Category Archives: F1 News

Barcelona clash now history, Mercedes insists

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg insist that they have put their controversial Barcelona clash behind them.

Both Mercedes drivers and their boss Toto Wolff say that the matter is closed, and their focus is now on Monaco.

Barcelona was the worst feeling but, like I always say, the true test is how you get back up when you’ve been knocked down,” said Hamilton. “It was a tough moment for all of us after the race, but it’s now chapter closed and looking ahead to Monaco.”

I was gutted after what happened in Spain,” said Rosberg. “For myself, but mostly for the team. We’re in this together and I know how hard everybody works to make these amazing cars, so for us to leave them both in the gravel is the worst possible scenario. But we’ve talked it through and now it’s time to leave it in the past.”

Clearly, Barcelona was tough to take,” said Wolff. “We came away upset at an opportunity missed, but this is racing. The drivers know how we operate. The team is responsible for giving them the best possible cars and they are responsible for getting the best out of them, and for bringing them home. When we let them down, we apologise to the, and the same goes the other way. It’s a pretty normal culture – we deal with setbacks together and we move on.”

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Lewis Hamilton: “My mechanics are incredible…”

Lewis Hamilton has moved to reassure his fans that he still has faith in the Mercedes team and his mechanics, despite a troubled start to the 2016 season.

Hamilton used Facebook to put his thoughts across, saying that he trusted his guys “1000%.

His full message is as follows: “I want you to know how grateful I am for all of your support. I’d like to ask that you please trust in my team, as I do. This is my family. These guys have been the greatest, hardest working people for me, and that is why I am now 3x World Champion. Please don’t put any more thought into my team doing anything unjust towards me, and understand that it would be in no one’s best interest for that to be the case.

We’ve had the best 3 years together, and whilst it’s not going to plan right now, all will unfold in its own time. I trust these guys 1000% and my mechanics are incredible, the best in the business. I respect them so please do the same. They are the guys that are going to make winning this championship possible. Thank you once again.”

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Vettel to take gearbox grid penalty in Sochi

Sebastian Vettel’s chances of taking on Mercedes in Sochi have been dealt a blow after he has been forced to take a new gearbox and thus a five-place grid penalty.

Ferrari thought that there might be problems after the collision with Kimi Raikkonen in China, and ran the gearbox today to check it out. The data confirmed that a change was necessary for Saturday.

Meanwhile Vettel was forced to pull off and park on the pit straight in FP2 today after he was hit by an electrical issue that prevented him from running for the balance of the session while the crew worked on the car.

“It looks like we had an electronic problem,” said Vettel after the session. “It’s a bit of a shame because we’re lacking a couple of laps, especially in the long runs and race trim, to see how competitive we are. I think that Kimi did homework for the team, so not too bad. Also I think here we know roughly what to expect. I think we can still learn a lot from what other people did.”

Regarding the Italian team’s prospects for the weekend he said: “Difficult to say. The balance isn’t yet where I wanted it to be, but I think we can improve. Naturally I think the circuit should come our way. It was quite slippery this morning, I spun the first two laps. I didn’t spin this afternoon, that’s already a massive improvement!

“I felt happier as the day continued. Obviously we did some stuff for qualifying. For the race we’re lacking a bit information, but it shouldn’t be too bad. So let’s see tomorrow morning, we still have another practice session.”

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Nico Rosberg: “My opposition had a really messy start…”

Nico Rosberg says he’s just being realistic when he talks up the prospect of a Ferrari resurgence in 2016.

The German has said on several occasions recently that we have yet to see the Maranello team’s full potential after it endured a difficult start to the season.

I’m not really sounding any notes of caution,” said Rosberg. “I’m just realistic, and Ferrari, among others, just haven’t shown what they can do yet. They’ve taken each other out in the last race, for example, in the first corner and from then it was just messy, an an example. A lot of things have been going wrong and for sure they are a lot quicker than they have shown and we think they are very, very close to us.”

Rosberg played down the significance of his run of victories: “For me, it’s not six in a row because the three last year were last year and they don’t count for anything in this year’s championship, so for me it’s winning the first three, which I’m really happy about. Yes, I’ve been driving really well but my opposition had a really messy start. That’s the reality of it.

I definitely expect them all to bounce back, especially Lewis, and it’s going to be a great battle against them as always. And it will be tough, even if I have some points lead now, but it’s still such a long season. Three races is a seventh or something of the whole thing. There’s like 450 points to take still, and now I have 30-something in front, or whatever. There’s still a massively long way to go, so it’s not really changing the situation much.”

