F1 news LIVE: Nicholas Latifi reveals death threats after Abu Dhabi Grand Prix crash

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World champion Verstappen reflects on ‘insane, intense, and crazy’ season

The cost of Max Verstappen’s crashes during the fraught and intense 2021 season has been revealed. His incidents on track cost Red Bull close to an eye-watering €4m, the third-highest figure among all drivers behind Mick Schumacher of Haas (€4.2m) and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (€4.1m). Verstappen’s tally is more than three times that of his fierce rival Lewis Hamilton, who set Mercedes back €1.2m over the year, according to Sky Germany.

Of course the Dutchman, who clinched his maiden world title in thrilling but controversial fashion at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, would put some of that cost down to Hamilton himself after blaming the Briton for their high-speed incident at Copse Corner during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, one of the fastest turns in Formula 1 where the pair made contact and Verstappen was sent flying across the gravel into the barriers.

The cheapest driver to fund this season was Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, whose crashes cost only €280,000 – 15 times less than Schumacher. The bosses at French team Alpine will surely be grateful to their man for that.

Follow all the latest F1 news below.

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Williams driver Nicholas Latifi has revealed he has received death threats in the wake of Formula One’s controversial season finale.

The Canadian has been subjected to abuse after his crash at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix sparked a chaotic end to the title race.

The 26-year-old crashed into a wall with five laps left, bringing out the safety car, while Lewis Hamilton was leading.

It allowed Max Verstappen to pit for fresher tyres and ultimately overtake Hamilton to win the drivers’ championship after FIA race director Michael Masi’s call to allow the five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves.

Latifi wrote on his website on Tuesday: “Going back to the race weekend, as soon as the checkered flag dropped, I knew how things were likely to play out on social media.

“The fact that I felt it would be best if I deleted Instagram and Twitter on my phone for a few days says all we need to know about how cruel the online world can be.

“The ensuing hate, abuse, and threats on social media were not really a surprise to me as it’s just the stark reality of the world we live in right now.

“I’m no stranger to being talked about negatively online, I think every sports person who competes on the world stage knows they’re under extreme scrutiny and this comes with the territory sometimes.

“But as we’ve seen time and time again, across all different sports, it only takes one incident at the wrong time to have things completely blown out of proportion and bring out the worst in people who are so-called ‘fans’ of the sport.

“What shocked me was the extreme tone of the hate, abuse, and even the death threats I received.

“To the people who don’t understand or don’t agree with that, that’s fine with me. You can have your opinion. But to use those opinions to fuel hatred, abuse and threats of violence, not only to me, but to those closest to me as well, tells me these people are not true fans of the sport.

“Thankfully, I’m comfortable enough in my own skin, and I’ve been in this world long enough that I can do a pretty good job of just letting any negativity wash over me.

“But I know I’m not alone in thinking that a negative comment always seems to stick out more – and can sometimes be enough to drown out 100 positive ones.”

(PA Archive)

Ben Burrows21 December 2021 16:58

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F1 news

Audi is on the verge of confirming its entry into Formula 1, it has been reported.

Lawrence Ostlere21 December 2021 16:44

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After Hamilton made his first and only pit stop, he emerged from the pit lane behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who refused to be overtaken easily, with the pair’s duel allowing Max Verstappen to close the gap significantly.

However, Bottas offered Hamilton no such support, having fallen down the grid at the start of the race and become stuck in the pack.

“Bottas had a shocker,” said Palmer. “Now, did that cost Hamilton the title? If Bottas is within a pit-stop window of Verstappen, Verstappen is not having ‘free’ stops willy nilly.

“A great driver for the team for so many years, his last race he went missing and it meant Verstappen had a ‘free’ stop at the Virtual Safety Car, ‘free’ stop at the Safety Car.

“If you’ve got another Mercedes there within 23 seconds of him, in a car that’s quicker with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel, he can’t do it and Hamilton is the champion.

“Bottas has been solid but when it counted, he couldn’t help his teammate, and Perez did everything he possibly could, and he was in contention to do so.”

Valtteri Bottas will race for Alfa Romeo next year (David Davies/PA)

(PA Wire)

Lawrence Ostlere21 December 2021 16:22

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F1 2022 season: All you need to know

The 2022 Formula 1 season begins on 20 March at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

There will be the first ever Miami Grand Prix which is set to be held in May at the Hard Rock Stadium. The 2022 season will also see the reintroduction of the Australian, Canadian, Singapore and Japanese GPs after they were cancelled due to the pandemic.

What are the new law changes?

There will be changes to the windtunnel and CFD testing structure which will mean the amount of testing will be cut depending on the teams finishing place in 2021.

Figures supplied mean each team will have within one of the six aerodynamic testing periods: 320 windtunnel runs, 80 hours of wind-on time with teams allowed to spend a total of 400 hours within the windtunnel.

Percentage values apply depending on where each team finishes. A first place finish in the constructors’ standings rewards a team a multiplier of 70%, meaning a team’s time in the windtunnel is handicapped, But finishing 10th comes with a 115% multiplier and so they will have more time. CFD terms will work in the same way.

The cost cap is expected to drop to $140m from the $145m allowed in the 2021 season.

There will also be an increase in the sprint races with six in the 2022 season, up from three in the 2021 term.

