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Mercedes to clinch the constructors’ championship at Monza?

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It is pretty obvious that Mercedes will win both F1 titles in 2014. It might seem rather gloomy to already be accepting that the championships are settled, but with the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg set to serve up a thrilling climax to the race for the drivers’ title, 2014 still has a lot to deliver.

However, on a UK F1 programme last night, one of the pundits made a throwaway comment and said: “Oh Mercedes will probably wrap up the constructors by Hungary or something.”

This got me thinking: just when will the Silver Arrows be crowned champions? After correctly working out that Sebastian Vettel would win his fourth world title in India last year, I’ve crunched the numbers once again and come up with a few possibilities.

Let’s set the scene for the here and now. Currently, Mercedes leads the constructors’ championship by 141 points, with a score of 240 to Red Bull’s 99. We must assume that Red Bull will be the closest challenger for the teams’ title, given its form in recent years and quite simply the fact that it lies second in the standings.

On average, Mercedes has scored 40 points per weekend (out of a possible 43), whilst Red Bull has scored 16.5. That’s a net gain for Mercedes of 23.5 points per race weekend. For the sake of argument, we’ll round that to 24.

Going on the ‘averages’ model, Mercedes will have a 285 point lead after the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August, with 301 points left to play for.

Therefore, by this model, Mercedes will win the constructors’ championship at Monza on the Italian Grand Prix weekend. After the race, it will lead by 309 with 258 points remaining

Of course, this is heavily based on the assumption that the gap between Mercedes and the rest of the field will remain constant. Instead, it might be better to have a ‘results’ model.

With this, we’ll assume that each race ends with Mercedes finishing first and second, and Red Bull will be third and fourth. 43 points plays 27, giving us a net difference of 16 points. Of course, there will be races where Mercedes doesn’t score a one-two, and races where Red Bull doesn’t finish third and fourth. If we assume that these occurrences are roughly even, we can use the 16 point net gain as a good base.

By this model, after the Belgian Grand Prix, Mercedes will have a 237 point lead over Red Bull with 301 left on offer.

That means after the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, it will lead by 253 points with 258 left on the table. So close! Given that this race is seven races away, making up this five means that we need less than one point ‘over’ the 16 point race average to make it up.

So once again, on this model, it’s probably going to be at the Italian Grand Prix where the Silver Arrows can celebrate its first ever constructors’ title as a works team, and its third as an engine supplier. And of all places, on Ferrari’s home turf.

Monza should be the place. However, if it happens one race early in Belgium, or one race later in Singapore, I’ll claim to be half right. For those interested, here’s the working to go with it.

Of course, everything could change. Red Bull could finally get on top of its engine problems, and make a return to the front of the field. Judging by how things are going at the moment, though, the Mercedes express won’t be slowing down any time soon.

Greaves car, lineup confirmed for FIA WEC’s Mexico City race

MONTEREY, CA - MAY 03:  Bruno Junqueira prepares to drive during practice for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 3, 2014 in Monterey, California.  (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images)
Junqueira (above) back in action. Photo: Getty Images
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The LMP2 grid will grow by one for the next FIA World Endurance Championship race, the 6 Hours of Mexico City, with the confirmation of the Greaves Motorsport Gibson 015S Nissan.

Greaves will run the lineup of Roberto Gonzalez, brother of race promoter and RGR Sport by Morand team owner and co-driver Ricardo Gonzalez, along with Bruno Junqueira and Luis Diaz.

Junqueira and Roberto Gonzalez have been co-drivers in the past with the Rocketsports (RSR) team in the Prototype Challenge class of the American Le Mans Series.

Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images

Diaz (right) is another prototype class veteran, with recent PC experience (8Star Motorsports and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports) added to his LMP2 days with Fernandez Racing.

All three of them also competed in Champ Car World Series races in Mexico City, with Gonzalez and Diaz part of a six-Mexican driver entry in the 2003 race (Adrian Fernandez, Michel Jourdain Jr., Mario Dominguez and Rodolfo Lavin).

