Fresh clamp down on oil burning
The FIA will be imposing a fresh clamp down on the oil burning issue and impose new limits on consumption from the Italian Grand Prix. The row which has run all season has seen all of the top team accuse each other of acting illegally.
A directive issued before Christmas technically outlawed the method and then new limits were imposed from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in relation to the use of combustion chemicals in oil. From 2018, teams will be no longer be allowed to burn oil as fuel.
However, the practice has yet to be officially outlawed creating a grey area. In a technical directive from the FIA, teams have been reminded oil consumption limit of 0.6 litres per 100km was deemed to be acceptable – and would now be ‘strictly enforced’ from 2018.
However, mindful that some manufacturers could struggle to get within that limit with current engines, there has been no push to strictly limit oil use up until now
The FIA technical delegate Marcin Budkowski said “We have accepted that some competitors may have difficulties in adhering to the 0.6l/100km limit this season and a tolerance is being applied to all power units currently in use”
“However, we will expect the oil consumption of any ICE [internal combustion engine] element of the power unit introduced from the 2017 Italian GP onwards to be less than 0.9l/100km, any consumption above this will be considered suspicious and hence investigated as a potential breach of the technical regulations.”
Budkowski made it clear that the sports governing body will continue to monitor the oil consumption and they were not ruling out further limits being imposed.
Kubica to test in Budapest
Robert Kubica’s hopes of a return to Formula One will move up a gear next week, as his Renault team will allow him to take part in the test following the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The 32-year old hasn’t raced in the sport since 2010, following a rally crash in February 2011 which left him with limited movement in his right arm. The French manufacturer has described this third test as “a new phase in assessing (his) capabilities.”
The announcement will add to speculation that the Pole could be seeking a remarkable return to the sport and may add to the growing pressure on Jolyon Palmer. Kubica has already driven the 2012 car, saying his physical limitations don’t impact the way he drives.
But Kubica can’t be certain he is capable of returning until he has proven himself in the faster and more physically demanding 2017 cars. The managing director for Renault’s F1 team Cyril Abiteboul, told BBC News “The upcoming session with the RS17 at the Hungaroring will allow us all to obtain detailed and precise data in a current car and representative conditions.
“After this test, we will carefully analyse the collected information to determine in what conditions it would be possible for Robert to return to competition in the upcoming years.” Next Weeks test, should allow him to measure his performance against other drivers.
A source has also told BBC News that “Robert is ready to come back at his level”.
Rumours continue to mount that Palmer could be replaced by Kubica if he performs, which would be one of the most remarkable comebacks in sporting history.
FIA defends decision to impose Halo
The FIA has defended its decision to impose the halo cockpit protection device from 2018. Since the sport’s governing body made the announcement last week opposition from fans, teams and most drivers has grown.
The decision was announced following a strategy group meeting last Wednesday where it is understood only one team supported its use. Some drivers have been opposed to its introduction from its inception.
The FIA says the halo increased survival rates by 17%, with the Aeroscreen not being as rigorously tested. Former three times world champion and Mercedes non-executive director Niki Lauda, told The Guardian “We are trying hard with faster cars and getting closer to the spectators to attract new fans to the sport. “But this now is destroyed by an over-reaction.”
“There is 100% a better solution than the halo. The halo destroys the DNA of an F1 car. The FIA has made F1 as safe as it gets.” The FIA responded to that, saying in a statement “Over the past decade motor sport has witnessed serious incidents that affected drivers.”
“The severity of the incidents made it clear to the FIA that developing a solution to mitigate against frontal impact in the area of the cockpit is a research priority.”
Over the last decade, there has been a number of incidents across motorsport where serious injuries and deaths have occurred because of impacts to the head.
Last year The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association asked the FIA president, Jean Todt, for some form of protection to be “implemented as swiftly as possible’’. The FIA continued testing a variety of devices and has now explained its adoption of the halo.
Honda calls on Sabuer to confirm deal
Honda boss Yusuke Hasegawa says he wants Sauber to confirm their plans as soon as possible as doubt about the agreement between the two creeps in.
