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Flavio Briatore has urged Mercedes to supply engines to Red Bull as the F1 world waits for Renault to decide its next steps, under performing Red Bull is reportedly pushing to break its 2016 contract and team up with Mercedes.
The arch rival Silver Arrows outfit is contemplating whether supplying the field-leading ‘power unit’ to former quadruple world champions Red Bull is a wise move.
Briatore, the former Renault team boss speaking to La Repubblica, thinks so, “Why would they (Mercedes) do it? For the competition. If I was Mercedes I would give the engines to Red Bull.”
To win, you have to have someone to race against. And a race is what is lacking now in F1. The first goal of a team like Mercedes is to have a race. The second is to win it,” Briatore argued.
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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



Ferrari will debut an upgraded power unit at its home Italian Grand Prix, boss Maurizio Arrivabene has announced but at the same time admitted that the Maranello team might struggle on the long straights of Monza.
“We know very well that the characteristics of Monza are similar to Spa and Barcelona,” he said, “which is less suitable for our car.
“I am sorry because it is the Italian grand prix, but I want to be a realist,” Arrivabene added. “I have no intention to deceive the Tifosi — I prefer to say things as they are.”
Ferrari may, however, get a boost from an upgraded engine, benefitting from the exchange of perhaps two in-season development ‘tokens’.
“We might spent some tokens, but it will be very little, therefore it is not worth talking about a ‘super power unit’,” said Arrivabene.
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Williams development driver Susie Wolff has admitted she might be nearing the end of her patience in the quest for a formula one seat.
The 32-year-old Scot’s hopes of becoming the first woman in decades to contest grands prix were dealt a major blow earlier this year, when Williams overlooked her as the official race reserve driver.
“It wasn’t the best time of my career,” she said, recalling the day Adrian Sutil was revealed in the role she coveted. “It was certainly tough.”
Wolff, whose husband is the Mercedes chief and minor Williams shareholder Toto, has been a Williams test driver since 2012, even driving on some Friday mornings at races.
But she admitted to CNN that the Sutil story has made her wonder if her dream of actually racing in F1 may never happen.
“I can’t wait on the sidelines forever for my chance,” she said.
“There doesn’t seem to be many opportunities for next year to get onto the grid. This is going to be a winter of reflection because either it happens or it doesn’t.”
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Hamilton: Of course Nico is a threat


Lewis Hamilton once again got the better of Nico Rosberg both in qualifying and on race day in Belgium, but he insists it is too early to write off his team-mate.
The reigning World Champion secured his sixth pole position in a row and 10th of the 2015 season with another excellent Saturday display at Spa and then followed it up with victory the following day.
A slow getaway saw Rosberg drop to P5 at the start on the Sunday and that initially allowed Hamilton to build a solid lead, but the German fought back and finished two seconds behind in second place.
The victory has allowed Hamilton to open a 28-point lead in the standings, but he remains wary of Rosberg.
"Of course Nico is a threat," he told The Guardian. "On Sunday he was still quick, he was able to close the gap at times. For sure he will still be a threat but my qualifying pace now is how it should be, and as long as it remains that way it should feel good."
Meanwhile, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff believes Rosberg will get back in the game if he steps up in qualifying. While the German won the Pole Position Trophy last year, Hamilton has already wrapped up this year's even though there are still eight races to go.
"Get half the job done in qualifying on Saturday, that is I think crucial, to get off the line in the lead. At the moment Lewis just seems to be on a roll," Wolff told
"With the momentum Lewis has he just scores the big points.
"If you look at the results he has tremendous pace on the Saturdays and is able to bring it home on the Sunday. But we are a bit manic depressive, we talk the driver down and up. In Hungary it was all bad and now it's all good again. Let's keep calm. He's in a good place at the moment."
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Whiting: Closed cockpits will eventually happen


Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting believes that "there must be a way" for protected cockpits to be introduced to open-wheel racing.
The discussion regarding closed cockpits has once again come to the fore following the tragic death of Justin Wilson on Monday. The Briton passed away as a result of head injuries suffered in an IndyCar race on Sunday when he was struck by debris from another car.
Wilson is not the first to lose his life in such circumstances, with Formula 2 driver Henry Surtees killed by a loose wheel during a race at Brands Hatch in 2009, while Felipe Massa sustained serious injuries after he was struck by a suspension spring that came off the Brawn GP car of Rubens Barrichello. It is also believed by some that Jules Bianchi may have survived his crash at Suzuka last year if his cockpit had been protected.
The idea of introducing a closed cockpit is not a new one, and tests were carried out using fighter jet-like covers, but the idea was shelved due to concerns that drivers could become trapped in the event of an accident.
As such, a protected cockpit rather than a closed one seems more likely, with roll bars being ruled out as they obstructed the driver's view.
Whiting has admitted that there is no easy answer to the problem, but that a solution must be found.
"We have put in a huge amount of time, effort and research into this project, which has not been easy, in fact bloody hard," he told Autosport.
"But I can definitely see the day when this will happen. One day there will be something that will decrease a driver's risk of injury. Whether it will be as good at protecting a driver from an object coming towards him as a fighter jet cockpit, I doubt that, but it will offer him protection.
"We have to persevere. We must make something, even if it's not 100 per cent in terms of protecting the driver under all circumstances. But if it improves the situation it has to be good. There must be a way."
Whiting has revealed that the FIA will be trialing two more options later this month.
"We've been working on this for a few years and come up with a number of solutions to test, some more successfully than others," he explained.
The Briton added: "But we have two other solutions on the table, with the first something from Mercedes.
"It doesn't cover the driver, you can still take the driver out, which is one of the most important things, and it's a hoop above the drivers head and forward of it, but with one central stay.
"We are also looking at another device which is blades of varying heights which will be set on top of the chassis and in front of the driver at angles which will render them nearly invisible to him."
Former Marussia driver Max Chilton believes it is only a matter of time before protected cockpits are introduced.
"That is the one weak area we have left in motorsport and that is the one bit we need to make a little bit more safe," Chilton told Sky Sports.
"There are dangers to having them, because if you are trapped you can't get out, but from what I have seen in the footage they are super strong. I think we just need to find a way of making it so that whatever type of crash you have you can get out 100 per cent.
"You wouldn't even think about being hit by debris if you were covered, you wouldn't even know about it, it probably wouldn't even leave a mark. So it is something I think is definitely the route to go. It might be in five years, it might be in 10 years, but I can guarantee you there will be covers eventually."
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Button forced to revise down his pre-season target


Jenson Button says McLaren's current form has led him to revise his pre-season target of securing at least one victory in 2015, and now believes a podium is unlikely.
The Briton has scored just six points, whilst team-mate Fernando Alonso has 11 to his name as the team has struggled for power and reliability from its Honda engine.
Things looked up in Hungary when Alonso finished fifth, but a return to a power circuit such as Spa-Francorchamps saw them finish a lap down, despite an upgraded power unit.
When reminded of his pre-season target, Button said: "I think the aim is getting both cars in the points. A podium? It's unlikely," he is quoted by Autosport.
"For us, you have to think our best race is going to be Singapore; it's a slow-speed circuit with low-speed corners which we're very strong in.
"So that's probably the race where we will pick up the most points I should think."
Alonso meanwhile insists he and the team shouldn't get frustrated if the results don't come this season, as their focus is now on making the most of 2016.
"In the remaining races, we need to score and maximise every opportunity," he said. "But if it doesn't come, we don't need to get frustrated.
"Despite the results, good or bad, we need to focus especially next year's car and use the remaining races as a test."
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F1 ace Jenson Button tests Mini and VW Beetle rallycross cars


Formula 1 star Jenson Button tested rallycross cars at Lydden Hill today alongside ex-Grand Prix racer David Coulthard.

