Honda “very close” to matching Renault
Honda says that they are “very close” to matching Renault in performance levels with the power unit says the Japanese manufacturer’s project leader Yusuke Hasegawa.
Since the manufacturer returned to the sport three years ago, it has struggled to match the performance of the other three manufacturers, Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault. This season was another tough start for Honda, though it has gradually improved both performance and reliability.
Signs of progress came in Baku when Honda introduced the ‘spec 3’ unit which saw the team find several tenths, a ‘spec 3.5’ introduced at Spa has seen the gap to Renault close further. Hasegawa believes that the gap has closed to Renault, he told Autosport “From the beginning of the season, we have been improving the power unit – not only in terms of performance but also reliability.”
“Since we introduced spec 3.5 engine, I think that level of performance is very close to the Renault. I cannot say it’s better than Renault but the important thing is the reliability is much better.”
Asked if he felt this is the closest Honda has been to its engine rivals since returning to F1, Hasegawa said: “Yes, I think so. We’re not close enough, but the gap is very small compared to last year and the first year.”
Honda made dramatic changes to the power unit for this season and is looking to evolve that concept and evolve it. Honda is following a similar concept to the other three manufacturers, making hem hopeful that they can close the gap next season.
Mercedes not too upset about not fighting
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he cannot feel too upset that this year’s drivers and constructor’s championships are looking as if they are set to be decided by Ferrari’s reliability problems.
Up until the summer break, little separated the two teams with them fighting each other on track. However, since the break, Lewis Hamilton has managed to build a fifty-nine point lead over Sebastian Vettel in the driver’s championship.
Vettel’s hopes of a fifth world title have been hindered by opening lap crash in Singapore, then engine problem’s in Malaysia and Japan has left the German fifty-nine points behind, with one hundred remaining. However much Mercedes may have liked to have won the title out on the track, Wolff has said that part of the job of a team is in delivering a car that can finish races.
Asked by Motorsport.com if there was disappointment about the way the title appears to have been settled, he “In this sport, you take no prisoners. It is about having the fastest car, and the best driver, and the most solid performance.”
“We’ve been there: we’ve had difficult moments for each of the drivers in the past in terms of reliability. When you are pushing the boundaries you will eventually reach its limits.” Wolff praised Ferrari’s exceptional development rate and says retirements are part of that.
He adds “They have certainly found the performance and now it is about making it reliable. I am happy we have kept it together, and our quality people and designers have done an exceptional job in making us very reliable this year.”
Kubica completes Williams test
Robert Kubica has completed a one-day test for Williams in the teams’ 2014 car at Silverstone to evaluate his potential for a 2018 race seat. The Pole is looking to make his return to the sport six years after he suffered life-changing injuries in a rally accident.
However is one of four drivers fighting or a race seat next season with the British team, including Paul di Resta, Felipe Massa and Pascal Wehrlein. Kubica competed a full days’ worth of running the FW36 in the test at a cloudy Silverstone on Wednesday.
Williams said the test was “successful” but it is keen to keep further information under wraps and did not release any details about a number of laps covered or lap times set.
The team are planning another test for Kubica and di Resta following the United States Grand Prix.
Williams is in no rush to make a decision, given it has the most coveted seat left on the 2018 grid, but it is believed the team would like to be able to make an announcement before the end of the season.
Haas hopes to take advantage
Haas’s team principal Gunther Steiner believes that the mid-season driver changes at Toro Rosso and Renault can boost the team’s chances of a strong second half of the season.
The American team has been locked in a tight fight with Renault who are one point behind with Toro Rosso nine points ahead and Williams a further fourteen points behind with four races remaining. Haas’s chances of taking sixth were boosted after a double point’s finish in Japan.
However, Steiner says that Sainz switch to Renault and Toro Rosso’s line up still certain for the United States Grand Prix, Haas could benefit. He told Motorsport.com, “I hope it helps. It could because Sainz for sure is a good driver and he scored almost all of Toro Rosso’s points. For sure it’s not a disadvantage for us.”
“I wouldn’t say we’ve got confident [of holding on to seventh in the constructors’ championship], but we will try. We will work hard. We’ve got closer to Toro Rosso. The battle is not over in there, it just started in my opinion.”
Steiner admitted he would rather the team was ahead but says it interesting for the fans. The team will bring their final upgrades of the season for Austin, as they are now focused on next years car.
Speaking of the upgrades, he said “It’s a small modification for the floor but it’s small, it’s not something that will make us go half a second faster, nothing near it. You need to try and do what you can do so we do it.”
Haas has struggled to understand its performance from one race weekend to another and from qualifying to the race.
De Villota family ends litigation against Manor
The family of Maria de Villota have ended litigation against Manor after reaching an agreement. The Spaniard crashed into an articulated trailer while carrying out a straight-line test for Marussia at Duxford Aerodrome in 2012.
Lost her right eye and made a full recovery from the other injuries, but died in October 2013. An investigation by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive concluded no action would be taken against the parties involved.
Then De Villota’s family began litigation against the F1 team, that later became Manor F1, but a statement from UK law firm Slater and Gordon on Wednesday said both parties had reached an agreement.
“The family of Maria de Villota are pleased to say that they have reached agreement in their dispute with the Manor F1 Team following Maria’s accident on the 3 July 2012,” read the statement.
“The accident happened for a number of reasons, one of which was that a lorry was parked in the pit area with its tail lift projecting, for which Maria was not at fault.”
The statement quoted a spokesperson for Manor saying: “It was a tragic accident which shocked the team and all who knew her. She is sorely missed.”
Paul Tapner from Slater and Gordon added on behalf of the family that: “This is an important moment, as the family can now put all their efforts into continuing with Maria’s Legacy.”
The statement added: “Maria’s Legacy is a movement created to give continuity to Maria’s solidarity programs focussing primarily on children with neurodegenerative diseases and people with limited financial resources.
“Once again, the family wishes to say thank you to all the fans, friends and others that have supported Maria before and during her career, particularly those who did so after the accident. Also to all those who today continue remembering her with her happiness and smile taking care of those most in need.”
Manor collapsed in January year
Twenty gamers qualify for Abu Dhabi
The first twenty virtual qualifies have sealed their place for the final round of Formula One eSports season finale in Abu Dhabi. Forty gamers who have fought of over sixty-three thousand to get a place
The semi-finals saw races at Silverstone and Interlagos, with them being live-streamed through social media and f1esports.com.
“A lot of us have come from sitting in our rooms, playing on our consoles and platforms and we’re now in front of everyone here on these stages and performing,” said British qualifier, Harrison Jacks.
The final round of the season where the championship will be decided will take place in Abu Dhabi at the end of November. That will co-inside with the final round of the season, where the first FIA Formula One eSports World Championship will be decided.
Channel 4’s Karun Chandhok said there was plenty of joking about a gamer one day ending up on the real starting grid but there was a serious side to that.
“Today, if you look at it, the cost of going karting is very expensive, sometimes prohibitively. For somebody who is between 12 and 16, the opportunity to hone your craft on games and simulators can be a good step into the world of motor racing.