THE HOST IS HAPPY THE F1 2019 SEASON IS DONE BUT NOW SHIFTS HIS CONCERNS TO THE LAGUNA SECA FIASCO! NASIR IS BACK FROM ABU DHABI WITH A FULL REPORT FROM THE F1 PADDOCK.
Monterey County’s board of supervisors voted to hire the A & D Narigi, LLC (A&D) firm as the new track manager in charge of the county-owned park that contains WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The five-person board voted unanimously to enter into contract negotiations with A&D. Provided both sides come to terms, the company led by former Monterey Plaza Hotel general manager John Narigi will replace the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) at the onset of 2020.
The board’s decision serves as the second time SCRAMP has been on the losing end of a management contract vote. Following a scathing grand jury report compiled by the county in 2016 that documented systemic problems within SCRAMP’s business practices under a former CEO, the county spearheaded a worldwide search for new management firms.
The board ultimately chose the Friends of Laguna Seca group to replace SCRAMP, but was unable to conclude a deal with the management team. As a result, SCRAMP was given a new three-year contract to continue its management of the park, and with the term reaching its end, a new search began that promoted A&D as the county’s preferred vendor.
Assuming negotiations between the county and A&D are successful, SCRAMP’s 62-year tenure as Laguna Seca’s manager will come to an end ahead of the new racing season.
Separate from SCRAMP’s business infrastructure, the non-profit organization’s volunteer base is considered to hold the greatest value. Assembled over decades, SCRAMP’s volunteer group has facilitated the track’s major events throughout its tenure.
In SCRAMP’s pending absence, it’s unclear whether the hundreds of volunteers who’ve provided physical support, and allowed those events to operate without the vast expenses a paid staff would demand, would shift their allegiance to A&D.
Without the volunteers, it’s also unclear whether A&D would be able to form a similar volunteer base required to hold large events and meet its budget targets.
GEORGE RUSSELL COMPLETES 18 INCH WHEEL TEST FOR MERCEDES AMG
Mercedes became the latest team to test Pirelli’s 18-inch tyres at Yas Marina today
Test driver George Russell, who lapped quickest for the team in last week’s two-day test, covered 100 laps at the home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He drove a W10 fitted with 18-inch wheels and Pirelli’s development tyres. The new 18-inch wheels will be used for the first time in the 2021 F1 season.
While F1 will continue to use 13-inch wheels next year, Formula 2 will switch to 18-inch rubber for 2020. Its teams completed their final, three-day test on 13-inch wheels last week.
Pirelli began tests of its new 18-inch Formula 1 tyres in September. Renault test driver Sergey Sirotkin tested them at the Paul Ricard circuit.
Meanwhile teams are due to decide tomorrow which tyres they want to use for the 2020 season. They are considering whether to continue using the same rubber as in 2019 following concerns over the new compounds Pirelli has developed for next year. Pirelli is keen to use its new tyres partly because they include technology changes which they hope to develop further for their 18-inch tyres
Charouz racer finishes ahead of Shwartzman and Mazepin in Abu Dhabi Louis Delétraz led post-season testing in Abu Dhabi for the second day in a row, as the experienced Swiss racer continues to revel in Charouz machinery. The in-form 22-year-old finished ahead of PREMA Racing’s Robert Shwartzman and Carlin’s Nikita Mazepin.
There were just two changes to the field for the second day of testing, as Ralph Boschung took a turn in the MP Motorsport and Roy Nissany tried out the Trident.
With 20 minutes gone, it was a similar story to the morning of testing on Day 1, as Mick Schumacher put in a series of fast laps to top the table, setting the benchmark at 1:51.308. Delétraz was swiftly back on top though, as he smashed the fastest time from the first day to leap above the German.
Callum Ilott followed suit in the UNI-Virtuosi, as he matched Delétraz’ time of 1:50.461 exactly, to prop him up in first. Marcus Armstrong has had no trouble making the leap from Formula 3 so far, as the ART Grand Prix ace topped the times for the second time in as many days, leaping above Delétraz and Ilott.
