F1 Today – 23/07/2019

F1 Today

Hamilton better “polarising” opinion than being boring

Mercedes F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff believes its better that Lewis Hamilton polarises opinion, as that’s better than if the five-time world champion was “boring.”

Wolff’s comments came in a debate over the popularity of the Englishman in the UK, following controversial question regarding the perception of his ‘Britishness’ in a press conference at his local race. The Austrian said “I think certainly racing in front of his home crowd in Silverstone he wants to do particularly well.”

“That puts an additional tension and intensity into the situation. For me many of the best sports stars in the world, they polarise. You will have heard similar comments about Serena Williams. Half of the people love her and want her to win everything, and the other ones cheer for the opponents.”

He believes polarising opinion is better than being down the middle and boring.

Hamilton has been defended on social media by the former footballer Rio Ferdinand, who said that the questions and criticism the F1 champion has faced were steeped in “racist undertones”.

Posting on Instagram, Ferdinand wrote “Lewis Hamilton facing jibes over his Britishness !!! When he lifts the titles he is reported very British…but on the way to winning, throughout the year his patriotism is questioned.

“Why??? The usual questions are “but you live in Monaco….your accent isn’t totally British…your lifestyle travelling and fashion choices….” Firstly, most F1 drivers live in Monaco including the likes of our other former world champion Jenson Button. Was Jenson’s Britishness ever questioned for living in Monaco?? Not a chance.”

“I will tell you why – because he looked similar, sounded similar, dressed similar & walked similar to the people who raise these questions of Hamilton. The level of disrespect & racist undertones in questioning Hamilton’s Patriotism should not be underestimated.”

He prepares diligently (Five world titles tells you that), has a working formula that works for him in his downtime & after proving time and time again that his preparation for racing is perfect for him, even if it means flying in from LA where he was out and about then so be it.”

Speaking about that post, Hamilton said “I can understand his opinion and he has a right to that. I think it’s not a route that I particularly want to go down. Every day is an opportunity to elevate and to shine and to do something new. My mum’s white, my dad’s black. I’ve got the best of both worlds.”


Bottas’s brutally honest assessments

Valtteri Bottas looks at himself, the Finn’s title hopes are fading slightly every race weekend following a race he looks at himself in the mirror to examine what worked and gives himself a brutally honest assessment. brutally honest assessment.

In an open typically straight-talking interview, he told ESPN “Sometimes I say, ‘You’re a f****** c***! You are stupid!’ and sometimes I say, ‘You are the best’. I just like being honest with myself. You can always improve and there are always excuses of all kinds in this sport, but accepting your weaknesses and strengths is what works for me.”

Bottas’s road to a maiden title faces strong opposition by five times champion and teammate Lewis Hamilton. Five wins in the last six races has allowed Hamilton to open a thirty-nine point lead. While the Finn hasn’t won a race since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.

Against any other driver, that points deficit might seem recoverable. Bigger championship leads have been overturned in the past and a couple of reliability issues on Hamilton’s car would change the picture completely.

“Never Give Up” his motto goes to the core of who he is, going back to his childhood home in Nastola in the Päijät-Häme region of Finland.

He said “During my childhood, my family risked a lot financially. They put every single penny they could into my racing and also their free time was completely compromised. There were many things in my childhood I sacrificed.”

“I started travelling quite young, compromising school in terms of learning and time with friends doing normal stuff as a kid you want to do. But obviously, I wouldn’t change a day.” But he says aged twelve is when he realised that if he wanted to get something out of it he needed to take it seriously.

Bottas needs to be critical, as only two teammates, Jenson Button in 2011 and Nico Rosberg in 2016, and there were clear reasons for both. Inability in his private life following his break up with his longtime girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and the turmoil in his private life appeared to overflow into his professional life.

While Rosberg’s championship challenge was built on a foundation of reliability issues for Hamilton early in the year but, to give Rosberg his credit, he played the percentages in the second half of the season and sealed the deal.

The Hamilton of 2019 is a much more balanced man and he shows none of the fragility of the McLaren-era Hamilton.

