More problems for Sauber as Malyon leaves
The crisis at Sauber appears to have deepened as the teams head of track engineering Tim Malyon has left the team after just over three months. The former Red Bull engineer joined the Swiss team in January.
Malyon is the second high profile departure in seven weeks after their technical director Mark Smith left on the eve of season. Malyon cited personal reasons for his departure. Sauber have not paid their staff on time since January because of cashflow problems, with boss Monisha Kaltenborn working to find more backers.
Last month Marcus Ericsson’s sponsors stepped in to pay the teams staff but that was nine days after they were due to be paid. Their development has been hit but Felipe Nasr will have a new chassis for this weekend’s Russian GP having been blighted by handling problems so far this season.
In the next few days it will be clear if there staff will be paid on time and if the team have solved there cashflow and financial issues
Red Bull just behind Ferrari – Horner
Red Bull is right behind Ferrari and when they secure a engine upgrade that will be ready “to cause a bit of mischief” according to team principal Christian Horner. The team have had a much better start to the season qualifying in the top three in China and nearly getting both cars on the podium.
Some have tipped the Austrian team to be a potential threat to world champions Mercedes and are not far of second place Ferrari. Speaking to Autosport Horner said “Mercedes – make no mistake – they’re still a step ahead. But we’re snapping at the ankles of Ferrari.
“We know – hopefully – with what’s in the pipeline, it should put us that bit closer.” Red Bull took a compromise with their set up in China because of their straight line speed deficit in sector three something which Renault will be hoping to solve with a upgrade for Montreal in June.
Horner says in Montreal “we can really start to cause a bit of mischief ahead of us. Hopefully then we can run a more optimal set-up for the car, so there are some races that are going to suit us better than others.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo says this year’s RB12 chassis is allowing him to attack again, having endured a lean 2015 following his breakthrough season and first three GP wins in 2014.
“Our car this year compared to last year seems better, a bit better in traffic but also a better on the brakes. In 2014 it was good in traffic and on the brakes.” Riccardo said
Canopy to be tested tomorrow
Red Bull have unveiled their new head protect alternative head protection which they will test during first practice tomorrow at the Russian Grand Prix. The screen along with the Halo device is are options which could be brought in next year to increase head protection.
The FIA has committed to introducing a device that increases driver protection from flying debris. The team and FIA have worked together on what Red Bull say is more aesthetically pleasing than the halo.
The two devices share a similar elliptical shape above the driver’s head, but differ in the way they are fixed at the front of the cockpit. The scree passed the FIA safety test last week well which means it could be a contender to be used in 2017.
The device has two struts with a integrated screen which gives more protection that the halo. The Halo is the one more likely to be used because there are questions over the visibility through the screen. Daniel Riccardo who testing it told BBC News “So far, the impression with it is that it should be OK, visibility-wise. It’s pretty open at the front and it doesn’t really block the vision.
The test comes exactly twenty two years exactly to the weekend since the Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger were killed by head injuries at Imola in 1994.
Return to Ecclestone dictatorship
Berine Ecclestone has called for a return to the days of his total rule of the sport and bringing the end of the democrat voted policies for the direction of the sport.
For most of the 1970-80’s Ecclestone and former FIA president Max Mosley, governed the sport, they more often than not got what they wanted as decisions didn’t have to go through various stages of voting. Currently all the changes need to be agreed by the Strategy Group, F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council.
Ecclestone says the democratic system has allowed Ferrari and Merrcedes to block deals changes and stop supplying engines. Ecclestone told Sovetsky Sport “We have allowed Ferrari and Mercedes to run [the sport]. Why is that? They supply engines to most of the other teams and, of course, have a major influence over them.”
“Now they have too much leverage to block any changes that we want to introduce. We need to return to the good old days, when we built Formula 1. When I was in a much stronger position.” Ecclestone understands why Mercedes want to block changes because they have invested a lot of work and money in their engines and does not want to part with their advantage.
He blames falling television audiences on their dominance.
Haas made problems worse in China
Romain Grosjean says that Haas made there problems worse at the Chinese Grand Prix with a number of setup changes which they have learned from. The American team had a good start to their debut season getting points in the first two races but failed to score in China.
Autosport asked the Frenchman if now understood the key areas that were wrong in China, Grosjean replied: “It was the way we reacted to problems, with all the disrupted sessions it was hard to catch up.
He added “The way we tried to catch up, and the direction we went, was actually not a good one and sometimes made the problems worse. If it happens again we can ask the questions in a different way and react differently.”
Grosjean was vocal with his criticism of the high tyre pressures Pirelli mandated for China, he said Haas’s own decisions had exacerbated that problem too. Team Principal Gunther Steiner said while the problems had been identified, he could not be certain a solution had been found that would work in Russia until the cars hit the track for Friday practice.
Options for tyres for Austria
Pirelli have announced their three softest tyres will be available for drivers to selection by drivers for the Austrian Grand Prix. Drivers will be allowed to used the yellow-marked softs, red-mark supersofts and purple-marked ultrasofts.
Teams will be allowed to choose ten sets with one compulsory set of each tyres. However the ultrasoft will only be to be used in the race if drivers don’t qualify in the top ten. As every teams are allowed to choose the other ten sets of tyres