Reporters – 18/11/2018

Features Reporters

Vietnam is set to join the calendar in 2020 a race in Hanoi on a street circuit. But what does it offer F1?

Heading to Vietnam in 2020

The Vietnamese capital Hanoi has agreed to a multiyear deal to hold a Grand Prix on the streets of the capital.  The announcement by the sports owners Liberty Media marks there first addition to the calendar since they took over the sport in 2017.

The proposed 5.5km circuit will feature twenty-two corners and will become the sports fourth street race. The circuit designed by  Hermann Tilke, also features long straights, one of which is 1.5km in length and should see cars reach speeds of around 335km/h (208mph).

Speaking to the media, F1 CEO Chase Carey said, “Since we became involved in this sport in 2017, we have talked about developing new destination cities to broaden the appeal of Formula 1. The Vietnamese Grand Prix is a realisation of that ambition.”

The design has taken inspiration from the Nurburgring, Monte Carlo, Suzuka and Sepang. The aim is to make the circuit challenging for drivers and gives the fans something to enjoy.

“It’s a further demonstration of Vietnam’s ability, as one of the fastest growing economies in the world to host events on a global scale and attract tourism to the country,” said the city of Hanoi chairman Nguyen Duc Chung.

The Vietnam Grand Prix is the third race to be established in south-east Asia following Singapore and Malaysia – the latter being scrapped following the 2017 race due to poor ticket sales.

However, there will be questions over the length of the calendar with Miami also pushing for a race, has already been delayed from its intended debut in 2019 and insiders say now probably won’t happen.

A race in Vietnam is part of F1’s bid to expand interest in the sport. It effectively returns an event to south-east Asia that was lost when Malaysia ended its contract last year.

However there will be questions about the future of Britain, Germany and Brazil, none of which have contracts beyond 2019. Silverstone triggered a break clause in 2017, nicknamed Article 50, and Hockenheim are both struggling financially.

 

PowerPoint you would imagine would not be something an F1 driver would use to get a drive, but your not George Russell. After he was announced as an F1 driver for 2019 technical boss Paddy Lowe says it was a good pitch, but what was in it?

Russell’s PowerPoint bid to Williams

Williams’s chief technical officer Paddy Lowe says that George Russell used a PowerPoint in a bid to try to try and gain a seat with the British team.

The Mercedes backed Englishman has been announced as a race driver for 2019, after impressing the team with his championship-leading Formula 2 campaign, Mercedes test outings and simulator work.

His off-track attitude has also made a significant early impression on the likes of Lowe and deputy team principal Claire Williams. Last year, Lowe said that Russell should have been considered to replace Felipe Massa.

He told Autosport, “The thing about George is for a young guy he’s very confident. He takes the initiative to try and shape his future and I think that’s one of the reasons he’s got to where he has.”

“As an example, last year he wanted to be in the running even to drive for 2018. I think it was a bit early. It’s good he’s done the year in F2, I think a year ago would have been too early for George to consider F1.”

“He will be much stronger having done that year in F2, but he came to me a year ago with a PowerPoint presentation with why he was going to be our best driver.” Lowe says that Russell came following a call by Russell, followed by a pitch showing how serious he was.

Russell said he had altered his pitch from last year to give clearer details of his stats on paper. Adding “It wasn’t just about my CV, I was trying to explain more about my character and what I felt I could bring to the team – just bits about myself, stats like first laps, winning and losing positions.”

Williams also benefitted from data Mercedes had given them from the Budapest Test in early August, where Russell set the pace and holds the unofficial lap record.

 

One of the biggest talking point from the Brazilian Grand Prix was the aftermath of the Esteban Ocon collision with race leader Max Verstappen. Both sides blame each other for the incident when Ocon tried to unlap himself. Why does Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, believe Ocon was responsible?

Ocon “totally irresponsible” for the clash – Horner

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, has defended Max Verstappen following his heated altercation with Esteban Ocon, in parc ferme at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Horner believes that Ocon’s actions when trying to unlap himself were “totally irresponsible.” The Frenchman collided with Verstappen, who was leading the race, when he was trying to unlap himself sending the Dutchman into a spin.

There was even more controversy post-race as a hugely-frustrated Verstappen confronted and pushed Ocon. While the stewards said the on-track actions were a racing incident, they have ordered the Dutchman to serve two days of public service for ‘shoving or hitting Ocon forcibly several times in the chest’.