Bottas knows, however, he will need to beat Hamilton in a straight fight!


Haas continues experimentation

Haas is to continue with their experiment of running their cars with different set ups at this weekends German Grand Prix. At Silverstone, the team split its strategy in a bid to understand its inconsistences.

But they will need to repeat the experiment this weekend, following a collision between Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen led to early retirements. That left the team unable to collect sufficient data.

Haas has been struggling with inconsistency with its race pace at various different circuits this season, as well as comparing speed in qualifying with that in the race. One of the examples of this was Austria when Magnussen qualified fifth but finished two laps down.

Grosjean will continue with the car in the aerodynamic configuration which was used at the first race of the season, while team-mate Magnussen will have Haas’ latest upgrades on his car.

This is an unusual move to have teams running different aero setups, but the teams main issue has been getting the tyres to work in the races which has left them unable to find pace.

A double points score in Barcelona when they introduced their first major aerodynamic upgrade, with Magnussen seventh and Grosjean tenth. But they have not scored since Grosjean earned one point for tenth in Monaco and, in that time have slipped from sixth to ninth in the constructors’ championship, ahead only of pointless Williams.

Team principal Gunther Steiner told BBC News “We decided on this exercise to get data and understand better what the difference between the two cars is, good or bad, then we can see where we can make improvements. We weren’t sure if the update we introduced in Barcelona was better or not.”

He says that in Hockenheim, where the track temperatures will be higher the team should get a lot of data which they couldn’t get at Silverstone. Steiner confirmed that Magnussen will debut in Germany was aimed at “making the car, in general, better, more drivable with more downforce, which always helps you go fast.

“We’re trying to make the tires work better for us. That’s the biggest improvement we can make at the moment – getting into the [working temperature] window of the tyre – and that’s got a lot to do with downforce.”

Speaking about the clash at Silverstone, the latest in a series of incidents between its driver, Steiner has made it clear that hitting each other on track and compromising the team’s performance was not acceptable.


Verstappen Le Mans “conversation to be had”

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer says the prospect of Max Verstappen racing for the manufacturer at the Le Mans 24 Hours is “a conversation to be had”.

The Dutchman’s Red Bull team has Aston as the title partner, and the energy drinks company’s Advanced Technologies firm helped Aston develop the road-going Valkyrie hypercar. A racing version of the car is due to race in the 2020-21 World Endurance Championship’s new top-class regulations in 2020, giving Aston the chance to fight for overall honours at the Le Mans 24 Hours again.

Verstappen has talked about his desire to race at Le Mans, particularly with his father Jos. Aston boss Palmer told Motorsport.com that he is “privileged to have a reasonably good relationship with Max” through the Red Bull link.

“Philosophically or theoretically I’d love to have him involved [at Le Mans]. He’s not formally involved but it’s not ruled out either. That’s a conversation to be had in the future. But wouldn’t it be great?” He added

The partnership has been vindicated by various commercial, technological and sporting offshoots. Prominent branding on the car and various events with Red Bull have been successful at Silverstone the same weekend it used its involvement in the James Bond film franchise to deck out Red Bull’s cars in a special 007 livery and invite actor Daniel Craig to the race.

Palmer admitted that the mix of those off-track initiatives, coupled with competitive growth such as the WEC Hypercar project and Red Bull alliance, seemed impossible when he joined Aston five years ago.

He said “Underneath the water every day is a struggle. But that’s the point: we’re struggling towards a goal that’s been clearly laid out, a roadmap for development of the company turning into a great British institution.”

“That’s laid out until at least 2024. While each of the days require big targets to be achieved, at least you know where you’re running to.” Palmer says that they have momentum and know where they are going and can turn a little success into a big success.

He says theses successes would not have been possible a few years ago.

Toro Rosso announces partnerships with Thai businesses

Toro Rosso has announced two new partnerships in the last two days, one with the Thai PTT Lubricants which trades as PTT Oil & Retail Business Public Company Limited (PTTOR), and cider manufacturer Moose.

