Hungary F1 GP Auto Racing

Ferrari strategy mistake leaves Raikkonen 17th on the grid


Kimi Raikkonen has confirmed that the decision not to run again in the first part of qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix was taken by Ferrari, and that the team is at fault for his early elimination.

The Finn did not head out for a second run during the first session on Saturday afternoon, allowing Marussia’s Jules Bianchi to improve his time and make it through to Q2 at Raikkonen’s expense.

Raikkonen explained to the media on Saturday that the decision not to run again was the team’s alone, and that he even challenged the call when it was made.

“The plan was to go out,” Raikkonen said. “Obviously I struggled a bit with the harder tires this morning and yesterday afternoon to put a good lap in those. The car has been good on the softer tires.

“That was the plan and then the team said that ‘no, we are fine, we don’t need to go out’. I questioned it a few times, and they said there’s no need, and obviously we can see the end result.”

However, Raikkonen is not willing to dwell on it, saying that everyone makes mistakes, although he does not expect them to happen at Ferrari.

“Obviously not good for me, not good for the team, but the mistake has been made,” he said. “It has been a difficult year anyhow so I don’t really see a point to start shouting around.

“The mistake’s done, I’ve done mistakes in the past, I will make in the future, people make mistakes.

“But obviously there’s things that we have to change. As a team, in Formula 1, as Ferrari, we should not make this kind of things. We are not here first year, any of us, it’s not easy times.”

This appears to be a new low point in what has been a difficult year at Ferrari for Raikkonen. When the Finn joined the team at the beginning of the season, it was meant to be the beginning of a new, successful era for the team. Instead, both Raikkonen and teammate Fernando Alonso have struggled with the F14 T car, and quite what the future holds at Maranello is far from clear.

Lotus prepared for close fight with Force India for P5

SUZUKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 26:  Romain Grosjean of France and Lotus drives during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on September 26, 2015 in Suzuka.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Lotus technical director Nick Chester believes that the team faces a close fight with Force India for fifth place in the constructors’ championship that will rage on until the end of the 2015 Formula 1 season.

Lotus currently ranks sixth in the teams’ standings, 17 points behind Force India in fifth with five races remaining this year.

Finishing fifth in the constructors’ championship would not only secure some much-needed additional prize money for Lotus, but it would also secure it a place on the F1 Strategy Group for 2016 when it is poised to become Renault F1 Team.

Reflecting on last weekend’s race in Japan, Chester said he was pleased with the double-points finished achieved by Lotus drivers Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean, and believes that the team can catch up in the coming weeks if Force India hits trouble.

“[Japan] was very rewarding and also very important for us in our fight for fifth place in the constructors’ championship,” Chester said. “We closed up a little bit more on Force India and of course there is a bit more to do.

“They had a good race in Monza when both our cars got knocked out but effectively we’re one good race away where they have a bad one and we can catch up. It will be tight all the way until the end of the season.

Looking ahead to the upcoming Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, Chester spoke of the challenge posed to both the teams and the drivers by the tight and twisting circuit around the site of the old winter Olympic park.

“We know that the surface is very smooth and last year we struggled generating temperature with the tires, partly through the smooth surface and partly through what was a conservative tire allocation,” Chester said.

“Pirelli’s softer allocation for this year along with the more weathered track surface and our better knowledge of the circuit should mean we fare far better in this regard. In terms of its needs, we know that it’s a track that is quite power and traction-sensitive.

“The layout presents a lot of slow speed corners and long straights. Braking down into turn 13 is very severe and you come out of the kink before you brake so it is a difficult corner to get right. Overall, the whole track is quite technical, so it certainly a challenging one for the drivers.”

Status targets 2016 GP2 title after GP3 exit

2015 GP2 Series Round 8.
Autodromo di Monza, Italy.
Sunday 6 September 2015.
Marlon Stockinger (PHL, Status Grand Prix) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C2088
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Status Grand Prix has set its sights on winning the 2016 GP2 Series championship following its decision to close down its GP3 team at the end of the current season.

Earlier this week, GP3 issued a statement confirming its team roster for the next three seasons that featured new entries from DAMS and Virtuosi Racing.

However, both Carlin and Status did not appear on the list, signalling that both had opted to leave GP3 at the end of 2015.

Status first entered GP3 back in 2010, but only set up a GP2 team in 2015 after taking over the old Caterham Racing operation.

This will now become the main focus for the Irish outfit, though, as explained by team boss Teddy Yip Jr. earlier this week.

“Status Grand Prix has not renewed entry into the GP3 Series from 2016 onwards in order to maximize focus on our GP2 campaign,” Yip said.

“Having finished second in the team championship in the inaugural GP3 Series, we have enjoyed six successful years in the category collecting nine race wins, 26 podium finishes and vying for numerous team and driver titles.

“We are very proud to have given opportunities and achieved success with drivers such as Robert Wickens, Antonio Felix da Costa, Alexander Sims and our current GP2 race winner, Richie Stanaway.

“We now look forward to finishing the 2015 GP2 and GP3 seasons on a high before mounting a robust GP2 title campaign in 2016.”

Both GP2 and GP3 return from a one-month break next weekend in support of the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.