MIKA27

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About MIKA27

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    Pelo De Oro
  • Birthday 04/26/1976

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    Melbourne
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  1. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    Alonso labels Stroll ‘impossible to race with’ after first-lap smash Fernando Alonso’s 2018 United States Grand Prix lasted all of four corners, after a coming-together with the Williams of Lance Stroll on lap one left his McLaren looking decidedly second-hand – and its F1-departing driver less than impressed… Starting from 13th on the grid, Alonso was threading his way through the Circuit of The Americas' ‘Esses’ section when he was clattered into by Stroll’s Williams, as the Canadian attempted to follow the Haas of Kevin Magnussen past him. Following the crash, which caused terminal damage to Alonso’s MCL33, the irate Spaniard immediately took to his preferred medium, team radio, to voice his displeasure at Stroll’s driving. “These guys are impossible to race with. Impossible,” he said. “They cannot do the starts like this. You cannot go into the corners crashing with other cars.” Later on, it was a calmer Alonso that faced the media – but he maintained his dim view of how his 25-second race had played out. “[There] was a lot of action into Turn 4, which is normally a corner where there should not be too much action,” he said. “Three cars, I think, went into the corner together and the result was well-known – one of the guys will end up in the wall, and it was me. “It’s a misjudging of distances and speed which is quite strange to see,” he added. “It’s always the same story, it just keeps happening. At the start, people are trying to bump everyone else, the same as when you have a rental car. No-one does it on purpose, but today they played bowling with my car again, like they did in Spa.” For his part in the incident, Stroll received two penalty points on his Super Licence – taking his current 12-month tally to seven, five away from an automatic race ban – as well as a drive-through penalty that left him finishing the Grand Prix 16th and last. But speaking in defence of himself after the race, the Canadian maintained his belief that it had simply been ‘a racing incident’. “I saw a gap and went for it, but I don't think he really saw me and turned in," said Stroll. "After that, my race was finished as I got the drive-through and that was that. I haven't seen the footage, but I think it was a racing incident. I am just disappointed about the result.” Alonso now has potentially three races left in his F1 career, assuming he doesn’t come back for more races and seasons later down the line. And after a crushing finish to his United States Grand Prix, the McLaren driver will be especially desperate to recapture the early-season form which saw him net points in the year’s opening five races, and stay out of any more first-lap trouble before he faces his final Formula 1 curtain.
  2. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    Ricciardo ‘running out of races’ to celebrate Red Bull podiums after US retirement He won two of the first six races of 2018, and was being mooted as an outside bet for championship glory in the first third of the season. But since then, Daniel Ricciardo’s year has morphed into a proper annus horribilis – and that’s something that’s troubling the Australian as he prepares for his final three races as a Red Bull driver, following his retirement from the United States Grand Prix. Ricciardo had completed just eight laps at the Circuit of The Americas when his Red Bull RB14 appeared to shut itself down going into the tight Turn 11 – a problem his team believe was related to an issue with Ricciardo’s Energy Store - a malfunction that ruled him out of the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier in the season. “Everything switched off, so pretty much identical to what I had in Bahrain earlier in the year,” said Ricciardo following the race. “I think it’s a battery failure, I would suspect. But yeah, I couldn’t communicate to anyone, everything just switched off.” Asked if he could salvage any positives from the race, a dejected Ricciardo – who reportedly later punched a hole in his motorhome wall – shot back: “I can get myself to a bar sooner now, so that’s where I’m going.” The other place he is going is Renault, having made the shock decision to sign for the Anglo-French team in August. But having been with Red Bull Racing since 2014 – and with the Austrian energy drinks giant having supported his career since 2008 – Ricciardo revealed that he is now desperate to claim a bit more glory for the team that he’s won seven Grands Prix for before he makes his departure. “A lot of times this year there have been things out of my control but I can only keep trying,” said Ricciardo after his sixth mechanical retirement of the 18-race season so far. “The biggest shame is that I only have a handful of races left with Red Bull and I want to have more highs than we’ve had. I want to be able to celebrate with the team at least one more time and be on the podium to enjoy that feeling, but we’re running out of races, which is pretty tough to take at the moment.” Heading into those remaining three races in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, Ricciardo maintains his surprising statistic of having only finished on the podium twice this season – both times as the race winner. But with time ticking down on his Red Bull career, how dearly he would love to swill champagne one more time from a sweaty, dark blue Red Bull race boot.
  3. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    WILLIAMS PREVIEW THE MEXICAN GRAND PRIX We cross the border for the final leg of the last back-to-back of the season, as we visit Mexico City for Round 19 of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is the highest circuit on the Formula One calendar, located at 2240m above sea level, making the conditions challenging for both the team and drivers. We look forward to the weekend ahead, with Mexico City’s electric atmosphere and to the fans who come alive in the stadium section at turns 13 and 14 on race day. For Mexico, Pirelli has made available the supersoft, ultrasoft and hypersoft tyres. Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is another challenge for both teams and drivers given the high altitude of Mexico City. This predominantly tests the power unit, but also affects the cooling systems, as well as the drivers and pit crew. The thin air means less oxygen so it’s physically more challenging for everyone on the ground. The layout also has some unique features with the spectacular stadium at turns 13 and 14 which comes alive when full of fans on race day. For the second time in a row, the teams have another back-to-back to handle heading into the busy final stint of the season. Lance Stroll: The Mexican Grand Prix is probably one of my favourite tracks of the year. I love the city; the food is great, and the atmosphere is awesome. I had a great result in Mexico last year, finishing sixth which meant I was tenth in the Drivers’ Championship. It is a fun weekend, with a special vibe to the whole place, and last year I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 19th birthday on race day. In the stadium section you can’t hear the crowd, but you can feel the ground shake beneath you as the fans are so enthusiastic. Mexico is particularly challenging due to the high altitude and the car is very nervous, but these challenges are the same for everyone. Sergey Sirotkin: Mexico is a track which reminds me of Sochi. Due to the high location up in the mountains, the track produces a lot less drag and downforce, which causes the cars to behave quite differently. There is a big effect on the tyres, due to the long straight with low drag and one of the highest stopping speeds of the season. It is a challenging track for both the drivers and for the teams.
