2018 Japanese Grand Prix.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Swami, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    5,278
    Trophy Points:
    3,636
    Location:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Ratings:
    +4,753
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    F1 arrives at one its classic venues this weekend, the magnificent Suzuka track in Japan. Arguably one of the three best circuits along with Silverstone and Spa, it presents a mighty challenge for drivers and cars alike.

    Swami
     
  2. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    5,278
    Trophy Points:
    3,636
    Location:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Ratings:
    +4,753
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Lewis Hamilton top in Japanese GP first practice
    [​IMG]
    By Andrew Benson

    [​IMG]
    Second practice is live on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and the BBC Sport website at 06:00 BST
    Lewis Hamilton set an imposing pace as Mercedes impressed in first practice at the Japanese Grand Prix.

    The world championship leader was 0.446 seconds quicker than team-mate Valtteri Bottas - and 0.682secs quicker than Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo in third place.

    Hamilton was using softer tyres than Bottas - but earlier in the session had been just 0.183secs slower than the Finn using tyres one step harder.


    Hamilton also narrowly avoided a huge crash with Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly.

    [​IMG]
    Wakey wakey: Disaster was averted for Hamilton as he narrowly avoided the ambling Gasly
    The Frenchman was going slowly on the racing line at the chicane and Hamilton had to take avoiding action and run into the escape road as he closed in at a frightening speed.

    The two drivers have been summoned to see the stewards to discuss the incident, which officials described as Gasly potentially "driving unnecessarily slowly and impeding" Hamilton.

    There was also a rare mistake from McLaren's Fernando Alonso, who went off at high speed on the entry to the difficult Degner One corner when he put his outside wheels on the grass on entry.

    Alonso speared off into the gravel trap and spun, but was able to rejoin the track.

    [​IMG]
    Paper boy: Vettel's helmet design incorporates origami for this race
    Vettel was a huge 0.994secs slower than Hamilton despite using the fastest super-soft tyres for his quickest lap and for much of the session.

    Hamilton's fastest time was set on the soft tyre, while Bottas was using the medium when he went second fastest and Ricciardo the super-soft for his time.

    Watching out on track at the demanding Esses section early in the lap, the Mercedes and the Red Bull looked especially poised and dramatic through the high-speed changes of direction.

    Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest, ahead of Vettel and the second Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

    And there was an accomplished performance from Sauber's Charles Leclerc.

    The Monegasque, who is being promoted to Ferrari next season, has never driven at Suzuka before but was quickly up to speed, 0.3secs quicker than team-mate Marcus Ericsson within three flying laps, and a further 0.1secs ahead before the usual break in the session after 40 minutes.

    Leclerc ended the session ninth, behind Force India's Esteban Ocon and Haas driver Romain Grosjean, and 0.144secs quicker than Ericsson.

    [​IMG]
    "Ah, see you went for the furry heart with photo pocket option, too." There's plenty of driver love to spare in Japan
    [​IMG]
    Even the great Alonso can come unstuck at the demanding Suzuka circuit

    Swami
     
  3. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    5,278
    Trophy Points:
    3,636
    Location:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Ratings:
    +4,753
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Lewis Hamilton dominates Japanese GP practice after crash scare
    [​IMG]
    By Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer at Suzuka

    Share this with

    Copy this link
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/45756058
    Read more about sharing.
    [​IMG]
    Final practice and qualifying is on 5 live sports extra and the BBC Sport website from 04:00 BST on Saturday
    Lewis Hamilton was in scintillating form as Mercedes dominated Friday practice at the Japanese Grand Prix.

    He was 0.833 seconds clear of title rival Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari, and 0.461secs faster than team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the Suzuka track.

    Hamilton was even faster on the 'soft' tyre, the middle compound this weekend, than Vettel was on the fastest 'super-soft'.


    The Briton also narrowly avoided a huge crash in first practice.

    Frenchman Pierre Gasly was driving his Toro Rosso slowly on the racing line at the chicane and Hamilton had to take avoiding action and run into the escape road as he closed in at a frightening speed.

    The two drivers were summoned to see the stewards to discuss the incident, where officials handed Gasly a reprimand.

