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DRIVERS CALL FOR CHANGE AS RED BULL AND RENAULT SAGA LINGERS

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Two drivers from Red Bull’s Formula 1 stable are urging for change to end the engine crisis that has plagued both teams owned by the energy drinks conglomerate, amid a looming divorce from Renault.
Both struggling around the long blasts of Spa-Francorchamps with their Renault power unit, Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat and Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen make no secret that they would like more power for 2016.
“Personally, I hope that this moment will come to an end as soon as possible,” said Russian Kvyat in Belgium.
“It is clear that we want to fight at the front in the near future. I don’t know how this can be achieved, but it should be achieved at any cost,” he said.
“If something can change, we must do it. We want to win races and to do that it is necessary to take any measures,” he insisted.
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Kvyat’s comments come amid a stalemate between Red Bull and Renault, who are locked together contractually for 2016 but obviously headed in different directions.
In the Red Bull camp, patience has run out and strong rumours are now swirling that the contract with Renault for next year has been unilaterally terminated.
Red Bull’s Helmut Marko denies that, “The current situation is that we have a contract and it was not terminated.”
Renault is willing to keep the 2016 contracts alive, but at the same time due diligence is taking place that could see the French carmaker take over Lotus.
Added to that the performance deficits this year, and Red Bull might have a case to argue for termination.
“The agreement is confidential on both sides,” team boss Christian Horner said, “but any contract contains obligations on both parties. And this commitment is quite clear,” he added.
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Toro Rosso’s Verstappen let his frustration show at Spa-Francorchamps, where the weaknesses of the Renault engine are laid bare.
Eyes are being cast forward to Sochi in October, when an updated power unit is scheduled to debut.
“If this is a serious step forward, then we have prospects for next year,” he is quoted by the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
“And if that is not the case, they must return to the drawing board and that means it is probably too late for next season. Then we have a real problem.”
Not only that, Verstappen has had more Renault-related reliability problems at Spa, to which the 17-year-old admitted he came close to letting his frustration show.
“The engineers are doing their best and swearing is pointless anyway,” he said. “That is not how problems are resolved.
“Do I still have confidence in Renault? Once you lose that, then you really start to go the wrong way. But I do hope that this moment will end.”
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Another season ahead, will it be better than the last? I'm certainly hoping there will be less politics involved but that's just wishful thinking! Perhaps I will post less on such issues moving forwa

Bernie's really damaging the sport. He's so far behind the times it's impossible to listen to anything he has to say. Just looking at the way other sports leagues have grown over the past 20 years com

I disagree Massa only had one line to of the pits Hulkenburg saw him and could have avoided the contact and still passed Massa as he was on cold tyres. Good race though

HAMILTON IN HOT WATER OVER MACHINE GUN VIDEO

Niki Lauda ordered that a video of Lewis Hamilton firing a machine gun be removed from the reigning world champion’s social media accounts.
On Saturday, a controversy exploded when the video emerged depicting the Mercedes driver firing the weapon at a shooting range, just one day after news broke of a gunman opening fire on a passenger train from Amsterdam to France.
Briton Hamilton said a “friend” had posted the video, not him.
Nonetheless, it triggered outrage among some of his fans, but Hamilton played that down by insisting “There never is any good comments on there, to be honest, so it doesn’t really matter.”
But Mercedes team chairman and F1 legend Niki Lauda begged to differ, even though he defended the 30-year-old, whose lifestyle has been increasingly under the microscope recently.
“I know Lewis well and know that he means well,” Lauda told Bild newspaper. “But I’ll ask him to remove the video from the internet.”
The German news agency SID, meanwhile, quoted Hamilton’s boss Toto Wolff as saying: “Lewis is a rock star, but at the same time you also have to see what is happening in the world.”
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MCLAREN: SPLENETIC WE ARE NOT

