Red Bull increase partnership with Aston Martin
Red Bull announced on Monday that the luxury car brand Aston Martin will become Aston Martin Red Bull Racing from 2018.
As part of the deal between the Austrian team and the German sports car company a new ‘Advanced Performance Centre’ will be housed at Red Bull’s Milton Keynes HQ, consisting of 110 Aston Martin design and engineering staff.
Aston and Red Bull have been working together since the beginning of 2016. Next season the team will be supplied by Renault, however, it is widely understood that the French manufacturer has told Red Bull that they will cease to be their partners from the end of next season and confirmation of Red Bull’s deepening ties with Aston Martin will only increase speculation.
Earlier this month, Aston CEO Andy Palmer said “The power unit discussions in Formula 1 are of interest to us, but only if the circumstances are right.”
“We are not about to enter an engine war with no restrictions in cost or dynamometer hours but we believe that if the FIA can create the right environment, we would be interested in getting involved.”
In Singapore Red Bull boss, Christian Horner said that only one of the sport’s four current power providers could be the team’s engine suppliers in 2019 and 2020. However, Aston would not enter the sport until 2021 it is understood.
If Renault did withdraw engine supply from Red Bull from 2019, it would force them into a deal most likely with Honda who would be supplying Toro Rosso.
Gasly to make debut at Sepang
Red Bull junior driver and GP2 champion Pierre Gasly will ma\ke his Formula One debut at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix. The Frenchman who has been racing in Super Formula this season will get the chance to prove himself in F1.
Galsy will replace Danill Kvyat fort “the next races”, that suggests that he will drive at the Japanese Grand Prix. The Russian will possible return for the United States Grand Prix, as those clashes with the final race of the Super Formula season.
Gasly should have replaced Carlos Sainz who was linked to replace Jolyon Palmer at Renault. However, Palmer has refused to step aside blocking Sainz’s early switch to Renault. Team principal Franz Tost says the move was to
make “an informed decision” about next year’s driver line-up. Tost said. “Toro Rosso was established by Red Bull to bring youngsters from its Junior Programme into Formula One and that’s what we are doing by giving Pierre this chance.”
“He is the next in line at Red Bull for this opportunity and he has shown that he deserves it. He really has a valid chance of winning the title, as he is only half a point behind the leader.” Tost added the driver switched allowed them to make a better-informed decision about the 2018 line up.
Gasly said “I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get this chance in my motor racing career and specifically, Red Bull, Dr Helmut Marko and Scuderia Toro Rosso…this is a great opportunity for me.”
“I feel as ready as I can be, having had to be prepared for anything in my role as Red Bull Racing’s third driver this year.”
Honda changes upgrade strategy
Honda is changing they strategy when it comes engine development for the six remaining Grand Prix’s of the season. Throughout the season, Honda has focused on incremental upgrades rather than bringing big upgrades, like the other manufacturers.
While Honda is splitting with McLaren at the end of the season, both sides are looking to make the partnership work. Honda had been running an aggressive development plan that yielded upgrades at Spa and Monza.
The problem facing McLaren and Honda is that they want to avoid power unit failures and continue to move forward. However, any upgrades would incur grid penalties as they have exceeded their allocation for the season.
Honda boss Yusuke Hasegawa told Autosport “One of the points is we want to minimise the engine upgrades for the rest of the season, but that is because we’d like to get the maximum results within this year.”
“Previously we just prioritised the performance improvement because any improvement is continuing for next year, so we didn’t need to hesitate to introduce upgrades.” Hasegawa’s goal is to concentrate on scoring points and contributing to McLaren.
While Honda is working on upgrades, it is unclear whether they will be introduced. Honda is keen to avoid penalties for their home race next weekend while introducing them in Austin could harm McLaren in what could be a good point scoring opportunity.
McLaren will find “the truth” next season
McLaren will find out “the truth” about their care next season when they are put up against Red Bull as customers of Renault, according to Fernando Alonso.
The British team believe that if they were not running the Honda power unit they would be matching the sport’s three front-running teams Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull. From 2018, McLaren and Red Bull will both be running a Renault.
Alonso told Sky Sports “Next year will be a good test. The same engine as Red Bull will be the truth to see whether the chassis is good or not.”
“For the last three years, we have been the only team with the Honda engine so it’s been hard to compare. But the engineers do simulations on everything and we believe we have a good car.”
In another interview team boss, Eric Boullier said the team knows their chassis is capable of fighting with the top three. In Singapore, the team confirmed that it was switching from Honda to Renault power next season.
Boullier said, “Two weeks is recoverable, it won’t be any compromise next year.” The team has estimated they are two weeks behind with the development because of the engine switch
“Of course, we don’t have the same experience as some of the customers, so we have to discover the package. But, I think we can trust our engineers to do a very good job and two weeks are recoverable.”
Driver’s tyre allocations for Suzuka
Pirelli has confirmed the driver’s tyre allocations ahead of next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
For the race at Suzuka, the tyre manufacturer has gone for the mid-range of tyres replacing the hard tyre it brought last season with the softer supersoft tyre. This means that drivers have the red supersoft, the yellow soft and white medium tyre to choose from.
Both Mercedes and Ferrari’s have seven supersoft tyres, but title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian have chosen five soft tyres and a single medium. While their team-mates Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen have four softs and two hards
All the Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Renault and Sauber drivers have the same allocation, with nine supersofts, three softs and a medium. Both Force India’s haver seven supersofts and three of both the softs and mediums.
Both the Williams’s have eight supersoft, four softs and a medium. While the McLaren’s have ten supersoft, two softs and a medium. Haas have varied their drivers both have seven supersofts, Romain Grosjean has four softs and two mediums and, Kevin Magnussen has five softs and a medium.
Steiner impressed by Renault upturn
Haas’s team principal Gunther Steiner says he is impressed by the upturn in form by Renault but says the French manufacturer has a long to go until they are fighting at the front.
At the Singapore Grand Prix, Renault overtook Haas in the constructor’s championship after Jolyon Palmer scored his first points of the season. That moved Haas down to eighth place. While Steiner says that Renault is doing a good job, given the size of the team they should be achieving more.
Steiner told Autosport “They have done a good job. They are a big company that is what they should be doing if you compare them with us. It’s not a ‘wow’ factor.”
“They do a good job, [but] with all due respect, they haven’t caught up with Ferrari. If they catch up with Ferrari and Mercedes you think ‘wow’.” He says that they are doing a good job at beating them, but have a long way until they will be fighting at the front.
The French manufacturer is currently seventh in the midfield battle, with Haas in eighth. Asked if Haas could retake seventh, Steiner said it would be “difficult, but not impossible”.
Adding “It’s so tight together. If we have a good weekend, both cars in the points, all of a sudden you swap again.”
Mercedes drivers on challenges of Sepang
Lewis Hamilton says Formula One is losing one of the biggest physical challenges ahead of the final Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend. After nineteen years, this year’s race is the last, after the government opted not to renew the contract.
Sepang is one of the more challenging circuits of the season, high speed and temperatures give drivers physical challenge as they can lose up to five percent of their body weight. Hamilton told the press “It is definitely sad to think this is the last race because it is such an epic grand prix in terms of a physical challenge.”
“It’s the most challenging for the car and the team, so they are taking away one of the toughest, if not the toughest, grand prix of the season, which will be hard to replace.”
His team-mate Valtteri Bottas described the race as being in a mild sauna. He said “”Racing in Malaysia, it’s like being in a mild sauna.”
“We have all of our gear on — plus the helmet — and the car is hot as well. The seat itself is warm, and then we’re surrounded in the cockpit by the electrical boxes. It gets really hot.”