Regulations “nowhere near” June deadline
Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner says the finalisation of the 2021 regulations is “nowhere near”, ahead of the finalisation later this month. The teams have already missed the June deadline, which it has been suggested has been pushed back to October.
Horner said, however, says he thinks the deadline will be met in June while admitting that Liberty and teams agree now will become the final regulations that come into play in two years’ time.
When asked by Motorsport.com, if the rules’ sign-off can be expected in June, Horner said: “I’m sure something is going to be presented. It will probably nowhere near what actually gets signed. I’m sure the regulations will change and evolve.”
He added “Something will come out in June, it will change in September, October, probably in November, and yeah, there’s plenty of ground to cover, but there is a watershed where something will be put in front of us fairly shortly and then the fun really begins.”
Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul admitted there was still ground to cover before an agreement between all sides can be reached on the “key principals” of the 2021 regulations.
The Frenchman added “Will we have a signed contract by FIA, Formula 1 and all 10 teams by end of June or mid-June for the World Motor Council? No, obviously no. But in my opinion, there has been a lot of groundwork already covered.”
“I think it’s all about trying to agree what will be the key principles for 2021, from a commercial perspective, financial perspective, the key principles on the technical side and the sporting side.” Abiteboul says he believes that the changes are about 85% there and goodwill should see them finalised by the end of the year.
Hamilton definitely targets many more years
Lewis Hamilton says he can “definitely” see himself racing in Formula One for many more years, setting his sights on matching the seven titles of Michael Schumacher.
Speaking in an interview recorded before the start of the season, the five times champion told David Letterman that he would be prepared to race until 2024. Since the interview was recorded Hamilton has gone onto win four of the first six races of this season and assumed control of the championship with a hard-fought victory last weekend in Monaco.
Ahead of contract renegotiations which will begin over the winter or early 2020, the Englishman expressed his desire to remain with the team for the foreseeable future. Saying “Michael retired when he was 38. I’m 33. In my mind, I can definitely do five years. I am ridiculously determined to win.”
“What really drives me, and I feel that somewhat the people I race against may lack, is that fire. I’ve got this opportunity. I could easily let go of it right now but I feel like I would be squandering it if I didn’t continue to improve, grow and push.”
Hamilton says he wants to keep going for as long as he can.
Renault considers ‘qualifying car’ next season
Renault is considering building a ‘qualifying car’ as part of its efforts to move further up the grid. Although the French manufacturer has had a difficult start to the season, it believes the baseline of the car is good enough to help it break free of the midfield battle over the rest of the campaign.
As the teams begin to look at the begin to start work on next years car, Renault has revealed it is considering changing focus on how it prioritises single lap pace over long run form.
Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul has said they are weighing up whether concentrating on a car that is best for qualifying rather than a car which can look after its tyres in the race could be a better option.
Abiteboul explained to Autosport, “I think we are looking at two or three changes that are totally possible to do at this point of time, and that can dramatically change the behaviour and the competitiveness of the car next year.”
“The first is aero efficiency, and the second is how you balance qualifying and the race because in modern F1 it is all about qualifying. All tracks are almost like Monaco now, and there is a different pattern of development of the car if you want to focus on qualifying or focus on the race.”
He says that can be things like how you set up the gear ratio, where young need to priorities qualifying or the race. Abiteboul is hoping that can be changed in the 2021 regulation changes, which he hopes will be an opportunity to move forward.
Asking himself about a step forward next year to fight at the front, he said “No, because we know F1. And frankly, our best bet is to work on 2021. That is why there will be a balanced effort of what we do for 2020 because we want to start now and we will be starting now on 2021 development.”
McLaren sees Mercedes qualities – Brown
McLaren CEO Zak Brown says that the team is beginning to see qualities that have made Mercedes so dominant in F1. The recent restructure of the team, including the recent arrival of Andreas Seidl as team principal, the outfit has currently established itself in fourth place in the constructors.
The changes Brown has implemented over the last two years has seen the team rise from the back of the grid to strong midfield challengers. Asked by Motorsport.com, what the key areas of progress he had seen at McLaren were, Brown said “Teamwork. If you look at things like winter testing, I was very pleased to see we were out first team out seven of eight days.”
“When we had an issue we got right back to being next team out. Pitstops are really strong. We’ve had some technical advancement there, that’s just teamwork and focus. There’s a very positive vibe.” Brown believes the biggest think is everyone is clear on there role and are working well together.
With Seidl having been brought in to focus entirely on making the F1 team better, and James Key appointed as technical director, Brown believes he has the key elements in place. Brown said he has everyone he wants and doesn’t feel he has second best.
Seidl has made it clear that he will not rush to make big changes, instead, his immediate focus will be on understanding the teams’ strengths and weaknesses. He says that the team were obviously missing between one and a half to two seconds.
He added “I think it’s important also to get the 2021 regulations because they will affect the overall set-up of the team for the future. Then it’s down to me, together with Zak, to work out this mission.”
Williams hopes for “significant” upgrades
Williams is hoping that its major upgrade plan will bring “significant performance” to its car during the middle part of the season. The British team has been at the back of the field, after a number of setbacks with the FW42 which included a late start to testing and modifications to ensure legality.
While a step forward has been made in the last two races, George Russell and Robert Kubica have been running at the back. Although since the Barcelona updates there has been some progress in the last two races. Speaking in Monaco, deputy team principal Claire Williams, said “We can see some light at the end of the tunnel now. It may be slow but we all know that it takes time to bring performance to your car.”
“There’s definitely a lot of good work going on back at the factory that people may not necessarily be seeing yet. The aero team are doing a great job finding performance in the tunnel.” She believes that the upgrades coming through will bring significant performance upgrades in the next few months.
Although Monaco exposed the weaknesses of the car, it was also the teams best race of the season where Russell ran on the tail of the midfield pack for most of the race.
Williams was also encouraged by its performance at Barcelona, where Russell registered a season’s best deficit to the front of the grid and to the Q2 cut-off, despite minimal upgrades on the car. The team’s gap has closed slightly.
Williams believes it would be unwise to stop developing this year’s car, saying that is against her team’s ethos and they have never done that under her father’s leadership.
Adding “It’s just evolution and development and we’ve just got to keep bringing performance at each and every race. We’ve definitely seen that we’ve done that, we’re closing the gap to the ninth-placed team.”
Ferrari enters eSports
Ferrari is the tenth team to join the Formula One eSports series ensuring all the constructors will contest this years championship. The digital series is in its third season and it will be the second season where the teams will fight for the constructor’s championship.
Last season, Ferrari opted not to contest the first championship for constructors, but team principal Mattia Binotto had recently said they were looking to enter this season.
Last year, Mercedes secured both constructors and drivers’ championship.
Julian Tan, Formula One’s head of growth and esports, said Ferrari’s inclusion was a “momentous milestone” for the virtual championship.
Adding “It’s really exciting to see that all of F1’s teams have bought into the vision. They see the huge potential of esports within Formula 1 and they recognise the importance of the programme as part of our wider objective of reaching out to a new audience.”
The 2019 season will begin in July before concluding at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Formula One has more than doubled the prize money for this year’s esports world championship, with the virtual teams racing for a very real pot of $500,000 (£395,726) compared to last year’s $200,000.