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As predicted, the flat-out sweeps of Spa-Francorchamps proved difficult for the McLaren-Honda package, and we finished 13th (Fernando Alonso) and 14th (Jenson Button).
Both drivers made quick getaways, jumped a handful of cars, then ran to the flag using a three-stop strategy. An ERS deployment issue affected Jenson’s progress, meaning he lost touch with his team-mate.
Fernando was able to make a little more initial headway, but an overall lack of pace meant he was also unable to outpace the cars around him.
Fernando Alonso: “That was a tough race and a painful weekend: we simply weren’t competitive today. My only fun came at the start – to start 20th and be 14th at the end of the first lap was a good feeling. After that, our overall pace wasn’t good enough, but at least we got both cars to the finish, so hopefully we can learn a bit for the next race. That’s just the way things are at the moment. Monza will also be difficult, but I’m sure we’ll have some better races after that.”
Jenson Button: “From the early laps, I had a problem with the deployment from the ERS pack. I’d get deployment from it in different places now and again, but it was never really deploying and recovering as it should. It would cut immediately after Raidillon, for example, and then I’d have to rely on the ICE alone. That’s a lot of power to lose, and it meant I was driving the Kemmel Straight and the straight up to Blanchimont without any deployment at all. You can’t really do much in that situation.”
Eric Boullier, Racing director, McLaren-Honda: “Of all the circuits on the current Formula 1 calendar, to this one is our car indubitably least suited. That being the case, it would be disingenuous indeed if we were to move to look askance at our finishing positions here today. Granted, to finish 13th and 14th on a circuit that has hosted 14 McLaren grand prix wins is unpropitious in the extreme, but splenetic we are not. Moreover, working shoulder to shoulder with Honda, we’ll work as assiduously as is humanly possible in an effort to make the progress necessary to toil our way back to the front.”
Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer – chief officer of motorsport: “Obviously, it was a difficult race, even with the updates we brought to Spa. First of all, I must thank Fernando and Jenson for their professionalism throughout the weekend. It’s most disappointing to us that we couldn’t meet their expectations, or those of the team and the fans, who had been waiting for the updates to produce results. We came to Spa knowing the difficulties of managing the ins and outs of the energy. We will look over the data from the weekend – including our gap to the other teams – and prepare for Monza.”
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FERRARI: WE DESERVED TO FINISH ON THE PODIUM

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The Spa race didn’t disappoint those hoping for plenty of action. Both drivers made a good start, immediately moving up a few places.
A lot of overtaking and different strategies conditioned the outcome of the race: Kimi Raikkonen pitted twice, while Sebastian Vettel was the only driver to try for a one stop. With two laps to go, the German was third, but his right rear tyre suddenly let go, robbing him of a place on the podium.
Kimi Raikkonen finished seventh, after a great climb up the order. The win went to Lewis Hamilton, who finished ahead of his Mercedes team-mate, Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean in the Lotus.
Maurizio Arrivabene: “Of course we didn’t have the best week-end of the season. We chose an aggressive race strategy for Sebastian, which was going well according to plan, until unfortunately a tyre burst suddenly with two laps to go. As for Kimi, he started from sixteenth on the grid and finished seventh, well into the points. This shows a great reaction and stamina from the team. Now, with Spa already behind us, we focus on the next race in Monza.”
Sebastian Vettel: “We deserved to finish on the podium but that’s racing; a different thing thought is not to finish the race because of what happened. I think this is not easy to accept for a driver, even if it’s not as bad as in Silverstone few years ago, but still we need to talk to each other as it can’t happen without prior notice. There’s no explanation for what happened: it’s not a puncture, the tire just exploded.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Obviously we cannot be very happy with where we finished, but it’s much better than from where we started. Yesterday we had some issues but today we wanted to get a better end result. My start was pretty bad, I had a lot of wheelspin and then obviously the first corner was not ideal, but I was able to recover quite well. My car was handling pretty well through all the race, only towards the end I ran out of the front tyres. Today we kept doing our best and tried to improve our position, but coming from so far back it was not easy. We keep trying and hopefully we have some more luck on our side in the future, we are doing the right things as a team but all the times something happens and we cannot get the result we expect. Now we go to Monza, our home race: it would be very nice to have a strong weekend there in front of all our fans. Again the track has a lot of straightlines and is not going to be easy against all those cars but we’ll bring some new stuff that hopefully will help us to be in fight.”
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HAMILTON IN HOT WATER OVER MACHINE GUN VIDEO

Niki Lauda ordered that a video of Lewis Hamilton firing a machine gun be removed from the reigning world champion’s social media accounts.

On Saturday, a controversy exploded when the video emerged depicting the Mercedes driver firing the weapon at a shooting range, just one day after news broke of a gunman opening fire on a passenger train from Amsterdam to France.

Briton Hamilton said a “friend” had posted the video, not him.

Nonetheless, it triggered outrage among some of his fans, but Hamilton played that down by insisting “There never is any good comments on there, to be honest, so it doesn’t really matter.”

But Mercedes team chairman and F1 legend Niki Lauda begged to differ, even though he defended the 30-year-old, whose lifestyle has been increasingly under the microscope recently.

“I know Lewis well and know that he means well,” Lauda told Bild newspaper. “But I’ll ask him to remove the video from the internet.”

The German news agency SID, meanwhile, quoted Hamilton’s boss Toto Wolff as saying: “Lewis is a rock star, but at the same time you also have to see what is happening in the world.”

This is completely stupid. There are too many people in this world who seem to be looking for the slightest reason to be offended by something. As if one thing has anything at all to do with the other. I don't even like Hamilton... but to be upset by his video because of something else entirely unrelated is simply stupid. Irrationally and hyper-emotionally stupid.

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MERCEDES: FANTASTIC PERFORMANCE ALL ROUND FROM THE TEAM

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Spectacular Spa Double for the Silver Arrows!

