It’s been a sad and tumultuous week for Formula 1. The former head of Ferrari and the Ferrari F1 team as a result, Fiat Chrysler, and chairman of Maserati, Sergio Marchionne, passed away on July 25, after an operation on a shoulder resulted in an embolism. We acknowledge Mr Marchionne’s efforts and work, and offer our deepest sympathies to his family and colleagues.
Other F1 news before the Hungary F1 round, itself the last before the northern hemisphere summer break, is the mooted buyout of Force India by the father of Lance Stroll, a driver with the Williams team. Lawrence Stroll is said to be in a position to take over the respective 42.5 percent stakes in the team currently held by Vijay Mallya and Subrata Roy.
The remaining fifteen percent is likely to stay with minority shareholder Michiel Mol.The team is said to be financially close to administration and the buyout would both save the team and inject much needed funds for development.
There’s still uncertainty in the F1 paddock as to which driver will stay with teams; Kimi Raikkonen is one name currently being bandied around as a driver that’s in a will they/won’t they status. Carlos Sainz is awaiting confirmation from Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo as to whether he stays with his current team, and Charles Leclerc needs a Ferrari decision on Raikkonen to be finalized before knowing his future in 2019.
Stoffel Vandoorne is also awaiting direction from his team, McLaren. Without a massive improvement rapidly it’s likely he won’t be with the team in 2019. The Hungary race will see him revert to a chassis used earlier in the seaon, one that proved easier to drive.
This weekend’s round at the Hungaroring sees the end of the first half of the F1 season. After his win at the Hockenheim circuit, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, fresh from inking a high paying two year contract that allows an extension to three, will be the one aiming to go into the break on a high.
One driver that respects the highs and lows and clearly wishes the lows would disappear is Daniel Ricciardo. Enough driveline components were replaced before the German F1 race for the Australian to be relegated to rear of grid. Although launching into his trademark “honey badger” driving style, Ricciardo was let down by a systemic failure of those components and failed to make the end of the race.
Sebastian Vettel will be keen to make up for his crash at Hockenheim. In a rare showing of misjudgement, the normally unflappable German was a passenger after his car left the track. Damage was enough to have him out of the race but not enough to warrant massive repairs.
The Hungaroring is a tricky circuit, with a design that leans more towards downforce due to the combination of left and right corners before the final main straight. It’s 4.38 kilometres in length and has a lap record set by Michael Schumacher in 2004 of 1:19.07. It’s also a flat track, with an elevation change of just 34 metres. First practice is at 11.00 AM local time, Friday 27 July, with a race start on Sunday at 15:10.