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Ahead of the Italian Grand Prix weekend Sergio Perez dismissed speculation about his Formula 1 future and said he was focused only on racing for Force India next season.
“I have a contract with the team, I have a group of sponsors and we are trying to make the announcement all together,” he told reporters at the Italian Grand Prix.
“We are getting to the point where very soon things should be announced. I expect to announce my plans hopefully before the next race.”
Perez last November agreed a multi-year contract with the Silverstone-based team beyond 2015 but some media reports have suggested he could move to financially-troubled Lotus if former owner Renault retake control.
Formula One contracts usually contain performance clauses and can be linked to sponsor commitments.
Perez, whose Mexican sponsors contribute substantially to Force India’s budget, denied there had been any contact with Lotus or Renault and said he was not looking at any options elsewhere.
“My priority is to stay here,” he added. “The team is going upwards and really pushing and I know the plans of the team so I am really happy to stay here.”
Perez joined Force India from McLaren last season and finished fifth in Belgium last month. He is 11th in the standings with 25 points, one more than German team mate Nico Hulkenberg who has already been confirmed for 2016.
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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



Technical guru James Allison is staying put at Ferrari.
In July, as the Italian team’s 2015 resurgence hit an apparent dip, speculation suggested Ferrari might not renew the contract of its new British technical boss.
But then the team surprised the F1 world by re-signing Kimi Raikkonen, amid speculation a new deal for Allison might be the next order of business, with an announcement scheduled for this weekend’s Italian grand prix at Monza.
Indeed, the F1 insider Leo Turrini reveals: “Allison has recently signed a contract renewal.”
He said the new deal will take Allison into 2018, and he will be joined at Ferrari from next year by Jock Clear, with the fellow Briton having formerly worked alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.
“They will booth have much to do and I will be rooting for them,” said Turrini.
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Former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has weighed into the uncertainty surrounding Monza’s future on the Formula 1 calendar.
The issue will be front and centre this weekend, as Bernie Ecclestone pushes defiantly for more money from Italian grand prix chiefs, who are backed in their mission by the prime minister Matteo Renzi.
2015 will be the first Italian grand prix in decades not attended by Montezemolo as a Ferrari luminary, but he says that uncertainty about Monza’s future is definitely not new.
“The threats to the grand prix at Monza are like Panettone at Christmas – it’s tradition,” he is quoted by La Repubblica. “Whenever it is up for renewal, Bernie says it will go. But it’s not true.”
“Of course, everyone has to do his part, as nice things cost money and you can’t think about not paying for them. But, with all due respect to Baku, I think not racing is Germany was already depressing enough,” he added.
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Perennial back-marker Formula 1 team Manor is not yet turning its attention to the matter of its driver lineup for 2016.
The former Marussia team has fielded Briton Will Stevens alongside Roberto Merhi this season, although the security of the latter Spaniard’s seat has often been in question due to his lack of sponsorship backing.
“Normally, we try to enter into contracts in late November, early December,” team boss John Booth told Russia’s Championat. “It is not always possible, but that is the goal.”
When asked about Merhi’s lack of backing, Booth answered: “Again, in terms of performance, we are very satisfied with both of our current drivers.
“I think under the circumstances they could not have done a better job. But as far as the commercial side goes, I cannot comment on it.”
Manor has focused this year on rebuilding, following the collapse of the former guise Marussia late last year.
It means the team has struggled in 2015 with essentially last year’s car, powered by the 2014-spec Ferrari engine.
“The new Ferrari engine is simply impossible to get into this car,” Booth admitted. “We explored options in terms of significantly restructuring the car, but decided instead to concentrate on the car for 2016 — and we believe that was the right choice.”
He said Manor is targeting a “big step” for 2016, but it seems another Ferrari customer, Haas, is set to debut with much more significant support from the works team.
It has triggered speculation Manor might become the first customer of Honda, even though McLaren is thought to object that that idea.
Booth said: “Let’s just say that Honda is a fantastic company with a great history in formula one. And I’m sure that sooner or later they will get things right.
“At the moment there are no such talks, but I cannot say that such an option will be excluded forever,” he added.
And Booth said it is certain that Manor will be back on the grid in 2016.
“Yes. I believe we have implemented a good business plan,” he said. “We will not spend more than we have — which as it happens is quite unusual in formula one!”
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Vettel pleased with Pirelli's response


