Perez to miss two races after testing positive Coronavirus
Sergio Perez will miss this weekend’s British Grand Prix and next weekend Anniversary Grand Prix after testing positive for Coronavirus after being retested. The Mexican was absent and in self-isolation after an inconclusive test and his retest has come back positive.
Perez is the first driver and front-line member of an F1 team to test positive for COVID-19 since the delayed season began earlier this month. The FIA has said from the start of the season, that it was a matter of time before a front-line member of a team would test positive.
A statement from the FIA, said, “Perez has entered self-quarantine in accordance with the instructions of the relevant public health authorities, and will continue to follow the procedure mandated by those authorities.”
“With assistance of the local organiser of the British Grand Prix, local health authorities and the FIA COVID-19 delegate, a full track and trace initiative has been undertaken and all close contacts have been quarantined.”
Racing Point says that it still plans to enter two cars into this weekend’s race and would “communicate the next steps in due course”. The team shares its reserve drivers with Mercedes.
Also, Racing Point says Perez is in “physically well and in good spirits” and that he will continue to self-isolate as per the guidelines.
This weekend Esteban Ocon is the designated reserve for this weekend, as Vandoorne, who raced for McLaren in 2017 and 2018, is preparing for the resumption of the Formula E season, in which he is a title contender.
Today the British government introduced new measures requiring a fourteen-day isolation period following a positive test. The sport has also put measures to stop a weekend being cancelled after the events at the season opener.
Vettel interview overhyped – Brundle
Sky Sports Martin Brundle has dismissed conspiracy theories surrounding a recent Sebastian Vettel interview, which had fuelled talk the German was ready to announce his retirement.
At the Styrian Grand Prix, Brundle announced that the four-time world champion had requested to do an interview, prompting questions about why he would request an interview. At the time, there was suggestions that he wanted to speak out on certain topics.
In the end, Vettel’s interview did not offer any huge revelation about his future, and Brundle has explained how the hype surrounding it had been blown up by an innocent comment he made.
Speaking about the interview, Brundle told Motorsport.com, “I met him on the corner of the TV compound [in Austria]. He was heading off somewhere. We were in our masks, socially distanced, and he said ‘Let’s do an interview. Let’s do an interview’. I said ‘Okay. Let’s do that. What do you want to talk about?’”
He then added, “I stupidly mentioned that, because Crofty [David Croft] was supposed to throw to Ted [Kravitz] in the grandstand and he missed, as obviously we’ve got completely different systems to what we would normally have at a Grand Prix, and somehow Crofty thought he had to throw it to me.”
The way that Brundle phrased the interview prompted speculation that here was something more to the interview than normal. However there were no revelations in the interview, and at the time he wasn’t expecting to be on air.
Reflecting on the interview which lasted twenty minutes Brundle believes the German will only stay in F1 if he thinks he has a chance of winning. Saying, “He won’t tread water in the midfield or race for the sake of it, just to be – what did he say – an F1 driver. I think he put his hands up like that [puts hands up].”
The only real takeaway from the interview seemed to be Vettel accepting that he was no longer in control of his own future.
News in Brief
Vettel calls for patience
Sebastian Vettel has called for patience as his future in the sport remains uncertain. There has still no update on where he could be racing next year if at all, says the four-time champion.
Saying “It’s probably realistic to be patient and wait a little bit. “It could be a couple of weeks, it could be longer than that. Nothing has changed, I’m not in a rush and I want to make sure I make the right decision for myself.”
Haas would repeat formation lap pit stop
Romain Grosjean says that Haas would “1000%” repeat its Hungarian Grand Prix call to change tyres on the formation lap, even though Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were later penalised as the track dried out forced to make early pit stops.
Hamilton musical admissions
Lewis Hamilton has spoken for the first time about his musical collaboration with Christina Aguilera in 2018 and revealed he plans to release his own music in the near future. The six times champion has previously declined to confirm that he was the artist XNDA despite speculation.
Copse and Stowe track limit
The FIA has continued its clampdown on track limits, with the focus for the next two races at Silverstone being on Copse and Stowe at Silverstone.
In his pre-event notes for the British GP, FIA race director Michael Masi cautioned that any driver who goes behind the black and white kerbs on the exits of Turns 9 and 15 will have their lap times deleted, whether in practice, qualifying or the race.
Multiple offences, not necessarily at the same corner, will result in a black and white flag being shown. Since the start of the season Masi has been strict when it comes to similar measures in Speilberg and Budapest.
His note said, “A lap time achieved during any practice session or the race by leaving the track and cutting behind the black and white kerb on the exit of Turn 9/15, will result in that lap time being invalidated by the stewards. Each time any car passes behind the black and white exit kerbs, teams will be informed via the official messaging system.”
“On the third occasion of a driver cutting behind the black and white exit kerbs at Turns 9 and 15 during the race, he will be shown a black and white flag, any further cutting will then be reported to the stewards.”
However, this action will not be applied if a drive has been judged to been forced to go there and would be judged on a case by case basis.
Masi said after the opening race of the season in Austria that the timing loop system had worked to plan, noting that having two back-to-back races also allowed the FIA to make changes for the second event – as will be the case at Silverstone.