  4. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    FORCE INDIA PREVIEW THE MEXICAN GRAND PRIX Force India preview the Mexican Grand Prix weekend, Round 19 of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship, at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. Sergio Perez: “Racing in Mexico is the highlight of the season for me. The excitement each time we go back there is the same. When I see the busy grandstands, I feel very proud and the support from the people is fantastic. The energy of the crowd really motivates me and the drivers’ parade is always a very emotional moment. “It’s an extremely busy weekend for everybody: me, my team, the sponsors, but it’s still the best week of the entire season. To have my family and friends around me helps make this race even more special. I really want to give everybody a strong result to celebrate on Sunday. “The circuit is a big challenge. Because of the altitude, the track is slippery with low grip levels and it’s very easy to make a mistake or lose time. The long straight is usually your best chance for overtaking, but with these cars it’s never easy to pass.” Esteban Ocon: “The Mexico weekend is good fun. It’s a busy race for the team, of course, and we have quite a few events with partners during the week, so we get to see a bit of the city as well. It’s Checo’s home race so the whole team is busy from the moment we land! “The atmosphere when you get to the track is special. Mexicans love sport and the passion they show for Formula One is incredible. The best part is to drive in the stadium section when the grandstands are full. I think all the drivers enjoy the buzz and emotions you get from such a massive crowd. “It’s a good track to drive, but it’s a tough one. You’re at very high altitude and this really affects the set-up – it’s difficult to find a good balance. The cars are set up with high-downforce, but it feels like low downforce. You lack grip and the car feels very slippery, especially at the start of the weekend, but you soon get used to it.” Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO: “With just three races to go it’s important we keep picking up points as we try to chase down sixth place in the championship. It’s never easy in the middle of the grid and the pace of the teams around us is pretty similar, which means we need to deliver a perfect weekend to come out on top. Things didn’t go our way in Austin last Sunday for various reasons, but I think we can be more competitive in Mexico. “Aside from the racing, the Mexico race always feels extra special for everybody in the team. There’s huge attention on Checo and we have several Mexican partners who carry out big activations across the city. The Mexican fans are some of the most passionate in the world and it makes for a fantastic event. Every year we go there and receive the same warm welcome. Mexico definitely shows Formula One at its best.”
  5. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    HAAS PREVIEW THE MEXICAN GRAND PRIX After racing on home soil this past weekend in the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, Haas F1 Team heads south of the border for the Mexican Grand Prix Sunday at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City. The 4.304-kilometer (2.674-mile), 17-turn circuit has hosted Formula One since 1963, but in preparation for Formula One’s return in 2015 after a 22-year hiatus, it was completely revamped. Noted track designer Hermann Tilke penned the new layout, which followed the general outline of the original course. The entire track was resurfaced, with new pit, paddock and spectator stands constructed. The most notable changes from the old layout to the current version were an added sequence of corners comprising turns one, two and three, along with a revised set of corners through the Foro Sol baseball stadium, which was built inside the famed and feared Perlatada corner, which serves as the track’s final turn. The new asphalt made for a slippery surface in 2015 and despite another year of weathering, it remained slick in 2017. Even as the refurbished track readies for its fourth year of Formula One action, drivers and teams alike expect grip to be elusive. The smooth pavement is one factor, but Mexico City’s notoriously thin air is another significant contributor. Sitting 2,200 meters (7,218 feet) above sea level, Mexico City’s high altitude means there is less downforce on the cars. To compensate for this, teams run more downforce than they would at similarly fast tracks like Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale Monza and Azerbaijan’s Baku City Circuit. But with top speeds in the neighborhood of 370 kph (230 mph), teams have to compromise between straight-line speed and the downforce necessary to push through the track’s corners. Cooling is another issue facing teams in the Mexican Grand Prix. The thinner air means the turbo has to spin at a higher rate to inject more oxygen into the engine, and with the brakes being used for approximately 21 percent of the race’s 71-lap duration, keeping those brakes cool adds another degree of difficulty. Haas F1 Team is up for the challenge, with drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen eager to get back on track and vie for points in their quest for best best-of-the-rest among Formula One’s midfield. The American squad is fifth in the constructors’ standings with 84 points, 22 points behind fourth-place Renault with a 26-point advantage over sixth-place McLaren. With only three races remaining in the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship, the midfield battle is incredibly tight. Points are highly coveted by all, but with the super teams of Mercedes, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull typically consuming six of the top-10 point-paying positions, the seven other teams on the grid scrape and claw for the remaining four spots and the valuable points that come with them. Shut out of the points at COTA, Haas F1 Team seeks an elevated position in the constructors’ standings with a high-end performance in the elevation of Mexico City. Guenther Steiner, Team Principal Magnussen had an incredible race in last year’s Mexican Grand Prix. After qualifying 18th, he finished eighth, and he had to hold off Lewis Hamilton during the final four laps to do so. He said that result felt like a victory. What do you remember about that drive and what did it feel like for you? GS: “I think it was one of those days in racing where everything just goes right. He did a great job to hold off the world champion, so for sure, it felt like a victory. It was a great result for the team, because if you qualify 18th, you’re not counting on getting points.” Haas F1 Team has done a very good job of managing its power unit allotment this year, which decreased from four in 2017 to three in 2018. How have you been able to rotate power units to where you can work within these