Filming for a feature for BBC TV, Button tried his hand for the first time at the discipline that his late father, John, was a frontrunner.
As well as trying the contemporary Mini, he also drove a 1974 VW Beetle – similar to the car that John used to race to strong effect in the British Rallycross Championship.
“Today has been a mega experience and completely different to what I am used to,” said Button. “You need a huge amount of skill to drive these cars – on your own it’s scary enough, never mind going up against another four or five other drivers!
“World RX is an exciting championship and it’s great to see the sport growing again like it was in the eighties both in the British and on the world scene.
“Everybody racing in single-seaters or in circuit racing regards rallycross as very professional and a lot of fun.”
Speaking of his fondness for the sport, Button added: “I grew up with rallycross – I used to watch my dad racing back in the mid-eighties and I used to love hearing the car.
“I would not have become an F1 World Champion if it hadn’t been for my dad and the grassroots of rallycross – that was where I caught the motorsport bug.
“Today has brought back some really nice memories but since then, I’ve also enjoyed watching World RX on TV. I remember seeing the footage from the Finnish round of the championship last year and today confirmed just how great it is in real life too.”
Coulthard also impressed
Former F1 World Championship runner-up Coulthard drove the Citroen DS3 RX Supercar that Britain’s Liam Doran currently uses in World RX, and has previously driven a Marklund Motorsport VW Polo RX Supercar at last year’s Race of Champions.
“Rallycross is highly skilled – the drivers have to deal with an ever-evolving mix of asphalt and gravel that changes from lap to lap,” he said. “I have tremendous respect for rallycross drivers, because there are just so many more variables.
“I think it’s a great championship and it’s fantastic to try rallycross which has made me appreciate how skilled the guys are at driving these cars.
“It’s great to see that the Championship is growing so much too. I’ve watched it a bit in the past year but you can’t play at this sport – it has serious world-class competition.
“I’d absolutely recommend anyone to come along and watch rallycross – the racing is fantastic and being here in person is the only way you can truly appreciate the skill of the drivers and the power of these terrific machines.”
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Massa vows to help efforts to improve cockpit safety


Felipe Massa has offered any help he can give to help improve cockpit safety in motor racing, following Justin Wilson's fatal IndyCar crash at Pocono at the weekend.

