Monthly Archives: June 2015

Marciello gets another FP1 outing for Sauber at Silverstone this weekend

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It has been announced today that Sauber Test driver Raffaele Marciello will get another taste of Formula 1 action at Silverstone as he will again drive for Sauber in Free Practice 1 this Friday.

The Ferrari Driver Academy graduate saw some Friday action at the Malaysian and Spain Grands Prix while he was also behind the wheel of the C34 at the in-season tests at Barcelona and the Red Bull Ring. He is once again expected to replace Swede Marcus Ericsson.

In an interview with the media today, Marciello is looking forward to his outing in Silverstone and is looking forward to driving the Sauber around the circuit in FP1 and also in GP2 and showing what he can do on the track throughout the weekend ahead. Marciello stated the following:-

‘I am looking forward to another FP1 session. In general I like fast tracks; Silverstone is one of my favorites. The Becketts section particularly is always a challenge.

‘I am pleased to again be driving the Sauber C34-Ferrari. It is the third time I will be driving the car in FP1 – after Malaysia and Spain. Together with my GP2 duties, I am looking forward to another busy race weekend.’

It is clear that Marciello is looking forward to a busy weekend for him at Silverstone and is looking forward to driving the track in FP1 with Sauber and during the GP2 race weekend as well. The fact that Marciello has received another outing with Sauber show that he is doing a great job for them and he is also gaining mileage and experience incase the call for a race seat comes in the near future.

And that is all Marciello can do; deliver and perform on the track as much as possible and show everyone that he has the talent and the speed required to be successful in GP2 and most importantly in GP2 for the rest of the season ahead. I will be looking forward to seeing how he performs this weekend.

Horner extends contract with Red Bull

F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Practice

Over the weekend, Red Bull Team Principal in an interview with the media Christian Horner in an interview with the media has ended speculation his job is under threat by confirming he has signed a contract extension.

With Red Bull still struggling and owner Dietrich Mateschitz once again threatening to pull the team out of F1 completely; there were rumours Horner’s role at the team was at risk. As team principal Horner has been instrumental in turning Red Bull from a midfield outfit to a team which won four drivers’ and constructors’ championships in a row.

In an interview with the media at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend, Horner brushed off the speculation and confirmed a new long-term deal. Horner stated the following:-

‘I didn’t lose any sleep over it because it is absolutely not true. I recently signed an extension to my contract with Red Bull. I have a great relationship with Dietrich Mateschitz and my goal is very much on getting the team back to the situation we were in 18 months ago.’

From what Horner has stated, he has now put the rumours to bed by confirming his contract extension. It is clear that Horner has now intentions of leaving Red Bull and wants to get the team back to winning ways as soon as he possibly can.

Further on in his interview with the media this weekend, Horner blames social media for the rumours and thinks its always important to take them with a pinch of salt. Horner added the following on the situation as follows:-

‘It is total rubbish. The thing is not to put too much energy into things like that, but in the world we live in sometimes people from rival teams say things and they get picked up and then a story goes on the internet and it goes from there.

‘That is the problem with social media – two weeks ago I was taking over from Bernie [Ecclestone], this week I was leaving the team, next week I’ll be driving the car probably.’

As Horner rightly says, social media is good for the sport as it allows fans to communicate with each other and also the teams and the drivers to interact with the fans. However, it does have its downsides as Horner has said with rumours that are untrue coming to light but all you can do as he rightly points out is to ignore that and concentrate on the job at hand.

And that is what Horner will do. Let us not forget that Horner is the man responsible for getting Red Bull to the front of the grid and achieving four consecutive Drivers and Constructors Championships and he’ll be the man that brings that back to the team as well; even though it’ll take some time, hard work and patience to achieve that, but it’ll be ever the more sweeter when it happens.

Palmer not in the running for a race seat at Lotus in 2016

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Bahrain Grand Prix - Practice Day - Sakhir, Bahrain

It has been announced over the course of the weekend that the Lotus team is not planning to promote Jolyon Palmer to a race seat next year and has confirmed it has Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean signed on until the end of 2016.

Lotus paired Maldonado with fellow former GP2 champion Grosjean last season and this year added Palmer, the most recent winner of F1’s feeder series, to the role of third driver. Palmer has already competed in several FP1 sessions this year and will continue that trend at every European round of the season, while he was also behind the wheel for both days of the post-Austrian GP test.

In his interview with the media this weekend, Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi whether Palmer was in the running for a 2016 seat said the following:-

‘No, at the moment we have the same [line-up]. Pastor and Romain are signed until the end of the next season and we hope Jolyon will stay with us as well as a third driver.’

It is clear that the Lotus team are happy with the way things are driver-wise in the team at the moment and see no reason to change anything. But for Gastaldi to state that he wants Palmer to stay in the team in his current role for next season has to be positive and shows that the team value him as a driver firstly and what he brings to the team as well.

Lotus are keen to keep the Englishman in his current role for another season and further on in his interview this weekend; Gastaldi admits he sees him as a vital part of the team’s future. Gastaldi added the following:-

‘He’s here because he’s been winning in all the series to be here. It’s not by mistake he’s here, we have big plans for him. He’s obviously now going through the learning process to be more confident with a Formula One car. So I think he’s the future.

‘He’s a good driver, that’s for sure. It would be good to have the next good English driver around us.’

Gastaldi sums it up quite nicely for me. Palmer is no doubt a very talented driver and deserves the opportunity as reigning GP2 champion to test for a Formula One team such as Lotus and gain experience and mileage in Formula One; ready if the call for a race seat should arise. So far this season, Palmer has shown that he has the potential and the speed needed to race in Formula One and the fact that he has received more outings this season reflects that.

