Ferrari not expecting to win until 2022
Ferrari’s chairman John Elkann has called for patience from the “suffering” Tofisi as he doesn’t expect the team to be back to winning ways until 2022. The manufacture has fallen miles behind both Mercedes and Red Bull, and are under no illusions about the effort that is going to be required to get back in contention.
The cost-cutting measures and the response to the Coronavirus pandemic has seen Ferrari needing to limit the upgrades it can make to cars, Ferrari is resigned to being unable to respond in the short term. Speaking to the newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, Elkann suggested that it would not be until the 2022 regulation changes until Ferrari would return to the front.
He said, “[Ferrari is going] through a difficult period that starts far back. We have not won a constructors’ world championship since 2008 nor a drivers’ one since 2007. There has been Red Bull’s winning cycle thanks to aerodynamic capacity and then Mercedes for their great ability in hybrid engine technologies.”
“This year we are not competitive thanks to project errors. We have had a number of structural weaknesses that have existed for some time in aerodynamics and in the dynamics of the vehicle. We have also lost out in engine power.”
Elkann admits the reality is that the car is not competitive, and now was the time to lay the foundation for 2022. Suggesting that the chassis freeze, which prevents teams from making major changes to their cars over the next two years, is a major factor in why it cannot recover faster.
Asked how much it penalises Ferrari, he said: “A lot, given that we have started off poorly. We must be realistic and aware of the structural weaknesses with which we have been living for a decade, and which the transition to hybrid [power units] has underlined.”
He also says that they do not see the limitation by the budget cap on the ability to win. Elkann believes that the strengths and creativity of Ferrari will allow them to return to the top of the sport, saying he has never seen “such a cohesive and strong spirit.”
He repeated that he still has complete faith in team principal Mattia Binotto, despite the early season struggles.
“Total trust. Also because Mattia Binotto, who has taken the helm of the Scuderia for a year, has all the skills and characteristics to start a new winning cycle. He was in Ferrari with Todt and Schumi.
Drivers more united on racism
Lando Norris says that drivers are more united in calls to end racism and is confident they will be able to “do a much better job” in showing their support as a collective at this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
F1 and the BRDC have designated window in the schedule to allow drivers sufficient time to show their support ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix, in the same way, it was done for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
The drivers organised two further protests against racism for the second race in Spielberg race and in Budapest, however, this was criticised for being disjointed and hurried with not all twenty drivers appearing in time to either take a knee or stand.
Lewis Hamilton described Hungary as “embarrassing” and expressed concern that there was “not enough support” for the continued taking of a knee and anti-racism displays in the sport.
Norris has been taking the knee and says that the drivers want to keep sending a prominent message as they have the ability to have a big impact on millions of fans.
He told Sky Sports, “We must admit maybe last weekend [in Hungary] nothing went as we expected. I think we have to admit that. But it’s something that we’ll continue and we’ll work on for the next one we will do a much better job in.”
“We all stand united – every single driver. When we are in our briefings together, we all have great meanings and we all mean for everything to be right and everyone to get the rightful and equal opportunities.” Norris says it is important drivers continue making theses statements until there was change.
Sebastian Vettel, a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, said: “There was very little time, in all fairness everything was a bit rushed. I think going forwards it’s probably true that we need to talk amongst ourselves a bit better so hopefully we can sort it out for the next race.”
Hamilton apologies for sharing coronavirus conspiracies
Lewis Hamilton has clarified his sharing of a post on social media regarding coronavirus vaccine trials, saying the repost was “totally my fault”.
The six-times champion shared on his Instagram Story a post from Andrew Bachelor, known as King Bach, which was of an interview with Microsoft co-founder and US philanthropist Bill Gates about the status of trials to find a vaccine for Coronavirus.
Bachelor’s post included the caption: “I remember when I told my first lie.”
Hamilton has deleted the post and issued this apology, “I’ve noticed some comments on my earlier post around the coronavirus vaccine, and wanted to clarify my thoughts on it, as I understand why they might have been misinterpreted.”
“First, I hadn’t actually seen the comment attached so that is totally my fault and I have a lot of respect for the charity work Bill Gates does.” Hamilton has regularly used his accounts to remind people to stay safe and has even criticised the UK government’s handling of the pandemic.
Hamilton says he is not against a vaccine which will be important in the fight against Coronavirus and to save lives. He says the video highlighted the uncertainty over side effects, as well as the more important issue of how a vaccine would be funded.
Hamilton has regularly urged his millions of followers on social media to respect and adhere to guidelines in the fight against the coronavirus
Mustn’t get complacent with Coronavirus
FIA race director Michael Masi has cautioned that Formula One shouldn’t become “complacent” about the ongoing threat from Coronavirus ahead of the double-header at Silverstone.
