Reporters – 17/01/2021

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Pierre Gasly’s win at Monza was one of the highlights of the last year, in a recent interview the Frenchman reflected on that incredible weekend last September.

Gasly remembers “every second” of Monza

Pierre Gasly says he can remember “every single second” of his shock maiden F1 win at the Italian Grand Prix after taking time to fully reflect on the result. The Frenchman took a surprise win at Monza in a drama-filled race in September.

Gasly inherited the lead following the red flag and a penalty for race leader Lewis Hamilton dropped him down the order, as well as the rest of the usual contenders being out of position. After fending off Carlos Sainz’s McLaren the Alpha Tauri driver took the teams first win in twelve years, as well as being the first driver outside the big three since Melbourne 2013 to win a race.

The celebrations post-race provided some of the most striking images of the season when Gasly sat on the top step as he came to terms with the enormity of his achievement.

Speaking to Autosport, the Frenchman said, “I remember every single second of that race and of the celebration. It’s something which is in my mind and will never go away.”

“I would say this year was so compact and intense that it was actually hard to really take the time off, and get to relax and enjoy as much as probably I would have done in a more normal scenario without COVID.”

“Still, when I had a week’s break between two races and I could get back home and I could realise, ‘OK, that’s what we’ve done’, and really try to think over and remember all of the emotions that we lived.”

Gasly on reflection says winning that race at Monza was incredible, as Mercedes had won nearly all the races in 2020. He says he keeps his trophy at his Italian apartment where he stayed following the victory.

Adding, “That should be a motivation for all of us in the team to try and repeat as much as we can, strong performances like we have had in Sao Paulo or in Monza.”

 

Mercedes have been the dominant team in F1 since the beginning of the hybrid era in 2014. One of the things according to Toto Wolff that there continuing success is there “scepticism and pessimism”

Wolff haunted by scepticism over Mercedes success

Mercedes F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff says the seven-times champions continue to be haunted by “scepticism and pessimism”. The German manufacturer took their dominance to new heights in 2020, only being beaten three times to victory.

Wolff has admitted in an interview with Motorsport.com, the scale of the teams advantaged had even caught the team by surprise with Red Bull’s challenge falling short and Ferrari’s pace dropping off.

However, Wolff says that key to its ongoing success is a paranoid mindset at the team that makes it fear that its run of dominance will soon end. He told the website, “Every year, performances that are similar to the ones that we had [in 2020] come as a surprise because by nature, we are sceptical people.”

“That keeps us on our toes for the targets that we set ourselves, and we are always a little bit behind. In that respect, we are all pleasantly surprised when we get out of the blocks and see that we are in a good position.

Wolff says that Mercedes are always surprised when they start the season where they would be, which wasn’t about fishing for compliments and was the attitude of the team.

He also had no explanation as to why Red Bull and Ferrari were unable to put together a strong enough challenge but suggested that the core strengths of Mercedes have helped.

Wolff says they have great respect for there rivals and the people in those teams, but believes it’s hard for him to comment on where there weaknesses or where Mercedes advantages are. All he knows makes Mercedes a good place to work.

Adding “We are able though to strike the balance between pressure making a pipe burst or producing a diamond. This is something that you need to live every day.

“You need to empower. You need to be a safe place for the employees. You need to allow them to speak up, to make mistakes and have the right values. And all that can only be built up over time.”

Wolff accepted that sometimes, like in 2019 when Ferrari had the edge on power before they were pegged back by FIA technical directives. he says that last year the HPP division were on the limit of performance delivery, amid a cost cap environment and the restructuring needed because of COVID.

He says they have used everything they can to be in a good space, and keep energy levels high, set the right objectives and find purpose in what we do.

 

The man who brought Mercedes back into F1 Jurgen Hubbert died on Friday, here is a look back on his motorsport career

Former Mercedes boss Hubbert dies aged eighty-one

Former Mercedes boss Jurgen Hubbert who was a key role in its move into DTM and F1 in the 1990s has died aged eighty-one. He created the first partnership with McLaren resulting in two world champions with Mika Häkkinen in the late 1990s and Sir Lewis Hamilton in 2008.

