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WILLIAMS CONFIRM SIROTKIN TO RACE AND KUBICA RESERVE

Lance Stroll, Sergey Sirotkin

Russian rookie Sergey Sirotkin will race for Williams this season after being chosen ahead of Polish rival Robert Kubica on Tuesday in what the Formula One team said was a multi-year deal.

Kubica, who had been hoping to return to the starting grid for the first time since a 2011 rally accident partly severed his right arm, was appointed reserve and development driver instead.

Williams made the long-awaited announcements in separate statements, with 22-year-old Sirotkin filling the last remaining vacancy for the season that starts in Australia on March 25.

The Russian will partner 19-year-old Canadian Lance Stroll, the billionaire’s son who made his debut with the former world champions last year, in a lineup that will be the youngest on track this year.

Sirotkin replaces Brazilian veteran Felipe Massa, who retired at the end of last year.

Sirotkin has been backed by Russian billionaire Boris Rotenberg, whose oligarch brother Arkady is a former judo sparring partner of President Vladimir Putin, on his way through the junior series.

The team did not give any financial details of the deal. Deputy team principal Claire Williams said the Mercedes-powered team, fifth overall last year, were confident the new pairing would deliver.

Kubica, 33, had at one point looked the favourite for the drive, with 2016 champion and former Williams driver Nico Rosberg championing his cause.

Williams said the Pole will take part in testing before and during the season as well as some Friday practice sessions and simulator work.

All twenty seats on the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship grid are now taken:

Statement:

Williams Martini Racing is delighted to announce that Sergey Sirotkin will partner Lance Stroll in the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship.

The 22-year-old Russian impressed the team with his performance at the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tyre test where he drove the FW40 for the first time, and will make his Formula One race debut at the 2018 Australian Grand Prix.

Sergey comes to Williams with a strong racing resume. As a member of the SMP Racing programme, in 2015 he competed in GP2, finishing third, and was the highest-placed rookie. In 2016, he was selected as Test Driver for Renault Sport F1, combining his role with a second season competing in the GP2 Series, a campaign which saw him finish third for a second successive year.

In 2017 Sergey continued with Renault F1, and took part in four FP1 sessions as well as the Bahrain test, gaining valuable experience. Joining Formula One as an official race team driver marks Sergey’s progress to the highest level of the SMP Racing programme, which develops Russian drivers from karting through every level of circuit racing.

Sergey has been busy preparing for this season at the team’s factory and looks forward to partnering Lance Stroll, who enters his second year of Formula One, in 2018.

Lance broke several records during his debut Formula One season, which saw him take seven points-scoring finishes to place him 12th in the Drivers’ Championship, just one place behind his vastly experienced teammate. With a third-place finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Lance became the youngest ever rookie podium finisher, as well as the youngest front-row starter when he lined-up second on the grid for the Italian Grand Prix.

Speaking about the announcement, Lance Stroll said; “First of all I would like to welcome Sergey to Williams and I am looking forward to having him as my teammate. I know Sergey and I am sure we will very quickly form a close working relationship. I really enjoyed my rookie season with the team, and there were a number of memorable highlights, on which I’ll look to build on in the coming season. I’m looking forward to Barcelona, and driving the new FW41 for the first time.”

Sergey Sirotkin added; “To say I’m happy and proud to join such a famous team like Williams is an understatement. It took a huge amount of work to get where I am, and I’m really happy and thankful to everyone involved. The result of our combined efforts has helped me achieve my dream, and rest assured the team can rely on me to deliver my best.”

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal said; “After an extensive driver evaluation process, I am thrilled to have our 2018 line-up finalised, and I’m excited to see what next season brings. We have taken our time to evaluate all the available options, and I’m confident Lance and Sergey can deliver the best results for the team. The Williams philosophy has always been to promote and develop young talent and Sergey fits right into that ethos. Lance has had a record-breaking debut season, and with a year now under his belt, he will be ready to hit the ground running in 2018. We have a talented driver line-up for 2018, that we are confident will deliver some exciting results for the team.”

Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer, added; “We have conducted a rigorous and exhaustive driver evaluation process. Ultimately, Sergey impressed the team with his driving pace and talent, technical feedback and work ethic, both at the factory and trackside in Abu Dhabi. I’m delighted he will be joining the team to partner Lance next season. Lance will be going into his second season with us, after notable achievements in his rookie year. We have an exciting line-up for 2018 which we believe will help us to maximise the potential of the FW41.”

MIKA: Happy New Year all!

It seems to me, this will be another season of lackluster results from Williams purely because they never seem to learn that they need to invest and actually pay for a great driver to line up in their team. Two pay drivers, would have been better with Kubica or Di Resta with Sirotkin as reserve or stroll.... I'm already frustrated at this news. 

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KUBICA: MY ULTIMATE GOAL REMAINS TO RACE AGAIN IN F1

Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica will be the reserve and development driver for Williams this season, the Formula 1 team announced on Tuesday but the Pole is adamant that his ultimate goal is to be on the grid at some point in the future.

Sergey Sirotkin was earlier announced as a race driver for the former champions, partnering Canadian Lance Stroll.

Kubica, 33, had been hoping to get the race seat and return to the starting grid for the first time since a 2011 rally accident partially severed his right arm, “I’m extremely happy to be joining the Williams team as its official Reserve and Development Driver this season.”

“I feel in the best physical shape that I have ever been, but it has taken a lot of work to get to where I am now, so I’d like to thank Williams for the opportunities they have given me so far, and for putting their faith in me with this appointment.”

