Motor Sport's weekly debriefby Web Editor on 19th May 2017
How much weight did Lewis Hamilton lose during last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix? Which manufacturer is rejoining the WRC ranks? Heard about the time Senna went rallying? It's all in this week's debrief
Classic cars to return in new F1 game
Codemasters have treated F1 fans with top-quality games over the last few years and although they have proven to be somewhat of a mixed bag, this year's game looks unlikely to disappoint. F1 2017 will see the return of classic machinery, not featured in the game since 2013. The cars, including McLaren's MP4/4, Williams' FW14B and Ferrari's F2002, will feature in the game's career mode for the first time.
In other F1 news, Valtteri Bottas has told the world's media that it was his 'duty' to hold up Sebastian Vettel during Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. The Finn's defensive driving meant Vettel couldn't maximise time on faster tyres, helping teammate Lewis Hamilton to secure victory in the Grand Prix.
Hayden hospitalised after cycling accident
MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden is in intensive care and a medically induced coma after suffering severe brain damage in a cycling accident in Italy. The 2006 Champion, who has been racing for Honda in the World Superbike Championship this season, was cycling along the Rimini coastline on Wednesday when a car collided with his bicycle. He is said to be in a serious condition. Motor Sport extends its best wishes to Nicky for a full recovery.
PERRINN joins the 2018 LMP1 fray
As entertaining as a Toyota versus Porsche duel has been in this year's WEC campaign so far, there's no escaping the fact that the championship's LMP1 grid has been looking rather thin. That's set to change in 2018. Joining Ginetta as new entrants to LMP1 next season, British engineering company PERRINN has announced the sale of two chassis to an as-yet unnamed European race team, with ambitions to supply further teams too. With preliminary designs and digital simulations already underway, PERRINN plans to launch its new challenger in late November to begin testing in December.
Also in the sports car headlines this week was the demotion of triple WTCC champion José María "Pechito" López to Toyota's third car at Le Mans. The move comes after the Argentine crashed during his opening stint at the season-opening Silverstone 6 Hours in April and missed round two at Spa-Francorchamps through resulting injury. He will be replaced by Stéphane Sarrazin and will partner Nicolas Lapierre and Yuji Kunimoto at the great French race next month.
Alonso settles in well to life at Indy
Deep down, nobody is expecting double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso to pull off a Rossi-esque victory at the Indy 500 this year. There's no doubting the double F1 world champion's credentials, but more than speed is needed to win at Indy. Nonetheless, the bearded Spaniard's presence at the Brickyard has taken the US racing scene by storm. Over two million people watched Alonso's rookie test and although Alonso has admitted that the sense of place has not escaped him, pace has certainly not been in shortfall. The McLaren Honda driver finished a remarkable fourth on day three of practice, admittedly as one of just 14 participants with strong winds limiting the number of laps run. As Alonso bids to secure the second phase of motor sport's triple-crown, this overtake suggests he is settling into life at Indy just fine:
Proton set to join WRC in 2018
Proton are set to announce their return to the World Rally Championship at next month's Goodwood Festival of Speed. The Malaysia-based manufacturer is set to return to the series with an Iriz R5, built by British firm MEM who were behind Proton's former Intercontinental Rally Challenge and WRC Super 2000 class entries. The marque is set to compete in the championship's WRC2 class.
In other rallying news, WRC teams have expressed concerns over proposals to expand the calendar to 16 rounds, up three on the current number of rallies. Sixteen rallies have featured on the WRC schedule before, but at a time of far more liberal manufacturer spending.
Three things we didn't know last week
1) Lewis Hamilton abandons mid-race drinks to save weight
It was something we'd never heard before. On the team radio in Spain, en route to his second victory of the season, triple world champion Lewis Hamilton was audibly working hard at the wheel as he wrestled his Silver Arrow around the Barcelona circuit in pursuit of Sebastian Vettel's charging Ferrari. This was Formula 1's brutal new era in action, we thought - but maybe there was more to it. Lewis Hamilton was quick to announce after Sunday's Grand Prix that he has abandoned mid-race drinks in order to save weight. The result was one very rapid Mercedes and 4.5 pounds in bodyweight lost by the Brit.
2) Ogier to return to VW (for McRae commemoration)
Four-time WRC champion Sébastien Ogier's exit from VW was rapid and unexpected, escalating quickly after the VW emissions scandal, but the Frenchman is going to be reunited with his Polo R WRC at a special event. Ogier will attend San Marino's Rallylegend event on October 19-22 to commemorate 10 years since the death of rally legend Colin McRae. The M-Sport driver will line up alongside 12 other WRC champions, as well as McRae's former co-drivers Nicky Grist and Derek Ringer.
3) Lewis Hamilton feels that racing deprived him of a normal childhood
It's a hard life being Lewis Hamilton. Three world championship trophies (replicas, at least) reside in his Monte Carlo home, he's made a whopping £131million from the sport and there are just too many celebrity-filled parties for his bright red private jet to take him to. “I was robbed of being able to grow naturally,” he told the world's press. “I didn’t get to hang out with my friends — it was always racing, always business, always serious. You have to be a square and fit into a box — and the shape is ‘boring as f***’. Don’t do anything but live and breathe racing. Don’t enjoy, don’t smile.” Millionaire whingeing? A refreshingly honest appraisal? We think the latter. If only his peers were willing to speak out as well.
One video you should watch
Electric supercar smashes 'Ring lap record
Radical probably weren't too worried when an electric car headed to the 'Ring to try and steal its crown, but that is exactly what happened this week in the very capable hands of Peter Dumbreck. He set a new outright production car record on the Nordschleife in the NIO EP9: 6m45.9sec. Not a bad preparation for this month's Nürburgring 24 Hours.
A piece from the archive
When Senna went rallying
Fernando Alonso hasn't looked a bit out of place this week at the Brickyard and he's certainly not the first man to foray into disciplines other than his own. This week in the archive we look back at Senna's dirty weekend when he tried his hand at rallying. Don't associate Senna with a blustery, grey Welsh hillside? Think again.
This week in motor sport
We delve into the Motor Sport database to find the major events that have happened over the years, this week in motor sport:
May 15 2016: Max Verstappen wins after the Mercedes collide to become F1's youngest race winner. Report
May 19 2014: Australia's first F1 champion Jack Brabham dies. In profile
May 13 2012: Pastor Maldonado claims an improbable win in Spain. Report
May 19 1996: Olivier Panis makes up 13 positions to win in Monaco, his only F1 victory. Report
May 19 1973: Three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti is born. In profile
May 13 1950: The first F1 World Championship Grand Prix of the modern era is held in Britain. Report
May 19 1928: One of F1's greatest engineers Colin Chapman is born. In profile
Your weekend of motor sport
Formula E: Paris ePrix
European F3: Pau
WRC: Rally de Portugal
BTCC: Oulton Park
MotoGP: French Grand Prix, Le Mans
FIM EWC: 8 Hours of Oschersleben