Vettel Puts Focus On Climate Change At Miami GP
Follow live news and reaction as the world of F1 continues to react to the results at the Miami Grand Prix, while also beginning to look ahead at how teams can improve for the Spanish Grand Prix next time out.
Max Verstappen closed the gap between himself and Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ championship with a win in the US, joined on the podium by both Ferrari cars – but questions have been asked over whether they made it too easy for the reigning champion to take the flag for Red Bull for the second consecutive race.
Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton is coming under pressure after showing post-race disappointment and suggesting Mercedes are not any faster than they were at the start of the season, although the seven-time world champion has vowed to fight on, saying that Mercedes “won’t be stopped in their tracks.”
Another multiple world champion – four-time winner Sebastian Vettel – is considering quitting the sport over climate change, having worn a t-shirt drawing attention to the issue at the Miami GP.
With ten days to go until the next Grand Prix, it’s all about analysing the data, recovery time and making improvements ahead of the next installment in the 2022 season.
Follow all the build-up to the F1 Spanish Grand Prix below:
Mercedes in no-man’s land, says Toto Wolff after Miami
Toto Wolff says Mercedes are in a rut where they cannot challenge at the top and are not threatened by the midfield, after another Grand Prix which showed no real signs of improvement.
The big issue they are facing to unlock the car’s “potential” is that the data is not corresponding with what George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are telling the team, he says.
“At the end of the day there is no happy or not happy moment; at the moment it’s a bit dull. We are third-quickest on the road – in a way in no man’s land. We had a good Friday, we need to dissect why that was, and then come back,” Wolff explained.
“We will be looking at all the data that we have generated, and try to find out why… we had really good sessions on Friday, we had a quick lap – and dissect why that is, because we are not on top of it at the moment.
“We’ve been straight from the beginning, flying in the fog a little bit. It’s clear there is potential in the car and she’s fast. But we just don’t understand how to unlock the potential. It’s probably a car that is super difficult to drive, on the edge, dipping in and out of the performance window; more out than in.
“We haven’t had this situation before in any of the years, where it just didn’t correlate at all with what we see on our screens, with what the driver feels and that’s making it even more difficult.”
Karl Matchett12 May 2022 13:20
F1 faces ‘mission’ to find next US racer as popularity grows, claims Lewis Hamilton
But there is not a single American driver on the grid in 2022, something which Hamilton feels may be a result of athletes choosing other sports.
Speaking at the Miami GP, he said: “It doesn’t really surprise me. I think it’s perhaps more a cultural thing. You know, here in the States it’s the NFL, NBA. It’s NASCAR, IndyCar.
“In my 16 years of coming over here it’s been such a slow build, trying to bring awareness of the sport. Unfortunately, the Americans have to wake up at odd times in order to watch a Grand Prix.”
The USA has not had a F1 world champion since Mario Andretti claimed the title way back in 1978.
Karl Matchett12 May 2022 13:00
Latest F1 news
Tourism officials in Las Vegas have committed $19.5 million over the next three years to sponsor Formula One races on a course that includes the Las Vegas Strip.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board voted unanimously Tuesday to spend $6.5 million per year to partner with Liberty Dice Inc. on the Las Vegas Grand Prix, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Last week, parent company and F1 owner Liberty Media Corp. announced plans to pay $240 million for unspecified property near the Strip for a pit and paddock complex.
Plans were announced March 30 for Las Vegas to join Miami and Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on the F1 calendar next year. Officials expect tens of thousands of racing fans around the world to travel to Las Vegas for the race.
The Strip event will run at night in November 2023 on a temporary 3.8-mile (6.1-kilometer) street course past resorts including the Bellagio, Caesars Palace and the soon-to-be-completed MSG Sphere.
The 2023 race also is viewed as a dress rehearsal for the Super Bowl in February 2024 at Allegiant Stadium. The board previously approved spending $40 million for that event, the Review-Journal said.
Karl Matchett12 May 2022 12:40
Latest motorsport news
Not F1, but perhaps something for F1 fans to be aware of given the wider economic climate and the possibility other companies could follow suit:
Former world champions Suzuki want to leave MotoGP at the end of this year and are in talks with promoters Dorna about the possibility of doing so, the Japanese manufacturer said on Thursday.
Suzuki said in a statement ahead of the French Grand Prix tHat the move was for financial reasons and it was also considering ending other racing activities.
“Unfortunately, the current economic situation and the need to concentrate its effort on the big changes that the automotive world is facing in these years, are forcing Suzuki to drastically decrease racing related costs,” it said.
Suzuki added that it wanted “to use all its economical and human resources in developing new technologies”.
Dorna said last week it had contacted Suzuki to remind the manufacturer that it could not take a unilateral decision under the terms of the contract with MotoGP.
Suzuki Motor Corporation only last year renewed its involvement in the MotoGP championship in a deal running until the 2026 season.
The manufacturer has quit MotoGP before, leaving the premier class after the 2011 season due to economic recession and a stronger Japanese yen. It made a full return in 2015.
The factory team won both championships in 2020 when Spaniard Joan Mir won his maiden title in a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Suzuki also won multiple championships in the top category over the decades since the 1970s with Britain’s Barry Sheene, Italians Marco Lucchinelli and Franco Uncini and Americans Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Roberts Jr.
