Verstappen deserves a car to fight for titles
Formula One’s managing director for motorsport and technical director Ross Brawn believes that the current form of Max Verstappen demonstrates why he deserves to be given a car which is capable of winning every race.
Verstappen had a difficult start to the season with a number of incidents, while his teammate Daniel Ricciardo took two wins in the first six races. However since then, the Dutchman has taken five podiums and two wins, as well as out-qualifying Ricciardo at every race since Monaco.
Verstappen’s latest podium came in Singapore, where he qualified and finished second and Brawn has been impressed with his improvements this year.
The Englishman told ESPN, “It shows that the Dutchman has all the hallmarks of a future champion. It’s not enough to just produce phenomenal performances in some races if others are marred by silly mistakes, but more and more Verstappen’s races are characterised by not just prodigious pace but also composure.”
“Max is growing in stature and he now needs a car with which he can always fight for victory, not just in certain situations.” One of the biggest errors Verstappen made was in Shanghai when he attempted to overtake Lewis Hamilton in the latter part of the race.
Brawn thinks one moment in Singapore showed he has learned from some of his earlier mistakes when he closed on Hamilton’s car when the Mercedes driver got held up by traffic. Despite getting close to overtaking, Verstappen did not make any rash move for the lead.
“Even then he avoided unnecessary risks, perhaps aware that he didn’t have a real chance of winning,” Brawn added.
Red Bull only chance in Mexico
Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner believes the teams only “realistic” chance for another win this season is the Mexican Grand Prix. The Austrian team has won three races this season, with Max Verstappen pushing Mercedes hard at the last race in Singapore.
Verstappen took victory in Mexico City last season, with Horner hoping that the team can mount another challenge this season. Horner told Motorsport.com, “I think realistically Mexico is probably the only shot we’ve got left, under normal circumstances. Hopefully, we can get a few more podiums in before the end of the year.”
Mercedes F1 CEO Toto Wolff believes that it was good that Red Bull was in the mix as the championship reached its climax. He said “If they could play more of a role until the end of the season. It is good to have them in the mix, it is good for the fans and for the racing. We enjoyed it.
“Mexico will be the next one where on paper they should be really quick, but who knows what happens in Sochi and Suzuka.”
Horner is insisting that it is too early to write off Vettel who remains in title contention. Pointing out Vettel’s comeback against Fernando Alonso in the 2012 title race as an example of why the German shouldn’t be counted out.
He said Vettel was “Usually he’s very good under pressure. So he certainly won’t give up. He was 40-odd points down before, I think in 2012.”
“Obviously it looks like Lewis is in the driving seat now, he’s just got to be consistent to the year-end. It’s certainly going to be an uphill battle [for Ferrari] to get themselves back into it.”
Vandoorne wants to emulate Magnussen
Stoffel Vandoorne believes he can emulate Kevin Magnussen by resetting his F1 career, after being dropped by McLaren. Both the Belgian and the Dane were products of the teams’ young driver programme.
Magnussen was dropped after a single season, but has rebuilt his career first with Renault and is currently growing in strength at the less pressured and political situation at Haas. Vandoorne told Autosport, “I feel a lot of support still from people high up in the Formula 1 paddock, let’s say, and people realise what the situation has been here at McLaren.”
“Ask Kevin [Magnussen], he’s been in a kind of similar situation and I think he really benefitted from having a fresh start. It’s something I’m quite looking forward to as well, to have a fresh start and see what the future holds.”
Vandoorne says he feels a lot of support from high up in the paddock and there is understanding that his time at McLaren hasn’t been the easiest. McLaren hasn’t won a race since 2012, a drivers championship since 2008 or a constructors championship since 1998.
The lack of results has prompted a major shakeup in the team with a number of substantial management changes and high-profile recruitments, and the political situation remains febrile.
Despite his difficulties at McLaren, he refuses to criticise the British team because they helped him through his junior career. He says “They’ve helped me through GP2 and [in Super Formula in] Japan, then they gave me the opportunity to race in Formula 1 as well. So I will always be grateful for the opportunities I’ve had.”
After a year as reserve driver, his contract was terminated and moved to Renault in 2016. However, that proved as equally troubling both with his performances and the politics within the team.
But since moving to the smaller US team he has delivered very strong results, this season his results have allowed Haas to lead the midfield and fight with Renault.
He admitted the chances of being on the grid next year are very slim, but vowed to keep talking until no options are available.
