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Motorsport Debrief: Mercedes accepts potential for Singapore slog

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Motorsport Debrief: Mercedes accepts potential for Singapore slog
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Sep 8, 2017, 4:49 AM

Here is today's news blast to get you up-to-date on what's been making the motorsport headlines over the past 24 hours.

Hi, this is Motorsport.com’s Global Editor-in-Chief Charles Bradley and I hope you’re well. As the hurricane shutters go up at our Miami HQ, let’s take a high-speed look around the F1 world.

Mercedes realistic that Singapore will be "more difficult"

Mercedes is bracing itself for a more difficult time at the Singapore Grand Prix, despite its back-to-back Formula 1 victories in Belgium and Italy.

With the Mercedes better on high speed circuits, and Ferrari having the edge at higher downforce venues, many are expecting Vettel to be the man to beat in Singapore. Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says that his outfit has learned valuable lessons from what has gone wrong in Singapore in the past, but knows it will not be a straightforward weekend.

"Singapore wasn't the best place for us in the past and we were extremely delighted to win it last year, because we had such a difficult time in 2015," he explained. "I still believe there are certain characteristics of the tracks that suit the car or not, and you can see this year, the slow, twisty circuits have rather suited Red Bull and Ferrari. Now, I don't think that's a pattern you can't break.”

Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsports, FOM, visits the Mercedes garage for a look at the Halo device fitted to the car of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsports, FOM, visits the Mercedes garage for a look at the Halo device fitted to the car of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08

Photo by: Steve Etherington / LAT Images

Todt backs Halo 'yellow jersey' idea for F1

FIA president Jean Todt has backed the idea of Formula 1 introducing a ‘yellow jersey’ model, which would give the world championship leader a different colour Halo cockpit protection device from other drivers.

Todt is pushing for F1 to make use of the opportunities on offer, and has suggested the Halo is used for improved car number visibility or even to single out the championship leader.

“I think there are some clever ideas,” said Todt. “I heard one idea that I quite like, we should give a different colour of Halo to the leader of the world championship. I want to see the name and the number of the cars, which we cannot see. So maybe it will be one opportunity to give that – even if I hear already that teams have sold the space to sponsors. So lucky them!”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, stops on track
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, stops on track

Photo by: LAT Images

Renault reveals reliability action plan

Renault is to assign extra personnel to Red Bull from the Singapore Grand Prix as part of a detailed response plan to improve its reliability.

Frustrations with Renault’s reliability this season boiled over at the Belgian GP when Max Verstappen suffered yet another problem in the race, as a sensor shut down his power unit. Red Bull boss Christian Horner said Renault was providing a ‘below par service’ as he labelled the French car manufacturer’s form in F1 this year unacceptable.

Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com: “The first type of response is that every single type of incident that Max has had, like any other driver, there is a counter measure in place.

“The last one was a sensor default that we had in Spa. There is now a much better procedure that is better documented than what we had. It is not a matter of apologising, because that should have been in place – it should have been in place. I am not looking for excuses.”

Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India VJM10
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India VJM10

Photo by: Sutton Images

Perez "very close" to new Force India deal

Force India is "very close" to securing a deal to keep Sergio Perez at the Formula 1 team next season, says chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer.

Perez had hoped to have his future secure shortly after the summer break but commercial deals with his sponsors have yet to be finalised. It is also understood the Mexican, who is currently in his fourth season with Force India, is on the radar of two others F1 teams.

When asked by Motorsport.com when Force India expected to be able to confirm who will partner Esteban Ocon next year, Szafnauer said: "We're very close with Checo. [It is] nothing to do with him. It's no secret he has had support from some of his Mexican backers ever since he's been in the sport.”

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari celebrates on the podium, the Ferrari fans and flags
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari celebrates on the podium, the Ferrari fans and flags

Photo by: Sutton Images

Other venues should learn from Monza - Bratches

Formula 1 commercial boss Sean Bratches believes that other venues can learn something from the success of the Italian Grand Prix, which claimed a record crowd last weekend.

F1 rights holder Liberty Media said an all-time record of 185,000 attended the event over the course of the four days.

Bratches said out of the 20 venues in the calendar, only "four or five" carry out proper promotion work: "I think there's some inherent wind behind our sails in Monza. But our intention is to create an overlay for our promoters, to help them activate. By definition a promoter should be promoting, and I think we have to encourage more of that.”

Essential viewing… 

We go karting with Red Bull F1 star Daniel Ricciardo

That’s it for today’s Motorsport Debrief, have a great weekend.

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Series Formula 1
Author Charles Bradley