Reporters – 04/11/2018

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Qualifying has become a predictable session in recent years, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull the top six in most sessions.  However Max Verstappen believes that adding another Q4 session with eight cars could be the answer, but why?

Qualifying risks becoming another practice – Verstappen

Max Verstappen believes that qualifying risks turning into “another practice session” if another section is added to the format. F1 has considered a revised format that would involve four cars being eliminated in Q1, Q2 and Q3, leaving just eight for a final shootout in a new Q4 session.

At present the top ten are likely to run twice in Q2 and Q3, giving them five runs in the final two sessions before a final run, which determines the grid position. Verstappen says that the idea would only create more practice and a shorter session would render the session pointless.

Former teammate Carlos Sainz agrees with him, the Spaniard told Motorsport.com, “I would like to see that, but only with one set of tyres per session. Don’t give the drivers a second chance, [make them] have to do it one time per session. I think the pressure would be higher.”

“Your speciality as a driver is putting a lap together straight away in Q1, straight away in Q2 and not sandbagging like a lot of drivers are doing in Q1 and then give it all out in Q2, or give it all out in Q3.”

One of the problems which has developed in Q3 has been that tyre degradation has hurt the drivers on their final runs in Q3. That presents a strategic disadvantage in the race because their rivals immediately behind on the grid have free tyre choice.

 

Formula One is normally regarded as the pinnacle of motorsport, with its cars being both technically and physically demanding. But why does Tatiana Calderon believe its easier than her GP3 car?

F1 car “some ways” easier – Calderon

Tatiana Calderon says that the Sauber car is “in someways easier” than her GP3 car, after driving a Formula One car for the first time in Mexico City on Tuesday.

The Colombian who has been with the team since the beginning of last year, and was given the opportunity to drive a current car during a filming day at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. She completed twenty-three laps of the Mexican track across four stints, recording a best lap of 1:23.170, almost seven seconds off Charles Leclerc’s fastest time qualifying.

However, that time cannot be compared as teams run different tyres specifications and fuel levels are unknown, as well as the set up of the cars.

She said she encountered no physical issues during the test – and remarked that despite the huge increase in horsepower the Sauber was easier to handle than her GP3 car, which does not have power steering.

“Obviously the heart rate was a bit high, especially when you see so many cameras and when you start the engine, but the team prepared me very well to know what I had to do at all times,” recalled Calderon.

“It has been incredible, a dream come true. You cannot describe what it feels like to be in a Formula 1 car. The first time I accelerated, it seemed like I was on a PlayStation with how fast everything happened.” She said that she hopes that she can continue to prove that woman aren’t physical disadvantage and wanted to continue with her dream of a race seat in F1.

The team general manager Beat Zehnder and head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar, both praised her performances. Pujolar added “Today we had a limited test with her and she has proven herself as a professional. She has not had a single problem and is what we expected from her.”

 

Williams has had a difficult 2018, the former world champions have slipped towards the back of the grid. Sergey Sirotkin is hoping that the “different process” of designing the car after the difficult season will see progress next year

Williams design process “quite different”

Sergey Sirotkin says that Williams has taken “quite a different process” after the problems and difficult season which it has learnt from. Following a difficult 2017, the team overhauled its car however it appears as if the team has gone backwards.

Speaking to Autosport, chief technical officer Paddy Lowe said “A number of those more radical design changes didn’t really work for us”.

The FW41’s aggressively undercut sidepods is one radical misstep that has helped contribute to the car suffering a diffuser stall problem and corner-entry. This season, the team has made staffing changes this season as it bids to recover from those errors and also launched an internal review into its processes to work out where it went wrong.

Sirotkin added “it’s all based on very much fundamental understanding and, let’s say, on the process, we build the car. It’s all started from there and that is why it took us so long to understand it properly and to get over it.”

The Russian believes that the team has learnt from its issues and that they can move forward. Sirotkin has spoken regularly about his desire to help rebuild the team and says that he has seen encouraging signs for 2019 on recent visits to the factory.

Saying “I don’t want to be too optimistic, but it looked already quite a big step better. It’s the situation exactly [the same as] this time last year, about the current car.”

Lowe says that it is “absolutely right” that Williams needed to be able to identify differences in its approach to the 2019 car as much as be able to see improvements on the data.

