F1 Today – 27/07/2021

F1 Today

Red Bull files right of review on Hamilton-Verstappen crash

Red Bull has formally filed a request for a review of the opening lap crash between Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix. Since the incident ten days ago, the Austrian team has been deciding whether to mount  a challenge against the ruling on the incident and the 10-second penalty imposed on Hamilton,

The FIA formally confirmed on Tuesday that the team had submitted a petition for a review of the July 18 incident by stewards. Both Red Bull and Mercedes have been summoned to a video stewards meeting at 16:00 CEST on Thursday in Budapest.

Under the FIA’s International Sporting Code, competitors can request a right of review up to fourteen days after a stewards’ ruling if “a significant and relevant new element is discovered which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned”.

The stewards must rule during that meeting, whether any “new element” brought forward warrants the re-opening of the case, or whether Red Bull’s challenge is thrown out.

At the time of the accident at Silverstone, the stewards ruled that Hamilton was ‘predominantly to blame’ for the crash, it said it had reviewed video and telemetry data, so it is unlikely that those will form part of Red Bull’s push for action.

Red Bull has been notified that it is allowed to send three attendees in total, including its team manager, to the hearing. Furthermore, Mercedes has also been told that a team representative must attend the preliminary hearing. It will also be allowed to send up to three team members.

One piece of evidence could be a witness statement by Verstappen, who was not available at the time of the verdict due to him being transferred to the medical centre and then later to hospital.

After the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix, when Ferrari pushed for a right to review the penalty handed to Sebastian Vettel for forcing Hamilton wide off track, it proposed various elements that it believed were new to the stewards.

However, this turned out to be based on TV analysis from Karun Chandhok, as well as other video and photographs, were not “significant and relevant” even though some of them were new.


F1 shouldn’t tamper with Hamilton-Verstappen rivalry

Channel 4 commentator and former driver Mark Webber says that the sport shouldn’t do anything to temper the rivalry between Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. The former Red Bull driver has called on F1 to embrace the rivalry between the two leading drivers.

The comments come admit growing tension between Mercedes and Red Bull following the first-lap crash at Silverstone. Hamilton was given a ten-second penalty for the accident.

That prompted some fiery reaction from the Red Bull camp, Hamilton accused of dirty driving by Christian Horner, while Helmut Marko even called for him to be benched for a race.

Speaking during a W Series media call on Tuesday, Webber was asked if Formula 1 should intervene to stop the rivalry from escalating. His answer was a resounding no, the nine-time Grand Prix winner hoping we see more intense wheel-to-wheel action as the season wears on.

He said “it’s brilliant. It’s exactly what we want. I think it was one of the best first laps we’ve seen in a long time. It’s been coming, they’ve had some brilliant wheel-to-wheel battles – Barcelona, Imola, Bahrain. We all knew this was coming. Bring on more of it.”

“The sense of occasion at Silverstone was just extraordinary, it was one of the best grands prix I’ve been to in a long time. The fans, 120,000 there on race day. The two big boys on the front row.”

“A brilliant first lap – they just missed each other in Turn 1 on the exit, wheel-to-wheel on the run to Brooklands, and the obviously Lewis had a go into Copse and it didn’t quite work out.”

Hamilton’s win and Verstappen’s retirement has narrowed the championship to eight points going into the final round before the summer break this weekend in Budapest. Webber says that Verstappen should have the car advantage, but Hamilton has been ‘magical’ in Budapest.

Hamilton will if he takes the win at the Hungaroring will become the first driver in both F1 and Grand Prix history to win the same race nine times. Webber added “Hamilton has won a lot of races at the Hungaroring in sub-par machinery. Races he had no right to win, but he did win. Hamilton is going to need to be at his best again. Verstappen is… you know, he’s a gladiator. That’s exactly what we expect of him.”

He also predicted more clashes between the title rivals.


Wolff feels a responsibility to find Bottas seat

Mercedes F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff says he feels a responsibility to help Valtteri Bottas find another seat in Formula One if he is not retained by the German car manufacturer next season.

The German manufacturer is expected to decide whether Bottas or its junior driver G25eorge Russell will be Sir Lewis Hamilton’s teammate next season, with speculation that the Finn is likely to be replaced by the twenty-three-year-old.

A return to the Williams team that handed him his F1 debut is one possibility, while it is understood that Alfa Romeo has put him high on its wish list for 2022. Bottas is still hoping that he is can retain the seat, and says he will not open talks elsewhere until he knows what Mercedes is doing.

Reflecting on Mercedes’ stance to take the next step, Wolff, who has long guided Bottas’ career, said he would make sure that the Finn was helped to every opportunity he could get if he was not handed a fresh contract.

Wolff told Motorsport.com, “If we come to the situation that we wanted to give somebody else a go, then it’s not only my relationship with him but also the responsibility that he has a great future because he deserves that.”

“He has been a teammate of the best Formula One driver of all times and it’s not always very easy to shine. But he is fantastic.” Bottas’s difficulties as well as Red Bull’s increased challenge to Mercedes means he is already playing a supporting role in this year’s championship.