rules and still have the best power unit available for a race? GS: “I think we can, but we’re not at the end of the year, so I don’t want to be optimistic. Our plan is to live within our allocation of three power units and not get any penalties. That is the aim. There are still three races to go but, hopefully, we can achieve it because Ferrari is doing a good job. All the other power units in all the other Ferrari-powered cars are still on target.” Haas F1 Team uses Ferrari power, and in 2018 that power has never been better. How has the team’s chassis and Ferrari power complemented one another? GS: “You can see in the results that we’re achieving. We’re fighting for fourth place in the constructors’ championship. That’s credit to what Ferrari does and what we do.” How much does Mexico City’s altitude affect the car, from engine performance to brake performance to aero performance? GS: “The biggest effect comes from losing aero performance because of the thinner air. A turbo engine doesn’t lose as much power as an aspirated one. A big issue is the cooling of the engine, because of the altitude. I think in the last two years we’ve learned a lot. Hopefully, this year we adapt better and have a good result.” Grip has always been in short supply at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. How do you compensate for the lack of grip? GS: “This year we have more downforce than we’ve ever had before. Our plan is to use that. With downforce, you create grip. The aim is to have a good car like all the other places we’ve had this season.” Finding grip means getting the tires into their proper working window. With 18 races having been run this season, have you discovered any tricks to the trade in getting a particular tire compound into its appropriate working range, and if so, how do you keep it there? GS: “There are no tricks, it’s all hard work. The addition of one of our engineers, Hiroshi Tomitsuka, has helped a lot in our understanding of the tires better. It’s just a lot of hard work and data crunching to get the tire working in the best window.” Explain what you do in qualifying to get the tires into their proper working range so you can extract the maximum amount of performance out of them for a fast lap. GS: “What you try to do is get the tire to the temperature you want to have it for when you cross the start-finish line. At the beginning of the lap, at turn one, you’re already in the temperature window, then you’re not running too hot when you come out of the last turn. Every track is different and every day is different because of the temperature. It’s a very difficult task, and it’s very difficult to do it mathematically. It also involves a lot of driver feeling – what is best to do. Then with the traffic coming into play, sometimes you want to achieve a target, but you cannot because you’re on your out-lap in traffic and you cannot achieve the temperatures. It’s a very difficult task, but it’s the same for everybody. It’s a lot of planning and there’s a lot of management involved in it.” Romain Grosjean You’ve been taking part in pit practice lately. What roles have you played during these practice sessions and what has it been like to see pit stops from outside the racecar? RG: “It’s actually quite fun. You know, I never changed a wheel before the Japanese Grand Prix. I was asked to come and push the car, because I’m part of the Operational 60, which I find surprising but, anyway, I was part of it. I got there and was asked if I’d ever changed a wheel. I said no, so I had a go. I loved it. I’m glad I don’t have to do it in a race. That’s a lot of pressure for the guys and it’s hard work. It’s great to spend time like this, though, and to get to do what the boys are doing every weekend. I did it again in Austin. I pushed the car. It’s quite hard work, it’s a heavy thing.” If you weren’t a driver, what position would you want to have on the pit crew? RG: “Definitely not the front jack. Definitely not the rear jack. I would go for the gun.” How much does Mexico City’s altitude affect the car, from engine performance to brake performance to aero performance? RG: “Because we’ve got an engine turbo, we don’t lose that much performance. So, that’s a positive of the turbo era. Then, of course, the cooling of the engine, the cooling of the brakes, the downforce you get is very low compared to the wing you’re running. We have to work with it. I’m hoping we’re more prepared this year than in previous years. Hopefully, we can have a good race.” How much does Mexico City’s altitude affect you physically, especially during the race? RG: “Not so much. I guess I’m used to the height from the mountains in Switzerland.” Grip has always been in short supply at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. How do you compensate for the lack of grip? RG: “That I don’t know yet. It’s a work in progress. Hopefully, this year I’m much better than I was last year.” Finding grip means getting the tires into their proper working window. With 18 races having been run this season, have you discovered any tricks to the trade in getting a particular tire compound into its appropriate working range, and if so, how do you keep it there? RG: “I think as the season goes on you’re always better toward the end than you were at the beginning. You know more things. We have a very limited amount of testing, so the races become tests as well. If you had the knowledge you have at the end of the year at the beginning, you’d be much better. Every year is a new start. It’s fresh, and with everything new, it’s difficult. I think we’re getting stronger every year. We’re getting better and better. We’re using every opportunity to get more experience.” Explain what you do in qualifying to get the tires into their proper working range so you can extract the maximum amount of performance out of them for a fast lap. RG: “It depends a lot on the circuit. Some circuits you need a slow out-lap not to heat the tires too hard. Other circuits you really need to push hard on the out-lap to generate the temperature and the grip. It really does change circuit to circuit. We just have to go and see.” The stadium section seems to be the most talked about portion of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez because of its sheer scope. What is it like to go through that area with all the fans in attendance during the driver’s parade, and what is it like to drive through there at speed during the race? RG: “There’s a great atmosphere in Mexico. It’s probably one of the best of the year. The driver parade, going through the stadium, is special. During the race you don’t see it, but after the checkered flag, it’s great to see it. The podium being there makes for a great image. It looks awesome from the outside.” What is your favourite part about Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez? RG: “I like the first three corners. They’re pretty good.” Describe a lap around Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. RG: “Long straight line going into turn one with big braking, 90 degrees right-hand side, followed by a small chicane. It’s very important to get the second part right because you’ve got another long straight line. Then you’ve got another 90-degree left corner, and then a 90-degree right corner. That’s followed by a very weird double right-hander. It’s very difficult to find a line. Then you go to the middle section which is flowing, with mid- to high-speed left and right corners. Next it’s the entry to the stadium – big braking here, very tricky with the wall facing you. Then it’s a very slow hairpin in the stadium, as slow as Monaco. Finally, it’s the double right-hand corner with very important traction going into the old part of the oval to finish the lap.” Kevin Magnussen You had an incredible race in last year’s Mexican Grand Prix. After qualifying 18th, you finished eighth, but you had to hold off Lewis Hamilton during the final four laps to earn that result. How did you work your way to the front and what did you have to do to keep Hamilton behind you? KM: “Last year’s Mexican Grand Prix was great for us. We didn’t qualify very well, but we made our way back in the race to eighth. We were able to capitalize on other people’s mistakes. It got us into a great position, and then I fought that position hard until the end of the race to bring home some good points on a weekend that didn’t look like we were going to score points.” How much does Mexico City’s altitude affect the car, from engine performance to brake performance to aero performance? KM: “The altitude affects mainly the aero. These engines are turbo engines, and we’re also very dependent on electric energy, so the percentage that we lose is less than it used to be. We lose downforce from the thin air, we then lose drag as well, and we also lose cooling. We have to open the car more to get that cooling, both on the brakes and the engine and the oil, on everything. That then compromises the efficiency of the car. It’s the same for everyone. We’re all dealing with it.” How much does Mexico City’s altitude affect you physically, especially during the race? KM: “You don’t really notice it so much. You can feel that the air is thinner, that you have to breathe a bit more, but you get used to it.” Grip has always been in short supply at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. How do you compensate for the lack of grip? KM: “You need a lot of downforce there. As the air is thin, you lose downforce. It’s pretty tricky. You can see the effect it has on top speeds. Because the air is so thin, you don’t have a lot of drag from the air down the straight. Our maximum speeds go very high.” The stadium section seems to be the most talked about portion of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez because of its sheer scope. What is it like to go through that area with all the fans in attendance during the driver’s parade, and what is it like to drive through there at speed during the race? KM: “You don’t really pay attention as the race is going on and you’re competing. You sense it on the driver parade and after the race. You also get the atmosphere every time you arrive and leave the circuit. You see all the fans going crazy. That’s what makes the Mexican Grand Prix special – it’s the fans more than anything.” What is your favourite part about Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez? KM: “I would say the stadium section.” Describe a lap around Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. KM: “Fast, low-grip and difficult.” Your dad, Jan, has been able to carve an impressive sports car career in the United States, most recently by winning the 2018 GTLM driver and team championships in IMSA. What’s it been like to have parallel racing careers, albeit in different series? KM: “It’s all I’ve known. I feel like it’s something that we enjoy. It’s interesting the conversations that we can have between ourselves. We always try and learn from each other, which is cool when you’re father and son. We can talk about our passion on such a professional level. We race in two different worlds, but it’s interesting to get insight into each other’s world.” You were actually able to see your dad win this year’s championship in person at Road Atlanta. What was that like and had you ever been in that position before? KM: “I’m so happy I went to watch the race. We had a great time. My brother and sister were there, as well. I was hanging out with them, spending time with them – it’s rare that I get to do that. That was a bonus, a big bonus. In general, watching my dad race is great. I enjoyed it so much. Nowadays, it’s so rare that I get to do it. For him to then win the championship, the one time I come see him, it’s just great.” Is racing with your dad something you’d like to do in the not-so-distant future? If so, is there a specific race where you’d like to compete with your dad? KM: “It’s very difficult to say what kind of opportunities we might get to do in the near future. Certainly, I hope he continues to race long enough so we can go and do a race like Le Mans or Daytona together. It would be a dream come true to compete at such a high level with my dad.”
  6. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    RENAULT PREVIEW MEXICAN GRAND PRIX Renault Sport Formula One Team previews the nineteenth race weekend of the 2018 Formula 1 season, the Mexican Grand Prix. Drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz share their thoughts on the challenges of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, while Cyril Abiteboul and Nick Chester give the latest on the team and on the Renault R.S.18-R.E.18 package. Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing: “We enter the Mexican Grand Prix on the back of a strong result in Austin with both cars not only well inside the top ten, but placing 1-2 behind the leading teams, a result already obtained in Montréal earlier this season. After an admittedly tough few races, this result arrived at an important moment in our season, not only for the 14-point gain on our closest rivals, but also for the demonstration of the genuine potential of our ’race team-car-drivers’ combination.” Nico Hülkenberg: “Everything is still possible for us; three races remain and we have to back this result up in Mexico. We know it won’t be easy, but the result in Austin will give everyone at Enstone and Viry a boost. We’ll take these next three races a step at a time and aim for double points at each weekend.” Carlos Sainz: “We definitely had better pace in Austin and hopefully we can carry this on through Mexico and the remaining races. We need to keep scoring points. We can’t stay comfortable as we know anything can happen between now and the end of the season, but this result definitely gives us a boost and we have to relish this and repeat the form in Mexico.”
