Renault open to supply Red Bull and Alpha Tauri
Renault has indicated they are willing to supply engines to Red Bull Racing and Alpha Tauri after Honda pulls out of Formula One at the end of 2021.
The two teams have started searching for a new engine supplier after Honda announced it was withdrawing from the sport at the end of next season. Renault supplied Red Bull from 2007 to 2018, and the two companies won four double World Championships together.
However, since the beginning of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014, saw the relationship between the two deteriorate and that led to the two parting company at the end of 2018.
Appendix 9 of the FIA sporting regulations obliges the manufacturer with the fewest partner teams to supply a competitor that has no alternatives. From next year, Mercedes will have four teams and Ferrari three, while currently, Renault’s only commitment is to its rebranded works Alpine outfit.
Abiteboul told Motorsport.com, Renault has not heard from Red Bull about renewing their partnership it is ready to fulfil the FIA’s obligation to supply should it arise.
he said, “I can confirm there was absolutely no conversation to this point. Being in the sport we are well aware of the regulation, and we have every intent to comply with the regulation and with our obligations.”
The Frenchman says there are more details to be worked out, and they have not to be requested yet, that there was still a bit of time before that would happen in the spring.
Asked if a reunion with Red Bull would be awkward given their shared history, Abiteboul replied: “I think so, but we need obviously to look at the sport. And I think we are still very far away from having to possibly cross that bridge. I can’t imagine that Red Bull would not have some plan in the background.”
He says that they need to be aware of that, but suggested that Red Bull already knows what it is going to do, and Renault wasn’t their ‘plan a.’
Abiteboul saws they knew that it was always a possibility that Renault could withdrawal as it was taking time to confirm its future, adding “I guess it’s de facto some form of orientation.”
Fans “can laugh” about Ferrari move – Sainz
Carlos Sainz says fans making jokes about his move to Ferrari for 2021 “can laugh as much as they want” and that he finds their ideas “pretty funny”.
The Spaniard will join the Italian manufacturer next season after signing a deal in May to replace four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel. Ferrari is currently having a difficult season lacking performance and says it is not expecting to challenge for titles until 2022.
Meanwhile, Sainz has said he is laughing off the jokes that are put his way, and that he enjoys some of the humorous creations fans make about F1 drivers online.
Sainz told Autosport, “Honestly, they can laugh as much as they want. I think they are actually pretty funny, some of [the jokes]. People have a lot of free time and they come up with these very funny ideas. And I actually laugh also.”
“When the jokes are about me or the jokes are about the drivers, I’m the first one to laugh and I actually enjoy them. It doesn’t mean that they are right or wrong, it’s just they’re funny. I guess that’s what they pretend to be, so good on them.”
Sainz has stressed he has no fears about joining Ferrari, where he partners Charles Leclerc. He has also said until the end of the season his focus remains on trying to help McLaren secure third in the constructors.
Sainz’s focus on this year is such that he is yet to find a place to live in Italy for when he moves to Ferrari, preferring to focus his energies on his current team.
Adding, “My team mainly, more than me, is trying to find a place. As you know I’m still focused on my season this year.”
Unethical to end Ferrari partnership
Haas team principal Gunther Steiner believes it would be unethical for his team to turn its back on Ferrari and switch engine partners just because it is having a difficult year.
Even since Haas arrived in F1 in 2016 it has worked closely with Ferrari, using its customer engines and buying as many car parts off the Maranello outfit as the rules allow. Ferrari has lost out this season because of technical directives which has seen Haas lose out as well.
The team’s engine supply and technical partnership is due to end at the end of 2021, with Renault being open that it is looking for fresh partner teams, it is clear that Haas could explore opportunities elsewhere.
But Steiner thinks that making an immediate switch, just because Ferrari is having a disappointing campaign, is not the right thing to do. Steiner explained to Mot “I’m a believer in loyalty, as is Gene [Haas, team owner] as well.”
“They [Ferrari] were instrumental to get us here, and they did a good job in doing that. Now they are a little bit in a difficulty, as we obviously know, but I think it will be hopefully a short-term difficulty, and they will get out of it.”
He says that there are several factors at play in deciding whether to continue its relationship with Ferrari. A key factor in this could be that Haas has some of its infrastructure in Italy, and if it were to switch to Mercedes or Renault that infrastructure will need moving to the UK.
Steiner said that Haas had not spoken to any other power unit manufacturers about a future relationship, with Renault itself also suggesting that it was not pushing directly for any new deals.
Coronavirus makes new track preparations “quite difficult”
As new travel restrictions come into force across Europe to stop a second wave of Coronavirus, Mercedes head of track engineering Andrew Shovlin says new track preparations “quite difficult” for Formula One teams.
