REPORTERS – 02/02/2017

Features Reporters

He ran Formula One for forty years but following the coup in January Berine Ecclestone has been keeping a low profile. But why has he accused the sports new owners Liberty Media from trying to wipe him from history?

Liberty trying to wipe me from history  

Formula One Chairman Emeritus Bernie Ecclestone has accused the sports new owners Liberty Media of trying to remove him from the history books.

Ecclestone was ousted by Liberty in January, following the takeover by the US media company. His role has been split between Ross Brawn in charges of the sporting regulations and Sean Bratches working on the commercial side, with both reporting to new chief Chase Carey.

Ecclestone who had planned to stay on as CEO until the end of this season, but says Liberty they are trying to minimise the influence he has on the future direction of the sport. Ecclestone told the Mail on Sunday “I can’t do anything. Even the staff have been told they shouldn’t talk to me.”

“They want to get rid of the Bernie era: ‘Let’s get rid of Bernie’s history’. They always say the same thing, they probably think it makes me happy but it doesn’t: ‘He has done a super job but we have to move on’, and they may be right.”

Ecclestone has defended the way he has run the sport. Saying he treated it like a restaurant where everyone wanted a seat and that’s why he was strict with paddock passes.

“Liberty’s philosophy is more open. They have an American culture and at an American race everyone is in the paddock and the pits and they can chat with the drivers and sit in their cars.” He added

 

We may have only had one race with the new regulations but Formula One’s improvement drive is already under way. But what does Mercedes boss Toto Wolff want?

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.

 

Honda and McLaren have had a rocky start this season. But last week McLaren’s Eric Boullier has accused Honda of not understanding the culture.

Honda need to understand culture

McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier says Honda needs mainly to understand the racing culture in Formula One if they are to change there to improve their fortunes in the sport.

Honda returned to the sport in 2015 but have failed to get decent results and from pre-season testing, it appears they have taken a step backwards. This has caused the relationship to be at breaking point.

Boullier says that Honda has so far failed to fully grasp the speed and accuracy of development required for success in F1, which is the main thing holding the project back. Boullier told Motorsport.com “They only need one thing, which is to understand and integrate the F1 racing culture”

“What I mean by that is: the way we behave in racing and Formula 1 is all driven by a calendar, by some fixed targets, fixed dates, lap time gains; we always try to go to the best solution as fast as possible,” he added

Boullier says that being a car manufacturer and having delays is different because upgrades are more important as it means you can improve.

Honda base their operations in Japan with a small base in the UK and this Boullier said means the operation is too slow to cope with the demands of modern Grand Prix racing.

“This is why Mercedes is based in England, and I guess they benefit from the supply chain, from people with experience of F1,” Boullier added.

“Our suppliers maybe cost twice as much [as Honda’s] but are three, four, five times faster. In some ways, you can realise the corporate influence is not helping to be efficient.

 

 

McLaren much improved

There will be a lot of pressure on McLaren following a shambolic testing where they struggled to get decent running on track. But they did have a good day (for 2017), but they are not the McLaren we had ten years ago.

FP1 was trouble free which was a good achievement, with Fernando Alonso fourteenth but almost three seconds off the pace, but Stoffel Vandoorne in last.

Alonso started FP2 in bits after issues in between sessions but he got back out on track. But, after a week where the McLaren / Honda partnership appeared to be at breaking point, publicly they appear civil.

Racing director  Eric Boullier said “Today was really about evaluating and measuring the effectiveness of a number of new parts, which we achieved in the first session.”

“For FP2, we started to make more meaningful adjustments to the cars’ set-up, and concluded the day with some long runs.”

 

It’s unheard of drivers withdrawing from the race. But we look at the withdrawal of Pascal Wehrlein and Sauber’s strong qualifying

Wehrlein out

Pascal Wehrlein sat out the day and will miss tomorrows race because he does not feel fit enough to complete the race, Sauber have announced.

Wehrlein injured his back in January’s Race of Champions and the German cited a “training deficit” caused by the injury as the reason behind his decision to withdraw. He has been replaced by Antonio Givovinazzi. The Italian just missed out on Q2 and starts behind team-mate Marcus Ericsson.

Sauber had a strong qualifying to get ahead of a Haas, a McLaren, a Williams and a Renault. It’s clear to see the investment from Longbow Finance beginning to pay off. They know that scoring points regularly is important for them this season and its paying off for them.

 

One of the aims of these regulations were to reduce lap times by five seconds. But why does Max Verstappen believe expectations from testing, that every race would be faster are wrong?

Five seconds drop not at every race

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says it is wrong to expect that there will be a five-second drop at every race this season. New regulations leading to wider tyres and revised aero rules have brought down times during testing.

the five-second target had already been met during testing, with Lewis Hamilton’s pole lap being just over four tenths faster than 2015. However, Verstappen thinks that at some races the pole lap may be slower because the cars are heavier and slower in a straight line.

When asked why the lap times had not dropped as much in Australia, Verstappen told ESPN “It just depends track to track.”

“I think, for example, in Barcelona, it could be more [than five seconds] because it’s more about downforce. Maybe in Monza we will be a bit slower than last year — it depends track to track.”

The race raised concerns that the new cars may make it more difficult to overtake, Verstappen says the regulation change has been successful in increasing enjoyment levels from inside the cockpit.

“They are more fun, especially in qualifying when you have low fuel, they are more stable through high-speed corners.”

 

That’s all from this edition of Reporters

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.

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