Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Sergio Perez has the right to dream, but it's likely to turn out to be a nightmare
    Sergio Perez has the right to dream, but it's likely to turn out to be a nightmare

    Perez eyes 'maybe even a win' in 2019

  • Marko thinks Red Bull-Honda can be 'at the front'
  • Michael Schumacher spent holidays in Mallorca
  • F1 drivers wait for 2019 helmet approval
  • No winter testing for Alonso
  • Raikkonen does not feel too old for F1
  • Future 'depends' on Ricciardo duel – Hulkenberg
  • Three teams late with 2019 cars

Perez eyes 'maybe even a win' in 2019

(GMM) The team formerly known as Force India is targeting fourth place in the championship this year.

Although a highly competitive midfield runner, the Silverstone based team ran into financial problems last year and was taken over by billionaire Lawrence Stroll.

And so for 2019, those money problems are over.

"Anything less than fourth would be a huge disappointment to me. We've worked hard to put the difficult times behind us," said boss Otmar Szafnauer.

However, there has been early criticism of the new name — Racing Point. Alternatives including Lola and Brabham were investigated, but deals ultimately not done.

"We considered the name for a while and came to the conclusion that Racing Point was actually very suitable for us," Szafnauer insisted.

But the big news for technical boss Andy Green is that his department now has more money to spend.

"Finally we can make our good ideas into reality," he said, whilst admitting that the newly-launched 2019 car features many parts from the 2018 machine.

"In the past, we did a good job with the resources we had," added Green, "but fourth place must be our goal now. We want to reduce the gap to the top teams."

Team owner Stroll's son Lance has joined from Williams, and Sergio Perez has stayed.

"In addition to fourth place, I also hope for some podiums this season," said Mexican Perez. "Maybe even the first victory."

Marko thinks Red Bull-Honda can be 'at the front'

Can the RB15 with Honda power beat Mercedes?
Can the RB15 with Honda power beat Mercedes?

(GMM) Recently, former F1 driver Robert Doornbos said he would be watching Max Verstappen's face after he steps out of the 2019 Red Bull-Honda for the first time.

"Max will know immediately how successful the new car can be," said Verstappen's Dutch countryman. "So I'll be curious to see his face after a couple of laps behind the wheel."

Those first laps in the newly Honda-powered Red Bull took place at a cold Silverstone circuit on Wednesday.

"After the first few laps I was smiling," Verstappen revealed. "I liked the behavior of the car and the new Honda engine."

Indeed, the early approval from the mercurial 21-year-old is a positive sign, as are the first comments made by his equally mercurial boss Dr Helmut Marko.

"The Honda engine already had more power than Renault at the end of last season," he said. "And now they have improved it even more over the winter."

It is a bold prediction from Marko, but he said the team can also always rely on the car-designing skills of Adrian Newey.

"It's a typical Newey car," he told Auto Bild, "but with everything having been done with Honda in mind.

"The car ran perfectly right from the beginning of the shakedown," Marko revealed.

"The numbers that we see are very positive," he continued. "As for power, for the first time we can say that we have a 'party mode'.

"Hopefully it should be enough for us to drive at the front on our own."

Michael Schumacher spent holidays in Mallorca

Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher

(GMM) Michael Schumacher spent his recent 50th birthday at a new family home in Mallorca.

That is the claim of the German publications Bunte and Bild, claiming that the seven time world champion was flown to the Mediterranean island by helicopter.

It could indicate a significant development in Schumacher's recovery from brain injuries sustained in a late 2013 skiing accident. Until now, it is believed the great German has been confined to his home in Switzerland.

Last year, it was reported that Schumacher's family, led by his wife Corinna, had bought a EUR 30 million property in Mallorca.

The former Ferrari and Mercedes driver's children Gina-Maria and Mick were reportedly also with their parents for the Christmas, New Year and birthday break.

Bunte said Schumacher's nurses wore surgical masks, while the winner of a record 91 grand prix wins sat on the terrace wrapped in a brown blanket.

F1 drivers wait for 2019 helmet approval

New F1 helmet requirements
New F1 helmet requirements

(GMM) F1 drivers are waiting to have their new helmets approved for use in 2019.

Last year, the FIA announced that a mandatory new standard for 2019 called FIA 8860 would have ballistic protection and a smaller visor opening.

F1's governing body said it worked closely on the new regulations with Stilo, Bell, Schuberth and Arai.

"It is now up to these manufacturers to deliver the production versions of the new helmets for 2019," the FIA declared.

However, Brazil's Globo reports that not all the manufacturers have had their 2019 helmets approved — even though winter testing begins in mere days.

The Japanese manufacturer Arai is among the manufactures yet to have the 2019 helmet approved. Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are among the drivers who use Arai helmets.

Stilo, supplier to Lance Stroll and Valtteri Bottas, does have an approved 2019 helmet design.

