F1 Today – 18/04/2018

F1 Today

Renault believe upgrades worth more in lap time

Renault believes that planned upgrades to its power units this season will be worth more in lap time than they are currently giving away to Mercedes and Ferrari.

Since the introduction of the V6 hybrid power units in 2014, Renault has been third in the power stakes. But since last weekends race in China has opened up more power after validating its reliability, which is believed to be worth “a bit more than a tenth” in qualifying and “more than half a second” in race trim.

Renaults F1 managing director, Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com “We are talking about a substantial amount of in-season development,” he said.

“It is more than the gap we have now, in my opinion, from the top teams, certainly in the race at least. But obviously top teams, top engine suppliers, they are not going to stop there.” However, he wouldn’t reveal what the manufacturer would bring performance upgrades.

Abiteboul did confirm that more engine power stuff was coming for Barcelona and that any other upgrades would not come from hardware upgrades. Renault fitted new MGU-H’s to both Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr ahead of the Chinese GP weekend but this was not in the pursuit of performance.

However he says that the execution of the plan would not be successful if they are not able to find what caused Daniel Ricciardo’s spectacular engine failure in practice in China.

He said Renault already had “an idea” of the cause during the weekend but remained tight-lipped, only mentioning that McLaren suffered “a similar failure” in testing.

Ricciardo’s turbo problem followed an energy store failure on his car on the second lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix the week before.

 

Ricciardo wants two-year deal

Daniel Ricciardo says that he only wants a two-year contract to remain in Formula One because of the uncertainty over the future of the sport.

The twenty eight year old is one of the key movers in the driver market as he is out of contract with Red Bull at the end of 2020, because of the uncertainty around the next engine regulations. Speaking to The Times, the Australian said “I don’t want to sign anything too long because I don’t know where the sport’s going.”

“I feel like life is happening pretty fast. Each year something might change so I don’t want to tie myself down for four more years and then I’m like, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’.

“Ideally I’d sign a two-year contract. I think two years I can definitely be comfortable with and then see it from there,” he added. “That third year will be the rule change so I will probably wait and see what happens then.”

The current engine regulations expire at the end of 2020, as well as the commercial agreement known as the Concorde Agreement. Red Bull are also debating whether to move to Honda for 2019, following the progress made by the manufacturer.

Mercedes are yet to announce whether they are retaining Lewis Hamilton, who has also  said he wants to see what the future holds before committing.

While Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen have long-term deals, there is uncertainty about the futures of Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari and Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes.

Ricciardo would be a strong replacement for either but the Australian told the newspaper that neither team had been in touch so far.

 

Alonso doesn’t care about former teams success

Fernando Alonso says he “doesn’t care too much” about the performances and results achieved by his former teams and teammates.

The Spaniard’s comments came following questions about the form of former McLaren engine supplier Honda, who appear to have made a step forward in reliability and performance. McLaren is currently third in the constructors, with Honda getting their best result since returning to the sport in Bahrain.

When asked about Toro Rosso, Alonso told the media Bahrain “was a very nice weekend for them,” Alonso told media when asked about Toro Rosso at the Chinese Grand Prix.

“To be honest, after 18 years in Formula 1, to answer after one good qualifying or one good result from any team makes no sense.” The Spaniard said that queries about Toro Rosso-Honda reminded him of the aftermath of his split with Ferrari back in 2015.

While the McLaren team Alonso switched to is yet to score a podium since his arrival, the Scuderia has won 10 races in the meantime, and mounted a credible title challenge last year.

Speaking about Ferrari, he said “After I left Ferrari, every win, every podium they were achieving, you asked me about if I regretted when I left Ferrari.”

“After four years Mercedes keep winning and they have four championships and now you are not asking me about Ferrari, you’ve changed for Toro Rosso. Or Renault, in 2005 and 2006 I won two championships with them and now they are competitive again.”

 

FIA working on pit stop errors

The FIA and teams are working on ways of making pit stops safer following a number of unsafe releases in the opening three races.

Both Haas’s retired from the Australian Grand Prix with cross-threaded wheelnuts before a Ferrari mechanic suffered a broken leg when Kimi Raikkonen was released from a pit stop too early in Bahrain.

