F1 news LIVE: Lewis Hamilton waits on Abu Dhabi inquiry as Mercedes deny deal to remove Michael Masi

Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One future remains in the balance, if only because there has been no clarification from him in public over his intentions ahead of the 2022 campaign. The British racer is still contracted with Mercedes through to 2023, but speculation has grown that he could walk away ever since the dramatic events at the end of last term which saw Max Verstappen clinch the championship on the final lap of the season.

Four-time world champion Alain Prostrated the chances of Hamilton coming back to F1 at just “50-50”, amid suggestions that the outcome of an inquiry into the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi could prove key to his final call - which might include a sabbatical year. Michael Masi came under serious pressure as race director for his decisions during that Grand Prix in particular, while Mercedes eventually dropped their appeal against Red Bull’s driver winning the title in such fashion.

Elsewhere, a McLaren boss has suggested teams will be looking to perform “trickery” within the new rules to maximise their chances of success once the new-look cars hit the tracks later this year. Follow all the latest F1 news below:

F1 latest news

Pierre Gasly explains why in F1 a ‘moment of genius’ can be missed be everyone

10:14 , Karl Matchett

Pierre Gasly knows there are plenty of uncertainties over how teams will interpret the new incoming rules in F1 and it could see teams fire up the leaderboard early on - or slide the other way. The AlphaTauri driver isn’t wasting too much time worrying about whether his team will get it right or wrong, but pointed out that the nature of F1 means it’s more exciting to be involved nearer the front - and often, people won’t even notice a “moment of genius” if it doesn’t happen among the front-runners.

“I’m aware of that [and] I’m aware at the same time I’m looking at the other side, maybe McLaren might get it wrong, Ferrari might get it wrong, Alpine might get it wrong.

“There’s just many unknowns that I don’t have the answer [to]. I hope we are as good because when you start to fight for P12, P13, these sorts of positions, [it] is not as exciting and obviously, people don’t even really see your performances.

“You can do an amazing race but as I say, whether Mick [Schumacher] delivers the performance of his life in a Haas because the pace is so far from the others, even if he has a moment of genius, no one will ever notice, except he will know that he’s done an incredible job.

“It was probably for whatever reason in the best zone he’s ever been but if you are at the back, no one cares, and no one sees it.

“It’s difficult to enjoy, even to get the results and the reward. As you learn in motorsport, if you do a good job, you get rewarded with a trophy, champagne, but F1 is a different story and that’s not always easy to accept.”

Mercedes ‘deny’ rumours of deal being struck to replace F1 race director Michael Masi

09:57 , Karl Matchett

Last season’s final race was a real showstopper for entertainment - but the end result and how it came about left Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton and many fans of the sport incredibly unhappy. The decision of Michael Masi, the race director, to unlap only the cars between Max Verstappen and Hamilton, who was leading at the time, was seen as a very obvious move to inject last-lap drama into the championship fight.

BBC Sport claim sources tell them a deal was struck between Mercedes and F1 authorities that the team would “drop their appeal against the results of the race after agreeing a quid pro quo with the FIA”, namely that Masi and “FIA head of single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis would no longer be in their positions for the 2022 season.”

Mercedes deny that such a deal was ever in place, according to the same report, and say they withdrew their appeal “after receiving assurances only that the issue would be treated seriously and appropriate action would be taken”.

Toto Wolff was furious with Masi on the day and has since stated that the team would hold the FIA “to account”.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Former F1 driver Montoya aiming for hat-trick of wins in IndyCar

09:47 , Karl Matchett

Former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya, a seven-time Grand Prix winner, will rejoin Arrow McLaren in a bid to complete an Indianapolis 500 hat-trick of wins, the IndyCar team said on Tuesday.

Montoya, winner at the Brickyard in 2000 and 2015, drove for Arrow McLaren at last year’s Indy 500, finishing ninth.

“Juan Pablo is an institution in motorsport, with two Indianapolis 500 victories and an impressive Formula 1 career with multiple wins for McLaren,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown in a statement.

“He adds experience that really benefits our team, giving us another driver with the potential to win anytime he steps into the car.”

The 46-year-old Colombian is one of motor racing’s most experienced and versatile drivers having won races in Formula One, IndyCar and NASCAR.