Ricardo Gonzalez co-drives the No. 43 RGR Sport Ligier JS P2 Nissan with Bruno Senna and Filipe Albuquerque in the WEC.

Sainz pleased to match McLaren’s pace in Hungary

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 24:  Carlos Sainz of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Spain during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 24, 2016 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
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Carlos Sainz Jr. was pleased with a “solid” performance in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand prix that saw him finish eighth for Toro Rosso.

Sainz spent much of the race in close contention with his childhood racing hero Fernando Alonso, finishing just three seconds behind the McLaren driver at the checkered flag.

The result means that Sainz has scored points in all but one race he has finished in 2016, leading Toro Rosso’s charge in the constructors’ championship.

“[A] solid race again, up to [the] pace of McLarens. Pretty pleased with that,” Sainz told NBCSN after the race.

“Fernando got us at the start and that was about it. Impossible to pass from there and he controlled it.

“But it’s a very solid weekend from the team to close the first half of the season quite well, and we’re pretty happy.”

Toro Rosso is just five points clear of McLaren in the constructors’ championship, but Sainz hopes that a step in performance next weekend in Germany will help him to open up the gap once again.

“We have a step hopefully coming in Germany, and a step forward in performance,” Sainz said.

“McLaren has got ahead of us which is a bit worrying.

“But we will try to compensate that and see if we can hold them back.”

FIA WEC confirms July date for 2017 Nürburgring round

Audi R18 (2016) #7 (Audi Sport Team Joest), Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer
Audi R18 (2016) #8 (Audi Sport Team Joest), Lucas di Grassi, Loïc Duval, Oliver Jarvis
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FIA World Endurance Championship officials have confirmed that next year’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring will take place on July 16.

The WEC ventured to the Nürburgring for the first time in 2015 before enjoying a successful return over the weekend, with a crowd of 58,000 fans turning up on Sunday.

During the race won by the no. 1 Porsche crew of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard, it was confirmed that the WEC will return to the Nürburgring in 2017 over the July 14-16 weekend.

 

However, it was flagged up on Twitter that this is the same weekend scheduled to host the Formula E double-header in Montreal.

Around two-thirds of the Formula E grid also race in the WEC, with the two championships preventing clashes so that drivers do not have to pick between them. As a result, it seems inevitable that one of the races will have to change date.

Palmer ‘gutted’ after spin costs him first F1 points in Hungary

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 24:Jolyon Palmer of Great Britain driving the (30) Renault Sport Formula One Team Renault RS16 Renault RE16 turbo on track  during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 24, 2016 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
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Jolyon Palmer felt “gutted” after a likely top-10 finish in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix was lost following a spin in the closing stages, costing him his first Formula 1 points.

2014 GP2 champion Palmer joined Renault for its return to F1 as a constructor in 2016, but arrived in Hungary without a point to his name from the opening 10 races of the season.

Palmer was left disappointed on Saturday after a red flag knocked him out of qualifying at the first hurdle, but a long first stint brought him into contention for points.

Palmer moved into the top 10 after jumping Nico Hulkenberg in the pits, only for Renault’s hard work to be undone when he spun off at Turn 4, losing three positions in the process.

The Briton was ultimately classified 12th after Esteban Gutierrez’s time penalty, extending his points drought to 11 races.

“I’m gutted as my first points in Formula 1 were there for the taking,” Palmer said.

“The car was good and I was driving well within myself in P10. I turned in the same as normal at turn four – I wasn’t hanging everything out and I was looking after the tires – but for some reason I lost the car in a massive snap.

“I need to look at everything with my engineers to see if there is anything we could have done to prevent it.

“I was running tenth, we had completed all our pit stops, we had good pace relative to those ahead and behind so it looks like we’ve made a real step forward this weekend.

“It was the best drive of my career today and just one small spin took away those points.

“I’m gutted today but I’ll be fighting to get in the same position or better in Hockenheim.”