FIA president Todt suggests 'global engine' for F1 and other series

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FIA president Todt suggests 'global engine' for F1 and other series

FIA president Jean Todt has resurrected the idea of a 'global engine' that could be used in both Formula 1 and other motorsport series.

The concept was previously proposed in the late 2000s, when the FIA commissioned British engineering consultancy Ricardo to investigate the potential for a common rules package to create a base engine that could be adapted for use in as many as 11 major series around the world.

The 2009 report suggested that championships ranging from F1 and IndyCar to single-seater ladder categories, rallying, touring cars and prototype sportscars could use versions of the same engine, but the concept fizzled out amid concerns over cost and practicality from the targeted championships and manufacturers.

Given the huge investment needed to produce engines for the current hybrid F1 regulations, Todt believes reviving the global rules concept could be attractive.

"Probably what we should say, which is not easy as well, is could we use this [F1] engine in other categories of motorsport?" he said.

"At the moment each category of motorsport has its own single regulations, so probably we should try to see if we can have some synergies."

Todt highlighted the World Endurance Championship's LMP1 class as a candidate for sharing engine rules with F1, saying grand prix racing's move towards longer-life engines made it more practical for its technology to be used in long-distance sportscar racing too.


Pascal Wehrlein F1 Mercedes 'hype' was good for Marcus Ericsson

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Pascal Wehrlein F1 Mercedes 'hype' was good for Marcus Ericsson

Marcus Ericsson says the "hype" surrounding his 2017 Sauber Formula 1 team-mate Pascal Wehrlein helped him, but that F1 still has not realised what he is really capable of.

Though Wehrlein scored all five of Sauber's 2017 points, the qualifying gap between him and Ericsson was the smallest of any team pairing on the F1 grid.

Wehrlein arrived at Sauber as a Mercedes protege who had been considered as a replacement for retiring world champion Nico Rosberg, fresh from scoring a point for Manor in his F1 rookie season and with a CV that included the 2015 DTM title.

Ericsson was outperformed by team-mate Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham in his rookie season in 2014 but thinks going up against Wehrlein has boosted him.

"I still feel like I'm developing as a driver and I've become better and better," said Ericsson, who has been retained for 2018 to partner Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc as Sauber begins a tie-up with Alfa Romeo.


Chile close to securing deal to join WRC calendar from 2019

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Chile close to securing deal to join WRC calendar from 2019

Chile is close to agreeing terms to join the World Rally Championship calendar for the 2019 season.

The South American country will run a candidate event a week before next year's Rally Argentina, after which WRC Promoter and the FIA will decide if it can join the series as a 14th round from 2019 onwards.

WRC Promoter chief Oliver Ciesla said the proposed Concepcion-based event would be popular with drivers.

"We are very close to an agreement," Ciesla told Autosport.

"This would be a forest-based rally with really nice, smooth roads, with stages going from sea level up to 2000 metres into the mountains.

"From what we have seen, Chile would by no means be behind where some of the events are right now."

Rally Chile organiser Sebastian Etcheverry said the WRC would be enormously popular in his country.

"Rallying is the second biggest sport in Chile behind football," he said.

"We have run the RallyMobil series for 18 years and a WRC round is the next step for us.

"We are ready for this. Our stages - which are mainly wide and fast - are probably the best surfaces in the world for rallying: we have a lot of forest roads and they have to be maintained with compact gravel to allow the trucks to pass by in different weather conditions.

"In Concepcion, we have close to two million people with plenty of hotels and infrastructure."

Japan is another event pushing for a 2019 WRC date. An event based close to Toyota City on the nation's main island of Honshu is currently working with WRC Promoter.


Fresh Formula 1 engine oil burn intrigue ahead of Monza clampdown

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Fresh Formula 1 engine oil burn intrigue ahead of Monza clampdown

Mercedes has played down talk of fresh tensions between itself and Ferrari over Formula 1's ongoing oil burn controversy, after it introduced a new engine at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The FIA has published a series of technical directives this year in an attempt to clamp down on teams burning engine oil as fuel for performance gains.

Last month the FIA informed teams that any new engine introduced from the Italian Grand Prix would be allowed a maximum consumption of 0.9 litres of oil per 100km.

