F1 Today – 28/02/2022

F1 Today

Ukraine calls for Russian licence holders to be banned

The Ukrainian motorsport federation has called on the FIA to place a ban on Russian licence holders, including Nikita Mazepin, following Russia’s invasion last week. Russia launched a military attack on Eastern Ukraine on Thursday, seeking what it described as ‘denazification’ and to prevent genocide on Russians.

Already a series of sanctions being enforced by the western world, this year’s Grand Prix has been cancelled. Over the weekend, the capital Kyiv has been subject to regular missile attacks and an uprising of civilians have taken up arms to fight off the invasion. Meanwhile, peace talks are underway on the Belarussian border.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem wrote to the Automobile Federation of Ukraine (FAU) to offer his “full support and the support of the FIA” following Russia’s invasion last week. At the time of going to press Ben Sulayem called an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on Tuesday, to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

In a response sent by FAU president Leonid Kostyuchenko, the federation said it would prepare “possible measures of support from the FIA for the post-war period, when all state resources will be directed to recovery”. The FAU is calling for a series of moves by the FIA against both Russia and its ally, Belarus, that would impact competitors in its championships.

This included a ban on those racing with licenses issued by Russia and Belarus’s federations from racing in competitions outside their home countries.

Nikita Mazepin’s future is already in doubt after Haas removed the branding of its Russian title sponsor, Uralkali, from its car in testing last week. Talks are set to take place in the coming days.

The FAU, has also called for a ban on Russia and Belarus from hosting any FIA-sanctioned events, prohibiting the use of their state symbols and flags, and excluding all Russian and Belarusian members from the FIA.

Russia is already suspended by the FIA over state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Over the weekend, FIFA announced on Sunday that Russia’s national football team could not play international games on home soil and would have to compete as the ‘Football Union of Russia’, as well as not using its flag or anthem ahead of matches.

 

Mazepin’s future in doubt

Nikita Mazepin could be facing suspension by the FIA after the International Olympic Committee called for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be banned from international sporting events. The future of the Haas driver has been placed into doubt after Russia broke the Olympic Truce when it launched an invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

Mazepin’s father Dmitry, is an ally of President Vladimir Putin and the majority shareholder and chair of Uralchem Integrated Chemicals Company.

The IOC said it made the decision “in order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants”.

On Friday the Haas team removed all Uralkali branding and the usual red, white and blue livery from their car for the final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona. While they said they still planned to have him driving in Bahrain, they admitted the decision could be taken out of their hands.

Last Wednesday before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mazepin said he is a “supporter of sports without politics”, has been the subject of online abuse this week.

 

Sainz has “no idea” where Ferrari is

Carlos Sainz says Ferrari has “no clue” where it stands among front-runners despite a promising first pre-season test in Barcelona this week. the Italian manufacturer led the way in terms of mileage, with Sainz completing two hundred and thirty-six laps himself.

Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc set the fastest lap on day two of the test and finished just half a second off the overall best time set by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. The team’s encouraging start has been noted by George Russell who feels that Mercedes was “behind at the moment”, while McLaren’s Lando Norris thought Ferrari looked “very strong”.

But Sainz stressed that it was “very early days” for Ferrari with its new F1-75 car, making it difficult to take any firm reading of how it would shape up against its rivals. He told Motorsport.com, “I can imagine why you guys are starting to take conclusions and maybe try to put a bit of a pecking order,” Sainz said.

“But for us, really we have no clue, and I think no-one has no clue of which fuel loads [and] which engines modes is everyone running. So we cannot confirm or deny that we are happy or sad, because we really don’t know where we are at all.” Sainz believes at the Sakhir test it is probably easier to try and figure out where everyone is.

The Italian manufacturer has failed to win a race since Singapore 2019. The poor performance in 2020 has given them more wind tunnel time, Ferrari are also hoping that the decision not to focus too much on last years car sees them return to the front. However, its expected that Mercedes and Red Bull will bring upgrades for the second test and opening race in Bahrain.

One of the big challenges for all teams in the first test was getting on top of the porpoising that emerged during the first extended runs of the 2022 cars, which use ground effect to gain downforce.

The issue caused several reliability issues to arise through the test, but Sainz said Ferrari was “quite happy and proud” of the mileage it achieved.

 

McLaren doesn’t under why its not affected by proposing

McLaren says it doesn’t understand why it wasn’t affected as much by the porpoising problems which affected serval teams during last week’s Barcelona test. During the first test, many teams were caught by surprise and struggled to explain why the drivers were hitting top speed.

Mercedes had to use a temporary floor in Barcelona, while Alfa Romeo will not have a proper solution until the next test in Bahrain. McLaren was an outlier as it only seems to affect their car when they changed aero platform. Technical director James Key said the Woking-based team was not completely immune to porpoising, but he reckoned it was not causing it any particular headaches.

He told Motorsport.com, “We had a couple of test items which appeared to promote it a bit more. But then removing them reduced it, so you can fix it aerodynamically as well.

