Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Someone needs to remind Pascal Wehrlein that F1 titles are earned not deserved
    Someone needs to remind Pascal Wehrlein that F1 titles are earned not deserved

    Vettel and Ferrari 'deserve' 2019 title – Wehrlein

  • Gasly 'under scrutiny' in 2019 – Marko
  • Red Bull 'needed' Honda switch – Webber
  • Britain approves Mallya extradition
  • Sainz Jr. likes the look of 'very different' new McLaren
  • First feeling from 2019 car 'positive' – Verstappen
  • F1 tracks to 'pool' insurance to cut costs
  • Azerbaijan GP extends F1 deal to 2023
  • Ricciardo seen in Renault gear for first time
  • Red Bull picks up Cryptocurrency sponsor

Vettel and Ferrari 'deserve' 2019 title – Wehrlein

Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel won't be driving an Aldo Costa designed car once again

(GMM) Pascal Wehrlein says his countryman Sebastian Vettel deserves to win the 2019 world championship.

Ferrari has announced that German Wehrlein, who also drives in Formula E, will be a Ferrari simulator driver this year.

Also in the simulator at Maranello in 2019 will be ousted Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley, even though the New Zealander's father said recently that a Ferrari role is "not the direction we are looking in at all".

Former Manor and Sauber driver Wehrlein is happy with his new job in red.

"It makes me extremely proud. It's an honor for me to work for Ferrari," he said.

Wehrlein is a friend of Vettel's, and it has been reported that the quadruple world champion pushed for his fellow German to be appointed by Ferrari.

Wehrlein told Auto Bild: "I've been to Maranello and I've felt a mood there that I've never experienced before. Ferrari is just something very special.

"I will do my utmost to help Sebastian Vettel and the entire Ferrari team to win the world championship. They deserve it."

Simulator drivers are often underestimated in F1, but Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto said they are actually "extremely important".

"They can basically be compared to the test drivers of yesterday, as testing is extremely limited today," he said.

Gasly 'under scrutiny' in 2019 – Marko

Verstappen is expected to chew Gasly up and spit him out
Verstappen is expected to chew Gasly up and spit him out

(GMM) Pierre Gasly has Red Bull's full support, but he must perform if he wants to keep his race seat at the senior F1 team.

That is the warning of Dr Helmut Marko, who runs Red Bull's notoriously tough driver program.

Max Verstappen is quoted by Speed Week: "When it became clear that Daniel Ricciardo was going to Renault, it was obvious that Pierre would come.

"He is a great guy. I've known him from karting. He is straightforward, smart, nice — you cannot ask for more," the Dutchman said of his new teammate.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has said that Gasly, who steps up from the junior team Toro Rosso, will get some time to get up to speed in 2019.

But Marko said: "Pierre Gasly will be under scrutiny, because that's the way formula one is.

"It's the same in football. If you don't perform, you go to the bench.

"Gasly has proved he is fast, now we have to teach him a little more discipline," Marko added. "But he gets a lot of support from the team, and we're sure he'll make it."

Red Bull 'needed' Honda switch – Webber

Mark Webber
Mark Webber

(GMM) Mark Webber has backed Red Bull's decision to switch to Honda power for 2019.

Although Honda's recent history in F1 has been unsuccessful, former Red Bull driver Webber thinks dropping customer Renault power was the right move for the team.

"Red Bull needed a change," he told Speed Week.

"You get new energy from that. The biggest challenge for Honda will be to get all the performance out over the required life of the engine.

"I have no doubt that Honda will catch up in qualifying, but reliability in the race is something else. That needs time," the Australian said.

As for his countryman Daniel Ricciardo's decision to leave Red Bull, Webber is not so sure.

"He's made a bet and he wants to win it, unquestionably," he said. "What I do know is that Red Bull was very fair with him.

"Time will tell," Webber added. "Renault has a lot of excellent people, so if Renault can improve their performance, Danny will be there."

There have also been big changes at Ferrari in the form of new boss Mattia Binotto, and the young Charles Leclerc signed up to be Sebastian Vettel's teammate.

"The situation they were in after 2018, Ferrari had to change something," Webber said.

"There was a lot of pressure and now this is a new opportunity for Seb."

As for whether the youngster Leclerc can really challenge the four time world champion, Webber said: "It's his big chance in a big team, but first he has to get experience.

"He could give Seb a headache, especially in qualifying, but I think Seb is ready for that.

"Personally I like Leclerc a lot. He's good for the sport, he's intelligent, fast, I would call him almost elegant. He is also a real fighter," Webber added.

Sainz Jr. likes the look of 'very different' new McLaren

Sainz Jr. has this horrified look on his face...hmmm....
Sainz Jr. has this horrified look on his face…hmmm….

(GMM) Carlos Sainz Jr. says he has seen the 2019 McLaren and thinks it will be a "good year" for the struggling British team.

Sainz has switched from the works Renault team to McLaren for 2019, replacing his Spanish countryman Fernando Alonso.

He refused to comment on the new rumors about Alonso's possible return to F1 for 2020.

"I am impressed with what he has been doing, but honestly I am not surprised because I know what he can do," Sainz said at a sponsor event in Madrid.

"It's too early to judge whether he will return to formula one. He's only just left," he smiled.

Sainz is happier to talk about himself, saying he evolved as a driver in 2018 and is hopeful McLaren can recover after a difficult few years.

"The new regulations open the door to teams that had a very bad time last year," he said.

"I have seen the car in the factory and I really like the design, even though it was only the engine and chassis that I saw.

"The bodywork was not on, but it is very elaborate and very different. At first sight, I like it. I've seen images of the design and the aerodynamics and I like it a lot.