 F1's oil burn controversy explained

Any engine implemented before next weekend's race at Monza would still be allowed to use up to 1.2 litres per 100km.

Mercedes brought its fourth and final power unit of the campaign to last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton claiming pole position and fending off Sebastian Vettel on Sunday to win the race.

That decision is understood to have caught Ferrari by surprise, although suggestions a gentleman's agreement had been in place between the two outfits not to introduce an engine in Belgium are understood to be wide of the mark.


DTM must provide 'incentives' to attract new manufacturers - BMW

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DTM must provide 'incentives' to attract new manufacturers - BMW

The DTM needs to come up with incentives to attract new manufacturers in the wake of Mercedes announcing its withdrawal, reckons BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt.

Last month's announcement that Mercedes will quit the DTM in favour of Formula E has left the German tin-top series facing an uncertain future, with only Audi and BMW committed for 2019 and beyond.

While series chief Gerhard Berger expressed confidence that the championship can withstand the blow of Mercedes leaving, Audi boss Dieter Gass admitted he found the idea of a two-marque DTM "difficult to imagine" and stressed the importance of attracting another manufacturer.

"The target has to be with maximum force now, to really get potential [newcomers] attracted even more," said Marquardt.

"There will have to be some incentives, we have to work on that.

"Already there are three manufacturers in Super GT that run pretty similar regulations that are pretty close to what we have.

"So getting those closer [is Plan A], and then see what can be a Plan B."

Asked if Mercedes' pull-out would lead to a renewed push to harmonise DTM regulations with those of Super GT, Marquardt added: "That's what we have to figure out now in the discussions with everybody involved.

"We were included in the discussion from 2010 onwards, and we joined in 2012.

"We need reach out now to every potential [option] and see what would be attractive.

"In that respect, the DTM probably has to adjust.

"Now the situation has changed and we have to see what is needed - what the good things are in DTM to keep, and what maybe needs to be modified.

"We need to be open to anything. We need to widen the scope to see what can be discussed.

"The more manufacturers we have involved, the more stability you have."


European Rally Junior U28 title earns Griebel 2018 WRC outing

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European Rally Junior U28 title earns Griebel 2018 WRC outing

German driver Marijan Griebel has won a World Rally Championship outing in 2018 by clinching the European Rally Championship's Junior Under 28 title at Rally Zlin.

The ERC revamped its Junior category for 2017 and created the U28 element for drivers under 28 driving R5 cars, with the rebranded U27 strand catering for the R2-based element.

As the inaugural U28 champion, Griebel will drive a 2016 World Rally Car on a European WRC round next season.

He secured the title with a third class win from four rallies aboard his Baumschlager-run Skoda Fabia R5 in the Czech Republic at the weekend.

"I didn't really expect we can be champion after four out of six rallies, but every rally in the ERC went nearly perfect with three wins and third place in Canarias," said Griebel, who last year won what is now U27 after a close battle with British Opel team-mate Chris Ingram.

"Everything came together for me and this is another big step in my career."


Sean Gelael gets four F1 FP1 outings with Toro Rosso in 2017

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Sean Gelael gets four F1 FP1 outings with Toro Rosso in 2017

Indonesian Formula 2 driver Sean Gelael will drive in Friday Formula 1 FP1 sessions for Toro Rosso at the Singapore, Malaysia, USA and Mexico Grands Prix this season.

The Faenza team has yet to decide which of its two race drivers will be replaced at each event.

The 20-year-old Gelael, who currently lies 20th in the F2 championship, has already driven the STR12 at this year's post-race Bahrain and Budapest test sessions.

"During the tests in Bahrain and Budapest Sean performed very well, helping the team in a very professional way, with a mature approach to the complex task of providing engineers with useful feedback," said team boss Franz Tost.

"Everyone within the team was impressed by his performance, his technical understanding and his commitment."

Gelael added: "I will use the opportunity to absorb like a sponge everything I can and learn as much as possible.

"I hope I can do a good job for Scuderia Toro Rosso and provide the team with good data from these important first sessions."


Thierry Neuville promises more risks in 2017 WRC title fight

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Thierry Neuville promises more risks in 2017 WRC title fight

Thierry Neuville says he will stop focusing on World Rally Champonship title rival Sebastien Ogier's position and take a "much more aggressive" strategy.

