Budget cap won’t work – Marchionne
Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne believes that introducing a budget cap will not work. In the past few days there have been reports that the sport’s new owners Liberty Media have been looking at the idea as a way of closing up the gaps.
Last time this was discussed, McLaren, Ferrari, Brawn (now Mercedes), Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Force India and Renault all threatened to quit and form their own series via GPWC. While Marchionne accepts that costs need to be reduced, he reckons a budget cap will never work.
Marchionne told Motorsport.com “The interventions there have been up to now, from limitations on the cost of supplying power units to the reduction of wind-tunnel hours, have been totally ineffective.”
He added “Formula 1 is an extremely expensive sport. There are factory teams from Renault and Mercedes, big companies that can concentrate on development in a broader way, and this for costs becomes very dangerous.”
Marchionne added while he accepts the goal of reducing costs, he doesn’t believe a budget cap would work. Saying “The problem is that with the restrictions, we will end up working in very limited areas to make the car competitive.”
He says that the problem of imposing limits is that “if areas are left open, spending concentrates in this area. If I look at the last four of five years, we haven’t saved a euro.”
“We have simply redistributed our spending to other areas. In principle it’s very noble, but then the effect never gives the necessary results.”
Odd and uncomfortable moments for Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton says that some situations at Mercedes this season “felt a bit odd” and “uncomfortable”. The three times world champion, didn’t manage to win his fourth title despite winning the most races finishing five points behind Nico Rosberg.
The season did see the two clashes on track most noticeably in Barcelona where the both crashed into each other on the opening lap of the race and Hamilton trying to back up Rosberg in Abu Dhabi. There was an engine issue for Hamilton in China, Russia and in spectacular fashion in Malaysia, costing him victory.
Mercedes decided to change the teams working on each car before the season which Hamilton struggled to understand. Speaking to Autosport, but not mentioning specific situations, he said “There have been instances that have felt a bit odd. There have been some uncomfortable scenarios. But I should expect that.”
“That comes with the territory when you’ve competed at the front for some time. It’s a tricky scenario for a team when they’ve got two drivers fighting for a championship.” Hamilton feels he has learnt a lot and remained in a positive mind-set, pointing out he had more poles and wins this year.
He added that he has learnt a lot about his weaknesses that he can improve on next year. But admits the changes in technical regulations for 2017 will be a challenge but he believes Mercedes is well equipped to deal with it.
Bigger challenges ahead – Wolff
Toto Wolff has told his team to recharge for the ‘bigger challenges ahead’ in his Christmas message to Mercedes. Mercedes won their third back-to-back drivers and constructor’s championship, but was shaken by the sudden retirement of Nico Rosberg.
The team is also expected that it will lose technical director Paddy Lowe to Williams. Wolff says that Mercedes ‘were tested at each turn by unexpected challenges’ during their latest record-breaking year of dominance but have emerged ‘stronger and more capable to face the road ahead’.
Wolff added: “Our position in the spotlight puts every decision taken and every word spoken under an intense microscope. But there has been enough talking now. This is the period for calm and considered reflection.”
Next season with the regulation changes Mercedes are expected to have more of a challenge. Wolff said “We will tackle new rules, welcome a new race driver and take on even stronger rivals,” he wrote. “It will test our team’s character, strength and capability. Bring it on”
Mercedes will not be announcing who will replace Rosberg but it is expected to be Valtteri Bottas if they can sign him from Williams.
Tyres selection for Australia & China
Pirelli have announced that drivers will have announce the tyres which teams can chose for drivers for the opening to rounds of the season. Pirelli because it’s a race outside of Europe have to announce the tyres which they will be available for selections.
Drivers allocations will however not be known until two Tuesdays before the race. For the opening race in Australia they have made the Yellow soft, red supersoft and purple ultrasoft available for drivers with the ultra being assigned for Q3. The soft and supersoft must be run in the race.
For the second in china they have chosen the white medium tyres, yellow soft and red supersoft tyres. With the supersoft being assigned for Q3. The drivers are required to save for Q3 one set of the softest of the three nominated compounds. This set will be given back to Pirelli after Q3 for those who qualify in the top 10.
The only change from last season is Pirelli dropping the medium in favour of the ultra for Australia. These will be the first races that the new wider tyres will be used at with them 100mm wider at the rear.
Alfa Romeo return?
Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne at a Christmas Lunch has suggested that the team could bring Alfa Romeo back to Formula One.
Speaking at the teams Christmas lunch yesterday, he suggested they could eventually look to establish a similar tie-up to the one Red Bull have with junior team Toro Rosso. Ferrari currently supplies Sauber and Haas. But Marchionne suggest that this could be a breeding ground for Italian drivers.
In April, Marchionne told Autosport: “There are perhaps other alternatives for Alfa if they wanted to come back into the race. It is a very close cousin of Ferrari, and you should start looking at your family first before you start looking outside.”
Yesterday he told the Italian media “”It’s one of my target to bring Alfa Romeo back to F1. Now we have to see how many new Alfa Romeo models we’ll sell and also which kind of job is possible to do with Ferrari. Something like Toro Rosso with Red Bull.”
Alfa last raced in F1 as a constructor in 1985 and supplied engines until 1987.
Too many races in Europe
Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost says that there is too many races in Europe and the sport is missing out on crucial markets. Next year there are due to be seven in Europe with nine scheduled for 2018 with Hockenheim scheduled under a bi-annual deal and the return of the French round.#
When asked if he was excited about the return of the French event at Circuit Paul Ricard, Tost told Austria’s Tiroler Tageszeitung: “For me, we must head to other destinations. There are too many grands prix in Europe.
“I know that I have a different view compared to my colleagues, but we should go to South Africa, we need more races in US, we need to go to Argentina, and India would also be a really important market.”
“Formula 1 is a global sport. In 2015, in total half a billion fans watched our races live. Such numbers are only achieved by the Football World Cup and the Olympic Games.”
That’s all from F1 Today for this year. We are taking a Christmas break and will return Tuesday 3rd January. We wish you all a very Happy Christmas and join us again in January!