A Ferrari previously driven by Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher is set to go up for sale 13 years after the seven-time champion first owned it.
Three years after his initial retirement in 2006, Schumacher was still working with the Ferrari team, and was even close to a return with the Scuderia to replace the injured Felipe Massa following the Brazilian’s nasty crash in Hungary.
Despite having completed some testing in the F2007, the then 40-year-old was declared unfit to race due to a recent motorcycle accident.
That same year, Schumacher got his Nürburgring silver Ferrari California, and it has personalised ‘MS’ initials embroidered into the headrests.
The German clocked up 9,720 miles in the car that has a 4.3 litre V8 engine and delivers 460 horsepower.
The California is currently based in Switzerland, and it is not the first Schumacher-owned vehicle to be put up for sale in recent times.
Earlier this season, the 53-year-old’s second-ever F1 car, the Benetton from 1992 – which led him to victory at Spa – went for $4.9 million at auction, while his old Mercedes road car and the Tesla he used at the 2010 Race of Champions alongside Sebastian Vettel collected a total of a largely disappointing $189,600 at Les Grandes Marques du Mond in Paris.May 17, 2022
In an era where meticulous attention to detail on the cars is key in keeping them in an operating window, F1 technical director Ross Brawn – who managed Schumacher for a total of 18 seasons at Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes, said the seven-time champion would have fit in like a glove.
“That would have been right up his alley,” he told Sport Bild.
“He used to be the last person to leave the paddock on Saturday night before the race. He sat with me and the engineers for hours on dates and numbers. He would be fascinated to analyse all this with the engineers.
“He would be great in this new era. Michael would love the new Formula 1!”
Schumacher has been at his home in Geneva since 2014 after suffering severe head trauma in a skiing accident at the end of 2013, which necessitated a medically induced coma to treat him.
Alfa Romeo reserve driver Robert Kubica is set to take the wheel of the C42 during the first practice session at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The Pole became reserve driver for the Swiss outfit in 2020 after his season at Williams in 2019, during such time he scored a points finish once in 21 races at the crazy German Grand Prix.
He replaced the COVID-struck Kimi Raikkonen in two of the 22 races last season when he raced in the Netherlands Italy, and was out-qualified both times by Antonio Giovinazzi as he finished the races 15th and 14th respectively.
The 37-year-old completed nine laps of running for the Zurich-based team in February when he took part in the first pre-season test in Spain, and set the 21st quickest lap time overall, although he did not contest either of the other two days.
Kubica’s appearances last season were the first time he had made an appearance for the Sauber Group since 2009 when he left BMW Sauber for Renault.
His only points finish in 2006 in his debut year was a podium, and he went on to finish in the top eight another 29 times over the following three seasons, managing eight podiums during his time with the team, including a race win in Canada in 2008, one year after his nasty crash there.May 19, 2022
It looked as though a championship challenge might have been on for him that season, but the consistency of Ferrari and McLaren was ultimately his undoing.
Kubica finished in the points in 15 of the 19 races with Renault in 2010, and his three podiums left plenty of promise ahead of the 2011 season alongside Vitaly Petrov, but he suffered horrific injuries in a Rally accident in Italy, ruling him out of the sport for eight years.
The Pole’s 21 appearances since then have all come in the last three years, but Zhou Guanyu will resume his usual spot after FP1 on Friday.
Juri Vips will be running for Red Bull during practice as part of the regulation that states that all teams must run junior drivers on at least two occasions this year to promote young talent and facilitate an easier transition from the junior formulae to the pinnacle of motorsport.
Vips will run in place of Sergio Perez in Spain in what will be his first-ever official outing in an F1 car.
The post Robert Kubica to make appearance at 2022 Spanish Grand Prix appeared first on Formula1News.co.uk.
Lando Norris has faced a challenging start to the 2022 season, in fact, all Mercedes-powered teams have found the going tough so far this year.
The British driver was forced into retirement at the recent Miami Grand Prix, after being hit by Pierre Gasly on the exit of Turn 7.
The collision saw Norris spin several times, before coming to a halt alongside the concrete barrier with only three wheels on his McLaren.
The disappointment Norris faced in Miami comes on the back of the team’s best performance of the season so far, at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The Brit finished a superb third in Imola, after showing strong pace throughout the weekend at the historic circuit.