Overall, Palmer as a racing driver will not be happy with the decision Lotus has made but he will understand why that decision has been made. And if I was him; I’d stick with the Lotus team if a suitable seat that is reflective of his talent cannot be found. Lotus are giving him an opportunity that many young drivers in his position would kill for and Palmer is grabbing it with both hands and is showing what he can do when he is on the track.

All Palmer can do is keep doing what he is doing in his role, acquire mileage and experience with the team and ensure that he keeps his name in the frame for 2017; as I feel that could be his chance to get into the sport full time and finally achieve the dream of becoming a F1 driver and it would be great if that happened to him and also for British Motorsport too.

FIA denies rumours of Mercedes and Ferrari using ‘trick oil systems’

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Over the course of the weekend, it has been announced by the FIA that the Mercedes and Ferrari teams were investigated during the Canadian Grand Prix to ensure neither team was using ‘trick oil’ systems to gain an advantage over their rivals, with tests returning a negative result.

With fears that some teams had been gaining an advantage by finding a way of storing fuel for an extra boost led to a clampdown on fuel systems at the Spanish Grand Prix. After that race the focus shifted to oil systems and whether certain teams had been adding performance-boosting chemicals into their engines to increase power.

Mindful that loopholes were potentially being exploited, the FIA conducted a detailed analysis of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s cars during the Canadian Grand Prix after free practice and qualifying. However in a report that has been issued on the matter; the FIA has clarified there is no concern over the legality of the oil systems being used by both teams following those tests. The FIA announced the following in their report into the matter as follows:-

‘The viscosity analysis showed a slight reduction in the viscosity of the oil in the main tank compared to that of the equivalent auxiliary tank in both cars and the differences can be attributed to fuel dilution, as expected under normal operating conditions,’ the report said.

‘The InfraRed analysis showed no significant difference between the oil in the main tank and the one in the equivalent auxiliary tank in both cars. Further the GC analysis showed no differences between the oil in the auxiliary tank and the one in the main tank for both cars. It also showed no difference between the oil in the main tank on Friday FP2 and Qualifying for both cars.

‘Headspace analysis at 120°C confirmed the presence of fuel in the main tank oil samples (both FP2 and Qualifying), whereas none was detected in the auxiliary tank oil samples. This, again, is due to the expected fuel dilution of the used lube oils under normal operating conditions.

‘From these results, it can be concluded that the auxiliary oil tank is not being used to add performance-boosting components, either to the main or to the combustion chamber via the sump breather into the air intake.’

Overall, all you can say is that the FIA quickly investigated the matter as soon as it arrived and has found that either Mercedes or Ferrari are doing anything untoward and are complying with the Technical Regulations that the FIA announce every season. With the FIA publishing this report over the course of the weekend; this should now put the rumours regarding this issue to an end and we can now look forward to hopefully a great second half of the F1 season.

Classic #jonesonf1: The 1995 Italian Grand Prix

The most iconic picture of the 1995 Italian Grand Prix

The most iconic picture of the 1995 Italian Grand Prix

The Italian Grand Prix: Round 12 of 17 in the 1995 Formula One World Championship. Heading into the race, Benetton driver Michael Schumacher leading the Drivers’ Championship by 66 points ahead of Williams driver Damon Hill in second place with 51 points ahead of Ferrari driver Jean Alesi who was in third plave with 32 points.

David Coulthard took Pole Position for the 1995 Italian Grand Prix.

David Coulthard took Pole Position for the 1995 Italian Grand Prix.

In qualifying, David Coulthard had been unbeatable. The news that he was not being retained by  Williams in 1996 seemed to have lifted a great weight from his shoulders and his old confidence which was lost in the mid-season because of illness and pressure was now back.

Coulthard achieved Pole Position ahead of Michael Schumacher qualified second in his Benetton but only thanks to some way over the limit driving in final qualifying. Gerhard Berger was third, giving the Ferrari fans hopes for the race and Damon Hill was fourth after a rare Renault engine failure when it mattered.

Jean Alesi qualified third for the 1995 Italian Grand Prix.

Jean Alesi qualified third for the 1995 Italian Grand Prix.

Jean Alesi qualified in fifth place ahead of Rubens Barrichello in his Jordan-Puegeot in sixth place, Mika Hakkinen in seventh place, Johnny Herbert in eighth place, Mark Blundell in ninth place and Heinz-Harald Frentzen who rounded off the top ten finishers of the session in his Sauber-Ford.

David Coulthard leads the 1995 Italian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

David Coulthard leads the 1995 Italian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

On race day on Sunday, Pole-sitter Coulthard spun off on the warm up lap, and initially retired from the race. Schumacher led but a midfield carambolage caused red flags and saw Andrea Montermini and Roberto Moreno retire from the race meant that the race had to be suspended and restarted. We also saw Pierluigi Martini retire from the race due to an differential problem.

But Coulthard was then able to start the race on pole again (in a spare car set up for his team mate Hill). Coulthard then took the lead and after a few laps feeling his way, he began to pull away from Berger who had beaten Schumacher off the line to second place.

In the early stages of the race, we saw Giovanni Lavaggi retire from the race on Lap 6 after spinning on the track, Aguri Suzuki retire from the race on Lap 10 after suffering a puncture on his Ligier-Mugen Honda.

Coulthard’s lead grew to 2.4secs but he then suffered a wheel-bearing failure which spun him into a sandtrap on Lap 13 of the race,

Michael Schumacher trying to talk to Damon Hill after their incident in the 1995 Italian Grand Prix on Lap 23.

Michael Schumacher trying to talk to Damon Hill after their incident in the 1995 Italian Grand Prix on Lap 23.

On Lap 23 of the race, Hill and Schumacher had their second collision of the season. As Hill attempted to lap Taki Inoue’s Footwork, Hill crashed into the back of Schumacher which caused them both to retire. Schumacher ran to the Williams to confront Hill whilst the British driver sat in his cockpit but was pulled away by stewards immediately.

