F1 LIVE: Hamilton blocked from Ferrari dream as Red Bull change Horner investigation plans

Express Sport brings you all the latest in the F1 world as Lewis Hamilton and Christian Horner continue to dominate the headlines

 

 

Lewis Hamilton caused quite a stir when he announced out of the blue that he would be ditching Mercedes for Ferrari. The Brit has been with the Silver Arrows for over a decade but has decided that the time is right for him to move on at the end of the season.

 

 

Hamilton will hope the famous Scuderia can help him break Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Drivers’ World Championship titles after a few underwhelming campaigns with Mercedes – which has seen him go winless for two consecutive seasons.

 

However, Martin Brundle believes Hamilton will have to trust the folk in the Ferrari garage and won’t be allowed to bring any of his favourite Mercedes engineers with him next season. There had been reports that Hamilton’s long-term F1 race engineer, Peter Bonnington (Bono), could make the move with him.

 

But Brundle doesn’t think that’ll happen. Christian Horner, meanwhile, remains under investigation at Red Bull for alleged ‘inappropriate behaviour’ – something he has categorically denied. The Red Bull boss has vowed he’ll be in Bahrain for pre-season testing despite the investigation marring the team’s image. Red Bull’s new partner Ford have broken their silence on the matter and released a statement. 

 

 

 

 

We’ll be bringing you all the latest news in the F1 world right here today so make you stick around.

 

 

Fernando Alonso insists it’s not right that Formula One teams only have three days of pre-season testing to get to grips with their new cars.

 

The Spaniard, 42, entered F1 when there were no restrictions on testing. But now he only gets a day and a half behind the wheel, the same as his team-mate, before the season begins in Bahrain.

 

And the Aston Martin driver said: “I’ve been thinking all winter about this, how unfair is [it] that we have one day and a half to prepare a world championship?

 

“There’s no other sport in the world… With all the money involved, and with all the marketing and the good things that we say about F1, and being closer and closer to the fans, I cannot understand why we then go to Bahrain for four days, which could be two and two for the drivers.

 

“If you go to three, which is not even, which is an odd number, you cannot divide [fairly] between the drivers.

 

 

Yuki Tsunoda believes the VCARB 01 is a “big step” forward for Visa Cash App RB after the team’s rebrand from AlphaTauri.

 

The new-look team are enjoying an increased collaboration with sister team Red Bull.

 

And Tsunoda says he can already see the benefits after a shakedown at Misano.

 

He said: “Feeling great on the track [during the] first run with VCARB 01. [It] went over smoothly. Already felt a couple of steps improvement compared to last year and a really big step I felt compared to the same time as last year.

 

“So it was good and super enjoyed with also new car with the new livery, new team.

 

“Overall it was a positive day. I will say overall, [it is a] easier handling car. Just didn’t feel any outstanding issue, any outstanding strong characteristic movements. So far, pretty positive.”

 

 

 

Mercedes have reportedly been contacted by the manager of Pierre Gasly, F1.com report.

 

Gasly reportely fancies his chances of replacing Lewis Hamilton for the 2025 season.

 

Hamilton will move to Ferrari in 12 months’ time.

 

 

The entire grid was disqualified during a remarkable race in the Formula Winter Series (FWS).

 

Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia hosted the new FWS season’s second round at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.

 

But not a single driver set a legal qualifying time.

 

Every driver was found to have breached track limits at Turns 1 and 6, which led to the bizarre scenario in which nobody was awarded pole position.

 

Instead, organisers turned to the practice session to determine where each driver would start the main race.

 

 

 

Max Verstappen has suggested that Lewis Hamilton could be kicked out of Mercedes team meetings.

 

Hamilton will join Ferrari at the start of 2025.

 

And Verstappen says there will come a point towards the end of this year when the Silver Arrows will not want the seven-time world champion privy to their plans for the 2025 campaign.

 

“For sure he [Hamilton] has a great relationship with everyone, especially Toto, but at one point Toto for sure will tell him, ‘Look, I know we’ve had all this success. But you can’t be part of certain meetings any more,'” Verstappen said at Red Bull’s launch.

 

“That is normal in F1. It’s probably a bit weird. But you are professional enough to deal with that.

 

“It’s not like they are suddenly enemies. He has achieved so many great things with them. They are still behind him. It’s just you know at one point you can’t share certain stuff. But once he’s sitting in the car they will of course go flat out for him.”

 

 

Martin Brundle insists Lewis Hamilton will not be emotional leaving Mercedes.

 

Hamilton will leave the Silver Arrows next year to join Ferrari.

 

The 38-year-old insists he will be emotional departing after 11 years.

 

However, Brundle thinks Hamilton will instead be delighted at a change of scenery in a move that will benefit everyone.

