Tag Archives: McLaren

Capito: McLaren wants “big step” with Honda for 2017

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In an interview with the media today, McLaren Racing boss Jost Capito says he fully expects Honda to make a “big step” forward with their power unit in 2017, as they have had enough time to understand what is required of them and for the relationship with McLaren to fully form.

Whilst Honda have taken massive strides this season compared to 2015, their power unit is still considered the weakest on the grid.

The Japanese manufacturer has big plans for next year, which includes a complete overhaul of the power unit’s design – which has been made possible by the decision to scrap engine development tokens.

In his interview with the media today, Capito is therefore expecting huge gains on both sides as he admitted McLaren too must improve if they’re to beat the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull. Capito stated the following:-

‘I expect improvement on the car from McLaren and a big step from Honda on the engine. It takes always a certain time to form a team with a new partner like this. McLaren and Honda were partners before but it was a long time ago. All new people are involved and it takes a while for Honda to understand how McLaren works and for McLaren to understand how Honda works. I think this is now achieved.’

Further on in his interview with the media, Capito is confident the improvements will lead to a competitive McLaren. Capito added the following:-

‘It is a very good partnership and the Honda guys understand more what is needed from the chassis side and we understand more what is needed from the engine side as well. I expect really not just the improvement of each but also the improvement of the overall relationship. So one plus one is not two – it should be three.’

Button treating Abu Dhabi GP as his last GP

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In an interview with the media this week, Jenson Button says he is going into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend thinking it will be his final race in Formula 1.

Earlier in the season, the British driver announced he will take a step away from F1 in 2017 but remain at McLaren as an ambassador and reserve driver.

He has been replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne. There is a possibility he could return to a race seat in 2018 with McLaren but currently he feels Abu Dhabi will be his final race in F1. Button said the following:-

‘I go into this weekend thinking it’s going to be my last race, I think that’s the best way. It is going to be my last race. At this moment in time, I don’t want to be racing in F1 beyond this year.

When asked if this was due to a new outlook, he replied:-

‘Nothing has changed. I’m just going into it thinking that it’s my last, as I don’t want to go into it thinking it’s not my last and it is my last. It is true that I have a contract for 2018, but at this moment I’m not going to be racing in 2018. The whole idea of the contract was that, in three months’ time, when I’ve eaten myself stupid, and I’m thinking of things to do in the future, I may feel that I need Formula 1 back in my life.

‘At this moment in time that isn’t the case. This is my last race, and that’s the way I’m thinking about it, but who knows, that could change in six months, eight months, one year.’

Zak Brown appointed McLaren’s new Executive Director

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The McLaren Technology Group has confirmed on Monday that Zak Brown will be appointed to the position of executive director on a soon-to-be-finalised date next month.

Brown’s appointment comes after chairman Ron Dennis was forced to step down last week by McLaren’s shareholders.

Brown, who founded Just Marketing International (JMI), which has grown to become motorsport’s largest marketing agency, recently stepped down from his company, with speculation linking him to a role at Liberty Media following its recent takeover of Formula 1.

However on Monday Brown accepted the role of executive director at McLaren and will play a “significant part of a restructuring programme that will align the group’s commercial and strategic operations relating to achieving success in Formula 1”, confirmed McLaren in a statement.

It’s believed Brown’s role will focus solely on the F1 team, rather than McLaren Automotive and its technology arm. He and chief operating officer Jonathan Neale will report directly to McLaren Technology Group’s executive committee.

In a statement to the media on Monday, Brown said the following about joining McLaren and what he feels he can do for the team as follows:-

‘I’m immensely proud to be joining McLaren Technology Group. I have the utmost respect and admiration for what the business has achieved to date, and I look forward to contributing to the next important phase in its development.

‘Having worked closely with McLaren for many years, I’ve been struck by the talent and ambition of the entire workforce, and I very much look forward to complementing the business’s many existing strengths, and building on them to drive future success in everything we do.

‘As founder of Just Marketing International (JMI) – now the world’s largest motorsport marketing agency – I’ve often worked closely with McLaren as I say, and I’ve developed some excellent relationships across the company. Together we’ve delivered some great sponsorship deals, including Johnnie Walker, GSK, Hilton, Lenovo, Chandon and NTT.

‘Best of all, in my new role I’ll be able to combine my absolute passion with my unparalleled area of expertise – respectively motorsport and marketing – while ensuring that the two stay totally aligned.’

McLaren confimed the search for a new group chief executive officer is ongoing

“Executive Committee” to run McLaren until a new CEO is found

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It was announced yesterday that an executive committee made up of McLaren’s majority shareholders will take over the interim running of the company as it seeks a replacement for former CEO Ron Dennis.

