Grosjean more worried in 2018 about Haas axe

As rumours swirl about his future with Haas, Romain Grosjean has said he was more worried in 2018 than he is this year in getting the chop.

More questions about Grosjean’s future were asked on media day at the Hungaoring and he did not seem overly concerned about his clashes with team-mate Kevin Magnussen this season potentially leading to him being shown the exit door.

Haas team boss, Guenther Steiner, has all but ruled out a mid-season change, but a decision will have to made on which drivers the American outfit will pick for the 2020 campaign.

Grosjean, though, thinks he was in a more difficult situation 12 months ago having failed to score in the first eight races of the season compared to now.

“I was more worried last year than I am this year,” Grosjean said in the FIA Drivers’ Press Conference in Hungary.

“Last year there were a lot of reasons that I could have ended up this year at home. I made many mistakes that I shouldn’t have done with my experience. But I think since then I recovered pretty well.

“The races, I’m happy with my performance. I think qualifying I could have been better earlier in the year but now it’s back to what it was.

“Like I say…last year there were many, many reasons for me to be staying at home. This year, I guess there is many less [reasons].

Magnussen was asked the same question about whether he is fearful of his future with Haas and responded with a straight-to-the-point answer.

“I’m not worried at all,” Magnussen simply said.

The Haas duo also said there are no bad intentions from either driver, who respect each other and only want the best for the team despite their increasingly regular collisions.

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Hamilton feels in ‘fighting shape’ again after bug

Lewis Hamilton is confident he will be 100 per cent fit again for the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend as he looks to get back to winning ways.

Hamilton was battling illness in Germany and plans were made to replace him with reserve driver, Esteban Ocon, ahead of qualifying for the race.

The World Championship leader would see out the rest of the weekend, but was only able to scramble two points after a lowly P11 became P9 due to post-race penalties to both Alfa Romeo cars.

Hamilton, though, feels he will be in a better shape both physically and mentally for the last race before the summer break kicks in.

“I am going to be 100 per cent by the weekend,” Hamilton told the assembled press at the Hungaroring.

“I still need a bit more rest but I definitely feel in much better fighting shape.

“I am looking forward to getting back in the car, which is completely different to how I felt last Friday, when getting in the car was not a good thing.”

After Mercedes’ worst result of the season in Germany, Hamilton is not expecting any big hangovers from the Hockenheimring because of the open environment Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has created within the team.

“It is super, super open, it is the best working environment,” Hamilton added.

“I don’t think any team have the openness we have and I truly believe that is why we are able to move on. A lot of people shy away from being open or asking questions, here you can say absolutely everything and not have a filter.

“It means we advance so much faster. It is because of the philosophy that Toto [Wolff] brings, it makes it easier to work and the same with [chief strategist] James Vowles, it transfers all the way down.”

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Vettel on Ferrari’s chances of success in Hungary

Sebastian Vettel has said he is “open-minded” about Ferrari’s chances of success in Hungary, but does not see the Scuderia as favourites.

Vettel has won two of the last four races in Hungary, but Ferrari’s last Grand Prix winner remains Kimi Raikkonen following a 14-race winless drought since the 2018 United States Grand Prix.

Vettel’s fantastic P20 to P2 run in Germany will no doubt inject some much needed confidence ahead of the final race before the summer break, yet he is well aware that Ferrari are still deep in the process of righting the wrongs of this season.

“I’m fairly open-minded,” Vettel told reporters in Hungary about his assessment for the upcoming weekend.

“I think we should be ok but maybe we don’t come here as favourites with the track characteristics being a bit different. We maybe had the same thoughts on other places and turned out to do quite well.

“We need to get our stuff together, we have some new bits and hopefully that will put us some performance and a good direction for the next races in the second half of the season.

“We see the tendency that we are faster on the straights compared to the others but we pay the price in the corners.

“So, I think we have a rather efficient car but we are lacking a bit of downforce, so these two things added together explain also the picture and why sometimes it’s up and why it’s down.”