  7. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    MCLAREN PREVIEW THE MEXICAN GRAND PRIX McLaren preview the Mexican Grand Prix weekend, Round 19 of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship, at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. Lowdown The Essentials Focus points Altitude. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is situated at 2,200 metres, which is three times higher than F1’s next highest track (Interlagos in Brazil). The thinner air affects the cars in three significant ways. First, they produce less downforce. The cars run maximum downforce, yet they produce less aerodynamic grip than at Monza. Second, the internal combustion unit produces less power because there’s 75 per cent less oxygen than at sea level and, third, it’s harder to cool the car. Most demanding section The Stadium (Turns 13-16). This is the slowest section on the lap and a lot of time can be lost if traction or turn-in are a problem. It’s easy for the drivers to lock the unloaded front tyre on the approach to Turn 13 and they have to be progressive with the throttle, or risk snap oversteer. Unique difficulty Aerodynamics. The thin air allows cars to run similar wing levels to the Singapore Grand Prix, yet they produce 10 per cent less downforce than at Monza – the lowest downforce track of the year. As a result, the cars produce very little drag and are spectacularly quick along the 1.3km/0.8-mile pit straight. The drivers are on full throttle for 15s and top speeds peak at 354km/h (220mph) just prior to the braking zone. Race Engineer’s Lowdown Braking The cars spend 16s per lap on the brakes. The hardest deceleration is into Turn One, where the cars slow from 354km/h (220mph) to 106km/h (66mph) in just 70 metres, with a peak longitudinal force of 4.2g. The high altitude makes brake cooling one of the trickiest engineering conundrums of the season. Power The cars use 1.4kg of fuel per lap, with 47 per cent spent on full throttle. Aero High downforce. The cars run maximum downforce yet produce less aerodynamic grip than at Monza, due to the thinner air at high altitude. The reduced drag from the cars results in some of the highest top speeds of the year along the pit straight. Fernando Alonso: “I’m looking forward to being in Mexico in a few days. Fans always welcome us in such a warm and enthusiastic way, and once again we’ll be visiting around the ‘day of the dead’ time, when the whole city seems to be celebrating. “The atmosphere at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is also unique, especially in the Stadium section, where the view is overwhelming and you get so close to the fans that you can even hear them roaring when you drive through. “I want to put the disappointing race in Austin behind me as quickly as possible, so I can’t wait to be in the car again in three days.” Stoffel Vandoorne: “The track in Mexico is very special because of the altitude. We all run maximum downforce, but because of the altitude it actually makes it lower than Monza. That makes the cars very tricky to drive. We will also return to the Hypersoft tyre this year, so it’ll be interesting to see how that behaves. “The Stadium section is amazing – I remember the fans last year were going crazy there. It was a packed race and they were cheering for everyone as they drove through, which made for a great atmosphere. “Mexico City is a cool place. Everyone is really friendly and the food is great too. I’m looking forward to a fun weekend and hopefully some positive results on track.” Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: “From one great grand prix venue to another, we go to Mexico on the back of a busy week in Austin. Back-to-back races are never easy, particularly for the crew when we have to repair a lot of damage. “The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is somewhat unique in many ways, not least because of the high altitude and one of the longest straights on the calendar, which present several challenges for the engineers both on the engine side and the chassis. In the past, this layout has provided exciting races with lots of overtaking, and I expect this year’s Mexican Grand Prix to be no different. “Lando will once again be in the car in FP1 on Friday morning, and will gain valuable experience of another new track. “We go into the weekend with the same mindset as ever, undeterred by our most recent results and with a sharp focus on maximising our potential, which is all can influence.”
  8. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    Renault rivals frustrated by Sainz penalty Renault's Formula 1 rivals Force India and Haas are frustrated by the leniency of the five-second track limit penalty that Carlos Sainz got in the United States Grand Prix. Sainz started 11th and ran wide exiting Turn 1, but went on to finish sixth ahead of the Force India and Haas drivers. The Spaniard served his penalty during his pitstop on lap 24 of 56, but it did not cost him any positions. Haas boss Gunther Steiner complained that it took took too long for the stewards to react. “Our team manager will bring it to the Sporting Working Group,” Steiner said. “You cut the corner, take an advantage, and then it takes five laps to realise that somebody did something, it takes another five laps [to react] – and you are gone by then because everybody’s stuck. "Then they give you five-seconds, which means nothing, because you’re gone. It’s wrong. “They need to say that if they catch you after five or 10 laps, you need to go back to your original position, and lose the positions, or give a bigger penalty. "Otherwise if you’re clever enough, and some people are clever enough to play this as a strategy, just cut it knowing that you get five seconds, and try to drag it out. "Because on the first lap there are so many incidents, and the stewards deal with the incidents on importance. For sure the front [of the field] is more important. “If you would replay this race and Sainz was put back in the position where he started, the race would have developed completely differently. "I think nobody thinks about this because nobody really cares, but we should care.” Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer said the penalty was too light. “Sainz ran wide and gained an advantage,” said Szafnauer. “He braked really late, and the fact that he went off the track to overtake everybody, and he got a five-second penalty, isn’t really commensurate with what he did. "And it’s not in line with the regulations. It should have been a stop and go or 10 seconds if he doesn’t give the place back.” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said the penalty was correct. He added: “When you have the sort of situation you had in Abu Dhabi last year, where Nico Hulkenberg overtook, knowing that a five-second penalty would be the likely penalty. "He easily gained more than five seconds so it was worthwhile doing - that’s why we’ve issued a new set of guidelines to the stewards. "The teams are aware of it, where if we think it’s being done deliberately, they will take a wholly different view. “But on the first corner of the first lap it was a bit of a muddle up there, and it was quite clear that he went up the outside of [Charles] Leclerc, and then went around and went very wide. "It looks as if he followed Sebastian [Vettel] a little bit, and then he came back on and was in front. I think you have to say he gained an advantage by doing that. “But as far as the penalty is concerned, I think it’s the standard penalty. "It wasn’t something where he did it deliberately thinking I’ll do this on purpose to be able to open up a gap."
