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Valtteri Bottas: Williams F1 team must review team orders strategy

#f1   #gp   #valterribottas  

Valtteri Bottas says his Williams Formula 1 team needs to review its strategy over team orders should the situation that occurred in the British Grand Prix happen again.

Felipe Massa and Bottas ran first and second early in the Silverstone F1 race and were initially told to hold station before being given the all-clear to race.

Bottas felt he could have pulled away in the lead had he been allowed to attack team-mate Massa from the start, with the delay robbing him of his best chance to pass.

"We need to have a better look at how we could have got the best outcome," said Bottas.

"I won't say any more, but possibly there could have been something we could have done better.

"I just hate thinking 'if'. This was the outcome.

"Of course we need to analyse if something could have been better and possibly there were things.

"I don't want to say too much. It was quite clear I had a bit more pace at that point, but this is racing."

Head of performance engineering Rob Smedley said Williams made its strategic calls with the overall interests of the team in mind.

"The key point was that we didn't want to get held up fighting each other too hard and that was the message that we gave," said Smedley.

"If we were fighting each other too hard then we weren't pulling away from the Mercedes.

"We saw that we did have reasonable pace against them, we knew that they would be saving up their tyres until the end of the stint and that's why we made sure that we still had reasonably good tyres towards the end.

"Once it became clear that everything had calmed down a little bit then they were free to race as long as it was a clean pass and they weren't going to be backing each other up into the Mercedes.

"We gave that message maybe two laps later and they carried on like that until the stop.

"We don't want to favour one driver over the other, absolutely not - it's a team effort and we wanted to get as many points as possible for the team.

"The team comes before anybody - it's Frank [Williams]'s team, that's clear - and that was our number one objective, to get the points for the team."

The two Williams lost out to Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes during the pitstops, were then passed on track by the Briton's team-mate Nico Rosberg, and finally fell to fourth and fifth behind Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari when the rain arrived.

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Max Mosley repeats call for F1 cost cap

#f1   #f1news   #gp  

Max Mosley has reiterated his call for F1 to introduce a cost cap and suggested that the sport will never be able to adequately cure its ills without imposing a limit on spending.

Speaking on this week’s edition of the F1 Midweek Report in the wake of the F1’s Strategy Group revealing their plans for the future of sport, the former FIA president said that introducing a cost cap should be the priority.

“We know that Formula 1 has a great brand and it has a great following. But certain things are necessary, one of which is that it is competitive and you have racing which is not predictable,” said Mosley. "To get that, you must keep the costs under control and then all the rest follows."

Mosley’s argument was endorsed by Kevin Eason who revealed on the eve of the Strategy Group’s summit that Mosley had been invited to attend but declined.

“Look at wind tunnels - £20m a year to find a fraction of a second. It’s crackers, it’s daft,” said The Times’ F1 correspondent.

“That’s the fault of the regulations which put too much emphasis on aerodynamic performance and then if you put too much emphasis on engine performance they spend a fortune on engines,” added Mosley.

“In the end the only way to stop that is to draw a line and say ‘this is what you can spend’.

“I know it can be enforced. What’s more difficult is to make the team which has mega money agree. If you have mega money, you have an interest in keeping the status quo.

“Someone from the top has to impose the show.”

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Todt's F1 engine cost cut demands have 'massive' impact - Wolff

#f1   #gp   #f1news  

Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff says FIA president Jean Todt's request to reduce Formula 1 engine supply prices would have a massive impact on the manufacturer's business model.

Customer teams are paying between £14-17million for powertrains, with Renault understood to be the most expensive.

Wolff said the matter not as simple as reducing the cost charged as planned investment has been allocated based on the contracts currently in place.

"It would massively impact the situation because in a large corporation, you set up your business case, you justify your investment and then you sign contracts," he said.

"If that needs to be adjusted or changed because the environment has become more difficult then it is a huge challenge for such an organisation like ours.

"You need to come up with a solution, a plan, and you need to justify why you are changing things, so that is the tricky bit.

"Yes, it has an impact."

Despite his concerns, Wolff underlined that Mercedes would take a serious look at whether it could reduce its customers' costs.

"Mr Todt wants to try to reduce the engine prices for the customers, the smaller teams because they are quite a large chunk of the overall budget and we take it very seriously," he said.

"We're looking into things. Unfortunately the situation is we've set up a business case with these engines with an underlying investment.

"We acknowledge it's an important bid, so we are sharpening our pencils and looking into the situation.

"We've promised to come back with an answer as to whether this is feasible or not."

The price customer teams have to pay for an engine supply is being looked by the FIA as part of a wider tweak of the engine formula following last week's Strategy Group meeting.

Mercedes currently supplies Williams, Force India and Lotus with engines.

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Formula 1 legend Adrian Newey designing road car with Aston Martin

#f1   #gp   #astonmartin  

Red Bull's chief technical officer Adrian Newey is working on an road-car project with Aston Martin, amid discussions about a possible Formula 1 tie-up between the two companies.

AUTOSPORT's sister publication, Autocar, has revealed Newey started working on the project with Aston Martin at the beginning of 2015.