Horner told the media “We don’t condone violence in any way but you have to understand that emotions are running very high. There’s a lot of history between the two drivers that goes right back to karting.”

“You never know what words were exchanged between them or how Max was antagonised, but you have to understand that a backmarker has just taken a grand prix victory away from you.”

Verstappen was clearly angry with the Force India driver before he angrily confronted him at weighbridge after the race.

But Horner believes it “didn’t get out of hand”, and added: “Drivers aren’t robots at the end of the day and nor should they be. One can understand emotions in the heat of the moment.

At the time of the accident, Verstappen had just extended his lead of the race when Ocon running in fourteenth, attempted to pass the Red Bull around the outside of Turn One, before the two cars made contact at Turn Two.

Verstappen span off, and was quickly five seconds behind Hamilton – a deficit he couldn’t quite make up in a damaged car that Horner claims were costing the Dutchman around a second-a-lap.

Backmarkers are allowed to unlap themselves, but unlapping the race leader is rare.

 

In a period where F1 is a divide between history and new races, Lewis Hamilton has questioned the push for new countries. But when F1 pushes to places like Vietnam, India and Korea, historic races in Europe struggle, what does he say?

Hamilton questions push for new countries

Lewis Hamilton has questioned the sport’s push to take Formula One to new countries, saying he would like more races in places with “real racing history”, like the UK.

Earlier this month, the sport announced the addition of Vietnam to the calendar. The first addition to the calendar under the ownership of Liberty Media, which took over the management of F1 in 2017 and has promised to take the sport to “new destination cities”.

While the addition of new races over the last fifteen years has been seen as an evolution, it comes at a time when the sports historic races like Britain, Germany, Italy, France and Belgium have struggled to retain their places on the calendar amid mounting hosting costs.

Speaking to BBC News, Hamilton said “We’ve got a lot of real racing history in England, Germany, Italy and now in the States, it is starting to grow. But you only have one event per year in those places. If it was my business, I’d be trying to do more events in those countries.”

”I’ve been to Vietnam before and it is beautiful. I’ve been to India before to a race which was strange because India was such a poor place yet we had this massive, beautiful grand prix track made in the middle of nowhere.”

He says having, for example, the German Grand Prix in Berlin would be a good thing, rather than countries where they don’t know so much about F1.

The Englishman brilliantly won his fifth world title this season and says a sixth will be top of his ambition list for 2019, along with a few others besides. “Top of the list every year has been winning the world title. There’s never been anything above that,” the Mercedes driver said.

He added he wants to try and learn another language and go into space when he retires as well as finding more time for family. But while that may sound like retirement may be in the near future, Hamilton believes that there are more mountains to climb in F1.

Saying “There will still be difficult times ahead. I don’t know when they will come but I feel better prepared now than I ever have been. I have got to look at this season, which has been the best of my career, and think, ‘How can I improve next year?’”

 

“Is that Glock? Is that Glock?” one of the defining lines in F1 history and in Timo Glock’s career. But a decade on from that race Lewis Hamilton is a five-time champion, and that mistake an Interlagos was just the start. What does it mean for Glock?

Glock repeatedly asked about Interlagos in 2008

He didn’t win or stand on the podium, but the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix for Timo Glock became a defining moment in his career. Interlagos was the place where Lewis Hamilton stole the championship from Felipe Massa by a point.

Over those last three laps, the rain intensified and Glock started to struggle, eventually being caught by both drivers at the final corner, albeit after Massa had crossed the line as race winner and temporarily as world champion. Although it was a strategy call that ultimately gained Toyota two places.

Speaking to ESPN a decade on, the German said “There were a couple of journalists who were very aggressive, especially from the Italian side, pointing fingers at me and saying I had done this on purpose and it must have been planned before the race, ‘how much did Mercedes [McLaren’s engine supplier] and Lewis pay you’.”

Glock says that he never expected to be in that position and that his only in a position to influence the championship because Toyota went a different way to everyone else on strategy.

Anyone wanting to have helped Hamilton win the championship would have stopped for ‘intermediates’ like everyone else and stayed outside of the top five, leaving the Englishman a stress-free drive to the flag regardless of whether Vettel passed him or not.

Glock said since FOM released the full video on social media, the annual “What happened” question has died down. Answering that question, he said “you can see how much I struggled on the last lap.”

He says that the video should have been made available sooner and that “helped people understand there was no tactic behind it and that it was just a battle to keep it on the race track.”

 

That’s all from Reporters this week, goodbye

Jack

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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