Ferrari needs to improve political standing
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says that Ferrari must improve against its rivals is in handling paddock politics better. Last year, the manufacturer was at the centre of suspicions about its power unit last year, as rivals pushed the FIA for a number of technical clarifications regarding engine usage.
The responses, as well as comments made by team people and drivers, left Ferrari facing difficult questions at times. Reflecting on the whole saga Binotto says it simply exposed areas where Ferrari was not strong. Speaking to Motorsport.com, “ I think that it was maybe showing one of our weaknesses of the season.”
“We are not good enough in polemics, and there are people who are stronger than us – even in using the media to put pressure on. So it is something that we need to understand how to do better, and to better act in the future, because that’s part of the overall balance of a season”
Although the teams focused and proved they had made gains in engine performance, but Binotto doesn’t want to be a compliment from the fact that rivals were baffled about how the team had done it. Saying the ‘blame game’ only creates extra pressure an activity.
He says that it has always been a distraction and something we have lived with as a young team facing new situations. Binotto was clear that the engine department needed praise after a difficult start to the hybrid era, Ferrari is now seen as the benchmark.
Adding, “I’m very pleased and I know it’s not something that happens in a single season. So when we started in 2014 with a new format, we were a lot behind our competitors, and it has been a long push to challenge them.”
Leclerc biggest non-Red Bull talent
Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko believes that Charles Leclerc is the biggest talent in single-seater racing not signed to Red Bull. Last year the Monacan joined Ferrari after a single season with Sauber where he took two wins and seven pole positions in his first campaign as a Ferrari driver last year.
He had remained unsigned by an F1 team in the early years of his junior career until 2016, before taking back-to-back championships in GP3 and F2 after joining the Ferrari junior programme. Marko says he has no regrets about not signing Leclerc because they have “extraordinary driving talent” in Max Verstappen under a long-term contract.
when asked who the top single-seater talent not currently signed to a Red Bull deal is, Marko told Motorsport.com: “Leclerc. It’s quite clear, Leclerc.”
Red Bull has in recent years faced a problem in recent years in young talent ready for F1, which led to recalls for the likes of Brendon Hartley, Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon. Marko, however, is still convinced that the Junior Team is the driver development programme of choice for the top young prospects in single-seater racing.
He added, “I would say, without any arrogance – the boys, if they have a choice, they’ll try to get with Red Bull first. But we have our principles, and we don’t walk away from them.”
“This decade, what we have experienced – everyone now has a lawyer they bring along. Some want one more comma [in the contract], this and that. We say – we have our system, it works. We are not prepared to compromise, and these are fair contracts [we offer].”
Speaking about the future of the programme, he says that the programme is moving away from recruiting in karting because there are too many variables which makes an impact on performance.
Red Bull to launch online
Red Bull has announced they will launch there 2020 car the RB16 online on Wednesday 12th of February, meaning that all the teams have confirmed the dates they will launch.
The Austrian team’s launch will be an online reveal, clashes with Renault’s season launch in Paris next week. The two teams will follow Ferrari, which is set to become the first team to take the covers off its new car at an event in Reggio Emilia on February 11.
The team goes into this season looking to build on the race victories it secured in Austria, Germany and Brazil last year. It will be the team’s second season with Honda after the Japanese manufacturer made encouraging progress throughout 2019 and won its first grand prix since 2006.
Racing Point believes it can be best of the rest
Racing Point believes that it can return to best of the rest and become a thorn in the side of the big teams this season. Last year, the team struggled to deliver at the start of the season after entering administration in mid-2018.
The cash injection from Lawrence Stroll allowed them to recover and get back on it feat last year, recovering lost ground. They want to start the season strongly, as part of its long term plan. Speaking before the latest Aston Martin developments, team principal Otmar Szafnauer told Motorsport.com, “I think now we’re normal, so next year I think you’ll see a car, even at the beginning of the year, that should be where, where we normally are, which is the best of the rest.”
“That’s what we’ve got to aim to do. It isn’t gonna be easy, because everybody wants to be best of the rest: McLaren, Renault, Toro Rosso, us and Sauber.” But he admitted that everyone in the midfield group would be aiming for that.
The team are currently looking to develop its Silverstone base, with new infrastructure building on the good CDF and wind tunnel capabilities which are some of the best in the sport. He added that helps with technical capabilities as well.
No return to thirteen-inch tyres – Pirelli
Pirelli’s head of F1 Mario Isola says there is no going back to Formula One’s existing 13-inch tyre size even if teams are unhappy with the 18-inch tyres Pirelli is producing for 2021.
The move to wider tyres is part of the bigger changes next year in an attempt to create closer and better racing. This year, F2 will make the switch as part of the development plan.
Asked by Motorsport.com, if the teams raised issues with the 2021 rubber, which happened last year and led to Pirelli abandoning its plan to introduce new tyres for ’20, Isola said “Luckily, we already ran three test sessions in ’19.”
“The first feedback from 18-inch tyres is quite good. So, I’m not expecting to have any kind of surprise this year. Obviously, the car will be different [in 2021]. The car is designed on 18-inch tyres, so in ’21, we will have a new product. No chance to go back to 13-inch tyres.”
“But I’m positive because especially the first session [when] we were in Paul Ricard with Renault [last September] we did 213 laps in two days.” The mule car is designed as a adapted 207 car to develop the tyres, which can cause issues.
Isola said he is “very positive for 2021”, regarding the potential for the new rules to improve racing.
Hard that F1 dream gone forever – Sirotkin
Sergey Sirotkin says he found it hard to accept that his Formula One dream has gone “forever” and reckons the loss of his seat is “more painful” now than it was initially.
The Russian was brought in by Williams to race alongside Lance Stroll in 2018 but was replaced by Robert Kubica last season. Despite the team being backmarkers, he admitted the loss of the seat had hit him quite hard – and though the Grove-based team had an even worse campaign in 2019, it made the situation no easier for its former driver.
Speaking at the launch of his and SMP Racing’s karting academy in Moscow, he told Motorsport.com, “I’d say it’s become maybe even more painful because at that point of course Williams wasn’t the most competitive.”
“I knew that for the next year the situation probably wouldn’t change dramatically. [We thought] that having this gap year we’d maybe have the chance to find a better option than trying to fight Robert for that seat.”