F1 Today – Canadian Prixview – 16/06/2022

F1 Today

Mercedes can’t rely on misfortune of others – Russell

George Russell has warned that Mercedes cannot keep relying on the misfortune of other teams to challenge for podiums as it looks to unlock more performance from its car.

The eight-time constructors champions have struggled to compete against Ferrari and Red Bull following this year’s regulation changes, with it in no mans land in third. Despite those struggles, Russell has proved to be consistent finishing in the top five at every race and scoring three podiums this season.

In Baku, the Englishman once again capitalised on Ferrari’s misfortune with both cars retiring to finish third, behind the Red Bull’s putting him seventeen points behind Charles Leclerc. While still mathematically and with two-thirds of the season to go in the title race, he stressed the importance of finding more performance to properly compete with the lead cars.

Russell said after the race in Baku, “This is a championship where you’ve got the chance to score every single race, and it doesn’t matter how fast your car is, if you’re not scoring those points, then your tally is not going to increase.”

Adding “So, great work from everybody back at the factories to deliver a reliable car, but we can’t keep on relying on others’ misfortune, and we need to find more performance. That’s what everyone’s trying their hardest to achieve.”

In Barcelona, it looked as if the team made a step forwards with its upgrade package which eased the porpoising. However, the street circuits in Monaco and Baku saw the team struggle with the bouncing.

Russell said the W13 car had “been feeling OK to drive” in Azerbaijan and it felt well-balanced, but the porpoising remained a limiting factor. Russell said “The challenge is just the bottoming, to be honest.

“I think it doesn’t matter what boat you’re in, either you’ve got the porpoising and you’re hitting the ground, and if you don’t have porpoising, you’re running the car millimetres to the ground, and you’re bottoming out.

“[I’m] feeling it on the back at the moment. But nevertheless, we’ve got to keep on working hard to find more performance and understand what we need to do to unlock that. I don’t think we’ll have any major updates or anything to try in Canada, but maybe for Silverstone, we’ll have a better idea.”

 

Ferrari “short-term fix” for hydraulics issue

Ferrari says they will have a “short-term fix” for the hydraulics problem which forced Carlos Sainz to retire from Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Sainz and his teammate Charles Leclerc retired from the race in Baku, with the Monacan suffering a second power unit failure in three races.

Ferrari explained in a Tweets “A challenging weekend for the team, but one that we’ll look to learn and build from. Charles’ engine arrives at the factory tomorrow, an initial assessment should be completed by (Tuesday) evening.”

“Hydraulic components from Carlos’ car have already been examined. A short-term fix is in place for Canada, while work is ongoing on mid/long-term solutions. We continue to be fully motivated. Our ambitions are still high, our aim hasn’t changed. These moments shape us, as individuals and as a group.”

Ferrari are now eighty points behind Red Bull in the constructors, while Leclerc has dropped to third thirty-four points behind championship leader Max Verstappen. The reliability issues appear to be a setback for the team who appears to have their first genuine title challenge since 2008.

For Leclerc, the Baku DNF was a second retirement from the lead with an engine failure in three races, and came after he called on his team for no more “mistakes” following disappointments in Spain and Monaco.

Leclerc, who dropped below Sergio Perez to third in the world championship standings, said “It hurts. We really need to look into that for it not to happen again. I can’t really find the right words to describe this.  It’s very, very disappointing. I don’t know, we really need to look into it.”

Sainz, who is still seeking a first career win, remained optimistic that there are “betters days to come” for the team.

He said: “That’s the main objective and the team knows this, that we need to improve on this side, but we have been pretty good on reliability on my side but we have just been a bit unlucky the whole season and it has been quite difficult to get any momentum going this season.”

Sainz added the team would remain united and positive because better days will come.

 

Red Bull not doubting Ferrari fight back

Red Bull has “no doubts” that Ferrari will bounce back after recent setbacks appears to have derailed Charles Leclerc’s bid for a maiden championship campaign having not won a race since Melbourne in April.

Two engine failure in Barcelona and Baku as well as a strategy error in Monaco has allowed Max Verstappen to open a thirty-four-point lead over Leclerc in the championship. Ferrari believes they have answers for its recent reliability woes, which included Carlos Sainz retiring in Baku on Sunday with a hydraulics problem, if it is not to allow Red Bull to romp away to the titles.

But for Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner, the current situation for his team is one where he knows it cannot take the foot off the gas and simply believe its rival will keep getting things wrong. Asked by Motorsport.com, about Ferraris prospect, Horner said, “I think they have a very fast car, certainly on a Saturday. I think on a Sunday, we’ve been equal to them at pretty much every race that we’ve been to this year.”

