Mercedes seek clarification on oil consumption
Mercedes are the latest team to seek clarification from the sports governing body the FIA about oil consumption. When a team or engine supplier asks questions to the FIA, it usually either believes that a rival has already gained an advantage, or it has spotted a potential loophole and wants it to be addressed in public before anyone follows that route.
Mercedes engine division asked whether oil used in the turbocharger has to comply with Article 20 of the technical regulations, which says “no competitor may use more than one oil in a given engine during an event.”
The team also asked whether turbo system oil has to be considered as part of the overall 0.6 litres/100kms oil consumption limit that was introduced to stop teams using oil for power boosting purposes.
The FIA has replied with an affirmative, confirming that all oils have to comply with the requirements as set out in Article 20 and that the turbo is considered part of the engine. Mercedes found a loophole which could see the engine and turbo considered separately from the ICE.
Chris Jilbert, the Head of Product Engineering Capability at Mercedes HPP in Brixworth. In it, he asked: “With the exception of transformer oils used within ERS cooling circuits, and hydraulic oils used for PU actuators (both of which should have zero consumption in operation), do all oils (and specifically, any oil used in the pressure charging [turbocharger] system) used in the Power Unit need to comply with Article 20?”
Whiting’s reply was that “All oils used in the engine must comply with Article 20 of the F1 Technical Regulations. The turbocharger is considered part of the engine.”
Jilbert’s second question was: “If the answer to Q1 is ‘yes’, does it, therefore, follow that the combined oil consumption of all the Power Unit oils must respect the 0.6lts/100km limit referenced within TD/012-17?”, referring to previous Technical Directives about oil consumption.
Whiting replied with a “Yes.”
Alonso says no more excuses
Fernando Alonso believes that McLaren has no more excuses because the team is on track to catch up with the top teams. After three seasons of blaming Honda for a lack of pace, the team switched to Renault.
From testing, it was clear despite the change of suppliers the team were still very much behind on single lap pace compared to the top three teams. A significant upgrade at the Spanish Grand Prix cut the gap to pole to 1.548s in Barcelona two weeks ago.
But Alonso was still out-qualified by the Haas of Kevin Magnussen. The nine-tenths gap to the fastest Renault-powered car, highlighted the challenge that McLaren still faces. The Spaniard still is optimism that the team is on the right track to close the gap.
He told ESPN “it’s not like in the past [with Honda] when we needed a mix of a lot of things to get it right; we were missing reliability, we were missing race pace.”
“Sometimes deployment, aero, mechanical grip — there were many things to fix. Now we know that on the power unit side we have the same engines as Red Bull, so it’s all on us, the chassis development, to close that gap.”
The Spaniard says the team are motivated and going in the right direction, saying the package is delivering what they expect.
Racing director Eric Boullier played down the Barcelona upgrade, saying that the team knows what it needs to do to close the gap further.
Adding “We had to improve the reliability, we had to improve the performance. We have now some other teams using the same power units, so at least we have some references. This is what we are working on. It’s a long way to go.”
Magnussen doesn’t care about whats said
Kevin Magnussen says he doesn’t read what is written about him and doesn’t care what others say about him. Since joining Haas the Dane has developed a reputation for being a hard-nosed tough racer.
His actions on track have meant that Magnussen is one of the drivers who is complained about the most, other drivers frequently complain about him blocking during free practice or qualifying sessions.
But the two reputations go hand-in-hand. The complaints aimed at Magnussen have not just stemmed from his car occasionally being a roadblock in practice sessions. Speaking about his reputation, he says he’s puzzled by the comments.
Speaking to ESPN, he said “I don’t care what the other drivers think of me. They can say what they want.”
He then clarified a quote given before the previous race in Baku which had circulated after that race, and after Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly had labelled him “the most dangerous” rival he had ever faced.
“To a certain extent, of course. If there’s something like that where a story came out wrong, it depicted me as something that I didn’t like and it was wrong, completely wrong, and it looked like I wanted to die in the car, which is crazy. But unless it’s something like that, something which is incorrect, I don’t care what anyone thinks.”