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    Rule Vettel broke is "easy to follow" - Whiting FIA race director Charlie Whiting believes Formula 1’s red-flag rules are an “easy thing to follow” and that Sebastian Vettel simply did not do a good enough job at Austin. Vettel picked up a three-place grid penalty for last weekend’s United States Grand Prix after failing to slow sufficiently when red flags were thrown in practice on Friday. F1’s rules were tightened this year to enforce a mini-sector delta time between marshal points on the circuit. Onboard video footage of Vettel’s car through the esses, the part of the track in question, showed he had backed off significantly but he still managed to breach the rule. “I think it is better to have the hard and fast rule because we are continually asked how much they have to slow down,” Whiting said when asked by Motorsport.com about the argument between a clear ruling and a common sense approach. “So, it’s like with more or less everything the teams do with the cars. They want to know how far they can push it. “It’s a clear limit and it’s an easy thing to follow. I just think it was a driver mistake.” The red-flag rules are enshrined in Article 31.6 of the sporting regulations, which were revised this year to include the new delta time. Now the rules state that “drivers must stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU at least once in each marshalling sector” during a red-flag period. This is also how speeds under safety cars and virtual safety cars are monitored. Whiting said it “seemed at odds” not to have the same system for red flags. “It was a logical thing to do, the teams felt, to use exactly the same system,” he added. “We’ve had three cases now where drivers have failed to stick to that. “One of them was a mistake from a driver who admitted what he’d done, that was Daniel [Ricciardo] in Australia. Esteban [Ocon] was in Suzuka and Seb this time. “I don’t know exactly what they did or why they didn’t adhere to the delta time but they seem to manage it perfectly well when the safety car or VSC is out. “So, I don’t know whether it’s a matter of whether drivers don’t remember, perhaps. “It’s pretty clear, as every light panel is showing bright red. It’s not as if you can actually miss it. “But he did. He didn’t do a good enough job on that particular occasion.” Addressing the severity of the penalty, Whiting pointed out that the FIA’s guidelines actually reference a five-place grid penalty for red-flag offences. He explained that the stewards’ decision to impose a three-place grid penalty on Ricciardo set a precedent. “If someone doesn’t slow down for a red flag it’s serious, I think,” said Whiting. “When you look at it in the cold light of day it is a bad thing not to slow down enough for a red flag, however you dress it up.”
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    FORMULA 1

    FIA set to discuss wheel rim controversy with teams Formula 1 teams now look set to be involved in talks with the FIA about the controversy over wheel rims, amid the recent focus surrounding what Mercedes has been up to. Ahead of the United States Grand Prix, Ferrari asked the FIA for clarification about why a Mercedes concept of holes in the wheel rims was not considered a moveable aerodynamic device – as it acted in a similar way to something Red Bull had been banned from doing in 2012. Motorsport.com learned that the FIA looked into exactly what Mercedes was doing with its wheel rim and hubs, and found it to fully comply with the regulations. But after Ferrari made it clear at the United States Grand Prix that it did not agree with the FIA interpretation, Mercedes elected to modify its rims to avoid any potential risks of a protest from its rival. With ongoing uncertainty about where things stand now, F1 race director Charlie Whiting has suggested that it may be best to add the topic to the agenda of the new Technical Working Group. “I don’t think a clarification is needed because we’ve already done that, everyone’s aware of what we feel,” said Whiting, when asked by Motorsport.com about the latest situation. “I think there’s still a difference of opinion and that probably needs to be sorted out in the technical working group.” Although the issue of the Mercedes wheel rims has mainly involved the Silver Arrows and main rival Ferrari so far, other outfits think the issue could grow in significance if nothing is done. Renault F1 technical director Nick Chester said that teams were likely to be pushing ideas for blown rims even harder in 2019 because of the new aero rules. “A lot of people blow through the spokes anyway, so it’s not something that is totally new, but people tend to blow further outboard,” he said. “I think there will be a few interesting interpretations for next year. It is even more important with the 2019 rules because you are struggling to get the front wing to outwash the air as much as you would like. "So if you can do more in the wheel it becomes even more important.”
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    Renault needed "remobilisation" after recent struggles Renault Sport president Jerome Stoll says that the French manufacturer undertook an internal review after struggling in recent races, and it was that process helped it bounce back in Austin. Renault has come under increased pressure from Haas in the battle for fourth place in the Formula 1 constructors' standings, with the exclusion of Romain Grosjean at Monza, which remains under appeal, giving it some breathing space. Renault scored only 10 points in the first five races after the summer break, but in Austin Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz finished sixth and seventh. The subsequent disqualification of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen from ninth place further helped to boost its advantage over Haas to 22 points with just three races remaining. “We needed these points, definitely,” Stoll told Motorsport.com. “We had an objective for the year to be P4. "We had, in the last two or three races, some slowdown in our performance, but now everybody is back in the race. “The remobilisation of everyone was necessary. We had internal meetings in order to motivate everybody towards this objective, and I’m very happy that eventually delivered what we were expecting. “Race after race we have to confirm that we are on our target. For me the objective of the year was P4. "We were in a very good position in the first part of the season, and suddenly we realised that we had to remain mobilised, everybody, all the team, and this race has demonstrated that it’s possible to remain on the objective that we have.” Stoll cautioned that the team cannot afford to back off as the end of the season approaches: “When you look at the differences between the teams, it’s very, very small. It was in our favour [in Austin], but we have to be carefully not to suddenly relax. “The mobilisation is absolutely necessary for everybody until the last race. We have to remain motivated and concentrated. It’s not done. One race doesn’t make the season.”
