Verstappen not interest in Silverstone debate
Max Verstappen says he is “not interested” in getting involved in the continued chatter surrounding his crash with title rival Sir Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone. The Red Bull and Mercedes driver collided at high speed while fighting for the lead of the race.
The stewards decided that Hamilton was deemed to be predominantly at fault for the crash, resulting in a ten-second time penalty, but he recovered to win the race and cut Verstappen’s lead at the top of the drivers’ championship. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who called Hamilton’s move “desperate” and “amateur”, and criticised Mercedes’ decision to celebrate while Verstappen was being checked over in hospital.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff felt that Red Bull had gone too far in its comments, but Horner reiterated his criticisms and confirmed the team was exploring its options for further action.
The FIA announced on Tuesday that a right to review the incident had been lodged by Red Bull, with a hearing scheduled for Thursday in Hungary. While the accident continues to dominate the talking points going into this weekends race in Budapest.
Verstappen was left feeling sore and bruised following the impact at Silverstone and was taken to hospital for precautionary CT and MRI scans before being released a few hours later.
But last weekend was back racing virtually in the 24 Hours of Spa, and has posted pictures on social media of himself back in training. Verstappen said, “I’m a little bruised of course but that’s normal after such a big impact but I’m training and feeling good.”
“I did a 24-hour sim race this week and it was a good test to see how my body would react to spending time sat in one position and behind screens for a long time. I felt absolutely fine which makes me feel positive heading into the weekend. I’m definitely ready to go again.”
“tremendous respect” exists between Hamilton & Verstappen
The chair of the GPDA, trade union which represents drivers, Alex Wurz says “tremendous respect” exists between Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen despite their tense championship battle.
The former F1 driver says he believes the opening lap collision at Silverstone was a “racing incident” with neither driver clearly to blame. Wurz told Sky Sports, “They have real tremendous respect from each other.”
“I’ve been in meetings with both of them. I respect them dearly. Sensational drivers, we are witnessing some of the best drivers in motorsport history fighting it out. But, of course, the pressure will get to their team bosses, to their managers, to themselves, and therefore there will be or might be some interviews, some exchanges in words, gestures, or whatever which come from the emotion.”
Wurz says that he can guarantee that every racing driver respects each other, especially if they are as talented as Hamilton and Verstappen.
The stewards ruled Hamilton was ‘predominantly’ at fault for the collision at Silverstone and imposed a ten-second penalty on him. But whereas Mercedes felt Hamilton had done nothing wrong, Red Bull argued strongly that the world champion should have been given a harsher penalty.
Red Bull has filed a right to review to the stewards which will meet via video link on Thursday, for the investigation to be reopened Red Bull need to present a “significant and relevant new element” of evidence.
The incident and penalty has reopened the debate about penalties in the sport, but asked if the rules on overtaking were clear enough in general, Wurz felt “that’s a really difficult one because there is just an infinity amount of possibilities” to consider but believes the stewarding process “works reasonably well and it’s getting more and more consistent”.
In his personal opinion, the collision was a ‘racing incident,’ explaining it was hard racing, while there will always be someone more responsible, Wurz said the accident wasn’t clear to blame one driver.
The Austrian said the GPDA was working with the FIA to ensure penalties became as consistent as possible.
Adding, “We do talk amongst the drivers and there is a little bit of room for improvement to make it more consistent between the different stewards and between situations. But, honestly when you then start looking in detail of situations, many times they look and appear the same but they are different.”
But says there could be more consistency, which they are working on at the moment.
‘Screaming’ engines would lead to loss of sponsors
McLaren CEO Zak Brown says he is sceptical that Formula One would face a sponsor exodus if the sport reverted to ‘screaming’ engines in the future. Red Bull is currently leading the calls for a louder and more emotive engine from 2025 when new power unit rules are due to be introduced.
It wants Grand Prix racing to ditch the quiet and economical current turbo hybrids in favour of something more exciting, which runs on environmentally sustainable fuel. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes that a move away from the hybrid engines would tick F1’s green credentials on the fuel front, and be more exciting for fans thanks to engines that thrill again.
Not everyone is convinced, though, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff fearing that major sponsors may not be happy to be associated with a sport that was not viewed to be fully sustainable.
Before becoming McLaren CEO, Brown had been a sponsorship and marketing guru, this has lead him to believe that sponsors would be unhappy with what Red Bull has proposed. He told Motorsport.com, “What’s most important is that Formula 1 is sustainable. You can get there a variety of different ways and I do not think sponsors, as long as Formula One is sustainable, are concerned over how you get to sustainability.”
