Toto Wolff would be ‘overwhelmed’ to see Pascal Wehrlein return to F1

Toto Wolff would be “overwhelmed” to see Pascal Wehrlein make a return to Formula 1 in the future following confirmation of German driver’s exit from Mercedes’ motorsport programme at the end of the season.

Wehrlein moved into F1 in 2016 as the leading member of Mercedes’ junior programme after winning the DTM title the previous year, but was without a seat for 2018 after being replaced at Sauber by Charles Leclerc.

Unable to find an F1 seat, Wehrlein returned to DTM for the 2018 season, but will cut ties with Mercedes at the end of the year by mutual consent.

Mercedes also has junior drivers Esteban Ocon and George Russell on its books, prompting its motorsport boss Wolff to openly consider the future of its young driver programme.

“There are many reasons why we started the junior programme,” Wolff said. “One, that we felt that we wanted to help talent that didn’t have the means to make it through the ranks and Mercedes was helping Pascal from the very early days.

“I met him when he was 16 at the Norisring and we had a great journey together, from the ADAC to F3 then DTM, and we’ve invested time and money.

“The same with George Russell and Esteban Ocon but we are coming to a point that we haven’t got a junior team, and if you are lacking possibilities to place them then you need to either think of reducing your driver programme and releasing somebody or changing the strategy.

“We are at the crossroads at the moment. We are going to see how it plans out with George and with Esteban, and then decide how we continue.”

Wehrlein has been linked with one of the vacant seats at Red Bull B-team Toro Rosso for 2019, leading to Wolff being asked if it would be “heartbreaking” to see him race for “the doctor’s squad” next year, referring to Red Bull advisor Dr. Helmut Marko.

“Obviously we felt also together with Pascal that this was the best outcome for him. My opinion of him is still very high and it looked like that we could be possibly blocking his future career,” Wolff said.

“This is not what we wanted, and he also felt that he needed to do it on his own and give it a go on his own.

“I would be overwhelmed and happy if he on his own would find his way into Formula 1 or a professional racing career.”

Ferrari team to continue to fight

Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene has sent out a rallying cry to his team and is confident the Italian manufacturer will continue to fight in the Formula 1 world championship despite the deficit growing in Singapore.

Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel now face a 40-point gap to F1 world championship leader Lewis Hamilton after a frustrating race where ‘boredom was the winner’ according to a post-race team release.

As Hamilton secured victory, Vettel lost out to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during the pit stop phase to see the Dutch driver skate ahead into second place.

With Vettel in third at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, the German driver has clinched victory just once in the past five races, with Hamilton winning the other four, to see the F1 championship points gap grown to its largest all year.

Despite his team’s frustrations, Arrivabene is hopeful of a fightback over the final six races starting in Russia – an event Mercedes has dominated at with four consecutive wins since Sochi’s arrival on the F1 calendar in 2014.

“Despite the result, not all is lost,” Arrivabene said. “Now, calmly and with determination, we will tackle the remaining six races, fighting all the way to the end.

“The winner deserved the victory. After Sebastian overtook Verstappen, we went for an aggressive strategy, trying for the undercut on the Ultrasoft tyres.

“Unfortunately, during the one lap that would prove to be crucial, we found ourselves behind another car and so we were unable to run at a fast-enough pace.”

Ferrari has also lost significant ground in the F1 world constructors’ championship with Mercedes stretching out its lead to 37 points.

“THE OTHER END OF OUR SPORT” SPEAKS OUT

It appears Mick Doohan’s reference to the “other end of the sport” in Karting Australia’s latest Full Throttle Publication, continues to highlight the division and preference Karting Australia has been giving to the “elite” and “privileged”.

Grass-root karters have been experiencing the squeeze since Karting Australia’s CEO launched his Strategic Plan in 2016 to create sustainable growth in a “niche” sporting market and “define elite driver development pathways” ensure development and/or improvement of “the financial position of Karting Australia” and the “overall Karting Australia brand and image”.

The Future for Karting in NSW is bright

Recently the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Karting NSW was conducted with a huge club presence.

Clubs sent representatives and observers at a level never seen at an AGM previously.  The AGM opened quickly and smoothly outlining the last twelve months of operation.

The main body of the meeting straight after is where the clubs went into overdrive and were eager to listen to the board’s findings and recommendations. 

50% of the skills-based board were up for re-election.  They were voted back in to a standing ovation.  One due for re-election was Chairman Dave Filipetto.