Schumacher later apologised to Hill when Inoue admitted the incident was his fault, as he had slid in front of Hill while being passed by Schumacher which then caused Hill to take evasive action and inadvertently run into the back of Schumacher’s car.

Gerhard Berger leading his team mate Jean Alesi on Lap 24 of the 1995 Italian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Gerhard Berger leading his team mate Jean Alesi on Lap 24 of the 1995 Italian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

This briefly left the Ferraris running first and second; much to the tifosi’s delight at their home race. On Lap 26, we saw Luca Badoer retire from the race after a spectacular accident. Luckily Badoer was okay and wasn’t hurt as a result of this accident.

However, Berger suffered a bizarre retirement when a TV camera on Alesi’s car flew off and destroyed Berger’s suspension. Berger was chasing Alesi hard when a TV camera mounted on the outside of Alesi’s rear wing fell off in the Curva Grande and bounced into Berger’s path and smashed his left front suspension to pieces.

The Austrian was left an uncomfortable passenger in his car as it slewed down the road and into the sandtrap. Alesi led the race with just 7 laps to go but subsequently retired with wheel bearing trouble.

In the final stages of the race, both the Jordan-Peugeot drivers of Eddie Irvine and Rubens Barrichello retire with problems with the hydraulics (Barrichello) and lack of oil and engine pressure for Irvine when both drivers were set in scoring points in the race.

Johnny Herbert wins the 1995 Italian Grand Prix ahead of Mika Hakkinen in second place and Heinz-Harald Frentzen in third place.

Johnny Herbert wins the 1995 Italian Grand Prix ahead of Mika Hakkinen in second place and Heinz-Harald Frentzen in third place.

This succession of retirements handed a second victory of the year and of his career to eighth place man Johnny Herbert and then best-ever results to Mika Hakkinen who finished in second and Sauber driver Heinz Harald Frentzen who scored the first podium position for Sauber team in Formula 1.

Mark Blundell gave McLaren another boost with a fourth place while Mika Salo survived to be fifth (which was not bad considering he had had a spin and an extra pit stop) and Jean-Christophe Boullion picking up the final point for Sauber in sixth place after passing Max Papis on the final lap of the race.

Max Papis finished the race for Footwork-Hart in seventh place ahead of his team mate Taki Inoue in eighth place, Pedro Diniz in ninth place and Ukyo Katayama in tenth place.

The 1995 Italian Grand Prix saw Herbert achieve his second win of his career and also within the 1995 season and what a win it was. Herbert was there when misfortune affected the rest of the grid and he managed to keep himself out of trouble in order to pick up the win.

This race will always be remembered for Herbert’s win firstly and secondly widely remembered for the incident between Hill and Schumacher. It transpired that as a result of the incident, Hill received a one race suspended ban from the stewards which wasn’t understood by fans why he received it when Schumacher accepted the blame for the incident.

And as the 1995 World Championship leaded towards the next round in Portugal at the Estoril Circuit, Schumacher was leading the Driver’s Championship by 66 points ahead of Hill with 51 points and also ahead of Herbert who had 38 points in third place.

2015 Formula One In-season Test Review: Austria

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As I am sure you are all aware, this week has seen the final in-season test of Formula One in 2015 in Austria. And this is what every Formula One fan has been looking forward to since the end of the first in-season test session in Barcelona two months ago. Throughout two days at the first in-season test at Barcelona this week, we have seen the teams testing new developments for their cars; alongside tyres for Pirelli.

There have been unexpected issues, reasons for concern and signs of promise for everyone down the field this week. Question is: who came out on top?

Day One

Pascal Wehrlein finished at the top of the timesheets on Day 1 of the Austria test.

Pascal Wehrlein finished at the top of the timesheets on Day 1 of the Austria test.

In the first day of the final in-season test in Austria, Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein led the way as F1 debutee Antonio Fuoco crashed the Ferrari on his debut.

Antonio Fuoco running in the early stages of Day 1 of the Austria test in heavy rain.

Antonio Fuoco running in the early stages of Day 1 of the Austria test in heavy rain.

The rain was falling steadily when the session got under way, with Fuoco and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne heading out on full wets for an installation lap. The track then remained empty thereafter before the session was red-flagged at the half hour mark when the rain intensified at the Red Bull Ring.

With conditions not expected to improve until the afternoon, discussions began as to whether to cancel the day’s running and extend the test until Thursday. However, after much deliberation by the track organisers; the decision was taken to run in the afternoon, as the weather began to improve and instead extend the day’s running by two hours.

An hour after the lunch break, Vandoorne broke the silence when he headed on full wets, swiftly followed by Fuoco and Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen. Conditions on the track improved quickly with a switch to intermediates soon followed and it wasn’t long until the track dried sufficiently for dry rubber.

More rain fell with one hour before the test ended at 8pm (CET) and even though Esteban Ocon, Williams’ Susie Wolff and Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly headed out on a track that soon became dry enough for slicks, the times did not improve at all.

But it was Pascal Wehrlein who topped the timesheets on the first day of the first with a lap time of 1.11.005s to finish 0.187 seconds clear of Force India’s Esteban Ocon who finished the session in second place.

Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen finished the day in third place but he managed to complete the most laps of the day with 97 under his belt. Ferrari Academy driver Foccuo who won the 2013 Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS series clocked up an impressive number of laps on his debut.

Antonio Fuoco jumping out of his Ferrari after his incident on Day 1 of the Austria test.

Antonio Fuoco jumping out of his Ferrari after his incident on Day 1 of the Austria test.

But with three hours of running to go, the Italian put a wheel on the grass on the approach to Turn 1 and spun, hitting the wall and damaging the front-end of the car.

But he managed to finish in fourth place in the session ahead of Romain Grosjean in fifth place, Pierre Gasly in sixth place and Sauber test driver and Ferrari Academy driver Raffaele Marciello; who only put his first lap time on the board with three hours to finish in seventh place.

