Rules to force teams into splitting development
New regulation tweaks are set to force the teams into splitting their development programmes in two as there is little which teams are going to be able to carry over to next years car.
New rules were introduced for 2019, in response to the lack of overtaking, with the aim of allowing the cars to follow closer and they are hoping that new front and rear wings, as well as changes to the bargeboards and brake duct concepts, will allow cars to follow closer.
Although the changes appear to be quite minor from the outside, teams have quickly come to realise that it will require a change of approach in how they push forward.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Renault’s chassis technical director Nick Chester said: “It’s made it quite a bit harder because, had we stayed with the same regs, you could have pretty much carried on developing your 2018 car and it would have been very similar to your ’19 car. The split would have almost not been there.
“Now it’s a really definite split. Any work you do on an ’18 wing now you’re not going to carry forward into ’19. It’s changed our philosophy of how we do our split.”
Other changes include an increase in fuel, which will mean that teams will need to start from scratch with the chassis. Which Force India’s technical director Andy Green wasn’t expecting and means abandoning the car which is currently under development.
Green says “We cannot do both. We are not a big enough team to be able to focus on that sort of project without taking some resource off this car.”
He added that with so much resource needing to be put into the 2019 challenger, it would limit the developments that would be added over the second half of this season.
Mercedes hoping for more performance
Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff says that the team are hoping that there new power unit which will be introduced at the Canadian Grand Prix, will have more performance.
Most of the engine manufacturers are bringing their first in-season engine upgrades coinciding with the team’s first engine change of the season. Montreal has always been a power sensitive circuit and Mercedes are looking for a boost to pull away from Ferrari.
The Mercedes boss told Sky Sports “We expect a number of teams to take their scheduled second Power Units this weekend, including all the Mercedes-powered cars.”
“We are pushing hard to bring more performance to the car as soon as possible.” However, Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey has played down Renault’s upgrades, only expecting a tenth of a second in lap time, and instead, the team are facing penalties for Daniel Ricciardo after his MGU-K was damaged in his Monaco win.
But Mercedes is still a long way from the three-unit limit and grid drops, with both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on the engine elements they started the season with in Australia.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is looking for his seventh career win in Montreal to equal Michael Schumacher, he remains the driver to beat as he has only qualified off the front row once.
“In recent years, Mercedes has performed well in Montreal – and it’s one of Lewis’ most successful circuits, too. However, past performances bring no guarantee of success this year.” Added Wolff.
“We will need to make sure we get the most from all the tyre compounds, including the Hypersoft, if we want to come out on top this weekend.”
Ricciardo to take grid penalty
Daniel Ricciardo will take a grid penalty for this weekends Canadian Grand Prix, for exceeding his allocation for engine parts as Renault introduce an upgraded power unit.
The Red Bull driver will move to his third MGU-K of the season pushing over the allocation and triggering an automatic ten place grid penalty. Renault will use an upgraded engine in Montreal but chief technical officer Adrian Newey said it was not a major improvement.
Newey told BBC News “He will definitely be taking some penalties in Montreal. We haven’t heard yet just how many. It’s about 1% (more power), which is a tenth of a second. So it’s worth having but it’s not a make or break,” he added.
Ricciardo’s Monaco engine suffered a failure of the MGU-K, the part of the hybrid system that recovers energy from the rear axle and through which all the engine’s electrical energy is deployed to the rear wheels.
The Australian has already used up all his allocated engine components, meaning every new component added to his Red Bull will trigger either a five or ten-place penalty. Renault’s reliability problems threaten to derail Ricciardo’s slim title hopes.
While Ricciardo is still the outsider he still remains in the title race as he has won the same number of races as championship leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton leads the championship, fourteen points clear of Vettel and thirty-eight ahead of Ricciardo, who would be in a better position had he not retired from the Bahrain race with an engine problem and then crashed out with team-mate Max Verstappen in Azerbaijan.
FIA adds third DRS Zone for Canada
The FIA has added a third DRS Zone to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in a bid to boost overtaking at this weekends Canadian Grand Prix. The new zone will be between turn seven and eight, adding to the two which are currently along the start/finish straight and Casino Straight.
This season the sports governing body has been experimenting with DRS zones, either extending them like it did in Spain or adding an extra one as happened in Australia.
In March, race director Charlie Whiting said the FIA was not scared to experiment if there was a chance it could help make a better show.
Speaking in Australia about the extra zone there, Whiting said: “It was just to offer something else. We will try and do something more effective at other tracks where there’s more opportunity to do that.”
Hartley says he reminds himself he enjoys F1
Brendon Hartley says that sometimes needs to remind himself that he enjoys racing in Formula One, believing that his current experience is similar to being in LMP1 with Porsche.
The two times World Endurance Champion moved to Toro Rosso at the end of last season, before being signed full time for this year. He told Motorsport.com that there were “a lot of similarities” between Porsche and the Toro Rosso-Honda F1 team, but the individual pressure could be greater.
In an interview with the website, seven months on “There’s a little bit more media on a week-to-week basis in Formula 1, so you feel like there’s a few more eyes on you. In some ways, it can feel like maybe more pressure in Formula 1 because you’re one driver rather than three.”
Hartley said top-tier sportscar racing was also high-pressure and contained the same need “to remind yourself why you do it”. The New Zealander hasn’t managed to use that experience he has in fuel and tyre management to get a good result in F1.
He says the team’s opportunity to score big points in Bahrain, where Gasly was fourth, was his main frustration. Saying “I know you could argue it wasn’t the best start for me.”
“But actually when I look back on the first three races, two of the first three I out qualified my team-mate.
Honda’s Moto GP drivers test Toro Rosso
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have driven the Toro Rosso at the Red Bull Ring. Honda’s Moto GP drivers were taking part in an event to promote this years Austrian Grand Prix’s which will be held within the next twelve weeks.
The four times champion drove the morning session with Pedrosa taking over in the afternoon. The event was watched by Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, Red Bull owner Dietrich Matechitz, Honda motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto and Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.
According to Motorsport.com Marquez was the faster of the two in the STR12 with a 14.9, after spinning on his fastest lap. He was ten seconds slower than Valtteri Bottas’s pole time last season, but was eight tenths faster than his own pole time. However the car was on hard demo tyres and had no DRS or Kers.
Marquez told motorsport.com “Today, a full smile, all day! It was a great experience. It was incredible to drive a Formula 1 car, because it’s my first experience with a car at a track – I never drove before. I drove a Formula 3 car, but only two laps in Motegi.”
Mentor and Channel 4 analyst Mark Webber, said it was an “honour” to coach Marquez, who was “super-impressive” in rapidly learning the techniques needed to drive a Formula One car properly.
“It’s impressive, because obviously Marc is at the top of his game on two wheels and to come to drive a Formula 1 car, the way we generate the lap time is just so different,” Webber said.