Reporters – 25/04/2021

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Williams had new owners take over the team last year and already following Dorilton Capital’s investment there are signs of a revival. George Russell says now is the time for the team to focus on performance…

Williams can focus on performance rather than survival

George Russell says that Williams can focus on performance rather than keeping the team alive thanks to an investment boost from its new owners and the appointment of a technical director.

Last September following the turbulent few years and the financial fallout from the pandemic, the Williams family sold the team last year to American investment firm Dorilton Capital. Following the sale of the team and the new investment, Dorilton promoted Simon Roberts to the role of team principal, with former Volkswagen Motorsport chief Jost Capito coming in as CEO.

Capito brought in Francois-Xavier Demaison, whom he worked with at Volkswagen on the brand’s successful WRC and Pikes Peak programmes, to fill the role of technical director that has been left vacant since Paddy Lowe’s exit during a disastrous 2019 season.

Russell believes that the arrival of Capito and Demaison is a key moment in Williams’ reversal of fortunes, with the team now being able to focus on performance rather than just surviving.

He told Motorsport.com, “I think it’s incredibly positive news for Williams in the years to come with the arrival of [Jost] and I really believe we’ve got a firm boss at the helm who will be able to structure a proper technical team around us to help improve ultimately the performance of the car.”

Russell says during his time with the team before the sale to Dorilton the whole team was focused on keeping the team alive rather than focusing on making the car faster. But following the financial stability, he hopes that the team can go back to focusing on the performance of the car.

Russell admits his tricky Williams stint has been made even more “difficult” without a clear technical director at the helm. Already although the teams focus remains on next years regulation change, he says Demaison will “bring everything together” in preparation of F1’s radical 2022 overhaul, which is Williams’ biggest opportunity to finally move up the grid.

Explaining, “I think it’s incredibly important to have a technical director in place. Formula One is one massive jigsaw puzzle. You’ve got to put those pieces together, of which a technical director is the one orchestrating that.”

He says the appointments of a CEO, technical director etc means that they can now focus on doing their jobs and bringing the team together.

 

The third series of Netflix series Drive to Survive continues to go from strength to strength as production begins on the four series, it continues to however divide opinion on some of its storylines. However Zak Brown says the sport needs to accept the messaging as it’s designed to entertain and bring new audiences

F1 needs to accept Netflix’s massaging of the truth

McLaren CEO Zak Brown says that Formula One should accept Netflix’s massaging of the truth in Drive to Survive, even though it has upset some fans. The third series of the programme divided opinion between fans, with some revelling in the background insights while others getting riled by the way it has top-spun some of the drama.

In particular, the frequent cutting in of radio conversations or comments to play up controversy grated with some, and it was noted how it tried to portray a sense of conflict between McLaren duo Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris. Despite criticism, Brown says the sport needs to understand the wider benefits that have come from the Netflix series, which has proved to be hugely popular and help raised the profile of F1.

He told Motorsport.com in Bahrain, “I think Netflix has been great for F1. It’s been trending number one. I think it was number one in 25 countries. So I think the primary goal of Netflix is to entertain and bring new viewers to F1. And I think it’s accomplished that tenfold, which is great.”

Brown says Netflix’s treatment of F1 should be compared to the way that Hollywood frequently puts entertainment over the need to be realistic in movies. Adding look at “ Top Gun, you watch it, and I’m sure every fighter pilot went, you can’t do that in a jet. But it was a great movie.”

“So, of course, all of us living in the sport know that Carlos and Lando had a great relationship, and there wasn’t the kind of a tension portrayed there. Any time you get into a television show, they’re going to create some entertainment that we all within the paddock know, maybe it wasn’t quite like that.”

Brown says this is OK as the most important thing the series has done has attracted new fans from around the world, with them being supportive of Netflix and what they’re trying to accomplish, even if they take a little bit of creative licence here and there.

 

Yuki Tsunoda appears to be leading the rookie battle this season, the Japanese driver is making an impression to those outside the team. Despite not having the experience he has certainly started to make valuable contributions to Alpha Tauri.

Tsunoda already making a valuable contribution

Alpha Tauri technical director Jody Egginton says that Yuki Tsunoda is already making a valuable contribution to car development by raising new questions and ideas. The Japanese driver made his debut after stepping up from F2 and scored points in Bahrain last month.

In that race, Tsunoda impressed after pulling off a number of overtakes on his way to ninth becoming the first rookie to score points on debut since Stoffel Vandoorne in 2016. The team has spoken about the important role Tsunoda’s teammate, Pierre Gasly, will play through 2021, leading its development direction thanks to his greater F1 experience.

