Wolff praises Dudley for “phenomenal” job
Mercedes F1 CEO Toto Wolff has praised Lewis Hamilton’s acting race engineer Marcus Dudley for doing a “phenomenal” at the Mexican Grand Prix, with the champion-elect saying the team reduced any “disadvantage”.
Since 2013, Hamilton has worked with Pete Bonington, known as Bono, who has become one of the most recognisable behind the scenes voices in F1, missed the Mexican GP and will also skip the US GP as he recovers from a medical procedure.
Together Hamilton and Bono have won four world titles and are on the brink of history, as the Englishman looks to take his sixth world title this weekend.
Hamilton’s regular performance engineer Marcus Dudley stepped up, and Dudley was in turn replaced by Dom Riefstahl, who is usually factory-based and looks after Mercedes’ race support team at Brackley.
The team made a call to switch Hamilton early on a one-stop strategy, with the hard tyre lasting double the number of laps some teams had expected as Hamilton eeked out a victory in Mexico, at one of the teams weakest tracks in recent years.
After the race, Hamilton said “With the build-up, knowing Bono wasn’t coming, I’m thinking, jeez, in this intense fight for this championship, you could look at it as a disadvantage. But me and Bono pulled together – he did a huge amount of work as did Marcus and Dom who’ve both stepped up into new roles.”
“I’ve never worked so closely with Dom before and Marcus stepped into big shoes. It’s not easy to work alongside a world champion in this sport, who generally demand quite a lot.” The Englishman says that Dudley as number two was very laid back and knew how he worked. Also, Bono was in contact throughout the weekend.
Hamilton added, “I’d like to think that I can be really proud of today’s performance, particularly with the damaged car and the stuff we went through at the beginning.”
After the victory, team boss Toto Wolff said the performance proves a “deep strength” in the Mercedes squad.
Asked how Dudley did, Wolff replied: “Phenomenal job, not easy. Also managing Lewis in the race. It shows we have a strength, a deep strength in the team, and Bono stepping aside for one race and handing over the baton, Marcus did a really good job together with Dom.”
Critics are a nightmare – Vettel
Sebastian Vettel says the change of opinion by the critics of the sport is a “nightmare”, and that his future beyond next year will be decided by both 2020 and the championship’s impending rules overhaul.
The German’s performances since Hockenheim last season has been under increasing scrutiny this season because of a combination of his own errors and the rise of Charles Leclerc at Ferrari. In Singapore, he won his first race since Spa last season.
Vettel went into Ferrari’s home race under increased pressure following his high-profile mistake in Italy and disrupted a run of Leclerc poles by topping qualifying in Japan.
When Leclerc won Ferrari’s home race at Monza, Vettel finished off the podium after spinning early on and earning a penalty when he re-joined the track just as Lance Stroll was approaching, and he said the shift from criticism from that incident to praise in Singapore is frustrating.
In an exclusive interview, Vettel said it was sometimes not easy to listen to critics and people judge too quickly. He told Motorsport.com, “But that’s what it is, and that’s not just in Formula 1.”
“It doesn’t get any different treatment to other things if you look at other sports, you look away from sports, you look to politics. It is a nightmare. Every day you judge, you change your opinion.”
“But that I find is not credible, because if you stand for something – values or you have an opinion, how can you change it overnight? Unless you have a reason. But then you change it again the next night.”
He says that the experience of critics was learning that people’s opinions “change very fast”. However, he stressed that is “not easy sometimes”, especially as it can also impact his team.
He adds that sometimes negative ideas are more difficult to get out of their heads.
Renault considers F1 future
As Renault considers in Formula One, its F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul is hopeful the board will continue of the manufacturer’s works programme.
Earlier this month the manufacturers acting CEO, Clotilde Delbos announced a “deep review” of its ‘Drive the Future’ blueprint for the future, part of which includes its participation in F1 beyond the 2020 season.
Abiteboul added that the company would make its decision based on the commercial Concorde Agreement between the teams and Liberty Media which will also come in 2021.
He told Crash.net, “I’m not saying the [current] financial regulations aren’t a good set of regulations, as you know we fully supported them since day one. I think it is the best avenue to put a bit of common sense in the way the teams are spending and to create a show that is more dynamic.”