Masi played a key role in developing the protocols which have allowed the season to begin, with mask-wearing and social distancing compulsory, and limited numbers of people in the paddock and on the grid.
So far there have only been two new cases of coronavirus in F1, who had not been in Austria, were tested positive before the Hungarian race, but that had no impact on the weekend. This takes the total number of cases to nine since March.
Masi told Motorsport.com, “I think as a sport and as an industry, we should be very proud of what we have achieved over these first three events.”
“Considering the time that obviously we’ve had collectively, particularly between the FIA and together with F1 in developing the return to racing plan, the methods, the protocols, the support from everyone about the pit lanes, journalists, support categories, has been fantastic.”
He says that it has been a learning experience and admit that tweaks have had to be made, but is proud of the process and structure they have put in place.
Masi acknowledged that the positive tests were a reminder of the risks associated with COVID-19. Adding, “There’s certainly a level of confidence. I think one part is not to be complacent, it’s probably the big part.”
He warned that as the season goes on F1 needs to be conscious of is that COVID-19 is very much around us, and everywhere, globally.
Copying part of F1 – Brawn
Formula One Motorsport and technical managing director Ross Brawn says copying is part of Formula One, and Racing Point has just taken it further than other teams with its new car.
Renault has protested the design of the Racing Points brake ducts at the last two races, questioning the legality of the car’s brake ducts. An investigation is unlikely to produce a verdict for some weeks.
Mercedes-powered Racing Point say they have broken no rules even if their car looks just like last year’s title-winning Mercedes.
Writing in his regular column on F1’s website last week, “My view is copying in Formula One is standard Every team has, in normal times, digital photographers in the pit lane out there taking thousands of photos of every car for analysis, with a view of copying the best ideas. We used to give our photographers a shopping list.”
The multiple championship winning technical director and team principal, says that Racing Point has just taken it to the next level. He also challenged every technical director to raise a hand if they hadn’t copied someone else. Adding “You won’t see any hands. I have certainly copied others.”
Racing Point had Canadian Lance Stroll finish fourth in Hungary, with Mexican teammate Sergio Perez seventh.
Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff, who is also a shareholder in Aston Martin which the team will be rebranded as next year, has congratulated the team for making the step up.
Saying, “it proves that with the right leadership, the right decision-making process and the right funding you can actually accelerate your development curve.”
McLaren rekindles Gulf partnership
McLaren has rekindled its partnership with Gulf Oil, one of the most iconic brands in motor racing. The new partnership will cover both its F1 team and supercars, with the branding on the engine covers as well as overalls worn by drivers from this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
McLaren and Gulf first linked up in 1968 and enjoyed race wins together in F1 and Can-Am. The partnership was renewed in the 1990s when McLaren’s F1 GTR ran in Gulf’s famous orange and blue colours.
Gulf will also the team’s fuel and lubricant supplier from 2021.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown said, “We’re delighted to welcome Gulf back to McLaren and reunite two iconic brands back together in a new and exciting partnership.”
“Gulf is part of McLaren’s history and are well-known for their innovation and technical excellence in the industry, with which aligns with McLaren perfectly. We are looking forward to starting our partnership together this season.”
Silverstone set back five years by Coronavirus
Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle says the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has set the business “back about five years.” The circuit was shut down for twelve weeks from 23rd March when the UK government ordered a lockdown across England.
The lockdown began as the circuit was gearing up for its busy spring/summer season, leading to many events, including the World Endurance Championship and the British Motorcycle Grand Prix to be cancelled.
Also, this years British and anniversary Grand Prix will take place behind closed doors with the circuit losing the valuable ticket revenue, although it is understood that Silverstone will not pay its usual F1 event hosting fee and the championship itself will pay the running costs for those events.
Over the last decade, the circuit has been looking to diversify its business away from being wholly reliant on major summer races and become a motorsport-inspired leisure and business destination. Pringle described it as a game of snakes and ladders.
He told Motorport.com “we’re still in the game. It’s not unique to us. This is not of our making, the bank understands it and are very supportive of us and bought into our strategy and vision. The membership of the BRDC is also similarly supportive.”
Desperately sad that the progress they’ve seen made with their prized possession has taken a turn for the worse for no reason of its own making. But, we are where we are. We’re still in business. And that’s a lot better than a lot of businesses at the moment. It’s a tough time for everybody.”
Pringle says the pandemic arrived two years too early with regards to the diversification of the business with lockdown “decimated” the traditional model on which Silverstone still relies.
He added “[It’s] a bit like a seaside resort, where they make their money in the summer and they exist during the winter until the tourists come back again in the summer. The traditional Silverstone model has been like that and we’ve just had that decimated.”
“So we are going to take a significant financial hit in 2020. It’s a monumental shame after five and a half years of real hard work by the team to claw our business back from the edge previously.”