‘Very little likelihood’ of Northern Carolina track

Date published: November 6 2017

San Juan Bautista’s mayor says there is “very little likelihood” of a Formula 1 race track being built near his town.

With Liberty Media keen to expand Formula 1’s reach in America, there is talk of hosting a second American grand prix.

One proposal is being put together by businessman William Yao’s WY2M Inc, which hopes to build a track in Northern California near San Juan Bautista.

However, local residents are against the idea while the town’s mayor says they just don’t have the infastructure for it.

Mayor Chris Martorana told Forbes: “I think there is very little likelihood that the proposal will move forward at all. 

“Placing a track directly adjacent to a town of fewer than 2,000 residents with infrastructure that barely meets their needs seems to me to be unworkable. The traffic issues associated with the influx of 250,000 spectators is impossible from where I’m sitting.

“Our region is barely able to sustain the water needs of the current population and industry. A track using millions of gallons a day, even for the limited number of operational days, is a pretty tough sell around here…At this point we haven’t heard anything from the proponents in weeks. I suspect it’s dead.”

However, WY2M says they are still pressing on with plans.

In a statement the company said that they are “exploring land that is located in the San Benito County and adjacent to the city of San Juan Bautista. 

“We are aware of the obstacles presented in developing this scale of a project in a small rural area. Water, in fact, is one of the obstacles. However, we are proposing to build a water treatment plant.

“We did meet with city council representatives from San Juan Bautista, as approximately ten (10) acres of the 550 total acres of the property is located within San Juan Bautista city limits, to address questions surrounding the project. We are currently working with the County Supervisors and their staff to further explore and look at the next steps to bringing the project forward.” 

Team-mate wars: United States GP

Max Verstappen may have just missed out on a podium but it was Daniel Ricciardo who scored Red Bull’s TMW’s point in Austin.

Mercedes
Hamilton 14 – Bottas 3
Race: Hamilton

Another precision weekend from Lewis Hamilton as he topped all the practice sessions and qualifying, his only two minor blemishes being a slower second run in Q3 and a fractionally slow getaway. Otherwise it was exemplary.

It’s hard when you’re up against a man who has the all-time record of pole positions, someone who loves the Austin track and is a multiple winner there, but Nico Rosberg was far more of a challenge than Valtteri Bottas. This season it doesn’t matter that he’s not taking points away from Mercedes’ rivals when they have the fastest car. Next season it most certainly will.

Ferrari
Vettel 9 – Raikkonen 8
Race: Vettel

A fantastic final lap in Q3 from Sebastian gave us the impression the race might have been a lot closer. As it was, the late race stop for tyres forced onto Ferrari by Verstappen was the biggest potential threat to a Hamilton victory. Had his tyres (or as it’s Austin, tires) gone off the cliff, then that might have been a way back for Seb.

Raikkonen eased off and let Vettel past, something that is quietly forgotten when looking at the bald statistics of how many points Kimi has scored this season compared to Sebastian. Also, in Austin Vettel got ALL the upgrades. Raikkonen’s qualifying performance wasn’t his best, and his race result was flattered by the loss of Ricciardo, the demotion of Verstappen and Bottas’s slightly damaged floor.

There was paddock talk this weekend of Mauricio Arrivabene saying “ciao” to the Scuderia at season’s end. Now I never thought that Stefano Domenicali did anything wrong when he was removed from his post. Arrivabene cuts a surly figure in the pitlane but surely he should be allowed the time to put a winning team together. This isn’t football.

Red Bull
Max Verstappen 12 – Daniel Ricciardo 5
Race: Ricciardo

Verstappen may have been the star of the show, but it was Daniel Ricciardo who edged his team-mate in Qualifying. It would have been interesting to see how the race panned out had Daniel’s engine not gone clunk, with the interplay between Ricciardo, Vettel and Verstappen at the end of the race, but the failure of yet another Renault engine put the kybosh on that. Daniel was ahead when it happened and so takes the TMW points.

It would be hard to add further praise to what’s already been written about Verstappen’s drive, though he was wrong to use the word “idiot” when describing one of the stewards after the race. He should have used something a lot stronger.

Force India
Sergio Perez 9 – Esteban Ocon 8
Race: Ocon

Ocon outqualified Perez and looked pretty racy at the start. After the race had settled down Sergio came buzzing into Esteban’s mirrors like an irritating pink wasp and had to start his application process over team radio to be allowed the licence to pass his team-mate. In fact he wanted the extended licence – to be let past. Alas his engineer had to politely explain that he had only closed up on Ocon because Esteban was ‘managing’ things. The most important thing he was managing was to stay ahead of Sergio, which he did to the flag.

