Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Singapore GP: Free Practice #2 - Re-Cap & Times


    Daniel Ricciardo was once again at the top of the time-sheets, this time with a 1:40.852. Finishing close behind was team-mate, Verstappen with a 1:41.408. Both Mercedes drivers, Hamilton and Bottas, as well as Renault's, Hulkenberg, completed the top 5.

    Carlos Sainz, freshly announced as heading to Renault for 2018, finished in 12th with a 1:43.236. Kvyat was just behind in 13th with a 1:43.608. It has not yet been announced who will partner Kvyat in 2018, if Kvyat is to keep his seat at the soon-to-be Honda-powered Italian team.

    While there were no major incidents in the session, there were plenty of drivers to 'tap' or 'brush' the walls along the narrow circuit. Singapore has been notorious for it's 100% chance of a safety car during the Sunday race.

    McLaren continued to show good pace, having an out-of-ordinary good start to their weekend, with little-to-no mechanical dramas. Stoffel Vandoorne finished the session up in 6th with a 1:42.501, while Alonso was close behind in 7th with a 1:42.788. 


1. Daniel Ricciardo - 1:40.852 / Red Bull-TAG-Heuer / Australia
2. Max Verstappen - 1:41.408 / Red Bull-TAG-Heuer / Netherlands
3. Lewis Hamilton - 1:41.555 / Mercedes-Mercedes / Great Britain
4. Valtteri Bottas - 1:42.104 / Mercedes-Mercedes / Finland
5. Nico Hulkenberg - 1:42.448 / Renault-Renault / Germany
6. Stoffel Vandoorne - 1:42.501 / McLaren-Honda / Belgium
7. Fernando Alonso - 1:42.788 / McLaren-Honda / Spain
8. Sergio Perez - 1:42.826 / Force India-Mercedes / Mexico
9. Kimi Raikkonen - 1:42.835 / Ferrari-Ferrari / Finland
10. Esteban Ocon - 1:43.054 / Force India-Mercedes / France
11. Sebastian Vettel - 1:43.104 / Ferrari-Ferrari / Germany
12. Carlos Sainz - 1:43.236 / Toro Rosso-Renault / Spain
13. Daniil Kvyat - 1:43.608 / Toro Rosso-Renault / Russia
14. Jolyon Palmer - 1:43.795 / Renault-Renault / Great Britain
15. Felipe Massa - 1:43.836 / Williams-Mercedes / Brazil
16. Lance Stroll - 1:44.301 / Williams-Mercedes / Canada
17. Kevin Magnussen - 1:44.417 / Haas-Ferrari / Denmark
18. Romain Grosjean - 1:44.928 / Haas-Ferrari / France
19. Pascal Wehrlein - 1:45.673 / Sauber-Ferrari / Germany
20. Marcus Ericsson - 1:45.721 / Sauber-Ferrari / Sweden

Article Written By: Amy Hawk
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Monday, September 18, 2017

Singapore GP: Free Practice #1 - Re-Cap & Times


    Daniel Ricciardo beat Sebastien Vettel and team-mate Max Verstappen to the top of the times in the first practice ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

    Ricciardo set a time of 1m42.489s late in the session to go a tenth of a second quicker than Vettel.

    The Ferrari drivers had left it late to compete with Mercedes and Red Bull, who was testing new sidepods, but eventually finished second and seventh fastest.

    Verstappen spent most of the second half of the session top of the times after Lewis Hamilton set the pace early. He finished third fastest whilst Hamilton dropped down to fourth as the session progressed.

    Sergio Perez split the Mercedes drivers, a 1m43.423 putting him fifth, just a hundredth of a second faster than Bottas.

    Both Renault drivers found mechanical problems early in the session. Nico Hulkenberg was told to “urgently” switch to a fail mode, but managed to fix the problem and finished ninth fastest. Jolyon Palmer “lost” the brake pedal at one point. His problem was also resolved and he finished 12th.

    Lance Stroll had his session shortened by a gearbox problem that left his Williams crawling back to the pits. He finished 17th fastest after only 11 laps.

    Fernando Alonso didn’t run into problems, finishing eighth fastest, though he told his engineer they could have been P1.

