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F1 news LIVE: Lewis Hamilton latest, Red Bull ‘hangover’ ruled out, and Mercedes’ 2022 car launch date



FIA Investigation Key To Hamilton’s F1 Future

The Formula 1 off season rumbles on with the aftermath of Abu Dhabi still an intense topic in F1 circles, not to mention the link between that and Lewis Hamilton’s future. The seven-time world champion appears to be switching off after the bitter ending to the 2021 season as Max Verstappen stole a maiden world title following a thrilling final lap.

But there is also much to debate and discuss surrounding both new rules for the upcoming season, as well as uncertainty surrounding who will line up on the grid.

Another trend is how Mercedes, Toto Wolff and the FIA mend their relationship ahead of next season, with Michael Masi’s decisions and performance a source of pain for the Silver Arrows.

All will be revealed in two months when the FIA’s inquiry becomes public on the eve of the opening weekend of the 2022 season.

With George Russell in theory joining Hamilton at Mercedes next season, there will be a shuffle elsewhere, with Sergio Perez not certain to return to Red Bull. Carlos Sainz at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso at Alpine, Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri, Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, Nicholas Latifi at Williams, Alex Albon at Williams, Guanyu Zhou at Alfa Romeo and Mick Schumacher at Haas will all need to secure new contracts too. Follow all the latest F1 news below:

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Lewis Hamilton’s ‘motivation’ will not allow Michael Masi future to dictate 2022 return

Martin Brundle maintains Lewis Hamilton cannot give Mercedes ultimatums over Michael Masi’s future in the sport as it would contradict his motivation and desire to race.

“I’m a little bit uncomfortable, let’s just put this issue to one side, of a team and a driver starting to determine who’s doing what in race control, or in any other role in Formula 1 to an extent. That’s the tail wagging the dog,” Brundle said.

“If my driver came to me, if I was a Formula 1 boss, and said ‘Look, I don’t think I want to race any more if that guy’s still around’, I would immediately stop thinking about race control and start thinking ‘Hang on, has my driver lost his motivation?’, which, of course, he hasn’t.

“Lewis will be back and be pressing the throttle ever harder.”

Jack Rathborn18 January 2022 16:15

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Red Bull hangover for 2022 F1 season ruled out due to ‘smart’ plan

A title-winning hangover for Red Bull and Max Verstappen in the 2022 F1 season has been ruled out due to “smart” plan, according to Alex Albon.

As test and reserve driver, Albon has already experienced time in this year’s car before his switch to Williams.

Speaking to motorsport-total, Albon said: “As the championship got closer and closer we stopped focusing on next year’s car and started focusing more on this year’s car.

“In some ways, you only have to think short term in the championship. When you have the car at the start of a season to win the championship, to win, you have to put everything on one card but it’s not like we dropped everything to focus on the past year.

“We’ve been smart and Red Bull has always been good at adapting to the regulations in the past with Adrian [Newey] and the aerodynamicists.

“They’ve always been smart in that regard, so I don’t think they will be in a bad position [this year].”

Jack Rathborn18 January 2022 16:00

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Maserati open door for potential F1 return

Maserati has not ruled out returning to F1 in the future after clarity emerges over the new engine rules.

The Italian manufacturer confirmed its long-overdue return to single-seater competition following over 60 years away with their involvement in Formula E next year.

And with a rich history in the sport, after Juan Manuel Fangio’s drivers’ title in 1957, CEO Davide Grasso responded to questions over their long-term plans: “You mean the other championship led by my friend Stefano Domenicali? Time will tell.

“But Formula 1 is the premier class, the most important championship for racing cars, a great competition. “Maserati was there, winning the world championship with Juan Manuel Fangio. So the question is not out of place, but also not relevant at the moment. Formula E should be our first step.”

Jack Rathborn18 January 2022 15:45

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Lawrence Stroll excited for 2022 and beyond after Aston Martin moves

Lawrence Stroll has hailed the arrival of Mike Krack as team principal after replacing Otmar Szafnauer with the team owner adamant they remain on course in their five-year plan to win the world title by 2025.

Stroll said: “Winning in Formula 1 is all about bringing together the best efforts of all the principal players – drivers, engineers, mechanics, everyone – and Mike is perfectly placed to do just that.

“We are hiring brilliant new people every week. Our new factory build is coming along very well. We have a fantastic roster of superb sponsor-partners.

“We are about to embark on year two of our five-year plan, the objective of which is to win Formula One World Championships. All the ingredients we require are coming together.

“Mike will play a central and leading role, reporting to Martin Whitmarsh and leading our technical and operational functions, our collective aim being to fulfil those lofty ambitions. We are on our way.”

