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Saturday's Formula 1 news roundup: Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg

Saturday's Formula 1 news roundup: Hamilton, Vettel, Hulkenberg
© Reuters
Here, Sports Mole rounds up the latest Formula 1 news on Saturday, August 15.

Sports Mole rounds up all of the latest news regarding Formula 1 on Saturday, August 15.

Saturday morning's Formula 1 news roundup:


Red Bull eyeing pole at Spa after 'party mode' ban

Red Bull's Helmut Marko pictured in July 2020© Reuters

A sudden and surprise rule change in Formula 1 is a "golden opportunity" for Red Bull.

After the earlier-dominant Mercedes struggled badly with mandatory higher tyre pressures at Silverstone, it now emerges that the FIA is planning to immediately ban 'party mode' engine settings.

"It's obviously to slow us down, as they're always trying to slow us down," said championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

"But I don't think it's going to get the result they want."

Indeed, teammate Valtteri Bottas insisted there is no panic at Mercedes, because the new regulation - slated to be introduced for the next race at Spa - would be "the same for everyone".

But not quite - because Mercedes' 'party mode' engine settings are clearly more impressive than those aboard the Ferrari, Renault and Honda-powered teams.

"It won't make a difference to us," said Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. "We use the same power in qualifying and the races."

Haas-Ferrari boss Gunther Steiner agreed: "Nothing changes for us. We have no qualifying mode."

And Haas driver Romain Grosjean said: "Watching the last race back, I saw how easily the Williams overtook Kevin (Magnussen) - they obviously have some kind of button and it works very well."

Max Verstappen thinks the new rule makes sense simply on the basis that 'parc ferme' rules mean no changes are allowed between qualifying and the race.

"It makes sense if we apply that to the engine as well," said the Red Bull-Honda driver.

The result of the 'party mode' ban is that the Dutchman may finally be able to take on the Mercedes in qualifying - and mount a much more serious title challenge.

"On Saturday, the Mercedes engine is good for seven tenths of time gain compared to our car," Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko told RTL.

"That is why we will be far away from them in Barcelona, where there are two long straights."

But for Spa, that all may change.

Marko said: "We see a golden opportunity to compete for pole from Spa."


Ecclestone scolds Stroll over 'pink Mercedes' affair

Bernie Ecclestone pictured on September 27, 2019© Reuters

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has scolded Lawrence Stroll following his fellow billionaire's comments about the 'pink Mercedes' affair.

As the legality of Racing Point's 2020 car looks set to move on to the international court of appeal, team owner Stroll launched a vigorous defence of his integrity.

"I do not often speak publicly, however I am extremely angry at any suggestion we have been underhand or have cheated," Stroll said.

"I have never cheated at anything in my life. These accusations are completely unacceptable and not true. My integrity - and that of my team - are beyond question."

But Ecclestone, whose official title as 'chairman emeritus' of Formula 1 actually expired in January, thinks Stroll is being too dramatic.

"He doesn't have to be upset," the 89-year-old told Auto Motor und Sport. "What happened is that Racing Point pushed the rules a little too far and this is the result."

Ecclestone suggests that Canadian Stroll, who made his fortune in fashion and whose son Lance drives for the team, should be grateful for his place in F1.

"He should be happy that they made his way into Formula 1 so easy for him two years ago," he said.

"He was allowed to get a team out of bankruptcy with all of its rights. If it had been me, he would have started from scratch with his new team name a year later."



More news from Formula 1:

Alfa Romeo, Haas confirm Hulkenberg talks
After Nico Hulkenberg revealed talks with 'two teams' about 2021, the identity of those teams is now clear. Read more.

Perez, Vettel keep F1 driver market alight
Between Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel, the driver market in Formula 1 is enjoying a particularly exciting moment. Read more.

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes future 'thrown into doubt'
The Mercedes boss has revealed he could step back from Formula One at the end of the year. Read more.

Ferrari, Vettel will not split mid-season - Binotto
Mattia Binotto insists that Ferrari will not split with Sebastian Vettel before the end of the 2020 season. Read more.

Wolff admits he might take on new F1 'role'
Toto Wolff has admitted he might step down as Mercedes' team boss. Read more.

Sainz would welcome Jerez back to F1
Adding Jerez to F1's 2020 'corona calendar' would be good news for Formula 1 and Spain. Read more.

Friend admits Raikkonen's retirement is looming
The signs are growing stronger that 2020 may turn out to be Kimi Raikkonen's eighteenth and final season in Formula 1. Read more.

Ocon admits not yet back up to speed in F1
Esteban Ocon says he is still getting back up to speed in Formula 1. Read more.

Lewis Hamilton fastest in second practice for Spanish Grand Prix
The British driver clocked the fastest time at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. Read more.

McLaren boss Zak Brown reignites Otmar Szafnauer row
Racing Point have been docked 15 points and fined £361,000 by the FIA for copying parts of the Mercedes that Lewis Hamilton drove in 2019. Read more.

Mercedes 'will not like' party mode ban - Verstappen
Toto Wolff has warned Mercedes' rivals against celebrating the forthcoming ban on so-called 'party mode' engine settings too soon. Read more.

Mercedes ready to sign 2021 Concorde - Wolff
Mercedes is now ready to sign the new Concorde Agreement. Read more.

Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to top spot in Spanish GP first practice
Valtteri Bottas was four hundredths of a second quickest in first running at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. Read more.

Verstappen 'not thinking about' 2020 title yet
Max Verstappen says he is "not thinking about" winning the 2020 world championship yet. Read more.

No Indy 500 'distraction' for Alonso in 2021 - Abiteboul
Cyril Abiteboul has admitted he is a distant and nervous spectator of the Indianapolis 500 this month. Read more.

Honda driver Yuki Tsunoda eyes Alpha Tauri seat
A clear frontrunner for an Alpha Tauri seat in 2021 has emerged. Read more.

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Racing Point's Lance Stroll pictured in July 2020
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