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Reporters – 07/07/2019

The way F1 handles driving offences has been in the spotlight following the Canadian Grand Prix, but could deregulation have its difficulties when it comes to other motorsport?

Masi open to rewriting some rules of conduct

F1 race director Michael Masi says he is open to the idea of rewriting some of the rules of conduct for 2020 if the drivers and team feel it would be a good thing to do.

Following the controversy caused by Sebastian Vettel’s five-second penalty at the Canadian Grand Prix for re-joining the track in an unsafe manner and pushing Lewis Hamilton off circuit has prompted calls for F1 to rethink how it deals with such incidents.

Many feel that F1 is now over-regulated and the spectacle is being ruined because drivers cannot race hard as they risk being punished by the stewards.

However, the sport faces a difficult situation, between allowing close battles on track, and stopping drivers from getting an unfair advantage. Asked by Motorsport.com about whether or not the interpretation of the re-joining the track rules had changed after Canada, Masi said: “We treat them [the rules] exactly the same.

“My view is we have got a rule book there, and the rule book is the one we have got for the entire 2019 season. I don’t think it would be wise in any sport to change anything mid-year. But is it something that you can look at, like with any rule book? Absolutely. I think we are always constantly evolving with everything.”

However, the sporting regulations cannot now be changed unless the teams give their unanimous support. But changes would also need tweaks to the International Sporting Code could also be quite hard to achieve, because they need to cover all sanctioned motor racing events so cannot be too specific to F1.

Masi added: “I think if all the teams agree with it, it is no different to any other set of regulations. But there is also the ISC that has provisions in it that are also used from a code of driving conduct side. That has its own process which isn’t just F1 specific, it is for the entire sport.”

Its something which will need looking at collectively and will be brought up at a future meeting of F1’s sporting working group.

 

The future of the sport continues to be debated, many have compared it to the Brexit negotiations. With the new deadline of October, Lewis Hamilton wants a greater say in the future direction of the sport. But could that help break the current impasse?

Hamilton pleas for a say in future of F1

Lewis Hamilton has pleaded with Formula One and the FIA to allow the drivers to help shape the future of the sport, saying he wants to have a major say in any changes in a bid to create a “legacy.”

The biggest talking point at Paul Ricard where about the rules, given Mercedes dominance of this season, the controversial penalty decision for Sebastian Vettel in Montreal, and the decision to push back the deadline for 2021 regulations until the 31st of October.

Hamilton was one of two drivers who attended the Paris summit aimed at breaking the deadlock over the regulation changes, where it was agreed to delay the sign-off.

But Hamilton insists, as a five-time world champion with 237 race starts and 79 wins, he can help the sport make progress, while also going into detail about several key topics. He said that:

  • He has realised his “responsibility” and wants to help make “positive changes” to the sport – and doesn’t want to just be remembered as a “driver who won titles”
  • Fans and journalists shouldn’t blame drivers for “boring” races as “we don’t write the rules”
  • The FIA should make all decisions, after consulting drivers, and teams “shouldn’t be involved”
  • The current 2021 vision is “nowhere near where it should be”

The Englishman took Mercedes eighth win of the year, as he cruised to victory at Paul Ricard. But has admitted he would like to be fighting for victories and that he understands why the fans are not enjoying it.

Adding “I empathise with the fans watching, I empathise with you guys coming every week. For a race like today, in my heart, I’ve just raced my heart out and I’ll continue to do the same thing but for you it might not be so exciting to watch. So I empathise with that.”

Speaking about the changes he said there are reasons for optimism, despite saying the people running F1 have been making “bad decisions” for “many, many years.”

Adding “They’ve extended the decision of making the rules. I think they need to because they’re nowhere near where it should be in my opinion and they’ve got to make some serious changes to the decisions that they’ve already made of how 2021 should be.

 

Mercedes were expected to be the favourites at last weekends Austrian Grand Prix. But as the heatwave continued the German team struggled to get their car to work. So what does the team need to do to avoid a repeat as the summer continues?

Bottas confirms cooling issues in Austria

Valtteri Bottas says that a miscalculation contributed to his cooling issues during the Austrian Grand Prix, which was more challenging than expected.

Both Bottas and five times champion Lewis Hamilton had to manage their power units, making extensive use of a lift-and-coast strategy. Having run second early on, Bottas eventually finished third behind Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, just managing to stay clear of a charging Sebastian Vettel at the flag.

The Finn described the race as the “hardest” race he’s ever done, in terms of looking after his power unit. Bottas told Motorsport.com, “We knew today was going to be hot, but we calculated it a tiny bit wrong as well.”

“I think also the lap time estimates for the lift and coast was not quite spot on. The more we had to do lift and coast, we were losing bigger chunks of time than we actually predicted.”

“For me, it was the hardest race in terms of power unit management, temperature management, I’ve never had to manage it so much. Also, we couldn’t run the full power of the engine, because of temperatures, so that was costing quite a bit of lap time as well.”

Bottas says it was difficult to attack and defend, always being under attack from a car while was sending a warning to him on the dash. He says it was particularly difficult when he closed within DRS range of other cars.

“It was quite sensitive. We were all the time on the limit. With this engine we still need to do many, many races, so we still want to play on the safe side.” He was happy with just a podium because of the difficulties.

He believes that a couple more laps would have seen him lose the place, as Vettel would have closed in on fresher tyres.

Bottas said he had at least achieved one target in Austria by outscoring Hamilton and gaining five points on him in the title battle. He added “A positive today for me this weekend. Being on the podium and getting to drink free champagne, that’s always nice! It’s a fact. And getting a few points against Lewis in the end.”

 

It was F1 most shocking moments, the car Michael Schumacher’s victory in Austria in 2002. Now, later this year the car is set to be sold at auction…

Schumacher’s 2002 Austrian car for auction

The car which Michael Schumacher took the most controversial victories in Formula One will go up for auction at this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 2002 Austrian Grand Prix remains ingrained on the sport because Ferrari ordered Rubens Barrichello to hand victory to Michael Schumacher just before the finish line. The victory was Schumacher’s fifth in a dominant championship.

Team orders were banned later that season after Schumacher cruised to a dominant fifth world title.

It will be sold at the end of the season in Abu Dhabi along with other items. Proceeds from the sale of the F2002 will be donated to Michael Schumacher’s Keep Fighting, Never Give Up Foundation, a charity established by Schumacher’s family after he suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident in 2013.

RM Sotheby’s will host the auction in Formula One’s Paddock Club hospitality and the cars will be paraded down the start-finish straight and in the pit lane ahead of the auction.

Auctioneer Oliver Camelin said “The Michael Schumacher F2002, chassis No. 219, is truly special; it represents one of the last Rory Byrne-designed, V10-era cars and was like a guided missile in acquiring wins on route to a championship won with sheer racing dominance.”

 

And that’s all from this edition of Reporters goodbye

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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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