  • Lewis took his second Belgian Grand Prix win, the 39th of his F1 career and sixth of 2015
  • Nico completed a seventh Silver Arrows 1-2 of the season with his 36th career F1 podium finish
  • An 80th career F1 podium for Lewis sees him move level with Ayrton Senna in P4 in the all-time standings
  • Both Lewis and Nico ran a two stop strategy of option / prime / option
  • Mercedes AMG Petronas now lead Ferrari by 184 points in the Constructors’ Championship
  • Lewis now leads the Drivers’ Championship by 28 points from Nico

Lewis Hamilton: “I’m really happy with that one. I had great pace in the car and the balance felt fantastic. If anything it got better through the race and I never felt under pressure. After the stops I took it a bit easy on the out laps and Nico closed up but I always had a comfortable gap. A massive thank you to everyone here and back at the factories for all their hard work. The car was awesome all weekend and the crew did a great job. The weather has been great here too which makes this circuit even more fun to drive and what a great crowd. Loads of noise and plenty of British flags out there too which I really appreciate, so thanks to all of you for your support and hope to see you again at Monza!”

Nico Rosberg: “Unfortunately I messed up the start. Maybe the extra warm up lap had an influence on that – we need to find out what exactly happened but, in any case, I definitely have to improve that for Monza. Because of this I had to play catch up, which worked out well to a point. I managed to be second again and also was able to close the gap to Lewis a bit – but I didn’t get a chance to come within overtaking distance. He deserved the win today and it was also a great result for the team. The car they gave us was awesome here, so thank you to them for that. Hopefully we can have the same level of performance in the next races. I’ll be pushing as hard as ever for sure.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport : “I’m very proud of the team after today’s result – and especially to get a 1-2 finish at Spa, which is such a difficult and demanding circuit to master. Lewis did a perfect job – he got off the line well, defended cleanly his position from Perez up the hill and then drove a beautifully controlled race. He had the pace when he needed it, coped comfortably with all the challenges during the afternoon and scored a really impressive win. Nico obviously was hampered after his start, which we need to analyse, but then worked his way calmly back through the field. He kept Lewis honest all the way but couldn’t quite close the gap. Congratulations to our boys, too, on four clean and impressive stops; they’re doing a stunning job in the pits this year and we aim to continue that way for the remaining races. We will savour this win but need to keep our heads down and carry on working hard for Monza.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): “We’re all very happy indeed with that result and a fantastic performance all round from the team. It’s always great to win at one of the legendary circuits on the Formula One calendar and this was one which Mercedes hadn’t conquered in the modern Silver Arrows era, so it’s good to be able to tick it off the list. It was a quite amazing weekend from Lewis – from an incredible pair of laps in qualifying to a controlled drive to victory in the race. Nico, too, had a very strong weekend. Of course, I’m sure he’ll be disappointed to finish second – but he was in touching distance throughout. Congratulations also to Lotus. It’s extremely pleasing to have an all-Mercedes- powered podium and no doubt a big boost for a team who have not had the easiest of times recently, so well done to them.”

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This is completely stupid. There are too many people in this world who seem to be looking for the slightest reason to be offended by something. As if one thing has anything at all to do with the other. I don't even like Hamilton... but to be upset by his video because of something else entirely unrelated is simply stupid. Irrationally and hyper-emotionally stupid.

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Oh... and thank god for US Marines.

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This is completely stupid. There are too many people in this world who seem to be looking for the slightest reason to be offended by something. As if one thing has anything at all to do with the other. I don't even like Hamilton... but to be upset by his video because of something else entirely unrelated is simply stupid. Irrationally and hyper-emotionally stupid.

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I agree - It's beyond ridiculous. If the guy wants to shoot a few rounds at a range, why not? Letting off steam, whatever...

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RED BULL: A REASONABLE WEEKEND FOR THE TEAM

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Red Bull report from the Belgian Grand Prix, Round 11 of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship, at Spa-Francorchamps.

Daniil Kvyat: “It was a very interesting race and really good fun today. I had a lot of overtaking opportunities and the car performed well. The strategy from the team to keep me out during the virtual safety car was good and we were able to have a strong last stint. The team did a good job and we scored some solid points. We should be happy with the performance today and hopefully we can continue this form over the next few races.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “I had a good start jumping up to third and the race was going okay. We didn’t have a great balance with the Prime, I was struggling a little, but we were hoping to come on strong with the Option and have a good last stint. It’s disappointing not to finish, we are not sure what the issue is but the team are investigating. I lost power going into the chicane, everything switched off, including the dash. It looks like it’s electrical but we’ll see what the investigation brings.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal: “Dany drove a very strong race to finish fourth from his starting grid position of twelfth. He produced some very strong overtaking manoeuvres and the strategy worked very well, so we were able to score some very useful points. It’s a shame for Daniel; he had a great start to move up to third. He was running a similar strategy to Dany and I’m sure he would have been challenging for the podium. It was a lost opportunity but overall a reasonable weekend for the team.”