GP2 Championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne (who hands the car over to Fernando Alonso on Wednesday) was eighth fastest ahead of Williams Development Driver Susie Wolff –(who will be in the car for British Grand Prix FP1 session) finished in ninth place.

Day One Timesheet:-

  1. Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes-Mercedes, 1.11.005s, 67 laps
  2. Esteban Ocon, Force India-Mercedes, 1.11.192s, 76 laps
  3. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1.11.328s, 97 laps
  4. Antonio Fuoco, Ferrari, 1.11.331s, 71 laps
  5. Romain Grosjean, Lotus-Mercedes, 1.11.509s, 45 laps
  6. Pierre Gasly, Red Bull-Renault, 1.11.757s, 80 laps
  7. Raffaele Marciello, Sauber-Ferrari, 1.11.826s, 53 laps
  8. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda, 1.12.530s, 76 laps
  9. Susie Wolff, Williams-Mercedes, 1.13.248s, 39 laps

Day Two

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in the final day of the Austria test.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in the final day of the Austria test.

On the final day of the final in-season test in Austria today, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg set the pace at the front of the grid ahead of Ferrari test driver Esteban Gutierrez and Williams driver Valtteri Bottas.

It was an all-round smoother day for the teams after rain played havoc on Tuesday, with a brief smattering of drizzle just before lunch the only interruption weather-wise.

The Red Bull team was on course for a trouble-free day when Daniel Ricciardo stopped at the pit-lane entry with a brake problem, bringing out the red flag with an hour to go. But the team made some adjustments on the car and got him back out with a few laps remaining in the session.

Gutierrez had a moment when he slid off the track and ran through the gravel just before lunch, but he rejoined unscathed and completed another lap before pitting. Before the session broke for lunch, Bottas set the pace in the morning with a 1.10.029s; even though Williams did not run the unique winglet spotted on the car on Tuesday.

Rosberg topped the timesheets with a lap time of 1.09.113s and was 0.818s ahead of Ferrari’s Esteban Gutierrez who finished the session in second place, and was one of eight drivers to complete more than 100 laps.

Valtteri Bottas ended the session in third place despite setting the pace in the morning as he did not improve as he switched from doing aerodynamic testing in the morning to set-up work in the afternoon. But Bottas finished ahead of reigning DTM champion Marco Wittmann who made his debut in a Formula 1 car today and he achieved the most laps of anybody with 158 laps and finished the session in fourth place.

Pascal Wehrlein swapped the Mercedes (which he drove on Tuesday) for the Force India and finished fifth fastest with 132 laps on the board ahead of Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer who ended the session in sixth place.

With all eyes on McLaren-Honda and their planned upgrade package that was brought to the Austrian GP that sadly were managed beyond repair when Fernando Alonso crashed in Sunday’s race. However, the parts the team had spares for were flown to Austria in time for the start of the session; with McLaren insisting it had enough to carry out some useful evaluations of the package.

As a result, Fernando Alonso finished the session in seventh place today after the McLaren-Honda team tested various new aero components (which included its shorter nose) and managed more than 100 laps running which is great progress for the team after a disappointing Austrian GP.

Despite all the problems he encountered on the track today, Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in eighth place and managed to get 116 laps under his belt. Ricciardo managed to finish ahead of Sauber driver Felipe Nasr who ended the session in ninth place.

Day Two Timesheet:-

  1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1.09.113, 110 laps
  2. Esteban Gutierrez, Ferrari, 1.09.931, 110 laps
  3. Valtteri Bottas, Williams-Mercedes, 1.10.029, 79 laps
  4. Marco Wittmann, Toro Rosso, 1.10.103, 158 laps
  5. Pascal Wehrlein, Force India-Mercedes, 1.10.253, 132 laps
  6. Jolyon Palmer, Lotus-Mercedes, 1.10.373, 109 laps
  7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda, 1.10.718, 104 laps
  8. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull-Renault, 1.10.757, 116 laps
  9. Felipe Nasr, Sauber-Ferrari, 1.10.922, 138 laps

Conclusion

The second and final in-season test at Austria has produced some interesting results. Many Formula One fans were looking forward to seeing how the teams and the drivers would get on after the Grand Prix weekend.

We have seen Mercedes showing that they are the team to beat in terms of mileage and reliability from the session. And yes, it will bring them a crucial advantage in terms of how to improve the W07 before the next Grand Prix in Silverstone next week. There is no question about it, even though they had issues with the car; they still managed to set the pace and show that they are still the team to beat.

Sauber, Force India and Toro Rosso will once again use the mileage that they have gained from the test in order to improve their cars before the next race next week. In particular, Gasly and Wittmann have impressed me with their performances he put into the test session as a whole and I believe that this will help him develop further as a drivers while also ensuring that the teams keep an eye on his progress this season in GP2 (Gasly) and DTM (Wittmann).

And despite sadly Manor not being at the test for reasons that are understandable given their current situation; it will be interesting for the team to see what their rivals have achieved at the test and see if they can close the gap down to them.

Red Bull, McLaren, Williams and Ferrari and their performances have at least indicated that they are on the right track with developing and improving their cars further and have managed to gain invaluable track time that will no doubt push all four teams to improve their cars further and get back to competitive ways for this season.

But the final question that everyone will be asking once again is will Mercedes once again show the rest of the field even more pace with their W07 to keep the winning streak going as we head into Silverstone next week? We shall see.

Line up for the Austrian test this week

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With the Austrian GP just gone, all eyes will be upon the final in-season test at the Red Bull Ring this week in Austria and many of the teams have now officially confirmed their line ups over the past two days.

McLaren-Honda have announced that GP2 championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne will get his first taste of the 2015 McLaren when he takes part in the test this week in Austria. The Belgian will drive the MP4-30 on Tuesday, with Fernando Alonso taking over from him on Wednesday.

