Ricciardo expects fair fight with Verstappen
Daniel Ricciardo says he is expecting to have a fair fight with his teammate Max Verstappen, despite the Australian not committing to a new contract beyond 2018 with the team.
Ricciardo is yet to sign a new contract with the team, while Verstappen has signed a deal until 2020. While Red Bull wants Ricciardo to comet after 2019, Ricciardo wants to keep his options open in case a seat becomes free at Mercedes or Ferrari.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the team wants to build the team around Verstappen, but also says he wants to keep Ricciardo.
When asked if he felt he would have everything around him to win the title in 2018 if Red Bull delivers a car capable of doing so, Ricciardo told Motorsport.com: “I do. That’s 100 percent honest. That [comment] is not what you want to hear. I didn’t see it in the press but afterwards I found out about Christian’s comment.”
“It was because he actually came up to me and cleared it up. He said ‘look, if you’ve seen the comments, it’s not out of context but I didn’t want it to come across that way’.”
“He said ‘please, I don’t want you to think anything like that. We’re fighting for both of you’.” Ricciardo pointed out that Verstappen got the updated engine sooner, but ha accepted the explanation provided by Horner and he is focused on doing the best job he can next season.
“Even if the engine is a tenth quicker, I’ve just got to drive two tenths better. If I’m good enough, I’ll beat him anyway! I’m confident.” He added
Kvyat announced as Ferrari development driver
Former Red Bull and Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat has been announced as Ferrari’s development driver for the 2018 season. The Russian was dropped by Red Bull towards the end of last year, being replaced at Toro Rosso by Brendon Hartley for the final three races of the season.
Kvyat made his debut for Toro Rosso in 2014, before being moved to Red Bull as the replacement for Sebastian Vettel who moved to Ferrari in 2015. But, he failed to match his teammate Daniel Ricciardo and was replaced by Max Verstappen ahead of the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.
Towards the end of 2017, he was dropped for the Malaysian and Japanese Grand Prix’s and replaced by Pierre Gasly. He returned for the United States Grand Prix, following the departure of teammate Carlos Sainz.
But then lost the seat to Brendon Hartley in Mexico, the team has since decided to retain Hartley and Gasly for 2018. Meanwhile, he emerged as a contender for the Williams seat vacated by Felipe Massa, but no deal was reached.
No details about Kvyat’s new role at the Scuderia have been confirmed as yet, though it is expected to entail simulator work. Ferrari previously handed Jean-Eric Vergne a similar position in 2015 after he was dropped from the Red Bull programme.
Ferrari not serious about walking from F1
Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag believes threats by Ferrari to quit Formula One are nothing more than a tactical business ploy. Since Liberty Media issued its vision for the future of the sport, Ferrari have said they will walk away unless conditions were favourable.
The Scuderia added to that threat when the threatened to form a breakaway series and warned F1 bosses to take its warning seriously or “risk playing with fire”. However, Agag believes that the threats are nothing more than a bargaining chip in the negotiations over the future of the sport.
He told ESPN “I think it does this [quit threat] probably in this moment to get a better negotiating position with F1. I guess they are going to have a negotiation soon about the new contract. So that is probably more a tactical move than a real move.”
Speaking on Tuesday when he unveiled a new title sponsor for the electric series, he said he believes Formula E could be the only viable motorsport by 2040.
Already Mercedes has announced plans for a factory team for 2019-20, with Ferrari also considering a entry. Ferrari says they want to see how FE develops in the next few years.
Agag says he has not yet held any talks with Ferrari over a possible switch and ruled out such a move from happening in the near-future.
Adding “I haven’t had any direct discussions with Sergio Marchionne or Ferrari and Fiat is a group that has not done so much on electric. I think they will eventually, but I think it will take time for them. Of course we would love to have them, but I don’t see this happening soon.”
Pressure on Ocon in second full season
Sergio Perez says the pressure will be on his teammate Esteban Ocon this year, following an impressive first full season in Formula One. The Frenchman joined the team with nine races of experience and finished the season thirteen points off Perez.
Perez says his target this season is to beat Ocon, but the pressure would now be on his teammate because “everyone will expect big things from him.” The Mexican says he was impressed with Ocon’s performance and his strong preparation was key to him being on the pace straight away.
He told Motorsport.com “I certainly rate Esteban. He’s got a lot of talent and a lot of experience. He came to Formula 1 very well prepared.”
“He was already quite mature, with a lot of knowledge behind him, so he was straight away on the pace. He definitely did a really good job. There’s no secret that he’s a very good driver, and one of the drivers for the future.”
Perez says that Ocon’s driving is comparable to his former teammate Nico Hulkenberg.
Williams wary of McLaren threat
Williams’s chief technical officer Paddy Lowe says he is wary of the threat that McLaren pose this year after they ditched Honda for Renault power for 2018.
However, the British team finished fifth in the constructors for the second successive season and McLaren ninth because of an underperforming and unreliable Honda power unit. Next season with McLaren switching to Renault power, they could become a threat to Williams and Red Bull.
McLaren believes that they have one of the best chassis in Formula One and have been unable to prove that because of the underperforming Honda power. The team believes it can now mix with Red Bull in 2018, following the switch to Renault.
Speaking about McLaren’s potential to Motorsport.com, Lowe said that would be interesting as “Honda have looked reasonably strong towards the end of the season so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of step or not McLaren make over the winter.”
“They are a competitor to be respected, so we’ve certainly got our eye on them,” Lowe added he was pleased with Williams was in a strong place at the end of the season, despite being unable to push Force India for fourth.
He says that Williams had results which felt like race wins and Felipe Massa’s seventh place in Brazil was like a race win because they got the most out of the car. But admitting the team had made errors throughout the season, overall he says the team did a great job.
Before adding, “All credit to Force India, they have done a fantastic job, they deserve the position they’ve had. But holding on to fifth when you look round at the competition is not to be taken for granted.”