On Tuesday evening, the McLaren Technology Group confirmed Dennis was no longer its CEO, following a statement from Dennis earlier in the day. The McLaren boss of 35 years claimed his fellow shareholders “forced through” the decision to put him on ‘gardening leave’ until the end of his current contract and spoke of his disappointment in their decision.

Dennis still holds a 25 percent stake in the company, but fellow shareholders Mansour Ojjeh (25 percent) and the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat (50 percent) will take control of the company as they look for his replacement.

In a statement to the media yesterday, the McLaren Technology group issued the following statement regarding the current situation as follows:-

‘As of this afternoon Ron Dennis no longer holds the position of Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Technology Group (or its subsidiaries). However, he remains a shareholder and a director of McLaren Technology Group.

‘Over the past 35 years Ron’s contribution to the success of McLaren has been colossal. During his tenure the team won 17 World Championships and 158 Grands Prix, making him the most successful leader in Formula 1 history. Like the company’s founder, Bruce McLaren, Ron is and will always be one of the true greats of the sport.

‘McLaren Technology Group is now in the process of seeking a new Chief Executive Officer. Until such an appointment has been made, the company will be run on an interim basis by an Executive Committee comprising the Group’s majority shareholders, in close collaboration with the Board of Directors and the senior management team, all of whom remain utterly committed to the company, its partners, its employees and its fans, and share a passionate determination to build on our many strengths towards future prosperity.’

With American businessman Zak Brown being named as a potential candidate for the vacant role, he has not made his future plans clear since stepping down as the CEO of the CSM marketing group in September. Brown has also been linked to a role with Liberty Media, which is in the process of purchasing Formula One’s commercial rights.

Also former Mercedes boss Ross Brawn has also been linked to the role, but in a recent ESPN  F1 interview he made clear that he had no intention of working for a team in Formula One again.

Former McLaren doctor Aki Hinsta dies at 58 years old

All rights reserved to the McLaren F1 Team

All rights reserved to the McLaren F1 Team

Earlier this morning, Formula 1 coach Dr Aki Hintsa has passed away at the age of 58 after losing his fight against cancer the McLaren team has confirmed.

Hintsa is best known for his work with McLaren, particularly with drivers Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton during their stints with the British team.

The Finn specialised in orthopaedic and trauma surgery and prior to his 11 years with McLaren, he worked as a doctor in Ethiopia.

The McLaren team confirmed the sad news in a statement today as follows:-

‘It was with deep sorrow that we heard the news this morning that Dr Aki Hintsa had died. Aki had been fighting cancer with extraordinary courage in recent months, his indomitable spirit an inspiration to all who crossed his path.

‘His last appearance at a Grand Prix was at Monza this year, where his warm smile and infectious chuckle were very much in evidence, despite the battle that was being waged within his newly slight frame.

‘He first joined McLaren back in the days of Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen, with both of whom he developed a powerful rapport, working with them not only to improve their physical fitness but also to help them develop the mental and emotional strength to translate their mercurial talents into the disciplined performances that would result in many grand prix wins for McLaren and, in Mika’s case, world championships in both 1998 and 1999.

‘Aki worked with similar success with the drivers who followed in Mika’s and Kimi’s McLaren wheeltracks, and grew particularly close to Lewis Hamilton. Undoubtedly, Aki played a crucial role within Lewis’s inner circle during his time at McLaren, and it was often to Aki that Lewis would turn first in times of stress. Equally, no-one was more thrilled than Aki when Lewis won the 2008 world championship for McLaren with an overtaking move that has since passed into racing folklore, on the last corner of the last lap of the last race, in Brazil, where Aki’s trademark warm smile and infectious chuckle were replaced by exuberant high-fives, muscular bear-hugs and indecipherable whoopings in his native Finnish.

‘First and foremost, Aki was a doctor. Prior to arriving in Formula 1 he had practised medicine in many parts of the world, particularly in poverty-stricken and war-torn parts of Ethiopia in the 1980s and 1990s, where he worked as a missionary-cum-medic and combined his magnificent qualities as an inspirational leader with great medical expertise and an ability to improvise in dreadfully difficult conditions, often requiring considerable physical bravery and enormous mental fortitude so to do. In his uplifting book ‘The Core’, published last year, he told for the first time a multitude of stories that surprised even those Formula 1 friends who had known him well for many years. Such was Aki’s modesty that he had never boasted about his life in Africa, or indeed the fact that before that he had started out as a first-class ice hockey player in his native Finland.