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    Lewis Hamilton empathises with backmarkers, lays blame at current F1 car design Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton has defended Formula 1's slower teams, after claims that he got frustrated with getting caught in slower traffic during the United States Grand Prix. The lead trio of Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen and Hamilton had the challenge of overhauling lapped traffic through the closing stages of a pulsating race at Austin. Raikkonen expressed displeasure with one of the Williams drivers while Hamilton sternly called for blue flags while getting caught up in the traffic. When asked if lapped cars should face further action if they don't promptly move out of the way for the leaders, Hamilton said: "I don't think it's entirely the backmarkers’ fault, as I said here, tyre pressures had gone up, it's very hard to follow. "So as soon as you get within, it's even five seconds, you feel the wake from the car, it hits. The car starts sliding more, so the advantage you have starts to disappear the closer you get. “They've got a race to do, they shouldn't have to let off massively to give several seconds to you, so it’s a bit of a difficult scenario. "For example, I was stuck behind two Toro Rossos, but I couldn't get close enough as the tyres were getting worse and worse and I wasn't getting close enough for them to lift off. So it is a difficult one. It wasn't anywhere near as bad as somewhere like Singapore for example." Too hard to follow, hopes for changes in 2021 The championship leader has put a large part of the blame on the design of the current generation of cars, which make it extremely difficult for drivers to follow each other in close proximity. Hamilton is hoping his former Mercedes boss Ross Brawn, who is now F1's director of motorsport, can help shape the regulations for 2021 and beyond in a way which can allow for much closer racing. He added: "[There are] still fundamental issues in Formula 1 being that you can't follow, so there are still big gaps between us all, so I really, really hope what Ross, the team and the guys are doing. "I hope they're making some good decisions for 2021 so that there is not a second and a half that you need to get close to a car, hope it's a lot less than that. “If we can get a lot less than that, we can have the best racing series ever. "Naturally, I think that's a fundamental issue of the sport. There shouldn't be such a difference first and last. Shouldn't be such a massive difference between cars. "How a Williams or McLaren can be seconds off a lap, that's a huge amount of performance. “I think they've got to change the rules to allow that gap to close so we can have more awesome racing. It's got the potential to be the greatest racing series there is. "Look at MotoGP and they're fighting wheel to wheel, corner to corner.”
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    BRAWN REPORT USA: KIMI HAS PUT THE ICING ON THE CAKE Ross Brawn reflects on a massive week for Formula 1, on-track and off-track, in the United States which was topped by Kimi Räikkönen’s superlative return to the top step of the podium in Austin but it wasn’t just in Texas that the sport enjoyed an amazing weekend. Formula 1 Managing Director, Motorsport, Ross Brawn report from Circuit of the Americas: It’s taken 113 races to see Kimi Räikkönen back on the top step of the podium and his win in Austin was truly well deserved. Kimi produced a perfect drive, making no mistakes after a brilliant start. He managed the tyres intelligently and kept his cool in the closing stages when he had Verstappen and Hamilton breathing down his neck. His victory owed much to his choice of running Ultrasofts to make the cut from Q2 in Saturday’s qualifying, while his teammate and the Mercedes duo opted for the Supersofts. I imagine that Ferrari had suggested this to him partly in light of Vettel’s penalty, thinking he could get the better of Hamilton and let the German catch up. The plan worked, given that Kimi immediately made the most of the extra grip of the softer tyres to pass Hamilton at the start. However, because of Vettel’s mistake and subsequent spin it fell to the Finn to at least try to win the race. And that’s just what he did with great style. With only three more races to go until the end of his second stint at Ferrari, Kimi has put the icing on the cake, towards the end of what has been a very strong season; definitely his best in recent years. He really deserves the success, because he has always been unstintingly professional and a true team player. He is one of the most popular drivers with the fans, which was clear to see in Austin. I’m really happy that he’s managed to achieve this goal which I’m sure is really dear to him. On a weekend on which Kimi demonstrated that the Ferrari was once again really quick, the other side of the coin is represented by Sebastian Vettel, who was again no stranger to mistakes. On Friday there was a small one, when he failed to slow sufficiently for red flags, and he paid the price with a three-place penalty. Then, in the race, he yet again collided with a Red Bull, this time Ricciardo’s, and once again Vettel came off worst. It was another lost opportunity to close the gap in the title fight, especially when we saw what Räikkönen did with the same car. I certainly don’t want to put Vettel in the dock, but these incidents can no longer be seen as coincidence, but rather they would seem to indicate that Sebastian is a bit out of sorts at the moment. It’s a shame because this year, the Maranello team has been able to give him a really competitive car right – right from the start of the season. Since the start of the hybrid era, Mercedes has never faced such stiff opposition and has never had to push development as much as it has this year. That’s down to the men and women who work at Ferrari and obviously, that includes the drivers. Now, any hope of bringing the Drivers’ title back to Maranello is dwindling and the time has come to do the maths. Their most important task is to work out how to help Vettel make the most of his massive talent. You don’t become a four time world champion for no reason and Sebastian has definitely not forgotten how to win. In a sport as complicated as Formula 1, you only reach your goals if all the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place. If just one piece is missing everything is compromised. The decisive moment of the Grand Prix came on lap 11, when the Virtual Safety Car was deployed in order to allow the marshals to clear away Ricciardo’s Red Bull. Hamilton and his strategists elected to use the caution to make a pit stop that would cost them little time. Indeed, with the field having to drive slowly, Lewis rejoined the race having lost just one position, and only a few seconds, to Räikkönen. However, while that was the plus side, the downside was that Hamilton lost out to the Finn in terms of the tyres compounds chosen, given that the Supersoft was probably the better tyre over a long stint, as Verstappen also proved. So, with what was still quite a heavy car, the series leader had to really push hard to close up to the Ferrari man and that definitely impacted on tyre life. He thus had to make a second stop on lap 37. At this point, there was still a possibility that he could recover and try to go for the win, but Lewis again took on the Softs, a rather conservative choice, given that even with fresher tyres he could not get past Max Verstappen. Of course, it should be stressed that Lewis didn’t have to win, given that at the time of his first pit stop, Vettel was still a long way back. However, Hamilton’s run of four straight wins has come to an end, but he still edged slightly closer to his fifth title. Now, he just has to be patient and delay the festivities for at least another week. The three drivers on the podium crossed the line within the same three seconds. They all ran different tyre strategies, through choice in the case of Räikkönen and Hamilton and by necessity for Verstappen who started from the penultimate row of the grid. That’s unusual in Formula 1, where the level of sophistication in terms of simulation and strategy is so high that one doesn’t usually get such a variance, especially when it involves the top three teams. This was probably down to the fact that no one had been able to run dry weather tyres on Friday as the track was wet throughout the three hours of practice. That meant the teams had less data than usual on which to base their race plans, and thus the margin for error increased. To use a football metaphor, when two teams play perfectly, a nil-all draw is the logical conclusion. In Formula 1, when the simulations are all worked out to the smallest detail, then they all converge towards the same best possible strategy. So does less data produce a better show? It’s definitely more uncertain and therefore another topic for discussion when looking at ways to make our sport even more exciting, from the first lap to the last, as was the case this Sunday in Austin. Max Verstappen is visibly maturing as a driver. In Austin, the Dutchman did not get demoralised after qualifying went wrong. Nor did a further drop down the grid to P18 due to a gearbox change cause Max to overcompensate. Instead he retained his focus, made a stunning start on Soft tyres and shot off in overtaking mode. By the end of the opening lap, he was already ninth, though some of that was down to the misfortune of others ahead of him. He quickly rose to fifth and then claimed fourth place on lap nine, following the retirement of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. From then on, the Verstappen switched to tyre management mode, which meant he had a real chance of winning the race from the midpoint onwards, when it was clear that the Supersofts his team chose for his second stint worked better than the Softs his rivals were running. Verstappen tried to overhaul Räikkönen, but even on a track where overtaking opportunities exist, following a leading car remains a tough task. In the end the Red Bull driver had to focus more on fending off a hard-charging Hamilton than on attacking Kimi and over the final few laps he was forced to switch to defensive mode, which was admirable and I can well understand why he was so happy at the flag. It was a drive worthy of a champion: well done Max!