Checo fell back and into the clutches of Carlos Sainz, which meant he hadn’t been managing his tyres (something he’s normally exceptional at) so well, or he’d caught a dose of Alonso’s “I don’t care!”

Williams
Felipe Massa/Di Resta 13 – Lance Stroll 4
Race: Massa

Massa was way down the road in Qualifying, but that was mostly down to Lance’s faltering energy recovery system, which didn’t see him escape Q1. Massa ran long on Super-Softs and finished on Ultra-Softs a strategy that ultimately got him up to the exhaust of Perez, but not past it. Stroll didn’t manage to catch Grosjean for the final point.

McLaren
Fernando Alonso/Button 14 – Stoffel Vandoorne 3
Race: Alonso

Fernando was trying just as hard as he ever was and would have taken seventh place if the engine he took in Japan could have lasted for two race distances. That’s still a bit of a stretch for Honda right now, though Stoffel Vandoorne’s newly uprated ICE got to the flag. (Let’s see what happens to it in Mexico.)

Another race where El Nano was a significant step above his team-mate. Despite the old engine, when it was working he was catching Ocon.

Toro Rosso
Carlos Sainz 11 – Daniil Kvyat/Pierre Gasly 5
Kvyat 1 – Hartley 0
Race: Kvyat

Kvyat’s hefty kick up the arse from Dr. Helmut has helped him focus his attention on the job in hand, as was evident in Austin. But comparing yourself to a guy who was in the Red Bull Junior programme when Daniil was in pedal karts, and who hadn’t raced or tested any current F1 machinery is no-one’s idea of benchmarking. As it was, Brendan Hartley got quicker and quicker as the weekend went on, and admitted that the outstanding grip he got from the ultra-softs in Qualifying was a universe he had never explored. The last time he raced in a single seater was 2012!

Haas
Romain Grosjean 8 – Kevin Magnussen 9
Race: Grosjean

It’s nice to see that Romain Grosjean has got a sense of humour and has now developed a helmet (not the tribute to Nicky Hayden) with a graphic of his mouth and a speech bubble: “I’m not moaning.” Of course that didn’t stop him moaning, that’s inevitable, like the tide coming in and out.

Kevin – stroke my bonbons – Magnussen brought his usual abrasive on-track attitude to the grand prix and had contact with both Saubers. It didn’t end well for either Sauber and both could be put down to the Dane’s uncompromising view of taking a line and sticking to it, whether it meant contact or not.

Renault
Nico Hulkenberg 15 – Jolyon Palmer 1
Nico Hulkenberg 0 – Carlos Sainz 1
Race: Sainz

Carlos Sainz immediately exposed Jolyon Palmer’s inadequacies as a driver by stepping into the Renault and outperforming his team-mate at the very first race. We shouldn’t be surprised by this. When Sainz and Verstappen were together at Torro Rosso there was hardly anything to separate them.

There was a fantastic moment when Carlos executed a long-drawn-out overtaking move on Sergio Perez to take P7. The cameras switched to the garage and in any other team they’d be punching the air and whooping. Alain Prost and a few of the technicians looked like they were sitting in Costa Coffee and their cappuccinos hadn’t arrived. Perhaps they were stunned at the “other Renault” overtaking something.

Sauber
Marcus Ericsson 2 – Antonio Giovinazzi 0
Marcus Ericsson 6 – Pascal Werhlein 9
Race: Ericsson

A great qualifying performance from Marcus when we least expected it.

Star of the Race: Max Verstappen
Overtaking Move of the Race: Max Verstappen on Kimi Raikkonen for P3 on Lap 56.
The Maldonado Award: Kevin – Lick my Chewitts – Magnussen
The Last Word: Channel 4 commentators Karun Chandhok and Ben Edwards were talking over pictures of fans tailgating in the car park getting ready for Qualifying.
Karun Chandhok on C4: “I don’t know what kind of cake that is.”
Ben Edwards: “That’s meat, Karun, it’s a barbecue.”

Andrew Davies

Verstappen could face action for ‘idiot’ jibe

Date published: October 24 2017

Max Verstappen could be further punished by the FIA for bringing the sport into disrepute following his post-race comments at the United States Grand Prix.

The Dutchman was given a five-second timed penalty for exceeding track limits when overtaking Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap, pinching the final podium spot.

However, Verstappen was escorted away from the podium after learning his fate and was heavily critical of the FIA soon after.

He accused the sport’s governing body of “killing the sport” and wanted fans to boycott next year’s race at the Circuit of The Americas in protest.

He also singled out the steward thought to be behind the decision, Australian Garry Connelly.

He said: “He’s an idiot who always decides against me.”

It is that comment in particular which could see Verstappen in more trouble. In addition to his timed penalty, one penalty point was also added to his licence for the illegal overtake.