I think that was the case again [in Baku] from what we can see in the early laps.They will sort their problems out. I’ve got no doubts about that. But inevitably, I guess it means that there’ll be penalties further down the year in the back end of the year.”

“Of course, there is a long, long way for this championship to play out. We’ve seen big swings in points over the last four or five races, and it just shows how quickly things can turn around.”

While Leclerc’s engine failure allowed Red Bull to take a one-two, Horner believes the pace of his team’s car would have been enough for it to triumph without the Monegasque hitting trouble.

Adding “I think we would have beaten Charles strategically with the route that we picked as well. But we won’t know that. But the important thing was that with their misfortune we capitalised on it and we banked the points because obviously the championships look healthy at the moment. But we can see how quickly that can change.”

 

Melbourne signs ten-year contract extension

Organisers of the Australian Grand Prix have signed a new ten-year deal to extend the contract until 2035. The current deal was due to expire at the end of 2025 and means the race will mark almost four decades on the calendar when the new contract expires and see Albert Park mark a century since the first Grand Prix was held in Victoria on Philip Island in 2028.

It has become a mainstay of the F1 calendar and continues to be a major success for Melbourne and the state of Victoria. April’s race saw the largest event since the pandemic in Australia and the largest crowd for a weekend sporting event in Australian history, after being aborted in 2020 and cancelled in 2021 due to the pandemic.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “The race has always been a favourite for the fans, drivers and the teams, and Melbourne is an incredible and vibrant international city that is a perfect match for our sport. This year we saw huge crowds and passionate fans at the Grand Prix, and we are very excited by the future in Australia as our sport continues to grow.”

Victoria’s minister for tourism, sport and major events, Martin Pakula, said: “The Australian Grand Prix has never been bigger. We know how important this event is to our economy and that’s why we’ve delivered the longest extension for the race since it has been held in Melbourne.”

As part of the new deal, it will remain as one of the opening rounds, after Bahrain, Jeddah and Qatar, if Doha isn’t paired with Abu Dhabi, but will step in to host the open race when the timing of the Muslim festival of Ramadan makes it impossible to race in the Middle East on the required date.

The 2023 calendar is not expected to be published until late summer or early autumn which is expected to see greater regionalisation of the calendar to improve sustainability both environmentally and financially.

 

Drivers do not deserve to endure “unnecessary” pain – Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo insists Lewis Hamilton did not exaggerate the extent of his back injury after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, saying drivers do not deserve to endure “unnecessary” pain.

The seven-time winner in Montreal has been questioned after he required assistance to get out of his Mercedes cockpit following last weekend’s race on the streets of Baku. However is expected to drive through the pain caused by bouncing as the result of the porpoising.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claimed Hamilton is under instruction to ‘b****’ about Mercedes’ porpoising problems, in the hope of pushing through a rule change.

Ricciardo says from talking to Hamilton and seeing pictures of him getting out of the car and stretching his back, means he wasn’t exaggerating and was really uncomfortable. He told Sky Sports, “The good thing is that it is very visible. If you have the car’s audio, you can hear it jumping and bouncing, and from the images, you can see the helmet is moving around, too.”

“It is not normal or comfortable. The position we sit in the car, we don’t have much room to move so we are not prepared for the impacts. If that is up to a rule change, or the way the teams are setting up the cars, I am not 100 per cent sure – but I wouldn’t like anyone to go through any unnecessary injury or pain.”

Ricciardo says the drivers have spoken about it throughout the season, and was sure it will be discussed again at Friday’s driver’s briefing.

Hamilton has finished behind teammate George Russell in the last seven races, and is thirty-seven points behind. The seven-time world champion has also been cast 88 points adrift of Max Verstappen, but Ricciardo added: “I definitely think Lewis is as capable as ever.”

“We all knew George was quick, and it was just how quick is he? How good is he? And he is proving he is very good.”

Ricciardo has been under pressure to start delivering results following a disappointing eighteen months with McLaren. The team’s CEO Zak Brown last month confirmed the Australian has not met expectations and confirmed there were break clauses in his contract.

Ricciardo said: “I would be more surprised if I was coming, say thirteenth, and everyone is like, ‘Dan’s killing it this year’. I know the team cares about me and therefore there is an expectation. With Zak’s comment, I am well aware of how I am doing and I take it as a roundabout way of a compliment because he also believes I can be doing better.”

Williams planning “visibly different” concept

Williams is planning to follow a “visibly different” car concept with a major update in the coming races to improve its current form. Although the British team has scored points this season, they have struggled to fight in the midfield regularly.

