F1 News - Are Ferrari 'chatting up' Hamilton? Abu Dhabi GP all you need to know
The 2019 Formula 1 season is not quite finished but already minds in the sport are turning to the future - and particularly that of Lewis Hamilton.
Pretty much all the top drivers are out of contract at the end of next year, so the 2020 transfer market promises to be particularly interesting. And Hamilton will be at the centre of it.
The world champion has never indicated any desire to leave Mercedes, but he has inevitably been linked to Ferrari on and off through his career, and this weekend has seen the latest example.
Italy's Gazzetta Dello Sport ran on Saturday with a splash headline saying that Hamilton had twice this year met with Ferrari chairman John Elkann, in what the paper said was an attempt by Ferrari to "chat him up".
That followed team boss Mattia Binotto saying in a news conference in Abu Dhabi on Friday: "Lewis is certainly an outstanding driver, a fantastic driver. Knowing that he's available in 2021 can make us only happy, but honestly it's too early for any decision.
"We are happy with the drivers we've got at the moment and I think certainly at one stage next season we will start discussing and understanding what to do."
Earliest 'silly season' ever?
In F1, the driver transfer market is known as the 'silly season'. Time was when it happened in August and September ahead of the following year. It has been creeping earlier but this is probably the first time it has started before the end of the season before the following one in question has even started.
Perhaps it's a reflection of the fact that so many big names will be out of contract at the end of the year - both Mercedes drivers Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel are certainly available. The status of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc is less clear, as while he is known to be on a long-term deal with Ferrari, the exact nuances of it are not publicly available. So possibly him, too.
Inevitably, Binotto's comments and the Gazzetta story proved a major talking point on Saturday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and Hamilton was asked about it.
"This is the first time I've heard of that," he said, referring to Binotto's remarks. "I think that's the first compliment I've had from Ferrari in these 13 years.
"I honestly don't remember them ever mentioning me, so thank you, I'll take it. Doesn't really mean anything, it's all talk but yeah, it's nice that finally… it's taken all these years for him to recognise maybe, but I'm grateful."
Pressed on whether he would be interested in a move to Ferrari for 2021, Hamilton said: "It's never a waste of time to be nice to someone. It has been a long, long time and a team that I've always appreciated over the years, so to earn their respect from someone from there who's obviously very high up is obviously not a bad thing.
"They've got two great drivers as is, so who knows what the driver market's going to be doing over the next year?
"But if I'm really honest, I'm not really focused on that right this second: trying to make sure I finish off strong. I've got this incredible group of people who hire me where I am and I feel like I just continue to owe it to them to give my heart to them and my energy 100% to them, particularly as I'm still in contract and negotiations haven't started yet.
"I honestly don't know how the next phase of the months is going to go when it comes to contract. It's very odd that you have to do it almost a year before it ends and it can't be done towards the end, but that's just the way it goes. We shall see."
Wolff relaxed about Hamilton exploring his options
When Hamilton has been asked this question in the past, he has always tended to emphasise the strength of his bonds with Mercedes, how long they have been together, the fact that he has been supported by them since he was 12 years old.
In Brazil two weeks ago, he said: "When you've been with a team for so long, we are kind of joined at the hip. All that small detail can take its time. It's no real stress, our word is our bond has been all these years and we've always had that. Mercedes since I was 12 have always stood by their word and vice versa.
"But you need to set some time aside to say, 'Where are we? What's the next goal? What else are we planning? Because it rolls over for the future. And that in itself can be time consuming. And sure once you have put something in place you're always later: 'Oh damnit, we could have done this.'
"It is trying to have as much foresight as possible, But I have not found it distracting in the seasons when we have been doing it through a season, so it is not about rushing things."
Hamilton will have a lot to weigh up when he makes this decision. As he seeks to keep winning as long as he stays in F1, he will want to have the most competitive car. But he will also have an eye on Mercedes as a brand and the strength of their relationship and how much they could do together in the future, long after he hangs up his helmet.
In Abu Dhabi, Ferrari neither confirmed nor denied whether Hamilton had met Elkann; a spokeswoman simply said she did not know.
At Mercedes, team boss Toto Wolff was also asked about it, and he said: "I am totally OK with that. This is a free world and I recognise that everybody needs to explore career options and make the best decision for themselves, drivers and everybody else.