 

“I don’t buy all of this, ‘It’s going to be emotional leaving’,” the Sky Sports pundit said.

 

“Lewis is a winning machine and that’s what he wants to do. It’s a good contract, he’ll be paid a lot of money, get a lot of love, and it will be one of global sport’s biggest stories in 2025.”

 

He added: “The teams are slightly disingenuous when they tell you about new contract signings, because they only tell you edited highlights that suit them. Clearly, they forgot to mention that Hamilton had an exit clause, which he has chosen to take very early indeed.

 

“I see everybody’s got an opportunity here. George Russell has got the shiny confidence, the talent, confidence and speed, to pick up the mantle and be the number one driver. I have no doubt about that at all.

 

“I think it will energise Mercedes, losing Lewis, and it will be an opportunity for them to act in haste, repent at leisure. They can wait and see [on Hamilton’s replacement]. Why do they need to jump now?

 

“It will energise Ferrari, Charles Leclerc as well, and certainly us watching it. I don’t really see any downside there.”

 

 

Nico Rosberg has dismissed speculation that he could replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

 

Rosberg retired shortly after winning the World Championship in 2016.

 

He says he would need to train for over a year just to prepare himself for stepping back into a Formula One car, ruling him out of a shock return to the grid.

 

“That’s over, I’m not planning a comeback,” Rosberg confirmed to Suddeutsche Zeitung.

 

“I would have to prepare intensively for a whole year, if only to train the synapses in my brain.”

 

 

Fred Vasseur says the phone call made to Carlos Sainz to tell the Spaniard that Ferrari were signing Lewis Hamilton was the hardest of his life.

 

Sainz will be replaced by Hamilton at the start of 2025.

 

“As you can imagine, it was not the easiest call of my life,” the Frenchman said.

 

“One of the most difficult, [along] with the one with Toto [Wolff]! But I’m fully convinced that he is a very professional driver, that he understands that we have a long season in front of us, [that it’s] a huge opportunity.

 

“In this situation [he has] the team behind him. We had a long discussion, as you can imagine, [and] I will be fully supportive with Carlos.

 

“He’s fully committed and we know that we are to do the job together. We are professional.”

 

 

 

 

Christian Horner insists he has the support of Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

 

An investigation into allegation of inappropriate behaviour made against Horner continues.

 

The team principal was present at Red Bull’s launch of their RB20 car on Thursday.

 

Asked by the Independent if Verstappen and Perez are supporting him, Horner said they are.

 

 

Christian Horner says the support he has received over a Red Bull investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour has been ‘overwhelming’.

 

Horner was quizzed by an independent lawyer last week and Red Bull are keen to bring forward a conclusion to the probe.

 

“The support from within the business, partners within the industry, has been overwhelming,” Horner said at Red Bull’s car launch on Thursday.

 

“Obviously there’s a process that’s ongoing at the moment, some allegations have been made which I fully deny and I’m complying obviously with that process and will continue to do so until its conclusion.”

 

 

McLaren chief Zak Brown has doubled down on his complaint over the dual-ownership situation between Red Bull and the newly rebranded VCARB team. Brown had already insisted that having two teams under one company umbrella does not align with the idea of a ‘level playing field’ in F1.

 

And he reiterated his stance on the matter and once again called on the FIA to take action by changing the rules.

 

Speaking to Sky Sports News about his concern with Red Bull’s two-team ownership structure, Brown said: “Actually I’m speaking in the wider interest of the sport. If you look at every other major sport, you’re not allowed to own two teams.

 

“And I’d even go further, you know there’s A-B team relationships. And when they started 15 years ago it was because there was a huge gap between the top teams and the bottom teams. Now that there is this great budget cap in place, all ten teams are pretty much running to the cap, so we all kind of… it’s an equal playing field.

 

“So to have two ownerships, I can tell you from sitting in the FIA… F1 Commission meetings, the voting is always the same even when, in theory, it shouldn’t be in one of the teams’ best interests. We’ve seen it on track, some collaborations going on.

 

“And then technically, they’ve been very forthright in ‘we’re going to take the suspension’, etcetera and a definition of a constructor is a team who develops their own IP.

 

“I just think the sport has now moved on to an equal playing field, so to have A-B relationships, to have co-ownership of two teams I think isn’t a level playing field. It’s not what the fans expect and so the FIA really needs to do something about it.”

 

 

Toto Wolff has been urged to take a risk with his Lewis Hamilton replacement.

 

Wolff refused to rule out any options open to him, including potentially nabbing a big-name driver to replace the outgoing Hamilton.

 

Ex-F1 star Giancarlo Fisichella, however, wants Wolff to be brave as he suggested Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes prospect Andrea Kimi Antonelli as the two drivers to consider.

