Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
Kvyat to work in Ferrari simulator - spokesman
|Kvyat will drive the Ferrari simulator until his annual ride-buyer check hits at least $20 million|
- Red Bull plays down 'trick' steering ban
- Journalist defends Kubica ax reports
- Quadruple champions target Fangio's five
- Bottas training hard to be 'better person and driver'
- Ricciardo would cope with Verstappen tension
- Money not enough for F1 rookies - Todt
- F1 to reform rather than ax 'grid girls'
- F1's Halo Could Provide Commercial Opportunities
Kvyat to work in Ferrari simulator - spokesman
(GMM) Daniil Kvyat's new job in formula one will see him work mainly in the Ferrari driver simulator.
The famous Italian team has announced that the Russian and Red Bull refugee has been signed up as a development driver.
Asked what Kvyat will be doing in 2018, a Ferrari spokesman told Tass news agency: "The role of development driver is normally associated with work in the simulator.
"Main track activities are covered by our other drivers," he added.
Nonetheless, the Kvyat news caught many by surprise, including the pundit for Finnish broadcaster C More, Toni Vilander.
"It will take valuable experience to Ferrari, as he was still a driver last season," he said.
"Perhaps his management thought this was the right solution, even if the simulator does not improve a driver's skills. He should not remain a test driver for long, as every driver's goal is to race," Vilander added.
He wonders if Kvyat might use the role as a launching pad to a Ferrari-linked team like Sauber or Haas.
"In truth, it will be difficult for Daniil, but maybe he can get the support of some sponsors as well," said Vilander.
Red Bull plays down 'trick' steering ban
(GMM) Red Bull has played down the impact of a new FIA technical directive.
Just before Christmas, F1's governing body clamped down on a 'trick' used by some teams to use clever steering and suspension systems to lower ride height in corners.
It is believed Red Bull was the team furthest ahead with this line of development.
But Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko insisted to Auto Bild: "Our competitiveness will not be limited by this (ruling)."
On the contrary, he said the team's intention to compete with Mercedes and Ferrari "right from the start" of the season remains on track.
Journalist defends Kubica ax reports
|Kubica's check was less than half the size of Sirotkin's - $9 million to $20 million. That is 100% why Kubica does not have the ride despite the journalists claims|
(GMM) A journalist has defended his claim that Williams has definitely decided to sign Sergey Sirotkin instead of Robert Kubica for 2018.
Among those reporting the news about Russian Sirotkin's soon-to-be-announced deal the most confidently in recent days has been British journalist Andrew Benson.
He now tells the Polish publication Sportowe Fakty: "The team told me that the results on the track was the primary reason for signing Sirotkin.
"It turned out that the Abu Dhabi test was crucial," Benson added.
He said Sirotkin was consistently quicker than former BMW and Renault driver Kubica in qualifying trim.
"I also received information that even Robert told team management about his problems adapting to the new tires supplied by Pirelli," Benson said.
"Williams decided that in their situation there was no room for risk."
Benson concludes that F1 will therefore "probably never see Kubica return to formula one" after the Williams setback.
And he played down the role played by Sirotkin's reported $20 million sponsorship purse, thanks to his support by the Vladimir Putin-linked SMP bank.
"Robert was able to provide about EUR 8 million, but Sirotkin at least doubled this amount," said Benson.
"But in reality money is just a bonus from a driver. If Kubica was twice as good as Sirotkin, he would be in the car this season.
"Nobody seems to remember that Renault stopped working with Robert for exactly the same reason as Williams did," he added.
"It sounds harsh, but those are the facts," said Benson.
"Almost no one in the paddock didn't want to see Robert back on the grid. He is one of the greatest unfulfilled talents in the history of the sport.
"It would have been great PR for Williams and brought F1 a lot of new fans, and the FIA also saw the benefit and lobbied for his candidacy.
"Clearly it wasn't an easy decision for Williams," he added. "They're now being criticized all over the world and some are saying Stroll-Sirotkin is the worst Williams driver lineup ever. Are they right? Time will tell.
"But when making decisions, there is no room in F1 for sentimentality," said Benson.
Quadruple champions target Fangio's five
|Lewis Hamilton will win his 5th title in 2018. How do we know? Aldo Costa is still designing the Mercedes car|
(GMM) The sport's two quadruple world champions admit equaling F1 legend Juan Manuel Fangio's five titles would be a special achievement.
Last year, Lewis Hamilton joined Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost in being F1's only four-time world champions.
Now, Hamilton and Vettel are looking ahead to Fangio's five crowns, which has been bettered only by seven time title winner Michael Schumacher.
When asked about Fangio, Ferrari's Vettel said: "Certainly we will never match him in how successful he was in such a short time and with so few races.
"To have achieved what he did then, where a lot of things needed to come together and car reliability was not what it is now, I think he's probably the best we've ever had in terms of putting it all together."
Mercedes' Hamilton agrees: "To have achieved what he achieved then, when danger was at its worst, I think he's the driver that everyone admires the most.
"I actually think he should be celebrated more for his success," he added. "It's not really mentioned a huge amount. I feel he's the godfather of the sport for the drivers."
Bottas training hard to be 'better person and driver'
|Bottas training hard, but it won't be enough|
(GMM) Valtteri Bottas says he is working hard to be a better driver in 2018.
After his first season at Mercedes, and having secured another one-year deal for 2018, the Finn is currently training hard in the ice and snow of his home town Nastola.
"I think the balance sheet is a bit up and down for me," he said when asked about 2017.
"There were many good moments but many disappointments as well. Lewis won the title as my teammate so we had a car to do it and he beat me. So I've learned a lot and that's why I'm really looking ahead."
Bottas says he thinks he drove well last year, but needs to improve the "details" and "consistency" throughout a season.
