Ladies and Gentlemen,
Letís get prepared for the next stage of the 2016 Championship with 3 races in the American continent starting this weekend with the US Grand Prix, followed a week later by the Mexican GP (Oct 30), and then 2 weeks later by the Brazilian GP for the penultimate round (Nov 13).
With 33 points on hand this Championship is only for Nico to lose, he can finish second to Lewis in the remaining 4 races and still clinch the title. So we know what to expect: HAM has to win every round and ROS has to avoid DNFs or catastrophes. On the other hand, the fight for second in the Constructorsí seems every bit as exciting, both Ferrari and Red Bull are keeping a large proportion of their resources still working on the 2016 car when most of the manufacturers are concentrated in the all-new 2017 F1 model. In the last 2 races Ferrari has introduced, with very good results, new aero parts (front wing pillars, turning vanes, sidepods), the SF16-H was in Suzuka the best package of the year, but bad starting positions by both drivers (gearbox replacement for Kimi, a regular weak point of the car) prevented them to keep pace with VER. They had found 3 tenths with this improvements, but letís now see what Red Bull comes up with...Adrianís cars keep closing the gap on Mercedes, and itís known that he is fully committed creating the new generation 2017 F1 design.
The news from the driverís market is that Renault has signed Nico Hulkemberg to a multi-year contract. This was a surprise for Force India, and the replacement names to partner PER next year includes (in this order) Ocon, Wehrlein -both with Mercedes support- Nasr or Gutierrez. Renault is in rebuilding process and were looking for a Ďleaderí of the team, their first option was PER but contractual sponsorship prevented the move. The French team has an open chequebook, they had almost doubled their factory space and hired over 80 staff in the build up to next season. Another strength is that they share engine development with Red Bull, the unit that has improved the most this year, so itís just a matter of time.
Williams will line up Canadian teenager Lance Stroll to partner Bottas next year. The deal is all but done, the F3 Champion is son of billionaire Lawrence Stroll patron of several famous apparel brands, his seat is rumoured to cost the same as Maldonado was paying for: 30 million dollars per season.
The best race of last year was undoubtedly the one at the COTA (ok, it was rainingÖbut still) this is a truly great racetrack, letís hope we have a great GP this weekend.