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F1 news LIVE: Emilia Romagna GP build-up as Red Bull try to catch Ferrari

<p>Follow all the build-up to the Emilia Romagna GP</p>
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<p>Follow all the build-up to the Emilia Romagna GP</p>
<p>  (Getty Images)</p>
<p>Follow all the latest news and reaction from the world of F1 as attention turns to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.</p>
<p>Red Bull are playing catch-up after just three races of the 2022 season due to reliability issues that have twice caused Max Verstappen to retire during races.  Those DNFs have left the reigning world champion way back of leader Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ standings, however, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko says they have received assurances from Honda that there will be no more engine trouble.  “We had to take a lot of punishment and we are now well behind,” he said.  “But according to Honda, we can count on the problems being fixed before the next race.”</p>
<p>Red Bull’s problems allowed Mercedes to snatch points at the Australian Grand Prix, despite their torrid start to the season.  George Russell is second in the standings but still 34 points adrift of Leclerc, however, former F1 driver Mika Hakkinen claimed that Lewis Hamilton will be “sulking” as his hopes of a record-breaking eighth world champion seem to disappear and could even consider switching teams when his contract with Mercedes expires.  “For Lewis, this is a disaster.  And with George being ahead, it’s even worse,” Hakkinen said.  “I wonder how Lewis behaves in the team meetings – I bet he’s sulking.  I can imagine the sulking.  There’s lots of complaining and whining.  And now starts the natural thought process of drivers.  ‘Should I go somewhere else?’”</p>
<p><strong>Follow all the latest F1 news and reaction after a thrilling start to the 2022 season.</strong></p>
<h2>F1 latest news</h2>
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Wolff reveals respect for ‘mature and intelligent’ Verstappen

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insists he has a huge amount of respect for “mature and intelligent” Formula One world champion Max Verstappen.

Wolff and the rest of the Mercedes team were embroiled in a fierce battle with Verstappen last year as the Dutchman fought until the final lap of the season against seven-time winner Lewis Hamilton.

In one of the most dramatic scenes in the sport’s history, Verstappen passed Hamilton on the last lap of the season finale in Abu Dhabi as he claimed his first world championship in dramatic fashion.

Yet despite the incredible circumstances surrounding their 2021 rivalry, Wolff has now insisted he has a tremendous amount of admiration for Verstappen.

Speaking to De Telegraaf, he said: “[Last season’s success] was not Max’s last title. He is a brilliant driver. It’s completely normal that the battle was so intense last year. It’s part of racing.

“If the situation had been reversed, we would have claimed the trophy and been happy about it. Max performed strongly all last year and he missed out on a lot of points. He deserves to be world champion.”

He then went on to add: “Often, the truth lies in the middle. But if you ask me personally, I think Max is very mature and intelligent, quite apart from his qualities as a driver at his age.

“I have a lot of respect for him and for his father, Jos. That will never change, regardless of the discussions that have been going on.”

Tom Kershaw19 April 2022 12:48


Leclerc excited by chance to fight for F1 title

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is happy to be back fighting for the drivers’ championship after a sensational start to the 2022 season.

The Monegasque driver has already picked up victories in Bahrain and Australia to go with his second place in Saudi Arabia.

Leclerc’s impressive opening three races have left him with a huge 34-point lead in the standings as his title rivals have suffered various pace and reliability issues.

And the 24-year-old was in a positive headspace while discussing his championship credentials ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this weekend.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “Obviously we only had the third race, so it’s difficult to think about the championship, but to be honest, we’ve got a very strong car, a very reliable car too.

“We’ve always been there, so I hope it continues like this and if it does, then we probably have chances for the championship, which obviously makes me smile after the last two years that have been difficult for the team and obviously for myself . It’s great to be back in this position.”

Tom Kershaw19 April 2022 12:20


Mercedes engineers doing ‘enormous’ work on car

Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles says an “enormous” amount of work is being done on the team’s car ahead of Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Despite the sluggish start, Mercedes are second in the constructors’ title with Hamilton’s teammate George Russell runner-up in the driver standings. And Vowles says the team are dedicated to improving the car ahead of this weekend’s Emilia Romagna GP.

“I often think people see the race team on TV and think that’s the entire team. It’s not,” he said. “We are fortunate to have a base in Brackley, and in Brixworth, with hundreds of people working every hour they possibly can to make this racing car fast, competitive and a championship winner.”

Tom Kershaw19 April 2022 11:55


Williams close to fixing key car issues

Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson says the team are close to solving their porpoising issues.

The team have been struggling this year but they bagged their first points of the season when Alex Albon managed to fight through the field and finish 10th at the Australian GP>

“In terms of the ride height and the set-up, the porpoising, we are getting pretty close to operating in the right kind of window now,” he said.

“If we get it a little bit wrong we risk damaging the floor so that is probably our limit, we are pretty close to where we want to run it.

“I think the rest of it, other than that one little balance issue we are trying to sort out, we just need a bit more load, that will help get the tires in the window and make us quicker everywhere.”

