Kevin Magnussen’s reputation as a ‘bad boy’ has become a joke within the Haas team, the Danish driver admitted.
Magnussen had caused several controversies this year due to his aggressive driving tactics, his most famous line being “suck my balls” directed at Nico Hulkenberg.
Despite being considered an ‘aggressive driver’ on the tracks by most of the F1 drivers, Magnussen doesn’t worry too much about his reputation and says his team pulls his leg on the bad rep.
“I don’t mind,” he said. “A lot of drivers have complained about me, but this has perhaps created a little bit of a joke in the team.
“I wouldn’t say I am the most popular driver among the drivers, but I don’t need to be. What matters to me is the results and what the stewards say.
“This year I have only had one penalty from a driving incident, so it means I am not that bad.”
Does he have any driver friends within the paddock, he said: “In the paddock yes. But amongst the drivers, I don’t have friends at all. They are not my friends. It would never work to have a friendship, so I don’t make any effort to make friends.”
Magnussen doesn’t worry about what others think of him and staying away from Social media has helped him in that endeavour.
“One of the things that I stopped doing a while ago is look at social media,” he said. “As a public person you get a lot of mentions and messages, and it can be very frustrating to look at.
“So I stopped looking at it. It helped a lot because now I am a little bit oblivious to what people are saying about me.
“Of course I get the info in the end, if someone says something that was controversial or negative about me, you guys [the media] will tell me. But I really don’t mind it so much.
“I am not aiming to be unpopular. I am aiming to get good results, and sometimes you need to stick your elbows out to get those results.”
Rudy van Buren, a Dutch Karting champion has been crowned the first World eSports champion after he beat fellow Dutchman Freek Schothorst in the final round of the World’s Fastest Gamer eSports competition.
Van Buren was working as a sales manager in the Netherlands. Back in 2003, he won the Dutch Karting championship title. The 25-year-old will be McLaren’s official simulator driver for 2018, as a part of the winner’s prize.
Speaking after the victory, van Buren said: “Every boy that starts karting dreams about F1, and at a certain point, that dream just vanishes. Now by winning World’s Fastest Gamer, I can relive that dream.
“This has been the most incredible experience and words can’t describe how I feel right now. To think that I came to the McLaren Technology Centre for the very first time last week but am leaving here today as McLaren’s newest employee is mind-blowing.”
McLaren helped to get the competition together, tying up with gaming company Logitech, former Nissan GT Academy head Darren Cox, media platform GiveMeSport and Racewear manufacturer Sparco.
The contest saw over 30,000 participants from across the globe battle it out on the simulator tracks to be selected into the qualifying race.
The final 12 were invited to McLaren’s Woking base to take part in the final round of tests using circuits like Indianapolis, Suzuka and Interlagos. They even did a day-long race around the Le Mans 24 Hours’ Circuit de la Sarthe.
The top 12 were reduced to six and then to three and finally to two. The finale between van Buren and Schothorst was held in Abu Dhabi. Ben Payne, director of eSports at McLaren described the final as a test of “speed, engineering know-how and the ability to develop, refine and engineer an F1 car”.
eSports competition’s first edition of the eSports competition was an “outstanding success,” says Payne. He claimed “more than 10 million people” have seen the competition.
He added: “We’ve demonstrated the real value of eSports within F1. The competition has inspired everyone at McLaren to work even harder next year to ensure that this competition becomes bigger and better.
“We are already working to consolidate and improve World’s Fastest Gamer’s position as the pre-eminent virtual racing competition in the world.”
Sauber is getting ready to announce its 2018 driver line-up at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. There is speculation that the team could tie up with Alfa Romeo to form a strong alliance with Ferrari.
Sauber signed a multi-year deal with the Italian team for their engines. There have also been indications that Ferrari is keen to make the Swiss team their junior squad to allow their younger drivers to gain F1 experience.
As a part of that program, it is likely that F2 champion and Ferrari protégé Charles Leclerc would get one of Sauber’s 2018 race seats.
But the decision is not yet finalised as Ferrari is also trying to place another junior driver Antonio Giovinazzi at Sauber.
The second part is a bit harder since Sauber’s owners also have a stake in their current driver Marcus Ericsson. The owners have entrusted the decision of choosing the drivers to Team Principal Frederic Vasseur.
