F1 2019: Haas retain drivers as Kubica announces Williams exit

A few more pieces of the 2020 Driver and Team line-up have been confirmed with Romain Grosjean staying at Haas alongside Kevin Magnussen and that Robert Kubica will be parting ways with Williams come the end of the year.

20/09/19

Haas keep status-quo for 2020

The day started off with Haas announcing that they will keep an unchanged line-up of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean for next season. It had been touch ‘n’ go to whether Grosjean was going to stay or be replaced. The obvious candidate for his seat would have been Nico Hulkenberg who finds himself out of a drive after Renault announced that Esteban Ocon would be taking his seat.

“Experience, and the need for it, has been one of the cornerstones of Haas F1 Team, and with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen racing for the team in 2020, we continue to have a driver line-up that offers us a solid platform to continue our growth.”

Team Principal Guenther Steiner

Kubica and Williams part company

Robert Kubica has announced that at the end of the year, he will leave Williams and try to seek a driver elsewhere on the grid but this is highly unlikely. Having spent 2018 as the team’s test and reserve driver, Kubica’s F1 return was made possible as the Grove team signed him to partner George Russell. Williams have endured a difficult campaign so far with the team struggling with poor performance although upgrades in the past few races have brought the team closer to the bottom-end of the mid-field. Kubica has been out-qualified by Russell at each of the 14 rounds so far this year but due to the disqualification of both Alfa Romeo drivers at the German GP, Kubica was promoted into the top 10 to score a single point.

Confirmed 2020 Driver and Team Line-ups

  • Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton & Valterri Bottas
  • Ferrari: Charles Leclerc & Sebastian Vettel
  • Red Bull Racing Honda: Max Verstappen & NA
  • McLaren Renault: Carlos Sainz Jr & Lando Norris
  • Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda: NA
  • Renault: Daniel Ricciardo & Esteban Ocon
  • Racing Point: Sergio Perez & Lance Stroll
  • Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari: Kimi Raikkonen & NA
  • Haas Ferrari: Kevin Magnussen & Romain Grosjean
  • Williams Mercedes: George Russell & NA

 

F1 2019 in the old points system – Part 2

With seven races to go, all is to play for up and down the field but Lewis Hamilton is a comfortable 22 points ahead of nearest championship rival Valterri Bottas while Mercedes are looking set for a sixth consecutive championship.

15/09/19

The points system Formula One currently uses has been used since 2010 allows for the top 10 finishers to claim points and as follows: 1st – 25pts, 2nd – 18pts, 3rd – 15pts, 4th – 12pts, 5th – 10pts, 6th – 8pts, 7th – 6pts, 8th – 4pts, 9th – 2pts and 10th – 1pt.

The points system used in Formula One between 2003 to 2009 was as follows: 1st – 10pts, 2nd – 8pts, 3rd – 6pts, 4th – 5pts, 5th – 4pts, 6th – 3pts, 7th – 2pts and 8th – 1pt.

Italian GP Result

  1. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 10pts
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 8pts
  3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 6pts
  4. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, 5pts
  5. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 4pts
  6. Alexander Albon, Red Bull Racing Honda, 3pts
  7. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, 2pts
  8. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, 1pt

Antonio Giovinazzi and Lando Norris who finished in 9th and 10th are not awarded points

Hamilton clear at the top

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton leads team-mate and championship rival Valterri Bottas by 22 points – over two races wins clear. Hamilton has really made progress since Hungary by collecting 24 points compared to Bottas’s 15 points scored. With seven races to go, a maximum of 70 points are up for grabs but it looks like that Hamilton is cruising to a sixth world championship.

Verstappen, Leclerc and Vettel vying for 3rd

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen currently holds 3rd place but just by one point ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who is three points ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Leclerc’s wins in Belgium and in Italy has seen the Ferrari driver claim 20 points in the past two races while Vettel’s taken 5 points while Verstappen has only taken one point. Crucially, Verstappen is only 18 points behind Bottas in 2nd so everything can change in the top 5.