Mattheiu Dubois, Renault: “Today’s race was very eventful. Unfortunately Daniel had a technical problem that caused a power shutdown and he stopped on track. We need to investigate fully why this happened as it is a missed opportunity. Daniil had a solid race to get back into fourth position. We have a lot of work to do for the rest of the season to get things straight, but equally a lot of motivation to do so.”

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FORCE INDIA: WE LEAVE BELGIUM WITH MIXED FEELINGS

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Sahara Force India scored ten points today as Sergio Perez raced to fifth place in the Belgian Grand Prix. Teammate Nico Hulkenberg was unable to take the start following a loss of power on the parade lap to the grid.
Sergio Perez: “Fifth place and ten points is a good result, but we just lacked the pace to really fight for the podium today. My start was very strong and I was close to taking the lead on lap one when I was alongside Lewis [Hamilton] after Eau Rouge. I settled into a good rhythm, but we had very high degradation on the soft tyres in the first two stints. It was a bit better on the medium, although we struggled in the middle sector with our low downforce set-up and that hurt my pace. We were racing some quick cars and it was hard to fight off Grosjean and Kvyat, so it’s clear we need to analyse our performance and see where we can improve. I’m already looking forward to the next race in Monza, which is another track where I think we can be competitive.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “It’s disappointing to finish your race before it’s even started, but sometimes these things happen in racing. On the way to the grid I just felt a loss of power. We tried to understand and fix the problem on the grid, but it came back during the formation lap. There were a few moments when the power returned, but it disappeared again just before the start and I had to retire. It’s a real shame because the car has been very quick this weekend and we had a good opportunity to score some important points.”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “We leave Belgium with mixed feelings after what turned out to be a very eventful race. Sergio delivered a battling performance and extracted all he could from the VJM08. He was able to challenge for the podium positions at the start of the race and to finish with a fifth place, his best result of the year so far, confirmed the good pace he has shown all weekend. He didn’t put a wheel wrong all day and was able to keep some very competitive rivals behind with an intelligent and defensive drive. There are many regrets about what could have been had Nico had a clean weekend. Unfortunately, he suffered a loss of power on the way to grid and we were unable to rectify the problem before the start. It’s something we will thoroughly investigate with Mercedes. It’s a shame as he would have surely had a competitive race. The battle for fifth in the championship remains open and we’re already looking forward to the next round at Monza to reclaim the position.”
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WILLIAMS: AS A TEAM WE HAVE MADE A MISTAKE

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Williams report from the Belgian Grand Prix, Round 11 of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship, at Spa-Francorchamps.

Race Notes:

  • Felipe Massa finished sixth and Valtteri Bottas ninth in the Belgian Grand Prix
  • Both cars struggled at the start and lost positions during a difficult first stint.
  • An error at the first round of pitstops for Valtteri resulted in him being awarded a drive-through penalty and the rest of the race was damage limitation, so a good result to get back into the points.
  • Felipe struggled for pace in the first stint but after the pitstops battled hard to finish sixth.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “I am clearly disappointed with what has happened to Valtteri. As a team we have made a mistake, and on behalf of the team I am very sorry that we cost him what could have been a podium position. There will be an investigation into the processes in place to understand what happened fully, and to put in place a procedure to stop this happening again. The rest of our race was dictated by the lack of pace in the first stint and from then on we had to fight our way back. The big difference at this race was that there were five teams all with very similar race pace. Unfortunately though, because so many cars were close in performance, the result was dictated primarily by what happened in the first stint when we were struggling. After that we had the pace on the prime tyre and as a result still managed to finish with both cars in the points. We have gained on Ferrari and lost very few points to Red Bull which is positive considering the day we have had.”

Felipe Massa: “It was a frustrating day for me. I struggled at the start and then the soft tyre in the first stint didn’t operate as well as it should have done so I lost a few positions. At this point we were fighting from behind but the medium worked well. I couldn’t overtake the Force India of Perez at the end as their straightline pace was good. It has been a difficult day but to still finish sixth is the main positive we will take away from the weekend.”

Valtteri Bottas: “We haven’t got the result we were after today. The pitstop and the race pace are two areas that we need to investigate. We thought we would be stronger during the race but the soft tyre in the first stint didn’t work as well and put us in a difficult position. We have to make sure we bounce back well in Monza.”

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TORO ROSSO: WE WOULD’VE BEEN IN A POSITION TO SCORE MORE POINTS

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Toro Rosso report from the Belgian Grand Prix, Round 11 of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship, at Spa-Francorchamps.