According to sources close to the deal, the team is inching closer towards retaining Ericsson but the final call will be taken after completing the deal with Ferrari.
To make the deal with Sauber more meaningful and long-term, Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne is also contemplating plans to rebrand their customer engines as “Alfa Romeo”.
Marchionne is keen to bring back the Alfa Romeo brand into Formula 1. With Sauber expressing interest in a lasting arrangement, he sees an opportunity to make it happen.
Talking with Italian media, Marchionne said: “Alfa Romeo in F1 could become a fine breeding ground for young Italian drivers,”
“The best one, Giovinazzi, is already with us, but there are others besides him, and they are struggling to find room. Alfa Romeo, more than our customer teams, could offer them that space.”
It is hard to say if all these tie-ups can be worked out before the 2018 season starts. But if Marchionne signs off on the rebranding idea, it will be a big boost to Sauber’s marketing efforts.
Alfa Romeo brand may bring renewed interest in the Swiss team and open up more sponsorship opportunities.
But all this depends on Marchionne. Bringing back an iconic brand to F1 is a big deal, especially at a time when Liberty Media is up for scrutiny. The media house will soon finish a year of ownership of Formula 1.
As a gesture of goodwill, the FIA has returned Manor Racing’s entry fee for the 2017 F1 World Championship. The funds will help repay the now-defunct team’s massive debts.
In November 2016, Manor had paid the FIA the team’s entry fee $522,322 for next season and including an additional $6,194 for the single point the team scored in the previous year’s championship. But before the 2017 season started, the team collapsed and did not take part in the Grand Prix.
In 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix, Sauber gained two points taking them ahead of MRT to tenth and manor lost £30 million in prize money. Losing prize money sent the team into debt and made it impossible for them to continue racing in the next season.
Manor’s administrators FRP Advisory tried their best to find a buyer and retained their staff until the end of January. But unfortunately, they could not make a deal in time to save the team.
After Manor’s fate was sealed, FRP announced an auction of the assets, including four rolling chassis and the wind tunnel model for the stillborn 2017 car. As per rules, the FIA has the right to keep the entry fee once it is paid. But the governing body’s decision to give it back has helped clear some of the dues owed by the racing team.
The FIA said today: “Just Racing Services Limited, the company within the Manor Group responsible for servicing the team went into administration in January of this year and ceased trading later that month. Consequently, the team did not take any part in the 2017 Championship.
“The FIA has therefore decided to return the entry fee, less the administrative costs incurred by the Federation as part of the entry process, to the entity within the Manor Group in administration as a gesture of goodwill to assist in payment of outstanding debts.”
Red Bull is not getting any new parts from Renault for a while and the team boss Christian Horner hopes the French manufacturer won’t have to do a “Scrapheap Challenge” to supply spares for the Abu Dhabi race.
Renault shifted focus to 2018 almost a month ago and decided not to produce any more new parts for the final race, leaving Red Bull with little choice in the matter.
Instead of making new ones, the French company has resorted to using reconditioned items to meet the needs of the final race of the season and has also asked all the teams to turn down their engines to ensure reliability.
But with a shortage of spares, there is a potential risk that any more problems at Abu Dhabi will send the Renault team on a hunt for working parts through the weekend.
So what would happen if an issue arises during the practice sessions or at the qualifying race, we asked Horner and he said: “It’s going to be a little bit like Scrapheap Challenge, to find what can go with what. But the good thing is, both engines got to the end of the race in Brazil.
“So whatever we’ve finished there with, we can take to Abu Dhabi, and hopefully there’s no cracks or issues. Then in Abu Dhabi, the last race of the year, we have got to go for it.”
Tensions are running high between Renault and Toro Rosso/Red Bull after the Junior Red Bull team took a swipe at Cyril Abiteboul’s comments about the team.
Uncharacteristically, Horner has been praising the Renault garage staff, appreciating the way they have worked to make sure the cars will be ready for the final race.
“Hats off to the Renault mechanics in the garage because of the way they’re moving bits around,” he said “It’s never an ideal environment to be rebuilding engines, track side. And every week they’re doing it.
“I think they sometimes get the rough end of the stick. The guys in the garage in difficult conditions are working miracles.”
Does he share a similar opinion on Renault as Toro Rosso put out publicly, Horner replied: “I think Renault are more than aware of the issues that they have.