    Hamilton was fastest in the first session, when he was 0.446secs ahead of Bottas and 0.682secs quicker than Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo in third.

    [​IMG]
    Wakey wakey: Disaster was averted for Hamilton as he narrowly avoided the ambling Gasly
    'I'm having the best day'
    Hamilton's pace was reflected in his mood. He said over the radio: "This track is awesome. I'm having the best day."

    His pace continued the impression that Mercedes have made a dramatic step forward in performance following the end of the European season.

    At the Italian Grand Prix in early September, Ferrari locked out the front row of the grid, but that was the last of a series of races dating back to the German Grand Prix in late July when the Italian team appeared to have the fastest car.

    Mercedes took a surprise step forward last month in Singapore, a track that had traditionally been a bogey circuit for them, and Hamilton took pole and a dominant win.

    Mercedes then locked out the front row in Russia last weekend, when Bottas handed Hamilton the win to make it four victories in the past five races for the Briton.

    [​IMG]
    It's a baby! Hamilton meets Japan's famously effusive fans
    What about race pace?
    Although it is only Friday practice, and form does not always translate into qualifying and race, the performance on the first day of the Japanese Grand Prix was disheartening for Ferrari.

    Not only were they close to a second lap slower than Mercedes in qualifying time, Hamilton also had a huge advantage on their race-simulation runs, where Hamilton was 0.7secs quicker than Vettel on the super-soft tyre.

    However, the gap is so large that most will assume something else is at play - and that perhaps Ferrari have their engines turned down for reliability purposes on Fridays when it does not matter.

    Hamilton starts the weekend in Japan with a 50-point championship lead, and can win the title by finishing second in all the remaining races, and third in a couple, even if Vettel wins them all.

    But the sort of form Mercedes showed on Friday at Suzuka, one of the world's greatest race tracks, suggests any hopes Vettel might have of somehow getting back on terms with Hamilton are dim indeed.

    All the latest F1 Gossip

    What they said
    Hamilton said: "Suzuka has to be one of my favourite circuits, if not the favourite one - it's very cool. Especially the first and second sectors are insane, the first section is the best roller coaster ride that I've felt in a Formula 1 car.

    "The balance was in quite a nice place, so I was just enjoying it. Every year I come back, there are always areas that I can improve, so I was like: 'There are two or three corners where I know that I need to kill it this year,' and I got straight up to it. I was much better than I had ever been through those particular corners.

    "I'm just loving driving more than ever; when you get in the car, it's just the best."

    Vettel said: "I don't think we tried something different to other Fridays. We know what the car can do and we need to focus on that to try to get everything out to put us in the best possible position. If we can grasp pole, great, but if not we need to be right behind."

    Both Ferraris were suffering from blistered tyres on their long runs, and Vettel said: "We were sliding a little too much and when you slide, the temperatures go up and blistering is caused by sliding and we were probably damaging the tyres more than others.

    "It has been a clean Friday, no issues with the car. We focus on our work and we try to squeeze everything that is left in the car."

    [​IMG]
    Hats are a thing for fans in Suzuka - a very big thing
    Best of the rest
    Max Verstappen was the fastest Red Bull in fourth place, a second off the pace.

    Behind the top six, Force India's Esteban Ocon was best of the rest in seventh, ahead of Haas driver Romain Grosjean, Sauber's Marcus Ericsson and Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley.

    McLaren did not run on the fastest super-soft tyre because they have chosen to bring only four sets to Japan for each driver - three fewer than anyone else.

    Fernando Alonso was 17th fastest and team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne slowest of all, a second off the Spaniard.

    Swami
     
  4. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    5,278
    Trophy Points:
    3,636
    Location:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Ratings:
    +4,753
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Lewis Hamilton on Japanese GP pole position
    [​IMG]
    By Andrew Benson

    [​IMG]
    Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix with title rival Sebastian Vettel ninth after yet another Ferrari mix-up.

    Hamilton set his pole lap in the first part of the final qualifying session while Ferrari missed an opportunity to run in the dry as a result of team and driver errors.

    They erroneously sent the drivers out on treaded tyres in the dry at the start, and Vettel failed to get in a time after switching to dry-weather 'slick' tyres.