Neuville had arrived at the last WRC round in Germany leading the standings on countback over Ogier, but damaged his suspension and transmission and failed to score.

Ogier finished third and reopened a 17-point championship lead.

The Germany disappointment followed a muted performance from Neuville in Finland, where he was only sixth.

"It's not going to be easy, but I'm still positive and still optimistic," said Neuville.

"But what I need in the last three rallies is a more aggressive approach.

"I have finished second a couple of times in the championship and I don't care [about this again]. I want to win.

"For the coming events our approach will be much more aggressive, taking more risks and trying to catch back some points."

Asked by Autosport how that aggression might manifest itself, Neuville replied: "We have to take more risks. We have to win rallies.

"OK, when you take more risk, it can suddenly end. It will be a more fine line for us now.

"Until now we have focused on staying ahead of Ogier in rallies. It's not about focusing on him now; it's not about what Ogier does, it's about winning.


ETCC champion Gianfranco Brancatelli stars at Oulton Park

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ETCC champion Gianfranco Brancatelli stars at Oulton Park

Gianfranco Brancatelli, the 1985 European Touring Car champion, wrestled his '89 Spa 24 Hours winning Ford Sierra RS500 to third in the Super Touring Trophy at Oulton Park on Sunday.

Now 67-years-old, Brancatelli had ended a 16-year lay-off from racing last season and fended off newer Super Touring Cars to claim a podium finish in his first race at Oulton.

On hand in the pitlane to tend the car was Rudi Eggenberger, the Swiss touring car engineer who built the car originally.

"It's a beautiful combination to have back together," said Brancatelli.

"It's not the complete team from the 1980s but the two most important parts: myself and Rudi Eggenberger, which makes something really special.

"Most of the people are not racing anymore, they are retired.

"Actually, I was retired. My last race was in 2000 and I'd not done anything for 16 years.

"I really forgot everything until one day last year a gentleman from New Zealand called Peter Sturgeon rang me and said he'd bought a car I raced, which was a BMW M3 from 1987. I raced that car with Johnny Cecotto in ETCC.

"I didn't know what I could do, 16 years is a long time. But I took the challenge and so I went to New Zealand last year.

"Then Peter decided to buy the Sierra RS500 Cosworth that I won the 24 Hours in at Spa-Francorchamps in 1989.

"We did four races in New Zealand earlier this year, then we won at Silverstone and the Nurburgring and now we are at Oulton Park. This is something magic."


MG BTCC driver Josh Cook gets race ban after Rockingham clashes

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MG BTCC driver Josh Cook gets race ban after Rockingham clashes

Honda says it found nothing on its data to suggest that Fernando Alonso had an engine problem when he retired his McLaren Formula 1 car from the Belgian Grand Prix.

Alonso had endured a frustrating afternoon at Spa-Francorchamps, as he slipped down the field thanks to a lack of straightline speed having jumped to seventh at the start.

His unhappiness at the situation was highlighted in a series of radio messages lambasting his McLaren-Honda's poor straightline performance.

"Embarrassing, really embarrassing," Alonso said on the radio at one point, and when given information about the positions of other cars he replied: "I really don't care too much about the gaps. This is just a test".

Having dropped to 12th place, Alonso then asked McLaren if there was any possibility of a downpour as that might give him a chance to salvage a result.

McLaren was quick to respond that there was no rain showing on the radar.

Shortly after that message, Alonso slowed and came into the pits after reporting an "engine problem" on the radio.

But Honda has suggested there was nothing wrong with its power unit - prompting conspiracy theories that Alonso had deliberately retired an actually healthy car.
Honda F1 project chief Yusuke Hasegawa said: "He radioed in with what he thought was a problem with the car, and although there was nothing showing in the data, we decided to stop the car as a precaution".

Alonso remained adamant that he had stopped because of a failure.

"For sure, it's not easy to race like this, as you cannot have any good wheel-to-wheel battles," he said.

"It was a difficult afternoon and we were not competitive in race trim.

"The car was too slow on the straights and it was impossible to have any battles out there, so points were also impossible.

"Eventually, we had to stop due to an engine issue."


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