Arai said in a statement: "The prototype of the new model has been supplied. It is not yet officially approved, but our internal tests guarantee the quality of the product."

No winter testing for Alonso

(GMM) Fernando Alonso will not test McLaren's 2019 car in the forthcoming winter tests.

Although the Spaniard retired from F1 at the end of last year, McLaren boss Zak Brown said he would be welcome to drive anyway.

"We have an open mind and would love for Fernando to get in the new car and give us his feedback," Brown had said.

However, Spain's AS newspaper reports that while Alonso will be in Barcelona for the second week of testing, he will not be pulling on his overalls.

The 37-year-old is slated to be in the city at the time for the Mobile World Congress event.

Raikkonen does not feel too old for F1

Kimi Raikkonen - 39 years young
Kimi Raikkonen – 39 years young

(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen says he does not feel too old to still be in formula one.

Although dropped by Ferrari for 2019, the Finn surprised the F1 world last year by announcing that he is moving over to Sauber for the next two seasons.

Subsequently, Sauber sponsor Alfa Romeo – with close ties to Ferrari – took over the Swiss team's naming rights. Raikkonen's teammate this year will be Ferrari junior Antonio Giovinazzi.

"It has been two long years at the track and seeing the others race, but now the great moment has arrived," Italian Giovinazzi, 25, told Sky Italia.

He said the 2019 car, which is yet to be seen publicly, is "beautiful".

"Raikkonen is strong and has a lot of experience, so my goal is not to beat him in the first races but instead over the course of the season," said Giovinazzi.

Raikkonen started his career at Sauber as a 21-year-old. He said returning 18 years later with a world championship has left him impressed.

"I have found people with desire and enthusiasm, and a team with so much potential. There is a lot of work to do to improve things but we hope to start well," he added.

As for the fact that at 39 he is now F1's oldest driver, Raikkonen said that statistic is not impressive.

"I do not feel old, in fact on a mental level I feel younger than before," he said.

"I think when you look at Valentino (Rossi), he also seems to enjoy what he does at 40. We will continue to do our best and fight against the younger guys," Raikkonen said.

Future 'depends' on Ricciardo duel – Hulkenberg

If Ricciardo (R) destroys Hulkenberg as expected, Hulkenberg's F1 career will be over
If Ricciardo (R) destroys Hulkenberg as expected, Hulkenberg's F1 career will be over

(GMM) Nico Hulkenberg says he does not fear Daniel Ricciardo.

The pair's Renault boss, Cyril Abiteboul, says 31-year-old Hulkenberg is "enormously underestimated".

The German holds the unenviable record of being the longest-serving F1 driver without a single podium.

And now in 2019, he is facing the top driver Ricciardo as his teammate.

Hulkenberg's Renault contract runs out at the end of the season.

"One thing I know for sure is that it will not be boring with Daniel," he said.

"Of course it's a nice challenge to compete against a grand prix winner. I'm curious how it turns out.

"My future in the sport depends on the outcome of the duel, so of course Daniel is my first yardstick. But I'm relaxed. I know what I can do and I know that I will give everything," Hulkenberg said.

"I realize it will not be easy against Ricciardo. He's fast, he's smart, he's experienced. He has everything an exceptional driver needs," he is quoted by Speed Week.

"I'm going to have to get everything out of my head to beat him, but I don't think I have to hide."

Three teams late with 2019 cars

Renault is not only team that is late
Renault is not only team that is late

(GMM) At least three teams might not be ready with their 2019 cars for the start of winter testing early next week.

Although Renault said it launched its 2019 car on Tuesday, the black and yellow machine was actually the 2018 chassis with this year's bodywork.

"We have an incredibly tight schedule," boss Cyril Abiteboul admitted.

"We actually wanted to do a function test on Saturday for the so-called filming day, but that lies in the balance," he said. "We do not know if we will be finished.

"I can only guarantee one thing: our drivers will be at the test in Barcelona on Monday morning. The motor home will be open and the coffee machine turned on," Abiteboul smiled.

He said the delay is due to the aerodynamic rule changes.

"We wanted to work in the wind tunnel as long as possible," said Abiteboul. "We are really at the limit in terms of timing. Maybe a bit too much."

Renault is not alone. Williams and Haas also 'launched' 2018 cars with new liveries.

And Williams has now cancelled its scheduled filming day on Saturday.

"We have a very aggressive development program," said boss Claire Williams. "That's why we're giving up on the filming day to make the most of the time we have before Barcelona."

Racing Point's participation on the opening day of Barcelona testing is also in doubt.

"We will be there," technical boss Andy Green said. "But we do not guarantee that we will be on the track on Monday. Our preparation is far from over."

On the other hand, Mercedes, Red Bull and Toro Rosso have all already conducted 'shakedown' runs with their respective 2019 cars.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com