No Toifisi allowed to attend at Monza
Organisers of the Italian Grand Prix have confirmed that the race will take place behind closed doors in September, extending the number of races where fans will not be allowed to eight.
After being forced to call off the opening ten races of the season due to the Coronavirus pandemic, F1 managed to get the 2020 season underway earlier this month in Austria. Monza had been seen as one of the first races where some fans could have attended as it’s in the Autumn when Liberty hoped that fans could return.
All races so far this season have been ‘closed events, taking place with no spectators and with limited personnel at the circuits. According to ticketing websites, the first race where they should be allowed will be Sochi and the Portuguese Grand Prix.
A statement said, “The 2020 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza from 4-6 September will take place behind closed doors, i.e. without spectators. Tickets already purchased will be refunded for the full value of the face price shown on them.”
However, there may still be hope for the Toifisi of attending a Grand Prix, with organisers of the Tuscan Grand Prix and at Imola yet to announce whether fans will be allowed to attend. Although they will be limited and depends on local government in Tuscany and what restrictions are in place in the region at the time.
It may be that only domestic fans are allowed to attend the race, with a similar practice potentially in place for future races in the season.
Mercedes to continue DAS development despite ban
Mercedes are to continue with the development of its Dual-Axis Steering system this season despite the despite being banned for 2021, saying it is “not a closed book”. Mercedes sparked intrigue up and down the paddock when it debuted DAS during pre-season testing back in February.
The system allows its drivers to change the toe angle of the Mercedes W11 car from within the cockpit by moving the steering wheel forwards and backwards. DAS was subject to a protest from Red Bull over its technical legality at the opening race in Austria, only for the FIA to rule that it was within the regulations.
However, the system has already been outlawed from next season with other teams deciding not to implementing their own versions given the considerable amount of work and its limited shelf life. Mercedes says despite the ban it is pushing its development as much as possible before it is no longer permitted on the car.
Speaking about the plans for DAS, technical director James Allison told Motorsport.com “I think that for us, it’s still a very new system. Precisely how, where and when we get the most opportunity from it is, to some degree, continuing to be a voyage of discovery for us.”
“The manner in which we develop it is still open for us as the season goes on. So it’s not a closed book, and we hope to get more from it if we can learn quickly in the coming races.”
DAS has been used by both Hamilton and Bottas to help with tyre warm-up before qualifying laps and race restarts through the early part of the 2020 season. Mercedes have taken three poles and wins in the first three races of the season, as it chases a seventh consecutive set of drivers’ and constructors’ championships this year.
F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff said following the win in Budapest, that there was “never one thing” that could pinpoint to explain Mercedes’ continued success through this period.
Adding, “It’s a multitude of points that come together. It’s the investment in the right resource. It’s the amount of innovation that we’re able to extract from our research and development.”
“Fundamentally, it all comes down to the people that are in charge. We have seen over the years that generation after generation have come up, have taken responsibility and accountability and have added to the team’s performance.”
Mugello going to be “awesome” to drive
Lando Norris says that the Mugello circuit which will be “awesome” to drive but warns that the circuit is unlikely to produce much overtaking. The circuit will host the Tuscan Grand Prix as F1 extends its European season due the Coronavirus.
Norris raced both at Mugello and Imola, which is returning when he was competing in the local Formula 4 series in 2015. Norris told Motorsport.com, “I look forward to it. Mugello I raced at in Italian F4 back in 2015, I think. And it was really cool. It’s very high speed, or medium to high speed corners, no real tight chicanes, almost like Austria in some ways, without the big braking zones on top of it.”
“These high speed, medium speed corners test the physical attributes of the driver to the limit, this is F1 to the limit in terms of how quick F1 cars are around these types of corners.” Norris added that any track you haven’t been to for a while or new to the category is exciting.
He says you’re going there without knowing the set-up which puts you in a slightly more vulnerable position.
Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner said that the track will be a challenge. Adding “I raced at Mugello back in 1997. It was a great circuit then, and I don’t think it’s changed in layout too much.”
Sainz surprised by level detail Ferrari went to
Carlos Sainz says he did not appreciate the level of detail Ferrari would go into researching his Formula One career performances before deciding to sign him for 2021.
The Spanish driver made his breakthrough with McLaren last season, including his maiden podium on the way to sixth in the driver’s championship. the pandemic-enforced delay to the 2020 season he signed a deal to drive with Ferrari.
Despite his superb 2019 campaign, Sainz’s lack of TV coverage became a running joke on social media during the season. While he worried that his results in the midfield were being overlooked, Ferrari left no stone unturned in making sure they had the right man to replace Sebastian Vettel next season.
