Ricciardo admits it was a stressful decision to leave Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that it was a stressful decision to leave Red Bull to join Renault for 2019, which may have affected his preparation into races which lead up to the summer break.
The Australian stunned the sport when he announced in early August that he was joining Renault after he debated for a number of months whether to leave Red Bull for the French manufacturer. Leading up to the decision, Red Bull’s performances dropped off after a brilliant start to the season which saw the Australian driver claim wins in China and Monaco.
At the time he was also discussing possibilities of moves to Mercedes and McLaren, as well as renewing his Red Bull contract. But it was believed around mid-July until the announcement was made that he would stay with Red Bull until the Renault move was confirmed in the week following the Hungarian Grand Prix.
He insists he was able to switch off all the outside noise every time he jumped in the car for a race, he believes the strain of making that decision had more of an impact on him than he initially realised.
Ricciardo told ESPN, “At time, I didn’t think so,” Ricciardo told ESPN. “I feel like even if I was to, say, trip and fall over on the way to the car and scratch all my arm, by the time I got in the car it would be blacked out in my head.
“I guess what would have affect, which you probably don’t think at a time, is when you’re away from the track and instead of getting eight hours sleep a night, you’re getting six hours sleep because your brain is ticking… for sure this has some form of an accumulated affect.”
But believes he has been stronger in the car, as well as being more switched on while accepting it might have affected him without him knowing.
Ricciardo had the large share of Red Bull and Renault’s reliability issues this season, losing serval point scoring opportunities. Asked if 2018 was the most difficult season of his career, he said: “One hundred percent. Even if you ignore the results there was so much going on around it…. Highs and lows.”
Red Bull announces young driver ties with Honda
Red Bull has announced a new look to its young driver programme as it ties in with Honda’s Formula Dream Project, meaning that two of its young drivers Dan Ticktum and Lucas Auer will join the project.
Ticktum finished runner-up in Euro Formula Three this season behind Mick Schumacher, he took a dominant second victory at the Macau Grand Prix this year. However, while regarded as one for the future, he doesn’t yet qualify for a super licence. He has opted to compete in Super Formula next year.
The nephew of grand prix winner Gerhard Berger, Auer tested with Force India in F1 and has won races for Mercedes in the DTM – but was left without a drive for 2019 due to the Silver Arrows pulling out of the German series.
The Austrian, who has been made an official part of Red Bull’s junior programme, will link up with the new joint operation between Motopark and B-Max in Japan. They have also added European F3 rookie star Juri Vips and Japanese F4 champion Yuki Tsunoda to its junior roster.
Vips, who had his first outing as a Red Bull-backed driver in Macau, will join Hitech’s line-up in the new FIA F3 series. Tsunoda showed strong pace in the post-Abu Dhabi test, with him and Vips looking to race in F3.
Red Bull said it would reveal more details on its activities in the “coming weeks”, which will entail announcements of 2019 plans for Jack Doohan, Dennis Hauger, Jonny Edgar and Harry Thompson
FIA approves 2019 calendar
Formula One’s governing body the FIA has formally approved the 2019 calendar, with the dates remaining the same as on the provisional version released in October.
The twenty-one race calendar begins in Melbourne the weekend of 15 – 17 March and will end in Abu Dhabi on the weekend 29 November – 01 December.
The one thousandth Grand Prix will take place in the Chinese city of Shanghai between 12 – 14 April. All the races apart from Austin and Mexico City remain in the same order as 2018.
Giovinazzi doubts experience will help
Antonio Giovinazzi doubts that race experience he gained in the first two races of 2017 will help him as he expects that his first full season will be “a lot” easier to approach
The Italian made his debut in 2017 filling in for the injured Pascal Wehrlein in Melbourne and Shanghai. Since then he has worked with the teams’ test and reserve driver, as well as spending time with Ferrari this season.
Asked by Motorsport.com, “if he thought the experience from 2018 would be a help. Unfortunately, it’s already a long time ago. It’s the beginning of last year! It was not a full weekend [in Australia], it was only on Saturday. In China, I missed FP1 and FP2 because of the weather so I started again from FP3.”
“It was difficult to approach, but fortunately next year will be a lot more easy. I will have the winter tests in Barcelona and I will be a lot more ready when I arrive in Melbourne.” Giovinazzi has only raced once since crashing out in Shanghai in 2017.
Asked if he missed full-time racing, he said that he missed the pressure of full-time racing and says that he can’t wait to race full-time next year. He admitted that he has missed the pressure of racing full time, adding “It will be quite tough for the first races. I have a world champion [Kimi Raikkonen] beside me, who has a lot of years in F1.”
Grosjean could not forgive repeat of 2018
Romain Grosjean says he could not forgive himself if his woes which marred the beginning of 2018 were to repeat themselves. Although the Frenchman ran strongly before retiring in Melbourne, because of a pit stop error.
In the following couple of races, he had a number of incidents, which appeared to place his future in doubt. However, regaining his metal approach appeared to help Grosjean to finish the season strongly and earn him a new contract for 2019.
Asked by Autosport, what he needs to do this winter to ensure he performs at his best, Grosjean said: “Definitely not have the same mistakes as I had this year. I don’t think I would pardon myself if I had another start of the season as I had.
“Definitely a lot learned this year, understanding what had happened. I remember the week before the German Grand Prix I called my manager and I said ‘I’m back’. Even before driving the car I said ‘I’m back’ and I was back.”
Grosjean’s recovery this season has been likened to the way he turned himself around following his ban in 2012, following the multi-car pile up at the Belgian Grand Prix. He, however, believes that this years turnaround is more special and something he was quite proud of.
Asked by Autosport if he knew what was needed to prevent a repeat, he replied: “I hope so, I hope so. You never know until you’ve done it. But so far I’ve always learned my lessons and not done the same mistake twice and hopefully, that’s the same case again.”
More than half of Raikkonen Haiku books sold
Autosport says it has sold more than half of the English version of a Kimi Raikkonen-flavoured Haiku poetry books. The book features a number of quotes by the Finn, which have been turned into Haikus, a form of Japanese poetry comprising three lines of five, seven, and five syllables.
Raikkonen wrote the poems himself, which has become a hit on social media after being unveiled as part of Philip Morris International’s Mission Winnow initiative at this year’s Japanese Grand Prix.
PMI partnered with Autosport.com to publish and sell the book online, with all money raised from the book sale to be donated to the Grand Prix Trust. More than 5,000 copies of the book, available online here, have already been sold.
The GPT, formerly the Grand Prix Mechanics Trust, is a charity has been known as the Grand Prix Trust to recognise the broader reach and scope of those it is set up to help. Trust chairman Martin Brundle described the Raikkonen Haikus as “absolutely brilliant”.
The former F1 driver turned journalist and broadcaster, said “You’ve got to read it in Kimi’s voice I think to go with it. Half of them are sold already, you can find them for sale on the Autosport website, and hopefully, you’ll enjoy the book and the GP Trust will make some money.”
“Formula 1 is 68 years old and at the Grand Prix Trust we help a lot of people who have fallen on hard times from the Formula 1 industry over those decades.”
The trust covers pensions and healthcare for all former employees of teams that have gone out of business.