This follows last Saturday's revelation that talks between Aston Martin and Red Bull could lead to the F1 team bringing the Aston Martin name back into F1 for the first time since 1960 as a brand partner in a deal that would allow the team to use the dominant Mercedes engine.

The road-car deal is a part of partnership between Aston Martin and Red Bull Technologies.

Sources close to the deal stress the partnership does not automatically mean they will work together in F1, as Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Technologies are separate entities.

Insiders describe the embryonic project as "ongoing, with no certainty of reaching fruition", but as well as using Aston Martin's road-car engineering resources, Newey is understood to have worked with the firm's design team.

The intention would be for the Aston to rival high-performance road cars such as the McLaren P1 GTR and Ferrari FXX K.

A Red Bull source indicated that a road car project is one of several efforts being investigated by Newey through Red Bull Technologies, saying it is one of many directions the firm may take.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Autocar last month that Newey was keen to pursue a road car project and that Red Bull involvement in the sector was highly likely.

"It's something that Adrian is keen to do as a legacy project," said Horner.

"At the moment our focus is on being a Formula 1 constructor, but as we see more technology cross over with the road car market, it's something that will organically grow."

Horner refused to rule out the Aston/Mercedes link when questioned over the British Grand Prix weekend, while Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff said "the door is open" to such a deal.

Mercedes customer F1 teams Force India and Williams have also emerged as potential candidates for an Aston deal.

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Ron Dennis insists Jenson Button will stay at McLaren for 2016

#f1   #jensonbutton   #f1mclaren  

Dennis also claims that McLaren's car is one of the best in F1

Jenson Button retired from Sunday's British GP after a collision with team-mate Fernando Alonso at the first corner
McLaren have rubbished speculation they are considering dropping Jenson Button and insist the former world champion will be staying on for at least another season.

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Lotus F1 team dealing with creditors after facing winding-up order

#f1   #f1news   #f1lotus  

The Lotus Formula 1 team is confident of reaching a financial settlement with a number of creditors after being faced with a winding-up petition in the High Court.

Lotus was among those on the Winding-Up List of the Companies Court on Monday, with the judge, Mr Registrar Briggs, adjourning the hearing for two weeks in order to allow the team time to find a resolution to the matter.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT, Lotus CEO Matthew Carter said: "There is a court process we are going through.

"A number of suppliers are feeling a little negative because of what happened to Caterham and Marussia, and they felt they had to go down this process.

"We've had dealings and agreements with the companies that are taking part in the process, and it's being dealt with in a normal way.

"It's been adjourned while we deal with it, and we always knew it was going to be adjourned.

"There are a couple of suppliers using it to try and claim monies that aren't owed, and that's obviously being dealt with as well."

Carter is adamant the case has no bearing on Lotus' future, adding: "No, not at all.

"A resolution has already been found, that's why the process has been adjourned. Things are being dealt with.

"As I say, some of the creditors have tried to use it as a way of claiming some money that is not necessarily owed, or due at the moment.

"It's perfectly under control. It is just part of the process."

One of those creditors is transmission technology specialists Xtrac, a long-time supplier to Lotus.

A company spokesman told AUTOSPORT: "The judge has adjourned the hearing for two weeks in order to allow further dialogue during which we will continue to discuss all the options for resolution with Lotus F1.

"Throughout the past 15 months, Xtrac has manufactured a significant quantity of parts in good faith to ensure the cars can keep running.

"We've worked with the Enstone organisation under its many different guises for many years, so I really hope we can find a resolution.

"We hope to resume this once the now significant debt has been reduced and a positive outcome agreed.

"We really do hope we can sort this out and there will be a resolution because they are lovely people."

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Ground effect aerodynamics proposal for Formula 1 2017 revamp

#f1   #f1news   #gp2017  

One of the proposals to make Formula 1 cars significantly faster for 2017 involves the return of ground effect underbodies, AUTOSPORT has learned.

F1 is looking into ways to make the cars several seconds per lap faster in the future, and the FIA has invited teams to submit their own proposals following last week's Strategy Group meeting at Biggin Hill.

Ideas being discussed include attempts to increase downforce but to reduce the loss of aerodynamic performance when following another car closely.

Under the current regulations, F1 cars produce their downforce from a small rear diffuser, the rear wing and complex front wings.

The front wings have become so complicated in recent years because they are crucial to the airflow downstream on the car, and that means the effects of following another car closely are even worse than in the past.

A proposal put forward by Red Bull is to alter the proportion of downforce produced by the wings and the underbody.

A longer underbody tunnel, similar to that used in F1 in the late 1970s and early '80s - and currently used in GP2 - is included in the proposal.

This would increase downforce and also provide aero performance more equally to the front and rear of the car.

It is believed cars would then be less affected by following others closely, and make it easier to overtake without the assistance of DRS.

In order to prevent car performance from reaching the runaway levels seen with the ground effect cars of the early 1980s, a spec floor has been suggested by one of the independent teams - although a design for this has not been finalised yet.

