Scuderia Toro Rosso has confirmed that Dany Kvyat will remain at the team alongside the already announced Carlos Sainz next season.
Kvyat’s future at the team had been in doubt, and Force India had indicated an interest in hiring him for next season.
The news also means that there will be no race seat for GP2 star Pierre Gasly.
“I’m very happy to stay with a team that feels like home to me,” said Kvyat. “I’m really looking forward to continuing the hard work together in 2017 and I’m really aiming high. I will always be fully dedicated, giving my ‘200%’, and I will be pushing as hard as I usually do, that’s for sure. I’m delighted!”
“Considering how many changes there are in the Formula 1 pipeline for 2017, it’s good to know that Daniil and I will continue to be teammates here at Toro Rosso next year,” said Sainz. “We know each other very well, as we’ve been racing together since 2010, and we work well together. I know that this season isn’t over yet, but I’m already looking forward to next year!”
Team boss Franz Tost stressed that continuity is the key.
“It makes a change to announce our driver line-up relatively early,” he said. “There are so many new elements coming to Formula 1 in general and to our team specifically, in terms of the change of power unit supplier, that having the same two drivers gives us stability and a benchmark to work from. For Carlos, it will be his third year with us, which speaks volumes when it comes to how highly we rate him.
“In recent races, it has been clear that Daniil is back on top form. I always told him that his future with us was in his hands and he has stepped up to the mark and delivered the sort of performances that have ensured his 2017 seat in the STR 12. We now have a very talented and strong driver pairing to tackle a season in which we expect to be very competitive.”
Sebastian Vettel has received a three-place grid penalty for the Japanese GP after the FIA stewards deemed him responsible for the first corner collision that saw the Ferrari driver retire and Nico Rosberg spin to the back of the field.
Vettel has also received two penalty points on his superlicence. The FIA said: “Having thoroughly reviewed the video and having spoken to the driver concerned, the Stewards determined that although the cars involved in the incident were all moving at relatively similar speeds, the driver of Car 5 made a small error entering to the inside of Turn 1 that led to the contact with Car 6. As a consequence, Car 6 was caused to spin from second place and loose multiple positions, which the Stewards determined was predominantly the fault of the driver of Car 5 and therefore ordered the penalty above for causing a collision.”
Vettel meanwhile said he couldn’t avoid the impact after he found himself squeezed by Max Verstappen.
“We had a good start, then I was going side by side with Max,” he explained. “We were both battling for position into turn one. Nico in the front was turning in and he obviously decided to pick his line, which is absolutely fair and in his right. At that point with the speed I had I couldn’t slow down any more and I was also pushed by Max to the right.
“I did my best under braking but I couldn’t avoid the impact. It was an unfortunate chain reaction which ruined my race and Nico’s one. I can’t do more than apologize to Nico, because the accident had nothing to do with him being in front. I think it was different to the case in Spa with Max and Kimi, as Max and I were trying to fight for turn 1, and Nico was trying to do a different thing ahead.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that Nico Rosberg’s drive to victory in Singapore was the best the German has produced so far.
Rosberg took pole, left Lewis Hamilton far behind in the race, and then held on to defeat a charging Daniel Ricciardo in the closing laps.
“I’ve known Nico since 2013 and that is the best Nico Rosberg I have ever seen throughout a weekend since then,” said Wolff.
“We have the tendency of saying that Lewis has an awesome pace, and this is what we have seen with Nico this weekend – he was just blindingly fast. He was sixth tenths quicker than P2 in qualifying in Singapore – something we are not used to seeing at all here.
“And in the same way he drove the race. He had a great start, controlled the pace and on the contrary, Lewis didn’t have a clean weekend, he was lacking laps in order to find the right set-up so he couldn’t really choose the direction and from then on went backwards.
“Spa wasn’t a real good opportunity for him because of the engine penalty and here it just started on the wrong foot. And he couldn’t recover. In Singapore if you are lacking laps in free practice and lacking direction on where to take the set-up, it is a vicious circle and confidence is key around Singapore and if your team mate gets out of the block in the way Nico did this weekend it becomes very difficult. Lewis is the first one to acknowledge that.
Regarding the change of momentum in the title battle he said: “We have the tendency of talking one up and the other one down. We have had this since three years, since the two of them have been fighting for the championship, you have seen those waves.
“I remember talking about Lewis’ momentum a couple of weeks ago and suddenly we have this mega Nico weekend, and in two weeks we will see if that changes or stays the same in Malaysia.”
Daniel Ricciardo sad that he could have done no more after he closed to within half a second of winner Nico Rosberg at the end of the Singapore GP.
The Australian fell more than 25 seconds behind when he pitted for fresh rubber with 14 laps to go, and he immediately began taking huge chunks out of Rosberg’s lead, but he only managed to get on the German’s gearbox right at the end of the last lap.
