Monthly Archives: October 2016

2016 Mexican Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference Transcript


Here’s the official transcript of the 2016 Mexican GP Post-Race Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-


1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

2 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

3 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)


(Conducted by Juan Pablo Montoya)

Q: Hello México! Lewis, hell of a day, win number 51, how was it today?

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- It was amazing because of all these people – Viva México! This is honestly the best crowd we get anywhere. In our home country it’s always a great thing, but I don’t know, these guys… I guess this stadium helps, but they turn up and they have such passion for the sport, it’s great to see.

Q: Great, how is Mexico?

LH: I love it here. I’ve had tacos every night and I’m super light, so maybe I need to have tacos every day for the rest of my life.

Q: Congratulations again. Nico, long weekend for you but you still came out second. What do you feel about the championship?

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- Que tal México? Los mejores del mundo! Muchas gracias, muchas gracias. It’s been a good day. Lewis has been too fast this weekend, so I just have to accept second place. We’ve had some massive battles out there. At the start I got shunted and then with Max later on and everything, so it’s OK to be second.

Q: Perfect. Sebastian, a lot of people got really excited there at then end there; talk us through it?

Sebastian Vettel (referred here after as SV):- Well I was using a lot of sign language and using a lot of your language I think. Probably looking back I felt like you when you got angry in the car. No, you have to understand the adrenalin was pumping, I put him under pressure, which was difficult enough, our tyres both were pretty old and then obviously, yeah, he left the track and didn’t move, so you can understand why I really was annoyed. But what a turnaround. I was really disappointed when I crossed the line and then all of a sudden I was told to come up here and being here in front of the crowd is fantastic.

Q: There you go, great day. So Lewis, the championship, what are you thinking?

LH: Well, Nico is doing a great job to pull in the position that he has to finish. I’m really grateful to the team, they did a fantastic job. It’s great for us to have another 1-2 this weekend, and it’s my first time here to win in Mexico. I don’t know where my sombrero is but I do love it here and can’t wait to come back next year.


Q: Lewis, for several reasons that was a bit of a landmark victory for you. It’s your 51st victory, meaning you now tie with Alain Prost for second on the all-time list. It’s also Mercedes 17th victory of the season, meaning they become the first constructor to achieve that record. Your thoughts on those two please.

LH: Well, the most important one is the team one. That’s just incredible. Fantastic. Over half of the victories I’ve had have been with this team. It’s a true showing of just how incredible the group of people we have and how well we work together and for the third year in a row proved that we are the best team. So, very proud and, as I always say, really proud to be a part of it. That was the plan, coming here to this team, being hopefully a part of that growth and success. I couldn’t have dreamt it to be any better than it is.

Q: From your races’ point of view it looked to be quite uneventful – perhaps apart from Turn One of the first lap. Could you talk us through that?

LH: Yeah, basically on the formation lap I had a glazed front right brake. I couldn’t wake it up. So, I had 500°C in the left front and 150-200°C in the right front. So I’m on the grid…

SV: How do you know?

LH: They told me. So, I went into Turn One and the right front eventually woke up and just locked. I was carrying such speed. I was lucky I didn’t go in the wall or something. And after that I had just the biggest vibration. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it in the first stint. Honestly I thought I had to stop, the vibration was so big I would barely see, to be honest. It was really nice when I got some new, fresh tyres, and it was much smoother.

Q: Coming on to you Nico, it seems that you and Max Verstappen rubbed wheels quite regularly today, can you talk us through the two incidents with him, on lap one and again towards the end of the race on lap 49.

NR: Yeah, it’s a bit on the limit but it’s good racing I guess, so good, I’m sure it was enjoyable to watch on TV. From in the car it was pretty exciting stuff and I’m very happy that I managed to come out on top every time and finish second.

Q: Do you feel that Max was a little bit too aggressive with you?

NR: As I say, it’s on the limit and it’s not for me to judge after that. I haven’t even seen it really. But I think it’s good racing.

Q: And any other dramas for you during the race or just a controlled race to second place?

NR: No, apart from that everything was OK, yeah. Just Lewis was a little bit too quick today and the whole weekend. So he did a great job and I have to live with second place this weekend.

Q: Coming on to you Sebastian. Talk us through those last few laps with both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

SV: I don’t think there’s much to add. I think it’s pretty clear I was quicker. I was closing the gap, got into DRS and put him under a lot of pressure and he made a mistake, which I think was clear he should have moved. He didn’t move. Obviously that battle, that fight, being stuck behind him, losing time, fighting with him allowed Daniel to close in. He was on a superior tyre. I think there was one incident into Turn Four which I need to look at again to be honest.

I obviously knew that Daniel is quite jumpy and sometimes a bit optimistic with these kind of situations, which partly fair enough, we’re racing and for him it’s a podium to grasp. Obviously he came back and is now having the advantage on a better tyre. So I need to have a look at that again. It was very close, we made contact. I was pretty lucky.

I thought initially I have a puncture. But obviously lost out to Max again and had to close again and couldn’t put him under serious pressure again before the race ended but I think it was pretty clear that he had to give the position back. As far as I learned on the radio he was told, he ignored that. You can understand that adrenaline was pumping and I was very angry. I think when Maurizio came on the radio I calmed down and tried to finish my race.

Q: You drove a very long first stint. Is there a sense of what might have been had you qualified better yesterday?

SV: Well, it doesn’t matter now. Yesterday was a disappointing day. Today we turned it around. And we used the benefit of being on the harder – as in soft – tyre, not on the supersoft for the first stint. I was disappointed that I lost a position to Felipe. I made contact in Turn Two, right after the start. I wasn’t sure if I have a puncture. I don’t know what it is about Mexico, I always think I have a puncture because last year I got one. But yeah, turned out not to be a problem. I don’t think there was any damage to the car so very lucky.

Then I really struggled behind the Williams to get past. They were very, very quick down the straights. Really difficult. He pitted and then I just said “OK, let’s try and go,” and it worked really well. We were opening the gap to the leaders, with Lewis right behind. Had free air and could just unleash the pace the car had. For sure, if we start higher up then I think we sail to third without any problem at least.

Probably even in a position to put them under pressure but, I don’t know. I think the pace was very good. We sensed it right from Friday onwards. So of course it’s a bit of a shame. But then again, we did a very good job today so, finally, I’m quite happy.


Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globo Nico, I know you don’t much like these questions but one win in Interlagos next race you will be world champion. Could you make a comment please.

NR: I hadn’t thought of it that way now, but yeah, if you say that, I can see that. Sounds good. At the moment I’m more thinking about the missed chance to win the race here today. But of course, from tomorrow on I’ll look forward. But I’ll stick to my plan of just going there and trying to win – which satisfies both things!

Q: (Carlos Alberto – Reforma) For the three of you. Is there something to improve at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez? It’s the second time you raced here. Is there something to improve?

Lewis, let’s start with you

LH: I would say that we should bring a much, much softer tyre here. One stop, I don’t know if that’s exciting for the fans but more stops, maybe a tyre that, for once, doesn’t go as far. The medium tyre we could do the whole race with. So, I don’t know, maybe that would enable us to have more battles, more struggles out there as today was generally very easy on those tyres. So it makes the race a lot easier.

Nico, any thoughts?

NR: Well, for one we as Formula One can be really, really thankful because the Mexicans have embraced our sport in an incredible way. A huge, huge crowd coming here and the atmosphere amazing out there. Really so cool to see. And yeah, just a big thank you. And for what can be improved, don’t know, I can’t think of much. I think the race was… seemed to be pretty exciting. With lots of stuff going on, so… nothing.

And Sebastian, from your point of view?

SV: Well, I think we owe a big thank you to the fans. It’s a very special feeling to stand on that podium. You feel very, very special to see… it’s unreal that amount of people that come… already Friday there’s a lot of people but on Sunday it peaks. Drivers parade, yeah, it’s so loud because the people are just celebrating this event and the Formula One to be here.

It’s one of the days that, on the day, obviously the race turned out for me to be quite eventful but I think, yeah probably at the age of 60-65 when you sort-of get a bit fat and lazy, sit in your chair at home, it’s these days I think you look back to…

LH: What the hell are you talking about?

SV: Well, it’s just how I feel! Is those days you look back to, the incredible atmosphere, the people celebrating our sport, what we love, I think you feel very, very special.

And anything to improve?

SV: Yeah, the traffic! But I think the mayor is probably very busy trying to sort that out so I have no suggestions on that front. It’s find, it’s part of Mexico.

Q: (Jorge Mendoza – La Prensa de San Antonio) Nico, I know you were expecting a win from this weekend. Is there anything you did differently from your last race in 2015, regarding mental preparation, nutrition preparation, everything it takes to prepare for the race?

NR: Well, first of all, expecting to win? No. I was going for the win, yeah. Expecting is a big word but it didn’t work out. Lewis just did a better job this weekend and apart from that, compared to last year, I’m generally feeling very good this year. I’ve had a great season which I’m happy about. The only thing that I can think of is that in my private life I’m very very happy, because I have a lovely family with a daughter who is a year and two months old and that’s very very special and I think that carries over into the sport, because when you arrive with a smile on your face it makes a difference.

Q: (Seff Harding – Xero Xone News) Nico, to go back to your comments earlier this week when you said that you are just here to win races and not please everyone. You may possibly win this championship two weeks from now. Who are you winning this championship for, because fans – especially American fans – want to find a champion that they can connect to?

NR: I’m really sorry, that’s going a bit too far down the road. At the moment, that’s not something that I have got into.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Sebastian, your former team was arguing that you moved under braking when you defended your position against Daniel. Did you?

SV: As I said, I want to look into it again. I knew that when I saw my exit out of turn three which wasn’t great because I was fighting Max into the first two corners and yeah, he obviously tried to trick me a bit. Maybe I could have done better to have a better exit, braking testing me a bit into turn one and then turn two, but nevertheless I didn’t get the best exit so I knew it would be tight with Daniel and I know Daniel in these situations: he’s jumping into the gap even if he doesn’t make the rest of the corner.