The Williams Formula 1 driver, who survived being hit on the helmet by a 1kg spring at more than 259km/h in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009, believes more can be done to help protect drivers.
But he is also adamant that having fully enclosed cockpits, using a jet-fighter style canopy, is probably not the right route because of the complications involving driver extraction.
"For me this is a sad moment after what happened," Massa told "He [Wilson] is a driver who came and raced in F1 and IndyCars, and I just send my best to his family and for the whole motorsport world.
"I'm totally in favor of working on safety changes. I don't know if an enclosed cockpit is the right solution, but we should find something that can improve driver safety.
"I am available to try to help in this aspect, because safety is always critical in our sport."
Blessed to survive
Wilson's death, which was the result of him being struck by debris from another car, is the latest involving a drivers' head taking the brunt of an impact.
F1 driver Jules Bianchi died when he hit a recovery vehicle, while Henry Surtees was killed in 2009 during an F2 race when he was struck by a wheel.
Massa said he felt 'blessed' to have survived his incident, which took place just a few days after the Surtees crash.
Reflecting on what happened to Wilson, Massa said: "I'm very sad, because it was an accident like happened to me.
"I feel blessed for the luck I had and that I can continue to race.
"I'm very sorry for him, for his family, and for all drivers who knew him and were his friends. Certainly it is a sad moment for all of motorsport."
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Ex-Formula 1 driver Max Chilton has counted himself among the drivers shortlisted to race for the new Haas F1 Team in 2016.
However, the former Marussia driver has also admitted it’s “probably not going to happen”.
Briton Chilton, 24, raced for the F1 backmarker in 2013 and 2014 but this year had to settle for a seat in the Indycar feeder series Indy Lights.
He told Sky this week that he is open to a return to Manor next year, and has also had “a few chats” with bosses of the new Haas outfit.
“I think they (Haas) came out and said they’re talking to ten drivers, so I’m definitely one of those,” said Chilton.
“I’d love the chance but I have a strong feeling it’s going to be one (Ferrari) academy driver, as it’s hugely a Ferrari project. And then I hear they want an experienced driver,” he added.
“I’d like to think I’m experienced but if they want a really experienced driver, there’s only a certain number of drivers on the grid they can ask so I think it could be (Nico) Hulkenberg,” said Chilton.
“I can’t see Jenson (Button) going there, but I also can’t see many other experienced drivers who are free.”
Also on the Haas shortlist is Ferrari tester Jean-Eric Vergne, but the former Toro Rosso driver said he also has other options to get back into F1 next year.
“I have some cards in my hand for F1,” Vergne told the French magazine Auto Hebdo, “and it’s not only Haas. We’ll see what happens over the coming months.”
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FIA Race Director and Formula 1 technical chief Charlie Whiting has admitted the sport could be some way from introducing closed cockpits (as conceptualised above by Iacoski Design).
But after the latest incident in Indycar involving the death of former F1 driver Justin Wilson, the FIA race director admitted formula one must also continue to work on better protecting the drivers’ heads.
In the case of Wilson’s death, he was hit by the nose-cone structure of a crashed rival’s car, raising questions about whether the same could happen in F1.
“We don’t know whether our noses are secured better or worse than in Indycar,” Whiting told Auto Motor und Sport, “but I can say that our testing is very strict.
“In any case, we will speak with our counterparts from the Indycar series to see if we can learn something from this horrible accident,” he said.
In the wake of the Wilson tragedy, the FIA has already committed to re-commencing tests on a couple of cockpit protection concepts, including a sort of ‘halo’ structure that was devised by Mercedes.
As for an entirely closed cockpit, Whiting said: “I don’t think this [Wilson] accident will change our minds in terms of closed cockpits. We believe that the disadvantages outweigh the benefits.”
“Nevertheless, we will continue our efforts to find a way to deflect flying debris away from the cockpit, but this is anything but an easy task,” he added.
Whiting said the results of next month’s testing will be presented in early October.
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Honda insists it is not solely to blame for McLaren’s woeful 2015 Formula 1 season and have pointed to some chassis issues which have not helped matters a fact which team boss Eric Boullier admits.
With the MP4-30 raced by champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button still seriously off the pace, most fingers of blame have been consistently pointed at Honda, the obviously-struggling Japanese engine maker that returned to F1 this year.
But Yasuhisa Arai, Honda’s under-fire F1 chief, insists: “The [McLaren] car does not have the best mechanical and aerodynamic grip.
“Compared to Red Bull there is still a big difference,” he is quoted by El Confidencial, referring to data obtained by GPS.
McLaren has been piling the pressure on Honda to improve, but even team boss Eric Boullier admits the MP4-30 chassis is not perfect, “To be fair to Honda our chassis is better than last year’s, but not the best in the pitlane.
“Our car is quite draggy,” Boullier reportedly admitted, “we still have to improve things here and there.”
And Alonso is quoted as saying: “We are trying to improve performance. We are not good enough in power or aerodynamic and mechanical grip, so there are still many things to put in place to be competitive and win championships.”
With a mere 17 points on their scorecard so far this season, McLaren lie ninth in the constructor’s standings only ahead of perennial back markers Manor.
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With eight races still to run in 2015 Formula 1 World Championship, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton already has his hands on one prize.
It is the new pole position trophy, awarded to the driver with the most poles each season. The new measure was introduced for 2014, with the regulations now demanding that a “trophy will be awarded to the driver who sets the most pole positions” each season.
Last year, the winner was Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, although the German warned his British colleague not to get too excited after clinching it in Belgium.
“I never got my trophy for last year,” Rosberg told Hamilton, “so don’t expect a trophy coming your way for that.”
Hamilton said he wouldn’t mind anyway, “The pole trophy is not particularly exciting. Winning the world championship is the goal, but getting poles is definitely a great thing.
“I would give up everything else – all the poles, the pole trophy – for the world championship but I’m really happy with how qualifying has gone this year,” said Hamilton. “It’s been a huge step.”
Team boss Toto Wolff admits that qualifying is a big reason for Hamilton’s success in 2015.
“You do half the job on a Saturday,” he is quoted by Autosprint, explaining that controlling the race from the front is particularly crucial this year.
Poles or not, however, team chairman and F1 legend Niki Lauda thinks Hamilton is simply “unbeatable” at present.
“Nico is fighting like crazy,” he said, “but Lewis raised his game. I think he was unbeatable, especially at Spa.
“If Lewis does not do a mistake in the next couple of races it will be hard for Nico” to win the title, Lauda added.
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Four days after the Belgian Grand Prix, Lotus and its black and gold cars have finally been allowed to leave Spa-Francorchamps.
All of the Enstone team’s transporters and race equipment had been barred from returning to its UK headquarters by court bailiffs, following action taken by disgruntled former reserve driver Charles Pic.
Frenchman Pic was demanding an $800,000 settlement for breach of contract, but it is believed he is not the only creditor. Toyota, the Cologne-based motor sport arm, is understood to also be owed money.
Nonetheless, Lotus has now been allowed to leave Spa, a French Canal Plus broadcaster reports, “Although the dispute between Lotus and Pic is not fully resolved, progress has been made.”
It could be that the ‘progress’ is movement in the negotiations between Lotus and the French carmaker Renault, who are believed to have made a concrete offer to take over the Enstone team.
The French magazine Auto Hebdo claims Renault is offering €7.5 million now, and a further EUR 50m to be paid to Lotus’ current owners over the next ten years.
Renault would then own 60 per cent of the team, with quadruple world champion and F1 legend Alain Prost coming on board with 10 per cent in a deal similar to that between Niki Lauda and Mercedes.
Gerard Lopez would reportedly then retain 30 per cent, including a post as consultant. At Lotus’ Enstone base, fingers are crossed that a deal can be signed quickly.
“We would welcome them (Renault) with open arms,” the Austrian news agency APA quotes Lotus engineer Alan Permane as saying.
“We have a great relationship with Mercedes, but to again be a factory team would be fantastic.”
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Former F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen says he can understand Sebastian Vettel’s outburst in the wake of the Belgian Grand Prix.
The Ferrari driver’s well documented rant about the safety and quality of official tyre supplier Pirelli’s product in 2015 has been criticised by some, including F1 legend Niki Lauda and Eddie Jordan.
But former double world champion Hakkinen said: “I can understand that a driver will react like that in such a situation — particularly at Spa where it is really fast and a puncture is always dangerous.
“80 per cent of the performance of a driver is his mental strength,” the Finn said in his latest interview with the sponsor Hermes, “so if this happens, and your self-confidence begins to falter, so too do your lap times.
“I remember practicing in 1997, I came out of Eau Rouge and onto the Kemmel straight and suddenly the suspension failed at about 330kph. Until that happens at such a speed, you can forget how fast you are going,” added Hakkinen.
It is understood that Pirelli is still analysing the exact cause of Vettel’s blowout, with the marque’s leading theory being that Ferrari pushed the limits too far in terms of tyre life.
“It is true that the cause of the problem is not fully understood, and it is a cause for concern,” FIA spokesman Matteo Bonciani told Auto Motor und Sport.
“We are in constant contact with Ferrari and Pirelli to find out what happened and, if necessary, to agree upon countermeasures.”
Bonciani admitted that it is possible the FIA will react by agreeing to Pirelli’s proposal that a maximum tyre life per set be imposed in future, among some other new measures.
“Yes,” he confirmed, “if our joint analysis shows that this would help.”
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Former team owner, now pundit, Eddie Jordan has hit out at Sebastian Vettel for his fierce criticism of Pirelli in the wake of his Spa-Francorchamps tyre blowout.
The Ferrari driver launched an expletive-filled attack on Pirelli after Spa, and he followed it up this week with a written statement that made clear he continues to blame the Italian company.
But Jordan, a former team boss and owner and now pundit for British television, said: “Sebastian needs to think before he publicly attacks a global company like Pirelli.”
Jordan said he thinks the venom of Vettel’s attack was fuelled by his disappointment at blowing his outside shot at the 2015 world championship.
“Vettel wanted to stay in the title fight at any cost,” he told Sport Bild. “That’s why with Ferrari he took such a big risk.
“And that’s why Sebastian was so disappointed. At 67 points behind, he can now forget about the title,” added Jordan.
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Red Bull set for same 2016 F1 line-up after Daniil Kvyat progress