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    ALONSO: F1 THE ONLY MOTORSPORT WHERE TALENT IS NOT ENOUGH Fernando Alonso continues to pull no punches in his criticism of Formula 1 as the sun sets on his career in the top flight, the veteran Spaniard has taken another swipe at the sport that gave him so much by claiming that talent alone is not enough to succeed at the pinnacle of the sport. Using Mclaren teammate Stoffel Vandoorne as an example, Alonso explained, “[Stoffel] won in every category he ever did, but Formula 1 is the only discipline in motor racing where talent is not enough to overcome the weaknesses of the car.” “[He] was unlucky to be with McLaren at this time, with the cars he had at his disposal in these two years I think it’s a good thing for him to change,” added Alonso with reference to Vandoorne’s axing from the Woking outfit and finding refuge in Formula E. Statistically, Alonso destroyed Vandoorne, outqualifying all this season and for a large chunk of the previous one too. This year the Spaniard has tallied up 50 points while his teammate only managed eight. The Belgian 25-year-old arrived on the F1 scene with a splendid junior career CV, winning in every series he competed in, including the 2015 GP2 series, Formula 2 of the time. His F1 debut in Bahrain as a substitute for injured Alonso in 2016 was stellar, outqualifying and beating veteran Jenson Button in the sister McLaren. He replaced Button in 2017 with high expectations, but two seasons down the road exposed Vandoorne and quite remarkably his own boss, Zak Brown, recently lamented his driver’s lack of aggression despite previously encouraging other F1 teams to hire the man he fired. The McLaren chief said of the driver of car #2, “He’s a very, very nice guy, but maybe he should have been a bit more aggressive with us. When Fernando doesn’t like something about the car, he does not hesitate to raise his voice. Maybe for Stoffel it was more difficult for him to do that in this environment.” Which flies against Alonso’s claim that Vandoorne’s talents have been stifled, rather suggesting he did not have the ‘right stuff’ when he was thrust into the pressure cooker that is Formula 1. He is not the first driver (or last) with an impressive junior career to step-up only to falter on the big stage. When the lights go out at Yas Marina Circuit after the season finale, Alonso will have competed in 312 Formula 1 races, finishing on the podium on 97 occasions, 32 times as a winner and along the way picked up the 2005 and 2006 F1 world titles with Renault. With a full Indycar season out of the question, Alonso is likely to focus on his two-horse race WEC programme with Toyota Gazoo Racing where he is favourite to win the SuperSeason world championship, having already won Le Mans earlier this year. The 37-year-old is targeting the elusive Triple Crown of Motorsport, only victory at the Indy 500 remains for him to claim the accolade only enjoyed by the late Graham Hill. Additionally, in his quest “to be the most complete driver in motorsport, Alonso is looking to tackle, to win, the world’s most iconic races.
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    WOLFF: THE CHAMPIONSHIP FIGHT IS FAR FROM OVER [!!!] Lewis Hamilton needs only finish seventh or higher at Mexican Grand Prix to seal the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship and become a five times World Champion, four times with Mercedes whose boss Toto Wolff is still refusing to throw caution to the wind. It is important to note that Hamilton can ‘finish seventh or higher’ in any one of the next three races, with only one DNF on his scorecard this season it is hard to imagine the title going anywhere else. Mexico is likely to be the venue of the coronation but Wolff is still being cautious, “The US Grand Prix confirmed what we said before the race: This year’s championship fight is far from over. While Lewis was able to extend his lead over Sebastian Vettel in Austin, we lost points to Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.” “We have a battle on our hands and we will have to keep pushing to win both titles. We cannot be happy with the result in Texas, but it provides us with an opportunity to learn and come back stronger. “Our next stop brings us to Mexico City where we will face a very different challenge. The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is an outlier given its high altitude and the demands this puts on the cars and power units.” “It has been one of the weaker tracks for us in previous years and we expect a hard fight with Ferrari and Red Bull. The weather forecast predicts conditions similar to those we had in Austin which might throw everyone another curveball by limiting dry running.” “We know that it is not going to be an easy race, but everyone in the team is focused, motivated and determined to keep the pressure on until the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi,” added the Mercedes team chief. Hamilton needs to be 50 points or more ahead of title rival Sebastian Vettel after the race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to seal the deal – thus seventh will do it – while Mercedes lead the constructors’ standings by 66 points with three rounds remaining.

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