Tom Kershaw19 April 2022 11:28


Russell takes laid back approach to racing

Mercedes driver George Russell says he doesn’t get hyped up before a Formula 1 race and likes instead to feel chilled.

Russell, who joined Mercedes at the start of the season, is second in the driver standings after bagging his first podium at the Australian Grand Prix. He has spoken about all he pre-race rituals.

“I’m not one of those ‘I need to listen to this, I need to get in the zone’, because I feel like your body is in this excited, almost angry state when you’re hyping yourself up and you’re almost anxious I feel.

“So I’ve almost got the opposite approach, I like to be calm, I like to be relaxed, I like to go about it as if it’s any other day, I feel like I perform best when I’m calm and I’ m relaxed and I don’t put any pressure on myself.

“I listen to a bit of music in the morning on the way into the track, nothing crazy, say hello to everyone, have a coffee, chill out and to be really honest, that’s about it.”

Tom Kershaw19 April 2022 11:05


Gasly doesn’t want to lose “iconic” Monaco GP

The circuit has been a permanent fixture of the F1 season since 1955 but there have been calls to get rid of the street track as the qualifying order usually determines the race result. But Gasly has defended the circuit and wants it to remain on the billing.

“That would be a bit of a shocker if Monaco gets taken out of the calendar,” Gasly said as per “It’s probably the most iconic race in the world.

“Talking to non-F1 fans, everyone had heard about Monaco for various reasons, whether it’s racing, whether it’s party-related, whether it’s all of the action that happens around the grand prix. It’s a very iconic weekend.

“I think, and I really hope, we get to experience it as drivers because it’s probably the toughest track of the season, the most challenging, and is my favorite one.”

Tom Kershaw19 April 2022 10:44


Sainz wants F1 to respect race ‘heritage’

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has added his voice to the number of drivers saying F1 must keep their European races with “heritage” and has suggested a rotation policy could work out if finances dictate other cities end up as Grand Prix hosts instead.

“I think there needs to be a limit for the number of races that we keep adding, so in the end some other races are going to pay the price of having to stay out,” said Sainz.

“Obviously big fan of having to go to Miami and Vegas, but at the same time, big loss having to lose classic European races, I think.

“Hopefully, for the future, we can find a compromise where maybe races that cannot afford to be in the calendar every year, year-in, year-out, can be in the calendar once every two years, once every three years, you know?”

Sainz acknowledged that while there must be an eventual limit on race weekends, “business is business” and an increase was likely.

Tom KershawApril 19, 2022 10:20 am


Russell cautious despite ‘pretty crazy’ second place in standings

George Russell admits it is a “crazy” feeling to be second in the drivers’ standings but is aware there’s a long way to go this season.

Despite Mercedes’ difficult start to the new campaign, Russell was able to snatch third at the Australian Grand Prix after Carlos Sainz was forced to retire from the race and the British driver claimed he was shocked when found out that he was the closest challenger to Charles Leclerc in the championship.

“Somebody told me that and I didn’t believe them,” he said. “It’s pretty crazy to think but this is a championship based on results and not necessarily based on pace.”

Mercedes engineers are said to be doing “enormous” work on their cars ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in a bid to catch up with the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull.

Russell admitted the solution won’t be found overnight but insisted Mercedes can continue to get good results in the meantime.

“We know if we want to keep that position we need to find more performance in the car and I believe in my team back at base to be able to bring more performance but it’s going to take a lot of time,” he added. “For the time being, let’s just keep capitalizing.”

Tom Kershaw19 April 2022 09:50


F1 can ‘choose where’ it wants to race as demand soars

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says Formula 1 has the luxury of choosing where they race due to how in demand the sport has become.

Las Vegas has been added to the race calendar from the 2023 season while many other locations have expressed an interest in hosting a race.

“I think in general, Las Vegas, a lot of people cannot wait to go there, we all like Sin City,” Steiner said. “I think with the sponsors coming in, it will help.

“In general, Formula 1 is in a good place commercially. There are a lot of places that want a race, we can almost choose where we want to go.

“I think Stefano [Domenicali, F1 CEO] and his team are doing a great job to organize it all and get the best out and getting into the American market is very good.”

Haas are an American team and Steiner was asked if the Las Vegas circuit will present more sponsorship opportunities for them.

“As we all know, it is the biggest economy in the world and there is a really good potential of growth,” he said. “I think it is very good to go there, hopefully we can pick up some of these great sponsors.”

Tom Kershaw19 April 2022 09:29


Sainz and Ferrari disagree over length of new deal

F1 Insider report that negotiations over the length of Carlos Sainz’s new contract with Ferrari are causing a delay to any agreement.

The report claims that Sainz wants to sign a two-year deal to remain with the Scuderia, however, the team are pushing for him to sign a one-year extension with the option of a second year. Such a clause would provide the Spaniard with less security over his future on the grid if Ferrari decided to go in a different direction.

That sticking point may explain the hold-up in the deal being announced after Sainz said in February that he and Ferrari “are both happy with the situation and want to continue working together”.

Tom Kershaw19 April 2022 09:05


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