Tag: Weekend Preview

xxxx during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 9, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.
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Raikkonen learned “pretty much nothing” in Sochi practice

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Kimi Raikkonen made no secret of his frustration following practice for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday after losing the majority of the day’s running at the Sochi Autodrom.

A diesel spill on the track ahead of the first free practice session cost the field 30 minutes of running, while heavy rain made much of FP2 a fruitless exercise.

Speaking after Friday’s sessions, Raikkonen admitted that Ferrari had learned very little due to the conditions, but said that the team will try to make the best of the situation.

“Today the weather conditions were not very nice,” Raikkonen said. “We could not get much running and we learned pretty much nothing.

“The first practice was dry, but at the beginning of the session there was an issue with the tarmac surface and they had to wash it away. So we lost time and when we got to the track some parts were still wet.

“In the second session, the weather turned out to be a bit tricky and it rained most of the time. It’s one of those days you do absolutely nothing but that’s how it goes.

“It was not ideal today but it was the same for everybody. Hopefully tomorrow it will be dry, and we’ll see how the tires work. We’ll do our normal program and try to make the best out of it.”

Teammate Sebastian Vettel finished third in FP1 and second in FP2, but thinks he may struggle to find any rhythm ahead of qualifying on Saturday after losing most of today’s running.

“Today we did learn a few things, but nothing that we can really use for the weekend,” Vettel said. “The first impression of the car is good, but I can’t really say a lot more as we really didn’t get enough track action today.

“This morning we couldn’t drive much as some of the corners were covered with diesel fuel, and it took a while to clean it all up. In the afternoon it started raining, but tomorrow and Sunday it is supposed to be dry!

“In general, it won’t be easy to get into the right rhythm, as the track tomorrow will feel the same like yesterday – that is, green and with poor grip. Usually, you use the Friday to lay some rubber down, but that was not possible today.”

The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra this weekend. For full broadcast details, click here.

Rosberg returns Mercedes to P1 in final Suzuka practice

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Nico Rosberg closed out practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets as teams scrambled to make up for Friday’s washout at Suzuka.

Rain in FP1 and FP2 meant placed extra importance on the final practice session on Saturday morning, forcing the teams to try and condense their regular dry running programme into just 60 minutes.

Most of the teams headed out early in a bid to get the jump on the field, with the early pace being set by the Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat.

However, as the session wore on, Mercedes found its feet and managed to return to the top of the timesheets for the first time since FP1 in Singapore with Rosberg leading the way.

A fastest lap of 1:33.995 was enough to give Rosberg P1 by almost three-tenths of a second ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, who struggled to match the pace of his German counterpart as Mercedes was forced to make changes to his car throughout FP3.

Ricciardo underlined Red Bull’s strong early pace by finishing third-fastest at the end of practice, half a second down on Hamilton at the head of the field. Kvyat did not get a chance to Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa hinted that Williams could be in for a more fruitful weekend at Suzuka by finishing fourth and fifth.

Ferrari’s hopes of a second straight win appeared to take a hit as Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel could only finish sixth and eighth respectively, finishing over one second behind Rosberg’s fastest time. However, the Italian team did run an alternative programme to most of the field, and Vettel had his best lap ruined by Kvyat, suggesting that there was more pace in the tank.

Max Verstappen split the Ferraris in seventh, whilst Romain Grosjean put Lotus’ recent troubles behind him to finish ninth ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr., who rounded out the top ten.

Qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2am ET on Saturday.

Haas to make F1 driver announcement on Tuesday

CONCORD, NC - APRIL 14:  Guenther Steiner (L), team principal of Haas Formula and Gene Haas, founder, Haas Automation and chairman, Haas Formula, speak with the media during the Gene Haas Formula One Press Conference at the Concord Convention Center on April 14, 2014 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
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Haas F1 Team will make a driver announcement on Tuesday September 29 ahead of its debut Formula 1 season in 2016.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas won the race to join the grid back in 2014, but chose to delay his entry to F1 until 2016 so that he could prepare accordingly.

Haas has since signed a technical partnership with Ferrari that will see the team benefit from the Italian marque’s support and enjoy a much-needed boost for its first year in F1.

As the countdown to its debut on April 3 in Melbourne, Australia continues, Haas will add another piece to the puzzle by announcing at least one of its drivers in a press conference on Tuesday. Both Gene Haas and team principal Günther Steiner will be on hand for the announcement.

Romain Grosjean is known to be Haas’ main target for a seat in 2016, and the Frenchman confirmed last week that he has already made a decision about his plans, hinting that a deal with the American team has already been agreed.

Due to the technical partnership with Ferrari, the second seat is set to go to either Esteban Gutierrez or Jean-Eric Vergne who both work as development drivers at Maranello.

