I would have been tempted – Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo says he would have been tempted to join Mercedes this season if he wasn’t locked into his Red Bull contract. Last month’s sudden retirement of World champion Nico Rosberg opened one of the most wanted seats in Formula One.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he was contacted by the majority of the grid and Ricciardo admits the prospect did cross his mind. Speaking to F1.com the Australian said “”Tempting for sure, to have a feeling of how that car works. But 2017 is a new year and I’m hoping my car will now be the championship one!”
The regulation changes which are expected to shake up the grid this season has convinced him that he is with the right team
He added “It was a crazy position it put Mercedes in. I’m sure every driver called or thought about calling Toto and Niki [Lauda]. It’s been interesting to see it evolve and now [Valtteri] Bottas has his big chance. We’ll see how he goes. For me, I am best where I am: at Red Bull Racing.”
While Ricciardo and Hamilton partnership would have been interesting for fans, he thinks that him and his teammate Max Verstappen are currently the best driver pairing on the grid.
“I really think we do [have the best line-up]. Now. Not sure who the second best line-up is. Don’t really care, ha ha.”
Renault surprised by 2016 gains
Renault’s engine boss Remi Taffin says that the French manufacturer was surprised with the gains they made last season. Renault had a difficult time since the introduction of the V6 hybrids in 2014.
Last season following investment the Renault power unit made a solid start to the season and upgrades during the season brought more gains, allowing Red Bull to have a few victories. But it was a difficult season for the works team who finished well behind the other manufacturer teams.
Speaking to Autosport Taffin said “We’re sort of surprised that things have changed but we are now in a normal situation, so we should not be surprised. We’ve actually improved the product, it’s reliable and we can work on it and get the most out of it.”
The Frenchman says that their reliability was a cornerstone of the teams season, which allowed those back at its base in Viry to push for performance. “It has allowed most of the people back in Viry to have a free mind, be creative and go forwards. It’s opposite to looking what’s going to happen tomorrow, we can look a bit further forward.” He said.
Taffin says the boost in form has inspired confidence to return to the staff.
Manor talks on going
Manor remains hopeful that they can compete this season despite reports that administrators had until Friday to find a buyer to avoid the team’s collapse, Sky Sports understands talks with more than one consortium remain ongoing and will continue into next week.
“We can confirm that talks with potentially interested parties remain ongoing as we seek to secure ongoing funding for the team with the start of the 2017 season still firmly in mind for all concerned,” said a spokesman for the administrators at FRP Advisory.
“We have however nothing further to announce and thank all stakeholders for their support during the administration process.”
High chance teams will get the rules wrong – Alonso
Fernando Alonso says he believes that there is a high chance of teams getting the rules wrong this season. This year the biggest aerodynamic changes since 2009 are coming in, which are expected to shake up the grid as well as reducing lap times.
Alonso suspects some teams will quickly realise others have found better interpretations of the new designs. He says with new rules you can be lucky or unlucky.
He told Autosport “It depends on how every team interprets the rules, how the philosophy of the car goes. Maybe you choose to go right and someone in the paddock chooses to go left and you find in race four or five that your package aerodynamically goes to the left because you started wrongly.”
“Hopefully we are one of those who does the job from the beginning” he added. McLaren’s performance has been in recent years has been defined by Honda’s power defect to other manufacturers. Alonso believes this season the way aero is interrupted will decide form, not power.
“Let’s say that Mercedes, the top power, will be difficult to reach, we know that – not for us, but for everyone. But I think we can be close enough that we can fight.”
“I’m 100% confident we will reach the power that we want to reach, on aerodynamics I think it is more of a question mark.” He adds
I was too confident about 2017 – Gutierrez
Esteban Gutierrez has admitted he was “too confident things were taken care of” regarding his Formula One future, before losing his Haas drive to Kevin Magnussen.
The Mexican was confident that he would be racing in Formula One this season, but Haas signed Magnussen to replace him. Gutiérrez called the decision to replace him unfairly, requested talks with team boss Gunther Steiner, and also appointed ex-CART IndyCar driver Adrian Fernandez to be his new manager.
Gutierrez says the situation still isn’t “fully clear”, but reckons he should have realised sooner that his seat was not as safe as he thought. Gutierrez told Autosport “The timing for me in F1, in general, hasn’t been great in the years I’ve been there – that, together with the fact I was too confident things were taken care of, created another difficult situation for me.”
He says that a lot of energy went into negations and was maybe too confident that it was taken care off. Saying “I was too focused on the people that were specifically around me at that stage. not that they did a bad job, but there was a bit of confusion around and I focused too much on the results.”
Gutierrez is current due to race at the Mexico City ePrix and is also in talks with a top F1 team about becoming its test driver this year.
No insert in FE as race driver – Rosberg
Nico Rosberg says he is interested in Formula E but isn’t planning to move into the series following his retirement. Rosberg made the announcement he was quitting F1 in December saying he wanted to his young family but did not rule out racing in another category in the future.
He has since taken on an ambassadorial role with Mercedes, which has an option to enter FE in the 2018/19 season. This had led to reports that he could be part of the teams FE program, but he has ruled that out. Speaking in Germany at SPOBIS summit he said “I’m interested in Formula E. It’s certainly increasing very quickly. We’re seeing how much success it’s having. It’s very new, it’s going in a different direction.”
“It’s cool to follow. It has a good future and I’m definitely interested in it.” Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said he had “big respect” for Rosberg’s F1 retirement but would welcome him should he choose to return to racing.
Agag says the door is wide open for him, should he change his mind.
ZOOM voting opens
Voting has opened ahead of this year’s annual auction in aid of the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Throughout the year drivers and personnel from the teams and FOM/FIA have taken pictures during their travels.
All the money raised goes to the charity and fans have been asked to vote for the best picture. Mercedes Valtteri Bottas won last year’s award. Voting closes at 5 pm on Thursday 2 February with the auction taking place on Friday 3 February.
Many of the images are of various locations around the world from drivers. Here is what they said:
Eric Boullier took the first ever Team Principal’s selfie! Esteban Ocon’s “Travelling so often, we get a lot of time to look at the sky. Sunrise, sunset – some of the colours are incredible.”
Felipe Nasr “Whenever I have some time off, I go fishing – a good way to recover and to recharge the batteries.” Fernando Alonso Sunset in the Big Apple
Franz Tost “As I’m a Capricorn, I was very happy this summer to meet my Star Sign in the Alps!”
Jenson Button “I took this photo on Monday 11th September 2016 when I was on holiday in Bali, Indonesia prior to the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix. It is a Kecak, Balinese dance.”
Jolyon Palmer “Stunning night view of Paris, the night before being presented as a Renault Sport Formula One Team driver for the first time.”
Lewis Hamilton – “Powerful Beyond Measure. An image of a stunning sunset on the beautiful islands of Turks and Caicos. Shot during the 2016 Formula One Summer Break.”
Marcus Ericsson “When I visited the factory in Hinwil, I had a very nice lunch with my engineers on top of a mountain. What a view!
Sebastian Vettel – “I love the mountains, and I find it always interesting to discover wildlife up there. The Capricorn is one of the animals which impress me a lot in these landscapes.”
Stoffel Vandoorne “Training camp in Norway – 2016”
Valtteri Bottas “I visited Grand Canyon in August 2016. I took this picture with my phone to try and capture the amazing view.”