Stoffel Vandoorne to partner Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2017

After months of increased speculation, McLaren have confirmed their driver line-up for 2017.

The Woking team has announced an “innovative three-driver strategy for the 2017 and 2018 Formula 1 seasons” which will see current reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne promoted to a race seat alongside Fernando Alonso.

While Jenson Button – who has raced with McLaren since 2010 – has signed a new two year deal with the team, he will take a backseat in 2017.

“As a race driver for our team these past seven seasons, he’s been superb, both on and off the track,” Ron Dennis said of Button. “And, as we’re seeing this season, he remains superb – not only fast and fit but also experienced and expert. He’ll start his 298th Grand Prix tomorrow; as such, he’s the most experienced driver on the grid. Having extended his contract to include 2017 and 2018, he’ll continue to be a senior, influential and committed member of the team, and will remain centrally involved in the development of our cars. He’ll also be available to race for us if circumstances require it.”

As expected, Alonso will continue as a race driver into 2017 and will be partnered by Vandoorne. Vandoorne deputised for the Spaniard at this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix and scored McLaren’s first point of the season with an impressive drive to tenth. He has been waiting in the wings for a couple of years and won the GP2 championship in 2015. This year has seen him race in Super Formula.

For Button, he does not view the news as a retirement. “I’m delighted that I’ll be staying on as a key member of the McLaren-Honda team,” he revealed. “I’m massively excited about my new role [and] specifically I’m looking forward to becoming even more deeply involved in the team’s efforts to bring about the success we’ve all been striving to deliver.”

“I love McLaren-Honda – I firmly believe it’s made up of the best bunch of people I’ve ever worked with and I have no intention of ever driving for another Formula 1 team,” he continued. It had been suggested that he might be on his way to Williams – with whom he made his Formula One debut back in 2000 – to replace the retiring Felipe Massa. “To be clear, I’m very definitely not retiring. I’m contracted for both 2017 and 2018, I intend to work hard on car-development, and I’m sure I’ll get behind the wheel of the new car at some point.”

 

Button has enjoyed eight victories with McLaren to date along with 18 further podiums. His best finish in the championship with the team was 2nd in 2011. 201

 

 

F1 2016: Belgian GP – Qualifying Times & Laps

Qualifying

Times

  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:46.744
  2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:46.893
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:46.910
  4. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:47.108
  5. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:47.216
  6. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:47.407
  7. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:47.543
  8. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:47.612
  9. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:48.114
  10. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:48.263
  11. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:48.316
  12. Kevin Magnussen – Renault  – 1:48.485
  13. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:48.598
  14. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 1:48.888
  15. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:49.038
  16. Pascal Wehrlein – 1:49.320
  17. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 1:48.949
  18. Esteban Ocon – Manor – 1:49.050
  19. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:49.058
  20. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 1:49.071
  21. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:50.033
  22. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – No Time Set

Laps

  1. Jenson Button – McLaren – 15
  2. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 14
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 13
  4. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 12
  5. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 12
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 12
  7. Sergio Perez – Force India – 12
  8. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 12
  9. Valtteri Bottas – Williams- 12
  10. Felipe Massa – Williams – 12
  11. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 12
  12. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 12
  13. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 12
  14. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 12
  15. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 11
  16. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 9
  17. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 6
  18. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 6
  19. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 6
  20. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 4
  21. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 1

Lewis Hamilton takes championship lead after Hungarian GP win

Lewis Hamilton has taken the championship lead for the first time this season following his win at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

It was his team-mate Nico Rosberg who started from pole position but Hamilton took control after the first corner and, apart from pit stops, never lost the lead.

The Red Bull duo battled for the lead at the start of the race but ultimately it was Hamilton who came out on top with Rosberg dropping to third. The Mercedes driver quickly disposed of Daniel Ricciardo and it was another Silver Arrows 1-2 come the end of the race. Ricciardo finished third – his third podium in as many years at the Hungaroring.

Behind the top three Sebastian Vettel finished fourth for Ferrari although he was close to a podium finish. He started reeling Ricciardo in in the closing stages of the race but ran out of time to pass him, instead finishing just seven tenths behind the Red Bull. That wasn’t the only close battle in the last 20 laps as Raikkonen fought with Max Verstappen. It isn’t the first time this season that the grid’s oldest driver has gone wheel to wheel with the youngest – Raikkonen trailed Verstappen at the Spanish Grand Prix, the Dutchman’s first win.

Both drivers were complaining over the radio about each other throughout their fight. Raikkonen complained that Verstappen was moving about too much and if he continued then they would make contact with each other. Verstappen had been given warnings about exceeding track limits and he complained over his team radio that Raikkonen was exceeding them too. They did have a minor coming together as Verstappen moved into the space Raikkonen was already occupying. It resulted in Raikkonen losing part of his front wing but both were able to continue. The gap over the line was just four tenths of a second and Raikkonen demonstrated his frustration by passing the Red Bull driver after they reached the chequered flag.

