F1 Today – 20/07/2021

F1 Today

F1 condemns online abuse targeted at Hamilton

Formula One has united against the online abuse aimed at Sir Lewis Hamilton following his opening lap collision with title rival Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix. Following the accident, on Sunday the seven-time world champion and his Mercedes team were targeted by trolls with online racist messages.

The racist messages including ‘monkey emojis’ and other racial slurs were sent as replies to a post by the Mercedes team on Instagram celebrating Hamilton’s Silverstone success. Meanwhile, Hamilton received a ten-second penalty for the accident, however still went on to win the race.

A joint statement issued by F1, the FIA and Mercedes on Monday morning said Hamilton had been “subjected to multiple instances of racist abuse on social media” both during and after Sunday’s race.

Strongly condemning the abuse, the statement added: “There is never any excuse for it, there is certainly no place for it in our sport and those responsible should be held accountable.”

Many of the teams and drivers, including Red Bull have united in their condemnation of the abuse. Red Bull added, “While we may be fierce rivals on track, we are all united against racism.”

“We condemn racist abuse of any kind towards our team, our competitors and our fans. As a team, we are disgusted and saddened to witness the racist abuse Lewis endured yesterday on social media after the collision with Max. There is never any excuse for it, there is certainly no place for it in our sport and those responsible should be held accountable.”

Posting on his Instagram account, Red Bull boss Christian Horner said that “whilst the rivalry is intense on track for the Championship, highly charged emotions should never cross the line into racist abuse”.

Horner says the team has a zero-tolerance approach to racist behaviour and personally feels those posting the abuse calling for those posting the abuse to be held accountable.

McLaren added, “McLaren stands with Formula 1, the FIA, and our fellow teams and drivers in condemning the deplorable racist abuse towards Lewis Hamilton. Racism must be driven out of our sport, and it’s our shared responsibility to unite and eliminated.”

Williams added, “We are saddened and horrified to see the racist abuse suffered by Lewis Hamilton following the British GP. There is no place for racism within our society, and we stand shoulder to shoulder with Lewis, Mercedes, and all our colleagues in F1 in our commitment to eradicating it.”

Asked about the abuse, Facebook which owns Instagram, told Sky Sports, “The racist abuse directed at Lewis Hamilton during and after the British Grand Prix is unacceptable and we’ve removed a number of comments from Instagram.”

“In addition to our work to remove comments and accounts that repeatedly break our rules, there are safety features available, including Comment Filters and Message Controls, which can mean no one has to see this type of abuse.”


Verstappen labels Hamilton’s move as dangerous

Max Verstappen has called Sir Lewis Hamilton’s move on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix dangerous, as well as describing the Mercedes drivers post-race celebrations as disrespectful.

Hamilton clipped Verstappen as the pair fought for the lead at Copse Corner on the opening lap. The Dutchman was forced to retire, but Hamilton managed to win the race despite getting a ten-second penalty for the accident.

While Verstappen went to the FIA medical facility and then to the hospital for precautionary tweets but was unhurt in the incident.

Several hours after the race Verstappen criticised Hamilton for the move and his exuberant celebrations with the Silverstone fans following his victory, which he watched while still at the hospital.

Verstappen tweeted: “Glad I’m ok. Very disappointed with being taken out like this. The penalty given does not help us and doesn’t do justice to the dangerous move Lewis made on track. Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behaviour but we move on”.

After the race, Red Bull boss Christian Horner labelled Hamilton an “amateur” for the move, saying it had put Verstappen’s safety in jeopardy.


Consequences should not play role in penalties

FIA race director Michael Masi says it is a fundamental principle that stewards do not take the consequences of an incident into account when awarding penalties. Masi also stressed that team bosses had to be part of the discussion when deciding on what action to take.

The opening lap clash between Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s British Grand Prix leading to Verstappen’s retirement earned the Mercedes driver a ten-second penalty for causing a collision.

Much to the frustration of Verstappen and his Red Bull Racing team, Hamilton was able to overcome the penalty and still win the race. Masi stressed that the stewards could not take account of the fact that Verstappen had retired and Hamilton had continued, and any potential impact on the title battle.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Masi said the decision not to be harsher on Hamilton for the accident were because of an agreement years ago between all of the teams, the FIA and F1, and the team principals were all quite adamant, is that you should not consider the consequences in an incident.

He added, “So when they judge an incident they judge the incident itself, and the merits of the incident, not what happens afterwards as a consequence. And that’s been something that the stewards have done for many years. And have been advised to do from top down.”

“I’m talking team involvement, and so forth. So that’s the way that the stewards judge it, because start taking consequences into account, there’s so many variables, rather than judging the incident itself on its merits.”

Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko, believes Hamilton should be given a one-race ban, while Masi argued that no penalty was enough to address an imbalance like we saw in the race. Also pointing out that a few years ago, the teams agreed that they wanted a ‘clear distinction that they didn’t want consequences taken into account they wanted it based on the incident itself.’

Masi also said he believes there is no reason why the stewards need to explain their decisions in public because there are a lot of TV analysts that will put a perspective forward.


Reutemann dies aged seventy-nine

Former F1 driver and Argentine politician Carlos Reutemann died on the 8th July, while we were offline, aged seventy-nine. Reutemann had undergone surgery in New York for a hepatic tumour in 2017 and struggled to regain full health.

His career was marked by brilliance behind the wheel and stubborn single-mindedness but also a lack of consistency, making him the best Argentine since five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio

his daughter Cora tweeted, “Dad left in peace and dignity after fighting like a champion with a strong and noble heart that accompanied him to the end.”

