Drivers weigh in on F1’s budget cap

Despite Mercedes set to be one of the hardest hit teams, Valtteri Bottas has backed the plan to introduce a budget cap in 2021.

In two years time the F1 teams will be limited to $175m per season with a few exemptions such as drivers salaries and the wages of the top three team personnel.

Added to that the sport is also change the design philosophy behind the cars, adopting ground effect aerodynamics that should make for better racing.

Bottas is in favour.

“I think that is one of the good things for the regulations,” he said.

“I think having a bit less of a difference between the budgets of the different teams… obviously there will still budget differences between some teams, but less than in the past.

“I think there’s lots of other good things as well, that look really interesting with the new regs.

“If actually, physically, the cars will behave aerodynamically as it says on paper, I think the racing is going to be very close, very tough.

“Definitively closer between the teams and, also, with quite a few restrictions on the aero side with the design of the cars.

“Already from that, we’re going see less of the big differences between performance.

“I think there are lots of good things that I really look forward to finding out. And then eventually getting to drive the car and seeing how it feels and how the racing is going to be.

“Obviously we’ll find out but I think those are good steps in the right direction and I really hope it will encourage some new teams to arrive in Formula 1, because I always think the more cars we can have on the grid, the more fun we’re going to have racing, so that should be nice.”

Sergio Perez, whose Racing Point team has one of the smallest budgets on the grid, especially when it was still running under the Force India flag, agrees.

“Always when there’s a big regulation change it always tends to change a lot the team order, in terms of competition. So that can be very positive for the sport.

“I think on paper it’s looking a lot more competitive. It’s looking like the field can be very tight and competitive and it’s something I’m looking extremely forward to.

“When you look at the midfield – how competitive and fun it is to come to a race and you don’t know who is going to come out on top – it’s a feeling that I’m missing a lot. In the whole field, hopefully by 2021 it can be there.”

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Racing Point team boss: Justice prevailed

The US GP stewards were right to penalise Daniil Kvyat as he not only hit Sergio Perez but lined up the pass despite yellow flags, says SportPesa Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer.

Perez and Kvyat were fighting over 10th place on the final lap of the Circuit of the Americas race.

Despite the yellow flags being waved for Kevin Magnussen’s beached Haas, Kvyat did not back off, instead activating his DRS to line up the pass on Perez.

But, for the second race in a row, instead of making a clean move, the Russian racer gave his rival a hefty whack.

Kyvat crossed the line in 10th place but was later handed a five-second penalty for hitting Perez, dropping him to P12.

Perez took 10th and the final point.

“He deserved it,” Szafnauer told Motorsport.com.

“You can’t make up all the time under double-waved yellows and not slow down, and then bounce off the kerbs into someone.

“I think justice prevailed. Without that Sergio would have held him off.

“If you look at the on-board, he just closes up under yellow. So without being able to close up you’ve only got a few turns left and you’re done.

“Checo [Perez] lifted like you’re supposed to – double-waved yellow, you’re supposed to prepare to slow down, not open the DRS.

“Why open the DRS if you’re prepared to lift and stop?”

Sunday’s result means SportPesa Racing Point are one point ahead of Toro Rosso in the battle for sixth in the championship.

“Two races left, so we’ll do all we can to try and catch up,” said Szafnauer.

“You want to finish as high as you can, independent of the money. But the money absolutely does matter.

“We’ve got a fight on our hands there, and we’ve got to maximise our points in the next two races. Anything can happen, but we’ll work hard.”

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Kvyat slams stewards for ‘bullsh*t’ penalty

Daniil Kvyat has been given a five-second time penalty for causing a collision with Sergio Perez on the last lap of the United States GP.

The Russian driver had crossed the line P10, but the stewards judged him to have done so by taking out Perez. The penalty sees him drop to P12 and out of the points.

This is the second race in a row that the stewards have taken action against the Toro Rosso driver – Kvyat was handed a ten-second penalty in Mexico after sending Nico Hulkenberg into the barriers on the last lap.

Speaking to the media after the race, Perez was far from happy with the actions of his rival.

“He came so close under the yellow flag and then he pushed me off,” said the Racing Point driver.

“Is that OK? He just broke my car.

