Gasly says he has a lot to learn
Pierre Gasly says that he still has a lot to learn as he prepares to fight against Max Verstappen for the first time at Red Bull next season. The Frenchman is replacing Daniel Ricciardo, after his impressive first full season.
The twenty-two-year-old is older than the Dutchman, but Verstappen has more experience in the sport and has already established himself as one of the leading drivers in the sport, with five wins. Speaking to Sky Sports, Gasly said “I’m still only going to be in my second season of Formula 1 so there are still a lot of things to learn and I still need to develop myself.”
“But I know I’m quick, I need to make the best out of my skills and my qualities but also work on all the areas I can improve. We will see how it goes against Max. He is one of the most talented drivers at the moment, it’s always good to be next to a competitive guy.”
Gasly says that he will give Verstappen a hard time, as well as trying to develop as much as possible as a driver. The Frenchman will be the teams expert when it comes to the Honda power unit, having a year’s experience of working with Honda and is convinced their expanded partnership with Red Bull will succeed.
Asked if Honda can get close to matching Mercedes and Ferrari’s power output, Gasly replied: “Pretty close. I really believe in this project and I can see how much work and dedication they are putting [in]. I’m sure they are going to close it at some point.
However, warned the team that while he hopes they come up with something really exciting for 2019, Red Bull needs to give them time. should the Red Bull-Honda package prove to be a regular contender for race victories then Gasly is aware that Verstappen will be at the sharp end of the field.
The Frenchman says his challenge will be to deliver the same level of performance. Adding that the Red Bull “package works and next year we also need to see how it goes with Honda. But I think it’ll be really interesting and if there is a winning car I’m sure he’s going to be right at the top
TAG Heuer remains Red Bull sponsor
TAG Heuer will remain as Red Bull’s partner next season, but will not be the team’s engine sponsor following its engine deal with Honda. Red Bull sold the naming rights in 2016 following a political row with Renault and the rights being sold to the Swiss watchmaker.
Although the Swiss firm can no longer brand the engine, it has extended its deal to be Red Bull Racing’s official timekeeper and watch partner until 2021.
According to the team, “the relationship will evolve in the years to come” and, as a first step, a Max Verstappen special edition watch will be issued in 2019.
Team Principal, Christian Horner said, “Over the past three seasons the TAG Heuer name has become deeply linked with the team’s efforts. Through its branding of our power units, and also via the company’s exceptional global visibility.
“The TAG Heuer name has outstanding heritage in F1, stretching back to the golden age of Grand Prix racing, and we are proud to play a part in that continuing story.”
Incoming CEO Stephane Bianchi added: “It was evident to me that the incredible link between TAG Heuer and F1 had to continue through this partnership.”
TAG Heuer is one of the longest-lasting sponsors in the sport, having been a partner of Ferrari in the 1970s, and latterly of McLaren.
F1 “very hopeful” of a deal with Silverstone
Formula One remains “very hopeful” that a new deal can be agreed to keep the British Grand Prix at Silverstone while admitting at the same time a race in London would be an “ideal circumstance.”
Silverstone triggered a break clause, nicknamed article 50, last year because the cost of holding the race was unaffordable to the BRDC. No agreement has been reached between the BRDC and Liberty Media for a revised contract from 2020, meaning next years race could be the last race at Silverstone, both sides are keen to agree a deal.
Speaking to Sky Sports, managing director for commercial operations, Sean Bratches, said “We are very hopeful. There has not been a lot of change in terms of the last time we spoke.”
“We are having discussions and conversations around the business terms and both genuinely trying to get a deal done. Silverstone – it speaks for itself – it’s an extraordinary brand. It’s the home of the first Grand Prix.”
Silverstone which was the birthplace of modern F1 and is considered as the only viable option for the sport in the UK. While a race in London has long been mooted as a ‘dream’ alternative or additional venue for a race.
Asked if there were any ongoing talks with London, Bratches said: “We are having conversations with the mayor’s office and conversations with cities around the world.
“Certainly if there was an opportunity in London for us to race in the great streets here this would be an ideal circumstance – both for London and for Formula 1 fans around the world.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan told Sky Sports at last year’s F1 Live demonstration event in Trafalgar Square that he would be open to discussing the idea of a race with the sport’s officials.
FIA president Jean Todt says that he hopes that the race remains on the calendar into the mid to late 2020s, and was surprised about the negativity.
Todt said “You have an amazing passion for motorsport in the UK, you have the tradition. You have a lot of great events so we should be very optimistic – but still, there are points to address and all that needs to be addressed should be addressed.”
Drivers asked for advice on tyre selection
Pirelli has asked the teams and drivers for “expert” advice to help it decide which tyre compounds should make available for the start of 2019. This year the tyre manufacturer has been criticised by various teams and drivers since F1 asked for Pirelli to start producing the high-degradation tyres.
The problems teams and drivers have faced this year after they went a step softer, has been overheating and blistering. This has led to several races where the teams and drivers have been forced into extreme tyre management.
Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola joined a Grand Prix Drivers’ Association in Brazil and has continued this push by inviting more contributions to the compound-selection process.
Pirelli uses its own simulations to tell the FIA which three compounds it would like to make available for each race. Isola told Autosport “For the selection, we are trying to involve the teams and drivers. We would like the expert opinion, it will be a bit more complicated but we will try to do our best to make the best selection.”
Isola stressed that the manufacturer wasn’t seeking to change how F1 establishes its rules and requirements but wants more people to be involved in producing feedback. Pirelli says that they will not be swayed by teams agendas and that it will be ‘give me feedback on what you believe is the best choice’, but also, ‘why?’.
“If you’re Team A and say, ‘For Australia I suggest compounds 2/3/4’, tell me the reason behind that. Is it because you believe you’re stronger or have more strategies, or what?”
Pirelli will nominate the tyre compounds for the season opener on Thursday, teams will then need to make their selections for pre-season testing for Melbourne, plus a draft selection for the rest of the first five Grand Prix’s, by December 13.
Isola first communicated a desire to have a better dialogue with drivers after joining the GPDA meeting in Brazil, even though he conceded it would be difficult.
New data for fans using AI
Formula One will use artificial intelligence to help explain the racing better to fans, using some data not available to the teams themselves, during broadcasts next season.
This year the sport entered into a partnership with Amazon Web Services to provide new graphics using its Sagemaker tool. Broadcasts used several new graphics in the 2018 season and bosses plan to increase this further next year.
F1 managing director for motorsports and technical director Ross Brawn says that he wants to give the fans access to some of the data available to teams on the pit-wall, he also believes AI can give TV viewers a unique insight of every race.
He told ESPN, “For the 2018 F1 season we started the process. We’re digging deeper to show you where the performance is coming from — when is a car faster, why is it faster? For next season we’re expanding F1 Insights for our viewers.”
“By further integrating the telemetry data, such as the car position, the tyre condition, even the weather, we can use Sagemaker to predict car performance, pit-stops and race strategy.” Brawn gave three different examples on a screen, each of which focused on a key aspect of any grand prix: wheel-to-wheel racing, car performance and pit-stop strategy.
Brawn who has won multiple constructors championships, admitted this was uncharted territory for the sport and says that it will be a fascinating insight for fans.
“We as Formula One know the data from both cars and we can make this comparison, that’s never been done before.”
As for helping fans better understand pit-stops and the strategy around each race, Brawn said: “It’s major strategic element of the race and one stop is mandatory. Stopping at the right time, fitting the right tyre, can win or lose a race.
“We’re going to take all the data and give the fans and insight into why they stopped and when they stopped — ‘did the team and driver make the right call?”