Mercedes pulls clear as Renault close on McLaren

Despite not scoring in Germany, Mercedes have scored all season in double figures and since Hungary, have taken 39 points. The five time world champions are set to clinch this year’s title and have a 62 points gap back to rival’s Ferrari in 2nd. Ferrari meanwhile have had a great couple of races and have pulled away from Red Bull with the gap being 41 points. Failing to score in Belgium and in Italy, McLaren are now only 6 points ahead of Renault who have taken 10 points to close the gap in the fight for 4th.

Drivers Championship

Italy Drivers

Constructors Championship

Italy Teams

 

F1 2019: Leclerc fends-off Mercedes attack to win passionate Italian GP

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc seals back-to-back victories after fending off the Mercedes duo of Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to win on Ferrari’s home soil as Renault secure their best result season since their F1 return with Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg in the top 5.

08/09/19

Starting Grid

1.Leclerc  2.Hamilton  3.Bottas  4.Vettel  5.Ricciardo  6.Hulkenberg  7.Sainz Jr  8.Albon  9.Stroll  10.Giovinazzi  11.Magnussen  12.Kvyat  13.Grosjean  14.Russell  15.Kubica  16.Norris  17.Gasly  18.Perez  19.Verstappen  Pit-lane: Raikkonen

Race

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc’s second back-to-back victory started on Saturday as the young Monegasque secured Pole Position for the 4th time this season after a one of the most extraordinary final qualifying sessions in the history of F1 took place.

Leclerc led from the start despite early pressure from Mercedes Lewis Hamilton on the run-down to turn 1. The other Mercedes of Valterri Bottas pressured the Brit and managed to nip ahead for a few metres before championship leader got a better exit out of turn 1. While the Ferrari of Leclerc was up-front, the other Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel found himself under pressure from Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg who managed to overtake the German for 4th out of turn 5.

Meanwhile at the back of the field, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pitted for a new front wing as the Dutchman made contact with the rear of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez. Vettel began to make up some ground as he managed to re-overtake Hulkenberg for 4th as the other Red Bull of Alexander Albon, made a diving move on McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr into turn 4. However on the exit of the corner, poor traction meant that Sainz was able to get back alongside and was ahead going into the first Lesmo. Albon tried to fightback round the outside but a move at that corner, round the outside, is rare and unfortunately for Albon, banging wheels with the McLaren sent the former Toro Rosso driver on a trip through the gravel and down to 13th.

The Renault team were one of the surprises of qualifying by showing impressive pace and were now running in 5th and 6th with Hulkenberg ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. They switched places after Ricciardo overtook Hulkenberg down the main straight with the help of DRS.

After getting back past Hulkenberg, Vettel was now on the prowl and hunting down Bottas’s 3rd place. But the German, who hasn’t won this race as a Ferrari driver, wasn’t going to amend that stat today as he spun on the exit of turn 8. Trying to get back in the race, the four time world champion, unaware that Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was heading his way. Stroll hit Vettel’s front wing sending the Canadian into a spin and ending up on the kerb at turn 10. In his frustration, Stroll then came back onto the track with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly having to take avoiding action across the gravel trap. Vettel pitted for repairs.

As if his day was going to get better, Vettel received the harshest penalty the race stewards can give out – a 10 second stop/go penalty. This would take Vettel out of contention of the win, a podium finish and even points. He was eventually lapped and finished 13th after making an additional pit-stop near the end of the race.

Up-front, Leclerc kept his Ferrari ahead but the gap back to Hamilton never exceeded 3 seconds and it was the Brit who blinked first. Mercedes pitted Hamilton a lap before Leclerc but the under-cut failed to work it’s magic as Leclerc came back out just in front. The major difference between the pair was the tyres their teams had put on. Mercedes fitted Hamilton with the Medium tyre while Ferrari, clearly, put the Hard tyre on Leclerc. After running race stints during practice, Ferrari knew that their car was quicker on the Hard tyre compared to the Medium and this along with the tyre life aided Leclerc’s fight.

Bottas decided to stick it out and ran for a few laps longer than the duelling pair but his over-cut wasn’t going to work. Onto lap 23, after overtaking Hulkenberg for 3rd and 4th, Leclerc and Hamilton made their way to turn 3 with Hamilton in the slipstream of the Ferrari. Hamilton pulled to the right and made it nearly all the way alongside coming into the braking zone. Leclerc moved over to take the racing line and that left little space for Hamilton. The Brit took to the escape road while Leclerc held the lead. Although a bit naughty, the stewards gave Leclerc the black and white flag.