 

Fisichella told OLBG: “Daniel has spent time as Red Bull’s third driver, where he did well until his accident and wrist injury. It’s difficult to predict what his future holds. It will be nice for him to have a good car this year, and how good he is because he has a lot of experience, and it will be good for a top team to have him. It’s difficult to say. Daniel Ricciardo could be a good replacement for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes because Mercedes need a driver with his experience.

 

“I think Mercedes should push for Andrea Kimi Antonelli. He’s a young driver who will race in F2 this year. He’s so quick and he’s already very good. I’d like to see him there.”

 

 

 

Toto Wolff has the uneviable task of finding a driver to replace Lewis Hamilton 

The Canadian star came off second best against his team-mate as Alonso rolled back the years to put in some highly impressive performances.

 

The Spaniard ended the campaign miles ahead of Stroll with 206 points to his name. His younger counterpart accumulated just 74 in comparison.

 

Stroll is eager to improve on this in 2024 and has held his hands up that Alonso was simply the better driver last time around.

 

Discussing what was missing in the fight against Alonso, Stroll confessed: “Some speed last year, for sure. He was just quicker. So I have some ideas on where to work on, some things that I want to improve on, for sure, in that regard.

 

“And also, I don’t like to use the word luck, but I think we had a lot of misfortune last year and I think that kind of made things more challenging. When we were fighting for good positions last year, there were a lot of races where we had technical issues. We had things just didn’t go our way. So we want to just build on last year.”

 

 

Red Bull are reportedly likely to reach a conclusion in their investigation into allegations against Christian Horner by next week.

 

It was previously felt that the saga could rumble on for some time after Horner was grilled by an independent lawyer last week.

 

However, The Times claim Red Bull are now keen to accelerate the process in effort to end the disruption and uncertainty ahead of the new F1 season.

 

 

 

Christian Horner is reportedly causing a divide at Red Bull.

 

The Red Bull boss is facing the threat of being sacked after an investigation was launched into allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ were made against him.

 

Horner has denied all the allegations and is refusing to step down from his position.

 

A fresh report has now explained who at Red Bull want him to resign and who is keen for him to carry on in the job with the team said to be split in two.

 

 

Red Bull will reportedly move to a more extreme Mercedes-style F1 sidepod design.

 

The new RB20 has earned comparisons with Mercedes’ W14 due to the new enginer cover bodywork and the fact they have moved away from an underbite-lookalike sidepod inlet to an overbite style.

 

Autosport claim this design will be changed and will only be in place for the hot conditions of pre-season testing and the opening Grand Prixs in Bahrain, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

 

They claim that in the early stages of the season that Red Bull will upgrade their car to a design remiiscent of the Mercedes zero sidepod – depsite the Silver Arrows strugglign with that concept in the 2022 and 2023 campaigns.

 

 

Red Bull have been made victims of their own success after being hit with a massive F1 bill.

 

The reigning constructors’ champions will have to pay a staggering £5.91million entry fee to take part in the 2024 season.

 

That is more than double what Mercedes and Ferrari will have to fork out. A £2.66m fee awaits the Silver Arrows while Ferrari will have to hand over slightly less at a total of £2.64m.

 

The FIA’s fee is calculated relative to the total number of points attained in the previous campaign. With Red Bull far and away the best team on the grid – winning 21 of the 22 races last term – the team were always going to be facing a hefty bill.

 

 

Mercedes have been told that there will be conspiracy theories that their new W15 car is ‘illegal’.

 

F1 technical expert Craig Scarborough believes their innovative new front-wing design is ‘cheeky’ but on the right side of the law.

 

He believes the new design could make Lewis Hamilton and George Russell trickier for rivals to follow by reintroducing the ‘outwash’, which the latest regulations were brought in to stamp out.

 

And Scarborough is predicting that the FIA and F1 may have some ‘discussions’ with Mercedes about it – and that some people will accuse Mercedes of creating an ‘illegal’ car.

 

 

 

Red Bull’s new partner, Ford, have broken their silence and released a statement amid the ongoing investigation into Christian Horner.

 

The American company will replace Honda at the end of the 2025 F1 season and will part-fund Red Bull Powertrains 2026 engine when the new regulations come into effect.

 

As a partner of Red Bull, Ford have now addressed the investigation into Horner. Mark Rushbrook, global head of Ford Performance Motorsport, told Association Press: “As a family company, and a company that holds itself to very high standards of behaviour and integrity, we do expect the same from our partners.

 

“It appears to us, and what we’ve been told, was that Red Bull is taking the situation very seriously. And of course, they’re worried about their brand, as well.

 

“And that’s why they’ve got an independent investigation and until we see what truth comes out of that, it’s too early for us to comment on it all.”

 

 

 

Martin Brundle believes Lewis Hamilton’s dream of taking Mercedes engineers with him to Ferrari will be hamp

Gideon Canice

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