Renault open to retain Palmer
Renault says it would be open to retaining Jolyon Palmer next season, if the Englishman can up his disappointing form from the first half of the season.
Palmer has struggled in the first half of the season compared to his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who has scored all of the teams twenty-six points and is currently tenth in the championship. He is out of contract at the end of the season and is under increasing pressure from Robert Kubica, though Renault denies this.
The teams reserve drivers Sergey Sirotkin and Nicholas Latfifi have also driven this year’s car, while development driver Oliver Rowland has also targeted a 2018 seat. Renault has been making moves to reassure Palmer he is not going to lose his seat mid-season.
Renault publicly acknowledges it is considering Kubica for a potential race seat, Abiteboul says it is also open to retaining Palmer next season if he can raise his game.
The Frenchman told Autosport “Frankly, if he manages to turn around the situation, which he did last year, we are completely open to a future between the team and Jo for one more season. Stability would be good for the team.”
“Things could go his [Palmer’s] way, but at the end of the day, that’s in his hands. He knows that right now he’s on a one-year contract and completely understands the team has to assess its options for the future.”
Abiteboul says Palmer has shown he is capable of performing strongly, however, has confidence amid a run of poor reliability mixed with repeated driver errors.
Standard parts to address costs
Formula One CEO Chase Carey has confirmed that the sport could introduce standard parts in a bid to address the huge spending disparity in the sport.
Budgets of teams vary widely, with big manufacturers spending around £330m last year while the smaller teams such as Force India and Sauber only spend around £90m. McLaren executive director Zak Brown has backed calls for a budget cap and claimed “there are some that think we should standardise some parts.”
Carey has confirmed that standard parts have been considered in a bid to cut costs, however, backs sporting director Ross Brawn who says the sport must not be “dumbed down.”
He told Autosport “There are many paths to get there, whether it’s cost caps, or other ways to address key components of the car. We’re not looking to standardise the car – we think it is very important to continue to have a sport that is competition married to state of the art technologies.”
“We’re not looking to dumb the cars down, but I think we can standardise components of it. We are certainly looking for ways to address what some of the teams in particular spend.” Carey says that this would also improve the economics of the sport as well as improving competition.
Brown has suggested that the parts should be parts that “don’t improve the show and the fans don’t recognise the difference”, like suspension components.
Carey has also revealed “preliminary meetings” have been held with teams regarding cost cutting, although the objective was not to make everybody’s budget the same.
Mercedes will pull away from Ferrari – Rosberg
Mercedes ambassador Nico Rosberg says that he believes that the team will pull away from Ferrari in the fight for this year’s world championship because of its superior development ability.
Ferrari has gained the most from the overhaul of the aerodynamic regulation overhaul to significantly close the gap to rivals Mercedes over the winter. The team have claimed four wins this season, and at the last race in Hungary Sebastian Vettel opened his championship lead to fourteen points.
Rosberg say he believes that the majority of the remaining races should favour Mercedes as the team has both the stronger resources and ability to develop its current car, the W08, alongside shifting some of its focus onto its 2018 challenger.
He told Sportbild “Ferrari have really done a great job over the winter. But now it will be a development race. I find it hard to believe that Ferrari can keep up.”
“After Silverstone, I had already thought: That’s it now. I was surprised that Ferrari in Hungary hadn’t fallen back again. Spa would have to be a full-on the Mercedes-track. Ferrari is unlikely to have a chance”
Speaking about the controversy around the clash between Lewis Hamilton and Vettel in Baku, he says he surprised by the extremity of Vettel’s actions, Rosberg says his fellow compatriot’s character and determination to win is a strength that could play into his hands.
“You know that he does not control his emotions,” he explained. “Last year he rapped over the radio in Mexico. This thick skin, the consequences of such action to bear, is also a strength of Sebastian.
“In the short term and at the moment this may seem weak – but over a whole season, this depravity can make the difference.”
Honda finds more performance but not decide on introduction
Honda F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa says the Japanese manufacturer has found more performance for its power unit, however, have not decided what elements it is confident enough to introduce.
Honda has struggled with a lack of power and unreliability after they introduced a new engine concept this season. But it retained belief in the concept, with them introducing a new ‘spec 3’ in Baku.
The manufacturer is also looking to introduce ‘spec 4’ in one of the early races after the summer break, but will not do so until it is confident in the update. Hasegawa told Autosport “We know the target, which other teams have already achieved. We know most of the teams are using the same concept of our engine.”
“But obviously we don’t know the exact solution, the exact design, the same level of performance we can achieve.” Hasegawa says that to achieve that they will be focusing mainly on the combustion, but they are looking to find gains everywhere.
While he admitted that Honda underestimated the challenge of changing concept but feels they have made progress this season.
No change in limitations – Kubica
Robert Kubica has admitted “nothing has changed” regarding his limitations with his right arm which he suffered in a rally crash in 2011, despite his impressive performance in the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test.
Last week, the Polish driver completed his first drive in a modern Grand Prix car doing 142 laps on his way to setting the fourth fastest time. While he wasn’t pleased with his overall performance, Kubica believes that the mileage he achieved shows he is fit enough and ready to drive at any track.
Asked by ESPN, what has changed in the last few months to enable him to drive an F1 car again, Kubica replied: “Nothing has changed, I am the same guy which was 10 months ago, four months ago, one week ago — my limitations are the same. From that point of view, nothing has changed.”
“From a physical point of view and preparation let’s say a lot has changed, because I’ve started preparing,” Kubica says if he was targeting a come back he would be ready.
He says that the current cars are heavier and that was the biggest difference he noticed. Speaking about return ge said “Nothing is impossible. Of course, I have been the last six years through different periods and stages of my life mainly dedicated to my physical issues and injuries.”
Kubica says he would like a role in Formula One and if it didn’t happen he would not be disappointed.
That’s all from F1 Today this week, we are taking our summer break next week and we will return with all the build up to the Belgian Grand Prix from Monday 21st August. Reporters this weekend