REPORTERS – 24/09/2017

Features Reporters

After weeks of speculation in Singapore it was confirmed that McLaren were splitting with Honda, but how will the divorce between the two shape the wider engine market for the next decade?

McLaren switches to Renault power for 2018, as they spilt with Honda

McLaren has announced they will be splitting with engine supplier Honda at the end of the season. The news has been rumoured for weeks with the British team switching to Renault power.

The news sees the end of one of the most famous partnerships in the history of formula one. When McLaren renewed the partnership with Honda in 2015 they had hoped of regaining the glory the had in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

However that partnership has not seen a podium for the team and has been dogged by reliability and poor performance. This season the marriage between the two has been increasingly strained as there has been no sign of progress.

The deal with Renault powered Toro Rosso after Red Bull’s junior outfit surrendered their supply of Renault power units to join up with Honda. While the headline is about the engine deal, it will have wider impact on the sport and the driver market

McLaren have an avenue back to respectability and will effectively now assume a holding position for three seasons ahead of the sport’s engine revamp for 2021 when McLaren themselves may seek to make their own engines or arrange a deal with Porsche.

For Toro Rosso it means they can grow into a fully-fledged team and break ties with sister team Red Bull.

Red Bull are also frustrated with their engine supplier Renault, however they will not want the underperforming Honda engine.

This is a huge gamble as well for McLaren, as its set to lose £75m and will be now paying Renault for engines.


Full version here. The idea of a budget cap has come and gone over the years but now since Liberty’s takeover of the sport in January, the idea has been back on the agenda with. So why has Otmar Szafnauer given it his backing?

Budget cap entirely possible – Szafnauer

Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer says a budget cap of £113 million is entirely possible in Formula One and could be successfully policed by the FIA.

Both the FIA and Liberty Media are looking at ways of reducing the amount it costs to compete in the sport and a budget cap has been suggested but was blocked by the teams. However, a self-imposed resource restriction agreement ultimately failed.

Budgets between the teams vary hugely, from Force India who spends roughly £91 million a year to Ferrari who spends £227 million pounds a year.

Szafnauer says that in order to introduce a budget cap it would need time as bigger teams would need to reduce the operations in line with the cap. He told ESPN “Say the cost cap comes in a couple of years and there are people spending $250 million and have 1,000 employees and then suddenly you say next year 100 million less.”

“You might have to get rid of 300-500 employees and that’s a difficult thing to do. We’ve got to be pragmatic. I personally think that if we say $150 million, that’s a lot of money to go racing.” He says that half of us do that already.

The reason why the manufacturers don’t want a budget cap is that they would move development to a different area of the company that is not regulated by the FIA. But Szafnauer believes F1 has the potential to self-regulate a budget cap by relying on whistle-blowers


Valentino Rossi is one of the dominating names of Moto GP, in his late thirties he continues to fight at the front of the sport. So why is Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo using him as inspiration?

Ricciardo looks to Rossi for inspiration

The enduring ability of the seven times Moto GP champion Valentino Rossi to hold his racing ability against others is an inspiration to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

The Australian is holding off against the pressure of his much younger team-mate Max Verstappen and says that coping with that pressure has been a significant learning experience.

Rossi is now in his late thirties but has managed to adapt the way he rides his bike to respond to the challenges posed by youngsters. Ricciardo told Autosport “I’ve never really had it before, I’ve never had a much younger kid. Before that I was always the younger one, or the same in terms of age and hype”

“So it was probably a little bit like [Seb] Vettel’s position with me when I came into Red Bull. I think Max had more hype behind him than I did! I think Max had more hype behind him than I did!”

“It is what Valentino Rossi has been dealing with for the last 10 years, I guess.” Ricciardo says that the young talent coming into the sport are getting better and better, and its important to “learn from your bad days as well” and avoid being “stubborn”.


Cyber crime and ransomware are a growing threat for businesses around the world. One leading expert has claimed the sport has been luck to avoid an attack but why?

Lucky to avoid cyber attack

A leading expert in cyber security claims that Formula One has been “lucky” to have avoided a serious ransomware attack. Ransomware is software that cripples computers and demands payment to remove the software.

The industry is worth £4.5 billion to cybercriminals and sophisticated groups are offering off-the-shelf programmes, in exchange for a cut of the profits, for anyone wanting to launch an attack. Last year a major attack crippled businesses in Europe as well as the NHS in England.

Last year, Toro Rosso teamed up with Acronis who have helped the team make improvements in several areas including data back-up and safe file distribution.

Acronis president John Zanni believes F1 needs to be doing more to protect itself. He told Autosport “It hasn’t been happening much and teams like Toro Rosso are pretty secure – because they are serious about how they manage and secure their IT.”

“But F1 has been lucky up to now. I hope it will stay lucky and will become even more secure in the future. F1 is a massively popular sport. That is exactly what is usually a target – something that gets you a lot of press.” Zanni says that he has concerns that Formula One doesn’t view cyber crime seriously.

Adding “I’ve asked a few people in F1 about it and they have said, ‘Why would anyone attack us? We just want to make sure our competitors don’t see our data’.”

Zanni fears that ransomware attacks will increase in frequency in the future, because the top-of-the-range software is a high quality and is becoming available to more people.


He may have won all three Grand Prix’s which has allowed him to take a twenty eight point lead in the championship, Lewis Hamilton says now despite his lead over Sebastian Vettel for the first time this season he will not change his approach but why?

No change in Hamilton’s approach

Lewis Hamilton says he will stay with the same approach he has used to give him his current twenty eight-point lead in the championship for the six remaining Grand Prix’s of the season.

The Mercedes drivers three wins following the summer break has seen him turn a deficit of fourteen into a lead of more than one race win. The next five Grand Prix’s are set to decide the championship, with the remaining races expected to favour Mercedes.

However, the three times champion is insisting that he “definitely won’t change anything “because it’s working.”

He told Sky Sports “It’s a perfect balance of being aggressive and cautious at the same time. So, the formula works at the moment, so I’ll just continue with it. Right to the last race.”

Despite the lead, Hamilton will be aware of the fact in the next five races there are a hundred and fifty points up for grabs, with a hundred points next month alone. The Englishman is yet to suffer a retirement this season.

His Mercedes has been reliable this season with him finishing every Grand Prix this season. However, at last years race at Sepang, his title hopes ended when his engine blew in the closing stages

He says “Coming from last year, for example, where there were lots of mistakes, this is a year I try to make sure that, if I’m going to grow anywhere, in any space, that’s going to be it. And focus on not making any mistakes seems to be working.”

Speaking about next weekend’s race in Malaysia, Hamilton says he expects the Mercedes to suit the circuit while still expecting the battle with Ferrari.

Saying “We have Malaysia, I think we should be OK. Then we have Japan, high downforce circuit; could be close, Red Bulls are very, very strong at that circuit.”


That’s all from this edition of Reporters


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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