Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • Vasseur using Alfa money to increase staff size
    Vasseur using Alfa money to increase staff size

    20 new staff to join Sauber for 2018

  • Giovinazzi not giving up after Sauber snub
  • Kubica 'still fighting' for Williams seat – father
  • Toro Rosso working to fit Honda engine
  • Grid girls must stay in F1 – Verstappen
  • Top F1 teams 'too reliable' – Todt
  • Formula 1 set for two-second speed boost in 2018
  • F1 still mostly car says Ricciardo

20 new staff to join Sauber for 2018
(GMM) With its newly signed title sponsor Alfa Romeo, Sauber is already ramping up its bid to end its backmarker status.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that the beleaguered Swiss team, dead last in 2017, will have put 20 new technical staff to work by the time winter testing begins in February.

"The first began with us on 1 November," said Frederic Vasseur, whose first act as team boss this year was to end the planned Honda deal and arrange instead for Sauber to use current Ferrari engines in 2018.

"The others will start step by step," he added. "In many cases, we will only benefit from them in the second half of the season in 2018."

Giovinazzi not giving up after Sauber snub

Antonio Giovinazzi not giving up on bringing a bigger check in 2019
Antonio Giovinazzi not giving up on bringing a bigger check in 2019

(GMM) Antonio Giovinazzi says he is keeping his chin up despite missing out on the Sauber seat for 2018.

His fellow Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc is making the full-time step up to F1 next year, but despite the new Alfa Romeo deal, Sauber is sticking with Marcus Ericsson for the other 2018 seat.

"Obviously I was close to Alfa Romeo and it was the best opportunity, but clearly Sauber made a different choice," the Italian told Radio Sportiva.

"However, I will not give up. Even last year I began as a third driver and then I made my debut, so I will try to work to the maximum and support Ferrari and we'll see what happens," Giovinazzi added.

Having celebrated his 24th birthday this week, Giovinazzi said he learned a lot in 2017.

"I had my unexpected debut with Sauber, but I also did a lot of work on the simulator in Maranello, helping the (Ferrari) drivers, and I also tested the Sauber, Ferrari and Haas.

"Now I'm a different driver with a lot more experience," he said.

"Last season was exceptional for Ferrari, we reduced the gap and we are working hard to do even better next year."

As for his birthday wish for the future, Giovinazzi answered: "I would be lying if I said I didn't want to be in formula one, maybe winning a championship title. It will be difficult but I will give it everything."

Kubica 'still fighting' for Williams seat – father

Kubica's father Artur trying to raise more money
Kubica's father Artur trying to raise more money

(GMM) Robert Kubica's father says the Pole is still in the running to be named Williams' second driver for 2018.

Multiple sources reported this week that although the Pole was the recent favorite, the strongly Russian-backed Sergey Sirotkin ultimately won the day with better pace in Abu Dhabi and a much bigger sponsorship purse.

However, the latest word from Williams is that the British team is in fact "not planning any statement in the coming days".

That is despite the fact that Russian sources were reporting this week that the Sirotkin deal could be made official on Friday.

Now, Kubica's father Artur Kubica says the Polish camp is still pushing hard for the seat.

"We're still fighting to get Robert into Williams," he told Sportowe Fakty.

"We hope that it is a good decision for us. And if it is not made before Christmas, it means that at least the people at Williams are taking time to think.

"We are taking steps to convince them to believe in Robert," Artur Kubica added.

He didn't say what those 'steps' may be, but admitted that amid the Sirotkin speculation, it is sponsorship dollars that sometimes talks the loudest.

The rumors are that Sirotkin, potentially enjoying even the backing of Russian president Vladimir Putin, is promising over EUR 15 million in backing, while Kubica can bring just 8 million.

"Of course it is about what the driver will bring to the team. Sometimes, skills, experience and the potential of the driver are decisive, at others only the money counts," admitted Kubica senior.

Sportowe Fakty also claimed Kubica attended Williams' Grove factory on Thursday.

Toro Rosso working to fit Honda engine

Key working to fit the Honda
Key working to fit the Honda

(GMM) Toro Rosso is working hard to fit the Honda power unit into its 2018 car.

The basis of the Red Bull junior team's car for next year was designed around the Renault power unit, but that deal is moving to McLaren for 2018.

Toro Rosso technical boss James Key said the Honda unit is "fundamentally different".

"It's a very compact unit, but a different architecture to the Renault. It requires a lot of adaptation work," he told Speed Week.

Key said Toro Rosso cannot start the Honda-powered 2018 car "from scratch" because the main aerodynamic surfaces of the car are already set in stone.

