Vettel needs to analyse his approach – Rosberg
Sebastian Vettel needs to take a step back and reanalyse his mental approach to race weekends, if the German is to beat Lewis Hamilton next season, according to Nico Rosberg.
The Ferrari driver has lost momentum in this year’s title fight, leaving the Englishman to capitalise on that to put himself in a position to seal his fifth title on Sunday. Rosberg is the only teammate to beat him to a world title.
Asked by ESPN, what it takes to beat Hamilton over a season, he said “It’s all about finding marginal gains. For me, I realised that lots of little things can add up to a very big thing if you get them all working the right way.”
“I was speaking to a psychologist, sometimes every two hours a day, and making sure that everything I was doing was perfectly focused on improving every little aspect of my performances. Every driver is different so he has to find his own way.”
Rosberg believes that Vettel’s mistakes are because battling with Hamilton is mentally challenging to fight with, and that he will beat you if you aren’t on it.
Saying Vettel “should be in the position to win the title right now and that’s got to be tough to take for anyone, especially when the mistakes have been your own and not the team’s.”
“I don’t know if this is the best Lewis has ever driven but when he’s competing at the level we are seeing right now only a completely flawless performance is going to beat him most weekends and that’s tough when you’re on the back foot or you’re worried about making more mistakes.”
Vettel will win a title with Ferrari – Arrivabene
Ferrari’s team principal Maurizio Arrivabene is sure that Sebastian Vettel will win a title with the Italian manufacturer, comparing him to German compatriot Michael Schumacher. Vettel’s hopes of a fifth title this season are all but over, with him needing to be within eight points of Lewis Hamilton to keep his title hopes alive.
A number of mistakes and failure to capitalise on those made by Mercedes have seen Vettel slip from leading the championship five races ago to being sixty-seven points behind with four races remaining. However, Arrivabene repeated Ferrari’s message of not give up until the title is mathematically out of reach and is convinced of Vettel’s star quality.
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, the Italian said “It has become a mission impossible, but it’s not over and I am sure that sooner or later Sebastian Vettel will win the world championship at the wheel of Ferrari.”
Arrivabene, who was made Ferrari team principal in 2015 but has a long history with the team working for its main sponsor Philip Morris, said Vettel reminds him of Schumacher. He added, “I think he has something similar to Schumacher: he is German, but very Italian and has been close to Maranello from an early age.”
F1 managing director sporting and technical Ross Brawn, who was the mastermind behind Michael Schumacher’s seven titles at Benetton and Ferrari believes Vettel’s title rival Hamilton is closer to the seven-time world champion.
He said “I never thought I would be able to say it, but Hamilton really is the one who could beat Michael Schumacher’s records He’s got everything under control. The quality that unites him with Michael and the great guys is that he knows how to win races that he should lose.”
Williams design process “quite different”
Sergey Sirotkin says that Williams has taken “quite a different process” after the problems and difficult season which it has learnt from. Following a difficult 2017, the team overhauled its car however it appears as if the team has gone backwards.
Speaking to Autosport, chief technical officer Paddy Lowe said “A number of those more radical design changes didn’t really work for us”.
The FW41’s aggressively undercut sidepods is one radical misstep that has helped contribute to the car suffering a diffuser stall problem and corner-entry. This season, the team has made staffing changes this season as it bids to recover from those errors and also launched an internal review into its processes to work out where it went wrong.
Sirotkin added “it’s all based on very much fundamental understanding and, let’s say, on the process, we build the car. It’s all started from there and that is why it took us so long to understand it properly and to get over it.”
The Russian believes that the team has learnt from its issues and that they can move forward. Sirotkin has spoken regularly about his desire to help rebuild the team and says that he has seen encouraging signs for 2019 on recent visits to the factory.
Saying “I don’t want to be too optimistic, but it looked already quite a big step better. It’s the situation exactly [the same as] this time last year, about the current car.”
Lowe says that it is “absolutely right” that Williams needed to be able to identify differences in its approach to the 2019 car as much as be able to see improvements on the data.
He said that none of it will be fixed, but they believe they are heading in the right direction.
