Room for Verstappen to get better – Horner
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has warned the other drivers that Max Verstappen has the room to get better following an impressive season which saw him promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull.
He took his first win on his debut in Barcelona and won wide spread applause including driver of the day after driving to third from fourteenth in the difficult wet conditions in Sau Paulo. Verstappen has already said he feels ready to fight for the championship if championship if Red Bull can deliver him a car, and Horner believes that his driver can also step up his game.
Horner told Motorsport.com “I think any sportsman can really improve in all areas. He is gaining experience all the time. He drove a very mature race [last time out in Abu Dhabi] and the way he looked after both the supersoft and the soft tyre was very mature.”
“I think as he gains that experience it will hold him in better stead for coming years. There are always areas that you can improve and it is [about] working on those marginal returns.” Speaking about Barcelona, Horner said it was proof of his talent and of how he will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Horner said other race were strong mentioning Montreal, Sliverstone, Spliberg, Sukuza and Mexico. Adding that Brazil was an absolutely outstanding drive and he has produced another great drive [in Abu Dhabi]. He has marked himself out as a man of the future.”
Best performance of career – Ricciardo
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo says that his performance in 2016 season was the best off his career because he pushed himself to perform at the highest level of his career.
Ricciardo match his best finish in the drivers’ championship with third, behind both the Mercedes. Ricciardo says he is pleased with the way he responded to the challenging and high-pressure situations – including against incoming team-mate Max Verstappen. He told Autosport “Ricciardo: 2016 my best performance yet… It feels more convincing, it feels more sustainable, too.”
“In 2014, it was hard to fault that, but this year I felt like I did everything I did in ’14, but at a higher level when I really pushed myself. There were races this year when Max was half a second quicker than me in Q1 and Q2, and then I’d pull out a Q3 lap that was three, four tenths quicker.”
“I was able to find some pretty good levels through the year, and there were quite a few times that I was able to exceed my own expectations for what I thought I could do, maybe even surprise myself a bit.” Ricciardo took pole in Monaco
Button picks up degree
Jenson Button has been awarded an honorary degree from the University of Bath. The McLaren driver has been awarded a Doctor of Engineering to mark his astonishing achievements by HRH Prince Edward, Chancellor of the university.
Ferrari’s priority their aero hole
Ferrari has prioritised filling the “significant hole” in there aero development capabilities after they lost out to Red Bull this year. The Italian team were aiming to fight with Mercedes for the title.
However the team failed to score any wins and finished third behind Red Bull and Mercedes because of mix of bad strategy calls, poor upgrades and reliability issues. Meanwhile, Red Bull were finding gains through out to finish seventy points ahead of the Italian team.
President Sergio Marchionne has said that there biggest failure which must be addressed for 2017 if the outfit is going to achieve its target is the lack of development during the season.
Speaking at the Ferrari Mondiali 2016 races in Daytona, Marchionne said “The most important recognition that the team has made during this season is a clear identification of the gaps we have in terms of two things: one is honestly performance on track, but, more importantly, I think about the rate of change of the other teams.
“I think we have seen a Red Bull at the start of the 2016 season that did not have, at least on paper, the attributes to try to take on Ferrari. And by the end of the season, Red Bull did effectively become a viable competitor.”
Marchionne says it wasn’t due to a lack on the power unit side it was the aero and chassis side which let them down. Saying that’s the biggest thing they need to learn so they can close the gap quickly.
He thinks it impossible to be too confident about how his team will go next season. “I think it is impossible to make any prognostication for the 2017 season. The only thing I can guarantee you is that we are leaving no stones unturned.” He added
Uncertainty for Smedley
Claire Williams has been coy over the future of the teams performance chief Rob Smedley’s role with the Williams next season. Smedley attends all the Grands Prix and is responsible for running the Williams cars at the track, reporting to chief technical officer Pat Symonds.
There have been reports that Smedley could next season spend more time at the factory next season, following a change of position. But Williams told Autosport “Those are conversations that we may or may not be having. Whether he’s at the track or whether he’s at Grove then he will still make a big contribution.”
“With all our personnel we have to decide where their technical ability is best placed, and that’s not from a negative perspective.” Williams said that Smedly wants to progress and do more, which may not be necessarily at the track.
He joined Williams in 2014 which coincided with Massa’s move from Ferrari, this has seen a upturn in form as it finished third in the constructors’ championship in 2014 and ’15.
However, this season has been more difficult with the team slipping to fifth in the constructors. With Ms Williams praising Smedley’s contribution over the last three years.
“Rob has done a fantastic job ever since he joined us and I don’t envisage any changes. He’s a really important part of this team.” She added
Entry list for 2017
The FIA have published the entry list for 2017 with just four seats remaining for next season. Teams were required to enter their drivers last month to the sports governing body with the few changes still needing to be made.
The only seats needing filling is one with Mercedes following the departure of Nico Rosberg and one at Sauber with Manor requiring both seats to be filled. The teams have until the eve of the Australian Grand Prix to summit there line ups.
Toro Rosso have not confirmed the ‘brand’ of their Renault power units as yet because its expected they will be branded in a sponsorship deal. New drivers Stoffel Vandoorne has chosen number two for his McLaren, with Lance Stroll choosing number eighteen.
A final version will be published in March.