Sauber unveils a new look
Sauber has unveiled a new look red and white car with the launch of its 2018 car the C31. The change of colour scheme is as a result of the sponsorship agreement with Ferrari for its sister brand Alfa Romeo to be the teams title sponsor.
The Swiss team has also chosen a new aerodynamic philosophy, with technical director Joerg Zander hoping the change can deliver a step forward in performance. Zander said “The 2018 challenger is the result of the hard work that everyone in the factory has put in over the last few months.”
“Speaking about the C37, the car philosophy is much different to that of the C36. The aerodynamic concept has changed significantly and the C37 has several new features in comparison to its predecessor.” Zander says the team are positive that the concept can give Sauber opportunities to make improvements during the season.
Unlike last season, the Swiss team are running a current spec of Ferrari engine. Earlier this year, Marcus Ericsson said he believed that there was no reason why the team couldn’t be a strong midfield team, because of progress on the engine and aero front.
“We’re up against Haas and Toro Rosso. I think next season will be very unpredictable in some races. It could go very well and at points, we could also challenge Renault and Force India.”
“But there will be other races where there will be problems and we will be further down.” The Swede says the goal is simple, for the team to get into the midfield.
Renault reviles R.S.18 targeting McLaren and Red Bull
Renault has reviled images of its 2018 car theR.S.18 on social media, becoming the fifth team to unveil its car. The RS18 has a slightly revised colour scheme as it has run since it returned as a works team three years ago.
This season the team are looking to make further progress, after the team jumped from ninth in the constructors to sixth last season after they pipped Toro Rosso at the final race in Abu Dhabi.
That pipping of Toro Rosso came after the team outscored the French manufacturer at the final race of the season. Renault’s dramatic improvement during the season meant that the team finished the year with the fourth fastest car.
Managing director for F1 Cyril Abiteboul wants to continue that upward trajectory this term. The Frenchman said “It was the second year in our rebuilding and a further step towards our long-term plans and aims. 2016 was all about recruiting, investing, bringing in new sponsors, new talents and building our brand.”
“It was a quantified progression towards what we want to become and challenging the top teams. Our headline target [for 2018] is to show continued progression through results.”
“We want to be able to showcase our progression in every regard; power unit, chassis, operations, drivers. Everything must improve and we must continue to grow.” Abiteboul says the team wants to demonstrate this Renault wants to be closing the gap to the leaders.
This year, Renault will be supplying both Red Bull and McLaren with Abiteboul saying there are few places to hide. He says the team wants to be nipping at the heels of Red Bull and McLaren.
Aitken announced as Renault’s third driver
Renault has announced the British – Korean driver Jack Aitken will be the team’s third and reserve driver. Aitkin who competes under the British flag is a member of the Renault Sport Academy, completed his second year in GP3 last season.
This season he will race alongside Mercedes young driver and current GP3 champion George Russell in Formula Two, which begins at the Bahrain Grand Prix in April.
Aitken, who drove a 2012 Lotus-built Renault F1 car last September as a reward for his 2017 GP3 campaign, is the most senior RSA member. F1 Managing director Cyril Abiteboul said, “Jack has been nurtured in the Renault Sport Academy so we’ve seen his development over the past couple of years.”
“It is clear he’s a talented young driver and he is ready for this opportunity. He has a full season ahead of him with racing in Formula Two and fulfilling his Formula One commitments.”
Aitken added “It feels amazing to take up the role as third and reserve driver. It hasn’t quite processed yet, but I’m going to step up my involvement with the team quite a lot.”
“Over the first Barcelona test, it will start to feel real and sink in a little bit more. The role gives me an opportunity to be closer to Nico and Carlos and learn from them, as well as observing the race team, the engineers and how everything operates.”
McLaren switch to Petrobras
McLaren has announced a new technology partnership with the Brazilian oil company Petrobras, after just as single season with BP/ Castrol. The switch comes following months of rumours that the team could switch suppliers.
The team only switched to its previous supplier BP last year, but the future of that deal was placed in doubt after McLaren switch engine suppliers from Honda to Renault at the end of last season. However, the deal will not begin until the beginning of 2019.
Further details about the scope of the deal are set to be revealed on Tuesday, but confirmation of the partnership was made in a Tweet, by McLaren. The team Tweeted “McLaren and Petrobras have agreed a long-term technology partnership in Formula 1. More details will follow later today.”
The deal with Petrobras will give the team a further boost financially and moves them nearer to executive director Zak Brown’s commercial objectives – even though there would not be a title sponsor.
Recently Brown said “I don’t think we will have a principal partner going into this season. We definitely want one.”
“Our business ramp up is one where we want to get back to where we were in sponsorship over a three to four year period.”
Ricciardo crashes Red Bull on filming day
Daniel Ricciardo crashed the new Red Bull on its first outing during a filming day at Silverstone. The Australian hit the track on a wet day at the Northamptonshire circuit.
The team has released several images and videos of the car in action on a soggy Silverstone circuit. The low-speed collision with the barriers meant the day was cut short. However, with spare parts at a premium at this stage of the pre-season, even for F1’s biggest teams, the incident will raise inevitable questions about whether the team’s preparations for the first test.
Ricciardo told ESPN “It’s hard to tell from a couple of laps but the initial feeling in the car is good. I can already feel that the rear feels pretty settled, even in these poor conditions.”
“Those are encouraging early signs. So far I can see fine with the Halo. I’d only done a couple of installs with it before so it was pretty new today but I really didn’t notice it was there, which is pretty good”
Bargeboards to become area of gain – Lowe
Williams’s chief technical officer Paddy Lowe believes that bargeboards will be the area of the 2018 Formula One cars which offer the most gains this season.
This week, teams have begun unveiling their new designs and an area of the car, which has stood out, has been the bargeboard and sidepod area, with teams getting very aggressive with their concepts in the second year of the current aerodynamic rules.
Williams last week revealed computer images of its car before launching it last Thursday. Lowe says that the bargeboard area of the car has the potential for immense gains in downforce. He told Autosport “Is we know in the 2017 regulations, there was new volume and new freedom in the bargeboard area,” he said.
“We saw through 2017 an explosion of new devices in that space, and that process has continued yet further. When you see our car close up, you will see that we have developed the car in that area even more.”
“I will be expecting to see the same on our competition because it is the biggest area of opportunity still not fully exploited with these regulations that came in last year.”
This year the sidepods have become a more important area for the teams to develop, following the limiting of areas like the T-wing and exhaust blowing of the monkey seat have now been limited. The reason why it has been limited is because there was a degree of exhaust blowing.