Red Bull engine deadline set
Red Bull has set the target of resolving its engine plans by there home Austrian Grand Prix, as the team continues to debate whether to switch to Honda.
The team does not currently have a contract with any manufacturer for next season, and it appears that how much progress Renault makes could decide whether there is a change of supplier.
Talks to evaluate a potential switch to the Japanese manufacturer, which has made solid progress with its engine since last year, are already underway. Both manufacturers are bringing upgrades for this weekends race, which could decide whether the team does switch.
The upgrades are expected to be worth more than 20bhp, which it believed will make Red Bull commit. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko suggested that a decision was likely in the next few weeks – which could also trigger a decision from Daniel Ricciardo about whether he stays too.
He added “Our internal schedule plans that we want to have a decision on the engine issue by the Grand Prix in Austria. If possible, then also on the driver.”
“I’m sure there’ll be a decision in Austria. There’s not that many possibilities.”
No reason to change approach – Verstappen
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says there is no reason for him to change his approach, joking that he would headbutt anyone who asked him too.
Asked about his incident-prone season at the drivers’ press conference ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, the Dutchman response was “I get really tired of all the questions. If I get any more I might head-butt someone.”
The Red Bull driver was apparently joking when he made the remark. After Monaco, team boss Christian Horner said the Dutchman needed to modify his approach and has had harsh lessons to learn.
Verstappen added “I get really tired of all the comments that I should change my approach. I will never do that because it has brought me to where I am right now.”
He later clarified: “I know very well what can be done better and you try to put that in place for the next grand prix.”
When pressed again to explain his 2018 form, Verstappen answered: “It’s not as dramatic as people say it is. I haven’t scored the points l should have scored but it’s not only my fault. It could have been better but everyone makes it so dramatic.”
He admitted that two were his own fault and says he is tired of the questions about his form, believing that the problem has been spun into something bigger.
Mercedes fear being on back foot in Montreal
Lewis Hamilton is fearing that Mercedes have lost critical performance by not bringing a planned upgrade to this weekends Canadian Grand Prix, fearing that makes Ferrari now are the favourites this weekend.
The German manufacturer was planning to introduce the upgrade this weekend, however postponed the introduction of the new power unit until France after a “quality issue” was discovered.
That means that all six Mercedes powered cars, including Force India and Williams, will move onto their second power unit of the year. But the six times winner, says that he is braced for what “might be a difficult weekend” at a power-sensitive track.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Hamilton said “This is a power circuit, so it was our target and it definitely would have been helpful. But the guys worked as hard as they could.”
“and had to take a sensible decision to not bring it here, which is definitely unfortunate, but we’ll try and make do without.” Hamilton has won at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve six times, a record equalling seventh appears unlikely as Ferrari and Renault are introducing their upgrade.
He has also said that his main concern is reliability as he remains on the same power unit he started the season on, but says he is concerned that the team will not be fighting for victory.
Drivers to be on grid for the longer
The sports governing body the FIA has announced changes to the grid procedure, which will mean that drivers must be on the grid ten minutes before the national anthem.
Currently, the drivers only appear on the grid a few minutes before they are forced to attend the national anthem ceremony – which has led to limited opportunity for pre-race interviews. The new rules mean that the pitlane will be closed earlier to force drivers out on to the grid to ensure a bigger window of opportunity for the media.
A statement issued by the FIA said: “The World Council approved changes to the 2018 F1 Sporting Regulations to ensure the cars and drivers are on the starting grid for 10 minutes longer before the national anthem ceremony, thereby providing better access to the drivers for the media.
“These changes will be in effect from the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend.”
Renault believes it resolved understeer issue
Renault believes that they have resolved its problem with understeer when the car is driving at top speed. In Barcelona, the team were outpaced in qualifying and finished a lap down with Carlos Sainz in seventh.
Technical director Nick Chester says that understeer problems was the main weakness of the teams car, but believed they had a solution. Chester told Autosport, “We struggle with a little bit of high-speed understeer and you go to Barcelona and that’s going to be hard and it’s going to be an extension of that problem.”
“We know how to solve it, it’s just a long development to get bits to the track. We struggled a little bit at Barcelona in winter testing and didn’t get a great balance on the car.”
“We still struggled a bit to get a balance on the car when we went back for the race.’ Chester says that the team know what the problem and the solution was and know that they are waiting for the right parts.
Renault has scored points in every grand prix this season and recently moved ahead of McLaren into fourth in the constructors’ championship. But remain behind their other customer team Red Bull.
The Weekend Ahead
This weekend is an important weekend for all the teams and manufacturers as they have brought the first round of engine updates for the teams. They have to get this right, as they are restricted to one more engine this season.
Montreal is classed as a street circuit, however it is not your traditional street circuit because it is high speed and you can overtake. But the challenges of the walls remain. Also it doesn’t normally follow the tenancy of teams performances in Monaco.
Mercedes will be the team to beat and if they lock out the front row that will help with the race, as following cars can be very difficult. Brake management can be a challenge as the circuit has hard braking zones.
In Monaco, we saw teams struggle to get the hypersoft tyres to work, we saw them only manage a single lap and the top teams will want to get through Q2 into Q3 on ultrasofts for the first stint of the race.
Formula One Vault will bring you LIVE and full coverage of the Canadian Grand Prix from 15:45 UKT on Friday with first practice on our LIVE Twitter account @F1VaultLive. We will bring you race coverage from 18:40 on Sunday with the race starting at 19:10 UK Time.