Reporters – 14/10/2018

Features Reporters

Sebastian Vettel’s championship hopes appear all but dead, now. But Flavio Briatore believes that his biggest and most costly errors have been down to his obsession with winning. So what advice would he give the four times champion?

Vettel too focused on race wins – Briatore

Former Benetton and Renault team principal Flavio Briatore believes that Sebastian Vettel’s biggest mistake has been focusing on race wins rather than the championship this season.

The Ferrari driver is now sixty-seven points behind his championship rival Lewis Hamilton, with Vettel’s hopes of a fifth title appearing unlikely. While Vettel mathematically remains in the fight, he would require major failures from Mercedes and wins in nearly all the races to be champion.

Vettel’s own mistakes have cost him points and allowed Mercedes to steal a march on Ferrari, but Briatore thinks the real mistake was not playing the long game. He suggests that incidents like in Germany and Italy – where Vettel determination to win ended up causing crashes – are proof of too much obsession ongoing for the victory each time.

In a podcast interview with former world champion Nico Rosberg, Briatore said “Vettel is not winning the championship, he’s winning races and it doesn’t work like that. If you lose out in three or four opportunities like that, it’s 25 points thrown away every time and it’s becoming very difficult after that mentally.”

“I believe the stress you have as a driver is enormous and if you’re in the position to handle the stress and do the job and not go out [retire from races], you’re winning. Because when you go out, it’s the worst possible scenario – we know that.”

Briatore says Vettel must learn from what he taught Fernando Alonso in 2005-06, in terms of mindset. He also says that Vettel has been trying too hard, and needs to master not going for wins but podiums and scoring points.


Vietnam could become the latest country in south-east Asia to host Formula One. So how does race director Charlie Whiting believe the capital Hanoi is getting on with design work?

Vietnam on course for 2020

FIA race director Charlie Whiting says that plans for a Vietnamese Grand Prix are currently on target for 2020. Although a contract hasn’t been announced, the South East Asian country has been talked about as a venue for a while.

In August, the Vietnamese government said it would support a race on the streets of the capital Hanoi, in line with Formula One’s vision of racing in “destination cities.”

Last week, Whiting visited the proposed street circuit which is twelve kilometres outside the city centre and said he believes the plans laid out by the local organisers are feasible for a race in two years’ time.

He told ESPN “There’s no actual progress on building the track, but the site’s been identified. It’s in the advanced stages of design. I think, as far as I’m aware, they’re aiming for a 2020 Grand Prix, which shouldn’t be a problem based on previous experience.”

Whiting said the track would be a part street circuit, part purpose-built. He says “It’s mainly on the streets, and there’s a section which is not yet built. So, it’s an open site where the pit building’s going to be built.”

“Part of the track will be built there, which doesn’t exist at the moment. But it will become a road, I understand, after that.”


Hired, fired, hired, fired and hired, that’s how you could describe Daniil Kvyat’s career. The Russian has been given another chance with Toro Rosso?

Kvyat a “more mature” driver – Marko

Red Bull say that Daniil Kvyat who was dropped by Red Bull in May 2016 and by Toro Rosso last October, deserves another chance in F1 because he has changed and is “more mature”, according to motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.

The Russian who first joined Toro Rosso in 2014 earned himself a seat with Red Bull in 2015. However, following a disappointing 2017, he was dropped entirely from the Red Bull program this time last year.  Now, Marko believes that after a year with Ferrari, Kvyat is a more mature personality.

The Austrian told Sky Sports, “Daniil changed – he is a far more mature personality. He was working with a different team so he saw the whole atmosphere, working programme, and he also found out how difficult it is to get a Formula 1 seat.”

“We give him a third chance because we always believed he was very fast, but his mental problems, we think he has solved. He is a far more mature driver and I’m sure we will see some very positive races from him.”

Marko says that Kvyat went to Ferrari and believed there was a chance to drive for the team, but realised there wasn’t and that’s when the talks restarted with Red Bull.

Kvyat is also happy to be back in the fold saying that “we are grown up enough to be able to turn the page and have a fresh start. I do feel you always change through your life. This year has been a bit different for me, it’s been a year away from racing but yet it was a very important year.”

Kvyat made his debut in 2014 before being promoted to Red Bull, he outscored his teammate Daniel Ricciardo. His disastrous start to 2016, where he collided with Vettel twice, saw him be demoted in favour of Max Verstappen.

He was finally dropped entirely by Red Bull after last years Japanese Grand Prix.


Amid the controversy around Mercedes use of team orders in Sochi, Lewis Hamilton moved to cool the debate. But why has he admitted that it is he is not comfortable with them?

Schumacher’s seven titles helped by team orders – Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has waded into the controversy around his Mercedes team use of team orders in Sochi, by saying that seven times champion Michael Schumacher was aided by team orders when he was at Ferrari.

Hamilton extended his lead over Sebastian Vettel to fifty points by winning in Sochi, where the Ferrari driver finished third. However, he gained an extra seven points after his Mercedes team instructed his teammate Valtteri Bottas to relinquish the lead to Hamilton.

Mercedes F1 CEO, Toto Wolff said he would rather be the “baddie” now than the “idiot” at the end of the season and talked about the “harsh realities” of fighting for and winning championships.

Speaking to UOL Esporte, the four-time champion admitted he was uncomfortable with the decision and considered handing the position back to Bottas at the end of the race, said he was also able to see the bigger picture.

Saying “I felt very conflicted. It did cross my mind, and that’s what the team wanted, they wanted to come away with 10 points more. That was the ultimate goal, was to have 10 points more rather than just the three or whatever.”

“I felt conflicted because that’s what the team wanted, and I knew that’s what we wanted, but I also knew what felt right. In winning championships, people don’t remember the right and wrongs in a season, they remember who wins.”

Hamilton added that racing. Michael Schumacher may have not claimed seven titles if Ferrari didn’t make smart decisions.

The Englishman only needs two more wins, minimum, to equal Juan Manuel Fangio on five world championships and officially become the second most successful driver in Grand Prix


Its common for Moto GP riders to test F1 cars, but not the other way round. Well, Max Verstappen asked to test for KTM, but Red Bull said no but why?

Verstappen forbidden from Moto GP test

Max Verstappen says that Red Bull has forbid him from trying out a Moto GP bike, on grounds it would be “too dangerous.”  The Dutchman has previously expressed an interest in trying a Moto GP bike.

Speaking to F1 Racing last year, Verstappen said: “I’d like to try MotoGP. When I was eight years old I used to race on two wheels as well as four. I really liked it.”

“It was a bit more dangerous, of course, but absolutely I would like to try it. MotoGP is a different world but I like the feeling of getting close to the ground with your knees in the corners.” Now the Dutchman has said he requested a ride with Red Bull-backed KTM but was turned down.

Speaking at a sponsor event, Verstappen said “I would love to be able to race on two wheels, I’m not allowed to. I bought myself a Harley[-Davidson bike] and I asked the team if I could try a MotoGP bike.”

“Because Red Bull are a sponsor there as well, with KTM and Honda. And we have a track, the Red Bull Ring. But they firmly said no, because it’s too dangerous.”

Its common for Moto GP riders to test F1 cars, but its not common for F1 drivers to test bikes. However, McLaren driver Fernando Alonso did trial the Honda RCV213 MotoGP bike on two occasions, during the annual Honda ‘Thanks Day’ in 2015 and 2016.


And that’s all from this edition of Reporters, goodbye


Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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