Having had time to cool down, Sebastian Vettel says while Pirelli's blow-outs are "not acceptable", it is time to work together to "make progress".
The Ferrari driver lashed out at Pirelli in the wake of the Belgian GP when a right-rear blow-out cost him a potential podium just two laps from the chequered flag.
Pirelli released their findings regarding the incident through the FIA, revealing that Vettel's tread was down to "30%" which meant his tyres were "more susceptible" to damage. And damage is what his right-rear suffered due to a small piece of debris.
Having spent time speaking with Ferrari's engineers as well as Pirelli, Vettel says it is time to focus on making "progress" rather than hurling accusations.
"We've been looking very closely into the issue we had," he explained in Thursday's press conference at Monza.
"Pirelli has been supportive and very open in the discussions, which is the most important thing, and to make sure we learn from that.
"They have been very, very professional, have handled it with extreme care, very seriously, things are going the right way, and our target now is to improve the situation and make progress.
"And what's more important than any sort of press release is the feeling I got when I spoke to the engineers and to Pirelli."
Pirelli are set to make two changes ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix as they have raised tyre pressures by 5psi and altered the camber limits.
Vettel has welcomed the Italian tyre manufacturer's actions but says "long term" there is still work to be done.
"Obviously it is not acceptable to have a blow-up at the sort of speed I did out of the blue," he said.
"There are short-term changes, tyre pressures for example, but if that's the short-term reaction then that's one thing.
"Long term we need to understand properly what happened, but it's very clear everybody is trying to do their best."
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Hamilton: Upping pressure a disaster


Lewis Hamilton has not welcomed Pirelli's answer to the tyre blow-outs, adamant that increasing tyre pressure will mean "more wear, less grip".
Having come in for a heap of criticism in the wake of two blow-outs over the Belgian GP weekend, Pirelli have responded by making two changes.
Not only have they altered camber limits but the Italian tyre manufacturer is set up the pressure by 5psi.
And that, Hamilton believes, could be a disaster.
"In terms of putting the pressures up, I don't think it's the right thing, but they might not do it anyway," the Championship leader told Formula 1 journalist James Allen.
"But I don't think any of us have tried 5psi more because they are not designed to have 5psi more; they work in a range.
"So we will be moving out of the optimum range of the tyre, we'll be using a different part of the tyre, which means more wear, less grip.
"It's going to be a disaster.
"So I hope they don't put 5pis more in. A couple is ok."
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Maldonado confident of Lotus future


Pastor Maldonado is adamant he has a contract "until the end of next season" whether Renault buy Lotus or not.
The team's future is believed to be on the verge of being signed off with Renault set to take a majority stake in the Lotus F1 team.
The buy-out has cast some doubt over Maldonado's future with the Enstone team.
The Venezuelan driver, though, is confident he will be racing next season.
"At the moment nothing has happened yet, there is a lot of rumours going on," Sky Sports quoted him as having said.
"I really wish the best for the team and we have a contract until the end of next season so it should be okay whether Renault comes or not."
Pressed on the matter, he added: "I have a contract. At the moment the information I have is that I will continue in Formula 1."
The driver, who has one F1 victory to his name having triumphed at Barcelona back in 2012 with Williams, also denied that tensions are mounting following his Spa DNF.
Maldonado retired from the race after hitting a kerb with an impact of 17Gs.
He said: "If they don't want me in the team fine. Life is like this, but the information I have is that it is completely the other way.
"They still want to work with me and that is the information I have."
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More McLaren penalties


Last time out at Spa McLaren managed a 105-place penalty, this time around at Monza they are already up to 15.
Even before the first lap of the Italian Grand Prix weekend news has emerged that both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso are on track for engine penalties.
Both drivers will take on new ICEs, which means a five-place drop for Button and a 10-place for Alonso as they are at different stages on the penalty count.
The latest round of penalties come in the wake of McLaren-Honda's massive tally of 105 at Spa, the result of a double engine change for both drivers.
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Wolff's warning: Not yet won


Despite Mercedes once again putting distance between themselves and the chasing pack, Toto Wolff has warned that "one bad weekend" can swing the pendulum.
Last time out in Belgium, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg claimed the 1-2 while main rivals Ferrari lost a podium on the penultimate lap when Sebastian Vette's tyre blew.
The result meant Hamilton extended his lead over Rosberg to 28 points while the German in turn put 39 points between himself and Vettel.
As for the Constructors' battle, Mercedes head into this weekend's Italian Grand Prix 184 points ahead of Ferrari.
And while those gaps look great on paper, Wolff has warned that the fight is "by one means won."
The Mercedes motosport boss said: "A positive weekend meant that we left Belgium with our Championship position significantly strengthened.
"The fortunes of our rivals also played a part in that and the outcome of the race overall was a reminder that nothing can be taken for granted.
"Top results in this sport are far more easily lost than gained - and one bad weekend can produce a big swing in points.
"We can be proud of what we have achieved so far this season but the battle is by no means won."
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Now also: Grosjean not happy with Pirelli 'cut' explanation