Egginton told Motorsport.com, the balance of one experienced driver and one rookie left the team in a “different scenario” to many of its rivals, but that Tsunoda was already complementing Gasly well.

Adding, “Pierre is a solid reference back to last year, and he’s able to tell us in detail what’s changed, what’s better, what’s worse, so that’s good. That combined with the correlation, it helps us potentially answer some of the questions Yuki might have. Because we’ll say, ‘okay, that’s expected, that’s not expected, we’re going to work on this.’ So it steadies the ship a little bit.”

He says at the same time Tsunoda is asking questions like ‘OK, that’s quite an interesting thought.’ Egginton also says that he has a different driving style which opens up different questions, but the key thing was he has the speed to contribute.

Tsunoda has enjoyed an accelerated rise through the ranks to reach F1, having been racing in Japan’s national F4 championship just three years ago. An impressive rookie season in F2 last year saw Tsunoda finish third in the championship and earn an F1 graduation that was aided by an extensive private testing programme.

Egginton was impressed by the speed last season which meant he deserved his shot, but he admitted that F1 was a steep learning curve for any driver. Tsunoda, he says was absorbing the information and communicating well, as well as working well with the team.

He added, “We had a few ups and downs [in Bahrain]. He’s been very quick. We had a few little issues with the car, and he’s taken that in his stride. It’s frustrating for him as it is for everybody. If it wasn’t frustrating for him, that would be a worry, actually. But he bounced back from it.”

“It’s really refreshing with the young guys in the team. I quite enjoy the challenge, and the team is good at it. Without being big headed, the team’s good at working with young drivers.”

 

Fernando Alonso’s long-awaited autobiography was due out in the summer, but his return to the sport has made him decide to delay it but why and when it is published what ‘truths’ could he tell the truth…

Alonso delays autobiography till he’s fully retired

Fernando Alonso says he has delayed publication of his autobiography until after he’s fully retired because he wants to be able to tell the ‘truth’. The Spaniard had originally planned to write the book after leaving McLaren in 2018, but he says continuing his career and returning to the sport this year meant it did not make sense to go ahead with the original plan.

Having promised that the book would tell the ‘truth’ about his career, which could include some fascinating insights into his championship-winning period at Renault and his tumultuous time at McLaren in 2007, he reckons it would not make sense to reveal things while he is still competing.

Speaking about the book during an Instagram Live with Alpine, the two time champion said he book was definitely going ahead – but would not be out for some time. Saying, “I’ve been working on a book for a couple of years already. I planned originally to send it out in 2018 when I left F1.

“But then we postponed it for quite some time now because I realised that I kept racing in different categories and am now back in F1. So I will do it when I stop, and I can tell my own experiences and my own truth of things. Because if the book comes out while I’m racing, then maybe it’s a little bit strange. So I prefer to finish and then tell my experience of my life in motor racing.”

The autobiography is currently set to be released in September 2022, which appears unlikely as the comments by Alonso and his two-year contract ends in December of that year.

 

Captain Sir Tom Moore captured the heart of many last years raising money for the NHS in the UK. He died in January aged a hundred, marking his 101st birthday next weekend people and organisations are taking up the challenge of 100, aim for 100 pit stops…

Williams aims for 100 pit stops in Portimao

Williams have announced plans to join the Captain Tom Moore 100 Challenge during the Portuguese Grand Prix. During the first UK lockdown, the former army captain raised an astonishing £38.9 million as his efforts captured the imagination of the British people.

He was knighted for his amazing fundraising efforts and passed away earlier this year at the age of 100, after catching coronavirus.

To mark his 101st birthday, on April 30, the Captain Tom Foundation has invited people to take on a challenge centred around the number 100, and Williams will be aiming to complete 100 pitstops over the three days of the Portuguese Grand Prix weekend.

The effort will be in aid of the teams official charity, the Spinal Injuries Association.

CEO Jost Capito said “Captain Sir Tom Moore inspired millions around the world, with his simple message of hope, “Tomorrow will be a good day” and brought comfort and joy to so many around the world during the pandemic.”

“It has been a challenging time for everyone and still is, and we want to take this opportunity to do something in his memory, whilst also raising money for a very worthy cause”

Captain Tom captures the heart of the world and F1 drivers such as George Russell of Williams, reigning champion Lewis Hamilton and McLaren’s Lando Norris paid tribute when he passed away in February.

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.