F1 Today – 02/01/2019

F1 Today

Leclerc needs “good head” to succeed at Ferrari

Rubens Barrichello says he believes that Charles Leclerc needs to be “good in the head” if he is to succeed at Ferrari. The twenty-one year only has been given a seat with the Italian team following a dream debut season at Sauber.

Leclerc has won both the GP3 and Formula Two titles in the last three years, with Barrichello believing that his mentality will be key to Leclerc’s next steps. Speaking to Motorsport.com, he said “I’m super excited for him. He’s one of those young guys who really made his way through [impressively].”

“To get into Ferrari [and be successful], the only thing you need is to be really good in your head. Talent, we know he has.” Leclerc stepped up his performance on track after being announced as a Ferrari driver and finished seventh in Sochi after pulling off a great move around the outside of Kevin Magnussen.

Former Ferrari team principal, now F1’s managing director of motorsport and technical director Ross Brawn says that the Monacan has been pretty impressive and the tough reference will come in 2019

Adding “ Being at Ferrari brings enormous pressure and he’ll have the pressure of racing against a world champion, a multi-world champion, so he’s going to have a pretty challenging year. But from what I have seen so far, I expect him to do a very respectable job.


Ferrari didn’t ease pressure on Vettel

Ferrari’s Former test driver Luciano Burti says that the team did not do enough to ease the pressure on Sebastian Vettel last season. The German’s season began to gradually fall apart after he crashed out while leading his home race at Hockenheim.

Burti, a commentator for Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo, suggested the former Ferrari team principal, FIA President Jean Todt could have helped Vettel avoid compounding the error with further mistakes in the second half of the season.

Burti told Motorsport.com, “It was a really tiny mistake, which happens, and he was unlucky it happened in the wrong time and the wrong place and had a big consequence. I think Vettel felt maybe on his own to fight back from his mistake.”

“Once you have that pressure, if you say as a racing driver ‘I cannot make a mistake on the next lap or the next corner’, you make a mistake. Once I think about it, that’s it.” He believes that what went wrong was there was no guidance as it is not normal for a four times champion to make so many mistakes.

He suggests Ferrari’s leadership in recent years has not been as effective under current team principal Maurizio Arrivabene as it was during its run of success in the early years of the 21st century.

Speaking about Arrivabene he said “I know a little bit about Arrivabene when I was there because he was with Philip Morris and he wasn’t, in my view, a good leader because he was not sympathetic, he was always very distant from us and I never got the understanding why.


Hamilton’s happiness key to performance

Mercedes F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff believes that Lewis Hamilton’s ability to perform at such a high level at the moment is because he has happiness in his life off the track.

The Englishman sealed his fifth world title in 2018, a season which has been described as his best ever on the track, as well as launching a fashion collection with Tommy Hilfiger. Wolff thinks that Hamilton’s improvement as a driver is down to him having a better understanding of what he needs from life, and being content.

When asked by Motorsport.com about Hamilton’s progress in 2018, Wolff said “I think that what is happening is that he constantly develops, there is no standstill. He is improving in every area. He is improving on track, he is improving off track, and his partnership with Tommy Hilfiger is very successful.”

“It is one of the best performing fashion collections from the Hilfiger brand. So he is building up a second pillar of activity that is more than a hobby already, and therefore that has added another building block to making him a complete sportsman.”

Relations between Hamilton and Wolff have not always been best, especially during the period when tensions were high between the British driver and then teammate Nico Rosberg. Following a reset in early 2017, following Rosberg’s retirement has allowed their relationship to grow stronger.

Saying “Since then we have had mostly good moments and trust has built up. It is important for a racing driver, for myself and for the team that we can say that we trust each other and it is not lightly said.”


Crashes cost Toro Rosso nearly £2 million

Toro Rosso spent over £1.85 million on crash damage last year, following a number of heavy crashes by both Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley. The Red Bull-owned team ended their first season powered by Honda ninth, in the constructors.

Team principal Franz Tost has said that the opposite end of its fortunes were several costly shunts, including first-lap accidents for Gasly in Spain and Brendon Hartley in Canada. Tost told Motorsport.com, “We had highlights this season and some races which were really not good,”

“The highlights were quite clear, when Gasly finished fourth in Bahrain, which was a strong race, and he did a very good race also in Monaco [sixth], Budapest he finished sixth.”

