Renault need to be “scared” of Haas Grosjean
Romain Grosjean says that Renault needs to be “scared” of his Haas team, following their season-long battle in 2018. The French manufacturer beat the Anglo-American team to fourth in the constructors by twenty-nine points.
The fight for best of the rest got nasty at Monza following an off-track protested by Renault. The team protested Grosjean’s car after the Monza race, where he finished sixth, and the Frenchman was excluded over the legality of his floor.
Grosjean believes the protest showed Haas, in only its third year in the sport, was scaring Renault. Speaking about what happened at Monza, he told Motorsport.com, “I don’t think it is a great sportsmanship move. But yes, we were scaring them, which is good. They should be for the future.”
The Haas driver believes the American team “changed leagues” in 2018, jumping to the front of the midfield after finishing in eighth place in its first two seasons in F1. He admitted, however, that the team needed to keep improving in order to get to the next level.
When asked what Haas needed to improve in order to beat Renault, he said: “There are few things. One example is that we don’t produce parts, so we need to manufacture them outside and sometimes it takes a bit too long.”
“That is one example that I can give out of few, but that is one. When it would take three days [for them], to our team to do it, it maybe takes three weeks.”
Team principal Gunther Steiner is already aware of the areas which need improvement and they were already looking at ways of improving and were working on them.
He added, “Part of the rest is just a growing process, more performance you want, faster you want to be, better things to go.”
Ocon says Racing Point will close the “massive gap”
Former Force India driver Esteban Ocon has tipped his former team now known as Racing Point, will close the “massive gap” which Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull currently have over the midfield.
Ocon helped the Silverstone based team to secure fourth in the constructor’s championship in 2017, despite the teams’ limited finances and resources. The team would have finished fifth last year if they hadn’t fallen into administration and lost all its points over the summer.
Ocon has lost his seat as Lance Stroll, the son of the architect of the team’s takeover Lawrence Stroll, has joined Racing Point from Williams. Ocon told Motorsport.com, “It is a massive gap to fill but they will make a step forward, that’s for sure. Resources have always been the issue, and there will be less of this issue next year. I believe they will be strong contenders.”
However, the combined points total of both Force India entries in 2018 fell just short of beating Renault to a theoretical fourth-place finish in the constructors’ championship and was considerably less than last year thanks to a slow start and increased competition in the midfield.
The Frenchman believes the teams work ethic and development prowess will be key weapons, after turning around the “difficult” car to drive in testing to the fourth-fastest on the grid in the second half of the year.
He added “I was very impressed, as I was last year, just [by] the professionalism of this team and the motivation they have for results. That’s probably the biggest thing.”
Downforce needs to be halved – Tost
Toro Rosso’s team principal Franz Tost says that Formula One must slash downforce by a “minimum of 40% to 50%” to improve the spectacle of racing.
Tweaks to this year’s regulations have introduced simplified front wings and bargeboards, this is all aimed at reducing the sensitivity of the cars when they are racing in dirty air. They are also seen as a precursor to a much bigger car design revamp that is planned for 2021 as part of a wider overhaul of F1.
Tost says that the sport, which introduced an upgraded set of higher-downforce rules in 2017 to create the fastest grand prix cars ever, needs to take the opportunity to eliminate the dependence on downforce.
He told Motorsport.com, “We have so much downforce, which means high corner speeds, no one can follow because of the dirty air behind and we have hardly braking zones.”
“That means the FIA, FOM – and there are the experienced people over there, like Ross Brawn, like Pat Symonds – they know exactly what you should do: to come down with aero side, with the downforce. I would cut minimum 40-50% of the current downforce, to make the car much more unstable in the corners.”
Tost believes that the changes will make the cars faster on the straight and that should increase overtaking in the braking zone, he says these changes could easily be realised.
He also said the drivers are the only people who “feel and recognise” the performance of the current cars. Arguing that high cornering speeds do not add to the spectacle of racing.
F1 shows no mercy despite the history of teams – Brawn
F1 managing director for motorsports and technical director Ross Brawn, says that the struggles of Williams and McLaren in 2018 is proof that the sport shows “no mercy” for teams which get things wrong.
The two British teams are amongst the most successful teams in the history of the sport, however, in recent years both teams have struggled to fight in the mid and at the front of the grid. The Englishman believes while Mercedes has benefited from stability, instability with both Williams and McLaren’s technical and management teams has contributed to their woes.
Brawn told Motorsport.com “Mercedes still have the same people that I found there in 2007 and that is more than 10 years of stability, that’s so important.”
“I think Williams and McLaren, they went through changes and it always takes a while for those things to settle down. They are great teams with a great history, but unfortunately, Formula 1 is not a great respecter of histories. It only respects what’s going on track.”
He says that the sports management wants to get the teams back to a title-winning position because they are great teams and brands. Brawn adds that their failure to win shows that the sport has no mercy.
Speaking about Ferrari, Brawn believes that the instability caused by the death of its chairman Sergio Marchionne was a factor amongst the combination of factors.
Saying “It was tragic in itself but it also had an impact on the team. For a man of his calibre and standing, it’s always going to be a very destabilising situation for a while.”
“But I think they will have looked at what they have learnt and Sebastian [Vettel] would look at what he’s done. I think there’s a strong chance that they will be there fighting [in 2019].” Brawn says that the progress over the last two years the progress have been massive and put them in a title-winning position, where they weren’t in 2015-16.
Silverstone plans to resurface for a second year
Silverstone plans to lay a new track surface for a second time in two years following the cancellation of last year’s Moto GP British Grand Prix. The Northamptonshire circuit was resurfaced last year, but heavy race caused drainage issues related to the new surface were blamed by some for the decision not to go ahead with the race.
RaceFans understands the track owners are determined to resurface the track ahead of Moto GP’s return this year. Silverstone’s managing director Stuart Pringle told RaceFans he “hopes” the job will be completed before the F1 weekend the 12th to 14th July.
During last year’s F1 Grand Prix, drivers gave a mixed response to the track surface. Lewis Hamilton was among those who criticised the changes, saying “the people they hired did the worst job ever”, but Fernando Alonso claimed the track was “definitely much better than last year”.