F1 Today – 30/03/2022

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No finger-pointing to dig out of hole

Mercedes F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff says there will be no finger-pointing at one single area of Mercedes’ car or engine amid its early struggles this season. After winning the last eight constructors, the German manufacturer has had a difficult start to the season with it failing to fight for victory in the opening races.

Lewis Hamilton finished third in Bahrain after both Red Bull cars retired in the closing stages, but could only finish tenth in Saudi Arabia. The seven-time world champion recovered to score a point after he was eliminated in Q1 for the first time since 2017 on Saturday. While teammate George Russell finished fifth but unable to challenge Red Bull and Ferrari.

Mercedes customers have also been struggling for straight-line speed compared to Ferrari and Red Bull power. In Bahrain, the three customers finished in the bottom six positions of the classified finishers, while Russell was the only driver to reach Q3 in Jeddah.

Wolff felt it was important for Mercedes not to try and apportion blame to any single area of the car or engine, but to focus on how it could recover. when asked about Mercedes’ engine performance by Motorsport.com, the Austrian said, “I think it’s important now not to just point the finger at individual areas of the car.”

“We operate together as a team, and I think we have deficits overall that are bigger than an engine deficit. Are we among the top teams in any of these areas? No, I don’t think so. But you have to remember that this engine has helped us win eight championships in a row.”

He says the team need to grab itself by the scruff of the neck and pull itself out of this mess.

Mercedes already sits forty points adrift of Ferrari at the top of the constructors’ championship after the opening two races, while Hamilton is 29 points off early drivers’ standings leader Charles Leclerc.

 

Leclerc driving like championship contender

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes Charles Leclerc is driving at the level of an F1 world championship contender after taking first and second in 2022’s pair of opening races. The Monacan took a commanding victory in Sakhir but had to settle for second in Jeddah following his enjoyable battle.

Having out qualified and outscored teammate Carlos Sainz following the first two races in the Middle East, Leclerc leads the championship by twelve points with Max Verstappen twenty points behind.

When asked by Motorsport.com, if the 24-year-old is driving like someone who can win the world championship, Binotto said, “I think he is. But it’s something which I was expecting when renewing as well with him in the last year for up to 2024 because we know what he’s capable of.”

“I think he is simply demonstrating that he’s capable of fighting for the championship. No doubt he’s got the talent, he’s got the capacity, he is a very good racer and we’re very happy with what he’s proving in these two races.”

Leclerc has a reputation of being self-critical, acknowledging he hit the ground running with the new generation of cars but added that he has still found several areas to improve himself “to unlock more performance”

He says he is happy with the start of the season and working well with the team. Adding “But there’s definitely more to come. The thing I’m happy about is not really the performance, but I know exactly where I still need to work and what I need to improve to unlock more performance.”

Binotto said he was still unsure whether it would be enough to win the championship, but it was still a very good start.

 

Seventh place a boost for McLaren – Norris

Lando Norris says his seventh place in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a “massive” boost that will help to motivate everyone at his troubled McLaren team. The British team has struggled for pace since the Sakhir test with the main focus being on resolving the brake cooling issues.

After a disappointing Sakhir race saw the team cars finish fourteenth and fifteenth, the team didn’t bring any updates to Jeddah. However, having qualified a respectable eleventh, Norris moved up the field in the race, helped by a pitstop under the safety car and some attrition ahead.

In the closing stages of the race, Norris was battling with Esteban Ocon for sixth having lost out on the final lap he settled for seventh to score McLaren’s first points of the season. Asked by Motorsport.com, what the result would do for the team, he said, “I think it’s massive for us. It’s just for the motivation for everyone. We still have a lot of things to look forward to, it’s not like we’ve had two terrible weekends and it’s like, no one wants to smile. We can smile a little bit and we understand we have a lot of work to do.

“And there’s a lot of progress we’ve got to make if we want to be anywhere near competitive to top teams, huge work. But we know that, everyone back in the factory knows that, and they’re already working harder than ever on all of those things, and coming up with a lot of new things.”

Norris added that these things always help, seventh he said was good news for the whole team. He explained the team had not changed much om the car and it highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the car, but there was still huge amounts of work for the team to do

But there were positives showing that at circuit similar to Barcelona the team can be raceable and competitive. The Englishman however has concerns about going to slower speed tracks they could be more competitive.

 

Mosley shot himself says, coroner

The inquest into the death of former FIA president Max Mosley has ruled he shot himself after learning his cancer was terminal. The former F1 driver and team owner died at his London home in May 2021 and had been in debilitating pain.

Westminster Coroner’s Court heard that he shared his plans, had a final meal with his wife and wrote a suicide note. Senior Coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox recorded a conclusion of suicide, saying she was “satisfied” Mr Mosley intended to kill himself.

Mr Mosley developed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, cancer affecting immune cells, in 2019, the court heard on Tuesday. Having exhausted all the treatment options, doctors had told him he likely had a “very limited life expectancy” and he had been moved to palliative care.

It concluded that despite contacting his PA the night before he was found dead to tell him about his decision to kill himself. He could not be persuaded and had formed a “settled intent”, the court heard, and a suicide note was found the following day.

Dr Wilcox recorded the cause of death as a gunshot wound, adding that the cancer was a contributing factor to the death of “a remarkable man”.

Mr Mosley, the son of 1930s British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, also campaigned for tighter press regulation after winning £60,000 damages from the News of the World when it wrongly published a story alleging he had attended a Nazi-themed orgy.

 

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.