McLaren’s yo-yo pace leaves Norris unsure of what to expect at the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix, the 22-year-old is hoping the team can at least make “some more improvements”.
“From [the] Barcelona pre-season tests, I want to say it’s a bit more hopeful,” the Briton commented.
“Hopefully, anyway, we can just make some more improvements with the car.”
Apart from Red Bull and Ferrari, who are clearly the top two teams this season, the rest of the running order has changed at almost each circuit.
Mercedes appear to have the third best package, followed by Alfa Romeo, with Norris believing his McLaren F1 Team are currently the fifth or sixth best team on the grid.
“I want to say we’re behind Mercedes, we’re behind Alfa Romeo, but we’re in a good fight with Alpine and AlphaTauri. I think that’s quite simple,” Norris added.
“Haas are there or thereabouts, with us as well, so it’s close. I think that puts us around fifth fastest or sixth or something.
“I think we have a decent pace. We just need a little bit more to take a fight to Mercedes and the guys ahead.”
One of the biggest shocks so far this season has been the rapid downfall of Mercedes, the reigning eight-time constructors’ championships have struggled getting to grips with the W13.
Norris though believes that despite their struggles, Mercedes still have “one of the best cars” through the slow-speed corners, which there was plenty of at Miami.
“I wouldn’t say surprised.
“This track has a lot of slow-speed corners, and Mercedes have been one of the best cars on the grid in slow-speed since day one.
“I guess they just figured out a bit more this weekend and maximised their car’s potential a bit more, so I’m not surprised.
“It’s been the same in Formula 1 for years; some weekends, your car suits one track and the other time it suits another car.”
The post Norris makes shocking claim about 2022 Mercedes amid Hamilton’s woes appeared first on Formula1News.co.uk.
With the Formula 1 grid currently consisting of ten teams, speculation has grown that this number could soon be growing with interest being shown by some of the biggest names in world motorsport.
Audi and Porsche have both declared their interest in getting into the sport, CEO of parent company Volkswagen Group, Herbert Diess, confirmed that both would be joining in 2026.
However, both aren’t looking to form a new team; instead they are attempting to buy or invest into a current one.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown discussed the possibility of the grid expanding as well as his views on the German manufacturers entering Formula 1.
“We’ve got a great spectacle as it is so I understand why some people would go ‘We’ve got 10 very healthy teams, we’re not at risk of losing a team’ whereas historically, in the last 20 years, there has always been a team or two on the brink,” said Brown.
“I know Audi and Porsche, the CEO made some statements which effectively confirmed that they are coming into the sport.
“We can go up to 12 teams and I think as long as they are quality teams who are properly resourced and can contribute to the growth of the sport…
“Whether you buy or invest in an existing team or start one, it shows how healthy the sport is now that you have real people and investors that own different sports and OEMs that are trying to figure out a way to get into the sport.
“It’s achieved what [owners] Liberty [Media] has wanted to achieve which is to build franchise value for the racing teams.”
Under the Concorde agreement, the grid can expand to twelve teams, however, there has only been ten since Manor disappeared at the end of 2016.
Whilst Audi and Porsche are hoping to join existing teams, Michael Andretti has announced his interest in entering a brand-new team into the sport.
This would provide American drivers with a realistic pathway into the sport, something which there hasn’t been for a number of years.
Brown is very open to Andretti joining the grid, especially due to his family’s motorsport pedigree.
Some though are against it, with Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff concerned that it would reduce teams revenue.
Brown called these views “very selfish” and demonstrated his support of an eleventh team.
“I’m not surprised at all that some of the race teams take a very selfish view on what should and shouldn’t happen in motor racing. I don’t think that is anything new,” Brown continued.
“Obviously, he is keen to come into Formula 1. He got close with a deal on Alfa Romeo and now he has stated he wants to start a team.
“It is obviously a very high-pedigree racing family, a great IndyCar team, Formula E team, Extreme E team. We think the more competition the better.”
“I think the pushback from some of the teams has been more of a fiscal pushback because ultimately they chew into the prize fund.
“They have to write a pretty significant cheque on the front end which means the dilution of money is a few years out and if you believe they are additive to the sport – I think they will put more in through helping build the sport, maybe an increased television contract in America, more sponsorship – that by the time the dilution kicked in, they would have helped contribute to more growth.
“So I think we have a very long-term view on these things that economically, things would be okay, so we’re supportive of an 11th high-quality team,” the McLaren CEO concluded.