    Daniil Kvyat completed the top 10.


1. Daniel Ricciardo - 1:42.489 / Red Bull-TAG-Heuer / Australia
2. Sebastian Vettel - 1:42.598 / Ferrari-Ferrari / Germany
3. Max Verstappen - 1:42.610 / Red Bull-TAG-Heuer / Netherlands
4. Lewis Hamilton - 1:42.904 / Mercedes-Mercedes / Great Britain
5. Sergio Perez - 1:43.423 / Force India-Mercedes / Mexico
6. Valtteri Bottas - 1:43.434 / Mercedes-Mercedes / Finland
7. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:43.734 / Ferrari-Ferrari / Finland
8. Fernando Alonso - 1:43.759 / McLaren-Honda / Spain
9. Nico Hulkenberg - 1:44.101 / Renault-Renault / Germany
10. Daniil Kvyat - 1:44.220 / Toro Rosso-Renault / Russia
11. Stoffel Vandoorne - 1:44.340 / McLaren-Honda / Belgium
12. Jolyon Palmer - 1:44.961 / Renault-Renault / Great Britain
13. Esteban Ocon - 1:45.053 / Force India-Mercedes / France
14. Felipe Massa - 1:45.084 / Williams-Mercedes / Brazil
15. Romain Grosjean - 1:46.456 / Haas-Ferrari / France
16. Antonio Giovinazzi - 1:46.782 / Haas-Ferrari / Italy*
17. Lance Stroll - 1:47.190 / Williams-Mercedes / Canada
18. Sean Galael - 1:47.570 / Toro Rosso-Renault / Indonesia*
19. Marcus Ericsson - 1:47.699 / Sauber-Ferrari / Sweden
20. Pascal Wehrlein - 1:47.886 / Sauber-Ferrari / Germany

* - Driving in FP1 only.

Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Renault Confirms Sainz For 2018


    Carlos Sainz Jnr will replace Jolyon Palmer at Renault for the 2018 Formula 1 season.

    Sainz will switch from Toro Rosso, where he made his F1 debut in 2015, as part of the deal to allow the team to end its deal with Renault early.

    It’s understood Sainz has only been loaned to Renault, and could return to a Red Bull team in the future.

    “To be a Formula 1 driver for a manufacturer team is an honour and I hope to reward Renault’s faith in me with my very best performances on track,” Sainz said.

    “The trajectory of Renault Formula One Team is exciting and I’m proud to join at such an important time in their history.

    I am looking forward to working with everyone at Enstone and Viry, and driving alongside Nico Hulkenberg.

    I have worked very closely with Renault in Formula 1 and previously in motorsport, so I know their motivation and capabilities.”

    Before joining Toro Rosso alongside Max Verstappen in 2015, Sainz raced in the Formula Renault 3.5 series, taking the title in 2014 with seven victories.

    Since joining F1, Sainz has taken 100 points from 25 points finishes, with a best finish of sixth

    “Carlos Sainz is a very promising driver who has been on our radar for some time, especially after his successes in Renault junior formulae,” Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul said.

    “It is positive news for us to be able to confirm Carlos for 2018. This choice is well aligned with out mid-term strategic plans.

    We feel that Nico and Carlos will complement each other on and off track and the combination should help us push forwards on the grid.”

Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
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Honda Engines For Toro Rosso, Renault Engines For McLaren


    Toro Rosso will use Honda power from 2018 after agreeing a multi-year deal with the Japanese manufacturer.

    The Red Bull junior ends its contract with Renault early and its understood the loan of Carlos Sainz to the works team was part of the negotiations.

    “Everyone in our team is very much looking forward to working with Honda,” said team principal Franz Tost.

    “Ever since its founder Soichiro Honda entered his motorcycles in events, racing has always been a central part of the company’s ethos.

    It’s a very exciting challenge and I hope that both parties will gain a great deal from it as we develop together,”

    “It will be a question of adaption of our plans rather than a wholesale change and we are in the process of re-planning our design and production activities in conjunction with Honda to ensure that we both hit all our important deadlines,” said technical director James Key.

    "There are some challenges to face given the time of year but Toro Rosso has faced many different tasks with timing in the past and has the flexibility to deal with it.