“Obviously frustration boiled over with Franz [Tost] and … you know, it’s that time of year where emotions are running high.”
Robert Kubica’s 2018 deal with Williams is not yet done and thus no announcements have been planned for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the British team confirmed.
Kubica completed two test drives for Williams last month to help them assess his potential for the 2018 racing seat.
The Pole is also set to drive for Williams in the Pirelli tyre test after the Abu Dhabi race.
After Massa’s departure, Paddock was filled with rumours that Kubica has already landed a deal with the team. The team has strongly denied this news and says they are yet to decide on their second driver.
“Although conversations are ongoing with Kubica, it is still yet to be finally decided who will replace Massa,” said Williams’s statement.
“We will make an announcement when we have something to announce but nothing is planned this weekend in Abu Dhabi.”
Kubica had earlier tested for Renault. But since the French team got Carlos Sainz on loan from Toro Rosso, they have released the Polish driver to pursue other avenues.
2016 world champion Nico Rosberg has taken up a role in Kubica’s management to help him get back into Formula 1 after his 2011 crash left him with severe arm injuries.
After his recovery, Kubica started with rallying and then shifted to sportscar races and now he is performing single-seater tests to see if he can make a comeback to Formula 1.
Apart from Di Resta, Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein and former Toro Rosso racer Daniil Kvyat are also in the running for the second seat. But Kubica is said to be the first preference.
Massa was also in the running for the same seat. But when he realized Kubica is the top pick and Williams refused to name their driver before the Brazilian Grand prix, he decided he had enough and announced his retirement.
The Scuderia Ferrari F1 team is smiling after a long time as Valtteri Bottas continues to lament at his loss. Brazilian Grand Prix was an unexpected race of sorts for the team as Sebastian Vettel lost the pole position narrowly but still won the race.
In Saturday’s qualifying race, Bottas bettered Vettel’s provisional pole time in his final run to claim the pole position. After the Mercedes cars dominated the free practice sessions and Bottas got the pole, Ferrari’s chance of winning the race was pretty dim. The only thing that worked in their favour was that world champion Lewis Hamilton crashed in Q1 and would not be an immediate challenge to their drivers at the front of the grid.
But as always, a Grand Prix has a surprising way of not following our expectations. Vettel got a better start than Bottas, giving him the momentum to move across the track to take the lead on the inside of Turn 1.
Max Verstappen did not put up a fight at Turn 1 as his fourth place gave him a slight disadvantage at the start due to grip issues.
Thus Vettel was able to control the race from Turn 1 and Bottas did not have a clue on how to attack him once he lost the lead. Although Bottas tried to undercut Vettel during lap 27, the margin on the Pirelli softs was so low, that he could not succeed.
This was Vettel’s fifth win this season proving that Ferrari’s car has come a long way in its development since last year. Their car has shown it can win pole positions, podiums and races.
With very little change in the regulations for next year, Ferrari’s performance this Sunday can be taken as a good benchmark for what we can expect from the Italian team in the next season.
Since Mercedes already won both the titles, they have started to experiment with riskier parts. But Ferrari is unlikely to follow the German team’s suit in Abu Dhabi, as they plan to maximise their chances of winning that race.
Mercedes gave a sample of their new performance levels in Brazil, where Lewis Hamilton sliced through the entire grid to reach P4 starting from the pits. Can Ferrari continue its 2017 progress in 2018? Odds say, Yes!
Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1’s “action man” would have been a big star in the 1970s, says two-time Formula 1 world champion, Emerson Fittipaldi.
Fittipaldi won his first world championship title in 1972 and the second one in 1974 and is considered to be one of the top Brazilian racers in F1.
He says that Hamilton is good for the sport as he connects with a wider audience than the other drivers and he will bring new audience to the sport.
“I like Lewis, I think he’s one of the top guys in grand prix racing and he deserves the championship for sure,” Fittipaldi told a sports website.
“I’ve followed him since the first time I watched him in F3 in Germany many, many years ago.
“I think he’s a fantastic driver. He’s extremely talented, and he has a great style of driving that I like. He’s very aggressive at overtaking people.
“He’s good for Motorsport; he puts on a great show. We need this in grand prix racing, we’re missing the action, and he’s the action man!