"I think the difficult races were the ones where I learned the most," he said. "I feel last season gave me a lot to work on to be a better person and driver and that's always positive.
"That's why I can't wait for the future," said Bottas.
Ricciardo would cope with Verstappen tension
(GMM) Daniel Ricciardo says he would "happily" deal with some more internal tension with Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen.
Days ago, Dutch youngster Verstappen said that while he and Ricciardo get along, a 2018 championship battle between the pair might add spice to that harmony.
"We'll see if I keep him on my birthday list," Australian Ricciardo smiled.
"We both said at the start of last year that it would be a good problem to have -- if we're both fighting at the front and having some battles," he added.
Ultimately, Mercedes and Ferrari got the early jump on Red Bull last year, but the former title-winning team is confident it can get a stronger start to 2018.
And Ricciardo said he and Verstappen can deal with any tension that might bring.
"If it's ultimately deciding a world title we would happily run with that challenge," he said.
"I believe this year we will close the gap. Is it enough to fight for a title? I think we can certainly get close but we'll see."
If he does have a better car, Ricciardo acknowledged that he will also have to deal with an ever-improving Verstappen.
"Max improved from 2016 to last year," he admitted. "I won't say he came a long way because he was always there but he certainly improved and I think next year it's going to be a lot of fun."
And he says he has some of his own improving to do as well.
"I had some great races, but obviously I would love all 20 to be great and not all 20 were," said Ricciardo.
"Obviously I give every year a good crack, but (I want to) give this year a proper crack. I was pretty pleased with last year but I've still got some improvements to make."
Money not enough for F1 rookies - Todt
|Money is not tight right now so teams can seek both talent and money. When money is tight, drivers with the biggest check get the ride - IndyCar is proof of this.|
(GMM) A well-known driver manager and team chief says F1 is working to ensure only credible drivers make it to the grid.
In recent days, there has been consternation within the F1 world that despite its heritage, Williams will head into 2018 with the pay driver duo of Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin.
But Nicolas Todt says the FIA still ensures that drivers are up to the job.
"Having financial support helps, but the super license system set up by the FIA prevents drivers who are not at the necessary level from making it," said the Frenchman, who manages new Sauber driver Charles Leclerc.
"You can have millions to spend, but you still have to do significant performances to reach the required (license) points," added Todt, whose father is FIA president Jean Todt.
"Despite the complicated economic reality facing several teams, I think the level in F1 has never been as good," said Todt, also involved with a Formula 2 team.
"Having said that, F1 must be careful not to convey the image of a paid sport," he told Auto Hebdo.
"The effect would be a deterrent for everyone, including families who would be discouraged from starting karting from the beginning. Access to F1 must continue to be mainly on merit," Todt added.
Frederic Vasseur, the Sauber boss who has just signed Leclerc for 2018, agrees that despite the economic situation, F1 is enjoying an incredible influx of young talent.
"In my view, all of the most promising drivers came into F1 in the past two or three years," he said. "Ocon, Gasley, Vandoorne, Leclerc, and even Norris and (George) Russell, who will probably make their debut as well.
"It was not always like this," added Vasseur.
"We now have a fairly simple mechanism for building a career. If you are competitive and you succeed at the junior level, you have a chance to get into the youth program of a big team.
"Previously, there was a big gap in this plan and many young drivers were trapped because there were no places for them," Vasseur said.
However, he acknowledges that there are still drivers in F1 who make it primarily thanks to their sponsorship.
"That has always been the case," he said. "However, Stroll or Ericsson came to formula one not be chance -- they still succeeded in the junior series.
"Perhaps without money they would not have got the chance to get into formula one, but they did achieve the necessary results to do so," Vasseur said.
F1 to reform rather than ax 'grid girls'
|No more exposed breasts?|
(GMM) F1's marketing chief says the sport is considering reforming rather than axing its traditional 'grid girls'.
Recently, F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn said the concept of grid girls was now outdated and under serious review.
His comments sparked controversy, but Murray Barnett, Liberty's sponsorship and marketing chief, said the actual idea is to simply reform grid girls.
"We're 100 per cent committed to looking into grid girls and making them a more relevant part of the competition rather than just holding a board and standing next to a car," he told Marketing Week.
"We haven't quite cracked what this will look like, but we've recognized we need to become more progressive there."
Barnett said F1 wants to become more "progressive" in other areas as well.
"We're looking at things like carbon offsetting, but it's also one of the best kept secrets that F1 is actually an incredibly lean engine," he said.
"We have 50pc engine recovery, 1.6 liter hybrid engines, 1000 brake horsepower -- people tell me this is astonishing.
"I don't want to talk negatively about Formula E, but the power of their batteries has to come from somewhere. F1 as a sport can be sustainable and good for the environment so we need to tell that story more often," he added.
Curiously, Barnett's role in charge of marketing is a brand new one, with Bernie Ecclestone previously going it alone in many areas.
Barnett said: "I don't want to talk too much about Ecclestone's time, but our view now is to try to approach sponsors with a 'yes, why not?' attitude as opposed to a 'no, I don't understand the question' kind of attitude.
"It is going to take a long time for brands to change their perception of what F1 is and actually give us consideration, I know that," he added.
"But we need to have patience and recognize that if we keep offering compelling experiences for brands then others will start to take notice sooner rather than later."
F1's Halo Could Provide Commercial Opportunities
Integrating the Halo into the '18 Formula 1 chassis "has proved challenging for teams but will provide additional commercial opportunities."
|Ericsson behind the Halo. This is the dumbest idea we have ever heard|
F1 is analyzing a series of "experimental solutions" to maximize the extra space created by the Halo's introduction.
One of those solutions is a scrolling digital ticker, "like the LED versions which are used to display the latest stocks and share prices." MOTORSPORT