Clear conscience over human rights
Berine Ecclestone says that Formula One has a clear conscience over its inaugural race in Azerbaijan, despite criticism of the country’s human rights record.
Human rights groups have feared Ecclestone would continue making “unhelpful” comments, even though they were invited in to see F1 officials in London, and he delivered on cue.
Ecclestone told The Telegraph “The minute people tell me what human rights are then you can have a look at them and see how and when and where it applies,” Ecclestone said. “Do any of you know what human rights are?”
Ecclestone was asked about the t journalists had been prosecuted for being critical of the regime in Azerbaijan. He said “So they should. Depends what they say. You say they write negative things. Depends what they write.”
The 84-year old says as far as he concerns that are no corruption in the countries holding F1 races. Last year he and FOM published a ‘Statement of Commitment to Respect for Human Rights’ but this has not affected the race in Baku.
A report by Human Rights Watch in 2015 claimed that there had been a “dramatic deterioration in its already poor rights record. Last week Human rights groups called on Ecclestone to condemn the human rights abuses by the Azerbaijani government.
But Ecclestone is not expected to with the closest think is comparing it “to here it’s a bit of a s***hole, isn’t it really.”
Hamilton will win fourth title – Ecclestone
Berine Ecclestone believes that Lewis Hamilton will win his fourth and third consecutive world title this season. The world champion had a difficult start to the season but in the last two races has cut his team-mates advantage to nine points and could take the lead this weekend in Baku.
Ecclestone told Sky Sports “I think Hamilton will win the championship. Ferrari have been a little bit unlucky. A couple of races they could and should have won. So we’ll see, a long way to go.”
Mercedes have taken victory in all but the race where Hamilton and Nico Rosberg took each other out. In Montreal it appeared that Ferrari has got very close and could of beaten the silver arrows to victory.
Ecclestone said earlier this year that he would not buy a ticket for his family to watch F1. “We’ve got some racing. It’s getting better isn’t it?” he added that next year there could be twenty two races but could end up with only eighteen because of uncertainty over Germany and Italy.
But doubts could mean Brazil could also be off because of mainly delays in renovation work and Ecclestone admitted: “Brazil has got a few problems at the moment.” There is also a political and economic crisis involving race sponsor Petobras plus the fight against the Zika virus.
Ricciardo believed to extended contract
Daniel Ricciardo is believed to have extended his Red Bull contract to challenge for the F1 title next season. After blaming the team for the tactical errors which cost him victory in Monaco and Spain, he warned last week he would leave unless they supplied him with a title-winning package.
Speaking to Sky Sports the Australian said “The contract was always long term and in a way it was always that length. But it’s performance based and … the team are happy with what l am doing and happy with me and Max [Verstappen] and want to keep us on board”
With his parents being of Italian descent he has been linked as a potential replace Kimi Raikkonen who is expected to leave Ferrari at the end of the year. But Ricciardo thinks g that Red Bull are the best placed of Mercedes’ rivals to forge a title challenge because of the regulation changes. news of Ricciardo’s contract extension will come as a particular blow to Toro Rosso Carlos Sainz who set his eyes on Red Bull earlier this month.
Drivers have concerns in Baku
Leading drivers have questioned the safety of this weekends venue for the Grand Prix of Europe in Baku. Nico Rosberg said parts of the track in the Azerbaijani capital were “really not looking good”. Button added that some corners “don’t have any run-off at all”.
Rosberg said he hoped that the FIA had stuck to the safety guidelines that govern tracks, but added: “I’m doubting it a little because of those corners.” The main area which are concerning them are where the old and new city meet.
Button told BBC News “We trust in the FIA and they do a fantastic job in keeping us safe. They have improved pretty much every circuit we go to, including Monaco.
Button says the most critical area is turn 15, the drivers will approach at estimated speeds of about 180mph after a long flat-out section.
The pit-lane entry is also tight and at a place where cars are expected to be travelling in excess of 200mph, and features a tight chicane. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo said the pit entry “is going to be quite cool” because, as it is effectively part of the race track, there was “between half-a-second and a second” for a driver to gain in the chicane.
But Rosberg says there could “also a massive accident to be had if you go a little bit more than that.”
Ambassador for the race Fernando Alonso, who is the race’s official ambassador, played down the issue. Saying “There are some corners probably we will talk about. Some others that we need to go on the car first and see how they feel.”
Haas will run upgraded Ferrari power unit from Silverstone
Haas’s team principal Gunther Steiner will run the upgraded Ferrari power unit from the British Grand Prix. Ferrari introduced the new spec power unit at last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix but there customers didn’t receive the upgrade.
Speaking to Autosport Steiner said “We looked at it and we will get the upgrade in Silverstone. You always can use more power but again if you’re not quite prepared it’s better not to have it. So the plan at the moment is to have the upgrade for Silverstone for us”
Ferrari’s drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have said the development was a step forward and from the data he has seen, Steiner agreed. “It’s a relatively good step. We have seen the difference that it has made. Here in Baku, it will be a more evident with the long straights.”
Steiner says the team could also introduce their own upgrades to aerodynamics at the same time saying “I hope for Silverstone we have a few more bits coming, a few more parts. But it’s not 100% sure yet, we’re working on it in the next week.”