Bigger fuel tank not a guaranteed compromise
Renaults F1 executive director Marcin Budkowski believes that the decision to take a bigger fuel tank this year is not guaranteed to be a compromise.
This years tweaks to the regulation have increased the fuel limit from 105kg to 110kg, in an attempt to encourage closer racing. However last season, not every race was fuel limited and some teams even did not even use the full allowance.
Asked by Autosport, if it was a no-brainer to go 110kg or a disadvantage to have a bigger fuel tank and more weight, Budkowski said: “There were a number of races last year where people weren’t taking 105kg but were taking less. The disadvantage of carrying more fuel is you’re slower because the weight of the car is higher.”
“It’s always a compromise between the quantity of fuel which allows you to push harder during the race but slows you down in terms of weight. There were a number of races where 105kg, filling the tank, wouldn’t allow you to race properly and the amount of fuel-saving teams had to do was significant.”
But added that it wasn’t all because of fuel saving, it varied on the circuit and climatic conditions. Last season, a number of drivers complained about the tyre and fuel restrictions, although the fuel limit increase and a more conservative Pirelli tyre range should help both elements this season.
Budkowski said: “The steps taken to increase fuel capacity should allow, on these specific races, the drivers to push as hard as they want to push. Couple with tyre choices that are more conservative than last year, there will be less tyre saving.”
Ghosn accuses Nissan of “treason”
Renault Chairman Carlos Ghosn says that his arrest by Japanese police was the result of a “plot and treason” against him. Ghosn denies three charges of financial misconduct, including understating his income and aggravated breach of trust.
Speaking in his first interview since his arrest over financial misconduct charges, he says that some Nissan executives wanted to stop his plan to integrate Renault, the French car firm he headed, with its Japanese alliance partners, Nissan and Mitsubishi.
He said the plan had been discussed with Nissan boss Hiroto Saikawa. Mr Ghosn is still being held in a Tokyo detention centre pending trial. He was the architect of the Renault-Nissan alliance and brought Mitsubishi on board in 2016.
Nissan and Mitsubishi both sacked him as chairman, while he resigned from Renault earlier this month. Ghosn says he had wanted to include Mitsubishi Motor boss Osamu Masuko in the discussions about the future of the alliance, but Mr Saikawa “wanted it one-on-one”.
Once the three carmakers were more closely integrated, Mr Ghosn wanted to ensure there would be “autonomy under one holding company”, the newspaper said.
Mr Ghosn said he had “no doubt” that the charges against him were motivated by Nissan executives.
Mercedes announce launch plans
Mercedes have announced they will shake down their car at Silverstone, following an online launch on Wednesday 13th February. The defending world champions made the announcement online, in a video, it showed the teams previous nine cars it has produced since returning to the championship in 2010.
The German manufacturer has won the drivers’ and constructors’ titles for the last five years and goes into the 2019 season as the favourites to add a sixth title in both championships. The first images will be released at 10:00 GMT as the team completes a filming day.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will complete up to 100km during the day, to check the car ahead of official testing which starts the following Monday at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.
Seven of F1’s ten teams have announced the date of their launches so far, with Mercedes’ due to take place after Toro Rosso and Renault and on the same day as Racing Point (the team previously known as Force India).
Hartley reveals plans to replace him started in Monaco
Former Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley says that there were plans to replace him as early as last years Monaco Grand Prix. The New Zealander replaced Daniil Kvyat from the 2017 United States Grand Prix, seven years after being cut from Red Bull’s young driver programme at the age of 20.
The remarkable comeback was extended to a full season in 2018, with Hartley racing alongside Pierre Gasly, who has now been promoted to Red Bull for 2019. However, Hartley was dropped in favour of F2 runner up Alex Albon, who will race alongside Kvyat.
He told The Players’ Tribune, “What I will remember most about it [the Monaco Grand Prix weekend] is walking down to the paddock to meet with the media on the Wednesday before the weekend started, and receiving a bunch of questions about my future.”
“Here I am, a handful of races into my F1 career, and I’m being asked about the end. The worst part of that day, though, was finding out there was some truth to the rumours. After a few races, there were some people, it appeared, who didn’t want me there. I’ll be honest, this was a bit of a shock.”
He says that because of his experience, winning two World Endurance championships and a win at Le Mans 24 Hours, it was hard to believe that there was talk of him being replaced so early in the season.
After a series of engine issues and some bad luck, Hartley went into the final race of 2018 with just four points. He said he arrived in Abu Dhabi not knowing what his future would hold.
He says “Like the fans, I had no idea what was going to happen. That’s the thing about the politics in F1, it can be a little bit … awkward. Everyone sort of walks on eggshells, and there isn’t always clarity.”
Ferrari could have a different livery
Reports in the in the Italian media say that Ferrari will have a completely different livery when they launch there 2019 car. The car which will be launch on Friday 15th February is expected to be called the SF-90.
The ninety is referencing the ninety anniversary of the founding of Scuderia Ferrari by Enzo Ferrari.
Autosprint added: “The bodywork of the 2019 Ferrari could be coloured completely differently compared to the Maranello standard.”
That different livery could be because of the new pairing with Mission Winnow, an innovative branding operation created by Ferrari’s tobacco sponsor.