Hamilton And Wolff Gala No Show Is Extremely Unsporting

Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team Principal, CEO, and team co-owner Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton’s decision not to attend tonight’s FIA prize-giving gala in Paris is not only unsporting but it also sets a dangerous precedent.

Lewis Hamilton is a role model to thousands if not millions of young people and young drivers coming through the ranks of junior motorsport and by not showing up to the end of season prize giving, Hamilton is effectively saying that it is acceptable to be a sore loser.

The news that Lewis Hamilton will not be in Paris today to accept his second place in the championship is a breach of Article 6.6 of the Formula One Sporting Regulations which state that the top three in the driver’s championship must attend the end of season gala event.

Mercedes has also opted not to have either their Formula One or Formula E cars at the event.

Toto Wolff said that he is not attending tonight’s event out of loyalty to Lewis Hamilton, however, by being loyal to Hamilton he is showing a complete disregard to the team who worked extremely hard to ensure that the team secured their eighth consecutive Constructors championship.

The team has confirmed that chief technical officer James Allison will accept the trophy for the Constructors championship.

Formula One is a team sport and by not attending the end of season gala both Hamilton and Wolff are showing that they are just in the sport for themselves.

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Mercedes Set To Abandon Their Appeal

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team could be set to abandon their latest appeal over the results of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which saw Max Verstappen crowned Formula One world champion.

There was a controversial end to a thrilling season when FIA Race Director Michael Masi, who was only doing his job allowed five lapped cars to unlap themselves ahead of the final lap of the 58 lap race which resulted in a last lap showdown for the championship which saw Max Verstappen overtake Lewis Hamilton into turn 6 on the final lap to claim victory in the race and the championship by eight points from Lewis Hamilton.

The Times reports that the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, whose management were furious at Masi’s decision are considering abandoning their appeal against the race result for the good of the sport.

The team had lodged to protests following the race which were thrown out however, The Times reports that Toto Wolff and the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s management understand that their continued pursuit of Lewis Hamilton to be made race winner of Sunday’s Grand Prix could tarnish Formula One’s reputation.

Given that their initial appeal on Sunday was denied, it is extremely unlikely that a further appeal would be successful. The Brackley-based outfit secured their eighth consecutive Constructors championship and if they were to proceed with a further appeal it would have to be done by Thursday as that is when the official FIA prize giving is set to take place.

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Mercedes Launch Formal Protest Into The Results Of The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team has officially lodged a protest of the results of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday which saw Max Verstappen win the championship.

Four lapped cars unlapped themselves which allowed Max Verstappen go into the final lap in second place on fresher tyres and allowing him to overtake Lewis Hamilton and win the championship.

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It’s 1-0 To Them

Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff says that following Saturday’s qualifying for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix it is 1-0 to Red Bull after Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position.

Hamilton, who is level on points with Max Verstappen starts the race from second place with a time of 01:22.480s.

Speaking following the action, Wolff said:

On days like today, you have to take it like it is, it’s 1-0 to them, they got the tyres in the perfect window in the last run, the tow functioned flawlessly and that’s why they are on pole. I’m happy we’ll be starting on the Medium tyre tomorrow. We will have a slight disadvantage on the start I guess, and the first six or seven laps, but we can go longer, or also go for an aggressive undercut and try to control track position. Overnight we’ll be running lots of programmes and algorithms to help form our strategy for tomorrow.

The pace was there in practice, obviously on the long runs you don’t know, but whichever car is faster tomorrow will win the race. We just need to focus on that, recoup and then hopefully come out on top tomorrow. We are on the back foot and sometimes that’s not bad as a starting point. Lewis will be super motivated for tomorrow and just go hunting, as always. For Valtteri, the gap between P3 and P6 was all within a tenth so its unfortunate he’ll be starting in that gaggle but he just needs to make it through the first lap or two, and get back up.

