Ocon’s flippant attitude lead to the altercation
Max Verstappen says that the altercation with Esteban Ocon in parc ferme at the Brazilian Grand Prix was provoked by the Frenchman’s flippant response and attitude.
The Dutchman has been given two days ‘public service’ for pushing and arguing with the Force India driver after the duo had collided in the race when Verstappen was leading and Ocon was attempting to unlap himself at the Senna S.
Speaking on Dutch TV on Monday, the Red Bull driver said he hadn’t intended to. shove Ocon when he confronted him. when asked if he regretted the post-race fracas, Verstappen said “I just wanted to look for him and ask ‘what was going on, how could something like this happen?’”
“But he immediately answered ‘I was faster than you’ and said it with such a smile on his face. I tried to be as positive as possible towards my mechanics, but of course, this second place doesn’t feel right.”
“And then you meet someone like him who doesn’t even apologise for what happened and reacts exactly the other way around.”
Asked if he thought Ocon might have taken revenge for their European Formula 3 clashes in 2014, Verstappen replied: “No, and he’s actually no competitor at all in Formula 1.
FIA seeking no further action in Verstappen fracas
Formula One’s governing body the FIA says that they will not seek any further action with Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon over their post-Brazilian Grand Prix physical confrontation following Verstappen’s punishment.
The Red Bull driver has been ordered to complete two days of “public service at the discretion of the FIA” after shoving Ocon following the race in reaction to their collision that cost Verstappen Interlagos victory.
The incident itself has seen neither driver punished, but Verstappen was guilty of making “deliberate physical contact” and did not punish Ocon even though he retaliated.
FIA race director Charlie Whiting made it clear that a line would now be drawn under the incident.
Asked by Autosport if he thought a further chat was necessary, Whiting said: “We’ve done that already, I think the stewards have made it clear. Let’s be realistic, it’s happened a number of times in the past: we all know that.”
“In terms of the actual incident, it didn’t look that serious but any physical contact I don’t think can be condoned.” Whiting also played down comments like that Ocon was “lucky to get away with a push”.
“It’s not a great thing to hear but in the heat of the moment, and having lost a race that they would probably have won, I can understand comments like that,” said Whiting.
Horner later made it clear that violence could not be condoned “in any way” but reiterated that people should understand drivers are emotionally charged after the race, especially in such a rare situation.
He also pointed out that Verstappen and Ocon have an acrimonious relationship that stretches back to 2010. Horner says no one heard the conversations between the two, and we don’t know what antagonised Verstappen.
Ricciardo feels he been taking “uppercuts”
Daniel Ricciardo feels he is taking “uppercuts” with the number of problems he has had in the final part of his final season with Red Bull. The Australian has endured a troubled end to the season ahead of his move to Renault.
Ricciardo has suffered several mechanical failures that have cost him strong results and led to grid penalties at subsequent races for engine component changes.
Ricciardo had to serve a penalty in Brazil last weekend after his turbocharger was damaged by a marshal’s fire extinguisher when he retired from the Mexican Grand Prix.
However, at Interlagos, he recovered from eleventh to finish fourth but says that it was frustrating to race through the field because he felt that better results were available with Red Bull’s speed. He told Autosport “I saw the replay [of the Mexico incident], they showed it on Friday just to add a bit of salt in my wounds!”
“And there was another statistic that I’ve had more DNFs this year than Lewis [Hamilton] in the last five years or something, so they’re really throwing some uppercuts at me. I feel like every time we start out of position or we start at the back, we have a fast car.”
Ricciardo was keen not to place any blame on the Mexico marshals. He said that there were flames from the car but the marshal did the right job by putting the fire out. He says that he not angry at anyone, I just wish it would run perfectly.
Adding “I don’t have any regrets, I don’t feel I lost the podium or the team lost the podium. We did everything we could, so I’m not upset about that. We surprisingly had a very fast car, and the race was fun.”
He says that the team’s pace in the race has given him optimism going into Abu Dhabi, which he feels is always a stronger track for us than [Interlagos] is.
Sauber announces partnership for young drivers
Sauber has announced that is has teamed up single-seater team Charouz Racing System to form a young driver development programme.
The Swiss team has not previously had its own defined junior team but has been building closer ties with Ferrari, and handed Charles Leclerc his Formula 1 debut this season.
