Gasly promotion “faster than we would have like”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has admitted that Pierre Gasly’s move to the senior team “faster than we would have liked”, saying that it is essential that the Frenchman is given time to get up to speed this year.
The Frenchman is joining the team from Toro Rosso to replace Daniel Ricciardo, who has joined Renault. Red Bull has a history of being ruthless on drivers that do not perform, Horner says that the team has a responsibility to allow Gasly to adjust to the top team.
Horner told Motorsport.com, “I think Pierre is a very quick driver and it is up to us to give him a little bit of time to get up to speed. It [his promotion to Red Bull] is faster than we would have originally liked to elevate him into the team.”
“So Max [Verstappen] will be very much taking on the role of the experienced senior driver and Pierre is going to have to go up against a very competitive teammate.” Horner says that Gasly is not going to have a straight forward time battling Verstappen, saying that he is aware of what is expected and what he needs to do.
He added, “in actual fact, for the team, it is a far easier scenario than it has been in previous years where we have got a clear difference between the experience in the two drivers and the expectations.”
Horner says that Verstappen was now able to deliver at his best all the time. Adding, “We have seen that with experienced drivers as well this year, and I think that as he is gaining more and more experience he is applying that extremely well.
F1 not how I imagined – Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen is looking for a race weekend where he knows that he has the chance where he knows that he has a chance to finish near the front, rather than just challenging for seventh.
Last season the Dane enjoyed his best season of his F1 career finishing ninth, his Haas team spent most of 2018 leading the midfield and fighting with Renault for fourth. In recent years the gap between the top three and the midfield has been big, with only Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull taking all the wins since 2014.
The midfield teams have only managed a few podiums since the last engine regulations change, in 2018 Sergio Perez’s third-place finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku the only time any appeared on the podium.
Although Haas’s consistency allowed the team to finish fifth in the constructors last year, he admits it still isn’t anything close to what he originally set out to achieve in F1. Magnussen told ESPN “That made a big difference. But it’s still not fantastic, it’s still seventh. It’s so far from what I imagined.”
“The mentality I have now is so far from anything I thought I would have. That part of it really sucks, it’s not at all fun. But it’s still Formula One and you still take pleasure in doing a good job, of course, but I’m looking forward to one day when there’s going to be change.”
He joking said if you told him when he was a kid ‘Kevin, one day you’ll be happy with seventh’, he would have killed himself. Magnussen says that it is sad that unless you are with the top three teams, you are unable to fight for wins and podiums.
Magnussen has solidified a reputation for hard-nosed racing, with 2018 including notable flashpoints with Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso, but he says this aggressive approach has been borne out of F1’s unbalanced pecking order.
He says that he there has to be more chance for the smaller outfits to compete more regularly.
Hamilton doesn’t set an unrealistic benchmark
Three times world champion Sir Jackie Stewart believes that the success of five times champion Lewis Hamilton doesn’t give British rookies an unrealistic benchmark because there is an element of luck involved.
The Englishman made his debut in F1 in 2007 and won his maiden world title the following year, his move to Mercedes in 2013 has seen him add four further world titles to his 2008 win. Hamilton has been dominant over the past five years, taking four championships and helping the team win five constructors titles.
This year, three new British drivers Williams’s George Russell, McLaren’s Lando Norris and Thai born Toro Rosso driver Alexander Albon all make their debuts after locking out the top three in F2 last season.
Asked about Hamilton setting an impossible benchmark for those three drivers, and the urge for newcomers to replicate the success of others, Stewart told Motorsport.com that “you shouldn’t be boxing yourself in.”
The Scotsman added “Lewis currently is not only driving well, he has also got the best team in the world with the best engine in the world right now. But he’s driving it well too. You’ve got so many other dimensions to it when you’re a Formula 1 driver, and the dependency of the car.”
He says that Hamilton has been extremely lucky that McLaren picked him up when he did because at that time the team had the best car in the world.
Lando Norris will be a McLaren rookie this year, however, the team hasn’t won a race since November 2012, George Russell joins Williams who have slid to the bottom end since the 2017 regulation changes and haven’t won since May 2012.
Norris will be paired with Carlos Sainz, Russell with Robert Kubica who hasn’t raced in F1 since Abu Dhabi 2010 and Albon with Daniil Kvyat. Stewart added “When I went in, I was going in at the time of Jim Clark and Jack Brabham and Graham Hill, Bruce McLaren. They were all top-line drivers.”
