Prix, said: “The Hard Rock stadium entertainment campus in Miami Gardens exists to host the biggest global events to benefit the entire greater Miami region, and Formula 1 racing is as big as it gets.

“We have worked with specialist designers to create a racetrack that we, Formula 1 and the FIA believe will provide great racing and we hope to create best-in-class unique fan experiences that are reflective of the diverse and dynamic nature of Miami.”

“I want to thank Formula One and the Miami Gardens and Miami Dade County elected officials for working to bring this hugely impactful event here for years to come.”

He says that the design of the circuit was to create a “race track that is demanding in a lot of ways and to put on great experiences that are uniquely reflective of the diversity of Miami.”

Last week, the city’s council signed off on the plans following objections to the original plan, with a revised plan involving a series of measures to lessen the impact on the local population and environment.

Domenicali said: “It is not a compromise, when you look for different solutions, you need to consider all the elements that make everyone happy.” He also ruled out plans for a third race in the US in the short term.


Russell apologies for collision with Bottas

George Russell has apologised to Valtteri Bottas on social media saying he should have “handled the whole situation better,” following their race-ending collision in Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The Englishman posted on his social media accounts on Monday evening, Russell said he had “to take responsibility” for the “risk” of overtaking Bottas on lap 32 not paying off and that, having been heavily critical of the Mercedes driver afterwards, his emotions “got the better of me”.

he wrote, “Yesterday wasn’t my proudest day. I knew it would be one of our best opportunities to score points this season and, when those points matter as much as they do to us right now, sometimes you take risks.”

“It didn’t pay off and I have to take responsibility for that. Having had time to reflect on what happened afterwards, I know I should have handled the whole situation better. Emotions can run high in the heat of the moment and yesterday mine got the better of me.

“I apologise to Valtteri, to my team and to anyone who felt let down by my actions. That’s not who I am and I expect more from myself, as I know others expect more from me.”

Although the stewards decided it was a racing incident, he also thanked the fans for both positive and negative comments, saying they will help him grow and his focus was on Portimao.

Russell had appeared incensed about the incident and went over to confront Bottas while the Finn was still in his crashed Mercedes in the gravel trap. Russell later told Sky F1 he had asked Bottas “if he was trying to kill us both”, while in a particularly incendiary accusation claimed: “Perhaps if I was another driver, he wouldn’t have done that”.


Bottas-Russell collision could be costly – Wolff

Mercedes F1 CEO Toto Wolff says the damage caused when Valtteri Bottas crashed with the Williams and junior driver George Russel in Sunday’s Emilia Romanaga Grand Prix.

Bottas and Russell have blamed each other for the crash while they were fighting for ninth place, with the race being red-flagged for the collision deemed a racing incident by the stewards. Wolff, who manages Bottas and Russell, has the feeling the latter had “lots to learn”.

But a more immediate issue for Mercedes is the impact the crash damage will have on its development plan for 2021 and the switch to 2022, given the expense incurred by the crash in the first year of F1’s new cost cap. Wolff says the situation was “absolutely not amusing” for Mercedes, believing it could cost the team planned upgrades amid its battle with Red Bull.

Wolff told Motorsport.com, “It’s quite a big shunt. Our car is almost a write-off in a cost-cap environment that is certainly not what we needed, and probably it’s going to limit upgrades that we’re able to do.

“Simply the fact that we ended there by losing it in the wet, because there was no contact, losing it on the wet, and making both cars crash out is not what I expect to see. We are very stretched on cost cap, and what we always feared is a total write-off of a car. This one is not going to be a total write-off, but almost, and that is not something we really wanted.”

Teams are limited by a £130m cost cap for the season, meaning that crashes and repairs will need to come out of the development budget.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said the team still had to complete a full analysis of the crash damage and what could be salvaged from Bottas’s car. He says that they need to find out also whether there is damage to the power unit, But the new factor for us this year is that we’re all cost capped. This sort of damage isn’t really in the plan.