“I have enjoyed being back in the Formula 1 paddock over these past few months, and I now look forward to working with the Williams technical team, both at the factory and at the track, to really help push forward the development of the FW41 and to make a real difference to their 2018 campaign. ”

“Having driven both the FW36 and the FW40, I’m looking forward to seeing how the FW41 measures up on track and working with the team to ensure we can maximise the performance of the car. My ultimate goal remains to race again in Formula One and this is another important step in that direction: I cannot wait to get started,” concluded Kubica.

Deputy team principal, Claire Williams, said, “I am delighted to announce that Robert will be joining Williams as our Reserve and Development Driver for the 2018 season.”

“All of us at Williams have been immensely impressed at what he has achieved, and it is a great credit to his strength of character and commitment to return to Formula One. We are excited to be continuing our relationship with Robert and look forward to working with him this coming season.”

Chief technical officer, Paddy Lowe, added, “First and foremost, we’d like to congratulate Robert on what he has achieved so far. To overcome his injuries, return to fitness, and drive a Formula One car again is a remarkable achievement and one that few considered possible.”

“We anticipate Robert will make a strong technical contribution to the team, using his wealth of experience in track testing, simulator work, and support to the race drivers and engineers at every race. He is a driver I have admired for many years and I am personally very happy to be working with him towards our 2018 Championship.”

Big Question: Have Williams sold their soul?

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ANALYSIS: WHY IS ROBERT KUBICA ONLY THE RESERVE DRIVER AT WILLIAMS F1 TEAM?

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Williams has finally made its long awaited driver announcement, pairing Sergey Sirotkin with Lance Stroll as the race drivers for 2018.

Robert Kubica is confirmed as reserve driver.

Many Williams fans will be dismayed, while neutral F1 fans will be wondering, why is it that Kubica, a race winner and a big name in F1, is only the reserve driver?

The obvious conclusion most will draw is money: Sirotkin’s backers are believed to have offered €15m a year for two years to Williams on top of the funding from the Stroll family.

But it is also the case the in the Abu Dhabi tests, 22 year old Sirotkin did a good job and swayed the team towards thinking of him, rather than Kubica, who had been trying to build the case for a comeback from his arm injury.

Sirotkin was faster, especially on the single lap runs, although Kubica was strong on the long runs.

Time on track is very limited in F1 and Sirotkin had certainly had more than Kubica in the build up to the critical test at Yas Marina, after which the decision was made.

Kubica believes that he has more to come, as he said on his appearance at the Autosport Awards in December.

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Sirotkin has been knocking on the door of F1 for some time, without landing a race seat. He orbited Renault, taking the reserve driver role last year, driving partly in tests and Friday practice sessions. Some will wonder why he didn’t get a chance, especially during the period when Jolyon Palmer was struggling.

But Renault had their eyes on Carlos Sainz from 2016 and when McLaren and Honda split with Toro Rosso taking the Honda engines, that opened the door for Renault to move in on Sainz.

Williams now has the youngest driver line up in F1, ahead of Sauber with Charles Leclerc partnering Marcus Ericsson next season.

But Williams has managed to convince Kubica to take the reserve driver role, which allows him to get more track time as well as regular simulator time and will reveal whether there is more potential, as he believes.

Stroll has two more years on a three year contract and Sirotkin a two year contract, so on the face of it there is no opening for 2019 for the popular Pole. But things can always change, for a variety of reasons – as Valttei Bottas’ shock move to Mercedes in 2017 demonstrated.

The main reason why Kubica is in the reserve driver role, however, is the engineers.

All F1 engineers need pushing; even the ones at the top of the tree at Mercedes or Ferrari. History tells you that F1 drivers who go into the real details with the engineers on everything from damping, to aero to fuel mixtures and make demands, push the team forwards.

A rookie line-up, however talented, doesn’t know what it doesn’t know and so an experienced and demanding driver like Kubica is important to keep them stimulated and to challenge them.

Also with both drivers under 25 and not exactly household names, it helps with the sponsors to have a driver with star quality like Kubica. He can fulfil obligations for Martini, which the youngsters couldn’t do as well.

It will be good to have Kubica around again and it will be interesting to see how Sirotkin does.

F1 paddock wisdom is that Williams will slip back behind McLaren and Renault in the pecking order this season, despite having a Mercedes engine and a chase overseen by technical chief Paddy Lowe.

That outcome would not reflect well on the drivers or on the decision makers who put them there. We will find out soon.

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MARCHIONNE JOKES FERRARI ENGINEERS ARE ‘TOO RELAXED’ AHEAD OF NEW F1 CAR LAUNCH

Image result for MARCHIONNE JOKES FERRARI ENGINEERS ARE ‘TOO RELAXED’ AHEAD OF NEW F1 CAR LAUNCH

Ferrari’s Chairman Sergio Marchiane was in Detroit yesterday and had a few things to say about his F1 team’s prospects for the season ahead, suggesting that the team seems very calm ahead of the roll out next month of the new car.

Marchionne was very angry after the team bombed on home soil at Monza, but notably less so at the end of the F1 season despite losing the world championships to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton.

There was little in the way of blood on the carpet, the group remained stable and his comments in Detroit suggest that this calmness will translate into a strong package for 2018.

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“I was in Maranello the last few days and I found the design guys almost too relaxed. I can only conclude that either we have made a crap car or a real beast!

