We understand that McLaren management has looked very hard at whether it would be possible to exit its contract with Honda, in order to take on a supply of customer Mercedes engines for the balance of the season. The conclusion was that it was contractually impossible, but that does not necessarily mean it won’t happen. If it does, compensation will have to be paid. It would also obviously mean foregoing the rumoured $100 million annual budget contribution from the Japanese manufacturer. But the team’s owner is essentially the Bahrain government sovereign wealth fund…
Sauber is rumoured to be the default team for Honda should it part with McLaren. The Swiss team currently runs 2016-spec Ferrari motors. The expectation was that it would become the second Honda team in 2018. It could yet become the first in 2017….
Ferrari’s third driver, 2016 GP2 runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi, made an unexpected F1 debut in Australia, replacing the injured Pascal Wehrlein at Sauber from Saturday morning onwards. There was disbelief that Wehrlein’s injuries – sustained in the Race of Champions – were the real reason. He had completed hundreds of test laps at Barcelona and been declared fit by the FIA medical delegate in Australia. Does Ferrari want to get a reading on Giovinazzi’s level of performance for 2018?
Renault resolved its winter reliability problems by reverting to the 2016-spec ers-H unit for Melbourne. It’s 5kg heavier but proved totally reliable.
Mercedes’ new Formula 1 technical director James Allison recently turned up to work at the Brackley factory in his classic ’70s mauve Volkswagen Camper.
Cockpit halos are still currently being planned for 2018 introduction.