After successfully defending his position against Albon earlier, Sainz had been running in 6th behind the Renault’s before his pit-stop. After retiring in Belgium, the Spaniard was looking good for some points in aid of minimising the points deficit to Renault. A botched pit-stop for Sainz saw front-right tyre being not secured properly and saw a consecutive retirement.

After a brief Virtual Safety Car, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was hoping to make up some places having not pitted and was going to use the VSC to his advantage. However, an oil leak left the Russian at the side of the track at turn 2 becoming the second retirement.

Hamilton’s faster Medium tyres had piled the pressure on Leclerc who was managing his more durable Hard tyres. Meanwhile Bottas, who was on fresher Medium tyres, was catching the pair at a steady rate. Leclerc locked-up his tyres into turn 1 and jumped across the kerbs at the chicane and staying ahead despite even more pressure from Hamilton.

Come lap 42, Hamilton’s Medium tyres were starting to wear out and a lock-up at turn 1, which sent him through the run-off, gifted Bottas 2nd place and a shot of victory. Hamilton pitted and with a fresh set of tyres, the Mercedes driver took the bonus point for fastest lap.

With three laps to go, Bottas was in striking range on the run-down to turn 1 but overshot his braking point meaning that the Finn went deep into the corner and lost time to Leclerc. This mistake gave Leclerc some breathing space until the end of the race.

As Leclerc rounded the Parabolica, Ferrari fans at the side of the track started to cheer and celebrate – their wait for a Ferrari victory on home soil was finally going to come true after the Scuderia’s last win came in 2010. The winless drought at Monza was over for Ferrari as Leclerc crossed the line to win!

Bottas and Hamilton rounded out the podium with the Renault’s of Ricciardo and Hulkenberg coming home in a deserving 4th and 5th – picking up 22 points. Albon recovered to 6th ahead Perez who managed to stay ahead of a relentless Verstappen in the final laps.

Home favourite, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi put in a great performance to finish the race in 9th and pick-up two valuable points. The delighted Italian ran as high as 7th before being overtaken by the likes of Perez and Verstappen. McLaren’s Lando Norris, who started near the back of the field, picked up a deserving point in 10th.

Gasly finished outside the points in 11th ahead of a frustrated Stroll, who served a drive-through penalty for his near collision with Kvyat, with Vettel in 13th ahead of Williams George Russell, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen who had a weekend to forget, Haas’s Romain Grosjean and the second Williams of Robert Kubica.

The third retiree of the race, Haas’s Kevin Magnussen retired not long before the end of the race with a hydraulic problem. Both Haas driver were left “baffled” by the lack of pace the team showed in Italy.

Race Result

  1. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 53 Laps
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +0.835s
  3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +35.199s
  4. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, +45.515s
  5. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, +58.165s
  6. Alexander Albon, Red Bull Racing Honda, +59.315s
  7. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, +73.802s
  8. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, +74.492s
  9. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  10. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
  11. Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  12. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  13. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  14. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  15. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Honda, + 1 Lap
  16. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  17. Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  • Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, DNF
  • Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, DNF
  • Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, DNF

F1 2019: Perez signs new deal as 2020 as potential seats start to close

Just a day later than the announcements at Mercedes and Renault, Racing Point decided to join in and announce that they will field an unchanged line-up next season with Canadian Lance Stroll continuing to partner Sergio Perez who signed a three year extension to his current contract.

04/09/19

Perez looking at long-term stay at Racing Point

Having join what was formerly known as Force India in 2014, Mexican Sergio Perez has been a key member of the team and has delivered strong results for the Silverstone based team. In the latter half of 2018 when Force India went into administration, “Checo”, played a major role in saving the team which has emerged with new members of staff and a bold plan for their future in F1.

Perez’s extension to his current contract will see the 29-year-old stay until the end of 2022 in the hope that the team, by then, will be challenging for podiums and victories on a regular occasion. Former Williams driver, Lance Stroll, will stay on for next season at least as it was pretty much decided when his father, Lawrence Stroll who leads the consortium that owns Racing Point, stated that his son “will likely have a seat at the team for as long as he is a Formula 1 driver.”