Romain Grosjean has said that he is not happy with Pirelli attributing its tyre failures in Spa to cuts from debris, and hinted that others would feel the same way.
Pirelli confirmed on Thursday in Monza that its investigation into the failures in Belgium of Nico Rosberg's tyre in practice and Sebastian Vettel's in the race had concluded that they, and other cuts to tyres experienced by drivers that weekend, were explained by an "exceptional combined effect of debris on the track and prolonged tyre usage on a circuit that is particularly demanding."
Speaking to the media earlier in the day though Grosjean indicated that he is not happy with Pirelli's explanation and the cause of the failures.
"I don't think anyone is happy with the fact that it's a cut. Seb [Vettel] didn't go off track, there are kerbs and you can use them, so no I don't think it's a good explanation."
He added though that he is not seeking to blame Pirelli and expressed sympathy for the Italian supplier's predicament.
"It's very hard for Pirelli to replicate what we are asking for the tyres when they don't have a current car and some testing to develop their tyres," he said. "There is no finger-pointing and no one to blame particularly."
In the drivers' press conference after Pirelli's announcement the drivers there generally were not critical of Pirelli, although Felipe Massa also sounded unhappy that debris was part of the explanation of what happened in Spa: "Debris we have every race. Some races we have more debris than others. For sure, the tyres should be strong enough to accept the debris or what we have beside the track. I don’t think it's [cuts are] common [in general]. We had cuts as well during the weekend."
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Hulkenberg: Closed cockpit would "sterilise" F1


Nico Hulkenberg thinks Formula 1 should not "sterilise" itself with closed cockpits, the German warning about "overprotecting" the sport.
While several people have called for the introduction of closed cockpits following Justin Wilson's recent fatal IndyCar accident, Hulkenberg believes single-seaters should remain open.
The German driver raced a closed-cockpit Porsche to win this year's Le Mans 24 Hours.
"In my opinion, no," Hulkenberg replied when asked about closed cockpits in F1. "Obviously there's pros and cons but I see single-seater racing as open cockpits.
"Also when we sign up for this we know there's some risk involved and there could potentially be some danger, but that's in the DNA of racing and motorsport and I think we shouldn't sterilise the whole thing and make everything too clinical and overprotect everything.
"That's not good for the sport and might make things a bit unattractive."
Bottas disagrees
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas disagreed with Hulkenberg, saying that as long as it is not obstructive, Formula 1 should consider the option.
"Why not? If it doesn't limit your vision too much I don't see any downsides," Bottas said.
"There have been many accidents with things hitting drivers' heads, so I think anything that can be found to protect that would be good.
"People say that closed cockpits wouldn't be F1 cars but I don't really see what difference it makes."
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F1 drivers warned over cutting Monza chicanes


Formula 1 drivers have been warned that they face being reported to the stewards if they gain any sort of advantage from cutting chicanes over the Italian Grand Prix weekend.
The FIA has long faced a battle to enforce track limits at the first two chicanes, with it unable to use kerbs that are too high in case it causes trouble for drivers who have run wide because of a genuine problem.
While low plastic yellow and black kerbs have been laid down to discourage drivers from taking liberties, a further note has been sent to teams making it clear that the FIA will not tolerate any abuse of track limits.
The note said: "Any driver who uses a part of the areas behind the second apexes of the first and second chicanes, and which is suspected of gaining any sort of advantage from doing so, will be immediately reported to the Stewards."
The black and yellow kerbs have been installed at the second chicane to ensure that drivers who run wide have to take a longer route around them to rejoin the circuit.
A yellow line has also been painted, and a red and white polystyrene marker board put down, which drivers must stay to the right of before they return to the track.
Drivers running down the escape road at the first chicane have been told that they must weave their way between three rows of polystyrene blocks. They can only use the grass 'if it is clearly unavoidable.'
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When will the Italian driver renaissance come?


Formula 1 has been without an Italian driver on the grid for the past four seasons. But will that change any time soon? Emanuele Pirro discusses the future of Italians in F1 with Sam Smith.

