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F1 Today – 26/09/2018

Mercedes take “no comfort” with lead

Mercedes say they are taking “no comfort” in Lewis Hamilton’s current forty point lead over Sebastian Vettel going into the Russian Grand Prix. Hamilton has won three out of four races in Sochi, with his teammate Valtteri Bottas taking victory last year.

Mercedes are in a strong position going into the final six races, Hamilton only needs three wins and a tenth place to secure his fifth title with seventy-six points minimum from a maximum of one hundred and fifty to be certain,

Speaking to BBC News, Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff said “It is better to have a lead than not, but there are plenty of points to score. There is no naive optimism about our situation with the team.”

Wolff said Mercedes was “excited for the fight we will certainly have in the next six races” and insisted they would “continue to concentrate on every single session, trying to optimise the car in every possible area – and we will go for the race win”.

However, he has played down the teams 100% record in Sochi, saying that the team accepts it has a good record but is aware that both Red Bull and Ferrari will be keen to stop Mercedes taking an eighth back to back win in Russia and sixth in Sochi.

He said “With the race being held in September, we’re going back to weather conditions that will be similar to those of 2014 and 2015, when the Russian Grand Prix took place in early October.”

“We don’t have any data from the current regulation cars in those conditions in Sochi, so this adds another challenge to the race.”

Wolff also gave backing to Valtteri Bottas, eighteen months ago the Finn took his first win in Sochi, however recently he admitted he was finding it “hard” up against Hamilton amid the realisation that he was now out of the title fight this year.

“For every racing driver, that’s a very difficult situation to be in because everything you dream about and everything you work for is winning the world championship. When you realise you’re not in the hunt any more, that’s very difficult to handle.”

 

No benefit from a sports psychologist – Vettel

Sebastian Vettel believes that he would not benefit from working with a sports psychologist, despite him making a number of costly mistakes this season.

The German is forty points behind his title rival Lewis Hamilton but has missed out on at least sixty points this season due to his own mistakes, accident and reliability. Arguably his biggest mistake was crashing out while leading the German Grand Prix.

Asked if he was feeling the pressure this year, Vettel told Auto Bild: “Of course I have pressure, but most of the time I put it on myself. If you know what you can do and you do not achieve it, then you are not satisfied.”

It was put to Vettel that he might benefit from a mental coach in order to prevent more errors, but the Ferrari driver said he had already considered the idea and rejected it. Saying “I find the idea very interesting, but I have not met a person that I think can help. I’ve already researched it a bit, so the whole topic has not passed me by.”

He believes that when you are stressed you need to find balance and has developed things which work for him.

 

Ricciardo calls 2018 as wired

Daniel Riccardo has described his 2018 season as his “weirdest” season in racing, because of his of his early season success, recent frustrations and his decision to quit Red Bull.

The Australian’s wins in China and Monaco did make him an outside contender for the title at the time, but since then Red Bull was unable to keep up with the pace of Mercedes and Ferrari. Over the summer, he decided to walk away from Red Bull and join Renault for 2019.

Speaking to the Red Bull website, he described the season as “The weirdest season I’ve had in racing. Winning two of the first six races is probably the strongest start I’ve ever had to an F1 season.”

“After Monaco, I was thinking that the season looked very promising and that we might even be in with an outside chance of fighting for the title. I still feel I’m driving well and applying myself properly but for all sorts of reasons it hasn’t really worked out since then.”

Ricciardo says that while his motivation and love for F1 has been up and down he says he normally bounces back quickly. He has made one of the biggest decisions of his career, but says leaving Red Bull will not problem hit him until Abu Dhabi,

Adding “It’s not so much the ‘moving to Renault’ part, as it is the ‘closing the book on this part of my career’ bit. From an emotional point of view, that’s when it’s going to hit me. I’ve been wearing a Red Bull helmet for over a decade now.”

He says turning thirty next year made it feel right for the next part of his life and says it would have been easy to get complacent and stuck in a routine.

 

Honda testing experimental parts

Honda’s motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto, says that he wants the Japanese manufacturer to implement experimental engine parts in the remaining races for 2019.

The Japanese company introduced an upgraded internal combustion engine back in June and is readying one final engine upgrade before the end of 2018, ahead of supplying the Red Bull works for team next year. But, now Yamamoto has confirmed they will be experimenting before the end of the season.

He told Motorsport.com, “Towards the end of the season, and as a preparation for next year, there will be opportunity that we can try something on the actual track. We want to do that kind of trial and error, using this opportunity in the second half of the season.”

Honda has tackily taken engines this year and is taking penalties in Sochi to maximise the chances of a good result next weekend at their home race at Suzuka.

The other option could be to delay the upgrades until Austin when Toro Rosso are bringing their own upgrades. This could be beneficial as it could reduce the weight of the car.

