F1 Today – 21/09/2017

F1 Today

Mercedes not ready to back Hamilton

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that the German manufacturer is not ready to put its weight behind Lewis Hamilton despite his twenty-eight point lead in the championship over Sebastian Vettel.

The British driver took a surprising win in  Singapore after Vettel crashed out of the race at the first corner. The remaining races on the calendar appear favourable to Mercedes. Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas’s chances of winning the title are slimmer, but the Finn remains in the fight.

However, Wolff is wary of the impact on Bottas’s mindset if the team began prioritising Hamilton over him. Wolff told ESPN “I think that it’s pretty obvious that his chance of winning the drivers’ championship is higher than Valtteri’s.”

“So like we’ve done in the past we will look at the preceding race and assess it, then the decision becomes obvious.” However, says he doesn’t want to “screw up” Bottas’s mid by giving him the status of a number two driver.

This season, Bottas has already moved over for Hamilton twice. The first time when he was struggling in Bahrain and the second time in Hungary as Hamilton felt he had a better pace to pass the Ferrari’s.

That second time, Hamilton failed to pass Kimi Raikkonen and released Bottas on the final lap to retake third place.

Earlier week, Wolff warned that the could not on rest on their laurels in its quest to win both championships for a fourth consecutive season.

 

Wrong to assume Ferrari will struggle – Raikkonen

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen believes that the assuming the team is going to struggle in the remaining races is wrong. Ferrari’s best chance of points last weekend, saw both drivers retire thanks to a first lap festival.

Raikkonen, his team-mate Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen all collided at Turn One, which saw them all retire on the opening of the race. The retirement for Vettel was more costly, as it saw him lose the lead of the championship to Hamilton.

The majority of the remaining races are expected to favour Mercedes, however, Raikkonen believes Ferrari could be in the mix. The Finn told Autosport “You [the media] assume that it’s difficult. We don’t. We go there, it’s another race, another weekend, and we go there full of fight and we’ll do our best.”

Vettel himself still remains optimistic about chances and teams chances of winning both titles, saying “It’s a pity we couldn’t show our pace [in Singapore], but we have other races ahead of us and I am sure there will be more opportunities for us

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene insisted Ferrari “will be back”. Arrivabene says “That was very disappointing and it was definitely not the result we were expecting. But it doesn’t mean that the battle is all over, just that it has become more difficult.”

 

Leaving Renault with “head held high” – Palmer

Jolyon Palmer says he is leaving Renault at the end of the season with his “head held high.” In Singapore, Palmer learnt that he was being replaced by Carlos Sainz Jr for 2018, and speculation that the switch could be made before the end of this season has continued.

Speaking to Autosport, he said “Honestly, I don’t feel any difference to the previous 14 races. The pressure is on in F1. I always want to do well.”

“Even at the start of the year I wanted to stay ahead, and I needed to do good results. I wish this result had come earlier, but it has been a tough year.” Palmer says he is still focused and wanting to do his best in the six remaining races, so he leaves the team with his head held high.

Palmer says he always felt capable of the kind of result produced in Singapore, but circumstances had conspired against him several times.

“At Spa, we should have had a good haul of points already, but there was the gearbox penalty and getting stuck in traffic. Then Monza, we started at the back and didn’t finish the race.”

“But the performances those two weekends have been very competitive with what we have got,” Palmer added. The Englishman says the car continues to get better and that is given him confidence.

Palmer still hopes to find an opportunity in F1 for next year, potentially at Williams and believes Singapore advertised his potential.

 

Leclerc to drive in four practices

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who currently leads the Formula Two championship, will drive in four of the six remaining practice sessions this season for Sauber

Leclerc will make his practice debut at next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, before driving in Austin, Mexico and Brazil. Last season the Monégasque driver drove for Haas in four practice sessions. Leclerc who is a member of Ferrari academy could seal the Formula Two title in Jerez next month.

The move could lead to Leclerc gaining a seat at Sauber next season. The Swiss team scrapped a deal with Honda in July and opted to renew the deal with Ferrari, that prompted Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne spoke about creating a ‘junior team’ to blood their young drivers.

Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi are in contention for at least one of Sauber’s seats, with Mercedes-supported Pascal Wehrlein expected to leave the team.

 

Williams plan “substantial changes”

Williams is to make “quite substantial changes” to their 2018 car after a disappointing season says the team’s chief technical officer Paddy Lowe.

Williams is currently fifth in the constructor’s championship with fifty-nine points but are sixty-five points behind Force India. Lowe who re-joined the team in March says the team will be embracing a new philosophy with their car for next season.

He told Sky Sports “We will be making some quite substantial changes. There are lots of different things that we will be doing and we are well into that at the moment.”

“We’ve got some great engineers, so there are a lot of great ideas there. We have a lot of people who know what it takes to win and we will put the best of that together and make the best car we can. There will be quite a few areas where we will be changing philosophy.”

Williams who finished third in 2014 and 2015, have over the last two years appear to have taken a step backwards with Lowe conceded Williams’ rivals may have out-developed them.

Lowe added  “We are fighting hard in the midfield and we haven’t created any distance ahead of it and if anything we have slipped well into it over the last couple of months.

He also said the team would be bringing fewer updates to the FW40 over the remaining Grand Prix’s as they move their focus to next year’s car.

 

Funding for Clark museum

A funding package of £1.6 million has been completed to create a museum in the Border region of Scotland celebrating two-time Formula One champion Jim Clark.

The local council will contribute a small sum after it secured £635,000 from the Heritage  Lottery Fund and will contribute a similar sum itself. The Jim Clark Trust has also reached its target of £300,000. The money means that a  small exhibition space in Duns redeveloped into a modern museum and should be completed by next year.

Sir Jackie Stewart, JCT honorary president, told BBC News “I am thrilled that the dream has come true that sufficient funding is going to permit a great Scottish hero to be honoured by what will be an excellent testimony to his success.”

Sir Jackie added that initiative would “recognise one of Scotland’s greatest sporting heroes in the very grounds that he so much loved”.

Euan Jardine, SBC’s executive member for culture and sport, said it was “wonderful” the funding target had been reached.

“This project will create a visitor attraction which will bring in tourists and Formula One fans from across the world to Berwickshire in bigger numbers than ever before and will really be a fitting legacy to Jim Clark,” he said.

Lucy Casot, head of the HLF in Scotland, said the investment would create an attraction worthy of Clark’s “sporting greatness”.

“It’s certain to attract people from far and wide benefitting the Border’s tourist economy (and) recognise one of Scotland’s greatest sporting heroes in the very grounds that he so much loved”.

Euan Jardine, SBC’s executive member for culture and sport, said it was “wonderful” the funding target had been reached.

“This project will create a visitor attraction which will bring in tourists and Formula One fans from across the world to Berwickshire.”

Lucy Casot, head of the HLF in Scotland, said the investment would create an attraction worthy of Clark’s “sporting greatness”.

Clark was killed in the 1968 Deutschland Trophäe at Hockenheim, aged thirty-two and the museum could be completed to mark the fiftieth anniversary of his death.

Jack

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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