Mercedes ready to learn lessons
Mercedes says they are ready to take the lessons they have learnt in recent races into this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, where the could seal both the drivers and constructors championships.
Since the summer break, Mercedes have edged closer to the fourth world championship while their closest rivals have not been able to deliver form for a number of reasons during races, Mercedes have been struggling with the performance of the car.
However, team Boss Toto Wolff says he is confident that the team have learnt some valuable lessons about their fast but inconsistent W08. He told Sky Sports “We returned from those races with a lot more understanding of our car and of the reasons for the performance swings we have experienced this season.”
“Some of that understanding is already being applied to the final races, some of it will flow into next year’s project. But the bitter taste of our defeat in Malaysia once again confirmed that the tough days are the ones when you learn most – and when you lay the foundations for future success.”
Mercedes are highly likely to seal the constructor’s championship in Texas this weekend if the score seventeen points, as Ferrari hasn’t managed to do that since May. While the driver’s championship looks less likely as Lewis Hamilton needs sixteen points more than Sebastian Vettel and three more than team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Wolff says “We approach every race with a healthy dose of scepticism rather than wishful thinking, and our focus must be on making sure we score every point within our reach this weekend in Austin.”
Ferrari’s title hopes have literally gone up in smoke with a number of reliability issues and a crash in Singapore.
Midfield not too far off top three – Steiner
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says he believes that the tight midfield group are not too far from closing the gap to the top three teams, as the results have suggested.
Formula One bosses are expected to propose a budget cap of around £150 million a year. But that would not be implemented immediately, assuming there is agreement on the initial proposal, is likely to come into effect by 2020.
Asked by ESPN, whether bringing performance closer together is an achievable goal for F1, Steiner said “At the moment, it is impossible, because the budgets and the people working in it involved is so different. But there are plans to get it a lot better by regulation with cost control.”
“I don’t call it cost cap, it’s cost control — and a better way to distribute the prize money. So that should close it up and close it up naturally.” This season, the only team apart from the top three teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull to score a podium is Williams.
While the top three teams have been close on track, they have been ahead of the rest of the field by quite a mile. But Steiner says it us not unrealistic for the sport to have a chance to fight for podiums.
Adding “If you take the [gap of the] big three out, there it is — there’s nothing else to do. You have Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull. If you take them away, every team would have been on the podium.”
Steiner says he believes that the sports owners Liberty Media, has been a big help in moving the sport closer to a solution on costs. Saying “I think they are very much on that side of it, but finding a way to do it is difficult. But they are trying to find an agreeable solution for everyone and that’s how it should be.”
Renault has been too “conservative” says Abiteboul
Renault says it has been too “conservative” and ‘too far’ this season over oil burning which they have not used to unlock extra performance from its power unit to unlock extra performance.
The French manufacturer has shown signs of progress this season, though it still struggles to match the power of Mercedes and Ferrari on one lap pace and on high-speed circuits.
Renault’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul told Autosport “It is something that is completely counter-intuitive for engine people: to accept to create performance to the detriment or expense of reliability. It has never been the philosophy of Renault to do it like that.”
“We have always been in the history of Renault in F1, in terms of engine development, on the conservative side when it comes to developing performance.
“I think it is still a handicap. We are trying to pull ourselves from that philosophy, but it is a big change of mindset that will be coming with the new people who are joining our organisation.” The Frenchman says he is expecting that they will benefit from the clamp down.
Speaking about gains he said “performance that will be available at any moment” but “we are still handicapped by whether we can allow ourselves to create performance at the expense of reliability – which is what I believe what we will need in order to catch up on Saturday.”
He says that the gaps are different between qualifying is around half a second and in the race between two to four tenths, to Mercedes. Adding that Red Bull’s win at Sepang was because of progress with the chassis.
Kubica completes second Williams test
Robert Kubica has completed a second test for Williams in the teams 2014 car as continue to assess the possibility of him returning to the grid next season.
The Polish driver did a full day of running at the Hungaroring on Tuesday, six days after his one-day test at Silverstone in the same car. Part of his programme he is capable to return to racing, Kubica is spending time in the outfit’s simulator, to see if he is fit and ready to make a racing return next year.
Williams said Kubica “completed another productive day” but did not release any further details about his progress as the team “continues our evaluations”.
The team’s reserve driver Paul di Resta will get one day of running in the FW36 on Wednesday, ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin.
Williams is currently discussing who should drive alongside Lance Stroll next season with four drivers, Kubica, di Resta, Felipe Massa and Pascal Wehrlein linked to the seat.
Teams go aggressive on tyres for Mexico
Mercedes have taken an aggressive approach on tyres for next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, for next weekends the softest compounds the ultrasofts, supersoft and the soft tyres were available for drivers.
Both Mercedes have chosen nine sets of the ultrasoft tyres, but Lewis Hamilton has three sets of the supersoft tyres and a single soft. While Valtteri Bottas has two sets of both the supersofts and soft tyres. Both Red Bulls have six ultrasofts, four supersoft and three soft tyres.
Ferrari has seven ultrasofts but Sebastian Vettel has five supersofts and a single soft, while Kimi Raikkonen has four supersofts and two softs. Sergio Perez has nine ultrasofts with two of each of the supersofts and softs, his team-mate Esteban Ocon has ten ultrasofts, two supersofts and a soft.
Both Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso have ten ultrasofts, a supersofts and two softs. Their respective teammates Lance Stroll and Stoffel Vandoorne have ten ultrasofts, two supersofts and a soft.
Both the Haas’s and Sauber’s have eight ultrasofts, three supersofts and two softs. Both Renault’s and Toro Rosso’s have ten ultrasofts, two supersofts and a soft.
Bolt to start US GP
Eight times Olympic Gold medallist Usain Bolt has been announced as the official starter for the United States Grand Prix. The Jamaican sprinter will start the formation lap before the race.
Bolt joins a star-studded line-up of starts that includes legendary boxing announcer Michael Buffer — who will be introducing the 20 drivers to the track.
Stevie Wonder is to perform on Sunday as part of an entertainment package set up by organisers. The package will feature the Prairie View A&M Band and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, who will perform on the starting grid.
Also, Bolt will be driven around the circuit by three times world champion Lewis Hamilton two hours before the race in a Mercedes AMG road car.
Liberty Media has already confirmed pop star Justin Timberlake will perform at the circuit on Saturday evening, which has resulted in qualifying being moved back by two hours to accommodate Timberlake.