The hidden consequences of Verstappen's British GP crash

Sports 20 July, 2021 - 03:18am 10 views

What did Verstappen say about Hamilton?

But after being "taken to a local hospital for further cautionary tests", Verstappen posted on social media saying Hamilton's move had been "dangerous" and his victory celebrations were "disrespectful and unsportsmanlike". Celebrating his win, Hamilton said: "This is a dream for me today, to do it in front of you all. Sky NewsLewis Hamilton targeted by racists online after British Grand Prix win and Max Verstappen crash

Once it was clear that he had emerged unscathed thoughts turned to the lost world championship points, and the huge gain that Lewis Hamilton was able to make by ultimately winning the race.

However, in 2021 there is another consequence for the top teams that was not previously a serious consideration: the monetary cost of a major accident in the new era of FIA financial regulations.

This season teams can spend no more than $145m on developing, building and operating their cars, and for Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari that has necessitated a very different approach.

They've had to let some people go, move others sideways on to non-F1 projects, and account for every pound, dollar or euro spent on their racing programmes.

"We are really struggling to just come in below the budget cap and we're talking about tens of thousands of pounds and not hundreds of thousands," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff noted at the start of this season.

"We've had to go through the pain of redundancies over the winter," Red Bull's Christian Horner explained.

"We've had to re-size, re-package ourselves, and it's really tough when you're saying goodbye to members of the team, some of whom have been there for 25 years across its different formats.

"So it's been really been a tough exercise and continues to be a significant challenge, particularly for the bigger teams. It drives efficiency into the business, because it quite simply has to."

It's not just about personnel and salaries. Teams now aim to manufacture the minimum number of parts to get through the season, a process complicated by the fact that teams don't know how many races will ultimately be run.

The top teams do not want to get to Abu Dhabi in December with 10 unused sets of suspension sitting on a shelf in the factory, or be left with a dozen front wings of a type that was superseded by a later development.

It also means that any revised parts really have to earn their place on the car before they go into production.

As an example of cost-saving efforts, Mercedes introduced more steel and less carbon into its suspension this year, purely to ensure that each part could run more miles. And like other teams, the world champions carried over its 2020 chassis, simply giving them a new type number.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, climbs from his damaged car after crashing out on the opening lap

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

As with any other aspect of F1, the big teams are running right on the edge, carefully balancing the expenditure on this year's programmes with the need to develop new cars for 2022. Until December 31st, any work on next season's car comes out of that $145m.

The general idea is that if you get to the end of this year and can successfully demonstrate to the FIA that you have spent as close to $144,999,999 as you can get, you will have done your job. It's a clear target, just like quicker laptimes or higher downforce levels.

The role of accident damage was first highlighted after Valtteri Bottas tangled with George Russell at Imola in April, and his Mercedes team estimated that the impact had cost over £1m. Wolff pointed our that the money lost could now not be used elsewhere, and could potentially rein in some development programmes on the current car.

When Verstappen's car was craned away on Sunday, it was obvious that it had suffered even more than the Mercedes did in Italy. After the wreck was returned to Red Bull, the mechanics set to work on finding out what, if anything, was still salvageable.

The extra cost of accident damage also helps to explain why it took so long for the teams to agree financial terms with F1 over the addition of three extra sprints to the 2021 schedule. The consensus was that the extra events added more risk, and thus more chance of damage.

"If you divide $145m by 23 events you're on a crude basis [seeing] what it takes to operate a grand prix car," Horner said before agreement was reached. "And of course, adding in, effectively albeit a shortened race is just more cost that we're naturally going to incur the usage of parts, etc, etc."

As part of the final deal, it was agreed that should a driver retire from a race with damage, the team would get an $100,000 allowance within the $145m cap.

Ironically, Red Bull benefited from exactly that clause on Saturday, officially retiring Sergio Perez with a lap of the sprint left to run after his early spin. However, that little bonus was nothing compared to the costs associated with the Verstappen accident the following day.

It's worth pointing out that damage has always been a real world issue for smaller teams, but from the other direction – they have budgets limited by their ability to generate income, not by FIA regulations.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, on the grid

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

It's also true that the big teams factored in contingencies for accident damage when they did their sums for 2021, as they knew that some was inevitable. However, the Bottas and Verstappen accidents were both unusually destructive.

"Our drivers have been incredibly good at getting through seasons without breaking much in recent years," Mercedes engineering guru Andrew Shovlin said after the Imola crash.

"If you have a series of these kind of large accidents that are doing significant damage, and this has been bad for us, because we've had a front wing with Lewis as well, then that will definitely exceed our allocation for what we have available to spend on the parts.

"In an ideal world, you run them to life, you don't break them, anything that you do break, hopefully it's end of life or something that is about to be obsolete. But that is definitely not the case here.

"So it is really a factor of the cost cap, and the money has got to come from somewhere. Ultimately if it becomes a big problem, it can start to hit your development budget. So we do need to be mindful of that moving forward."

Red Bull was lucky that the accident happened close to home, and with a free weekend until the next race, so at least the team has time to quickly assess everything and where necessary put extra parts into production to create a safety net of spares.

Along with the financial aspect, there is also a competitive one, as an impact of the size suffered by Verstappen might have damaged his Honda power unit.

Should any of the six main elements have to be binned they will not have served their full life, and their replacements will put Verstappen on the bubble for grid penalties later in the season.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Honda's Toyoharu Tanabe remains hopeful that the PU can be salvaged.

"When I first saw the image of the car being lifted, I thought it was a lot of damage, but in reality it seems that the damage is less than what I see in the image.

"In any case, the actual damage is not known from the appearance when it is installed in the car, so we would like to send it back to HRD Sakura and check it before making a decision."