‘The Core’ is more than an autobiography, however. It is also a profoundly intelligent self-help book. In it Aki urges his readers to ask themselves the questions that most busy people never stop to consider. Who am I? What do I want from my life? Am I even in control of my own life? How can I improve the quality of my home life without compromising my professional life at the same time? How can I achieve inner and outer wellbeing, in other words?

‘Doing that successfully is far from easy, but undoubtedly Aki achieved it. He was taken from us far too soon, aged just 58, but he packed more into his all-too-brief life than did many who lived almost twice as long. And, in so doing, he illuminated the lives of everyone he met, friendly and funny and kind and wise as he invariably was.

‘God bless you, dear friend. You will be missed. Indeed you will be missed more than these words can say, and more than you will ever know.’

All my thoughts and prayers are with Aki’s family, friends and colleagues at this sad and difficult time.

Ron Dennis steps down as Chairman and Chief Executive at McLaren

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It was announced yesterday evening that Ron Dennis has stepped down as chairman and chief executive officer of the McLaren Technology Group following a shareholders meeting on Tuesday.

Dennis, who has been involved with McLaren since 1980, has been placed on gardening leave until his contract expires in mid-January. Dennis had unsuccessfully tried to seek a High Court injunction to prevent a move from taking place.

Dennis owns 25 percent of McLaren group; long-time business partner Mansour Ojjeh owns the other 25 percent, with Bahrain’s Mumtalakat investment fund holding the controlling 50 per cent. In a defiant statement confirming the news, Dennis said other shareholders had “forced through” his departure despite warnings of dire consequences.
The statement from Dennis said the following:-

“I am disappointed that the representatives of TAG and Mumtalakat, the other main shareholders in McLaren, have forced through this decision to place me on gardening leave, despite the strong warnings from the rest at the management team about the potential consequences of their actions on the business.

“The grounds they have stated are entirely spurious; my management style is the same as it has always been and is one that has enabled McLaren to become an automotive and technology group that has won 20 Formula One world championships and grown into an £850 million a year business.

“Throughout that time I have worked closely with a series of talented colleagues to keep McLaren at the cutting edge of technology, to whom I will always be extremely grateful.
“Ultimately it has become clear to me through this process that neither TAG nor Mumtalakat share my vision for McLaren and its true growth potential. But my first concern is to the business I have built and to its 3,500 employees.”

Dennis went on further to state that he will retain his shareholding in the group but his statement hints he already has plans beyond McLaren. Dennis added the following:-
“I will continue to use my significant shareholding in both companies and my seats on both boards to protect the interests and value of McLaren and help shape its future.

“In addition I intend to launch a new technology investment fund once my contractual commitments with McLaren expire.

“This will capitalise on my expertise, my financial resources, together with external investment to pursue the many commercial opportunities I have been altered in recent years but have been unable to take up while being so committed to the existing business.”

There is no denying that Dennis helped turn McLaren into a force in Formula One, spearheading several periods of dominance and winning multiple world championships along the way. He played a pivotal role in securing Honda engines to replace Mercedes in 2015.

However, that partnership has failed to live up to the iconic McLaren-Honda glory days of old. Dennis was also unable to secure a title sponsor to replace Vodafone, which stopped its affiliation in 2013.

But despite what has happened; there is no denying that Dennis has left his mark and legacy in a sport that has shaped him as a businessman, as an F1 team owner but more importantly as a person. He has brought new levels of professionalism, intellect, skill, passion, grit and determination into the sport as a whole but also to McLaren, a team that has shaped and enhanced his passion for Formula One more deeply than he never thought he would imagine.

I wish Ron all the best for the future and also in his future endeavours; Formula One (especially McLaren) will never be the same without you.

McLaren dismiss talks of Apple investment

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On Thursday morning, Formula One team McLaren have denied rumours of talks over possible investment from tech giant Apple.

The Financial Times had cited three separate sources claiming talks were ongoing between the two companies, which were said to be a prelude for Apple gaining access to automotive technology with a view to developing a self-driving car for the mass market.

However, McLaren have issued a statement to dismiss the reports, issuing the following statement:-

‘We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment. As you would expect, the nature of our brand means we regularly have confidential conversations with a wide range of parties, but we keep them confidential.’

Meanwhile Apple have issued their own response, insisting it ‘does not comment on rumours or speculation.’

The reports come just weeks after Liberty Media agreed a £6billion takeover of Formula One.

Vandoorne to replace Button at McLaren for 2017

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It was announced after qualifying for the Italian GP yesterday that Jenson Button will be replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne at McLaren next year and take on a stand-by role that effectively marks his retirement from Formula One.

The new deal leaves the door open for a return in 2018 should Fernando Alonso decide to retire at the end of his contract in 2017, but in reality is likely to mark the end of Button’s 17-year Formula One career. Vandoorne has been a part of McLaren’s young driver programme since 2013 and made his debut at this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix to substitute the injured Alonso for a single race.

