Nissany: The goal is to race in Israel in 2021

There may be more than meets the eye with regards to Williams’ signing little known Israeli driver Roy Nissany, as he hinted this may be the first step towards a Grand Prix in the country.

At the post-grand prix test in Abu Dhabi last year, the unknown 25-year-old Nissany was suddenly at the wheel of Williams’ 2019 car.

He was quickly ridiculed, not only because he was several seconds off the pace of Williams’ regular drivers, but because his then 42-year-old father Chanoch was even slower when he did a Friday practice for Minardi back in 2005.

For the 2020 test driver announcement, which will involve Nissany doing several Friday practice sessions, Claire Williams travelled to Roy’s native Tel Aviv.

He has strong Israeli backing, including by the new Tour de France team Israel Start-Up Nation.

“I feel like we are all putting the Israeli flag on the map,” Nissany said.

La Gazzetta dello Sport said it could just be the first step towards a grand prix in Israel, “The goal is to race in Israel in 2021. It would be a dream to be able to drive there, with 350 million people admiring my country on TV.

“For me it has been a long journey – almost 20 years. Formula 1 was never a dream but a goal. Williams is a wonderful place to learn and I am very grateful to be offered this opportunity,” he said.

Israel Start-Up Nation was founded by Canadian-Israeli billionaire Sylvan Adams, who said: “The fast-track plan is for Roy to be an actual F1 driver as early as 2021. Of course, he has a few hurdles to accomplish before he can be selected to be one of the two drivers.”


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Red Mist: Who will replace Seb when he leaves Ferrari?

One of the biggest Formula 1 talking points, until the subject will be resolved later this year, will be the feud for the Ferrari number one seat, or in other words who Sebastian Vettel’s place at the Scuderia.

The quadruple F1 World Champion’s contract with Maranello expires at the end of the year following what has been a pretty barren Prancing Horse stint so far — there’s still a season of that to run, remember…

Anyway, there’s been more than enough flatulence about Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari future — Italian motorsport bible Autosprint, after all, ran a doctored image of Lewis in a red Ferrari suit to taunt the Tifosi its cover in September 2018 already and there was a literal shitstorm on the subject a few weeks ago, once Hamilton had taken his latest title and surprisingly shortly after we regurgitated the matter again some months ago.

The facts are simple — both Seb and Lewis are out of contract as this current F1 era lapses after this season.

Speculation becomes complicated; Vettel is clearly not the happiest chappie following young Carlito Leclerc’s arrival at Maranello. Unlike with the previous German maestro at Maranello, the Monegasque lad is allowed to beat Vettel, as he can, has and will again, rather than Ferrari having a gorilla in its second car contracted not to beat the number one in Schumi’s superteam years.

So, should he not stop? Is Vettel likely to sail into the twilight of his career having to deal mano-a-mano with superbly talented young upstart? Would you…?

Then the story of Mercedes — the one about the racing team being sold — plausibly as the next acquisition to satisfy Roger Penske’s voracious recent racing appetite — with Merc stepping back to be just an engine supplier – will allegedly see Lewis free to go and allegedly let Toto Wolff follow him to #4 Via Abetone Inferiore.

Both of which juggernauts would suit Maranello just fine — but can Lewis and Toto ever be able to pull off a “Jean Todt” at polemic-infused Ferrari, that is. But evidence suggests that ‘casino’ was a negotiating ploy of sorts and a highly unlikely scenario.

However, I will argue — there’s a dark horse — ready to repeat history.

According to recent speculation in the German press, the honeymoon may be over at Renault. Asked about Daniel Ricciardo’s commitment to the Regie, team boss Cyril Abiteboul said cryptically, “I think my answer would be different today than it was a few weeks or months ago…”

Is that smoke we see there?

Danny’s (Italian roots etc) has also long been tipped to dress in Red sooner or later and should this latest speculation prove to have legs, we would see Dan oust former Red Bull teammate Vettel, this time, from Ferrari.

