Flavio Briatore returns to F1 as Toto Wolff rails against ‘mad people’ behind Lewis Hamilton email – F1 news round-up

flavio briatore returns to f1 as toto wolff rails against ‘mad people’ behind lewis hamilton email – f1 news round-up

Toto Wolff, Mercedes

Our F1 news round-up for Friday is here and in case you missed anything, Flavio Briatore is back in the paddock as an executive advisor to Alpine.

Yes, Briatore is back at Team Enstone in an advisory capacity as he looks to help them find their way forward, but here is more about that and the other key headlines from the day.

F1 news: Flavio Briatore, Toto Wolff and more

Flavio Briatore’s response to doubters after F1 return

Alpine announced early on Friday morning that Flavio Briatore will be reporting to Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo as executive advisor regarding the Formula 1 operation of the team.

Asked if he had a message for those unhappy to see him back in F1 in an official capacity, Briatore told Sky F1: “F**k off.”

Can’t say fairer than that!

On track, Mercedes are looking strong again…

Lando Norris topped FP1, but in qualifying simulations in FP2, it was extremely tight between multiple teams – with Lewis Hamilton coming out on top on Friday.

Carlos Sainz and Norris were only just behind Hamilton, with Max Verstappen a couple of tenths back in fourth as the fight for pole gets prepared on Saturday.

It could be a close one!

Lewis Hamilton praises Mercedes after strong practice showing

While there is still work to do at Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton had strong words of encouragement for his team.

“I think we made some good changes and the car’s feeling really great today. The track is very hot, very tough for the tyres, especially on the long run.

“It doesn’t feel like we’re too far off. I wouldn’t really take too much notice of lap times necessarily.

“I think the car is definitely in a better place. I think we’ve got some work to do to improve it overnight and to see if we can hold on to the Red Bulls and Ferraris and McLarens.”

Toto Wolff rails against ‘mad people’ after ‘leaked’ email

An email purporting to be from a Mercedes staff member – it wasn’t, according to the team – was circulated to multiple members of the media, seen by PlanetF1.com, and alleged significant unfounded things about the team’s treatment of Hamilton – and safe to say Toto Wolff was not happy about it.

“On this particular one, I have instructed to go full force – we have the police inquiring, we are researching the IP address, we are researching the phone, all of that,” he told media including PlanetF1.com.

“Online abuse in that way needs to stop.

“People can’t hide behind their phones or their computers and abuse teams or drivers in a way like this.

“I don’t know what some of the conspiracy theorists and lunatics think out there.”

Fernando Alonso raises point about Barcelona’s ‘average’ circuit status

While Barcelona has long been seen as the ‘all-rounder’ on the F1 calendar, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz both raised the point that the increased prevalence of street circuits has made that point less valid than it used to be.

“It depends what you call a ‘conventional circuit,'” Alonso said. “I think now we have a lot of Bakus, Miamis, Vegas. To come here, maybe there are six or seven venues the same as Barcelona, and 18 that are different.

“That’s always a trade-off you need to make. For sure, we seem not in the window of the car at the moment, so we have some work to do.”

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