Aston Martin receives interest from other teams
Autosport says it has learned that Aston Martin has received interest from a number of Formula One teams about the possibility of the manufacturer supplying them from 2021.
The British manufacturer will become Red Bull’s title sponsor this year and has already expressed an interest in supplying engines when the next set of engine regulations are introduced. However The CEO of Aston Andy Palmer has also said is providing the production and development costs are controlled.
Following a meeting in October, where Liberty outlined the proposals Palmer said he was “encouraged” by the direction of the 2021 engine plans. Aston has begun work on its concept, following the recruitment of ex-Ferrari F1 engine chiefs Joerg Ross and Luca Marmorini.
Red Bull is the leading candidates to become a customer because the team already has a relationship with Aston. Also, team principal Christian Horner has suggested that the team would be open to that arrangement.
Aston does enter the sport it would also make sense for Toro Rosso to review their relationship with Honda. Meanwhile, it has also emerged that other independent teams on the grid have been in contact with Aston regarding taking a supply and it is believed it could be in a position to create the capacity for more than two teams.
When asked how many Aston would hope to supply, Palmer told Autosport: “I have some rough maths in terms of what cost and what price. With all of this stuff in F1, you have to factor in intangibles because you’re talking about a marketing return, not necessarily a physical return.”
“Marketing return hopefully turns into sold cars, which is why we’re doing this.”
Renault admits it played with fire
Renault has admitted that it “played with fire” when trying to chase extra performance at the expense of reliability last season. Red Bull won three races last season, but all three of the Renault powered teams were hit by persistent unreliability.
The French manufacturer picked up three hundred engine grid penalties, across six cars in 2017, compared to Mercedes and Ferrari who suffered no such penalties. Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner described the teams season, as the worst season for reliability in a decade, while sister squad Toro Rosso also fell out publicly with Renault.
Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul apologised for the poor performance but says that the team needed to be “very aggressive” to avoid Ferrari and Mercedes getting further ahead in terms of power. Abiteboul told Autosport, “Clearly, the big negative in 2017 has been reliability, which has cost a lot – to our team, but also to our customer teams, for which I feel sorry.”
“It was a combination of a completely new engine, and therefore a lack of dyno mileage over the winter. We discovered some of the issues at the winter test, and also some of them at the start of the season, which was very late to react and to implement improvements.”
He added that they played with engine modes during the season, which also had an impact on reliability and cooling, that some teams struggled to follow with.
Abiteboul hinted Toro Rosso suffered more failures during the second half of the year because they could not follow the same cooling limits as the other Renault teams. He says that also cause problems with the first batch of engines.
He added “That [un]reliability has cost us a lot – we think it has cost us something like 45 points, which is also fifth place in the championship, which was our target.”
“That’s the big negative, and a negative I don’t want to diminish because retiring a car, whether it’s a Renault car or any car that’s powered by Renault, is hugely frustrating.”
Hass will be “more consistent” in 2018
Haas team principal Guenther Stiner says the teams’ aerodynamic development will be “better and more consistent” in 2018 as the team increases the size of the team.
The American team has a technical partnership with engine suppliers Ferrari, and works closely with chassis manufacturer Dallara, with the team building their own aerodynamics.
When asked if that had been the biggest area of growth for the team, team Principal Steiner told ESPN, “Yes, absolutely. We started to get people in last year and there is more coming now.”
“There are more as well as last year when we started we did not enough people as we just started. Our aero development should be more better and consistent [next season].” Despite an improvement last season in points scored, the team still only managed eighth in the constructors.
Steiner says he is disappointed that the internal growth didn’t see the team move further up the order, saying he believes that the team’s constructors position didn’t show the progress that they have made.
Adding “We have made progress and I think the competition. Which I think is a good thing and is not meant negative, there is no really bad team anymore in here which is a good thing. It’s very difficult and competitive.”
Mercedes happy with Ocon’s progress
Esteban Ocon says that Mercedes are happy with the progress that he has made during his first full season Formula One. The Force India driver was fifth in a poll of team bosses drivers of the year and finished thirteen behind teammate Sergio Perez.
The Mercedes junior saw the chequered flag in all but one of the 20 races and scored points in 18 of them. Ocon told Motorsport.com “Force India are happy with the job I’m doing and also Mercedes are happy with what I’m doing.”
“So if everyone is happy, I just have to continue and do everything I can.” Before Christmas, the Frenchman said he keeps in regular contact with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff with the works team doing the same with Force India to chart his progress.
“Most of the time we speak on the phone, sometimes at the track as well,” he said.
This season Ocon’s focusing on delivering a second strong season for the team and is not allowing himself to look further ahead to the possibility of promotion to Mercedes.
Adding “At the moment, I’m focusing on the job I’m doing at Force India. If Force India is happy and Mercedes is happy, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future.
“If you do a strong job, there will always be opportunities. You need to focus on the job you’re doing on track and the job you’re doing with the engineers.”
Massa backs Hamilton over Bottas
Felipe Massa says that Mercedes will back his former title rival Lewis Hamilton for this year’s title over Valtteri Bottas. The Englishman sealed his fourth world title last season after beating Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Mercedes has a policy of allowing both its drivers to race, however, Massa believes that next season the team will focus on Hamilton. The Brazilian told Autosport “[For 2018] the team is completely on his side 100%.”
“So he has no issue with his team-mate like he had maybe before [with Nico Rosberg]. So many things are really on his side and he can just make himself better and better all the time.” Hamilton won nine races, including five of the six following the summer break, on the way to clinching the title with two races to spare.
Massa says he was also impressed by how Hamilton handled the problems in the early in the year and the consistently high level he managed to achieve across the season.
“Hamilton did the perfect job. He had some little issues in some races at the beginning of the season. He was just not on the pace and struggling with some stuff around the car, but I think they sorted it out.” He added
Hamilton causes Twitter storm
Lewis Hamilton caused controversy last week because of a post on Instagram. The four times world champion posted a video appearing to mock his nephew for wearing a princesses dress on Christmas day.
Hamilton later took down the post and tweeted an apology, however, he was criticised further after he liked replies which said there was no need to apologise and give into the “PC brigade.”
In a series of Tweets, Hamilton wrote “’Yesterday I was playing around with my nephew and realised that my words were inappropriate so I removed the post. “I meant no harm and did not mean to offend anyone at all. I love that my nephew feels free to express himself as we all should.”
“My deepest apologies for my behaviour as I realise it is really not acceptable for anyone, no matter where you are from, to marginalise or stereotype anyone. ‘I have always been in support of anyone living their life exactly how they wish and I hope I can be forgiven for this lapse in judgement.”
In the initial Instagram video, Hamilton told his 5.7 million followers: ”I’m so sad right now. Look at my nephew.” The camera then moved to a young boy wearing a blue and pink princess dress and waving around a pink heart-shaped furry wand.
Hamilton asked the small child: ”Why are you wearing a princess dress? Is this what you got for Christmas?” When his nephew said yes, Hamilton replied: ”Why did you ask for a princess dress for Christmas?”
He then shouted: ”Boys don’t wear princess dresses!” That prompted the youngster to covers his ears with his hands and turn away.