McLaren confirmed the news after qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix, putting an end to a year of speculation about Button’s future. Although it has been clear for some time that Vandoorne would replace Button at McLaren, Williams showed interest in the 2009 champion if a deal could be found at the right price.

However, Button said he made his mind up over the summer break to take the McLaren offer, which will now see him focus on team and car development at the Woking-based team. Button said the following at the announcement yesterday:-

‘I’m delighted that I’ll be staying on as a key member of the McLaren-Honda team. In fact I’m massively excited about my new role, which has come about as a result of a number of in-depth chats with Ron. Specifically, I’m looking forward to becoming even more deeply involved in the team’s efforts to bring about the success we’ve all been striving to deliver.

‘I love McLaren-Honda — I firmly believe it’s made up of the best bunch of people I’ve ever worked with — and I have no intention of ever driving for another Formula 1 team.

‘To be clear, I’m very definitely not retiring. I’m contracted for both 2017 and 2018, I intend to work hard on car-development, and I’m sure I’ll get behind the wheel of the new car at some point.’

In his own statement to the media yesterday McLaren boss Ron Dennis added the following:-

‘McLaren-Honda’s race driver line-up next season will be Fernando and Stoffel — a perfectly balanced mix of proven brilliance and immense potential. But, before I speak on the subject of either of them, I want to talk about Jenson. As a race driver for our team these past seven seasons, he’s been superb, both on and off the track. And, as we’re seeing this season, he remains superb – not only fast and fit but also experienced and expert. He’ll start his 298th Grand Prix tomorrow; as such, he’s the most experienced driver on the grid.

‘Having extended his contract to include 2017 and 2018, he’ll continue to be a senior, influential and committed member of the team, and will remain centrally involved in the development of our cars. He’ll also be available to race for us if circumstances require it.

‘On behalf of all at McLaren-Honda, I want to say how thrilled we are that Jenson has extended his contractual relationship with us. Moreover, I’m absolutely certain that the depth of his experience and the currency of his expertise will give us an advantage over our opposition next season.’

Button came close to leaving McLaren at the end of 2014 when team boss Ron Dennis wanted to keep his teammate Kevin Magnussen on board, but Dennis was outvoted at board level by fellow shareholder Mansour Ojjeh and the Bahraini government’s Mumtalakat investment fund. Rumours Button would be replaced by Vandoorne also followed him into the final rounds of the 2015 season, but again the British driver held on for another season to drive alongside Alonso this year.

Assuming Button does not return to the grid in 2018, this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will mark Button’s 308th and last Formula One race. Since joining Williams at the age of 20, Button has driven for Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, Brawn and McLaren, scoring 15 race wins and 50 podiums to date. His championship victory in 2009 remains one of the sport’s fairytale stories after team boss Ross Brawn made an 11th hour deal with Honda to buy its team before going on to win both drivers’ and constructors’ titles.

2016 Russian Grand Prix Race Review

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On Saturday, we saw Nico Rosberg taking Pole Position for the Russian Grand Prix ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.

After qualifying, it was announced that Lewis Hamilton will be taking a five place grid penalty due to MGU-UK problems that affected his qualifying. For more information about this, please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/hamilton-goes-back-to-melbourne-spec-engine-for-the-russian-gp/.

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

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

The Russian GP is underway! Nico Rosberg gets a good start off line but heading into Turn 1 was chaos. Sebastian Vettel was clipped from behind by Danill Kvyat, the man he angrily blamed for causing a Turn 1 collision in China, which bumped him into the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.

Vettel’s misery was compounded at the next corner when Kvyat slammed into the back of him again which then spun the Ferrari into the wall and out of the race. This then triggered an expletive-laden radio message from Vettel who you could understand the way he reacted even though many fans disagreed with Vettel blaming Kvyat for the China incident. But on Lap six of the race, Kvyat stopped to serve a ten-second stop-go penalty in front of a grandstand of home fans.

Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg colliding with each other on Lap 1. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg colliding with each other on Lap 1. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

While the battle between Kvyat and Vettel was ongoing, Haas F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez clipped Nico Hulkenberg, spinning the Force India driver around and also collecting the Manor of Rio Haryanto. While the Haas driver recovered to the pit lane for a new front wing, the incident ended the race for both Hulkenberg and Haryanto.

The safety car was deployed for two laps and after the restart, Rosberg still lead the field ahead of Valtteri Bottas reclaimed second position from Kimi Raikkonen while Lewis Hamilton overtook Massa for fourth.

