Early upgrades crucial
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the regulation changes this season means that early upgrades that teams bring will be crucial for any team wanting a successful 2017 season.
The regulation changes mean that high levels of downforce are expected to dramatically cut lap times. Mercedes are being really cautious in their approach knowing what their predecessors, Brawn GP did in 2009.
When asked if the new rules make scoring points a more realistic prospect than last year, Steiner told ESPN: “We will do the same as last year and hope we score points. For the rest of the season, this year we will be bringing more updates. Last year we said from the beginning we will bring very few updates.”
Steiner admitted the team knows they can’t compete with the big teams, but says we can find gains this season.
Haas had limited upgrades last season as they focused on this season, adding “you find more gains in the beginning than you find after four or five years developing the car. So this year will be about who can bring the most new parts and good parts to each race”
Wet day on Thursday, if it doesn’t rain
The Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya has announced that the final day of next week’s tests will be a wet test day unless wet weather does affect the other three days. Tyre supplier Pirelli wants to gain a better understanding of the new wider wet tyres.
The plan is should any of the days be hit by rain, although current forecasts do not indicate that will happen. The Barcelona circuit posted a video on Instagram on Tuesday showing it practising wetting the circuit to ensure that it is well prepared for when the F1 teams arrive next week.
Renault “very confident” as they launch car
Renault has unveiled their 2017 car the RS17 in London via Facebook. The teams’ new car is radically different with a lower rear wing and a shark fin style engine cover, as always the French team has stuck with the yellow and black branding.
The car was unveiled following a short VT by Jolyon Palmer and his new team-mate Nico Hulkenberg. The team has lower rear wings and has followed similar designs to the Williams and Sauber. Meanwhile, Four times champion and team principal of eDAMS Formula E team Alain Prost was announced as an ambassador.
Team Principal Stoll says the team is “very confident” about their chances of improving on its ninth-place finish in the constructors’ championship last year “because you have seen this afternoon a presentation whereby we describe the team, with outstanding people, who have done a tremendous job over the last few months”.
Renault this season has radically overhauled the power unit after they felt the old design had reached its maximum potential.
Speaking about the team’s recruitment drive Abiteboul said they “have increased by 25% the headcount, some targeted recruitment.”
Sirotkin to be Renault’s third driver
At the Renault launch, the announced Sergey Sirotkin, has been promoted to the role of the third driver for this season. The Russian joined the French manufacturer last season, finishing third for ART in the GP2 championship for the second successive season.
As part of his Renault test role, he drove in first practice on home soil at Sochi and then again at Interlagos as well as carrying out driving duties at the Silverstone in-season test. This year he will be attending every Grand Prix and will take part in a number of practice sessions.
Sirotkin said “We had a very good experience working together last year and having this as a base we will make a step forward with a new role in 2017. FP1 sessions will be part of my programme.”
“I know these sessions are an important element of race preparation for the team. So my duty in these is to fulfil all their targets, rather than just trying to set the fastest time I can at any given moment.” He added.
Speaking about what he hopes to achieve this season, he said working towards a race seat he says he is there to learn from the drivers.
When asked what he could learn from working alongside Palmer and Hulkenberg, Sirotkin said: “It doesn’t matter if it’s from Nico and Jolyon or from any situation, there is always a lot to learn in this life.
Vergne leaves Ferrari
Former Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne has confirmed that he is no longer Ferrari’s reserve driver. The Frenchman will now focus on his drive with Techeetah in Formula E as what is understood to be a wider managerial role.
Vergne is understood to have acquired a stake in Techeetah, and has been a key driving force in building the team since it acquired Team Aguri’s slot on the grid last summer. On Saturday, Vergne finished second to in Buenos Aries ePrix to Sebastien Buemi.
He told Mortosport.com “It was clear from the beginning [of the Ferrari role] that I would not continue as reserve anymore this season. I still have a lot of contact with Ferrari and good relationships there, but I’m not going to grands prix and filling the role I had.”
The owners of the Techeetah team is Chinese Media Capital (CMC), which has recently bought into Formula E Holdings Ltd as an investor.
One year too early says Verstappen Sr
The former Formula One driver Jos Verstappen says he believes it is one year too early for his son Max, to challenge for the championship. Last May, his son was promoted from Toro Ross to Red Bull and took victory for the team on his debut at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Verstappen finished fourth last season, which earnt himself praise for his brilliant season as a whole. With this year’s regulation changes with are more aero based, many believe that Red Bull will be a treat to Mercedes, however, Verstappen Sr feels the title might be out of reach for his son.
Verstappen Sr told Ziggo Sport “There is a lot of talk that he will win the championship and so on. My personal opinion is, and that’s my personal opinion, that it’s just one year too early.
“I do think that the gap to Mercedes has to become smaller. Max has more experience now, he knows the tracks. Last year he won one race. I just hope that he can win a couple of more this year. Three or four races would be very nice, and this is possible.” He added.
The former Benetton and Arrows driver, says he is encouraged by what he is hearing from within the team. But the main question for Red Bull, is how much progress engine supplier Renault has made, there is the belief in the team that they had a ‘big winter’.
Regardless says Verstappen Sr, “We know from Max that he always goes for the maximum.”
We have the best line-up – Horner
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner says he is convinced that the team’s driver line-up of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. The duo was the only drivers other than the Mercedes duo to win a race last season.
The team are hoping with this year’s regulation changes that they can be the closest challenger to Mercedes and is confident his two drivers will be able to get the most out of the team’s new car and expects them to push each other again this year.
He told ESPN, “We’ve probably got absolutely the most exciting driver pairing on the grid. It’s so exciting to see the development and evolution of Max Verstappen, just as he’s growing in experience and confidence and age at the heady age of 19 this year.”
“And Danny Ricciardo for me was the driver of the year last year. He put in some phenomenal performances, right at the top of his game, his confidence is high. So I think the dynamics between the two drivers is great.” He added.
Asked about their strengths he said he thinks there are no better overtakers than his drivers. Adding they are “Tremendously dedicated, enjoying what they do, they love what they do. You can see they really revel in being grand prix drivers.”