Sir Lewis Hamilton knighted days after missing out on record eighth F1 title
Mercedes are growing “increasingly confident” that Lewis Hamilton will return for the 2022 season, with the seven-time world champion said to be keeping in shape at his home in Colorado ahead of pre-season testing next month.
Hamilton has remained tight-lipped over his future since the hugely controversial end to the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi, with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitting the Briton was “disillusioned” with the FIA. Mercedes also moved to deny reports that the decision to drop their legal appeal against the result included any agreement that race director Michael Masi would be sacked.
Masi’s position has remained under intense scrutiny since he appeared to break the FIA’s own regulations by allowing a select number of cars to unlap themselves to enable a final lap shootout between Hamilton and Max Verstappen. However, there are currently few obvious candidates to replace the Australian.
Four-time world champion Alain Prost was more cautious over Hamilton’s future, rating the chance that he will return to the track next season at just “50-50”. Some have speculated that Hamilton wants to see the outcome of the FIA’s official report on how events unfolded in Abu Dhabi before committing to a return, with the investigation set to be concluded early next month.
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Sergio Perez backed over Lewis Hamilton’s ‘dangerous driving’ claim
Red Bull driver programme boss Helmut Marko has defended Sergio Perez by claiming his driving tactics in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix were “very fair” despite objection from Lewis Hamilton.
“He slowed down Hamilton by eight seconds in two laps, but in a very fair way,” Marko told ServusTV after Hamilton’s “dangerous” accusation.
“Of course he said ‘dangerous driving’ again, we know that.
“He is incredibly loyal and a team player. Of course, we have discussed certain scenarios with him and he then delivers them – and without grumbling or any rebellion or questioning.”
Jack Rathborn13 January 2022 20:00
Mercedes ‘confident’ Lewis Hamilton won’t retire
Mercedes are quietly confident that Lewis Hamilton will resist retirement and continue his glittering career in Formula One next season.
There has been speculation that the seven-time world champion could walk away from the sport following the bitter ending to the 2021 campaign in Abu Dhabi with Max Verstappen edging him out in the title race.
But The Times report that the Briton is ramping up training to remain in shape in his mountain home in Colorado.
Hamilton is also expected at the pre-season testing next month in Barcelona and further testing in Bahrain in March.
Jack Rathborn13 January 2022 19:30
FIA ‘set deadline for end of Abu Dhabi investigation’
The FIA will reportedly announce findings into their investigation over the controversial events at the Abu Dhabi by Thursday 3 February.
That’s according to Sky Sports’ Craig Slater, with fury over how Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the final lap following decisions made by race director Michael Masi.
Mercedes have refuted making a deal with the FIA that Masi and FIA head of single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis would depart before next season.
“They (Mercedes) want to find out what the FIA decide should be the fall-out from what went on over those final laps in Abu Dhabi where, as far as they are concerned, Lewis Hamilton lost an eighth World title because of a misreading of the rules, chiefly by race director Michael Masi,” Slater said on Sky Sports News.
“I can report that three weeks is how long the FIA have set themselves to deal with this matter. Work only began in earnest on it on Monday [January 10], that’s to say this FIA commission started to interview those involved.
“They also say to me that the [internal] investigation will be thorough, objective and transparent as well. This should be done by February 3rd, at which point the FIA have a [World] Motor Sport Council meeting and hopefully they expect to announce those findings by then.”
Jack Rathborn13 January 2022 19:00
Hamilton to follow Rosberg in retirement decision?
Jacques Villeneuve has compared Lewis Hamilton’s retirement decision to that of his former teammate Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg retired after winning the F1 world title for Mercedes in 2016, denying Hamilton a third successive championship.
And Villeneuve believes the Brit could opt to make a similarly surprising decision before the 2022 season gets underway.
“Who knows? Nobody expected Nico Rosberg to not come back,” the world champion recently told reporters.
“Suddenly he woke up one morning and told everyone he wasn’t passionate about racing anymore. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Lewis, but who knows?”
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 18:40
Hamilton only ‘50-50’ to return to F1 for 2022 season, Prost claims
There is only a “50-50” chance that Lewis Hamilton returns to Formula One for the 2022 season, according to four-time world champion Alain Prost.
“It’s difficult to put yourself in his place,” Prost told Le Journal du Dimanche. “He surely has as many reasons to stop as to continue. It’s 50-50.
“He took a hell of a blow to the head, but it would be really sad if he wasn’t here this season.”
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 18:20
Bolukbasi moves from Esports to Formula 2
History made as Cem Bolukbasi becomes the first driver to move from Esports to Formula 2 for the 2022 season.
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 18:00
Alonso on who impressed him during time away
Fernando Alonso has revealed the two drivers who impressed him most during his time away from Formula 1.
He revealed: “I said at the beginning of the championship as well, before it had even started, in Bahrain, that the driver that impressed me more when I was at home watching on TV was George [Russell], on the performance in the Williams, and Max [Verstappen]. Those were the two guys that I was switching on the TV.”
“And Daniel (Ricciardo) because he was in the Renault and that car was very interesting to me last year, but no, I mean, they were giving something extra and that was the reason why I was putting on the TV.”
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 17:40
F1 teams expected to play ‘a few tricks’ to exploit 2022 rule changes
Formula 1 engineers will perform some “trickery” to capitalise on the sport’s new regulations, according to McLaren technical director James Key.
“I think the sensitivities around elastics certainly have changed,” Key said. “It’s well understood that from the regulations that have been discussed of late with how to better manage flexible…I shouldn’t say flexible components but components that can flex and make a difference is probably more accurate.
“Some of the tests are more stringent I think so the rear wing tests, for example, will be a little bit tougher. Some of the things that have happened earlier in the year have carried through into ’22 and I think there is a lot of attention being paid to that.
“Front wings similarly, and the front wing in ’22 is a massive thing but it has still got a stringent set of guidelines on stiffnesses. So I think there will always be a few tricks to play but I don’t think there’s going to be something easy to exploit there.”
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 17:20
Ricciardo believes drivers’ emotions aren’t taken into account
Formula 1 star Daniel Ricciardo believes people don’t consider drivers’ feelings when they are criticised by fans and in the media.
“I think with anyone in the spotlight or anyone on TV, sometimes to the outside they are not seen as, like, real people,” he said, per Autosport.com.
“It’s like, if you’re an actor…oh, that’s Brad Pitt. He’s superman. He could do anything or whatever. Like he doesn’t get sad or emotional or whatever. But as you know, you guys would feel it, we travel so much that you do miss loved ones. So having that kind of times 10 is tricky.
“I wouldn’t say it affects me in the act of driving. But particularly when maybe it doesn’t go well, then it definitely has an effect because all you want is some of that support and family love. And also when it doesn’t go well, you can also feel very lonely.
“There are elements which I think they would have helped, if they were here. It would have helped me to snap out of a bad mood or a low moment a bit quicker.”
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 17:00
Audi want to ‘surprise’ motorsport as F1 rumours swirl
Audi are out to “surprise” with their plans in motorsport but have insisted they remain focussed on the Dakar Rally and 24 Hours of Le Mans as rumours swirl over a possible entry on to the Formula 1 grid.
The German manufacturer has been widely tipped to join F1 at the change of engine regulations before the 2026 season, either as a constructor outright or an engine supplier.
The Bavaria-based subsidiary of the Volkswagen group has been connected with a buyout of Mercedes, and Sport1 has said that Audi remain interested in a stake.
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 16:40