There have also been a number of unsafe releases during practice sessions since the start of the year, as well as an issue that saw a wheel come off Fernando Alonso’s McLaren in testing. FIA race director Charlie Whiting told ESPN “I think we can introduce a few things to decrease the likelihood of mistakes.”

“I think we have learned something, but I think we need to, again, analyse these things to ensure what we do, we do it precisely and make sure everyone is able to follow it.” He added that they need to decide what can and can’t be automated, and that was currently being discussed.

Asked if pit stop systems could be standardised across all teams to improve safety, Whiting added: “I don’t think there’s any need to standardise it. I think what we need to do is make sure the operator can’t press the button before they’re done, because effectively they could just go in there with a thumb on it and just do it and come off.”

 

Strategy group agrees to fuel increases

The F1 Strategy Group and Commission have agreed to increase the fuel allowance from 105kg to 110kg for 2019, to help drivers to ‘use the engine at full power at all times’.

Meanwhile, the sport’s governing body the FIA has also set a deadline of May to finalise the next set of power unit regulations, as reported last week. The change in fuel allowance when approved by the World Motor Sport Council, will be welcomed by the teams.

They have faced increased fuel consumption due to the higher downforce levels and faster lap times generated by last year’s aero changes, and which have put an extra emphasis on fuel saving in races – something that is not popular with fans.

Also from next season, the governing body will separate the weight of driver and cars and introduce biometric gloves for safety reasons.

As previously reported, there was further debate today on aerodynamic changes for 2019 to facilitate overtaking. The FIA stressed that it wants a decision by the end of this month, which is the official deadline for 2019 rules changes.

The FIA has also announced plans to drop the hybrid element of the power unit from 2021. Though the hybrid has been dropped Liberty hasn’t compromised on its stance about the energy recovery system, other elements of the 2021 package remain the subject of debate.

Sources have indicated that the FIA and Liberty have different views on some aspects of the final concept.

 

My future could be with Renault – Sainz

Carlos Sainz believes that his future could be with Renault despite still being under contract with Red Bull. After becoming frustrated with Toro Rosso, Red Bull released him on loan to the French manufacturer but retain an option on the Spaniard for 2019.

While Red Bull has uncertainty over Daniel Ricciardo’s future, that put Sainz’s future in the balance as he is unable to commit to Renault because Red Bull retains the option. Speaking to Sky Sports, he said “Definitely the future could be with Renault and I’m ready for it if it comes.”

“I’m loving it, especially because the team is just moving forward. Investment is coming, all the mechanics and engineers just feel this vibe.” On paper, the pairing between Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg the most equal on the grid.

The team are currently fifth in the constructors, after scoring double point finishes in two of the three races after Sainz just missed out on a top ten finish in Bahrain. Advisor and four times champion, Alain Prost added “We knew that it was a risk [taking Sainz]. But it’s better to take this kind of risk.”

Prost added “It’s important for the team to make a progression. It was a decision that was good for the team and good for Nico because you can see that it made his level even higher now.”

Renault believes that planned upgrades to its power units this season will be worth more in lap time than they are currently giving away to Mercedes and Ferrari.

Since the introduction of the V6 hybrid power units in 2014, Renault has been third in the power stakes. But since last weekends race in China has opened up more power after validating its reliability, which is believed to be worth “a bit more than a tenth” in qualifying and “more than half a second” in race trim.

Renaults F1 managing director, Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com “We are talking about a substantial amount of in-season development,” he said.

“It is more than the gap we have now, in my opinion, from the top teams, certainly in the race at least. But obviously top teams, top engine suppliers, they are not going to stop there.” However, he wouldn’t reveal what the manufacturer would bring performance upgrades.

Abiteboul did confirm that more engine power stuff was coming for Barcelona and that any other upgrades would not come from hardware upgrades. Renault fitted new MGU-H’s to both Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr ahead of the Chinese GP weekend but this was not in the pursuit of performance.

However, he says that the execution of the plan would not be successful if they are not able to find what caused Daniel Ricciardo’s spectacular engine failure in practice in China.

He said Renault already had “an idea” of the cause during the weekend but remained tight-lipped, only mentioning that McLaren suffered “a similar failure” in testing.

Ricciardo’s turbo problem followed an energy store failure on his car on the second lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix the week before.”

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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