“I think where we are, it hasn’t really been a topic for us so far. It’s not to say it couldn’t come back with further development, of course. We suffer from it a bit, but it’s not a major concern or a major distraction for the drivers.” Key admitted the team were not clever enough to create a car that specifically addressed the problem

He says it involves the stiffnesses of the tyre, which if in tune with the chassis, that’s when you see it go off when you get a natural frequency. There is front mass as well. Key explained he believes that the issue depends on loads and ride height, hoping that they can iron out the issues.

But realistically he suggested that teams never get rid of completely, and drivers may have to live with at certain tracks.

he added, “I think there’s probably always going to be a bit of inherent ground proximity reaction like that, because they are ground effect cars. I think it’s inherent, and that’s why we’re seeing it now. But I think we’ll learn to manage it.”

Key says there was still a lot to learn from these cars and doesn’t think because it’s a physical thing, which will need to be to be managed.

 

Alfa Romeo unveils 2022 car

Alfa Romeo formally unveiled their 2022 car the C42 on Sunday following the first test at the Circuit de Catalunya – Barcelona. Earlier in the month, the team announced they would be formally launching its car after the first three-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, making it the last on the grid to hold an official unveiling.

Last week, it used a black-and-white camouflage livery, but the final design for this year’s car has now been revealed. The team retains the traditional colours of the Alfa Romeo brand for this season but has switched from a majority white livery to a chiefly red design.

This year marks the thirtieth season that the Hinwil based team has raced in F1. Valtteri Bottas said, “I think the livery is really beautiful, the Alfa Romeo Centro Stile did a brilliant jo. It’s my first car at Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN, of course, which makes it special.”

“I am really looking forward to being on the grid in Bahrain with it. What is exciting is that we have no idea how that first race is going to pan out.” The Finn will be partnered by Guanyu Zhou who becomes the first Chinese driver to race in F1 this year.

Speaking about the red and white look, the 22-year-old said: “I am fully pumped up for the season and seeing the C42 in the livery in which I will race it definitely makes it real.”

“We are at the beginning of a new era, with new cars and new regulations, and this creates an opportunity for all teams to make progress since we are all starting from scratch. I can’t wait to be on the grid with this car and work with my team to bring home the results we are targeting together.”

 

Bottas admits Alfa Romeo have work to do

Valtteri Bottas has admitted that Alfa Romeo has work to do before the season starts next month, as the team officially launched their new car. On Sunday, the team officially launched the C42 in Barcelona, following a difficult first test last week.

The Swiss-based team were one if the teams most affected by the porpoising problems which affected serval teams, before the second half of the test was affected by reliability issues. This means the team had the second-lowest mileage out of the ten teams at the test, completing less than half the testing distance of pace-setters Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Red Bull.

The Finn said, “The nice feeling is that I definitely feel there is potential. There are some strong areas in certain types of corner but I also noticed some areas to work on It’s nothing we shouldn’t be able to fix. It feels like we are in the very early stages of discovering the car.”

Bottas said that there was work to do but felt as if there was a potential in this package. He will be partnered by rookie Guanyu Zhou, who brings a large package of Chinese sponsorship income to the team, said he was “excited” to make his debut, and that his progress to F1 proved that “dreams can come true”.

Zhou added “I have so much stuff I have to learn with the switches and all the stuff in the car. It has been a great experience so far. A long way to go, a lot of knowledge to learn, but so far so good.”

 

Jeddah outlines changes for 2022

Organisers of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix have outlined further details on the planned track changes to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit ahead of next month’s race. When the race made its debut in December drivers raised concerns about the number of high speed blind corners.

Last year’s race was interrupted by two red flags and several crashes, prompting GPDA director George Russell to tell Motorsport.com that the track was “lacking a lot from a safety perspective and a racing perspective”. Going into the circuits second race in four months the circuit gave an update on the changes to the circuit.

A statement from the Saudi Motorsport Company said, “it has already been confirmed that some minor tweaks will be made to the circuit to help improve driver sightlines from the cockpit by improving visibility in several of the circuit’s corners including Turns 2, 3, 14 and 21 where the barriers will be moved back between 1.5m and 2m”

“Likewise, the barrier on the right-hand side of Turn 27 will be moved back by around 1.5m to widen the track at this point. In all cases except Turn 27, the track limit/edge will remain the same.”

“In addition, further modifications will also be made to Turns 4, 16, 22 and 24 after consultation with the drivers who requested a smoother barrier on the apex so that they can potentially brush it as they pass.”

The circuit is installing these steel plate wrapping around the barriers creating a smooth surface, which should allow the drivers to take their favoured lines through that section of track.

The blind corners throughout the weekend caught several drivers out, especially in practice and qualifying when they were on a mix of fast and slow laps. The second red flag of the race was caused by a crash involving Russell and Nikita Mazepin exiting Turn Two.

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.