F1 Today – 04/04/2022

F1 Today

Red Bull convince Mercedes can recover quickly

Red Bull are convinced that Mercedes can quickly recover from its difficult start to the season to be a factor in the championship fight. Red Bull and Ferrari are leading the fight for the title following the first two races, while it has found itself in no man’s land in third in terms of performance as they struggle with porpoising issues.

But while some have already started to write off Mercedes’ chances in the title battle, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has no doubts that the German car manufacturer remains a threat. Speaking to Formel1.de, Marko denied that the early form pointed to the end of the Mercedes era in F1, like Red Bull itself faced after 2013.

he said, “You have to distinguish between the two. The era after 2013 was determined the new engine regulations, and Mercedes had incredible dominance in this field. They were up to two seconds ahead of everyone, but logically didn’t show it.”

“Now with the change of chassis and engine-wise, the differences are not so big. Mercedes is no longer able to turn a knob and immediately stage a party. But the team is broadly positioned and it is also staffed with really top people in the chassis area.”

Marko is convinced that Mercedes will be back when they get the bouncing under control, pointing out that Lewis Hamilton was only nine points behind Max Verstappen. He is convinced that Mercedes will be back when they get the bouncing under control, saying he doesn’t think its an end of an era but maybe the fight on the same level.

Mercedes has struggled to get on top of the proposing issues which has been cited as the main reason, but Marko suggested that could be to do with the move towards a more sustainable fuel.

Asked about Mercedes having expressed some confidence about the change of fuel, Marko replied: “Well, it wasn’t a cinch for us, and not everything is the same. But of course, we don’t have this detailed knowledge of the Mercedes.

The other theory is that Red Bull has drained Mercedes of expertise after signing staff from its engine division to its new powertrains division, asked to put a figure on it, Marko said it was around fifty.

 

Return to Las Vegas in 2023

Last week it was announced that from next year the United States will have three races when Las Vegas returns to the calendar. The city previously hosted two Grands Prix in the 1980s but the new circuit will be designed to run around legendary landmarks.

The 3.8-mile circuit which features three straights and fourteen corners, which should see top speeds estimated to be over 212 mph. The race will be fifty laps and will feature a high-speed cornering sequence and a single chicane section.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, said, “This is an incredible moment for Formula One that demonstrates the huge appeal and growth of our sport with a third race in the US. Las Vegas is a destination known around the world for its excitement, hospitality, thrills, and of course, the famous Strip.”

“There is no better place for Formula One to race than in the global entertainment capital of the world and we cannot wait to be here next year.” Las Vegas will be a night race and the second attempt to try and get a race going in Vegas, the previous attempt resulting in a race around the car park of Caesars Palace hotel.

Last week Domenicali told Sky Sports that Africa could also hold races in the future, with the calendar set to grow. Africa is the only inhabited continent which doesn’t currently have a Grand Prix.

A return to Kyalami, near Cape Town which last hosted a race in 1993 has been seen as the best option. The Italian added “On top of America, on top of China, I think there is a potential also to be in Africa soon. There is a lot of interest there. For sure that’s another area that so far is missing in the geography of our calendar.”

 

Ricciardo braced for the long haul to be competitive

Daniel Ricciardo says he is a bracing himself for it to take some time for McLaren to return to full competitiveness. The Australian had a difficult few weeks in the middle east, missing the second test with Covid in Sakhir then failing to score points in the race as well as retiring in Jeddah.

McLaren is also working on resolving its lack of downforce which has left it looking for answers for its lack of pace. Ricciardo says he is remaining realistic about just how long it will take McLaren to deliver the necessary upgrades to its car, so he is not anticipating any swift leap forward in pace.

Asked by Motorsport.com if he was prepared for a long slog, Ricciardo said: “Yeah, I think so – and I think you have to mentally. Look, if in two races’ time, we’re fighting for top five, then okay, we’ll take it and that’s a bonus.

“But I think mentally to remain, let’s say, calm and chill and level-headed and sensible, you need to realise that we’re not looking for three or four-tenths. It’s over a second if we want to fight the wins.” He says that the team will need to be patient for the wellness of the team.

McLaren’s current form is not where the team had hoped to be, but Ricciardo has faith they are capable of turning it around. Saying if they were to win a race this season he wouldn’t be surprised as he still believes in the team and wouldn’t be surprised if they did win a race later in the year.

He says they have in the last week got themselves out of crisis mode and in six months time where the team are.

 

Early struggles will help Sainz learn

Carlos Sainz believes that the lessons he learned in Jeddah will help him to understand his early season struggles with the F1-75. The Spaniard has started the season with back-to-back podiums, finishing second behind teammate Charles Leclerc in Sakhir and third in Jeddah.

But Sainz has been open about his difficulty in matching Leclerc through the early part of the year, calling Bahrain his “most difficult weekend” as a Ferrari driver. While he was reluctant to reveal what he has been struggling with, he says driving in Jeddah twice in the space of four months was a useful way to see where he was behind compared to last year.

Sainz said after the race in Saudi Arabia, “This has been one of the best experiences year so far, experience in terms of just going to a track that 100 days ago, I was here with a super high level of confidence with last year’s car. I was super-weak in quali and in the race.”

“I knew exactly what to expect from the car and what the car was giving me. One hundred days later, I come back and in corners where last year I was very strong, this year, I seem to be struggling quite a bit more and I’m not driving the car the way that it should be driven.”

The Spaniard says that the car was not giving him the feeling he needs for his driving style he feels he has made a step forwards and in the right direction. But added, “that last year I was feeling so confident and comfortable that this year I’m not. It has given me good data points to work on and become stronger for the future.”

 

Haas will not bring upgrades for the sake of it

Haas says it will not fall into the trap of rushing through upgrades for its 2022 car just for the sake of trying new things. The American owned team is looking to build on its strong start to the season which has sees it fifth in the constructors, but it is aware that its rivals will be trying to catch up.

While team principal Gunther Steiner thinks that there is a lot more scope to extract speed out of the current package, and says it is important that any developments brought to the car do bring a sizeable benefit. He explained that he thinks that upgrades are overrated.

Steiner told Motorsport.com, “People like to hear that you are bringing upgrades, but if you bring upgrades for one, two or three [downforce] points, the part looks different, but what does it actually do? That is important for me.”

“If you ask an aerodynamicist, they will bring to every Grand Prix a million dollars worth of upgrades for one point. But that needs to be managed on a budget cap more than anything else. I’m not saying that nobody brings good ones, but I think they’re a little bit overrated sometimes.”

Steiner says the intention this year is to stay calm because they want to get the package together, and not change the balance of the car. The focus of the team looks to be on understanding and getting the best out of the car.

Steiner says he and his team found out the hard way in 2019 how much effort can be wasted on upgrades, when the team abandoned all its updates towards the end of the campaign to revert to the package it had the started the season with because it was better.

Haas are currently fifth in the constructors after Kevin Magnussen’s point-scoring drives in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Based on the teams pace, Steiner believes that the team can regularly be fighting behind Ferrari and Red Bull.

Adding “Obviously, there’s always things to improve but Kevin has said the car is really nice to drive. It’s so competitive and he feels he can challenge all the time. So the car is pretty good. Then it’s down to having a good weekend, finding the right setup and getting the best out of it.”

Jack

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.