The next four races at the Nürburgring, Portimão, Imola and in Istanbul, were added to the calendar following the abandonment of the Americas and Asian rounds due to the pandemic. None of these circuits has hosted races for at least seven years.
This weekend race at the Nürburgring, which last staged an F1 race in 2013. This will be followed by back-to-back races at Algarve, hosting its first Grand Prix, and Imola, which has been absent from the calendar since 2006. Istanbul hasn’t hosted a Grand Prix since 2011.
Teams have agreed not to host any private testing before Friday practice and instead are relying on simulator work to get up to speed with the circuits.
As the number of cases rises, the UK is imposing quarantine requirements for an increasing number of countries in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, teams are finding it more and more difficult to get drivers in to complete the simulator days as normal.
Although the teams have an exemption from quarantine guidelines following races, but this does not apply outside of Grand Prix weekends.
Mercedes track engineering director Shovlin, told Motorsport.com, “We’ve got a bit of a backlog of new circuits this year You normally you deal with one or two. There’s an awful lot of additional work that you do with those new tracks. And ideally, you’ll get the drivers there to drive the simulator.”
“But that’s getting increasingly hard with all the restrictions on COVID, because the exemptions only apply to a race weekend. You’re not exempt just because you’re in F1 – it’s only specifically for the race events.”
Looking ahead to the autumn rounds in Europe, Shovlin says that it’s a big unknown how the cars would react, and the current restrictions have made it difficult. While teams have an exemption from quarantine guidelines following races, but this does not apply outside of Grand Prix weekends.
Shovlin says that this weekends race at the Nürburgring could be a “big unknown”, the Met Office currently forecasting the temperatures to be in the low teens and overcast.
Istanbul abandons fans attending
Organisers of the Turkish Grand Prix have abandoned plans to allow fans to attend next month’s race, as coronavirus infections rise across Europe. Istanbul Park had hoped to attract up to 100,000 fans for its F1 return on 13 – 15 November, although the sport’s bosses estimated that number was too optimistic.
But amid growing concerns in Europe about the mounting coronavirus infections, it has now been decided that the public will not be allowed in. Turkey has currently reported 323,014 cases of Covid-19 and 8,384 deaths, with the cases per 100,000 being 3,829.95, according to the WHO.
The governorship of Istanbul announced that, in a bid to help control the spread of the virus, a decision was made on Monday morning that the race should go ahead only behind closed doors.
A statement made by the Governorship of Istanbul said: “Within the scope of efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic, and in accordance with the recommendation of the Istanbul Provincial Pandemic Committee, the F1 Turkish Grand Prix will be held without spectators.”
Interest from fans in attending the Turkish Grand Prix had been high, with more than 40,000 tickets having been sold within a few hours of sales being released. Vural Ak, the chairman of promoter Intercity, said recently that he felt that the event had been on course to reach its 100,000 target.
Ak told Motorsport.com, “We were planning to fill the full capacity, 220,000 seats, under normal circumstances but it’s not possible with COVID-19.”
“Before us, this organisation was without [an] owner. We are passionate and enthusiastic about this sport and we can organise it successfully. But, as you know, there is COVID-19. That’s why we hope to bring about 100,000 people.”
At the last three races a limited number of fans were allowed to attend and the next three races at events at the Nürburgring, Portimao and Imola all being open to fans.
Turkey had been one of the few European countries that had been exempt from the British quarantine restrictions, but was added last week amid concerns about the true scale of infections in the country.
F1 doesn’t need gimmicks to mix it up – Seidl
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl believes that Formula One doesn’t need to mix up the spectacle with invitational races or gimmicks just because Mercedes is dominant.
Liberty Media has been pushing for trials of reverse grid qualifying races next year, some teams have also talked about the idea of shaking up the calendar with invitational races in the future too. This has followed the success of the race at Mugello last month, which was praised for unpredictability by drivers, teams and fans.
However, Seidl warned against doing anything radical, because the only factor that is hurting the spectacle at the moment is that Mercedes is too good. He believes that the 2022 regulation changes will already be enough to close the field, and there was no need for anything extra to be added.
Asked by Motorsport.com, about the invitational race idea, Seidl said: “Honestly, I don’t see that we need it, because I also don’t see that we need things like reverse grids.”
“I think we have seen great races, even last year at the front when three teams with similar resources were fighting for the wins. We have seen great battles in the midfield, and I think we see great battles this year in the midfield.”
Seidl believes that it could create a situation where a team has done a good job with their car could lose out and that Mercedes has worked hard to get where they are.
He also says that the regulation changes for 2022, which should reduce the need for anything artificial to spice up the show. Seidl added, “I’m hopeful that actually we create over the years a field that is a lot closer together, and a more level playing field and also the new technical regulations should help.”