FIA and F1 to discuss Brazil security issues

Date published: November 16 2017

Formula 1 will look into the security issues that marred last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix weekend as several teams were attacked by robbers.

Members of the Mercedes team, heading home from the circuit in the team bus on the Friday night, were robbed at gunpoint while Sauber, the FIA and Pirelli were also targeted.

Police presence was ramped up after the Friday night attacks but that did little to stop them.

The FIA has now requisitioned a report from F1’s commercial rights holder that will be discussed at the World Motor Sport Council on December 6.

A statement from motor sport’s governing body read: “In the continued spirit of positive collaboration with Formula 1, the Council will then discuss the ways in which a more consistent and effective security procedure can be applied at all events of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

“The findings will also be shared with other FIA championship organisers to maximise the positive impact this can have across all motor sport.

“Security is a cooperative effort, and the FIA will seek to work closely with Formula 1 and all its stakeholders to maintain a safe environment for everyone working at or visiting Formula 1 events.”

‘Bottas needs the tick of a killer’

Date published: November 15 2017

Although Toto Wolff has defended Valtteri Bottas’s Brazilian GP drive, he concedes the Mercedes driver is still lacking that “killer” instinct.

Bottas fell from first to second on the opening lap at Interlagos as he was unable to make his pole position count against Sebastian Vettel.

Flying the flag alone at the front for Mercedes given Lewis Hamilton’s pitlane start, Bottas never once looked set to challenge the Ferrari driver for the lead or the win.

He came home in second place, losing further ground to Vettel in the race for runner-up in the championship.

“I think Lewis the whole year has been rock and roll, and Valtteri has recovered slowly but still needs the tick of a killer,” said Wolff.

“But you must not underestimate that in traffic against the Ferraris it was pretty difficult.

“You can see that at the end, when Ferrari switched the engine on, there was not much difference between the cars. Therefore you cannot expect easy overtakes.”

He added: “Valtteri had a solid race. He lost it at the start.

“The initial getaway was good but there was too much wheelspin through the gears and if the gap is so close between the cars then there is not a lot in it.

“Our undercut was a little move of desperation because we couldn’t get too close, and we knew that probably it lacked half a second – but nevertheless we gave it a go and the result was as expected.”

Sao Paulo mayor vows to ‘learn a lesson’

Date published: November 14 2017

Sao Paulo’s mayor Joao Doria says lessons have been learned after Mercedes were robbed as they left the circuit while others had close calls.

Members of the Mercedes F1 team were robbed at gunpoint on Friday night as they left the Interlagos circuit on Friday while attempts were also made on FIA personnel.

A day later and Sauber escaped an attempt while robbers also attempted to force a Pirelli bus to stop on Sunday.

Such were the numerous incidents that McLaren’s post-grand prix Pirelli test was cancelled over safety concerns.

“Security is the responsibility of the Public Security Secretariat, but it is also the responsibility of the city of Sao Paulo,” Doria told Motorsport.com.

“When I heard it [the Mercedes case], I spoke to the security secretary to have a police reinforcement in the area around the race track.

“I also determined the reinforcement of agents of the Metropolitan Civil Guard.

“It’s sad, it’s unfortunate, fortunately anybody wasn’t hurt. What we need is to learn a lesson from this for upcoming events.”

And with the Interlagos circuit up for sale, Doria believes privatisation would help improve safety in the area.

“Remember that the privatisation of the racetrack will contribute to this [public safety],” he said.

“So we will have security systems not only in the internal area, but also in the external area of the racetrack.”

He added: “We have a lot of groups that showed interest to buy.

“We can’t reveal who are these groups, but we are very confident that national and international groups will be competing for the track.

“The racetrack will not stop being a racetrack.

“They will, obviously, make investments, as well as complementing works that are necessary for the comfort of the spectators, complementing the works already done here by the city of Sao Paulo, with the support of the national government.”

Wolff: Hamilton could have won in Brazil

Date published: November 14 2017

Despite starting Sunday’s Brazilian GP from the pitlane, Toto Wolff believed the win was “possible” for Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton crashed out of Saturday’s qualifying at the Interlagos circuit, binning his W08 in the barriers.

The damage to his car meant he had to start the race from the pitlane as Mercedes had to make repairs overnight.

Despite that he still raced to fourth place, narrowly missing out on a podium finish as he was unable to overtake Kimi Raikkonen.