“I think you learn from the top drivers, you watch them, you listen to them, you try and get communication with them. You want to get comfortable with everybody. Human relationships are very important.”
Ecclestone sues former son-in-law
F1 chairman emeritus Bernie Ecclestone is to sue his former son in law James Stunt, over a debt of nearly £90,000 according to reports in The Daily Mail. The newspaper reports that he wants the 37-year-old gold bullion trader to pay back cash it’s owed over a business deal to make souvenir coins.
Mr Stunt famously called Bernie ‘a dwarf’ during his acrimonious divorce from Ecclestone’s youngest daughter Petra last year. Now its been reported that the Formula One Group is demanding money it’s been asking for since October.
Ecclestone said the matter may have been to do with ‘gold coins’ Mr Stunt had planned to produce with the company’s name. He said, “If I remember rightly, when I was in charge of the company, we’d done a deal when he was a multi-millionaire over some gold coins he was going to make.”
“He was going to use the name of the company on the coins. I don’t know what happened to them.” Lawyers acting for Liberty Media, which owns the F1 Group, and Mr Ecclestone has launched a winding-up petition against the company.
A high court judge has adjourned the case until next month to allow Liberty Media to build their case against him. The trader was taken to court because he owed his landlord £19,500 in unpaid rent.
Stunt and Co Ltd, which is worth £4.9 million and has offices in Mayfair, was given 14 days to pay up or face the indignity of his company being declared insolvent by a High Court judge.
Stunt’s divorce from Ms Ecclestone was the biggest celebrity divorce last year. The settlement estimated at £5.5 billion. Stunt is alleged to have called Mr Ecclestone, referring to him as ‘that dwarf Bernie’ while calling his second wife Slavia ‘Lady Macbeth’.
Although the matter has now been settled, the bankruptcy proceedings are a dramatic fall from grace for the businessman who was once worth £3 billion and enjoyed all the trappings of the mega-rich.
Ecclestone offers to resolved Liberty – FOPA row
Formula One chairman emeritus Bernie Ecclestone has also told The Daily Mail, that he willing to intervene to try and resolve the dispute between F1 owners Liberty Media and sixteen members of the Formula One Promoters’ Association.
Earlier this week, FOPA’s members wrote a joint letter to Liberty about their concerns about the loss of free television coverage, the addition of new races, and the terms of their contracts.
The letter does not include Russia, Mexico, Monaco and a few others.
Ecclestone, who ran the sport for forty years before being ousted as CEO in a 2017 coup, told the Daily Mail “If people say I should be involved that is up to them. I am an employee of the company and will do what I am told. If they want me to help, I am willing to do so. I don’t want to lie on my deathbed and see the sport I created go downhill.”
McLaren announces partnership with Estrella Galicia
McLaren and Estrella Galicia have announced a multi-year partnership that will see the companies collaborate in F1. They say that the partnership will allow both to celebrate supporting young racing talent and F1, focusing on the brand’s flagship non-alcoholic beer, Estrella Galicia 0,0.
Estrella was founded by José María Rivera Corral in 1906, and is to this day remains 100% family owned, with his great-grandson José María Rivera and his partner Stuart Krenz currently running the business.
The brand has backed Carlos Sainz Jr since 2013, the Spaniard entered the sport with Toro Rosso in 2016. The brewer produces around two hundred million litres of beer annually.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown said, “We are delighted to announce this partnership with Estrella Galicia 0,0, which is built on shared values of quality, craft and heritage. Estrella Galicia 0,0 is a great supporter of our sport and young racing talent, so what better time to join our team than alongside our new and exciting driver line-up.”
In a Tweet, Sainz said “I always knew my beer partner @EG_00 and an English team like @McLarenF1 would get on well… ?jokes aside. Great team that we have put together for this year!!”
Estrella Galicia CEO, Rivera, added “Today marks a milestone for Estrella Galicia 0,0 as we are announcing a partnership with one of the most important global brands in the racing industry.”
“Craft, tradition, innovation and high quality are just three examples of the common values that both companies share and with such a talented young driver line-up, we feel that the match-up with our philosophy couldn’t be better.”