Horner calls for engine mode restrictions
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has suggested tt engine modes should be part of parc ferme conditions to prevent teams turning up their engines in between Q2 and Q3.
Mercedes continued to dominate qualifying at the opening race, after taking pole by sixth-tenths, the team has regularly taken seventy-one poles in the last eighty Grand Prix’s. On Saturday, Max Verstappen was seven tenths off the pace.
The German team has regularly managed to unlock extra performance in the last four seasons. Although most things are restricted around car set up at the start of qualifying, that doesn’t include engine modes.
However, Horner believes that parc ferme regulations should also include engine modes. He told Sky Sports “Like you have parc ferme when the cars leave for qualifying, maybe engine modes should be the same from the moment you leave the garage to the end of the grand prix.”
“Lewis’ time came predominantly between Q2 and Q3. They have a qualy mode that they don’t need to use in the earlier parts of qualifying because why stress the engine?” Red Bull has only taken a single pole since 2014, because of the under powered Renault power unit.
While the Renault power unit lacks the power of the Mercedes, so far it has proved reliable and able to match it on long-run pace throughout the weekend and Ricciardo claimed the fastest lap of the race.
Horner feels there is plenty of positives for Red Bull to build on for the rest of the season.
Team principals react to blueprint
Liberty Media is to present a blueprint for the future of the sport to the teams and engine manufacturers at next weekends Bahrain Grand Prix.
The proposed new engine regulations, as well as plans to reduce and restrict costs are being seen as a part of the sports owners plans to attract new teams and manufacturers into the sport. However, the plans outlined have not gone down well with Ferrari or Mercedes.
It is not known if Liberty will be using the meeting as a way of also outlining its vision for the commercial side as well, ahead of renegotiations of the Concorde Agreement. The Concorde Agreement bines the teams to the sport until the end of 2020.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said “I think it’s important to have an overview of where the sport’s going for the future. I think everybody’s keen to understand what Liberty’s plans are, and hopefully, we’ll see that in the coming weeks.”
Red Bull’s, Dr Helmut Marko added “We’ll wait and see what is coming. Let’s see, but I can’t see the MGU-H staying. We agree and we’re sure that there has to be a change on the technical regulations, and also on the cost side. It has to be reduced.”
Williams’s deputy team principal Claire Williams, says it was positive that Liberty had taken its time to research and formulate a plan. She says “They’ve inherited quite a complicated sport, as we all know and there’s probably quite a lot to unravel.”
“Taking their time, they’ll probably make the right decisions in turning this sport into what we need it to be, and that’s a sport for the future that fans want to tune in to on a Sunday afternoon.” Ms Williams believes that it is going in the right direction.
Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley added “It’s going to be an important year for them. It’s important to get the engine regs clearly established in 2018 because the manufacturers are going to need that lead time to be able to look at it.”
Hartley has no concerns about fighting
Brendon Hartley has no concerns that Honda’s power unit will prevent him from fighting and overtaking his rivals this season. The New Zealander had a difficult race in Melbourne, following a lock-up into the first corner on the opening lap of the race.
Later in the race, a puncher hampered his running forcing him into another pit stop leaving him half a minute down when the race restarted. Despite difficulties, Hartley says he is encouraged by the Honda engine and has no qualms when it comes to needing to go wheel-to-wheel with it.
Hartley told Motorsport.com “I did drive with a different engine at the end of last year. I think the Honda is pretty flexible with a bit of racecraft as well. Obviously, DRS and top speed is a big part of making an overtake.”
“But from what I’ve seen so far everything is running pretty seamlessly, from a driver’s point of view there’s not too much to manage. Everything is going in the right direction, there is no real concern from my side.”
Hartley says that Honda have updates coming, and there are no concerns about racing the cars around them.
He added he feels significantly more comfortable in the STR set-up than he did during his cameo performance at the end of last year. “I felt really comfortable in the team, in the car. Much more than last year.”
Vettel doesn’t believe Mercedes “party modes”
Sebastian Vettel doesn’t believe that Lewis Hamilton started on pole for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix was because of its “party engine mode.” Hamilton took pole by seven-tenths over Vettel, going on to lead the race until the Virtual Safety Car period mid-race allowed Vettel to leapfrog Hamilton.
It is believed that the magic engine mode gave Mercedes a significant boost in qualifying. However, Vettel says that GPS data shows that the “engine was only worth just around 0.1s of the eventual margin and the time Hamilton had over the rest of the field was down to him.”
asked about the legality of Mercedes’ higher engine modes, Vettel replied, “I think so. think also Lewis was right yesterday. I think that… y’know we do get a bit of data, GPS data and stuff like that… I think they did turn it up for Q3 but not by seven-tenths.”
Vettel added a careful look would show that Hamilton could have gone faster if he had more power and that Mercedes could have been a tenth or two faster but not seven tenths.
He added “the credit is for his lap that he did and not for the engine power. It’s completely fine what they’re doing because they didn’t do anything special. Not more than they did last year, probably even a bit less by the looks of it.”
Williams “surviving” not racing – Stroll
Williams’s Lance Stroll says that the team is “surviving” and not racing through its difficult start to the season. The Canadian finished fourteenth the last car on the lead lap, behind Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc.
The race was a continuation of a troubled weekend for Stroll, with ongoing balance and cooling issues limiting his running and leaving him less than comfortable in the car. He said, “We’re not racing out there at the moment, we are surviving.”
“The first lap I had a mode problem, for some reason I was in the wrong mode so I had no deployment. I just gave a position to [Esteban] Ocon, with a massive de-rate. That kind of put us on the back foot after the first lap.” Stroll says from that point onwards he struggled with the pace and balance.
Also, he said they were managing the temperature all race and had to back off because of the overheating issues, as a result of Friday.
Adding “The whole weekend we expected issues coming into the race. We knew there’d be a lot of problems. Realistically, it’s tough to point out one issue. There are a lot of things to sort out.”
Chief technical officer Paddy Lowe says that the team over cooked on temperature capacity on the engine, and the ambient temperature was higher than expected meaning Stroll “was not able to sustain them because we had to watch temperature.”