With the summer almost upon us, Vettel then reflected on the season so far for Ferrari.

“I feel we are making progress. I think Bahrain is an extreme where everything was working quite well and Charles was very competitive the whole weekend,” he added.

“After that we struggled a little bit to repeat for a while and then Canada came around the corner where it was a little more straightforward, Austria and Hockenheim, I think in terms of efficiency and being power-limited, we were able to make more of a difference than in other places but at the same time, as I said earlier, we were able to improve the car and we are going in the right direction.

“This one is exactly the opposite. Efficiency doesn’t matter and you just need downforce, so it will be interesting to see where we are.

“As I said, we are working hard and bringing new bits to try and understand further what we need to do with the car and where we need to go.”

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Vettel takes a chance on more ultras for Hungary GP

Sebastian Vettel has opted to take an increased number of Pirelli’s ultrasoft tyres to the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of the month.

The Ferrari driver will be packing nine sets of the purple compound for the race, one more than his team mate Kimi Raikkonen.

It’s also two sets more than his rivals at Mercedes and Red Bull, all of whom have decided on a more conservative assignment of seven sets of ultras.

Pirelli has once again offered teams a choice of medium, soft and ultrasoft tyres for the race weekend. Omitting the supersoft compound from the line-up makes it another ‘non-continuous’ line up, the same as this weekend’s German race.

It means teams have to cope with a bigger step between the ultras and the rest of the compounds when it comes to planning qualifying and race strategies.

Drivers get one set of each compound by default, and then can make up the rest of their 13-set assignment as they wish.

In Vettel’s case, his bumper load of ultras is accompanied by three sets of soft tyres and just the one mandatory set of mediums. Raikkonen has preferred to take an additional set of the white walled compound.

Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have all made the same selection, with two sets of mediums and four of the soft tyres alongside their seven ultras.

But Hamilton has gone all-in on the yellow soft compound, taking five sets in total and leaving room for just the one default set of mediums in his Budapest hand luggage.

Elsewhere, Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon have made the same selection as Raikkonen. That’s also the choice of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.

Magnussen’s team mate Romain Grosjean has opted for four sets of softs and just one of the mediums, which is the same as Brendon Hartley has called for in the second Toro Rosso.

Williams and Sauber have both followed Vettel’s lead and requested nine sets of ultras. Lance Stroll and Charles Leclerc also copy Vettel’s choice of three sets of softs, while their team mates Sergey Sirotkin and Marcus Ericsson split their remaining allocation equally between softs and mediums.

Just one team has gone for ten sets of ultras – Renault also made the same call for the German Grand Prix. This time around, Nico Hulkenberg adds two sets of mediums and one of softs to his consignment, while Carlos Sainz switches things around and takes the contrasting selection.

Infographic showing the selection of tyre compounds made by teams and drivers for the 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix

© Pirelli

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F1 to debate mirror rules at FIA meeting

F1 technical chiefs will meet with the FIA in Hungary to discuss proposed changes to the positioning of mirrors after several drivers complained they couldn’t see the car behind.

There have been several incidents already this season where drivers have stated they could not see the car behind.

The most recent was in Austria where Sebastian Vettel was hit with a three-place grid penalty for blocking Carlos Sainz in qualifying.

Although the race stewards accepted that Vettel had not been warned of the oncoming Renault by Ferrari and and could not see the car in his mirrors, they ruled that “being aware of the issue of rear vision with his mirrors, [Vettel] should not have been so slow and on the racing line, during a slowdown lap in qualification.”

The issue is set to be raised by the FIA at the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix.

According to Autosport, the FIA have called a meeting with F1’s technical chiefs to discuss potential changes to the positioning of the mirrors.

Motorsport’s governing body had wanted to stipulate a specific location for the mirrors with the centre point 640mm above the reference plane and 450mm from the car’s centre point.

That, though, would have be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council before coming into effect with the publication saying potential loopholes had already been spotted.

As such the FIA will hold off on any decisions until after meeting with the tech bosses in Hungary.


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