We've had a bumper couple of weeks of rankings points but naturally as Formula One goes on its summer break, the activity and pointsworthy moments trail off. There's still a few drivers up to no good though, particularly the Red Bull boys who are showing off their holiday plans, the McLaren boys who have a few questions to answer, and Valtteri Bottas who reveals some very interesting things about himself!
These words, from the mouth of Honda’s motorsport boss Yusuke Hasegawa, show just a glimmer of hope about the progress that the Japanese engine manufacturer is making. The McLaren Honda partnership, that was supposed to be such a resplendent return to glory, has been the punchline to many of 2017’s jokes, and it’s been frankly quite painful to watch the McLaren team suffer disappointment after disappointment.
Here it is, then, the summer break that splits the Formula One season not quite in half with an enforced rest. Some greet the break with enthusiasm - a moment to take a breath and consider what has happened whilst resting and preparing for the final push to the title. Others can't wait for the racing to return. The following links might help to entertain, no matter which side of the fence you fall on!
Just before the summer break officially kicks in, the Hungaroring played host to two days of mid-season testing, featuring young drivers, current drivers, and, of course, Robert Kubica. All eyes were on the Pole as he continues to test out whether he might be able to make an F1 return, and his fourth fastest on the second day, Wednesday, was a good sign. He completed 142 laps, as well, so fitness not an issue either.
This week, there are points for everything that occurred leading up, during, and after the Hungarian Grand Prix, which includes Fernando Alonso embracing everything to do with that deckchair, Kimi Räikkönen with some amusing radio messages, and Paul di Resta dealing with the aftermath of an unexpected weekend. Daniel Ricciardo holds on to the top spot, with movement from Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa further down the order.
The top five drivers in Hungary finished in the same order they started in, but that result belies some pretty tense racing. It was your traditional Hungarian race, without much in the way of overtaking, but it got off to a dramatic start when Max Verstappen took out his teammate Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap. Ricciardo retired from the race, bringing out the safety car, whilst Verstappen was handed a 10 second penalty to be taken at his one and only pit stop.
The temperatures were high as the red lights went out to kick off the final race before the summer break, and tempers were flaring as teammates collided, swapped positions down to team orders, and failed to change places too. There were a handful of breakdowns, one safety car period, and many, many lapped cars by the time the chequered flag fell.
There were two talking points heading into qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix – the first being Paul di Resta’s sudden opportunity to get behind the wheel of an F1 car. He managed to finish 19th, and within seven tenths of a second of teammate Lance Stroll. Both Saubers dropped out in Q1, both Williams and Kevin Magnussen, who set exactly the same lap time as Sergio Pérez but missed out due to the Force India crossing the line before him.
Williams have had to call upon the skills of their reserve driver Paul Di Resta, stepping in for Felipe Massa who has fallen ill during practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The statement from Williams said: “Felipe visited the medical centre and hospital for precautionary tests on Friday, after feeling unwell and dizzy during FP2."
Daniel Ricciardo led both Friday practice sessions for Red Bull in Hungary, but Mercedes and Ferrari were never too far behind, giving hopes that this weekend’s race might see three teams battling for the win. It was a scrappy day for some, however, with several crashes. Celis Jr and Giovinazzi were taking their Friday driver opportunities, but Giovinazzi managed to crash into the barriers. Romain Grosjean also crashed, making it a doubly bad start for Haas.
One day after confirming they would not be going ahead with their technical partnership with Honda, the Sauber F1 Team have revealed they will continue with Ferrari power. The team currently use Ferrari’s engines, and have been partnered with the Italian manufacturer since the late 1990s. Their current partnership involves them running last year’s engine but the new deal looks set to run “the latest power unit specification as of 2018.”
The Sauber team continue to go through plenty of changes as they adjust to life under new management, and now they’ve revealed that previous plans to partner with Honda for engines for the 2018 season and beyond have now been cancelled. Their statement was relatively brief, but brand new team principal Frédéric Vasseur has expanded on what has been going on.
You’d be forgiven for forgetting we’re rapidly heading into the summer break for Formula One, as there is news hitting the headlines constantly. If it’s not building up to this weekend’s race, it’s more fallout regarding the halo cockpit protection, and if it’s neither of those things, then it’s Sauber and Honda splitting up, or the pressure the sport is coming under from other motor racing series’.
After a fascinating few race weekends, we're into the final Grand Prix before the summer break. Hungary has a chequered history, providing both dull racing on occasion and fantastic weekends on others, you never quite know what is going to happen. This season so far has been like that too, but for the most part has delivered intriguing if not always classic races. Hopefully we'll have another good one to send us into the enforced summer shutdown in style.
After so many goings on over the course of the Silverstone weekend, it's understandable that it's been quiet since then. Drivers have been hibernating a little, waiting for the final race in Hungary before the summer break kicks in but there are still a few activities that haven't escaped my notice.
The British Grand Prix weekend gave us plenty to think and talk about, with the live in London event still causing a stir, the race under-delivering give or take a couple of surprising laps towards the end, and the huge swing in the championship battle. Along with that, we've got the recent announcement that the halo is, after all, the chosen cockpit protection device to be put into practice next season. This year is nothing if not packed, so here are a few links from the past week to keep you up to speed.
The FIA have revealed some findings from a meeting between the FIA, team representatives, and the strategy group, and they’ve decided to go ahead with the halo device for enhanced cockpit protection, despite the fact the majority of reports about the device have revealed little support. In February, the FIA admitted opinion from the drivers was split 50/50, but now they say it’s the way forward.
The drivers engaged in plenty of activities to build up to the British Grand Prix, including the last-minute but well organised London Live thing. There were also events going on at Silverstone itself, particularly for Force India who live just next door, and the crowd seemed to really engage with everyone throughout the four days at the track.
Lewis Hamilton took a comfortable victory in front of the home crowd at Silverstone, and with Sebastian Vettel finishing seventh, he has closed the gap to the championship leader to just a single point. Vettel suffered a puncture on the penultimate lap which dropped him down a handful of positions, whilst Kimi Räikkönen also had a tyre failure one lap before that. Kimi managed to finish third, though, so still getting on the podium, with Bottas taking that crucial second position.
There was talk of rain pre-race but it came to nothing as the complete race distance was run without a hint of the weather getting involved. Instead it came to strategy and tyres, particularly towards the end of the race when a spot of chaos kicked off with regards to the Pirelli compounds. There were a handful of good performances today, and a couple of great ones, and it all served to keep the championship battle on course and fascinating.