“We’ve put everything into it, to have a super strong car. You’ll have to wait until February 22 when we present it,” he told Italy’s Gazetta dello Sport.

Marchionne said his objectives are “to win the world championship in F1 and to make a boat load of money with Ferrari.”

He also suggested that he was no longer thinking of using the Maserati brand in Formula E, but rather that, “it would make more sense to try it in F1 with the Haas team and to have reasonable costs.”

Speaking to Motorsport.com Italy he also denied the widespread rumours that he plans to take control of Ferrari as part of his retirement plan from FCA (FIAT Chrysler Automobiles) in the next couple of years. He floated the business on the New York Stock Exchange last year.

“Do the maths; Ferrari is worth 20 billion on the stock market, what price should I buy it for? We are talking about 30 billion. We can all be optimists but I’d need a lottery ticket.”

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NEW BEHIND THE SCENES MCLAREN F1 SERIES TO SHOW ROAD TO HONDA BREAK-UP

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Amazon Prime has announced that its new documentary series called Grand Prix Driver will be streamed on February 9.

All episodes will be available from that date and the series is being promoted on Amazon Prime’s flagship show Grand Tour.

The series is narrated by F1 loving actor Michael Douglas, a regular guest of McLaren at Grands Prix over the years. It has been written and executive produced by Manish Pandey, who was behind the Senna documentary, which he made with director Asif Kapadia.

On this project he has collaborated with F1 insider Chris Connell and You Tube guru Anwar Nuseibeh.

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The Amazon series goes behind the scenes from the start of 2017, before the launch of the new F1 car, it shows the crushing disappointment of the first test of the car in Barcelona and Alonso’s damning comments, then tracks the efforts that went on behind the scenes from there to remedy the situation with engine supplier Honda.

The crew was given access to key meetings, briefings, the workshops and other key moments and places in the season.

It charts the season to the divorce announcement at Singapore in September.

“It’s no secret that this has been the most difficult season in McLaren’s history and it would have been easy for them to close the doors on us,” said Pandey.

“Instead, the team trusted Prime members to understand the mind-blowing complexity of modern Formula 1 and to recognize that all competitors take falls – but only great champions get up again, fight and win.”

The series looks at the preparations of driver Stoffel Vandoorne for his rookie season, which went very wrong as the new Honda engine left him and Alonso well short of competitiveness

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STEINER: NO AMERICAN DRIVER READY FOR F1 RIGHT NOW

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American racing drivers are up in arms over comments made by Haas team principal Guenther Steiner who questioned if there was really a good one among them deserving of a place in Formula 1.

The American Haas team has yet to field an American driver in the two years of its existence. For 2018 they will field Frenchman Romain Grosjean and Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen, the pair likely to remain with the team until the end of 2019.

Austrian team boss Steiner stirred the pot when asked about the prospect of an American driver at Haas, “It’s not on top of our list. It’s on top of our list if there’s a good one. Obviously, we want one.”

“But then maybe, if there is a really good one, would they come to us? Just having an American driver who maybe cannot compete at a certain level is maybe not good for the sport.”

“[Signing an American driver] would be an ambition, but at the moment there is nobody ready for F1 in the United States in my opinion,” added Steiner.

Steiner last year has a go at 2017 IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden after the latter stated that he would love to have a shot at Formula 1.

But at the time Steiner was not convinced, “I’m not saying that Josef would not be successful, but you cannot just jump in. When you come from another series to jump into Formula 1, it is difficult,” Steiner said. “It’s a lot more pressure … The pressure here is tremendous.

“After three races if you don’t deliver, you know what you are – an idiot, and you need to leave. To put an American and make him fail, it’s not good for him,’ Steiner had insisted. “It is not good for Formula 1 in America, and it is not good for us,” added Steiner.

Haas currently has Connecticut-born Santino Ferrucci as test and reserve driver.

This was met with a barrage of criticism from USA based drivers including Conot Daly and Graham Rahal with the latter calling the policy ‘BS” and saying they have not been given a chance. American legend Mario Andretti called Steiner arrogant.

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VASSEUR: GOAL IS TO BE ALFA A-TEAM NOT A FERRARI B-TEAM

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Sauber F1 chief Frederic Vasseur has revealed that his team is intent on becoming a fully fledged Alfa Romeo team as opposed to a Ferrari B-team as suggested by some pundits while questioning the future of private teams in the sport.

In the wake of the deal between Sauber and Alfa Romeo, the Swiss team’s former driver Giedo van der Garde quipped, “Thanks to that deal with Alfa Romeo, they are now, of course, Ferrari’s B-team. That’s nice for them.”

In an interview with Auto Hebdo, Vasseur said, “The goal is to be an Alfa A-team, not a Ferrari B-team. There will still be a bridge between the two entities with the driver part, the training part.”

“The company’s executives want a full-fledged Alfa Romeo team. Even though it has to rely on the Ferrari engine for the moment.”

Vasseur added, “Personally, in the long run, I do not see the survival of a private team in Formula 1. It may have one or two great seasons, such as Force India. But at the slightest hint of a crisis, everything can switch. [With our partnership with] Alfa Romeo, the team will stabilise.”

Thus in Vasseur’s view, private teams such as Force India, Williams and Haas have bleak futures unless they can align themselves with a manufacturer.

Although for now, the Alfa Romeo deal is a branding exercise for Sauber, Vasseur revealed that already the Italian company has staff at Hinwill ahead of the new season which begins with testing in Spain next month.

