Hamilton: No need for talks with Rosberg over Austin clash

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Newly-crowned Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has dismissed the need for talks with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg after their clash in last Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton made an aggressive pass on Rosberg at the start of the race in Austin, forcing the German wide at the first corner to seize the lead.

Rosberg dropped down to fourth, but managed to fight his way back to the front of the field before squandering his advantage over Hamilton with eight laps to go, allowing the Briton to win his third F1 title.

Rosberg made no secret of his annoyance after the race and said that he felt Hamilton’s pass was too aggressive, with further tensions arising when the two threw a podium cap at each other in the cool-down room before the podium.

The incidents prompted Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff to suggest talks be held between the drivers with the team, but when asked it ahead of this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, Hamilton said that he did not see the need and that he would not be making any special effort to help Rosberg’s bid to finish the year as vice-champion.

“We haven’t spoken, not that I think we really need to,” Hamilton said. “The team has not asked me to support him in that role as I’m here to win the race.

“The team has won the constructors’ championship so I think from here on there’s not really a huge benefit for the team for me to start helping. We’ll see what Toto wants me to do.”

Hamilton suggested that Wolff is keen to speak with Rosberg so he can see where the German’s mindset currently is and help him end his barren run of form.

“The reason for me is just that I’m very easy going and so I never really have any problems,” Hamilton said when asked about the lack of need for talks.

“I think Toto feels that he needs to perhaps sit with Nico to see where his head’s at. Obviously we don’t want any tension in the team. Generally we do often come together and just keep it transparent.

“I don’t really have anything to say about it but of course I’m sure we will sit down and see what Nico’s feeling and whatever emotions he has and try and dilute them and then move on.

“In terms of the cap thing, I don’t know, it’s pretty funny so I don’t really have much else to say about it.”

Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

McLaren Indy Kyle Busch
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With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”