“He’s a fantastic ambassador for England, and he’s the first British driver to win the title four times. I think he’s capable of reaching a public much bigger than we can reach, and can make the sport much more popular.”
So how would he rank Hamilton among the all-time great F1 drivers? Fittipaldi says that if Lewis was racing with him back in the 1970s, it would be hard to beat him.
“From my perspective for sure, the top group is Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart because he’s my age and Ayrton Senna, because of my friendship with him as a Brazilian.
“If you get the top three or four drivers in grand prix racing and make a time machine, and for example, have Lewis come back to my time, driving my McLaren or my JPS Lotus, he’d be tough for me to beat. And for Jackie Stewart.
“No doubt about it, he’d be one of the top guys. If I had the age when I was at the top of my career to drive a modern car now, I would be extremely competitive for sure.”
Formula 1 manufacturers criticizing the latest proposal on the 2021 new engine rules is not surprising, says F1’s former CEO Bernie Ecclestone.
All the current engine makers, except Honda, have expressed their displeasure at the new proposals as they believe the extra cost of new development does not add value to the sport or to the competing teams.
Ecclestone says the new rules demand a lot of development work resulting in additional expenses on top of the current investment. He also said that there are easier ways to address the issue.
Ecclestone said: “The trouble is they’ve all spent a fortune on these bloody engines,”
“And they don’t want to go back to their boards and say, ‘We need another few quid because we need to modify the engines.’
“I think, honestly they should do something really different, or leave it alone.
“All they had to do was what we agreed three years ago, I think, with Jean Todt, which was more fuel flow, and more fuel in the car, and let them rev to another 2000 revs. That’s all that was necessary.”
Ecclestone does not believe that Liberty Media, the new owner can follow through on their plans to improve the sport, especially since they did not understand the sport when they bought the rights to it.
“They shouldn’t have made so many predictions, should they, as to what they could do. They should have waited to see what can be done.
“I’m sure what they had in mind and wanted to do was alright. The problem is doing it.
“All we really had to do was have a look at when was F1 really popular? Let’s get the rulebook out and let’s do it that way.
“I haven’t seen any difference really. The racing’s good – it’s better now than it was. We’ve been waiting four years for this, so it’s a little bit easier when there’s competition. Now Ferrari’s woken up, it’s good.”
Ecclestone was sceptical about Liberty’s massive investment in marketing F1 and in expanding the commercial department. The previous owners (CVC) of the sport had given him the task of keeping the costs in check and maximising the profit.
Liberty recently announced reduced profit numbers which means, lesser prize money for the teams
“You have television every couple of weeks and television during the off-period, and the teams are all talking, everybody’s talking. So what could we talk about? What can anyone talk about? Say to people come and see F1, it’s super?
“I was the chief executive with the job of making it look good, making sure that they could sell the shares. We were trying to sell for four years, and eventually, we got it together and sold.”
Having tried several times to increase the number of races in the US, and failed; Ecclestone believes it is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
“I want to see them get more races in America. As they don’t seem to be looking for money, maybe it’s possible. If you’re looking to make money, that’s not the way to do it. That’s why I went east.”
Integrating Halo into the 2018 Formula 1 chassis is turning out to be a bigger challenge than handling the aerodynamic impact of the device on the car’s profile says, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe.
The FIA has made the Halo cockpit protection system mandatory for F1 cars for next season. Teams will have to adapt their chassis design to include the Halo. The cars have to undergo push tests before they can be certified for F1 racing. The push test will be applied to the mountings to make sure they can withstand the pressures defined by the FIA.
“It’s a big project to put that in the car,” said Lowe. “We’re still working on it, and the integration is quite difficult.
“There are very high loads to accommodate, so I think the bigger impact is structural rather than aerodynamic.”
Lowe believes that a few teams may be able to do better in the integration by controlling the amount of weight being added to the chassis.
“There is some performance [in it] I guess. Probably the major area is how efficiently you can provide the mounting requirements to meet the loads – how much weight do you have to throw at that problem? Because it’s all weight.”
Lowe says it is not hard to manage the aerodynamic profile change as they can create their own fairings to reduce the impact of the new addition, provided the new fairings are within the FIA limits
“There are some minor aerodynamic effects. We haven’t seen it as a huge project – the detriment is not particularly large. There is some room for manoeuvre there, but not a lot.”