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Thursday's Formula 1 news roundup: Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo

Here, Sports Mole rounds up the latest Formula 1 news on Thursday, September 17.

Sports Mole rounds up all of the latest news regarding Formula 1 on Thursday, September 17.

Thursday morning's Formula 1 news roundup:


Todt hopes Volkswagen boss serious about F1

Jean Todt pictured on February 15, 2020© Reuters

Jean Todt says he hopes Volkswagen is contemplating a move into Formula 1.

Late last month, and although VW brands Audi and Porsche are in Formula E, Volkswagen chief Herbert Diess said F1 with "synthetic fuels" would be "a much more exciting and fun tech-competition than Formula E".

FIA president Todt told Auto Motor und Sport that Formula 1's plans to introduce 'e-fuels' in 2023 would even pave the way for better engine regulations.

"If we succeed in using e-fuels from 2023, we will also be flexible in our choice of engine architecture," he said. "Then you can also think about a less complex engine, as long as it remains efficient."

The Frenchman admitted that he had seen Diess' recent comments about a potential future in that sort of Formula 1 for Volkswagen.

"I heard about it, but not from Mr Diess personally," said Todt. "That's why I want to be careful with my own comments. I don't know whether he really said it in that way.

"If he did, I can only say to him: Welcome to Formula 1."

Todt has been criticised by some for campaigning to slash costs in Formula 1, and there are those who still think axing the loud V8 engines of the past was a major mistake.

"Over time, our cars and the world around us changed completely," he said.

"You can like today's engines or not. But we would not have survived without hybridisation."

Todt also insists that F1's astronomical costs had to be attacked.

"I've just been to Indianapolis and I saw good motorsport," he said. "Some teams there get by on $8 million."

And so, Todt says unlimited testing, a tyre war, and an unfettered technological race in F1 would "kill the sport" if they returned.

He also defended the decision to charge any new teams to Formula 1 a whopping $200 million fee, to be evenly distributed among the existing ten teams.

"I would rather have twelve teams than ten," he said. "But for the moment this fee is a kind of guarantee that an applicant is also serious.

"Once the new system with the budget cap has been consolidated, we can talk about whether we want to top up the club."



Red Bull must give Verstappen 'competitive engine'

Max Verstappen pictured on August 29, 2020© Reuters

Red Bull must supply Max Verstappen with "a competitive engine" in order to keep him at the team beyond 2021.

That is the surprising admission of Dr Helmut Marko, even though in the opening days of this year, the team announced that it had signed a deal with the Dutch driver through 2023.

After back to back Honda-related failures at both Monza and Mugello, Verstappen did not hide that his earlier optimistic and patient attitude may be changing.

"Hopefully next year we will be closer to Mercedes," he told Ziggo Sport.

"I don't think we will be able to win. Due to the coronavirus, we can't make many changes to the car, so I hope that the regulations for the 2022 season will be a new beginning.

"But if we are so far away, this will not happen. We still want to win every weekend, but this championship is over," Verstappen added.

The 22-year-old also described his back to back failures in the past two races as "unacceptable".

"Honda has made progress," Red Bull top official Marko told Sport1, "but Mercedes is still superior in the area of the batteries.

"We have to improve now," he added. "Honda has replaced some engineers, so perhaps that is why the unexpected difficulties arose."

Currently, Honda is committed to Formula 1 only for the 2021 season, and some are tipping the Japanese manufacturer to pull out after that.

"The decision should be made at the beginning of October," Marko admitted.

If Honda does go, that could trigger an exit clause in Verstappen's contract, which is thought to guarantee a works engine.

"Actually, Max has a fixed contract for 2021," said Marko. "But we are well aware that we have to provide him with a competitive engine."


More news from Formula 1:

F1 unlikely to return to Mugello
Formula 1 appears unlikely to return to Mugello next year, despite the success of last weekend's race at the Ferrari-owned circuit. Read more.

No FIA penalty for Hamilton over political t-shirt
The FIA has backed away from issuing a potential penalty to Lewis Hamilton over his wearing of a politically-themed t-shirt on the Mugello podium. Read more.

Sponsor exit was 'end of story' - Claire Williams
It was the departure of Williams' title sponsor this year that prompted the sale of the team. Read more.

F2 title no guarantee of F1 seat - Schumacher
Mick Schumacher is not getting carried away with speculation that he is looking likely to follow his famous father into Formula 1. Read more.

Selling McLaren factory a 'good decision' - Brown
Zak Brown insists that selling McLaren's factory for about $350 million is a "very good decision". Read more.

Shwartzman linked with Haas seat for 2021
Alongside Mick Schumacher, another Formula 2 star is now shaping up as a likely 2021 rookie. Read more.

F2 driver opposed to 'young driver test' for Alonso
Formula 2 driver Louis Deletraz admits he is opposed to Fernando Alonso being invited to take part in F1's 'young driver test' in Abu Dhabi later this year. Read more.

Briatore says coronavirus 'can be defeated'
Flavio Briatore says the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc on Formula 1 and the world in 2020 "can be defeated". Read more.

Vettel move 'great' for F1 and for Toto Wolff
Sebastian Vettel staying in Formula 1 beyond 2020 is "great" not just for Formula 1, but for Toto Wolff as well. Read more.

Ferrari slump 'not comparable' to 1993 - Todt
Jean Todt thinks Ferrari should be able to recover from its surprisingly-deep 2020 slump. Read more.

F1's 'ghost race' era finally ending
F1's 'ghost race' trend of 2020 is finally ending. Read more.

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