F1’s 2020 Driver jigsaw starting to come together

Racing Point along with Mercedes, Renault and McLaren are the only teams on the grid so far to confirm their driver line-ups for next season. It’s heavily expected, although not revealed yet, that Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel will stay at Ferrari. So, there are 6 remaining seats up for grabs at five different teams for 2020.

F1 2019: Bottas stays, Ocon returns and Spain secure for 2020

  • Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton & Valterri Bottas
  • Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel & Charles Leclerc
  • Red Bull Racing Honda: Max Verstappen & NA
  • McLaren Renault: Carlos Sainz Jr & Lando Norris
  • Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda: NA
  • Renault: Daniel Ricciardo & Esteban Ocon
  • Racing Point: Sergio Perez & Lance Stroll
  • Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari: Kimi Raikkonen & NA
  • Haas Ferrari: Kevin Magnussen & NA
  • Williams Mercedes: George Russell & NA

Current drivers without a seat

Former Williams, Sauber and Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg finds himself out of a seat for next season as it was revealed that his current seat at Renault would be taken by the returning Esteban Ocon. It’s been speculated that he has been in talks with management at Haas about partnering Kevin Magnussen for next season but their bitter on-track relationship could hamper the deal. Possible seats at Red Bull/Toro Rosso have been quietly talked about and still could happen or possibly a seat at Alfa Romeo.

F1 2019: Hulkenberg’s F1 future in doubt?

Haas driver Romain Grosjean could be facing his last season in the sport. After a difficult start to the season last year, Grosjean came back in the second half of the season a rejuvenated driver but along with incidents with Magnussen during races, unnecessary mistakes and a poor car has led Grosjean to be under fire and could be ejected from Haas come the end of the season. A possible transfer to Alfa Romeo could be on the cards and if it does happen, the 33-year-old could once again partner Raikkonen when they were team-mates for two seasons during 2012 and 2013 at Lotus.

Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon and Daniil Kvyat are all linked with each other with one seat available at Red Bull and two seats at Toro Rosso. Gasly’s mid-season demotion has led to him returning to Toro Rosso and Albon taking his place at Red Bull. Whether this will stay will depend on Albon’s second half of the season at Red Bull on how well he performs. Red Bull will have quite a few choices to make come the end of the season.

Being the first Italian since 2011 to compete in an F1 race, Antonio Giovinazzi‘s first full season in the sport hasn’t gone as smooth as he has wanted. The mounting pressure on the young Italian wasn’t helped by a last-lap crash at the Belgian GP on Sunday where he was about to take his best finish of 8th. 10th in Austria remains his only top 10 finish and with Hulkenberg and former Sauber driver, Marcus Ericsson waiting in the wings, “Gio” will have to find some form soon if he’s to keep his seat for next season.

The amazing return of Robert Kubica hasn’t developed as much as people thought. Given his limitations, it’s expected that the 2008 Canadian GP winner would struggle initially. But up against British rookie, George Russell, Kubica has struggled to consistently match the 2018 F2 Champion at the struggling Williams team. He’s yet to out-qualify his team-mate but has the upper-hand when it comes to points scored where the Pole was promoted into the top 10 when both Alfa Romeo drivers were disqualified at the German GP. Test and Reserve driver and F2 contender, Nicholas Latifi, could pinch the Pole’s seat for next season.

F1 2019: Leclerc takes emotional maiden win in Belgium as Ferrari finally win

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc takes an emotional maiden win in the sport after the death of friend Anthoine Hubert who died a day earlier during the F2 Feature Race. After a late-challenge, Mercedes Lewis Hamilton takes 2nd place ahead of team-mate Valterri Bottas as Red Bull’s Alexander Albon finishes 5th on his promotion to the team.

01/09/19

Race

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc emotional victory started the right way as a great start saw the young Monegasque led as the fast-starting Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton jumped Sebastian Vettel on the run-down to turn 1. Valterri Bottas retained 4th as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen went down the inside of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen into La Source which resulted in contact and saw the Finn being tilted on two wheels. With broken suspension and dodgy steering, Verstappen’s race came to an end as the Dutchman got to the middle of the run up to the Camel straight ploughing into the barrier. Up front, Leclerc led as Vettel blasted past Hamilton for 2nd to make it a Ferrari 1-2.