For a country completely immersed in F1 and with the most famous brand in the sport's history, Italy's success rate in producing winning grand prix racing drivers has been lamentable.
The statistics are only a part of this anomaly: 100 Italian drivers have started 782 grands prix since the world championship began in 1950. Of those 100, 15 have shared just 43 wins. The most successful of course was Alberto Ascari, with 13 grand prix victories and two world titles – 1952 and 1953.
Compare this to British drivers, and the sorry story of Italy's under-performing talent pool emerges: 160 drivers have started 911 races. Nineteen British drivers have won 243 races, with 10 different drivers claiming a total of 15 world titles.
Four-season absence
With no Italian F1 drivers taking part in a grand prix for the fourth consecutive season, and almost a decade since Giancarlo Fisichella's last F1 win, why such a dearth in Italian top flight achievement and more importantly how can things turn around in the future?
One of Italy's most successful racing drivers of recent decades is Emanuele Pirro. As well as five Le Mans 24 Hours wins and two ALMS titles, the Roman also competed in 37 Grand Prix between 1989 and 1992, for Benetton and Scuderia Italia.
"My personal opinion is that the economic situation that makes motorsport in a country healthy, has got quite a lot to do with it," said Pirro. "Italy hasn't been healthy economically for a few years now and generally racing has not been hugely popular.
"We have Ferrari of course, which is good and bad at the same time for Italy, because it attracts a huge amount of attention, but at the same time it takes away some attention from the rest of motorsport too.
"The average Italian motorsport fan is a Ferrari and F1 fan, but is pretty much unaware of anything outside that. It is not like the UK for example where the knowledge of most motorsport is very large."
"We have people who can make it to F1 in the next few years. Drivers like Antonio Giovinazzi could make it with some backing and some luck," opined Pirro.
"There is a lot to think about when you consider there has not been a World Champion for over sixty years since Alberto Ascari. There have been a lot of very good drivers since but we have not been able to produce a truly outstanding talent."
Deep rooted social and behavioural shifts over the last two generations could also be a contributing factor for the paucity in Italian talent coming to the fore, believes Pirro.
Working for the future
There may not be too much he can personally do about that, but the 53-year-old now has a role where can at least impart his experience and professional wisdom that brought him so much success in international racing.
"Since July I have been the president of the Italian karting federation, and my targets are to build something with a direction whereby we can find, but also form talents," he said.
"You have to develop someone who is a fighter and someone who is willing to give everything. In my opinion I think some kids are too protected by their parents, in the sense that they always are made out to be right when they do something wrong and things are never their fault.
"Maybe this comes from previous generations and the fact that maybe they had things tougher and now parents are over compensating, I don't know.
"Do this generation have the will to sacrifice so much, to fight for what they want? I mean really fight and focus? There is a culture that I see which goes against how I was brought up, and this culture is not many rules, misbehaviour being tolerated and so on. In my opinion this is not in favour of making a good, tough and successful sportsperson."
Could it be up to the sport and those within it to change such cultures? Can a clearer message come from the idols and stars that youngsters look up to now?
"I'm not sure that motorsport gives a clear enough message just how tough it is to really succeed," states Pirro. "You see the heroes, and you see the wealth and the fame and they seem to have everything, but the message of how hard they have been fighting to get to this stage is not really there is it?"
"As an example, when I became test driver at McLaren-Honda, I saw the level of commitment, dedication and desire of both Prost and Senna. They obviously had the great talent that Mother Nature had given them.
"It was only when I got close to this type of driver that I realised what extra they had, and this came through their work ethic and their intelligence. Working harder to improve technique, fitness, engineering understanding is a message which is not well communicated at the moment in racing, but especially from what I see in Italian motorsport."
Time will tell if Pirro, or anyone else can succeed in helping new talent to emerge from the country which has the passion, the heritage and the willing, but Ferrari apart, has nothing tangible to show for it yet.
The main candidates
Raffaele Marciello
Marciello has looked like Ferrari's big home-grown hope ever since starring in his debut season of European F3, and confirmed his massive potential by taking the title in 2013 before making the step up to GP2.
The Italian hasn't had things easy in the F1 feeder category, especially in his sophomore season following a switch from Racing Engineering to the lesser-fancied Trident squad. Overlooked for a Sauber F1 seat in 2016, Marciello needs to step up his game to keep his future with the Scuderia on track.
Antonio Fuoco
A debut title in Formula Renault 2.0 Alps established Ferrari junior Fuoco as the real deal, but he was overshadowed by teammate Ocon in F3 last year – and he has struggled for consistency since his switch to GP3 with Carlin this year.
But he still has time on his side and appears to be highly-rated by Ferrari, getting the chance to sample the SF15-T at the Austria test in June, so there remains a good chance of him making it to F1 if he can rediscover his past form on the junior single-seater ladder.
Antonio Giovinazzi
After showing immense potential with a Formula Pilota China crown and a shockingly good Formula Abarth one-off in 2012, Giovinazzi has taken a while to come of age in European F3 – but has done so now in his third season, leading closest rival Felix Rosenqvist by 20.5 points.
The leader of arguably the toughest championship on the junior ladder, he's surely gotten some F1 inquiries, but his future appears much more likely to lie in DTM after his one-off at Moscow replacing the banned Timo Scheider at Audi, thanks to his Volkswagen links.
Luca Ghiotto
After steadily progressing through Formula Abarth and Formula Renault 2.0, the underrated Italian struggled with the move to Formula Renault 3.5 before opting for a u-turn to GP3, a move that has paid dividends in 2015.
He now leads that series – ahead of highly-rated opposition such as European F3 champion Esteban Ocon – but any future F1 prospects will depend on whether he can prove himself at a higher level, and indeed whether he can assemble the budget to have the chance.
Alessio Lorandi
Having amassed a long list of accolades in karting over the last few years, Lorandi has been thrown in at the deep end in European F3 this year and is finding the going tough in his rookie campaign with Max Verstappen's former Van Amersfoort Racing squad.
The 16-year-old's sheer speed is undeniable, but he definitely needs more time to smooth the rough edges – it won't become clear whether he is F1 material for another year or two yet.
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Italian GP 2015 Top Facts + Lewis Hamilton at Monza

