Verstappen never intended to put Renault down
Max Verstappen says his criticism of Red Bull’s engine partner this season was never intended to ‘put Renault down’.
The Dutchman grew increasing frustrated with the French manufacturer in 2018, and became more vocal when his team committed to splitting with the French operation at the end of the season. Verstappen regularly hit out over reliabilityand power in the media when the team where looking at whether to switch to honda or stay with Renault.
Speaking on Dutch TV Ziggo Sport’s season review, he said “It was never my intention to put them down, but I want to make it better. Look, wenow have a deal with Honda, but if we had continued with Renault next year, I would want us to make progress. I am just very clear in what I say.
“I can also say that they can take it easy, but I am not like that. It can and must be better and I just always want full commitment. However, you have to be open to criticism, that is how I grew up.”
A Renault failure in Budapest sparked an expletive-laden rant from Verstappen, as did problems in Singapore, despite him qualifying andfinishing second.
Despite the troubles the Dutchman finished the season with five straight podium finishes and as the most regular challenger to worldchampion Lewis Hamilton.
Looking ahead to the future, he says that the partnership with Honda is hopefully long term, and in the short term he wasn’t expecting things to run smoothly.
Adding “I do not expect that we can really fight for thechampionship at the start of the season, but if we are just a little bit better than this year, we can be closer to the competition and run a consistent season.”
Kubica believes regulation changes right for his return
Robert Kubica believes that regulation changes for 2019 are coming at the “perfect” time for his return to F1. The Polish driver is returning to the sport for the first time since a life changing accident in February 2011.
Next year the cars will feature new wings, brake ducts andbargeboards as part of a raft of aerodynamic rule changes aimed at making it easier for cars to follow each other.
Asked about his expectations for his comeback by Motorsport.com, Kubica said “I have quite a lot of experience with racing, in F1, so I know what it takes to be a top F1 driver – I’m not scared of it. I know that it requires a lot of work and dedication and I’m ready for it.”
“From a technical point of view, a driving point of view, we will have the Abu Dhabi test next week, winter testing – so by the time we will be in Australia that’s enough to be ready from this side.” He says that next year will be different.
Kubica says that he isn’t afraidof starting from zero and he knows what it takes to be back at the level he was at in 2010.
Bottas enters Finnish rallying
Valtteri Bottas has announced that he will be entering andmaking his rally debut at the opening round of the 2019 Finnish Rally Championship. The Finn will drive a Ford Fiesta at the Artic Lapland Rally, the same model in which Sebastien Ogier has won the last two WRC titles.
The Mercedes driver will be joined for the rally by co-driver Timo Rautiainen, who worked with Marcus Gronholm between 1995 and 2007, winning two world championships. Rautiainen is coming out of retirementfor the rally to work with Bottas.
Bottas told Crash.net “This is a unique opportunity to take a peek into the world of rallying, and I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible.”
“It’s totally new territory for me too, as I have no prior experience of a World Rally Car. Still, being the race car driver that I am, you always go flat out whatever the vehicle you’re driving in.”
The rally takes place between the 24-25 January. Bottas’s teammate Rautiainen, believes that Bottas is a talented wheelman. He says “We’ll be able to establish a good basic driving routine in testing. The challengingpart, of course, will be learning the ins and outs of pace note making andlearning to drive with pace notes all at once.”
Ecclestone attempted to buy Silverstone
Formula One’s chairman emeritus Bernie Ecclestone says that he has made enquiries about buying Silverstone, and was told that the circuit was not for sale.
The Englishman claims that the future of the British Grand Prix remains in doubt after next years race, as the sports owners Liberty Media and the promoter circuit haven’t agreed a new deal. The BRDC triggered a break clause, nicknamed Article 50, to renegotiate the contract after it became unaffordable.
When asked about the future by Motorsport.com, Ecclestone said, “It would be nice to have one. They could do a deal there, but I think they’ll have to come up with some sort of an idea of sharing the losses. Or profits, or whatever.”
“They must be comfortable, Silverstone. I asked them the other day if they wanted to sell, because I would have bought it, and they didn’t want to sell. They were not interested. We could have had the race, obviously.”
“Anyway, they don’t want to sell, so they’re comfortable. They’re not desperate, but they’ve got to have an F1 race.” Ecclestone’s successor as CEO Chase Carey, has suggested that there was other options including a race in London.
However, the Englishman says that he looked at that ten years ago with the circuit planned around Buckingham Palace, but the plan proved too complicated with restrictions.
Adding “During the meetings I tried to explain to the City of Westminster and the mayor at the time that we’ve got to find the money to dothis, and in the end let’s see how much money you’re prepared to put in.”
Pirelli nominates tyres for first four races
Pirelli has announced the tyres compounds which will be available for the first four races of the 2019 season, the tyres which are graded C1 to C5 will be known simply as the soft, medium and hard when they are brought toraces.
C1 will be the hardest compound and C5 the softest compounds. Next years tyres will range from the hypersoft to hard compound, as well as a back up superhard back-up tyre, which was not intended for use.
For the opening race of the season in Melbourne, round three in Shanghai and round four in Baku it has gone for the mid-range, with C2 being the hardest, C3 the medium and C4 the soft.
The company’s hardest 2019 tyre will be seen in Bahrain, where the C1, C2 and C3 compounds will be used.
Pirelli will announce the nominations for round seven in February, fourteen weeks before the Canadian Grand Prix. Before rounds five in Barcelona and six in Monaco.