The stricken Red Bull resulted in the Safety Car being deployed which also saw the retirement of the McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr who had power issues. The other McLaren of Lando Norris had now found himself in 5th ahead of the Haas drivers of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. Racing resumed on lap 4 where a excellent restart by Leclerc saw him unchallenged by his team-mate who made a mistake by locking-up into La Source. This saw the pressure put on Vettel as Hamilton and Bottas behind however by using the Ferrari’s straight line speed, the four time world champion wasn’t the one under pressure. Newly re-signed for 2020, Bottas challenged Hamilton into turn 5 but the championship leader stayed ahead and would remain for the rest of the race.

The top four pulled away from the rest of the pack who were still headed by Norris who had pulled a good gap to Grosjean behind. A queue of drivers started to form behind Magnussen who started to fall back after being overtaken by the likes of the Racing Point drivers of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll and then by the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat. Having started in 17th, Alexander Albon knew he was going to have to work hard to score decent points on his promotion to the senior team of Red Bull and started to carve his way through the pack by firstly overtaking the struggling Magnussen for 11th on lap 15.

Come lap 19, focus shifted from the racing and to the fans who all stood up around the track to pay tribute to Anthoine Hubert who lost his life during the F2 Feature Race. His race number was #19 and this fan-inspired standing ovation paid tribute to the promising young Frenchman who tragically died after a horrific crash.

After pitting earlier, Vettel managed to take the lead whilst Leclerc, Hamilton and Bottas made their pit-stops albeit longer in the race to make sure that they had enough tyre wear to make it to the end of the race. Leclerc rapidly made up for lost time and was eased by Vettel as the German played the team game. He knew that the charging Hamilton would put pressure on Leclerc in the final laps so would now try to hold Hamilton behind for as long as he could to ensure Leclerc claimed victory. Using the upgraded Ferrari power unit, Vettel kept Hamilton back for four crucial laps until the Brit, using DRS, found a way past and up into 2nd.

With Vettel playing the team game, Leclerc’s lead had built up to 7 and a half seconds. After making a second stop for tyres, Vettel rejoined in 4th albeit 18 seconds behind Bottas. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo had complemented whether to race on Sunday due to the weekend’s tragic events and after contact at the start, the Australian, having pitted at the start of the race, began to struggle. He was first overtaken by Kvyat and then hounded by Albon. Albon tried to go round the outside of turn 8 but used the cut-back move to go round the outside of Ricciardo into turn 9 –  a move you don’t see very often.

Before the first round of pit-stops, Grosjean was running in 6th and having so far a good race at a track where he both likes and dislikes, more notably for causing a first corner pile-up in 2012 and then finishing in 3rd in 2015 with the struggling Lotus team. But he vented his frustration over team raido at being unable to overtake due to the lack of power coming from his engine compared to his rivals.

With only a few laps to go, Hamilton has closed the gap to Leclerc to only a few seconds as the leaders navigated their way through the traffic. Albon’s second half of the race had been more punchy as he became more confident in the car and was catching Perez ahead. Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi started 18th after a power unit failure in qualifying sent him to the rear of the grid but that didn’t restrain the Italian from making up places to run in 9th with a handful of laps to go. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg had also had a quiet race on a weekend where he learnt that he wouldn’t be staying with the team come next season.

After driving an excellent race and set to finish in 5th, Norris’s McLaren gave up and cruelly, the Brit pulled up just after the finish line on the last lap. All of his hard work was gone and for the first time since Canada, McLaren failed to score any points. Giovinazzi’s hard work was also undone as the Italian lost the rear of his Alfa and crashed into the barriers at turn 11. This promoted Hulkenberg into 8th, Stroll into 9th and Pierre Gasly into 10th.