Asked by Autosport if he felt Hamilton could have won, Wolff said: “Yes I think a win would have been possible.

“He was the quickest guy out there. 

“But you must remember that Sebastian was managing the pace at every time of the race, apart from the last laps. 

“So we haven’t probably seen the real race.”

But although Hamilton only made it as far as P4, Wolff said: “For me it was the best fourth place I’ve ever seen.

“Starting from the pitlane and ending up 5.4s behind the leader, it is quite an astonishing drive.”

Horner blames woeful pace on engine modes

Date published: November 14 2017

Christian Horner says Red Bull’s underwhelming pace in Sunday’s Brazilian GP was the result of “safe” engine modes.

With Renault having torrid time of late, leading to four runners retiring from the previous race in Mexico, Red Bull and the French manufacturers other teams were forced to take precautions in Brazil.

This meant both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were down on power with the Dutchman racing to fifth while Ricciardo recovered to sixth having started the race with a 10-place engine penalty.

“We ran pretty safe on engines,” team boss Horner revealed. “Obviously reliability has been a concern.

“I think the layout of this circuit, that long, last sector, just is a bit more punishing for us than Mexico.

“We couldn’t make up the time in the middle sector which obviously is where we needed to.”

Asked how much performance Red Bull lost, he replied: “Probably a couple of tenths. But you could see that couple of tenths was about what we were missing.

“Then Max is driving the car harder to stay with Kimi [Raikkonen] and Valtteri [Bottas]. When you get too close that starts damaging the tyres.

“You’re in a vicious circle at that point. You’re pushing to keep up, but you’re losing the tyre at the end of the stint.”

McLaren test cancelled over safety concerns

Date published: November 13 2017

McLaren-Honda and Pirelli have both agreed to cancel the scheduled tyre test at Interlagos amid concerns over their safety in Brazil.

McLaren were due to stay behind for extra running and help gather data for the 2018 compounds but that will no longer go ahead following a string of armed robberies throughout the Brazilian Grand Prix weekends.

A Mercedes minibus was targeted and Lewis Hamilton revealed that some of the team members had been held at gunpoint before having their possessions stolen.

Sauber, Williams and the FIA have also suffered attacks throughout the weekend which has cast further doubt on whether the Brazilian Grand Prix should remain on the Formula 1 calendar.

Extra security was supposed to be put in place after Sunday’s race but many reporters in the paddock said that did not come to fruition.

“We have jointly decided with Pirelli to cancel this week’s tyre test at Interlago,” McLaren said in a statement.

“The safety of our people has always been our top priority, and, given recent events, we felt that it was an unnecessary risk to proceed.”

The cancellation means Lando Norris will not getting some more Formula 1 experience on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Raikkonen got ‘a bit bored’ in Brazil

Date published: November 13 2017

In a shock to absolutely nobody, Kimi Raikkonen has said he found the Brazilian Grand Prix “a bit boring” after feeling the full effect of the turbulent air in the penultimate race of the season.

The Finn started third on the grid at Interlagos and finished third, unable to get close to Valtteri Bottas or Sebastian Vettel in front and holding off a late challenge from a resurgent Lewis Hamilton in P4.

“I took it easy in the beginning and I was still catching up the guys at the front but I felt I took care of my tyres and once I pushed I could get close but you can’t really do anything,” Raikkonen said.

“Unfortunately the cars this year in this kind of place they can be very difficult to pass and it gets a bit boring unfortunately. I thought that I had a lot of speed but there was nothing that I could have done.

“I stayed around the same distance from Valtteri. It was a good end but I wanted more.”

Raikkonen also maintained that he did not see Hamilton as much as a threat in the final stages as the Brit tried to mark his recovery drive from the pitlane with a podium spot.

He added: “I didn’t really look at what he was doing I was trying to do my own stuff.

“I had a few lock ups in the first corner basically for no real reason but I was checking on Hamilton from the mirrors as it is hard to see when you are spread out and you can lose sight of them.

“I had a very good last few corners and I could see when we pulled out of the last corner that he was quite far away.

“I know they are very fast when they put the full power and full engine with DRS they can catch up a lot at the end of the straight but I was quite comfortable in the lead. I had a good gap in the last three corners.

“I was surprised that he got closer to me in the last few laps and that is why I locked up a few times at turn one as I was looking too much in the mirrors and not braking so heavy so locked a little bit.”