Red Bull appears set to head into the 2016 Formula 1 season with an unchanged driver line-up on the back of Daniil Kvyat's return to form.
Daniel Ricciardo is under contract for the team's other seat, and although he had raised the possibility of a move to Ferrari, that avenue closed with the announcement of Kimi Raikkonen's new deal.
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko raised question marks over Kvyat following the Russian's poor start to the season after his promotion from Toro Rosso.
Although not helped by the issues surrounding Renault's engine, Kvyat responded with improved results including second in Hungary and fourth in Monaco and Belgium.
After 11 races Kvyat has now edged ahead of team-mate Ricciardo in the drivers' standings by six points, and according to team principal Christian Horner appears assured his seat for next year.
"I don't see any reason to change it," said Horner when asked about his line up for '16.
"We don't have any rush to make a decision, both the drivers are on long-term contracts, but it's a successful partnership and it's working well."
Red Bull is currently enduring its worst season since 2008, primarily as a result of the Renault engine being down on power compared to its rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.
After so much success, with Red Bull not out of the top two in the constructors' championship over the last six years, Horner recognises change was inevitable, not least with Sebastian Vettel moving on and Adrian Newey taking a back seat.
"It is evolution. Any team or business needs to keep evolving. Nothing stays static forever," added Horner.
"As for Adrian, he is still very much involved, just in a slightly different manner, and we've talent that is emerging.
"Like any business it has to continue to evolve, and we are going through that period of evolution."
Red Bull now feels it is on top of its chassis issues that were also a problem earlier in the year following the regulation changes over the winter.
"The cars performed extremely well at Spa," assessed Horner.
"Considering we had a Monza rear-wing on the car, our pace - particularly in sector two which is a bit of a telltale sign - I think we were the second quickest car through there all weekend.
"And considering the lack of downforce on the car, if you look at the size of rear-wing we ran in comparison to our competitors, it demonstrates the chassis is in a pretty decent state."
At present only three teams have confirmed driver line-ups for next season - Mercedes (Lewis Hamilton/Nico Rosberg), Ferrari (Sebastian Vettel/Kimi Raikkonen) and Sauber (Felipe Nasr/Marcus Ericsson).
Horner's remarks suggest Red Bull will be unaltered, and with Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen performing superbly at 'sister' team Toro Rosso its entries should also be unchanged.
Williams appears likely to confirm Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa as its pairing, and while Lotus duo Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have contracts for next season, much depends on whether Renault takes over.
At McLaren, Fernando Alonso is contracted, but the second seat is up for grabs for although there is an option on Jenson Button, the team may yet choose either of its reserves in Kevin Magnussen or Stoffel Vandoorne.
Force India, Manor and Haas are the three teams where both seats are available.
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IndyCar's Marco Andretti still interested in F1 move, eyes Haas