When asked how important podium in Brazil was in securing the move, Sainz told ESPN, “Of course it had an influence, I cannot deny a podium makes you be a bit more in the spotlight and people look at you. But from what I’ve seen from how the top teams analyse the drivers, it’s in a much more complete picture than what I thought at first.”
“The way the top teams analyse drivers race by race is a lot more detailed than I thought so I’m sure they were looking into my previous seasons, not only into that podium in Brazil but also the consistency of the campaign and finishing P6 in the drivers’ championship.”
Sainz says that he thinks Ferrari analyses a lot more stuff than other teams, going into the individually more. He says it was a good surprise as being in the midfield you believe they are not looked at.
The move to Ferrari went against what would be expected in a normal season in that it was confirmed before the season had started, with the majority of formal discussions before the announcement being conducted over Zoom.
His first trip to the fabled Ferrari factory at Maranello will not happen for the foreseeable future.
Tighten rules on copying other teams
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says that Formula One’s technical regulations to be tightened to limit the extent to which teams can copy other cars.
The FIA is currently reviewing a protest from Renault over the legality over Racing Point’s RP20 car, which was based on the design of the 2019 title-winning Mercedes W10.
The Silverstone based team has admitted it has used pictures of the Mercedes to design its car for this year, but stressed it did so entirely within the regulations and has no concerns over Renault’s protest. Seidl has said previously there were no grounds for a protest.
However, believes the case was an important one for the future of F1, as the sport risked becoming a “copying championship”. While Seidl accepted there had always been a degree of copying in F1, he said the current regulations allowed the practice to go beyond simply looking at pictures of another car.
He told Motorsport.com, “There’s copying which has always been around in Formula One, and which is part of Formula One. We have tried to analyse what competitors are doing by pictures that are publicly available, pictures you can take in the pit lane or on-track. I think no-one has any problem with copying parts or cars from these pictures.”
“What is more important is to simply clarify and maybe also change the regulations on what can be done in terms of copying beyond this copying, where you only use publicly-available information.”
Seidl says that the current regulations allow you to do a lot more, that you can do co-operations on wind tunnel technology. Pictures and looking at other cars has always been a part of F1, but there needs to be clarity on what was and wasn’t allowed,
Seidl said that remained the “key question” McLaren also wanted answering in this case.
Albon gets a new race engineer
Alex Albon will get a new engineer from this weekends British Grand Prix after Red Bull shuffled its technical team, with the experienced Simon Rennie returning to trackside action.
Rennie is best known for working with Mark Webber in his final season, and then with Daniel Ricciardo from 2014 to 2018 as he developed into a race winner. After Ricciardo left the team last season, Rennie decided to take on a factory role.
With Albon having had a challenging start to 2020 and difficulties getting to grips with the tricky RB16, Red Bull has elected to bring Rennie back into action to assist the Thai driver. Albon’s previous race engineer, Mike Lugg, will remain with Red Bull but take a factory role from now on.
Red Bull has been looking for answers why the car has not been delivering the performance they were hoping for, with an aerodynamic anomaly having come to light over the opening three races.
Albon has faith that the team can get on top of things and is upbeat about the prospects for this weekend’s home Grand Prix. referring to his late exit from the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, he told Motorsport.com, “ Obviously as a team it hasn’t been an ideal start to the season but aside from the DNF, we’ve been able to score some good points.”
“I think with that being said, the car can only improve so I’m feeling positive. We know the areas we need to work on and with Silverstone being a home race close to the factory, that’s good news.”
Brazilian promoter warns of permanent loss
Brazilian Grand Prix promoter Tamas Rohonyi warns that the country’s motorsport future will suffer if the event is permanently lost from the Formula One’s calendar schedule.
This year’s race was due to be the final one at Interlagos and has been a fixture on the calendar since 1973, has been cancelled due to Coronavirus. F1 CEO Chase Carey is hoping to move the race to a new venue in Rio, but no progress has been made on finalising a deal or on the construction of the circuit.
However, the circuit has still yet to be given planning permission and the land is protected. Rohonyi says that unless a new deal can be concluded to keep the race at Interlagos, the country’s racing scene could suffer long-term damage.
He told Motorsport.com, “A lot of people depend on this, not only in F1 but all the other categories. I like to believe it’s an important venue if only because of the tradition we have here. Brazilian drivers have won eight times the World Championship.”
“Frankly, I spoke to the president of the Brazilian ASN, and he said to me, ‘If you lose the race, Brazilian motor racing will be dead for the next 40 years.’ Because all these kids who drive karts, they hope one day to go F1. But they will stop.”
A Brazilian driver has not started a race since Felipe Massa retired from F1 at the end of 2017.