Lewis Hamilton on Lap 5 of the Russian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton on Lap 5 of the Russian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

On Lap five, Hamilton dove down the inside of Raikkonen at Turn 5 to move up to third with a brilliant move, but Bottas’ Williams was a harder obstacle to overcome and the battle was on between both of the drivers.

Nico Rosberg leads the Russian GP on Lap 6. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leads the Russian GP on Lap 6. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 6 of the race saw Rosberg leading the field by 2.5 seconds. There is a battle for twelfth between Nasr, Button, Wehrlein, Kvyat and Ericsson ongoing on the track. But Kvyat and Ericsson were battling each other hard for fifteenth place; with both drivers defending well from each other but Kvyat is then able to get past him despite having no traction in the corners.

We then see a battle between Raikkonen and Bottas for position on the track which both drivers defended well. But then Raikkonen finds himself under threat from Hamilton and is able to pass him for third place in Lap 7.

Lewis Hamilton after passing Valtteri Bottas on Lap

Lewis Hamilton after passing Valtteri Bottas on Lap 16. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Hamilton was finally released into second when Bottas pitted on Lap 15, but by then was 15 seconds behind leader Rosberg. Hamilton then pitted himself for soft tyres a lap later and was just beaten to Turn 2 by Bottas, though he passed the Williams driver at the same point one lap later.

By Lap 18, Rosberg still leads ahead of 15.1 seconds ahead of Raikkonen. After the pitstops on Lap 21, Raikkonen now finds himself in a net third place; with Hamilton now moving into second place and hoping to close the gap to his team mate for the lead of the race. Rosberg then pits himself on Lap 22 and still remains in the lead of the race ahead of Verstappen who hasn’t stopped yet.

Carlos Sainz Jr on Lap 26 of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Carlos Sainz Jr on Lap 26 of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 26 of the race saw Sainz Jr being under investigation by the stewards for forcing another driver off the track when he was trying to pass Palmer for track position and is then given a 10 second penalty for the offence. Ricciardo and Magnussen are battling each other for tenth place on the track as Rosberg still leads the race.

A few laps later, the battle for sixteenth between Nasr, Wehrlein and Kvyat is ongoing. Wehrlein tried to get past Nasr for position but made the move from too far behind and Nasr is able to defend. But the next lap sees Kvyat passing Wehrlein with a good move and is now seventeenth place.

Kevin Magnussen in the battle for eighth place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Kevin Magnussen in the battle for eighth place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 29 sees the battle for eighth between Magnussen, Grosjean, Ricciardo and Sainz Jr building up nicely. Ricciardo passes Magnussen, Magnussen regaining the position as Grosjean sees an opportunity to pass Ricciardo which he does and Sainz Jr gaining on them all the time.

Two laps later sees Perez passing Sainz Jr for track position. Lap 35 saw Max Verstappen while running sixth in the race having to retire his Toro Rosso due to engine problems. Lap 36 still sees Rosberg leading the race ahead of Hamilton by 8.2 seconds; with Hamilton catching Rosberg quickly now.

With Sainz Jr getting a 10 second penalty, both McLaren drivers could get points and it will be interesting to see how the final third of the race unfolds. It has now been reported that Hamilton has a water issue problem with his Mercedes engine and has been asked to take it easy for the remainder of the race.

Nico Rosberg wins the Russian GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Kimi Raikkonen in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg wins the Russian GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Kimi Raikkonen in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

But Rosberg leads Hamilton on the final lap of the race by 20.7 seconds and wins the Russian Grand Prix which is his seventh consecutive win in F1, his fourth of the season and his eighteenth win of his career.

Hamilton is a credible second 25 seconds behind Rosberg, Raikkonen finished in third place 31.9 seconds behind Rosberg, Bottas was a credible fourth 50.2 seconds behind Rosberg and Massa finished fifth 1.14.4 seconds behind Rosberg.

Alonso was sixth 1 lap behind Rosberg, Magnussen was seventh 1 lap behind Rosberg, Grosjean was eighth  1 lap behind Rosberg, Perez was ninth  1 lap behind Rosberg and Button was tenth 1 lap behind Rosberg.

Nico Rosberg leads the Drivers’ Championship with 100 points, Hamilton is second with 57 points, Raikkonen is third with 43 points, Ricciardo is fourth with 36 points, Vettel is fifth with 33 points, Massa is sixth with 32 points, Grosjean is seventh with 22 points, Kvyat is eighth with 21 points, Bottas is ninth with 19 points and Verstappen is tenth with 13 points.

