FIA on target to meet engine regulation deadline
The FIA says that it’s on target to meet the end of June deadline for the publication of the new engine regulations which are due to be introduced in 2021. Last November the sports governing body outlined the concept but has been working on the finer details.
However, FIA technical delegate and race director Charlie Whiting has confidence that the regulations will be published by the end of this month.
F1 will still be racing with 1.6-litre, V6 turbo hybrids in 2021, but they will feature a number of significant changes to reduce costs, boost power and improve the noise. The main changes will be the removal of the MGU-H and the new rev limit will be increased from 3,000rpm to 18,000rpm.
The FIA has been working with the four existing manufacturers and new manufactures believed to be Porsche and Aston Martin. Whiting is confident the rule-making process is nearly finished after well over a year of meetings on the issue.
Whiting said “The manufacturers are all involved in it so it is taking quite a long time because they are toing and froing. It is very complicated and there’s been meeting after meeting after meeting on this so the reports I get on these appear to be very detailed.”
“We are going into fine detail and I am fairly confident we are getting to the end of that process and at the end of that process we will have a far more detailed idea of what the power unit will be in 2021.”
However, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has concerns that costs will escalate as the manufacturers develop two engines in tandem.
He says “The engine needs a lot of lead time, therefore the earlier, the better it is. The solution that we need to find is how we can avoid double the costs by developing two power units in parallel.
Susie Wolff appointed Venturi’s team principal
Mercedes ambassador and the wife CEO and team principal Toto Wolff, Susie has been appointed as the team principal of the Venturi Formula E team.
Wolff who was the test and development driver for Williams has also become a shareholder in the Monaco-based Venturi team. After retiring from race driving at the end of 2015, she founded the Dare to be Different initiative to encourage more women to enter motorsport.
“When I decided to stop as a professional driver in 2015, I knew that I wanted to continue with the challenge of competitive racing, just not behind the wheel,” said Wolff.
“You can’t just switch off your competitive instincts when you stop driving and that determination and desire to achieve still burn brightly inside me. I took time to carefully decide the right direction for that challenge and I have now found the perfect next step, with the opportunity to become both a shareholder and team principal of Venturi Formula E team.”
From next season, the Monaco based team will enter into a powertrain supply deal and a technical deal with Mercedes, ahead of the current F1 champions entering a works team in 2019-20.
CEO of Venturi, Gildo Pastor explained that this was part of a wider expansion plan following the signing of Felipe Massa. Pastor said, “am delighted to welcome Susie on board as team principal and shareholder.”
“Her energy and expertise will help us to grow by strengthening the team and introducing a new approach to management.
“Thanks to her personal experience, Susie takes a unique strategic view of the team, the championship and motor racing in general. She will certainly lead the Venturi Formula E team to the top.
“Venturi and the Venturi Formula E Team are proud to welcome Susie at a key moment in the history of the group.”
Wolff will take charge ahead to the final rounds of the season in New York in mid-July. However will continue her role as an analyst for Channel 4’s F1 coverage, as an ambassador for the F1 team and her Dare To Be Different campaign.
Steiner convinced Grosjean will bounce back
Haas team principal Gunther Steiner says he is convinced that Romain Grosjean will bounce back, after admitting that bad luck is currently “pouring” down on the Frenchman.
Grosjean started his home race tenth after crashing out of Q3, then collided with countryman Esteban Ocon on the first lap of the race. He also gained a five-second penalty and finished eleventh, meaning he continued his pointless run which stretches back to last year’s United States Grand Prix.
He has yet to earn a point in 2018, while teammate Kevin Magnussen has scored on four occasions, including a sixth place in France.
Steiner told Motorsport.com, “It seems to be always a difficult one, a driver going for it and one not. We had it with Kevin last year when he had a down period and people were picking on him. At the moment it’s Romain for whom it goes all wrong.”
“It never seems to be raining, it’s always pouring. Then he’s trying to get back on his feet, then he gets a penalty, after a while, it beats you down. But I think he’s strong enough to overcome it.”
Asked what Grosjean has to do to get his season back on track, Steiner said: “It’s just keep on doing it. His performance was all good until Q3. What can I say? He will be back. I guess one day we will get them both in the points. I don’t think the points are far away for him.”
Renault to bring new MGU-K to Austria
Renault is to bring its long-awaited specification of MGU-K to this weekends Austrian Grand Prix. However, its customer teams Red Bull and McLaren are not obliged to use it.
The new MGU-K was due to be introduced last year, however, numerous delays have finally been signed off for use on a race weekend by all three teams. Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says that at least one the customers have preferred to stick with the old spec, at least for Austria.
One of the complications is that under the 2018 regulations drivers can use only two MGU-Ks per season, before penalties result. McLaren and Red Bull may delay the switch until the new spec has been proven by the works team in race weekend conditions.
He told Motorsport.com, “It’s available for all the cars that want it. It happens that not all teams have elected to go to the new spec. It’s one that we’ve been long awaiting, but it’s a bit of a problem that some teams have elected not to use it, which means that they will continue to use the MGU-K of a previous technical definition, with a higher reliability risk.”
Abiteboul says that the customers need to accept the choice. The news comes after works Renault driver, Carlos Sainz suffered a failure with the old spec MGU-K in the closing laps of the French GP.
“It’s a part that we know was fragile, it’s a part that we deliberately decided to extend the life of, because we knew that there was a new definition, a new spec coming up, with better performance, better packaging and with a better reliability level.”
Boullier admits McLaren can’t fight as a customer team
McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier has admitted that the team is unable to be fighting for championships while it is a customer of Renault. This season the British team has switched to Renault following three difficult seasons with Honda.
However, the Frenchman believes that McLaren’s ultimate aim of fighting for titles is still out of reach with Renault engines. He told ESPN, “I think Red Bull is showing that you can win races as a customer, but I think winning a championship is another level — you need to have a works team status.”
The comments are very similar to the ones former team boss Ron Dennis cited as the reason the team switched to Honda in the first place. They also come less than a week, after Red Bull decided to switch from Renault in order to take up works deal with a now-improving Honda for 2019 and 2020.
But Boullier believes McLaren is still better off with Renault power in the short term ahead and admits the team’s current failings are with its chassis.
“It’s true that this time last year we had no points at all, so obviously we are now in the fight for fourth with Renault and once again, we would prefer to be comfortably fourth, which was one of the targets we had assigned to ourselves.”
Boullier says that the team are working with a car which isn’t a 100% were they would like it to be, but they want to learn from it.
Drivers go soft for Silverstone
Pirelli has announced the drivers’ tyre allocation for next weekends British Grand Prix, for the race at Silverstone Pirelli has nominated its soft, medium and hard compounds. All of the drivers have used the majority of there selection on the soft compound.
The top two teams Mercedes and Ferrari, as well as McLaren, have chosen eight soft tyres for all their drivers. With Lewis Hamilton and both Ferraris going for four mediums and a hard, Valtteri Bottas has gone for three mediums and two softs.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has gone for eight softs and four hards, with teammate Max Verstappen going for mediums with them both having two hards. Both Force India’s, Sauber’s and Haas’s nine softs, three mediums and a hard.
Both Williams has gone for nine softs, Sergey Sirotkin with going for two of both the mediums and hards his teammate Lance Stroll has three mediums and a hard.
Both Toro Rossos have ten softs, two mediums and a hard. With Haas’s drivers going for nine softs, three mediums and a hard. Renault has ten softs, with Nico Hulkenberg going for a medium and two hards while Carlos Sainz has two mediums and a hard.