Mercedes feels like a “university campus” – Wolff
Mercedes F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff says that the team often feels like a “university campus” as he sees it evolve and the next generation of team members emerge.
The German manufacturer is currently fighting hard to extend its record of seven consecutive drivers and constructors doubles, admit a strong challenge from Red Bull this season. Mercedes have dominated the sport since 2014 the start of the hybrid era, as well as bringing through a large amount of new talent throughout its dominant spell.
The latest senior change at Mercedes took place at the start of July when technical director James Allison moved into the role of chief technical officer, paving the way for Mike Elliott to fill his old position. Wolff has previously spoken of the need to keep bringing new talent through while ensuring the team continues to move forward.
He told Motorsport.com “A successful sports team is not something that you can freeze as a static organisation, but it’s something that needs to evolve, because it needs to adapt. It is a mixture between seniority and young enthusiasm and curiosity. Our team has always reinvented itself.”
“When I go through the company, I see still the faces from all the people that have been there since the very beginning, but I see so many young men and women. Sometimes it seems like a university campus to me, which is great, seeing the next generation leaders coming up.”
Wolff says that there is so much talent being brought through, describing the team as a university campus as there is so much performance being brought into the development of the next generation.
Mercedes will look to extend its slender lead at the top of both championships in Belgium this weekend as F1 returns after its summer break, with a possible 12 races still to run before the end of the year.
The team is twelve points clear of Red Bull at the top of the constructors’ standings, while Sir Lewis Hamilton is only eight ahead of Max Verstappen in the drivers’ championship.
Mercedes have not faced this strong of a challenge in the past two years since fighting Ferrari in 2018, but Wolff felt the battle was proving to be a “great learning experience” for Mercedes.
Ricciardo hopes for “weekend to remember” on his 200th race
Daniel Ricciardo is hoping for “a weekend to remember” at this weekends Belgian Grand Prix, as he marked his 200th race start. The Australian made his debut with the defunct HRT team at Silverstone, before joining Toro Rosso (Now Alpha Tauri) for two years and spending five seasons with Red Bull.
Ricciardo’s time at Red Bull saw him take five wins as well as his best-ever finish in the championship being third in both 2014 and 2016. Ricciardo moved to Renault for 2019 and 2020, and then McLaren in place of Carlos Sainz for this season alongside Lando Norris.
The Australian has endured a very difficult 2021 campaign, struggling to adapt to the unique characteristics of McLaren’s MCL35M. Looking ahead to this weekend in the teams preview, he said “After a few weeks away from Formula 1, I’m looking forward to going racing again at Spa, which is an awesome circuit. It’s the perfect track to come back to with its high-speed sections and dramatic elevation changes.”
“This is also a special weekend for me as I prepare to line up for my 200th Grand Prix. If you’d have told me back at Silverstone in 2011, when I made my debut, that I’d hit 200 Grands Prix, I’d certainly have been very excited about it. It’s really a cool milestone to hit and definitely one that I’m proud of. I’ll be doing everything I can to make it a weekend to remember.”
Ricciardo is currently ninth in the drivers’ championship tied on fifty points with Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly, seventy-three behind teammate Norris in third.
Speaking about the milestone team principal Andreas Seidl said it was not only an important milestone for Ricciardo but McLaren in the race for third. Adding, “To reach this milestone is a really significant achievement and proves the level of experience he’s gained over his 10-year career. He joins an elite club of drivers in passing 200 Grands Prix, and we look forward to celebrating the weekend with him.”
Former race boss appoints as Miami GP CEO
The former boss of the Abu Dhabi and Russian Grands Prix Richard Cregan has been appointed as the CEO of the Miami Grand Prix, as part of a team of key executives with wide-ranging experience of running F1 events.
The news indicates that the promoter is keen to add European expertise to its management alongside people who are more versed in running the usual sporting activities at the Miami Dolphins NFL stadium, where the track is being built.