Hubbert was born in 1939 before studying engineering at the University of Stuttgart in 1965, and he joined Daimler-Benz that year. He then started rising quickly through the company becoming a deputy member of the board.

Hubbert then started a review and decided motorsport, which Mercedes hadn’t been involved with since the end of 1955, was the way forward.  He noted in 2018, “When I looked at the situation the company was in it became clear to me that we had got ourselves into some difficulties.”

“Due to an ongoing internal debate, we had been neglecting our vehicles. The focus was on becoming an ‘Integrated Technology Group.’ I hoped that we could polish up the image of the brand using motorsport activities. I remembered the 1950s when I was still at school and took a lively interest in the sport, and I also looked back to the 1930s.”

Mercedes re-entered DTM with what would become the Sauber, now Alfa Romeo F1, which morphed into a works World Sportscar Championship with them winning the 1989 and 1990 as well as Le Mans.

He hired Norbert Haug to head up its motorsport programme, however the plan to enter F1 in 1993 was shelved but it became Sauber’s engine supplier before teaming up with McLaren in 1995.

The partnership resulted in the first win for Mercedes in F1 for forty-two years before winning back to back titles with McLaren in 1998-99.

Hubbert took on a more senior management role within Daimler while also becoming a powerful figure behind the scenes in F1. He was one of the key players behind the GPWC, the aborted attempt by the manufacturers to break away from Bernie Ecclestone.

Away from F1, he played a role in the introduction of the A-class, M-class and CLK, as well as the birth of the Smart car range. He also found time to pursue an academic career, teaching engineering at the Technical University of Karlsruhe.

 

Nikita Mazepin has not won many fans since he was announced as a Haas driver, well Haas teammate Mick Schumacher isn’t one of them. The two both took to German TV to explain their relationship…

Mazepin and Schumacher not friends

Mick Schumacher says he isn’t friends with his Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin has ignited a rivalry.

The Russian driver has already been criticised after a social media video showing him groping a woman’s breast while in his car, has added another layer to his persona by distancing himself from his new teammate at the US-owned F1 team.

Schumacher attempted to foster a working relationship with his new teammate by explaining that the pair were familiar with each other from their early days in kart racing. The German told Match TV, “He was very nice and there was healthy respect between us as teammates.

“Then we lost touch with each other a bit and, of course, we have both changed since then.”

Mazepin added “We are not friends. At most, we are old acquaintances as we raced together in karts.” He also says that he has no interest in Schumacher’s famed name in the sport, and said that, if anything, his higher-profile teammate will race under more pressure.

 

Antonio Giovinazzi is an often-overlooked driver as his Alfa Romeo is often fighting at the back of the field. He says that one of the things he has improved on is his starts…

Giovinazzi believes his starts have improved

Antonio Giovinazzi believed working on his start was one of the keys to his improved second season. The Italian was retained by Alfa Romeo last season despite a tough first full season in 2019, where he managed to out-qualify teammate Kimi Raikkonen nine times.

Both Giovinazzi and Raikkonen scored four points last season, but Giovinazzi continued to make progress and convinced the Scuderia to keep him at customer team Alfa for a third year in 2021. He particularly impressed with his starts last year, often making up positions on the first lap.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, he revealed that his improved starts are the result of a deliberate effort, watching onboards from his debut season and from his colleagues to see where he could improve.

He said, “After qualifying, of course, we do the debriefing [where] you watch maybe the lap you did [and see] maybe where you lost something. But after that moment I’m just focused 100% for the race and for the start especially.”

“Because with the cars that we have this year and then with the difficulty to follow and overtake, I think if you have a good start and good first lap and you gain positions there, then the race will be much more easy.”

Giovinazzi says that he has been watching videos of his starts and believes that works well, he says will continue with that this season.

Due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, F1 raced on several new circuits or tracks it hadn’t visited in years, which meant Giovinazzi would try and get his hands on footage from other categories to see where he could gain positions.

He says he had to seek out videos from other circuits and his starts in previous starts. Adding, “I try to learn something from the videos, but yeah, it was not easy. I would say it’s much more easy to have [a known quantity] like a Bahrain that you raced before and there’s so many starts that you can watch online and what can happen in each corner.”

 

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.