Weekly Debrief – December 22by Samarth Kanal on 22nd December 2017
A round-up of the week's motor sport news, including McLaren's lack of title sponsor, Ferrari's latest quit threat, Aston Martin's new WEC driver, Loeb's return to WRC and more...
McLaren without title sponsor for 2018
McLaren chief Zak Brown said this week that the outfit would once again do without a title sponsor going into the 2018 Formula 1 season.
The news comes as Sauber and Aston Martin announced this year that they would have title sponsors, while Ferrari lost a major backer in Santander.
Ferrari reiterates F1 quit threat
Ferrari’s latest quit threat carries some weight to it, and the Scuderia is particularly concerned over F1’s incoming engine regulations.
Over 1000 votes have come in so far through Mark Hughes’ poll, and Motor Sport’s readers have had their say as well.
“I’m more than happy for Ferrari’s bluff to be called, Formula 1 is being held to ransom by the Italian team and that’s just not acceptable...,” commented Steve Camp.
Rafael Perez Diaz commented: “[F1] should try to keep Ferrari but they can't afford to break the bank to make it happen…”
Toyota commits to WEC
Toyota will enter its TS050 hybrids in the WEC superseason, until at least 2019, after months of speculation over the manufacturer’s return.
While Audi and Porsche have departed, Rebellion Racing, Manor (Ginetta), SMP (Dallara/BR1), Dragonspeed and ByKolles have confirmed entries for the superseason to keep Toyota on its feet.
Aston Martin signs former BMW racer Maxime Martin
After five years with BMW and four seasons with the manufacturer in DTM, Maxime Martin has jumped ship to Aston Martin for the WEC superseason.
The 31-year-old Belgian, whose father is four-time Spa 24 Hours winner, Jean-Michel Martin, made his Le Mans 24 Hours debut in 2011, finishing seventh overall.
“It’s a new challenge for me and also a big change, but I feel that this is the right moment to make this move, especially with the race debut of the new Vantage GTE.
“I have competed at Le Mans three times before, but to come back again next year as an official Aston Martin Racing driver is an amazing feeling. I very much hope we can look forward to a lot of success together.”
Aston Martin GTE testing begins in the New Year.
M-Sport: 2017 WRC success 'will not be repeated'
After Sébastien Ogier took the drivers’ championship and M-Sport made it a double with the WRC constructors’ title, boss Malcolm Wilson has played down hopes of the same in 2018.
“It must be said that we will never replicate what we did this year,” he said.
Rally GB winner Elfyn Evans agreed, and added that beating Ogier is a “very tough ask.”
Sébastien Loeb to make WRC return
Nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb will return to contest three rallies in 2018.
He will take the place of Craig Breen in Mexico, Corsica, and Spain in an attempt to add to his 78 rally wins. Loeb has entered five WRC events since retiring from full-time WRC competition in 2012.
Brands Hatch gets 2018 DTM date
The DTM will return to Brands Hatch after a five-year absence, on August 11-12 2018.
"Five events in Germany, five abroad - DTM is becoming somewhat more international without neglecting its German roots," said Gerhard Berger, CEO of DTM organiser ITR.”
WTCR calendar announced
The WTCR – product of the World Touring Car Championship’s merger with TCR – has announced its 2018 schedule.
The Japanese event has changed venues to Suzuka, supporting the Super Formula season finale, while Macau hosts the WTCR season finale.
Monza and Qatar, which both hosted 2017 rounds, are not on the provisional calendar.
April 7-8 Marrakech
April 28-29 Hungaroring
May 10-12 Nürburgring Nordschleife
May 19-21 Zandvoort
June 23-24 Vila Real
August 4-5 Termas de Rio Hondo
September 29-30 Ningbo
October 27-28 Suzuka
November 15-18 Macau