The latest F1 rumours & snippets of info for this week: Bottas, Vettel & Verstappen? Red Bull break their own record & Renault’s injured truckie goes home.
Musical chairs at Merc, Ferrari & Red Bull?
There have been constant rumours over recent weeks of background negotiations going down between Red Bull and Ferrari about a possible swap of Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel. It doesn’t seem to be based on a whole lot apart from Verstappen himself being out of contract with Red Bull, because Vettel remains spoken for for 2020. That is, of course, unless the teams are able to agree on terms beneficial to them both.
Vettel remains on good terms with upper management at Red Bull, in particular with Christian Horner and Helmut Marko and it is worth noting that the public lambasting of Vettel by RBR for ploughing into Verstappen at Silverstone wasn’t exactly what you’d describe as venomous.
There’s also the possibility of Verstappen ending up at Mercedes. The German Grand Prix weekend will have done very little to convince Valtteri Bottas of his security at the team for 2020. Toto Wolff, on Friday, didn’t really seem interested in reassuring his second driver, and spoke about how Mercedes have to consider ‘the future’ when it comes to putting someone in the W11 alongside Lewis Hamilton. With Bottas then failing to keep up with Hamilton before getting stuck behind a Racing Point and then crashing out by himself, the writing seems to be on the wall that change is a-coming at Merc.
Verstappen is a definite candidate for this seat and, in a slower car, has become what looks like Lewis Hamilton’s main rival for wins over the remainder of 2019. The only question mark is… would Mercedes risk upsetting Hamilton by putting in someone who isn’t likely to play nicely? Hamilton, now 34, still has a few years left in him…
Esteban Ocon’s name isn’t going away either. Consigned to playing the part of teaboy at Mercedes this year, his alignment with Mercedes means that he’s far more likely to toe the company line and fall in as a dutiful No.2 to Lewis while adjusting to life at the front of the pack. Then, when Hamilton’s competitiveness declines or he retires, Ocon is there and ready. But, is he another boring ‘safe’ choice when they could tempt Verstappen instead? Again, it’s all just rumours – Bottas could be confirmed again at any moment.
Wolff said on Friday that July was very early to be committing to a driver line-up, yet that was when Merc committed to Bottas last year. If it wasn’t a problem last year, why would it be a problem this year?
Red Bull’s record breaking pitstop
It’s only two weeks ago since we last told you about Red Bull’s lightning fast pitstop at Silverstone, where Pierre Gasly was turned around in just 1.91 seconds.
Well, the Milton Keynes crew only went and did it again at Hockenheim on Sunday, as Max Verstappen came in on Lap 46. His RB15 was stationary for just 1.88 seconds, shaving 0.003 seconds off the record time set just 14 days previously!
Fastest F1 Pit Stop Ever – Red Bull, 2019 German Grand Prix
Racking up another World Record! 💪 In and out in 1.88 seconds, for the fastest pit stop ever 🏆
Geplaatst door Red Bull Racing op Dinsdag 30 juli 2019
Renault’s truck driver goes home
Renault’s bad German Grand Prix continued on into Monday, when one of their team trucks was involved in a single vehicle accident near Gyor in Hungary while en route to Budapest. Pictures circulated on social media of the stricken trailer dangling over the side of the motorway, with Renault confirming that one of their trucks had crashed and that the driver had suffered some minor injuries. Rumours abounded about what damage the equipment inside might have taken.
On Thursday, the team released another statement to say that the driver has now been released from hospital and is on his way home. With the equipment involved not being damaged, the team are now able to move on and put it behind them and say they are looking forward to the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.
The driver of the Team truck involved in an accident in Hungary on Monday continues to make good progress & has returned home. The goods transported were not damaged & our preparations for the #HungarianGP have not been affected. We look forward to getting the weekend underway.
— Renault F1 Team (@RenaultF1Team) August 1, 2019
F1 TV truck for Europe catches fire
F1 has released information regarding a truck fire that broke out in the TV compound on Saturday morning in Germany. A truck with the equipment responsible for sending TV footage to the world was reduced to ‘a smoking ruin’ four hours prior to FP3 on Saturday.
“0650 on the Saturday morning of a race weekend is never a good time for your mobile to ring,” said F1’s Television Systems Manager Trevor Turner. “The call was to tell me that the truck had been completely destroyed a little over 90 minutes previously. The fire services were leaving the site having done what they could and crews from Eurovision and our host broadcaster in Germany, RTL, were already on site assessing the situation.”
“While the truck itself looked relatively intact, inside it was completely destroyed,” he explains. “It quickly became clear that we were in real trouble. The Eurovision Services truck is primarily responsible for distributing pictures to our European broadcast partners, but it was also looking after additional transmission services for Canal+ in France and Movistar in Spain. Those services were now unusable.”
With two new trucks quickly dispatched from Frankfurt and Munich, they wouldn’t make it on time for FP3. A long and complicated process ensued where the footage used was the Asian feed sent via an alternative satellite facility. Back-ups from Tata Communications, RTL and Sky UK also helped ensure there was sufficient bandwidth to manage sending the feeds to Europe.
After all the temporary fixes were in place, Turner explained that “we were able to broadcast FP3 live without any issues. It was real team effort and the assistance we received from all our partners – at Eurovision, Tata Communications, RTL, Sky – was brilliant,” says Turner. “It really was a bit like a Formula 1 team arriving on Saturday morning to find they got a problem and need to do an engine change in a real hurry. In fact it was worse. It was like opening the garage and finding that the car’s gone!”
- Mercedes Formula E testing begins with Gutierrez, Mortara and Vandoorne.
- More aero updates for Ferrari
- New aero chief at Alfa Romeo