I think I knew exactly the situation – or in my head – the situation in Barcelona came up where he dived down the inside last minute. I gave him enough room but in fact he didn’t make the first corner. But obviously today’s not Barcelona. He was obviously upset about it and he told me to look at it again. I will do that but yeah, I think I gave him just enough room, it was very late. I think both of us just about made the corner.

Obviously it’s never ideal if you make contact because our cars are not built to make contact. I initially thought I had a puncture, I don’t know if he had any damage, he certainly lost a bit of time after that so, as I said, I want to look into it again.

Q: (Jens Nagler – Bild) Sebastian, we heard you saying on team radio ‘he is a beep, that’s what he is.’ Would you be so kind and fill in the missing word? And the second question is do you intend to talk to Max about giving up the position?

SV: No to the first question, I will not answer. Second question, I don’t think there’s anything to say.

Q: (Ben Hunt –  The Sun) Sebastian, just one for you I’m afraid, your message to Charlie (Whiting – race director). Do you wish to apologise for that message? I know it was in the heat of the moment but you obviously used a bit of a crude word.

SV: Well, I think it was very clear. Obviously I was very emotional so in fact I’ve already asked to go and see him so I think, yeah… when you’re in the car, emotions are… I was full of adrenalin, you can imagine because I don’t think it was right what Max did. I was told that they were looking into it for three laps and I was sort of getting upset as you can imagine.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Lewis, Max Verstappen got a five second penalty because he was short-cutting the first corner, gaining an advantage, that was what race control said. Did you gain an advantage on the first lap when you short-cut the corner?

LH: Well, I had a completely flat-spotted tyre so that definitely wasn’t an advantage but I think I was still in the lead going in so I was in the lead coming out, so that’s not… I don’t believe so.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Any event or punishment is up to the FIA concerning Max Verstappen, but you were there, fighting with him. What comment do you make concerning Max, is he too aggressive, because he’s too young, he will learn? Your  comment please.

LH: I didn’t see it. It doesn’t affect me so not really.

NR: Nothing to add. I made some comments already before. I’m going to leave it at that.

SV: Nothing to add.

2016 Mexican Grand Prix Race Review


On Saturday, we saw Lewis Hamilton taking Pole Position for the Mexican Grand Prix ahead of Nico Rosberg and Max Verstappen.

The start of the Mexican GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The start of the Mexican GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The Mexican GP is underway. Nico Rosberg has a good start as does Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg who is in fourth place. But Lewis Hamilton has bogged down slightly but maintains his position despite locking up into the first corner and having to go off the circuit. At the back of the grid, Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson make contact and Wehrlein comes off worst and has to retire from the race.

Lewis Hamilton leads the early stages of the Mexican GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton leads the early stages of the Mexican GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The Safety Car has now been deployed to clear the Manor off the circuit and many drivers now choose to pit (especially Vettel who has a puncture). The racing resumed on Lap 4 with Hamilton leading Rosberg by a second. The next lap sees Magnussen maintaining 12th place ahead of Jenson Button.

The stewards then announce on Lap 8 that no further action would be needed for the incident between Rosberg and Verstappen that happened on Lap 1. Meanwhile by Lap 8, there’s a battle between Massa and Vettel for sixth place. Two laps later sees Bottas struggling to keep Perez behind him who has the home ground cheering for their local boy.

By Lap 11, Hamilton has extended his lead to 3.4 seconds over Rosberg. Three laps later the stewards announce that the incident between Ericsson, Gutierrez and Wehrlein did not need any further action but the battle for fifth between Massa, Vettel, Bottas and Perez is heating up very nicely indeed.

Nico Rosberg leads the race on Lap 18. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leads the race on Lap 18. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 18 sees Hamilton pit for new tyres and hands the lead of the race over his team mate Rosberg who leads the race over Raikkonen by 7.8 seconds. Three laps later sees Rosberg pitting for new tyres and hands the lead of the race to Vettel. But Rosberg is able to get back onto the track ahead of Ricciardo which is crucial to his strategy working.

Sebastian Vettel leads the race on Lap. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Sebastian Vettel leads the race on Lap 25. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 25 see Vettel still leading the race ahead of Hamilton by 4.2 seconds as Massa and Perez battle for ninth place and into Turn 1, Perez went in too deep and couldn’t pass the Brazilian driver.

Sergio Perez catching Felipe Massa on Lap 30. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Sergio Perez catching Felipe Massa on Lap 30. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Five laps later, Perez is now starting to catch Massa for ninth place. Lap 33 sees Vettel pitting for new tyres and hands the lead back to Hamilton who is five seconds ahead of his team mate Rosberg who is trying to keep Verstappen at bay behind him.

Lewis Hamilton leading the race on Lap 45. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton leading the race on Lap 45. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

By Lap 45, Hamilton still leads Rosberg by 3.7 seconds. On Lap 51, Verstappen tries to pass Rosberg for second place. However, Verstappen goes in too deep and Rosberg retains the place. There is now a battle between Hulkenberg and Raikkonen for sixth place.

Max Verstappen running in third place in the final laps of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Max Verstappen running in third place in the final laps of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 61 sees Hamilton leading the race by 7.6 seconds ahead of Rosberg. There is the battle still ongoing with Hulkenberg and Raikkonen as Verstappen and Vettel battle for third place. Lap 67 sees Hulkenberg while defending against Raikkonen spun his car 180 degrees and has now lost sixth place.

Meanwhile, the battle between Verstappen and Vettel is heating up as Verstappen goes into the corner too deep, has to go off the circuit in order to get back onto the track and Vettel is now close enough to consider to pass the young Dutch driver but Verstappen needs to give the position back to Vettel even though the stewards will be investigating this after the race.

But on Lap 70, Ricciardo tries to pass Vettel for fourth place but Vettel moves his Ferrari to defend into the braking area and closes the door on the young Australian driver.

Lewis Hamilton wins the Mexican GP ahead of Nico Rosberg in second place and Sebastian Vettel in third place (But Daniel Ricciardo is now officially third). All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton wins the Mexican GP ahead of Nico Rosberg in second place and Sebastian Vettel in third place (But Daniel Ricciardo is now officially third). All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

But Hamilton leads Rosberg on the final lap of the race by 8.3 seconds and wins the Mexican GP which is his first win at the circuit. This result maintains Rosberg’s lead in the championship and if Rosberg can win the Brazilian GP in two weeks time, Rosberg will be champion.

Rosberg is a credible second 8.3 seconds behind Hamilton, Ricciardo finished in a brilliant third place 20.8 seconds behind Hamilton, Verstappen was a credible fourth 21.3 seconds behind Hamilton and Vettel finished fifth 27.3 seconds behind Hamilton.

Raikkonen was sixth 49.3 seconds behind Hamilton, Hulkenberg was a brilliant seventh 58.1 seconds behind Hamilton, Bottas was eighth 1.05.6 seconds behind Hamilton, Massa was ninth 1.16.2 seconds lap behind Hamilton and Perez was tenth 1.16.7 seconds behind Hamilton.

Following the end of the race, Verstappen was immediately penalised five seconds, therefore promoting Vettel to third and dropping Verstappen to fifth place. But in a bizarre turn of events, Verstappen had already pulled into the podium area in the stadium section before the penalty was confirmed, but was told to leave the podium green room soon after as Vettel was brought back from the paddock to take his rightful place on the third step.

The story continued after the race, as Vettel was investigated for the Ricciardo incident. The stewards eventually handed Vettel a ten-second penalty, dropping him behind both Red Bull drivers, meaning that it was actually Ricciardo who finished on the final step of the podium.

It comes after the FIA issued a clampdown on drivers moving under braking ahead of the United States Grand Prix, a change that was referenced in the stewards’ statement as follows:-

‘Notwithstanding the F1 Commission directive to “let the drivers race” we note the concern that has been expressed about manoeuvres involving a change of direction under braking as expressed at the drivers briefing at the US Grand Prix and in the race director’s notes from the US Grand Prix and this event.

‘The telemetry and video evidence shows that the driver of car 5 did change direction under braking. Article 27.5 and the race director’s notes have essentially three criteria that determine a breach: driving in a manner potentially dangerous, an abnormal change of direction and another driver having to take evasive action.

‘The video footage, including the close circuit footage, the broadcast vision, both drivers’ on board cameras plus the telemetry show that there was an abnormal change of direction by car 5 and this was considered to be potentially dangerous in view of the proximity of the wheels of each car.

‘The video evidence clearly shows that car 3 had to take evasive action as a result. Accordingly as all three criteria have been met, the driver of car 5 is guilty of a breach of article 27.5.’

Vettel now has six points on his superlicence, with any driver who accrues 12 over a rolling 12-month period receiving a one-race ban.

Nico Rosberg leads the Driver’s Championship with 349 points, Lewis Hamilton is in second place with 330 points, Daniel Ricciardo in third place with 242 points, Sebastian Vettel is in fourth place with 17 8points, Kimi Raikkonen is in fifth place with 178 points,  Max Verstappen is in sixth place with 177 points, Sergio Perez is in seventh place with 85 points, Valtteri Bottas is in eighth place with 85 points, Nico Hulkenberg is in ninth place with 60 points and Fernando Alonso is in tenth place with 52 points.

Mercedes are the Constructors Champions with 679 points, Red Bull is in second place with 427 points, Ferrari is in third place with 365 points, Force India is in fourth place with 145 points, Williams is in fifth place with 136 points, McLaren is in sixth place with 74 points, Toro Rosso is in seventh place with 55 points, Haas is in eighth place with 29 points, Renault is in ninth place with 8 points and Manor is in tenth with 1 point.


I feel that McLaren have had an disappointing weekend with both Alonso and Button as they just did not have the pace and performance needed to score some points in Mexico. This is the best the team could have hoped for and I am not happy with their performance this weekend.  But McLaren have shown that despite their best efforts that the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car but they are making small gains that are paying off for them in the last few races and they need to use this as inspiration for Brazil in a few weeks time.