Mercedes lead the Constructors Championship with 157 points, Ferrari is second with 76 points, Red Bull are third with 57 points, Williams are fourth with 51 points, Haas are fifth with 22 points, Toro Rosso are sixth with 17 points, McLaren are seventh with 10 points, Force India are eighth with 8 points and Renault are ninth with 6 points.

Conclusion

I feel that McLaren have had an good weekend and have shown that they can still race near the front when they have the opportunity to do so. Alonso getting sixth place has been the biggest surprise of the race. Fernando drove a superb race to gain sixth yesterday despite a defensive race and it is very well deserved. And for him to secure this result shows that he did a brilliant job and has shown that despite not having the outright pace to challenge their rivals; he drove a great race to claim this result today and showed why he was signed by the team.

With Button gaining a point in tenth, I was very happy for him especially after battling through the grid to achieve it and racing hard. But with both drivers scoring points, this weekend has been great for them and for both drivers to get their first points of the season is fantastic and showing that even though it is still clear that the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car, they are making small gains that have paid off yesterday.

Perez did an okay job to get ninth place and had a great battle to get there after battling with Verstappen, Sainz Jr, Ricciardo and Buttonfor most of the race. This point for himself and Force India are vital and only shows just how much promise he has as a driver if he has the car underneath him to do so and that he is a talented and promising racing driver.

Grosjean battled his way through yesterday to get eighth place.  He battled his way through the field and created some great overtaking moves to get there. Grosjean may not have had the weekend that he wanted with Haas this weekend but he did the best that he could do and picked up some more points for the team and also started his season well.

Magnussen had a bit of an action packed yet defensive race to finish seventh, scoring his first points of the season and Renault’s first points since returning to the sport as a works based team. But there is still a lot of work to be done but the fact that Magnussen managed to score some much needed points for himself and his team will help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.

Massa did a great job to get fifth place today after battling with his team mate and Hamilton today. 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.

Bottas did a great job to get fourth place yesterday and deserves a mention. He drove a solid race today despite not winning the battle with Lewis 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.

Raikkonen deserves a mention. He drove a solid race to third place and battled his way through to get these points which just solidify Ferrari’s status in the Constructors Championship. But he needs to keep the momentum going and see if he can get back to the front in Barcelona in two weeks time.

Hamilton 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 today. What a fantastic job from him and this will only give him a slight satisfaction heading into the next race in Barcelona.

All that is left to say about this race is that Rosberg deserved to win at Sochi 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. Mercedes has built on the results that they have gained so far since pre-season testing and have shown that they are just the best team on the grid at the moment. All credit to Rosberg for doing a superb job this weekend and winning his seventh consecutive race and his third race of the season.

With Barcelona not far away, many will wondering if this season will be Rosberg’s at last or can Hamilton or Vettel challenge him for wins along the way. But what is for certain is that Formula One is building up rather nicely.

2016 Chinese Grand Prix Race Review

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Chinese Grand Prix - Race Day - Shanghai, China

Yesterday, we saw Nico Rosberg taking Pole Position for the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen.

After qualifying yesterday, the stewards announced that Nico Hulkenberg will receive a three place grid penalty as a result of his incident in Q2. If you want to read more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/hulkenberg-handed-three-place-grid-penalty/.

Also, Lewis Hamilton has had to change his engine after qualifying yesterday after problems with ERS. If you want to read more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/mercedes-change-hamiltons-engine/.

The Chinese GP is underway!

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

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

Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo have great starts. Valtteri Bottas runs wide going into Turn 1. But both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel into Turn 1 crash into each other, with Raikkonen going off the road. This crash then affects Lewis Hamilton who has damage to his front wing and is caught underneath the car.

Lap 2 sees Ricciardo leading Rosberg by 0.7 seconds. A battle for eighth then starts between Felipe Masa, Jenson Button and Valtteri Bottas at the hairpin; with Button keeping Massa at bay.

Nico Rosberg leads the early stages of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leads the early stages of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

At this stage of the race, Rosberg is on the soft tyres and can just follow the Red Bull of Ricciardo and was planning to make his move on the Australian driver when Ricciardo suffers a left rear puncture and has to pit at the end of the lap.

The Safety Car leads the grid on Lap 4 of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The Safety Car leads the grid on Lap 4 of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 3, we saw a battle between Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz Jr and Sebastian Vettel for fourth place just as the Safety Car is deployed to clear up the debris on the track and many taking the opportunity to pit for fresh tyres. During this period, Hamilton pits twice for tyres and many were wondering what strategy Mercedes are doing with the British driver.

Lap 9 saw the Safety Car leaving the circuit and we are racing once again in China.Valtteri Bottas passes Rio Haryanto. In the space of six corners, Daniil Kvyat makes up two track places to fourth and Sebastian Vettel makes a move on Nico Hulkenberg and makes his way up the grid. At the hairpin, there’s action everywhere and places changing up and down the grid.

