Hamilton’s penalty confirmed
Its officially been confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will take a grid penalty for this weekends Belgian Grand Prix meaning he could start at the back of the field for the race.
As we reported yesterday Mercedes told various media outlets that he is ‘likely’ to take a ten place grid penalty at the Belgian Grand Prix. The engine penalty comes from earlier this season when the world champion had a series of engine reliability problems.
Hamilton has reached the penalty-free limit for two of the components meaning if he uses a sixth component he will get a five place grid penalty the first time its used. With Mercedes opting to change two components this means a ten place penalty.
Hamilton told various media outlets “As far as I’m aware we will be taking the engine penalty this weekend. In terms of winning, that’s the goal but it’s going to be very, very hard.”
“The gap has closed between other cars in the third year of evolution of these cars. Red Bull have been very quick, won some of the races. So it’s going to be harder than it was the year before to climb through the field.”
News – in – Brief
- No Guarantees of win – Nico Rosberg has told Sky Sports he not will not crank up the pressure on himself to capitalise on Lewis Hamilton’s Belgian GP grid penalty, insisting race victory is far from guaranteed.
He said “I’m aware of Lewis’s misfortune of having to get the grid penalty, and that’s going to make the weekend less difficult for me because he is my biggest rival”
- Michael appointment – Former Williams and McLaren director Sam Michael has been appointed as a director of the Australian Institute for Motor Sport Safety. He was in F1 for ten years as a director. He left McLaren following the coup in 2014 after defending former CEO Martin Whitmarsh.
Sauber bring raft of upgrades
Autosport say they have learnt that Sauber will be bringing a raft of new upgrades for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. The Swiss team has struggled to bring upgrades this season but following investment have been able to bring upgrades.
However the team had planned to bring a bigger aerodynamic upgrade package to Spa and after meeting targets at the factory, a new front wing with short nose, floor and front and rear brake ducts will be used. Both of the teams drivers will run the upgrades which is the first big one of the season.
Sauber are continuing to push as they want to score there first points of the season and take tenth from Manor in the constructors. Something Manor will be pushing to hold the Swiss team at bay.
Sauber has never finished outside the top 10 since the outfit made its debut in 1993.
Honda spend seven tokens
Honda has confirmed they have spent seven engine tokens ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The focus once again for the Japanese manufacturer has been the internal combustion chamber and turbocharger, targeting improvements in the efficiency of the combustion chamber, turbo and compressor. This is a key factor in unlocking power to improve efficiency.
Honda are keen to narrow the gap to rivals Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes ahead of races on two of the most power-sensitive track. However it will not be decided if they will run them for the who weekend until after practice as they will be both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button’s last penalty free change of the season.
Honda spent two tokens on the turbo for Montreal followed by another two for Silverstone and with this upgrade they have now used a total of 29 tokens this season.
Honda now plan to assess whether to spend the remaining tokens this year as its focus inevitably shifts to a much larger update over the winter for the 2017 season.
Emotion mustn’t cloud McLaren’s decision
Emotion must not cloud McLaren’s decision on whether the team pick Jenson Button or Stoffel Vandoorne to drive for them next season says the team’s racing director Eric Boullier.
Button contract comes to an end at the end of the season as we keep reporting the British team face a tough whether to retain the Briton alongside Fernando Alonso or take rising youngster Vandoorne.
McLaren has already told rival teams to keep their hands off Vandoorne, who has an option in his contract that will lock him into the Woking-based outfit if they want him. Earlier this season Boullier announced a decision will be made next month.
Speaking to Motorsport.com about the situation, Boullier made it clear that he felt it important McLaren made the call for rational reasons. He explained “We have to make a decision which will be the McLaren strategy.”
“After that there are some pros and cons but Ron [Dennis], myself and the shareholders, we cannot be emotional. That is what drives the fans and the sponsors maybe, but we cannot be emotional.”
“We need to be rational about what we want to achieve at McLaren this year, next year and the following years.” Boullier was asked if Vandoorne favours the team long term but he replied they need both the Belgian and Button.
Ocon’s reference point is Verstappen
Esteban Ocon who will make his race debut this weekend for Manor says that former rival and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is his reference point for his grand prix career.
Ocon beat Verstappen to the European F3 Championship in 2014 with Verstappen finished third as a car racing rookie, with the pair having some tough battles along the way.
Verstappen went straight into F1 with Toro Rosso before moving to Red Bull. While Ocon won the 2015 GP3 title and began 2016 as a Mercedes DTM driver and Renault F1 reserve before being placed at Manor as Rio Haryanto’s replacement from this weekend.
When asked by Autosport if Verstappen was his reference point in F1, Ocon replied: “He is, definitely, because I was racing with him. At the end I won the title but he was a tough guy to beat and we had some great fights.
“He went through and he did really well in F1, so he’s a reference and I hope to do even better than him. I hope to have some more fights with him in the future. That’s what I’m working for.” Verstappen was not his toughest rival Ocon added giving that to Daniil Kvyat who Verstappen replaced at Red Bull.
When asked if Pascal Wehrlein was the head-to-head rival to earn bigger opportunities with Mercedes, Ocon replied: “I don’t have extra pressure with that.”