Lewis Hamilton said:

Well, firstly Max did a great lap today and we just couldn’t compete with that time at the end there. It was a fantastic lap from him but we’re in a good position, I’d like to think, with our tyres tomorrow and I hope that we can have a good race. On the first lap of Q3, I dropped a bit of time in the last corner and Turn 5, but my final lap was nice and clean, I just couldn’t go any quicker. I don’t know if it’s tyre prep or whatever it may be, in terms of the out lap, but nonetheless I couldn’t beat that time so he deserved the pole. I’m still on the front row for tomorrow, with the tyre difference and I’m grateful I can see where he is, so we can try and navigate from there.

Valtteri Bottas who starts the race from sixth place, he final event with Mercedes said:

I was hoping for more, it was a tricky Quali – a good Q1, decent Q2 but by Q3, I couldn’t improve any more. My setup was definitely more focused on the race rather than Quali so as the grip levels increased, I couldn’t improve my times and hit a bit of a limit. I’m happy with my setup for tomorrow which should make it exciting. Also starting on the Medium tyre tomorrow opens up different strategy options, we can go long in the first stint if we want to but on the Soft, you can’t, so it’ll be an interesting race. Overall, not the best result today but we can definitely make it up tomorrow, it’s game on.

Mercedes chief engineer Andrew Shovlin said:

It was a tricky qualifying for both drivers and unusually, the car felt at its best in the first session and seemed to get less competitive as we progressed. Of course it would have made tomorrow easier if we had pole but we’re pleased to be starting on the Medium tyre and we’ve hopefully added some long run pace overnight. We’ve got a busy night going through the various strategy options for tomorrow but we’ve shown good race pace recently, along with an ability to recover positions and pass on track. We had a much bigger challenge in Brazil and showed what we are capable of, so we’ll be doing everything possible to get ourselves into a position to bring home the win and the championships tomorrow.

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Mercedes End Kingspan Agreement

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team announced on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that they have ended their association with Irish insulation manufacturer Kingspan with immediate effect.

The news comes following the fallout from the announcement of the deal which came last week as Kingspan were one of a number of companies mentioned in relation to Grenfell tower disaster but they were not involved in the refurbishment of the premises prior to the fire in 2017.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Mercedes said:

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and Kingspan today announced that they have mutually agreed to end their partnership.

Announced last week, the new partnership included Kingspan chairing a new Sustainability Working Group for the team, and aimed to deliver carbon reductions through their leading-edge environmentally sustainable solutions for the team’s future campus.

However, both parties have subsequently concluded that it is not appropriate for the partnership to move forward at the current point in time, notwithstanding its intended positive impact, and we have therefore agreed that it will be discontinued with immediate effect.

Kingspan issued their own statement on Wednesday to say:

Sustainability and sport are two long-standing passions and commitments at Kingspan. When Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team approached us to chair their new Sustainability Working Group, we saw a unique opportunity to bring the two together in a way that would support a sport we love, while bringing sustainability to a world stage.

We are deeply aware of the sensitivities raised in recent days, and so we have jointly agreed that it’s not appropriate to move forward at the current point in time. Much has been written about this over the past few days, and out of consideration for our customers and all the great people who work for us, we believe we must respond. We had no role in the Grenfell Tower refurbishment.

However, our Kingspan Insulation UK business is a core participant in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and fully supports the Inquiry’s important work. We understand that this is a complex topic, but there are some important facts that we would like to explain: 1. We did not make the exterior cladding on Grenfell Tower. The Inquiry itself has stated that “the principal reason” for rapid fire spread on Grenfell was the Polyethylene cored ACM cladding used on the exterior of the building. No facade system using this PE ACM cladding, regardless of the insulation used, would have passed the necessary large-scale system fire test.

Our K15 insulation board was misused in this unsafe and non-compliant system. 2. We did not supply or recommend K15 to Grenfell Tower. K15 made up approximately 5% of the insulation layer of the façade system. It was substituted without our knowledge. 3. We have completed new tests which support the previous fire safety claims of the three historical K15 large-scale system tests which came into question during the Inquiry process.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the wholly unacceptable historical conduct and emails which emerged throughout the course of the Inquiry discovery process. We have sincerely apologised for these actions by a small group of employees at our Kingspan Insulation UK business.

