Latest F1 news in brief – Sunday

  • Ericsson expects he won't be needed by Sauber team
    Ericsson expects he won't be needed by Sauber team

    Ericsson questions Sauber reserve driver role

  • Too much “hidden simulation" bad for F1 – Todt
  • Lawrence Stroll targeting third place for Racing Point team

Ericsson questions Sauber reserve driver role

The door wasn’t shut completely on Ericsson with the team naming him as their reserve driver.

But with plans to race in IndyCar with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Ericsson doubts his Sauber role will be much of anything.

“We still need to sit down and discuss that because I made it very clear that I want to focus 100% on the racing program for 2019 and with this IndyCar option I want to go all the way on that," Ericsson told Motorsport.com

“I’m still happy to keep a connection to the team but I need to see exactly what I will do and not do and what my role will be.

“But for sure my 110% focus needs to be on IndyCar because otherwise there’s no point going there.

“I don’t see myself coming to that many races but let’s see after the season when we discuss it.

“But if I’m already in America, living there, racing there, I don’t see myself coming every other weekend to an F1 race."

As for whether a return to the Formula 1 grid could be on the cards for the 28-year-old in the years to come, he said the Abu Dhabi GP was likely to be his last as his “fully" committed to the IndyCar program.

“It might very well be the last race ever for me in F1, but I don’t want to close that door because you never know what will happen in the future," said the Swede.

Ericsson's focus is 100% on testing with SPM and learning IndyCar
Ericsson's focus is 100% on testing with SPM and learning IndyCar

“I go to America fully committed to do well there and I see myself staying there for quite some time, but with that said you never know what happens in a couple of years.

“I’m closing this chapter for now and then we’ll see in the future what happens."

The door wasn’t shut completely on Ericsson with the team naming him as their reserve driver.

But with plans to race in IndyCar with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Ericsson doubts his Sauber role will be much of anything.

“We still need to sit down and discuss that because I made it very clear that I want to focus 100% on the racing program for 2019 and with this IndyCar option I want to go all the way on that," Ericsson told Motorsport.com

“I’m still happy to keep a connection to the team but I need to see exactly what I will do and not do and what my role will be.

“But for sure my 110% focus needs to be on IndyCar because otherwise there’s no point going there.

“I don’t see myself coming to that many races but let’s see after the season when we discuss it.

“But if I’m already in America, living there, racing there, I don’t see myself coming every other weekend to an F1 race."

As for whether a return to the Formula 1 grid could be on the cards for the 28-year-old in the years to come, he said the Abu Dhabi GP was likely to be his last as his “fully" committed to the IndyCar program.

“It might very well be the last race ever for me in F1, but I don’t want to close that door because you never know what will happen in the future," said the Swede.

“I go to America fully committed to do well there and I see myself staying there for quite some time, but with that said you never know what happens in a couple of years.

“I’m closing this chapter for now and then we’ll see in the future what happens."

Too much “hidden simulation" bad for F1 – Todt

It took Todt this long to figure out that F1 is and excercise in engineering. It is 99% engineering and 1% sport (driver talent)
It took Todt this long to figure out that F1 is an exercise in engineering? It is 99% engineering and 1% sport (driver talent). Engineers rule F1.

FIA president Jean Todt is concerned the rising use of simulators means much Formula 1 development is hidden away from fans.

The rising use of driver-in-the-loop simulators has coincided with increased restrictions on in-season testing. Teams increasingly use dedicated simulator drivers to develop their cars during race weekends based on live data from the track.

Todt is concerned by the effect this has had on F1. “Things are changing, sometimes for the good, sometimes less good," he said in an interview with Sky.

“I feel that cars are too reliable. I feel [there’s] too much happening that you don’t see. Simulation, drivers simulating race circuit in the factory during the race weekend or any other period without any limitation.

“In a way I miss sometimes the past. I miss private testing, everybody was complaining it’s too much private testing. At least you could see what was happening.

“Probably it was too much but now I think it’s too much hidden simulation in the factory. Clearly sometimes modernity is good but it should be also a bit more controlled."

While F1 teams are allowed to make extensive use of the data from their cars, championships such as NASCAR regulate it much more tightly. On a visit to the F1 paddock at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, seven-times NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson said he was impressed by the extent of data use in Formula 1.

“The amount of data we can pull off our cars is virtually a throttle, brake and steering trace," said Johnson in response to a question from RaceFans. “We feel pretty fortunate to have that recently.

“So behind the scenes we have many tools and resources that are used in F1. We just can’t close the loop at the track and stream data off the car and utilize those tools as much as we’d like.

“To see it in full action – and I only understand it on a surface level what’s going on – it’s really impressive to see what F1 has going on and it also leads me to understand why budgets caps can be necessary in the sport as well." RaceFans

Lawrence Stroll targeting third place for Racing Point team

Billionaire Lawrence Stroll (R) and his son Lance. He will soon learn how to become a millionaire in F1. Start with a billion dollars.
Billionaire Lawrence Stroll (R) and his son Lance. He will soon learn how to become a millionaire in F1. Start with a billion dollars.

Having consistently punched well above its weight, there is every reason to believe that with a bit more cash in hand, Force India could have done even better.

However, the financial issues facing the Silverstone-based outfit finally came to a head in the summer and as a result the team was placed in administration.

Step forward Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who, as head of a consortium of similarly wealthy businessmen and entrepreneurs, bought the ailing team.

The debts paid, the team is currently in the process of a significant restructuring that will include a new factory and increased headcount.

Despite the claims that the team is a real life Scalextric for his son Lance, Stroll, a very successful businessman, insists that he didn't buy Force India for altruistic reasons, but rather another successful business venture.

With the sport's powers-that-be aiming to introduce a budget cap and divide the prize money more evenly, with the intention of levelling the playing field, Stroll believes this will work to his advantage.

"I'm not in this for ego. I'm not in this to lose money," he tells the New York Times. "I'm in this for the long term, as I have been with every other business I've owned, be it Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors or whoever.

"It's no secret there's going to be some sort of a budget cap and better cash distribution to the smaller teams," he adds. "That is still to be clarified how well that works out, but there are all the right rumblings, and I've had enough conversations with Chase to understand that is the direction they want and need to take the business. For me, that spells financial opportunity, and looking at 2021 onwards, a profitable business opportunity.

"With the right funding, the right leadership, the right motivation, there's no reason we shouldn't have high expectations and be able to punch even higher above our weight, to hopefully be fighting for that third place," he insists.

A keen F1 fan, Stroll would do well to study the recent history of the sport, for only a few years ago, three new teams entered the sport, encouraged by the promise of budget caps and a more equal playing field… all three have long since disappeared.

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