    By the time of the second runs, it was already raining hard so no-one improved.

    Vettel needed desperately to have a good weekend here in Japan after falling 50 points behind Hamilton in the title race after the Mercedes driver's win in Russia last weekend. But instead it could not have been a lot worse.

    With five races remaining, there is only a maximum of 125 points up for grabs.

    [​IMG]
    Vettel, and Ferrari, will be sick of the sight of tyres after a woeful qualifying
    What were Ferrari doing?
    Hamilton was 0.299 seconds quicker than team-mate Valtteri Bottas on their first runs in final qualifying as behind them Ferrari's session began to unravel.

    The second session had been curtailed by a rain shower but the track was dry at the start of the final session and Ferrari chose to send both Vettel and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen out on intermediate tyres.

    Vettel realised it was an error before he had even left the pits, but it meant he had to do a lap to bring the car back and fit slicks.

    By the time they went out, Hamilton and Bottas had already set their times, and by the time the Ferrari drivers started their qualifying runs, the rain had just begun to fall.

    Both ran wide at the Spoon curve, but Raikkonen only just, and he did a time fast enough for fourth behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Vettel went off much further and his time was good enough only for ninth, 4.432secs off pole.

    Everyone went out again for a second attempt, but by now the rain was too hard and Ferrari's woe was complete.

    Who will win in Japan?
    Choose your top three drivers from the list below

    What they said
    Hamilton was understanding of Ferrari's plight but full of praise for his team afterwards.

    He said: "The team have done an amazing job all weekend. The call at the start of Q3 was probably the most difficult call. And that gave us the chance to get pole position.

    "It's my 80th and I can't believe I've got 80. We have worked so hard to refine and improve this car and the same for ourselves on the way we work as a team. I am so proud to be on this journey with them.

    "Every team has smart people, but it is about how you perform together under pressure."

    Hamilton also has the advantage of starting the race on the 'soft' tyre after making it through second qualifying on that, while Vettel has to use the more fragile super-soft to try to make up ground and limit the damage.

    Verstappen perhaps summed up the result of this dire day for Ferrari.

    Asked whether he would want to interfere in the title battle during the race, he said: "Is it still a battle?"

    [​IMG]
    Marcus Ericsson has been involved in 11 spins and crashes during his career
    Oh, McLaren
    Behind Raikkonen in fourth, Haas driver Romain Grosjean was best of the rest, ahead of the impressive Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon's Force India, Vettel and Ocon's team-mate Sergio Perez.

    Toro Rosso's performance came on a weekend that Honda had introduced into competition an upgraded engine with more power and the step forward it provided was obvious.

    The performance must have been difficult watching for McLaren, who last year ended their works partnership with Honda because they believed the Japanese company would not become successful.

    But McLaren are propping up the grid at Suzuka, ahead only of the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson, who crashed in first qualifying.

    All the latest F1 Gossip

    It was the team's worst qualifying performance of the season - and for some time before that.

    McLaren had definitively the slowest car in the field, and they also faced questions about a bizarre choice of tyre allocation, which left them short of the fastest super-soft tyre.

    Fernando Alonso, though, their quickest driver in 18th place, 0.5secs ahead of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, said the tyre choice - and their decision not to use the super-soft until qualifying - was not relevant.

    "The balance was great," he said. "It is not that we had bad balance. The pace is what it is, we have a couple of sets for tomorrow and we see if we can use it."

    Swami
     
  5. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    5,278
    Trophy Points:
    3,636
    Location:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Ratings:
    +4,753
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Lewis Hamilton wins Japanese GP & closes on fifth world title
    [​IMG]
    By Andrew Benson

    [​IMG]
    Lewis Hamilton moved to the brink of a fifth world championship with a lights-to-flag Japanese Grand Prix victory.

    Mercedes' Hamilton was dominant as title rival Sebastian Vettel ran into trouble attempting to gain ground from eighth place on the grid.

    Vettel span to the back after colliding with Max Verstappen when trying a move for third place at the difficult Spoon Curve - but recovered to finish sixth.


    The result means Ferrari's Vettel is 67 points behind Hamilton.

    The Briton will win the title at the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, in two weeks' time if Mercedes finish one-two for the third successive race.