Massa and Perez had some battles to finish in tenth and ninth places yesterday. They both battled with  for most of the race and they both deserved to get a point for their efforts on Sunday and it will help his confidence and also Williams and Force Indias’ for the next few races as a result.

Bottas had another solid drive to eighth place on Sunday and bringing home much needed points. He has a solid run of form recently and this will help his confidence to end his season on a high.

Hulkenberg had a bit of an action packed yet defensive race to finish seventh, but he scored more points for the Force India team who seem to be extracting a little bit more pace and performance out of their package. But there is still a lot of work to be done but the fact that Hulkenberg scored points again shows that he can deliver on the track.

Raikkonen did a good job to get sixth place and had a battle to get there. He drove a solid race  despite and he did a great job to secure some much needed points for his team after a good performance this weekend and it is clear that the car was working well for them as a result. This will only help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.

Vettel did a good job to get fifth place. He drove a solid race  despite what’s happened after the race and he did a great job to secure some much needed points for his team after a good performance this weekend and it is clear that the car was working well for them as a result. This will only help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.

Verstappen had a credible race to finish in fourth. It is a result that Verstappen needed after a tough few races and he should be happy; especially gaining the position during the race. He drove superbly but in a race where many expected him to finish and to maintain the momentum he has so far, he has managed to gain some points for the team and put himself in good stead for the rest of the 2016 season.

Ricciardo deserves a mention and has to be my driver of the day. He drove a solid race to third place and battled his way through to get these points. Just a damage limitation performance and the Mercedes team and showing that he cannot be discounted on putting in the best performance on the track, even when the odds are against him.

Rosberg drove a solid race to finish second today. He may not have had the race he wanted; and didn’t have a chance to try and get past but he did a great job to secure a podium yesterday. And once again, luck helped him achieve this but he was in the position to keep his lead in the championship.

All that is left to say about this race is that Hamilton deserved to win at Mexico and he needed to in order to show that he cannot be discounted as a driver.  His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race and now is in a better position to win the title. All credit to Lewis for doing a superb job this weekend and winning his first race in Mexico.

With the Brazilian GP in a two weeks time, if this season will be Rosberg’s at last or can Hamilton stop him winning the title? But what is for certain is that Formula One is building up rather nicely.

2016 Mexican Grand Prix Post-Qualifying Press Conference Transcript


Here’s the official transcript of the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix Post-Qualifying Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-


1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

2 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

3 – Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing)


Q: Well, Lewis, a very exciting qualifying session this afternoon. How tough was that battle for pole position from your point of view?

Lewis Hamilton (referred hereafter as LH):- It’s always a tough battle. Trying to pull out the perfect laps when it counts is always a difficult thing, particularly with these tyres. Sometimes it’s on the first lap and sometimes it’s on the second lap that the tyres are ready. Definitely very challenging, as this track always is. But the track has got a lot better because there’s more grip on the track now. Last year we were sliding around a lot more. Today it feels a lot more like a racetrack. Again, not really sure why, but we have a huge turnout here and I’m anticipating seeing a lot more Mexicans here tomorrow.

Q: Well done Lewis. Nico, coming to you, a brilliant final lap from you in Q3 saw you get on to the front row. You made up a lot of time.

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- Well, brilliant is two and a half tenths from Lewis, so Lewis’ lap was brilliant, not so much mine. But no, I put it together when it counted in the end, so I’m relatively pleased with that, to definitely make sure I’m on the front row, even though it’s not pole position of course. But still that gives me a great chance for tomorrow anyways.

How have you been struggling with the car so far this weekend?

NR: yeah, it just took a bit longer this weekend to find the way, just generally with tyre temperatures, them being on the cold side all weekend, so it’s a bit nervous out there and just to find the way with that took a bit longer, but got there in the end, so that’s OK.

Max, coming to you, third, best of the rest if you like. Did you ever think pole position was on, because you were fastest in Q2?

Max Verstappen (referred here after as MV):- You have to be realistic in Q2, because some of the other guys were on soft tyres. But in general, you know, the qualifying felt good. I had a good feeling with the car, actually, all weekend. It was behaving pretty well. It was getting better and better, it was just a shame in Q3 that we couldn’t really get the lap together, otherwise I think P2 was definitely possible. But we are not too far behind and we have a different strategy for tomorrow as well, so it will be interesting.

Coming back to you Lewis, the grand prix tomorrow, there’s potentially a lot riding on this race. Your team-mate can win the world championship tomorrow, what’s the tactic from your point of view?

LH: There is no real tactic. I turned up to do the job and I’m going to try to do the same thing as a Id last week here. So far this weekend has gone well. Yeah, looking forward to the race, the long runs seem to be good, the car feels great, so I’m just looking forward to getting out on track.

Nico, last one, tell us about tomorrow, the race pace of your car, the situation in the championship?

NR: Feeling good, generally of course optimistic. As we have seen this year pole position isn’t everything on Sundays, so for sure there are still some opportunities. Just going to try to do the best I can tomorrow and try to get that win here in Mexico, that was awesome.


Q: Lewis, the practice sessions gave very little indication as to what the ultimate lap time was going to be in qualifying. Can you tell us something about how the track has changed in the two days that we’ve been here?

LH: It’s just gripped up a lot. It’s cleaned up a lot, when we got here on Friday it was obviously a little bit dusty, and also being cold really struggling to get tyres into the working range, I think that’s the same for everyone. Obviously with the temperatures coming up today it made it better, but yeah, otherwise, as I said before, it’s much better to drive the track now with more grip as last year we were sliding round a lot.

Q: Nico, both you and your team-mate will be starting the grand prix on the soft tyres, can you explain what sort of an advantage you expect that to give you?

NR: Oh just that the supersoft, yes it’s going to be OK to start the race, but then it disintegrates pretty quickly, so in terms of strategy that’s definitely going to be a disadvantage and we just think our tyre is the better one, but let’s see how it goes tomorrow.

Q: Same question to you Max. You’re starting on the supersoft. It seems that the Mercedes drivers think that it’s not going to last very long. How have you found the supersoft tyre in a race run?

MV: Well, of course there is more degradation than a soft so it’s up to me, and with the car balance, to make it last as long as we can. But definitely in the start with such a long run to the first corner, if we can have a good start then we have a lot of opportunities from there onwards.


Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport) Question for Nico. You were on the podium last year. Yesterday there were 93,000 people, more today, more tomorrow. Tell us what it’s like when you come into that stadium section, maybe on a cool-down lap and see all those people.

NR: Yeah, this is what F1 should be like. It’s just incredible. Even now on the slow-down lap I was given them a wave in the stadium and they all went nuts. It’s just great to see the atmosphere, y’know? Very, very thankful that everybody’s come out and even more tomorrow. It’s one of the best podiums in the world here, so it’s a special one to win.

Q: (Seff Harding – Zero Zone News)  Question for Nico. With the pressure of possibly winning the championship tomorrow, are you going to feel that from Max Verstappen being that you to have had some interesting runnings-in with each other this season. He’s pretty much giving you a difficult time. Will you be able to deal with that pressure tomorrow?

NR: For me, I’m looking forward. There’s Lewis in front of me, he’s in the way for me to win the race so that’s what I’m going for. Just look forwards, go for it, try and win the race and that’s it.

Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS.NL) For Max, how important is it to beat Daniel today?

MV: Well, that’s not my only target. I’m here to try and fight for the victory. I’m just very happy to be third. It’s not a very special meaning to me. We are a team.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globo To all drivers, concerning the difficulty you have in the weekend until now to heat the tyres, at the start and mainly in the first lap will it be an issue?

Lewis, let’s start with you.

LH: I don’t think it was last year and tomorrow’s supposed to be as hot as it is today I heard, so, for sure the tyres are not going to be in the window but everyone’s in the same boat.

Nico, anything to add?

NR: I think it will be OK. I think as per normal it takes a bit of time but it will be fine.

And Max

MV: I had my tyres in the window in P1 with the fire! But, no, it will be hard, but it’s the same for everyone so you just have to adapt to the situation.

Q: (Jorge Mendoza – La Prensa de San Antonio) This question is for Max. Were you expecting this kind of success in Formula One in your early stages of your career?

MV: That’s always very difficult to judge. As a driver I think you always try to do the best possible job every single race and just every session and qualifying session. So that was always my main target – and yeah, I’m pretty happy with how it’s going so far.

Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS.NL) Question to all drivers, what is your favourite part of the circuit?

Again, let’s start with Lewis.

LH: I think the middle sector is fun. Turn Seven to 11 is really nice, fast flowing. It’s the fastest part of the track.

NR: Does the podium count?

Max, do you have a favourite?

MV: The same, like Lewis. I think the fast corners. If you have the right momentum, you have a good balance for the car, it’s a lot of fun.

What do you classify as a ‘fast’ corner? Anything over 200km/h or…?

MV: No, I think more up to 250km/h, something like that.

Q: (Seff Harding – Xero Xone News) Lewis, the practice sessions looked solid, you looked so solid, the car looks solid, are there any areas where you feel tomorrow you can gain a little more time?

LH: Well, the long runs were really strong and as you said, practice was really good. Q3 was actually the worst session of the whole weekend so far. But I know going into tomorrow we have hopefully the right strategy and I think the car is in a good place for the long runs. Naturally, during the race, you’re constantly trying to evolve your driving style and technique to make sure the tyres go the distance etc. It’s always a tough race here, particularly as these tyres they seem to go a long way.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and Speed Sport) Max, was it a close call between the soft and the super soft in Q2 or were you always going to go for the supersoft?

MV: No, I don’t think we even had them in the garage. No.

Q: Same question to the Mercedes drivers. Was it a close call for you?

LH: It wasn’t because… before Q3 I had a lot of pace so we believed that it was possible on the soft and we also did a long run yesterday and knew that the supersoft tyre was a bit of a mess. It may not be for them but it was for us so we opted for the soft.

NR: Always going to be soft.

Q: (Jorge Mendoza – La Prensa de San Antonio) How do you rate the Mexican track compared to the other ones? Do you see the Mexican track quite challenging or do you see it in the middle range?