He added, “Our drivers have been incredibly good at getting through seasons without breaking much in recent years, and certainly in terms of the bill in terms of carbon work and metal work will be very extensive from that.”

Shovlin says they need to ideally run things to life, you don’t break them, anything that you do break, hopefully, it’s end of life or something that is about to be obsolete.


Mercedes still under threat from Red Bull

Mercedes still believes despite leading both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships after the opening two races, that they are still lagging behind Red Bull when it comes to outright car performance.

This year, following seven years of championship wins looks set for the toughest challenge since the team started to dominate the sport in 2014. Imola saw Sir Lewis Hamilton take his first pole of the season, however the poor start allowed Max Verstappen take the lead before Hamilton spun out of contention for victory while trying to put pressure on the Red Bull.

The teams trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin believes the Mercedes W11 is still a slower car than the Red Bull even though Hamilton went on to set the fastest lap as he recovered from ninth place to second following his spin.

In his post-race debrief he said, “I like to think we could have put them under some pressure in the race. Whether or not we had the car to win, I don’t know because I don’t know how hard Max was pushing at times. But looking at the sectors Lewis was doing and where we were in the corners, we felt it was really close.”

“But we are not going to walk away from this patting ourselves on the back, saying that we might have had the faster car by a small amount. We are walking away from here saying, we are not good enough and they will win the championship if we don’t improve our car very quickly.”

Mercedes have adopted the mentality of being the team chasing Red Bull. CEO and team principal Toto Wolff believes that both Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez would have qualified ahead of Mercedes at Imola if its two drivers, Verstappen and Sergio Perez, had avoided errors on their qualifying laps.

Saying, “We are still having a deficit with the car. We were on pole, but if Max had put in a decent lap we were probably 0.25s behind, maybe 0.3s. That is simply what the pecking order is at the moment. In the race, it was very difficult to judge because of the circumstances, but we had a very good car today in the wet and in the drying up.”


Latifi only realised he tagged Mazepin from TV replay

Nicolas Latifi says he didn’t realise that he had collided with the Haas of Nikita Mazepin until he saw a TV replay of their first lap crash at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The Williams spun at Acque Minerali on the opening lap, but when he rejoined he tagged the Haas with his front wing.

That caused the Canadian to be spun around into the wall before the chicane. Reflecting on the incident, Latifi said that he wasn’t aware that his Haas competitor was alongside him.

He said, “When I came back on, I was staying to the left side as much as I could. I thought that I was the last car as I saw [Sebastian] Vettel go by me and, to be honest. I didn’t even see Nikita. Anyway, there was spray and looking back at the video he would have been right in my blind spot anyway.”

“But I was not aware he was there. So I actually [saw the video] not until quite a lot after the incident since I was in the Medical Centre for quite a long time, which actually just was a thing with the paper work. I [originally] thought I just got a bit of wheel spin and spun off because of that. So I was not aware of any contact with Nikita until quite a long time afterwards.”

Mazepin believes that Latifi wasn’t aware he was alongside him following his lock-up at the corner, saying “He went off, he lost three places, and came back. I was the car that he came back with side by side, and there was just not enough space for me.”

“I don’t think he was aware of me, because I think he thought that all the cars passed him. But then I was there and I just couldn’t move any further. It was very fortunate that I was able to finish the race.”


Vettel says the penalty in Imola was “not very professional”

Sebastian Vettel says the FIA was “not very professional” in the way it handled his penalty during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The Aston Martin driver was given a ten-second penalty, after the team failed to fit the wheels on his car before the five-minute signal ahead of the start of the race.

The penalty was announced on lap twenty two, which compromised Vettel’s chances at the time. Although the four-time champion retired on the penultimate lap of the race, he was still frustrated by the FIA’s speed in announcing the penalty.