Marco Andretti remains open to the possibility of looking at Formula 1 in the future, although he insists that IndyCar remains his current focus.
The imminent arrival of the Haas F1 team in 2016 has renewed attention on American drivers' chances of grand prix seats, and two-time IndyCar race-winner Andretti says he is still keen.
"It [F1] depends on a lot of the logistics, for sure," said the 28-year-old. "Formula 1 is still the cream of the crop to me.
"Having said that, it would be tough to leave [indyCar] because I feel like I'm just coming into my own as a driver.
"I think it took a little too long, but I feel I'm in a good place. I feel like we can compete anywhere we roll off. That's a good feeling.
"Formula 1 would be like starting over. The expectations wouldn't be high, maybe, with that [Haas F1] team.
"If you can go beat your team-mate over there, that's what people look at.
"Yeah, I would definitely take a strong look at it."
Andretti, who goes into this weekend's IndyCar season finale at Sonoma seventh in the championship, tested a Honda F1 car at Jerez in late 2006, and returned for a two-day test at the same venue the following February (pictured below).
"The biggest difference for me was the braking, how quick the [F1] car stopped," the 28-year-old said.
"Seven gears from the straightaway to a hairpin, you barely have time to downshift.
"As quick as you can click the paddle, the car stops from almost 200mph. That definitely took its toll on my neck.
"Here, the brakes are good, but the cars are heavier. Those [F1 cars] are definitely more agile and have a lot more grip.
"I ran a day in the wet - the grip in the wet that those cars have was just so much fun.
"I actually had to train my brain that the thing would stick because of the amount of speed it lets you carry. It was so much fun.
"But my heart right now lies over here [in IndyCar]. Those cars are definitely fun, but this is what I've grown up doing."
Andretti's grandfather Mario won the 1978 F1 world championship with Lotus, while his father Michael contested most of the 1993 season as Ayrton Senna's team-mate at McLaren.
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Mexican Grand Prix track 90 per cent ready for Formula 1 return


