Aston returns with Red Bull
Aston Martin is to return to Formula One after agreeing a road car project with Red Bull. The name is returning after more than fifty year break from the sport.
The name will appear on the side pods and noise of the car starting this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. Last summer the car manufacturer held discussions with the number of teams and there was suggestions that they could takeover Force India.
The deal would of seen the team rebranded and the car company are keen to have a presence in F1 to take on sportscar rivals McLaren and Ferrari on track as well as off, and a deal with Red Bull was finalised.
Red Bull have lost their Infiniti branding following a break down with Renault last season.
Tougher Ferrari challenge – Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton has told the media that he believes Ferrari will provide a tougher challenge to Mercedes than expected at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Speaking at the pre-race press conference he says he believes Ferrari were deliberately talking their chances down before Sunday’s race. “I think Ferrari have something up their sleeve,” he said.
“I think they are going to be a lot closer than they talk about. I think they are going to surprise. They are arriving on a low but will deliver high.” Ferrari were fastest on five of the eight days of testing.
Vettel responded by saying he things the question is are Ferrari ready in time which he responded to with “I think we did a good step over the winter. Mercedes are the favourites but the target is to turn things around and be the favourite in the future.”
He added: “We know we are still a little bit behind. We will try to be closer this year. How close I don’t know yet, but we have a plan. Bit by bit, I hope we improve.”
Sauber surprised by financial issues
Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn says the team was caught by surprise by the financial issues over the winter. The team paid their staff late and in two payment last month.
This came after the team along with Force India and Manor for advance payments of its share of profits last year. Kaltenborn says she won’t comment directly on the current financial position of the team but said there would not likely be any further wage delays in the future.
She told Autosport “What happened with us was very unfortunate – the way things came together and the timing particularly, which took us by surprise. We all know that the first three to four months are the most cost-intensive, where you have to have your car ready to hit the road.
Adding “That’s the system we all opted for many years ago when we said that FOM money kicks in later. That’s something we all wanted.” She said the wage payment was caused by an “unfortunate set of circumstances coming together at the time they came together.”
Kaltenborn says the continuing problems of the small teams are a sign “something is fundamentally wrong with the sport”.
Haas ready for debut – Grosjean
Romain Grosjean says Haas is ready for their Formula One debut and are on top of the issues that hinder them at the second pre-season test in Barcelona.
The team believes at the season opener they will be more competitive and are not far away from scoring points but says they are likely to have more reliability issues this year than the other established teams.
He told reporters that the technical issues should be resolved. Grosjean added “There will be other problems. There have always been problems in Formula One through the season and we will probably have to discover more than other teams.
“But I think from what we have learned in testing, the week back home – and probably the flight for most of the guys, and the fact we are here, it should help us to get a lot more knowledge and a lot more ready for being here.”
He says success this weekend would be getting one car to the finish and in a ideal world to score points which would be unbelievable for the team.
Must show greater development rate
Mclaren must show a greater rate of development this season if they are to make bigger strides up the grid than last season says Jenson Button. The team are hoping for a much better 2016 after struggling with reliability last season.
During pre-season testing the team were better than in 2015 however while reliability was good the team are still off the pace. Button says to move back into the midfield they need constant improvements are required on both the chassis and engine.
He told Sky Sports when asked what would be considered success for 2016 “I don’t know yet, because we don’t know where we stand. It won’t be winning races – that would be great success if we can achieve that.”
“But seeing improvement and building on what we have in race one and seeing more of an improvement than we saw last year.” He says Reliability is much better this year.
Impossible to police
Button has also been speaking about the limit on radio communications clamp down this year. He fears the new regulations will be “impossible to police”.
In a attempt to make the sport more challenging for drivers who who will be more reliant on their own intuition. He told BBC News “They won’t be able to listen to every message. Hopefully they can listen to as much as possible, to make it as fair as possible.”
Vettel names car
Sebastian Vettel has given his Ferrari for 2016 the name Marghertia. The German has traditionally named his cars ahead of the season opener.
Previous names are Eva in 2015 an noble Red Bull names are ‘Kate’s Dirty Sister’ in 2009, ‘Randy Mandy’ in 2010, ‘Kinky Kylie’ in 2011 and ‘Hungry Heidi’ in 2013,
He said “It’s not named after a pizza, it’s a name first of all. I think if you look it up the first thing that comes up is that is that it’s a name, not a pizza. We like the name. Last year it was Eva, this year Margherita.”