Nothing phased the man upfront as Leclerc stayed ahead of Hamilton to take his first win in the sport and Ferrari’s first win of the season. On such a difficult weekend for the motorsport community, Leclerc dedicated his win to his late friend. Bottas never really had the pace to challenge the top 2 and finished in 3rd and lost three more points to Hamilton who extends his lead to 65 points. Vettel finished 4th and after a bold move on Perez along with Camel Straight, Albon, having briefly dipped the right-hand side wheels on the grass to get past the Mexican, finished a career best 5th.

Perez therefore, having survived post-race investigation, took 6th for the fourth time in five years ahead of Kvyat, who moves into 8th in the championship, Hulkenberg, Gasly and Stroll. Having not managed to complete the last lap, Norris was classified in 11th ahead of the Haas duo of Magnussen and Grosjean with Ricciardo in 13th.

With a damaged floor from the lap 1 incident with Verstappen and coupled with a leg injury sustained from the summer break, Raikkonen struggled on and eventually split the Williams drivers of George Russell and Robert Kubica to finish in 16th.

Formula One now heads to Monza for the Italian GP and the home of Ferrari. Building on the momentum, can Ferrari produce a repeat of today’s events? Will more reliability issues plague teams up and down the field? Will racing at home boost Giovinazzi’s hopes? And can Hamilton be caught before it’s too late?

Race Result

  1. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 44 Laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +0.981s
  3. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +12.585s
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +26.422s
  5. Alexander Albon, Red Bull Racing Honda, +81.325s
  6. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, +84.448s
  7. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, +89.657s
  8. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, +106.639s
  9. Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, +109.168s
  10. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, +109.838s
  11. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, DNF
  12. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  13. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  14. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, + 1 Lap
  15. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  16. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  17. Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  18. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, DNF
  • Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, DNF
  • Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, DNF

F1 2019: Bottas stays, Ocon returns and Spain secure for 2020

The Thursday before the Belgian GP, the first race back after the summer break, is always a day for announcements and that’s what two teams did. Firstly, Mercedes confirmed that Valtteri Bottas would stay for 2020 and then Renault announced that Esteban Ocon would rejoin the sport with the French outfit.

30/08/19

Mercedes keeps “status quo” for 2020

Mercedes kicked-off the day by announcing that Valterri Bottas will remain with the team to partner Lewis Hamilton for next season despite reports that the Finn would be pushed aside. Having improved his form this season against Hamilton having earned him the second seat at the Reigning World Champions for next season.

“For 2019, we set Valtteri the challenge of coming back even stronger than we saw him in the first part of 2018 – and he has achieved that, with some really impressive performances in the early races this year.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes F1 Team Boss

Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff and Mercedes management went into the summer break with a conundrum by either keeping Bottas or signing reserve driver, Esteban Ocon. Bottas’s unfortunate run of results, a retirement in Germany followed by an 8th place finish at the Hungarian GP after contact with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on the opening lap meant that the Finn endured a recovery drive, was potentially the end of the road for the Williams driver but that wasn’t to be. Bottas trails Hamilton in the championship by 62 points and is only 7 points ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Ocon’s French return

Esteban Ocon will return to racing next season with Renault to partner Daniel Ricciardo meaning that Nico Hulkenberg will have to find an alternate seat at another F1 team. After a year as Mercedes reserve driver, Ocon had been in serious talks in racing for the German outfit for next season but with Mercedes confirming Bottas for 2020, Ocon has found himself back where he started at Renault.

Having been the team’s reserve drive in 2016 before grabbing a race seat with Force India for 2017, Ocon has signed a 2 year deal and will partner former Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo. Ocon’s arrival means that Nico Hulkenberg has lost his seat at the French team.

This is the ideal fit for Renault. The French team now have a proven race winner in Ricciardo and now a French driver in Ocon for the French team.

F1 reveals record-breaking calendar

On Thursday, Formula One announced the draft calendar of the 2020 Season with a record-breaking 22 races across the globe. Ahead of F1’s 70th season, there’ll be two new additions with a return to Zandvoort for the Dutch GP and a new race in Vietnam.

Famous F1 races such as the British, Spanish and Mexican GP’s have all be included on the calendar with the German GP dropping out while the contract for the Italian GP is currently being finalised.

What now for Hulkenberg?

Nico Hulkenberg now finds himself out of a drive for next season and will now be searching for a new seat at a different team for next season.

