Massa could seek longer deal
Felipe Massa says he will be seeking another season in Formula One, should his competitive start to the season continue.
The Brazilian retired from the sport last season, but in a twist of Nico Rosberg’s sudden retirement, he was asked to replace team-mate Valtteri Bottas who left Williams for Mercedes.
Massa has made a strong start to 2017, with a number of top six finishes in the opening four races. Massa has a years contract with Williams but is now hinting if he continues with his form he could stay in F1 beyond this year.
He told Crash.net “It is a good year for me, and doing a good job and I want to keep doing the same, I am really not thinking about next year.”
“Just now, and we will see what is going to happen. I am enjoying and if I feel that I am competitive and enjoying it I carry on.” Massa says he is benefiting from driving with no pressure of expectation and is enjoying it.
Tuning needed to unlock Mercedes potential
Mercedes say they are convinced that there 2017 car only needs “tuning” so the car can show its full potential after the team’s main rivals Ferrari, made an impressive start to the season.
Mercedes and Ferrari have both won two races each this year, but the German team knows that Ferrari is better on their tyres and find it easier to get them into the correct operating window. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that the problems can be readily solved.
Sources within Mercedes are suggesting that key areas of focus will be suspension and weight reduction in a bid to improve the car’s balance. This weekend, Pirelli have brought the harder tyre compounds, which so far haven’t suited the Mercedes so far this season.
Wolff believes that there is no reason to be too worried. He told Motorsport.com “I don’t think there is a particular pattern.
“It is very marginal with tyre compounds, interaction with the track, the surface of the track, and the track temperature itself. Then there is surface bulk, and carcas temperatures.” He added there’s so much you need to get in order to be in the right window.
Wolff adds he thinks it impossible to say whether Mercedes or Ferrari have the best car at the moment – which is why his outfit needs to push hard to get ahead.
Palmer will bounce back
Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul says that Jolyon Palmer’s “deep reserves” of mental courage and he will bounce back from his tough start to this season.
Palmer had a struggled all season and had a tough weekend last time out in Russia. His team-mate Nico Hulkenberg has out qualified him in all four races this season and scored six points following top-ten finishes in Bahrain and Russia.
Abiteboul is sure Palmer’s form and luck will turn around as the 2014 GP2 champion showed a similar recovery in his rookie season last year. He told ESPN “For Jolyon, it’s been a tough start to the season; if there’s been an issue affecting the car, you can almost guarantee it happens his side of the garage.”
“This is something we are responding to by ensuring each and every reliability issue that impacts upon performance is addressed.” He says most of this work is done away from the track at Enstone and Viry.
He says Palmer’s second half of last season proves he can bounce back from the tough start to the season.
Palmer says that “The outlook [for Barcelona] is good. We’ve seen what the R.S.17 is capable of and I know that all I need to score points is a straightforward weekend.”
Verstappen needs to listen more
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo says that his team-mate Max Verstappen would be better off if he listened more to the established drivers. This weekend marks a year since his Red Bull debut in which he took his maiden and only win of his career so far.
But Ricciardo believes that one of his biggest weaknesses is his youthful independence. Verstappen has regularly been attacked for his aggressive style of driving, but Ricciardo believes that he will overcome that as he matures.
Speaking about Verstappen’s strengths, Ricciardo told Autosport “He’s obviously willing to push the car to the limit and that’s obviously a really good thing and weakness, I would say his age. But not his age in the sport.”
“He’s done the racing a long time so it’s not necessarily that, but it’s probably just in life. Probably just absorbing some things from older people – like last year when he was doing some things with braking [zones].”
Ricciardo says older drivers say ‘what he doing isn’t right’, but his response is ‘I know what I’m doing’. Ricciardo believes the partnership with Verstappen has worked well, and they are pushing each other.
Ricciardo about working with Verstappen “I always try and learn from everyone because driving is such a technical sport, there’s always something different you can apply.”
“A different technique or whatever, a way to set the car up. I can’t say there’s one place where I’m like: ‘Well, I learned that from Max.’ You learn these things subconsciously.”
Ricciardo says that he and Verstappen are very motivated and determined to win and they are constantly pushing each other.
Numbers regulation changes
Mercedes have revealed the new mandatory large numbers and driver names on its car ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.
The sport’s governing body the FIA ruled last month that teams had to meet new minimum requirements for the size of numbers in their liveries. These now had to be at least 230mm high, with driver names must be displayed in lettering at least 150mm high on external bodywork.
These changes take effect this weekend in Barcelona. Mercedes unveiled its solution on social media on Wednesday morning.
Mercedes used the shark fin to display the larger numbers and the three-letter abbreviations of the drivers’ names and has also increased the size of the numbers on the front of the car.
A page of potential venues – Carey
Formula One CEO Chase Carey says he could “fill a page” with potential new venues which could hold races and those venues are already being studied.
The 2018 calendar is already set for twenty-one races, with France and Germany returning, but the Malaysian race being dropped. But going forwards Liberty want to increase the number of venues, however, that would need agreement of the teams.
Carey told Motorsport.com “Our first focus is making our 21 races [in 2018] as strong as they can be. We’ve talked about them being bigger events and maximising things like hospitality.” He says that the high-end customer is important and they focus on that.
Carey says there is no targeted number of races but they know there is an opportunity to add races there would need to engage more with teams.
Carey says that he “could fill a page with the number of locations that have asked to meet and discuss the opportunity to host an F1 race.” He believes that there is a global appetite for Formula One.
He is currently trying to engage with as many as possible, across Europe, the Americas and Asia. But the priority is also to make sure the races currently on the calendar are as successful as possible.
Carey stressed that while this year’s Malaysian GP will be the last, he expects Singapore which had been in doubt some months ago – to remain on the schedule.
“We are actively engaged on renewing Singapore, so we don’t expect Singapore to go away. We’ve got to reach a deal, but we are actively engaged there, and our goal is to continue the race.