Haas annoyed with no points in Australia
Haas’s Team Principal Gunther Steiner admits that it “annoyed” him that following the team best every qualifying, that the team was not able to convert that into points.
Romain Grosjean qualified in sixth, which was a surprise for the team, but then retired from seventh after just thirteen laps while running seventh. While Kevin Magnussen started, seventeenth but collided with Marcus Ericsson taking himself out of the race.
Steiner told Autosport “We know the car is good, [the drivers] are both positive – especially Romain, he was very positive. He saw the speed, and I mean, everyone could see that he could keep the Toro Rossos easily away, The car has got speed.”
He added with such a tight midfield it is hard to say how many opportunities there are to get points. However, he believes that a good points haul is not far off.
Steiner says “I think the cat is out of the sack, we know where everyone is. You can mess up a weekend with set-up, but, in general, the car is there.
“We have got a good upgrade plan, so I feel positive. I’m just annoyed with the missed opportunity, you know? It was almost too easy to grab it, to finish seventh or sixth.”
At the team’s debut last season, Haas scored twenty-two of their twenty-nine points, in the opening four races. Then began to fall out of the points consistently.
Steiner says its target in 2017 is to be consistently quick at every venue and to ensure better reliability.
Self-discipline higher than ever – Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton says his motivation to win this year’s world championship has doubled and says his level of self-discipline is higher than ever before.
Hamilton lost out on the title to Nico Rosberg last season and looks set for a battle this season with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Speaking after the race he said, he would return to his Monaco home between races to ensure he has fully rested ahead of the next round in China.
He told ESPN “I had a fantastic fight the last few years and obviously last year was the closest that I had”
“I want to win the world championship more than ever before, and while that hunger last year you would think the hunger could not be anymore, it has frickin’ doubled.” Hamilton usually stays in Asia to train post-Melbourne, but this year has returned to Europe.
The brit is often criticised for his jet-set lifestyle, but he insists his travelling does not impact his fitness. “I have been touring. I have been out enjoying myself. This is what I always do.”
“I think people judge off things they see and if you look at previous years I arrived at the first race just as fit. I was pole position the last four years here [in Australia].” Hamilton says his discipline has improved and he says he has taken a good step.
Regulation discussions start Friday
Formula One’s governing body the FIA and manufacturers, will meet on Friday to discuss the future of the power unit regulations after 2020.
The current regulations introduced in 2014, saw the sport ditch the naturally-aspirated V8s for a fuel-efficiency formula based on V6 turbo hybrids. Last year, these rules along with changes to the performance convergence and lowering cost were agreed
However post 2020, all options remain open. Speaking in Melbourne Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told ESPN “All manufacturers are invited to join that meeting called by Jean Todt.”
“It is more than just manufacturers who are involved in F1. It is a meeting that was called with the aim of seeking the manufacturers view on racing engines going forward.” Wolff says that Mercedes have an opinion, but says that they don’t want to lay it out at this stage.
President Todt has already ruled out a return to naturally-aspirated V10 or V12 engines after saying they would “not be accepted by society”.
Todt has also dismissed full-electric power, saying F1 will retain a “conventional engine” under the next set of regulations. however, he believes it is important for F1 engines of the future to retain some relevance to road car technology.
Mercedes admit they need to cut weight
Mercedes have admitted they need to reduce the weight of their 2017 car if they are to bounce back from defeat following Ferrari’s surprise victory at the Australian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel took victory for Ferrari after Lewis Hamilton struggled because Hamilton had more tyre degradation than his rivals. Hamilton has also hinted that there are other areas including the weight of his car which have also come to light.
With the change in regulations and higher cornering speeds this season, some components have been bulked up to cope. Plus the limits on power units, have led to Mercedes creeping over the minimum weight limit, it is believed.
The extra weight not only costs lap time, but teams like to be well under the minimum weight restriction with their basic car so that they can then position ballast in the right places to help with handling.
When asked about this by Auto Motor Und Sport, team boss Toto Wolff wouldn’t confirm the report that the car was 5kg over the 728kg target, he did say that efforts were being made to bring the weight down.
He explained “I don’t want to go too much into detail but it’s an area we can definitely improve. With new regulations and the size of the cars, you need to balance out all the time between performance parts and the weight.”
Mercedes aren’t the only teams struggling with weight limits, it also understood Red Bull were on the weight limit after returning to 2016 MGU-K for the start of the campaign.
Force India too had big concerns about the weight of its car – ordering its drivers to go on diets after testing
Early results from fan survey
Early reports from the 2017 global Fan Survey by the Motorsport Network, has reviled that Fernando Alonso is currently the most popular driver.
In the first three days of the survey, 50,000 fans have moved the Spaniard up to the top spot. However, three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is numerically the biggest gainer, jumping from sixth in 2015 to second so far in 2017, grabbing almost two-thirds more votes than the previous survey.
Kimi Raikkonen has only lost 0.6% of his vote, but that’s enough to drop him from first to fourth, with Sebastian Vettel taking a 20% rise on his 2015 tally to jump ahead of him to third.
Ferrari remains on top of the most popular team, pulling away from McLaren, with Red Bull and Mercedes joint third and Haas debuting in sixth.
The full results will be published next month.