Aston Martin could enter if conditions are right
Aston Martin says they could be interested in a Formula One engine programme if the new regulations due to be introduced in 2021 are framed in a way that suits the sportscar manufacturer.
CEO Andy Palmer who represented the firm at a meeting between car manufacturers, Liberty and the FIA, says that the only way the company could justify an involvement if a lid was kept on costs. Aston Martin is a currently involved as an engine sponsor of Red Bull.
Palmer told Motorsport.com “There’s always that question, would you want to enter as a team? Our major competitor is Ferrari, so in that sense, there’s a rationale in being involved in some way.”
“But for a company that’s only just moved to making a profit we don’t have the 350-400 million a year that you have to spend on F1, ” He said if there was a cap on people or a budget cap on the amount you can spend on engine development and it was a reasonable level.
Palmer says that the initial signs are promising, but there is no clear consensus among current and potential competitors. Adding “everybody accepts that you need more theatre in F1, you need more noise, you don’t want to restrict too much of the performance, but you have to bring the costs of entry down.”
The debate appears to be about how you then bring the changes in with the teams disagreeing on how the changes can be implemented. Palmer says that he thinks the final call will be made by the FIA and Liberty.
All current and interested manufacturers have agreed to conduct research into possible engine formats. Palmer adde, “We’ve been asked to study what the impacts on cylinder pressures would be, what the impact on performance would be.”
F1 at a crossroads and decisions need making
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says that Formula One is at a crossroad and needs to make decisions now to be relevant in the next decade. The sport is currently debating what kind of engine regulations should be introduced from 2021.
The teams, Liberty Media and FIA have agreed broadly that the sport must remain the pinnacle of motorsport, but also find a solution that allows for cheaper, louder and sufficiently powerful engines.
Two meetings have already taken place about the future regulations, with teams doing further analysis will over the summer before being reviewed at the next meeting of F1’s Strategy Group in September.
Horner who represents the biggest non-works team, says the sport needs to find the correct balance between road-relevant technology and entertainment. Horner told ESPN, “I think what’s really interesting is that Formula One is effectively at a crossroads with the new regulations, because those regulations theoretically come in 2021.”
“There will be probably and eight to ten-year life on those engines, so what we are looking at is actually is Formula One’s relevance pretty much up to 2030,” He says Formula One needs answers today about what it is.
He added “I hope that with the opportunity there is with the regulation change that is being discussed at the moment that the fundamental aspects of cost, performance and attractiveness to the fans, therefore the noise, the acoustics of these engines, are a key factor in the set of regulations they come up with.”
Teams reject share offer
Formula One teams have not taken up the offer to buy shares at a preferable rate which the sports owners Liberty Media made available to them following their takeover of the sport in January.
The US media company put around nineteen million shares up for purchase by the teams for £16 per share, £5 below the market value. But teams have failed to invest in the sport, with Liberty’s offer now expired.
F1 CEO Chase Carey told ESPN “We have been actively engaged with all teams to shape a shared vision for the sport that will create real value for all stakeholders.”
“While the window for this particular investment opportunity has passed, we are pleased with the collaborative discussions we are having with the teams.”
“These discussions will take time, but we appreciate their receptivity towards further aligning our incentives for the long-term benefit of the sport.”
Earlier this year Ferrari’s chairman, Sergio Marchionne said the Italian car company would only invest in Formula One if they knew what the future was after 2020. That is when the current commercial agreement expires.
Marchionne said “The Concorde Agreement expires in 2020, so becoming a non-voting shareholder in an entity, which would effectively keep us trapped in without knowledge of what 2021 and the later world will look like, is something I consider unwise.”
Force India not giving up on third place
Force India’s owner and team principal Vijay Mallya says he will “not be giving up” on chasing down third place in the constructor’s championship. The team currently sits fourth in the championship, seventy-nine points behind Red Bull.
The team has scored double points in every race apart from Monaco and Baku, with the team’s best result coming in Barcelona when Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon took fourth and fifth respectively. The team also has a comfortable buffer over Williams of fifty-three points.
This season, Mallya set the team the target of finishing in the top three in the constructors. But, retaining fourth appears a more reasonable target, however, the businessman insists the third place target is l feasible despite Red Bull’s advantage in terms of points and pace.
He told Motorsport.com “We should have had nine [double points finishes] at least, but eight out of 10 is pretty good”, referring to Perez and Ocon coming to blows on the opening lap in Baku.
“It’s very satisfying to see two good, competitive drivers. I couldn’t ask for more, two cars regularly in the points, it’s what we need. We’re up to 95 points in 10 races, we’ve never had this kind of points tally in the history of the team that I can remember. We’re 54 ahead of Williams”
Mallya says they need to wait and see what happens, but he was not giving up on chasing down Red Bull. Asked if the team head the resources to close the gap to Red Bull, Mallya pointed to the team’s planned Singapore upgrade as evidence it plans to push to the end.
“If you’re able to plan an upgrade as far ahead as Singapore, obviously you have the resources to do it,” he said.
Mercedes enter Formula E
Mercedes have announced they will be quitting German Touring Cars (DTM) at the end of 2018 and enter Formula E.
Thou the entry into the electric series will not affect there Formula One team, the news may be linked to the renewal of the deal with title sponsorship deal with Petronas until 2020.
Mercedes will be the second Formula One manufacturer to enter the series after Renault joined for the debut season in 2014-15. While Ferrari has also been linked to joining the series by 2022-23. The German manufacturer will be the third works team and will see the grid increase to twenty-two cars.
Audi, Renault and Jaguar already compete in the series with the latter two having works teams. Mercedes deferred its entry by a year to give themselves more time to prepare.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said, “In motorsport like in every other area, we want to be the benchmark in the premium segment and to explore innovative new projects.”
“The combination of Formula One and Formula E delivers that. Formula E is like an exciting start-up venture: it offers a brand new format, combining racing with a strong event character, in order to promote current and future technologies.”
He says he is pleased the FIA and Formula E have allowed them to delay entry by a year to give them more time to prepare. From 2020-21, team’s will be allowed to develop their own power units after the deal with McLaren expires at the end of 2019-20 season.
Ferrari renews UPS deal
Ferrari has announced they are renewing their sponsorship deal with UPS in a multi-year deal. The deal means the UPS brand will continue to appear on the Scuderia Ferrari’s single-seaters and the official drivers’ racing suits.
Alonso penalty to maximise Budapest
Fernando Alonso says that his grid penalty at the British Grand Prix was deliberate so he could give himself the maximum chances of a big result at this weekends Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard took a thirty place penalty at Silverstone because the team decided to fit a new engine and turbo plus MGU-H and MGU-K recovery systems to his car after Friday practice. Plus, he had a five place penalty for a new battery.
Alonso says the extra components were fitted with Budapest in mind, with his team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne identifying it as one of McLaren’s best opportunities to score points this season.
Alonso told Autosport “We made some big decisions in Silverstone in terms of taking grid penalties in preparation for this race, and hope that’s paid off so we can put ourselves in the best possible position for points this weekend.”
“The Hungaroring presents one of the best opportunities for us this year – the short, twisty circuit means we are less reliant on outright power, and the drivers have to really depend on the capabilities of the chassis to get the best out of the lap.”