    We will be working hard not to only re-design the power unit installation but also to ensure that this has minimal or no effect on our ongoing development work for 2018 – that is our current target"

    It’s not the first time Toro Rosso has used different engines to sister team Red Bull - the team has only recently switched from Ferrari power – but it has only ever used old engines when using a different manufacturer to Red Bull. This time Toro Rosso will use the latest iteration of Honda engines.

    The news comes as McLaren confirms it has ended its relationship with Honda after three years of disappointing results.

    McLaren has signed a three-year deal with Toro Rosso’s current manufacturer Renault in the hope it can be competitive again in 2018.

Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
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Ferrari Retains Sebastian Vettel


    Sebastian Vettel has secured his Formula 1 future with Ferrari after brief discussions with Mercedes.

    Vettel’s contract with the Italian team was due to end at the end of this season, but a three-year extension means he will remain at Ferrari until 2021.

    The German had been linked to a possible move to Mercedes but Niki Lauda confirmed they had stopped discussions when it became clear Vettel didn’t want to leave Ferrari.

    The deal means Ferrari will not change its driver line-up for a fourth consecutive season, with Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen already confirmed for 2018.

    Vettel joined Ferrari in 2015 and has so far taken seven wins for the Italian teams. This season he became the first Ferrari driver since Fernando Alonso in 2013 to lead a Formula 1 championship.

    He is currently second in the championship just three points behind points leader Lewis Hamilton.

Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
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Singapore GP: Driver Preview Quotes - Toro Rosso


Daniil Kvyat - “The Singapore Grand Prix is a very enjoyable event because it takes place in the city centre of a very cool city and there's a mega atmosphere! Racing at night makes it all even more special and I'd say it's one of the most unique weekends of the year.

    It's quite hot and humid there, which means it's a challenging race from a physical point of view. The good news is that I always arrive there very well prepared thanks to all the work my physio and I put in throughout the whole year.

    Even if it's difficult, I sometimes try and do some shopping as there are many shopping centres in the city. It's not easy as we stay on European time in Singapore, so when we finish at the track it's early morning all the shops are already closed! An option is to wake up earlier and do it before going to the circuit, but I like sleeping and that's actually what I should do until ‘lunch time’.

    Last year I finished in the points (P9) after a very good qualifying session on Saturday (P7) so I hope we can be competitive also this year. In addition, everything can happen in Singapore, the walls are very close and the physical preparation can make a big difference. I've trained very hard to be able to stay focused on the driving without worrying about anything else… we need to take any chance that comes our way and bring home points.

    Even if you sleep the usual amount of hours, having to wake up at lunch time gives me the feeling I'm allowed to sleep much more than during any other race weekend but still fit many things in during the day… Maybe also the fact of going to bed very late makes me feel in a way on holiday but, believe me, we are not!”

Carlos Sainz - “I'd say Singapore is probably the toughest race on the calendar, not only because of the demands of the circuit itself, but also because of the physical stresses regarding the driver. The physical stress of driving at more than 50 or 60 degrees inside the cockpit due to the heat and humidity is enormous. The air doesn't flow, as the city skyscrapers don't allow it and you really feel the hot air inside the car!

    The track itself is really long, very tight and extremely demanding. There's no time to rest during the lap and you have to be 100% focused at all times, as the walls are all very close.

    We stay on European time while in Singapore, which can sometimes be a bit weird: We wake up at around 2 PM every day and leave the track at 3 AM, which is strange but also makes it more special. As we come from Europe I don't usually struggle with this unusual timetable. I sometimes find it more difficult to adapt to the Malaysian or Japanese time zones for example.

    Last year I performed one of my best qualifying sessions of the season, something which is very important to do in Singapore as it's difficult to overtake during the race. Unfortunately, the good qualifying didn't count for much in the end, as I had a frustrating start when I got hit as the lights went out… It was a very tough moment, as I was expecting to fight for points. We probably lost a chance of scoring a strong result! Let's see if we can do it this year…”

Article Posted By: Amy Hawk
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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Singapore GP: Driver Preview Quotes - Force India


Sergio Perez - “Singapore is definitely one of the toughest races in the season. It’s so hot and humid; a real test for the driver, but I am well prepared for racing in the heat. Sometimes you feel really uncomfortable in the car and you just want the race to be over as soon as possible. It’s hard to breathe, you are sweating a lot and the sweat goes in your eyes! But it’s still a special night and one of the best races of the year.