He also one win away from completing the “Triple Crown of Motorsport” made up of victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, or F1 world title, Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours sportcar race.

Montoya was a winner in Monaco in 2003 and while he has won the 24 Hours of Daytona on three occasions, he has not repeated that success at Le Mans.

Montoya will join full-time Arrow McLaren drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist for two races, the Indianapolis Grand Prix run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course on May 13 and the Indy 500 on May 29.

“I’m excited to return to Indianapolis with Arrow McLaren SP and Mission, to once again compete in a race that holds a special place in my heart, the Indianapolis 500,” said Montoya.

“I think we have a real shot at competing at the front of the field and challenging for the win.”

Daniel Ricciardo believes drivers' emotions aren’t taken into account

09:30 , Karl Matchett

Formula 1 star Daniel Ricciardo believes people don’t consider drivers’ feelings when they are criticised by fans and in the media.

The Australian star says travelling around the world and being away from family and friends can take their toll on F1 drivers. He adds he has been “lonely” during a season before and people outside of the sport should be mindful that they are “real people”.

“I think with anyone in the spotlight or anyone on TV, sometimes to the outside they are not seen as, like, real people,” he said, per Autosport.com.

“It’s like, if you’re an actor…oh, that’s Brad Pitt. He’s superman. He could do anything or whatever. Like he doesn’t get sad or emotional or whatever. But as you know, you guys would feel it, we travel so much that you do miss loved ones. So having that kind of times 10 is tricky.”

Full report here:

Daniel Ricciardo believes drivers emotions aren’t taken into account

Lewis Hamilton only ‘50-50’ to return to F1 for 2022 season, Alain Prost claims

09:14 , Karl Matchett

There is only a “50-50” chance that Lewis Hamilton returns to Formula One for the 2022 season, according to four-time world champion Alain Prost.

Hamilton is said to be “disillusioned” with the sport after he lost out on a record-breaking eighth world championship to Max Verstappen on the final lap of the season in a hugely controversial season-decider at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last month.

There have been reports that Hamilton and Mercedes have yet to receive assurances from the FIA that there will be changes to how race rules are enforced from next season, following team boss Toto Wolff’s criticism of race director Michael Masi at the Yas Marina Circuit.

In withdrawing their appeal of the race result, Mercedes confirmed they would “actively work” with the FIA to “build a better Formula One” but there have been reports that Hamilton is now considering taking a sabbatical, with just over two months ahead of the start of the 2022 campaign.

Full report:

Lewis Hamilton only ‘50-50’ to return to F1 for 2022 season, Alain Prost claims

F1 teams expected to play ‘a few tricks’ to exploit 2022 rule changes

09:13 , Karl Matchett

Formula 1 engineers will perform some “trickery” to capitalise on the sport’s new regulations, according to McLaren technical director James Key.

After a thrilling 2021 season which saw Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen dominate throughout, F1 has drafted in new regulations to shake up the sport in pursuit of greater variance.

The sport will see a change to the aerodynamic composition of the cars. While simplified front and rear wings should result in minimal turbulent air created as well as enabling cars to follow through technical sections across all the circuits on the schedule.

And after much discussion and debate surrounding rear wings and more stringent FIA tests, Key has shed light on the impact they will have next season.

“I think the sensitivities around elastics certainly have changed,” Key said. “It’s well understood that from the regulations that have been discussed of late with how to better manage flexible…I shouldn’t say flexible components but components that can flex and make a difference is probably more accurate.

“Some of the tests are more stringent I think so the rear wing tests, for example, will be a little bit tougher. Some of the things that have happened earlier in the year have carried through into ’22 and I think there is a lot of attention being paid to that.

“Front wings similarly, and the front wing in ’22 is a massive thing but it has still got a stringent set of guidelines on stiffnesses. So I think there will always be a few tricks to play but I don’t think there’s going to be something easy to exploit there.”

Key maintains “a certain level of stiffness” to the car can be exploited through the big ground-effect floor and the return of big wings.

He added: “There are various new tools to play with in 2022. It will probably become some sort of issue I’m sure, but it’s not something that the teams or the FIA are ignoring.

“It’s a fairly clear area where we need to be careful to regulate correctly.”