Sauber cancel Honda deal
Honda and Sauber have agreed to cancel their engine deal for 2018. Earlier this year Honda’s motorsport manager Masahi Yamamoto and former Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn agreed to a deal for the Japanese manufacturer to supply the team.
However following talks following Kaltenborn’s departure last month, decided “differences in the future directions” of the two parties meant it was best to cancel the deal.
Yamamoto told Motorsport.com “We had built a good relationship with Sauber, and had been looking forward to entering the 2018 F1 season together.”
“However, during discussions after management changes at the team, we reached a mutual agreement to call off the project due to differences in the future directions of both parties.” Yamamoto thanked Sauber for their cooperation and wished them the best for the future.
Sauber team principal Fred Vasseur said, “It is very unfortunate that we have to discontinue the planned collaboration with Honda at this stage.”
“However, this decision has been made for strategic reasons, and with the best intent or the future of the Sauber F1 Team in mind. We would like to thank Honda for their collaboration and wish them all the best for their future in Formula 1.”
The team has struggled this season, it is believed that they need a more competitive engine next term to changes its fortunes. It remains unclear whether Sauber will extend its long-time deal with Ferrari or secure a deal with Mercedes or Renault.
Halo can withstand over half the grid
The FIA has briefed a number of journalists on detailed analysis of the Halo device, claiming the cockpit protection device can withstand the weight of fifteen cars.
The FIA says that
- Halo would have been beneficial in 15 of the 17 cases tested by the FIA
- But no guarantee it would have helped in Felipe Massa case
- FIA tests showed driver had more space to get themselves out of the cockpit if car was upside down
- Charlie Whiting says Halo on 2018 cars will look different to what we have seen so far – ‘scope for aero design’
Halo announcement prompts backlash
While the FIA is pushing through the Halo for next season, some drivers have said they are not supporting the move, with Max Verstappen among those claiming he doesn’t understand why it is required.
The sports governing body used its veto to push through the introduction of the device on safety grounds. Speaking about the move Verstappen told the media “don’t like it, but of course, at the end of the day you have to respect the decision of the FIA,” said the Red Bull
“I think since we introduced a Virtual Safety Car, that has reduced a lot of risk of speeding under the yellow flags in the race. Also, with the wheel tethers, they are quite strong at the moment so you won’t lose a wheel very easily. So, I don’t really understand why we should need it.”
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was more outspoken agreeing with Verstappen, adding “It takes away some of the passion that F1 is talking about. When you look at the car and it is ugly, F1 cars aren’t meant to be ugly.
“That is the reason that a Ferrari is more exciting than a Mazda. It is something to do with passion. If it looks s**t, it is s**t.” GPDA director and Magnussen’s teammate Romain Grosjean added “There are occasions where it can get worse, which I am not particularly fond of. There are a few problems that we may have that we haven’t thought of – seeing the starting light on the grid, no one has tried that.”
Jolyon Palmer labelled it as an overreaction. Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg added “I was never a big supporter of the additional extra head protection and am still not, but it is not my decision. With the FIA making safety rules and requirements, I will accept and get on with it.”
Vettel in no rush for new Ferrari deal
Sebastian Vettel says he sees no reason not to sign a new contract with Ferrari, but adds he is in “no rush” to do so. The four-time world champion is in his third season with Ferrari and currently leads the championship by one point over Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
Vettel has won three races and scored four more podiums in the first races of 2017, his most competitive season at Ferrari since joining the team from Red Bull.
When asked about the suggestion that the team was ready to sign the deal, his response was “I don’t see why not.” He told Autosport, however, “I am not in a rush. I don’t think the team is in a rush. I think I have a good contact to the team, I think they would tell me otherwise.”
Vettel joined Ferrari from Red Bull in 2015, it has been a bit of a roller-coaster with a strong start, followed by a difficult 2016 to leading the championship going into this weekends Hungarian Grand Prix.
The German who should make his ‘official’ fiftieth start for the team this weekend, after retiring from 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix, said “I am enjoying it, being part of the Ferrari family. We are all focused and determined to get Ferrari back to where it belongs.”
“That is our mission, our target and our goal and that is what we are working on. It is true I haven’t got a contract yet, but the primary object is not to look at papers and worry about those, it is to make sure we get some good results.”
