McLaren rejects approach for Noris
McLaren has rejected an offer for the team’s reserve driver Lando Noris to drive for Toro Rosso this season. Red Bull had wanted the McLaren reserve driver and Formula Two championship leader to replace Brendon Hartley
However they want to retain Noris because they currently have not resolved there 2019 line up, as Fernanda Alonso is yet to agree to a new deal beyond this year. A McLaren spokesman said: “We are not surprised that other teams approach our drivers. They clearly believe they are as talented as we do.”
Toro Rosso refused to comment.
Although the top three teams have at least one seat free for 2019, it is expected that they will likely retain their current line up and none are believed to be interested in signing Alonso, even though he is still regarded as one of the very best drivers on the grid.
Alonso has set as his target to win motorsport’s so-called ‘triple crown’ of the Monaco Grand Prix, which he has already won twice, the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Indianapolis 500.
McLaren is assessing whether to set up an Indycar team and one possibility is that Alonso could either do a full programme in the US-based series next year, or dovetail an F1 season with a second attempt at the Indy 500.
McLaren also needs to resolve the future of Stoffel Vandoorne, the Belgian has struggled against Alonso. The team has also brought in former Indycar driver Gil De Ferran as a roving adviser, and one of the Brazilian’s responsibilities is to help in the development of the team’s young drivers.
De Ferran is attending grands prix for McLaren and has been charged with offering advice or opinion on any subject he considers might be worthwhile. Though there on track performance has improved this season, McLaren remains one and a half seconds of leading Renault powered car Red Bull.
This has lead to the departure of chief technical officer Tim Goss, and are restructuring their technical department having realised they have fallen a long way behind the best teams in design capability.
Honda confirms focus of Montreal upgrade
Honda has announced that the engine upgrades for this weekends Canadian Grand Prix is centred around improvements to its internal combustion engine.
Toro Rosso, the teams engine partner are expected to bring an update for the power sensitive circuit which could bring them an extra 27bph. However, the Japanese manufacturer has been wary not to harm reliability.
Technical director Toyoharu Tanabe has said the upgrade would be focused around the ICE would be introduced in Montreal. He told Motorsport.com, “The updates are mainly to the ICE, focusing on improving performance. The Montreal circuit is known for its long straights, where over 60% of the lap is spent at full throttle.”
The upgrades are being brought to improve driveability and increase power, Montreal is a circuit which is sensitive to power.
Also Red Bull will use the Canadian Grand Prix to assess the performance of Honda’s power unit compared to current supplier Renault as it weighs up whether it should switch engine provider for 2019.
Pirelli using Montreal to decide where to use hypersofts
Pirelli says the performance of the hypersoft tyres at this weekends Canadian Grand Prix will help them to decide where the softest tyre compound will be used later this season.
The hypersoft tyre was first used in Monaco, however, this weekends race will give a better understanding of how the tyre performs on a purpose-built circuit. F1 Boss Mario Isola says that it is important to understand how the tyre behaves this weekend as it will be a better proving ground for tyres.
Isola told Motorsport.com “It is important for us to understand the behaviour of the hyper in Canada. That will drive the choice for some other races later in the season. Every time you run a tyre you learn something.”
“But Monte Carlo is quite a difficult circuit. It’s not so wrong to take conclusions, but we need to collect more information. Canada is a different track, it’s more about traction for example, so we need to understand how is the degradation from the rear, rather than the front.”
Speaking about the tyres he says there were no surprises with the performance in Monaco. He says that following practice the graining of the tyres was to be expected and that the step in grip was quite high in the last four tests.
At the last Barcelona test, he says that drivers reported graining in the final sector which was expected.
FIA outlines new helmet standards
The FIA have outlined new standards for helmet design which will become mandatory in Formula One from next season. The new design will offer increased safety, as well as advanced ballistic protection and increased energy absorption.
The sports governing body has worked with all the major helmet manufacturers Stilo, Bell Racing, Schuberth and Arai during the research phase.
The top of the visor has been lowered by 10mm to incorporate advanced ballistic protection that “achieves unprecedented levels of safety during impact from debris,” according to an FIA statement.
The shell construction uses advanced composite materials to ensure resistance to crushing and penetration. Out-going FIA safety director Laurent Mekies said “The current top-end helmets are already the safest in the world but the new standard will take them to the next level.”
“It is important for all of our safety research that we continually strive to improve and this is why we are requiring all manufacturers to meet this tougher standard for our championships.”
Force India target new front wing
Force India will bring a new front wing to the French Grand Prix, at the latest. The team have had a difficult start to the season, however since Baku the team has begun to close the gap to the front.
The team has delayed introducing the upgrade to make sure they have enough spares to allow both drivers to have it. However it could be used in Montreal this weekend, however, they will be ready for the race in Le Castellet.
Technical director Andy Green said: “We think now it is ready to race, we just don’t have enough of them. We didn’t want to risk the wings until we have some coming through, which will at the latest be Paul Ricard.”
Green said that testing of the new front wing in Barcelona last month had delivered some encouraging results.
“We did a lot of testing of it in the post-Barcelona test, and that proved to us that it was at a high enough level now that we want it on the car,” he explained.
He says the team are confident with the upgrades. However, Sergio Perez has warned that the team will continue to make compromises with its set-up so far this year to compensate for the rear end stability issues it has suffered.
Green says that as well as that issue clouding things on track, there have been other factors back at base that have slowed things down.
“I think part of the issue was not having the car that we wanted at the beginning of the year.”
“Checo talks about compromises as far as setup is concerned, but we have compromises in terms of manufacturing as well.