AUTOSPORT understands that if teams are required to design their 2017 cars around a spec floor design, the cut-off point for a decision to be taken would be March '16.

In the current proposal, however, the front wings are set to remain complex, with the only change being an increase in width in conjunction with the wider tyres that are expected to come in for 2017.

With the front wing remaining relatively unregulated, there is the potential for it still to have too much of an effect on the rest of the car's aero and therefore still make following closely on track difficult.

Counter proposals to Red Bull's initial suggestions include limits on front wing development to maximise the effect of the ground effect design.

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Aston Martin in F1 talks with Red Bull over Mercedes engine deal

#f1   #f1news   #redbull   #mercedes  

Aston Martin is negotiating a shock return to Formula 1 in a tie-up with Red Bull for next season that would bring the team Mercedes engines.

In a deal that is currently still under negotiation, Aston Martin would become brand partner with four-time world champion team Red Bull Racing in exchange for brokering a deal for it to run the dominant Mercedes F1 engine.

Mercedes owns five per cent of Aston Martin, which competed in F1 for just two seasons, in 1959 and 1960 (pictured below), with very limited success.

Under the deal Mercedes would be recognised as the official engine supplier of Red Bull, but Aston Martin would become a partner and have branding on the cars.

The deal is said to have the blessing of Mercedes, which is eager to run more customer teams to offset the costs of its investment in F1 and does not consider Aston Martin to be a competitor for road car sales.

The talks are understood to have been instigated by Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer and its director of marketing and communications Simon Sproule, both of whom were credited for Infiniti's long-term sponsorship deal with Red Bull when they worked for Nissan.

Infiniti is the upmarket brand of Nissan, which is in an alliance with Renault.

When contacted by AUTOSPORT's sister title Autocar, Aston Martin refused to comment.

Red Bull has a contract to compete with Renault engines until the end of 2016, but the championship-winning relationship has soured over the past 18 months as the French firm has struggled to match the pace of Mercedes and Ferrari.

Senior figures at Red Bull have regularly criticised Renault in public this season, and on Thursday team and engine chiefs held a meeting at the team's Milton Keynes base.

Red Bull has repeatedly threatened to pull out of F1 if it is unable to get a competitive engine in the near future.

Its owner Dietrich Mateschitz said last month Renault had "destroyed our enjoyment and motivation", and he also ruled out becoming a customer to another engine supplier.

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Lewis Hamilton takes third British Grand Prix pole

#f1   #f1news   #lewishamilton  

Hamilton beat Rosberg by 0.113 seconds to huge cheers from the 105,000 crowd at Silverstone, to qualify top for the eighth time in nine races this year.

"It is a special day when you get pole on your home turf," Hamilton said.
"There are so many people here and they really do motivate me. It has not been the smoothest of weekends but it was great to go flat-out at the end."
It means Hamilton has now taken pole position at his home grand prix three times (2007, 2013, 2015), but has never won from top spot.
On Sunday (at 13:00 BST) he will be gunning for his third win at Silverstone in front of an estimated 140,000 people, having won in 2008 and last year.
Williams locked out the second row, with Felipe Massa heading Valtteri Bottas.
Ferrari could manage only fifth and sixth, as under-pressure Kimi Raikkonen beat Sebastian Vettel in qualifying for only the second time this season.
Raikkonen's performance came at the right time - his position at Ferrari is under threat for next season as the team have warned him he needs to improve if he is to be retained for 2016.
The Ferraris will be expecting a battle with Williams for best of the rest as Mercedes appear to be in a league of their own.
Hamilton's pole lap was 0.837secs quicker than Massa in third.
Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat was promoted to seventh after team-mate Daniel Ricciardo had a fractionally faster time deleted for exceeding the track limits at Copse.
Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz was eighth ahead of the revamped Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.
It was another difficult day for McLaren, with world champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button qualifying 17th and 18th, ahead only of the low-budget Manor team. The Spaniard's 17th position was in doubt for a couple of hours as stewards investigated Alonso running one of team-mate Button's wheels after a mix-up in the McLaren garage.
In the end, the team were let off with a reprimand.
Alonso, his positivity about the potential of McLaren-Honda still as relentless as his performance in a grand prix, said it was "the best qualifying of the year".

He admitted that "sounds strange", but said that the 1.5-second margin from Ferrari over a lap that is more than three miles long was the smallest margin of the season for McLaren.
The percentage margin to Mercedes was actually slightly larger than it has been at McLaren's best two races this year but it is certainly among their best.

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Lewis Hamilton happy enough with British GP practice

#f1   #lewishamilton   #BritishGP  

World champion insists "it's been an okay day" despite being 0.5s slower than Nico Rosberg at Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton insisted he was happy enough with the start to his British GP weekend, despite being slower than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg during both of Friday's practice sessions.

Rosberg has won three out of the last four races to close to within 10 points of Hamilton in the title race and he continued in much the same fashion on the opening day at Silverstone.

Fastest in P1 – even though he sat out most of the session after Mercedes changed his car’s gearbox – the German upped the pace in the afternoon with a lap 0.347s faster than Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari.
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