Button’s farewell to F1 imminent
With just 6 races of the 2015 Formula One season to go, Honda’s hopes of delivering a competitive power unit have faded into obscurity. The McLaren-Honda partnership has this year has delivered just 13 finishes from a possible 26.
Both cars retired again at the Singapore GP, and in modern Formula One, its impossible to talk of winning or being competitive any time soon when reliability is such a big issue.
It appears Jenson Button has had enough. He stated at the weekend, “The joy of being in the car is only there if you are fighting at the front and you feel as though you are achieving something.”
“If you’re fighting near the back, you’re driving an F1 car, but you can easily get joy driving something else”, explained the British world champion, adding: “It’s about fighting at the front. It’s about the possibility of standing on top of the podium.
“That’s the joy of Formula 1.”
The prospect of trailing around towards the rear of the mid-field next year for someone who has tasted the heights of fighting for a world championship must be terrible. Especially when he could easily get a seat in a manufacturer team in the WEC.
Jenson has been a fine ambassador for the McLaren-Honda failed 2015 bid and has held at bay much of the criticism with his refusal to criticise either of the partner’s.
Even following the latest disappointment in Singapore, Button was positive about the effort being put in.
“It’s not an easy situation for anyone and the best way is to work together, to make sure personnel and money is being put into the right area”.
“I know the Japanese are working flat-out. They have no rest”.
The man from Froome concluded, “But as McLaren-Honda, we need to make sure everything is going in the right direction.”
And in reality, there is little evidence on track of that being the case yet.
Honda blamed for lack of other manufacturer interest in F1
They say, ‘Never kick someone when they are down’.
It’s simply playing dirty, striking someone who can’t defend themself. Then again, Formula One isn’t described as the Piranha club for nothing.
Bernie Ecclestone is now blaming Honda for the apparent lack of interest from other auto manufacturers joining the sport.
“I think this is putting off other manufacturers. 100%,” the F1 supremo tells Forbes.
“They have seen Honda come in and not do a very good job which hasn’t helped”.
Ecclestone bemoans the lack of manufacturers further: “If Honda had come in and blasted away people would have said ‘if they can do it, we can do it.’ Now it’s the other way round, they say ‘if they haven’t done it, what chance have we got?’”
The fact that Honda returned to Formula One surprised many, since they sold their team in 2008 to Ross Brawn for $1 – after reportedly spending $1 billion dollars developing what became the Brawn car.
The F1 gods then rubbed it in further, as Brawn went on to win the F1 honours in 2009.
However, in reality the finger of blame for the lack of manufacturers entering Formula One for the new V6 Turbo power unit era lies not at Honda’s door, as Ecclestone concludes.
“It’s ironic because the whole point of the new engines was meant to introduce new manufacturers.”
Manor F1 request privacy in Suzuka
This weekend at the 2015 Japanese GP, will be a bitter sweet experience for many.
Sweet, as people remember the life and person of a much liked young French Racing driver called Jules Bianchi.
Bitter, because of the memories of the events at the Suzuka circuit in 2014 that led to his death.
“There is no escaping the fact that this will be an extremely emotional week for us,” said Bianchi’s old team boss John Booth.
“Many of the team members who were with us in 2014 are back with us this year, including our colleagues at Scuderia Ferrari and of course Will [Stevens] and Alexander [Rossi], both of whom were in Suzuka last year in their roles as reserve drivers.
“We think of Jules every single day; he will forever be a huge part of our team. Without doubt, our memories are overwhelmingly happy ones, celebrating his incredible achievements in our race cars and the enjoyable times we shared along the way.
“Jules’ funeral reminded us that he was a special gift to so many people, not least of all the magnificent Bianchi family, who are always in our thoughts and prayers.
Booth called on the media to respect their feelings this weekend. “We were Jules’ team, and with that in mind I would ask everyone to understand and respect that, this weekend, we wish to deal with the experience of returning to Suzuka in a very private, introspective way”.
“Jules has not only been constantly in our thoughts since that terrible day in 2014, but his name has also been on our car at every single race.
“That tribute, our incredibly fond memories of Jules and the camaraderie we have within our team are all we need to race on in his honour in Suzuka this weekend.”
It would be useful if the F1 media focused on the results of the FIA’s investigation into Binachi’s crash. Questions are still outstanding; one being why the promised Virtual Safety Car has still not been delivered as intended?
Another is why F1 drivers are still able to drive at ‘unsafe’ speeds when they are signalled to be under caution.
British fan charged after invading the track in Singapore
Yogvitam Pravin Dhokia could face six months in prison or a hefty fine for his “rash act” at Sunday’s Singapore GP, reports The Telegraph (CCTV footage included).
Force India ‘B’ spec car fully ready for Mexico
Force India missed the first test in Jerez, stating the £500,000 cost of the four days could be better spent. However, the team were at the time suffering financial difficulties and the 2015 car was in fact impounded by one of their suppliers.
The 2015 car was finally unveiled at the British GP in July.
However, Force India have been testing the car and associated new parts at each race weekend since and expect it to be optimised by the time the Mexico GP is held F1i.com
Wolff explains decision to refuse Red Bull engine supply
Despite Niki Lauda’s assertions that Red Bull Racing had not formally approached Mercedes for an engine for 2016, Toto Wolff appears to counter this assertion. What this says about communication at Mercedes AMG F1? – we can but speculate.
“We decided with our board that we as an engine supplier – and as a team – have worked hard and long to achieve the success we have today, after taking the decision to enter the sport again as a works team in 2010”, says Wolff in an interview with F1.com
Hamilton concerned over rivals upgraded performance
The assumption made by most F1 observers was that Singapore 2015 was an aberation, and Mercedes have not really lost ground to their rivals. Toto Wolff described their issues as “circuit specific”.
However, Lewis Hamilton is not so sure. “I wonder if it was just that our car didn’t get slower but that maybe others upgraded their cars.” The Independant
McLaren 99.9% sure new sponsors are imminent
Since Vodafone terminated their title sponsorship of the McLaren team one year early, the Woking outfit has been on the back foot whenever questioned about new sponsors.
Hugo Boss, a long term partner of McLaren quit and moved to Mercedes and Santander will end their relationship with the team this year.
Jonnie Walker offered to become the McLaren title sponsor in 2014, but were rejected as their offer of around $70m was considered insufficient for that level of sponsorship status by Ron Dennis.
The liquor company is also now considering their future relationship with McLaren-Honda.
Eric Boullier is confident there will be positive news on the sponsor front “soon”. SKY F1