    [​IMG]
    Vettel collided with Verstappen early on after fighting his way through the field
    All action behind Hamilton
    It was a soporific race at the front, Hamilton so in control on his way to his sixth win in seven races that he at one point asked his team if they were still there, so little did they need to talk to him.

    But behind him, there was action aplenty, much of it focused on Vettel.

    Vettel knew he had to make up ground quickly if he was to have any hope of stopping Hamilton's apparently unstoppable march to the title which for a long time looked as if it could be the Ferrari driver's.

    And he drove well in the early laps. He was up to sixth by the third corner, passing both Toro Rosso, then fifth when he passed Romain Grosjean's Haas into Spoon.

    Vettel was then promoted to fourth at the end of the first lap when Verstappen locked his front wheel of his Red Bull going into the hairpin, ran wide and pushed Kimi Raikkonen off when rejoining the track, allowing Vettel to slip past his team-mate.

    [​IMG]
    Dreaming: That's five career win in Japan for Hamilton, but he's thinking of another fifth - the world title, which could come at the next race
    There was a short safety-car intervention to clear up debris left by a collision between Kevin Magnussen's Haas and Charles Leclerc's Sauber and bodywork strewn around the lap by the Dane as he returned to the pits with a puncture.

    After the restart, Vettel was behind Verstappen and he saw an opportunity to pass into Spoon when the Red Bull slowed approaching the corner as the engine went into energy harvesting mode.

    Vettel dived for the inside, Verstappen half defended but left space. The Ferrari was mostly alongside entering the corner, only for the two to collide.

    Verstappen continued without losing much time but Vettel spun to the back of the field and was now consigned to a long afternoon fighting back.

    The pace advantage of the Ferrari meant he easily climbed back up to sixth by half-distance but that was as far as he could get - and Ferrari declined to order Raikkonen in fifth to slow to let his team-mate by, to gain a couple of extra points.

    [​IMG]
    May Force India be with you: Japanese fans dress up like no other for the race
    Verstappen pressures Bottas
    Hamilton was in total control, but while Mercedes looked to be heading to an easy one-two after the pit stops, his team-mate Valtteri Bottas found himself under pressure from Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

    After a virtual safety car, called after Leclerc pulled off with a mechanical failure, Bottas began to run into blistering problems with his tyres.

    Bottas dropped back from Hamilton and Verstappen was soon on Bottas' tail but although he pressured the Finn to the end, the Red Bull driver could not get through.

    It was an impressive drive from Verstappen, despite a five-second penalty served at his pit stop for rejoining the track dangerously in the incident with Raikkonen.

    [​IMG]
    "Keep him [Bottas] under pressure, keep it clean." There were no late-race mishaps for Max Verstappen this time around
    Verstappen's team-mate Daniel Ricciardo also drove well, quickly making up ground from his 15th place on the grid following an engine problem in qualifying.

    The Australian eventually taking a strong fourth place as Red Bull out-strategised Ferrari, who had another disappointing race overall in a season that promised so much but which has unravelled dramatically in its second half.

    Force India's Sergio Perez won the battle for best of the rest, from Haas' Romain Grosjean, the second Force India of Esteban Ocon and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly.

    Driver of the day
    [​IMG]
    Tricky one, this. Hamilton was supreme, driving superbly and overshadowing Bottas in what has become in recent races a dominant car. Verstappen was hugely impressive - but loses marks for his incident with Raikkonen and the attitude he showed by saying on the radio the Finn "could have waited for me". Fernando Alonso (pictured) drove well to pressure faster cars in the awful McLaren. Judgement reserved
    What happens next?
    From sublime Suzuka, to amazing Austin. The US Grand Prix is one of the best races of the year - a great track just outside a wonderful city. And Hamilton has pretty much ruled it since its debut on the calendar in 2012. Can he tie up the title in a country which he calls home for at least part of the year? He's going to do it soon.

    Swami
     
  6. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    5,278
    Trophy Points:
    3,636
    Location:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Ratings:
    +4,753
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Japanese Grand Prix: All you need to know about Suzuka race
    [​IMG]
    By Andrew Benson

    [​IMG]
    Lewis Hamilton said he saw the Ferraris pull out of their garage on treaded tyres at the start of final qualifying in Japan and immediately felt "it wasn't the right decision".

