HomeSportsFormula 1F1 news LIVE: Hamilton’s future questioned by former champion

F1 news LIVE: Hamilton’s future questioned by former champion


F1 driver George Russell’s message to Williams after Mercedes move

Lewis Hamilton’s return to social media for the first time since the 2021 F1 season finale, in a team promo video for the Chinese New Year, has fans speculating that the British racer will also return to the grid for next season – calming some fears of retirement. Now it’s the turn of his new team-mate to be in the spotlight, with George Russell joining Mercedes for this year – and Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko questioning whether he really has the race pace to cope at the highest level.

For Red Bull themselves, their No1 driver and reigning world champion Max Verstappen faced rumours of an exit earlier in the week, amid claims he could jump ship to rivals Mercedes. Red Bull of course denied as much, suggesting too much had happened between the teams for that to be feasible. All teams are now gearing up for the new campaign in their new cars, with more testing to come in the weeks ahead.

Here’s the very latest news as the new season prepares for the opening weekend in Bahrain on 20 March. Follow all the F1 news updates below:

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F1 latest news

Pato O’Ward is a Mexican driver in IndyCar with Arrow McLaren and he has a couple of victories to his name from last year – but he wants a carer in F1.

The 22-year-old has been told the fastest way to achieve his dream by Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren Racing – a straight-forward route, albeit not an easy one.

“The quickest way to F1 is to go and do what Juan Pablo Montoya or Alex Zanardi or Jacques Villeneuve or Michael Andretti did – go win in IndyCar,” said Brown, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“That will be your best chance of getting into F1. He’s unbelievably talented. He’s a great personality. I think he’s got what it takes from a raw talent point of view to be a Formula 1 driver.

“Obviously Formula 1 is a much different discipline so he’s got a lot to learn, with all the buttons for example. But for sure he will [learn].

“He needs to stay very focused on IndyCar. It will be his best route into F1. I think his [two-year] timeline is about right.”

Karl Matchett2 February 2022 12:30

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“It certainly, in a very harsh way, enabled me and pushed me to look into areas to consider areas that I perhaps would have not focused on previously,” said Mazepin.

“Because for me racing was always about working in the team, working with people and making fast laps and ultimately getting the best set ups.

“I never looked outside of the box and the thing that I did with Makar in Sochi, I’ve recently joined the board of that charity foundation. I probably would have not looked into that because my massive priority was to get to Formula 1 and then stay here.

“It still downs me that I had to learn it that way but I probably would have not met Makar like I said if it didn’t happen and seeing his little smile on his face definitely says that if it had to happen like that in my life, then let’s make the most out of it and make the world better and make sure that people don’t learn it the way I did.”

Karl Matchett2 February 2022 12:15

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Lewis Hamilton’s F1 future questioned by Mika Hakkinen as speculation continues

Lewis Hamilton will only retire from Formula One when Mercedes are no longer able to provide him with a winning machine, according to two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen.

Hamilton’s immediate future remains clouded in uncertainty following the controversial conclusion to last season’s title race.

The 37-year-old has not spoken publicly since the immediate moments after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 12 December.

It is understood Hamilton is awaiting the outcome of the FIA’s inquiry, launched after race director Michael Masi was accused of bending the rules to allow Max Verstappen to triumph following a late safety car period.

Masi’s own position is under intense scrutiny and there is a growing feeling that the Australian will not be in his post for the opening race in Bahrain on 20 March. Hamilton’s plans could hinge on Masi’s future.

Karl Matchett2 February 2022 12:00

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Alfa Romeo won’t be revealing the new livery design for the F1 2022 season until after the first pre-season test running in Spain.

Several teams have followed the same pattern, keeping fans in suspense just a little longer.

“We WILL be running the C42 at the test in Barcelona. We will do so with a testing livery before revealing the full beauty on Sunday 27”, a statement from the team read.

Karl Matchett2 February 2022 11:45

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Lewis Hamilton accused of wanting Michael Masi out in bid to ‘turn F1 upside down’

Lewis Hamilton has been accused of wanting to force Michael Masi out of Formula 1 and turn the sport “upside down”.

The seven-time world champion has not commented publicly on the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which saw Masi’s controversial intervention set up Max Verstappen to pass Hamilton and deny the Mercedes driver a record eighth title.

It has since been suggested that Hamilton is considering retirement as he awaits the FIA’s report on events at the Yas Marina Circuit, which could see Masi stripped of his race director role.

Dutch racing driver Jeroen Bleekemolen believes that Hamilton will be back on the grid when the 2022 season starts in Bahrain in March.

However Bleekemolen also thinks that Hamilton’s influence is such that changes will be made, warning that “some people will disappear”.