MV: Well, it’s definitely challenging because it’s quite slippery compared to some other tracks so to get a perfect, clean lap is more difficult than on some other tracks where we have more grip. But in another way, with all the fans around, especially in the stadium section, that makes it one of the favourites, that’s for sure.

NR: Yeah, they’ve done a good job with it. It’s challenging because of the fact that the tyres are cold in general so that makes it challenging here but apart from that, no, it’s cool and of course they’ve done some really amazing things with the stadium section, as Max said, it’s phenomenal.

LH: I’ll be as honest as I can. It is very unique in the sense that because of how high we are, so the air is obviously less dense up here so there’s less drag, we have maximum downforce but we actually have less downforce than at a lot of other circuits so that’s a real serious challenge for us, especially getting the tyres into the window; incredibly fast on the straight so I think we must have close to Monza speeds.

The track has got some very challenging parts. Sector one –  turn one, two and three –  is actually not that easy, it’s quite difficult through there and there are a couple of parts that are a little bit tiny, for example turn four, particularly turn five is very very slow. Again, because we’re going so slowly, the grip isn’t great, but it has a real good combination of all those corners.

The finale, at the end, when the tyres are at the end of their life and you see that crowd in your peripherals… we don’t see a stadium like that anywhere so in terms of where to put it on the list, I would say… it’s not in my top three but it’s definitely in the top ten, I think.

2016 Mexican Grand Prix Qualifying Review


But heading into Qualifying, it would seem that Mercedes are looking like the teams to beat heading into the session that look set to gain Pole Position ahead of the race on Sunday. But Ferrari, McLaren, Ferrari, Toro Rosso or Force India may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions.

Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

Just before Qualifying, it was announced that Jolyon Palmer would not be running in the session due to problems with his chassis.

Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in Q1. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in Q1. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

In Q1, we saw Lewis Hamilton topping the timesheets with a lap time of 1.19.477, Kimi Raikkonen was second, Daniel Ricciardo was third, Sebastian Vettel was fourth, Max Verstappen was fifth, Nico Rosberg was sixth, Sergio Perez was seventh, Valtteri Bottas was eighth, Felipe Massa was ninth and Carlos Sainz Jr rounded off the top ten finshers.

At the end of Q1 we lose Esteban Gutierrez, Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Nasr, Esteban Ocon and Romain Grosjean.

At the end of the session, Esteban Gutierrez on his last flying lap spun on the circuit but was able to remain running, even though he would not take part in Q2.

Max Verstappen tops the timesheets in Q2. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Max Verstappen tops the timesheets in Q2. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

In Q2, we saw Verstappen topping the timesheets with a lap time of 1.18.972, Hamilton was second, Vettel was third, Ricciardo was fourth, Rosberg was fifth, Hulkenberg was sixth, Raikkonen was seventh, Bottas was eighth, Massa was ninth and Sainz Jr rounded off the top ten finshers.

At the end of Q2 we lose Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez, Jenson Button, Kevin Magnussen, Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.

Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

Lewis Hamilton claims Pole Position for the Mexican GP ahead of Nico Rosberg in second place and Max Verstappen in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton claims Pole Position for the Mexican GP ahead of Nico Rosberg in second place and Max Verstappen in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

At the end of Q3, it was Hamilton who secured Pole Position for the Mexican GP with a lap time of 1.18.704. Rosberg qualified in second place 0.254 seconds behind Hamilton, Verstappen is in third 0.350 seconds behind Hamilton, Ricciardo is fourth 0.429 seconds behind Hamilton and Hulkenberg is fifth 0.626 seconds behind Hamilton.

Raikkonen is sixth 0.672 seconds behind Hamilton, Vettel in seventh 0.677 seconds behind Hamilton, Bottas is eighth 0.847 seconds behind Hamilton, Massa is ninth 1.328 seconds behind Hamilton and Sainz Jr rounds off the top ten finishers.

It would seem that Mercedes genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend despite their form in Qualifying. Both of the Mercedes drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this and have been consistent and fast throughout every session so far this weekend; even if Hamilton has a challenge on his hands to get a result this weekend.

You cannot discount Ricciardo, Verstappen or Raikkonen even to be challenging also for the race win and could also be the dark horses to take the win away from Mercedes (and also Ferrari in Mercedes’ case) that could see gaining some points on their rivals to kick start their Constructors Championship.

Hulkenberg, Sainz Jr and Bottas could also have a decent race and pick up some much needed points for their respective teams. Will it rain? I do not know. Who will win the Grand Prix on Sunday? I really don’t know.

But let’s see what happens on the circuit on race day on Sunday…

2016 Mexican Grand Prix Practice Review


Lewis Hamilton wins the United States Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen in second place and Nico Rosberg in third place. Williams, McLaren, Ferrari, Force India and Renault all managed to score some much needed points at the event also.

The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is host for the Mexican Grand Prix. The circuit is located in northeast Mexico City, the capital of Mexico. The circuit is built in a public park and owned by the government of the city. The track has a very bumpy surface, mostly due to Mexico City’s location on a geologically active region. Moreover, with an elevation of 2,285 meters, the thin air creates difficulties for both the drivers and their cars.

The circuit is 4.304 kilometers long and features 17 turns. The driving direction is clockwise. There is just a few slow turns on the circuit and most of the turns open up on the exit, allowing the driver to get back on the throttle while still turning. The Peraltada turn before the long start/finish straight is slightly banked and known for being extremely fast. Herman Tilke was in charge of renovating the circuit in 2015 to ensure it meet the latest FIA standard.

Aside from many popular car races, the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is also home to other sporting events including the final of the prestigious Ciudad de Mexico Marathon. The race track was named after the brothers Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez which is why it is also called the Rodriguez Brothers Racetrack. Unfortunately, they both died in racing accidents.

Practices 1, 2 and 3

The main headline from the Practice sessions is that Mercedes look to have the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management which will test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in FP1.

Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in FP1.

Practice 1 saw Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheet with a time of 1.20.914 followed closely by Sebastian Vettel with a gap of 0.079 seconds behind, Kimi Raikkonen was in third with a gap of 0.158 seconds behind, Sergio Perez in fourth with a gap of 0.286 seconds behind and Nico Hulkenberg in fifth with a gap of 0.495 seconds behind Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas was in sixth with a gap of 0.533 seconds behind, Nico Rosberg was in seventh with a gap of 0.759 seconds behind, Daniel Ricciardo was eighth with a gap of 0.813 seconds behind, Felipe Massa was ninth with a gap of 0.922 behind and Daniil Kvyat was tenth with a gap of 1.301 seconds behind Hamilton.

With just under an hour left of FP1, the red flag was brought out after Felipe Nasr suffered damage to his front wing on the track. Nasr sustained this damage after bouncing off a kerb which then caused his front wing to snap and shatter to pieces. But Nasr was able to get back to the pitlane and was able to continue running in the session.

In the last forty minutes of the session, Max Verstappen did not run in the session due to problems with overheating in his brakes that needed further investigation by his team. But towards the end of FP1, Sergio Perez’s engineer informed him via his team radio that rain is heading into the circuit and could spice things up going into FP2. .

Sebastian Vettel tops the timesheets in FP2.

Sebastian Vettel tops the timesheets in FP2.

Practice 2 saw Vettel tops the timesheet with a time of 1.19.790 followed closely by Hamilton with a gap of 0.004 seconds behind, Rosberg was in third with a gap of 0.435 seconds behind, Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 0.469 seconds behind and Ricciardo in fifth with a gap of 0.658 seconds behind Vettel

Hulkenberg was in sixth with a gap of 0.784 seconds behind, Verstappen was in seventh with a gap of 0.829 seconds behind, Bottas was eighth with a gap of 0.839 seconds behind, Sainz Jr was ninth with a gap of 1.184 seconds behind and Alonso was tenth with a gap of 1.213 seconds behind Vettel.

At the end of the session, Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso had smoke coming out of it after he stopped shortly before the pitlane entrance.

Max Verstappen tops the timesheets in FP3.

Max Verstappen tops the timesheets in FP3.

Practice 3 saw Verstappen tops the timesheet with a time of 1.19.137 followed closely by Hamilton with a gap of 0.094 seconds behind, Ricciardo was in third with a gap of 0.233 seconds behind, Rosberg in fourth with a gap of 0.481 seconds behind and Bottas in fifth with a gap of 0.674 seconds behind Verstappen.

Vettel was in sixth with a gap of 0.800 seconds behind, Massa was in seventh with a gap of 0.860 seconds behind, Massa was eighth with a gap of 0.860 seconds behind, Hulkenberg was ninth with a gap of 1.118 seconds behind and Sainz Jr was tenth with a gap of 1.188 seconds behind Verstappen.

You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg to gain pole position again this weekend. As the Mercedes drivers seem to be performing brilliantly at the moment and the momentum is with them from all the track mileage and their strong form from the last race. Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, or Verstappen also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top ten places at the moment.

However, I think that Williams, Force India, Toro Rosso or even McLaren have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…

2016 Mexican Grand Prix Team Principals Press Conference Transcript


Here’s the official transcript of the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix Team Principals Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-

TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Dave RYAN (Manor), Franz TOST (Toro Rosso), Eric BOULLIER (McLaren), Robert FERNLEY (Force India), Mike O’DRISCOLL (Williams)


Bob, if we could start with you, the news broke recently that Nico Hulkenberg is off to Renault. Does his departure weaken the team going forward?

Robert Fernley (referred here after as RF):- No, not necessarily. Nico will certainly be missed because he’s been a great part of Force India and the growing of Force India over the last few years, but we’ll just have to make sure that we replace him with as good as we possibly can.

Well, a lot of drivers have been linked to your team for 2017, how close are you to making that final choice?

RF: First of all, I’m not close at all. It’s Vijay’s decision and we’ll start those discussions probably when we get back next week.

So have you got a deadline in mind as to when you want to have it nailed down?

RF: No, I don’t think so. I think we’ll take our time, have a look at what offers are on the table, Vijay will make his decision and then we’ll announce it.