"So I am very open about this. I have started to embrace the fact that everybody has objectives and needs to have the best possible opportunity for his career so in that respect I am absolutely open for everyone to explore options. My personal priority for the team would be to continue this successful journey, we are really benefiting from a healthy relationship.
"How the values within the team are, loyalty and integrity are number one on the list and understanding Lewis' position and objectives will be key for any decision we take.
"We will not embark on a fishing mission with potential drivers out there before Lewis and us have had that discussion. That hasn't taken place because we wanted to wrap up the season and we wanted to see how it goes. We have a consensual relationship. We need both sides to be happy."
Will Mercedes stay in F1 beyond 2021?
There are other complexities in this, as well - not least the fact that no team is contractually committed to F1 beyond 2020.
The teams are in negotiations with F1 over the financial terms of their contracts and have been for some time. The uncertainty - and the complexity of the global car market - has led to speculation as to whether Mercedes will continue in F1 beyond next year.
Hamilton said on Thursday: "Mercedes is here to stay." Asked whether that was confirmation they would be in F1 beyond 2020, he added: "It is not an announcement but I am pretty sure Mercedes is here to stay. The board members are here this weekend so I will double-check with them. They are all hardcore racers and I am pretty sure they want to stay."
All the indications at the moment are that he is right because F1 works for Mercedes both financially and in terms of exposure.
In 2018, the F1 team's total budget was £338m, and they spent £311m. Daimler's cost exposure on that was in the region of 10-15%, taking into account sponsorship and other income.
And Ola Kallenius, the chairman of the Daimler board, said in an investor call on 14 November: "F1 has been an activity in terms of our marketing and branding strategy that has paid off handsomely in the last few years. You have to look at these investments in a rational way.
"We weigh all our marketing and media investment in terms of reach, impact and cost. If you use the Nielsen method to measure the media value of our F1 activities, they are north of €1bn a year. So an extreme reach and impact from this activity. And the costs - that we would not like to disclose publicly - are surprising low because there is a cost and revenue side in F1. We are committed."
Right now, the smart money would be on Hamilton continuing in F1 in 2021 and staying with Mercedes.
As Wolff said: "Racing drivers are always going to try to be in the quickest possible car, and the quickest car is always going to try to have the best racing driver in there. So there is a good consensus between us as to what we are trying to achieve.
"We need to push very hard to provide the drivers with the quickest possible car and if we are able to do this, I am 100% convinced we will have the best possible driver line-up and everything points to our relationship continuing. But in life you never know."
One more spin around the block
Lewis Hamilton has got what he wanted in Abu Dhabi so far - a pole position to end a season in which the only minor blot on his record had until that point been that team-mate Valtteri Bottas had more poles than him.
Hamilton had made it clear that irked him, so he was delighted with a superlative lap to make them five each in terms of poles and which put Hamilton 14-seven ahead on their qualifying head-to-head.
He is hot favourite, too, to take his 11th win of the season, which would equal his best ever tally for a year.
Bottas has been demoted to the back with a penalty for using too many engine parts and on the face of the weekend so far, neither Red Bull nor Ferrari look quite on Mercedes' level.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen said: "We just seemed to lack a bit of grip compared to them. They are always really dominant on this track and we are just lacking a bit too much in that last sector.
"We have to be realistic and I think Mercedes is really quick but we will give it everything we have in the race."
But Mercedes are wary of all threats and while Ferrari were not competitive on the soft tyre in qualifying, Hamilton pointed out that Charles Leclerc had topped second qualifying on the medium tyre, albeit Mercedes had not done a second run, and Wolff said Ferrari's race pace on the hard in Friday practice had also been impressive.
The Ferraris being on split strategies - with Leclerc starting on the medium like Hamilton and Verstappen, and Sebastian Vettel on the soft - also complicates matters.
"Red Bull was the strongest compared to us on the long runs but Ferrari are fast on the straights and that gives them overtaking opportunity," Wolff said, "and I think all of us will have a chance for the victory tomorrow."
Hamilton has walked the championship but the racing has been terrific for much of the year. Abu Dhabi is not famous for exciting races - to say the least - but it would be nice to end the season on a high.
