Rumour and gossip from the F1 paddock
DANIEL RICCIARDO has admitted that his intention is to remain at RED BULL, although at the time of writing a new contract had yet to be announced. MERCEDES’ NIKI LAUDA confirmed in Austria that the team will run next year with an unchanged line-up. Both LEWIS HAMILTON and VALTTERI BOTTAS are expected to sign two-year contracts.
CHARLES LECLERC and FERRARI continue to be linked for next year. The Monégasque rookie’s sparkling form in the Alfa Romeo-liveried Sauber has strengthened his prospects of joining Sebastian Vettel at the Scuderia and, at the time of writing, a deal was believed to have been agreed but not yet signed. Meanwhile, KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN continues to fight to retain the seat and said upon climbing out of the car at Silverstone: “Obviously I did the best I could, but there seem to be some opposite views on what I’m doing, unfortunately, so we’ll see.” Others – notably NICO HÜLKENBERG and PAUL DI RESTA – have previously been in the situation of having a Ferrari seat agreed but not signed, only for Räikkönen to rescue his drive with some strong performances.
Between the Austrian and British Grands Prix, ERIC BOULLIER became the latest victim of McLAREN’S current difficulties, resigning from his position as racing director. Two new roles – performance director and sporting director – have been filled by ANDREA STELLA and GIL DE FERRAN respectively.
FORCE INDIA shareholder VIJAY MALLYA is the first person to be pursued under a new Indian anti-financial fraud law, the Fugitive Economic Offenders act, which has been established to pursue those suspected of financial fraud in India who then evade prosecution by remaining outside the jurisdiction of the Indian courts. Mallya is contesting the charges.
The MIAMI GRAND PRIX is looking less certain to be held in 2019 following organisational delays. It’s now looking more likely that the first race will be in 2020, although it may get a provisional place on the 2019 calendar.
The latest developments in emissions scandal DIESELGATE seem to have delayed PORSCHE’S plans to return to Formula 1 in 2021 – possibly indefinitely. This has had a further knock-on effect on F1’s engine regulation discussion.