Gutierrez is thought to be leading the race due to his greater standing within Ferrari and his sizeable financial support from Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex. Other names linked to the seat include Kevin Magnussen and Alexander Rossi, although the latter was ruled out by Steiner earlier this month.

Button still in “good talks” with McLaren about 2016

xxxx during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on September 24, 2015 in Suzuka.
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Jenson Button remains engaged in “good talks” with McLaren about his future in Formula 1 despite being reported to be on the verge of announcing his retirement from the sport.

A report from The Daily Telegraph earlier this week claimed that Button was poised to announce that he would be leaving McLaren and F1 at the end of 2015 ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

When the Briton was placed in Thursday’s FIA press conference, it was predicted that an announcement may be made in the hours leading up to this before he faced the media.

However, when asked about his plans for 2016 and any updates on his future, Button remained coy, saying that a decision was still to be made.

“I can’t give you anything else,” Button said. “Since the last race there’s no more information to give you.

“You’re going to have to wait for a little while I’m sorry to say but we’re in good talks, the team and myself so, that’s it.

“There’s so many possibilities of what could happen next year. So many possibilities but I’ve got nothing else for you, I’m sorry to say.

“I’ll be happy next year. That’s the important thing.”

Button admitted that he did not get the same joy out of racing in F1 as he used to given McLaren’s recent struggles, which have restricted him to just six points from 13 races so far this season.

“I don’t think any driver has joy when they’re not fighting for victories,” Button said. “That’s what we’re here to do. That’s what we love. It’s the challenge of fighting at the front and the possibility of fighting at the front.

“So, no. I don’t like finishing 14th. I don’t like finishing tenth. That’s not what gives me joy, that’s not what excites me.

“But there are so many other things that, if they work in your favour, or if you see a future, there’s the possibility of joy coming back and that’s exciting. That’s a challenge.”

Seven drivers share 168 places worth of grid penalties for Italian GP

Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson steers his car during the qualifying session for Sunday's Formula One Italian Grand Prix at the Monza racetrack, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

In what is becoming a recurring story in Formula 1, more than a third of the grid has been hit with a grid penalty for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.

Six of the seven were penalized for making changes to their power unit and exceeding the limit of four of each component per season.

Although none of the teams were able to outdo McLaren’s record 105 grid drop in Belgium, some were hit with multiple penalties, resulting in a very jumbled rear end of the grid.

So, without further ado, here is the driver-by-driver penalty run-down.

Marcus Ericsson – qualified P9, starts P12

Ericsson is the only driver whose grid drop is not the result of a power unit change. The Swede was penalized three grid positions for blocking Nico Hulkenberg in Q1 on Saturday, leaving him 12th for the start of the race.

Jenson Button – qualified P16, starts P15

Yes – Button actually gains a position from his qualifying result despite having a five-place grid penalty for taking an additional ninth power unit element.

Fernando Alonso – qualified P17, starts P16

The same is true for Fernando Alonso, who has a ten-place penalty for taking a ninth power unit element for the first time.

Carlos Sainz Jr – qualified P13, starts P17

Sainz drops down the grid after racking up 35 places worth of penalties over the Monza weekend. The Spaniard’s car has taken fifth and sixth sets of elements, resulting in the grid drop.

Daniil Kvyat – qualified P14, starts P18

Red Bull has been the biggest offender when it comes to power unit changes at Monza. Kvyat racks up 30 places worth of grid drop due to changes made to his power unit, with another five coming thanks to a gearbox change. All in all, he serves just four places.

Daniel Ricciardo – qualified P15, starts P19

Ricciardo’s weekend has been nothing short of a nightmare thanks to problems with his power unit. After fitting a new one and giving himself a 25-place grid penalty, said power unit failed during FP3, forcing Red Bull into fitting another one. So all in all, it’s a 50-place grid drop.

Max Verstappen – failed to qualify, starts P20

Verstappen’s problems were such that he was unable to get out during qualifying, and therefore technically failed to qualify. Of course, the stewards have given him permission to race, albeit with a 30-place grid penalty and a drive-through for the race after he was unsafely released in FP3.

Although Ricciardo should start 65th and Verstappen should only be 50th on an infinite grid, as Verstappen did not qualify, he automatically starts from the back.

So here’s what the provisional grid looks like for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
5. Felipe Massa Williams
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams
7. Sergio Perez Force India
8. Romain Grosjean Lotus
9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
10. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
11. Felipe Nasr Sauber
12. Marcus Ericsson Sauber
13. Will Stevens Manor
14. Roberto Merhi Manor
15. Jenson Button McLaren
16. Fernando Alonso McLaren
17. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso
18. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull
19. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
20. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso

The Italian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.