Not many would bet against Hamilton, though.
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November 30, 2019 at 12:33PM
Motorcycle News - Moose Project: An Enfield street tracker from Bangkok
Over the past few months, Royal Enfield has been keeping the spotlight on the twins via a steady stream of custom builds from all over the globe.
Mooyong, the owner of Zeus, filled us in on the details. It’s his second project with Royal Enfield, after the ‘Prime’—a classic café racer based on the Interceptor.
“We took inspiration from the flat track world, and aimed for a stylish bike with elegant curves,” says Mooyong.
The lines are cleverly echoed by the exhaust pipes, which are bent with a millimeter precision worthy of Auto Fabrica and fitted with discreet brass tips. The engine cases are powder coated black to give the pipes extra visual ‘pop.’
The bike gets its name from the bars, which curve up like moose horns to provide plenty of leverage for the rider—even though they are clip-ons, rather than one-piece units.
Sitting right ahead of the bars is a most interesting dual-layer cowl treatment, with concealed lighting between the plates. It’s an unusual styling trick that we haven’t seen before, and would work just as well with a road-legal headlight centered in the cowl.
But there are a couple of unusual modifications: a crash bar running the length of the top (there’s a matching mini bar on the tail unit) and a side-mounted gas cap.
The paint is an ultra-classy pearl white and grey, with the saddle finished in a dark chocolate leather.
With an 865cc S&S Big Bore Kit installed, we could see a market for a production version of this bike—a smaller, zippier version of the Indian FTR 1200, perhaps. Hopefully Royal Enfield’s product planners are thinking along the same lines—or, should we say, the same ovals.
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November 30, 2019 at 11:16AM
F1 News - Lewis Hamilton takes dominant Abu Dhabi pole position
Lewis Hamilton ended his season in style with a superb pole position at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The world champion, who had not had a pole since the German Grand Prix in late July, beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.194 seconds.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third, 0.360secs, as there was yet another foul-up at Ferrari.
Charles Leclerc failed to get across the line in time to start a final lap and seemed to blame team-mate Sebastian Vettel for it.
Leclerc still managed to qualify fourth, one place ahead of Vettel, but the incident is unlikely to improve relations at Ferrari, after the last race in Brazil where the drivers crashed together putting both cars out of the race.
"We are not going to make it," Leclerc said over the radio, after being told earlier in the lap that they were tight on time. "Seb is slowing down."
Red Bull's Alexander Albon took sixth place, with Lando Norris best of the rest in seventh.
Hamilton was thrilled to end his season with a pole - he has admitted that the fact that Bottas had one more than him up to this point was rankling with him
He said: "It has been such a long slog trying to get this pole position and we just kept out head down trying to get it right. Yesterday was quite wobbly so I had to stay focused, but we managed to dial in the car with the engineers.
"It has been a special car so it is great to end the season in style."
Bottas will not be able to challenge Hamilton in the race, because he will start from the back of the grid because of a penalty for using too many engine parts.
The race battle - if there is one - is likely to be between Hamilton and Verstappen, who will start on the front row alongside the Mercedes following Bottas' penalty.
Verstappen said: "Today was the best we could do. Mercedes is quite dominant here. Overall, pretty happy. It is good to start on the front row. Still a lot of chances for the race and we will see what happens."
More to follow
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November 30, 2019 at 08:15AM
F1 News - Warning! Contains Vettel, and other things which made F1 2019... eventful
Another season, another trophy in the cabinet for Lewis Hamilton. By winning his sixth world title, the 34-year-old became statistically the second most successful driver in F1, behind only Michael Schumacher.
But while Mercedes were busy hoovering up points for both the drivers' and constructors' titles, the rest of the season's entertainment was happening elsewhere - and it often involved Sebastian Vettel.
Even if 2019 brought him only one race win and one pole position, he gets top marks for turning what could have been a tedious year of racing into a thriller. Here's why...
The one when Seb lost it
As the pressure was mounting on the four-time world champion to stop the run of mistakes that had begun in the second half of 2018, his team-mate Charles Leclerc was taking most of the points - and all of the glory.
But then in Canada in June, Vettel came back with a bang to dominate qualifying and score his first pole in nearly a year - since the previous July's German Grand Prix.
