Posted in NEWS
June 10, 2020

Norris: Latest F1 driver market moves came as “a bit of a shock”

Norris: Latest F1 driver market moves came as “a bit of a shock”

Lando Norris says the recent moves in the Formula 1 driver market came as “a bit of a shock”, but was not surprised McLaren signed Daniel Ricciardo for 2021.

The first driver changes for next year were confirmed last month after Ferrari announced Sebastian Vettel’s exit from the team at the end of the current season.

Ferrari swiftly confirmed the signing of Norris’ current team-mate, Carlos Sainz Jr., as Vettel’s replacement, while McLaren snapped up Renault driver Ricciardo to join the team for 2021.

Norris said that while he did not expect Vettel to leave Ferrari and Sainz get picked up as his replacement, the arrival of Ricciardo at McLaren came as little surprise given the team’s previous interest.

“It wasn’t so much of a surprise of Daniel coming to McLaren, but I think the bigger surprise was Carlos leaving McLaren for Ferrari and Vettel leaving Ferrari,” Norris told Autosport.

“I guess it was a bit of a shock, especially because no-one really expected Seb to do what he did and not to sign with Ferrari again.

“I think as soon as Seb didn’t sign, then you knew something was going to happen.

“Everyone seemed quite firmly in place with their teams because no one was really expecting it.

“I guess something of a surprise was going to happen, and obviously Carlos went for it and got the seat. Fair play to him, I’m happy for him.

“But I don’t think the Ricciardo thing was as much of a surprise, because obviously I knew that McLaren wanted him back before the 2019 season, so I knew he was on the radar.

“After McLaren did better than Renault last year, maybe it would have changed his mind of what he did.”

Norris said the arrival of Ricciardo at McLaren would add some race-winning experience to the team, as well as offering him a new experience by changing team-mates for the first time.

“He’s got the experience of winning races, and that’s something that Carlos didn’t, although Carlos is an extremely good driver,” Norris said.

“Daniel’s obviously just got that bit more experience with working with those top teams and knowing what’s exactly needed to win races.

“So his mentality of that side of things is something that’s going to be different from what Carlos had and I think.

“I’ve never spent two years in any category apart from my first years of karting, and now this is my second year of F1.

“Staying in it and working with a different team-mate is the first time I have been in this situation, so I don’t really know what to expect, I think it’s still relatively new for me.

“He’s got the experience of working with a race-winning team and he knows what’s needed from them.

“Learning from him on that side of things I think is the most valuable part.

“He can also bring a lot to the team and obviously help the team improve as well. I guess we’ll find out next year.”

Published at Wed, 10 Jun 2020 07:33:05 +0000

DTM will abolish team orders for 2020, says Audi chief Gass

Audi Sport boss Dieter Gass has revealed that the DTM has abolished team orders for 2020.

Gass said that the decision has come after a “fundamental discussion” last year on the advisory board – including DTM and BMW – of DTM organiser the ITR.

“We have now agreed with the ITR and the competitor [BMW] that there will be no team orders this year,” Gass told Autosport.

“In the end, that was [ITR chairman] Gerhard Berger’s wish.”

Asked how the DTM can police the rule, Gass said: “There was a bit of discussion on the subject.

“Of course, I first have to protect the interests of Audi AG. I also have to be able to rely on the fact that it works accordingly.”

“Unfortunately there have been inglorious examples in the past of public discussions in the DTM. This is something that is difficult to check.

“But we looked each other in the eye and agreed on the subject. I trust it that it works accordingly.”

‘Inglorious’ examples to which Gass refers include the notorious ‘push him out’ scandal from the Red Bull Ring in 2015, when then-Audi chief Wolfgang Ullrich told his driver Timo Scheider to remove Mercedes’ Robert Wickens from the race.

At the same venue in 2002, Mercedes’ Jean Alesi slowed on the run to the line in order to hand victory to team-mate Bernd Schneider, but Schneider had clashed with Audi’s Laurent Aiello at the final corner, leaving a third Mercedes driver – Marcel Fassler – to jump from fourth to first.

In 2019, Audi had to ask its title contenders Rene Rast and Nico Muller to race each other “without risk” after the two drivers collided at the Norisring in the presence of the manufacturer’s board members.

Gass admitted that it is his responsibility to prevent Audi drivers from crashing into each other, but that he would no longer intervene when they are battling on track following the introduction of the new rule.

“We still want to prevent two brand colleagues from colliding,” he said.

“But there will be no more intervention in the future. And, as I said, this is a regulation that we will naturally adhere to. That’s why I don’t need to explain this to the [Audi] board.”

Autosport says…

by Marcus Simmons

Oh dear, where on Earth do we begin?

Team orders have always been an integral part of motorsport – we endured a decade of farce following the infamous 2002 Austrian Grand Prix as Formula 1 teams unsurprisingly proved that they were far cleverer than the rulemakers when it came to finding ways around the rules written to prevent a recurrence of the Schumacher-Barrichello swap.

If anything, team orders are even more intrinsic to touring car racing, and have always been rife in the DTM.

This is a championship, after all, that Audi veteran Jamie Green once told Autosport was like “playing for a football team”.

Dieter Gass and Jens Marquardt, the respective chiefs of Audi and BMW, have surely got the best intentions, but what happens if, say, BMW’s Marco Wittmann goes to the final round 30 points adrift of Audi’s Rene Rast in the championship, and qualifies among a bunch of his BMW ‘brand colleagues’ [ugh, if the DTM wants to get international attention, surely such disastrously Germanic phrases as this should be banned]?

Surely we would then find the strategic brains across the BMW teams combining to come up with very clever solutions to circumvent the team-orders ruling, ranging from the timing of pitstops to drivers suddenly have a ‘gearshift problem’.

And, just as surely, it would happen in the Audi camp if Rast was trailing Wittmann.

What the DTM needs to realise is that over-regulation is far a bigger disease in motorsport than team orders. Maybe that might be brought home to the big cheeses the first time a race finishes with a massive argument over whether a strategic call qualifies as a manipulation of the result.

Published at Tue, 09 Jun 2020 17:25:49 +0000

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