Mazepin was running fourth, and also faster than on Day 1, when his Carlin machine stopped on track and brought out a fleeting red flag. The session got underway once more with 50 minutes to go, but no one would better Armstrong before lunch. Delétraz, Ilott, Mazepin and Guanyu Zhou completed the top five. Boschung was sixth on his return to F2, ahead of Shwartzman, Daniel Ticktum, Felipe Drugovich and Christian Lundgaard.
The afternoon stint was much more focused on long-runs, as the drivers divided 682 laps between them. Giuliano Alesi led for the first hour in his new BWT HWA RACELAB machine, before Drugovich and Boschung both took turns with the MP Motorsport.
Shwartzman enjoyed his first spell at the top of the leaderboard when he broke the 1m 52s barrier with two and a half hours of the afternoon to go. The F3 Champ led for all but five minutes of the remaining time, as Delétraz stole the show for the second day in a row.
Leaving it late once again, the Charouz racer beat Shwartzman’s time by 0.052s to run home first. That left the Russian to settle for second, ahead of Mazepin, Piquet and Boschung. Drugovich, Yuki Tsunoda, Artem Markelov, Alesi and Marino Sato completed the top 10.
126C2. One of the most beautiful cars ever produced in Formula 1. It was designed by Dr. Harvey Postlethwaite, who was famous for designing the car that gave James Hunt and “His Good Lord” Hesketh their first grand prix win at Zandvoort in 1975 over Niki Lauda. The photo shows Patrick Tambay’s ride. It was the sister car that was put on pole in 1982 at Monza by Mario Andretti. He would finish third in the race behind Tambay, and race winner in a Renault-turbo Rene Arnoux.
This was the first Gran Premio of my life.
Three days after the race I was invited by the famous Ferrari engineer, Mauro Forghieri, to the Ferrari factory in Maranello. It was a great surprise to see and meet the race winner! Rene was there for seat fitting before the official announcement that he was leaving Renault.
Not bad for then 23-year old Karachi Kid.
The Honey Badger. The Aussie mate could have been a contender at Red Bull Honda. But the Wild One rattled his cage like Danny did to Vettel. Ricciardo’s first victory came – like Lewis Hamilton – in Montreal. With excellent race craft and last of the late breakers, Ricciardo needs Renault to deliver the performance package they provided to Nando in 2005 & ‘06. Otherwise, he will be doing his own version of ‘These boots are made for walking.’ And he sings well.
And now a word from our sponsors. The global appeal of Formula 1 is on display here. Ferrari sponsors include Dutch, American, Russian, Chinese, Taiwanese, Swiss, German and, naturally, “paisan” Pirelli and OMR Group.
Latifi crowned Vice-Champion with second place in Abu Dhabi Sprint Race
Luca Ghiotto made it back-to-back Sprint Race wins to seal third in the Championship and close out his final Formula 2 race with a victory. The win is the Italian’s fifth during his time in F2, and fourth this season, as he brings a close to the 2019 season. Finishing in second place, Nicholas Latifi is crowned Vice-Champion, while his teammate Sérgio Sette Câmara claimed the final podium spot and fourth in the Championship.
With Latifi and Ghiotto battling to become Vice-Champion, and lining up second and third on the reverse grid, they knew that a strong start would be vital. Ghiotto’s was perfect, Latifi’s was sluggish. The Italian fired ahead, as Latifi failed to challenge Giuliano Alesi on reverse pole, and lost out to Ghiotto.
Guanyu Zhou struggled with the getaway himself, as he dropped down to eleventh and allowed Jordan King, Sette Câmara and Mick Schumacher through. Alesi had remained in front for all of this, and even set the fastest lap. The Frenchman’s race quickly began to unravel though, as his tyres struggled to keep up with his demands and Ghiotto started to reel him in.
