Alonso casts doubts on future
Fernando Alonso has cast doubts over his future in Formula One, calling the sport “demanding” and says the current direction of the sport “sad.”
The McLaren driver hasn’t decided whether he will remain in the sport beyond this season, saying he will not make a decision about his future until after August. This season the Spaniard is combining his F1 commitments with the World Endurance Championship with Toyota this season and won on his debut last weekend at the Six Hours of Spa.
But, so far his F1 season has not been successful, as his McLaren team has not matched their expectations. Alonso told Sky Sports “I’m attempting two world championships at the same time. I’m happy with the progress we did here at McLaren and the direction things are going so I’m happy here. But it’s quite demanding – especially the F1 calendar.”
“The biggest thing here is how predictable everything is. That’s something you need to take into account for future decisions. This is sad in a way for F1, the direction everything went.”
This weekend will mark exactly five years since Alonso last won a race in any form of motorsport. Since returning to McLaren the team has struggled to perform at the top.
Alonso says “It’s difficult to see from the outside but you’re extremely proud and motivated every time you do a one-off performance.”
McLaren is hoping for an improvement in performance this weekend in Barcelona having brought a large upgrade package to the Circuit de Catalunya.
Wood’s leaves Williams
Williams has confirmed that the teams chief designer Ed Wood has left the team after twelve years with the team. In a statement, the team confirmed that Wood’s had decided to leave the team for “personal reasons.”
Before joining the team, he had both worked for Ferrari and Renault, as well as for WRC manufacturer Subaru before joining the team in 2006.
In a statement ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, the team said “We can confirm that Ed Wood has decided to leave Williams for personal reasons. As Chief Designer, Ed has been instrumental in many successes.”
“During his time with the team, including the FW36 and FW37 cars which secured third place in the constructors’ championship in 2014 and 2015, respectively.”
Woods departure comes following a recruitment drive by the team by chief technical officer Paddy Lowe since he joined last season.
The departure of Wood is the third high profile technical departure from the sport this year, following McLaren’s chassis boss Tim Goss and Sauber’s technical director Jorg Zander.
Red Bull drivers ‘free to race’
Red Bull have told both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo’s engineers that the team will intervene if the team feels racing is getting out of hand.
Both drivers were forced to retire from the last race following their collision while fighting for the lead of the race. motorsport advisor Helmut Marko confirmed ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix that will continue to be the case.
he told Auto Bild “We’ll let them drive free. However, in future, we will tell the race engineers that they will have to intervene when we see that it could escalate again.”
“The two of them have spoken. There is no bad blood. You don’t have to talk about it anymore. The book is closed.”
Wolff expects the battle to “intensify”
Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff is expecting the battle with Ferrari and Red Bull to continue to “intensify” as the sport enters the European season.
After the first four races of the season, Lewis Hamilton is currently four points ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the driver’s championship. While Ferrari leads the constructor’s championship. Speaking to ESPN, Wolff said “The first four races indicate very strongly that we will see the three-way battle continue and if anything intensify”
“We’re hoping that this year’s Spanish Grand Prix will be a good race for us, but we know that it will be tough.” This weekend is normally when all of the teams bring their first major upgrade of the season.
Wolff and all the teams will be looking to see if the pecking order remains the same, or whether one of the teams manages to find performance gains.
Unlike last season, Mercedes have been largely n the back foot on single lap performance, this weekend is normally the race where all the teams bring upgrades.
Wolff added “It will be interesting to see how much performance the teams can find with their upgrades and what impact those upgrades will have on the team ranking — both at the front and in the midfield.”
Mercedes know that overtaking in Barcelona is more difficult with Wolff looking for on-track performance in qualifying for a good result this weekend.
Ferrari to try mirrors on wing Halo
Ferrari is going to try rear view mounted wings on the halo at this weekends Spanish Grand Prix. The move comes after the sports governing body the FIA issued a directive allowing teams to attach them to the halo.
The mirrors on the Ferrari SF71-H aren’t dramatically different to the ones used since pre-season testing, with the two-part design more aerodynamically efficient than a more conventional version, but the location is different.
The technical directive allows mirrors to be attached to the halo to improve the driver’s rearward visibility, but there are clear aerodynamic implications that Ferrari has already begun to push on.
The FIA removed the legal box in which the mirrors placed on the outboard introduced in 2010, but the new directive allows the teams to place the mirrors in a more aerodynamic position.
Ferrari has placed the mirror on the aero template issued after Baku.
“I’m sure that when a team comes forward and says we want to mount it [the mirror] here, it is because they feel it’s going to be a bit better aerodynamically, and that includes halo mounting,” said the FIA’s head of single seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis when asked by Motorsport.com how legality will be monitored.
“It is our responsibility to make sure the rules are specific enough and we hope to make improvements also in the future to make sure the mirrors achieve their real function, which is to be able to see out the back, and to stop them being used for aerodynamic purposes.”
The weekend ahead
This weekend most of the teams have or will bring upgrades for the first major upgrades of the season, so in FP1 our main focus in practice will be about trying to understand the performance of the upgrades the teams have brought. We should also get an understanding of who has gained the most since winter testing.
In testing, Ferrari looked a lot stronger than Mercedes and Red Bull on track, that has continued in the first few races Ferrari appeared on the track as the fastest team.
Pressure will be on McLaren to perform this weekend as its Fernando Alonso’s home race. I believe following his WEC win at Spa last weekend Alonso will be more motivated. He is the main attraction for this weekend. Carlos Sainz Jr will also want to perform in his home race.
The way teams progress forward from here could decide the form going to Monaco a little, however, that wasn’t true last season. Barcelona will also see F1 TV launch, how this works going forward without UK/Ireland having full use could be interesting.
Formula One Vault will bring you LIVE and full coverage of the Spanish Grand Prix from 09:45 UKT on Friday with first practice on our LIVE Twitter account @F1VaultLive. We will bring you race coverage from 13:40 on Sunday with the race starting at 14:10 UK Time.