Category Archives: Grand Prix News

“Je regrette” says Streiff as he apologises to Todt

Philippe Streiff did not waste time in apologising

Philippe Streiff did not waste time in apologising


Philippe Steiff has acted quickly to fend off legal action from the FIA, Jean Todt and Gerard Saillant by apologising for comments he made about them in a web TV interview.

The former F1 driver had in essence questioned both the findings and composition of the FIA Accident Panel that investigated the Jules Bianchi accident.

After legal action was promised by the FIA yesterday he used Facebook to make an apology.

He said: “I let myself get carried away in front of the camera; the interview took a long time – too long – and I am aware that I made insulting and defamatory comments about Jean Todt, Gérard Saillant and the FIA, which I sincerely regret.

“I refute and take back these accusations, which are unfounded, and ask the press to remove them from their media.

“Lastly, I ask Jean Todt and Gérard Saillant, who are well aware of my health problems, to excuse me. I regret having said things about them that are totally out of line with the consideration that they both deserve.”

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Ferrari boss wants F1 cars to sound like “heavy metal band”

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has backed Niki Lauda’s call for a more exciting F1 regulations to be introduced in 2017.

Arrivabene, whose background is in marketing, stressed that it is important for the sport to entertain the public.

“I’ve read what our friend Niki has to say. He’s top of the class, whereas I’m sitting about four desks further back,” he told the Ferrari website. “I share Niki’s view that Formula 1 needs to be more spectacular and I believe that the risk he evokes of the sport losing fans is something that has unfortunately already happened.

“By 2017, I too would like to see cars that win over the fans, with cars that they can get closer to and that are aesthetically more appealing, maybe even producing a noise that gets your hair standing on end, like that produced by a heavy metal band. That was what it was like back in the day when Niki was racing and I was an enthusiastic fan, clutching my general admission ticket.”

Arrivabene says that major changes are required: “I don’t think a simple evolution is enough in this case. Instead, a real revolution is called for, with significant and radical changes. By that I mean more power, higher speeds, not necessarily involving the use of more fuel, but definitely applying a cost reduction to those components that are of little interest to the general public.

“Being closer to the people actually involves taking F1 to the people, possibly holding the Thursday driver press conferences and team presentations of a Grand Prix weekend, outside the circuit in a public area. That way, the cities that host the races could provide the arena for a presentation of the drivers and cars, in a properly managed event.

“I have long felt that the real competition to F1 today, in the sense of it being a show, comes from a variety of forms of entertainment, not least from the internet, including racing video games. It is up to us to provide something better and to download a new format for Formula 1 as soon as possible. How likely are we to do it? I know it wouldn’t be the usual way of going about things, but a global survey on the internet and via the TV companies would give us a real idea of what people want. In fact, even in this area of sport as entertainment, we should follow the trend of demand driving what’s on offer.”

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Todt and Saillant launch legal action against Philippe Streiff

The FIA has announced that together withs its president Jean Todt and medical commission boss Gerard Saillant it will take legal action for defamation against former F1 driver Philippe Streiff.

Streiff had made some comments in the media about the report of the FIA Panel which investigated the Jules Bianchi accident in Suzuka, and the circumstances leading up to it.

An FIA statement said: “The FIA, its President Jean Todt, as well as Gérard Saillant, President of the FIA Medical Commission, are dismayed to learn of the remarks made about them by Philippe Streiff in his recent comments on the state of Jules Bianchi’s health.

“These remarks having been published by certain media, the FIA, Jean Todt and Gérard Saillant categorically state that Philippe Streiff’s insulting and defamatory comments are utterly unfounded and demonstrate malicious intent.

“In view of the seriousness of this deliberate attack on their reputations, they have had to ask their lawyers to lodge a complaint for public defamation and insult so that the circulation of Philippe Streiff’s statements is stopped immediately and sanctioned in an appropriate manner.

“They find it regrettable that this incident only serves to add to the suffering of Jules Bianchi’s family, for whom they would like to reiterate their support.”

Streiff, drove in 52 Grands Prix between 1984 and 1988 for Renault, Ligier, Tyrrell and AGS, finishing as high as third in Australia in 1985. He was seriously injured in an F1 testing accident in Rio in 1989, and has been in a wheelchair ever since.

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German GP might not run in 2015, says Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that there might not be a German GP this year as he has yet to conclude a deal with either Hockenheim or Nurburgring.

The latter was in theory due to host the race this year, while the former has a contract for 2016.

Asked by Sky Sports News if Hockenheim was now on the calendar he said, “Not really,” and having conceded that there might not be a race in Germany at all he joked: “But we’ve got one, it’s called Austria.”