Max Verstappen: “What an entertaining race, it was a great achievement to start from so far back and finish eighth in the end! My pace was very strong and I enjoyed the overtaking, so we can be very happy about today’s race. The car felt great and we were able to keep up with Ferrari and Williams. I really enjoyed it and even if some of the overtakes were a bit risky, when you start from so far back you have to go for it if you want to move forward. It wasn’t an easy start to the weekend, but we managed to do a great job in the end and I would like to thank the team for the big effort and my home crowd for the support, we can all be really happy with today’s P8!”

Carlos Sainz: “What a frustrating way to end what was being a good weekend. During the formation lap I felt I had no power, so I had to box. Luckily they managed to solve the issue and I was able to go out and race, but being two laps down there wasn’t much I could fight for, just hope for rain and be lucky. After two stints though, we decided to retire to save engine mileage. I’m obviously very disappointed and desperate to finish a race, as it’s now been four consecutive races where I’ve had to retire while fighting for points. But this isn’t going to bring me down. I’m going to keep pushing and show my good performances whenever I can, like I did yesterday in qualifying for example… We know that this world is sometimes like this and I’m sure this unlucky streak will come to an end soon – hopefully in Monza!”

Franz Tost (Team Principal): “We didn’t have a good start to the race because an electrical problem related to the engine on Carlos’ car meant we had to bring the car into the garage before the race had even started. We fixed the issue with the cable and he was able to re-join the race, but he was already a couple of laps behind. We decided to continue the race because in Spa you never know what can happen, and maybe a Safety Car or some rain could’ve helped us, but unfortunately this never happened, so with 11 laps to go we called him in to save some engine mileage. I’d like to apologise to Carlos for this, as it’s now the fourth race in a row where he can’t finish a race because of technical problems. Max, who was starting at the back of the grid due to the 10-place grid penalty, drove a fantastic race. To finish in P8 and to fight with a Ferrari for P7 shows how competitive the car was and how good Max was driving. Without the problem on Carlos’ car, I think we would’ve been in a position to score more points than what we’ve actually done today.”

Cedrik Staudohar (Renault Sport F1 track support leader): “It was in part a difficult race. We suffered a loss of power on the formation lap with Carlos due to a loose connector in the engine. Once it was fixed in the garage he could get going again, but as he was two laps down, the race was effectively over. We have to apologise to the team and ensure that this won’t happen again. Max had a good recovery from his grid penalty with some strong moves on track to score points. On such a long circuit, it’s a great achievement.”

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SAUBER: WE EXPECTED A BIT MORE FROM THE RACE

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Scoring one point at the Belgian Grand Prix was the maximum the Sauber F1 Team could achieve.

Marcus Ericsson put in a flawless performance, moving up to P10 at the very end of the race due to a puncture on Sebastian Vettel’s car.

Felipe Nasr finished in P11. The Brazilian struggled with braking issues.

Marcus Ericsson: “First of all, I had a good start, managing to pass Daniil (Kyvat) with a good move into Turn 5. Quite early in the race we realised I had some debris stuck to the floor, which made us loose downforce in the first stint. We could not keep up with the competition, so we lost some ground, which was a bit frustrating. For the second stint we cleared the debris away and I was able to start to push more. Even with that, the pace was not as strong as we expected. We were a bit lucky in the end, and we were able to score one point. For me it is great to be back in the points for the second race in a row.”

Felipe Nasr: “It was a tough race for me. At the start I struggled with a lot of wheel spin, losing some positions. My race was compromised by braking issues. Besides that, I also got a slow puncture on the front left tyre during my last stint. There were many issues for me this time, but I am confident the upcoming race weekend in Monza will be better.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: “It was a difficult race weekend, and we expected a bit more from it. During the race it was important for us to get through flawlessly. Despite having some issues, we still managed to score one point with a bit of luck at the end. With the Italian Grand Prix another highspeed track is waiting for us in Monza.”

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HEFTY MCLAREN DRIVER SALARIES MAY FORCE BUTTON OUT

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Jenson Button’s Formula 1 career could end because of a pay-rise that is scheduled to kick in for thee 2016 season.
Two British newspapers, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, are reporting that the 35-year-old’s current retainer of $12.5 million would rise to almost $19 million if McLaren takes up the ‘option’ on his existing deal.
“McLaren’s driver bill would then be $58 million which could prove too much,” wrote the Daily Mail’s Jonathan McEvoy from Spa-Francorchamps.
The wage bill has reportedly become an issue given McLaren-Honda’s dire 2015 season, in which official income will drop due to the prospect of finishing a lowly ninth in the constructors’ championship.
“They have also failed to bring in a title sponsor since Vodafone pulled out at the end of 2013,” McEvoy added.
The situation could, however, be good news to McLaren’s juniors Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne, of whom the latter won the GP2 support race at Spa.
The Belgian is expected to step up to a reserve role for 2016, while McEvoy explained: “Magnussen, who performed respectably in his one season, would cost no more than $1.5 million.”
And the Telegraph’s Daniel Johnson added: “The 22-year-old would also bring sponsorship money from Denmark.”
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VERSTAPPEN AND SAINZ SET TO STAY WITH TORO ROSSO

