Red Bull waiting to make Honda decision
Red Bull’s team boss Christian Horner says that the progress of Renault and Honda’s upgrades for the Canadian Grand Prix will dictate the team’s decision when they decide on next years engine.
The team is in the final year of its contract with Renault and it looks increasingly likely that they will spilt at the end of the season. Since 2014, the relationship has been increasingly strained, as the French manufacturer has been unable to fight for wins.
In Baku, Red Bull started formal talks with Honda. Renault previously warned Red Bull it would not budge on its deadline of May but Horner has other ideas. He told ESPN “There won’t be a decision in May. I think potentially both engine suppliers are bringing an upgrade around Montreal so we wait and see with interest.”
Renault hasn’t confirmed when they will be bringing the upgrade, however, Red Bull believe that they are bringing a performance upgrade for Montreal.
Honda has welcomed the decision by Red Bull to delay the decision, as they haven’t decided whether it is willing to take on the additional workload of supplying two teams in one season.
Honda boss Masahi Yamamoto told Autosport “We regard it as a positive thing, giving us time means we have time to consult more. We are very positive.”
“To deal with Red Bull is a really big thing for Honda because they are a top team. This gives us a sort of pressure as an engine manufacturer.”
Alonso preparing for “crazy” Monaco
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso says he is preparing for a “crazy” Monaco Grand Prix, believing that the race will act like a performance leveller to leave the race “like throwing a dice”.
Alonso who missed last years race to take part in the Indianapolis 500, has won the race twice around the principality. The Spaniard thinks Monaco’s unique characteristics can enable McLaren to be in a good position to score further points.
He told Sky Sports “it’s one of the most technically challenging circuits of the year simply because of the level of skill and concentration you need to get around lap after lap 78 times, as well as negotiating the traffic, strategy, weather and everything else this crazy race throws at you.”
“For sure, we know the limitations of our package, and a slow-speed track such as this requires a totally unique set-up compared to anywhere else on the calendar.” He says that the circuit is one that levels the playing field.
Alonso knows that qualifying is very important, but also a good Saturday doesn’t lead to a trouble-free race. The last time Alonso raced in Monaco he finished fifth, the team are hoping their Spanish GP upgrades made and with straight-line speed less critical in Monte Carlo.
Racing director Eric Boullier believes there is everything to play for. He said “”It goes without saying that reliability is a key factor in Monaco, and since there tends to be a fair amount of drama, finishing the race with both cars intact is the first step.”
Latifi invests in McLaren
McLaren has announced that the father of Formula Two driver Nicholas Latifi has become a shareholder of the team. Michael Latifi’s investment in the team is the first major investment in the team since the departure of Ron Dennis.
The British Virgin Islands company Nidala, which is controlled by Latifi has invested £200 million in the team. The Iranian-Canadian businessman will join the Mansour Ojjeh and Mumtalakat, the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund, as shareholders of the group.
Latifi owns Sofina Foods, the third largest food company in Canada after leaving Tehran as a teenager. “I have been an admirer of the McLaren brand and its businesses for some time,” said Latifi.
“McLaren is a unique organisation in automotive, racing and technology with exciting long-term growth prospects, which is why I have made this investment. I am proud to be part of McLaren and this incredible brand.”
McLaren Group CEO Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa added: “This injection of capital is a vote of confidence in our future strategy and the Group remains as focused as ever in positioning for growth. We are delighted Michael Latifi has joined the McLaren family.”
A McLaren statement outlining the deal confirmed that the funds will arrive over the next year.
“A capital injection of £203.8m is being made by Nidala (BVI) Limited to purchase 888,135 ordinary shares in McLaren Group Limited. The proceeds for the new capital will be received over the coming year.”
Bottas believes he has eliminated the disappointments
Valtteri Bottas believes he has eliminated the disappointments he had in his first season with Mercedes. The Finn has been more consistent in the first five races with three podiums and was arguably robbed of a win because of a puncher in Baku while leading.
Bottas told Autosport, that this season he has more or less hit his performance targets since the beginning of the season. He said, “I’ve been able to really continue good performances from the end of last year.”
“And there have been no weekends that I have been way off the pace like there were a few last year. So I feel I have learned from those, and need to continue my development.”
“There are never things that you can’t learn more, so I still hope I keep improving. There’s been quite mixed races, and the end results haven’t been quite there.”
Speaking about the huge gap between him and Lewis Hamilton in Barcelona, he said there were many things which affected that but Bottas knows that the speed is there.
Mercedes CEO and Bottas’s former manager Toto Wolff agreed that the Finn has been more consistent this season. He said “Valtteri has been upping his game through the last races and has been very solid indeed. That proves us right with our decision back in the day [to renew his contract for 2018].”
“And having the two drivers close to each other in terms of performance levels, and equally respecting each other and racing each other fair is the best case.”
Sirotkin admits start to the season harder
Sergey Sirotkin has admitted he has made his start to the season harder with his intense self-determined workload. The Russian has failed to make an impact as his Williams team has struggled on track.
However, the team has been impressed by his commitment off the track. The Russian was picked over Robert Kubica to partner Lance Stroll, has been a regular presence at the factory as it works through its problems.
Asked by Motorsport.com about his workload, Sirotkin said: “I am making my life harder, but I would not say I am making my life worse. It is really, really hard and sometimes it’s completely flat out. But at the same time it is my choice.”
“If I wanted I could spend three times less time at the factory and still manage everything I am obliged to manage. This is more about my personal wish. I want to be there and help them as much as I can.”
Deputy team principal Claire Williams says that Sirotkin spends more time at the factory than she has ever experienced with a driver. Saying “Pretty much every day, that shouldn’t be underestimated.”
“It’s not just work in the simulator, he walks around the factory and he engages with people on the shop floor. That’s an achievement in itself when you are new, and there’s 500 to 600 people at Williams now. I think is pretty special.”
His best result so far was fourteenth in Barcelona, Williams admitted that the team hadn’t given him the car to showcase his talent.
However, Ms Williams added “He has done some good work on track for us as well, so we are happy with what he has delivered thus far. It’s just up to us to try and give him a car that he can deliver what he wants to do on the racetrack.”