Former Formula 1 driver Christian Danner was left confused by the actions of Sebastian Vettel in Miami after the 34-year-old protested the underwear and jewellery regulation.
Vettel has long been an advocate for positive changes in the pinnacle of motorsport, including environmental sensibility, and he wore a t-shirt to the opening ceremony in Florida warning that the 2060 Miami Grand Prix will be the “first grand prix underwater” if habits do not change.
Then, when Sir Lewis Hamilton was “targeted” by the reinforcement of the jewellery regulation, the German wore a pair of underpants over his race suit ahead of practice to ridicule the directive that scrutineers have the right to check the drivers’ underwear before sessions to make sure that they are fireproof.
Six-time race winner Ralf Schumacher described his compatriot as “childish,” and Danner agrees there was a degree of immaturity to Vettel’s actions.
“He has a peculiar way of doing things that I personally can’t understand,” he told Motorsport-Magazin.com.
“When he makes fun of these FIA underwear requirements and then jumps around in the pit lane with his pants on, then I have to say honestly, it’s kindergarten.
“If I was team boss, I would have told him to take a two-week break and go where he belongs at the moment, which is kindergarten. When he’s done there, he’s welcome to drive again.”
Vettel has managed one points finish thus far in the three races he has contested this season due to a woeful Aston Martin car that has handled horribly and displayed erratic pace.
Danner believes that the 34-year-old should be more focused on trying to extract performances from the car on track rather than arguing with the FIA.May 17, 2022
“I know many drivers who have driven bad cars in their careers,” he explained.
“Is that why they ran through the pit lane in their pants? No! They were happy when the FIA took care of something and put it in the regulations.
“I think Seb is still a good F1 driver. But he has changed a bit in the last few years and is no longer as focused as he once was, but there are a thousand things that interest him more.”
The two-time points finisher elaborates that he support’s Vettel’s sustainability push, but concedes that he believes the four-time champion sometimes forgets how fortunate he is to race for a living.
“I have nothing against him getting involved in environmental politics, that’s all fine,” continued Danner.
“But somewhere the seriousness for a Formula One racing driver is already rooted in the fact that it is a privilege to drive his car and many forget that.”
Aston Martin are introducing a B-spec car to this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix that they hope can improve their performances having scored six points between Vettel and Lance Stroll in the opening five races.
The post ‘Seb belongs in a kindergarten’: Vettel criticised for ‘peculiar’ actions appeared first on Formula1News.co.uk.
Following the news that the Russian Grand Prix will not be replaced in 2022, the budget cap has subsequently decreased due to the expenses that will no longer be incurred.
When Russian Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine in February, the FIA immediately moved to cancel this year’s Russian Grand Prix, and banned competitors from Russia and Belarus – who aided the war efforts – from competing under those nationalities.
The neutral flag for the drivers was enforced conjointly with an immediate ban on branding, colours and anthems from Russia and Belarus, and Formula 1 later announced that its contract with organisers of the race had been terminated, likely until Putin is out of office.
Promoters had been working to try and get another race on the calendar to replace the grand prix in Sochi, and the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia was joined by Hockenheim in being possible destinations.
There were then whispers that a second race in Singapore was the only alternative and, failing that, there would be no replacement at all.
In the end, no feasible destination could be found, so the calendar length this year will remain as it was last season at 22 races.
“It was announced on February 25 that, following meetings between Formula 1, the FIA and the teams, the championship would not race at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, which was set to be held on September 23-25,” read a statement from F1.
“But it’s now been revealed that there will be no additional Grand Prix added to the calendar to fill the gap – meaning the 2022 calendar will run to 22 races.”
The result of the subtraction of the race in Russia means that the budget cap, which is now understood to have stood at $142.4 million, will decrease to $141.2 million to reflect the fact that the teams no longer have to travel to the extra race and ship their equipment there.
The dates for the rest of the races will remain the same, so the teams will have the weekend off from 23-25 September.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has reiterated that Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell and on equal standing at the team after 1997 Jacques Villeneuve suggested otherwise.
Hamilton has out-qualified Russell three times in the opening five rounds of the 2022 season, but the 24-year-old has out-performed the seven-time champion in all of the last four rounds, although a couple of those can be attributed to fortunately timed Safety Cars.
