Category Archives: F1 News

Sergio Perez: “I wouldn’t discount a podium…”

Sergio Perez is targeting a podium finish at Spa for Force India after landing fourth spot on the grid.

The Mexican qualified fifth, but he moves up a place as Romain Grosjean has a gearbox penalty.

“It was a great lap, putting everything together, and ending up so close to the Williams ahead,” he said. “I think we’ve done an extremely good job. From yesterday to today we did some set-up changes that definitely helped our balance.

“I think we have definitely come into a nice rhythm and I look forward for me to be here more often, because right now I think I’m dialling into the new car, and I see no reason why I can’t do this weekend after weekend.”

Regarding his hopes for the race he said: “I wouldn’t discount a podium for tomorrow, because I’m so confident with the car I can do a strong performance tomorrow. I think this is the most confident I’ve felt throughout the whole year with the car. I can really throw it everywhere and be right on the edge with it.

“Everything is possible for tomorrow. We have big hopes for tomorrow, starting P4, and we’ve got everything ahead of us.”

Perez is confident that the team can repeat the Spa form elsewhere.

“I think we have everything to look forward to. Obviously this circuit is a bit different to the rest, but I see no reason why we cannot be competitive everywhere we go.”

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Pirelli officially confirms that external source damaged Rosberg tyre

Pirelli has now issued a formal statement confirming the company’s belief that an external cut caused Nico Rosberg’s tyre failure in FP2.

Pirelli examined other tyres used on Friday, and also inspected the track in search for a possible cause of a cut. Its conclusions are as follows:

“There are no signs of structural integrity issue of the tyre, neither on other tyres used by Mercedes nor on tyres used on other vehicles.

“Video footage shows a tyre problem on Rosberg’s car which is consistent with an external cut into the tyre structure.

“Quality data check on other tyres has shown no anomalies.”

Meanwhile Paul Hembery added: “We have conducted a thorough investigation to find out exactly what happened with Nico’s tyre. This investigation now excludes any structural integrity issues. Based on the information and data available an external source of damage is the conclusion made.”

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Phil Kerr 1934-2015

Phil Kerr, a key player in the early days of both the Brabham and McLaren F1 teams, has passed away in his native New Zealand.

Kerr first met Bruce McLaren at a hillclimb when he was 17 and the future F1 star was 15, and they were both runnng Ausin Seven Specials. Later Kerr studied business and accountancy, and initially worked for the New Zealand Forest Service before moving into engineering.

He combined his own racing activities with working behind the scenes of the sport, joining the board of the New Zealand International Grand Prix Association at an early age. He was also secretary of the Auckland Car Club. As a driver he was good enough to be shortlisted for the ‘Driver to Europe’ award – which was eventually won by his friend McLaren.

It was in 1959 that McLaren recommended Kerr to his Cooper team mate Jack Brabham, who was starting his own organisation. Kerr duly travelled to the UK and helped to set up and run Jack’s Chessington facility. Later he was instrumental in getting a young Denny Hulme into Brabham, and he played a key role in the successful 1966 and 1967 World Championship campaigns.

Kerr felt that he’d achieved all he could at Brabham, and looking for a new challenge he joined Hulme in a move to McLaren in 1968. He became joint managing director, and along with Teddy Mayer he helped to keep the team going after Bruce’s death in 1970. He left the team after running Mike Hailwood’s Yardley-backed car as a satellite operation in 1974.

He subsequently returned to New Zealand to develop his business interests, using the McLaren Group name.

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New contract won’t change my approach, says Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen says that this week’s confirmation that he will stay at Ferrari won’t change his approach.

In recent months the Finn has had to deal with endless speculation about his future in the Maranello team, while the management made it clear that he had to keep getting the job done.

It doesn’t change anything,” he said today. “I mean we still try to do the same as every other race. So, that contract thing, it’s not going to change our approach for the weekend or the end result. Hopefully the end result will be good but no, we will do the same things as in all the other races. So, hopefully we can have a good weekend, no problems and see where we end up.”