Reutemann finished runner-up in the Formula One championship to Brazilian Nelson Piquet in 1981 after coming third in 1975, 1978 and 1980. He entered F1 driving for Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham team alongside then twice world champion Graham Hill. He made a sensational debut, putting his car in pole position for his home Grand Prix in Buenos Aires before finishing seventh.

He also raced for Ferrari, leading the Italian team’s challenge in 1978 after being overshadowed by Niki Lauda in 1977, and then joined Lotus in 1979. That proved a poor decision, with Ferrari finishing first and second in that year’s championship and Reutemann a distant sixth.

Again in Las Vegas he missed out on the championship by a single point in 1981, that race followed one where he ignored team orders to let teammate Alan Prost. Reutemann then faded in the race, won by Jones, and Piquet became champion by a single point.

He left the sport after the Brazilian Grand Prix in 1982 having raced in 146 grands prix, with 12 wins and 46 podium finishes. At the start of the 1990s, Reutemann entered politics and was elected governor of Santa Fe province, serving 1991-1995 and 1999-2003.

In 2003, he was elected senator for Santa Fe and re-elected in 2009 and 2015


Brawn hopes Verstappen & Hamilton avoid collisions

F1’s motorsport and technical managing director Ross Brawn, is hoping Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen can avoid colliding in the future so that fans will be able to enjoy the battle between the two drivers.

The opening lap drama as Hamilton tried to overtake Verstappen for the lead of the British Grand Prix, when they collided through Copse at 180mph. The incident has become the biggest talking point following the race which Hamilton won, while Verstappen was taken to hospital for precautionary checks.

Brawn wrote in a column on Formula One’s official website, “As is always the case in these matters, there will be a wide range of opinions on the rights and wrongs. What is clear is that we were robbed of a thrilling battle and nobody wants the championship decided on crashes and penalties, and, as in this case, there was a serious risk to either driver.”

“It is something both drivers will reflect on. I hope we can avoid those incidents in the future because I think we were denied a fantastic battle. They raced each other hard for half a lap, and it was thrilling. Imagine how dramatic the Grand Prix would have been if that had been the whole race.”


Norris believes he could have hold on to third

Lando Norris believes he could have held onto third place in Sunday’s British Grand Prix if he had not been delayed by an issue during his pit stop. The McLaren driver was running third before the slow stop, which dropped him down behind Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso, before eventually finishing third.

Following the stop, he was heard on the radio saying “****ing great” after he realised that he had been jumped by the Finn. When asked by Motorsport.com if he could have kept third, Norris said “I would love to have thought so, yeah, of course, those were my emotions at the time, not too happy to come out in that position.”

“But in the end whether or not we could have hung onto third place is the question, because Mercedes were a lot quicker in the second stint and compared to everyone, they somehow took a big step forward. I don’t know what we could have achieved, but at least here at Silverstone in front of the fans I just would have loved that chance to fight.”

The Englishman believes they could have had held off the Mercedes, but not easily during the first stint. The pit stop which if it hadn’t gone wrong could have brought him out ahead of Bottas, but he dropped behind Alonso.

He then couldn’t push on his out lap before destroying his tyres by the end of the stint. Norris says that McLaren has made steady progress throughout the season with this being his first bad stop of the season.

At one point there was some confusion when the team told him to lose a tenth in the high-speed corners to protect the car after he picked up a tyre vibration, and Norris initially thought he’d been told to gain a tenth.


Alonso on course to retain Alpine seat

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi says that Fernando Alonso is on course to retain his seat with the team next season. The Italian revealed that the two-time champion was on a “one-plus-one” deal with an option for 2022.

Alonso returned to the sport this season following a two-year break from the sport as he raced in other series. Last month he admitted to not being at his highest level in qualifying early on, but since then has been producing strong performances in recent races.

One of his best was in Saturday’s sprint qualifying, where on the opening lap he rose from eleventh to fifth in the first nine corners where he overtook six cars.

Rossi told BBC News, “He is doing great. He is as fast as ever. He is certainly extracting the most out of the car. The car is not incredibly fast and he still manages to get some super-hot laps and qualify the car very well. So far, so good.”

Asked whether Alonso would stay for 2022, Rossi said: “He is doing everything for me to consider exercising this [contractual] option.”

Alonso is currently eleventh in the drivers championship, twelve points ahead of his teammate Esteban Ocon in thirteenth. In his earlier career, Alonso earned a reputation as a demanding character inside a team.

Rossi said: “It is incredibly easy to work with him so far. It has been six months, and I don’t recognise the Fernando that people describe. We both expect the same thing from the team. Always challenging any decision, any status quo, to systematically take things a notch up: ‘It is never enough.”

The terminology Rossi uses to describe the likelihood of Alonso staying at Alpine for 2022 is exactly the same as he employed shortly before signing Ocon to a new three-year deal until 2024. He has no doubts that Ocon is the right driver, despite the Frenchman still not proving himself as top driver.

Rossi pointed out that most leading drivers are committed to their teams for the long term and said he thought the 24-year-old was “really good”, “has a lot of talent that is untapped yet” and that “signing him is basically taking almost zero risk”. But says that the team may have a problem going forward with its academy drivers Oscar Piastri and Guanyu Zhou both performing well in F2.


Vettel goes litter picking

Sebastian Vettel has received praise after staying behind despite retiring from the British Grand Prix and picking up litter from the grandstands. The Aston Martin driver retired on lap forty from the race but stayed behind after his media commitments.

Images on social media show Vettel visiting the grandstands, with the team tweeting “Sunday evening at Silverstone. The #BritishGP weekend is over. But for Seb, the race for the planet never ends.”

Vettel’s environmental activism has stepped up since the start of the pandemic. The four-time world champion took an internship in organic farming during lockdown.


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.