Ferrari abandon tyre test
Ferrari has abandoned the second day of the two-day tyre test following Sebastian Vettel’s crash yesterday. The test aimed at evaluating the wet tyres was cut short after the accident on Thursday; after he hit the wall and Ferrari don’t have the parts to repair the car.
A video of the accident shows the German ran off the artificially soaked track on the shallow left-hand kink after the bridge crossing – hitting the barriers head on. The team had been hoping they could have repaired the car overnight before under closer examination it was realised they did not have enough spare parts to resume running.
The decision to abandon the test means that Ferrari’s third driver Antonio Giovinazzi will lose a chance to gain further valuable mileage in an F1 car. The focus of the test had been on how the wet tyres behaved, with a particular focus on their warm-up characteristics.
Under this year’s regulations, after safety car periods the race will restart from a standing start. This means that drivers may need to use wet tyres at a much lower temperature that had previously when tyre blankets were normally used ahead of starts.
Toughest winter of Sainz’s life
Carlos Sainz says this has been the “toughest winter of his life” as he prepares for the physical demands of this year’s Formula One cars. This season the new cars will have more downforce and be a lot faster than the ones previously used.
Sainz told Motorsport.com he has started using CrossFit as part of his training programme, carrying out two-hour sessions before swimming for at least another 60 minutes. The Spaniard says he has never worked so hard before. He said, “They want cars to be much harder to drive physically so us drivers have to be up for it, and what we had in 2016 in terms of fitness is not good enough for 2017, so it’s going to be a very tough year.”
“I think without a doubt this has been the toughest winter since I’m in F1 and in my whole life actually because I have never been in the physical shape I’ll be in March for the first race,” Sainz says CrossFit is similar to driving a car because your heart rate is the same and you are doing things non-stop.
He also says karting has also been an integral part of his training routine. The Spaniard drives with a special helmet with an extra two kilos of lead to increase the g-forces generated in the corners.
Sainz believes at his age he has an advantage to the higher downforce compared to Raikkonen or Alonso, as you peak physically around his age.
India request Mallya’s extradition
India has made an official request for the extradition of the Force India owner Vijay Mallya in a long-running dispute over his former airline Kingfisher. The businessman owes hundreds of million powers relating to the collapse of the airline.
India’s foreign ministry launched a formal request to the British high commission in New Delhi after investigators demanded that Mallya be brought home to face charges of financial fraud and defaulting on loans. A spokesman for the government said, “We have today handed over the request for extradition of Mr Vijay Vittal Mallya as received from the CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation] to the UK High Commission.”
Mallya denies the claims and says he is the victim of a media witch-hunt. He has refused to appear before investigators and fled to the UK, after defaulting on loan payments to state-owned banks and allegedly misusing the funds.
Mallya was sacked by the board of United Breweries, one of his businesses which produces beer and spirits, on Wednesday. He also owns a cricket team. A number of court warrants have already been issued against his name, and he owes banks at least $1bn.
In January an Indian court ordered a consortium of lenders to start the process of recovering the loans.
McLaren confirm BP as supplier
McLaren has confirmed officially that BP/Castrol will be the team’s fuel and lubricants for the 2017 season. The move has been on the table for a number of months after their contract with Exxon/Mobil concluded at the end of last year.
Group CEO Jonathan Neal said, “This agreement between McLaren, BP and Castrol is between brands who both share a long-standing and well-recognised passion for innovation in all we do.”
“Our McLaren-Honda team provides a global platform for Castrol to supply bespoke advanced lubricant technology.” BP has already announced a deal with French team Renault.
In Brief – Sauber launch date
Sauber will launch their new 2017 car, the C36 on the 20th of February two days before they do two filming days at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. The Hinwil-based team said on Friday that the first images will be revealed to the public two days earlier. The team will fire up their car next week.
Hamilton walked all over me
Nico Rosberg has admitted that his former Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton “walked all over him” before he learnt to stand his ground last season.
The German won the championship last year and then shocked the sport by deciding to walk away five days later. Rosberg had beaten Hamilton for the first time in his career, while their friendship proved to be fractious because of the dual for the title.
Rosberg has previously said he had felt mentally tougher than previous seasons and has admitted losing to Hamilton in twice had been difficult to accept.
When asked if his close friendship with Hamilton had made losing to him in 2014 and 2015 all the more difficult, Rosberg told the Daily Mail: “That’s right. The anger is bigger if that person you know so well does something that crosses the line.”
Rosberg who admitted he struggled to match his team-mate in wheel to wheel battles. He said “Lewis is very good at going to the edge without going outside the grey area, thanks to his skills in the car. He is smart, very, very smart. I found it harder to go wheel-to-wheel. For him, it comes naturally.”
He says he needed to work on standing his ground and being more aggressive.
“Rocks in the head,” says Head
Williams co-founder Sir Patrick Head says anyone who thinks that the regulation changes will close up the gap this season, has “rocks in their heads.” This season new regulations, including huge aerodynamic changes to make the cars around five seconds faster.
Head believes it’s inevitable the teams with the most resources will come out on top as they have more resources to tackle the changes. He told The Guardian newspaper “If anybody was thinking of these rules with the aim of closing the field up then they’ve got rocks in their head.”
“Any time you make significant changes the advantage will always go to the bigger teams – because they have more resources, they have more capability to parallel develop their existing car and work on design of their new car.”
Head said he agrees with the theory that despite the focus on aerodynamics, the new rules could end up rewarding engine power even more. He explained
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery also agrees with Sir Patrick saying that there will be a spread of teams, though one or two may be close to each other. He told Motorsport.com “We have some estimates of data, and I guess we will all see in Melbourne. There are groups of people that are very close, but there is a spread.”
“The top 10 is going to be very crowded. Will someone get a step ahead? You would have to say yes, that has always been the case when there is a big regulation change.” He added.