    I have been in the points every time I have raced in Singapore and I hope I can extend my record. It’s hard to single out a specific corner in Marina Bay because I really like them all. I love street circuits in general and this is a special lap. There’s no room for error – the wall is always next to you; one mistake and you’re out.

    Our objective is obviously to score points in Singapore and in all the races to follow. The season may be nearing an end, but there are still some very important races ahead of us and we want to make sure we do our best to stay fourth in the championship.”

Esteban Ocon - “There’s something special about Singapore. You race under the lights and the atmosphere is unique: it feels really glamorous and all the fans and guests are partying through the night during the race. On the other hand, it’s very hard physically. It’s hot and very humid, and you lose a lot of fluids when driving. It’s one of those places where everything needs to be perfect in the car, because you’ll struggle a lot if you’re not in the right position or there is something wrong with the seat. You try to prepare as best as you can for days like these; you train in hot places and try to maximise the performance of your body.

    The weird schedule doesn’t affect me. I like that we stick to European times: we wake up late, the days are shorter and you’re able to sleep a lot. It’s my favourite weekend schedule – I am someone who sleeps a lot and in Singapore I can get my 12 hours per night!

    The lap has some really interesting sections. For a street circuit, it’s very fast, but my favourite part is the twisty part in the middle of the lap, where you’re so close to the wall all the time. There are a lot of beautiful buildings next to the track and when they are all lit up at night the place looks very beautiful.”

Article Posted By: Amy Hawk
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Singapore GP: Driver Preview Quotes - McLaren


Fernando Alonso - “We knew the double-header of Spa and Monza would be difficult for us, but three DNFs out of four was still really disappointing. Still, we showed better pace than we anticipated, even though we couldn't convert that into points.

    We’ve now put the European season behind us and we turn our attention to the fly-aways which signal the final chapter of the season. Singapore is a great place to start, as it’s one of the circuits on the calendar that suits our package better than others, and gives us a real chance for a more positive result.

    Singapore is a bit like the Monaco of the East. It’s a glamorous street circuit right in the centre of the city and the atmosphere is incredible. It’s tough – hot and humid, and hard on the cars and drivers. It’s really fun though: bumpy, tight and challenging, but exhilarating when you get it right. You need a car with good traction on the slower corners and a high downforce set-up, so we definitely have a better chance there – we just need to make sure we also have the reliability.”

Stoffel Vandoorne - “I’ve never raced in Singapore, but I’ve experienced the whole weekend alongside the team over the past couple of years. Living on European time and going to bed at 6am is surreal, and it’s part of what makes this Grand Prix one of the really special ones. Singapore is such a cool place and I’m looking forward to exploring more of the city this year.

    Of the Grands Prix I haven’t yet done, Singapore is one of the races that I’ve been most excited about all year. It’s a completely different experience to the other races and I think the whole atmosphere will feel pretty unique – racing under the floodlights in the middle of the city sounds really cool. The Grands Prix here have been some of the longest on the calendar, so it’ll take a lot of stamina in the high temperatures and humidity, but I feel well prepared.

    We’ve had a tough couple of races as a team, but from my side I’ve also been encouraged by the performances we’ve put in across the course of each weekend. In every session we’ve been able to take away positives – even if we haven’t managed to get the cars to the end of the race or finish with a good result. I’m pretty sure we’re due some better luck, so I hope in Singapore we’ll be able to maximise the strengths of our package over the whole weekend, and finish the all-important race day on a high on Sunday afternoon.”

Article Posted By: Amy Hawk
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Singapore GP: Driver Preview Quotes - Haas


Romain Grosjean -I do like the Singapore Grand Prix. I do like competing in the night. It’s pretty good fun. It makes some great footage, and clearly Singapore is one of the most beautiful races you can have by night. It’s pretty awesome. It provides something a bit different on the calendar. I’m very much looking forward to it and seeing what we can do there.