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Toro Rosso looks set to keep an unchanged driver lineup beyond the 2015 Formula 1 season.
The Red Bull-owned team has been openly happy with its latest pair of rookies, including the 17-year-old sensation Max Verstappen and Spaniard Carlos Sainz.
In fact, it is believed Verstappen is already being courted by Ferrari, to replace the newly re-signed Kimi Raikkonen ahead of the 2017 season.
“Max is an extraordinary talent,” said the head of Red Bull’s driver programme, Dr Helmut Marko. “I think the other top teams have noticed it too,” he told Kolner Express newspaper.
Verstappen, meanwhile, said of the new Ferrari rumour: “That’s hypothetical. What comes next, we will have to see.
“But I do feel fully accepted by the other drivers and ready for the next step.”
As for Verstappen’s teammate Sainz, the 20-year-old admitted he expects to also stay at Toro Rosso for a second season.
“I have not signed a contract for next year,” he told Spain’s El Mundo in Belgium. “It will be renewed when my bosses decide to.
“But it was a good sign that other names were not mentioned (in connection to Toro Rosso) over the summer.
“I think throwing some young guys in with the pressure to be throw out after one year is a little strong. We have peace and stability, and that shows in our performance.
“I don’t know for sure that I am going to stay, but the feeling I have is that I will,” Sainz added.
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VERSTAPPEN ADVISES LITTLE SCHUMI TO STEP UP TO FORMULA 3

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Teenage rookie Max Verstappen has urged Michael Schumacher’s son to make the step into Formula 3 for 2016.
This year, 16-year-old Mick made international headlines as he took the leap out of karts and into single seaters, starting with the German Formula 4 series.
So far, it has been an up-and-down debut campaign for the young German, but Verstappen, who at the age of 17 is only one year older than Schumacher, urges him to make another step as soon as possible.
“I would advise against another year in Formula 4 for Mick,” Verstappen, the youngest race driver in F1 history, told the Kolner Express newspaper.
“It would be a waste, because he learns nothing about aerodynamics there. He should go into Formula 3 already next year,” the young Dutchman advised.
Told, however, that Schumacher’s season so far has been up and down, Verstappen insisted: “That doesn’t matter. Mick is ambitious, and in formula 3 he will learn more.
“I also raced for Frits van Amersfoort and so I know he is doing a proper development for Mick. Hopefully we will meet up soon in formula one,” he added.
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Tyre debacle 'cost Bottas fifth place'

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The Williams pit crew got things horribly wrong at Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix and Valtteri Bottas believes it cost him fifth place.
Bottas found himself in the mix for P5 during the early stages of the race at Spa before he made his first visit the pits, but he lost quite a bit of pace after he re-emerged on track.
It all became clear within a few laps why he lost pace as the Williams team had fitted one medium tyre and three soft tyres on his FW37 and he was handed a drive-through penalty for the mistake.
He eventually finished ninth, but he feels he missed out on a good haul of points.
"I was told that just maybe there was a mistake with the tyre pressure or something. The car wasn’t too bad, it felt a bit strange. Then I heard the wrong tyre was in there. Looking back at our pace, we lost about fifth place I think," he told Sky after the race.
Although the Finn started the race in third place, he didn't get off the line quick enough and got sucked into the battle for fifth place.
"My main problem was tyre warm up. I had a lot of wheelspin at the start, the first two laps were slow and it just felt slippery," he said. "The cars around me seemed better with tyre warmup.. The pace today wasn’t top three either. The day has turned out a lot worse than I thought.
"We still need a more efficient car aero-wise. If we added more downforce for the middle sector, we lost out a bit in the first and third sectors so we never really found the ideal compromise."
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Pirelli surprised by one-stop

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Pirelli have defended their tyres, adamant that Sunday's Belgian GP was a two-stop race at best.
Losing a potential podium finish on the penultimate lap of the grand prix, Sebastian Vettel had a go at Pirelli.
According to the Ferrari driver, the blow-out was "not acceptable" and could have had severe consequences had it take place earlier in the lap.
Pirelli, though, insists there is nothing wrong with their tyres.
Rather, Paul Hembery says, Vettel and Ferrari took a gamble to run a one-stop strategy and it didn't pay off.
Asked whether he was 'surprised' by the German's strategy, the motorsport director said: "You have to be a little bit because it was the only car doing that.
"We felt it was a two-stop race and some tried for a three-stop.
"Sometimes you try something different and if it delivers exceptional results, you're a genius."
As for Vettel's rather sweary reaction, Hembery said: "You've got to give him the benefit of doubt.
"He's a driver, he's been out there and frustrated that he's only one lap away from getting a result.
"I'm not going to criticise him for that."
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Red Bull won't accept another 2015