Ferrari needs to be accountable for lack of diversity
Ferrari’s chairman John Elkann has responded to a call from Lewis Hamilton for the team to “hold themselves accountable” and address a lack of diversity within their Formula One team.
The six-times champion has recently challenged the Italian manufacturer and the sport to improve diversity within the teams, following the steps taken by Mercedes. The Black Lives Matter movement has recently brought racism and inequality to the forefront following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
The team has announced it will launch a new diversity and inclusion programme before the end of the season to address the lack of diversity within the team, after conceding just 3% of its workforce identify themselves as belonging to a minority ethnic group.
Speaking to the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Elkann insisted Ferrari shares the same desire for F1 to become a more inclusive sport.
Elkann also revealed his organisation was the only company in Italy to implement “the Equal Salary certification for equal pay for women and men with the same qualifications and duties” as of the start of July.
Speaking about Hamilton generally, he described the Englishman as “an exceptional driver” who he believes can surpass Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher’s records to “become the most successful ever”.
Outrageous to consider coping it if designs
Williams says the “borderline outrageous” pace shown by Mercedes this year would have forced rivals to consider doing a Racing Point and coping it if designs weren’t frozen.
Racing Point has been at the centre of two protests at the previous two races, where Renault has accused the team of coping last years Mercedes brake duct. The team is adamant that it has operated within the rules.
The Coronavirus pandemic has forced a chassis freeze rules for next year, allied to a new regulation package coming in for 2022, means that other teams cannot go down the copying route in the short term though.
However Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson, believes despite how uneasy other teams felt about copying another design, the current stand outpace of Mercedes would have left everybody needing to think about making a clone if allowed.
Asked by Motorsport.com if copying the Mercedes would have been necessary, “I think potentially you would have to. I think it is clear that for quite a few years Mercedes has been the standout car. Even though the Red Bull and Ferrari at times have excelled at certain circuits, the Mercedes is a go-anywhere package.”
He says when you think about it then you would have to give it a serious go I think. If there is that much lap time to be found and that is the way to find it. Robson says that the key hurdles for any team are to understand the concepts behind the car.
Adding, “It’s always been the case that copying is an important part of the game we play. The difficulty is that these cars are so complicated that what you really need to be able to copy is the concept.”
“It’s always been the case that copying is an important part of the game we play. The difficulty is that these cars are so complicated that what you really need to be able to copy is the concept.” He says that they had to do understand the concept and that the rivals are using, which you can’t do without seeing all the information.
Racing Point having admitted that it struggled to get the Mercedes concept working as it initially tried it out in the wind tunnel, Robson acknowledges there is also a risk of copying not automatically delivering results.
Six-year-old designs Norris’s helmet
Lando Norris will use a helmet designed by a six-year-old girl for this weekend’s British Grand Prix following a competition. The Englishman held a competition for his home Grand Prix allowing fans to design a helmet.
The winning entry was six-year-old Eva Muttram, whose father submitted a hand-coloured design on her behalf that was picked by Norris for Silverstone.
Norris explained on a Twitch stream revealing the helmet, “It reminds me a lot of when I was younger, designing helmets, drawing away, just when I was like five, six, seven years old, printing off hundreds of helmet designs, colouring them in and doing whatever.”
“This is the winner. It’s very different to what I’m used to. All this glitz and glamour and sparkly bits and swooshes and cool stuff, I just went with something that reminded me of me when I was young.”
Muttram’s design features Norris’s logo and the McLaren team colours of orange and blue as well as two love hearts. His name is written in full on the side of the helmet – with the final letter in his surname dropping onto a third line.
The rear of the helmet also has a hand-drawn orange and blue McLaren on the rear of the car, which Norris joked “is what our car looks like this weekend with the new upgrade”.
In Melbourne, Norris said he was hoping to have a different helmet livery for every race, and confirmed on his Twitch stream he’d look to do run more fan-submitted designs through the rest of the season.
The Weekend Ahead
Silverstone should be a good circuit for Mercedes they have won every race at Silverstone since 2013, Lewis Hamilton is also looking for his seventh win. I think that this is highly likely given how good the car is and how he just seems to suit the circuit.
The big question I think is can anyone get close to Mercedes and whether Valtteri Bottas can challenge him. Also, who are going to be there closest challengers as this is going to be one I think where Racing Point are going to be strong. But more likely that its going to be Red Bull challenging Mercedes.
If Sergio Perez test is confirmed by Public Health England, there will be questions about how he got infected and whether the policies need reviewing. But, we know the race will go ahead without him and that’s the way we understand the regulations.
Naturally focus will be also on Lando Norris and George Russell, from what I seen they both go into their home races off the back off decent results. We need to hope they can perform well here, but any good result will be overshadowed by Hamilton.
The other thing we could see is a protest from Renault about the Racing Point, we still the same case unless we get news on the investigation no rule break has been proven yet.
Prixview here. You can join us throughout the weekend for LIVE coverage of the British Grand Prix, as well as updates throughout the weekend starting with FP1 from 10:45BST tomorrow, qualifying 13:45 on Saturday and race coverage from 13:40 Sunday