Asked about the atmosphere within Haas, he says he is more comfortable in the car and was in a team where he was more relaxed with his racing.
Magnussen joined the team because of the long-term commitment, although he doesn’t yet have a deal for 2019. However says he is in no rush to leave while admitting he would leave for a team who was able to fight for the title.
Saying “of course if I ever get a chance in a top team to fight for the championship then, of course, any driver with ambition wants to take that opportunity. Unless that happens, I’m pretty happy actually.”
Hockenheim keen to renew contract without ‘risks’
Hockenheim says that they want to renew there contract to host the German Grand Prix, but says they cannot afford a new deal with ‘risk.’
The circuit has suggested a revenue-sharing deal, as it cannot afford to continue losing money as it has under the present contract. The news follows news that the Miami GP will run under what F1 has called “an atypical business model”, with sources saying that Liberty is so keen to make it happen that the race will involve risk sharing and no fee.
Since 2008, the circuit has held the race bi-annually with the Nurburgring. However, before the takeover of the Nurburgring in 2013, the owners cancelled there part of the deal as prepared to filed for bankruptcy as debt spiralled out of control.
marketing director Jorn Teske told Autosport “We’re aiming to host a GP in the future, and we’d like to have it in the future, but the key point is we cannot prolong under current conditions.”
“So we would like to have a contract which will take the risk from us, this is the basic point. So we are not speaking about the fee, we are speaking about a new contract where we definitely have no risk anymore.”
Asked to expand on how a risk-free deal might work, Teske replied: “For the moment we are always talking about fees, and then we were asked how much fee would you pay to host the race? This is not our question, because we think we should restructure the business model.”
Teske suggested that it could be done by sharing costs of running the events and profits. He also called the race-sharing deal “an ideal solution” but said Hockenheim would be content as sole German GP host “if the thing with the risk is clarified”.
Todt admits hybrids too complex
FIA President Jean Todt had admitted the current V6 Hybrid engine regulations went “a bit too far” in terms of complexity. The Frenchman says that in the future the regulation needs to be focused on sport and R&D.
The current regulations had been too focused on the hybrid element which created a complex engine. Over the last year, the sport has been looking for a simplified version of the current engines for 2021, without the complexity of the MGU-H.
Todt told Motorsport.com “I think we wanted to take as much as we learned from the existing regulations. And to try to make things more simply.”
“It’s a beautiful piece of art, of technology, but I hear well that it’s maybe not what the fans are expecting. It’s not something that is absolutely needed to have a good championship.
“So I think it’s important that we can learn out of it, and propose something which is supposed to be more simple.” Todt says the sport need to be entertainment, but also a place where things can be developed for road cars.
Todt says that the definitive rules are nearly ready, and he hopes that will encourage new suppliers will agree to come into the sport.
“We are progressing quite well on the engine. I mean we are close to respecting the deadline we have to publish the engine regulations for 2021, and I hope that it may create some interest for some new manufacturers.”
Hypersoft madness predicted
Pirelli and drivers are predicting that the new hypersoft tyre which will be used for the first time at the Monaco Grand Prix, will see record-breaking performance levels in qualifying.
The hypersoft is the softest tyre the manufacturer has developed and has been developed specifically for low-grip street circuits. It will be used for the first time at a grand prix in Monaco this weekend. It is effectively two steps softer than the softest compound brought last year.
That should see lap times tumble to new lows this weekend and the lap time shattered, even going below the seventy seconds mark. Renault driver Carlos Sainz said after testing the compound last week, “Already last year with these new cars it was something incredible and this year we have two stops softer compound, and for me the best tyre that Pirelli have done in a lot of years. It’s going to be crazy.”
He believes that the tyre compound could deliver very quick lap times and new lap records.
Pirelli’s racing director Mario Isola is confident the hyper-soft will deliver on its promise in qualifying as well as being a good tyre for Sunday’s race.
“The mechanical grip of this compound is very high and obviously in Monaco the mechanical grip is very important, more so than downforce,” Isola said.
“Hopefully it will be exciting and also it will be interesting to see the level of degradation for the hypersoft on a circuit like Monaco.”