Renault admits challenge in managing expectations
Renault admits it is expecting a challenge to manage the expectations of both Red Bull and McLaren this season. Renault has often had a fractious relationship with Red Bull who have publicly argued and have parted with Toro Rosso.
McLaren has switched to Renault after three difficult seasons with Honda, where they were publicly critical of the Japanese manufacturer. However, four times champion and Renault’s advisor Alian Prost believes that will create “positive pressure” on the manufacturer to lift its game in 2018.
Renault F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com the prospect of managing expectations for two former championship-winning teams would be “challenging”.
“Actually, I think there is more positives than there is some negative in those relationships, even though I accept it’s going to be high maintenance and going to be an interesting season to manage,” Abiteboul said.
“I think it’s interesting because it’s challenging – but at the same time it’s providing motivation to everyone.” Abiteboul says there is pride in the fact that Renault is suppling other great teams and drivers.
Adding “Also, I believe McLaren has a wealth of experience and can show us the way to push our engine, but also new ways of making sure we have a winning package. Frankly, I’m looking forward to it.”
Liberty considers later races
Liberty Media is looking at plans to push race start times back to European and Asian races back an hour in order to boost television audiences.
Liberty is looking at ways of implementing changes to the sport and broaden the appeal of the sport to people. The idea is for the whole weekend to move back one hour.
FP1 would be now at 11:00, FP2, Qualifying at 15:00 and FP3 at 12:00, while the race would now start at 15:10. The extra ten minutes is designed to help commercial television channel coverage, especially with the American audience and the need to run adverts before the start.
F1 representatives were not available for comment to confirm the latest situation regarding the potential change, but it has emerged that scope to alter the timetable in such a way has been opened up by tweaks to the F1 rules this year.
These changes will not affect night races in Bahrain and Singapore, as well as the twilight race in Abu Dhabi. The French Grand Prix could be moved to a late afternoon/evening race as a one-off to avoid a direct clash with the England versus Panama World Cup game that begins at two o’clock French time.
Daytona 24 Hours – Stroll out qualifies Alonso
Lance Stroll and his teammates Robin Frijns, Daniel Juncadella and Felix Rosenqvist have out-qualified Fernando Alonso and Lando in qualifying for this weekends Daytona 24 Hours. While Wayne Taylor will start from pole for this weekends race.
Alonso will start thirteenth after being over a second faster than his United Autosports teammate who will start fourteenth. The highest placed former F1 driver was Felipe Nasr, who will start seventh one place behind Stroll. Father of Kevin Magnussen Jan, will start on pole of the GT Le Mans Class.
Juan Pablo Montoya and his teammates at Acura rounded out the top ten.
Williams set launch date
Williams will launch their 2018 car the FW41 in London on the fifteenth of February. The FW41 is the first car designed by chief technical officer Paddy Lowe since he returned to the team last year.
Lowe has already announced that the team will be making “quite substantial changes” to key areas of its car’s philosophy for the coming season. The team finished fifth in the constructors’ championship in 2017, 104 points adrift of Force India in fourth.
Williams will have the youngest line-up on the grid, with 22-year-old Sergey Sirotkin alongside 19-year-old Lance Stroll and Robert Kubica fulfilling the role of reserve and development driver.
According to Motorsport.com, there is speculation that the team could miss the first test due to delays in the build of its 2018 challenger is wide of the mark. The team is believed to be on a plan to recover time so they can run at the Barcelona test, which starts on February 26.
Assen moves nearer to F1 grade
Formula One race director Charlie Whiting says Assen has moved a step nearer to holding the Dutch Grand Prix, saying that the circuit would only require small changes to host an F1 race.
Whiting visited Assen last week, as the circuit, which currently hosts the Moto GP Dutch TT, is looking at getting its FIA Grade One status allowing it to host F1 races. In a statement from the circuit, they said following a “thorough inspection” that only a few minor changes were required for the FIA to be happy it could hold an F1 race.
The necessary changes would mainly involve adding extra kerbstones, guardrails and Tecpro barriers at certain points around the track.
The rise of Max Verstappen has made the sports owners Liberty Media, want to create a Dutch race to tap into the market. The last Dutch Grand Prix was held at Zandvoort in 1985. Already computer models have shown that TT Circuit Assen meets the Grade 1 safety requirements set by the FIA in terms of layout and width of the track.
Arjan Bos, chairman of the TT Circuit Assen, said: “It’s extremely pleasant to hear that Charlie Whiting is also very happy with the track, the modern facilities and the level of maintenance.
“His positive judgement is an important step in the right direction to get Formula 1 back to the Netherlands, but we are not there yet. Far from it. The next step would be for the FOM to pay a visit to the TT Circuit Assen. This will likely happen in the near future.”
The week ahead
This weekend is set to be a busy weekend for a number of drivers we have eyes on Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, who are taking part in the Daytona 24 Hours. This is a taster for Le Mans, I believe that his debut is unlikely to happen this year because of the tripleheader.
Carlos Sainz Jr will also be in action this weekend at the Monte Carlo Rally. This move surprises me personally, we know this is about broadening the appeal of the sport driven by Liberty. However, reminders of what happened when they allowed Robert Kubica did this in 2011.
We are still continuing with getting a clearer idea of when cars will be unveiled by teams. Still to confirm are most of the teams, but I imagine some will simply be unveiled on the Sunday before testing. We are still awaiting the confirmation from Sky and Channel 4 about which races e to be on free to air.
F1 Broadcasting, expects the two reasons are scheduling of the French Grand Prix, which clashes with one of England’s World Cup game. Whether there are discussions in the background to move the race to earlier or later that day.
Testing is rumoured to be shown live, so does that influence the spilt, IE does Sky show all the testing Live or does Channel 4 show half live? However, FOM has not confirmed that yet so I doubt if they weren’t we would know by now.