“We would do everything to stop them fading away, but in the end the only reason the race won’t happen is because they can’t afford to run the race.”

Asked why the event struggles he said: “Honestly I don’t know, it surprises me. Maybe it’s a little bit that the German people were very used to and supported Michael and miss Michael when he wasn’t racing any longer.”

However, he did admit that he was talking to the Nurburgring owners today, and it remains to be seen how much of a negotiating ploy his comments to the media are.

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Force India adds silver to new livery

Force India has added silver to its livery

Force India has added silver to its livery

Force India unveiled its new 2015 livery in Mexico City today, albeit on an old car – as the VJM08 is not scheduled to be seen until the second test at Barcelona in February.

The livery is similar to last year with the notable exception of a change from white to silver, perhaps reflecting the team’s improved position in the Mercedes pecking order now that McLaren has moved on.

New sponsors on the car include Quaker State oil – replacing Roshfrans – and NEC, which is usually associated with Sauber.

Regarding the new design team boss Vijya Mallya said: “It’s another evolution of the contemporary look we introduced last year, which reflects the growth of the team and the global brands with which we are working. I love the addition of silver, which makes the car appear more sleek and aggressive and I’m sure it’s something that will appeal to the fans as well. Our traditional team colours remain integrated in the livery, but we’ve given it a very modern twist.”

Mallya stressed that the team’s move to the 60% Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne was the key to this year’s form.

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Pat Symonds on the Williams FW37

The Williams FW37 is our first sighting of a 2015 F1 design

The Williams FW37 is our first sighting of a 2015 F1 design

Williams has become the first team to release images of its 2015 F1 car, namely the FW37.

“The notion for the FW37 was to look closely at the FW36 and its performances,’” said the team’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds. “We then went about recognising what had worked well and identifying and resolving the areas that we felt needed to be improved. Although the aerodynamics of the car were impressive there is always room for improvement particularly as we handle the new 2015 nose regulations.

“The first conceptual stage of the FW37 came before the FW36 had turned a wheel. The main element to this is understanding the rule changes and how they will affect the design of the car, from here we can start see if our ideas will fit within the regulations.

“The change in regulations offered us a slight headache. The new front bulkhead and nose geometry had much more of an impact than we had initially anticipated and the effect on the aero was profound. The team have worked hard on pulling back the deficit these regulations have made for us.”

Symonds says work on FW37 was not compromised by a development push with last year’s car.

“The desire to beat Ferrari to third place in the Constructors’ in 2014 meant we pushed our development through to late autumn, but the size of the team is now at a point where it was able to sustain this development whilst still working on the FW37.

“We felt we came up against design barriers in the FW36 and so took the opportunity to remove those barriers for the benefit of the performance. The FW36 carried a reasonable amount of ballast, so we were able to make alterations to the design for added performance without the fear of adding excessive mass.”

Summing up the season to come he added: “The more rule stability there is, the closer the field gets. I hope as a team we are more capable of maintaining the forward momentum to catch Mercedes, than the teams behind us are of catching us. It’s not just about stable regulations but also about the team and every individual that works here moving forward and improving.”

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Williams turnaround an inspiration for Lotus

One of the most intriguing aspects of 2015 is the switch by Lotus from Renault to Mercedes power, a move that gives the team that won a race as recently as 2013 a much stronger power unit than it had at its disposal last year.

Trackside operations director Alan Permane is adamant that the team has learned from its disappointing season, and will make a step forward.

“It was hard work but for very little reward, unfortunately,” he told this writer. “We will learn from it and move on. We’ve got a very nice looking package for 2015, so hopefully we’ll do a better job.

“I think after a year of experience we know what you need from these power units and how to operate them. Of course it will be subtly different with the Mercedes, but we’ll be in a better position than we were a year ago.”

Permane draws some inspiration from the way Williams turned things around when it moved to Mercedes: “We hope to do that, quite honestly. Let’s not pretend it’s just engine with them, they did a very nice chassis as well, and we need to do the same.”

The key difference is that Williams brought in some new technical personnel over the past couple of years, that has not been the case at Lotus. However Permane says that is not a concern.

“It’s also good to have continuity. People will tell you what you want to hear. We had a fantastic season in 2013, we did a great car, and you’d say to build on that you’d want to keep the same people and keep going.

“Williams had many years in the doldrums and changes things for the better of course, and did a great job. You look at Red Bull they had the same team for all those championship years. I don’t think changing stuff around for the sake of it is what you want to do.”

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