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Red Bull could part ways with Renault before their current deal expires as they "can't afford" another difficult season.
Renault have been largely blamed for Red Bull's failure to win a grand prix this year as their V6 engine has lacked both pace and reliability.
This has led to speculation that Red Bull could look elsewhere for engines with Mercedes reportedly topping the list.
And although Red Bull are contracted to Renault for next season, team boss Christian Horner says they cannot go on with the situation as it is.
"We can't afford to have another season like this season," he told Autosport.
"There is still a long way to go in this season, we're very working hard to turn it around.
"But it is very damaging and very expensive when you get into this scenario.
"We have put an awful lot of funding into the engine, we paid for the engine - it's not a free engine.
"When you're using a customer product, that's when frustration sometimes boils over."
The Brit admitted that Red Bull's decision could also rest on Renault's future plans as the latter is in talks to purchase the Lotus F1 team meaning Red Bull would be just another customer.
Horner added: "We have an agreement until 2016 and it's important to understand what Renault's plans are. Then we can react accordingly.
"We want to see what Renault's commitment is in the long term regarding Formula 1."
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Button 'embarrassed' to be at the back

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It has been a season of disappointment for McLaren and the Belgian Grand Prix proved to be another forgettable weekend for Jenson Button.
Despite introducing a new-spec engine and using some of their in-season development tokens ahead of the race at Spa, McLaren started the weekend on the wrong foot as they decided to change the power units on both cars not once, but twice.
As a result, Button and two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso were given a combined 105-place grid penalty, but all it meant was that they had to start at the back of the grid.
Alonso managed to finish the race P13, one place ahead of his team-mate, but both of them were lapped by the front-runners and they only had the Manors of Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens behind them.
Button was not a happy camper after the race.
"We weren't recovering and deploying properly," the 2009 World Cup was quoted as saying by BBCF1. "F1 cars aren't very quick without an electric motor. Losing 160-180 horsepower - it is quite embarrassing to be floating around the back.
"At least when those guys lapped me at the end I had a grandstand view of their fight."
However, the McLaren drivers had mixed feelings as Alonso, who has a couple of Belgian Grand Prix podiums to his name, rated Sunday's race as his "best" at Spa.
"It's probably my best race at Spa," the Spaniard said. "That's the way it is. Even though the position is not the best, I had 40 seconds over Button, who was on pole position and won the race here three years go.
"In 44 laps it means like a second per lap with the same car, so that's what I'm staying with."
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Renault in talks to buy majority stake in Force India

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Renault's future in Formula 1 remains an unknown, particularly when news that Red Bull is seeking an early termination of its engine contract came to light over the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.
There has been strong speculation that a return to manufacturer status is the preferred option and that Lotus is its primary target, however Autosport reports that Renault bosses met with Force India for a second time, most recently on Saturday to discuss taking over the team.
The Silverstone team is currently owned by three main parties - Vijay Mallya, the Sahara group and the Mol family - but its finances aren't the strongest, which has led to a few problems this season.
That could be resolved if Renault buys into the team, which is something that is currently under discussion, Mallya confirmed over the weekend.
"Yesterday was a conversation from their side to update me on the fact no decision has been taken," explained Mallya.
"Secondly, he [Renault ambassador Alain Prost] wanted to know how I would feel about shareholding. Would we be willing to consider being a minority. If so, what would be our aspirations.
"We talked generally about their interest in about potentially becoming a constructor, that they are talking to multiple teams and about what is my vision and what is possible and not possible."
The Indian businessman admitted it was still early days for Renault and that no decision - or even an offer - had been made.
"There is no deal on the table. They have not made a decision about their plans. It's very preliminary."
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Guy Ligier passes away at 85

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Guy Ligier, who started in 12 Grands Prix but most famously ran a team that won nine Formula 1 races, has died. He was 85.
The Frenchman initially made his name as a rugby player, reaching international level, before switching his focus to motorsport.
Having briefly raced motorbikes, he competed in sportscar racing for Porsche before entering a small number of races in a privately entered Cooper Maserati in 1966 and 1967, and then later a Brabham-Repco in 1967.
His best result was 8th place in the 1967 German Grand Prix, but he was handed a world championship point as two cars ahead of him were F2 drivers and ineligible to score points.
Team ownership
Ligier moved to team ownership after the death of friend Jo Schlesser in 1968 – and his first car was the sportscar Ligier JS1, named in Schlesser's honour.
He stayed in sportscar racing for several years, but bought the assets of Matra in 1974 and moved in to F1 for 1976. His team won its first grand prix in Sweden in 1977 with Jacques Laffitte.
The team went on to win nine F1 races but steadily slipped away from competitive form in the late 1980s – and by 1992 his team was sold to Cyril de Rouvre.
There was a brief resurrection of fortunes for the team, which included Olivier Panis's victory in 1996 at the Monaco Grand Prix, but was then sold to Alain Prost and renamed after the four-time champion for the 1997 season, continuing until folding at the end of the 2001 season.
Ligier went on to become a successful French fertiliser business, and built Ligier micro-cars.
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Ricciardo laments missed podium after suspected ERS issue