“I lift for the yellow flag, he came really close to me, he just attacked me afterwards. And then into 15 he just pushed me off, came and crashed into me. I gave him enough space and he just pushed me off the track.

“He broke the front wing, suspension, he just crashed into me and I gave him a lot of room.”

Kvyat unsurprisingly saw the incident differently and made his feeling towards the stewards clear after the race.

“F*ck. That’s bullsh*t, that’s unbelievable,” the Toro Rosso driver told Ziggo Sport.

“Stewards are completely… I don’t know, I have no words. It’s stupid, so stupid.

“I just went around the inside and he closed the door on me, it’s normal, then we touched and I overtook him around the outside. This isn’t acceptable, really.”

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Provisional United States GP grid

Valtteri Bottas will start the United States GP, a must win for the Finn in the title race, from pole position with Lewis Hamilton P5 on the grid.

Bottas was the man to beat in qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas, taking pole position ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Max Verstappen qualified P3 with the top three separated by 0.067s.

Charles Leclerc will line up fourth having avoided an engine penalty while Hamilton, who only needs a P8 on Sunday to wrap up a sixth World title, is fifth ahead of Alexander Albon.

At present the only difference in the grid to qualifying is Sergio Perez.

The Mexican driver, who qualified P19, will have to start from the pit lane after failing to stop when called into the weighbridge in practice.

Provisional grid (as of 10am GMT)
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:32.029
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.012s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.067s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.108s
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.292s
6 Alex Albon Red Bull 0.519s
7 Carlos Sainz McLaren 0.818s
8 Lando Norris McLaren 1.146s
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1.459s
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1.572s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:33.815
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:33.979
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:33.989
14 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:34.100
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:34.158
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:34.226
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:34.369
18 George Russell Williams 1:35.372
19 Robert Kubica Williams 1:35.889
20 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:35.808 *

* Perez required to start from the pit lane for ignoring a weighbridge call during Friday practice

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Perez to start United States GP from pit-lane

Sergio Perez will start the United States Grand Prix from the pit-lane after failing to stop at the weighbridge at the end of FP2.

The Racing Point driver drove past it, telling his team on the radio that he didn’t see it, before pulling up to the garage for a practice pit-stop.

As the tyres on his car were changed at the said stop, the rule stating that the driver must report to the weighbridge without making any changes to the car was broken.

Perez was therefore summoned to see the stewards, who decided to award him the penalty.

“The Stewards reviewed video evidence and heard from the driver of car 11 (Sergio Perez) and the team representative and determined that the driver failed to stop for weighing when required to do so,” the Stewards announcement read.

“Instead, he drove on and proceeded to do a pit stop where the car was worked on by lifting the car and all four wheels were changed, in breach of Article 29.1 a).

“The penalty imposed is a mandatory penalty specified under the Formula One Sporting Regulations and the Stewards note that they have no discretion to impose an alternative penalty.”

Perez finished FP2 in P15, one place behind team-mate Stroll, and looked on course to make it to Q2 at the least on Saturday, but he will now have to fight his way through the field from the very back to avoid losing ground on the Renault drivers he narrowly leads in the Drivers’ Standings.

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Perez: Ricciardo needed a Red Bull to pass me

Sergio Perez reminded Daniel Ricciardo that he “doesn’t have that Red Bull anymore” after a speculative late-braking overtake attempt in Mexico.

Battling over P7, Ricciardo attempted one of his trademark late-braking overtakes on Perez down the inside into Turn 1 on Lap 62.

However, the Renault driver carried far too much speed into the corner and went for a trip across the grass, despite running the faster medium tyres, compared to Perez who was on the hards.

Perez was keen to remind Ricciardo that such a move may have worked during his Red Bull days, but not anymore.

“I knew he was very strong on the so he came very close with a big tyre delta,” said Perez after the race.

“I told him after the race that he doesn’t have that Red Bull anymore to do that kind of manoeuvre.

“He was quite on the limit, but I braked quite late. It was good that I gave him some room so we avoided contact.”

Ricciardo admitted that it was an “optimistic” effort, but he’s still “frustrated” that he didn’t get the job done at Perez’s home race.

“I tried one lap, obviously I locked up and missed the opportunity,” he said.

“In the end, when I think about it anyway, I came from quite far back and he was already pretty good on the braking. So it was optimistic but I’m a bit frustrated not to get him.”

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