“Nonsense” suggest a cost cap will work – Tost
Toro Rosso’s team principal Franz Tost says it is “nonsense” to suggest that a cost cap would be too hard to police. One of the biggest and strongest arguments against the cap is that teams will just find clever ways to get around reporting what their budgets have really been.
But Tost thinks this concern no longer stacks up, as he suggests the fact the FIA has been able to properly regulate activities like CFD, testing and wind tunnel work shows that monitoring costs is clearly realistic.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, he said “There were always arguments that you cannot control it, which is nonsense. You can control everything. The FIA, and FOM, whoever, just have to start from the very beginning onwards about how to control it.
“If I would decide, I would send to every team a person to control all the financial statements every week or every month. That’s it.” The Frenchman now believes a cost cap is now essential in F1 because the competition between manufacturers and independent teams has grown beyond affordability.
Gelael to take part in FP1 in Austin
Toro Rosso has given Sean Gelael another drive the car in first practice this weekend at the United States Grand Prix. The Indonesian has been handed his first drive in practice this season.
Gelael made four FP1 appearances with Toro Rosso last year, and tested for the team in both Barcelona and Budapest earlier this year. Gelael is currently fifteenth in Formula Two, ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
He told Crash.net “I am super happy and excited to get things rolling again. I did FP1 in Austin last year so it’s a track that I know, even though it was a bit damp last year.”
“The last time I was in the car was for the Budapest test, so I’m looking forward to working with the team again, hopefully they’re excited as well. The form Toro Rosso is in after Japan is quite strong, so hopefully we can keep this momentum going.”
New kerbs added to avoid a repeat of 2017
In a bid to avoid a similar controversy around track limits at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, new curbs have been installed to prevent corner cutting.
Verstappen was left furious after the 2017 race when he was handed a five-second penalty costing him a podium finish after he was ruled to have gained an advantage by cutting the track at Turns 16 and 17. The Red Bull driver was penalised for the actions, feeling angry that other drivers had got away with it.
The sports governing body, the FIA, has announced two new kerbs which have been added for this weekend. The new kerbs, which are two metres long, one metre wide and 50mm high, have been installed behind the apex kerbs at Turns 16 and 17.
Last year, drivers had no such deterrent from running off the track at that location.
Verstappen said at the time: “I think all the fans loved [the overtake], it was a great move. They told me I was gaining an advantage [by cutting the corner], but if I was really gaining an advantage, I would be doing that every single lap – which I was not.”
The FIA has also added new kerbs at the exit of Turn 1 in a bid to deter drivers from running wide there. The new bumps are similar to those that have been used at Turns 11, 15 and 19.
Teams go for hypersofts for Mexico
Pirelli has announced the drivers’ tyre allocation for next weekends Mexican Grand Prix, for the race in Mexico City it has nominated its softest compounds the hypersoft, ultrasoft and supersoft compounds for the event at the high-altitude Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Title rivals Lewi Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have made identical choices, and will each have eight sets of hypersofts, three Ultrasofts and two supersoft. Their teammates Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen also have eight hypersofts, but varied the rest of their selections, Bottas has four ultrasofts and a supersoft. While Raikkonen has three ultrasofts and two supersofts.
Both Red Bull’s, Force India’s, Haas’s and Toro Rosso’s have nine sets of Ultrasofts. With Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen going for three ultrsofts and a supersoft. Max Verstappen, Stoffel Vandoorne, Romain Grosjean, both Force India’s and Toro Rosso’s have two of both the Ultrasoft and Supersofts. Kevin Magnussen has three Ultrasofts and a Soft.
McLaren has varied its selection for both its drivers, with Fernando Alonso having eight Hypersofts, two Ultrasofts and three Supersofts. Teammate Stoffel Vandoorne has nine Ultrasofts and two of both the Ultrasofts and Supersofts.
Williams has also varied between its drivers they both have nine hypersofts, with Lance Stroll going for three Ultrasofts and a Supersoft, while Sergey Sirotkin has spilt it to have two of both Ultrasofts and Supersofts.
Both Renault’s and Sauber’s have ten sets of the Hypersofts, with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have one Ultrasoft and two Supersofts. Their teammates Nico Hulkenberg and Marcus Ericsson have two Ultrasofts and a Supersoft.