Ferrari proves you don’t need technical wizard
Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa says that his former team has proved that teams are able to compete at the front without the likes of technical wizard Adrian Newey.
Ferrari has had a strong start to the season since not winning a race since 2015, in the hybrid-turbo era. The team has had a great start to the season winning two of the opening four races, allowing them to lead the driver’s championship.
Following the departure of James Allison, Ferrari introduced a more horizontal structure and to promote from internally within the technical department overseen by Mattia Binotto. Massa told Autosport, the team’s upturn in performance has validated its new approach.
“I think Ferrari is doing something that nobody expected this year. And that’s really nice, that shows that it doesn’t mean that, because you have Adrian Newey in your team.”
“That everything will be better than everybody [else]. I think if you just put the people to work together in different areas, even if they don’t have a top name, they can do a good job.” There had been thoughts the regulation changes would have brought Red Bull into play.
Red Bull so far have only taken a podium in China, like many Massa believed that the team would be F1’s best hope of a fight at the front.
Saying “In November, if you ask me, I would say the only team that can fight with Mercedes is Red Bull. In some of the races last year, Red Bull was doing a good job [and its Renault] engine was maybe still not great but getting better.”
Lack of technology makes IndyCar more enjoyable
Fernando Alonso says the lack of complicated technology in IndyCar which makes the sport more enjoyable in some respects. The Spaniard completed his first test on Wednesday doing 110 laps in the Andretti he will race with later this month.
Alonso needed to complete a series of laps increasing his speeds to complete the Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) before the Autosport Andretti team made a number of changes to his car trim away downforce and drag as Alonso’s confidence increased.
When asked if the relative simplicity of the car made the experience more enjoyable than F1, he said: “It does. It does. You know, they ask you if you are ready inside the car, you say yes. You switch on the car, and you go. They put fuel, tires, and you go.”
“While in Formula One, it takes maybe six minutes to fire up the car, because they need to check, recheck.” he says its probably more fun as you switch the engine on and race.
Alonso’s fastest lap of 222.548 mph on his test day, after building up his speed during the 40 laps of the ROP. He described it as going through 130R at Suzuka.
He says IndyCar is just more raw and everything is more racing.
Renault regains touch on strategy
Renault’s managing director Cyril Abiteboul says the French team is regaining their “touch” on strategy. In Sochi, Nico Hulkenberg scored points for the second race in a row following a forty lap stint on the ultra softs.
The Frenchman says that using unusual strategies are a way of the team regaining results like they had under the Louts name. He says we lost out in the first few races but it is all part of the rebuilding process.
He told Autosport “I think we lost it for the first few races frankly, but I think that is one of the things that as we are rebuilding as a team we need to get used to again.”
“We’re rebuilding confidence in ourselves, understanding the drivers, understanding the car, understanding the tyres. That’s the sort of thing that you can expect to see more and more from us.” He says the team monitor tyre life carefully.
Hulkenberg has made it into the Q3 shootout in all four grand prix’s in 2017, and encouragingly for Renault, the car showed much-improved race form. Abiteboul says this proves that they are in the top ten in qualifying.
Coming back is Button’s “dream”
Jenson Button has told Sky Sports that returning for the Monaco Grand Prix is a “dream” any driver would want to live, despite feeling as though he has “done my time” in the sport.
Six months into a sabbatical which was expected to lead to his retirement, Button is to replace Fernando Alonso when he races at the Indianapolis 500. In an interview with Sky Sports to be aired next week, Button said he could not turn down the request and that his “excitement” is now building.
“Of course when the chance came to race in Monaco I was going to take it. I don’t want to be racing in Formula 1 for a whole season because I’ve done my time in Formula 1.”
“I’ve loved most of my career, but it was time for me to have a break. But to come back for the Monaco Grand Prix, that is just the dream for a racing driver.” Button says coming back for the “most glamorous” race in the sport.
Button opted not to test last month in Bahrain but has been carrying out simulator work. He says there is so much to learn and says he “still got it”, after doing his first five laps.
Ricciardo fears Spanish tyre selection
Daniel Ricciardo says that he fears that the harder compounds of tyres that Pirelli has picked for the Spanish Grand Prix are “not good for anyone.”
This season drivers have struggled to get the more durable rubber up to temperature, and even the ultrasoft were able to last the race stint in Russia. Ricciardo says he is worried about the tyres being too hard.
He explained to Motorsport.com “We’re going for the harder tyres for the first time this year in Barcelona. I’m not sure if it’ll help us or not but I just don’t think it’s going to be good for anyone.”
“The tyres are already hard enough so the harder compounds are just way too hard. Hopefully, for Barcelona’s sake it’s hot and therefore these harder tyres work.”
For next weekend Pirelli has chosen the soft, the medium and the hard to the Spanish Grand Prix, which is the last of the events where F1’s tyre supplier has mandated the quantity of each compound available.
Drivers must use at least a set of mediums or a set of hards for the race.
Schumacher charity match
The second ‘Champions for Charity’ football match will take place on the 3rd of July in honour of the Schumacher’s Keep Fighting Initiative.
The event which honours the seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher following the skiing accident in Grenoble in December 2013, when he suffered serious head injuries. The event will raise money for the Keep Fighting Initiative and the children’s charity Dirk Nowitzki Foundation,
Last year’s inaugural event drew in 25,000 people raising 100,000 euros for the charity.
Mick Schumacher said “For me it is a matter of course that I am attending Champions for Charity. At last year’s match I barely stopped laughing, and it’s a good feeling to be able to support charitable initiatives.”