Team leader Davide Brivio left before the start of the 2021 season to join the Alpine Formula One team as their racing director.
Suzuki project leader Shinichi Sahara said at the time that Brivio’s departure was “shocking news” and a major blow to the Japanese manufacturer.
Suzuki’s proposed departure leaves the future of current riders Mir and compatriot Alex Rins uncertain.
Karl Matchett12 May 2022 12:20
Lando Norris claims Miami track was ‘turning into crap’ during Grand Prix
Lando Norris has claimed the Miami Grand Prix track surface was “turning into crap” during the race.
Norris picked up his first DNF of the season, with his McLaren coming into contact with the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly.
The track required special attention at turns seven and 17 ahead of the weekend with a resurfacing between Friday and Saturday.
And Norris was upset at the lack of grip over the racing line and insists improvements must be made before a return in 2023.
Karl Matchett12 May 2022 12:00
Ferrari determined to respond to Red Bull resurgence in form
Ferrari “now need to respond” according to team boss Mattia Binotto after Max Verstappen’s victory at the Miami Grand Prix narrowed the gap to Driver’s Championship leader Charles Leclerc.
The Scuderia have enjoyed a fine start to the season, but the world champion’s win last weekend pushes Red Bull to within six points of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship, while narrowing the gap to Leclerc to just 19 points.
Binotto is philosophical about his team’s performance, with both Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on the podium again, though he concedes the team “can’t be completely happy”.
“We can’t be completely happy with today’s race because, although the F1-75 was competitive, our rivals were a few tenths per lap quicker than us,” Binotto said. “If you consider how many points we are taking home from here, we can’t be too disappointed, given that we are leading both championships, but it’s clear we now need to respond. We are keen to get the job done and there are still a lot of races to go.
“It’s true that Red Bull improved their car, improved it since the very start of the season. If I looked at the last two races, maybe they got a couple of tenths per lap faster to us. It’s no doubt that in order to keep the pace we will need to develop ourselves with new upgrades.”
More from Ferrari on how they could haul in Red Bull:
Karl Matchett12 May 2022 11:40
Mercedes confirm long-term commitment to Formula One
Mercedes-Benz Group chairman Ola Kallenius has pledged “we will remain” in Formula One as they look forward to the carbon-neutral future of the sport.
In four years, new engine regulations will make the cars power units more reliant on electric power and reduce the sport’s carbon dioxide emissions.
And Kallenius insists Mercedes are looking to the future of F1 as something they want to stay heavily involved in.
Speaking at the Financial Times Future of the Car Summit, he said: “We have decided to go down this path of decarbonisation. It is the only decision we can make, and the same goes for Formula 1.
“The next engine regulations will give much more importance to the electric part, and there is a clear commitment to make Formula 1 CO2 neutral.”
Karl Matchett12 May 2022 11:20
Max Verstappen ‘irritable’ with Red Bull at Miami Grand Prix
But it was not all smooth sailing for the Red Bull driver as just 48 hours before, he was reduced to very little practice time on track due to problems with his car.
And Jos has revealed that led to Verstappen becoming increasingly agitated as yet more reliability issues threatened to derail his title defence.
Speaking in his column, Jos said: “Problems with the car on Friday meant he got very little practice and you need that time to adjust the car, especially on a new street circuit.
“I could understand why he was a bit irritable.”
Following the difficult practice sessions, Verstappen qualified third on the Saturday after making an error during his final attempt to clinch pole position.
But in the race on the Sunday he quickly overtook Carlos Sainz on the opening lap and then won a hard-fought battle with Charles Leclerc to claim the victory.
Verstappen is now just 19 points adrift of Leclerc in the drivers standings despite having failed to finish two of the five races.
On the battle between his son and Leclerc, Jos added: “It can go either way, but it’s clear that you just can’t have any DNFs.
“If the reliability of the Red Bull proves to be good, then I think Max will have another strong season and we will have a thrilling duel between him and Leclerc.
“Then it’s really a question of which team will develop the car better and which upgrades will work best.”
Karl Matchett12 May 2022 11:04
George Russell beating Lewis Hamilton is ‘changing of the guard’ at Mercedes
George Russell outperforming Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1 in 2022 represents a “changing of the guard” at Mercedes according to former world champion Jacques Villeneuve.
The seven-time world champion has endured a tough start to the year, trailing championship leader Charles Leclerc by 68 points and languishing back in sixth place.
Russell has also experienced a testing start to life at Mercedes, but the 24-year-old is 23 points clear of his teammate in the standings.
But despite both struggling due to the heavily porpoising W13 car produced by the Silver Arrows, Villeneuve, who won the 1997 championship with Williams, has been impressed by Russell and his ability to “ride the wave”.
Villeneuve added that in comparison Hamilton is merely “trying not to drown”.
“I think we have seen the final changing of the guard at Mercedes,” he said in his column for Formule1.nl.
“George Russell is riding the wave, Lewis Hamilton is trying not to drown. After many years of winning without competition, it’s hard to wake up and realise it’s not that easy.
“He now has to drive like he did in his first two years in Formula 1, which is what Russell is doing now. In the race Russell took the decision: leave me out, maybe a safety car will come – and it paid off.
“Lewis’ champion’s luck seems to have left him, he doesn’t have the momentum and nothing’s going his way.
Karl Matchett12 May 2022 10:52