He said, “Obviously the guys tried everything on the grid and I think they did really well, they were really alert. I think we could have had a better race if the FIA was more alert because I think we broke a rule.”

“I guess, that is why we got a penalty, but they didn’t bother until way into the race, so by that time the penalty cost us a lot more than it would have done earlier in the race.


Great races ahead for Perez – Horner

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner predicted great races ahead for Sergio Perez despite the Mexican failing to score from his first front-row start in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Perez’s teammate Max Verstappen meanwhile took the lead from Mercedes’ seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, on pole, with the Mexican dropping to third and then fourth as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc went past. He then overtook under the safety car earning himself a ten-second penalty, before working his way back up to third. Perez then spun on the restart dropping him to fourteenth.

Horner said, “It was tough for him, he had such a good Saturday. The race just didn’t go his way A couple of little mistakes, particularly the spin behind the Ferrari. Tough for him because we should have taken a lot more points out of Mercedes. He had good pace in the race and there’s still a long, long way to go.”

Perez who won the race in Sakhir last year still is getting used to the car, but Horner says he did a mega job.

Horner added “There’s great races to come from him in the future. We could see in clean air his pace was strong.”


Norris “flying at the moment” – Seidl

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl believes Lando Norris celebrated the second podium of his Formula One career at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, having made the step to the next level. The Englishman finished Sunday’s race having being voted driver of the day.

Seidl says Norris in his third full season in Formula One and up against experienced Daniel Ricciardo as his new teammate had moved up to another level. He told Sky Sports, “Lando is flying at the moment, he’s definitely made the next step as a driver also. Already in Bahrain, you could see that he definitely made the next step, as a person.”

“He digested last season with his engineering team in the right way. It’s normal also that these young guys make steps, in the first years they have to make it or they will never make it to the top but it’s just great how he’s pulling it off. He has the confidence to put the laps in and what he did today was great.”

Norris’s slip up in qualifying meant his fastest lap was deleted, a time that would have been good enough for third on the grid. He was also able to put pressure and managed to pass in the final laps seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton passed him with two laps to go.

The Englishman added “It’s nice to be fighting these guys. It’s nice to be there on merit and there on pure pace, and hopefully we can have some more in the future. I think apart from Q3, it was a pretty perfect weekend.”


Lack of recent race experience not an excuse – Alonso

Fernando Alonso says he cannot use his lack of recent race experience in a Formula One car as an excuse for his lacklustre performance at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The two-time champion returned to the sport this season but has struggled to get used to the Alpine.

Despite an encouraging race in Sakhir, the race on Sunday at Imola was more difficult with Alonso being out-qualified by teammate Esteban Ocon. He then spun on his way to the grid and finished eleventh before being promoted to tenth, after Kimi Räikkönen was handed a penalty.

On a weekend when drivers in new teams appeared to struggle more, Alonso said that the tricky wet conditions certainly did not help those adapting to new surroundings. However, he said it would be wrong to use that as an excuse as he admitted he needed to be better prepared for future races.

Asked about the challenge new drivers were facing, Alonso said, “It feels kind of obvious that every lap I do, every lap we do, these drivers, we feel more comfortable, Here [at Imola] it was a triple experience, because from lap one to the end we changed conditions and we changed grip level so many times during the race.”

“We had one red flag, we had one standing start, we had one rolling start. There were a lot of things to practice and a lot of things to go through that normally take four or five races. And we compressed all in one race with a lot of activity.” He said he was happy with the learnings.

For all the drivers it was the first time these cars have been run in the wet with a very narrow dry line, but Alonso says that cannot be an excuse for why the team did not perform well.

Alonso said he did not expect it to be easy on his F1 return, and reckons it will still take a few more races before he is at a level of performance that he is happy with. Saying “I am where I expected to be, but you always want to be more and higher up and you want to be a little bit more confident in the car. Probably I was not confident in Bahrain or confident here, and I will not be confident in Portimao.


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.