“The first began with us on 1 November. The others will start step by step … In many cases, we will only benefit from them in the second half of the season in 2018,” confirmed Vasseur.

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BRAWN: F1 WILL HAVE GREAT-LOOKING CARS IN THE FUTURE

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In 2017 Formula 1 regulations allowed cars to be wider and look more aggressive, a trend that the sport’s motorsport chief Ross Brawn says will continue in full force when rules are penned for the next generation of the sport.

In an interview with Sky Sport, Brawn said of the 2021 cars, “I think they’ll look sensational. We’re going to have some great-looking cars in the future, that’s a really important thing for us.”

“We’ve had designers working on the aesthetics of the cars for some time now and the aesthesis of the cars are a really important thing.”

“I think we’ve done some great work on how you integrate the Halo, for instance, because it looks like it’s just been stuck on the car – which it quite literally has. It’s obvious, but when you talk to the fans [they say] the cars have got to look great.”

“They’ve almost got to look like derivatives of video games and evolve in a way where the video games take their key from Formula 1, not the other way round,” said Brawn.

Sean Bull Design did an interesting rendition of a what a future F1 Bugatti may look like as above and below pics show:

Bugatti 101P - F1 2020 Concept Testing Livery

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Dan Gurney 1931-2018

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Dan Gurney, who has died at the age of 86, was a colossus in motor racing history.

A racer, a team owner, a car manufacturer and a sage. Gurney was so popular in the United States in the mid-1960s that Car & Driver suggested that he run for President.

Gurney was tall (6ft3), graceful and handsome, dashing and charming. He was the archetypal schoolboy hero. He had it all. He won races in Formula 1, Indycars, NASCAR, CanAm and TransAm, not to mention sports cars. His biggest victory came at Le Mans in 1967, when he and AJ Foyt shared a Ford GT40, afterwards spraying champagne from the podium, starting a tradition that is now integral to all celebrations in motorsport today. That same summer he won the Belgian Grand Prix in one of his Eagles, to become only the second American to drive an American car to a Grand Prix victory, following Jimmy Murphy’s win in France in 1921, in a Duesenberg.

Gurney also invented the gurney flap, a small metal attachment that was bolted to the trailing edge of a rear wing to create more downforce without too much additional drag.

He was the first F1 racer to use a full-faced helmet.

In F1 circles, there was only one Dan.

Born on the affluent north shore of Long Island (Gatsby country), in New York in April 1931, Gurney was the son of John Gurney, a celebrated bass-baritone who sang with the Metropolitan Opera. After he retired in 1947 John Gurney moved his family to sunny California, settling in Corona del Mar, where he became a portrait artist and furniture designer. He still sang on occasion, notably the national anthem at the inaugural Long Beach Grand Prix.

Dan was a part of the 1950s sports car boom in California and was quickly spotted by Ferrari’s US agent Luigi Chinetti. He was invited to join the Ferrari factory team at Le Mans in the summer of 1958. His smooth and elegant driving style and his speed won him a place racing a works Ferrari F1 car in selected races in 1959, beginning at the French GP. He moved to BRM in 1960, but in Holland suffered a brake failure which caused him to crash, breaking an arm and killing a young spectator. He changed his driving style after the accident and developed a marked distrust of engineers.

The change in F1 regulations led him to a switch to the Porsche factory team in 1961 and he won his first World Championship victory the following year at Rouen, before moving to Brabham from 1963 to 1965, when he showed his pace but was often let down by mechanical trouble. With the arrival of the new 3-litre Formula 1 in 1966 he started his own Anglo American Racers and began competing with the Eagle-Weslake, winning his first victory in Belgium in 1967. His Eagles were successful in the US but struggled with the Weslake V12s and Gurney shut down the F1 operation in 1968 and he raced for McLaren on and off that year and in 1970. His Eagles – in Indycars and later in IMSA sports cars won 78 races (including the Indianapolis 500, the Sebring 12 Hours and the Daytona 24 Hours. His factory cars won eight different championships, while customers using his cars won three Indianapolis 500s and three championships. He was one of the founders of CART.

In later years he developed a low-rider motorcycle called the Alligator, hoping to license the design to a major manufacturer.

Gurney married German Evi Butz – Norbert Haug’s sister – in 1969 and they had four sons, Justin, Alex, Dan Jr. and Jimmy.

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Ex-McLaren boss Whitmarsh returns to F1 with FIA role

Ex-McLaren boss Whitmarsh returns to F1 with FIA role

Former McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh is to return to a role in Formula 1, Motorsport.com can reveal, having accepted a temporary consultancy position with the FIA.
Whitmarsh cut ties with F1 in 2014 after being ousted as McLaren’s CEO at the end of 2013, when Ron Dennis returned to controlling the team.

Since then he has been heavily involved in yacht racing, having been the chief of the America’s Cup team Land Rover BAR.

But after stepping down to take an advisory position there at the end of last year, Whitmarsh has since got back involved with motor racing.

In November, Whitmarsh was confirmed as a representative on Formula E’s Global Advisory Board, which is chaired by four-time F1 world champion and FE team owner Alain Prost.

Now, Whitmarsh will work with the FIA to help motor racing’s governing body put in place effective cost control rules in F1 – which could include a budget cap.

Whitmarsh’s knowledge of running a team, allied to his experience as chairman of the Formula One Teams’ Association from 2010 to 2012, makes him well placed to work out how best financial controls can be implemented and made effective.