Thus the possible answers to the question posed in the title are twofold:

  1. Seb stays and things between the drivers remain as they are or get worse because it is doubtful they will improve unless he unconditionally he may have to play the number two role if Carlito keeps betaing him;
  2. Dan arrives with his big smile, chills things up at Maranello and pushes Carlito harder than he has been pushed before without the aggro they are going through now with their current explosive pairing.

No, it is not a given that Seb will leave Ferrari at the end of this season, but the above also applies for when he does leave which should be well before his 22-year-old teammate’s deal ends in 2024.

Step up the Honey Badger!

So over to you: Who will race in Red alongside Leclerc next year?


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Camilleri: There will be significant extra budget next year

Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri speaking to media lunch at Maranello last week confirmed that the evolution to the 2021 Formula 1 regulation comes at a high price and thus his team will be afforded extra resources for the new era.

Seated alongside team principal Mattia Binotto, Camilleri said that a bumper financial year for the sportscar manufacturer, including the launch of the SF90 Stradale hybrid, had led to “a lot of smiling faces” at Maranello.

Integral to that is the F1 team, he explained, “We are one company and the car business funds Mattia’s business. We’re also prepared to invest and luckily the car business can support those investments, not only in terms of people but also in terms of infrastructure.”

Binotto added “Yes, it will be significantly more expensive. The budget we’ve got available is the one that’s needed. Certainly, the number of projects in parallel are significantly more compared to the past.

“We all started very early on the 2021 car. So yes, there will be significant extra budget next year, not only about money but resources – extra people would be required to run the programs. I think it’s got to be a situation to be managed right now.”

This is exactly what midfield teams did not want to hear, as the extra funding available to Ferrari and of course Mercedes, as well as the Red Bull-Honda partnership, will dwarf what The Rest can bring to the table.

The ‘damage’ is being done right now as 2021 cars are already well into the early stages of production, rendering the $175-million budget cap for the new era almost irrelevant as big money is already being spent.

With regards to Biniotto’s first year in charge of the sport’s most famous team, Camilleri said, “We need patience, we need stability and serenity.

“If you look back in the history of F1, where teams have done very well, be it McLaren, Ferrari in the good old days, Red Bull or today Mercedes, there is one common thread, which was that there was a lot of stability within the team.

“They learned to work very closely together. That is something we are very focused on. Mattia has been spending a lot of time to ensure that we have a cohesive, united team,” added Camilleri.


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Sato: Japan needs another driver in Formula 1

Takuma Sato

Takuma Sato believes Formula 1 needs a new Japanese driver to continue to inspire regrowth in support for the sport in a country where tickets for the Grand Prix used to be sold by lottery.

At Suzuka, the former Jordan, BAR and Super Aguri driver was in the paddock to support Honda and the Japanese driver Naoki Yamamoto.

31-year-old Yamamoto, poised to win his third Super Formula title this year, got his first taste of F1 with a Friday practice session for Toro Rosso at Suzuka.

Sato, who now races in Indycar, thinks Japan needs a new local hero to cheer on.

“F1 is doing well in Japan even if it is not the madness that we used to know,” the 42-year-old told France’s Auto Hebdo.

“Honda’s recent wins are helping, but I don’t think that’s the problem. Fans want something other than what happened in the 80s and 2000s.

“The real solution is a Japanese driver who can fight for the podium. It’s been five years that they have waited for a successor to Kamui Kobayashi,” Sato said.

It is debatable whether Yamamoto fits the bill. He is already 31, and although supported by Honda, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says he “doesn’t fit the criteria” for a Toro Rosso race seat.

When asked about Yamamoto, Sato answered: “He did a great job in the free practice given the circumstances, because it is never easy to just jump into a Formula 1 car.

“There is plenty of talent in Japan, but the challenge is to get all the pieces of the puzzle together. Super Formula is perhaps the discipline that is most similar to F1, so I think it’s a matter of time before a Japanese driver arrives in Formula 1,” he added.


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