Force India step forward to rebrand
Force India could be moving a step forward to renaming and branding the team as Force One. Documents reviled online by the UK government reviled that six new business has been registered by an associate of team principal Vijay Mallya.
The names registered are Force One Grand Prix, Force One Racing, Force One Team, Force One Technologies, Force One Hospitality and Force One Brand. All these companies have one of Mallya’s close allies and director of the team Dr Thiruvannamalai Laskshimi Kanthan.
Earlier this month, Force India’s chief operating officer Otmar Szafnuauer suggested that Mallya was thinking about rebranding the team. This is because the team hadn’t attracted many Indian sponsors and that was falling because of the issues around the Indian Grand Prix.
The move should it be agreed by Liberty, the FIA and the commission is aimed to attract a broader range of sponsors. The Silverstone based team holds the rights to its former names, Jordan, Midland and Spyker.
Changing the name may be easier now as Bernie Ecclestone did not make it easy for teams to change names without good reason, but Szafnauer is optimistic. “I think there’s a spirit of cooperation in that regard. We voted for Brawn to go to Mercedes, and I would hope they would reciprocate.”
Szafnauer said it was important to get the name right for the long term.
FORCE was previously used by Carl Haas, which has no connection to the current Haas team, between 1985-86 standing Formula One Race Car Engineering. However, the name is currently owned by Bernie Ecclestone.
“Painful” letting Wehrlien past – Ericsson
Marcus Ericsson says it was “painful” allowing his Sauber team-mate Pascal Wehrlien past him which ultimately allowed him to score points in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The Swede has failed to score points since Monza in 2015 but was on course for points when he was asked to allow Wehrlien past. Sauber thought this was with McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne bearing down on them.
Wehrlein went on to seal his fifth point of the year, while Ericsson narrowly missed out on his first points finish in 36 races. Ericsson explained to ESPN “It was difficult to give it up because it has been a long time since I scored points, so it was hurting to let that position by but the team was giving me the order and I had to listen to them.”
“After I let him past I kept up the pace with him, I think I was like two seconds behind or something, just covered him from Vandoorne to help the team get points,” Ericsson said it was good for the team to be in the points.
Ericsson says he thinks his team-mate closed up after he caught up with the spinning Haas of Romain Grosjean. This meant that he lost two to three seconds in the mi
FIA begins Vettel investigation
The FIA has begun an investigation into the conduct of Sebastian Vettel conduct during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The Ferrari driver crashed with Mercedes Lewis Hamilton behind the safety car earning himself a stop-go penalty. But today, following widespread criticism, the FIA decided to launch an investigation into his actions.
A FIA statement said: “Following the recent incident at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in which Car 5 (Sebastian Vettel) was involved in a collision with Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton), on Monday 3rd July, the FIA will further examine the causes on the incident in order to evaluate whether further action is necessary.
“A statement regarding the outcome of this process will be made available before the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix.” The data from the cars will be looked at to see if Hamilton’s break testing claims add up.
Data from Hamilton has already cleared him of wrongdoing and he hadn’t brake tested the Ferrari. Vettel denies the charges saying it was an unintentional consequence of waving his fists at his rival.
The FIA dropped its investigation into the Mexican Grand Prix, following an apology for the language he used towards race director Charlie Whiting.
While that isn’t the central in this case, Vettel’s defiance in not accepting he has done anything wrong could be an issue. The case will be held on the 3rd of July – his birthday.
Lesson in not giving up – Bottas
Valtteri Bottas has described his Azerbaijan Grand Prix as a lesson in not giving up, after recovering from the last place and being a lap down to take second.
The Mercedes driver dropped to last following a puncture caused by contact on the opening lap with Kimi Raikkonen, but after the safety car, he was able to charge back through the field. That might have been aided by repairs under the red flag.
Following the red flag, the Finn made his way up to third before grabbing second in the final meters from Williams’s Lance Stroll. Bottas told Motorsport.com “When I saw the tyre was starting to be destroyed and destroying the car – and it felt like one hour, driving from Turn 2 to the pits.”
“And it was a shame, I was one lap down after that. But after that, it showed that you should never give up. It was a crazy race after that, and the safety allowed me to then get close to the guys.” He says that the red flag allowed the team to repair the car and him to un-lap himself.
Bottas says that fighting with Stroll gave him s buzz after charging through the field. He says Mercedes told him “just keep your head down, there will be opportunities.”
He added, “I really enjoyed the last part of the race, trying to maximise every corner, every lap, doing good laps and getting closer and closer.”
About pipping Stroll, he said “I got to the slipstream, got the DRS. I was not quite sure where the finish line was actually, I couldn’t really see it.”
Red Bull can win on merit
Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, says the team can win on merit this season. The team inherited the victory in Azerbaijan, after issues for all the top four drivers, including incidents and a penalty for Sebastian Vettel.
But, before the chaos in the race the team had their strongest Friday of the season. Max Verstappen was running third before retiring with the engine issue, but Daniel Ricciardo recovered from seventeenth following an early stop to take the win.
Marko told Autosport “It’s very, very important because we had such a bad start to the season, and now we improved. We couldn’t show it in qualifying, but we knew our speed was good.”
He revealed that following Verstappen’s retirement, Ricciardo had been running in safe mode, meaning he had no the extra power.
“We were always there and he drove a faultless race like he did in the last four races, and we were just matching the speed, and they couldn’t catch us.” Verstappen’s retirement was the second time this season, he was forced
Celis set for Force India drive in practice
Force India has announced that the team’s reserve driver Alfonso Celis will take part in first practice during the Austrian and Hungarian Grand Prix’s.
Last season, the Mexican did six practice sessions and earlier this season he took part in winter and the Bahrain tests. Force India has announced that Sergio Perez will step aside for Celis on Friday morning at the Red Bull Ring next week, with Esteban Ocon doing so at the Hungaroring in a month’s time.
Celis is driving in Formula V8 3.5 this season and took victory in Spa last month. He third in the championship, after last weekend’s Aragon round, 16 points off leader Pietro Fittipaldi.