Sergio said in the press conference yesterday that he’s staying at Force India because of the opportunity that the new cars next year will bring. Has the team got the resources and the capability to deliver on those expectations?

RF: Yes, I think so. What is exciting for us for 2017 is that it’s the first time we are on a reasonably level playing field. We’re not quite the same as the big teams, the big manufacturing teams, but you’ve got restricted aero programmes, it’s the first new generation car that we will do using a 60% model and I think we’ve shown already this year what we can do once we moved up to 60%, so I’m very optimistic that the team will be very competitive in 2017.

Thank you. Dave, you’ve been in your job for a year now, what were your goals then and have you realised them?

Dave Ryan (referred here after as DR):- Well, when I arrived it was obviously a team in a bit of a holding pattern but with big ambitions. It became fairly clear to me early on that we needed to attract some different skill sets and some good people, which I’m pleased to say we have. So yeah, we are definitely heading in the right direction. We do need to improve in all areas still, but I think we have come a long way in the past year.

So looking at the longer term, what can the Manor team become?

DR: Oh for sure we want to become a strong midfield team. If you look at where we were last year and where we now sit, we’ve made a huge improvement. We need to keep making improvements and our goal is to be a serious and strong midfield team.

How integral are your current drivers to that ambition?

DR: Well, the drivers we’ve got we’re very, very happy with, they’re a great couple of lads, but going forward who knows.

Thanks, Dave. Coming to you Mike: this is the first time you’ve been in an FIA press conference as it’s usually a role filled by Claire Williams for the team. She hasn’t been at any races recently. Why is that and are we likely to see her before the end of the season?

Mike O’ Driscoll (referred here after as MD):- I certainly hope so. Frank, as you know, was taken ill at the Monza race. He’s been a fixture in the paddock for so many decades now it’s strange not to have him with us. He’s had a tough time in hospital. He has contracted pneumonia. He is making a recovery, a slow steady recovery. We hope to see him back at Grove very soon. We all know how determined he is.

We expect Claire to be back at a race… she has wanted to stay close to home, close to Frank, but in this modern world you are only ever a phone call away, so we stay connected and she’s part of everything that happens on a minute-by-minute, day-by-day basis. We hope to see her by the end of the year and hopefully that will be Abu Dhabi and this will be maybe my first [press conference] but it might be my last as well, so thanks for having me!

Pleasure to have you! Williams have had a difficult season in which you’ve slipped backwards. From your perspective, as CEO, why is that?

MO’D: Yeah, two very good seasons in ’14 and ’15 and this year has been more difficult. First of all I’d like to give a lot of credit to Force India. I think they have done a superb job this year in bringing the fight to us and making the battle for fourth place more interesting than we would have liked, maybe.

I think it’s also fair to say that the development of this year’s car hasn’t gone as well as we would have like – all of the upgrades we brought haven’t been as effective as we would have wished. I also think it’s fair to say that we made an early decision in the season to focus on the 2017 development. We can play Monday morning quarterback and decide now to double guess – was it too early, too late – but we stand by the decision we made and we haven’t given up the fight for fourth place and we intend to get it back in the remaining three races.

And just a final question from me: we haven’t had your thoughts on the takeover over Formula One by Liberty Media. I would be interesting to get your thoughts on that?

MO’D: Yeah, first of all, I think Formula One is just a terrific global sport and it’s no surprise that it has attracted interest from bidders around the world, from some of the large companies and it’s a tribute to the work that Bernie and his team have done over the years in building Formula One to the sport it is. Liberty are a global heavyweight in entertainment, digital, media and telecoms and I’ve no doubt they can grow it and take it to new heights and that two working together are a very effective combination.

Franz, you announced last weekend that Dany Kvyat has signed again for 2017. How does he make your team stronger?

Franz Tost (referred here after as FT):- First of all, Danill Kvyat is a very high-skilled driver. As we know from the past, he won the GP3 European championship; he was this year in China on the podium. Therefore, we are convinced of his talent. Secondly, his experience because next year will be his [fourth] season in Formula One and especially with the new regulations his experience will help us. And third, each party knows each other now very well. That means the co-operation also regarding next year’s new car will help us hopefully to operate quite successfully.

While we’re on the subject of next year, you’ve got two relatively experienced drivers in Kvyat and Sainz, you’re going to have an up-to-date engine from Renault, you’ve managed to retain all the key technical staff in the team during the course of this year. Given all that stability how does that change your ambitions for 2017?

FT: First of all we must know how good the car will be, how good the complete package will be, because it’s difficult to estimate nowadays where we will be, I think no team can do this. But I think we have all the ingredients together to come up with a very competitive package, because the technical staff, under the lead of James Key, have in the last years done a fantastic good job.

As you mentioned, with Renault we have a new engine partner and their power unit is quite strong and I hope this will also be the case next year. We have two experienced drivers, which was never the case before at Toro Rosso, and also the team itself is improving. I expect a lot from the team and I hope that everything works into the direction what we think will be the case.

Thank you Franz. Eric, thanks for waiting, I’d like to continue exploring the theme of next year with you as well, because it looks likely that McLaren will finish sixth this year and given the amount of work that’s going on in both Woking and in Japan at the moment, what is the minimum that acceptable for McLaren in 2017?

Eric Boullier (referred here after EB):- Doing better than ’16. Obviously we don’t have any numbers in terms of ranking in the championship, or targets like this. There is, like you said, still a huge amount of work to be done in Woking and in Japan, so we’ll see next year what we have as a package. We’ll see how fast or quick we can develop the car next year and then we will draw a line about where we want to be. But we just want to be on the move now. We were ninth last year in the championship, sixth is very likely this year obviously. We just want to better next year.

So ninth, sixth, third in 2017?

EB: No comment!

My words, not yours! Now, Jenson Button in Monza announced that he is going to take a sabbatical next year but he is going to retain very close links to the team. In your position as Race Director can you tell us how he will work with the race team next year?

EB: Well, there are many ways for him to bring, let’s say, his experience and feedback and guidance as well. It’s good when they are in car, but outside the car as well, especially a driver with a lot of experience, can bring some good advice. He will obviously be a part of the simulator team, which is important to correlate with the car. He will be attending a few grands prix as well, so his vision or let’s say his understanding about the racing next year from outside the car will be interesting for the team. In many ways, his great experience will be a good contribution for us next year.


Q: (Joe Saward – Auto X) You’re all from different backgrounds as team principals, or racing directors, whatever your official title is. They don’t have a school for team principals: what is it you need to be a Formula One team principal?

Bob, let’s start with you.

RF: A reasonably thick skin, I think. I don’t know actually Joe, you’re very right in saying there’s no school for it. It’s something you have to build with experience. I don’t think anything comes easily. You have to have a knowledge of all elements of racing – so it’s commercial, technical, hospitality, every aspect of it. I think unless you have that overall awareness of what’s going on in Formula One at all times, it’s a job that will elude you.


FT: First of all, you should know and be aware about the most important pillars in motorsport in general, and especially in Formula One because to run a Formula One team, you cannot compare with a normal company. Formula One has their own rules. Especially it takes time to build-up a team, to find the correct people, that they work together. As you know, you hardly have technical problems, you have only problems with people who are working together or not working together.

You have to find a way that this is the case. Then, on the economic side, to find sponsors, to convince companies that Formula One is the best possible platform for marketing reasons. And to bring in, let me say, the satisfaction in the team: that the people are motivated; that they like this job and to convince them that this is a very special work – because there are not so many Formula One teams, that they are lucky to go to 21 races for example, to see different countries and so on.

Mike, interesting to get your take on this as you have experience of the wider car industry

MO’D: I wouldn’t disagree with the comments you’ve already heard but I’d say that, as with any organisation, it’s about people and it’s about leadership and it’s about motivation. It’s about the ability to organise. And great instincts. And if all of that’s founded on really good knowledge of Formula One and motorsport, I think you’ll succeed.

Eric, do you have anything to add?

EB: Most of what they say I would agree to – but I think first you need to like racing. If you don’t like racing I would never turn up in the paddock in my life, y’know? Obviously if you like racing then it depends on where your pass is going. I guess to be a racing director or a team principal you need then yes, you need to lead, you need to understand who you’re working with, you need some commercial skills, some political skills, some… I don’t know, most of it you try to get.


DR: First of all, if you talk about team principals, if you go back to Frank Williams and Ken Tyrrell, people like that, Ron Dennis, those team principals, they owned the team, they did everything. It’s changed now. Not one of us here owns the team; we all work for other people and, for me, it’s all about understanding your role within the organisation. We had different people with different skillsets and we work to those skillsets. In terms of a team principal, I think it’s very different today to how it used to be and it’s really just putting the right people in the right places to do the best job they can.

Q: (Silvia Arias – Parabrisas) Monsieur Boullier, with Jost Capito arriving next year, what will be your position in the team?

EB: Well, if I may correct, first he already arrived because he started on the 1st of September. My position exactly the same, racing director, his position is to be CEO, which is to different roles within the company. One is obviously being in charge of the business and more factory-based and the other is in charge of the racing. So no change. There is a racing director and a CEO in Manor, the same in Williams, there was the same in Lotus where I was before, so…

Q: (Seff Harding – Zero Zone News) This question is for Dave Ryan. You have a very talented pool of drivers at Manor. Does having such a talented pool of drivers make it difficult to choose from. And the second question, you have one that has won the Indy 500 this season, and has that caught the eye of the higher-ups at Manor?

DR: Well, first of all, we do have a pool of very good drivers at Manor. Pascal and Esteban are fantastic talents, we’re very lucky to have them, they’ve been great for the team, they’ve pushed each other along and pushed us along as well. Together I think we’re doing a pretty good job. Alex, winning the Indy 500 was fantastic for him and he’s great to have on board as well.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) To all of you. Next year will be the third year in a row where a team has run last year’s spec engines. Originally it was to help Manor-Marussia in their situation and this year with Toro Rosso because they were engine-less. But next year Sauber will be running this year’s Ferrari engines. In view of the engine agreement that was struck in May, is it really necessary to have a regulation permitting this or should that regulation be closed, that we only have one tier of engines?

