Carey to stand down as CEO
Stefano Domenicali is to return to Formula One as its chief executive six years after resigning as Ferrari team principal. He becomes the third person to hold the role as Chase Carey steps down as CEO to become the sports new non-executive chairman.
Domenicali has more recently been the CEO of Lamborghini, where he has been since leaving Ferrari in April 2014 following a poor start to the hybrid era.
He joined Ferrari from university in 1991 and rose through the ranks at Maranello, playing a pivotal role as sporting director during their dominant F1 era with Michael Schumacher, before being chosen to replace Jean Todt as team boss.
Over the past three years, Carey has overseen the successful negotiations about the future of the sport, with new technical, sporting regulations which will be introduced in 2021.
He has also navigated the sport through the biggest crisis in its history, putting together a seventeen race season after the coronavirus ripped up much of the original calendar.
Speaking about his new role, Domenicali said: “I am thrilled to join the Formula 1 organization, a sport that has always been part of my life. I was born in Imola and live in Monza.
“I’ve remained connected to the sport through my work with the Single Seater Commission at the FIA and I look forward to connecting with the teams, promoters, sponsors and many partners in Formula 1 as we continue to drive the business ahead.”
Domenicali has more recently been CEO of Lamborghini since 2016 and has helped lead the Italian manufacturer to huge growth and record sales figures through 2019. Also president of the FIA single-seater commission, helping to oversee a restructuring of the junior motorsport ladder.
On the track
Valtteri Bottas topped both of Friday’s practice sessions, after teammate Lewis Hamilton struggle to find clean air in FP1 leaving him nineteenth before bouncing back to finish two tenths behind Bottas in FP2. Mercedes again as they have been since Sochi joined the calendar topping the times.
Both drivers however needed to abort laps in both sessions after locking up damaging their tyres, Hamilton being the biggest loser in the FP1 session has he was nineteenth. That was however because after aborting the lap he never found the space to get a clean lap in.
Bottas believes and you need to say its likely, there’s “more to come” despite topping the times in practice in Russia on Friday.
He said, “We got actually a lot of running, and I still didn’t quite get all the sectors right on my fastest lap. So there’s still definitely more to come. Actually, quite tricky conditions today. And that’s why we saw many people making mistakes.”
Sochi is a semi-street circuit which we know takes more time to rubber in, and that means Friday setup can change more than a permeant circuit. It’s looking as if it could be closer given the chances of mistakes, and what we have seen in the last few races.
One of the surprises recently has been Renault, and again in practice, they looked to be in the battle with McLaren. In FP2, Daniel Ricciardo, slotted into third following his soft runs, going almost half a hundredth faster than the McLaren’s.
Ricciardo said he was “hooked up” in the session, he appears to be on a good run after the upgrade in Spa, he says that he felt comfortable in the car around Sochi.
Ricciardo said “It’s probably the first time I’ve ever really been hooked up around here. It felt good. I think the first run this morning was already, I was on it, and stayed on it for the rest of the day. So yeah, really happy with another good Friday.”
They could be in a good position as Max Verstappen believes that Red Bull are not suited to Sochi, which he said led to the team trying various setups, Mercedes were a second ahead as well.
He said, “”We know that this track is not the best for us, but we were also trying out some downforce levels and seeing what is the best option. FP2, yeah, I think we could have done a bit better, but again, we were testing a few things out. Some worked, some didn’t, so it gives us a few ideas for tomorrow.”
Verstappen believes its going to be difficult to beat Renault in qualifying, but the race should be better for them.
Carlos Sainz had a strong come back after crashing out of FP1 to finish fourth in FP2. Speaking after the session, he said “Everything [is] OK, thank God the mechanics did a great job to get the car back together for FP2 – so very happy with that.
“And some apologies for the team, for causing them unnecessary stress in FP1. But the track was particularly dirty there and I think it caught us out there by surprise. In FP2, we could get back to business and complete a good session.”
Sainz knows that McLaren is in a battle with Renault, believing there was more to come when they can iron out the balance issues he felt on track.
Seven new Coronavirus cases.
Formula One has released its weekly Coronavirus update confirming that seven new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the 18 – 25 September. That’s a rise of six cases the highest figure for F1 in a month, one of the confirmed cases was Will Buxton who announced on Thursday he would miss this weekend.