The FIA’s F1 head of communications Matteo Bonciani confirmed: “Whitmarsh has accepted an invitation to work with the FIA on a temporary basis in order to support it in defining financial regulations for fair and sustainable competition in the FIA F1 world championship.”

Further details about Whitmarsh’s appointment and role are expected to be made clear following a Strategy Group meeting between the FIA and teams on Thursday.

Unforeseen consequences

Back in 2013, when F1 last tried to make plans for a budget cap, Whitmarsh said that such a system would only work if every team bought into it – and did not try to use it as an opportunity to gain an unfair advantage over rivals.

His understanding of what was needed, and potential pitfalls, could help the FIA when it comes to working out the framework for such a deal.

"If we want to do it [introduce a budget cap] we have got a way of doing it, but a minority will always be opportunistic or try to frustrate it," Whitmarsh told Autosport at the time.

"There have always been and will always be 'haves' and 'have nots', [and] the problem is that the 'haves' never want to deal with it.

"It is so easy to have unforeseen consequences and changes in a finely balanced situation.

"I think it can be done, but if there is not a big enough will..."

F1’s new owner Liberty Media has been clear that it wants to introduce in association with the FIA some form of new cost control over the next few years.

The outline concept of a cost cap was explained to teams last year, with further individual meetings taking place over recent weeks to try to firm up the plans.

Teams and Liberty representatives will meet again on Thursday at the next F1 Strategy Group, where discussions about future rules – including new engine plans for 2021 – are set to be pushed forward.

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Toro Rosso set for aero department reshuffle after key exit

Toro Rosso set for aero department reshuffle after key exit

Toro Rosso is to face a reshuffle of its aerodynamic department following the departure of Brendan Gilhome, its head of aero.
Gilhome joined the Faenza-based outfit in July 2013, having previously also worked as principal aerodynamicist at Mercedes and group leader of aerodynamics at BMW Sauber.

The Australian worked closely with technical director James Key in developing the team's recent contenders, and had been focused for several months on the Honda-powered STR13.

The reasons for his departure have not been revealed by the team, nor has it been confirmed whether deputy head of aerodynamics Ben Mallock will step up replace Gilhome or someone else will be brought in to take over his responsibilities.

There will also be a change of race engineers this year too, with long-time Carlos Sainz engineer Marco Matassa having moved to Ferrari over the winter to work with its young driver development programme.

Toro Rosso is switching to Honda engines this year and its new chassis passed its crash tests on Tuesday, with the team celebrating the achievement at the factory.

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Ferrari settles on new race engineer for Raikkonen

Ferrari settles on new race engineer for Raikkonen

Ferrari is poised to confirm that Carlo Santi will become Kimi Raikkonen's race engineer in Formula 1 this year, following the departure of Dave Greenwood from the team.
With Greenwood leaving the Maranello-based outfit to join Manor in the World Endurance Championship, Ferrari has spent the last few weeks working out how best to restructure things.

Although there has been no official confirmation of its plans yet, Motorsport.com has learned that Santi will be promoted from his previous position as Raikkonen's data engineer.

The move confirms the continuation of Ferrari's policy under technical chief Mattia Binotto of developing its own talent to strengthen the team, rather than chase individuals from elsewhere.

Team operations

The change of Raikkonen's engineer is likely to be one of several tweaks to the team operations in 2018 as the outfit chases the F1 world championship.

It is understood that head of track operations Diego Ioverno will be moved to another role, with his previous responsibilities taken by engineering chief Jock Clear and Claudio Albertini, who had previously been in charge of liaison on the customer engine front with Haas and Sauber.

The role of chief mechanic is expected to be handed to Christian Corradini, who has worked at Ferrari for several years.

Ferrari's young driver programme is also set to be boosted by the arrival of former Toro Rosso engineer Marco Matassa to work alongside Massimo Rivola.

Carlos Sainz's former race engineer left Toro Rosso at the end of last year and has chosen to help work bringing on the next generation of young drivers at Maranello.

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Rosberg: I would make a comeback if…

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Nico Rosberg could be persuaded to come out of retirement if Formula 1 raced in Las Vegas with South Africa also on his list.

The 2016 World Champion retired from Formula 1 at the end of his championship-winning campaign, opting instead for family life.

And although rumours of a possible return have been whispered throughout last year, Rosberg insists his days of racing in F1 are over.

That is of course unless Las Vegas or South Africa make the calendar.

“I’d bring back the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami, that sounds damn cool,” the German said during a Twitter Q&A posted on his YouTube channel.

That, though, isn’t the only race he wants back on the calendar.

“Las Vegas,” he said.

“That is the absolute, top notch, highest ever possible… Las Vegas Grand Prix! And deciding the championship there, that would be pretty special.

“I would have to make a comeback for that race.”

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Red Bull's junior programme has "softened" - Webber

Red Bull's junior programme has "softened" - Webber

Red Bull has "softened" and got "calmer" with its Formula 1 junior programme in recent years, reckons its long-time driver Mark Webber.
Though Webber's junior career was not Red Bull supported, he joined its F1 team from Williams in 2007 and stayed for seven years.

Webber said Red Bull had contacted him for advice on his former Porsche LMP1 teammate Brendon Hartley before recalling the Kiwi to its roster and giving him a Toro Rosso F1 seat seven years after it dropped him from its junior programme.

Hartley's second chance suggested to Webber that Red Bull and its motorsport advisor Helmut Marko had mellowed.

"I think Red Bull softened a little bit," Webber told Motorsport.com.