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Daniel Ricciardo thinks the suspected Energy Recovery System (ERS) issue that saw him retire from the Belgian Grand Prix cost him a place on the podium.

Ricciardo rose from fifth to third on the first lap but dropped behind Romain Grosjean's Lotus after an early stop. He appeared to be in contention to battle Grosjean and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel for the final spot on the podium but pulled up on the start-finish straight having lost all power at the end of lap 20.
"We definitely had our sights set on a podium and put ourselves in that position at the start," Ricciardo said. "It's easy to say now but I think we would have generally been in with the fight with Grosjean for the last spot on the podium."
Christian Horner confirmed the team's intitial suspicions were an ERS failure and said without it Ricciardo would have at least finished as strongly as team-mate Daniil Kvyat, who crossed fourth after a late charge through the field.
"It's a shame for Daniel Ricciardo, because he was effectively running the same strategy [as Kvyat,], but he was just further up the road. I think he would've been fighting the podium, those guys ahead of him today."
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PIRELLI GETS MORE ROBUST IN ITS SELF DEFENCE, AFTER VETTEL ATTACK

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The rumbling continues after Sebastian Vettel’s tyre failure and subsequent attack on Pirelli in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix. The Italian company has issued a statement saying that it asked for a limit to be placed on the use of its tyres in 2013, but it was not adopted by the sport.
It says that it would have liked to insist on no more than 50% of the race could be done on a set of the prime (harder of the two chosen compound) tyres at any race. This would have meant 22 laps at Spa. Vettel was attempting to do 30 laps, over 210km on a set of medium tyres.
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Pirelli’s statement said: “In November 2013, Pirelli requested that there should be rules to govern the maximum number of laps that can be driven on the same set of tyres, among other parameters to do with correct tyre usage. This request was not accepted. The proposal put forward a maximum distance equivalent to 50% of the grand prix distance for the prime tyre and 30% for the option.
“These conditions, if applied today at Spa, would have limited the maximum number of laps on the medium compound to 22.”
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A quick scan of the races this season shows that this was a long stint Vettel was attempting. Looking back through the season for comparables at circuits with high corner loadings; at Silverstone last month, another track with very high corner loadings, the same Medium compound tyres went for 36 laps or 212km on the Manor car, but this much slower car would not have stressed the tyres like a Ferrari.
Felipe Massa did 32 laps in Bahrain on a set of mediums, which is 172km. THe longest stint at Barcelona on mediums was Rosberg at 138km.
So the wear life was on the limit, but that still doesn’t usually mean a tyre should fail like Vettel’s did. He was extremely fortunate it didn’t happen a few seconds earlier otherwise it would have been a catastrophic accident in Eau Rouge.
Vettel has called for the drivers to stand up and speak ahead of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, as he spoke out at the Drivers’ briefing in Spa after Nico Rosberg had a tyre failure as a result of a cut, according to Pirelli.
The problems this weekend are the first of their kind for the new construction of Pirelli tyres and the first since 2013.
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Renault 'back in the fight for podiums'

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There is still plenty of room for improvement, but Renault believes their Belgian GP performance showed they are back in the mix for top-three positions.
The French company has struggled with reliability problems for the best part of two seasons, but there were glimpses of what they were capable of last year when Daniel Ricciardo won three races while Red Bull appeared on the podium several times.
Top-three finishes have been harder to come by this campaign though and they had to wait until the Hungarian GP to finally hit the mark with the Red Bull pair of Daniil Kvyat and Ricciardo finishing second and third respectively, and Max Verstappen in the Toro Rosso fourth.
Although there was no podium at Spa, Kvyat finished fourth while Verstappen was down in eighth, but it was a mixed day as Ricciardo and Sainz both failed to see the chequered flag.
Cyril Abiteboul, managing director of Renault Sport, says they are now capable of taking the fight to the teams ahead of them.
"Positives and negatives. We saw Renault-powered cars taking both Ferrari and Mercedes-powered ones down the straights and fighting for position through the corners," he told RenaultSportF1.
"We also scored two points finishes at the most power sensitive track of the season. But we still had two DNFs, one of which cost a possible podium, which we need to fully understand.
"While there is room for improvement on reliability, on the performance front we are back in the fight for podiums and points with both teams."
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