This in no way reflects Kingspan’s culture or values. A more detailed explanation of these issues is available in our Module 2 closing submission. A list of the extensive set of measures in place across our business to ensure that these historical process and conduct shortcomings can never occur again is available in our statement of February 19th. Both can be read on our dedicated microsite:

The planet is our priority, and we are resolutely focused on playing our part in combating climate change through our products and Planet Passionate sustainability programme which you can read about here: We Are Planet Passionate | Kingspan | Group

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Mercedes Inherit Pole With Hamilton

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team had luck on their side in qualifying for Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton took pole position despite Max Verstappen being extremely quick for Red Bull, the Dutch driver was on course to grab pole however, he crashed coming out of the final corner of the Jeddah circuit meaning that he will start the race from third place.

Hamilton set a fastest time of 01:27.511s and speaking following the action he said:

This place is one of the hardest tracks to get right, I was on the limit the whole way round and the car was on a knife-edge. Trying to pull out the maximum with the tyres was so tough. It’s difficult to understand why – it’s so warm here but we were having trouble getting temperature in the front and rears at the same time to have grip at the start of the lap. I’m very proud and thankful that we were able to put it on the front row for tomorrow, it’s going to be an intense race. It’s always important to have Valtteri beside me, particularly in this part of the year, he’s been driving exceptionally well and hopefully tomorrow we can do a good job together.

Valtteri Bottas who starts the race from second place commented saying:

You get such an adrenaline rush from this track! Tomorrow’s going to be hard, this place is so intense but at least we’re starting in the best places. Given how tricky qualifying was today, it’s a great result. Starting on the left side tomorrow is definitely going to be dusty but I’ll be trying hard to keep position. This is one of the toughest tracks of the year, both mentally and physically, which is exciting because come tomorrow, anything can happen.

Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team Principal, CEO and team co-owner Toto Wolff commented saying:

What a crazy session! We expected to be stronger today, we have a quick car and it looked like those quick corners would suit us, but like so many times this season, you’re constantly surprised. Austin should have been our track and wasn’t, and then suddenly in Brazil we were performing really well, so you just never know. It was important today that we kept attacking and attacking, and we’ve ended up with a front row lockout which is a big advantage for tomorrow.

There is a brutal energy running through the whole Team. We just look forward and keep pushing, and pushing, and when you go in the debrief room or in the garage, you don’t need to talk because you can feel the energy and how buzzed everyone is.

Chief engineer, Andrew Shovlin commented saying:

It’s been a very busy day. The final practice session wasn’t great for us, we were doing OK on the Hard tyre but not finding great grip on the Soft. We found an issue with Valtteri’s power unit just before the end of the session so had to swap that out for another in his pool just before qualifying; it was a lot of work but everyone in the garage did a great job to get the car ready in time.

Our struggles didn’t disappear going into qualifying, we were able to do reasonable lap times but every time Max went out he’d beat the time we just set, and his final run showed clearly that they have the upper hand here on a single lap. Had he completed the lap, there’s no way we could have matched it so whilst we’re pleased to have the front row, it doesn’t feel like we’ve earnt it. It’s hard to know what to expect tomorrow; we were good on the long run on Friday but Red Bull seem to have found a chunk of pace overnight and if that translates into the long run, it’s bound to be close

Motorsport News Sport

Mercedes 1-2 In Saudi Arabia As They Confirm They Will Honour Kingspan Contract

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas set the pace on the opening day of practice for Sunday’s inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah street circuit with Hamilton setting a time of 01:29.018s and speaking following the action he said:

The track was rapid – unbelievably quick and with a lot of grip as well. Once you get in the rhythm, it’s beautiful to drive. The grip was very high from the moment we went out and was similar in both sessions. Traffic can be a problem here, it’s Monaco-esque and the closing distances to other cars was definitely getting dangerous. We tried a couple of things with our setup, and although we aren’t rapid on single run pace compared to the others, our long run pace seemed pretty good.