"The really important thing now is the test results and that I like to drive it a lot," Sainz smiled again.

"2018 was a year of reflection for the team but they have learned what was wrong and are trying to return to where they were years ago.

"There now has been a restructuring and the result will be seen in the medium term.

"Everything will be ready to start the testing. I think it's going to be a good year for McLaren and for me," he added.

First feeling from 2019 car 'positive' – Verstappen

Verstappen looks out over Barcelona track - cannot wait to test new car
Verstappen looks out over Barcelona track – cannot wait to test new car

(GMM) Max Verstappen says his first impression of Red Bull's 2019 car is "positive".

The newly Honda-powered team has announced that its new car will be revealed on February 13 — the same day as world champions Mercedes' 2019 single seater.

Speaking at a sponsor event in Amsterdam, Verstappen sounded upbeat.

"I have only driven the new car on the simulator so far, but it feels positive," he told the Dutch publication Formule 1.

"Obviously you don't know what the other teams have, so it's about waiting. It's also exciting, but that really only comes when I'm in the car.

"You never know what to really expect beforehand," he added.

Verstappen said Red Bull is buzzing with "positive energy", thanks to the new works partnership with Honda.

"You notice that the drive is there to win. I think it's there now from both sides — the team and the engine supplier.

"It's a new start with Honda and everyone is motivated," he is quoted by his official website verstappen.nl.

However, Verstappen is not so sure the new Red Bull-Honda will be fast enough to beat Mercedes and Ferrari right from the beginning of the season.

"I do not think we can immediately compete with Ferrari and Mercedes in terms of power, but Honda is doing everything it can to get there as fast as possible," said Verstappen.

"We are going to try to win as many races as possible. If that is the case, you can eventually also go for the championship. It's all difficult to guess at the moment, but hopefully it is positive."

F1 tracks to 'pool' insurance to cut costs

F1 race promoters grab every dollar they can
F1 race promoters grab every dollar they can

(GMM) Disgruntled F1 race promoters are making their own joint efforts to cut costs.

Recently, 16 of the sport's 21 grand prix hosts banded together to form the Formula One Promoters' Association, and threatened to quit F1 over Liberty Media's management.

Their big gripe is the race fees charged by Liberty.

Now, F1 business journalist Christian Sylt reports that the circuits are cutting costs on their own.

Writing in the Evening Standard, Sylt said the promoters are going to "pool" their mandatory insurance cover rather than stick with their current individual policies.

A source said: "At the moment the 21 races have to contract insurance cover individually and it costs a fortune. It's the same cover so one single broker in London could and should do it.".

Azerbaijan GP extends F1 deal to 2023

Azerbaijan at night
Azerbaijan at night

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku will continue at least until 2023 after the organisers of the event renewed their contract, Formula One management said on Tuesday.

The renewal is the first to be signed in 2019, with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix following the Belgian, Chinese, German, Japanese and Singapore races extending their deals over the previous two years.

“We are very pleased to have renewed this agreement which will see the Azerbaijan Grand Prix feature on the FIA Formula One world championship calendar for many years to come," F1 Chairman and CEO Chase Carey said in a statement confirming the three-year extension.

“In just a short space of time, this race has become one of the most popular of the season, always producing closely fought and spectacular racing."

Azerbaijan was keen to renegotiate its deal post-2020 to pay less in race-hosting fees and gain more commercial benefits, promoter Arif Rahimov had said last May.

“This new agreement will allow our race to maximize its commercial revenues through increased fan-engagement activities and a new sponsorship approach," Azerbaijan’s sports minister Azad Rahimov added.

“With these exciting opportunities in mind, extending our contract was never in question and we are delighted to stay in this wonderful sport for another five years at least."

Ricciardo seen in Renault gear for first time

Ricciardo in Renault yellow and black
Ricciardo in Renault yellow and black

The Renault F1 Team has released photographs of Daniel Ricciardo wearing the team’s apparel for the first time.

Red Bull Racing blocked its former driver from testing for the factory Renault team in November’s post-season tire test in Abu Dhabi.

As such, Ricciardo had not been seen publicly in Renault clothing, or one of its cars, until now.

The new images feature the West Australian in a team polo shirt as well as shots of himself and new team-mate Nico Hulkenberg in their 2019 racesuits.

Red Bull picks up Cryptocurrency sponsor

If you look hard enough you can see FuturoCoin on Gasly's left sleeve
If you look hard enough you can see FuturoCoin on Gasly's left sleeve

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing is pleased to announce a new partnership with global cryptocurrency, FuturoCoin. The partnership represents the first time a cryptocurrency has sponsored a team in Formula One, and marks another exciting step in the development of this industry.

“In recent years, the rise of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies has been truly remarkable, and we’re delighted to be the first Formula One team to embrace this, through our partnership with FuturoCoin," said Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team Principal, Christian Horner. “Secure digital currencies are on the leading edge of technological development and we are very excited to be part of this revolution."

The multi-year agreement will see FuturoCoin branding feature on the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB15, team transporters and drivers’ overalls.

Roman Ziemian, co-founder of FuturoCoin added, “Cryptocurrencies and Formula One are very similar and their values are much alike; speed, technology and being ahead of their time. I’m a huge fan of motorsport and F1 has always intrigued me. The sponsorship is an exciting new chapter for our company and will be a global platform for us to drive awareness of FuturoCoin."

Paulina Wozniak, CEO of FuturoCoin’s management company, said: “We are very proud that FuturoCoin will be the first cryptocurrency in the world to appear on a Formula One car. In addition, we are looking forward to working alongside Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, a prestigious brand that is recognized across the world."

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