Halo looks better than porotypes
When plans for the Halo were finalised last year, Formula One promised that the designs would look better than they were in testing. But early indications have suggested they were correct.
The introduction of the halo, a titanium structure wrapped in carbon fibre which sits above the drivers head, has been hugely controversial. Though it is designed to protect the driver’s heads from debris, drivers have been critical of the design and the need for it.
The sports governing body, the FIA, is expecting the final design to be better than the prototypes which have been tested. But the late decision to introduce the Halo has proved problematic for teams, Toro Rosso technical chief James Key, thinks F1 fans will quickly accept the device once racing begins again.
Speaking to racer, Key said about the halo “We’ll have to see how it goes. I think with the aero bits on it then it will look slightly more Formula One, let’s say than the frames we saw before.”
“They will be a little bit more refined visually because teams have had time to work a bit on optimising the aerodynamics around them.” However, he says that the Halo is something that the port will get used to.
The halo was the result of research following two accidents in July 2009, when Henry Surtees was killed in a Formula Two race and Felipe Massa suffered life-threatening injuries after being hit by a loose coil during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Scared of ridicule over cost cap – Vasseur
Sauber’s team principal Fred Vasseur is “scared” that a cost cap could leave Formula One open to ridicule because of the potential difficulties with policing the cap.
Although the Swiss team would be a benefactor in an attempt to cut the spending of the big teams, Vasseur remains cautious about any plans could be introduced. But says that if measures were introduced that Sauber would close the gap with the leading teams.
However, told Autosport “If we have to do that by regulations – like with some standard parts. Then the biggest teams will be able to spend the same as now, but only for marginal gains. We could go with financial monitoring, but I am a bit scared about this.”
“On paper, it could work but then you have to see how we are able to monitor it during the season to avoid being in a situation that we have in the news or on websites that Ferrari or Mercedes spent €10 more than is allowed.” Showing that teams would be bad for fans as the sport would become a matter of budget.
Vasseur says that some control of cost is essential, but he believes the best way forward would be through limiting opportunities for bigger teams to find performance through extra spending.
But if the cap is too high it wouldn’t have an effect a majority of the teams, he added.
Kubica needs to earn seat
Williams says that Robert Kubica needs to earn his place in a race seat this year. Kubica’s Formula One career was cut short after a rally crash in 2011, mounted a sustained effort last year to return to the grid.
After initial tests with Renault, he was at one point favourite for a Williams seat but eventually lost out to rookie Sergey Sirotkin and instead took on a reserve and development role.
Speaking in Moscow on Monday, chief technical officer Paddy Lowe said “I think, to further put it in a different way, Robert has been on a journey to find his way back to Formula 1, from the trauma that occurred to his arm in the rally accident.”
“And all credit to him, it’s required an incredible commitment, a lot of bravery and a lot of dedication to that objective. And he’s on that journey, and with us this next year as the development driver that journey will continue.”
He said that Kubica wouldn’t want it any other way and he needs to earn his right to a race seat. Lowe when pushed on what Kubica needed to gain, he would not comment.
Kubica will be doing a “substantial amount” of simulator work, with Lowe stating it will be “of the same scale as a race driver or any of our simulator development drivers.”
Grosjean eyes long career
Romain Grosjean says that he has not got any plans to retire from Formula One and feels he will be able to race in the sport until he is forty.
The Frenchman made his debut with Renault in 2009, before taking a brief break from the sport between 2010 and 2011, return with Lotus where he stays for four seasons before joining Haas in 2016. It remains unclear whether he will stay at Haas for a fourth season, or pursue a move elsewhere on the grid.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Grosjean said “I still have a long way to go to the end. I started when I was 27 really in Formula 1, so I feel like I can go a long way, maybe 40, or just before 40. I still believe I’ve got eight, nine seasons ahead, so I’m pretty good.”
Grosjean wants to return to Renault and says he still has a good relationship with his former team. He said he would like to win with Haas.
Force India poised to confirm launch date
Force India will launch there 2018 car at the Circuit de Catalunya – Barcelona on the twenty-fifth of February the day before pre-season testing according to German media.
Auto Motor und Sport is also reporting that the Silverstone based team are set to drop ‘India’ from their name, subject to the approval of the F1 Commission. The team are yet to officially announce e launch date and plans.
So far, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Toro Rosso are the only teams to officially confirm their 2018 car launch dates.
Di Grassi considers running FIA presidency
The former Virgin driver and Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi has expressed an interest in a bid for the presidency of the FIA. The Brazilian who races for Audi has made it clear his interests extend well beyond his driving career.
Di Grass who is also CEO of the driverless racing initiative Roborace, has championed safety improvements and urged motorsport as a whole to consider its place in a changing world. Speaking to Motorsport.com, he said “of course” he is interested in a motorsport leadership role in the future, including pushing for a place at the top of the world governing body.
“I love my sport,” he said. “I have sometimes a very different view from other people.
“That showed up when we started Formula E, that showed up a bit with my views on the WEC when I said that LMP1 was not sustainable the way it was going – five years ago when I joined WEC, actually – and with Roborace.”
Beyond racing, Di Grassi has a background in business and economics. He was educated in economics at Brazil’s prestigious IBMEC business university and a member of high IQ society MENSA.