Zero gap to Ferrari – Lauda
Mercedes non-executive chairman, Niki Lauda says the team is now being matched on engine power by Ferrari. Ferrari made some big steps over the winter to be the closes challenger to Mercedes.
While Mercedes have won three of the last four races Ferrari has managed to win the other one. He said he believes “Ferrari has closed the gap from last year to this year to nearly zero.” He thinks that Ferrari has increased there engine by 45 horsepower.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo added “Ferrari have been the biggest movers. Winning the second race was a big step. Last season we were clearly in front of them, but they’ve made a big step in the off-season.”
Far away from the grid – Susie Wolff
Suise Wolff says she still feels “very far away” ahead of her first Friday practice drive of the session. This weekend she will take over the car of Valtteri Bottas for the session.
This weekend marks the fortieth anniversary of the last time a female driver scored a point, Lella Lombardi scored .5 point at the Spanish Grand Prix. She told Autoweek “I do feel very, very close but in the same respect very far away. Because when (Williams) announced (Adrian) Sutil as the reserve, that was a clear sign that ‘Yes, you’re close but you are also still very far away’.”
Meanwhile, her boss Claire Williams who is the team’s Deputy Team Principal has admitted it is really difficult to find female brands as sponsorship.
Going in wrong direction – former team boss
Former Bentton and Renault boss Flavio Briatore, has said he feels that the sport is going in the wrong direction. Briatore told Autoweek that drover should be allowed to treat qualifying as going flat out rather than being concerned about saving tyres.
He said “In Formula One, there is now a lot of technology, but people have noticed there is no longer real racing.” He told Rai Radio that he watched the Bahrain race “for 10 minutes and then did something else. They spend (EUR) 300 million but then have to restrict their drivers in the races.”
Meanwhile, former Ferrari boss told La Repubblica newspaper. “But with hindsight, yes, it would have been better to oppose (the introduction of the current regulations). What I see is an F1 that, while remaining an extraordinary spectacle, is losing market share.”
Warning over future – Maldonado
Louts have warned Pastor Maldonado that his future is not guaranteed despite the considerable financial support he receives from PDVSA. PDVSA is the Venezuelan state-owned oil and gas company has backed Maldonado throughout his career.
Maldonado has only scored two points sinice joining the team last season. But is regarded as untouchable because of the money he brings into the team. Matthew Carter told Autosport “PDVSA are probably one of the biggest sponsors within F1. They are a good sponsor, and while our latest figures stack up, they stack up contingent on PDVSA being involved within the team.”
He added “But then no driver is in a position where they cannot be dropped.”