Renault hopes for fifth – Palmer
Jolyon Palmer says he is hopeful that this year’s Renault car will allow the team to meet their target of being the fifth fastest team in Formula One. The French team launched their 2017 car, the RS17, yesterday with the Brit suggesting they could target a podium this season.
Renault was the first team to launch their car physically after Williams and Sauber launched online. This is the first car the French team has built from scratch itself, after inhering much of last year’s car from Lotus in January last year.
The team had a difficult season last year, plagued by unreliability, but Renault Sport Racing president Jerome Stoll insisted fifth was the target for the sport’s ‘rules refresh’. Palmer speaking about outcomes this year told Sky Sports “I hope it’s a realistic target because if we are targeting fifth then we are in the top 10 of the drivers’ [championship],” Palmer told Sky Sports News.
“Last year we couldn’t do what we wanted to do with the car because of the previous Lotus days, now we’ve got a car that’s properly designed and integrated between chassis and engine. I really believe in the team and think we can do a good job this year.”
Nico Hulkenberg, his new team-mate, says that this season creates another stepping stone towards challenging for the title by/in 2020.
Hulkenberg added “We are very optimistic but at the same time you have to be realistic. Renault came from a long way back last year and I think we have a lot of work to do to catch up to the midfield, not even talking about the very front.
Renault says 2017 is a spending “arms race”
Renault thinks that this Formula One season will turn into a spending “arms race” between the big teams in 2017, with smaller outfits like Force India will be left behind.
Teams are already looking at bringing aggressive upgrade programmes this season as the look to grips with the radically different rules. Renault’s managing director Cyril Abiteboul, says that he believes richer teams will, therefore, pull clear over the year, while lower-budget operations have little chance of progress.
Abiteboul told Autosport “I think this season will be an arms race, and I really feel for the teams who are under-resourced. When I see this car that we are presenting, it is not the car that we are testing in Barcelona.”
“And the car in Barcelona will not be the car in Melbourne. So race-by-race we have got introduction of new parts.” The Frenchman says that resources for the smaller teams, with most of the teams, would have spent most of the budget.
But despite its aggressive investment programme at its Viry engine base and Enstone car factory, Abiteboul fears current staffing levels in F1 are unsustainable and new rules may be needed to trim team staffing numbers down in the future.
Avoiding the ‘arms race’, as Force India launch
Force India has launched their 2017 car, the VJM10 at Silverstone. This season the British-based team has raised their target to be behind the top three teams, however, avoid getting into an ‘arms race’.
The team new car followed the pattern that has emerged through-out the week of a thump tipped nose and the shark fin engine cover. As expected the team has significantly different front and rear wings that will be used this year when new aero regulations come into play.
The car also retains its traditional livery.
Sergio Perez said “It looks very demanding physically. I struggle to think how we will manage Monaco and Baku, as they are really tight, we need to open up a bit the corners maybe.”
While new team-mate Esteban Ocon says his aim is to learn from the team and from his experienced team-mate. “I hope I will learn a lot from him in the test,” he said.
Team Principal Vijay Malaya says the team’s objective is to break into the top three teams. Force India is widely considered to be the best value for money with the way it spends its money. He said “We are dreaming big but we’re going to give it all we’ve got. All the data shows this is a cracker of a car”
Mercedes teases car on eve of launch
Mercedes have given their first teaser of their 2017 car, the W08, ahead of their launch tomorrow at Silverstone. The pictures posted on the website gave very little away, apart from pictures of the front wing and engine cover.
Rather than featuring the thumb stub seen on cars unveiled by Williams, Sauber and Renault so far, the Mercedes’ nose features a more rounded end and its overall design appears to be quite narrow.
The team will give the car a shakedown test tomorrow at Silverstone when the officially launch the car at a filming day.
Hamilton announces helmet design winner
Lewis Hamilton has announced the winning helmet which he will use this season. The Mercedes driver launched the competition which had 8,000 entries from fans.
On Instagram today he announced he had chosen Brazilian designer Rai Caldato as the winner. Hamilton wrote “Here it is, the winning helmet design, a creation by Raí Caldato from Brazil. Raí evolves my layout by adding new stripe elements on the sides. As a tribute to my hero, Ayrton Senna the helmet features the colours of Brazil – green, yellow and blue. These are accompanied with the 3 stars that represent my Championship wins.”
“Raí, I look forward to meeting you in person to present you with your prize! Thank you all for entering this competition, I’m taken back by your creativity.”
The three times world champion he was “taken aback” by the creativity shown through the various entries he received.
Silverstone no longer for sale
The British Racing Drivers Club which owns Silverstone has announced the circuit is no longer for sale. The BRDC has been in talks with potential investors, including the Jaguar Land Rover group, for several months as it attempted to raise the funds to continue hosting the British Grand Prix.
Earlier this year, there had been reports the circuit would activate a break clause in the contract because of the rising costs of the race. In a statement to members, BRDC chairman John Grant said: “We expected to pick up discussions with our ‘unnamed substantial overseas investor’ again [at the start of] the New Year.”
“After further reflection and, in particular, completion of the sale of Formula 1 to Liberty Media, [the] Board has now decided to shelve discussions about a sale and continue on a go-it-alone basis.
“While this is not without risk, we feel sufficient confidence in the improved prospects for our business to justify this change of direction.” However, it doesn’t mean that several background changes, which had been put on hold while the talks were on-going, would now be put in place.
McLaren announce junior program for 2017
McLaren has announced that Lando Norris will become a full member of the team’s junior programme.
The former world karting champion has made headlines in his first two years in single-seaters so far, as he racked up four drivers’ titles – in the British MSA F4 series, the off-season Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand and Formula Renault 2.0 categories Eurocup and NEC.
In December the seventeen-year-old won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award and will contest the European F3 series with Carlin in 2017. Executive director of McLaren Zak Brown said “I regard Lando as a fabulous prospect. He blew the doors off his rivals in not one but three highly competitive race series last year.”
“Then capped that by establishing himself as the clear winner of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award” he added. Brown says that Lando will be working on the simulator which he will be “contributing directly and importantly” to the team and “At the same time as honing and improving his technical feedback capabilities.”
Honda has announced their junior driver Nobuharu Matsushita will also join the team. This season Matsushita will be contesting his third GP2 campaign with ART Grand Prix this year.
While Nyck de Vries remains with the team, despite his participation in Ferrari’s shootout to replace Gianmaria Bruni in WEC and subsequent reports that the Dutchman was in line for a Ferrari GT role.