Leandra is back in the Studio Show with your top facts for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton describes just what the circuit is like and he is out on track with Sir Stirling Moss for a special anniversary drive. Executive Director (Technical) Paddy Lowe shares his favourite Monza moment and talks you through what to expect this weekend.

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Chassis no longer a weakness for Red Bull - Daniel Ricciardo


Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull's main weakness is now Renault's power unit after seeing marked improvements on the chassis side in recent races.

Red Bull and Renault's relationship has reached breaking point after delivering another uncompetitive package in 2015. While Red Bull laid the blame at Renault's door, the French manufacturer said there were also deficiencies on the chassis side - something Ricciardo himself admitted may be the case after being out-qualified by both Toro Rossos at the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
But Red Bull has shown a marked improvement of late, with a double podium in Hungary and a strong Belgian Grand Prix weekend where it was especially strong through the twisty and technical middle sector - hinting at a strong chassis. Ricciardo thinks Red Bull's current challenger is now on a par with last year's RB10, which he guided to three victories.
"Looking now towards the last part of this season, the last couple of races have been our strongest - Budapest and Spa have gone well for us," he said. "In terms of understanding the car we're much more on top of it than we were earlier in the season. I think the chassis is back to a really strong level.
"I think we're now back at a level we were at last year - we knew the chassis was strong and felt most of our deficit was the power. Earlier this season it looked like we had issues on both sides. The chassis, I had experience from last year and I didn't feel like it was last year, I felt we had deficiencies on both sides. We've had quite a few updates, all year we've had updates, but I'd say since Silverstone it's really come on strong and we seem to be in the window a lot easier now with getting the car there."
Ricciardo says it was always going to be difficult to recover the huge disadvantage Renault had at the beginning of 2015.
"And the power, we are trying to make up what we can but we know we started too far back. I don't like the word impossible but it nearly is impossible to make all that gap back in one season so I think that's what it is for now, we're always going to be somewhat down for the rest of the season. That's why we look at Singapore and some of these circuits which are a lot less power dependent and a lot more chassis, look at those as a potential podium for us."
Ricciardo expects he and Red Bull team-mate Daniil Kvyat to take penalties for engine changes this weekend with stronger races on the horizon.
"Monza is not a circuit which suits us particularly, we've got the penalties as well. That's a strategic thing as well, take the penalty here rather than Singapore where we expect to be very competitive and then have some fun on Sunday coming through the field as far forward as we can. And then Singapore I think we can really fight for a podium there."
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Bernie Ecclestone pushing for Lotus/Renault buyout


Bernie Ecclestone is pushing for a buyout of the Lotus team by Renault and last month paid the cash-strapped outfit £1.5 million to cover the wages of 400 staff.

Lotus continues to struggle financially and ended the Belgian Grand Prix with bailiffs arriving outside its garage to stop cars and equipment leaving following legal action from former reserve driver Charles Pic. The team, which has confirmed it will be racing at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, has said it would welcome a works Renault deal "with open arms" as talks with the French manufacturer continue.

The Times reports F1 chief Ecclestone personally intervened to ensure the cash-strapped outfit made the first two races after the summer break.

"I thought I should cover the wages of the people there to make sure they were all right and so that Lotus would at least get to Spa and, hopefully, to Italy," Ecclestone said. "But they really need to make progress with Renault now to make sure everything is OK."