McLaren have announced this afternoon that they will be running a reduced upgrade programme in the test this week after the crash that Fernando Alonso had in the Austrian GP yesterday.

As was the case at the post-Spanish Grand Prix test, Nico Rosberg and Pascal Wehrlein will drive for Mercedes while Daniel Ricciardo and GP2 driver Pierre Gasly form Red Bull’s line-up.

Ahead of her second free practice appearance of the season at next month’s British Grand Prix, Susie Wolff will be in the Williams on Tuesday with Valtteri Bottas in action on Wednesday.

Pastor Maldonado spent a day in the Lotus at the first in-season test, so Romain Grosjean gets his shot in Austria, with reserve driver Jolyon Palmer getting more time in the car the following day.

Ferrari Academy driver Rafaele Marciello who is also competing in GP2 this year; will be in action for Sauber before handing over to Felipe Nasr.

Alongside his Mercedes duties, Wehrlein will spend a day driving the Force India. Mercedes-affiliated European Formula 3 champion turned GP3 title contender Esteban Ocon will then make his second appearance with the Force India team on Wednesday.

The test also features GP3 racer Antonio Fuoco, who will get his first taste of F1 when he drives for Ferrari on Tuesday. Esteban Gutierrez is in the car the following day for the Ferrari team.

Toro Rosso will be running Max Verstappen on Tuesday and DTM champion Marco Whittman on the final day of the test on Wednesday.

Here’s the official driver line up for the test this weekend in Austria as follows:-

Austrian Test line up

Mercedes
Tuesday: Nico Rosberg; Wednesday: Pascal Wehrlein
Ferrari
Tuesday: Antonio Fuoco; Wednesday: Esteban Gutierrez
Red Bull
Tuesday: Pierre Gasly; Wednesday: Daniel Ricciardo
Williams
Tuesday: Susie Wolff; Wednesday: Valtteri Bottas
McLaren
Tuesday: Stoffel Vandoorne Wednesday: Fernando Alonso
Lotus
Tuesday: Romain Grosjean; Wednesday: Jolyon Palmer
Force India
Tuesday: Pascal Wehrlein; Wednesday: Esteban Ocon
Toro Rosso
Tuesday: Max Verstappen; Wednesday: Marco Wittmann
Sauber
Tuesday: Raffaele Marciello; Wednesday: Felipe Nasr

Manor will not run at the test

 

No further action taken against Alonso or Raikkonen

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After the Austrian GP today, it has been announced by the Austrian race stewards have decided that no further action will be taken against Kimi Raikkonen or Fernando Alonso after the pair collided on Lap 1.

The former team-mates collided in a big crash after Raikkonen’s Ferrari got twitchy under acceleration out of Turn 2 on the opening lap. Losing the back end, Raikkonen collected with Fernando Alonso’s McLaren and both hit the barrier in a scary looking crash.

It would appear that Raikkonen appeared to take responsibility for the crash during post race interviews with the media; even though he was summonsed with Alonso to appear before the race stewards afterwards.

However, they have decided that no further action will be taken against either driver after ruling that ‘no driver was at fault’ as defined by Article 16.1 of the FIA Sporting Regulations.

2015 Austrian Grand Prix Post Race Press Conference Transcript

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Here is the official transcript from the Post Race Press Conference for the 2015 Austrian Grand Prix as provided by the FIA:-

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by Gerhard Berger)

Nico congratulations. My first question is: Nico why you don’t drive every race like this?

Nico Rosberg (referred hereafter as NR):- I will try from now on, I promise!

I have to say you did a brilliant start, that’s where you really made it until the first corner, and then I saw you coming into the pits and I say ‘shit, that’s really on the limit’. You blocked all four wheels; you went sideways on the line, just. I say ‘well, that’s close to a penalty’ but you did it well. You were pushing from the first [corner] until the end. Tell us how did you feel it and how do you feel today?

NR:- It’s an awesome feeling, of course, to win again here. Very, very happy. The start made the race. It was a great start and I managed to defend in the first couple of corners and then I really just tried to push flat out this time. I was really happy with the car and happy to see the gap open up to Lewis, so it really worked out perfectly today.

Well done, Lewis…

NR:- Nico, but it’s easy to confuse us!

Ah, Nico. Well done, let’s go to Lewis.

Lewis, you are one of the quickest guys I’ve ever seen in Formula One. You are really great. You have a quick car. But you must say, well, that you have a headache in the team. Whenever, you think you are just going away, winning the championship, he’s coming back again and he’s fighting back and again and keep you honest. I think it’s great to watch you both…

Lewis Hamilton (referred hereafter as LH):- It’s great to see your enthusiasm man. It’s really great to see your enthusiasm. Nico did a fantastic job today. At the end of the day, he was quicker during the race. I had a really bad start, which obviously lost me ground and after that I was just really pushing as hard as I could. I think in the second stint it was really just about making the distance and that’s what I was trying to do.

We are watching you and you guys are really giving everything – you can see lap-by-lap, it’s qualifying every lap. I think it’s really great to see you both fighting since the karting time up to the Formula One.

LH:- It’s been a long time.

Well done, Lewis, keep pushing.

LH:- Thank you.

Felipe – old men! When I saw Sebastian catching you, I said, ‘well, Felipe is very, very experienced, has a Mercedes engine in the back, he’s going to be very difficult to overtake’. So Sebastian is waiting always for a mistake or a problem on the Mercedes side and Felipe is always just in the back of Sebastian on the Ferrari, see how he can put himself into next position. He did a fantastic job. But you are every year going extremely well here in Austria. What is it motivating you here? Is it the dirndls of the girls on the starting grid?

Felipe Massa (referred hereafter as FM):- Yeah, maybe, I don’t know. For sure it’s great people here supporting. It’s always fantastic to be here. I think it was a fantastic race today. So we managed to get Sebastian, with his problem that he had in his pit stop, which I didn’t see, I don’t know what’s happened, but I managed to pass him there.

