Ferrari needs to overcome errors
Ferrari’s team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has called on the Italian manufacturer to rediscover its winning way and stop chocking when the team is close to its goal.
The Italian team missed out on securing there first drivers championship in eleven years in Mexico after Lewis Hamilton sealed his fifth title. The result came after a series of errors by both Sebastian Vettel and the team over the course of the year, and despite Ferrari having a car capable of beating rivals Mercedes for the majority of that time.
Speaking to Autosport, Arrivabene said “We must be more aware of our means, and not be afraid of winning. In tennis, they call it ‘il braccino’: the fear of winning that comes when you are close to the goal. We must trust ourselves, and make winning a good habit.”
Ferrari proved very competitive mid-season, however, Vettel failed to capitalise on that and the momentum shifted to Mercedes. Also since Japan, the team struggled to find performance and mistakenly sent both cars out on inters in dry conditions.
It was only when Ferrari arrived in the U.S. last month and rolled back a series of upgrades that it rediscovered its competitiveness, but Arrivabene said there was no point in trying to apportion blame.
He added, “There was a moment [in 2018] when we were a phenomena, then a phase in which the finger was pointed at the driver, and finally followed by a period where the car was the target.”
“In the end, we understood even more that we win and we lose altogether.” He believes that most mistakes were from Vettel and the lessons needed to be understood, but there was no point blaming one person.
Arrivabene says that error at Suzuka was the first time in his role as team principal he got angry.
Heading to Vietnam in 2020
The Vietnamese capital Hanoi has agreed to a multiyear deal to hold a Grand Prix on the streets of the capital. The announcement by the sports owners Liberty Media marks there first addition to the calendar since they took over the sport in 2017.
The proposed 5.5km circuit will feature twenty-two corners and will become the sports fourth street race. The circuit designed by Hermann Tilke, also features long straights, one of which is 1.5km in length and should see cars reach speeds of around 335km/h (208mph).
Speaking to the media, F1 CEO Chase Carey said, “Since we became involved in this sport in 2017, we have talked about developing new destination cities to broaden the appeal of Formula 1. The Vietnamese Grand Prix is a realisation of that ambition.”
The design has taken inspiration from the Nurburgring, Monte Carlo, Suzuka and Sepang. The aim is to make the circuit challenging for drivers and gives the fans something to enjoy.
“It’s a further demonstration of Vietnam’s ability, as one of the fastest growing economies in the world to host events on a global scale and attract tourism to the country,” said the city of Hanoi chairman Nguyen Duc Chung.
The Vietnam Grand Prix is the third race to be established in south-east Asia following Singapore and Malaysia – the latter being scrapped following the 2017 race due to poor ticket sales.
However, there will be questions over the length of the calendar with Miami also pushing for a race, has already been delayed from its intended debut in 2019 and insiders say now probably won’t happen.
A race in Vietnam is part of F1’s bid to expand interest in the sport. It effectively returns an event to south-east Asia that was lost when Malaysia ended its contract last year.
However there will be questions about the future of Britain, Germany and Brazil, none of which have contracts beyond 2019. Silverstone triggered a break clause in 2017, nicknamed Article 50, and Hockenheim are both struggling financially.
Russell’s PowerPoint bid to Williams
Williams’s chief technical officer Paddy Lowe says that George Russell used a PowerPoint in a bid to try to try and gain a seat with the British team.
The Mercedes backed Englishman has been announced as a race driver for 2019, after impressing the team with his championship-leading Formula 2 campaign, Mercedes test outings and simulator work.
His off-track attitude has also made a significant early impression on the likes of Lowe and deputy team principal Claire Williams. Last year, Lowe said that Russell should have been considered to replace Felipe Massa.
He told Autosport, “The thing about George is for a young guy he’s very confident. He takes the initiative to try and shape his future and I think that’s one of the reasons he’s got to where he has.”
“As an example, last year he wanted to be in the running even to drive for 2018. I think it was a bit early. It’s good he’s done the year in F2, I think a year ago would have been too early for George to consider F1.”
“He will be much stronger having done that year in F2, but he came to me a year ago with a PowerPoint presentation with why he was going to be our best driver.” Lowe says that Russell came following a call by Russell, followed by a pitch showing how serious he was.
Russell said he had altered his pitch from last year to give clearer details of his stats on paper. Adding “It wasn’t just about my CV, I was trying to explain more about my character and what I felt I could bring to the team – just bits about myself, stats like first laps, winning and losing positions.”
Williams also benefitted from data Mercedes had given them from the Budapest Test in early August, where Russell set the pace and holds the unofficial lap record.