"It's not as maybe as intense as it was in the former years. And maybe this opportunity would not have come about [then].

"You have to take your hat off to Helmut - he has looked at it, he's given him a second chance.

"It is a different environment. It's much calmer - which is I see only an upside."

Hartley admitted that he "crumbled" when he first had an F1 chance with Red Bull, and Webber agrees that the now-28-year-old is much better prepared for this opportunity.

"He openly says he wasn't ready when he was younger," Webber said.

Polesitter Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing Polesitters #1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull Racing and Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing celebrate on the podium

"Some people mature, some people go early. There would be lots of Formula 1 drivers that would love to have a second bite of a cherry. Not many did. At all. But he did."

Though Red Bull brought Hartley back into its fold this year, it jettisoned Daniil Kvyat as it made room for Hartley and Pierre Gasly at Toro Rosso.

Kvyat had won the Formula Renault Alps and GP3 titles as a Red Bull junior and was promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull Racing just one year into his F1 career, but was then demoted in favour of Max Verstappen in early 2016 and then dropped altogether before this season was over.

Webber cited the example of Jan Magnussen, tipped for greatness following a dominant 1994 British Formula 3 title but dropped from F1 after one and a half mostly unsuccessful seasons with Stewart, as evidence that junior category form did not necessarily translate to grand prix racing.

"There's been so many drivers who were unbelievable in the junior categories, but did not really fulfil their promise in Formula 1," said Webber.

"In Formula 1 I think it's a bit like a Michelin star restaurant, where as a chef you have to be an expert in many different dishes.

"In the junior categories you don't. You have to be an expert in one or two dishes.

"But Formula 1 is like a very, very tough test for the driver envelope of operation and your ability to work with people.

"You don't really have this so much in junior categories. If you're fast, you can still do the results, but later on you need to have mind management and the composure."

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MARCHIONNE: NO PLACE AT FERRARI FOR A PROPHET LIKE LAUDA

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Niki Lauda knows a thing or two about Ferrari and of late there have been suggestions that the Maranello Scuderia might look at prying the Austrian legend away from Mercedes, but according to big boss Sergio Marchionne who insists there is no place with the Reds for the man he calls a prophet.

Lauda – now Mercedes F1 team chairman – won two F1 world championship titles with Ferrari after leading the Italian team, in those days under the leadership of Enzo Ferrari, out of the doldrums in the mid-seventies

Marchionne was asked if Lauda could be tempted back to Ferrari, to which he replied, “Niki Lauda is fundamental in Mercedes. He always understands what happens in the mind of the drivers, which is a great added value.”

“He rarely makes mistakes when evaluating what a driver does, however, in our team there is no space for a prophet like him,” added Marchionne.

After Mercedes claimed their eighth title in four years at the expense of Ferrari, Lauda said of the Italian team, “Ferrari is hard to beat when there is inner peace and trust in their own performance.”

“But they are easy to beat when they stand in their own way with performance pressure, high expectations and when people are emotional and insecure,” explained Lauda.

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FOX Sports LatAm strikes new Formula 1 broadcasting deal

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Formula 1 will be broadcast on FOX Sports Latin America in 19 countries throughout South and Central America until 2022 in a new deal.

The deal, which excludes Brazil, will see the cable and satellite broadcaster showing all three practice sessions, qualifying and the race live across its three channels: FOX Sports, FOX Sports 2 and FOX Premium Action.

Additional programming will also be offered in the form of El Show de la Formula 1, GP1 and Circuito FOX Sports providing extra coverage pre and post races, reviews and previews, behind-the-scenes features, driver and team interviews, insight and extra analysis.

The deal also includes broadcast rights to feeder series Formula 2 and GP3 Series.

F1 has retained "certain digital rights" – as it moves to launch its own OTT (over-the-top) digital service in 2018, as well as live FTA (free-to-air) coverage of any races taking place within the region (currently just Mexico), plus "delayed FTA highlights everywhere else in the region."

“We are very happy to have FOX Sports as a partner in Latin America for the next five years," commented Ian Holmes, director of Media Rights at Formula 1. "This new agreement represents a great opportunity and will allow us to bring the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in 19 countries throughout South and Central America where Formula 1 has a strongly established tradition as well as huge potential to gather and galvanise new fans."

Carlos Martinez, president, FOX Networks Group Latin America, added: "We are happy to have such a relevant property as the FIA Formula 1 World Championship back on FOX Sports in our robust motorsport content proposal.

"We’re thankful to Formula 1 for trusting FOX Sports and our team to broadcast Formula 1 to more than 45 million Spanish-speaking homes in Latin America. The passion of Latin American fans for car racing makes this category key to our content offering, and we will contribute with our know-how to make the experience of living it in our portfolio unbeatable."

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IndyCar drivers criticise Haas team principal Guenther Steiner over F1 driver policy

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Drivers from the United States have criticised Haas team principal Guenther Steiner over comments he made where he said there were no US drivers ready for Formula 1.

The Austrian recently told Motorsport concerning US drivers: "It's not on top of our list, it's on top of our list if there's a good one. Obviously, we want one. But then maybe, if there is a really good one, would they come to us?

"Just having an American driver who maybe cannot compete at a certain level is maybe not good for the sport. [Signing an American driver] would be an ambition, but at the moment there is nobody ready for F1 in the United States in my opinion."

