Pirelli open to tyre war
The chairman of Pirelli Marco Tronchetti Provera, says the Italian tyre manufacturer would welcome a return of a tyre war. Pirelli has been Formula One’s only tyre supplier since 2011 and their current deal expires in 2019.
In the recent Global Fan Survey by the Motorsport Network, 69.4% of fans said they would back a return to a competition between tyre manufacturers. The last time F1 had more than one tyre supplier was in 2006, the final year of Michelin and Bridgestone.
When asked by Autosport, if Pirelli would welcome a rival supplier, Tronchetti Provera said: “We race everywhere in the world, alone and against others. We like competition.”
“When we race with the others, we win. We’re ready for any competition, with anybody.” However, says that any opportunity for multiple tyre suppliers would need the backing of the teams. But he dismissed claims a tyre war would push up costs.
Pirelli won the contract in 2015 despite a bid from French supplier Michelin. Speaking about bidding next year for a new deal, Provera suggested the company is keen to continue beyond that.
“We’re committed. We see F1 remaining as the most attractive race in the world. Pirelli is the largest supplier of motorsport globally.”
When asked when he would have to make a decision regarding an extension, Tronchetti Provera replied: “In a year-and-a-half, more or less – halfway through [the current deal].
Red Bull worried about competitiveness
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has admitted he is worried about the competitiveness of the team in the next three Grand Prix’s.
The high downforce nature of the last two races in Barcelona and Monaco played to the team’s strengths, with Daniel Ricciardo scoring a podium at each. However, Montreal, Baku and Red Bull’s home race at the Red Bull Ring all require medium or low downforce where Horner expects his team to struggle.
Horner told Autosport “I think we are certainly understanding the car better, we are developing the car better, we are getting performance on the car and that has worked to good effect.”
“I am a little worried about Canada and Baku, because they are completely different challenges. So the next three are going to be our biggest challenge of the calendar apart from Monza” added Horner.
The Red Bull boss says if the team does ok at these races and with their planned upgrades later in the season the second half could be stronger for the team.
Meanwhile, Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso are more optimistic as they had success because they managed to get the tyres in the right operating window.
James Key says Canada “For various reasons we ended up further back on the grid than we would have liked to have been. We were actually quicker than we thought.”
“We don’t know if that is going to be the case this year, but we’re slightly less concerned than we’d be normally. The tyres suit us as well, our car responds better to the softer tyres.”
Toro Rosso happy with Sainz and Kvyat
Toro Rosso’s team principal Franz Tost says the team would be “more than happy” to retain Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat next season.
Sainz is currently in his third season with the team, while Kvyat returned to the team last May. Sainz has repeated his desire last month to drive for Red Bull, saying he can “do no more” to prove himself worthy of the move.
However, the chances of the Spaniard stepping up appear limited, with both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen both on ‘long term deals’. Any chances for Sainz and Kvyat would be made by Helmut Marko and Red Bull. But Tost insists he would be happy to retain its current line-up.
Tost told Motorsport.com “This is a decision for Red Bull. We have to wait. But if they [Sainz and Kvyat] continue with us it would be fantastic.”
“There are not so many teams out there which are so much better than us. They are still young and we are still developing them. They are 22 and 23 years old. This is not an age where you can say you belong to the old drivers.”
But accepts that Toro Rosso’s main aim is to provide a proving ground and allocate the Red Bull young driver program. Tost says the team is quite happy when drivers progress into the senior team “because it means that the team has done a good job, that the drivers are ready to go and the drivers are ready to win races”
Strong start due to stability at Haas
Haas team principal Gunther Steiner says that his team’s competitive start to the season shows that the team performance is “a lot more stable” than last season.
Haas have scored points in four out of the six races and is currently eighth in the constructor’s championship, bottom of the midfield battle. In Monaco, the team scored their first double points finish allowing them to move level with Renault.
Steiner believes the team can continue to cut the gap if it can remain in a position to fight for points with both cars.
When asked if another double points finish in Canada is key to slashing the gap to its rivals, Steiner told ESPN “For sure it would help, but we’re already confident as we’ve been in the points four times in the last six races. From all our races, we’ve always been in a good position, so we’re a lot more stable than last year already.
“You can’t always get in there all the time and that’s because the midfield is so tight. I think we can achieve it, because if you’re there or about, it will happen.” Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull are likely to be the top six this season, but Steiner says it will be tough to fight at the front.
Steiner said “There is so little room between hero and zero. If you’re not in the points it looks really bad, but six spots are already taken, typically. We are fighting for four spots. It is very difficult to achieve, but we’ve achieved it four times now this year.”
Alonso ready for F1 return
Fernando Alonso says he is ready to return to his “day job” after sitting out the Monaco Grand Prix. The Spaniard missed the race to take part in the Indianapolis 500.
Alonso led for twenty-seven laps and looked like a strong contender for victory before his Honda engine let go while running seventh with twenty-one laps to go. The Spaniard says he will definitely return to the race.
Alonso told Motorsport.com “It’s good to be heading back to Canada – it feels like I’ve spent a lot of time in North America recently. The Indy 500 was an incredible experience.”
“It’s been amazing to learn a completely different style of driving, on a different circuit layout and with a very different car. But I’m ready to get back to my ‘day job’ and go racing in F1 again.”
Alonso admits the layout of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is not going to suit the McLaren as it’s more dependent on straight-line speed and power. However, says that he is excited to get back in the car.
McLaren has struggled this season because of poor reliability and below-par performance from its Honda engine, and it has failed to score a point after six races.
McLaren achieved 96% success rate
Eric Boullier says his McLaren team has an achieved a 95% success rate with their aerodynamic upgrades despite the difficult start to the season.
The team has suffered from poor reliability and an underperforming Honda engine, with the team failing to score any points in the first quarter of the season.
But upgrades for last month’s race in Barcelona which saw a raft of new aerodynamic parts on the MCL32 plus tweaks to Honda’s fuel and intake system worth 10bhp. This allowed the team to get into Q3 for the first time in 2017.
In Monaco the team also brought upgrades, but both Jenson Button and Stoffel Vandoorne had penalties, before crashing out of the race. But Boullier told Autosport, “As the engineers would say, ‘as per map’ – [we’re] very happy. It’s the step we wanted to achieve.
“The correlation is amazing. We have 95% of what we were expecting, so this is brilliant.” He says that the team now has trust in their process and they know what to expect.
“The natural tendency is a deviation, but we are happy we have achieved what we wanted to achieve through our new processes. We can trust the way we work now.”
McLaren’s new baseline should if Honda finds more performance and reliability, lift the team into the midfield. But, Boullier says the current iteration of the MCL32 will give McLaren a reference against which to judge the rest of its 2017 aerodynamic development.
Kubica set for F1 test
Former Renault and Sauber driver Robert Kubica will take part in his first test for Renault since 2011.
The Pole last drove during an official test at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in February 2011. Days before the rally crash in Andorra that spelt the end of his F1 career. Kubica returned to circuit racing last year.
In February, Kubica told Autosport he wanted to drive a Formula One car again and feels he’s physically able too. Also, that he had been in contact with teams and has done simulator work earning himself a test.
Tomorrow he will drive the Lotus E20 from 2012 alongside the team’s test driver Sergey Sirokin.