Toro Rosso to return to latest Honda engine
Toro Rosso is to return to the latest specification of Honda’s engine for this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix because the high altitude is not as extreme as Mexico City.
Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley used an older specification of Honda engine for the previous race in Mexico because the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit is situated 2200 metres above sea level.
The race in Mexico places a harder strain on combustion and turbocharger because of lower air density. With that in mind, Honda opted for an older engine it had better understand of how to calibrate for the conditions.
Red Bull avoided using Renault’s latest-spec engine in Mexico for reliability reasons, and is not expected to use it in Brazil either as the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo is the second-highest on the calendar at around 800m above sea level.
However, Honda’s Spec3 engine will return, after reifications to Pierre Gasly’s engine , after Honda identified an assembly problem that may have affected the engine he had raced in the United States. Gasly told Motorsport.com “I’m looking forward to fighting for points again, after we have taken tactical penalties in the last few races to maximise our chances in these final two races of the season.”
Teammate Brendon Hartley believes that the team can target points, following Gasly tenth place in Mexico using an older engine and starting from the back off the grid.
Honda wanted a spare unit in the pool just in case but, after being sent away for checks, the US engine has been cleared for use.
Sette Camara joins McLaren
McLaren has signed Sergio Sette Camara as test and development driver for next season. The Brazilian is teammate to Lando Norris in Formula Two, who has already been announced as a race driver alongside Carlos Sainz for next season.
Sette Camara described the deal as an “incredible opportunity” as he works towards his ambition of racing in F1.
“My aim is to integrate myself in the team and work as closely with them as possible; to listen, learn and help to develop as a driver, as well as support McLaren,” he said.
Sporting Director Gil de Ferran added: “We’re delighted to welcome Sergio to McLaren and our Young Driver Programme. We’ve been following his progress for some time and believe he is a promising young talent with a real potential.”
Sauber “out developing” everyone
Force India’s team principal Otmar Szafnauer says that Sauber has “out developed the top teams”, with the jump they had made from 2017 to 2018.
Sauber propped up the constructors’ standings last year, scoring just five points to nearest rival McLaren’s 30 as it struggled with a year-old Ferrari power unit.
But following new investment and closer collaboration with Ferrari this season, the team has made a huge step forwards and been a regular points finisher this season. Throughout the season as well, the team has moved closer to Q3 as the season went on.
Asked by Motorsport.com for his take on Sauber’s recent progress, Szafnauer said: “I don’t know how they had such a steep development curve. I think they out developed the top teams this year from last year.
“From where they ended last year to where they are now, they out developed everybody. I don’t know how that happens with a small team, but we’re got to figure that out, because they’re smart guys.”
Sauber will be hoping that the return of Kimi Raikkonen next year, will help lead them back into the midfield. The Swiss team sits eighth in the teams’ standings with two races left, and will record its best points tally for the season since 2013 should it score a top-10 finish in Brazil or Abu Dhabi.
Szafnauer reckoned Sauber’s 2019 campaign could “maybe” suffer if the team over-committed resources to the in-season development of the C37.
He added “I don’t know when they stopped developing this year’s car, because we stopped quite a long time ago to focus on next year. If they continued developing this year’s car in areas that don’t translate to next year, then it can hurt them.
Glock repeatedly asked about Interlagos in 2008
He didn’t win or stand on the podium, but the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix for Timo Glock became a defining moment in his career. Interlagos was the place where Lewis Hamilton stole the championship from Felipe Massa by a point.
Over those last three laps the rain intensified and Glock started to struggle, eventually being caught by both drivers at the final corner, albeit after Massa had crossed the line as race winner and temporarily as world champion. Although it was a strategy call that ultimately gained Toyota two places.
Speaking to ESPN a decade on, the German said “There were a couple of journalists who were very aggressive, especially from the Italian side, pointing fingers at me and saying I had done this on purpose and it must have been planned before the race, ‘how much did Mercedes [McLaren’s engine supplier] and Lewis pay you’.”
Glock says that he never expected to be in that position and that his only in a position to influence the championship because Toyota went a different way to everyone else on strategy.
Anyone wanting to have helped Hamilton win the championship would have stopped for ‘intermediates’ like everyone else and stayed outside of the top five, leaving the Englishman a stress-free drive to the flag regardless of whether Vettel passed him or not.
Glock said since FOM released the full video on social media, the annual “What happened” question has died down. Answering that question, he said “you can see how much I struggled on the last lap.”
He says that the video should have been made available sooner and that “helped people understand there was no tactic behind it and that it was just a battle to keep it on the race track.”