HOLDEN has put the brakes on the project to replace its V8 engine in Supercars.
Holden Motorsport, Triple Eight Race Engineering and Supercars put out a joint statement on Friday morning confirming that “it will put a hold on the development of the V6 twin-turbo Supercars engine,” with the priority to instead focus on the current V8-powered ZB Commodore.
The statement leaves the future of the power unit uncertain, with no new target date mentioned.
“At Holden we are always assessing the motorsport landscape,” Mark Harland, Holden’s executive director of marketing, said.
“After working closely with all Holden teams we have decided to put a hold on the development of the V6 Supercars engine.
“We are 100% committed to motorsport and our sponsorship of the Red Bull Holden Racing Team and supporting all Holden teams in both the Supercars and SuperUte paddock.
Radio Daze: Melbourne 2018
“This is thanks to the monumental effort Holden and Triple Eight have put into engineering and developing the Holden Supercar and we remain committed to that advancement of motorsport engineering in what is one of the most technically advanced motorsport categories in the world.
“We’re excited to see how the all-new Commodore supercar is performing on the track and the interest the road car is getting in our showrooms. It’s a great car and we’re proud of it.”
The V6 twin turbo has been in development for over 12 months, a joint project between Triple Eight, Holden and General Motors’ race division in the United States.
The power unit was given its track debut in the team’s Supercars-derived Sandman wagon mid-last year before turning its first public laps at the Bathurst 1000.
Holden had been poised to become the first marque to adopt a non-V8 race engine under Supercars’ new Gen2 rules, designed to allow potential new manufacturers an easier passage into the championship.
“Our current rules allow manufacturers and teams to implement various configurations of power plants,” Sean Seamer, Supercars CEO, said.
“So, while the ZB won’t have a turbo engine configuration at the moment, it’s important that we, as a category, continue to build our learnings and expertise on forced induction.
“We look forward to continuing our great relationship with both Holden and the Teams, irrespective of what engine they choose to run.”
Hamilton returned to the track by slithering over the grass to take the lead of the grand prix after Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen, who had held track position ahead of him, had pitted.
“It’s the most emotional day, up and down,” said Hamilton, who won from 14th on the grid.
“No one ever wants to go and see the stewards, they have the hardest job because every scenario is always different, but this has just been an unbelievable day.”
Hamilton’s bungled pit entry
WHY HAMILTON AVOIDED A TOUGHER PENALTY
Although Hamilton was adjudged to have committed an offence, the stewards’ official verdict revealed he had escaped a stiffer penalty because:
— ‘The driver and the team candidly admitted the mistake and the fact there was confusion within the team as to whether to stay out or to enter the pits and that led to the infringement.’
— ‘The fact that the infringement took place during a Safety Car period.’
— ‘At no time was there any danger to any other competitor and the change in direction was executed in a safe way.’
Summing up, the stewards concluded: ‘Taking all of the above into account, including considering previous infringements of the above rule, we are of the opinion that a reprimand would be the appropriate penalty for the said infringement on this occasion.’
Giving an insight in what he said to the stewards, Hamilton said: “Many times in the past I was in there a lot, but I hardly ever see them now and respect the rules and respect the job that they have to do. I was just open and said ‘this is how it was’. They could see and hear how confusing it [the pit situation] was.”
HOW THE INCIDENT UNFOLDED
Hamilton was running third when Bottas was called into the pits after the Safety Car was deployed, and seemed to be stopping himself before receiving a radio message from Mercedes and swerving back onto track.
“I started turning in, then they asked me to box and then I said ‘Kimi (Raikkonen) is pitting’ and then they said ‘Stay out’ and I was already in the lane!” Hamilton explained before his penalty was confirmed.
“So I started turning out and trying to go over the grass and then they said ‘no, stay in!’ and I was already back on track!”
Hamilton said he was trying to do the opposite to Raikkonen, the Ferrari driver in front of him after Vettel’s crash.
He added: “The reason I was mentioning it was because there were times when you do the opposite to the car in front and I really felt that this was a chance to do the opposite to Kimi and gain ground on the road. So that’s why I questioned it an ultimately it turned out to be the right thing.
“But it was so intense! It was really confusing because they were all panicking on the pit wall, I was probably the only relaxed one! They were shouting ‘yes, no, come in, don’t come in’. It was exciting! It’s cool to see how much they care and to see them on the edge of their seats.”
Hamilton later added: “I don’t know if you heard the radio after, but I was like ‘guys, that was the most confusing couple of seconds!’ because they were shouting in my ear ‘no left, no right’. But I think it was still relatively exciting.”
WHY THERE WAS A DELAY INTO THE INVESETIGATION
The FIA has explained the delay in the opening of the investigation into the incident.
More than one hour after claiming a stunning win from 14th on the grid at a rain-hit Hockenheim, Hamilton and Mercedes representatives were summoned to the stewards to explain why the Englishman had aborted what appeared a planned pit stop under the Safety Car with 14 laps to go and instead cut across the grass to rejoin the track.
Hamilton had already celebrated his unexpected success on the podium before the summons was issued.