I understood that maybe at the end of the race he would be behind me, because they were maybe one or two tenths quicker every lap. At the end he got there and I just managed to keep the line and not making any mistake, just using a little bit of experience and I’m so happy. It was an amazing race and it was a fantastic result for the whole team, so happy.

I think, Felipe, there was a lot of experience involved, because I saw you fighting the tyres, you were a little bit off-line already in some corners but you kept in front. Well done.

FM:- Thank you.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q:- Nico, many congratulations, a fantastic start from you, set you up for that win. You did sound a little worried on the radio towards the end. That chequered flag couldn’t come soon enough I guess?

NR:- It was just a vibration picking up on the right front. So, just telling them to keep an eye on it – but it was fine in the end. It sort-of stabilised so it was not a problem. It just came from the tyre wear and just feels a bit uncomfortable when that happens – but, no, it was all fine.

Q: You’ve got a one hundred per cent record around this track that a lot of people describe as ‘difficult’. Why is it you’re so good around here?

NR:- I don’t know if there’s a trend on this track or anything. It’s just today was just a great day. Good start and then good pace also in the race – and that’s what I’m most happy about. The car felt good, I was able to push from the first lap onwards all the way, so that’s cool. I think this year I found what I needed to find last year in terms of race, y’know, and just doing a little bit better in the races and that’s really working out for me this year.

Q:- Lewis, a tough start for you, not the start you would have wanted. Just talk us through how your race unfolded from there.

LH:- It was pretty straightforward there. Just keeping up with Nico in the first stint, and then in the second stint Nico generally had better pace so he did a fantastic job today, so congratulations to him and otherwise it was just bringing the car home.

Q: What happened at the start?

LH:- I had a problem with the wait revs. I took my foot off the gas and it was still on – like the throttle was still on – and then I dumped the clutch and just lots and lots of wheelspin. So, it’s, y’know, not the best way to start the race – but something we will work on to improve on my side of the garage.

Q:- Felipe, a thousand career points now, your son even predicted you’d finish third today – but talk us through those final laps as well as your race when you knew that Sebastian was bearing down on you.

FM:- Yeah, I think it was a great result today. So we managed to get the opportunities, which it was a mistake of another team or Sebastian, I don’t know what’s happened so I cannot say, but enough, and we managed to keep the pace, which was good – but maybe a little bit slower compared to him.

I expect him to be close to me at the end of the race and he was but I managed to keep him behind which was the most important thing, so I’m so happy for our results today, working for the team and everything. My son said I was going to finish third so he’s right and, yeah, just hope we can celebrate after this interview.

Q: A third and a fifth for the team today though, that’s some important points over Ferrari as well, isn’t it?

FM:- Yeah, I think it was very good for the team. It was important points against Ferrari, also, looking what’s happened to Kimi today. So, we are not giving up, we will fight until the end. We understand that maybe they have a little bit of a quicker car compared to us but we are working very hard to improve and to be there and really trying to get back the points that they are in front, which is not easy but it is what we’re trying.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q:- (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Lewis, could you please explain what exactly happened at the pit exit? Were you just too much in a hurry or looking at the dash?

LH:- I have no idea, to be honest. I don’t think I went over anything, so…

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) Felipe, did you believe that Vettel could overtake you; did you defend yourself hard at any moment?

FM:- Well, I think he got very close with maybe ten laps to go. I thought it could have been possible. We know that Ferrari manage the tyres very well, especially at the end of the race. We did maybe 40 laps, maybe more with these tyres so I expected him to be strong at the end of the race and he was.

But you never know, I had to defend myself so I think when you are defending, you don’t know what’s going to happen so you just need to try and do your best and not make any mistakes. I think that was the only point that I had in mind, so I tried not to make any mistakes and if he was going overtake me because he managed to get the right line or pass me, you don’t know, but I was trying and we managed to make this happen.

Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) To all three of you; I’m sure you haven’t seen the footage yet but there was an accident on the first lap between Kimi and Fernando where Fernando’s car was lifted up and was only centimetres away from Kimi. If you see something like that, do you wish to have a closed cockpit in Formula One or is it still a risk you can live with?

NR:- Well, I haven’t seen it of course but it’s an ongoing process you know? We know that that’s an area of concern still, this open cockpit and the risks that there are in that sense so of course it’s an ongoing investigation to try and improve the safety, step by step and we need to see what we can do about it in the near future.

LH:- I must say that, to be honest, I don’t really have an opinion about it.

FM:- Yeah, I agree with Nico. Definitely we always need to look where we can improve  so if you see that after what happened to me in my accident, they improved the helmets, they improved the visors and I think we definitely always need to look where to look. I don’t know if completely closing the cockpit… We have some improvements to do – we need to do it.

Q: (Zsolt Godina – Fana Media) Felipe, could you please tell me something about the new updates on your car and about your chances in the next races?

FM:- Everything we brought here we are using on the car, so for sure there is still some work we need to do to make the pieces that we brought even better. It’s definitely positive, so everything we saw in the wind tunnel we can see here at the track, but there is still some more working, some details that we need to improve but I’m sure we’re going to do that. Yeah, I think maybe next race we can be competitive.

We cannot forget that Ferrari have a strong car so even today they were a little bit quicker than me, so we need to push hard and we need to try to make this car maybe a little bit quicker, then we can fight at a good level, maybe being quicker than them in the next races, so that’s what we want.

Q:- (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Nico, in the middle of the first stint you seemed to increase the gap to Lewis a bit and then towards the end he seemed to come back to you again. Did you maybe have some problems with the tyres, your right front seemed to be graining a bit, and how confident were you of staying ahead after the pit stops?