Grid girls must stay in F1 – Verstappen

Will grid girls remain in F1
Will grid girls remain in F1

(GMM) F1 drivers hope 'grid girls' remain a part of formula one in the future.

In an increasingly progressive world and under the new Liberty Media regime, F1 sporting director Ross Brawn admits using scantily clad women on the grid is "under strong review".

"There's a lot of people who respect the tradition and there's people who feel that it has become a bit dated, so we're addressing that," he told the BBC.

But Max Verstappen, the 20-year-old Red Bull driver, made his opinion on the matter very clear, telling Bild newspaper: "The grid girls must stay."

Nico Hulkenberg added: "It would be a pity if they took the eye-jewelry from the grid.

"What will come next year instead? Halo? Oh dear," the Renault driver added.

Top F1 teams 'too reliable' – Todt

Jean Todt, not the sharpest tool in the shed
Jean Todt, not the sharpest tool in the shed

(GMM) Jean Todt thinks the level of car reliability in formula one is too high.

He said the fact cars can often go a full season without a mechanical breakdown in a race shows that too much money is spent.

Referring to Lewis Hamilton, the FIA president told Auto Bild: "He did not make any mistakes, but he also had an incredibly strong car — strong in terms of performance and reliability.

"Even if the Mercedes was not always the fastest, Lewis scored points in 20 of the 20 grands prix," said the Frenchman. "The cars are too reliable."

Many think Ferrari lost the title due to poor reliability in the second half of the season, but Todt doesn't agree.

"Ferrari impressed me as well," he said.

"I stay with what I said: Ferrari and Mercedes were too reliable. That costs money. Tests, simulators, it's all too much. We don't need all of that for a good sport. Actually, the contrary," the FIA president added.

Todt also admitted that talks are currently taking place about a compromise between what existing and potential new manufacturers want from the 2021 engine rules.

"The current engines are too expensive, too complicated and too quiet," he admitted.

"But we can build on them. We are currently talking to the manufacturers about an evolution of the current engines. The process is not finished yet."

Formula 1 set for two-second speed boost in 2018

F1 cars to be 2-seconds faster in 2018?
F1 cars to be 2-seconds faster in 2018?

Formula 1 cars are predicted to be over two seconds per lap faster in the 2018 season, according to the latest simulation data Pirelli has been given by teams.

The revamp of technical regulations this year to make cars faster, more spectacular and harder to drive achieved its aim of cutting lap times by around five seconds over 2015 levels.

The pace was faster at every track this year. The peak was Sepang, where Lewis Hamilton's Malaysian Grand Prix pole position time was nine seconds faster than two years ago – although factors including weather, time of year and track resurfacing also played a part.

But teams' understanding of the regulations is still relatively immature, which means there are more big gains to come in 2018.

Pirelli receives simulation data from the F1 teams to help it finalize which tire compounds to bring to each race, and the indications suggest another improvement in pace.

Pirelli's F1 racing manager Mario Isola said: "At the beginning of next year they should be quicker by one second per lap, and during a year the normal rate of development is 1-1.5s.

"So by the end of next year they should be quicker by two seconds per lap.

"If we go softer with the tires, the cars could be ever quicker.

"But we have to remember that there is an additional weight with the halo, and that will cost about three to four tenths of a second, because of the weight plus aero implications." Autosport

F1 still mostly car says Ricciardo

Hamilton would not be winning races or titles in a mid-field car
Hamilton would not be winning races or titles in a mid-field car

Daniel Ricciardo would like to see more balance in Formula 1 and reckons Lewis Hamilton would not have won titles if he was in a midfield car.

New aerodynamic regulations were introduced in 2017 and while drivers are happy with the initial results of the changes, Ricciardo feels that driver talent is still not a big enough factor in Formula 1.

"Lewis (Hamilton) has won three of the last four championships, but if he was in a midfield team, he wouldn't have three of the last four championships," Ricciardo said. In fact he would have won none of them.

"The car is a big part of it, but you need to be a good driver to get the equipment to the top. You need both. It's still a bit more dominant with the car than the driver I'd say maybe 75 percent to 25 percent.

"If we make it a bit more equal by bringing the driver in a bit more and taking the equipment out, then that would be better," he said.

"A 50/50 would be something more realistic in the near future, and hopefully that's the case.

"Even from Lewis to the guy that's coming last, maybe the lap time says 3.0s, but the driver is maximum 1.0s.

"We are all a lot closer than that, and it would be great if we could all stay within 1.0s with the equipment because then the racing would be pretty fun," he added.

Ricciardo is continuing to weigh up his options as he enters into the final 12 months of his Red Bull contract and has been linked with a move to either Mercedes or Ferrari.

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