Speaking before the verdict was announced, FIA race director Charlie Whiting outlined why stewards had not started an investigation immediately during the race.
“It just takes a little bit of time to make sure that if you’re going to call a team that you have good reason for calling them,” said Whiting, who does not sit on the stewards’ panel.
“Obviously we wanted to wait until after the race to have a look at it because we were getting quite close to the end of it and then with all the rain and the thunderstorms and everything like that, by the time everything had calmed down, had a good look at it and the stewards decided that they should, in fact, discuss it with the team.”
Whiting also confirmed Mercedes rivals Ferrari, who finished third with Kimi Raikkonen and saw Sebastian Vettel crash out when leading, did not a lodge a post-race protest against the incident.
Asked if the crossing of the pitlane entry line brought with it a certain penalty, Whiting said: “I don’t think there is a specific precedent.
“Kimi (Raikkonen) a couple of years ago in Baku got a five-second penalty, but that was quite a lot different in that particular scenario.”
THE STEWARDS’ VERDICT IN FULL
Decision: A reprimand. (1st reprimand of the current season)
Reason: The Stewards reviewed video and audio evidence, heard from the driver of car 44 (Lewis Hamilton) and the team representative. It was clear that there was an infringement of the above mentioned rule – the driver clearly crossed the line separating the pit entry from the track.
In deciding on the penalty for the infringement, we took into account the following mitigating factors:
(i) the driver and the team candidly admitted the mistake and the fact that there was confusion within the team as to whether to stay out or to enter the pits and that led to the infringement. (ii) The fact that the infringement took place during a Safety Car period. (iii) At no time was there any danger to any other competitor and the change in direction was executed in a safe way.
Taking all of the above into account, including considering previous infringements of the above rule, we are of the opinion that a reprimand would be the appropriate penalty for the said infringement on this occasion.
Competitors are reminded that they have the right to appeal the decisions of the Stewards (with the exception of those referred to in Article 12.2.4 of the FIA International Sporting Code), in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Article 9.1.1 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, within the applicable time limits.’
“I made a small mistake which had a huge impact on the result,” said Vettel.
Vettel crashes out of lead
“I braked just a tiny bit too late for the corner, locked the front tires and then the rear ones, so that I couldn’t turn the car anymore.”
To make matters worse, Lewis Hamilton took a remarkable victory from 14th from the grid and he now leads Vettel in the standings by 17 points.
“It was just one of those moments,” Vettel told Sky F1. “It was my mistake so apologies to the team, they did everything right.
“I had it in my hands — small mistake, big disappointment.”
The German continued: “I don’t think it was a huge mistake. It was a huge impact on the race because we retired there but it’s not like tonight I’ll have difficulty falling asleep because of what I’ve done wrong.
“I think it’s disappointing because up to that point everything was sweet, but we didn’t need the rain.”
SKY F1’S NICO ROSBERG ON VETTEL’S CRASH
“Such a big mistake. He threw it away. Yes, the conditions are difficult out there and it’s horrible for the driver, so tough, but he had a gap to the guys behind.
“He could have gone a little bit slower and taken it easy, but he chucked it into the wall.
“That’s the one corner where there’s no margin for error, so in that corner you’ve got to take even more reserves, and he didn’t. He went over the edge.”
“I felt it braking for Turn 6. When I was downshifting I heard something was sick,” Ricciardo said.
“Once I accelerated I expected something when I got on power and, yeah, it was underpowered. Then I could hear some noises, so it didn’t sound healthy.
“I came on the radio straight away and I expected them to tell me to pull it over, and they did.
“I don’t know the specifics but it was some sort of engine failure, which is obviously pretty frustrating after taking the penalties today.
“It hurts, it always does, but what do you do?”
Ricciardo’s car had been fitted with its third new MGU-K, energy store and control electronics for the weekend. Drivers are only allowed two of those components each year, earning him a rear of grid start.
It was a hit Red Bull elected to take this weekend, with the intention of giving Ricciardo the best shot at victory in next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, a circuit where the Renault’s power disadvantage is less of a handicap to the Ferraris and Mercedes.
‘THE RACE WOULD HAVE COME TO US’
Sitting out Q2 gave Ricciardo his pick of tyre compounds for the race, opting for Pirelli’s hardest available tyre — the medium — for the start.
But instead of carving through the field on the opening lap Ricciardo ended it where he began, the harder tyre making passing tough in the early stages.
“The first 10 or 15 laps was really hard with the medium,” he said.
“In hindsight I don’t think it was a very good tyre. I was really struggling in the traffic and just had, even off the start, just had no grip.
But then once I got clear air we were able to do some low 18s, which seemed competitive at the time.
“Once we got a good run I think the race would have probably come to us, but yeah, just would of, could of … its racing.”
Ricciardo said he’d been prepared for the rain to arrive.
“I actually put a clear visor in on the grid. I thought I’d change it up because they were saying there was good a chance of rain, so I was quietly hoping,” he said.
“Towards the end of the race would have been fun, but yeah … we’ll hopefully go and win in a week’s time.”