NR:- Yeah, it was the graining on the right front and it’s very difficult to predict how it comes, when it comes and I suppose that I just got more than Lewis at the time. But yeah, I was confident that I could stay ahead because the guy who stops first then has the new tyres and I could push and definitely open up the gap again, so that was all fine.

2015 Austrian Grand Prix Race Review

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On Saturday, we saw Lewis Hamilton taking Pole Position for the Austrian Grand Prix ahead of his team mate Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

Nico Rosberg leads the start of the Austrian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Mark Sutton/Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leads the start of the Austrian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Mark Sutton/Sutton Images.

The Austrian GP is underway! Lewis Hamilton doesn’t a good start off the line but Nico Rosberg does and manages to take the lead into the first corner of the race. Hamilton tries to get past his team mate into Turn 2 but locks up and Rosberg defends his position well.

Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari after the incident with Fernando Alonso on Lap 1 of the Austrian GP. All rights reserved to Mark Sutton/Sutton Images.

Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari after the incident with Fernando Alonso on Lap 1 of the Austrian GP. All rights reserved to Mark Sutton/Sutton Images.

As we head into the next few corners, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso have a massive incident which sees Raikkonen receiving a tap from behind from Alonso, losing control of his Ferrari and crashing into the barriers taking Alonso with him and Alonso’s McLaren-Honda ending up on top of Raikkonen’s Ferrari.

Luckily both drivers were okay and they wasn’t hurt from the accident. This then brought out the Safety Car while the marshals recover the cars from the accident. At the end of the lap, Danill Kvyat pits to replace a broken front wing.

The Safety Car leads the field until Lap 7 of the Austrian GP. All rights reserved to LAT.

The Safety Car leads the field until Lap 7 of the Austrian GP. All rights reserved to LAT.

Lap 2 sees Will Stevens retiring from the race officially with an oil leak after stopping on the track. Lap 7 we are back racing in Austria. On the track, Carlos Sainz Jr and Romain Grosjean go wheel to wheel with each other and bang wheels with each other. The next lap sees Ericsson being investigated by the stewards after jump starting the race.

On Lap 10, Jenson Button officially retires from the race after a transmission problem on his McLaren-Honda has ended his race early. Two laps later, Ericsson receives a drive through penalty from the stewards after jump starting the race which he serves at the end of the lap as Grosjean runs wide at the final turn.

Nico Rosberg leads

Nico Rosberg leads the Austrian GP on Lap 19. All rights reserved to LAT.

Lap 13 sees the stewards announcing that they will be investigating the incident between Raikkonen and Alonso after the race. Two laps later sees Valtteri Bottas passing Max Verstappen for position.  Lap 19 sees Rosberg leading the race from Hamilton by 1.8 seconds. There is a battle between Grosjean and Sergio Perez for tenth place on the track; with the Lotus team asking Pastor Maldonado if he was being held up by Grosjean. Maldonado said yes and Grosjean could be asked to move over if he can’t make it past Perez.

At the end of Lap 21, Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson stops just before the finish line stating to his team on the radio that he lost power. His team ask him to do the shut down procedures but Ericsson was able to get the car back running and continued on during the race.

On Lap 25 of the race, Rosberg leads Hamilton by 4.2 seconds. On the outside of Turn 3, Bottas passing Nico Hulkenberg for fifth place on the track with a great move. At the end of the lap, Hulkenberg pits for new tyres as does Sainz Jr. Two laps later, Grosjean and Felipe Nasr have a great battle in the next few corners and Grosjean passes him for twelfth place.

Valtteri Bottas in the second half of the Austrian GP. All rights reserved to LAT.

Valtteri Bottas in the second half of the Austrian GP. All rights reserved to LAT.

Meanwhile, Hulkenberg and Bottas are battling with each other once again and Hulkenberg going into Turn 2 passes Bottas for seventh place. The next lap sees the stewards investigating Sainz Jr for speeding in the pitlane. The next lap sees Sainz Jr receiving a five second penalty for speeding in the pitlane as Kvyat passes Verstappen for tenth place.

On Lap 33, Grosjean passes Kvyat for position on track as Rosberg pits for new tyres and hands the lead over to Hamilton on Lap 34. There is a battle between Perez and Maldonado for fifth place on the track. Lap 35 sees Hamilton leading Vettel by 10.7 seconds before he makes his pitstop at the end of the lap.

Sebastian Vettel takes the lead of the Austrian GP

Sebastian Vettel takes the lead of the Austrian GP on Lap 36. All rights reserved to Mark Sutton/ Sutton Images.

Lap 36 sees Sebastian Vettel leading the Grand Prix from Nico Rosberg by 5.8 seconds. Grosjean goes off the circuit with gearbox problems and is stuck in third gear. But he is able to continue on the track for now. At the end of the lap, Vettel pits for new tyres and there is a problem with his stop which allows Felipe Massa to gain third place.

Nico Rosberg regaining the lead of the Austrian GP

Nico Rosberg regaining the lead of the Austrian GP on Lap 37. All rights reserved to Mark Sutton/ Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg regains the lead of the race on Lap 37 by 4.5 seconds from his team mate Hamilton. Bottas after a good battle for a few laps manages to pass Maldonado for sixth place. The stewards announce that Hamilton is under investigation for crossing the white line on the pit exit. At the end of the lap, Carlos Sainz Jr officially retires from the race.

Daniil Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat on Lap 41 of the Austrian GP. All rights reserved to LAT.

At the end of Lap 38, Grosjean officially retires from the race with gearbox problems. The next lap sees Hamilton receive a five second time penalty from crossing the white line on the pit exit which will be added to his race time at the end of the Grand Prix. On Lap 41, Maldonado in two great moves passes Nasr firstly and then Kvyat for track position. Shortly after Nasr passes Kvyat for tenth place.