Regarding his longer-term aims he said: “Well, obviously it is the same as every year – we want to do as well as we can and hopefully challenge for championships for next year and I’m sure we can produce even a quite bit better car than this year next year. Obviously the team is all working well together and we all feel very good and obviously I’m happy to stay there but we have to try to do a good second part of the year and maximise what we have and then prepare for next year.”

He added: “Obviously we want more wins, me and the team, but I’ve had good years, difficult years, some up and downs but I always enjoy it, always enjoy it more when things are going more nicely when you get results but as a team, I’ve had a great time there and I’m very pleased that we can be working together next year again.

As a team, as they are now, I really feel that we are going in the right direction and we can do great things in the future. People are more happy, we are more happy when we can do better results. Obviously you write less negative things after that. We keep working and believe in what we’re doing so I’m sure we will get there and we will have many happy days in front of us, and a lot of good results.”

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Teams ask Ecclestone to create room for 2016 summer shutdown

F1 teams have asked Bernie Ecclestone to adjust the 2016 provisional calendar in order to restore a longer summer break and incorporate a factory shutdown.

In recent years the calendar has left a gap of three free weekends between the Hungarian and Belgian GPs. Built into that is a two-week complete factory shutdown, and the teams are free to choose when they take it within that time frame.

The shutdown, during which teams even have to switch off their computer servers, is intended mainly to allow both race and factory staff to have a summer holiday. However, it also allows teams to conduct annual maintanance and work at their facilties, including wind tunnels.

However in the 2016 calendar approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council the break has been shrunk from three to two weekends. Adjusting it is complicated given that there are back-to-back races on either side of the break, with Germany/Hungary before it, and Belgium/Italy to follow. Some sources suggest that the Hockenheim race could yet drop out, which would allow Hungary to move – although given that advanced ticket sales for the German race start on Friday the race may be more secure than people think.

Team managers raised the issue of the shorter break with the FIA’s Charlie Whiting last weekend, and indicated that they don’t want to discuss ways of squeezing a factory shutdown into the shorter gap until the possibility of changing the calendar had been explored.

Later some team principals lobbied Bernie Ecclestone on the subject, making it clear to him that they now regard the shutdown as essential.

“I think the break is something that is important,” RBR boss Christian Horner told this writer. “F1 is such a demanding schedule for all people involved, not just technicians and people in the factory, but all the support staff, FOM, the media, and so on. It’s important to have that moment to catch your breath. So it’s something that has been raised with Bernie, and as we see sometimes the calendar does move around a bit before October.

“It’s nothing new in that the calendar does sometimes change a little, but obviously there’s a lot of races crammed into a shorter period. There’s usually a bit of fine tuning that goes on, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it did get tweaked a little bit.”

McLaren’s Eric Boullier agreed that the calendar could change: “We need to have a summer shutdown for the travelling people. We are discussing when we can do it and how long it will be. There are always some little tweaks to the calendar, so we should wait until later in the year.”

“From a Williams perspective the factory shutdown is important,” said Claire Williams. “The calendar is long and it’s arduous, and people put their blood, sweat and tears into going racing, and they sacrifice a lot to do that. Those two weeks, regardless of anything else, allows them time with their families, to have a bit of a normal life and a normal existence.

“To not have that is a concern. If I had I would have that conversation with Bernie I would put our arguments forward as to why it is important.”

Meanwhile Ecclestone himself says that that he does not anticipate any changes.

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Christian Horner: “I think we are going to live in the moment…”

Hungary saw a huge turnaround in fortunes for Red Bull Racing as Dany Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo finished second and third, but team boss Christian Horner is under no illusions as the track disguised the lack of performance from the Renault engine.

We knew that this track would play to some of our strengths,” said Christian Horner. “And it is great that we managed to capitalise on that with a double podium, with Dany Kvyat’s first podium, Daniel Ricciardo’s first podium of the year. it was great team performance and I think that this type of circuit with lack of dependency on straightline speed has played to our strengths.”

Ricciardo could have been in with a shout of victory had he not made contact with Nico Rosberg with seven laps to go, and required a new wing. Unlike the Mercedes driver and leader Sebastian Vettel, he was on the softer tyre.

