Judge qualifying format after Melbourne
Claire Williams has called on those who dislike the new qualifying format to wait until after the Australian Grand Prix to reserve judgement. A new system which will see drivers knocked out at a series of time intervals has been brought to make the sport more unpredictable.
Ferraris Sebastian Vettel has said “I’m not a fan of the qualifying changes and speaking on behalf of all the drivers, no driver is.”
Ms Williams said “Let’s wait and see. It’s too early to judge. I’d like to get to Melbourne and see how it plays out and then we will comment on it. If it doesn’t work then fine. We tried. All we are trying to do is make this sport more exciting, which is what everyone wants.”
She added that the majority of the influential drivers are in favour. However, there were reports that there could be a delay in introducing it because software needed to be rewritten, but that problem has now been overcome.
Also there was suggestions that Q1 and Q2 adopting the knockout configuration while Q3 retained the previous system but the world motorsport council (WMSC) voted for the full knock out system.
News – in – Brief
- Ocon to do practices – The magazine Autosport says it has learned Esteban Ocon will drive in some Formula 1 grand prix practice sessions and test days for Renault this season as part of his role as reserve driver. But he will remain with Mercedes as a DTM driver.
- Perry speaks out – Former BBC F1 present Suzi Perry has told the Daily Express that she felt “disregarded” after they decided to end their Formula One contract three years earlier than planned. She said the team “were told that categorically we would be fine for 2016.”
Sauber staff not paid
The magazine Autosport says they understand that Sauber staff have not been paid the full wages for February because of cash flow problems. The team are said to be near an agreement with a new title sponsor.
However the agreement hasn’t been signed yet. Last November Sauber, Force India and Manor, asked Bernie Ecclestone in for advance on their championship payments.
The team are said to be on schedule to compete in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix later this month.
Best pre-season ever – Tost
Franz Tost the Team Principal of Toro Rosso says the team has experienced its best pre-season since its racing debut in 2006. During the two pre-season test the team completed the second most mileage to Mercedes.
This was a surprise after the team was forced to radically redesign there car following the late switch to Ferrari power for 2016. The team worked up to the last minute just to be on track for the first test.
He told Motorsport.com “It was a positive surprise. To be honest, we didn’t expect that we would be in a position to do so many laps after the last two, three months because we really had to work flat-out to finish the car in time.”
Tost says the car gave the team has reached from the engineering side and also from a team side a good level. Technical Director James Key was also surprised by how reliable the running of the car was in Barcelona.
“Honestly, we didn’t know how well the car would work coming here. The priority was to make sure that we had a car ready to go, in the best shape possible.” Added Key.
Respected correspondent dies
Tributes have been paid The Guardian F1 Correspondent Alan Henry who has died aged 68. He started his career at Motoring News in 1970 becoming editor in 1978. He progressed to become grand prix editor of Autocar and correspondent of The Guardian
Henry was driven by his love of the sport but was a journalist driven by his ability to make contacts at the top of the sport. This allowed him break important stories, meant that he was ultimately hugely respected by his colleagues.
He joined Motoring News in 1970 and became its editor in 1978. He progressed to become grand prix editor of Autocar and correspondent of the Guardian, a post he left at the end of the 2009 season. He also wrote biography of Ronnie Peterson.
Others books drivers wrote about were former F1 world champion Jon Surtees and the multiple Le Mans winner Derek Bell.
Ian Prior head of sport at The Guardian said “Alan was a correspondent of immense dedication with a profoundly deep knowledge of motorsports and Formula One in particular. In the pages of the Guardian he covered F1’s evolution into the global, multibillion-dollar enterprise it is today.”
“his reporting scrupulous and his manner a model of warmth and courtesy. He will be greatly missed by all at the paper and the countless colleagues in motorsport media.”
Daimler boss hits back at Ecclestone
The chairman of Mercedes owner Daimler Dieter Zetsche has criticised Berine Ecclestone for saying he would not spend his own money on watching Formula One because it was the worst it has ever been.
Ecclestone has accused the German car giant of being part of a ‘cartel’ that is abusing the decision-making process to make rules that serve their own interests rather than those of the sport.
Speaking at a launch event Zetsche said “At the Geneva Motor Show I was not going on stage to say I would never drive a Mercedes and that customers should not do so.”
Adding “I don’t understand how someone who is not only the CEO but the partial owner of that product (F1) talks that way about this. If he feels the way he does about it, it should be discussed internally to see how to change it, but not as a sales pitch.”