Bob, why don’t you start?

RF: I think I’d like to see one tier of engines mainly because it keeps everybody very competitive – but you have to probably look at the reasons individual teams have had to go down those routes. Only those teams can give you the answers on there. We have issues in Formula One in terms of obviously the distribution of payments and things like that. Some of it can be financial, some of it’s performance-based, some of it’s availability-based. I think you have to look at the whole thing – but if we could move forward on a better programme it would be much better if all the engines were current.

Franz, what’s your take on this?

FT: I don’t know all the reasons and background stories why Sauber decided to go with this year’s engine. I wouldn’t like to be in this situation because it’s a big disadvantage on the performance side to run with last year’s engine. From the regulation side, I think it should be kept open because a one year old engine is most-often cheaper than the newest specification. Therefore the regulation should allow it. From the performance side the team anyway is disadvantaged.

Eric, how about you, Honda doesn’t yet supply another team, what’s your take on this?

EB: There will be a time, I guess, when they will supply another team in the future but I guess, ideally we all want to have a new spec engine. Obviously performance very similar – but I think like everybody said before me, there is some various conditions like availability, finance or this kind of thing which will make a difference today. I guess in the future we are going to tend to have all the same spec.


DR: I would imagine any team would like to have the latest-spec engine. So if you take that into account and the team chooses to use an older-spec engine then there’s obviously commercial aspects you’ve got to take into account. So, leaving it open at the moment I think is fine.


MO’D: I’m not against a team using a prior-spec engine, they would have their good reasons, commercial reasons, for doing so – but it’s symptomatic of a much bigger problem which is revenue distribution in the sport. There needs to be much greater equality.

Q: (Thomas Gorton – Dazed) This is for all of you. Who do you think will be running the sport next year – and who would you like to be running the sport next year?

Eric, would you start us please?

EB: Good question, because we are not in charge of the sport, we are obviously not behind the doors in the boardrooms and obviously we are all, from the comments I’ve read in the press, happy that Liberty is onboard. Bernie is still in charge and still running the show, so I guess it’s going to be a mix or all of them all.

Mike, we’ve had your thoughts on Liberty, so Franz, how about you?

FT: I think the taking-over process takes time. It’s not from one day to the next day. I assume the next year and also the year after it will be a combination of Bernie and Liberty together and afterwards then we will do.


DR: We’re just happy to be here. So that’s the first thing. I think with Liberty coming on board it obviously opens the door for discussions on how to change things for the better or just to be different perhaps. We’re just happy to be here, whoever’s running it.

And Bob.

RF: I think obviously we’re excited to see Liberty come on board. They have a tremendous expertise in sports marketing which is quite unique to America, and having obviously lived and raced in America for a number of years, I recognise that as some of the best in the world. What we also must remember is Formula One is a unique product.

It has been created as a unique product by Bernie. We need Bernie to help that transition into the new ownership and I think it’s very, very important for the new owners to look very carefully at this unique product that is F1 and maybe integrate the sports marketing into F1 and not try to integrate Formula One into an American sports marketing programme.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Franz, next year you’ll have the same engines as the main Red Bull team, obviously the same tyres, you’ve got two very very strong drivers and that leads us to believe that particularly with your strong technical team that you could actually be a challenge to the main team. Will there be anything such as Red Bull team orders internally? Will you have to give way to the Red Bull team if you should be running them close?

FT: As you know, this is not the philosophy of Red Bull. Nevertheless, Red Bull Technology is one of the strongest technical teams in Formula One. It would be nice if we could be close to them but I don’t think that we will be in front of them or that we will fight against them. It would be nice  but Red Bull will not call us back, for sure not.

Q: (Seff Harding – Xero Xone News) To follow up on the earlier question, in terms of marketing for Liberty Media, in the United States do you feel that a larger platform in terms of packaging to devices, to social media would be necessary to help expand the visibility of Formula One, because it doesn’t work in certain markets outside of the US?

MO’D: I think for sure, if I understand the question correctly, that there’s a great opportunity to expand the sport in the Americas, in North America and the USA specifically. I think it would need a greater critical mass of races, either on the East and West Coast as well. The digital component is key for reaching a younger audience globally. I don’t think that’s North America specific.

FT: Yeah, we all know that Liberty Media is the best company to bring in all these tools which Formula One needs in future, the digital media, the social media and I’m convinced that their marketing strategy will find a way to bring Formula One forward, because we have some deficiencies and how they will do it we will then see, which strategy they will come up with.

DR: I think there’s general agreement that we need to appeal to a bigger audience, perhaps a different audience as well. However we do that, it will apply to America, everywhere.

BF: I think the digital and the social media market is going to be very important but we’ve also got to make sure that we can monetise that, and that’s going to be one of the challenges that Liberty will face.

EB: As far as Formula One is concerned, we agree that the US market is still very young, to be honest. We can do much more in America and North America. But Formula One is a global series and maybe the only global platform in the world as a sport, so we need to stay global.

That means that we have plenty of room to develop the sport side, the business side and consequently, social media is key in any marketing tool box and before we can monetise, we maybe need to use this tool just to promote Formula One for the youngsters if we can do it in term of rights and then see the future. But again it’s global, it’s not only US.

Q: (Victor Macin – Bob, what kind of driver are you looking for to replace Nico Hulkenberg ? Is he German, is he Mexican maybe?

BF: As I mentioned earlier, I think the decision for that will come next week or the week after or even the week after that. It will be Vijay’s decision and I think it would be wrong for us to pre-empt anything along the driver line at this time.

Q: (Victor Macin – And to Dave, are you worried about the rumours that Pascal Wehrlein will leave the team?

DR: Well, as I said earlier, Pascal’s a great talent and we’d love to keep him, but it’s Mercedes’ decision as to where he ends up.

Q: (Silva Arias – Parabrisas) Can you please tell me, from one to ten, how you score your team regarding their performance this year, concerning what you expected at the beginning of this season and what is going on now, at the end of the season?

BF: Well, I think given the fact that we’re challenging for the highest position that the team has ever had, I think I have to give them a ten. I don’t think there’s anything less than that.

EB: Well, I think, if I remember, Ron Dennis said five out of ten, so I have to stick to my boss.

MO’D: Report card for the year? I think it would be a five or a six out of ten, quite honestly.

FT: Six.

DR: Difficult one. I’d say about four or five for us. We set ourselves some pretty big targets and by and large we’ve achieved them but we’ve got to make a big improvement again for next year to be where we need to be. We’ve done a good job but going forward we need to do more so to put a number on it for me is pretty difficult but maybe that’s about it.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Mr Ecclestone recently said he would like to see Formula One more exciting which some took to mean more dangerous. He was talking about walls around the circuits and whatever else. Your drivers were fairly dismissive about this yesterday. Being the people who pay the bills if they hit the walls, how do you feel about it?

FT: There must not be walls around, because it’s expensive if the cars crash in there. No. But we should get rid of all these penalties and all this nonsense, if a driver touches another driver, that he gets done up or whatever. But we need interesting races and if they crash into each other, they crash into each other,  this is what people always want to see. Formula One is also entertainment.

And currently, we take too much care about all the safety issues and so on. Formula One is dangerous, we know this, but currently at the race track, if you look, nothing happens any more. Some friends said to me ‘I don’t watch Formula One any more because there are the two Mercedes in front. If they don’t crash on the first lap, the race is gone. I can sleep somewhere else, not in front of the TV.’ This is absolutely wrong.

First of all, we need to come up with a parity between the different teams. The ideal case would be two or three teams would fight for the championship until the last race, Constructors’ championship as well as Drivers’, not as the last years when everything is decided with a couple of races to go, before the end. Then if drivers fight against each other and if they crash against each other and something happens, then they should not go to the stewards and get a penalty for this. People want to see real racing, people want to see that something is happening. This is not the case any more, currently.

EB: I agree with Franz on at least one point: we want to have close racing which is why the fans like… which is why we like racing as well, and I think it’s going to come after every change of regulations, especially the last one with the power units. Obviously there is a lot of disparity between the cars and the performance but if you’re back to 2012 and 2013, I think if I remember, in the first ten races there were nine different winners.

And then everybody was complaining that it was not good enough. So I obviously don’t think a wall will bring a solution and it’s expensive to build as well. I think it’s just making sure we can bring the regulations to a point where we can give a chance to every team to be competitive and if you have all the cars, all the drivers competitive, then you can have very good and close racing.

BF: In all the things that Bernie says there is a message there and I think that message is that we need to get a little bit more excitement into the racing itself. I think there are ways that we can deal with cars going off, track limits and things like that and give opportunities for drivers behind by de-rating or whatever.

That technology is available. I think we could do a lot more to get it more exciting without endangering the drivers in any way, or without making the tracks so they are F1-specific because we’ve also got think that a lot of these tracks are also doing MotoGP as well, so whatever we do has to fit in with those as well. So I think yes, there are things we can do but I think Bernie’s message is let’s get it a little bit more exciting.

MO’D: Yeah, the big point’s really excitement, isn’t it? We need good, close racing, compelling racing. As you’ve heard from everyone here, we all want to see that.

DR: Well we do need close racing, for sure, but if we had a fairer distribution of funds, our cars would be closer together, that would be a start. But I think what Franz says is absolutely right. The drivers are over regulated on the track, some of the recent decisions and points and reprimands and so… personally, I think they are just too far. The drivers are discouraged from actively racing and some of the incidents that have been penalised I just don’t get, it’s just racing and you’re just not allowed to do it now.

The blue flag situation is also frustrating and I’m not so sure that the blue flag adds much to the racing. For sure it aids the lead cars but it really disrupts the racing for the guys at the back and we’re all part of it. So I think, for me, we need to look carefully at how the sport is regulated when it comes to racing, would be a  great help, and if the drivers were allowed to be themselves.