Fernando Alonso finished where he had started the race – in seventh – while team-mate Jenson Button battled hydraulic issues from early on and eventually became the race’s only retirement. Carlos Sainz was eighth for Toro Rosso with Valtteri Bottas ninth and Nico Hulkenberg tenth.

Sergio Perez was 11th ahead of Jolyon Palmer – who had been running in the points before a spin dropped him down the order again. Esteban Gutierrez finished 13th – picking up a five second penalty for ignoring blue flags –  with Romain Grosjean 14th and Kevin Magnussen 15th. Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Nasr, Felipe Massa, Pascal Wehrlein, Marcus Ericsson, and Rio Haryanto completed the 21 finishers.

There is a quick turnaround with the next race being this weekend in Germany.

Hamilton wins in Austria despite Rosberg collision

Lewis Hamilton won the Austrian Grand Prix despite a last lap incident with his team-mate.

It was the British driver who started from pole position with Nico Rosberg starting sixth following a gearbox penalty. Hamilton maintained his lead at the start with Nico Hulkenberg, who also started on the front row, dropping down the order. Jenson Button – starting a season best third for McLaren – slotted into second and was able to keep Kimi Raikkonen behind him for seven laps of the race.

Ferrari were looking strong, having started the race on a different tyre compound to the Mercedes duo. Following pit-stops it was Sebastian Vettel who led but a tyre blow-out on lap 27 put him out of the race. Raikkonen’s own stop had dropped him behind the Red Bull pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen which compromised his afternoon.

Hamilton lost out to team-mate Rosberg, who pitted first, and from there on in it looked like Rosberg’s race to lose. Having won on the previous two occasions Formula One has visited the Red Bull Ring – since its return to the calendar in 2014 – it looked like the German driver could be making it a hat-trick, despite losing out in qualifying. Hamilton closed the gap and on the last lap it became apparent that he was close enough to make a pass.

The pair collided after Rosberg failed to leave Hamilton enough space – not the first time the two of them have come to blows on the race track. Hamilton emerged unscathed after being forced wide while Rosberg’s front wing came loose. He was subsequently given a ten second penalty and a reprimand for causing a collision and not pitting an unsafe car.

Hamilton continued to win the race while Rosberg limped home in fourth – his penalty not affecting his finishing position. Joining Hamilton on the podium were Verstappen and Raikkonen. Ricciardo finished fifth ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button who finished a credible sixth having started third. Romain Grosjean returned to points with Haas in seventh ahead of Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas. Pascal Wehrlein picked up his first ever points in Formula One with a tenth place finish – Manor’s first point since Monaco 2014. Sergio Perez had been running in tenth before brake failure caused his retirement in the closing stages of the race.

Joining Perez on the sidelines were team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Daniil Kvyat and Vettel.

The next race is the British Grand Prix which will take place at Silverstone this weekend.

 

McLaren announce new partnership with Michael Kors

 

McLaren-Honda and Michael Kors have announced a new partnership.

Michael Kors will become the official lifestyle partner of the team and will feature on the team’s cars and the drivers’ overalls.

“Michael Kors and McLaren-Honda are pioneers in their respective spaces,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Michael Kors, John D. Idol said. “We firmly believe that McLaren-Honda is the right partner for our entry into the Formula 1 racing world. This is an exciting moment for us, especially as we continue to grow as a men’s lifestyle brand.”

 

McLaren’s Executive Chairman and CEO of McLaren Group Ron Dennis explained the reasoning behind signing the new deal. “Like McLaren, which has raced in Formula 1 all over the world for the past 50 years, Michael Kors is a truly international company, operating stylish and successful stores in some of the most prestigious cities in the world,” he said. “[These include] New York, Beverley Hills, Chicago, London, Milan, Paris, Munich, Istanbul, Dubai, Seoul, Tokoyo and Hong Kong.”

“Moreover, I firmly believe that the corporate cultures of both McLaren and Michael Kors encompass a common dynamism and adventurism , as well as a shared commitment to a similarly relentless pursuit of perfection,” he continued. “As such the two brands are extremely well suited to a long-term partnership. That brand fit is very important to both of us: both companies have built their reputations on being the very best at what they do, and, as we now march forward together, we’ll both become stronger still.”

In celebration of the launch of the partnership, Michael Kors has created a limited edition men’s leather jacket. The 50 specially produced black leather jackets will be sold exclusively on the men’s floor of the new Michael Kors London flagship store, while supplies last. The jackets will feature both the Michael Kors and McLaren logos, as well as a limited edition plaque with each piece’s unique production number.

 

“This partnership is about the convergence of style and speed which is inherent to both the Michael Kors and McLaren-Honda DNA,” Michael Kors explained. “There is an energy, sophistication and confidence to both of our brands, and we wanted to create a limited edition piece that spoke to that.”

Ferrari fastest at first in-season test

The first in-season test of the season has taken place at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Ten teams were in action with a mixture of race drivers and test drivers behind the wheel. Sauber opted to sit the test out. Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of the two day test on the first day.