Lap 43 sees Perez passing Kvyat for 11th place on the track. Lap 45 sees Rosberg leading the race from Hamilton by 6.6 seconds. Lap 47 sees Perez passing Nasr for tenth place at Turn 3. Laps 50 and 51 sees a battle between Maldonado and Ricciardo ongoing and by the end of Lap 51, Maldonado repasses Ricciardo for position on the track.

On Lap 61 of the race, Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Nasr are battling each other for tenth place, with Ricciardo passing Nasr for the position, while Pastor Maldonado is chasing Max Verstappen for seventh place and Vettel has reduced the gap to Massa by 0.8 seconds by Lap 64 of the race. The gap between Vettel and Massa is now reduced to 0.4 seconds by Lap 67.

Nico Rosberg wins the Austrian Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Felipe Massa in third place. All rights reserved to Mark Sutton/Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg wins the Austrian Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Felipe Massa in third place. All rights reserved to Mark Sutton/Sutton Images.

On Lap 70, Maldonado passes Verstappen at Turn 1 after Verstappen locks up going into the corner. Rosberg leads Hamilton by 2.3 seconds on the final lap of the race. Rosberg takes the chequered flag and wins his second consecutive win at the Austrian Grand Prix. Hamilton is second 8.8 seconds behind Rosberg but was ahead of Massa who achieved his first podium of the year and his 40th podium of his career with third place 17.5 seconds behind Rosberg.

Vettel is a credible fourth 18.1 seconds behind Rosberg, Bottas finished a credible fifth 53.6 seconds behind Rosberg, Hulkenberg was a credible sixth 1.04  seconds behind Hamilton, Maldonado finishes seventh 1 lap down on Rosberg, Verstappen finished in eighth 1 lap behind Rosberg, Perez finished in ninth 1 lap behind Rosberg and Ricciardo picked up the final point in tenth 1 lap behind Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton leads the Drivers’ Championship with 169 points, Rosberg is second with 159 points, Vettel is third with 120 points, Raikkonen is fourth with 72 points, Bottas is fifth with 67 points, Massa is sixth with 62 points, Ricciardo is seventh with 36 points, Kvyat is eighth with 19 points, Hulkenberg is ninth with 18 points and Grosjean is tenth with 17 points.

Mercedes lead the Constructors Championship with 328 points, Ferrari is second with 192 points, Williams are third with 129 points, Red Bull are fourth with 55 points, Force India are fifth with 31 points, Lotus are sixth with 29 points, Sauber are seventh with 21 points, Toro Rosso are eighth with 19 points and McLaren-Honda are ninth with 4 points.

Conclusion

I feel that McLaren have had an terrible race today after all their problems this weekend. It is sad to see my team where they are currently, but this season has to be a building and foundation year for both parties and have to go through this process in order to get to the other side and become more competitive.

This weekend has shown that McLaren have had a small step with their performance and pace with the car but the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car that they need in order to get back to competitive ways once again as quickly as possible.

The biggest surprise this weekend for me was Massa getting third place in the race today. I do feel that Massa drove a superb race to gain third today and it is very well deserved. He did a brilliant job today and has shown that despite not having the outright pace to challenge their rivals, he drove a great race to claim this result today.

Ricciardo, Perez, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Maldonado and Bottas do deserve mentions. Firstly, Grosjean deserves a mention for most of the weekend with the car been able to extract a little bit more pace and performance. As I have already stated before, I believe that Grosjean managed to extract some performance from the car and was rewarded with a point for his efforts after everything that he encountered during the race.

Also, Ricciardo did a credible job to finish tenth. But I do feel that he did struggle with aspects of the car and was only able to finish in that position. Throughout the race, Ricciardo showed that he can race and race well if provided with the opportunity to do so but I am sure that he will only use this to push himself further to perform in 2015.

Perez did extremely well to gain ninth place today. Perez this weekend has managed to extract pace and performance from the car, but has looked a bit uncomfortable as you would be with waiting for the B car to arrive in Silverstone. And I feel that the results that Perez achieved today will only spur on the Force India team to try and keep this momentum going further into the 2015 season and try to catch the Red Bull team for fourth in the Constructors Championship.

Hulkenberg did a credible job to finish in sixth place today after achieving his Le Mans debut win last weekend with Porsche. His race may have been a lonely one but he battled through to get some points after showing form throughout the weekend and this will only motivate the team and himself further to keep this up as the season moves to Silverstone in a few weeks time.

Maldonado had a good race to get seventh place and scored his second points of the season after a bad start to the season; even if it hasn’t been his fault some of the time. This will only spur him on to try and achieve results like this for the rest of the season while also picking up much needed points for the Lotus team who moved behind Force India in the Constructors Championship today.

Bottas had a great race today to get fifth place today. He battled his way through the field and created some great overtaking moves to get there. Bottas may not have had the weekend that he wanted with Williams after what his team mate has achieved today, but he did the best that he could do and picked up some more points for the team who have extended their lead over their rivals Red Bull in the Constructors today.

Vettel drove a solid race to get fourth place today. Even though Vettel could have got third if he didn’t have the problem in his pit stop, he still managed to beat his team mate who sadly had an incident with Alonso on the first lap but I am glad both drivers are okay from that. This season we have seen Vettel showing why he was approached by Ferrari in the first place and that he is without a doubt a potential winner this season again if he can get everything together in a weekend.

Hamilton deserves a mention. He drove a solid race today to second place. He may not have won the battle with Rosberg; and had a poor start; but he did a great job to maintain his great start to the season with a podium at every Grand Prix in 2015 so far.

All that is left to say about this race is that Rosberg deserved to win today and he needed to in order to keep the battle going with Lewis.  His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. Mercedes has built on the results that they have gained so far this season with him and have shown that they are just the best team on the grid at the moment.

Will Silverstone in two weeks time be yet another race Mercedes will win? Or can their rivals catch up to them? And who will be leading the championship, will it be Rosberg or will it be Hamilton? Only time will tell!