Raikkonen: We all know where the track limits are

Date published: October 24 2017

Regaining third place in Austin after Max Verstappen was penalised for passing him off the track, Kimi Raikkonen says “all” drivers know where the track limits are.

Verstappen was slapped with a five-second post-race time penalty for passing Raikkonen with all four wheels off the track at Turn 19.

The penalty meant the Red Bull driver dropped to fourth while Raikkonen visited the podium for the first time since the Hungarian Gp.

“We all know where the track limits are,” the Ferrari driver told ESPN.

“I haven’t seen what’s the [stewards’] case and what he did, so I’m completely the wrong person to comment on that.

“The stewards’ decision is what they feel is correct.

“I think we all know where the track limits are and if you go over the white lines in certain places it is okay, but if you do it while you are passing people we all know you’re going to get issues afterwards.

“The team has told us every weekend where you are allowed to go a bit wider than others, so we all know.”

Pit Chat: Ferrari International Assistance strikes again

A Jos Verstappen Twitter meltdown, a toe-curling drivers’ introduction and Kevin Magnussen continues to get on everyone’s nerves. God bless America.

But first…

Trick or treat?

Felipe Massa kicked off the week by getting into the Halloween spirit a little early. Either that or he’s showing us what Williams are going to do to him so he’s out of the seat for 2018.

Beware of the selfie

The 3.5 million followers of the F1 Instagram account got a shock when the social media guy behind it posted a selfie of himself…

Your work and personal account on the same phone? Talk about living life on the edge.

Fonejacker

On the subject of phones, Mercedes really need to start implementing some lock codes on their devices. Daniel Ricciardo nicked Lewis Hamilton’s phone on the podium in Japan, and now this…

Haas-ing around

By returning the phone to Mercedes, there was at least one good deed from the Haas drivers on what was a pretty miserable homecoming for the American outfit.

Otherwise, it was more of the same with Romain Grosjean and his moaning, no, sorry, constructive feedback to the team.

And K-Mag trying to beat his personal best for annoying as many drivers as possible.

First there was his team-mate…

Then Sebastian Vettel…

Before rounding off with Sergio Perez in qualifying…

Those three join Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg in the K-Mag hate club. Just look at the sheer disdain in their faces when the Dane cracked a simple joke in the drivers’ presser…

Magnussen did have one fan in Austin at least…

Where’s your head at?

Can someone check on Seb and make sure he’s okay? After Austin we’re a little bit worried.

First there was the golf lesson which quick turned into an anger management class, all of sudden getting a very clear understanding about how he feels about the title slipping away.

He also appears to be a little homesick…

Alonso corner

Not-so breaking news: Fernando Alonso is staying at McLaren next year. Who saw that coming once Honda were booted out?

It’s been a pain-staking process, with hardly a day going by all season without a story on his future. But, that pain was eased somewhat with McLaren’s excellent announcement video.

Alonso also kept his meme lord status intact by, of course, signing a deckchair.

And after yet another DNF whilst running in the points, Alonso was prepared to get his hands on something Renault-related by any means necessary.

Toy Story

Former Williams chief Pat Symonds has been an excellent addition to the Sky F1 team. This Blue Peter-esque feature providing more evidence why.

Palmer drama

Thought you heard the last of Jolyon Palmer? Think again.

An outdated banner inadvertently turned into a shrine for the Brit, where fans could pay their final respects. Although the sign behind it is far more appropriate.

The Renault ultras were having none of it though…

But Jolyon managed to sneak back in during the night…

In case there is still anyone feeling sorry for Palmer after his early exit from Renault. A glimpse into why they were very keen to do so…

Let’s get ready to grumble

Those driver introductions were really something, weren’t they? What a rollercoaster of emotions.

1. Stoffel Vandoorne missed his cue
2. Will Buxton’s mic was kept live throughout as he tried to interview the drivers
3. The driver video packages ended up out of sync
4. Daniil Kvyat being introduced as ‘The Torpedo’. Poor b*stard.
5. Lance ‘The Heartbreaker’ Stroll. WTF?! ‘The Carbreaker’ would have been more apt.
6. The “always smiling” Kimi Raikkonen. Okay, that one’s pretty good.
7. Daniel Ricciardo being referred to as ‘Ricky Rocket’ and ‘Honey Badger’. Again, excellent work.
8. Michael Buffer fluffing Sebastian Vettel’s intro. Toe-curling.

Our overall verdict…

And just when you thought the United States Grand Prix couldn’t be more American if it tried. Along came an eagle…

Last word

We cannot finish without mentioning that last-lap incident between Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen, which resulted in the former being escorted away from the podium.

His father, Jos, took it well…

That wasn’t the end of it either, but there was only one card left to play at that stage.

Until Mexico…