Nico Rosberg leading the Chinese GP after the Safety Car period. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leading the Chinese GP after the Safety Car period. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Rosberg still leads the race ahead of Massa by 2.2 seconds. Into Turn 1, Jenson Button passes Jolyon Palmer for track position as Lewis Hamilton tries to pass Kevin Magnussen for position. There is a battle for sixth between Esteban Gutierrez, Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas. We then see Kvyat and Palmer making a good moves on Hulkenberg into the next few corners for track position.

On Lap 11 at Turn 6, Bottas and Vettel make contact with each other and then at the hairpin, there was four drivers abreast searching for track position. By Lap 12, Perez is up to fifth place, Pascal Wehrlein is starting to go further back down the grid and Vettel is also making his way up through the field and is catching Perez.

Daniil Kvyat in the early stages of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Daniil Kvyat in the early stages of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 12 saw Kvyat passing Massa at the hairpin for second place at this stage of the race and is having a great drive so far; especially when the spotlight has been on if he has what it takes to be at Red Bull. At this stage of the race, the battle for eighth included drivers such as Wehrlein, Button, Ricciardo, Sainz Jr, Hamilton and Gutierrez; with the latter driver losing two places within a couple of corners and Vettel passes Perez at the hairpin and Button passes Wehrlein for position.

The battle for fourth on Lap 14 between Alonso and Vettel was great to watch, with Vettel trying to pass Alonso at the hairpin and Alonso trying to come back at him straight away; showing that McLaren-Honda have been making small solid bits of progress since last year and is now in fifth place.

Max Verstappen in the early stages of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Max Verstappen in the early stages of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Rosberg still leads the race ahead of Kvyat on Lap 16 by 8.8 seconds. Lap 16 saw Hamilton getting into the top ten after passing Button for track position. Three laps later, Button and Verstappen are battling with each other for eighth place, with the young Dutchman catching him very quickly indeed.

A battle between Kvyat, Verstappen and Vettel was building up on the track and by Lap 20, all three drivers were together and were wanting to pass each other. The next lap saw Kyvat, Button and Vettel battling for fourth place; with Vettel gaining very rapidly on Button and passing him relatively easily at the hairpin.

Nico Hulkenberg running in the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Hulkenberg running in the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The stewards then announce that Hulkenberg is under investigation for driving unnecessarily slowly in the pitlane as his team mate Perez the following lap will be investigated after the race for an unsafe release. But Hulkenberg does receive a five second time penalty for the offence and has the choice to take it in the race or be added to his race time at the end of the GP.

On the track, the battle for seventh includes drivers such as Bottas, Ericsson, Ricciardo, Sainz Jr and Raikkonen; with drivers swapping and changing places all the time; even though Alonso appears to be going backwards as Button loses fourth place to Massa on Lap 25.

Carlos Sainz Jr in the second half of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Carlos Sainz Jr in the second half of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

As we approach the second half of the GP, Rosberg is leading comfortably at the front by 17.9 seconds and the battle for ninth between Sainz Jr, Raikkonen and Hamilton builds up and the battle for fifth between Button, Perez and Bottas continues and Button manages to keep both drivers at bay until Perez takes Button on the outside with a good move and Bottas passes Button the following lap.

In the early stages of the second half of the Chinese GP, Ricciardo passes Perez for position as Alonso loses a place to Verstappen. Sainz Jr, Raikkonen and Hamilton are engaged in a battle for seventh place on the track. By Lap 33, Vettel is catching Kvyat for second place at this stage in the race. Two laps later, Hamilton passes Perez on track for ninth place.

The battle for third goes Vettel’s way on Lap 37 and passes the Russian driver for position and puts a lot of faith in him as a driver despite what happened on Lap 1 of the race as Verstappen and Massa battle for sixth place. Verstappen, Massa, Bottas and Hamilton are battling each other for fourth place, with Massa trying to pass Verstappen which he does on Lap 40 and Hamilton and Ricciardo passing Bottas not long after this.

Nico Rosberg leading the latter stages of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leading the latter stages of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 41 sees Rosberg leading the race ahead of Vettel by 26.8 seconds. In the next few laps, we see Raikkonen passing Perez for eighth place, Ricciardo catching Hamilton and Massa for fourth place and in a great move on the outside of the hairpin on Lap 43, Ricciardo takes fifth place away from Hamilton and the following lap takes fourth away from Massa.

There were still battles ongoing down the track in the final stages of the race but the one that got our attention was the battle for fifth between Massa, Hamilton and Raikkonen; with all three drivers literally all together and trying to pass each other as well. In the end, Raikkonen passes Hamilton on Lap 47 for sixth place and Massa for fifth the following lap.