It could be that some or all of the elements can yet be returned to Verstappen's pool. But after a 51g hit, would they be risked in a race, or just used on Fridays when there's less at stake? That going to be another tough decision for both team and engine supplier.

Next year the cap drops from $145m to $140m – just as the expense of building brand new cars kicks in – and by 2023 the headline figure drops further, to $135m.

Counting the cost of accidents is only going to become more relevant.

Wolff: Hamilton is the opposite of a dirty F1 driver

Read full article at

Lewis Hamilton targeted with racist abuse online after controversial British Grand Prix victory

CNN International 20 July, 2021 - 09:01am

Updated 1030 GMT (1830 HKT) July 19, 2021

Brundle: 'I think he thought Lewis would back out of that'

GPblog 20 July, 2021 - 09:01am

However, in front of 140,000 fans during his home race at the Silverstone circuit, Hamilton was not about to do that again. ""Lewis didn't back off and I think Lewis had made the decision that he's done that too much this year", the Formula 1 commentator says.

The rivals are pushing each other to the limit this year and that includes a lot of aggression on the track. "We saw it in Barcelona in particular but in Imola earlier on in the year, and even on Saturday in the sprint race so it's super aggressive driving both of them yesterday. Max is very aggressive on the track, which we love him for and why he's such a great racing driver, we have got one of the all-time classic duels here on our hands sort of Prost vs Senna, Schumacher vs Hill, Mansell vs Piquet, so many of them over the decades", Brundle says.

Jos Verstappen furious at Wolff: 'He doesn't need to call anymore'

Button: 'He's angry and emotional seeing his friend and driver in the wall'

International press react: "His stubbornness resulted in a brutal accident"

This is the amount Red Bull must pay to repair Verstappen's RB16B

Ricciardo shows Hamilton how it's done: "Is there any news about Max?"

Perez impresses at Red Bull: 'Almost on Verstappen's level'

Verstappen doesn't mind Hamilton: 'That's how my father taught me to live'

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'When it comes to pure speed, Verstappen is ahead of Hamilton'

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Max's RB16B damage stands at 'three quarters of a million' | PlanetF1

PlanetF1 20 July, 2021 - 09:01am

Date published: July 20 2021 - Michelle Foster

That’s the estimate from Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko.

Verstappen was involved in a high-speed crash at Sunday’s British Grand Prix, hit by Lewis Hamilton as the Mercedes driver tried to take the lead off him into Copse.

The Red Bull driver went screaming through the gravel trap, hitting the tyre barrier at 150mph with the impact said to be 51G.

Here's a fans' eye view of just how fast Max was travelling when he crashed…

The silence from the crowd says it all, we're just glad he's okay 😬#BritishGP 🇬🇧 #F1

— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) July 19, 2021

He thankfully walked away with nothing more severe than bruises and a sore neck while Honda believe his engine can be salvaged.

What won’t buff out, though, is the car.

His RB16B was wrecked with Marko estimating the damage to be around 750,000 Euros.

“As things stand,” he told RTL, “it is about three quarters of a million euros, although the engine situation is not quite clear yet.”

That’s 750,000 Euros that Red Bull will have spend building him a new car, money that the team would have rather sunk into developing this year’s car or designing next year’s all-new Red Bull.

Marko added: “Especially in times of the cost cap, it is a significant amount and hurts us.”

And that’s not taking into account the financial loss the team could face if his Silverstone DNF is the difference in their battle with Mercedes for the championship titles.

The good news, though, is Verstappen is “okay”, suffering with “only a bit of neck pain”.

Marko says he will be back in the car come next weekend’s Hungarian GP, just not that car.

“Unfortunately not in that car anymore since it’s completely damaged,” he said. “But you will see a very motivated Max in Hungary.”

Having arrived at the British Grand Prix with a 32-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship, Verstappen is now just eight points ahead of Hamilton.

Red flag saved Hamilton from certain DNF – Mercedes 19 July, 2021 - 09:32am

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says a damaged wheel rim on Lewis Hamilton's car would have led to the Briton's retirement from the British Grand Prix had the race not been red flagged.

Hamilton's front-left wheel was hit by Max Verstappen's rear right as the two drivers collided at Copse corner on the opening lap of Sunday's race.

With the Dutchman's Red Bull heavily planted in the outside tyre barrier, race control wisely decided to red flag the event to allow for the car's safe recovery and for marshals to conduct repair work on the barrier.

Mercedes' subsequent examination of Hamilton's W12 revealed very little damage, save for the car's left front wheel rim.

"We'd failed the rim where we had the contact at the front left, so that would've been a DNF had it not been red-flagged," Shovlin said after the race.

"But the rest of the damage was actually remarkably little. It was a tyre temperature sensor that had got knocked loose, so it was waggling around but, amazingly, it's the least important part on the front wing and it was the only one that broke."

A 10-second penalty for causing a collision handed to Hamilton after the race was restarted and was served during his swap from the medium to the hard tyre, 25 laps from the end of the race.

Hamilton rejoined in fifth position, just behind McLaren's Lando Norris but 35 seconds adrift from race leader Charles Leclerc.

At that point, Shovlin was informed by Mercedes' strategists that Hamilton would catch the Ferrari driver with two laps to go, but it took some time for Hamilton to convince himself that a win was on the cards.

"From our planners during the race which are forecasting it live, we were looking at catching him with two laps to go," Shovlin explained.

"When we thought it was on was probably five laps into that, you normally see the drop on the tyres and you could just see Lewis holding this eight-tenths advantage to Charles every lap.

"Lewis just wasn't dropping off and the balance was happy. And, to be honest, with Lewis, you can hear it in his voice in what he's saying on the radio.

"You just get this switch where he knows in his head he's going to do it today and, to be honest, it was really nice sitting on the pitwall just watching that final stint unfold because it was a great and well-deserved win."

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