Ferrari’s radical engine concept
Ferrari is looking at a radical new concept for its 2022 engines that could feature a design never seen in the sport before. As the manufacturer prepares for the all-new era of F1, there are suggestions from Maranello that parts of its plan includes a total overhaul of its engine.
Last year Ferrari and its customer teams were placed on the back foot when a series of technical directives around fuel flow led to a loss of power. The lack of horsepower was combined with the team having a draggy car leading to the worst season in decades for the team.
Ferrari has been working on an upgrade for this year, which it hopes will cut the deficit to Mercedes. According to Motorsport.com, sources are suggesting that for 2022 the manufacturer will take a risk, which if successful could be a revolution in engines.
The man behind it is Wolf Zimmermann who has been tasked with coming up p the concept for the engine that will power the new era cars.
One change that looks set to be made is for Ferrari to go down the Mercedes route of separating the compressor from the turbo, an idea that Honda also switched to several years ago.
Currently, the team’s design is a gearbox side of the engine, from next year the two elements will be either side of it connected by a shaft. But it is considering taking the idea one step further, moving the compressor inside the six-cylinder intake box with an all-new arrangement for the intercooler.
A revolutionary change would not only bring with it performance gains, but would also open up more aerodynamic opportunities thanks to making the overall engine layout more compact.
While trimming back the engine saves weight and allows Ferrari to improve the centre of gravity.
The new design idea will present a huge challenge, both in terms of ensuring that the performance gains work but also in guaranteeing that reliability is not compromised.
Mercedes to renew Hamilton’s contract sooner
Mercedes F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff says that they will begin talks on Lewis Hamilton’s next contract “much earlier” after the delay to his 2021 deal.
Yesterday the seven-times champion signed a one year contract with a “long-term commitment” to F1’s most successful driver. This means that Hamilton is a possible free agent again for 2022, raising the prospect of similarly drawn-out talks.
In a press conference formally announcing the deal, Wolff insisted that Hamilton and Mercedes wanting an earlier resolution this season, having only started their most recent negotiations just before Christmas.
Asked when they could start this year, the team boss stated: “Definitely earlier than the 2021 deal! It’s always tricky to find some time whilst racing but we have learnt the lesson that external factors can delay discussions.”
“We don’t want to end up in January again, so we are probably going to pick up checking about 2022 much earlier. We agreed jointly that we didn’t want it dragging on as much or as long as we did this time around.”
Wolff says that they will try and find time during the season to sort a new contract. The one-year contract will only increase speculation the Englishman could retire at the end of 2021, meaning Mercedes have no race drivers for 2022 with Hamilton, teammate Valtteri Bottas, and Williams driver George Russell out of contract.
Russell who stood in and almost won the Sakhir Grand Prix when Hamilton had Coronavirus, is seen as the natural successor to one of the seat. But Wolff says “Our first discussions are going to be with Valtteri and Lewis in respecting our values, integrity and loyalty – but on the other side the young drivers are the future.”
While only having the one year contract, the joint charitable foundation which they are setting up to supporting greater diversity in motorsport and confirmed alongside the new contract is an indication that both sides were thinking “long-term” and not just for 2021.
The idea was by Wolff’s direct manager Ola Källenius the overall CEO of Daimler, both Mercedes and Hamilton say the ‘multi-million’ investment shows a long term commitment to each other in a very important topic to address.
He says, “We are going to run it jointly and it also shows that there is an alliance and a relationship much beyond 2021 but in the long term.”
Sprint races to be voted on by Commission
Formula One is set to discuss at this months Commission meeting a new proposal to introduce shorter ‘sprint’ races in an attempt to increase entertainment levels this season.
On Thursday, members which include all team bosses, the FIA and Liberty Media will vote on a plan for a shorter race on Saturday, which would define the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Qualifying for the Saturday race would take place on Friday.
The top eight drivers in the ‘sprint’ race would earn approximately half the points awarded for the Grand Prix. Qualifying for the sprint race would replace Friday’s second practice. However, the plan needs twenty-eight of the thirty votes, each team has a vote with Liberty and the FIA getting ten votes each.
However, some teams have the power to veto any changes, based on historic contribution, position and whether they are a car manufacturer. Last time any changes to the format were suggested Mercedes and its customers blocked the plan, the world champions are said to be open-minded on the new proposal.
F1 president Stefano Domenicali said in a news conference last week: “Reverse grid is over. It’s important to think of new ideas of being more attractive or interesting but we don’t have to lose the traditional approach of racing.
“When we changed qualifying every couple of days [at the start of 2016], it burned our fingers. Now, the formula is quite stable. We are looking at what could be the approach of the so-called sprint race on Saturday. We are thinking that could be tested maybe this year.”
Three races Montreal, Monza and Interlagos have been chosen as pilot venues this year, and if proved to be successful will be used more widely at other venues in 2022.
The plan should be seen as part of a wider attempt by F1 to increase the value of the business significantly over the next five years.
However, it remains to be seen whether teams will accept the idea. This plan could cost the teams an extra £55,000 per race, that doesn’t include the cost of any damage that could occur in the shorter race.
Grosjean surprised by Alpine shake-up
Romain Grosjean says he was “quite surprised” by the Alpine management shake-up that has included the arrival of Davide Brivio, but the Frenchman feels the team is in good hands.
