Norris more comfortable in qualifying
Lando Norris says that he feels more comfortable in qualifying in F1 than he did last year in F2, which he has described as “much harder physically.”
The Bristolian has been one of the stand out performers in qualifying, at his debut race he started in the top ten and has followed that up with point finishes. As well as beating his experienced teammate Carlos Sainz six times across the nine comparable qualifying sessions they have contested.
Asked by Motorsport.com what he put his strong F1 qualifying form down to compared to F2, Norris said: “I feel more confident in this car, in Formula 1. Not just because I’ve done well, but even at the very start of the season.”
“It was very hard to put a lap together, but I still felt more comfortable in this car than last year, in F1 compared to F2. Not because it’s easy or anything, but I just have a better feeling for it.” He added he also feels more confident in the car and has a better idea of the limits, this has been a combination of preparation himself and teamwork.
Norris says that last season in his title fight with Alex Albon and George Russell he knows that he didn’t do his best and is working on those areas. He added that he was obviously not happy when he doesn’t do a good job, but beating himself up doesn’t help.
Last year, Norris took part in several practice sessions which earnt him his race seat with McLaren. which he felt at the time cost him some performance when he got back into his F2 car for qualifying. He does not believe it is easier to drive an F1 car, Norris admitted that F2 was a tougher physical challenge.
Ahead of his home Grand Prix, there were discussions about what could be done to make the sport harder for young drivers, Norris believes that in the junior series the demands are harder.
Saying “I did suffer a lot since karting, with my size and everything, not really having a clue what to do when I started karting. So I suffered in every category: F4, F3, F2. Not so much F2 but I’ve had to kind of play catch-up quite a bit and in some ways, F1 was a bit nicer with power steering.”
London race must not be at Silverstone’s expense
Four-times champion Sebastian Vettel says there is no need for city centre races in places like London because he is happier staying at Silverstone than Formula One trying “something fancy”.
The future of the British Grand Prix has been secured until 2024 after circuit bosses agreed a new five-year deal ahead of this year’s race. One of the assurances F1 made is to protect the circuit if an additional race takes place in the British capital.
Asked by Motorsport.com for his thoughts on Silverstone and F1’s desire to race in London after the new British GP deal was announced, Vettel said: “I’m happy with Silverstone, let’s put it that way. I think it’s a great place. There’s no problem with putting a great show on here. There’s no problem getting a great crowd.
“It’s one of the best races we have. It’s a very fair crowd as well, even coming here as a German! I don’t think there’s a strong need to go into the cities. I don’t think there would be more people in the city than here. This is great. Every year I can remember more than 100,000 fans each weekend.”
Silverstone is viewed as the spiritual home of the sport, after hosting the majority of races in the UK and held the first world championship Grand Prix in 1950. Along with Italy the UK is the only nation to have hosted a Grand Prix every season since.
Vettel added “[Silverstone] is the home of motor racing so we have to come here. I’m quite happy we stay and don’t try something fancy. I think it is a great track, every driver likes it.”
“The fans come here every year in big amounts so there’s nothing wrong with it. I hope [Silverstone] negotiated a good deal and squeezed a lot out of Liberty.”
A London race has never been a serious bid, but options outside the centre of the capital remain an option.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has indicated a London race would likely need to be a “one-off” but reiterated at Silverstone that it would be “fantastic to see an F1 car race around the streets of London”
Bottas rejects psychology to help in title fight
Valtteri Bottas has rejected suggestions that he could copy Nico Rosberg and use sports psychologist to help him win his fight with his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg, who beat Hamilton to the 2016 title has revealed recently that during that fight that he visited a psychologist “every second day” that season to help him cope with the pressure of the intense battle with Hamilton.
Bottas has remained adamant that he doesn’t need that support structure around him, instead he would prefer to rely on friends and his own judgement. He told Motorsport.com, “I don’t think it would work for me. Every athlete and every person is individual. Some need some outside support. I have plenty of good people around me I can talk to.”
“For me it’s the man in the mirror that gives the answers if I had hard times or doubts and so on. I solve that with myself usually. I don’t really see a gain in that at the moment.”
“If you look at many other sports, many people use psychologists all the time and get some good help from that, but some not at all. I’m not Nico, you know, I’m Valtteri, and I know what works best for me.”
Asked if he has spoken with Rosberg about how to beat Hamilton, he says that he wants to follow his own way and has no plans at the moment to discuss that with the German.
During the British Grand Prix, Rosberg said that he received from a psychologist had a played a big part in his successful 2016 campaign.
Reuters “Two hours every second day of mental training. It was a huge process and just gave me so much, and that’s one of the big reasons why I ended up being world champion.”
“Lewis drove me to go searching for ways to be better than I ever thought I could be because he’s the best of all-time, or going towards the best of all-time.
Red Bull stand outperformer
Red Bull has been one of the outstanding performers this year surprising many with the performance of the Honda engine, following its cornering abilities at the British Grand Prix.
In qualifying at Silverstone, Max Verstappen mash the throttle hard and fast because of the confidence created by the grip from the car’s revised aerodynamics, that the engine electronics could not cope.
