Sauber and Toro Rosso hit the track
Sauber and Toro Ross have both carried out filming days allowing them to carry out checks on their 2018 cars. Teams are allowed to complete two filming days per year, but are limited to just 100km per day and are not supplied with competition tyres.
Most teams use the opportunity to shakedown their new cars, providing an opportunity to run basic system checks before official testing gets underway. Sauber hit the track with the C37 the day after the launch at the Circuit de Catalunya – Barcelona.
Toro Rosso is set to launch on Monday reviled images of their car online from Misano in Italy where they carried out their checks.
Red Bull has already carried out a filming day at Silverstone on Monday, but it was forced to cut its running short of 100km after Daniel Ricciardo damaged some parts in a minor accident.
Mercedes are set to launch their car and carry out a filming day at Silverstone on Thursday. With Ferrari launching on Thursday as well, the Italian team will be expected to carry out a shakedown on Friday at Fiorano.
Toro Rosso reveal car after leak
Toro Rosso has unveiled their new car on social media hours after an unauthorised image was posted online. A blurry picture of the car was taken from a grandstand at Misano where the team has been carrying a filming day.
The team responded to the leak by posting their own image on Twitter with the message “Why settle for a leaked photo, when you can have an original.”
New engine suppliers Honda tweeted: “People leak photos, we leak better ones. See you at testing @ToroRosso.” The team has stuck with the same red and blue colour scheme it had last season.
This year the team has switch engine suppliers for the third season in a row. The team have also changed drivers for 2018 for a line-up of Frenchman Pierre Gasly and New Zealander Hartley.
Although last season the pair made their debuts for the team, the two have less than ten races between them and are both yet to score points in the sport. The switch to Honda is expected to see the team struggle because of the manufacturer’s trouble with performance.
The switch came after McLaren decided to terminate its deal with Honda. Last year, Toro Rosso finished seventh in the constructor’s championship after being pipped by Renault for sixth at the final race.
Kubica “almost convinced” he would be on the grid
Robert Kubica says he was “almost convinced” that he would be on the grid for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. The Polish driver had been in contention for a race seat with Williams but lost the chance after being outperformed by Sergey Sirotkin.
Kubica will however be the teams reserve and test driver, this will see him drive in pre and in season testing as well as in three first practices this season. He remains convinced a return to F1 in the future is possible but admitted he had at one point thought that would come as early as next month.
Speaking to the Polish newspaper Przeglad Sportowy, Kubica said “The next seven, eight, nine months of the season can bring me closer to this [return]. I don’t really know how close I was at that moment, but now it’s not important anymore.”
“As a rule, I keep expectations low and I have a habit of believing in things only when they happen, but at some point, I was almost convinced that I will be taking part in Australia.”
Kubica will attend a number of races this year as the team’s third driver, but is apprehensive about the prospect has been given he will not be one of the race drivers.
“I was thinking about it and to be honest, I don’t think it will be a nice moment for me. Going to races to see other drivers are racing will not be nice, but it’s worth trying in order to come back.” He says its part of his long journey back to racing.
He says that he will do everything he can to make sure he has that chance again as his accident took that away from him.
Kubica said his primary focus is to use his racing experience to help the team and the race drivers in every way he can but he can benefit from the opportunity. He described himself as a translator between the team and drivers.
Adding “I have a great challenge ahead of me, I will gain access to new information and therefore I’ll be able to become a better driver. Not so much faster, but a more complete person in motorsport.”
McLaren plan “substantial” mileage and upgrades
McLaren is planning a “substantial” upgrade to its 2018 car the MCL32 for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. The team are set to launch their new car on Friday.
The car which will have a Renault engine is also believed to have a bold new livery which the teams believe will appeal to fans. while there are big changes taking place at the team, its aero chief Peter Prodromou says that the car will not be radically different from last year.
The team are making a big effort into bringing new parts for the first race in Melbourne at the end of March. Explaining the design to Motorsport.com, Prodromou said “We have tried to develop the car as we have done for the last three years. We’ve tried to develop it in an evolutionary fashion.”
“I think you can expect to see something quite similar conceptually for launch – and then in truth we have spent the last two to three months focusing on a race one upgrade.”
“”That is where the major focus has been and still is – to try to deliver a decent upgrade both aerodynamically and mechanically and try to put our best foot forward for Melbourne,” Prodromou says McLaren are expecting the car to perform similarly to the way t was at the end of 2017.
McLaren has set their eye on mileage during testing following the nightmare they had with Honda last year. While the team are aware that nothing is guaranteed, the team says it targeting two thousand kilometres per test.
Engineering director Matt Morris said: “500km per day is a plan. That is on the run plan.”
Asked about where he felt the team was compared to last year, he said “It is always nice to be a little bit further ahead, wherever you are “In terms of all the sign off of the car.”
“Running it [the gearbox] on the back of a Renault engine, we should be going into winter testing in as good a state as we can be.”
Force India to launch on Monday
Motorsport.com says it has learnt that Force India will join Toro Rosso in unveiling their 2018 car the VJM10 in the pit lane at the Circuit de Catalunya – Barcelona on Monday.
The team has also announced that they will test all four of its drivers with their development driver Nikita Mazepin having the honour of driving the new car first on Monday.
Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez and reserve driver Nicholas Latifi will all then take turns in the car. The focus will be exclusively on the race drivers at the second Barcelona test, with only Ocon and Perez featuring.
However, the speculation about a possible name change continues, late last year the directors of the team listed a series of companies under the name Force One. But, that has been called to close to the Formula One brand.
Recently a British newspaper reported that the team could be taken over by drinks brand Rich Energy, which has previously backed former British F3 driver Toby Sowery.
Published accounts indicate that the company has a modest turnover and does not have the sort of funds with which to get involved in F1 without other outside investment.
However, a sister company, Rich Energy Racing, was registered back in December.
McKiernan joins Williams as chief engineer
Williams has appointed Doug McKiernan as its chief engineer as the team looks to strengthen its technical team.
McKiernan began his career at McLaren in 1999 as an Aerodynamic Analyst. Over his time at McLaren, he progressed to Chief Aerodynamicist, Head of Aerodynamics and finally Chief Engineer, before stepping down in 2015.
McKiernan said “It is a pleasure to be joining Williams. The team has exciting plans for the future, and it is great to see the work already being done with the aerodynamic and engineering teams to produce the FW41, whilst also looking ahead to future cars as Williams continues its charge to move further forwards on the grid.”
Announcing his appointment, chief technical officer Paddy Lowe said he was delighted that McKiernan was joining the team and his experience will strengthen the team.
Lowe said, “We have already started to make excellent progress, with Dirk de Beer our Head of Aerodynamics leading an invigorated aerodynamics team.”
“The addition of Doug to the senior team, supporting our Chief Designer Ed Wood and Dirk in particular, will give us the breadth for more focus on technical strategy, and the optimisation of car architecture across design and aerodynamics.”