That has caused the team to slip to the bottom of the constructors’ championship with it twelve points behind both Haas and Aston Martin. The team has opted or a conservative approach towards its update plan, but is now looking to lift its form in the near future after committing to introducing a major update package.

Head of vehicle performance Dave Robson explained how teams now need to “get the best bang for your buck” when introducing update packages due to the budget cap, and the early stages of the regulations would see most new parts arrive “more or less as a big chunk”.

Robson conceded Williams had brought “nothing really big yet” for the FW44 car, but confirmed it had now decided on a timeframe to get the first major package on the car.

Robson told Motorsport.com, “Yes, we have decided, and it has now been committed from the wind tunnel,” It’s now just a challenge to get it manufactured as soon as possible. Hopefully that will be helped by not damaging the cars tomorrow, because that clearly is something you’ve got to be careful with.

He confirmed that the team did have an upgrade package on the way, Williams will be hoping to make a similar step forward to Aston Martin who made a big step forward after moving to a Red Bull-style concept in Barcelona.

The team had worked on two concepts in tandem for the introduction of the new regulations, and found the new path it has taken has given the AMR22 car a wider operating window.

Asked by Motorsport.com about the challenge of weighing up concepts for the long-term and short-term, Robson said the team was now committed to taking a different direction with the car for the remainder of the 2022 season.

Robson said, “We really started from the front wing and working backwards, I’m sure there’s plenty of different ways you can do it and we don’t know what’s best yet. In terms of short-term and the rest of this season, I think we’re committed to a concept that will be slightly different, visibly different, to what you can see now.”

 

Hamilton defends Schiff after questions of credentials

Lewis Hamilton says there is a “long way to go to change these attitudes” after the credentials of Sky Sports Naomi Schiff were questioned by a Twitter user. The Rwandan- Belgian joined the British broadcaster at the start of the season and is a professional racing and stunt driver, and competed in the W Series back in 2019 before becoming the championship’s Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador.

Having started karting at the age of 11, Schiff has raced in prototype, GT and single-seater cars, winning the 2014 Clip Cup Asia Championship title, the 2018 KTM GT4 X-Bow Battle Championship title and taking second place in the 2018 ADAC Zurich 24 Hours Nürburgring.

A user on Twitter, however, questioned her qualifications to analyse racing, to which she replied with three yawning emojis.

In response, the seven time champion described Schiff as a “great asset” to the team. He added “Naomi is an ex-professional racing driver & totally qualified to give her opinion as part of the Sky team.”

“She’s been a great asset since joining & we should welcome more representative broadcasting with open arms. Still have a long way to go to change these attitudes in sport.”

Schiff went on to post a statement on Twitter, thanking those who supported her and urging people to use social media platforms in a positive manner. she said, “Thank you to everyone who has come to my defence. I appreciate all the love and support, none of you go unnoticed! Sadly the issue of online bullying, bashing, shaming etc. is one I don’t believe is going anywhere anytime soon.”

“Social media, in some cases, gives voices to individuals who don’t deserve to be heard. So I encourage anyone reading this to not indulge in it or retaliate or seek revenge.

 

The weekend ahead

This weekend marks a third distance in this season and the battle between Ferrari and Red Bull I think will begin to heat up. Ferrari, I feel need to start bouncing back now that Charles Leclerc has had two retirements in three races as well as other questionable decisions in Monaco, this is a circuit where they have won at fourteen times.

Montreal is another high-speed circuit and we know the circuit is challenging with walls and grass very similar to Albert Park, we know we can have crazy races. There are great opportunities for overtaking with there still being the risk, and that means we have a third race in a row where strategy and reacting to events are important.

We have also not raced in Montreal for just over three years, drivers may need time to familiarise themselves again with the circuit. It in my view tends to offers overtaking and we have seen great scraps in Jeddah, Miami and Baku all street circuits where you can overtake and I expect that again.

Montreal is a race where anything can happen, being an old street circuit and the weather at this time of year can through up showers and changeable conditions. Wet races we know are exciting the forecast is for wet weather and cloudy on Sunday while lows of 16 degrees and maximum of 24 over the whole weekend

Pierre Gasly, I feel is the driver to watch at the moment still, he has been consistent and has the potential to possibly challenge Mercedes if the team get it right. The battle for Alpha Tauri though remains with Alpine and McLaren, I have this impression you don’t know which team is going to be leading weekend to weekend. That means every weekend is important when the championship is expected to be close all year.

 

You can join us for coverage of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix with reports and analysis on our website. FP1 starts Friday 14:00 EDT / 19:00 BST, Qualifying Saturday 16:00 / 21:00 and the race Sunday 14:00 / 19:00

 

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.