The venue for the Mexican Grand Prix is 90 per cent finished ahead of Formula 1's return to the country later this season, according to the race promoter.
Organisers have been working since last year on redeveloping the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which last hosted F1 23 years ago, with the 2.681-mile track set to be ready a month before the race on November 1.
The first layer of the track surface has been put down, ready for a visit from FIA race director Charlie Whiting later this month, with Federico Gonzalez, managing director of race promoter CIE, confident of successfully completing the F1 homologation process.
"We're almost there," Gonzalez told AUTOSPORT. "Progress is being made every day and we're on schedule.
"We have completed the first layer around the whole track and expect to have the second and third layer in place in approximately three weeks.
"We are 90 per cent complete. We have almost finished all the buildings and the track.
"Charlie Whiting is visiting later this month and we're confident of homologating the racetrack on those days."
The race - which is being held on a bank holiday weekend that marks Mexico's Day of the Dead - sold out earlier this year.
Organisers therefore increased the capacity by a further 10 per cent to 110,000, 15,000 of which will be general admission.
"It was sold out so we increased the capacity by 10 per cent," he said.
"They have sold quickly and we maybe have 10 per cent of the additional capacity left so we expect to be a sell-out."
Gonzalez said the grand prix will be the first event held on the redeveloped track, with the race weekend programme including Masters Historic Racing and a local event, a deal with which is still be finalised.
F1's regular support programme of GP2, GP3 and the Porsche Supercup will not be present in Mexico, but Gonzalez is confident the bill contains sufficient track action.
"I think that will be enough," he said.
"The race is in a public park in Mexico, inside the city, and we have three subway stations nearly so it is very accessible.
"Together with the things going on in the city, like the F1 fan zone in Chapultepec Park, I think it will be a great atmosphere.
"We're working to a five-year plan. The aim is to make this year a sell-out and then build from there.
"We will then look at other events which compliment the F1 track action."
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Mallya expects Hulkenberg will stay


Vijay Mallya is "quite confident" that Force India will retain Nico Hulkenberg along with Sergio Perez for next season.
Not for the first time in his career Hulkenberg is being linked to a headline-grabbing move; although this time it is to the other end of the grid.
While in past seasons the German has been rumoured to be off to Ferrari, this time around it is newcomers Haas.
The American squad is reportedly keen on several current drivers with Le Mans winner Hulkenberg the biggest name on the list of candidates.
Mallya, though, believes the 28-year-old will be staying right where he is.
"There is always talk. This paddock is full of gossip," the Force India team owner told
"I am very happy with my drivers. I want to keep them. I think Nico will stay with me. I'm quite confident."
As for his team-mate Perez, the Indian businessman says he is "very happy" with the Mexican driver.
He added: "Sergio is doing a great job.
"I picked him, he didn't have a drive at that time. I watched him at Sauber. McLaren chose him because they must have seen something in his talent. McLaren doesn't pick up just any driver.
"He obviously has the talent. He's shown that with us. We're very happy."
However, as yet nothing is set in stone with Mallya admitting he would be interested in Pascal Wehrlein should either current driver opt not to re-sign.
"Certainly. We're happy to talk," he said when asked about the Mercedes-backed racer.
"There's still a long way to go. Discussions are to take place. They're not off the cuff decisions that are taken. We are interested. Mercedes should be interested as well. Let's see.
"If we can work out something, we'd love to have him."
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Jense: Singapore should be our best race


A podium may be out of McLaren's reach, but Jenson Button is nevertheless optimistic about their chances of producing their best display of the season in Singapore.
McLaren's renewed partnership with Honda got off to a difficult start, but all involved with the team were still hopeful that they would challenge for podiums at some stage this season.
Although the Woking-based outfit have improved with the team scoring a double top 10 finish in Hungary with Fernando Alonso securing a season's-best P5, they have had to revise their targets.
Next up is the Italian GP at the high-speed Monza circuit, before they head to Singapore with Button feeling it could be the highlight of their season.
"I think the aim is getting both cars in the points. A podium? It's unlikely," he told Autosport.
"For us, you have to think our best race is going to be Singapore; it's a slow-speed circuit with low-speed corners which we're very strong in.
"So that's probably the race where we will pick up the most points I should think."
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FIA Race Director and Formula 1 technical chief Charlie Whiting has admitted the sport could be some way from introducing closed cockpits (as conceptualised above by Iacoski Design).

But after the latest incident in Indycar involving the death of former F1 driver Justin Wilson, the FIA race director admitted formula one must also continue to work on better protecting the drivers’ heads.

In the case of Wilson’s death, he was hit by the nose-cone structure of a crashed rival’s car, raising questions about whether the same could happen in F1.

“We don’t know whether our noses are secured better or worse than in Indycar,” Whiting told Auto Motor und Sport, “but I can say that our testing is very strict.


“In any case, we will speak with our counterparts from the Indycar series to see if we can learn something from this horrible accident,” he said.

In the wake of the Wilson tragedy, the FIA has already committed to re-commencing tests on a couple of cockpit protection concepts, including a sort of ‘halo’ structure that was devised by Mercedes.

As for an entirely closed cockpit, Whiting said: “I don’t think this [Wilson] accident will change our minds in terms of closed cockpits. We believe that the disadvantages outweigh the benefits.”