There’s not many drivers who aren’t more than the corporate figurehead of the company. They’re not allowed to express opinions, or they are discouraged from it. I can understand that side of it but it would be nice if we had a few more personalities. Lewis gets criticised for what he does. Well, why? He’s just out there doing his thing and if we had a few more drivers doing that sort of thing I think it would add to the sport.

Williams to announce 2017 drivers next Thursday


The Williams Martini Racing Team will announce their 2017 driver line-up at their Grove headquarters on November 3, with Lance Stroll expected to be confirmed.

The Canadian teenager will turn 18 this weekend putting to an end any concerns about his age given that Williams’ title sponsor is Martini.

Stroll will step up into Formula 1 having won the 2016 European Formula 3 Championship with Prema Powerteam.

He will partner Valtteri Bottas, who is expected to remain with Williams despite months of rumours linking to a Renault race-seat.

Williams will make the announcement next Thursday to the media.

2016 Mexican Grand Prix Drivers Press Conference Transcript


Here’s the official transcript of the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix Drivers Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-

DRIVERS – Sergio PEREZ (Force India), Esteban GUTIERREZ (Haas), Carlos SAINZ (Toro Rosso), Esteban OCON (Manor), Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes), Marcus ERICSSON (Sauber)


There is an incredible sense of excitement ahead of this Mexican Grand Prix. Checo, last year, those scenes of you being swamped on the drivers’ parade by the fans, just describe what that sense of adulation is like coming into this race.

Sergio Perez (referred here after as SP):- Yeah, first of all, I’m so happy, I’ve been waiting the whole season for this race and finally to be here with all my people, arriving to Mexico City – as soon as I arrived here on Tuesday for an event, I can see all the energy from all the people is getting bigger. Formula One is getting bigger, it’s growing.

It’s something that makes me very proud and I’m so much looking forward to give them a lot of happiness on Sunday. Hopefully I can give then a strong race, a strong performance. They always say that racing at home is an extra two tenths that you have on you. There really is, because the energy that I feel throughout the weekend is just phenomenal and I’m sure that this weekend will be a lot of that and I will be there to give them my best.

The weekend goes to fast to me because I’m full of events and full of commitments that I just want to enjoy every single moment and give my best to them.

And Esteban, same for you really: are you going to find those two tenths in what is your first Mexican Grand Prix?

Esteban Gutierrez (referred here after as EG):- Well, it’s an incredible feeling to be here and see how all the people are excited. I feel honoured to be able to share this great weekend, this great moment, with all the people that are going to be here supporting us – family, friends, fans – it’s just an incredible feeling. It feels like a whole big party through the whole weekend. So, yeah, everybody is excited. I’m very grateful for the support and I’m going to give my best to give the best result possible this weekend and I’m lucky to be here, with another opportunity, thinking that it’s going to be in Mexico, in my home country and enjoying all together.

Esteban, staying with you, one year ago you were announced as a Haas Formula One driver, how are your plans shaping up for 2017?

EG: I think Gene has been very clear in the media, they want to wait a few races. Fortunately, we have other options, which we are now considering strongly, and I think it will be important to close something soon, because we cannot risk to just wait a few more races until the end of the season and risk to fall in between two chairs. So we are doing our best and things are looking very good for next season.

Have you put a deadline for those negotiations to end?

EG: Yeah, that deadline should be in the next two weeks.

Checo, back to you, your current team-mate is moving to a works team in 2017, so what do you see in Force India that convinced you to stay there?

SP: I see a good potential. If you see, since I arrived up to now, every season we have been moving forwards. It hasn’t been easy. Right now we are fourth in the Constructors’ and to go up the next top teams are locked out, they don’t have any vacancy, so really I felt like my next move was going to be sideways or probably backwards. I see going to a new generation of cars that my best future is staying where I am, knowing the people that I am working working, having the stability, and as well Force India has done so much for my career I want to be loyal to them.

Moving on to Esteban Ocon, you’ve made huge progress in the six races you’ve driven in Formula One and you’re being linked with pretty much every available seat on the grid. How are those negotiations going and who will ultimately decided your future? Is it your decision or is it Mercedes’ decision?

Esteban Ocon (referred here after as EO):- Well first of all I’m already really happy to make the progress we made with the team. Together we have done a really strong job. It hasn’t been an easy thing to arrive half way through the season but I’m happy with the progress. Mercedes is managing my career, so at the moment I’m trying to focus on the remaining races and, yeah, we will see from there on how it goes.

Do you feel ready for a bigger team or do you think you’d benefit from another season with Manor?

EO: I don’t know, you know, as I say I’m focusing as much as I can on the remaining races. If you do a strong job there will always be talks and opportunities.

Marcus, you ran as high as 11th in Austin last weekend. Do you feel that Sauber are now starting to make real progress for the first time since the buyout?

Marcus Ericsson (referred here after as ME):- Yeah, I think so. The last few races we’ve really been taking steps in the right direction, starting from Singapore really. Every race we are getting closer to the top ten, both in qualifying and in the races, and as you say, in Austin we had another really good weekend. In Q1 I was P14 on pure pace and that was really positive and then in the race I was running in P11 for a long time and I think it was with less than 10 laps to go I was still 11th but then obviously we struggled with the tyres and I dropped back a couple of positions.

But as a team we have been pushing really hard and moved in the right directions. Also, the updates we brought to the car we got to work now better and better, so we realty see we are going in the right direction. But we just need to continue that now, really push our maximum these last three weekends. It’s no secret, we need to aim for that point to jump Manor in the championship and that’s what we are aiming for, but we are definitely moving in the right direction.

Well, you’re absolutely right, the team really does need that point. Where do you think is your best chance at the remaining three races?

ME: I think every one of them will be a good chance, but obviously on pure pace it’s going to be difficult because we still miss a couple of tenths it feels like to really take the fight for the top 10. It should be some races where there are some retirements or something like that and that should be a chance for us to benefit.

We need to be there and do our maximum and be as high as possible in the races that we can take advantage of these surprising things that can happen. If this race is more chance than other races it’s difficult to say but we just need to be there to take the opportunities when they present themselves.

Carlos, a tremendous race from you Austin and a great battle with Fernando Alonso. You’ve often said that he is your inspiration. Do you get an extra sense of satisfaction when you are racing him as opposed to the rest of your peers?

Carlos Sainz (referred here after as CS):- Well, it’s already a big satisfaction to be a Formula One driver, because you are racing against the 21 best drivers in the world, but yeah, maybe that battle with Fernando was that tiny bit more special. I’ve been growing up looking up at him since he’s in Formula One in 2003.

I’ve seen all his races and suddenly I saw myself in a position to fight on the last lap against him in Austin for a P5. It was special, but at that point you don’t really realise the thing you are doing. Maybe when you go to bed and you think a bit more about it, it’s that tiny bit more special, but it was an exciting one I enjoyed it a lot. I didn’t have all the grip available to put up a stronger fight, but I definitely enjoyed it a lot.

Toro Rosso confirmed last weekend that Daniil Kvyat will be your team-mate next season. It’s going to be one of the most experienced driver line-ups Toro Rosso have ever had and when you combine that with the Renault engine coming your way, how does that affect your ambitions for next year, what do you think you can achieve?

CS: I think Toro Rosso is in constant progress at the moment. Obviously this year we have been a bit hampered by this power deficit that you all know by now. But if you look at the car and how it was performing in Austin, it’s a pretty decent car I must say. I really enjoy driving it. So as James Key and his team they do a very similar job to this last couple of years and the Renault engine works well, I think Toro Rosso has a good line-up next year to exploit this full potential of the car with Dany and myself and I really think we can move a bit forward in the Constructors’ Championship. We have the right people on board and we just need a bit of straight line speed, a bit more things coming together to put together some stronger results.

Q: Nico, it’s been a great season for you so far and the upshot of that is that you can clinch the world championship here in Mexico this weekend. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t think about that. How does it change your mindset?

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- I’m well aware of that, and yeah, it’s been a great season so far, which has put me into this position, y’know? It’s exciting to be in this championship battle now with Lewis towards the end of the season. We’ve been there before but anyways, it’s very cool. And that’s it. As I’ve said before, that for me, my way at the moment of achieving the best possible performance is really just to focus on the things that are within my control – and that’s, here in Mexico, try and win the race, and that’s it.

Q: Given the intensity of your battle with Lewis, how is the atmosphere in the team at the minute? Are there echoes of 2014 or is this different somehow?

NR: The atmosphere is really, really good. As an example we had a great party on Sunday night after Austin. All the mechanics, engineers together, it’s great. The team has come a long way and, in every area, we’re just so strong now. Even just this team feeling. Pulling in one direction, having a good time together. Everything. The atmosphere is awesome. I think everybody is thrilled by this battle which we’re finding ourselves in.

Q: What about the dynamic between you and Lewis?

NR: Not something I think about too much really. I try and do my thing and get the best possible result. That’s it. Of course it’s intense – but at the same time there’s an easy-going side lately.


Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) To Nico Rosberg, in Austin we heard some quotes from Bernie Ecclestone. Can you reply to what he said? He said if you win it could be good for you and for the Mercedes team but not necessarily for the sport because there’s nothing to write about you. What do you say about it?

NR: I spoke to him personally and he said that’s not exactly the way he said it. And anyways, for me it’s not something that’s important to me. For me, I focus on my thing and that’s it.

Q: (El Grafico – Enrique Gutierrez) Checo, what is your great fears in your life?

SP: To be honest it’s snakes, probably! Apart from that I don’t fear anything. To me, I don’t have a lot of fears, to be honest.

Second question, what do you think about the death?

SP: Nice questions. It’s a point in life that you don’t want to reach but everyone will reach death in their life. Sooner or later everyone will reach it but it’s a point of life no-one wants to reach.

NR: I wish all Mexicans a great celebration of the dead.

SP: He asks the question because we have this celebration this Sunday, I think.

Q: (Daniel Johnson – The Telegraph) Question for Nico, you’ve been racing your entire life: you’ve been in Formula One for ten years, been fighting for the championship for the last three, what would winning the World Championship mean to you?

