Today, I suggest we saw the start of “exploring options”. Back up plans. With Felipe who returned from his departure to fill an empty seat and act as a mentor for Stroll probably reaching the limit of what he has to offer, expectations are that his seat will become available next year.
Alonso never really ever had any expectation of finishing in the points, he was anticipating “13th or 14th but in reality, it was looking like last. His optimisms of improvements by Budapest are equally cool.
Considering the amount of money Honda has invested in this year’s F1 campaign, and how much that has contributed to the 2017 McLaren entry pot we should understand that McLaren cannot simply walk away or “fire” Honda. It will be up to Honda to decide if they wish to walk away at the end of this year. This sentiment was echoed in today's team representative press conference with Jonathan Neale (McLaren) stating "you can't simply rip up a contract"
Porsche is well experienced in long running, high output, energy recovery, turbos and hybrid engines. It actually makes a lot of sense. After many years out of the sport, Formula 1 may have just come back into Porsche's sweet spot, much of the cost of development has been done.
Fuel blends are very heavily guarded and regulated. The rules also change as teams with clever boffins in dark rooms find ways of “entering into the spirit” of the FIA law. Regulations have also changed on fuel for 2018 (most notably diolefins that likely reduce combustion temperature and so be more predictable) These additives ARE however in the Oil the cars use.
Despite a promising performance from the Spec 3 Honda PU in FP2, Alonso's frustrations have continued this afternoon after having to return to the Spec 2 unit due to a "concern" over his Spec 3 unit after an inspection last night. It was decided that "it was not worth the risk".
Fernando Alonso remains level headed following today's practice sessions in Austria. He was 9th fastest in FP1 and 8th fastest in FP2 with a respectable 1m07.510s lap time which is quicker than Schumacher's 2003 1m08.337 record set in 2003 but +1.535s slower than today's fastest from Lewis Hamilton who will (announced this evening - Friday) incur a 5 grid penalty for needing a new gearbox under article 23.5a of the FIA 2017 regulations.
BREAKING: A document issued by the FIA on tonight (Friday evening) confirmed the change. The standard penalty would be five grid positions. We are not sure when the gearbox change happened at this stage, but we do know the FIA have stated Hamilton came to Austria fully aware of the penalty after Mercedes notified the FIA on Tuesday morning
If the Italian press is correct then it would appear that orders from the very top have emerged from "secret Maranello rooms" that the F1 team have removed chief PU designer Lorenzo Sassi from office despite the boost in performance he has created, with the gap in performance to Mercedes reduced or even non-existent.
...A spring, weighing just 700 grammes, from the back of Jensen Buttons car had somehow penetrated the top of his visor and injured Massa above the left eye, perilously close to the cornea. The accident came six days after 18-year-old Henry Surtees died of injuries received when he was struck on the head by an errant wheel in another freak accident during a Formula Two race at Brands Hatch. Both events sparking the start of the enclosed cockpit debate still going on today. Massa demonstrated remarkable courage to clamber back into an F1 cockpit just 11 weeks later. His last podium was before his retirement at the 2015 Italian Grand Prix...