The order of the day on day one was mainly shorter, qualifying runs for teams. Three drivers completed over 100 laps – including pacesetter Vettel – while Pierre Gasly was the highest placed test driver in terms of times. Williams test driver Alex Lynn had an unusual rear wing fitted as Williams focused on aero work in preparation for 2017.

On day two Pascal Wehrlein completed testing work for Mercedes having driven his Manor on the first day. Red Bull trialled an updated engine while McLaren reserve Stoffel Vandoorne spent the day testing new parts on the McLaren. Daniil Kvyat was pleased to get some significant running under his belt as he got some “essential” laps to reacclimatise with the Toro Rosso following his seat swap. Renault were another team with an updated engine while Felipe Massa continued Williams’ aero work.

Day 1

  1. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:23.220
  2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:23.337 – +0.117
  3. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:23.753 – +0.533
  4. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:23.882 – +0.662
  5. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 1:24.297 – +1.077
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:24.307 – +1.087
  7. Pierre Gasly – Toro Rosso – 1:24.821 – +1.601
  8. Alfonso Celis – Force India – 1:25.467 – +2.247
  9. Alex Lynn – Williams – 1:26.071 – +2.851
  10. Esteban Ocon – Renault – 1:26.530 – +3.310

 

  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 119
  2. Esteban Ocon – Renault – 105
  3. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 103
  4. Alfonso Celis – Force India – 99
  5. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 96
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 89
  7. Jenson Button – McLaren – 86
  8. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 86
  9. Alex Lynn – Williams – 86
  10. Pierre Gasly – Toro Rosso – 78

Day 2

  1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:23.267
  2. Stoffel Vandoorne – McLaren – 1:24.006 – +0.739
  3. Pascal Wehrlein – Mercedes – 1:24.145 – +0.878
  4. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:24.592 – +1.325
  5. Antonio Fuoco – Ferrari – 1:24.720 – +1.453
  6. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:24.737 – +1.470
  7. Alfonso Celis – Force India – 1:25.016 – +1.749
  8. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 1:25.133 – +1.866
  9. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:27.167 – +3.900
  10. Jordan King – Manor – 1:27.615 – +4.348

 

  1. Pascal Wehrlein – Mercedes – 133
  2. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 122
  3. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 118
  4. Antonio Fuoco – Ferrari – 118
  5. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 116
  6. Stoffel Vandoorne – McLaren – 108
  7. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 105
  8. Alfonso Celis – Force India – 103
  9. Felipe Massa – Williams – 94
  10. Jordan King – Manor – 91

F1 2016: Australian GP: FP1 Times & Laps

Free Practice 1

Wet changeable conditions – slick and wet weather tyres used.

Lap Times

Drivers

  1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:29.725
  2. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull – 1:30.146 – +0.421
  3. Daniel Ricciardo –  Red Bull – 1:30.875 – +1.150
  4. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:31.325 – +1.600
  5. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso – 1:31.720 – +1.995
  6. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:31.814 – +2.089
  7. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 1:33.060 – +3.335
  8. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:33.129 – +3.404
  9. Sergio Perez – Force  India – 1:33.370 – +3.645
  10. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 1:34.060 – +4.335
  11. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:34.550 – +4.825
  12. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:34.679 – +4.954
  13. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 1:34.796 – +5.071
  14. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 1:35.477 – +5.752
  15. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 1:37.956 – +8.231
  16. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 1:40.401 – +10.676
  17. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:40.754 – +11.029
  18. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:41.780 – +12.055
  19. Rio Haryanto – Manor – 1:43.372 – +13.647
  20. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:43.443 – +13.718
  21. Sebastian Vettel –  Ferrari – No Time Set
  22. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – No Time Set

Teams

  1. Mercedes – 1:29.725
  2. Red Bull – 1:30.146 – +0.421
  3. Force India – 1:31.325 – +1.600
  4. Toro Rosso – 1:31.720 – +1.995
  5. McLaren – 1:33.060 – +3.335
  6. Renault – 1:34.060 – +4.335
  7. Williams – 1:34.550 – +4.825
  8. Sauber – 1:34.796 – +5.071
  9. Manor – 1:40.401 – +10.676
  10. Ferrari – 1:40.754 – +11.029
  11. Haas – 1:41.780 – +12.055

Laps

Drivers

  1. Jenson Button – McLaren – 16
  2. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 14
  3. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull – 14
  4. Max  Verstappen – Toro Rosso – 14
  5. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 13
  6. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 13
  7. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 12
  8. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 11
  9. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 11
  10. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari –  10
  11. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India –  8
  12. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas –  8
  13. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 8
  14. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 7
  15. Rio Haryanto – Manor – 7
  16. Sergio Perez – Force India – 6
  17. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 6
  18. Felipe Massa – Williams – 6
  19. Marcus Ericcson – Sauber – 6
  20. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 6
  21. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 6
  22. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 3

Teams

  1. McLaren – 27
  2. Red Bull – 27
  3. Mercedes – 25
  4. Renault – 25
  5. Ferrari – 18
  6. Toro Rosso – 17
  7. Force India – 14
  8. Haas – 14
  9. Sauber – 13
  10. Manor – 13
  11. Williams – 12