Meanwhile he denied that fighting for the championship was proving tough mentally.

I generally see it as a very pleasurable experience! Because it’s just an awesome feeling to come to a race track, to know that I have the car to be able to be on pole and win the race. I just look forward to it. So I’m here in Sochi and I can’t wait to get going and see where we are compared to our direct rivals and try to make it happen.”

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Booth joins Toro Rosso management team

Former Manor F1 team principal John Booth, who left the outfit he founded at the end of last season, has taken up a new role with Scuderia Toro Rosso.

The Englishman will work on a consultancy basis as director of racing while continuing to oversee his newly formed Manor LMP2 team.

“It is a great honour to join such a well-established and competitive team as Scuderia Toro Rosso” said Booth. “It is a team that has achieved so much in a relatively short space of time. I am looking forward to getting started and working with Franz and the team this weekend in Sochi.”

“I have known John for many years and I am delighted to welcome him to the team,” said STR’s Franz Tost. “Formula 1 is becoming ever more complex, with recent changes on the tyre front, car set-up, radio communications and so forth.

“Therefore, having a competitive car and talented drivers, both of which we have, on its own is not enough. With his vast experience I am sure John will help the team raise its game and become a more effective force over a race weekend.”

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Sirotkin lands Renault F1 role

Sergey Sirotkin has joined Renault Sport F1 as a test driver, and the Russian will drive Kevin Magnussen’s car in FP1 in Sochi on Friday.

The 20-year-old, who has extensive GP2 experience, was previously involved with Sauber.

This is a great opportunity for me, although it has all come together so quickly,” said Sirotkin. “I still can’t quite believe it. This is, however, the moment that all young racing drivers are working towards, and I am determined to learn as much as I can, as quickly as I can, doing the best possible job for the team while driving in Free Practice 1.”

Sergey is one of the most promising drivers from the junior categories so it is great for us that he is joining Renault Sport,” said team boss Frederic Vasseur. “We saw that he was the most promising rookie in the GP2 Series last season, where he achieved a race win and podiums, and for 2016 he is very well placed to fight for the title. He has driven the Sochi Autodrom in a GP2 Series car previously so we have confidence in the job he will be able to do for us this weekend.”

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Wolff impressed by Hamilton’s maturity

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that Lewis Hamilton’s personal development has been “mind blowing” as he has matured over the past few seasons.

In making his case Wolff cited how the World Champion reacted to the problems he experienced in qualifying in China today.

Having failed to complete a flying lap rather than express frustration Hamilton went out of way to to show his support for the Mercedes crew.

“He’s in a great place,” said Wolff when asked if we were seeing a new Lewis this year. “The development I’ve seen in him as a personality is mind blowing, over the last three years he’s been with the team. He’s won two championships and found himself, I think, as a person.

“You can imagine how much pressure he is under with all the people who criticise, and nevertheless he follows his instinct, he follows his way, and that seems to be functioning. And for the team it’s great. We have two very competitive drivers who are in good spirits and who have integrated so well in the team and give energy to the team and push the team forward.

“The Lewis I’ve seen today coming back straight into the garage after such a situation and shaking everybody’s hand, giving a little clap of support, it just leaves me with my mouth open.”

Told later of Wolff’s comments Hamilton agreed that he’s much more comfortable this year.

“Firstly that’s very warming to hear that from Toto, someone I respect highly, and who has been a real part of this journey that I’m on,” he said. “It is just a part of the growing process. Since I’ve been in F1 my friends have been ‘you don’t know who you are,’ and I guess searching for yourself… I just feel comfortable in who I am, and I’m happy. I don’t really know how to explain it. It’s definitely a positive, there’s no negatives in it. I hope it can reflect in a much better result than it’s looking like at the moment this year.”

Lewis stressed that he’s focussing all his energy on the future.

“For sure my mentality is perhaps a little bit different, more relaxed. It doesn’t mean I’m not happy, I’m fighting for the World Championship, and at the moment, [Nico is] walking away with it. There’s a long, long way to go, so there’s no real need to be too stressed about it, there’s no reason to dwell on what just happened an hour ago, because there’s nothing I can do.

“All I can do is try and shape the future, and that’s really what I’m trying to put my energy towards. Zero energy to what’s behind me, 100% energy to what’s in front.”

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