Force India has over performed for money they spend, but next season with McLaren switching to Renault power they could be under threat. How does deputy team principal Bob Fernley believe the team can counter that change?
Force India faces “significant” threat
Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley believes that the team will face a “significant” threat from McLaren and Renault this year. Force India finished fourth in the constructors’ championship for the second successive year, finishing a comfortably ahead of fifth-placed Williams.
Fernley is aware of Renault’s progress jumping from ninth to sixth place at the last race in Abu Dhabi. McLaren is switching to Renault power next season meaning they could become competitive and pose a threat in the midfield.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Fernley said, “Caution would be both Renault and McLaren look quite handy so make sure we focus on the winter.”
“They are a significant threat and we need to take it seriously. We need to do quite a bit of work ourselves to make sure that we accommodate that. There will be no quarter given for those three cars. The three teams will be locked into a massive battle.”
Force India operates on one of the smallest budgets in Formula One, while its main rivals McLaren and Renault operate on around one hundred and fifty to seventy-five million.
Fernley says that it will always be difficult to compete against the bigger budgets, but they have managed to compete against them for the past two seasons and there is no reason for that not to continue.
Formula One careers are on average getting longer as drivers start earlier and race longer. But why does Romain Grosjean believe he can continue racing until he’s forty?
Grosjean eyes long career
Romain Grosjean says that he has not got any plans to retire from Formula One and feels he will be able to race in the sport until he is forty.
The Frenchman made his debut with Renault in 2009, before taking a brief break from the sport between 2010 and 2011, return with Lotus where he stays for four seasons before joining Haas in 2016. It remains unclear whether he will stay at Haas for a fourth season, or pursue a move elsewhere on the grid.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Grosjean said “I still have a long way to go to the end. I started when I was 27 really in Formula 1, so I feel like I can go a long way, maybe 40, or just before 40. I still believe I’ve got eight, nine seasons ahead, so I’m pretty good.”
Grosjean wants to return to Renault and says he still has a good relationship with his former team. He said he would like to win with Haas.
F1 Live held its first event in 2017. This week, Liberty outlined plans for more this year. So what can fans expect in 2018?
Plans for more F1 Live’s in 2018
Formula One is planning five more F1 Live demo events in five cities around the world this year. The first F1 Live took place with little organisation in London in July last year, where 100,000 fans attended the event with just two days notice.
The London event proved successful and has convinced the sports owners Liberty Media that it can be replicated around the world. In a BBC interview last year, CEO Chase Carey said they wanted every race to be like the Super Bowl.
Speaking to Auto Motor und Sport about 2018 events, Bratches told Auto Motor und Sport “We plan something similar in Marseille, Berlin, Milan, Shanghai and Miami, but not with so many cars.”
“We believe that this contact of Formula One with the audience outside the racetrack is important. It also carries our message to people we would not otherwise reach. Formula One has been so exclusive over the years, that it was only accessible to interested people.”
Five cities have been chosen mostly in Europe to host events in 2018. Marseille and Berlin are expected to be key drivers this year as France and Germany returning to the calendar.
It’s a job of teams to find loopholes in regulations which cause political debate. This season looks set to be around T-wings again, and as teams look for new areas to exploit will T-wings be centre stage?
The new battle on car design
A new battleground is set to open up for designers over low T-wings to recover lost downforce from the rear of the cars. A loop in last season’s technical regulations allowed high T-wings on the top of engine covers, allowing teams to boost performance.
Teams are aware of the benefit from wings like this, and in a bid to find an alternative solution. As teams looked to find a way around the new regulation which says that “ no bodywork forward of the rear wheel centre line may lie above a line parallel to the diagonal boundary defined in a) [a rule that defines the dimension of the engine cover] and intersecting the rear wheel centre line 650mm above the reference plane.”
This year the teams have a better understanding of the current technical regulations, which should see them make gains this season. The way teams choose to channel air around the car is a vital area in terms of performance.
Speaking to Autosport, McLaren’s technical director Tim Goss, said “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.”
Renault will be suppling both Red Bull and McLaren in 2018. Both teams have been publicly critical of their engine suppliers in the past. But why is the French manufacturer looking forward to that challenge?
Renault admits challenge in managing expectations
Renault admits it is expecting a challenge to manage the expectations of both Red Bull and McLaren this season. Renault has often had a fractious relationship with Red Bull who have publicly argued and have parted with Toro Rosso.
McLaren has switched to Renault after three difficult seasons with Honda, where they were publicly critical of the Japanese manufacturer. However, four times champion and Renault’s advisor Alian Prost believes that will create “positive pressure” on the manufacturer to lift its game in 2018.
Renault F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com the prospect of managing expectations for two former championship-winning teams would be “challenging”.
“Actually, I think there is more positives than there is some negative in those relationships, even though I accept it’s going to be high maintenance and going to be an interesting season to manage,” Abiteboul said.
“I think it’s interesting because it’s challenging – but at the same time it’s providing motivation to everyone.” Abiteboul says there is pride in the fact that Renault is supplying other great teams and drivers.
Adding “Also, I believe McLaren has a wealth of experience and can show us the way to push our engine, but also new ways of making sure we have a winning package. Frankly, I’m looking forward to it.”
That’s all from Reporters for this week goodbye