From this weekends German Grand Prix, the Moose logo will be featured on both drivers’ race overalls, the STR14 cars and on Alex’s helmets which the logo of PTT Lubricants logo will be featured on both Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat’s race overalls and the STR14 cars from the 2019 German Grand Prix onwards.

Both partnerships according to the team they will grow the Thailand’s motorsport ambitions on a global stage to further develop grassroots motorsport and to empower young people to follow their dreams.

Assistant Managing Director of Siam Winery, Khun Varit Yoovidhya said “Alex is the perfect role model for young Thai athletes having shown incredible persistence and determination throughout his, at times, challenging career.”

“The Moose brand stands for passion, being authentic and to follow our own path, all of which we feel is very much embodied by Alex and Toro Rosso.”

While President & CEO of PTTOR Jiraphon Kawswat added “We are proud to support Mr. Alex Albon, the sole Thai driver in this prestigious international competition. This collaboration is a part of our efforts to demonstrate the potential of the Thai people on the international stage.”

“It’s also a historical opportunity for Thailand’s leading quality oil and lubricants brand to appear before the eyes of motorsport fans around the world.”

Albon Added “It’s a real honour to be a brand ambassador for Moose Craft Cider, a young and ambitious Thai brand that I can personally identify with. It also shows that Formula 1 is growing in popularity in my home country Thailand, something that makes me incredibly proud and happy.”

“I’m really grateful to PTTOR and PTT Lubricants and look forward to representing them around the world.  To be able to count on their support moving forwards is really significant and I’m relishing the chance to work closely with them in the future.”

Mercedes teases special livery

Mercedes has teased a special livery looking at the “125 years of motorsport” anniversary livery it will run on its Formula 1 car at this weekend’s German Grand Prix.

The German manufacturer is the title sponsor of this weekends race at Hockenheim,  it is using the weekend to celebrate 125 years since a Daimler engine took part and won the first car race between Paris and Rouen. In order to mark the event, the F1 team will run an altered livery that features a traditional Mercedes badge on the nose and appears to incorporate white paint — Germany’s traditional racing colour — with this year’s silver and green paintwork.

The team has not released a full image of the design, but used its social media channels to tease the new paint job.

In a Statement, F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff said “This year’s race is a very special event: we’re the title sponsor of the Mercedes-Benz Großer Preis von Deutschland and the race will mark the 200th start for Mercedes in Formula One,”

“We will also celebrate a remarkable anniversary in Hockenheim: 125 years of motorsport. In 1894, the world’s first car race was held from Paris to Rouen and the winning machine had at its heart an engine manufactured to the design of Gottlieb Daimler.”

Wolff added that the team are facing a challenge this weekend as the European heatwave continues, temperatures are expected to be 38C. In Austria, Mercedes struggled with cooling issues at when temperatures hit 35C and Wolff is taking nothing for granted in Hockenheim.


Pirelli announces Hungary tyre allocations

Pirelli has announced the drivers tyre allocations for next weekends Hungarian Grand Prix. For the race near the capital Budapest the tyre manufacturer has nominated the C4 as the softs, C3 as the medium and C2 as the hards.

Both Mercedes has gone for eight sets of the softs, with Lewis Hamilton going for three mediums and two hards, with teammate Valtteri Bottas going for four mediums and a hard.

Both Ferrari’s, Red Bull’s, Haas’s, McLaren’s, Racing Points and Williams have all gone for nine sets of the softs. Sebastian Vettel, both Racing Points, Kevin Magnussen and Robert Kubica have two sets of mediums and hards. Charles Leclerc and George Russell both going for three mediums and a hard.

Both Red Bull’s and McLaren have three mediums and a hard.

While Both Renaults, Alfa Romeo’s and Toro Rosso’s have ten of the soft tyres. With Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen, Alex Albon having one medium and two hards.

Kimi Raikkonen and Alex Albon have one medium and two hards, their respective teammates Antonio Giovinazzi and Daniil Kvyat have two mediums and one hard.


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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