With battles still going on down the field between the McLaren drivers for twelfth place, Massa and Hamilton battling for sixth and Bottas, Verstappen and Sainz Jr for eighth place which Bottas loses the place after going in too deep at the hairpin.

Nico Rosberg wins the Chinese GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel in second place and Daniil Kvyat in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg wins the Chinese GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel in second place and Daniil Kvyat in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

On the last lap, Kvyat passes Massa for seventh place. But Rosberg leads Vettel on the final lap of the race by 38.2 seconds and wins the Chinese Grand Prix which is his sixth consecutive win in F1, his third of the season and his seventeenth win of his career.

Vettel is a credible second 37.7 seconds behind Rosberg, Kvyat finished in a brilliant third place despite what happened on the first lap 45.9 seconds behind Rosberg, Ricciardo was a credible fourth 52.6 seconds behind Rosberg and Raikkonen finished fifth 1.05.8 seconds behind Rosberg.

Massa was sixth 1.15.5 seconds behind Rosberg, Hamilton was seventh 1.18.2 seconds behind Rosberg, Verstappen was eighth 1.19.2 seconds behind Rosberg, Sainz Jr was ninth 1.24.1 seconds behind Rosberg and Bottas was tenth 1.26.1 seconds behind Rosberg.

Nico Rosberg leads the Drivers’ Championship with 75 points, Hamilton is second with 39 points, Ricciardo is third with 36 points, Vettel is fourth with 33 points, Raikkonen is fifth with 28 points, Massa is sixth with 22 points, Kvyat is seventh with 21 points, Grosjean is eighth with 18 points, Verstappen is ninth with 13 points and Bottas is tenth with 7 points.

Mercedes lead the Constructors Championship with 114 points, Ferrari is second with 61 points, Red Bull are third with 57 points, Williams are fourth with 29 points, Haas are fifth with 18 points, Toro Rosso are sixth with 17 points, Force India are seventh with 6 points and McLaren are eighth with 1 point.

Conclusion

I feel that McLaren have had an good weekend and have shown that they can still race near the front when they have the opportunity to do so. But with both drivers struggling all weekend long on long run pace, it is still clear that the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car that they need in order to get back to competitive ways once again as quickly as possible for the rest 2016 season.

The biggest surprise this weekend for me was Kvyat getting third place in the race. I do feel that Daniil drove a superb race to gain third today despite a defensive race and it is very well deserved. And for him to secure this result at the third GP shows that he did a brilliant job and has shown that despite not having the outright pace to challenge their rivals; he drove a great race to claim this result today and showed why he was signed by the team.

Bottas did an okay job to get tenth place and had a great battle to get there after battling with Verstappen, Sainz Jr and Hamilton for most of the race. This point for himself and Williams are vital and only shows just how much promise he has as a driver if he has the car underneath him to do so and that he is a talented and promising racing driver.

Massa battled his way through today to get sixth place today.  He battled his way through the field and created some great overtaking moves to get there. Massa may not have had the weekend that he wanted with Williams this weekend despite what happened with his team mate in the race, but he did the best that he could do and picked up some more points for the team and also started his season well.

Hamilton had a bit of an action packed yet defensive race to finish seventh. But he managed to score some much needed points for himself and his team and even though he couldn’t beat his team mate, he still managed to get a result from the weekend and will help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.

Verstappen did a great job to get eighth place today after battling with his team mate and Hamilton today. 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 did a great job to get fourth place today and deserves a mention. He drove a solid race today despite his puncture 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.

Sainz Jr did a credible job to finish ninth today. Sainz Jr has managed to struggle to extract pace and performance from the car this weekend; and I feel that the results that Carlos achieved so far in the season will only spur him on to get better this season as the pace is there.

Raikkonen deserves a mention. He drove a solid race to fifth place and battled his way through to get these points which just solidify Ferrari’s status in the Constructors Championship. But he needs to keep the momentum going and see if he can get back to the front in Sochi in two weeks time.

Vettel 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 today. What a fantastic job from him and this will only give him a slight satisfaction heading into the next race in Sochi

All that is left to say about this race is that Rosberg deserved to win at Shanghai 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. Mercedes has built on the results that they have gained so far since pre-season testing and have shown that they are just the best team on the grid at the moment. All credit to Rosberg for doing a superb job this weekend and winning his sixth consecutive race and his third race of the season.

With Sochi not far away, many will wondering if this season will be Rosberg’s at last or can Hamilton or Vettel challenge him for wins along the way. But what is for certain is that Formula One is building up rather nicely.