Red Bull finds ways of reinvigorating Newey
Red Bull’s advisor Dr Helmut Marko says that the team “found a way” of reinvigorating chief technical officer Adrian Newey thanks to the teams switch to Honda.
Newey has been the teams CTO for a number of years, but has taken a back seat from the teams F1 programme and as he engaged in other projects, such as The America’s Cup and Aston Martin’s Valkyrie hypercar, before becoming more involved again when Red Bull made a slow start under F1’s new high-downforce regulations in 2017.
Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko said the team’s switch from Renault to Honda engines has helped keep Newey sharp, as well as giving him the freedom to choose how involved he is on a daily basis. Marko told Motorsport.com “Newey doesn’t want a normal working day anymore. He is working for us on a daily allowance. He was very fascinated and interested in the Valkyrie project.”
“You always need new tasks for him. If Newey knows that you have no chance with the engine, then you don’t have the same Newey as now. He was at the Honda Development Centre in Sakura [in December].”
Marko believes that “having a motivated Newey is a big asset” to Red Bull, the team are looking to win a title for the first time since the last of its four straight drivers’ and constructors’ championship doubles in 2013.
Newey is in the final year of his Red Bull contract, and there have been rumours about Renault were considering an attempt to poach him, something the French manufacturer eventually ruled out. Marko said Red Bull had “so far averted all poaching attempts”.
He added “Newey’s a crucial factor. When the new aerodynamic rules came, we were completely off. By Barcelona, we had a competitive car again.”
Toro Rosso willing to make sacrifices for Red Bull
Toro Rosso’s team principal Franz Tost says the team is willing to take more grid penalties to help sister team, Red Bull. Last season, both drivers Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley took tactical engine penalties to allow the Japanese manufacturer development.
With Red Bull switching to Honda engines this season, and its new supplier yet to provide definitive on-track proof it has the performance and reliability to mount a title challenge, a similar strategy would be much more costly for the senior team.
Tost told Motorsport.com that Toro Rosso is willing to continue to take hits if it accelerates development and protects Red Bull drivers from having too many penalties.
He told the website, “If that helps the strategy for Red Bull to win races and the world championship, of course. We do not even need to discuss this, it’s within our philosophy. I’m more than happy with it, because in parallel we also improve the performance.”
Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the junior team would take advantage of non-listed parts and components from Red Bull, including the entire rear end of the car and gearbox.
Honda is hoping to gain a “big advantage” from its customer teams who have two different rear-end architectures and Tost agrees it will pay dividends.
Schumacher joins Ferrari Academy
Sources close to Ferrari say that the son of seven times champion Michael Schumacher Mick has joined the team’s driver academy. The nineteen-year-old is entering his first season in F2 the final feeder category before F1.
As part of his deal, Mick Schumacher is to drive in two tests with Ferrari this season. Michael Schumacher won five of his record seven world titles with Ferrari. Mick was with his father when he had his skiing accident in 2013.
Although Ferrari hasn’t officially confirmed the deal, the team has said they were interested in him joining the academy and were talking to him about it, but there had been no developments since he had attended the post-season test with them in Abu Dhabi last November.
The family’s manager Sabine Kehm declined to comment when asked by BBC News.
A number of drivers have progressed through the Ferrari academy into F1, including Charles Leclerc, who joins Sebastian Vettel at the team this season, and new Sauber signing Antonio Giovinazzi. But a place in it is not a guarantee of a future in F1.
Ferrari plan for pre-test run
Ferrari is planning to give its 2019 car its on-track debut the day before the start of pre-season testing. Last year, the team used one of its permitted promotional days to give its car a shakedown.
Ferrari’s 2019 car, known as the ‘670′ internally, will be officially launched at the team’s Maranello headquarters on February 15. The plan is to run the car for the first time on-track two days later in Spain, before the first four-day test begins at the same circuit on February 18.
Should Ferrari face any delays to its planned promotional work on the morning of February 17, it is expected to postpone the filming day until after the first test is completed.
Russell “refreshed” by watching Hamilton
Williams driver George Russell says he found it “refreshing” to watch Lewis Hamilton and discover that his success is a result of his intense work ethic.
The current Formula Two champion has signed a “multi-year deal” with Williams, after spending 2018 combining his racing commitments with his role as Mercedes reserve driver with his F2 championship. Russell says that observing Hamilton gave him a new appreciation for how five-time world champion conducts himself.
He told Motorsport.com, “There’s a number of different perceptions of how Lewis’s commitment is over the course of the year. He’s got a number of different activities he does and he’s an extremely talented driver.”
“When he comes to the track he will work his arse off to maximise everything – pushing the team in such an amazing direction, really motivating everybody.”
“He’s worked really hard at it, so that was kind of refreshing for me, that a guy like him isn’t just relying on his talent and it just comes to him, he’s out there working for it.” Russell believes that Hamilton has probably improved as he got older, and rely on the speed if the car isn’t quite working.
The Englishman is the UK’s most successful driver in the history of the sport, and only seven times champion Michael Schumacher has more titles. Last year while fighting for the title he launched his own collection with US fashion giant Tommy Hilfiger.
Russell says that watching Hamilton up close has given him a valuable insight into more than just being a quick racing driver. He says that there’s more to being a successful racing driver than representing brands and have a number of sponsors
Renault enters three years of attacking
Renault’s technical director Marcin Budkowski says that the team is about to enter three years of attacking. When the French manufacturer returned to the sport as a works team, chairman Carlos Ghosn had targeted challenging for the title in 2019.
However while the team has made steady progress in recent years, 2019 the team faces it biggest challenge breaking into the top three. Budkowski’s arrival at the team caused some controversy as he was the FIA technical director.
He told Auto Hebdo, “We do not work in the short term, we do not just hiring experienced people but mostly young people coming out of university, apprentices. We invest in the future. We are not in the immediate result, we are still rebuilding the team.”
We could have done better last year if the short term had been our goal, but it is to build a team able to be world champion that interests us. After three years of construction, three years of attack are beginning”
Start times confirmed
Formula One has confirmed that it will stick to the 15:10 start time for races in Europe, the slightly later start time was introduced last season when the whole calendar was moved back by ten minutes.
Today, it was announced that the 2019 season will largely follow the same pattern, with FP1 at 11:00, FP2 15:00 on Fridays, FP3 12:00 and qualifying at 15:00 on Saturday with the race starting at 15:10 on Sundays. The main change is the French Grand Prix moving back one hour, to start at 15:10 CEST.
That brings it in line with other European races, having started one hour later in 2018 to avoid a clash with an England FIFA World Cup game. The Only exceptions are Australia and Azerbaijan which start an hour later, China, Britain and Japan which start an hour earlier and Singapore, Abu Dhabi which stays on European time.