Had Vettel's losing curse been lifted? It seemed as if the F1 circus was rooting for him to win in Montreal.
But then Hamilton applied pressure while chasing him down, and the mistakes returned. The German was going off on to the grass approaching a chicane, then returned to the track aggressively enough to push Hamilton towards the wall. That caused the stewards to pick up their clipboards and issue him with a five-second penalty.
Cue Vettel shouting: "Where the hell else was I supposed to go? I had grass on my wheels. They are stealing the race from us."
But that wasn't the end of it. Vettel took the chequered flag, but once he discovered he wasn't the race winner, he went into another rant.
"No no no," he said over team radio. "Not like that. You have to be an absolute blind man - you go on the grass, how are you supposed to control your car? This is the wrong world."
The German's outrage caused him to disrupt the the usual podium celebrations, park his car by the FIA officials instead of in front of the 'number two' board in parc ferme, and storm off into the Ferrari garage. He was then forced by an FIA official to fulfil his podium duties.
On the way, he swapped the 'number one' board in front of Hamilton's car for the 'number two' where his should have been. A bemused Hamilton, who must have felt for his rival, dragged him up to share the top step of the podium with him - once Vettel had finally arrived.
Unsportsmanlike behaviour? Not a bit of it... Fans enjoyed it so much that Vettel was voted driver of the day. And Ferrari even joined in with the refusal to accept defeat, upholding their long tradition of flying a flag at the factory in Maranello following a race win.
Three poles… or maybe two
Another driver quite happy to dispute the stats this year is Max Verstappen. The loss of his pole position in Mexico in October was not the first time he's been stripped of a top-three place because of a penalty, but it is the one he appears to refuse to accept.
He was handed a three-place grid penalty after failing to slow under yellow flags on his final qualifying lap when Valtteri Bottas crashed, and even admitted his mistake in the post-qualifying press conference with a nervous giggle.
Then again, his eight career victories have nearly all come amid some form of drama. Take the one in Austria in June - Verstappen's first win of the year and his second at the team's home race.
The Mercedes pair were out of contention for the win with engine cooling issues, and so a rivalry blossomed between Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. A gripping on-track battle saw Verstappen chase down the Ferrari and pass with just two laps remaining.
Just as Hamilton had done to Vettel in Canada three weeks earlier, Verstappen forced a mistake and made Leclerc run wide. At least, that's one way of looking at it. Another, if you're in the Ferrari camp, is that Leclerc was pushed clean off the track.
There was a long wait to discover if Verstappen would keep his race win. The verdict - that his victory stood - was not called until hours afterwards. The Dutchman called it "hard racing". Leclerc took his bat and ball home, and began concocting a revenge plan.
Two weeks later, at Silverstone, that plan was enacted.
Two weeks later… Ferrari attack, as a pair
Ferrari came back with bite at the British Grand Prix. Verstappen and Leclerc faced off in one of the most intense battles of the modern F1 age.
It even extended to the pits as they stopped for new tyres. The race to get back on track as quickly as possible meant a side-by-side duel that the Silverstone pit lane just wasn't designed for.
They battled hard but fairly, and Leclerc held off Verstappen until a safety car on lap 20 ended their fight.
Enter Vettel to take up the challenge. But instead of taking the fight to Verstappen, he piled into him. The German put himself to the back of the field, and left the Red Bull driver to trail home in fifth.
Vettel not only collected a 10-second penalty, but also another two superlicence points to add to those from the 2018 US Grand Prix, and the Canadian Grand Prix after the "grass on my wheels" incident. They wouldn't be the last.
A bittersweet Italian Grand Prix
There are many rules for a Ferrari driver. But number one, at the front of the rule book in giant font, is: 'Don't mess up in front of the Tifosi.' Leclerc adhered to it. Vettel didn't.
Leclerc produced the perfect pole-to-flag victory in September - with a controversially cut corner and an aggressive defensive move thrown in for good measure. He did all that at an F1 circuit steeped in history, fending off Hamilton to become the first Ferrari winner at Monza since Fernando Alonso in 2010. Scenes.
But what of Vettel? Ah, well. First, he lost a place on lap one to the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg. Then it got worse.