He said that none of it will be fixed, but they believe they are heading in the right direction.

 

Sebastian Vettel has lost the championship that certain, but despite putting up his strongest challenge in recent years, why does he believe it has been his most difficult season?

Vettel says 2018 “definitely” most difficult

Sebastian Vettel says that in some ways 2018 has “definitely” been his most difficult season in F1, after losing the title to Lewis Hamilton. Vettel’s championship hopes formally came to an end after the Mercedes driver pulled over fifty points ahead in the championship with fourth in Mexico.

The German’s season started to derail at his home race where he crashed out while leading, that was followed by an number of errors in the second half of the season. Asked by Motorsport.com, if this has been his most difficult year in F1, Vettel said: “Maybe, I don’t know – I need to think about it but in some regards, definitely yes. It was definitely different to other years.”

“Nevertheless I think we shouldn’t neglect the fact that we had a very strong package, we were able to win races, we’re not in contention any more for the drivers’ Championship but we can fight for the constructors’.”

“So, even if it has been a difficult year, I think still it’s been a good year for us as a team. We’re still improving – but certainly, there were also things that became apparent that need fixing in order to do that final step that we are looking for.”

That mistake at Hockenheim, sliding off the track on slick tyres in wet conditions contributed to the biggest swing this season towards Hamilton. But spins in Monza and Suzuka, as well has a first lap collision in Austin all put him further behind.

However, the four-time world champion said the errors were not as significant as Mercedes’ ability to establish a pace advantage from Singapore onwards.

Asked if Germany or Italy was the defining moment of the season, “None of the two, to be honest, for me it was more Singapore. From Singapore onwards, we just didn’t have the pace to keep up with Mercedes for a couple of races, and then obviously some other things happened on top that didn’t help.”

 

Renault has closed the gap in performance this season, but the French manufacturer has remained well behind both Mercedes and Ferrari. In a bid to close that gap, a whole new engine will be introduced next year. But can it help the manufacturer with its aim challenging for the title by the end of the decade?

Renault plans all-new engine

Renault is planning an all-new engine for next season in another push to try and close the deficit it has to both Mercedes and Ferrari. Since the V6 hybrid era began, the French manufacturer has firmly been behind both teams and ahead of Honda.

Although it was believed that the Spec-C introduced in the second half of the season would be the basis for 2019, they have revealed next season they will have a complete overhaul of the power unit. This is because they have reached the end of the development cycle with the spec.

Speaking about 2019 to Motorsport.com, F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said “Given the ambition in terms of power improvement for next year, pretty much all of the engine will be new. Not only on ERS side, because there is little power and little performance to extract there, but the rest of the ICE will be new.

“That is why we need to be a little bit careful and that is why we need to be extremely drastic and have lots of discipline on planning and milestones to make sure that we are not putting ourselves in a difficult position at the start of the season.”

Renault has been encouraged by the progress that its dyno work for next year, it is looking to iron out the issues that it has with the turbocharger, MGU-K this season. So far, Abiteboul says that there hasn’t been any issues.

Abiteboul explained that an all-new power unit for 2019 was prompted by the belief that all manufacturers are still finding scope for big gains with the V6 turbo hybrids – meaning that no one can afford to sit back and consolidate where they have.

Adding “In my opinion what is paying the most in F1 is stability, stability of the objective, of the vision, of the organisation, of the priorities. But at the same time, being brave enough to look at what is not good enough or what is not working.”

 

What was making the “Neowww” noises at the US Grand Prix? The question may have been answered….

“Neowww” man identified

The man who made the “Neowww” noises during the United States Grand Prix has been identified. During the race a man was heard making several “Neowww” noises, mimicking the sound of Formula One cars passing by at speed.

The moment went viral after the race, with some commentators on various TV channels taking the footage stopping to reference the strange sounds.

A video by a Twitter user Luis Baeza (lbaeza06) tweeting a selfie video taken during the race. The man in it gleefully stands next to an effects microphone placed at the top of the Circuit of the Americas landmark tower and makes the impressions, stopping only to laugh about his antics.

What is unclear, whether the Twitter user is the man in the video, which was posted online on Thursday. Formula One then got in on the act themselves, putting the two moments together to show how it unfolded in real time.

 

That’s all from this edition of Reporters, goodbye

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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