Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Pirelli against Prost's idea
    Pirelli against Prost's idea

    Pirelli rules out Prost tire idea

  • F1 could scrap engine rule tweak for 2018
  • Kubica not ruling out 'second F1 debut'
  • McLaren crisis 'worse' for Alonso – Boullier
  • Ecclestone tips Hamilton to beat Vettel
  • Ricciardo to conduct Budapest demo run
  • Honda feels it is 'heading in right direction'

Pirelli rules out Prost tire idea
(GMM) Pirelli is not keen on a proposal to fully liberalize the way teams use tires in formula one.

Currently, there are tight restrictions on how teams can select and race the compounds brought to races by Pirelli.

But F1 legend and Renault advisor Alain Prost thinks giving them more freedom would be an easy way to spice up the show.

Pirelli F1 chief Mario Isola doesn't think so.

"If you just picked the hardest tire, you could maybe do the whole race without stopping," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

"And if that is possible, most would head in that direction."

And he also rejected Prost's idea that drivers be able to make up a tire 'set' from multiple compounds.

"This might work on a GT car, but formula one cars are too sensitive," Isola insisted.

F1 could scrap engine rule tweak for 2018

F1 won't drop to 3 engines in 2018
F1 won't drop to 3 engines in 2018

(GMM) F1 could be set to scrap a scheduled tweak to the engine regulations for 2018.

Currently, while drivers are limited to four engines for the entire season in 2017, that 'long life' allocation is set to drop to just three engines next year.

But Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the Strategy Group is set to discuss the future of the 'three engines for 2018' rule during a meeting on Monday.

The drop from 4 engines to 3 engines next year is designed to cut costs.

But F1 officials are tipped to argue that costs will in fact not go down. Manufacturers will have to re-design engines so that they are more reliable, and there could also be a performance trade-off with less power and weight.

Correspondent Michael Schmidt explained: "Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda have concluded that longer running life (for engines) means more development and more test cycles on the test bench."

A Mercedes official confirmed: "It's going to cost a lot of money."

So the Strategy Group will reportedly propose that the drop from 4 to 3 engines be scrapped, but the EUR 5 million price-reduction to customer teams be passed on anyway.

"That way, everybody wins," said Schmidt. "For the private teams, the engine costs are reduced, while the manufacturers do not have to reinvent their power units."

Kubica not ruling out 'second F1 debut'

Robert Kubica
Robert Kubica

(GMM) Robert Kubica is no longer ruling out that he could return to formula one someday.

The Pole's promising F1 career ended suddenly in early 2011, when he partially severed his arm in an almost fatal rally crash.

More than six years on, the now 32-year-old former BMW and Renault driver is back on a traditional racetrack — even if his participation at Le Mans this year is now off.

"There is nothing to complain about," Kubica told Sokolim Okiem, a Polish publication.

"I need to make a new path and that's why I am calm."

Indeed, for the first time since racing for Renault in late 2010, Kubica returned to a single seater last week.

Brazil's Globo reports that he tested a GP3 car at the Franciacorta circuit in Italy, turning 70 laps.

"I'm happy with the result, although there are many things to improve," he said. "There is much to improve on both the physical and the preparation side."

But interestingly, while the limitations of his arm movement prevented contemplating a single seater return not long ago, Kubica is no longer ruling it out.

"I never said that I would (return) and I never said that I wouldn't," he said.

"What will happen? I don't know. At one time I had a chance to test, but it was too early. Driving a formula one car would have been cool, but then what?

"They say that patience is rewarded, but the reality is that formula one has its own momentum. It's a very extreme sport, and I don't know if in history there was ever a driver who made two debuts within say 15 years.

"There were a few, like Schumacher, who finished and then came back, but for me it would be like a completely second debut," Kubica added.

McLaren crisis 'worse' for Alonso – Boullier

Alonso and Vandoorne
Alonso and Vandoorne

(GMM) McLaren-Honda's performance crisis is "worse" for Fernando Alonso than it is for his rookie 2017 teammate Stoffel Vandoorne.

That is the claim of the struggling, once-great British team's boss Eric Boullier.

His comments come as Spaniard Alonso made his first appearance at an IndyCar race at the weekend, meeting with the Andretti team and sitting in the cockpit.

A week ago, he shocked the entire motor sport world by announcing he will sit out Monaco next month in a bid to win the fabled Indy 500.