Under no pressure from anybody, the German lost control and spun at the Ascari chicane. Then it got worse still.
Attempting to re-join the track, Vettel did something to horrify Ferrari fans and driving instructors alike. Mirror, signal, manoeuvre? Forget it. Seemingly without looking, Vettel returned to the track and crashed into Lance Stroll, who then had to swerve dangerously to avoid a collision with Pierre Gasly.
It was a shocking move to come from a driver so experienced, and another jaw-dropping moment in an already dramatic race.
Then it got even worse.
The stewards slapped Vettel with a 10-second stop-go penalty, and added three more points to his over-crowded superlicence. Three more after that would mean a ban.
So was that the end of Vettel's dramas for the season?
Don't be silly.
Ferrari implode, and the others get a go on the podium
The internal power struggle to be number one at Ferrari reached breaking point at the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, with a crash and a double retirement.
Leclerc had been beating Vettel repeatedly on and off the track all season - even when the pair played with remote control cars in the paddock.
In the closing stages of the battle for third at Interlagos, Leclerc made a clean lunge down the inside of his team-mate at Turn One.
Vettel wasn't happy. He really wasn't happy. He responded by deploying DRS to attack back on the approach to Turn Four.
The duo went wheel-to-wheel down the straight, As Vettel was pulling away, he turned in on Leclerc and the cars made contact. The result: suspension damage for Leclerc, and race-ending punctures all round.
The feud had finally erupted - and history had repeated. The move emulated one Vettel had made on Mark Webber at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix in their Red Bull days.
It was heartbreaking for Ferrari, but a joy to see two midfield teams - Toro Rosso and McLaren - make it on the podium. It was a particularly sweet moment for Red Bull's most recent reject, as he won a drag race with Hamilton on the final straight across the line. For this was Pierre Gasly's moment.
Gasly - demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso in August - and Carlos Sainz joined Max Verstappen on the podium to celebrate a race which won't be forgotten any time soon.
The one where Mercedes made a mess of things
What happens when it pours down during a race, and cars come a cropper on a corner covered - inexplicably - with soap?
If you're Vettel, you deliver the perfect race - for once - by coming from last to second, while much of the field crashes or retires.
Such was the strange scenario in Germany in July, one made even odder by a rare Mercedes foul-up. The team arrived wearing 1900s-style outfits to celebrate 125 years in motorsport. They left having been sucked into enacting a full-on tribute to Wacky Races.
To think, after a disappointing French Grand Prix the previous month, that the F1 community had debated whether the sport was getting stale. Germany provided a race for the ages - and a few surprises.
Take, for instance, the drivers to spin off. Bottas - sure. Hulkenberg - understandable. Leclerc - a bit of a shock. But Hamilton? The multiple world champion came to grief at a corner covered, by the looks of it, in soap suds. Had Dick Dastardly paid a secret visit to Hockenheim? No one seemed able to explain - or take any action.
You wouldn't get that kind of drama in a game of Mario Kart.
However, the most shocking moment of the race was when Racing Point took a gamble on slick tyres in the closing stages as the rain subsided, and Lance Stroll took the lead.
All bets were off on who would eventually stand on the podium, and to add to his list of dramatic victories, Verstappen won, with another display of masterful driving. Daniil Kvyat collected some champagne on the third step next to Vettel.
The one with the bromance
Away from Vettel's antics, there are many things to be taken from 2019.
There's the bromance between Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz; the close midfield battle and resurgence of McLaren; the fall of Renault's performance; the ladder Williams and Haas continue to climb towards achieving competitive form; the Red Bull mid-season driver swaps leading to the discovery that their talent pool is dry; and the continuous discussions about the 2021 regulations.
But what is for certain, is that Formula 1 has provided many moments of laughter, tears, frustration and boredom. And long may it continue. See you in Melbourne in March, Sebastian? You bet.