Renault's return as a works outfit would come after the breakdown in its relationship with Red Bull, which has reached breaking point after a season and a half of uncompetitive V6 turbo engines. That has left Red Bull's future in F1 uncertain, with the team ready to quit F1 if it cannot find a competitive engine from 2016 onwards.

It is unclear what a Lotus deal would mean for Red Bull and Toro Rosso, who both have Red Bull engine deals until the end of 2016. Autosport reports one option on the table is for Renault to focus entirely on its own programme for 2016 but assist Red Bull in finding a new supplier, where its road car affiliations with Mercedes would come into play.

Though Mercedes is reluctant to equip Red Bull with such a competitive power unit, Ecclestone is thought to be keen for such a partnership after seeing the Brackley outfit dominate F1 since the introduction of V6 turbos in 2014.

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Button: Wilson death has changed opinion on canopies


Jenson Button says the death of former racing rival Justin Wilson has changed his opinion regarding the introduction of canopies in open-wheel racing, saying 'it time for motorsport to do something serious about it'.
Former F1 driver Wilson was tragically killed during an IndyCar Series race at Pocono last week when he was struck by debris from an unrelated accident up ahead, leaving him with critical head injuries.
The circumstances of his death have duly opened up the debate about open-cockpit cars in motorsport once more, with several figures expressing their view that more needs to be done to protect drivers from such incidents.
Though opinion over whether the DNA of single-seater racing should be altered to include closed-cockpit cars or canopy structures has ultimately been hesitant, Button says his view has changed entirely in the wake of Wilson's accident.
Also, referencing the death of Henry Surtees in a Formula 2 race in 2009, who was killed after being struck by an errant wheel from another car, Button says too many deaths have occurred in motorsport as a result of head injuries and more needs to be done to prevent it.
“It's very sad to see what happened and I think we're all pretty devastated by it. One, because you know the guy, you've raced against him in karting, raced against him in Formula One as well, but also because this just shouldn't happen at this time in motorsport. It's not the Seventies, we should know better.
“I was one of many drivers that said this is open cockpit racing and it should stay as open cockpit racing, but I think we've all had enough now. It's time to do something serious about it, not just changing the headrests on the cars and things, I think you've got to get a canopy on the car of some sort because we can't have this happening as much as it has over the last few years.
“Since Henry Surtees there's been a lot of head injuries that have ended up with death, so it's got to be changed.”
Discussing how such changes can possibly be achieved and when, though Button admits it may take time for measures to be adopted in F1, he says series' as IndyCar – where the walled banking creates a more contained environment – should be looking at swift changes.
“A canopy I think works. Having blades around your head - obviously they're not supposed to break but from an unusual impact possibly they could, I don't know. A canopy is probably the way to go. Obviously that takes time, I can't see it happening for next year in Formula One.
“I personally think it has to happen sooner rather than later and I think in IndyCar it has to happen because they seem to have a lot more issues than we do. Because of the speeds they're travelling as well and every accident there's debris because you can't get away from the banking when you crash. So I think it would be good if we could see canopies sooner rather than later.”
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McLaren eyeing 2017 to ‘re-balance’ in its favour


Eric Boullier considers the mooted change in regulations for 2017 to be a chance for McLaren-Honda to get back on terms with its rivals, saying its current concept will have 'matured' enough to deliver by then.
As F1 moves deeper into the second-half of the 2015 season, McLaren-Honda remains under pressure to improve its fortunes, the difficulties experienced with its underpowered and unreliable Honda power unit proving one of the year's better documented stories.
Indeed, McLaren racing director Boullier is accepting of the hurdles McLaren has faced and will continue to face in the immediate future, admitting it was 'too ambitious' for McLaren and Honda to expect the new project to be ready in the two years it allowed itself.
“As McLaren-Honda, it was a less than two years project, I think it was too short time, too ambitious,” he told “If you want in such a short time period. It was very ambitious to expect to be ready.
“Clearly it took Mercedes three and a half years to prepare this engine. Honda starting from scratch cannot do it in two years when Mercedes had nearly four years. It's impossible.”
With this in mind, though McLaren has already started work on its 2016 car, its opportunity to make up significant ground on its rivals could yet be more than a year away in 2017 when the sport is set to undergo wholesale regulation changes.
As such, given the relative youth of its still 'maturing' car concept, Boullier is confident it will be the ideal chance for McLaren to adapt it to the changes, unlike rivals which will be forced to make broader changes to their more developed machines.
“Honda has the energy, the commitment and the resources and they will do it. Definitely, we trust them 100 per cent like they trust us.
“If you want to be successful in Formula One, since 2009-10, you need to have a car concept which is stable. It means you need to increment every year in development. It took 4 years for Mercedes, it took 4-5 years for Red Bull. It's the same story because this is modern Formula One.
“Our concept car will be mature and start to deliver in 2-3 years. 2017 is going to be a change in regulations and a good thing as well it that teams that have a mature aero or car concept will have to restart from scratch but for a team like us, who don't really have as much as concept at the moment, it will re-balance nicely.”
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McLaren F1 team reverts to long nose design for Italian Grand Prix


The McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team will revert to a long-nose specification for the Italian Grand Prix, AUTOSPORT has learned.
McLaren introduced a shorter specification of nose on Fernando Alonso's car for June's Austrian GP, and the short nose has featured on both MP4-30s at every race since.
But AUTOSPORT understands the Woking squad will use the older specification of nose as a one-off for Monza, because it provides the car with a better aerodynamic balance and lower drag levels than the shorter nose on a track where peak downforce is not required.
McLaren will then go back to using its short nose for the next race in Singapore, where the team is planning to introduce a new front wing package.
Jenson Button is hopeful McLaren-Honda will enjoy a better weekend than at Spa last time out, even though both he and team-mate Fernando Alonso will again receive grid penalties for engine changes at Monza.
"I've got a penalty, Fernando's got a penalty; mine's five, his is 10 places at the moment; there are two Red Bulls with penalties, there's a Toro Rosso with penalties; in the race, I don't know what's going to happen," Button said.
"I don't think our pace will be as bad as it was at Spa.
"[ERS] deployment was a massive issue for us at Spa, because it's such a long circuit, and we don't have as much deployment as other people, so here it should be less of an issue, we should be closer, but still it's going to be a hard race.
"I think we've got a pretty good package, in terms of low downforce, but this is a toughie, whereas in two weeks [in Singapore] it should be a good race for us - hopefully a Monaco, Hungary-spec race."
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Lewis Hamilton has brought his fine run of form to Monza as he made the most of Mercedes’ latest power unit upgrade to claim the fastest lap in the first free practice session of the Italian Grand Prix weekend, ahead of teammate and title contender Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton was the only driver to dip into the 84 seconds zone with a best lap time of 1:24.670, half a second up Rosberg and a whopping 1.5 seconds up on next best Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari. The Silver Arrows duo were also around 4-5 km/h faster than their rivals in the top speed trap.
With Mercedes power clearly ideal for Monza conditions, Force India were again at the forefront of proceedings with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez ending the ninety minutes session fourth and fifth respectively.
Kimi Raikkonen was fifth fastest, half a second down on his Ferrari teammate with Daniel Ricciardo sixth in the Red Bull ahead of the Williams pair with Felipe Massa eighth and Valtteri Bottas ninth.
Lotus did make it onto the track despite predictions to the contrary doing the rounds a day earlier and thus Pastor Maldonado rounded out the top ten.
Report in progress…
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Lotus team boss Federico Gastaldi has admitted legal dramas are not over yet for the Enstone based outfit whose participation in the Italian Grand Prix weekend was in doubt mere days before action started at Monza..
Ultimately, the embattled Enstone team managed to escape the court bailiffs at Spa-Francorchamps and get to Monza just in time.
But when it comes to the action brought by disgruntled former reserve driver Charles Pic, it is not over yet.
“No, the hearings and meetings are going on,” deputy team boss Federico Gastaldi confirmed to Speedweek. “It will take some weeks and months until the court closes the case.”
Gastaldi said the Pic complaint came completely out of the blue – and he is furious, “Imagine we have our first podium for almost two years, and after the race we had to deal with this. In the end we are all just people and I think this whole thing is crazy and unfair.”
“I had not expected this person to give us these problems, as my calls all week were not accepted and then two minutes before the race he phones to apologise.”
“I think some people do not realise the damage they cause, and to the 550 families who depend on our work at the factory in Enstone. Some people in the paddock just want to see blood and have negativity,” said Gastaldi.
“Our employees are naturally now nervous, just like the sponsors. It will take a while until the whole thing calms down again,” he added.
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Formula 1 teams have won an argument with Pirelli over tyre pressures on the first day of the Italian grand Prix weekend at the high speed Monza circuit.
After the blowout saga of Spa-Francorchamps, F1’s official supplier informed teams on Thursday that they wanted an increase of 5 PSI in pressure for the similarly high-speed Monza.
Lewis Hamilton predicted that would be a “disaster”. “I hope they don’t put 5 PSI more,” he said. “A couple is ok.”
An unnamed team engineer told Auto Motor und Sport: “If the cause for the Vettel blow was a puncture, then putting up the pressures is not the right answer. None of us have experience with that. The highest we have used is 21 PSI.”
Indeed, Pirelli’s original recommendation for Monza was an increase from the 18 PSI used at Spa to 23 PSI this weekend.
