Mercedes upgrade not subject to oil burning clamp down
The FIA had confirmed that Mercedes engine upgrade which they introduced at the Belgian Grand Prix, will not be subject to the stricter oil burning regulations which come into force for this weekends Italian Grand Prix.
In a move to stop teams from burning oil in order to finding gains from burning oil teams will be subject to oil consumption of less than 0.9 litres per 100km.
However Mercedes introduced its fourth and final engine update ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, that means they are still subject to the previous consumption limit of 1.2 litres per 100km and can continue to run legally at that level for the rest of the year.
The oil-burning row has rumbled on since last December and during the season, the sports governing body had upped its monitoring of oil consumption.
As concerns continued the FIA, issued another directive in Hungary telling teams that any new engine introduced from Monza onwards would be subject to the new directive. An FIA spokesperson said he latest Mercedes engine would need to adhere to
“The main question centred on whether engines introduced at Spa will be subject to the expectation that the ‘oil consumption of any ICE element of the Power Unit introduced from the 2017 Italian GP onwards to be less than 0.9L/100km’.
“So, to be clear, if an engine (ICE element) is introduced at or after the Monza race weekend, its oil consumption needs to be below 0.9L/100km whenever it is used.” The spokesperson added that any power unit introduced before Monza would not be subject to the rules.
Ferrari is yet to introduce its fourth engine specification of the campaign and will therefore be restricted to an oil consumption restriction of 0.9L/100km on that unit when it does so. The same applies to Mercedes’ customer teams when they receive their latest upgrade,
Vettel given confidence boost
Sebastian Vettel says that despite finishing second in the Belgian Grand Prix, his Ferrari has had a confidence boost for the rest of the season.
Ahead of Sunday’s race, it was thought that Ferrari would be on the back foot because Mercedes held a huge advantage over Ferrari on high-speed circuits, while Ferrari holds the advantage at low-speed circuits.
This is based on Ferraris lack of pace compared to the Mercedes at the high-speed Silverstone, and Ferrari’s strong race performance at the high downforce, but low-speed circuit in Budapest.
But, following their strong performance at Spa the German says the teams has no longer needs to fear high-speed circuits, such as Sepang and Suzuka later in the year. Vettel told ESPN “I think the positive thing is that we had very good race pace,” Vettel said. “It was very difficult to follow in the middle sector but we stayed close and then we benefit in the first and last sector. Overall the car was very good.”
“We didn’t change too much compared to Silverstone which shows, on the one hand, that Silverstone was just a bad weekend but we also improved the car, especially on race pace we are very strong. I mean we were, on average, a second off, or nearly a second off in Silverstone.”
Hamilton’s win in Belgium has cut Vettel’s championship to just seven points, meaning that he could lose the lead of the championship this weekend. Vettel says there is still room for improvement but is confident his team has made a substantial step following F1’s summer break.
Hamilton gives up on Ferrari dream
Lewis Hamilton has given up on the ‘dream’ of driving for Ferrari, at least for the duration of Sebastian Vettel’s contract with the team.
The Mercedes driver has previously described himself as a “big fan of Ferrari” but confirmation of Vettel’s new three-year deal has all-but shut the door on Hamilton at Maranello until 2021 at the earliest. Speaking to Sky Sports Italy, Hamilton said “It’s definitely a dream for every driver, including me. Whether or not l will ever be there…I guess definitely not in the next four years or whatever it is – three years.”
Hamilton last week, told Sky Sports UK that “I think it’s highly unlikely that [Seb] will be here. I don’t think he wants to be my teammate.” Vettel’s last contract with Ferrari had a clause in which he could veto the team re-signing Fernando Alonso.
Hamilton says “For all us other drivers, and particularly those that aren’t in a Mercedes or a Ferrari, there’s one opportunity that might come up in the future because Kimi [Raikkonen] is not going to keep going on forever. So I’m sure they’ll be working hard to try and get that spot.”
Raikkonen only has a one year deal, meaning that Daniel Ricciardo could move to join him in 2019. While Red Bull is adamant Max Verstappen is under a binding contract for both 2018 and 2019.
Meanwhile, Mercedes have moved to end speculation that they have started talks with Hamilton about a new deal from 2019 in the wake of Vettel’s extension.
Ocon’s olive branch to repair relations with Perez
Esteban Ocon has offered an olive branch in a bid to repair his relationship with Force India team-mate Sergio Perez after he accused his teammate of ‘trying to kill him’ twice after the pair collided in the Belgian Grand Prix.
The Frenchman said “We will be moving forward, we are a team and I appreciate my team mate apologizing. We want to work better together.”
“I’m committed to the success of Sahara Force India, and I’m confident that as a team we will put this behind us to reach even greater levels of success together.”
That was a change of tone from what he tweeted on Sunday “Damage limitation today, we were having a good race until Perez tried to kill me 2 times! Anyway, he didn’t manage to do so ending up P9?!”
Perez responded with a video on Twitter, in which he accepted the blame for the first contact but not the second and said Perez was “too optimistic.”
Adding “I am very disappointed to see his comments that I wanted to kill him. I am not that type of guy…” Team principal and owner Vijay Mallya said the team would “implement a policy of team orders” to prevent more such incidents.
Perez driving “ridiculous” – Villeneuve
Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve has labelled Sergio Perez’s driving when battling with Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon as “ridiculous” and says that the Mexican’s “aggressive” driving style that led to the contact.
The pair had battled hard all race and on his second attempt to pass Perez squeezed Ocon into the pit wall, with the duo escaping the first contact without damage.
The stewards decided not to take action after investigating the incident, but 1997 world champion Villeneuve told Autosport Perez “was to blame 100%. It doesn’t matter that it’s his team-mate,” he said.
“Team-mate, no team-mate, it should not have happened between two drivers. You’re not so supposed to put anyone in danger. You can brake too late, make a mistake, fine, but down the straight, you don’t weave and squish, you just don’t do that. It’s ridiculous.”
“A piece of carbon went outside of the track. You can hurt someone from the public. This has to be stopped.” Villeneuve says Perez wasn’t racing and it was purely blocking.
Asked if Ocon was right to be angry, Villeneuve said: “Yes. Ocon didn’t lift to prove a point I guess. It’s ego, it’s an internal battle to see who would be the strongest in the team. There is this ego thing going on.”
Honda deal cancelled because of McLaren situation
Sauber team principal Fred Vasseur says the reason he cancelled the partnership with Honda was because of doubts over the manufacturer’s relationship with McLaren.
McLaren is currently deciding whether they should commit to another year with Honda or switch to another supplier for 2018, with Renault being the only other realistic option. Sauber had a deal with Honda for next season but called the deal off choosing to stay with Ferrari.
Speaking to F1.com, Vasseur said “Leaving aside the current issues that Honda has with reliability or performance, as I know that they will come back at some point, the biggest concern for us was that we could not secure the responsibility of the gearbox.”
“We don’t have the resources internally to build our own gearbox, so we knew that we had to deal with someone. With Honda, we would have to deal with McLaren, but I was not so confident that McLaren would continue with Honda.”
He says he felt it could have been a strange situation where McLaren could be providing the gearbox for a Honda engine when McLaren could be running another engine.
“With this kind of scenario, I was absolutely not confident. So the ‘reprocessing’ of the Honda deal was one of the biggest issues for Sauber.”
The engine situation was Vasseur’s main priority after he took over as team boss as it was a time when they were beginning to design the 2018 car. Saying “Sauber had already started the design of the 2018 car before I took the decision and that was the reason for the rush – so as not to throw good money at abandoned projects.”
“The design was already in progress, then there was the factory shutdown, so we had to take the decision right away.”