Cotsworth open to Aston partnership
Cotsworth says they would like to work on a potential engine project and has had discussions with Aston Martin about joining forces on a potential engine project.
Aston has expressed an interest in re-entering the sport under the 2021 engine regulations, proving the costs of developing the power units are substantially reduced. Meanwhile, Red Bull currently sponsored by the manufacturer says it would be open to being supplied by Aston in the future.
Aston and Cotsworth have been part of the group trying to look at the next set of engine regulations. Cotsworth powertrain boss Bruce Wood says they would like to continue their partnership with Aston and Red Bull. He told Motorsport.com “We would like to work with that partnership.”
“We’ve done a lot of work with Aston for many years, we’re working very closely with Red Bull and the team for the Valkyrie [hypercar], so there’s a certain logic to it. Aston have been very clear that they want to be doing something more than just badging someone else’s engine.”
He added that Red Bull does not aspire to create its own engine by their selves but they would be open to a partnership. Wood said also added that Cotsworth would be returning as a sole supplier and they would be interested in partnering with other interested parties, such as Aston and Ilmor, was a more “realistic” proposition.
“Obviously Cosworth is completely independent and we need to be profitable as our number one tenant. It isn’t like when we were owned by Ford as a cost centre to put Jaguar on the F1 grid.” He added.
The sport is currently looking to finalise the regulations for 2021, but Wood says that it more realistic for them if they were to enter the following year. Saying “Our view is it would be a huge investment for whoever was going to do it and it probably isn’t realistic to get everything in place for 2021.
“But that doesn’t make us think we should forget it. It just makes us think about how 2022 would work.”
Mercedes aligned with Ferrari on future – Zetsche
The chairman of Daimler Dr Dieter Zetsche, says Mercedes are “100 percent aligned” with Ferrari on the future direction of Formula One. Liberty Media is currently looking towards renewing the sports commercial deals which expire at the end of 2020 with the teams.
Today the latest discussions due to take place at the Strategy Group, with Liberty hoping to renew the deals with the team while levelling out the prize money and cut bonuses for the bigger teams. Ferrari has been very vocal in there opposing the plans, Mercedes have been taking a different approach.
Speaking to Autocar, Dr Zetche described the Mercedes as good cop and Ferrari as the bad cop. Saying “We beat each other like crazy on the track and try to get every tenth of a second of advantage but at the same time we are 100% aligned on our thoughts in Formula One and our strategic actions in Formula One. We are good friends.”
Mercedes contract with F1 also expires at the end of 2020, while Dr Zetche wants the German manufacturer to stay in the sport he as warned it must remain “meaningful”.
Adding “To be clear, we want to be successful and we want the platform to be successful and when one is dominant that doesn’t help. We need stronger competitors and rule changes which give new cars to everybody and to some extent, this last season was that change.”
Last month, head of motorsport and team boss Toto Wolff said that perceived barriers between Mercedes and F1 over future engine regulations were not as big as they may seem.
FIA appoints Whitmarsh to consultancy role
McLaren’s former boss Martin Whitmarsh is to return to the sport after accepting a temporary post doing consultancy work for the governing body the FIA.
Ron Dennis ousted Whitmarsh in a coup in 2014 since then he has been working as team boss of America’s Cup team Bar. Late last year, he stood down and became an advisor, while taking up a representative on Formula E’s Global Advisory Board, which is chaired by four-time F1 world champion and FE team owner Alain Prost.
Now, Whitmarsh will work with the FIA to help motor racing’s governing body put in place effective cost control rules in F1 – which could include a budget cap. The appointment of the Englishman could be key as he served as chairman of the Formula One Teams’ Association from 2010 to 2012, that puts him in a good position to work out how best financial controls can be implemented and made effective.
The FIA’s F1 head of communications Matteo Bonciani confirmed: “Whitmarsh has accepted an invitation to work with the FIA on a temporary basis in order to support it in defining financial regulations for fair and sustainable competition in the FIA F1 world championship.”
Further details about Whitmarsh’s appointment and role are expected to be made clear following a Strategy Group meeting between the FIA and teams on Thursday.
Whitmarsh has always said that a budget cap would only work if every team bought into it – and did not try to use it as an opportunity to gain an unfair advantage over rivals.
This appointment could become key to the FIA as they work out the details of how the cap could work in practice. The plans were outlined at a strategy group meeting on Thursday.
Red Bull assures Ricciardo on fair fight
Daniel Ricciardo says that Red Bull boss Christian Horner has reassured him he will have a fair fight with his teammate Max Verstappen. Shortly before the Dutchman signed a new contract with the team, Horner urged him to stay long-term and build the team around him.
Verstappen also received an upgraded Renault engine earlier than Ricciardo in the final part of the season. This all angered Ricciardo, who is out of contract at the end of the year. Speaking about the comments, he told Autosport “That is not what you want to hear.”
“I didn’t see it in the press but afterwards I found out about Christian’s comment. It was because he actually came up to me and cleared it up. He said ‘look, if you’ve seen the comments, it’s not out of context but I didn’t want it to come across that way’.”
“He said ‘please I don’t want you to think anything like that. We’re fighting for both of you’. Max got the updated engine in the last few races, that was the only thing that has ever been different.” Ricciardo added he had no concern over that decision to give Verstappen the upgrade, saying he would have spoken up otherwise.
Ricciardo has made it clear that he wants time to make his decision on his future, with potential seats on offer at Mercedes and Ferrari in 2019. Horner accepted that position and made clear Red Bull wants to keep Ricciardo for the long-term as well as Verstappen.
Mercedes set launch date
Mercedes are to launch there 2018 car on the 23rd of February on the same day as Ferrari. The German team will launch the W09 EQ Power+ at a shakedown test at Silverstone, where Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will test the car.
The following day McLaren will launch there bid to return to form with the Renault powered MCL33. Ferrari announced before Christmas they would launch on the 23rd of February.
Haas can match Force India – Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen believes that the performance of Haas in their first two seasons shows they can match Force India. Haas has finished eighth in its first two seasons, while in Force India’s first two seasons they finished last.
The teams form so far compared to Force India’s form in the same period, shows that Haas has potential. He told Motorsport.com “I’m very confident we can go forward and [show that] small teams can do well; Force India are showing that.”
“If you look at Force India’s first couple of seasons in Formula 1, as a new team we’ve raced and done better, so it’s looking good and I think the team is going in the right direction.” Haas was built from nothing while Force India was born out of Jordan, Midland and Spyker.
Force India also achieved a pole position and second-place finish in the Belgian Grand Prix in its second F1 season, while Haas finished in the top six in its first two GPs but has only done so once since.
Magnussen left Renault to join Haas in 2017, but he says competing with Renault in 2018 is a realistic target for Haas.
“Renault are doing well, but I just feel very good here and I feel that we can improve and take the fight to Renault next year if we get everything right,” he said.