Alonso admits he nearly walked away
Fernando Alonso has admitted he thought about walking away from Formula One amid the McLaren engine dispute with there supplier Honda.
But the two-time champion decided to stay with the team because he would “regretted” finishing his career on a low note for the rest of his life. In an interview with F1 Racing, he spoke about his thought process.
He said, “I did think about the possibility of changing series and stopping Formula One After I did the Indy 500 last year, when I came back there were a couple of races in Austria, Silverstone, when I thought ‘maybe next year I could try a different series.”
“I could do full commitment to the triple crown and do Indy and Le Mans and maybe that’s the best thing’. But I felt it was not the time for me to step out – not right now, not after these results, not with this feeling… I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life.”
The two times champion has not scored a podium since 2014, he returned to McLaren the following season. However, the teams switch to Honda power saw the team drop to the back of the field. This season the team has switched to Renault power.
Alonso says there is unfinished business for him and McLaren, adding “I think this year is the time all these things will change. I feel pretty sure about that.”
In testing, the team showed some pace, but reliability hampered the teams running with five failures on track. But he remains hopeful that they are able to return to “normality” when the new season begins in Australia next week after three years he admits have been “difficult”.
Renault says it would back cost cap
Renault’s chief technical officer Bob Bell says that the manufacturer would back a cost cap if it was the best way to reduce Formula One team’s expenditure.
The sports owners Liberty Media have been keen to address the disparity in income and expenditure gap, between the top teams and manufacturers and independent teams. A cost cap is one possibility, while standardisation of some parts is another way to drive budgets down.
Renault believes that the situation is serious enough to support either policy despite its manufacturer status, policies have traditionally been backed most strongly by the independent teams. Speaking to Autosport, Bell said “Renault is in favour of a reduction in the amount of money it costs to go Formula One racing and be successful,” Bell said.”
“At the minute the disparity in cost between the teams, income and expenditure, is huge. It shouldn’t cost as much as it does to be successful in Formula One. We need to find ways to pull costs down and level the playing field.”
Bell says the manufacturer is up for any initiative to drive down costs because he says that no one would voluntarily sign up to spending more money. The teams which entered the sport in 2010 Virgin (Manor), Louts and HRT all collapsed over costs.
Those teams believed they would operate under a cost cap of £26.5 million a season. But Renault along with the other big teams vetoed the move threating to walk away.
Bell said, “Realistically Formula 1 needs to get itself to a point where any team on the grid can sustain its situation and not keep losing money.”
“You take a team like Force India [fourth in the constructors’ championship the previous two seasons], they’ve been kept alive in recent years by Vijay [Mallya] putting in money”
Pirelli announces tyre allocations for Melbourne
Pirelli has announced the driver’s tyre allocations for next weekends season-opening Australian Grand Prix. For the race, the tyre manufacturer has gone for the midrange of soft tyres which it bought last year, with the soft, supersoft and ultrasoft.
Both Mercedes and Williams have nine sets of the purple ultrasoft tyre, however, they have varied the rest of their allocation. Lewis Hamilton and Sergey Sirotkin has three supersofts and a soft, and teammates Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll have spilt the rest to give himself two sets of both the supersofts and a soft.
Ferrari, Red Bull, Renault and Toro Rosso have all chosen the same allocations for both their drivers. Ferrari and Renault, going for seven ultrasofts, three of both the supersofts and softs. While the Red Bull and junior team Toro Rosso as well as Force India going for eight ultrasofts, three supersofts and two softs.
Both McLarens have nine ultrasofts with two of each of the supersofts and softs. Haas have chosen eight ultrasofts, but Romain Grosjean has four supersofts and a soft while Kevin Magnussen has three supersofts and two hards.
Both Sauber’s have eight ultrasofts, but Marcus Ericson has three supersofts and two soft, while teammate Charles Leclerc has two supersofts and three softs.
Bottas admits beating himself up after losing out
Valtteri Bottas has admitted to beating himself up last season after losing out to his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. Bottas is entering his second season with the team after he was brought into replace Nico Rosberg at the end of 2016.
After his first season with the team, Bottas says he will deal with defeat differently in 2018 and look to play to his strengths this season.
He told ESPN “Lewis is a great driver and I should never get upset if he is quicker than me at times. Then I just need to accept it and learn from those races.”
“For sure, I was beating myself up a lot last year when I was struggling but that’s all part of the learning process and you always learn about yourself as well every season.” Bottas says he is going into the season with a good mind set, but was taking a race by race approach.
Bottas says for a long term contract with Mercedes he need to perform at every race and perform at the same level as Hamilton. But he has again ruled ut trying to gain a psychological advantage off the track in the same way Rosberg did during his time as Hamilton’s teammate.
“Well, I’m not going to go into a complete mental fight within the team. Instead of that I’m going to focus on my own performance on the track. I will be quick in practice, qualifying and in the races, focusing my energy on that.” He added.
Mercedes and Tibco expend partnership
The US technology firm TIBCO and Mercedes have announced their partnership for the 2018 season. The company describes itself as a global leader in integration, API management, and analytics.
The deal will see TIBCO provide strategic decisions based on data collected from the teams 2018 car. It says that the new Wo9 is one of the most advanced machine ever created by the organization, the W09 is the product of an advanced digital development ecosystem, created with the help of TIBCO.
Thomas Been, chief marketing officer, TIBCO said “Formula One as a sport is a combination of the highest performance, sharpest technology, and most collaborative teamwork. As such, it is similar to what many of our customers need to embrace for a successful digital transformation.”
“The nature of data and digital are continuing to change the Formula One sport, from design and collaboration to strategy and real-time decisions. This sets a great example for any company looking to transform and lead with digital technology.”!
Team Principal and Mercedes executive director, Toto Wolff said “We continuously find ourselves driven by each other as a team, whether that’s the motivation of the drivers to win on track, our engineers working in the factory to test every possible race scenario.”
“Innovative partners like TIBCO who take our work to the next level with advanced technology. TIBCO’s sophisticated solutions provide our team with visual data about the car’s performance that clearly distinguishes relevant information from the rest