Karl Matchett2 February 2022 11:30

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George Russell enjoys ‘eye-opening’ first trip to Mercedes after F1 switch

George Russell has described his visit to the Mercedes Formula 1 factory as an “eye-opening” experience as he prepares for his first season with the team.

The British driver has joined the German manufacturers from Williams, replacing Valtteri Bottas.

With three weeks to go until the first round of testing in Barcelona, Russell has visited Mercedes’ F1 manufacturing hub at Brixworth in Northamptonshire, along with the outfit’s headquarters in Brackley.

And the 23-year-old was glad to see the inner workings of the team that has helped Mercedes to eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships.

Full details of his trip and comments here:

Karl Matchett2 February 2022 11:15

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Max Verstappen took Red Bull car ‘over the limit’, team boss claims

Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Yas Marina Circuit to seal the Drivers’ Championship in dramatic fashion after the intervention of race director Michael Masi.

Marko has overseen Red Bull’s driver development programme since 1999, and helped guide Verstappen into Formula 1.

The 78-year-old hailed the world champion for both his driving talent and will to win, suggesting that Hamilton now knows he cannot afford to leave any space for the aggressive Dutch driver.

“You could see that [Verstappen] drove the car so over the limit, that was visible,” Marko said.

“And in the races, Hamilton should already know that you can’t leave the smallest gap open at Verstappen.

“He’s already stabbing you before the other person sees him in the rear-view mirror.

“This incredible willpower with the necessary talent makes all the difference.”

Karl Matchett2 February 2022 11:00

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Formula One will make it mandatory for all personnel working in its paddock to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, without exemption, starting this season, a spokesperson for the sport’s commercial arm said on Monday.

The mandate, which was first reported by the Times newspaper and the BBC, will apply to anyone entering the paddock — an exclusive area in which teams and drivers set up shop for a race weekend.

“F1 will require all travelling personnel to be fully vaxxed and will not request exemptions,” the spokesperson said.

This will include all competitors, hospitality staff, members of the media, the governing FIA, Liberty Media-owned commercial rights holders FOM and even celebrity guests. The mandate was approved at a December meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.

News of Formula One‘s vaccine mandate comes after Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open vaccine controversy.

The new rules call into question the future of long-time medical car driver Alan van der Merwe.

The South African, who played a pivotal role rescuing Romain Grosjean from a fiery crash in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, has chosen not to get vaccinated for personal reasons. The FIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the vaccine mandate or Van der Merwe’s future.

Formula One is set for a record 23-race calendar this year, with races such as Singapore, Japan, Canada and Australia, which had been cancelled for the last two years, set to return.

The sport successfully staged two seasons amid the pandemic by adopting a bubble system and regular testing. The 2022 season, which will feature all-new cars designed to a radical rules overhaul, gets underway in Bahrain on 20 March.

Karl Matchett2 February 2022 10:45

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Red Bull call for ‘consistency’ in wake of F1’s investigation into Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

The FIA must look to establish more “consistency” in race direction, Red Bull have urged ahead of the report on the events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The organisation are investigating the processes that saw Michael Masi controversially intervene in the final laps of the race at the Yas Marina Circuit, allowing Max Verstappen to launch a late overtake and take both race and world title victory from Lewis Hamilton.

The findings are expected to be presented at the Formula 1 Commission meeting on 14 February, and Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley believe that these must provide some clarity, and be respected by teams.

“It’s really important the FIA do their investigation, work with the teams on that investigation and we all follow whatever the outcome of that investigation is,” Wheatley explained on The Jack Threlfall Show.

“We’ve had this great over-arching philosophy of ‘let them race’. But then you have the black and white of the regulations, which is often very prescribed in terms of what penalty, or there is no wriggle room in it at all.”

Full details on this story here:

Karl Matchett2 February 2022 10:30

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Valtteri Bottas has revealed that Mercedes gave him a huge and personal gift as a leaving present at the end of last season – the actual W08 car he won his first-ever F1 victory in, at the 2017 Russian Grand Prix.

“It was a little surprise but a nice gift. Now I just don’t have anywhere to put it!” he said on his podcast on supla.fi.

“I was stunned myself when I saw what kind of send-off they had organised for me – a parade, fireworks and music. I realised they also appreciated what I had done for the team.”

He also revealed that Lewis Hamilton being pipped to the title by Max Verstappen in the final race of last season meant he missed out on a hefty payment – though notes he’s past the point where he has to be concerned about financial security.

“Certain bonuses are tied to certain achievements. Fortunately, I hadn’t bought anything in advance with that amount! Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t.

“I don’t really measure it. At some point, there came a moment when I didn’t have to look at my bank balance anymore. Of course, money is part of Formula 1. But I remember where I came from and I’ve done quite well because of that.”

Bottas is estimated to be on a $10m annual salary with his new team, Alfa Romeo.

Karl Matchett2 February 2022 10:15

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