Lewis Hamilton has said that it is time for Sebastian Vettel to step up and prove himself to be a true team leader at Red Bull after the defending world champions’ poor start to the season.
Red Bull currently occupies second place in the constructors’ championship, some 97 points behind Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have made a scintillating start to the year, winning all four races and claiming three one-two finishes.
Having won the last four titles, Vettel’s hopes of making it five in a row already appear to be slim. However, Hamilton – who has won the past three races – has challenged Vettel to prove himself as a leader and rally the Red Bull team around him.
“Sebastian must now show his leadership, as the leader of the team,” the Briton explained to Bild. “When it comes to the crunch, you can transfer your strength as head of the team.”
Mercedes’ preparation for the 2014 season has given the team a clear lead over the rest of the field, whilst Red Bull has worked hard to recover after a disastrous pre-season. Hamilton still considers them to be title rivals, and is very wary of what Vettel and teammate Daniel Ricciardo could do.
“If I’m honest, I do not quite trust the situation at Red Bull,” he said. “Clearly they still seem to have problems with its engine, but regardless of the power unit, it is a strong car. I’m sure that they can catch up yet.”
Red Bull will be hoping to cut the gap at the next race, the Spanish Grand Prix, where all of the teams will be introducing their first major upgrade packages that should give the car better performance.
Red Bull Racing team advisor Helmut Marko believes that modern-day Formula 1 drivers are overpaid due to the reduced risk and easier driving conditions they experience.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel are two of the highest-paid drivers on the grid in 2016, earning upwards of $30 million per year from their teams.
However, Marko believes that drivers in F1 are overpaid as there is now a reduced risk of suffering a fatal accident, and that with the cars being easier to drive, their worth has decreased.
“Basically, the drivers of today are definitely overpaid for two reasons,” Marko told Sport Bild in Germany.
“Firstly, there is only a small risk that serious accidents can result in injury or even be fatal.
“Secondly, young top talent like [Max] Verstappen or [Pascal] Wehrlein can take the modern car and straight away easily do 100 laps without tiring.
“Previously you had even a Vettel have to take breaks because he was not used to the high centrifugal forces. This means that the cars are easier to drive. The drivers must do less.”
Mercedes AMG Petronas team boss Toto Wolff believes that junior talents Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon have both earned their roles in Formula 1 for the 2016 season “on merit”.
Wehrlein will make his grand prix debut in 2016 with Manor Racing after winning the DTM title for Mercedes last year, becoming the youngest champion in the history of the series.
Ocon has been loaned to Renault Sport F1 Racing for its comeback season, and will work as the team’s reserve driver following his GP3 title success last year.
Wolff feels that both drivers deserve their chance in F1 this year, and also said that Mercedes will look to expand its junior program across the course of the season.
“We’re delighted that Pascal and Esteban will tackle a fresh set of challenges in 2016,” Wolff said. “Our aim is to build their experience in the best possible environment and, following positive discussions with our counterparts at Manor and Renault, it became clear that their respective Formula 1 programmes presented ideal opportunities to achieve that.
“It is very pleasing to see young drivers earning their spot in Formula 1 on merit and to see that talent is being rewarded by the system. Pascal and Esteban have proven themselves to be amongst the top young drivers out there – and both come into 2016 as champions of their respective series.
“But they still have plenty to learn and they will be staying humble, with their feet on the ground. This is an important year for them and we will be following their progress with great interest, while also looking to expand our junior program.
“Mercedes-Benz has a strong tradition of developing young racing talent and our eyes are very much open to other promising prospects for the future.”
What happens when you put a McLaren P1 owned by baseball star and CJ Wilson Racing team principal, and occasional driver, CJ Wilson, with two-time F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen, and you turn them loose at The Thermal Club for a track day?
Of course there’s other cars besides the McLaren and hockey legend, Teemu Selanne, was also on site.
This really isn’t a post so much that needs words, but one that does need proper photos and noise.
The CJWR pairing of Marc Miller and Daniel Burkett, who drive the No. 33 One Capital/Motor Oil Matters Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport dubbed “Darth Cayman” in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, have been coaching and driving at an event this weekend out at The Thermal Club, a luxury race track in California.
See a mix of photos and videos below:
Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has given officials at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza until the end of February to resolve the future of the Italian Grand Prix.
Monza has hosted the Italian Grand Prix for all but one year since 1950 when the F1 world championship was formed, establishing itself as one of the series’ most historic and legendary venues.
However, its future has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months following a cut in the amount of tax relief that the race receives by the Italian government.
Ecclestone said back in November that he had “no doubts” the race would remain on the calendar and extend its contract beyond the end of 2016 when it expires.
However, the 85-year-old has now cast fresh doubt on the race in an interview with Reuters, giving the circuit until the end of February to resolve its future.
“It’s Italian. A lot of conversations at the moment and not much action,” Ecclestone said.
“They said to me a few months ago: ‘Everything is sorted out, we know exactly where we are and it’s all agreed and no dramas.’
“And now I heard yesterday it’s become very political… They’ll get on with it. Or not. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Nothing we can do about it.
“The only people that can sort this out are the people that are currently involved in Italy. They can take as long as they like, provided it’s by the end of this month.”
The 2016 Italian Grand Prix is set to take place at Monza on September 4.