Haas does have 19-year old Santino Ferrucci on their books as a test and reserve driver but has yet to see an official outing with the team. Haas has been reluctant to dip into the driver pool stateside despite the raft of talent within the IndyCar series, leading many to question how genuine they are in wanting to bring American drivers onto the world stage.

Graham Rahal took to Twitter to say: "American drivers are damn good. I stand by that, there’s lots of talent here. Stay in IndyCar, it’s far more competitive anyway! 

"Always funny the Haas team mentality. 'Americans aren’t good enough', yet they haven’t even given us a shot. Not worth our time."

Conor Daly added: "How can you possibly call yourselves an 'American' team and totally berate your entire 'home' nationality of drivers? There hasn’t even been a hint of consideration of any well established American drivers over here."

While 1978 F1 world champion Mario Andretti simply added it was "Wrong and arrogant".

Even Britain's Max Chilton believes it is wrong to overlook the 'world class' talents in IndyCar having left F1 to go to the US and feels it is necessary for a culture change to get IndyCar drivers noticed in F1, he told ESPN: "Scott Dixon, who was my team-mate last year, I think he's one of the best drivers in the world and he could give anyone a run for their money in a Formula 1 car – but no one has ever given him a look-in, like when there was a seat going at Mercedes.

"It needs a culture change for them to look at IndyCar drivers as a possibility, and I hope there is because there are world-class drivers that are being wasted and could be doing even bigger things in the public eye in Formula One and doing better than some of the people already there."

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McLaren has overcome Renault packaging headaches

McLaren has overcome Renault packaging headaches

Technical director Tim Goss is confident McLaren has successfully overcome packaging headaches caused by Renault's engine architecture without having to compromise its 2018 Formula 1 chassis design.
After three years of disappointment with Honda, McLaren elected to end its deal with the Japanese manufacturer at the end of 2017 and sign a customer partnership with Renault for this year.

Although the move is set to deliver a much-needed power boost, Goss has revealed that the switch did require some major work at the back of the car due to way that Renault packages its turbo and energy recovery systems in a different way to Honda.

"The Renault architecture is very different," Goss told Motorsport.com. "You have two fundamental engine architectures out there.

"You have the Mercedes/Honda approach, and you have got the Ferrari/Renault approach. Essentially the difference comes down to where the turbocharger sits.

"The Mercedes/Honda approach is you have the compressor on the front of the engine, the turbine on the back of the engine and the MGU-H sat in the middle of the V.

"The Ferrari/Renault approach is that you have got the compressor sat at the back of the engine, the MGU-H behind it and the turbine behind that.

"They require a very different approach to your chassis and your gearbox, and now we have had recent experience of both we can see there are pros and cons of both.

"There are things I love about the Renault approach and there are things that frustrate me a little bit, but in the end we were fortunate that the decision to move from one engine to another was made just in time. It couldn't have been made any later."

Goss has explained that the differing requirements of the Renault packaging had an impact on several areas of the car - including the fuel tank, gearbox and rear suspension.

"We had to reconfigure the chassis, change the cooling system and reconfigure the gearbox to make it fit," he said.

"But we've managed that in time without any significant compromise to the chassis. It was quite a big change.

Oliver Turvey, McLaren MCL32 Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32 Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, is attended to by mechanics in the pit lane

"The Renault engine will sit further forward in the chassis. With the Honda you had the air intake that had to come down into the front of the engine, and that volume came out of your fuel cell. So as a result, the chassis was longer.

"But then what you hadn't got was a turbocharger sat off the back of the engine, which then gets in the way of your inboard suspension.. So you ended up with a much easier task at the back of the engine.

"When you move to a Renault, suddenly the front of the engine becomes a lot simpler and as the result we win back a substantial amount of fuel volume.

"You can push the engine forwards and the aerodynamic blockage of the engine and exhaust is considerably better, because that has moved forwards behind the chassis.

"But then you have a turbocharger that is sat in the bell housing and, as a result, to accommodate that you have to redesign your rear suspension internals and lengthen the gearbox.

"But we've done a fantastic job. A really fantastic job. It was very, very intense. We had pretty much two weeks of very intense effort to get it sorted, but we knew pretty much what we needed to do."

Performance step

McLaren's chassis was regarded as one of the best in the field last year, although a lack of power made it difficult to judge exactly where it compared to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

But although the team is upbeat about carrying forward its promise in to 2018, Goss is well aware of the opportunities all teams will have to revamp their designs and make a big jump forward.

"Obviously you choose the architecture of the car at the beginning of the season, and there are some things that are built in that you cannot really change during the season," he said.

"So when you redesign the car, that is your opportunity to make those changes. I think people will, through looking around at other cars, be able to make those changes.

"You would expect there to be a step and, given the cars are relatively immature, you would expect it to be a bigger step than in previous seasons."

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Haas following Force India trajectory in F1 - Magnussen

Haas following Force India trajectory in F1 - Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen believes Haas's first two seasons show it has the potential to emulate Formula 1's overachiever Force India.
Haas has finished both its years in F1 so far in eighth in the constructors' championship, while last season Force India scored its biggest ever points haul as it repeated its fourth position of 2016 despite having the smallest budget in the field.

Magnussen said Haas's form so far compared to Force India's 10th in its debut F1 year in 2008 and ninth the year after showed his team's potential.

"I'm very confident we can go forward and [show that] small teams can do well; Force India are showing that," Magnussen told Motorsport.com.

"If you look at Force India's first couple of seasons in Formula 1, as a new team we've raced and done better, so it's looking good and I think the team is going in the right direction."