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November 30, 2019 at 12:27AM
Motorcycle News - Mata Hari – Honda XL500 Flat Tracker
Flat Track racing is nothing new. In fact, variations of the sport have been around since the 1920s. Typically a Flat Track race takes place on a 1/4 mile or 1-mile oval dirt track. It’s fast, loud and delivers plenty of thrilling sideways action. In more recent years, thanks to the efforts of influential enthusiasts (hat tip to Gary at Sideburn Magazine), Flat Track racing has attracted the attention of the custom motorcycle scene. As a result, we’re seeing more Flat Track inspired builds hitting the streets. In some cases, these bikes are also destined to race, case in point, this Honda XL500 Flat Tracker by Gas & Oil Bespoke Motorcycles.
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November 29, 2019 at 09:00PM
Motorcycle News - BMW Releases Details on Big Boxer R18 Engine
We were expecting BMW to debut its new “Big Boxer” cruisers at EICMA but were left disappointed with yet another concept model. We don’t have anything against concepts, really, but the R18/2 shown at EICMA was already the fourth to incorporate the new engine, and despite the spy photos that have popped up, it seems like BMW’s new cruisers just aren’t quite ready for full production yet.
We may be getting closer to that point now, as BMW has finally released technical details on the new R18 Big Boxer engine. We already knew the engine was an air and oil-cooled flat Twin with overhead valves manipulated by pushrods. We now know that the engine has a displacement of 1802cc from a 107mm bore and 100mm stroke, and a compression ratio of 9.6:1.
According to BMW, the engine produces 89.8 hp at 4750 rpm and more importantly for the heavyweight cruisers it’ll power, 116.5 lb-ft. at 3000 rpm, with 110 lb-ft available at just 2000 rpm. The engine speed tops out at 5750 rpm and idles at just 950 rpm. The engine itself weighs a claimed 244 pounds, and that includes the six-speed transmission and intake.
Like the BMWs of yore, the engine is air and oil cooled and uses an OHV configuration. The classic look is paired with modern technology, with four valves per cylinder, dual ignition, intake manifold injection and an engine control unit to manage all that torque while also helping the engine meet Euro 5 emission standards. Like the R 51/2 engine produced in 1950 and 1951, the engine uses two camshafts, positioning them above the crankshaft. This allows for shorter pushrods which reduces moving masses, allowing for improved control precision and stability at higher engine speeds.
The two intake and exhaust valves move in pairs via fork toggle levers. The intake valves are 41.2mm in diameter and are positioned at a 21 degree angle while the exhaust valves are 35mm and angled at 24 degrees. Valve clearance adjustments can be made by manipulating an adjusting screw for each valve.
The engine will use a single-disc dry clutch with a anti-hopping design to mitigate back torque under hard downshifting. The constant mesh six-speed transmission employs four shafts with helical gear pears. The gear input shaft rotates the two gearbox shafts while an output shaft reverses the rotation for the rear wheel. We still haven’t seen the bike this engine will go into, but BMW is already announcing an optional add-on reverse gear which is driven by an intermediate gear and an electric motor.
As illustrated in the R18 Concept, the drive shaft is nickel plated and exposed to spin in the open air, as was common in BMW boxers before 1955.
We expect the Big Boxer engine will be employed in a range of new models, including a classically-styled cruiser, a tourer, a bagger, and likely a more modern-looking performance cruiser similar to the R18/2 Concept shown at EICMA.
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November 29, 2019 at 04:04PM
Motorcycle News - Ducati To Host NYC Fundraiser To Support Carlin Dunne Foundation December 5
Many people within the motorcycle community were touched by Carlin Dunne’s larger than life personality. Now, in his honor, the Carlin Dunne Foundation wants to carry on his vibrant, positive presence. Ducati North America has combined with Canoe Studios to create an evening of giving in Carlin’s name. A silent auction will be held to help fund the foundation’s future plans. Even those who cannot attend the event in New York will have the opportunity to bid on items. See the press release below for all the information.
Begin Press Release:
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November 29, 2019 at 12:16PM
F1 News - Abu Dhabi GP: Honda intends to stay in F1 beyond 2021
Honda says it intends to stay in Formula 1 beyond the end of 2021 despite extending its contract with Red Bull by only one year.
Honda F1 managing director Masashi Yamamoto said the decision to sign a one-year deal beyond 2020 "does not mean we finish the project in 2021."
Yamamoto said Honda was already "discussing about after 2022".
But he said Honda needed answers to certain questions about the rules after 2020 before it could commit further.