Vettel sad to see Raikkonen leave Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel says he is sad that he won’t have Kimi Raikkonen as his teammate next season, because they have a relationship which is based on “zero bulls***”.
Raikkonen returned to Ferrari five years ago and has been the German’s teammate for the last four seasons, but will be replaced by Ferrari’s young driver Charles Leclerc following his impressive debut season with Sauber.
Vettel and Raikkonen were friends before they became team-mates at Ferrari, and frequently travel to races together. asked by Autosport, if Raikkonen was the best team-mate he had worked with, Vettel said “Yeah, absolutely. Obviously one thing you can express in numbers and results and so on, but I think that’s not the most important thing.”
“I think the most important thing if you are team-mates is the respect that you have for each other, or the degree of b******t going on between each other, and with Kimi it has been zero from the start, and I don’t think it will change until the end.”
“It’s a great chance for Charles, but also it’s sad to know that Kimi is not there anymore because I think we get along even though we are different. We have this mutual respect for each other.”
Vettel admitted that the team dynamic would change, but says he hasn’t really given that much though. But says that it was a great opportunity for Leclerc who has been in the Ferrari Academy for a long time.
hen asked if taking a youngster was the right decision for Ferrari, Vettel downplayed the importance of age, saying “If you are fast and talented then the age doesn’t matter.”
“You can be fast and talented also when you are old on paper. Kimi is probably the best example, so you have two good examples. He [Leclerc] deserves to be in F1, and as I said before it’s great that he gets the opportunity to race in a big team, and then we’ll see.”
Ferrari always open to Mick Schumacher
Ferrari says ‘the door will always be open’ for Mick Schumacher to join the Italian team. The nineteen-year-old son of seven times champion Michael, performances in Formula Four and Three this season has made him one of the hottest drivers in Formula Racing.
Mick took his first win at Spa this season, with his season going from strength to strength with five back to back wins and he leads the championship by forty-nine points with three races to go and seventy-five to play for.
Although Ferrari is reluctant to add to the pressure on Schumacher, team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has admitted the teenager will always be on his team’s radar. He told ESPN, “The most important thing is to let him grow, without giving pressure. The recent results are very, very good, and I wish to him a great career.”
“With a name like this, that wrote historical pages of Ferrari history, the door of Maranello is always open, of course. But without burning the step.” But, Arrivabene said it should be Schumacher’s decision.
He looks set to make his ‘official’ debut at a Grand Prix weekend in Bahrain next season in F2. Last season, he drove his fathers 1994 Benetton at Spa.
Arrivabene stressed “I always repeat this: Be focused, concentrated, but in the meantime have fun, and grow slowly but certainly, and then we’ll see about the future. How can you can say ‘no’ at Maranello to a name like this?”
Toro Rosso won’t get upgrade it’s “craving” until Austin
Toro Rosso says that its drivers will not get the upgrades that they are “craving” for until the United States Grand Prix, as the team are preparing a new front wing and floor.
The Italian team has fallen down the competitive order after not introducing a successful upgrade since the Austrian Grand Prix and has ditched the front wing upgrade after Singapore. At that race in Singapore despite viewing it as one of their best opportunities for points, neither car finished in the points.
Brendon Hartley admitted in Singapore weekend that “we are definitely craving another update”, although neither he nor Gasly knew exactly when it would arrive.
Motorsport.com has learned that Toro Rosso is preparing a new floor as well as a new front wing that has been developed from the problems of the previous upgrade.
They will be introduced for the United States GP in late October, which means the team must do without for the upcoming double-header in Russia and Japan. Deputy technical director Jody Egginton, told the website “The next package we produce will be a front wing update and floor update. Some of the parts we’ve developed there are the result of what we learned from the front wing update that we didn’t actually race.”
“The correlation and the changes in the way we’ve developed the car have been guided in some respects by that front wing. It is sort of a follow-on even though that front wing didn’t become race spec. It’s been incredibly useful in terms of developing the car further.”
Egginton explained that the team didn’t have a load benefit from the car from the previous front wing upgrade However, it was happy with the reduction of aero sensitivity recorded by other elements of the upgrade – the floor, bodywork, front and rear brake duct and chassis winglets – and proceeded to use those components.
Toro Rosso’s chassis upgrades should coincide with a performance boost from engine supplier Honda, which is preparing for its home grand prix in Japan one week after this weekend’s race in Russia.