Rumour and gossip from the F1 paddock
Liberty Media’s F1 marketing boss SEAN BRATCHES has been working hard on trying to inaugurate a MIAMI GRAND PRIX, from as early as next year, around a street circuit within the city. Reportedly for no fee, so keen is he to have a race in a ‘destination city’. Miami councillors approved the plan in mid-May for a 10-year deal, starting in October 2019. The council released the following statement: “A resolution of the Miami City Commission supporting the efforts to bring the Formula 1 racing circuit to the city of Miami for the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix from 2019 to 2028, and to direct the city manager to formalise the necessary contractual agreement between the City of Miami and the Formula 1 World Championship Limited.”
McLaren’s engineering chief TIM GOSS, Sauber’s technical director JORG ZANDER and Williams’ chief designer ED WOOD have all parted company with their teams. In the case of Goss and Wood, it comes after very disappointing performances of their respective teams’ 2018 cars.
Pre-season changes to the wording of the regulations to restrict ENGINE OIL BURN are understood to have impacted also upon Mercedes’ ability to use pressure-injection to help with piston lubrication. This has required steel rather than the previous aluminium pistons in order to achieve the required reliability for the three-engine-per-season rule and this in turn is suspected to have compromised the qualifying engine mode used this year. “I think at the moment, in qualifying, [Ferrari] has a small advantage,” said Mercedes’ engine chief ANDY COWELL in Barcelona, “but in racing conditions I suspect we still have a small advantage.”
Intrigue surrounds how the FIA managed to change the minds of key teams about supporting the proposed 2019 AERO REGULATIONS in between the Azerbaijan and Spanish Grands Prix. The changes were approved by the F1 Commission, including votes in favour from Ferrari and Mercedes, both of which had been opposed only days before. A Ferrari spokesman confirmed that there had been a ‘trade-off’, leading to speculation that the 2021 engine regulations will now be much closer to what Ferrari and Mercedes want and which therefore might include the ERS-H, which previously was set to be deleted.
The FIA announced pre-Baku that teams could mount their mirrors on the HALO if they wished, in order to improve visibility. Ferrari was quick to take advantage, turning up at Barcelona with a combined mirror/flow conditioner that enhanced aero performance. The FIA was not impressed and suggested the device be removed by the following race.
ROBERT KUBICA made his Williams Friday test driver debut in Barcelona and didn’t hold back about how bad the FW41 was. “The problems with the car are exactly the same as three months ago [in testing]! I’m not the right person to go too much into the details. We know exactly what our car’s weakest part is. We’ve started a project which should help us to understand better, improve it and hopefully solve it completely. But it’s not a question of one day or one month – probably it’s even more. So we have to be patient. Miracles will not happen. Coming to Barcelona, I was expecting to be in a difficult situation and FP1 was even more difficult than expected. We will try to help our main drivers with the balance of the car, to make it easier for them to drive. Performance is a different story. We have to fix our many issues, in order to think about performance and try to attract the maximum from what we have. We have to somehow understand we’re in this situation, but apart from being slow, it was nearly impossible to keep the car on the track. You can make set-up changes to the car and they have an effect but they are not the dominant characteristics, because the basic issues are so serious.”