“Nevertheless, we will continue our efforts to find a way to deflect flying debris away from the cockpit, but this is anything but an easy task,” he added.

Whiting said the results of next month’s testing will be presented in early October.

What are the disadvantages of a closed cockpit design? I personally like the looks of that Ferrari concept - looks pretty damned slick. I don't understand what disadvantage there would be, other than diverging from the tradition of the open cockpit. I would think the closed cockpit design would be more aerodynamic and certainly safer. And it doesn't appear that drivers' visibility would be any worse than it already is (helmets themselves reduce visibility in general), so in don't understand what Bernie is going on about.



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Extracting the driver i suspect is the big one

Hmm... perhaps? But if driver extraction was so difficult from an enclosed cockpit, why are most racing series using cars with enclosed cockpits? I would imagine a closed cockpit F1 car would essentially be like an open wheeled LMP or Group C car perhaps? I suppose it's generally easier to remove a driver from an open cockpit, but I would also suppose that I most situations an enclosed cockpit would make the drivers safer in general.



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Red Bull drivers preview the Italian Grand Prix, Round 12 of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship, at Monza.
Daniil Kvyat
We’ve just left one of F1’s big boy tracks, Spa, and we’re headed for another – Monza.
Absolutely. Monza is my favourite track. Every corner just gives you the feeling that you are doing something special. Lesmo I and II, Ascari… every corner. Well, they unfortunately changed Parabolica a little bit. The changes there do make a difference. It isn’t quite the same experience anymore. You still have to push a lot and it still requires a lot of technique, but the problem is that even if you make a mistake you get forgiven. It’s not the same. But overall the track is still amazing. An important circuit for me in the past and I love it.
Did you race there a lot when you were younger?
Yeah, I won there a few times, in Renault 2.0 [Alps in 2012] and in GP3. In Renault I was on pole and won both races and in GP3 I was on pole, won the feature race and finished second in the sprint race. It’s a pretty cool feeling winning there.
You lived in Italy for some time after you left Russia, does Monza feel a little bit like a ‘home’ event for you?
Yeah, definitely. I lived in Italy for about eight years and I still live very close to Monza, in Lugano in Switzerland. It’s about half an hour drive. I will probably go to Monza on Thursday morning because it’s such a short drive away. But once the racing starts I wouldn’t risk it for the traffic. Anyway, I love Italy, I love being there and for me it’s like a second home.
Will you have family and friends making the trip up from your old home, Rome?
I’m not sure. I’m pretty focused on racing at the moment, but it would of course be nice. We’ll see how it goes.
Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel, last week you recommended Spa for the real racing enthusiast. What do you think of Monza?
I recommend Monza for the real racing enthusiast!
As grands prix go, it tends to have more atmosphere than the average…
Oh yeah. It’s the only circuit where you expect to be driving through flares! We had that on the warm-up last year, massive cloud of red smoke at the second Lesmo. Pretty different – but I like that. The Italian fans are passionate – some might say crazy – and you’ll really get your fill of atmosphere. The drivers’ parade is special: they’ll all be there with their shirts off, yelling “Forza Ferrari”. It’s a laugh.
In between Spa and Singapore, is it a physically less challenging race?
It is, because if you need a breather, there’s plenty of long straights where you can take one. Actually that can be a bit of a problem because it really isn’t a circuit where you want to lose focus. You’re coming into very heavy braking zones at very high speed and you can’t afford to lock-up or lose time by braking too early. You have to be very switched on.
Is braking the big factor in finding a good lap time?
It has been since they’ve made the chicane kerbs too high to ride in an F1 car. Since then yes, braking has become the biggest thing at Monza. It’s very tricky to get that right. You’re coming down to the first chicane at your highest speed of the year and braking for what is almost the tightest corner in F1, with the least amount of downforce. The car starts to slide around and becomes quite tricky, so getting the braking right is key. It’s really good too…
And how do you approach the weekend away from the track?
Driving. Motorhome. Pizza. Firstly it’s a nice drive from my home – about two and a half hours from Monaco to Monza. Then I’ll stay in my motorhome – but in town rather than at the circuit. Finally, pizza. Actually the best pizza in the world. I’m not telling you the name of the place that serves the best pizza in the world in case they run out of pizza but they’re in Monza and I’ll be there. Happy days!
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