Qualifying shambles continue
There appears to be conflicting reports from the news agency Reuters and Motorsports.com about the future of the knock out qualifying format.
Reuters are saying the sport is to remain with the format for the Chinese Grand Prix after teams rejected a compromise backed by the governing FIA and called for a return to last year’s version. Meanwhile Motorsport.com say they understand the sport is set to revert to the 2015 qualifying format from the Chinese Grand Prix after the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone agreed to a request from teams.
Both say a vote will take place today with any decision needing to be put through the Strategy Group and the commission by next weekend. In a letter from all 11 teams to the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt they made clear that they were only interested in reverting to the 2015 format. According to Motorsports.com.
But Reuters say the teams, the commission and the FIA are at a in pass over what to do. There has been a suggestion of an aggregated format where drivers would have their two fastest laps together.
Any decision will need to be passed through the Strategy Group, the commission and the World Motor Sport Council. This should be able to get completed before the Chinese GP.
Renault extend Ilmor partnership
Renault wants to extend their partnership with the engine specialists a Ilmor so they can look at catching up with the leaders Ferrari and Mercedes. Ilmor started working with the manufacturer last year to help with the development of their power unit.
The team spent seven of their thirty two engine development tokens which has seen them make a good step with their engine. The teams technical director Bob Bell says the collaboration with Ilmor has contributed both new ideas and more test facilities.
“There is an option for a multi-year programme with Ilmor and they represent an important development strand to us” he told ESPN.
“They are a very experienced organisation and they bring a new and fresh view and a different way of looking at the problem.” He added this means 20 percent roughly of extra capacity in the engine.
Bell says while “It brings very real benefits and we have to make sure we align the work done at Ilmor with the work done in Paris so that it’s completely complimentary and guided in one direction.”
The deal with Ilmor maybe key in turning around there engine program and has been pinpointing what went wrong over the last two years.
Mercedes working on clutch issues
Mercedes are working with their parent company Daimler to solve the clutch problems that they have been having. The team was forced to change from there double clutch to a single clutch this season following a change in regulations.
Thou the regulation change doesn’t appear to be linked to Lewis Hamilton’s poor starts in recent races it has also affected Nico Rosberg.
Mercedes Motorsport Boss Toto Wolff told Autosport “We tend to believe it’s more of a hardware issue than just a control electronics problem and you can’t solve that from one race to the other.”
“We are working on trying to sort it out. The way we assess clutches and the way we run and calibrate them, and obviously how the drivers use them, needs to be optimised.”
He says that the changes in the regulations have added a degree of unpredictability into the mix for the race start, with Rosberg and Hamilton not doing anything differently from one another.
It appears as if Rosberg has adapted to the changes better thou Wolff says he has had problems with it on the formation lap.
Sauber staff paid late again
Sauber has once again not been able to pay their staff in full for the second month in a row. Last month team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said it was a one off and there would not likely be any further wage delays in the future.
Kaltenborn didn’t attend the race in Bahrain as there were reports that she was in talks with potential buyers trying to save the team from collapse.
A spokesman Robert Hopoltseder confirmed: “The worries of the last few weeks are not off the table. We currently live from hand-to-mouth.”
Ferrari cleared of radio message breach
Autosport say they understand that Ferrari has been cleared of wrong doing following an investigation into a potential coded message it displayed during the Australian Grand Prix.
This year the has been a clamp down of what teams a can and can’t tell their drivers the team displayed what appeared to be an obscure pitboard message to four-time champion Sebastian Vettel. The message “-3.2 LFS6 P1” was spotted and reported to race director Charlie Whiting.
Autosport says it can confirm Ferrari has provided the FIA with an entirely satisfactory explanation. Under normal conditions it wouldn’t be allowed. Teams had to recalculate strategy following Fernando Alonso’s violent accident on lap 17 which caused a red flag.
Whiting confirmed to Autosport after the race the red flag and restart raised “a number of glitches” that needed to be solved.