Just two blokes at the pub on a Friday after work...
There were reports this week that Honda are eager to become an engine supplier to a second Formula 1 team as early as 2018, despite their current struggles with McLaren.
And the Woking team principal Eric Boullier has confirmed that Honda are looking into that option, but couldn't specify a date.
"In the past we agreed with Honda that it would be better to focus on us, on one team," he said. "But the regulation has changed as well, in the future there will be obligations for an engine manufacturer.
"I think at some stage it will be interesting for Honda, and McLaren-Honda, to have another team. But we don't know when so obviously they will just make themselves ready for the possibility that it will happen in the future.
"For now we must work as one team and focus on McLaren."
21 may seem like a lot in an F1 season, but could there be 25 races in the future? After Liberty Media stated they would wish to add more grands prix to the calendar, some team members have had their say.
While Eric Boullier and Franz Tost claimed they are already "at the limit" and would have to hire more staff, there was an interesting theory from Manor's Dave Ryan.
"21 feels like it's too many but maybe they'll be two-day events," he said. "Maybe it's a different format.
"Before we know what they're thinking of, we'll have to wait and see. It may be that it works."
A little unusual, but it seems the pitlane exit line was painted in the wrong place in Malaysia. Yes you did read that right! It has since been repainted at the Sepang International Circuit.
Ever heard of the Dog & Button? Well, you have now.
To celebrate Jenson Button's 300th grand prix this weekend in Malaysia,McLaren have set up a British pub for the Brit in the paddock - even conducting media sessions in the not so local venue.
Complete with a Fussball table and a dartboard, there are fun and games to be had...
Why did the chicken cross the road? Watch as Marcus Ericsson explains his bizarre accident ahead of the Malaysia GP.
There are few changes on the provisional 21-race calendar released this week for 2017 and Fernando Alonso has admitted he isn't a fan of the way the international schedule is layed out.
"There are different opinions for all drivers, and I completely understand and respect all the other decisions as well," said Alonso at the Malaysia GP.
"When I started, we had 16 or 17 races and many tests between races. So at the end of the day we were as busy as we are now, if not more, so it's not a question of being busy it's just a question of travelling, back-to-back races.
"In Europe at the beginning of September, then Singapore, and Malaysia now. End of September in Japan but then you go to USA, then South America and then you finish in Abu Dhabi.
"It's, for me, too much. But it's just my opinion."
Oh, how time flies.
Once F1's youngest-ever driver at 17 years old, Max Verstappen has now reached the grand old age of...19! Many happy returns to the Red Bull driver:https://twitter.com/redbullracing/status/781645198086537216
Lewis Hamilton has once again questioned Mercedes' pre-season decision to switch mechanics on his car, suggesting that the upheaval had a psychological impact.
"The biggest effect it can have on the driver is psychologically, but that is not something I want to go into," Hamilton told the Press Association.
"It is just all-round psychologically. If something changes when it doesn't really need to be changed, it can have all sorts of effects."
Could Carlos Sainz still be in the frame for a seat at Renault next year?
The Toro Rosso driver is under contract for next year but it has been speculated that Red Bull would be willing to release the youngster if a suitable offer was forthcoming.
Speaking at the Malaysia GP, Sainz confirmed that “there has been a bit of interest, a bit of contact”, describing Renault’s interest as an “honour”.
However, Sainz has repeatedly stressed he remains committed to becoming a future world champion with Red Bull and added “I perfectly understand they don’t want to let me go after spending so much money on me.”
Esteban Ocon, the confusingly-employed Mercedes driver who is currently taking a break from his role as Renault reserve by driving for Manor, has suggested he is open to staying with the backmarkers for 2017.
Econ only joined the team halfway through the current campaign when Rio Haryanto's funding dried up, but said: "The more you drive, and more you take experience. Any year, any races would help me."
Kevin Magnussen says he has "no idea" why Renault are yet to confirm whether he will be staying on for next season.
The team are yet to announce either of their two drivers for 2017 and Magnussen has admitted he is growing impatient with the delay.
"I think I have done all I can this season with the material I was given," said Magnussen. "I have scored all the points the team has and I feel I am working well with the engineers and everybody in the team - and it feels that they appreciate what I am doing. Of course, it is always a bit worrying if you don’t have a contract for next year, but I hope everything is sorted out rather soon.
"I honestly have no idea what the reason for not deciding on my contract is - but I hope it is sorted out soon, at least for me" (Full story)
Why did the chicken cross the road? No, why did it cross the road just when an F1 driver was coming along...https://twitter.com/Ericsson_Marcus/status/781141622734016521
Even though he has previously partnered Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso says Jenson Button is the best team-mate he's had in Formula 1 (Full story)
Sergio Perez says he wants to know by next week whether he will be staying at Force India for the 2017 season (Full story)
Brazilian GP authorities say they are 'surprised' that their race has been listed as being subject to confirmation on the 2017 provisional calendar.