The result was a small delay in power application every time he pressed the accelerator – and yet, even so, Verstappen was just 0.183 seconds off Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas’ pole-position time. This was two weeks after he took the first victory of the season for Red Bull and Honda’s first win since Budapest 2006.
But at Silverstone during the race, the Dutchman was stuck behind one Ferrari or another, before Sebastian Vettel rammed into the back of him at Vale and consigned the Dutchman to a fifth-place finish.
But the way he was climbing all over the back of Charles Leclerc in the opening third of the race – with the two Mercedes not far up the road – demonstrated that there was serious speed in the car.
The race showed that Honda made notable gains over the winter and their performance at one of the power-dependent Silverstone shows progress. But Honda remains the least powerful power unit in F1, and Silverstone one of the tracks where performance is most engine-dependent, it bodes well for Red Bull over the coming races.
Speaking to BBC News, team principal Christian Horner said “We have confidence going to Hockenheim given the performance at Silverstone. Hungary is a track we have always performed well at, so that’s encouraging for us, and certainly for a circuit like Hockenheim.”
The Dutchman’s performances have been at the same level as Lewis Hamilton, that has been aided by aggressive strategies, he managed to beat both Ferraris in Australia and Spain and split them in China and France.
Ricciardo advisor claims unpaid commissions
Daniel Ricciardo’s former advisor is claiming over £10 million in alleged unpaid commissions relating to his contract with Renault. The Australian left the Red Bull programme at the end of last year, after agreeing on an unexpected two-year deal to join the works Renault team from 2019.
According to United Kingdom High Court of Justice documents obtained by Motorsport.com, Ricciardo’s former advisor Glenn Beavis claims he is owed “various sums” for the contract Ricciardo has entered into with Renault.
Beavis claims that a debt of 20% commission on Ricciardo’s base Renault salary, various contractual elements – including the cost of Ricciardo’s super licence, use of a Renault road car and cost of a physiotherapist – and other items.
Ricciardo responded: “There is no substance to Glenn Beais’ claim. It is unfortunate that he has decided to bring this wholly unmeritorious claim which I intend to fully defend in the court process.”
Beavis’s company Sivana Sports International FZE has claimed that Ricciardo’s British Virgin Islands-incorporated company Whitedunes has failed to pay fees in accordance with the commission agreed between the parties.
Whitedunes was set up to control Ricciardo’s commercial and marketing rights, representing himself, his friend Joe Passione. Ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Ricciardo was announced as part of Creative Arts Agency subsidiary CAA Sports.
Prior to that, Beavis provided management and consultancy services to Ricciardo since 2012.
Beavis claims to have taken on more tasks and in return was paid a retainer of £225,000, paid evenly across 12 months, plus 20% commission on the value of all new deals he introduced that were concluded by Whitedunes or Ricciardo.
According to the court document, that retainer fee was revised to $20,000 a month a few months into 2015 and the new figure was suggested by Beavis after Ricciardo allegedly wished to renegotiate that fee.
Force India sale heads to court
The legal case over the sale of Force India last year is set to go to trial in late 2020. Last summer Uralkali, led by Dmitry Mazepin, was one of the failed bidders who attempted to buy the struggling Force India team from administrators FRP Advisory LLP.
The Russian potash fertilizer producer and exporter believes that they submitted a higher bid than the teams’ Canadian owners, who now run the team. The consortium led by Lawrence Stroll, who won the race to buy the team as a going concern, who subsequently saved it by acquiring the assets and setting up a new company to run the renamed Racing Point operation.
Uralkali then began legal action over the sale, the timing of the trail was agreed on Wednesday in a case management conference, an early procedural step.
In a statement, Uralkali said: “During this hearing, the court considered case management issues and settled the timetable for further steps up to trial, which was scheduled to take place between October and December 2020.”
“Prior to trial, the parties to the proceedings will be required to disclose certain correspondence and other documents relating to the bidding process, and will exchange witness evidence in April 2020.”
They added that districts courts in the US has asked the consortium to provide documents and testimony, which they believe will support there claims.
In a statement, FRP Advisory remains adamant that it did nothing incorrect. In a statement given to Motorsport.com, it said, “We fulfilled our statutory duties as administrators throughout this process and ultimately achieved a very successful outcome for all stakeholders. We remain fully confident that this baseless legal action will be dismissed.”
There claims centre on three claims, “failure by the administrators to determine the highest bid in the process – from Uralkali – as successful,” “misrepresentations and lack of transparency in the process run by the administrators,” and a “flawed sales process which failed to achieve the maximisation of sale proceeds for creditors, shareholders and other stakeholders.”
Uralkali says that they made a generous offer which ‘included cash consideration of between £101.5m and £122m, depending on the specific structure of other bids.’
It continues: “Despite Uralkali’s generous offer, which we believe was the best bid on the table, the administrators chose to enter into an exclusivity arrangement with a lower bidder and subsequently refused to re-engage with Uralkali or any other bidders.