    By the time the had got to the end of the pit lane, Sebastian Vettel agreed and got on the radio to say so. "I think it looks too dry," he said.

    So did everyone else who had made it that far - Vettel and his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen were the only cars on intermediates as they headed out into the climactic part of a session marked by changeable conditions.


    As Hamilton said: "It was very, very difficult to know whether the track was going to be dry or whether it was going to be wet."

    But, as on a number of previous occasions this year, Ferrari got it wrong. And now Vettel surely knows, if he did not know before, that only a miracle can stop Hamilton winning a championship that the German really ought to still be leading.

    Vettel did not exactly help himself either. Again, not for the first time. After a lap on the intermediates, he came straight back into the pits for a set of slick tyres. It was still dry enough to set a competitive time, but Vettel got his wheels on the kerb through the middle of the challenging left-hander called Spoon Curve, ran wide, and his only chance of a decent lap was gone.

    The result is Vettel starts ninth on a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult, while Hamilton is on pole.

    [​IMG]
    Gravel and grass - Vettel experienced both during a disappointing qualifying session
    The gap between the top three teams and the rest is so big that Vettel will still likely get back to around fourth place - it's hard to see him beating Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who starts third. But unless Mercedes hit trouble, Hamilton will likely leave Japan on Sunday with a championship lead north of 60 points, with only 100 still to play for.

    He deserves the title, and Vettel and Ferrari don't. They have had enough of an advantage through enough of the year for Vettel still to be leading the championship right now if they had achieved the results they were capable of.

    But they haven't.

    Vettel said: "When we took the decision, five or six minutes later it started to rain quite heavily, so there was something in the air. We expected there was more rain coming and obviously it didn't, so it was the wrong decision but when the conditions are like this obviously you either get it right or wrong. I'm not blaming anyone.

    "I defend the decision. It is our decision as a team. It wasn't wet enough to start with and the rain didn't come, it came later."

    The recriminations, though, may be starting. "Unacceptable" was the word Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene chose to describe what happened. Only two races ago in Singapore, faced with a question about the repeated errors they were making, he defended his team he took ultimate responsibility for what was going wrong.

    He added: "it was easy to predict what was happening. Sometimes it is more useful to take your eyes off computers and watch the track, using common sense. The accounts will be made at the end, and we will intervene if necessary."

    It would surprise no-one if there was some blood-letting in Maranello over the winter.

    McLaren hit a new low
    [​IMG]
    Long wait: McLaren's last race victory was the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2012
    Ferrari were not the only team with questions to answer on Saturday in Japan. McLaren put in their worst performance of the year.

    Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne the slowest cars of all in qualifying at a track that rewards many of the qualities that make a good Formula 1 car - and brutally exposes when one lacks them.

    "The car felt good," Alonso said. "Like it did last year. And that's the problem. The car is the same as last year and others have made lots of progress in that time."

    It's no secret the McLaren is a poor car, but this is the first time both have not even managed to beat at least one Williams, whose car is piloted by drivers who, frankly, are lucky to be on the same grid as a driver of Alonso's calibre.

    All the latest F1 Gossip

    McLaren's flaws were not just about a bad car, though. There were also questions about a tyre selection that left them only four sets of the fastest tyre for the weekend - so limited a selection that Alonso did not even try the car on them before qualifying.

    Alonso said that had made no difference, that the car felt balanced; it was just slow. But McLaren held their hands up and admitted it was a mistake.

    "We got it wrong," said sporting director Gil de Ferran.

    The decision over what tyres to use in Japan was taken at the end of June before De Ferran appointed to his position but he said he took full responsibility.

    A review will be held next week in Woking, where some serious questions will doubtless be asked about how this happened.

    That, though, is relatively easily fixable. It remains to be seen whether McLaren's confidence that they can produce a more competitive car next season is borne out.

    A fillip for Hartley
    [​IMG]
    Hartley's highest qualifying position this season before Suzuka was an eighth-place start on the grid in Hungary
    McLaren's dire position was put under an even harsher spotlight by the performance of Toro Rosso, whose drivers Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly qualified sixth and seventh with the Honda engine McLaren rejected last season on the basis that it was unsatisfactory.

