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Reporters – 21/04/2019

Changing qualifying wasn’t a success in 2016, but now the idea has emerged of creating a Q4 session to mix up qualifying has been suggested. Teams while open-minded about the idea, are saying it will need more tyres so is it worth the change?

Teams remain sceptical about Q4

F1 teams are sceptical that adding another section to qualifying next year will work unless they are given more tyres by Pirelli. In Bahrain, it was reported teams pushed forward with the idea of a four-session knockout qualifying at the recent Strategy Group and F1 Commission meetings.

However, the key to agreeing to the proposals was the simulations by a computer to find out how and if it could work, as well as whether or not drivers will have enough tyres to get through to the end.

It is understood that Pirelli is reluctant to provide extra sets free of charge for 2020, and teams will not want to approve a Q4 switch if there is a chance driver could run out of rubber.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the early indications were that the current allocation of 13 sets per weekend was probably not enough to work with the Q4 format.

He told Motorsport.com, “What you don’t want to end up with is cars not running in Q4 because there are no tyres left. So are there enough tyres to support the initiative? We’re open to any ideas but you have to really do your homework to make sure we don’t just change for the sake of change.”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says that it was important that the Q4 simulations were done properly to ensure there was no risk of trouble if it was approved.

Mercedes have made a impressive start to the season with three one two finishes. But could the team go on to repeat the feat of Williams by winning over half the races this season, Ross Brawn believes not but why?

2019 not going to be a repeat of 1992

F1’s managing director for motorsport and technical director Ross Brawn believes that Mercedes three one-two finishes in the first three races does not mean a repeat of 1992 when then-dominant Williams did the same and ran away with the title.

The most successful technical director in the sport’s history, believes that the situation was very different now to the last time a team started the campaign with three one-twos in a row. In his post-race report, the Englishman said “Despite the statistics being racked up by Mercedes, I don’t believe that 2019 will follow the same script as 1992.”

“The three consecutive one-two finishes scored by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are definitely down to a team that is operating to perfection at the moment, with a top-notch technical package. But it’s also fair to say it is up against stronger opposition than was Williams back in 1992.”

In that year Williams ten out of sixteen races and the most podiums.

 

As Williams continues to struggle at the back of the grid, George Russell believes that despite the teams struggles that it won’t harm his future. He says that he remains committed to moving the team up the grid.

Williams struggles won’t hurt – Russell

George Russell believes that the struggles of his Williams team will not hurt his future career because close observers, including Mercedes, know how he is performing in the circumstances.

The Englishman became a Mercedes driver in 2017, before winning back to back titles in GP3 and F2 last year, and has signed a multi-year deal with both the German manufacturer and Williams. However, the team is considerably slower and is firmly rooted to the back of the grid.

Speaking ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Russell told Autosport, “Nobody realises in the outside world but the people who will make a difference to my career moving forward, they know exactly how my performance is and they are keeping a close eye on that.”

During the race in Bahrain, Russell ran as high as twelfth during the pit stops, but a late safety car that prevented Russell falling three laps behind the leaders. But he did finish once again ahead of his more experienced teammate Robert Kubica.

He added, “My aspirations are to get the team further up the grid and make the most of sessions that are a bit trickier, maybe mixed conditions, and prove what I can do behind the wheel,” he said.

“The guys here, the guys at Mercedes, they know exactly how I’m performing. From my side, they’re the only people who need to know.

Russell believes from the outside that it is difficult for fans to fully understand whether a driver is doing a good job or not and that the people who know how he is performing know.

Russell reprised his 2017 and ’18 testing role with Mercedes in Bahrain last week.

He swapped his Williams for the 2019 Mercedes and set the fastest time of the two-day test, impressing the team in the process. Mercedes chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin said: “It’s been great to have George back in our car and many thanks to Williams for allowing it.”

 

Post-qualifying in Shanghai Max Verstappen, who lost out in the closing moments accused his rivals of breaking a ‘Gentleman’s agreement’. But why was he so angry?

Verstappen accuses rivals of breaking ‘Gentleman’s agreement’

Max Verstappen has accused his rivals of breaking a ‘Gentleman’s agreement’ after being caught in traffic as he went to start his final lap in the closing moments of Q3.

The Red Bull driver had gone a provisionally fourth following his first run, but as times fell in the closing moments he was pushed to fifth and left unable to respond. The traffic meant that he was unable to make it to the start line before the clock ticked down to zero, meaning he missed out on a final qualifying lap.

His response on team radio featured many expletives, “They are such [bleep], honestly. Everyone is just lining up and they are f—— it up. I’m just trying to be nice, but everyone is f—— it up.”

Speaking to the media after the session, Verstappen insisted there’s an unwritten rule amongst drivers when preparing for a qualifying lap.

He said, “I was just staying behind the Ferrari [of Sebastian Vettel] because with two corners to go, it’s basically like a kind of a gentleman’s agreement that you stay behind. This time it caught me out. I’m not happy about it, but it will swing around and it will come back onto others. Now we just have to do some more overtaking.”

“I think everybody just went a bit too late. Even if I would have gone, the cars behind me wouldn’t have made it. I could start my lap behind them, but then your lap is ruined. You need at least four, five seconds because you get disturbed by the dirty air.”

What made it worst for Verstappen, was that Charles Leclerc did not encounter the same traffic and was able to improve. The Dutchman is confident he could have challenged the Ferraris for a second row start.

“It’s really annoying because we could have fought for third today,” Verstappen said.

Verstappen wasn’t the only driver to miss out on a final run in Q3. Teammate Pierre Gasly also failed to cross the line in time, as did Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.

 

As F1 prepares to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger’s deaths The Vatican will get a bust off the three times champion…

The Vatican to get a sculpture of Ayrton Senna

Pope Francis is to be presented will be presented with a special bronze sculpture of Ayrton Senna on Wednesday, as part of a tribute ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Brazilian’s death.

The artwork was created by Senna’s niece Paula Senna Lalli and is to be presented by her sister Bianca, who is a director of the Ayrton Senna Institute. The sculpture will then become part of the Vatican Museum.

The commission for the Senna bust, called ‘Meu Ayrton’, came from the three-time world champion’s mother Neyde Senna three years ago, and the ceremony will be its public unveiling.

Senna Lalli said: “I was very proud to be given this mission by my grandmother, who wanted to portray the way he is remembered by the family with lots of warmth.

“I took on the challenge, even though I knew it would be hard: not many masterpieces like this are approved by our family, and even fewer by grandma [Senna’s mother], who is known for having high standards.”

Further commemoration events are planned to take place at Imola, Donnington Park and Interlagos in late April and early May. As well as for Roland Ratzenberger.

 

And that’s all from Reporters for this week, goodbye and happy Easter

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Jack Fielding
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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