“Spa was a good race, because we didn’t expect to finish in the points there but we finished ninth, and in Mexico, where he finished 10th. Then we had many crashes. This year we spent €2.3 million only for crashes.” He said that the mid-season crashes and accident provided costly.

Gasly, who joins Red Bull for 2019, believes that the high points out weigh the negatives. Honda’s progress compared to its engine rivals meant Toro Rosso remained in contention to the end of the year, though.

Gasly, who joins the Red Bull senior team for 2019, believes Toro Rosso needs more “consistency”.

He said “There was no way we could have fought with the Renault, both drivers scored many points. Force India were better, so I think we are not far from where we deserve to be. It’s so tight in that midfield that little things can really make you gain a lot.”


 Schumacher skiing accident five years on

Five years on since seven times champion Michael Schumacher’s life-changing skiing accident, little remains known about his condition. The German, who turns fifty on Thursday, continues to recover at home and public information remains limited.

In a statement released today, the Family said “You can be sure that he is in the very best of hands. We are doing everything humanly possible to help him.”

“Please understand if we are following Michael’s wishes and keeping such a sensitive subject as health, as it has always been, in privacy.”

This is what we know, Schumacher fell and hit his head on the rock near the French resort of Grenoble on the 29th December 2013. He was airlifted to Grenoble Hospital suffering what was described as “a severe head injury with coma on arrival, which required immediate neurosurgical intervention”.

At a press conference the following day, Schumacher’s doctors described his condition as “extremely serious” and a second operation, lasting two hours, was performed “to reduce the swelling on his brain”. In April 2014, the family announced that Schumacher had shown ‘moments of consciousness and awakening’.

In July, it was announced that he was no longer in a coma and had left Grenoble Hospital. Weeks later Schumacher returned home, with the family saying ‘Considering the severe head injuries he suffered, progress has been made in the past weeks and months. There is still, however, a long and difficult road ahead.’

In February 2016, when opening an exhibition to celebrate his career, his manager Sabine Kehm, expressed her hope “that with continued support and patience he will one day be back with us” at the opening of an exhibition to celebrate his record-breaking career.

Later that year, a Schumacher family lawyer revealed during court proceedings in Germany that the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver “cannot walk”.

As ever at this time of year, co-insiding with the accident and his birthday everyone hopes for official news on his health. Limited information does creep out sometimes, FIA president Jean Todt and F1 managing director for motorsport and technical director Ross Brawn, who worked with him at Ferrari.

Brawn told BBC News, “I am constantly in touch with [Schumacher’s wife] Corinna and I totally agree with their decision. Michael has always been a very private person and that’s been a guiding principle in his career, his life. His family always agreed with that choice.”


Schumacher’s thank fans on eve of birthday

The family of Michael Schumacher have said they are “doing everything humanly possible to help him” amid his recovery from severe head injuries, as they prepare to mark the F1 legend’s 50th birthday on Thursday.

In a rare public statement marking five years since the accident and ahead of his birthday, they thanks the fans and well wishers for the continued support and reiterating their desire to keep the seven-time champion’s condition private.

The F1 legend’s family have also urged fans to celebrate his 50th birthday on Thursday along with “his records and his jubilation.” Schumacher fell and hit his head during a family skiing holiday in the French Alps in December 2013.

In a Facebook message, they said “you can be sure that he is in the very best of hands and that we are doing everything humanly possible to help him,” read the family statement on the official Schumacher Facebook page.

“Please understand if we are following Michael’s wishes and keeping such a sensitive subject as health, as it has always been, in privacy. At the same time, we say thank you very much for your friendship and wish you a healthy and happy year 2019.”

The family say they want to use Schumacher’s birthday to “remember and celebrate his victories, his records and his jubilation”, with a new app containing a virtual museum launched on Thursday.

Tomorrow the family will officially launch an app, “To that, we can review all together Michael’s successes. The app is another milestone in our effort to do justice to him and you, his fans, by celebrating his accomplishments. We wish you a lot of fun with it.”

Also, his former Ferrari team are launching their own exhibition at their base in Maranello base to celebrate the German driver’s record-breaking achievements during his decade at the team.


Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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