There is a valid contract until 2020," said Interlagos organisers in a statement (Full story)
The Renault RS16 derobed...
Come on Kimi, it's not that bad...
Now it's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo's turn to be taken out of their comfort zone, trying out Malaysian sport sepak takraw...
Sauber have yet to confirm their 2017 driver line-up, but team principal Monisha Kaltenborn says they once again expect to bring in individuals who have financial backing.
Their current drivers, Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, both bring significant funding but their contracts expire at the end of the season.
"It would help us in implementing our targets quicker and be a big help in the overall plan we have," Kalntenborn told Autosport. "We have to consider that in view of what the environment is like out there.
"We're confident our car will be better next year and we're hoping to have more sponsors onboard, but in the current environment, it is still about finances.
"There is a close link to the more you have, the more you can test and that's what you need to do. It would be very beneficial and good the way we are going and help us to do things quicker."
Similar Japanese GP tyre choices from the Mercedes duo with the soft tyre preferred, though Red Bull have opted for more of the harder compounds.
And how about this for a welcome!https://twitter.com/PET_Motorsports/status/780709359223468032
Championship leader Nico Rosberg has joined team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia.https://twitter.com/nico_rosberg/status/780704203777925120
In a wide-ranging interview with his Red Bull team, Daniel Ricciardo, still just 27, has discussed retirement plans, going out on top and how he will be one of the oldest on a grid missing Jenson Button and Felipe Massa next year.
"When I first got into F1 – and this sounds ridiculous now – I was like 'right, I'll do this for a few years, get the job done and then I'll get out and enjoy the rest of my life!' Easy, right?," the Australian writes.
"From the outside, getting out when you're at the very top always seems like the cool option. People will always remember you as a champion. Look at someone like Alain Prost – won the 1993 world championship, and he was done. He could have kept going for sure, but we always remember him as that champion.
"The day you feel you’re not willing to take the risks that the guy next to you on the grid is prepared to take, that's the time to call it. If the young kids are doing some bold overtakes or holding it flat through Eau Rouge in the wet and you're not, that's the signal that it's time. Like I said, I'm banking on that being a fair way off..."
On Button and Massa
"It shows we're going through a bit of a generation change at the moment. Back in 2006 when Michael Schumacher retired for the first time, there were a whole bunch of guys who came in over the next couple of years who stuck around for a while or are still going strong – guys like Lewis (Hamilton), Seb (Vettel), Nico Rosberg,Robert Kubica, (Heikki) Kovalainen.
"With Jenson and Felipe leaving, it feels a bit like that now. There won't be too many guys who have been in F1 as long as me next year, which seems weird. There'll definitely be more new faces than old faces on the grid." (Full story - external link)
Zak Brown has left his role as chief executive of CSM Sport & Entertainment amid suggestions that he could play a key role in the running of Formula 1.
Brown has brought brands including Johnnie Walker, Martini and UBS into F1 by brokering multimillion dollar sponsorship deals. He also founded JMI, a motorsport marketing agency, in 1995, selling it to Chime in 2013.
The timing of his departure from CSM will fuel speculation that he may eventually take on a leading role within F1 after its takeover by Liberty Media Corporation, the New York-listed media group.
Chase Carey has already been installed as chairman of F1's parent company and reports have suggested that he wants to bring in executives to run F1's commercial and sporting operations, raising questions about the future of Bernie Ecclestone.
Apple’s interest in buying a stake in McLaren is ‘dead in the water’, according to The Daily Mail.
The newspaper claims that talks between the two parties ‘broke down some months ago’.
According to the Mail’s report, ‘The iPhone producer looked into buying a major stake in the Woking-based company, which has a range of technological sidelines as well as its motor racing and high-end road car businesses.
‘Negotiations went on for some time, with Apple believing McLaren’s engineering expertise could help them develop a self-driving electric car.
‘But Sportsmail understands that the opportunity has now passed and that McLaren chairman Ron Dennis will look for investment elsewhere. Dennis, who owns 25 per cent of the McLaren Technology Group, is believed to be keen to find partners to help him take a majority share in the company he has led since 1981' (Full story - external site)
It's been 10 years since Lewis Hamilton's first official F1 test, and the three-time world champion has taken to Instagram to celebrate the anniversary.
Coincidentally... we've also taken a look back at his big breakthrough right here
Sky F1's Mark Hughes has been assessing Renault's driver dilemma in 2017 in his latest column...