“I’m sitting here pretty happy because I felt I did all I could,” said Ricciardo. “The perfect race. If there was anything that could have been more perfect it was the start, but Nico got off the line well. So, even with an amazing start we wouldn’t have got the jump. It looked like his was near-perfect. From that point we just tried to do what we could.
“The team put me on a three-stop at the end. It was fun. It was good to push the whole race and I knew I would get close to Nico at the end. So even if the track’s difficult to overtake, it was nice to be able to push to the last lap and know that I was at least putting some pressure on him and giving the crowd still a little bit of hope.”
Although Singapore was seen as the team’s best hope Ricciardo hasn’t ruled out a Red Bull win in 2016.
“With some rain, yeah. I think in dry circumstances this was our best shot. We got within half a second but after the race I said on the radio to the team that we will win this year. We’ll get a downpour somewhere and that’ll hopefully throw a few curve balls and we can middle it and get the victory we’re after.”
McLaren boss Eric Boullier admits that McLaren’s main focus in the Singapore race will be on outscoring Toro Rosso, the team’s rival for sixth place in the World Championship.
Sixth would represent respectable progress for McLaren since last year, as well as having obvious financial implications.
McLaren’s improving form and some bad weekends for Toro Rosso allowed the Woking team to move ahead after Spa, with an advantage of 48 to 45 points. However in Singapore Toro Rosso has bounced back and earned sixth and seventh on the grid, while the McLarens will start ninth and 12th.
“Obviously our focus is on trying to beat Toro Rosso and keep increasing our lead on them in the championship,” said. “They are in front of us, we kind of guess they did a better job for this track layout. I think it’s just a one-off to be honest, but we will do our best tomorrow, and at least have a good start.”
Boullier is confident that McLaren can claw back some points.
“We may expect a bit of tension in the first two rows, and you never know. Maybe with a better strategy we can definitely beat one of them, because they can’t double pit their cars under safety car, for example. So there is plenty of opportunity to not lose points on them, and if possible to keep our lead.”
Team bosses are open to the possibility of accepting Liberty Media’s invitation to acquire shares in the F1 business.
Last week F1’s new owner indicated that it is willing to allow the teams to acquire a stake, although the company did not give any more details on how that process might unfold, or what the timing would be. Until now only Ferrari has held a minority stake.
“I think it’s a sensible thing,” said Red Bull’s Christian Horner. “I think the teams are key stakeholders in F1, without the teams there is no F1. For the teams to take a minority shareholding would make sense, to be offered to all the teams on the same terms would make total sense. I think to keep it for a minority shareholding the teams would be the right thing, because anything beyond that, we’re never going to agree upon. But obviously it does make sense for the teams to be a participant in the shareholding.”
“The idea sounds good,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. “If you are able to align the major stakeholders with a long term vision, and you make the teams shareholders, there are many problems you could solve. But obviously it’s a commercial and financial decision, and the devil lies in the detail.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul. “A lot of value has been derived for the existing shareholders from F1. I think it will be a great thing if F1 teams were able to capture some of that value given the risks that are taken by the different parties who finance the team. So yeah, if it makes sense, I would say clearly why not?”
“Why not?,” said Sauber’s Monisha Kalternborn. “We’ve had these kinds of discussions before. I think it’s an interesting idea. It can make sense to have all times actually given this opportunity and be represented as well. At the end of the day it depends what you get and what the price is.”
Lewis Hamilton says he was not responsible for his poor start in Monza, despite a radio message to the team during the race in which he accepted blame.
At the Mercedes post-race debrief Hamilton was told by his engineers that it wasn’t his fault, and that the clutch was responsible.
“I’m told it wasn’t driver error, I’m told it wasn’t anyone’s error,” he said. “We continue to have an inconsistency with our clutch. You’ve seen it with Nico in Hockenheim. It’s bit me quite a lot this year. I was told the procedure was done exactly how I was supposed to do it, but unfortunately we just over delivery of torque, and the wheels were just spinning from the get-go.”
Hamilton said the team has worked extensively on the clutch this season.
“Of course, we never stop improving and learning. Today we would have learned again. But yeah, this year has been a harder year for us with out clutch. They’ll be working very hard. It’s not a quick fix, something you can change for the next race. We have made improvements, so we have seen more consistent, better starts, but we are still caught out by the random variation that we have from one weekend to the other. We do practice starts all weekend, and they’re varying a little bit, and then we get a drastic variation on the grip.
“As I said you’ve seen it with Nico, you’ve seen it with me, quite a few times. It is something that we need to work on. I can assure you on Tuesday [in the factory] that’s the only thing we’ll be talking about, because everything else we’re doing really well. So we’ll be trying to work and give as much information, learn as much as we can, if there’s any more, to try and make sure in the next six or seven races… We’re not struggling with pole positions, it’s just getting off the line.”