“We fully support that and we fully support the new prize fund that is more equitable. We fully support the new set of sporting and technical regulations that are going in the right direction.” Abiteboul says once the new deal is presented Renault will assess whether we want to sign up to those terms.
While he refusing to speak for the board, he feels conditions were improved on where they were back in 2015 when the company decided to revive its works team in time for the 2016 season. But says he cannot say any more than he has already.
“The internal governance of Renault is a triumvirate – three people with an acting CEO right now who is still the CFO of the group. As CFO, she was sitting on the committee that has made all the decisions relative to the involvement in F1, including the return as a full team.” He added.
Renault keeps “making life difficult” – Abiteboul
Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul was relieved to get a strong result in the Mexican Grand Prix, but is frustrated that the team keeps “making life difficult for ourselves”.
The French manufacturer’s preparations were hampered badly when an issue with pollution of the cars’ cooling systems saw both Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg miss out on any meaningful running in FP3.
Ricciardo was the only driver to start on the hard tyres and pulled off a fifty lap stint, after losing “best of the rest” honours to local hero Sergio Perez when he slid off the road trying to pass the Mexican.
His teammate Hulkenberg claimed a point in 10th after a last-lap collision with Daniil Kvyat.
Abiteboul told Motorsport.com, “We scored a few points. We more or less maintain our advantage against Racing Point and Toro Rosso, we reduced it to McLaren. After what was the situation of our cars in FP3, it was a great result.”
“It’s important to have a good race every weekend because there is pressure after a season like this, so it’s important to have decent races like this one. But it’s been again a weekend that’s been a bit chaotic, and irrespective of the competitiveness of our car, we need to stop that”
Renault’s chances of catching customer team McLaren appear slim, the team now must focus on staying ahead of Toro Rosso and Racing Point, both of whom are just nine points behind.
Adding “I still believe that we have a better package overall. When I see the number of points that we’ve lost, and still being in that position, it’s not bad. I think if we have straightforward weekends, we can keep that position.”
He admitted that he is not pleased with the team’s position in the championship but still believes the target was achievable. Abiteboul praised Ricciardo for making the most of the bold strategy that the team gave him in Mexico.
Miami faces public opposition
The proposed circuit for the Miami Grand Prix faces major opposition from locals at a meeting of the board of county commissioners at Miami-Dade’s City Hall on Tuesday, and will now require a further public hearing in December if it is to happen as planned in 2021.
The proposed city around the Miami Dolphins stadium and public roads are located fifteen miles from the city centre. During a motion entitled “Establishing county policy regarding motor vehicle racing” the opposition to the event at the stadium argued that a large-scale public hearing was required to discuss the full impacts of air and noise pollution, as well as disruption of road closures during the event.
In two votes the commission has derailed the plan, the first vote to hold a public injury into the plans and the second was related to public road closures requiring county commissioner-level approval.
The opposition group against the event was led by former county commissioner Betty T Ferguson. She argued that the county’s studies had shown “deadly effects” via air and noise pollution.
She said “Its Formula 1 racing in a bedroom community. The majority of residents in Miami Gardens do not want to see F1 racing at Hard Rock Stadium; the Miami Gardens city council voted to oppose Formula 1.”
“We have seen too often deep pockets paint rosy pictures and have their way, only to the embarrassment of the county at a later date. Don’t allow F1 promoters to come in and roll over us over like we’re not even humans.”
Ferguson added that they cannot mitigate the ‘deadly’ health effects and the possibly permanent hearing loss, especially to children. Also that no permission can be given without a full public hearing.
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert also spoke out against the race taking place: “We understand we’re in the business of tourism, but this has to be a good place to live and not just visit. There’s people living around the corner, there are schools there. I’m not against events at the stadium, but not all events are the same.”
“We’re not in support of Formula 1. It’s not a place to dump events that are toxic to people.” The senior director for legal and government affairs for the Miami Dolphins, Marcus Bach-Armas says that the reason for the move was the downtown street circuit fell through.
He also made it clear that the county had also authorized racing to take place at the venue: “We are zoned for motor vehicle racing because a couple of years ago we resolved a lawsuit with the county commission and the city council, there were public hearings and public votes and the resolution of those three years of discussion