Current driver Kevin Magnussen must be wondering what he has done wrong as the team has held off on extending his contract while trying to sign in succession, Stoffel Vandoorne, Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez and now Carlos Sainz.
Any of the latter three could yet end up at the Enstone team next year if suitable financial agreements could be reached, but it's looking increasingly unlikely. With Esteban Ocon tipped for one of seats, it's looking like the other will fall by default to Magnussen - though with team-mate Jolyon Palmer still a possibility too.
Read the rest of Mark Hughes' column on Renault here
McLaren have denied they are in talks with Apple (see below) about 'potential investment' after media reports the technology giant were considering buying the group.
A spokesperson for the team said:
“We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment. As you would expect, the nature of our brand means we regularly have confidential conversations with a wide range of parties, but we keep them confidential" (Full story - Sky News)
Apple have approached the McLaren Technology Group about a potential acquisition, thought to be worth between £1bn and £1.5bn, according to the Financial Times.
The publication report that the iPhone makers have enquired about an 'automotive
tie-up' with the British supercar maker, who of course also have a Formula 1 team, which could result in either or a full takeover or a strategic investment.
McLaren, based in Woking, Surrey, changed their name from the McLaren Group to the McLaren Technology Group in 2015, and Ron Dennis is their current CBE, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Apple have been working on a self-driving electric car for more than two years and it is not yet clear what the company's intentions with the group would be, should any partnership or takeover be agreed. (Full story, external link)
Niki Lauda says it would be "madness" for Formula 1 to hold their pre-season testing in Europe next year.
Spain is the usual pre-season destination for the sport but Pirelli are keen to test new cars and tyres in hotter temperatures, with Bahrain and Abu Dhabi possibilities. That plan has met opposition from some teams, however, but Mercedes' Lauda would rather see testing in Asia.
"It would be madness to test a new car and new tyres in Europe," the Austrian is quoted as saying in Auto Motor und Sport. "What do we do when it rains?"
Pre-season testing is still expected to take place in Barcelona.(Full story - external link, in German)
We'll just leave this here...https://twitter.com/KevinMagnussen/status/778173443497947136
Reports that Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene was held in custody in Singapore for discarding a cigarette in public have been denied.
Press reports in Spain had claimed that Arrivabene was held for six hours before being released after paying a fine.
However, Singapore's National Environment Agency, the body responsible for keeping the city-state's streets clean, told Channel NewsAsia: “Reports in the international media on this matter are bogus." (Full story - external site)
Similar tyre choices for the top six at the Malaysian GP...
Fernando Alonso says motivation is key to whether he renews his contract at McLaren.
The Spaniard has frequently insisted that McLaren will be his last team in Formula 1 and with a current deal that expires at the end of 2017, his future in the sport is uncertain.
"I'm 34 and I could go on for more years but it's all about motivation and willingness," Alonso told Cadena Ser radio. "I'm just thinking about next year.
"We will see how I feel when the time comes, if I sign a contract extension." (Full story)
Sir Jackie Stewart is concerned that Lewis Hamilton is getting complacent in his bid for a fourth world title, after being overtaken by Nico Rosberg in the drivers' standings.
"Maybe you can bottom out," said Stewart. "That can happen through consistent success because when you have consistent success everything can seem so easy.
"Suddenly things can go less well - you overdrive, you are not on the ball, or you live a life that distracts you in one way or another.
"If you are at the top in any line of work, you can get carried away with success. You think you can get away with things. Then someone else comes along and drives better or more consistently."
Good morning from Lewis Hamilton...https://twitter.com/LewisHamilton/status/778114869983842304
Sergio Perez has revealed he 'dreams' of driving for Ferrari. In an interview with Sky F1 at the Singapore GP, Perez said:
"Obviously Ferrari is the biggest team in Formula 1, it is a dream for every driver. I just hope that if the opportunity comes it comes at the right time at the right moment. It is so important for a racing career that the opportunity comes at the right time and the right moment."
Christian Horner has denied that Red Bull had any influence over Toro Rosso after Max Verstappen's battle with Dani Kvyat during the Singapore Grand Prix.
Kvyat, who lost his seat at Red Bull to Verstappen earlier in the season, impressively held off the young Dutchman for several laps in the early part of the race, before eventually being passed by him later on.
"They were racing each other. Points for Toro Rosso are just as valuable as points for us and I doubt Kvyat would have listened too much anyway!" Horner said in his post-race press conference.
"I thought it was good racing between the two guys, they're fighting for points in the Constructors' Championship, Dani drove firmly but fairly so I didn't have any issue with it."
New F1 chairman Chase Carey harbours hopes of growing the sport in America following Liberty Media's £6bn takeover of the sport.
