2017 F1 season

Photo: Haas F1 Team

Haas reveals new-look Formula 1 livery to debut in Monaco

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Following a tweak to its Formula 1 livery design for last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Haas has opted to take another step and revise its look ahead of next Sunday’s race in Monaco.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous F1 operation onto the grid in 2016, racing in the red, black and gray colors of Haas Automation.

The team made little changes to its livery between 2016 and 2017, but was required to make alterations for the last race in Spain as per the FIA’s updated guidelines of driver identification stickers.

Haas has now taken advantage of this to make more widespread changes to its car design, ditching the majority of red that previously adorned the VF-17 in favor of a light gray.

“It is for the whole year now,” team principal Guenther Steiner added. “With the change in the size of the numbers and its positioning, we looked into making the entire car a little more visible.”

Here was the initial livery:

MONTMELO, SPAIN – MAY 14: Romain Grosjean of France driving the (8) Haas F1 Team Haas-Ferrari VF-17 Ferrari on track during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 14, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

And here is the new one:

Alonso confident McLaren will return to Le Mans in the future

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Fernando Alonso is impressed by new McLaren boss Zak Brown’s more open approach to racing in other categories, and is confident that the British marque will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the future.

Following the end of Ron Dennis’ 35-year reign of McLaren, Brown officially became executive director of the company in December last year.

The American businessman has already made widespread changes to the company, the most significant being the decision to allow Alonso to enter the Indianapolis 500 later this month and skip the Monaco Grand Prix.

When asked about the difference in approach between Brown and Dennis, Alonso said that McLaren’s new chief has a more open approach that is felt throughout the team.

“I think they are very different and I think there is a not a magic solution, or a magic way to lead a team to success,” Alonso said.

“Ron had a fantastic time in the past in McLaren with a lot of success, and now with Zak things are a little bit more open, inside the team but also for you guys, outside, how you can approach McLaren now is different, on the commercial side, also in a technical side.”

Alonso also praised Brown’s vision for McLaren in categories beyond F1, stating his belief that the team will feature more in the Indy 500 in the future and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans one day.

“I think also with Zak the biggest difference is the vision and the approach for the brand, for McLaren, which is a little bit different and wants to span the McLaren in different worlds and different categories,” Alonso said.

“We’ll see with the Indy 500, I think it is not only this year. I think McLaren will be in the Indy 500 for the future. I think McLaren will be in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the future, as they were in the past, when they won the Indy 500, when they won Le Mans.

“So that’s the biggest change we can feel inside McLaren, that Zak will not only concentrate in Formula 1, will concentrate in McLaren as a race team in different series.

“And the most important thing is obviously to sell cars and to sell the McLaren cars you need to open to new markets and especially the US market is probably the biggest one.”

McLaren famously won Le Mans back in 1995 with its F1 GTR car, but has not featured at the Circuit de la Sarthe since 1998.

Hamilton tops British sporting rich list for fourth straight year

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Three-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has been named Britain’s richest sportsman for the fourth year in a row, with an estimated personal wealth of $169 million.

Hamilton narrowly missed out on a fourth F1 drivers’ title in 2016, falling five points shy of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg at the final round in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton remained top of the tree in Britain’s sporting rich list though, which is due to be published on Sunday by The Sunday Times.

Hamilton upped his wealth by £25m through 2016, giving him a total fortune of £131m ($169m) that puts him £20m clear of the field.

Manchester United soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic was a new entry to the list following his summer move to Old Trafford, and slots straight into second place on the rich list with an estimated fortune of £110m ahead of teammate and England captain Wayne Rooney.

Hamilton is not the only F1 driver to make the list, with Jenson Button also featuring. The recently-semi-retired McLaren racer sits fourth, having increased his fortune by £9m in 2016 after a pay hike in his McLaren contract.

2017 Sunday Times Rich List – Sport (all figures converted into dollars)

1. Lewis Hamilton (F1) $169m
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (soccer) $142m
3. Wayne Rooney (soccer) $120m
4. Jenson Button (F1) $111m
5. Rory McIlroy (golf) $106m
6. Sir Andy Murray (tennis) $99m
7. Jose Mourinho (soccer) $79m
8. Gareth Bale (soccer) $70m
9= Luol Deng (basketball) $64m
9= Pep Guardiola (soccer) $64m

Pirelli confirms softest tire sets for Austrian Grand Prix

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Pirelli has confirmed that it will take its softest Formula 1 tire compounds to the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix on July 9.

Since 2016, Pirelli has elected three compounds for each grand prix to give teams variation in strategy, with the softer tires being saved for tracks with lower levels of degradation.

After confirming its picks for Canada and Azerbaijan in March, Pirelli has now confirmed the compounds it will take to the first race back in western Europe following the two flyaways.

The ultra-soft, super-soft and soft tires will be available for teams to use in Austria. All drivers are required to use at least one set of either the super-soft or soft tires during the race, and must complete Q3 on the ultra-soft compound.

F1 drivers elect Romain Grosjean new GPDA director

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Romain Grosjean has been made a director of the Grand Prix Drivers Association by his fellow Formula 1 drivers, taking over from Jenson Button.

After stepping back from his McLaren F1 race seat at the end of last year, Button has not been present at any grands prix so far this year, but is due to race in Monaco when Fernando Alonso is at the Indianapolis 500.

The GPDA held a vote for its new director during the Russian Grand Prix weekend, with Grosjean being nominated by his peers to take over the role.

Grosjean races for NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas’ eponymous F1 team, and is one of the sport’s longest-serving drivers, having made his debut back in 2009 with Renault.

Grosjean joins fellow director Sebastian Vettel and chairman Alexander Wurz in running the GPDA.

“In the GPDA assembly held in Sochi on Friday 28 April, Romain Grosjean was elected GPDA director, replacing Jenson Button who stepped down from the position as a result of not permanently racing in the 2017 F1 world championship,” a short statement from the GPDA reads.

“I am proud to have been elected by my peers as director of the GPDA. We race drivers don’t always hold the same opinion, but as a group we are united in wanting the best for our sport,” Grosjean said.

“I believe was have an important role and duty to coordinate between each other and support the stakeholders in the evolution of the sport.”

“It was a pleasure working with Jenson over the past few years as he always puts in the interests of the drivers and the sport first. Thanks JB for all your effort,” Wurz added.

“Over recent years Romain has been a very active GPDA member. He has a lot of energy and thoughts about our sport and Sebastian. I welcome him as a great addition to the Grand Prix Drivers Association board.”