Haas reject claims copying Ferrari
Haas team principal Gunther Steiner has rejected the accusations that the teams new car the VF-18 is an illegal copy of last years Ferrari.
In Melbourne McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Red Bull boss Christian Horner have voiced their complaints while the Force India team are also unhappy. F1 rules dictate that teams must design their own chassis and aerodynamics.
Since entering the sport in 2016, Haas has brought all non listed parts from Ferrari. The rules allow them to buy the suspension, gearbox, engine, hydraulics, electrics and electronics from Ferrari, but have to design the monocoque and aerodynamics themselves.
Most other teams only by the engines from manufacturers, with the exception of Force India who buy the gearbox as well as Mercedes power unit.
Speaking to BBC News, Steiner said he critics “talk without intelligence and without knowledge” and invited them to lodge a protest if they have a problem. Governing body, the FIA, gave Haas the all-clear at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix last weekend.
Race director Charlie Whiting said he had no concerns about the relationship with Ferrari, “We know exactly what’s going on between Haas and Ferrari, which is completely legal. Last year we had one team expressing some concerns but we have not seen anything that concerns us at the moment.”
Steiner said it wasn’t possible to copy the Ferrari because the manufactures has a longer wheelbase, plus the suspension define the positioning and shape of a lot of the aerodynamic surfaces.
He also believes the complaints are because Haas are leading the midfield. Haas has only 220 employees, compared with nearly 600 at Williams, about 400 at Force India and nearly 700 at McLaren.
Steiner says the fact they do not need to design and test as many parts as other teams explain how they can produce their car with so few people.
Renault drivers in “big boy league” – Abiteboul
Renaults F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul says the teams drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz are now fighting in the “big boy league” towards the front of the grid.
In Melbourne, Hulkenberg finished seventh and Sainz despite an issue with his drinks bottle finish tenth. The team wants to have both drivers fighting consistently in the points will make a big difference, but Abiteboul warned his drivers will have to stay on their game in a highly competitive field.
He told Motorsport.com, “It’s good to see that we have drivers now under pressure from Bottas and Alonso, and they are handling it. They have the hardware to handle it, although obviously, it was a track where it’s difficult to overtake.”
“Carlos was suffering a little bit due to a problem with the drinking system, but I don’t think it would have changed anything anyway. It’s good to have those two cars. But they need to stay at the top of their games, because now they are part of the big boy league.”
Renault finished behind its customers Red Bull and McLaren, Abiteboul believes that there is more to come from the Enstone outfit. Saying not having reliability issues allows the focus to be on the performance of the car.
Haas retain Ferrucci
Haas has retained their development driver Santino Ferrucci for 2018, saying the nineteen-year-old will be “embedded” with the team this year, attending races and tests throughout the season.
The Connecticutian will become “embedded” in the team attending most races and tests, while competing for Trident in Formula Two, beginning with next weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Ferrucci has been with Haas since 2016, and has tested for the team.
He believes his relationship with Haas puts him in a good position to earn a race drive in the future. He told F1.com, “I said it when I first became a part of Haas F1 Team – my goal since I began racing is to become a Formula 1 driver, and to be an American who is part of an American team is something I take a tremendous amount of pride in.”
“My time with Haas F1 Team has really prepared me for my first full F2 season with Trident, and between the two teams I feel like I’m in the best position to succeed and, ultimately, get to Formula 1.”
Teams go soft for Bahrain tyres
Pirelli has announced the tyre allocations for next weekends Bahrain Grand Prix, for the race the teams had the choice of the medium range of soft tyres with the supersofts, softs and medium tyres being nominated
Pirelli’s F1 Boss Mario Isola said “The race went as we expected, looking at the numbers we collected on Friday. “Obviously the expectations at the beginning were for a two-stop strategy, but then in general we saw that we had reduced degradation compared with the numbers that we had before the race.
The top three teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, plus Williams, Toro Rosso and Sauber have all chosen seven sets of the supersoft tyres for all its drivers. Mercedes are the only top team to vary the remaining two sets between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton has four softs and two mediums, while Bottas has five softs and a medium.
Both Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s have four softs and two mediums. Force India and Renault have also chosen the same for both drivers with eight supersofts, three softs and two mediums. McLaren has chosen the most supersofts, with nine sets, three softs and a medium for both drivers.
Williams has chosen seven supersofts for both drivers, but Lance Stroll has five softs and a medium teammate Sergey Sirotkin has four softs and two mediums.
Haas has chosen eight sets for both drivers, but Romain Grosjean has three softs and two hards. His teammate Kevin Magnussen has four softs and a hard.
Toro Rosso and Sauber have chosen seven supersofts. But varied the selection for the remaining drivers, Pierre Gasly has five softs and a medium, his teammate Brendon Hartley has four softs and two mediums.
Marcus Ericsson has spilt his remaining tyres to give him three of both the softs and mediums. Charles Leclerc hard four softs and two mediums
Sauber set for competitive season – Ericsson
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson believes that this season will be the most competitive season for the team. Last season, the Swiss team were firmly routed at the back of the grid, but despite his retirement in Melbourne the Swede is confident of a good season.
Ericsson completed six laps before he was forced to retire because of a hydraulic problem, despite the retirement the Swede described his brief performance as “Probably the best six laps of the past two years!”
Speaking to F1.com, He said “I was fighting, I was racing, I was faster than the Williams… I had a good start, I was attacking cars around me.”
“It has been a while since we have been in that sort of position so that was lots of fun and very promising. It’s just a shame that it ended so quickly. It’s definitely [frustrating], but that’s how it goes sometimes, there’s not much we can do.”
Ericsson also performed well in qualifying, getting into Q2 marking a significant step forward in performance.
He said he was dejected after Friday, but the team worked hard overnight to make changes. Ericsson says those changes and the changeable conditions made them a lot more competitive than on Friday, and then that followed up in qualifying.