The Frenchman who made his debut with the team in Valencia 2009 before gaining a full-time seat between 2012 and 2015 when it was Lotus. Says he is optimistic about how it is shaping up for the challenge ahead. He thinks the arrival of Brivio as racing director, working alongside Marcin Budkowski, will be a positive for the team.
Grosjean has remained in contact with many at Renault, like many in motorsport was surprised when Brivio announced he was leaving Moto GP champions Suzuki to join Alpine. But says the arrival of Brivio as racing director was a positive for the team.
He told Motorsport.com, “I’ve been watching and following the changes and I think I was quite surprised. I know a little bit Brivio, the Suzuki guy. I’m a huge MotoGP fan, so I’ve been watching obviously his course in MotoGP and watching the championship that they won with the riders.”
Grosjean says that Brivio knows racing very well, wishing Renault the best as the build on the last few years.
Renault has been rebranded as Alpine, as part of new CEO Luca de Meo’s plan to reinvigorate the French car manufacturers brands. The team has retained Esteban Ocon with Fernando Alonso returning to the team for the third time.
The team plans to launch its new car, the A521, later this month with an all-new livery.
Monaco start-up interested in entering F1
A Monaco team says it remains interested in entering F1 in the future, calling a possible £175m dilution fund fee “a step forward”.
Monaco Increase Management announced in late 2019 that it was targeting an entry to F1 in conjunction with Campos Racing upon the change in technical regulations in 2021.
Founder Salvatore Gandolfo claimed at the time the group “the financial solidity required by the FIA to make this project a success”, but FIA president Jean Todt had downplayed the chances of a new team joining the grid.
Under the new Concorde Agreement which began in January, any new team must pay the dilution fee which would be divided between its rivals in a bid to protect their revenues.
Recently, in last weeks round of interviews F1 CEO and president Stefano Domenicali recently said discussions were taking place with manufacturers about future involvement. Also that he would be open to discussing a review of the anti-dilution fee, depending on the circumstances.
Gandolfo confirmed that Monaco Increase Management remained committed to the project, and welcomed any possible waiver of the anti-dilution fee.
the statement from Gandolfo said, “The current Monaco F1 Racing Team Project was the first to actively discuss the possibility of an entry with the F1 Governance, as early as 2019, and to set up a structure accordingly, realising the potential of the new technical regulations that were initially supposed to come into force in 2021 (and was subsequently delayed because of the pandemic).”
He added, “We believe that the recent statements of the new F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, which suggest that the 200m entry fee for new teams could be waived, represent a step forward in the right direction.”
The 2019 announcement was dismissed by Liberty who said it was holding “no serious discussions” with new teams, and it is understood that this position has not changed.
Any new team wanting to enter F1 needs to apply in response to an FIA tender, with the last successful addition to the grid coming in 2016 when Haas joined the field.
Shake up in the Ferrari Academy
Ferrari’s test and reserve driver Callum Ilott will combine his role with a GT programme, which will see him race in several high-profile sportscar races.
Ilott finished as runner-up in last year’s Formula Two behind fellow Ferrari Driver Academy member Mick Schumacher but said he would not be returning to the category. In December, the Englishman was announced as a test driver for Ferrari.
Six of the eight Ferrari Driver Academy members were present at Maranello this morning for the official start of its 2021 programme, with Ferrari announcing further plans for its members.
As part of the announcement, Ferrari said that Ilott will be “on the scene and present at several races” in F1 this year, before revealing he was also in line for some sportscar appearances.
Ferrari said, “The youngster from Cambridge will still enjoy the thrill of racing as he will also be taking part in a GT programme, at the wheel of a Ferrari for some of the most famous sports car races.”
Ilott has not previously raced in sports car, but he is not the first Ferrari young driver to race in GT racing. Antonio Giovinazzi before he got his full-time seat with Alfa Romeo in 2019 took part in Le Mans, in 2018 before making his full-time move into F1 one year later with Alfa Romeo.
Ferrari has already announced its four full-season drivers for the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship, although a third seat in is still vacant for Le Mans.
Ferrari will retain a presence in F2 through Robert Shwartzman and Marcus Armstrong, both of whom are returning for their second seasons in the category. Shwartzman has been given a “clear goal to win the title” with Prema, while Armstrong has switched to DAMS and is “more determined than ever to be a frontrunner”.
Arthur Leclerc, Charles Leclerc younger brother, will make his F3 debut with Prema at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Maya Weug and James Wharton have both joined the FDA for this year. Weug was selected after winning the FIA Girls on Track programme and will continue in F4, while Wharton will remain in karting ahead of a future move into single-seaters.
Enzo Fittipaldi has left the FDA following his move to America where he will race in Indy Pro 200.
Team principal Mattia Binotto told Motorsport.com, “We have always said that the FDA is not just a school that has to help the best youngsters make it to Formula 1, but that above all it must train those that one day will be the standard bearers for Scuderia Ferrari in the top level category of motor racing.”
“I am very pleased to welcome the two new students, Maya Weug and James Wharton, who join the Academy this year. Their arrival is important because it also confirms the effort we are putting in when it comes to making motorsport more inclusive.”