    Toro Rosso's performance was boosted by a significant upgrade to the Honda which made its debut in practice in Russia last weekend but is being used competitively for the first time at their home race in Japan.

    The upgrade has made a big difference - Hartley said that getting into the top 10 would not have been possible without it.

    The only positive out of this for McLaren is that had they not split with Honda, they would likely still be under the same self-delusion about their competitive position as they were last year.

    For Honda, though, this is very good news - as it is for Red Bull, who switch to Honda from Renault for next season, and are full of optimism about it, even if they are well aware that there is some way to go before the engine matches Mercedes and Ferrari.

    Hartley, who has had a difficult debut year with questions about his future hanging over him for much of the time, was thrilled.

    "That felt awesome," he said. "I was quite emotional on the in-lap, which is something that doesn't normally happen to me but just all the build-up of crap over the last six months, knowing I've got better and better, but haven't always had the chance to show it or things haven't gone my way.

    "There have been things that happened behind the scenes that I couldn't always talk about, or reasons things haven't gone my way. But today it came together and I'm very happy."

    Who will win in Japan?
    Choose your top three drivers from the list below

    For what it's worth, Gasly said he believed he could have beaten Haas' Romain Grosjean to fifth place had he been able to run the same qualifying engine map as Hartley - which he was not able to do because problems in practice had meant there was not enough time to calibrate it.

    Whether Hartley's performance is enough to begin to change the mind of Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko over whether he deserves to be kept next year remains to be seen.

    "I am not thinking about next year," Hartley said. "I am just focusing on the job and the main thing is getting a great start tomorrow lunch time."

    Insiders say Marko has told Hartley that he will be kept on in 2019 if he can out-qualify Gasly, who is being promoted to Red Bull next year, over the remaining races. But that's a tall order, based on their seasons so far.

    Even if he doesn't manage it, he could still save himself. To answer Marko's criticisms, Hartley said: "I need to deliver and score some points. All the controllables from my side. I feel in a good place."

    If Marko decides to drop him after all, British Formula Two race-winner Alexander Albon, who has previous links with Red Bull, is rumoured to have been added to what Marko says is a "long list" of contenders, which also includes ex-Mercedes protege Pascal Wehrlein.

    A Vietnamese Grand Prix
    [​IMG]
    Vietnam's capital Hanoi is located on the banks of the Red River and is made up of Chinese, French and Russian influences
    Formula 1 will have a new race in Vietnam from 2020.

    The sport has been in talks about an event in the capital in Hanoi for some time - and that is no secret. But BBC Sport has learned that a deal has now been done and is due to be announced in the near future.

    It will be on a street circuit outside the centre of the historic city, and it marks the first new entry to the calendar since the US group Liberty Media took over the sport at the beginning of last year. Since then, new race contracts have been announced, but only for races that pre-dated Liberty's arrival.

    The Vietnamese Grand Prix will be the third race to be established in south-east Asia following Singapore and Malaysia - the latter being scrapped following the 2017 race due to poor ticket sales.

    Former boss Bernie Ecclestone had explored races in both Vietnam and Thailand but none came to fruition.

    For Liberty it marks an important step into a marketplace they see as important to their plans to expand the sport.

    It is also a major success for the company at a time when questions remain about their stewardship of the sport, and where it is going in the future.

    And it comes as a counterpoint to set-back over Liberty's plans to have a race in Miami, Florida. The city council there has delayed a decision on the race "indefinitely", and sources in F1 say that the event is unlikely ever to happen.

    The US, though, is arguably the most important part of Liberty's plans to expand F1, and it is determined to add to the existing race in Austin, Texas, which is the next stop on the calendar after this weekend's event in Japan.

    More than 30 potential sites are under consideration. Las Vegas remains a possibility. But most of all Liberty wants races in locations that resonate globally on the east and west coasts. In the west, California will be top of the wish list. In the east, New York if they can get it, which will not be easy.

    Swami
     

Users Who Have Read This Thread (Total: 1)

Share This Page