“I had a hint – like a couple of weeks already through the summer break, I knew”.

Nico Hulkenberg speaking on the announcement that he had lost his seat at Renault for 2020

F1 2019: Hulkenberg’s F1 future in doubt?

For 2020, Hulkenberg now has a range of options. The most viable and predicted move could be to Haas F1 Team. The American outfit is understood to have reached their patience with current driver Romain Grosjean and is understood to be very interested in Hulkenberg for a race seat alongside Kevin Magnussen for 2020.

Other options for Hulkenberg include a seat at either Red Bull, Racing Point, Alfa Romeo, Toro Rosso or Williams.

 

F1 2019: Hulkenberg’s F1 future in doubt?

Now a veteran of 168 races and haven driven for the likes of Williams and Sauber, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg has yet to stand on the F1 podium. Now 31 years old, the German’s F1 future is in doubt in whether he will be on the grid for the 2020 F1 Season.

19/08/19

Since debuting for Williams in 2010, Hulkenberg has remained in F1 since 2012 and has proved to be a consistent and quick mid-field driver who has shown what he is capable off.

His first glimpse of pure pace was in Brazil when he’d taken Pole Position in a rain-affected qualifying session. Since he’s scored 491 points and taken 2 Fastest Laps with a career best of 4th achieved at the 2012 Belgian GP, 2013 Korean GP and the 2016 Belgian GPs.

He’s been with current team Renault F1 since 2017 and has scored 129 of the teams 218 points. His results this season, compared to team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, have been mixed. He’s out-raced the Australian 5 times but trails him by 5 points in what has been a difficult first half of the season for the French outfit.

Plausible 2020 options

Renault: This is the more likely option but interestingly, it depends on what happens at Mercedes. Mercedes management are currently deciding whether to replace Valterri Bottas with Esteban Ocon or to keep the status quo. Now, Renault have been interested in Ocon for a long time, the young Frenchman was a reserve with the team. This would be the ideal fit for Renault but not for Hulkenberg as the German would be dropped in favour of Ocon. On the other hand, Hulkenberg has been with the team since 2017 and has been a major factor in the team’s upward trend in the past few years.

Haas: This has been speculated in the past few races. With Romain Grosjean struggling alongside Kevin Magnussen, the rumours are that Hulkenberg, if he is muscled out of Renault, will go to Haas and join Magnussen. However, Hulkenberg and Magnussen have history, with the pair having their differences on track and discussing them publicly. I think Hulkenberg would suit the Haas overalls but his relationship with Magnussen will play into the minds of Haas management. Would Hulkenberg go to a team that are currently behind lagging behind the team he’s with now?

Red Bull: This rumour started around the Azerbaijan/Spanish GP and was/still is fuelled by the poor performances by Pierre Gasly. The struggling Frenchman has found it hard living up to the standard of Max Verstappen and struggles to have a consistent weekend. I think Hulkenberg would be a great No.2 alongside Verstappen and I’d personally would quite like to see him in Red Bull overalls. Plus, this would be the move he’s desired, a move to a top, competitive team.

Formula E: Now, if you don’t follow Formula E, you wouldn’t have known that Porsche are joining as a manufacturer for Season 6 which starts later this year. Hulkenberg has connections with Porsche through his Le Mans winning-title in 2015. Although Porsche has already decided on it’s two drivers for Season 6 of Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if Hulkenberg were to join the series in preparation for a Season 7 assault with the German team. This is the more obscure option Hulkenberg has but it cannot be ruled out either.

Verdict?

Honestly, it all depends on what happens at Mercedes. If not, Hulkenberg should be retained at Renault it’s because it’s the obvious choice. The pairing of Ricciardo and Hulkenberg work well – there’s no friction, there’re good friends and they work together on track.

Voters on Twitter actually thought that Hulkenberg will be at Red Bull for 2020 – but this was before the mid-season switch at the team between Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon.

https://rhonansf1blog.com/2019/08/19/f1-2019-gasly-out-albon-in-at-red-bull-for-reminder-of-season/

If anything should happen, expect Hulkenberg to keep an eye on the F1 paddock and to maybe be in another racing series.