Kubica poses no threat to Palmer
Renault is insistent that Roberts Kubica’s drive in next week’s test following the Hungarian Grand Prix is purely to evaluate his chances of returning to Formula One next season and not to see if he can replace Jolyon Palmer.
Since Renault announced the Pole would take part in the test next week, there has been speculation that he could return to Formula One replacing Palmer as soon as next months Belgian Grand Prix. Which Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul dismissed.
Abiteboul told Autosport “We continue to support Jo and there is absolutely no change of plan. It is true that with Robert we feel we need to investigate a little bit further after all the tests we have done.”
“Obviously there have been the tests we did with the 2012 car, but also we have done other things – medical checks and simulator work that I don’t really want to elaborate on.” The Frenchman pointed to the fact that Budapest was the last chance to do that and they were using that opportunity.
Abiteboul insisted a strong test performance from Kubica would not guarantee a 2018 seat. “Robert could be a candidate for 2018 but before we can really consider him as a candidate, we need to see how he will cope with cars with more downforce and with more power.”
He says that he has told Palmer if Kubica does well that doesn’t mean they would immediately decide to give him a seat.
About the speculation they could drop Palmer, Abiteboul said “there will not be any replacement driver in Spa, as I’ve seen stories suggesting that too. I can confirm that Jo will be driving in Spa and the plan is for him to drive until the end of the season.”
Structural weakness behind tyre failure
Formula One tyre supplier Pirelli say that Kimi Raikkonen’s tyre failure during the British Grand Prix was caused by external factors and not a structural weakness.
The Italian manufacturer had already reviled that Raikkonen’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s tyre failure was thanks to a slow puncher. Both Ferrari’s suffered failures in the closing stages of the race, with Vettel dropping from third to seventh in the race.
Pirelli says that analysis of Raikkonen’s tyre had found specific damage “consistent with contact against an external body”. It said no issues had emerged connected with the tyre.
Gasly still hopeful of a seat
Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly says he is still hopeful that he can find a seat in Formula One next season, despite the junior and senior teams indicating they plan to retain both Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz for 2018.
Gasly is the most successful member of the Red Bull junior programme, reigning GP2 champion Gasly remains the most likely alternative for Toro Rosso should a seat become vacant. Sainz suggested earlier this month that he was likely to leave the team at the end of the year.
But Red Bull has taken up the option on his contract, however, a week later Christian Horner went on to say a week later at Silverstone that offers for the Spaniard’s services would be considered. This does not make the picture clear.
Gasly told Autosport “The only thing I want is to be in F1, and if things like this [Sainz leaving] are happening, it can only be a good thing because it means there is a seat in Toro Rosso.”
“But we still don’t know exactly what is happening, and we’ll have more answers in the next few weeks. At the moment the only thing I can do is to push for things for happen.” The Frenchman says that Red Bull knows he wants to get into Formula One.
Gasly may have a chance to prove himself to other teams when he takes part in next week’s test with the senior team. He believes the test offers one final chance to prove he is “fully ready” to make the graduation to a full-time drive.
Dennis could walk away with McLaren’s most valuable cars
Former McLaren Chairman Ron Dennis could walk away with the team’s collection of their most valuable historic cars, but only if the company fails to pay him what it still owes him for his shares.
Documents according to Motorsport.com show the cars are a security for a deferred payment of £37.5m, which Dennis is due to receive in respect of the agreement made with the remaining shareholders on June 7.
The fact that the cars were pulled into the deal gives a fascinating insight into how the negotiations unfolded. However, in reality, there is no reason to expect that the payment won’t be made on time.
The list of thirteen cars includes the very first car built in carbon fiber when Dennis’s Project 4 outfit was merged with McLaren. World Championships winners of Niki Lauda (1984), Alain Prost (1989), Ayrton Senna (1990 and 1991), Mika Hakkinen (1998 and 1999) and Lewis Hamilton (2008).
Also on the list is Senna’s last race winning car and the unique Lamborghini-powered MP4/8 test car that the Brazilian drove before Dennis decided not to use the Chrysler-backed engine.
That’s all from F1 Today this week and we will be bringing you full coverage of the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend and next week’s test, with commentary of every session @F1VaultLive on Twitter. F1 Today returns next week. Preview here