F1 to chase new image, energy

Lewis Hamilton during yesterday's first practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver was fastest in the second session, setting a track record for the Yas Marina circuit in 1min 37.877sec.
Lewis Hamilton during yesterday's first practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver was fastest in the second session, setting a track record for the Yas Marina circuit in 1min 37.877sec.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Carey to unveil new logo for next season, as Vettel, Hamilton each seek a fifth world title

ABU DHABI • Formula One will unveil a new logo after tomorrow's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as the sport moves on under new US-based owners Liberty Media.

Without giving details of the replacement design, chairman Chase Carey told Britain's Sky Sports television yesterday that the revamp would "provide a fresh energy" to a sport whose championship dates back to 1950.

The current logo was introduced in 1987 when former commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, now 87, was in charge.

"Any time you change you are always going to have a mixed set of views," said Carey, when asked about the likely fan reaction.

"We have a lot of plans for the future and a lot of things we want to do and we thought the logo was a good way to emphasise the excitement, a fresh energy and a new day.

"That's respecting completely what the sport's been. We're not looking to change the sport. We're looking to provide a fresh innovation and energy to a great sport that we think we can enhance in a number of ways."

With Lewis Hamilton having already secured the Formula One world championship, the Briton could afford to be relaxed in the build-up to the season finale and the Mercedes driver was more than happy to engage in some verbal sparring with his title rival Sebastian Vettel on Thursday.

Hamilton took the championship in Mexico having won nine races to Vettel's five but, for much of the season, the pair were engaged in a tight battle.

However, while they enjoyed some close racing, only two passes were made on the track against each other - both by Hamilton.

WRY HUMOUR

There isn't much to remember when you don't have to pass that many people.

SEBASTIAN VETTEL, in an oblique reference to the pace and superior reliability of Mercedes.

At the press conference at Yas Marina, the 32-year-old said he could not recall his favourite passing move and Ferrari's Vettel interjected: "There isn't much to remember when you don't have to pass that many people."

"I passed you a couple of times," Hamilton shot back.

"They were the exciting ones. The closer races we had were the ones I enjoyed the most.

"And I am extremely driven this weekend to try and finish the season off as strongly as I have been in the second half of the year."

FRONT RUNNER

I passed you a couple of times. They were the exciting ones. The closer races we had were the ones I enjoyed the most.

LEWIS HAMILTON, who won nine races this season while Vettel won five.

In a somewhat end-of-term atmosphere, Vettel also reflected jokingly on what had been one of the flashpoints of the season.

In Azerbaijan, he had side-swiped Hamilton after believing the British driver had brake-tested him. The German was given a stop-go penalty and later apologised for the incident.

When asked about the concept of giving more awards to drivers in F1, Vettel replied: "I should get move of the year, personality of the year, and what was the last award? Fair play? Okay, maybe not that one, but the first two for Baku."

For the first time next year, the sport will see two quadruple champions start the season in search of a fifth title.

Hamilton won his fourth this season while Vettel became a four-time champion with Red Bull in 2013 after Michael Schumacher had retired with seven.

The late Argentinian great Juan Manuel Fangio, who was dominant in the 1950s, won five championships.

Both Hamilton and Vettel agreed that next season's halo-carrying racing cars will be uglier, but safer.

F1 is introducing the "halo", a cockpit protection device, to prevent flying debris hitting drivers.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


F1 ABU DHABI GP Practice 3:

Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208, 5.55pm Qualifying: Ch115 & Ch209, 8.30pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2017, with the headline 'F1 to chase new image, energy'. Print Edition | Subscribe