“So if it’s an ICE unit with sustainable fuels, or if it’s electric or hybrid, the important thing is that Formula One is leading-edge technology and that sustainability is critically important to the sport and the world.”
Brown says that Wolff’s view on the future engine formula may be skewed because Mercedes are a full works effort meaning they are facing different challenges when it comes to sustainability. He says they probably want more sustainability when they go to market.
Adding, “I think fans and corporate partners would be turned off if Formula 1 was sustainable in a technology direction that was maybe different to the automotive industry? I do not think corporate partners and the fans would mind at all.”
Delay in pit stop directive gives more time to prepare
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has backed the decision to delay the clampdown on pit stop times until the Belgian Grand Prix, offering more time for crews to prepare.
At the end of June, the FIA introduced a technical directive at the end of June informing teams that it would be moving to slow down pit stops and restrict automated processes on safety grounds. But recently the directive has been pushed back to Spa before being introduced.
The British based team has always been supportive of the move to slow down pit stops, believing it wise to take action to improve safety levels before an accident occurs.
Seidl welcomed the “good and constructive discussion” involving the teams and the FIA about the decision to delay the new rules until Spa, as it offered a bigger window in which to adjust to the measures.
He told Motorsport.com, “Due to the special situation that we are in with COVID, it is not so easy to go back to the factories at the moment, and train together with the crew for the changes that were in the TD initially.”
“So I think it makes sense, in the end, to delay it, and use the longer break to give every leam more time to be prepared for the change.” As well as delaying its introduction, there has been slight changes to the directive, removing some of the minimum time requirements originally specified, as well as enforcing measures such as a manual signal from each wheel gun that the tyre has been safely attached.
At Silverstone, McLaren struggled with a slow pit stop which dropped Lando Norris behind Valtteri Bottas. Norris had been on course to finish third, but following the Mercedes home following the slow pit stop.
Seidl says it was a hardware issue and had nothing to do with the performance of the team, and they have not had a cross-threaded wheel nut for a while. But says the improvements over the last couple of years, it meant that it was a delayed pitstop but not a catastrophic pitstop like we have seen in the past.
Alpine turns off 2021 development
Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski has announced that the team has decided to stop developing this year’s car as they look to focus on next years regulation change.
The biggest challenge of this season off-track is deciding when to switch development to the new cars, which are designed to create more closer racing, getting the timing right could make all the difference. While the French manufacturer still has parts in the pipeline they will be the final parts for this year’s car.
Budkowski told F1.com, “It’s been a big push from the start of the season with both Enstone and Viry working hard to develop the car.”
“The focus has now switched entirely to 2022 at both factories, meaning there are fewer new parts coming to the track, but the second half of the calendar is a gruelling schedule and everyone in the team looks forward to the two-week break to recharge.”
Alpine has only had one double points score this season, scoring its first points since Portimao, which has moved them to within eight points of Aston Martin and nine of fifth-placed AlphaTauri.
Fernando Alonso has now scored for five races on the bounce – with only McLaren’s Lando Norris on a better run – while Esteban Ocon returned to the points after four successive non-scores.
Budkowski added, “I think Fernando has now silenced for good whoever doubted his return would be a success. His speed is still there, and his race craft is second to none, as we saw once again in both races last Saturday and Sunday.”
Tsunoda breakthrough in understanding tyres
Yuki Tsunoda says the British Grand Prix was a breakthrough for him in understanding tyre management which will help him in future races. The Alpha Tauri driver has struggled to match the one-lap pace of his teammate Pierre Gasly, and enjoying mixed fortunes in races.
Silverstone was another tough test for him as he had just one free practice session on Friday before qualifying and parc ferme rules were applied. Neither driver was happy with the setup, Gasly describing it as his “worst” qualifying. Tsunoda went on to have a frustrating sprint qualifying but was able to use the main event to focus on learning how to look after his tyres.
when asked by Motorsport.com about his race he said, “I think for the tyre management, I was really good. I think last Austria I was saving too much and I was just too slow.”
“I tried to improve this for Silverstone and in the first stint I pushed flat out almost, and especially after the second stint I changed to hard tyre, but with a little bit more tyre management, and that worked well. So I just keep that experience and use it for the future.”
Tsunoda eventually finished tenth, because of a late spin for Kimi Raikkonen and a puncture for Gasly. The Japanese driver says he found it difficult because of balance in dirty air, meaning overtaking was more difficult.