Wolff said that, while sacrificing a drivers’ own hopes was never an easy thing to do, Bottas was accepting of it because he could see the bigger picture. Adding, “It is very important because statistically his odds to win the championship are very small compared to Lewis.”

Bottas joined Mercedes from Williams at the start of 2017, as a replacement for Nico Rosberg, and has won nine Grands Prix during his time at the team.


Hamilton and Mercedes launch charitable diversity initiative

Sir Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have announced the launch of their joint charity to help support greater diversity in motorsport. The launch follows the findings of the Hamilton Commission which aims to improve diversity in motorsport and enable “real, tangible and measurable change”.

The charity called Ignite will be funded by the seven-time champion and the German manufacturer, it will also work closely with Hamilton’s foundation Mission 44 set up when he entered F1 in 2007. His charity focuses on Education/training, The Advancement Of Health Or Saving Of Lives, Disability and The Prevention Or Relief Of Poverty.

Speaking about the new charity, Hamilton said, “Mercedes have long supported my ambition to improve diversity and inclusion within the motorsport industry. I am so thrilled that, through Ignite, we are able to formally work together to achieve this.

“Diverse workforces are not only more successful but are also the morally correct approach for any industry. The findings of The Hamilton Commission have provided us a fantastic base to begin our work, and I am confident that Ignite will result in real, tangible change within motorsport.”

Hamilton himself has made a personal pledge of £20m.

The Englishman says since he entered the sport fifteen years ago, he has been one of few black employees in the sport.

Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff says since the project was announced in January, a great deal of work and discussion has happened to refine our aims and our mission.

Adding, “Opening up motorsport and becoming a more diverse and inclusive team are fundamental to our team’s values and, with the full support of Mercedes-Benz, we are committed to making a positive impact on society and building a platform from which future generations can access and enjoy our fantastic sport.”

Ignite will work on several projects, and it will include efforts to push black students towards STEM subjects, plus offer financial support to talented and motivated students wishing to pursue careers in motorsport but who do not have the current means.


Ferrari drivers play down chances in Budapest

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have played down Ferrari’s chances of fighting for victory at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, despite the layout of the Hungaroring expected to suit the team’s car.

The Italian manufacture has appeared to make a step forward following their tough 2020, and at Silverstone, a high speed and downforce circuit. This has made the team upbeat about the progress the team is making progress. Heading to this weekend’s race at Budapest, the team is well aware of how strong it was at F1’s last high downforce race at Monaco – where Leclerc took pole and Sainz finished second.

Despite there being many reasons for Ferrari to believe there are many reasons why they could be fighting at the front, both drivers are being cautious about their prospects. Asked by Motorsport.com if Ferrari was approaching Hungary feeling it had a shot at the win, Leclerc said: “I mean it’s good to be an optimist, and I think we all want to be an optimist after such a good performance in the last three races to be honest.”

“But, on the other hand, we also we need to be realistic. We are in a good mood, but I feel like going for the win in Budapest might be a bit optimistic. So realistically I think I will be happy if we are just behind the two top teams.”

Sainz says however that he believes that the current characteristics of the cars, with super high levels means the circuit could have moved away from one where Ferrari could go well.

Adding, “If you look at Monaco and Baku there are second or third gear corners, but Budapest nowadays, with these crazy high downforce cars, you have a middle sector where you are fourth or fifth gear all the time. So it’s not a pure low-speed track like it used to be in the past.”

Sainz however says it would be good to be right behind Red Bull and Mercedes, but downforce is key and the data still suggests they will be behind. He says Sir Lewis Hamilton showed on the hard tyre at Silverstone that Mercedes had more pace than Ferrari.


Alonso feels 25 despites celebrating 40th birthday

Fernando Alonso is showing few signs of dwelling on becoming the latest driver racing over forty in Hungary this weekend, saying he feels like he is twenty-five. The two-time champion will become the second over forty on the grid on Thursday when he celebrates his birthday.

Alonso won his first title at the age of twenty-four in 2005, becoming the youngest ever champion at the time, a record broken by both Sir Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. This year, returned to the grid with Alpine this year after two seasons away racing in sportscars, IndyCar and the Dakar Rally.

However, doubts were raised about Alonso’s fitness after a pre-season cycling accident left him with an upper jaw fracture, acting as a setback for his preparations to get back on the grid.

But the Spaniard has recently hit his stride after initially taking time to get back up to speed in F1, scoring points in each of the last five races. Asked for his thoughts on his first race as a 40-year-old in Hungary this weekend, Alonso joked that he would shave his beard and make other preparations “so you don’t ask about age”.

He told Motorsport.com, “I will go on the [sunbed], I will be tanned, I will shave, and I will look very young! No, I mean, it’s going to be a very normal race, no change for me. I feel good.”

“Honestly, after the accident at the beginning of the year, in the first couple of races, [there was] still a part of the stress of coming back to the sport. I was concerned about the jaw, about the shoulder as well, that I had the small, small injury. But now, I’m super, super fit and I am 200%. So, you know, [Hungary] is another number.”

Alonso said apart from eating cake, it’s going to be a very normal weekend.


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