While Haas was started up from scratch for the 2016 season by NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas, Force India was created through Vijay Mallya's purchase of what had been the Jordan/Midland/Spyker team.

But though Haas is a completely new team, it has benefited from a technology sharing partnership with Ferrari.

Force India also achieved a pole position and second-place finish in the Belgian Grand Prix in its second F1 season, while Haas finished in the top six in its first two GPs but has only done so once since.

Magnussen left Renault to join Haas in 2017, and watched his former team improve from ninth to sixth in the constructors' championship.

But Magnussen believes competing with Renault in 2018 is a realistic target for Haas.

"Renault are doing well, but I just feel very good here and I feel that we can improve and take the fight to Renault next year if we get everything right," he said.

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Kubica had enough chances to prove himself - Chandhok

Kubica had enough chances to prove himself - Chandhok

Robert Kubica had enough opportunities to prove he was capable of making a competitive racing comeback in Formula 1 this season, says Karun Chandhok.
Renault ran Kubica in 2017 machinery in August before Williams picked up the baton and gave him mileage in a 2014-spec car before testing him in 2017 machinery.

After analysing the data, Williams decided against signing him alongside Lance Stroll for the 2018 campaign.

Sergey Sirotkin got the drive, although Kubica was handed a reserve and development driver role with the Grove-based team.

Ex-F1 driver Chandhok said it was "a shame" Kubica did not get the race seat but felt he had an adequate chance to prove his credentials.

"It's a shame for him, but I think they gave him plenty of opportunities to really prove that he deserves a seat in a meritocratic way," said Chandhok, who was speaking during a live podcast recording at Autosport International.

"I can't think of many other drivers who have had this many opportunities with two teams to test and prove themselves capable of having a race seat.

"I don't think you can say he hasn't had a fair chance to be evaluated.

"I know Robert quite well. We've been friends since we raced together in World Series in 2005 and he's a great lad and at his peak before his accident he was utterly brilliant.

"But the reality is teams can't hire drivers based on the past, they have to hire drivers based on their circumstances and their performance today.

"It's a shame for the sport and for Robert obviously that it's not worked out."

Former Jordan technical director Gary Anderson believes Kubica's financial situation played a bigger part in him being overlooked.

"I think it's more down to the bank balance that he's missing out at the end of the day," he said.

"I believe in his talent. I don't think you can actually just jump into a Renault F1 car or a Williams F1 car for a one-day test as such and just drive the wheels off it.

"I think [if] the long-run pace was there, you know the one-lap pace will come because you just need to have confidence in the car around you.

"Unfortunately I think he's losing out because of bank balance - he's not able to come up with the money that's required."

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Nigel Mansell: Williams can overcome driver line-up's inexperience

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Williams can still succeed in the 2018 Formula 1 campaign with Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin as driver inexperience is no longer a handicap, says 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell.

Sirotkin and Stroll are the youngest pairing on the F1 grid, with a combined age of 41 - which is three years older than Kimi Raikkonen.

Williams signed Robert Kubica as its development and reserve driver, with the aim of using his experience to provide support to the drivers and push car development.

Mansell said that while having an inexperienced line-up in previous years would have been challenging, modern day F1 cars are easier to drive and therefore it is less of an issue.
"In years gone by, without the computer aids, I'd be concerned by two young drivers in the team," Mansell, who was a star guest at last weekend's Autosport International show, told Autosport.

"That is not so much the case now with so many support engineers and so much information.

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"A Formula 1 car, until it is handed over to the driver at a certain speed, drives itself now. So they will get a lot of support.

"I hope if the car is good that there'll be some races where they can shine. I hope they don't fall down the grid."

Kubica will conduct extensive simulator testing alongside on-track duties that will extend to pre-season and in-season testing plus some appearances in Friday practice sessions at grands prix.

Mansell said Sirotkin and Stroll can learn a lot from working with 2008 Canadian Grand Prix winner Kubica, who was tipped as a future world champion before his rallying accident, this season.

"It depends how much experience a driver has got of winning and competing at a high level," said Mansell.

"Competing at a high level is one thing, winning at a high level is another thing.

"I find it interesting having been team-mates with world champions and working with all of them closely, you tend to learn an awful lot real quick.

"You have more insight. It always interests me to get someone else's perspective."

 

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Thanks for putting all this together. 

Instead of combing through all the different F1 sites I got bookmarked, I can just read through this thread! Perfect. 

  • Thanks 1

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35 minutes ago, Martin_F said:

Thanks for putting all this together. 

Instead of combing through all the different F1 sites I got bookmarked, I can just read through this thread! Perfect. 

Thanks Martin - You're welcome bud. :) Thanks for reading

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17 hours ago, MIKA27 said:

Kubica had enough chances to prove himself - Chandhok

Kubica had enough chances to prove himself - Chandhok

Robert Kubica had enough opportunities to prove he was capable of making a competitive racing comeback in Formula 1 this season, says Karun Chandhok.
Renault ran Kubica in 2017 machinery in August before Williams picked up the baton and gave him mileage in a 2014-spec car before testing him in 2017 machinery.

I thought they signed Robert Kubica to a back up driver role?

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18 minutes ago, BrightonCorgi said:

I thought they signed Robert Kubica to a back up driver role?

They did, he is Williams' reserve and development driver now.

What Chandhok is saying, is that he had enough chance to prove himself to get the race seat.

In my opinion it's all BS though, because the gave Sirotkin the seat for financial reasons, not abilities.

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