Yamamoto added: "Of course we understand that it sounds odd to extend for just one year just for 2021."
Yamamoto was speaking in an exclusive interview with BBC Sport.
Asked whether Honda's current intention was to stay in F1 beyond 2021 if its questions about the future direction of the rules were answered, he said: "Yes."
Yamamoto declined to say what Honda's conditions were, but BBC Sport can reveal they surround discussions over fixing the specifications of engines for 2021-25.
Engine manufacturers are discussing with F1 a plan to homologate power-units for the next regulation period - so manufacturers would submit a design ahead of the 2021 season and be required to use it without changes for the subsequent five seasons.
This would dramatically reduce the cost of competing in F1 for engine manufacturers compared to the current rules, under which teams upgrade their engines before every season and then every seven races during a championship.
Yamamoto admitted that keeping costs as low as possible was a major factor in Honda's commitment to continue in F1, a decision made by the company's board in the period since the last race in Brazil and the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
Honda's improved performance this season - in which they achieved their first victory since their return to the sport in 2015 in Austria with Max Verstappen and Red Bull and have gone on to win a further two races since - was also a key issue.
"There wasn't any discussion about going out from F1," Yamamoto said. "Rather we have discussed how we could continue the project in better shape because we are now having the result with Red Bull and Toro Rosso, and that was a big factor.
"We know we are getting closer to the top performance and our power-unit is still behind a bit versus Mercedes and Ferrari - but much closer than before.
"Another condition we are discussing is how we can minimise the cost."
Honda's one-year extension leaves partner Red Bull in a difficult position because they could have to sign a five-year commitment with F1 without being certain who their engine partner will be for more than the first year of that period.
All teams are contracted only until the end of 2020 and are engaged in negotiations over new commercial terms for the next five years.
Yamamoto said: "We agree about your point. It must be quite a tough decision for Red Bull. But the discussion we are making (about) after 2021, it is quite positive and we are discussing how we can continue, under what conditions."
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner declined to comment.
The current plan for the new contracts teams sign with F1 for the 2021-25 period is for their to be exit clauses at various points during the five years.
via BBC Sport - Formula 1 https://ift.tt/OHg7x6
November 29, 2019 at 11:09AM
F1 News - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas top despite bizarre Romain Grosjean crash
Valtteri Bottas led Lewis Hamilton to a Mercedes one-two in second practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Bottas was 0.310 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who was 0.076secs faster than Ferrari's Charles Leclerc as the season's final race weekend began.
In an unusual crash for a practice session, Bottas and Haas' Romain Grosjean collided at a chicane.
The Finn dived for the inside at the end of the second long straight and Grosjean turned in having not seen him.
Both cars suffered extensive damage and showered the circuit with debris, causing the session to be stopped for seven minutes while the track was cleared.
Until his crash, Bottas was on excellent form around Yas Marina on Friday, fastest in both sessions, but he has a grid penalty for excessive engine usage and will start the race from the back of the grid.
Hamilton, Leclerc and the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel were covered by just 0.125secs, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen fifth and 0.435secs off Bottas' pace but nearly half a second ahead of his team-mate Alexander Albon.
In an unusual feature, the Ferrari drivers' times were set on a second timed lap, the team choosing to run two sets of soft tyres on low fuel rather than the usual one.
And Leclerc's time came following a heavy brush with the barriers on his first run at Turn 19, where team-mate Vettel crashed in the first session.
Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi also came to grief at Turn 19, although he managed to spin while avoiding hitting anything.
Mercedes ended the session emphasising their strength with some impressive pace on the race-simulation runs, with Hamilton comfortably quicker than Verstappen and Leclerc when running the soft tyre with a heavy fuel load.
via BBC Sport - Formula 1 https://ift.tt/OHg7x6
November 29, 2019 at 08:45AM
F1 News - Formula 1 2019 vote: Lewis Hamilton's sixth title your biggest moment?
Another Formula 1 season, another title for living legend Lewis Hamilton.
But will his clinching of a six crown be the moment you remember the 2019 season for?
There's plenty of reasons why it wouldn't be...
If you are viewing this page on the BBC News app please click here to vote.
via BBC Sport - Formula 1 https://ift.tt/OHg7x6
November 29, 2019 at 06:33AM