It felt a little bit like deja vu from last year, we strategically made the call at the first stop to put the hard tyre on, we felt our only possibilities would be in the later part of the race if there were a safety car and sure enough we had that set of tyres left, the safety car came out and it teed it up beautifully.

The surprising thing for us was that Rosberg went on to the hard tyre and Lewis had to take the hard tyre and Kimi had an issue, so Daniel made his way past Kimi fairly easily and managed to find his way past Lewis.

There was quite a big contact, which damaged the car quite significantly, But despite that he was able to close in on the leading pair and he was always going to have a go, and obviously got a run up the inside, got in a bit too deep and Nico came across his bows on the exit, and it looked like a racing incident. It is a shame without that, if he had managed to get pass Nico it would have set up an interesting finish with Seb.”

Horner says he’s not yet worrying about the upcoming power circuits.

I think we are going to live in the moment for now, and think about Spa after the break – particularly Monza. They are going to be much more challenging than here. Singapore is probably our next opportunity to shine. We will keep pushing, keep developing the car, you never know it could be wet in Spa and you have to be in a position when those days where it doesn’t quite go right for others.

The aero boys have made some improvements around the front of the car, mechanically there has been a bit of an improvement as well, the penalty of the regulation changes over the winter did hurt us with the front end of the car but we have now recovered that. I think the last two or three races have been positive on the chassis side.”

Meanwhile Horner said the race was good for the sport: “F1 put on a great show today. There are talk of changes to the circuit, but don’t! It produces good races here, I think F1 races like that, when you get a variable factor and slightly different tyre strategies it bought the race alive today.”

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Daniel Ricciardo: “It was a crazy race…”

Daniel Ricciardo survived contact with thee other drivers to take third place in Hungary, despite one of the incidents forcing him to pit for a new nose.

Ricciardo touched Valterri Bottas on the third lap, and was later involved with incidents with both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg while fighting for position.

Red Bull had looked competitive all weekend at a track where ultimate power is less important.

“It was a crazy race,” said Ricciardo. “Already from the start, the first corner there was pretty big contact with, I think, Bottas, and the front of the car jumped and I thought we’d damaged something. It was quite a big hit.

“But then we seemed to still have relatively good pace. I saw Dany in front was struggling, so then the team decided to, let’s say, let me go through. I was saying I was faster and knew we could do better pace. So then we got quickly past the Force India and then quickly back past Bottas with some good moves. Then the pace was pretty good. At the restart we had the Option, that was an advantage. That was pretty much an advantage from yesterday by only using the Prime in Q1 so were able to take advantage of that today I guess.”

Ricciardo was then hit by Hamilton: “Then the restart, I just tried to go around the outside of Lewis. You don’t see much in the cars. Obviously your peripheral vision’s pretty limited but I just felt him come in, so I just assumed he’d locked the front wheel and slid up into me, so we had more damage after that. I saw the right sidepod flapping around. Nonetheless, we’re in third.

“I saw the pace was good, we were catching Seb and Nico and I was close – but not close enough – to Nico and obviously they’re not so slow on the straights. The laps were ticking down, I had to try something and I got a pretty good run out of the last corner and yeah, just said ‘I’m going for it this lap, no matter what,’ and I went for it.”

The pair made contact on the exit of Turn One after Ricciardo had tried to pass.

“To be honest, the move, it was, for sure, late but it was clean. Up until the apex it was fine. Obviously Nico saw me and left me room on the entry and then, just the exit, from what I recall he just came back across and just basically didn’t give me enough room. I don’t know if he thought he’d cleared me yet – but we made contact and that was when he earned a puncture and I got the front wing damage.”

Like other drivers, Ricciardo said he’d had Jules Bianchi on his mind this week.

“As all the drivers have said, this race was for Jules. I left everything on the track. Whether some competitors like it or not, that’s how I wanted to do it and that’s how I’ll always do it. And watching Jules grow up, that was how he did it. He had amazing race craft and made some pretty impressive lunges. I drove inspired today and I’m happy to be standing up here. It’s been an emotional week.”

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