Midweek Wrap: Driver Market Heats Up, Seb v Charles, RIP Anthoine

A week that provided plenty of interesting stories in the F1 world, all of it was overshadowed by the tragic death of Anthoine Hubert.

Bottas Re-Signs with Mercedes, Ocon Confirmed at Renault: It was assumed as much in last week’s wrap, but on Thursday it became official, with Valtteri Bottas back at the Mercedes for 2020, with Esteban Ocon moving to Renault. Honestly I don’t feel there’s much I haven’t already said – it’s the safe option for the Silver Arrows, and as far as fallbacks go, things could’ve gone worse for Ocon.

That said, now the silly season rumours shift to Nico Hulkenberg, and where he might land. Will it be Red Bull, Haas, or somewhere else? I guess we’ll see…

First Cracks in Renault-McLaren Relationship? A customer team looking to Renault for answers after an engine failure costs them a result – hmm, for some reason I feel like we’ve been here before…

Out on the opening lap while his teammate lost a promising P5 due to failed power units, I don’t think anyone can blame Carlos Sainz for taking a little shot at the French manufacturer. Such happenings are never acceptable, but particularly considering this is year six of the V6-turbo era, and Renault are still having double-DNFs happen due to engine failures, it’s just embarrassing.

On a related note, it would certainly be remarkable if that Marca report turned out to be true, and the team opted for a return to Mercedes power. How different would the last five years had been had they never parted?

Ericsson to replace Giovinazzi? Suffice to say, Antonio Giovinazzi has not exactly set the world alight in his first full season in F1, and now the rumours have started that he could see it end prematurely should he not deliver a strong performance in Monza, with Marcus Ericsson set to replace him.

As disappointing as that would be for the young Italian, it would also make a lot of sense for Alfa Romeo. Ericsson is a known quantity who brings with him a decent chunk of cash, and while he’s not going to push Kimi Raikkonen, he’s also more likely to keep it out of the wall. Giovinazzi simply hasn’t contributed anything of significance in his 13 races so far – how likely is that to change with another eight?

Vettel the Number Two at Ferrari? A reaction that I think we all saw coming in the wake of Charles Leclerc’s victory in Belgium, the whole “is Seb Vettel still Ferrari’s number one driver?” discussion has been really kicked into overdrive. I’ll admit, I’ve done my part in the past to further that narrative, and yet while I’m certainly glad Vettel is being provided some competition, I still think it’s a tad premature.

The thing is, with the absolute disaster 2019 has been for the Scuderia in the championship standings, it’s also given them a fantastic opportunity post-summer break to let their drivers have a straight fight without the need for politicking. Right now, Leclerc is winning that battle, but there’s eight races still to go. Let’s see how Seb responds.

RIP Anthoine Hubert: There’s really nothing I want to add to what I said on Monday about this terrible tragedy, but as this is undoubtedly the story of the week, it would be remiss if I didn’t include it here. Our thoughts continue to be with the Hubert family, as well as Juan-Manuel Correa, who we wish a speedy recovery as he continues his recuperation in the UK.

Source: https://www.grandprix247.com/feed/

Correa Moved to UK As Recovery Continues

American-Ecuadorian Formula Two racer Juan Manuel Correa is being moved to intensive care in Britain after being injured in an accident that killed French driver Anthoine Hubert at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium last weekend.

The 20-year-old suffered a spinal injury and fractures to his legs in Saturday’s horrific crash during the support race for the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix.

“Juan Manuel Correa will be transferred today (to) a specialised ICU located in the United Kingdom,” a statement issued by his media team said on Tuesday.

“He will continue his recovery process in the care of a specialist team of physicians.”

Correa, a development driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula One team and grandson of former Ecuadorian president Rodrigo Borja, underwent more than four hours of surgery in Liege after the accident. He remains in a stable condition.

Source: https://www.grandprix247.com/feed/

Gravel to return at Spa’s Raidillon corner

Gravel will return at the current run-off area lining Raidillon at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit by 2022.

Anthoine Hubert tragically lost his life after succumbing to the injuries he suffered at the corner during the F2 Feature Race when he was hit by Juan Manuel Correa.

The tarmac run-off areas surrounding the corner allow drivers to continue pushing flat out, and although the tarmac area where Hubert was hit can’t be replaced by gravel, due to it serving as the endurance racing pit exit, gravel traps will be installed in the surrounding area.

The hope is that plans will be finalised by the end of 2019, but these changes are actually being made to attain the Grade C level of eligibility sanctioned by the FIM (International Motorcycle Federation) – the run-off area at Eau Rouge will also receive attention with the changes set to be in effect from 2022.

“No changes to the track itself will be undertaken at Raidillon,” Spa-Francorchamps boss Nathalie Maillet is quoted by F1i.com as having told the Belga press agency.

“However, what is certain is that we will install gravel traps. The standards for motorcycles are stricter. So the upgrade for motorcycles will have positive consequences for cars.

“Currently, we’re debating where to put the gravel traps and their level of depth. And also, if they need to cover the entire length of a corner.”

Maillet was clear that Hubert’s death doesn’t put the future of the Belgian GP at Spa in doubt.

“What happened was unfortunate, and reminds us that a zero risk does not exist,” she explained.

“The circuit has always worked hand in hand with the FIA for the benefit of safety. We will now await the results of the FIA’s investigation into the exact causes of the accident.

“This does not call into question the future presence of F1 at Spa. What happened was a racing incident.

“Of course, we’re all affected by this. We must to continue to develop the track.”

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.

The post Gravel to return at Spa’s Raidillon corner appeared first on PlanetF1.

Source: https://www.planetf1.com/feed/

Engine penalties for six drivers at Belgian GP

Engine upgrades from Mercedes, Honda and Renault mean six drivers will face penalties at the Belgian GP.

Mercedes, along with customer teams Williams and SportPesa Racing Point are all running an updated Merc power unit at Spa, leaving Racing Point’s Lance Stroll with a penalty for exceeding the component limits for the season by taking a new turbocharger and MGU-H.

His engine failure in free practice at the Canadian Grand Prix had left him on a higher number than the remaining drivers taking new Mercedes components.

Stroll will start from the back of the grid as a result, along with Red Bull’s Alex Albon and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat after they took the Honda Spec 4 engine.

The C-Spec ICE is in at Renault, with Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz all fitting this for the Belgian Grand Prix.

A five-place drop from their qualifying position is the fate for all three drivers.

Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen and Antonio Giovinazzi have all taken new power unit elements themselves, but remain within their limits for 2019 and so will not face any penalties.

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.

The post Engine penalties for six drivers at Belgian GP appeared first on PlanetF1.

Source: https://www.planetf1.com/feed/