August 17, 2016
We interrupt your summer break to remind you it's not always about more grip and downforce...
Take a couple of over fifty year old cars, one with a live axle rear suspension, narrow crap tires (by modern standards), great drivers on a wide open track like the Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit and a certain kind of magic begins to happen.
OK, you can't live in the past and you can certainly make a good argument that everything you see Nicky Pastorelli do to control this 1964 Ferrari GTO happens in a modern car, just so much faster that it's difficult to see and appreciate...
Well, let's just leave it at: be thankful there are people who maintain and race these wonderful relics in series like Masters Historic Racing Turn it up.
(H/T Peter Krause)
July 30, 2016
Both Felipe Massa and Valterri Bottas are rumored to be out at Williams. Felipe is said to have been told in Monaco his contract option would not be picked up and Bottas is likely paying for the disappointing season Williams had in 2016.
Replacing the two at the Martini sponsored team would be Jenson Button and Lance Stroll. Stroll, is an ex Ferrari Academy driver who this year signed on to be Williams' development driver. His seat is contingent on his European F3 series results being good enough to obtain points needed to qualify for a Super License. But it's also contingent on the $60 Million his father Lawrence Stroll (Michael Kors-Tommy Hilfiger among other investments) is said to be prepared to spend on his son's career.
At one point Stroll was rumored to have bought into Sir Frank's team though the team denied he bought in. What is certain is that he's hired ex-Ferrari race engineer and Ferrari Driver Academy chief Luca Baldisserri to be Lance's personal mentor.
Jenson Button will finish his career where he started his F at age twenty, sixteen years ago. Jenson is super marketable and, by all accounts, great at sponsor events.
Button's seat at Mclaren will got to Stoffel Vandoorne with Alonso riding out the third year of his contract "evaluating" if the new regulations are to his liking before deciding if to continue beyond 2017.
Renault's lineup will also change with the team not needing to rely on pay drivers after this season. Bottas and Esteban Ocon, on loan from Mercedes, are top contenders for the French team but Perez is still hoping to jump ship from Force India along with his considerable sponsorship backing.
Haas too is up in the air, Grosjean said not to Renault this year with the hope he might get a call from Ferrari but that was dashed when Raikkonen's contract was renewed. The chance of his moving to the Scuderia now in 2018 look slim and that seat at Renault looks quite inviting. But after turning the team down this season, his future does not look yellow.
The second seat at Haas may got to Charles Leclerc, a driver Ferrari wants to evaluate for future consideration. Leclerc would need to win the GP3 championship to score the points needed for a Super License in which case Esteban Gutierrez might land at Sauber or at Force India.
Of course no Silly Season would be complete without juicy rumors. The one floated during the NBC broadcast of Friday practice, that Mercedes would leave the sport in 2018, seems unlikely for a team party to the Concorde Agreement expiring in 2020.
The other, floated by Autosprint, is more plausible: Vettel "procrastinating" on any early discussions of a post 2017 renewal because he's evaluating McLaren Honda's progress versus the Scuderia's long term prospects.
That should warm a few seats at Maranello.
July 25, 2016
The Hungarian GP was, like all the races this season except for Spain, a tale of two races. There was the Mercedes class and the rest.
In Mercedes class, it was all over by turn one: Rosberg, too busy looking behind, got out-braked by Hamilton and Ricciardo. He made a good move on the australian in turn two but by the end of lap one his teammate was already a second ahead. The gap between the two varied but Rosberg never even tried to attack Lewis. In the final stages it looked a lot like team orders to keep station were in effect. The two silver cars finished a second apart but were a massive twenty seconds ahead of third place Ricciardo. In post race interviews Hamilton revealed they were doing the minimum necessary to save the engine. Pretty demoralizing for the rest of the field, bit dull for anyone but diehard Lewis fans.
Take the Mercs away though and you still had a rather old school Hungaroring, no passing race. The only bright spot was that "washed up, good for nothing" Kimi Raikkonen charging from fourteenth on the grid to sixth. Along the way, the only real controversial on track incident, the collision with Max Verstappen's Red Bull.
July 19, 2016
Great video from Auto Motor und Sport: tester Christian Gebhardt drives a Porsche 911 R on the Hockenheim "short" layout and up the Col de Nivolet pass.
Full screen, turn up to 11, sit back and enjoy.
July 14, 2016
There was no question a Mercedes would win the British Grand Prix, with over a second per lap over the nearest competitor it was just a matter of which one would get the better start.