NR: It’s a childhood dream. But that’s where it ends for me. As I said, what’s important for me this weekend is winning the Mexican Grand Prix.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Question to Nico. How do you work with Lewis with the battle? Do you copy his settings, do you watch his telemetry or do you work all alone, apart from him?

NR: It’s as-usual. Everything is open, everything is shared and that’s it. So nothing has changed.

Q: (Jonathan McEvoy – Daily Mail) Here we’re a long way up in the air. What’s it like to drive at altitude or is there anything that you feel when you’re driving and is there anything extra that you need to do to be ready for that?

NR: Have you noticed that on your run this morning? What do you do 21k? No, for sure you notice it. So it’s one of those races where the fitness is important and it’s one of those I’ve worked towards. But it’s OK because there are long straights also to relax – so it’s not the toughest race of the year.

Checo, do you have anything to add about racing at altitude?

SP: You obviously feel it. Whatever you do, not only racing, running, whatever activity you do, you feel it a lot more. As Nico said, the circuit probably helps us with the layout. It has one of the longest straights in the calendar so physically it’s not one of the toughest: we’ve been through those already: Singapore, Malaysia – but it’s quite demanding as well, the race here.

NR: But it’s just as difficult for car. Not just for us drivers, because the car having less air volume density makes a big difference. For cooling.

Q: (Lazaro  Montano – Record) Nico, how special will it be to get the championship here in Mexico, considering that last year your good streak started here? After Austin, you began to win here in Mexico? How special would it be to complete the year with a championship here?

NR: I have great memories from here last year. Winning here was awesome, and also to get so much support from the Mexican people, even after that, through the whole year, social media, it’s really nice to see, so I look forward to meeting everyone again this weekend. The podium is one of the best in the year, in the baseball stadium, it was absolutely phenomenal and in terms of the championship, it’s not within my control if I get it this weekend, so for me it’s all about just winning the race and then we see what happens.

Q: (Luis Alberto Aguirre – Reform) To Marcus, do you see any chance for yourself to go to Force India next year? Is there any possibility; do you see that seat as a possibility for you?

ME: I think all the drivers who don’t have a contract for next year are looking at the seat. Obviously Force India is the second best available car at the moment, so it’s definitely an option but also Sauber is exciting for me looking at next year, because they have a very strong project building. So yeah, for me and my management, they are keeping their options open and talking to different teams that have seats left and hopefully sooner rather than later I will know what will happen for next year for me.

Q: (Ben Hunt –The Sun) Nico, two questions to you: do you think it’s unfair when people say that you’re only leading the championship due to Lewis’s failures? And also, just to bring you up on Bernie’s point, 2016 he said it would not be good for the sport if you were to win. Last year he had another pop at you and said it would be bad for business if you won the title. He seems to be doing you a bit of a disservice, don’t you feel?

NR: Well, you’re talking a lot about what other think and their opinions. I’m here to win races and not to please everybody that’s out there. There’s always going to be people that have opinions that will be going against me in some way or other. Those are two examples that you’ve given me and that’s the nature of the business, it’s always going to be like that so I like to focus on the people who really support me. And that’s it.

Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) Bernie’s come out and said that he’d like to see walls put around circuits. Now I know that you’re quite keen on driver safety; what do you make of that? He would like to see walls to stop people going off track, increase the drama, to increase the danger. It sounds a bit bonkers to me but I just wanted to get your opinions.

NR: Well, my opinion is that there are ten other areas which we should look at before… if we want to make the sport even better than it is before we start looking at turning back time on safety. That would be my view on that.

SP: I certainly agree with Nico. There are so many more areas where we can improve the sport before starting to put safety at risk. I think we can definitely make the circuits a bit more challenging for the drivers, not necessarily with walls but making the driver pay for mistakes if you go off, having a gravel trap and losing time, that kind of thing I think is good for the sport because that forces the drivers not to make any mistakes.

CS: I fully agree with Checo on that one. For me, obviously safety comes first but also challenges for drivers. I just did a track walk this morning and you know when you see so much tarmac run-off where you can go wide like in Austin, it’s good for safety but I’m convinced we could use some devices to make it a bit more challenging, to make sure you use a bit more of the track. At least you pay something, you don’t gain an advantage. At the moment it’s too risky for us to just miss the braking point a bit, nothing happens, continue and you don’t even lock up the tyres. I fully agree on that one with Checo.

Q: (Thomas Goubin – AutoHebdo) Sergio, about next season, for you, at what point will it be difficult to replace a competitive driver like Nico and what kind of a driver would you like for next season as a teammate?

SP: Obviously having someone at the level of Nico is going to be difficult but I just want someone who comes with the right attitude to help the team, that gives good feedback and understands what’s going on with the car and hopefully if he can be fast as well, who pushes me, that would be great. I think that has worked really well with Nico because we push… (Esteban interjects) A Mexican as well, maybe would be good. Someone who pushes you, I think that’s for the benefit of the team and I think a lot of the success that the team has had has been because Nico and I have been pushing each other really hard. Since practice one up to the race, it’s always within half a tenth and that’s always good for the team.

Q: (Luis Alberto Aguirre – Reform) Regarding that subject, would you like to become Checo’s teammate; would you like to be Esteban’s teammate, Checo?

EG: Yeah, why not? It would be fantastic. Any teammate is good. Sure.

Q: Is there any chance we can see you guys wrestling out there later on?

SP: Why not?

Q: (Juan Pablo Sanchez – Millenio) Nico, what do you think are the keys to repeat (your victory) here in Mexico on Sunday?

NR: Well, we’ve seen this year that the results from last year don’t really make a difference to this year except for a positive memory, so we’re all starting from zero and the keys… I think to have a good rhythm through the weekend, starting from FP1, building it up and then the usual things: good qualifying, good start, race pace, those things.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Carlos, we’re in the land of the chilli and your nickname is Chilli. A reader called attribalF1 would like to know who gave you the nickname, when and whether you think it’s descriptive?

CS: Yeah, this name comes probably from my friends, maybe on nights out or something, they get a bit too drunk and they come up from Carlos to Charlie from Charlie to Chilli and that’s how it ended up being… I don’t like chillis, this the interesting part, that I hate spicy stuff. Yesterday I went to have some tacos and I couldn’t have them because they were too spicy. Chilli is not my favourite.

Q: (Jon McEvoy – Daily Mail) Again to Nico, it seems that your mindset is very much each race and your mind isn’t on the broader story. Is that a decision that you’ve reached, the way that it works for you  or is it as a result of you having had a word with an expert in the area of mind management? I was just wondering how you stumbled on or decided that the idea that it was one race at a time and that was it.

NR: It just feels right, it feels right to focus on the things I can influence to keep it simple, be in the moment and it’s been working so just stick with it.

Q: (Diego Mejia – F1 Canal Latin America) To maybe Nico and if Checo can answer it as well: how would you expect the track to have evolved twelve months on, how will it be different or not from last year and how would you expect the supersoft tyre to be a factor after last year’s experience?

NR: Normally the track surface gets a bit rougher and that will make it a bit different on the tyres, so that’s the main thing we need to learn and discover and see how that’s gone.

SP: Same as Nico. I think the track will be rougher and that will have an impact on the degradation and now that we have a compound a step softer that might help the degradation so we might see different strategies. I think last year a lot of people went for one stop and now probably that’s not going to be that easy to be on a one stop.

Hulkenberg switches to Renault for the 2017 season


It was announced this morning that Nico Hulkenberg will be more than likely switching to Renault next year after Force India confirmed he will leave its team at the end of the current season.

The news of the switch first surfaced at the Japanese Grand Prix weekend and is now being reported in detail by German newspaper Bild. After several articles linking Hulkenberg to Renault this week, Force India issued a statement confirming the German is set to leave its team after the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi as follows:-

“Everybody at Sahara Force India wishes Nico well as he embarks upon a different path in Formula One. Having spent five years with us, Nico has become a great friend and contributed a huge amount to the team’s success.

‘He’s an outstanding driver, who has scored more points for this team than anybody else. While it’s true we will miss Nico, we respect his decision to explore fresh opportunities and it would be wrong to stand in his way.’

As we already know Renault is working on a five-year plan to return to the front of the grid and has said previously it is looking for a Michael-Schumacher style to rally its troops. The news follows months of speculation that Hulkenberg’s current teammate Sergio Perez would make the switch, but that ended two weeks ago when the Mexican finally confirmed he would remain at Force India.

Hulkenberg hinted at the Renault deal in a tweet today, where he screengrabbed the Bild article but only to make reference to the football fixtures further down the page.

Mark Webber announces retirement from racing


It was announced yesterday that former-F1 driver Mark Webber will retire from professional racing at the end of the year. He confirmed the news in a joint statement with his current team Porsche on Thursday.

Since leaving Formula One at the end of 2013 with nine victories to his name, Webber has been racing in the World Endurance Championship with Porsche. With three races remaining in the current season, Webber has announced his retirement before becoming a “Porsche representative” next year as follows:-

‘I have arrived where I belong. Porsche is the brand I always loved most and the one that suits me the best. The 911 is iconic — it has got elegance, performance and understatement, and is never intrusive. It is just the right car for every scenario.

‘I will miss the sheer speed, downforce and competition, but I want to leave on a high and I’m very much looking forward to my new tasks.’

Webber won the WEC title in 2015 but missed out on victory at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans on five attempts over his entire career.

Porsche CEO Oliver Blume yesterday in a statement to the media said the following about Webber’s racing retirement as follows:-

‘Mark Webber stands for everything what Porsche implies: sportsmanship, power of endurance, straightforwardness and focused work for success. He is full of beans and always a thoughtful listener. I want to thank Mark for his great performance in the World Endurance Championship and am pleased he will remain tightly connected to Porsche in the future.’

Webber’s career in Formula One spanned 12 seasons with four different teams, racking up 42 podiums and nine victories. He came closest to winning the title in 2010 but was ultimately beaten by Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel. He finished third in the standings three times before leaving for WEC at the end of 2013.