The new technical regulations have set the Silver Arrows on the back foot since the start of the year, and third is the best result they have managed, with Hamilton finishing behind the Ferraris in Bahrain before Russell grabbed P3 in Melbourne.
Their dreadful weekend epitomised the erratic nature of the W13, and despite an improved performance in Miami, they were still a long way adrift of the leading two teams.
Villeneuve has previously stated that Hamilton is “not coping at all” with the acclimatisation to life in the midfield, and reckons that Russell is now the lead driver after his recent performances.
“I think we have seen the final changing of the guard at Mercedes,” he said.
“George Russell is riding the wave, Lewis Hamilton is trying not to drown. After many years of winning without competition, it’s hard to wake up and realise it’s not that easy.”
Wolff had no time for the remark, adding that, while Russell has done an outstanding job, Hamilton has done just the same, and the pair are working collaboratively to push the team forward.
“I hardly follow it,” he told the Osterreich Newspaper.
“And if I overhear one or the other comment, I can only smile about it. George is doing a good job, but that’s exactly what we expected from him, that’s why he’s at Mercedes.
“I don’t notice anything about it on the team. These are background noises played through the press. Lewis and George push each other.”
The 50-year-old has previously described the 2022 car as a “diva,” but Russell affirmed that the issues are slightly more profound than that.
“[The performance is] there; we just need to try and unlock it. Toto’s throwing the word diva around a lot, but I think that’s a bit of an understatement because it’s so unpredictable,” said the Briton.
“When the thing just starts bouncing in the corners, it’s a killer to drive. [In the race] it wasn’t as bad; when you’re not in your full quali mode, you’re not going quite as quick, but it certainly wasn’t great.”
Mercedes are 62 points behind leaders Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship, but head to Barcelona this weekend with an array of upgrades that they hope will propel them closer to the front.
The post Wolff responds to claim that Russell is Mercedes’ number one driver appeared first on Formula1News.co.uk.
Russian commentator Alexey Popov has theorised that Mohammed ben Sulayem is sending a message to Mercedes by suggesting that Michael Masi may make a return.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and seven-time champion Sir Lewis Hamilton were left “disillusioned” with Formula 1 after the controversial end to the 2021 championship, which saw a bizarre Safety Car restart from now former race director Michael Masi open the door to a last gasp Max Verstappen move for the win on the final lap.
After weeks of pressure it was finally announced that Masi would be replaced by the alternating Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, with the former presiding over an F1 for the first time at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
However, ben Sulayem recently said that he is “open” to the Australian coming back in some capacity, affirming that he “didn’t get rid of him” and that the “operation” at race control was flawed last season.
This is said to have caused some surprise at Mercedes, who are also fighting the FIA over the enforcement of the jewellery regulation.
A source close to the governing body was quoted by Sportsmail as saying that the FIA want to remind Wolff that he does not “run” the sport, which has traditionally been a joint effort from the teams, FOM and the FIA.
Popov indicates that ben Sulayem is eager to show the Austrian that he is not in charge of the pinnacle of motorsport.
“Ben Sulayem said that two race directors is not enough – that a third is needed and he needs such an experienced specialist as Michael Masi,” he said, quoted by grandprix.com.
“It is said that in the Wolff and Hamilton camp, this caused a shock.
“I see it as Sulayem saying ‘Stop, guys. Stop showing me who’s in charge here, otherwise I’ll show you’. How true this is, I can’t say.
“But in the context of this whole story, it does look plausible.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes are bringing upgrades to this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix that they hope can get them closer to Red Bull and Ferrari, and Hamilton would surely like to out-perform George Russell in the race having finished behind him in all of the last four.May 17, 2022
Amid speculation that there has been a “changing of the guard,” in the words of Jacques Villeneuve, former vice president of Mercedes motorsport Norbert Haug predicts that the 37-year-old will be back on top this weekend.
“Russell is a very good driver but I would never underestimate Lewis,” he told Sky Germany.
“Anyone who thinks he’s throwing in the towel is wrong. A world champion is of course criticised if he doesn’t do his usual job, and he’s currently behind his teammate.
“But I wouldn’t be surprised if that is no longer the case in Barcelona.”
Hamilton sits sixth in the Drivers’ Standings at present, two positions and 23 points adrift of Russell after five rounds.
The post FIA president stamping his authority on Hamilton and Mercedes by warning of Masi’s return appeared first on Formula1News.co.uk.