Jack Rathborn18 January 2022 15:30

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Prost claims boss Rossi drained the fun from Alpine

Alain Prost claims Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi drained the fun from the F1 team and wanted “all the light”.

“Laurent Rossi’s desire is to be alone, not to be polluted by anyone,” Prost told L’Equipe. “He told me himself he no longer needed to be advised. It was in Qatar but he still offered me a contract in Abu Dhabi, which I refused.

“It must be said it was a project in which I believed, and I still believe, an ambitious project which has restored incredible motivation within the group.

“But now, there is a real desire to put a lot of people on the sidelines. Laurent Rossi wants all the light.

“Me, what interests me is the challenge of being in a team and being listened to and involved in certain decisions.

“I was deliberately very isolated, but I still influenced a lot in a discreet way despite all the disagreements that I kept to myself.

“When the team boss doesn’t even say hello to you when you arrive at the circuit, it’s because there’s no more fun. There isn’t even any respect anymore. And then it can’t work anymore.”

Jack Rathborn18 January 2022 15:15

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Mick Schumacher: It’s ‘arrogant’ to suggest anybody driving a Mercedes can win

Mick Schumacher maintains it is “arrogant” to suggest anybody driving a Mercedes can win.

Max Verstappen snapped a streak of dominance for the Silver Arrows over seven years.

“Everyone deserves their place in Formula 1 and anyone can drive here,” Schumacher told Corriere dello Sport.

“But you can only say you can win a race with Mercedes if you sit in it.

“Conversely, it’s an arrogant consideration.”

Jack Rathborn18 January 2022 15:00

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George Russell’s style is ‘between Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button’

George Russell’s style has been described by Williams’ Dave Robson as “between Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button”.

“A good question. I think Jenson and Lewis were quite different and in terms of driving style, George is also different,” Robson told Motorsport.com.

“He’s kind of in between the two. To a certain extent it’s about using the tyres and they’ve changed, so I don’t know what Lewis’ style is like these days.

“The most important thing is that George is able to adapt. He drives quite instinctively and I think he continues to improve. He has the talent.”

Jack Rathborn18 January 2022 14:45

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Valtteri Bottas claims Lewis Hamilton dominance a hindrance at Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas claims Lewis Hamilton’s dominance was a hindrance to him at Mercedes.

The Finn was praised for his role in helping Mercedes land all five constructors’ titles during his tenure with his impressive teamwork and performances.

But Bottas has now revealed what he learned with the Silver Arrows ahead of a lead role at Alfa Romeo.

“Obviously, his lifestyle is also different in a way that, he might be in New York just a day before the race weekend, whatever, doing other things. But when he is in his working mode and in this Formula 1 mode, he’s never leaving any stone unturned and he’s always pushing the team a lot.

“I feel like in the last few years, he’s been more in a lead role, and for me, it’s been quite difficult to try and take a lead role, because he’s been, obviously, here before and he’s pretty dominant in the way he works with a team. Also, setting up the car for sure, I’ve learned a few things, but also many [other] things.”

Jack Rathborn18 January 2022 14:30

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Johnny Herbert maintains Michael Masi has ‘done too much damage to F1’

Ex-F1 racer Johnny Herbert maintains race director Michael Masi has ‘done too much damage’ to the series to remain in his role for 2022.

“In many respects…and in all respects, no,” Herbert told Sky Sports when discussing if he could survive the controversy in Abu Dhabi. “Because I think he has done too much damage to Formula 1 and I think because of the position that he’s in, we have got to have trust.

“And I think that trust has completely and utterly evaporated. “The problem is, is who do you replace him with? Because obviously experience is going to be very, very important for the man who slots into that position,” said Herbert.

“Michael was very fortunate, he was sort of underneath Charlie Whiting [former F1 race director] when Charlie was the head of it and he learnt a lot of good things from that point of view.

“Is there anybody that sort of stands out for me at the moment to replace him? No. And that is the conundrum.”

Jack Rathborn18 January 2022 14:15

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Michael Masi got it the right in ‘heart-pumping’ finale, claims Romain Grosjean

Michael Masi has been backed by former F1 driver Romain Grosjean, who maintains the FIA race director got it right in what was a “heart-pumping” finale in Abu Dhabi.

“I loved it. It was exciting. My heart was going, it was pumping like hell,” Grosjean said at an IndyCar media day. “There are a few ways of seeing it.

“It would have been very strange to not unlap those cars and have Lewis first and then Max four cars behind over one lap for the world championship.

“And, on the other hand, for Lewis it was definitely not a great call. But as a TV fan, as a spectator, and for the sport, I think Michael Masi made the right decision.

“I don’t think it would have been nice for the championship to finish under the safety car.

“It would not have been nice to finish with the guys first and second being separated by a few cars.”

Jack Rathborn18 January 2022 14:00



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