As the Italian closed the gap on the Trident racer, Mick Schumacher attempted to enter a three-wary battle with Louis Delétraz and Nobuharu Matsushita, however, the German got caught out down the straight, and Sette Câmara shot from nowhere to surge past the Schumacher. The Brazilian then followed this up by diving down the side of Delétraz, who braked as late as possible, before eventually giving way to the Dams driver.
Ghiotto had gotten within DRS range of Alesi, took a tow and fired down the left of him, before taking the inside line. The Italian roared into the distance, as Alesi fell into the path of Latifi, who swiftly eased past him.
Ilott piled further misery on the Frenchman as he followed Ghiotto and Latifi through to take up the final spot on the podium and throw Alesi down to fourth. The Trident man was handed some brief respite, as Matsushita in fifth was too busy defending against Sette Câmara to attempt an overtake himself.
The in-form DAMS driver was finally able to battle ahead of Matsushita, and made the most of a lock-up from Alesi, to dive ahead and steal fourth. Ghiotto had begun to struggle out in front, warning his team over radio that his tyres were shot. Luckily for him, Latifi appeared to be suffering with the same issue, which allowed Ghiotto to ease off, and still build a bit of a buffer in clean air.
Further down the order, Jack Aitken had begun to recover positions, firstly firing ahead of Jordan King, then powering past Schumacher down the straight, and edging ahead of him around the outside of the corner, which put him in the final points’ position.
Racing was momentarily brought to a halt as Nikita Mazepin clipped the side of Matevos Isaakyan and spun the Sauber Junior Team Driver 180 degrees, ending both of their races.
When racing resumed, Sette Câmara made a daring move on Ilott, with just two laps to go. The Brazilian squeezed past him down the straight, but the Briton battled back in front. Sette Câmara had another go, and this time, Ilott was forced to give up the position.
Ghiotto crossed the line in first with a 7s gap to Latifi, who settled for second, ahead of his teammate Sette Câmara. Ilott claimed fourth, ahead of Alesi, who secured his highest ever finish in F2. Delétraz managed to squeeze past Matsushita on the final lap for sixth, while Aitken completed the points’ positions, in eighth.
With the curtain closed on the 2019 F2 campaign, Nyck de Vries finished first on 266 points, Latifi second on 214, and Ghiotto moves up to third, with 207 points. Sette Câmara drops to fourth, despite his Feature Race win, while Aitken completes the top five, with 159 points.
In the Teams’ Championship, Dams finish on 418 points, ahead of UNI-Virtuosi on 347 and ART Grand Prix on 277. Carlin finish fourth with 236 points and Campos Racing fifth with 189.
The teams will remain in Abu Dhabi for post-season testing next week, when they will get their first opportunity to test out potential line-ups for 2020.
The French Connection. Another first for F1W. Our first ever interview with an active F1 driver. Esteban Ocon was European F3 and GP3 Champion. Highly rated by Motorsports media and, more importantly, by Toto Wolf. Placed at Renault at the expense of Nico Hulkenberg he remains under Mercedes management, and may be seen in Silver Arrows shooting for wins in the near future.
Lights. Camera. Chica. Action. Charles in deep thoughts. ‘I should be taking the photo, baby!’
If you can’t meet ’em, meet Papito. Seb’s dad Norbert had a big smile when I asked him if he was at Parco Monza in 2008. Definitely a proud papa. Seb’s son was born last week and in a few years we may see him battling Robin Raikkonen.
The Podium Pierre. I thought I was the happiest man in Yas Marina till I ran into Racer from Rouen. At Red Bull Gasly had, in the words of DC, the least desirable seat in Formula 1; teammate to Max Verstappen. Toro Rosso has given him new wings. The torpedo is right behind us.
Second and third rate people. I said to James Allison since I can’t get to Lewis Hamilton may I have a photo with you? He goes you mean get second and third rate people. I took the selfie, thanked and walked away. Then realized image was not captured. So I went back to him and requested a take-two and confirmed to him he was correct on our rating. He was kind enough to oblige with a big smile.
Nice to know there is humor in the cut throat world of Formula 1.