In April, Sauber announced that they would be switching from Ferrari to Honda power from next season. Sauber’s former team principal Monisha Kaltenborn was the main architect behind the deal, but following her departure, there has been speculation that the deal could be off.
Kaltenborn’s replacement, the former Renault boss Fred Vasseur has made the issue one of his priorities, but the situation remains uncertain. With Honda saying it cannot wait too long for a decision.
Aske by Racer, when Honda needed to know if the deal was going ahead from a planning point of view, Hasegawa said “Now. As soon as possible. We cannot wait for next year’s preparations so we are working on it already and we really need to fix [a decision].”
“From the plan point of view, we are already working on [being ready for the Sauber supply in 2018]. So we need to fix the plans, but we will just continue as we are for now. So far, no change.” Unless anything changes, Sauber will become Honda’s second team.
Sauber this season has been using a year-old Ferrari engine this year, a decision has taken so new owners Longbow Finance could focus on restructuring the team in 2017.
News – in – Brief
Sauber Upgrades – Sauber will bring a big upgrade for this weekends Hungarian Grand Prix. The Swiss team struggled with the performance at the last two races and this is believed to be it’s most dramatic of the season, in a bid to counter the deficit of running a year-old Ferrari engine.
Singapore GP deal very close – The promoter of the Singapore Grand Prix says a renewal of the contract is “very close.” Next year’s race was marked a provisional, but there are no doubts over its future but the contract has not been signed.
Hamilton ‘building legacy as one of the greats’
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that Lewis Hamilton is “building a legacy as one of Formula 1’s greatest drivers” as he looks to reach another milestone in the sport at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
If Hamilton takes pole in Budapest he will equal seven times champion Micheal Schumacher’s all time pole records of sixty-eight career poles and should he win the race it would give him the lead of the championship.
The odds appear in Hamilton’s favour, as he has taken five victories in Budapest making it his best circuit on the calendar. The Brit is just a point behind his title rival Sebastian Vettel, and Wolff is expecting Hamilton to carry the momentum from a dominate victory at Silverstone into the race.
Wolff told Sky Sports “Our drivers have been one of our biggest strengths so far. Lewis has delivered some consummate performances this year in China, Canada and Silverstone in particular.”
“The win in front of his home crowd was emotionally charged and I am sure he is carrying that energy with him right now. As we see almost each weekend, he is equalling and matching new records in our sport’s history – and building a legacy as one of the sport’s greatest drivers.”!
Wolff says Budapest has always been a good circuit for Hamilton but says he knows that is no guarantee of future performance and “It’s all about the right preparation, hard work and delivering on the day.”
Mercedes are pulling away from Ferrari now, who haven’t won since Monaco in May. But the Hungaroring is expected to bring Red Bull back into play because of the teams upgrade package and the low-speed nature of the circuit.
Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas is growing in confidence and is also himself within just one win of the championship lead.
That has earnt the Finn praise from Wolff, “Valtteri has embodied Finnish resolve and fighting spirit. He has a fierce work ethic, steely approach and a great natural talent.”
“He threw himself into the challenge of switching teams and we are now starting to see his full potential reveal itself.”
Matsushita and Malja set for first F1 tests
Honda’s junior driver Nobuharu Matsushita will drive a Formula One car for the first time with Sauber in next weeks test at the Hungaroring. The Formula Two driver will drive on Wednesday, taking over from Gustav Malja.
Matsushita’s test comes as the uncertainty about the deal between Sauber and Honda as hit problems. Earlier this year, the two signed a provisional agreement with Honda having been made earlier this year.
While a deal between the two parties was agreed it has since emerged that no final contract was signed, with some sources suggesting the deal had been called off. The Japanese driver’s test suggests that a switch to Honda hasn’t be ruled out.
Sauber’s new Team Principal Frederic Vasseur, told Autosport “I am pleased that Nobuharu has this great opportunity. He deserves the experience of his first test in a Formula One car.”
“Ever since his debut in Formula Two with ART Grand Prix, I have been following his progress closely, and have watched him advance his performance from year to year.”
Since Vasseur joined the Swiss team he has made it his priority would be in sorting out what to do about the Honda situation.