Perez warns he could walk
Sergio Perez has warned if his future isn’t resolved by next Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix he might look at other options beyond Formula One. The Mexican was targeted by Renault but a lack of clarity behind the scenes to scupper the move.
Perez is almost certain to remain with Force India for 2017, however the deal has been delayed meaning he has doubts still. Thus is why Perez has made the deadline of next weekend to finalise matters or he will consider a move elsewhere in F1 or other motorsport.
Perez told Autosport “I believe that next week is crucial to sort out my future, so by next week I need to know if the option [to stay in F1] remains or if I have to look somewhere else.”
“I really hope by next weekend we will all know. It’s obviously taking longer than expected, but it’s all going in the right direction, so I hope next weekend we will know.” He says the reason for the hold up is that is deals are complicated because his sponsors need to do deals adding he hoped that it will be done soon.
Perez says he is focusing on one team but there are other options on the table. He added “Obviously I want to keep my career in Formula 1 going, but I cannot wait much longer.” He adds he is not worried and believes he is in good position and dismissed suggestions of waiting until his home race in Mexico at the end of October to make any kind of announcement.
Some are suggesting Perez is trying to keep his options open for 2018 in case Kimi Raikkonen were to retire.
Stroll close to Williams deal
Autosport say they understand that Lance Stroll is close to securing a deal with Williams. The Canadian driver is currently leads the European F3 championship and joined the teams Williams young driver development driver programme at the end of last season.
Several drivers had been linked with a move to Williams to replace Felipe Massa, including Sergio Perez, Felipe Nasr, Marcus Ericsson and Jenson Button. All drivers that were linked to replace Massa have or expected to re-sign for their current teams.
No announcement has been made but the Canadian has followed the same path as team-mate Valtteri Bottas carrying out work in the Williams simulator, primarily focused on his F3 campaign.
He also began an on-track programme in August, which involves him driving a 2014-spec F1 car. This should allow him over the coming months to familiarise himself with the car.
Stroll has key weekend this week as he could win the title at Imola but this isn’t key as he has already accumulated enough superlicence points to be eligible to race in F1 next year.
Haas rule out Leclerc
Haas’s team principal has Gunther Steiner has ruled out signing the Ferrari young driver Charles Leclerc has he feels the team needs experienced drivers.
Romain Grosjean, who has scored all of the team’s 28 points, is set to stay at the team next season, but Haas has yet to finalise who his team-mate will be. Leclerc must win the GP3 title to gain enough points to drive in a Formula One race.
Steiner had previously said Haas can be a vehicle for Ferrari to develop drivers from its junior programme but for next season, he said taking a rookie was not an option. Speaking about Leclerc Steiner told Autosport “in the position we are in, he’s too inexperienced. I wouldn’t say too young, as Max Verstappen does a good job.”
“We highly respect what Leclerc is doing in FP1, he was on the gain immediately. But what we need as a team is somebody who can score points. We need to train the team, we cannot train the driver.” Steiner said taking a rookie was not an option at the moment. Leclerc will also drive the Haas in Brazil and Abu Dhabi practice sessions later this year. He also says there have been no conversations have taken place with Ferrari with regards taking one of its development drivers next term.
He warned that taking a new driver the team could been seen as damaging there career if they don’t perform saying “They take a risk because there is no other opportunity. If it doesn’t work out, we would be blamed. It’s not right.”
“We need to look after ourselves and make the team bigger so we are ready for young talent.” He said that Haas are in no rush to announce a line up suggesting they are waiting for others to announce their line ups.
Alonso to start last
Fernando Alonso looks set to be handed a thirty place grid penalty as McLaren may choose to change him to his seventh power unit of the season. Honda already announced they were bringing a new updated power unit ahead of their home race next weekend.
Hamilton ten year of F1
Ten years ago this week it was ‘announced’ that Lewis Hamilton would debut for McLaren though it wouldn’t be announce for weeks following the announcement of Michael Schumacher’s retirement.
What unfolded since was a story similar to Schumacher a story of a potential four time champion. McLaren lost both their drivers at the end of that season after a difficult year for the team choosing Fernando Alonso the reigning two times champion.
Hamilton managed to hold id own like he had in GP2, karting and Formula Renault being where he fined tuned his skill. He was at the time the youngest driver ever in Formula One and questions were asked something which now seems stupid.
Hamilton sounded confident when he said: “I have done everything I need to do to prove that I’m ready to race a Formula One car.” But even he had no idea what was about to unfold. Soon records started falling youngest podium finisher in Australia and race winner seven races later.
One point cost him that year’s world title but fast forward twelve months a battle with Sebastian Vettel something we got use to now Hamilton fought past him in vein to get sixth after letting him passed by mistake. But then as Massa took the title, or not, disaster for millions of Brazilians as he past Glock at the last moment to seal the title by a single point.
Two more titles followed and a fourth could still happen. But Hamilton will go into the history books as the first black man to be world champion and first brit to claim back to back titles.
Proud and honoured – Sainz
Carlos Sainz says he is “honoured” and “proud” to have interest from Renault but would not be drawn on how that affects his future. Earlier this year he signed a new deal to remain with Toro Rosso ending speculation linking with him a move to Renault.
Sainz insists his dream remains to drive for Red Bull in 2018 but both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have contracts with the senior team that run up until the end of that season.
Asked about Renault’s continued interest in him, Sainz told Autosport “There’s been a bit of interest, a bit of contact, which for me in the end has to be an honour – that a manufacturer team is actually worried about me and wants to know my contract situation.”
“It’s an honour to have interest from a manufacturer team that wants me to develop the car, to create a good base for the future.” He says his aim is fighting for the title with Red Bull.
Sainz said the speculation is not “destabilising” but rather a positive as it means he has options for the future. “I’m a bit aware about what’s going on, but I don’t know all the details of what’s happening,” he said.
When asked if he would like to drive for Toro Rosso or Renualt he said Toro Rosso before adding “he had little knowledge of how quickly Renault could get back to the top.”