Alonso says he wants to complete the 'triple crown' by adding Indy and Le Mans to his past Monaco wins, but one explanation is that his adventure next month is simply a way to cope with his third consecutive season with an uncompetitive McLaren-Honda.

Bernie Ecclestone said in Bahrain that he would have talked Alonso out of racing at Indy if he was still in charge of F1.

But the 86-year-old nonetheless told Bild am Sonntag newspaper: "A driver like him should never have to race at the back of the grid."

McLaren chief Boullier said of the team's situation: "I would say that it is worse for Fernando, because Stoffel is still young and still has so much to learn.

"He (Vandoorne) has tied himself to McLaren in the long term and is therefore assured of the team's support. That is why, in truth, he can wait a little," Boullier added.

Ecclestone tips Hamilton to beat Vettel

Ecclestone tips the Mercedes to beat the Ferrari
Ecclestone tips the Mercedes to beat the Ferrari

(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone thinks Lewis Hamilton is still the clear favorite to win the 2017 world championship.

That is despite the fact that his friend and regular former backgammon partner Sebastian Vettel is actually leading the drivers' title chase after three races.

"He (Vettel) called me to play a game in Bahrain," the former F1 supremo smiled to Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

When asked why Vettel is performing well in 2017, Ecclestone added: "He is more relaxed and has digested the shock.

"When he went to Ferrari, he thought he would immediately be world champion," the 86-year-old added. "But he is past that now."

However, that doesn't mean Ecclestone thinks Vettel will win Ferrari's first title in a decade this year.

"Lewis (Hamilton) will be world champion," he said. "I would be happy if Vettel did, because he's a good friend of mine. But things will change.

"Hamilton is so extremely talented, and he seems more relaxed this year, enjoying it more. In recent years he always believed that the team (Mercedes) didn't support him, because the other driver was a German in a German team.

"Of course this was nonsense," Ecclestone explained, "but this thought is gone now and the pressure is lower."

As for whether he thinks Valtteri Bottas is a good enough replacement for the retired Nico Rosberg at Mercedes, Ecclestone said: "I don't know.

"But I believe the team would be more pleased if Lewis becomes world champion, just for what he experienced last year."

Ricciardo to conduct Budapest demo run

Daniel Ricciardo in Bahrain
Daniel Ricciardo in Bahrain

Daniel Ricciardo will demonstrate Red Bull Formula 1 machinery during an event in Hungary's capital, Budapest, next month.

Ricciardo will pilot Red Bull's 2011 title-winning RB7 as part of the Nagy Futam festival on May 1, the day after the Russian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo will take part in a two demo-lap along the route of Varoshaza Park – Andrassy £t – Oktogon, both during the morning and afternoon at the festival.

A handful of DTM drivers, along with local World Touring Car Championship hero Norbert Michelisz, will also be in action to conduct demonstration runs.

Honda feels it is 'heading in right direction'

Honda feels it is heading in right direction
Honda feels it is heading in right direction

McLaren engine partner Honda is confident that it is "heading in the right direction" following a positive conclusion to this week's in-season test in Bahrain.

Honda endured four MGU-H issues over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, while Stoffel Vandoorne failed to even start the race due to a water pressure problem.

As the post-race test began, development driver Oliver Turvey completed only two laps before a water leak was detected from the ERS, leading to a power unit change.

However, on the final day, with Vandoorne at the wheel, the partnership managed to rack up 81 trouble-free laps, rising to fourth on the timesheets with a late run.

"After facing MGU-H issues during the Bahrain Grand Prix, we made concerted efforts to analyze the issue in a short period of time ahead of the test," said Satoshi Nakamura, Honda's Principal Engineer.

"Based on this analysis, we implemented provisional countermeasures against the issue on our power unit and we think we were able to confirm the direction of our solution with [Wednesday's] running.

"We also made some progress with the set-up of our power unit in order to acquire better drivability and reduce the vibration.

"I want to thank all the members of the McLaren-Honda team who worked tirelessly throughout the days and nights to prepare for the test, even after the tough Grand Prix we had.

"Although we are still in behind our competitors in terms of performance, we are confident that we're heading in the right direction.

"We believe our power unit still has more potential.

"We will continue our development utilizing all of the information we have gathered from this test in order to close the gap to our competitors as soon as possible."

Leave a Reply