Lawrence Ostlere21 December 2021 15:58

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Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live , he said: “He is a driver who I’m sure is not at the end of his abilities. We saw his qualifying performance at the last two races, in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi. He did qualifying laps that were so much more than the car could deliver.

“That’s why we believe we haven’t seen the climax of Max Verstappen. The more he wins, the more relaxed he gets.”

Marko first became aware of Verstappen’s potential when the Dutch driver was 15 and competing in Formula Three.

“He was so much better than anybody else,” Marko added. “It was wet and dry conditions and after this race, which he won by miles, I had a discussion with him for nearly two hours… His determination or his will to win – he knew what he wanted to do.

“We were talking about the future and so on and after two or three weeks we said, ‘Forget all the other junior activities, we go straight into Formula 1.’”

Lawrence Ostlere21 December 2021 15:38

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Verstappen collected his trophy at the FIA prizegiving ceremony in Paris on Wednesday evening, and offered further insight into his extraordinary victory.

“My last lap when I was fighting Lewis, I had a cramp already starting the lap and that just lasted the whole [time],” the 24-year-old said to Auto und Motor Sport. “I’d seen Lewis have trouble warming up the hard tyres. I stayed close and with the soft tyres it was easier. I had massive cramp in my leg and was happy I was able to relieve it briefly in Turn 5.

“Every time I was going full throttle it was terrible. So I was fighting him, then defending and I just felt my muscles coming together and it almost became like a tennis ball. It was the worst experience you can have in terms of your calf muscle just dying on you.”

Amid talk that Hamilton could exit the sport in dismay at the turn of events which cost him a record-breaking eighth championship, Verstappen told the pre-gala press conference that the Briton has “no reason” to stop now and fully expects a close fight again in 2022.

Lawrence Ostlere21 December 2021 15:15

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Susie Wolff, the former Formula 1 development driver and wife of Mercedes team principal Toto, has launched a scathing attack on the FIA over its handling of the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Wolff still feels “sick” at the circumstances in which Hamilton lost the title.

“What happened is still hard to comprehend and still leaves me with a sick feeling,” she wrote in a social media statement. “Not the losing – and not Max or Red Bull – they are deserving winners and we always knew it was a strong possibility we may not win – but the way in which Lewis was robbed has left me in utter disbelief.

“The decision of one person within the governing body who applied a rule in a way which has never been done before in F1 single-handedly decided the F1 Driver World Championship. Rules are rules, they can’t be changed on a whim by one individual at the end of a race.

“The outcome of the last laps on Sunday? Those who know, they know, even those who can’t quite bring themselves to admit it. I hope by March of next year there is a governing body with sporting integrity and fairness at its core so I can fall back in love with F1.”

Wolff’s husband Toto said he and Hamilton “will never get over” the controversy and are “disillusioned” in his first press interviews since the season finale.

(AP)

Lawrence Ostlere21 December 2021 14:55

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Max Verstappen’s crashes during the 2021 Formula 1 season cost Red Bull almost €4million, it has been reported.

The Dutch-Belgian driver crashed three times this year – at the British and Italian grands prix, as well as in qualifying for the inaugural Saudi Arabian event.

Despite those mishaps, Verstappen was able to win his first world title on the final lap of the season finale in Abu Dhabi this month.

As such, Red Bull may be less concerned by the 24-year-old’s crashes and the resultant costs than in any other season.

Verstappen’s crashes cost the team almost exactly €3.9m in total, per Sky Germany – the third highest figure among all drivers this year.

Leading the list was Mick Schumacher of Haas, who reportedly cost his team €4.2m, followed by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with €4m.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was in fifth with €2.7m, while teammate and championship runner-up Lewis Hamilton was down in 15th on €1.2m.

In last place among the 20 drivers was Esteban Ocon of Alpine, reportedly costing the team €280,000.

Verstappen crashed out at Monza

(Getty Images)

Lawrence Ostlere21 December 2021 14:36

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Verstappen, who partied through the night in Yas Marina as he celebrated his title, was interviewed alongside his father Jos Verstappen by former F1 driver Coulthard the following morning.

In an in-depth interview on the CarNext YouTube channel, Verstappen discussed the 2021 season and his journey to becoming an F1 champion, before Coulthard dropped the line after seemingly believing that the cameras had been cut.

“This is f****** awesome,” Coulthard said to Verstappen after the interview. “It’s f*****g awesome isn’t it. Well done, son.”

Lawrence Ostlere21 December 2021 14:14

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Audi is on the verge of confirming its entry into Formula 1, it has been reported.

The manufacturer has been closely following developments around technical regulations for power units in the 2026 season, with key figures at Audi apparently content with the FIA’s progress.

In a letter to motorsport’s governing body, Audi board chairman Markus Duesmann and Audi Technical Development board member Oliver Hoffmann suggested that draft regulations are fair to both existing teams and newcomers.

F1 is seeking a new manufacturer to replace Honda, whose engines will now be made by Red Bull, and Audi seems set to confirm its entry – which would come ahead of the 2026 season – in the coming weeks.

Audi’s fellow Volkswagen Group brand Porsche has also shown interest in joining F1, though Audi appears closer to making a commitment to the sport.

(Getty Images)

Lawrence Ostlere21 December 2021 13:40

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