REPORTERS – 18/12/2016

Features This Week

With drivers making their debut as young as seventeen how concerned is Jacques Villeneuve about the push to younger drivers?

Pushing at younger age worries Villeneuve

Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve says the trend of pushing teenagers into Formula One is giving the “wrong image” of the sport. In 2015, Max Verstappen made his debut aged seventeen and next year Lance Stroll will make his debut for Williams aged eighteen.

The former world champion believe that teenagers coming into the sport suggests it look too easy now to make their debut in the sport. Villeneuve told “Basically their luggage is not full yet. Normally you would get to F1 with luggage that was half full, and you just have to do the other half.”

“Now they come in and the luggage still has the new tag from the shop, and it hasn’t been opened yet! That’s wrong. It doesn’t matter how talented you are, this is F1, it’s the pinnacle.”  Villeneuve added that there’s something missing.

Speaking about Stroll, he says the Canadian could rise to the challenge. Strol will make his debut for the same team as Villeneuve. “He’s super quick, but we don’t know what he’s made of mentally or psychologically, because F1 is a different beast.”

Villeneuve says the biggest unknown for Stroll, is how he will manage not being in the best car and team where everything is not set up for him to win. Meaning its unknown how he is going to react to that.

However, Villeneuve understands why Stroll has the made the jump so early in his career: “It doesn’t matter, he has the money to come in, so why wait? It’s just the way it is. Why bother wasting a season in GP2 where you risk not winning, or [your image] getting hurt.


The 2010 German Grand Prix will go down in history as one of the most controversial race in modern history. But what impact did have on both Felipe Massa and his race engineer Rob Smedley?

“Fernando is faster than you” turning point for Massa

Rob Smedley says that the famous order he gave Felipe Massa at the 2010 German Grand Prix, was a “turning point” in Massa’s career.

Smedley who followed Massa to Williams when he left Ferrari, told Massa in that race “Fernando is faster than you”, to ask him to let the Spaniard through breaking the rules. Massa went on to allow Fernando Alonso past, which was a team order which broke the rules of the  sport.

Smedley says that the Brazilian was hurt by the decision. In an interview with, Smedley revealed that  Massa had a tough time at Ferrari after that, having seen where the Italian team’s focus was.

“I think he found it difficult from that on. Difficult because it was kind of a turning point, and understanding where the team’s focus was. You know, rightly or wrongly… I’m not saying that the team’s focus on Fernando was correct or incorrect. I’m not going to comment on that.”

Smedley said it was difficult for Massa to come back from that and said hisd reluctant order caused him trouble with Ferrari. He thinks that it could have been handled differently because they looked equal in terms of race pace.

He added “We had an agreed strategy going into the race. We knew how it was going to play out. And, yeah, it did not quite play out like that… And I think he just found it very confusing in the race. You know he is in that situation, he is racing, he is leading the race.”

He added that he couldn’t understand why the call was made and found the change in approach difficult to accept. But in the end says it was problably the right thing to do.

“When the rules are on the table and the rules are clear, it’s fine, you know… But if the rules change midway through the game and you don’t know that the rules have changed and another group of people do know that the rules changed, I think people find that difficult to deal with.”


He was demoted from Red Bull in May. But how tough was it on Daniil Kvyat and how did it affect his season?

Kvyat year was “survival” mode

Daniil Kvyat says that his 2016 season was about “survival” following his demotion from Red Bull to Toro Rosso in May. The Russian started the season with Red Bull but was demoted to make way for Max Verstappen who went onto win in Barcelona.

Kvyat had a dip in form struggling following his return to Toro Rosso, but he was chosen to remain with the team because their preference to have driver continuity entering 2017’s major technical changes.

Kvyat told Autosport “This season I will remember for a long time, even if I don’t want to remember it. It was a survival season, which is not a nice feeling for a driver at all. It felt very long.”

“I do love my sport so if the season feels endless it must be a really tough season.” Kvyat says it was a confusing time when he re-joined Toro Rosso which affected him getting up to speed. He added he needed to drop performance so he could understand what was going on.

The 22-year-old said he felt alone but took heart from the support he received from those around him. “Time cures everything but you have to come through the part where you try to push too much. You then have to calm yourself down because you’re angry with everything, the whole world.” He added


Honda had a much better season this year. But were they under optimistic about their targets in 2016?

Honda didn’t set optimistic targets

Honda motorsport boss Yusuke Hasegawa says the Japanese manufacturer didn’t set optimistic targets for themselves and McLaren going into last season. Honda did make a step forward last season after a difficult 2015, with McLaren finishing in sixth.

But it is still off where McLaren would normally be in the championship, it appeared during the season the issues they had were fixed. McLaren have finished the season in sixth and haven’t taken victory since 2012, which Hasegawa puts down to a pessimistic outlook over the winter.

Hasegawa told F1i. “Of course we set a target. But honestly speaking, the target we set wasn’t big enough or good enough. So we weren’t optimistic enough with our target. I think the other teams were doing a very good job.”

When asked if the improvements he wanted to make going into 2016 had been made he said “From a reliability point of view, yes. But it wasn’t true, actually. I thought in Barcelona that if we can complete the races then we would have a lot of chances to get points. But it wasn’t the case, actually. So that is why it is obvious that we need to find more performance.”

Under the new 2017 regulations, the engine token system which has restricted the likes of Honda and Renault from rebounding from a slow start to the V6 turbo era is being scrapped.


That’s all from this edition of Reporters, Next week we will have part one of our Christmas review


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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