Carey, who was present in Singapore to watch Nico Rosberg's win on Sunday, also wants to hold some of the races in the biggest cities in the world.
"It is too early to have a clear plan, but we clearly will have a plan to develop America, to be in the right market, there is a big untapped audience in the US," he told formula1.com.
"I don’t want to criticise the efforts in the past, because I don’t know the efforts in the past. Formula One is a great premium brand and that means to me that you want to be at a location like Los Angeles, New York or Miami. Ideally in the great cities in the world!"
Final words from the Singapore winner...https://twitter.com/nico_rosberg/status/777731167047090176
Sky F1's Ted Kravitz and David Croft predict next year's driver line-ups
Charles Leclerc is likely to be overlooked for a race seat with Haas next season even if he wins the GP3 series.
The youngster currently leads the series and debuted for Haas in a Friday practice session at July’s British GP. He is also connected to Ferrari, who provide Haas with engines, and ran in their 2016 car at the subsequent Silverstone test.
But according to Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz, the Haas hierarchy believe that 2017 would still be too early for the 18-year-old to step up to F1.
Could Antonio Giovinazzi be emerging as a late contender for a Haas seat in 2017? The Italian was runner-up in the European F3 Championship in 2015 and has taken two victories and a podium finish in his last three GP2 races to mount a title challenge.
After surging from the back of the grid to win at Monza, Giovinazzi was rewarded with a simulator test by Ferrari (Full story - Ferrari site)
Despite his single-seater pedigree, Giovinazzi is not currently affiliated to any F1 team.
Renault’s F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says the team are in no
rush to sign drivers for 2017 and suggested neither Kevin Magnussen or Jolyon
Palmer were signings of the French team’s choosing:
“I think we have some options. We are not rushing into
making a decision, it is an important decision. It is likely that the drivers
we choose next season will be the first drivers that we choose as Renault, they
will be here for a couple of seasons, so we are not taking the decision
“It is good that we have options and we are trying to
make a decision that is as informed as possible. We are in a position where we
can take our time and look at what is going on around us. It is an important
decision and we are not rushing into anything.”
Following the signing of Ruth Buscombe, Sauber are eyeing
further appointments to strengthen their team according to team principal
“I wouldn’t say much more, but there will be some more
key people hopefully joining the team. We are talking to a couple of them,” she
“We have a suffered a little bit in the last few months
with some people leaving. We have certain areas we are looking at, it is not
just overall throughout the company. And we will decide the way things develop
and if we can get new partners.”
Lewis Hamilton admits he would be “too old” to ever consider a second career in motorcycle racing once he retires from F1.
The Briton owns several motorbikes and has been pictured arriving at races on a bike at several tracks this season.
However, he doesn’t ever see himself turning to two wheels when his F1 days are behind him.
“Honestly, I think I’d probably be too old,” said Hamilton. “I will definitely be riding bikes, but I won’t be racing them.
“When I look at Valentino [Rossi], as most motorbike riders, they have had a career like me – coming from a young age and going through all the categories learning all the tricks of the trade. And there’s no way I could get on a bike right now and know anywhere near as much as any of those guys.
“No matter how much testing I did, catching up someone like that in terms of knowledge, tyres, set-up, weight distribution and things like that would take me forever.
“I don’t have the time – I’m getting old!”
Sergio Perez has emphatically denied rumours that Carlos Slim is set to buy Force India. Slim is one of the major backers of Perez, with his companies logo's appearing prominently on the Force India car.
Asked about the rumours Perez told Sky Sports F1: “That is a complete lie. It is not true at all."
Lewis Hamilton says he is looking forward to seeing
Taylor Swift perform at next month’s US GP after attending the recent New York
Fashion Show alongside the pop star.
“She’s lovely, she’s a nice girl – and she’s coming to
Austin to perform out there,” Hamilton told Ted Kravtiz after the Sky F1 pundit
revealed his two daughters were “very jealous” of the world champion after
seeing pictures of Lewis and Taylor.
“I’ve only met her a couple of times but she always seems
very sweet. She’s very successful but very down to earth."
It wouldn't be an F1 weekend without rumours aplenty, and one swirling around the paddock once again in Singapore is that Mercedes executive director Paddy Lowe could make a shock switch to rivals Ferrari.
Lowe has been a key part of Mercedes' success over the last three seasons, linking up with Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda, and the Scuderia are on the lookout for personnel for 2017. Bringing in Lowe would not only strengthen them, but also weaken the runaway leaders.
The talk initially came from Italian publication La Stampa, and when asked about the prospect of Lowe joining, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel is quoted as saying in Auto Motor und Sport: “When someone of his calibre is available, of course you have to think about it. But to my knowledge he is not available." (Full story - external link, in German)