    I think (it will suit our car better than the high-speed tracks). Every time we run maximum down force, the car seems to work better. We’ve got a better efficiency between drag and down force, so that’s good. The key for us in Singapore will be to get into the tyre window. If we do so, we’ll be in a good place. But again, that’s not easy to achieve.

    (Driving's) actually easier at night because the lights never change. The luminosity is always the same. You stick with the same visor, and driving at those speeds in those conditions is absolutely fine.

    (The atmosphere's) pretty cool. Everyone loves it, especially the VIPs, who then go partying after the race. It’s a special one, for sure. It’s a race everyone waits for. It’s a tricky track, and you’re racing at night downtown when it’s very hot and humid, so there are a lot of factors that make it exciting.

    It can be very physical. All week we never see the sunlight, so that takes a bit of energy away. Then it’s humid, it’s hot and it’s always a long race. We usually reach the two-hour limit. It’s very, very demanding. I remember back in 2013, I lost four kilos (nine pounds) of water during the race, which is quite a lot.

    Especially between turns three and four, and on the long straight, it’s very bumpy. You really want to find the right line there. When you make an overtaking move there, you’ve really got to be sure you’ve got the car with you as it’s very tricky.”

Kevin Magnussen - "I think it’s a cool track, fun to drive. It’s pretty difficult to overtake, but fun nonetheless. If you miss your braking or get on the power a bit too early, there’s a wall and you’ll be likely to hit it. This makes the consequences a bit bigger for any mistake, which is cool.

    There are some bumps around the track. You’re trying to avoid them as much as you can. It’s not possible to avoid all of the bumps as you need to take your racing line. It makes it easy to lock up in some places.

    It’s pretty tough (physically). It’s very hot and humid. It’s probably one of the hardest races. It goes on for the two-hour limit nearly all the time. It’s a tough race with so many corners – you don’t really get any breaks. There’s not a lot of straights to relax. (The race) goes on for a long time, so your fatigue affects your mental performance as well. It is a tough race.”

Article Posted By: Amy Hawk
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Singapore GP: Driver Preview Quotes - Renault


Nico Hulkenberg - “As a track, it’s really tough and physically demanding – arguably one of the hardest of the season. The lap is long with lots of corners and some tight and sharp bits. The high temperature and humidity, combined with the fact that it’s a street circuit, makes it quite hard. It’s important to be in top physical shape due to the harsh requirements. Safety cars usually come out which makes strategy hard to call.

    (Racing under lights) takes a little getting used to, but it’s not so bad. It’s been on the calendar so long that it feels like a normal race. It’s a very special Grand Prix and the only real night race we have. We don’t really see the day there! We sleep until lunchtime, and then it’s off to work, so there isn’t much of a social life for us drivers. The venue is amazing, how they’ve built it all is fantastic, especially as it’s right in the middle of the city.”

Jolyon Palmer - "I love Singapore as it’s a highly unique event under the lights. I’ve won there in the GP2 Series and it was one of my best wins. In fact, I raced there two years running and both years were very good. Hopefully I can create more good memories there. It’s a cool feeling driving at night as you can see the circuit very clearly from the lights but your vision is channelled as the background is in darkness.

    The final sector is a real challenge with the section under the grandstand. It’s tight over the bridge too so you need your wits about you. Stringing a perfect lap together is very testing. Over the bridge and the middle of the lap are pretty tough to get right as you’re braking as you turn so it’s easy to lock a wheel, and the last sector is very tight and twisty.

    We see the circuit change a lot over the weekend as the surface rubbers in then the climatic conditions are reasonably different between FP1 and FP2, then FP3 and qualifying. Getting a good handle on the balance of the car gives us plenty of work as generally it’s cooler later in the night. It’s not your usual race weekend!

    It’s a strange weekend as we wake up later than usual with a lot of the work completed in the evening, meaning we don’t get too much time to explore. But the great thing about the race is that it’s right in the centre of the city so you’re surrounded by everything you could want. You don’t have to go far for a good restaurant. It’s always great to sample the local culture.”

Article Posted By: Amy Hawk
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