Sauber “open to anything” with Honda
Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn says the Swiss team are “open to anything” as the team develop their future relationship with Honda.
Next season, the Swiss team will be switching from Ferrari to Honda power. This gives the potential for Honda to develop technical co-operation could be Honda contributing to chassis R&D in Japan. Honda in return could take advantage of Sauber’s highly rated wind tunnel.
Kaltenborn told Motorsport.com “We’ll see how it all pans put. We’re really at the beginning now. I don’t know their deals with McLaren. We are a very different project.”
“We’ll see where we can benefit from each other in this. We’ve been in situations where we were a manufacturer team – we’re not a manufacturer team now, we’re a customer to them.” She added the reason why they agreed to do this was partly because of this.
Honda knows that there opportunities for progression for Japanese young drivers, such as Formula Two driver Nobuharu Matrsushita.
Kaltenborn says that Sauber would be open to that option. Saying “Like it always is in these cases, when you have a partner like this, whatever decisions you take, you discuss it with the partner.”
“We have done it no differently in the past, by the way. You listen to their opinions, you take advice.” But, says it will always be in the end the team’s responsibility.
Tyre management not key to the title
Valtteri Bottas says he believes that tyre management will not be a decisive factor in this year’s championship, even though Sebastian Vettel has won two races thanks to the way he used his tyres in Melbourne and Bahrain.
Ferrari used a more aggressive tyre strategy to leapfrog Bottas’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton in both races. Bottas was hindered by tyre problems as well when he started from pole in Bahrain.
However, the Finn believes that it will only be a matter of time before both teams conquered the tyres and the cars. He told Autosport “It’s more difficult to master every compound for every Tarmac, and how they behave.”
“I think it’s been always like that in F1, but now that our car with Ferrari is so equal small things like tyres [can decide the outcome]. In the end, it’s the only thing in contact with the car and the ground.” He says once teams understand how teams understand the operating window it is going to be more about tyre management.
Bottas says the team was surprised by how strong Ferrari started the season despite Red Bull being tipped to be the main threat to Mercedes.
He says Ferrari “had a very good winter and very strong car development since last year. A big step.
“They are managing their tyres at every single track on every Sunday and they’ve been very much on top of every compound of tyres. They’ve done a very good job on that.”
Force India to target third
Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley, believes that the team could target third in the constructor’s championship when they introduce upgrades at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The British-based team is currently ahead of their rivals in the constructors as Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon have both finished in the points in all four races so far. The team’s good results come despite their main midfield rivals showing stronger pace.
Force India’s strong race craft and strategy has help to achieve their good results, and Fernley believes the aero upgrades for this weekend means they beat its current rivals on raw pace and start to look ahead.
Asked by Autosport if Force India could now target Red Bull, Fernley replied: “If everything works to plan from Barcelona, that’s where we can reassess it. We mustn’t forget the other teams are not standing still either, so we need to just be cautious on that.”
“The first objective is to make sure we can consolidate the fourth place, and deliver that.”
“Then if we can from a performance point of view keep moving it through, it will be ideal. It’s been quite a tremendous run for four races.” Fernley says if they find the missing performance they could go fighting with the others.
Fernley says that in the opening four races the team has maximised their changes and that Esteban Ocon settling in so well bodes very well for the rest of the season.
Haas to run Brembo breaks
Haas are planning to run Brembo brakes for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, following cooling problems with the Carbon Industrie breaks in Sochi.
The American team ran CI brakes in practice in Sochi, after the successful test in Bahrain, but struggled with cooling. Haas had planned to test in wind tunnels, so they could find solutions for the problems in cooling the disk.
But, team principal Gunther Steiner says “as things stand” Haas would stick with Brembo brakes for the forthcoming Spanish GP.
He told Autosport “To figure out how we can fix the problem will take a bit, but we will get there. It isn’t an easy problem to solve. Everybody needs to understand that this is a very sophisticated brake system.”
“We know what we’ve got after our Bahrain test with CI brakes, and after Sochi in FP1 and FP2, [but] as it stands now we will race Brembo in Barcelona.” Steiner added that Romain Grosjean was happy with Brembo, while Kevin Magnussen was happy with Carbon Industries.
Saying “Now we need to get the CI working and see where we stand before coming to the absolute conclusion. I’ll be happy when we can check this off our list.”
Through-out 2016, Grosjean regularly complained about inadequacy Brembo breaks. According to Steiner finding a solution to this is taking much longer than the team expected.
Saying “The obvious question, and rightly people ask, is that it cannot be this difficult to fix a brake. It actually is. It isn’t easy. This is because they’re highly complicated technologies.”
Ferrucci retained by Haas
Haas have retained the American teenager Santino Ferrucci as the team’s development driver. The 18-year old joined the team last season and made his debut in last year’s test at Silverstone.
This season Ferrucci is competing in his second season of GP3 with DAMS. Ferrucci will attend all races and tests this season while doing simulator work.
Team principal Guenther Steiner told ESPN “We’re very happy to have Santino back with us and look forward to his continuing development in GP3.”
“We liked what we saw of him last year in our test at Silverstone and his maturity inside and outside of the car is impressive. Santino is a young, American driver with plenty of potentials who is learning a lot with DAMS and us.”
Ferrucci added, “I said it last year when I became a part of Haas F1 Team — my goal since I first started racing is to become a Formula One driver, and to be an American who is part of an American team is something I take a tremendous amount of pride in.”
He added that his Haas drive and GP3 will allow him to learn more at a faster rate.