Honda encouraged by Brazil
Honda says that the encouraging performance levels they showed during the Brazilian Grand Prix show that their engine is reaching a “decent level.”
In Brazil, Alonso qualified sixth behind Valtteri Bottas, both of the Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s, before going to finish eighth in the race. That meant McLaren were able to score points, in consecutive races for the first time this season.
The Spaniard even managed to put pressure on the Williams of Felipe Massa through-out the race but was unable to find a way past his former teammate finishing half a second behind him. After the race, he suggested that the lack of power should be a worry for Toro Rosso next season, as they switch to Honda power.
Honda F1 project leader Yusuke Hasegawa told Motorsport.com “Since Monza, our package and engine performance is almost at a decent level. It depends on the circuit characteristics. Sometimes the Williams and Force India is quicker.”
“Sometimes, Williams, Force India and Renault is almost the same level of performance. We could maximise the current engine performance in Brazil, which is encouraging.” Hasegawa admits from a power point of view we are behind the other manufacturers, but adds that gap is closing.
Also, the race in Brazil demonstrated the progress that the partnership has made.
Regulations changes key to attracting new teams
Formula One CEO Chase Carey says that the controversial plans around changing the power units for 2021 are to address the costs of the current power units and to attract new teams.
The proposal put forward for simpler engines with standardised parts have been criticised by Ferrari and Mercedes. However, Carey, believes the changes are vital to encourage new entrants.
“I think the most important thing we can do is make the business model for owning a team much better. Today when I talk to some of the entities that you’d like to have in the sport or think about being in the sport.”
They say, “’It either costs too much or if we’re more disciplined on what we spend, we’re competing at the back of the pack – if those are our two choices, that isn’t that attractive.” Carey says that that is the reason why they are pushing for a more balanced and economically viable sport.
Meanwhile, managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn has pledged to persevere with the engine changes and added Liberty will try to address the concerns of the current manufacturers.
Carey also acknowledged there will have to compromise, saying “In the past it was a little bit every man for himself, who could lie, cheat and steal the other guy. It made the business ‘one plus one is one and a half’.”
However, any changes to the sports cant happen until 2021, as the Concorde Agreement between FOM, FIA and the teams have locked the sport into the current regulations.
But Carey adds “We’re pursuing initiatives on costs, engine, aerodynamics, others, and we’ll have a unique opportunity to both improve the competition and make the economics much better.”
News in Brief
Engine criticism inevitable – Bernie Ecclestone said that the criticism of the 2021 engines proposals was inevitable and the rules should have been left untouched or changed much more radically.
Ecclestone says “All they had to do was what we agreed three years ago, I think, with Jean Todt, which was more fuel flow, and more fuel in the car, and let them rev to another 2000 revs.”
Manor entry fee returned – The sport’s governing body the FIA, has returned Manor’s entry fee as the team has failed to take part this season. Manors owners Just Racing Services went into administration in January of this year and ceased trading later that month.
Alonso completes WEC test
Fernando Alonso has completed his first test in a World Endurance Championship car the Toyota LMP1 at the end of season rookie test in Bahrain.
The McLaren driver completed one hundred and thirteen laps of the endurance circuit at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. The two times world champion is looking to make his debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as he looks to win the triple crown before he retires.
The Spaniard told Sky Sports “It was a great day. Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive.”
“They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing. I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that so I am happy.” Alonso’s fastest time was seven tenths slower than that set by regular Toyota driver Mike Conway.
Alonso has made it clear that he wants to compete in other motorsports, and will make his debut in endurance racing in January’s Daytona 24 Hours when he will race for the United Autosports sportscar team.
Alonso wants to be the only other driver in history to complete the Triple Crown – winning the Monaco GP, Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours.
He won in Monte Carlo in 2006 and 2007, while this year McLaren permitted him to skip the Monaco GP to compete in the Indy 500 where he ran strongly before an engine failure.
Force what? As Force India still undecided on name
Force India are undecided on whether they will change their name, with the proposed Force One being unlikely despite being registered as a trademark because of concerns it too closely resembles Formula One.
In June, it emerged that the directors Dr Thiruvannamalai Laskshimi Kanthan had registered serval names as Force One Grand Prix, Force One Racing, Force One Team, Force One Technologies, Force One Hospitality and Force One Brand.
Chief operating officer, Otmar Szafnauer told Sky Sports “”We just have to decide on what it is. Everyone has got an opinion when it comes to the team name.”
“It’s got to have longevity and it’s got to be right, we can’t be Force One…’ all sorts of stuff.” However, there is confusion that the Force One could lead to confusion with Formula One.
Force India name has been on the grid since 2008 following Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya’s purchase of the then-Spyker team.
The reason why they want to change the name is because it has failed in one of their aims of attracting Indian sponsors. The new aim of the team is to appeal to a broader range of sponsors and evolve the brand.
The new team name will eventually have to be ratified by the FIA and F1 Commission before it can be used in 2018.
Zandvoort could hold F1 in 2020
One of the owners of Zandvoort says that the circuit could realistically host the Dutch Grand Prix from 2020. Last week, the circuit completed a feasibility study about the possibility of the race returning on behalf of the local government.
The study evaluated the organisational and logistical requirements of holding a grand prix, as well as what the financial benefits would be. Zandvoort’s last Dutch Grand Prix was held in 1985.
The circuit’s co-owner Bernhard van Oranje said the study was carried to support “a hunch” – which he claims has been validated. Van Oranje told Motorsport.com “I believe Liberty Media is looking for a way to make the sport attractive and I think they know what they need to do.
“In my opinion, an ‘old-school’ race track belongs on the calendar, where if you run off the track you will hit the gravel. Zandvoort is challenging track and therefore fun to drive and for fans fun to watch. So, I believe the track fits in their [F1 owners’] strategy.”
However, the circuit only has a grade two licence meaning it is not licenced or up to Formula One standards, with the estimated cost of bringing it up to that standard being an estimated £8.86 million.
In the summer, race director Charlie Whiting made an ‘unofficial visit’ to suggest changes, including a longer pit lane and bigger paddock. The next step would be finding the money from government and business.
Van Oranje added “If that’s positive, we’ll sit together to see what is possible and take the return on investment into account. The next step is to see what kind of demands there are and at some point, you need to acquire a spot on the calendar.”
Liberty wanted a street race, however, officials in Amsterdam and Rotterdam have ruled out the possibility of hosting races in those cities.