Cregan made his name with Toyota in Cologne, working first as a mechanic to becoming part of the team management. He continued in a senior capacity through the company’s Le Mans 24 Hours and F1 involvements. In 2008 he made a sideways move into a new career working as a consultant for circuits and Grand Prix promoters, endorsed by Bernie Ecclestone.
His first big project was in in Abu Dhabi, before spending time in Sochi, recently he was involved with efforts to take F1 to Las Vegas, while also running an F4 team in the Middle East.
Other key Miami GP appointees with extensive experience of running and developing F1 venues include VP of operations Mark Boyd (Abu Dhabi and Vietnam), VP of strategy Ashley Davies (Australia and Vietnam) and sporting director Andy Beaven (Abu Dhabi).
Cregan told Motorsport.com, ““Miami has been a dream destination for Formula 1 over many years and it is a privilege to accept the role of CEO. Working within the world’s most vibrant market for sports, the USA.”
“Joining a team anchored by the world-class talent at the Miami Dolphins, means that I am understandably thrilled by the potential of what we can achieve together when we welcome F1 to Florida in 2022.”
Managing partner Tom Garfinkel added: “We have high standards on what we expect to deliver in Miami for F1 teams, drivers, sponsors, and fans. The first goal is to have great racing and we believe we are building a circuit that will deliver just that.”
Netflix release trailer for Schumacher
Netflix has released it trailer for the upcoming documentary about Michael Schumacher, including contributions from the seven-time world champion’s family and Sebastian Vettel.
The film called Schumacher will be released on 15th September on the streaming platform and will explore Schumacher’s success in F1 and life off-track with full support from his family. The film was announced in July, but Netflix has now released the first trailer for the documentary.
The trailer features interviews with Schumacher’s father, his wife, and his two children, including current Haas F1 driver Mick Schumacher, who says: “When I look at him, I think, ‘I want to be like that.’”
Schumacher is Netflix’s latest step into F1 following the success of Drive to Survive, with series 4 currently being filmed and set to be released in February/March 2022.
The family’s spokeswoman Sabine Kehm described the film as the “family’s gift to their beloved husband and father” at the time it was announced. Kehm said, “Michael Schumacher has redefined the professional image of a racing driver and has set new standards.”
“In his quest for perfection, he spared neither himself nor his team, driving them to the greatest successes. He is admired all over the world for his leadership qualities. He found the strength for this task and the balance to recharge at home, with his family, whom he loves idolatrously.”
Schumacher director Vanessa Nocker said that Schumacher’s wife, Corinna, had been “our greatest support in this” in making the film. Nocker said, “She herself wanted to make an authentic film, to show Michael as he is, with all his ups and downs, without any sugar coating.”
Alonso teases a big announcement with cryptic code
Fernand Alonso and Esteban Ocon has hinted at an imminent ‘big news’ announcement in a teasing Twitter message posted in code.
The post read “BTV vras nduvrg ddwa. Eno iw giadt gby awa, Q’z xwptbvrg ewqf mn ndlr!!!!.” While the tweet looks like gibberish, it was soon decoded by Vigenere cypher, a method of encrypting alphabetic text, with ‘Alpine’ as the keyword.
The decoded tweet read: “BIG news coming soon. And to tease you all, I’m tweeting this in code!!!!”
Ocon replied with the coded message “I mtb lsu pkmecoyt evpl hdzx sue lpnx yzj’zr enydcagiyv agvatvpg ewln,” he replied, translated as “I bet you everyone will work out what you’re announcing straight away.”
Alonso replied with the comment: “Lpi’a fie, wtb’f wep. Iprc’vp vwg 24 lofga gs wzgs vx ofi! (Let’s see, let’s see. They’ve got 24 hours to work it out!)
The Spaniard is expected to stay with Alpine next season after making a comeback in 2021 following two years out of Formula One.
Alpine boss Laurent Rossi revealed last month that the Spaniard’s existing deal was a ‘one plus one’, 2021 plus an option the team can take up for 2022, and left little doubt he would be staying.