“It’s an important time and the sport is at a crossroads. I’m honoured to be re-elected, we have a lot of work ahead of us to make karting great in NSW again, and I know the whole board is up to the challenge and looking forward to it” stated Filipetto.

The major agenda item was Karting NSW’s affiliation to Karting Australia.

Many things were discussed, and much factual information was put to the member clubs to consider.  This ultimately led to a motion from the floor to lodge a motion of no confidence in the CEO and board of Karting Australia.

This also included a motion of no longer wanting to be a part of Australian Karting Association Limited (Trading as Karting Australia).

“We will however remain a part of Australian Karting Association Incorporated (AKA).” stated Filipetto. “AKA is the custodian of the National Track Development Fund (TDF). Karting NSW has a huge amount of members’ money in the TDF. We have tracks in NSW that could utilize those funds but since the purported transfer of the TDF to KA, the fund is getting fat and the tracks are not getting developed”

Karting NSW is in a unique position where they are the State Sporting Organisation (SSO) appointed by the NSW Office of Sport and have been for some time.   For the average karter - things will change - Karting will become more affordable and refocused back on participation as a family sport.   Racing will continue as normal and tracks will continue to operate.

It’s good times ahead in NSW - time to drag you’re clubman or J out of the shed and come retro racing with Karting NSW.

Six compound target for Michelin @ Aragon

Michelin is hoping for another 'clean sweep' of all six tyre compounds being chosen for use in Sunday's Aragon MotoGP race, as occurred last time at Misano and last year at Aragon.

The French manufacturer will again offer soft, medium and hard compounds for its front and rear slick tyre options. The fronts will feature a symmetric compound layout, while the rears have a harder left shoulder to manage the 10 left corners versus 7 rights.

"The track is very technical and last year we saw all six compounds used in the race – as was the case last time out in Misano – and that is the same target we have for here this season," said Piero Taramasso, Michelin Motorsport's Two-Wheel Manager.

Michelin is hoping for another 'clean sweep' of all six tyre compounds being chosen for use in Sunday's Aragon MotoGP race, as occurred last time at Misano and last year at Aragon.

The French manufacturer will again offer soft, medium and hard compounds for its front and rear slick tyre options. The fronts will feature a symmetric compound layout, while the rears have a harder left shoulder to manage the 10 left corners versus 7 rights.

"The track is very technical and last year we saw all six compounds used in the race – as was the case last time out in Misano – and that is the same target we have for here this season," said Piero Taramasso, Michelin Motorsport's Two-Wheel Manager.

"It is always Michelin’s intention to supply tyres that can be used by all riders, teams and manufacturers to give them optimum performance at every race and this is something that is very important for us.

"We aimed to create a competition environment within a single make series and we believe we have done that, and it makes it a real challenge for all the riders at the races to make the best and most informed choice, which in-turn has led to more exciting and close racing.”

Should rain make an appearance this weekend, Michelin's wet tyres will be available in soft and medium compounds, front and rear.

“We had some very mixed weather at Aragón last year, which seems to have been the case for the last few races, so we are hoping for more consistent conditions this weekend,"  Taramasso said of the weather.

 

 

 

INTERIM DIRECTOR OF PROMOTIONS, MARKETING & MEDIA APPOINTED ANDY TICEHURST

The Board of Karting NSW is pleased to announce that Andy Ticehurst has been successful in securing the Casual Vacancy of Director of Promotions, Marketing & Media for Karting NSW. 

Andy has been involved in providing public relations and marketing solutions to the motorsport industry for over 23 years, including live broadcasting (audio and vision streaming), motorsport industry content creation for television and social media platforms. Andy has also consulted to Supercar, World Rally, A1GP, Speedway, Caltex, Bridgestone, Lotus Car Company, Aston Martin in relation to various promotional appointments. 

Prior to his time in media relations, Andy had a distinguished military career as a member of the Australian Army and the Department of Defence.

The Board has taken some time in filling this Casual Vacancy to ensure that it continues to enhance an independent, skills-based focus of the current Board. “It was important to ensure we obtained the right professional skills coupled with seasoned motorsport media and promotions experience to this fundamental appointment” said Dave Filipetto, Chairman of KNSW. 

The Interim Role of Director of Promotions, Marketing and Media is up for election as a permanent appointment at the Annual General Meeting on 01 September 2018. 

Please join the Board in congratulating Andy on his appointment

 

David Filipetto

Chairman – Karting (NSW) Inc