My form is from enjoying the cars – Verstappen
Max Verstappen says his impressive form this season can be put down to how much he is enjoying the new generation of Formula One cars. This year saw new regulations introduce wider and faster cars, leading to lower lap times and faster cornering speeds.
Despite the Dutchman’s frustrating season with reliability problems, he still managed to have another strong campaign, claiming two victories and four podiums. He out-performed teammate Daniel Ricciardo on Saturdays, beating him 13-7 over the season.
When asked if the new cars suited his style, he told ESPN “I think in general yes, it’s been a bit more positive because it’s more like a race car. Last year’s was a bit more like a toy car for my feeling.”
“This year it’s a bit more rough and you know it’s harder to drive but in general it’s also just more enjoyable because you can go a lot faster into the corners without being too worried about locking fronts and stuff and I think that helped me.”
Although the drivers have been pleased with the new cars, they have expressed concerns that there is a difficulty of following other cars during races. Lewis Hamilton was especially vocal on that issue after the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The data from Pirelli shows that overtaking, excluding the opening lap, nearly halved this year. That confirmed the fears that many had before the season that the regulations would impact overtaking.
Pirelli estimates a two second gain
Pirelli is predicting that next season cars will be over two seconds a lap faster. A revamp of the regulations this year aimed at making the cars faster and more difficult to drive have achieved their aim of making five seconds a lap faster than in 2015.
The data from every race shows that cars were faster at every race this season. The biggest gain was at Sepang, where Lewis Hamilton was nine tenths faster than two years ago in qualifying, throught there was other factors at play, including weather, time of year and track resurfacing also played a part.
But teams’ understanding of the regulations is still relatively immature, which means there are more big gains to come in 2018. Pirelli gets data from all of the teams which they use to help them with deciding which tyre compounds they are going to bring to each race.
Racing manager Mario Isola, told Autosport “At the beginning of next year they should be quicker by one second per lap, and during a year the normal rate of development is 1-1.5s.
“So by the end of next year they should be quicker by two seconds per lap. If we go softer with the tyres, the cars could be ever quicker.
“But we have to remember that there is an additional weight with the halo, and that will cost about three to four-tenths of a second, because of the weight plus aero implications.”
Next years regulations are going to see the minimum weight increase by 6kgs because of the introduction of the halo. The teams have found they need to beef up their chassis’s by more than double the minimum increase.
That is because they may struggle to pass the crash test, however if they were to do that would cost them three-tenths of a second in lap time.
First images of Montreal redevelopment proposals
The Société du parc Jean‑Drapeau of Montréal has released the first renders of what will be the new paddock building of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
As part of the contract between Montreal and Liberty for the circuit to host the race until 2029, the owners of the circuit made a commitment to update and renew the circuit. The new building will meet the standards for hospitality units.
The new building will be equipped, among other things, with a freight elevator, which can be used to bring cars or heavy furniture to each of the levels of the building. It will also have a glassed-in elevator for the clientele.
The new paddocks will be set up on three storeys, divided in the following:
1st story: F1 team garages, control tower and offices for the staff
2nd story: Hospitality boxes, control tower, podium and media areas
3rd story: Hospitality boxes and terrace
The project is costing £36 million, £22m of which will be coming from the city with the remaining £14m coming from Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Occupation du territoire (MAMOT).
Money to decide Williams seat – Massa
Felipe Massa says his former Williams team is on a “financial path” when they make the decision about who will replace him next season. The Brazilian announced he was retiring from the sport at the end of 2017.
Robert Kubica appeared to be the favourite to replace Massa, but following the Abu Dhabi test, it is now believed that Formula Two driver Sergey Sirotkin is now the favourite for the seat. Asked by Motorsport.com if he was surprised that Kubica appeared to be out of the running, Massa said: “The path of the team is financial, including Kubica, so it does not surprise me.”
“But I don’t know what will happen, I’m not following the team now. My thoughts are in other things and what I’m doing from now, and it’s not F1 anymore.” Massa has been linked to a Formula E seat, but talks about him joining a team are at a very early stage.
Reflecting on his career, he said the only thing missing was the title. Massa believes that he was the first Brazilian to come that close without sealing a world title.
Adding “I have nothing to worry about, I’m an accomplished guy and that’s the most important. I actually had a lot more than I imagined in my career, I fulfilled all my dreams.”
Williams to wait until after Christmas to announce line up
Motorsport.com says it has learnt that Williams is going to wait until January to make the announcement about who will partner Lance Stroll at the team next season.
It is now understood that the Russian Sergey Sirotkin is now the favourite for the seat, fending off the four other drivers, Robert Kubica, Daniil Kvyat, Paul di Resta and Pascal Wehrlein.
Kubica was the frontrunner, but Sirotkin’s performance compared favourably to the Pole’s after they drove in the Abu Dhabi Pirelli test. Williams has insisted throughout the process that its decision on the driver to partner Stroll will be based purely on performance.
It is understood that over the past few days’ talks have focused on getting the deal with the Russian done. Also it is believed that the issues are minor.
Williams has consistently insisted it is not in a rush to make a decision and with Christmas fast approaching, it has decided to wait until January to make an announcement.
Ocon says he made “massive improvement”
Esteban Ocon says that he has made a “massive improvement” over the course of the season as he pushed his experienced team-mate, Sergio Perez. The Force India driver scored points in eighteen out of twenty races and finished eighth in the championship.
Ocon proved himself to be very consistent, scoring almost the same number of points in the first and the last ten races of the season.
Speaking to Autosport, Ocon said “It was a smooth transition but it’s never easy to get the final details correct. You need to know the people, then understand the car together with the people and they need to understand my feedback properly.”
“I also needed experience in knowing how the car will perform better with my driving style. It’s the same work but it’s just getting in the same rhythm and not letting any details through.” Ocon says that was a massive improvement because the team was doing the same work but better.
The Frenchman best result was sixth place in Mexico, he says that was because he raced there last year.
Asked about his performance relative to Perez, Ocon said: “My target is to be faster than him, I want to be in front of him but he is a very fast driver. Even if I’ve been in front in many of the races, it’s very close between each other. I can’t rest.”
Dennis would have made same decision on Honda
Zak Brown says that his predecessor Ron Dennis would have made the same decision that he has made to end the teams’ relationship with engine supplier Honda because of the lack of progress that has been made over the last three years.
In May, the former McLaren boss said “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we have a mountain to climb, but climbing it we are and scale its summit we will. That I guarantee.” Dennis was ousted in a coup at the end of last year and since then has cut all ties after selling his shares.
Since then the new management has ended their supply deal with Honda and chosen to become a customer team with Renault. Brown says that he believes that Dennis would have come to the same conclusions.
Brown added “He was here when those conversations were ongoing and I think Ron always has and always will have the best interests of McLaren in his heart, he is Mr McLaren. It burns him inside as much as us not to see us winning races.”
McLaren did not formally end the partnership until mid-September, but Brown has reviled that the team has been looking for an alternative since testing.
Adding “We knew we were in trouble in testing in Barcelona and we worked really hard for six months to try and find solutions that would give us confidence that we’d be much more competitive in 2018.”
Despite the often rocky and troubled partnership, Brown insists there is no animosity between the two parties – to the point where they could even one day renew vows for a second time.
“They are a great company with great people. The relationship was always strong and is still strong so wouldn’t rule out racing with them again. We wish them the best but we needed to make some tough decisions in our best interests.”
Brown says that the relationship was a lot stronger than expected, adding “We worked hard together, we were frustrated together, but we never yelled at each other down to the end.”