Although it has struggled to unleash that properly since returning to F1 with McLaren in 2015, Honda’s improved reliability and performance with Toro Rosso this year has played a key role in convincing Red Bull it should finally end its fractious relationship with Renault.

Since Pierre Gasly’s fourth place in Bahrain, Toro Rosso has not managed to match that result. That result, and the wider confidence Red Bull has in this iteration of Honda is largely thanks to an overhaul of its management structure.

Yusuke Hasegawa stepped aside at the end of 2017 and his responsibilities were split between Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda’s new trackside technical director, and Yasuaki Asaki, who is heading up the Sakura research-and-development programme.

Yamamoto said: “We have changed our organisation for this year and clarified the operation trackside and the development role. There are two main buildings. We’ve strengthened both functions, and have strong leadership on each side in Tanabe and Asaki.”

 

Miami to vote on indefinite deferral

Miami’s City Commission will vote on Thursday on an indefinite deferral on holding a Formula One race in the city. The resolution for the city manager to conclude a deal with the F1 organisation for a race commencing in 2019 was passed earlier this year.

In July it was confirmed that the race would be postponed until 2020, however, the commission’s agenda for a meeting on Thursday has listed the race  “to be indefinitely deferred” category.

This is understood to be a formality that in effect buys more time for negotiations to be completed, but that doesn’t mean that plans for the race are dead.

a source close to the Miami City Commission told Motorsport.com, “The way our system works is, if the item is deferred, it keeps getting put on an agenda until a decision is made one way or the other.”

“F1 has some things to work out with various parties, so it’s not ready to we considered. When we defer indefinitely, it doesn’t come back for six months, unless we specifically call it back to an agenda.”

 

Mercedes young drivers could sit out 2019

Mercedes F1 CEO Toto Wolff has indicated that both Esteban Ocon and George Russell could find themselves without a seat next year, while he also says that he will not enter a bidding war for the remaining seats on the grid.

Ocon who drives for Force India and Russell who currently leads the Formula Two championship both have long-term contracts with Mercedes, but face not having seats in F1 next year. The Frenchman is expected to lose his seat to Lance Stroll after his father brought the team in August.

Wolff insists the two junior drivers have the potential to win F1 races for Mercedes in the future, but with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas contracted to the team in 2019, it’s looking increasingly likely that at least one will have to sit out of next season.

Wolff told ESPN, “There are many good drivers who merit a drive in Formula One, both young ones and more experienced ones, but at the moment cockpits are a limited commodity.”

“Both Esteban and George certainly deserve to be in Formula One; we are still working on options and will carefully decide what’s best for them. If that means having to play the long game, then we will continue to prepare and develop them.”

Russell held talks with Williams about potentially replacing Stroll, should he move to Force India. The Canadian is almost certain to do that after his father brought the team.

That deal hinges on a wider engine and gearbox agreement between Mercedes and Williams and the possible discount that will come with it. But if Russell does get the Williams seat, it would result in a scenario where Mercedes has no options left for Ocon.

However, Wolff said such a scenario would not mean Mercedes is allowing Russell to skip the queue ahead of Ocon and that the next step in the two drivers’ careers looks quite different.

“He’s not in as tricky position as Esteban. I don’t think the two of them will… how do you say, stumble across themselves or get in each other’s way.”

 

F1 releases timing app

Formula One has launched a dedicated timing app following widespread criticism of an update which was introduced for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Throughout the weekend in Singapore, there were a number of critical complains from fans and media, with the limitations of the app. In response, Liberty Media has re-released the old version which can be downloaded from the App Store, Google Play and other stores.

In a statement, F1 said, “The launch of our new F1 app didn’t quite live up to your expectations, and Live Timing didn’t deliver the great mobile F1 experience you previously enjoyed.”

“We’ve taken your feedback seriously. And we’re working hard to make the F1 app even better. In the meantime, we’re launching a dedicated F1 Live Timing app, to sit alongside our F1 app, so you don’t miss a millisecond.”

 

2019 relaunch of our website

Formula One Vault has announced a relaunch ahead of the 2019 season. For the seventy FIA Formula One World Championship, we will be introducing a major overhaul of the website and its design.

Final plans are yet to be agreed by the designer, F1 Vault’s Website Services Manager, Ashley Lewis posted earlier “I am now able to announce that in early 2019, hopefully, January, but definitely before Melbourne we will be launching a new look website.”

“The aim with the new look is to give the reader a more cleaner, less cluttered look. Development is in the early stages and is looking promising. I’ll keep you updated as and when.”

F1 Vaults’ Editor in chief, Jack Fielding added “As with any team we always seek to improve and move forward. The new look I hope will improve on that cluttered look as F1 marks seventy years since the formation of the sport as we know it today.”

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Jack Fielding
Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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