Reductions in engines “unreasonable”
Honda’s outgoing Formula One boss Yusuke Hasegawa says that he believes that the reduction in engine component to three next season is “unreasonable.”
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has already called the move “Barking mad” to reduce engines because some manufacturers have struggled to get through this season with four engines. However, any proposal to increase the number of power units this year have been vetoed by Ferrari.
Also, FIA president Jean Todt said that he was unhappy with the move, given the number of grid penalties which were awarded in 2017 due to engine component changes. However, he made it clear that nothing can be done could be done without the unanimous agreement from the teams.
Hasegawa says that is going to be “very tough.” Speaking to Autosport, he said, “It’s not just for us. Renault had difficulties. I don’t think it’s reasonable. From a technical point of view, it’s difficult. If we save the engine performance, it’s easy to achieve. If we use 2000rpm lower, of course, we can finish, but there’s no point.”
He says as a consequence of the reduction it protects Ferrari and Mercedes. The changes will place more pressure on Honda to produce a good engine from the start of this season, with them pushing to find more performance and more importantly reliability.
Wolff considers Ferrari “visionary” Sauber deal
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said he is very impressed by Ferrari’s “very visionary” partnership with Sauber and is considering something similar for the world champions.
Last month Ferrari and Sauber announced a new technical and sponsorship deal with the team being renamed Alfa Romeo Sauber from 2018. The deal also saw Charles Leclerc gain a race seat and Antonio Giovinazzi handed the reserve role.
Ferrari also has a close technical partnership with Haas which caused controversy during the American team’s debut season in 2016. Wolff is wary of how the latest deal could strengthen Ferrari. Wolff told ESPN he thinks what Ferrari are doing is very clever.
He told ESPN, “They’ve had a good relationship with Haas. That has helped Haas and helped Ferrari and what they are doing now with Sauber is very visionary.”
“With Fred [Vassuer] he has a team principal on the other side who knows the business inside out and it can be an alliance that can be dangerous for us.”
Asked if Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes, are considering a similar move, he admitted that its an idea that he is considering. But added, “It’s not easy because you don’t want to distract your own organisation with a collaboration with another team on the other side.”
“We are not the only ones who are having intelligent ideas — we are having discussions but nothing is done yet.”
Wehrlein hype helped Ericsson
Marcus Ericsson says he believes that the “hype” around his former teammate Pascal Wehrlein has helped him, but says the sport still has not realised his full capabilities.
Although Wehrlein scored all of Sauber’s points last season, the gap to his teammate was the smallest of any other driver duo on the grid. The German had also been one of the drivers linked to replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.
Ericsson was outperformed in his debut season in 2014, by his Caterham teammate Kamui Kobayashi, but believes that going up against the Mercedes junior driver has boosted him. He told Motorsport.com “I still feel like I’m developing as a driver and I’ve become better and better. My first year with Kamui was really tough, Kamui had a lot of experience and was a really good driver.”
“But I think Pascal is a super-talented driver and it’s been really good for me to have him as a team-mate. With all the hype that’s been around him being a Mercedes junior, it’s been perfect for me to have him as a benchmark.”
He pointed out on average he believes that the gap between himself and Wehrlien was one of the closest between teammates last season. Sauber is retaining Ericsson for 2018, but have replaced Wehrlien with Ferrari’s junior driver and Formula Two champion Charles Leclerc.
Ericsson felt he was “outperforming Pascal most of the time” in the final part of the season. He added, “I think performance-wise it’s been quite OK, especially the last part I think has been better than OK – it’s been really good.”
The Swede had looked to move into a midfield team, but his management failed to find him a seat with a midfield team.
Asked why he thought he was not considered a serious prospect by teams further up the grid, Ericsson replied: “The problem is when you’re driving for a team that’s at the back of the grid it’s really difficult to impress people and to show what you can do.”
Verstappen and I could survive title fight – Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo believes that his strong relationship with Max Verstappen would survive if they were both in a title fight with each other.
After a slow start last season, Red Bull was unable to set up a successful title challenge. However, Ricciardo took advantage of the chaotic race in Baku to take the teams only victory in the first half of the season. But overall it was a frustrating first half of the year for both drivers.
However Red Bull soon discovered that wind tunnel correlation issues were behind the problems and came back in the second half of the season, with Verstappen claiming a pair of victories in Malaysia and Mexico.
Asked by ESPN if they could be friends if they both had a car capable of winning titles, he said “I hope so, keep him on my birthday list. So we’ll see. We said at the start of 2017 it would be a good problem to have.”
“If we’re both fighting at the front and having some battles. If it’s ultimately deciding a world title we would happily run with that challenge. So, yeah, we’ll see.” He added that he believes that Red Bull can fight for the title and that they are putting in the work.
Despite the one incident in Budapest, 2017 past without major upset or drama between the two. With Daniel Ricciardo sharing his teammates believe that the pair would continue to avoid intra-team dramas in a title fight scenario due to the shared mutual respect both drivers have for one another.
Hamilton helped me to perform – Button
Jenson Button says that his former teammate Lewis Hamilton inspired him to produce his best performances of his career during their time as teammates at McLaren.
The Englishmen were teammates at McLaren for three seasons, with Button only managing to finish ahead of Hamilton in the championship once. Something that only Nico Rosberg has done in 2016. Button, who retired last year has admitted while he could match Hamilton in race-trim, his former teammate held all the aces over one lap.
Button told Sky Sports, “He is unbelievably quick and, over one lap, he is the quickest guy I think that has ever driven a Formula One car. In a race, I could challenge him, and we could race for wins.”
“Over those three years we won a lot and some of the races I did win were the best races in my career, because I had to beat Lewis to achieve them.” Button says that their relationship was interesting because they were the two latest champions.
Adding “Both British, racing for a British team, both world champions, fresh new world champions, so it put a lot of pressure on us and that made it fun, I really enjoyed that challenge.”
Button revealed in his autobiography there was some friction following the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix, where they collided while fighting for the lead of the race.
Writing “Did he like being beaten by his teammate? Probably not, but he’s a competitor and I’m sure that like me he relished the challenge. That’s why we do what we do. Personally, he was fine with me, but you could just tell he was a little bit peeved.”
“I don’t think that I was to his taste, if I’m honest. And things took a bit of a turn for the worse in Turkey when we almost had a collision that led to a minor falling-out between us.”