Honda was right to be cautious – Verstappen
Max Verstappen believes Honda was right to be cautious with how hard it pushed its engines initially this year, following “all the negative stuff it experienced with McLaren.
Verstappen’s Red Bull team split with Renault to partner with Honda for 2019, and the 21-year-old has won two of the 12 races prior to F1’s summer break. The breakthrough for Honda came in Austria when both an engine upgrade and a new front wing saw the partnership take its first win.
Verstappen told Autosport that “I’m of course happy” with his start to the season, in which he has established himself as the nearest challenger to Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the championship.
He added “Starting the new partnership with Honda I was always very cautious. I knew they were great people and they would get good results, but obviously, we had our own little issues at the beginning of the year with the car not being exactly what we wanted it to be for some reason.”
“We kept working hard, the factory also kept pushing very hard with new parts for the car very quickly, reacting. Of course, Adrian [Newey] being on top of it, and I think very quickly we sorted out a car which was again really nice to drive.”
He says in Austria the team brought new parts and began to get more out of the engine, which has allowed the team to take a bit more out of the engines. Verstappen added, “After all the negative stuff they had at McLaren with all the engines blowing up and other things, they were a bit careful, and I think that is the right approach.”
Even before the “turn around” the Dutchman had scored two podiums, five fourth-place finishes and a fifth. In the four Grand Prix’s since then, he has two wins, a second and a fifth place in Britain that should have been another podium.
Ferrari not stopping 2019 development
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto does not believe the team will need to stop the development of its 2019 car, as it looks increasingly unlikely that the team will catch up with Mercedes this season.
The manufacturer has advised to write off 2019 after Mercedes’ early-season run of dominance, and Sebastian Vettel admitted the team needed to make significant inroads into the championship-leading team’s advantage before the summer break to keep its title hopes alive.
While Vettel is ninety-four points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton and the team a hundred and fifty behind Mercedes, Binotto says that the continuity of regulations for 2020 means nothing would be gained from abandoning development on the SF90.
Asked how he planned to distribute priorities between development for 2019, 2020 and the new regulations in 2021, Binotto told Motorsport.com, “That’s a difficult task. First, I think that whatever we can do in the current season will be to the benefit of the next one.”
“I don’t think we should stop at any stage the development on the current season, because again, I think [it] can be passed over [to 2020]. We need to organise ourselves for 2021, no doubt. We’ve got now some responsible [people] in the technical department, and together with them we need to carefully take our decisions relative to the priorities.”
Ferrari’s main problem this season has been the lack of downforce, but despite being behind Mercedes and Red Bull they remain keen to carry over the car’s lower-drag philosophy to its 2020 successor.
“Hopefully what we can do is to have more downforce at a similar level of efficiency. I think that should be the two objectives,” he said.
Binotto believes the direction of the car means that more downforce is acquired and the believe simply put more downforce and be as efficient as we can.
Loss of Rennie played a role in Red Bull exit – Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo says that the prospect of losing his race engineer Simon Rennie played a role in his decision to join Renault from Red Bull. The Australian was expected to sign a new deal with the energy drink giant for 2019.
Instead, he shocked the F1 paddock by putting pen to paper on a two-year deal with Renault. Regardless if he has stayed at Red Bull it would have been his fast year working with Rennie, as he was keen to travel less and was thus being moved into a factory role.
Red Bull had planned to reunite Ricciardo with his former British F3 race engineer Mike Lugg, but the Australian then surprised the team by selecting to join forces with Renault – which partnered him with Carlos Sainz’s former race engineer Karel Loos.
Ricciardo told Motorsport.com, “There were a lot of reasons, but losing Simon – I knew he wasn’t going to engineer this year if I stayed at Red Bull, and I thought I had a good relationship with him, and there were some unknowns.”
“I was certainly comfortable with him. If I knew he stayed, I don’t know if that would’ve been the deciding factor, but it was another [thing] – obviously, when you’ve got the Honda concern and a few others, I guess that was another little thing.”
He repeated, there were a lot of little ‘unknowns’ that added up, refusing to use the word ‘concerns’ as he felt that was disrespectful. Ricciardo says alleged favouritism towards teammate Max Verstappen was not a major aspect, as “it was talked about more than [what] I saw”.
He also said Red Bull “did okay” in terms of the salary that was offered, adding: “That wasn’t a big difference in the end, it wasn’t a deciding factor.”
Tendering process begins for TPMS
The FIA is planning to introduce a standard tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) to F1 in 2021, which will give them full information on tyre pressures and temperatures across the whole weekend.
The move will be timed with the move to eighteen inch Pirelli tyres and ban on tyre blankets. It will have the double policing benefit of addressing the issue of teams potentially running on the track with lower pressures than those mandated by Pirelli while ensuring that the tyre blanket rule is respected.
The tendering process has a deadline of the Belgian Grand Prix with the decision made by the 4th of October, the prototype system has to be delivered to Pirelli by November 15, for use in post-Abu Dhabi tyre test in December.
The deal is for three years, with the FIA will retain the option to extend it by two years. This is the second recent example of the FIA using a tender to improve its ability to police what teams are doing from 2021 onwards, following the push for common fuel system internals.
The document says, “A standard system to monitor F1 tyre temperatures and pressures is planned to be introduced for the 2021 F1 season. The objective is to make the tyre running pressure and temperature data available to the FIA.”
“The teams with a standard format and level of accuracy. In addition, the use of a standard measurement chain will streamline the tyre identification process and tyre usage monitoring.”
The sensors will need to work with the eighteen-inch rims which are planned to be introduced, although no decision has been made public about a winning bidder for the latter. In addition to pressures, the sensors are required to transmit rim temperature, internal air temperature and inner carcass temperature.
The FIA makes it clear that the TMPS will monitor all tyres stored in a team’s garage. Each team’s system will have to deal with up to 200 sensors
Robin Raikkonen starts karting
Robin Raikkonen has driven his first laps a go-kart marking what could be the start of his journey towards Formula One. His father Kim posted images and video of his four-year-old son driving around a wet go-kart track on Instagram with the caption “ACEMAN BEGINS”.
He later added a picture of his daughter Rianna sat in a stationary go-kart with the caption “Rianna will join in a few years”.
In April, Raikkonen said Robin often rode a mini motorbike (with a modified throttle to stop him going too fast), but that he was already planning his son’s go-kart debut for the summer.
He told reporters in Baku, “He enjoys cars but more bikes right now. But who knows, today they like one thing and tomorrow it is completely 180 degrees on something else.”
Raikkonen added that in the summer he would probably take him go-karting, but he doesn’t mind if he does not pursue a career in motorsport.
Adding “But both of them we will support: If they want to be dancers, then for me I have absolutely zero issues as long as they enjoy it. I think anything that they do is better than hanging around in a train station, fighting or staying at home playing computer games.”
The Alfa Romeo driver surprised fans by joining Instagram at the end of 2017 and often uses the social media platform to offer insights into his family life. Other posts in recent months have included a holiday photo in Italy.