It emerged shortly before first practice at Monza on Friday that Pirelli has agreed to a compromise, with the 5 PSI recommendation dropping to 3 on the front (21 PSI) and 1.5 (19.5) on the rear.
Pirelli, however, will reportedly analyse the results after the first practice session and could alter its recommendations.
And Bernie Ecclestone has warned the teams to heed Pirelli’s advice.
“Pirelli provides strong guidance to competitors about any performance limitations of the tyres supplied,” a statement issued by FOM said.
“Competitors should heed Pirelli’s expert advice when setting their race strategy and tactics, and if they do not, it is at their own risk.”
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World champion Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes should think again if it is considering Formula 1 engine supply to arch-rivals Red Bull.
“It would be like giving Ferrari an engine,” the reigning champion, and current championship leader, told Antena 3 broadcaster.
“I think if we’re serious about winning world championships, we shouldn’t do it. Red Bull is a great team,” Hamilton added. “Mercedes is here to win so I don’t think we should.”
Coupled with the news that Ferrari’s Sergio Marchionne could be shaping up with a new offer to make to Red Bull this weekend, Hamilton’s comments are the latest sign that a Mercedes-Red Bull partnership may ultimately not happen.
Indeed, Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat has indicated that, as the team’s relationship with current partner Renault breaks down, the last piece of the puzzle for the former quadruple world champion team is a decent engine.
“I would say that our chassis is one of the best now,” said the Russian driver. “Of course it’s easy to say that, but I think there is no doubt that with an engine as powerful as Mercedes, we would be competitive.”
When asked specifically about the rumours linking Red Bull with either Mercedes or Red Bull power, Kvyat answered: “It is not my responsibility to decide upon the power unit supplier.
“If we get a competitive engine, we will do our best to have a fast car, to win races and to stop the dominance of Mercedes. I am sure the team will take the best possible decisions,” he added.
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McLaren is reverting to its older long nose solution on the MP4-30 for the high-speed Italian Grand Prix.
With struggling engine partner Honda, the British team has acknowledged that Monza’s long straights will leave Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button with blunt weapons this weekend.
So McLaren has elected to take more engine-change grid penalties in preparation for a better showing at the forthcoming Singapore and Japanese grands prix.
And Spaniard Alonso is maintaining his oddly cheery disposition and told Spanish daily AS, “At the moment this is the situation, but the team has a plan and we’re following it. For us, the remaining races of the season are no more than tests.”
Part of the reason Alonso is managing to remain upbeat is his apparent belief that McLaren’s actual chassis, the MP4-30, is among the very best on the grid.
“I think we do have one of the best chassis on the grid,” he insisted. “The data proves it. The cornering is the second best after Red Bull. I think we have a serious shortage of power and that is what we need to address.”
Honda’s increasingly pressurised Yasuhisa Arai, however, has gone into the weekend making bold claims about the Japanese-made power unit, including that it is already better than Renault’s.
Comments by Arai have also indicated that he thinks McLaren’s chassis is not good, which may hint at a rift between Honda and the British team.
“No,” Alonso responded. “I think we all do many interviews, perhaps too many, and in all of them there is always an answer that can be misunderstood.”
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Romain Grosjean has not denied paddock speculation that, if the Renault deal now falls through, Monza could be Lotus’ final appearance at a grand prix.
On the one hand, the Enstone team appears tantalisingly close to being bought and therefore rescued by the French carmaker, whose divorce from the Red Bull teams also appears almost complete.
But on the other, Lotus is now desperately out of money, with the last round of wages paid by Bernie Ecclestone and the black and gold cars arriving at Monza late after the court bailiff saga of Spa-Francorchamps.
Trying to put his characteristic smile on the worrying situation and rumours of more court trouble in London, Romain Grosjean said: “We are here, we are ready to race.
“The cars arrived a little late but that’s because they liked being in Belgium so much,” he grinned, according to RMC Sport.
According to the latest rumours, however, the dim reality is that Monza could be the last gasp for Lotus.
“The group of people who are here are passionate and they are here to focus on the car setup and getting the best possible result,” Grosjean insisted.
“The atmosphere is pretty good, especially after the podium in Belgium. “We are putting the financial aspect to the side.”
When asked to contemplate the fact that Monza will be his last race of the season, the Frenchman answered: “I do not think about it. We are here at a grand prix. We’re here to do the job. I am focusing on that.”
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