Charouz entered F2 in 2018, having moved over from the Formula V8 3.5 series, and next year will participate in F3, which replaces GP3 on the F1 support bill. The team also competes in ADAC and the Italian F4 championship.
Under the new agreement, Sauber Junior Team drivers are set to compete in the respective junior categories, providing youngsters with a path through towards Formula 1. The programme will be run out of Charouz’s base in the Czech Republic.
Sauber boss Frederic Vasseur, told Motorsport.com, “Racing is a vital part of Sauber Motorsport’s DNA and the Sauber Junior Team marks an important milestone in the company history.”
“Sauber has a long tradition of helping drivers reach their full potential, having worked with the likes of Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and upcoming star Charles Leclerc.”
Hamilton questions push for new countries
Lewis Hamilton has questioned the sport’s push to take Formula One to new countries, saying he would like more races in places with “real racing history”, like the UK.
Earlier this month, the sport announced the addition of Vietnam to the calendar. The first addition to the calendar under the ownership of Liberty Media, which took over the management of F1 in 2017 and has promised to take the sport to “new destination cities”.
While the addition of new races over the last fifteen years has been seen as an evolution, it comes at a time when the sports historic races like Britain, Germany, Italy, France and Belgium have struggled to retain their places on the calendar amid mounting hosting costs.
Speaking to BBC News, Hamilton said “We’ve got a lot of real racing history in England, Germany, Italy and now in the States, it is starting to grow. But you only have one event per year in those places. If it was my business, I’d be trying to do more events in those countries.”
”I’ve been to Vietnam before and it is beautiful. I’ve been to India before to a race which was strange because India was such a poor place yet we had this massive, beautiful grand prix track made in the middle of nowhere.”
He says having, for example, the German Grand Prix in Berlin would be a good thing, rather than countries where they don’t know so much about F1.
The Englishman brilliantly won his fifth world title this season and says a sixth will be top of his ambition list for 2019, along with a few others besides. “Top of the list every year has been winning the world title. There’s never been anything above that,” the Mercedes driver said.
He added he wants to try and learn another language and go into space when he retires as well as finding more time for family. But while that may sound like retirement may be in the near future, Hamilton believes that there are more mountains to climb in F1.
Saying “There will still be difficult times ahead. I don’t know when they will come but I feel better prepared now than I ever have been. I have got to look at this season, which has been the best of my career, and think, ‘How can I improve next year?’”
Kubica wants decision for Williams
Reports in the German media are suggesting that Robert Kubica could be set to make his return to Formula One next year. According to reports the Pole wants to make his decision this week, after receiving an offer from Williams but also from Ferrari to be a test driver.
They claim that “His comeback chances at Williams are over 90 per cent. It’s only about details, for example about how many Friday practice sessions a third driver does. Williams is apparently selling the Fridays to a wealthy client.”
Mercedes wanted Esteban Ocon to take the Williams race seat for 2019, but Toto Wolff says the British team was demanding too much. However, Wolff has told Brazilian media “We cannot invest at the level they need.”
There are suggestions that Mercedes could subsidise Williams’s engine bills in return for the seat. While Ocon could get the reserve seat at Williams for 2019, in addition to a similar role for the other Mercedes-powered teams including Force India.
“He could be a test driver for us, Force India and maybe William and he will be sitting in the simulator a lot,” added Wolff. Auto Bild reports that Kubica has now told Ferrari that he will not be taking the test driver role at Maranello.
2019 tweaks show tangible improvements – Brawn
F1 managing director for motorsport and technical director Ross Brawn says that simulation work being done on regulation changes for next year shows “tangible” effects which should improve racing.
Ahead of a bigger overhaul for 2021, minor changes are being introduced next year to improve racing, with the key areas being the front and rear wings, brake ducts and bargeboards. The simplified aero profile is designed to make it easier for drivers to follow closely in battle.
Brawn told Motorsport.com “Once again we saw in Brazil that when the performance level of two cars are more or less the same, then overtaking is almost impossible. That raises the question as to how to make it easier to make a move on the car in front.”
“During 2018, we have made significant progress in defining next year’s technical regulations, especially regarding the key area that is the front wing and in the last few weeks, we have worked out the fine details.”
He says that the simulations are showing tangible effects, but he was keen to point out that the upcoming changes are just the beginning of the process, even though expectations that the on-track spectacle will improve next year are continuing to build.