Wehrlein to miss first test
Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein has confirmed he will miss the first pre-season test at the end of the month after the injury during the Race Of Champions last month.
Yesterday Autosport said the understood that Wehrlein will miss the first pre-season test because of a back injury, with Ferrari third driver Antonio Giovinazzi stepping in.
The German lost control of his car which led to contact with Williams’s Felipe Massa. Hitting the rear as Massa turned into Turn One, causing him to mount the Brazilian’s car. This launched him over the barriers bringing out the red flag.
In a tweet, he said “I have to skip the first winter test due to medical advice because of a BACK issue. I feel sorry for the team but we’ll come back stronger!” Teams often share testing, as drivers complete a lot of mileage in a day to allow recovery.
It is excepted GP2 champion Antonio Giovanizzi to stand in for Wehrlein during the first day.
Giovanazzi, who joined Ferrari as their third driver in December, enjoyed his first taste of F1 machinery during a recent test with the Scuderia at Fiorano in Italy.
Teams back active suspension
Autosport says they understand that the majority of teams favour a return to an active ride suspension because it would be the easiest way of solving the dispute around the legality of suspension systems.
Currently, four systems are under evaluation for 2018, with the FIA understood to be considering clarifying the existing regulations ahead of the first pre-season test at Barcelona that starts on February 27 in the interim. The move comes against the backdrop of a row, with Ferrari asking for clarification of the regulations.
Four options have been considered, including active suspension which was outlawed in 1994. The changes wouldn’t come into force until 2018 at the earliest.
The active suspension proposal suggested the standardisation of the actuators would prevent a costly technical arms race. The proposal also argues active suspension would “bring F1 into the 21st century” technologically.
Should it be pursued by the teams, it is believed that the proposal would be the one put forward by Mercedes in 2014. A second option suggests tightening up the suspension regulations to prevent passive systems designed to influence the aerodynamic platform.
Ferrari proposal centres around Article 3.14 of the technical regulations, which governs aerodynamic influence, would need changing, should active suspension be introduced. But however, would not allow designs such as FRIC (front-to-rear interconnected) suspension to return.
While it would eliminate question marks over the legality of certain systems, there are concerns this would prove expensive.
Williams honoured promise to Bottas
Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams says she promised Valtteri Bottas she would not stand in his way, after preventing him joining Ferrari in 2015. This season the Finn has moved to Mercedes after the team released him from his contract.
However, when Ferrari tried to sign the Finn, Williams were less cooperative, and that situation played a part in the outcome this time around. Ms Williams told Autosport “Valtteri has been an important part of Williams, he’s got that fiery passion that you want in a driver because all he wants to do is be in the best car and win.”
“When you have a driver that you know that’s all they want, why force them to race your car? That’s not the right thing to do. We stood in Valtteri’s way once, when Ferrari came along, and I made a promise to Valtteri I wouldn’t stand in his way again – I honour my promises.” She says that Bottas has an amazing opportunity and it would be interesting how he does.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said in the Italian media last month that a financial contribution was made to secure Felipe Massa’s return from his short-lived retirement to partner rookie Lance Stroll, describing Williams as “a really capable businesswoman.”
Ms Williams says the terms of Bottas’s departure was in the team’s best interests.
News – In – Brief
- Williams Car – Williams has released first images of their car with the most striking difference being the reshaped rear wing similar to the design Ferrari added to its Pirelli test car. The team has named the car FW40, marking forty years in the sport of team owner and principal Sir Frank Williams.
- Sainz unleased – Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr says he can’t wait for pre-season testing and aim to unleash the full performance potential from his STR12 for the 2017 F1 season.
He told the Macra “For us, every year driving the car is an incredible pleasure…steering wheel. Every car has its tricks and you want to see how it is going to behave.”
Alonso was appealing to Mercedes
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted in a BBC interview that the option of Fernando Alonso replacing Nico Rosberg was appealing to the team. However that it was a “bit too exciting” for the world champions in the end.
The two were team-mates in 2007, but it was a tense relationship which resulted in Alonso leaving at the end of the season. Wolff told BBC Radio 5 Live “If I put myself in the fans shoes, I’d like to have Fernando in there – the old rivalry of 2007 happens again,”
“But from a team’s perspective, it’s just something that wouldn’t go. There’s history, and that year was particularly painful for Mercedes, being the partner of McLaren back in the days.
“Of course, people mature and people change, and it would have been an exciting line-up, but maybe just a tiny bit too exciting for us.”
Montréal looks to increase capacity
Organisers of the Canadian Grand Prix have announced they are building extra seating which is now on sale. This year’s race marks the fiftieth running of the Grand Prix, as a world championship round.
The new seating will overlook the Wall Of Campions which has always provided some accidents. A Trio packages will once again be available for purchase starting Monday 20, February 20. The tickets allow race fans to catch all the racing action from three different grandstands over the three days of the event.
Race promoter Francois Dumontier told Motorsport.com “Celebrating 50 years of F1 in Canada, new spectacular and faster cars, and of course the arrival of one of our own to the World Championship: Lance Stroll.”
“These are greatly enjoyable circumstances, which have led to a positive influence on our Ticket Office” he added
Pirelli has backup high deg tyres
Pirelli has indicated the backup compounds for this year’s tyres will be similar to last year’s high-degradation tyres. When Pirelli announced it tyre choices for the opening races of the season, they revealed they have created a range of backup tyres, made using “more traditional criteria” than its new rubber.
This year’s tyres are designed to degrade less which will give the drivers more ability to push during races, which should allow drivers to push more. This week the tyre manufacturer reviled that it had backup tyres had been created along the lines of its previous products, and would, therefore, degrade thermally when pushed.
However, Racing Manager Mario Isola said currently there is “no intention” of bringing the tyres into use, and that agreement with the FIA and the teams would be needed for them to come into play.
He told Motorsport.com “We decided to start the season with compounds that are completely new – a new philosophy which was in line with what’s required, less degradation.”
“We made our assumption on the fact that the new cars are achieving the level of performance seen in the simulations. If for any reason we don’t reach this level of performance, less energy going into the tyre, we’ll need to go back to tyres with more of a classical philosophy.” He adds.
Isola says the compounds have been homologated meaning they could be used if the teams and the FIA agrees.