The Medium and Hard tyre both performed well, the Soft is probably a little too soft for the high-speed sections, it feels like the tyre is giving up slightly. I’m generally happy with the setup, we changed a few things in between sessions, and we’ll work with the guys in the factory back home to make sure we have the correct setup for tomorrow.

Valtteri Bottas set a fastest time of 01:29.079s and speaking following the action the Finn said:

The track is really cool, it’s full-gas and close to the walls at high-speed which is exactly what you want and enjoy – it’s an adrenaline rush. In FP1 the track was better than I expected, a little bit dusty but thanks to the other racing categories running here this weekend, it was improving step by step. They have done a nice job with the tarmac here, it was very grippy even though it’s new and with no real bumps, nice and smooth.

It was good to get confirmation of the grip level here, you base your starting setup on the simulations and estimated grip level, and we started in a good place. The biggest surprise today was the tyres – they lasted well and I’m not sure we’ll see many stops on Sunday. All the compounds seemed to work well here, even though you could feel the Softs giving up slightly in the high-speed corners.

Chief Engineer Andrew Shovlin commented saying:

As with any new track, a significant part of the first session is about understanding whether you’ve made the correct assumptions on grip and tyre behaviour, and in the warmer conditions of FP1 we had the car working well. The second session was more of a challenge in terms of single lap pace, we’ve got some ideas on how to tackle that and we’ll be running our simulator in Brackley overnight exploring a few directions. The long run pace seemed competitive, Lewis was a little happier than Valtteri, and we finished the day with quite different setups on the cars so there are some interesting comparisons to draw out of that data. It does seem like the car has good potential around this circuit but we’ve clearly got a bit of fine-tuning to do which will keep us busy overnight.

Andrew Shovlin

In a separate development, the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team has confirmed that despite protests from the British government on both sides of the political divide they will continue with their partnership with Kingspan.

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Kingspan Named Mercedes Team Partner

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team announced on Wednesday that Irish insulation company Kingspan has been named as a team partner. The announcement will see the two company’s collaborate in a global sustainability partnership.

Breaking new ground for Formula One, Kingspan will chair a Sustainability Working Group for the team. The working group’s remit will be to draw together expertise from diverse fields to contribute to the team’s objective of pioneering new approaches and technologies for emissions reduction in motorsport.

Speaking about the news, Toto Wolff, Team Principal, CEO and co-owner of the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team commented saying:

We are delighted to welcome Kingspan to our team both as a Team Partner and to chair our new Sustainability Working Group. To find a company whose ambitions to deliver carbon reduction and sustainable solutions in their industry that match our own so exactly is a real opportunity for both partners. We are making good progress in transforming our company to operate more sustainably but the ability to share expertise, resources and inspiration with Kingspan through our new Sustainability Working Group will really help to accelerate change and awareness within our team, and hopefully our sport.

Toto Wolff

Gene Murtagh, CEO of Kingspan Group said:

Two of the great challenges of our age are decarbonising transport and decarbonising the built environment. Kingspan and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team share a determination to rise to these challenges through technology, innovation and teamwork. I am excited about bringing that message to an audience of 500 million Formula One fans

Gene Murtagh
Motorsport News

Wolff Explains Reasoning Behind One Year Hamilton Contract Extension

Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff has explained that the Silver Arrows want to see where the world is at following the conclusion of the 2021 Formula One season before committing to a longer term contract with Lewis Hamilton.

The Mercedes team announced on Monday, following months of speculation that seven time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has signed a one year contract extension with the Brackley based outfit.

Speaking to the media on Monday following the announcement, Wolff revealed that the one year contract was agreed upon by both the team and the driver and they will assess the situation further during the 2021 season.

Hamilton, who joined Mercedes from McLaren in 2013 will once again drive alongside Finland’s Valtteri Bottas.

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