Mercedes chief ‘aligned’ with Ferrari

Date published: January 19 2018

Mercedes may not have been as vocal as Ferrari in criticising Liberty’s vision for the future, however, Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche says they are on the same page.

Earlier this year Liberty Media released their blueprint for Formula 1’s future with regards to engines. It included standardise parts, a single turbo and the removal of the MGU-H.

Ferrari immediately hit out, saying if Formula 1 went down that road, it would have to do it without the Scuderia.

And although Mercedes were a little less vocal in their criticism, Zetsche supports Ferrari’s stance.

“We are the good cop and the bad cop,” he told Autocar.

“We beat each other like crazy on the track and try to get every tenth of a second of advantage but at the same time we are 100 percent aligned on our thoughts in Formula 1 and our strategic actions in Formula 1. 

“We are good friends.”

He added: “We are there to stay in Formula 1 but of course the platform itself has to stay meaningful and develop positively.”

Zetsche also weighed in on the lack of competition in Formula 1, saying it is up to Mercedes’ rivals to close the gap – something he insists he would like to see happen.

“I have said many times the best outcome would be winning the championship by one point in the last race. Being on the track last half of last season I was not that sure of my statement! 

“To be clear, we want to be successful and we want the platform to be successful and when one is dominant that doesn’t help. 

“We need stronger competitors and rule changes which give new cars to everybody and to some extent, this last season was that change.”

Giovinazzi in the dark over Kyvat’s role

Date published: January 18 2018

Antonio Giovinazzi says he has no idea what new development driver Daniil Kvyat will be doing at Ferrari as he will continue on as the team’s official reserve driver.

Last week Ferrari announced that Kvyat, dropped from the Red Bull family in 2017, had signed on as the “Scuderia Ferrari’s development driver.”

What exactly that role will entail, though, is uncertain.

With Giovinazzi hinting that he will continue on as the team’s official test driver, he says he may or may not work alongside Kvyat – he really doesn’t know.

“I’ve raced with him back in karting,” Giovinazzi told Express Sport.

“He’ll be there in Ferrari but I don’t know the programme of him.

“Maybe [I’ll work with him] but I don’t know.”

Agag sceptical of Ferrari’s quit threat

Date published: January 13 2018

Formula E boss Alejandro Agag has labelled Ferrari’s quit threat as a mere “negotiation tactic” and does not believe any branch of the Fiat company is heading to the all-electric series any time soon.

Ferrari are unhappy with the initial vision released by the FIA and Liberty Media about where Formula 1 should be heading in 2021 and beyond, and have threatened to quit the sport altogether if the regulations are not to their liking.

This is not the first time the Scuderia have threatened to throw in the towel, but Agag feels this is Ferrari once again creating some leverage in future negotiations.

“I think it does this [quit threat] probably in this moment to get a better negotiating position with F1,” Agag told ESPN.

“I guess they are going to have a negotiation soon about the new contract. So that is probably more a tactical move than a real move.”

Agag has ruled out Ferrari, or any other company under the Fiat branch in fact, from joining Formula E in the near future but does think it will eventually happen.

“I haven’t had any direct discussions with Sergio Marchionne or Ferrari, and Fiat is a group that has not done so much on electric,” he added.

“I think they will eventually, but I think it will take time for them. Of course we would love to have them, but I don’t see this happening soon.”

Ferrari sign Kvyat as 2018 development driver

Date published: January 11 2018

Daniil Kvyat has been handed a Formula 1 lifeline by Ferrari, signing as their development driver for the 2018 season.

Dropped by Toro Rosso and the Red Bull family as a whole after last year’s United States GP, Kvyat turned to Williams seeking a race-seat.

That, though, failed to materialise with the team reportedly set to sign his compatriot Sergey Sirotkin.

And with Sirotkin’s drive all but confirmed, completing the 2018 grid, Kvyat was forced to look at other sources for employment.

Ferrari have announced that they have signed him as their development drive, a role that means simulator work and possible on-track testing.

It does, however, keep Kvyat in Formula 1 with a possibility of reclaiming a race-seat down the line.

Newey reveals Ferrari made ‘three’ offers

Date published: January 9 2018

Adrian Newey came “close” to joining Ferrari on three occasions but in the end felt it would be “wrong” to walk away from Red Bull.

Newey, rated as one of the best designers in Formula 1, has had an illustrious career, working – and winning – with Williams, McLaren and Red Bull Racing.

However, one top team that he never worked for is Ferrari – despite their many efforts to sign him.

“It’s come close three times,” Newey told Sky Sports F1.

“Initially in my IndyCar career where Ferrari decided to build an IndyCar, I was offered to join as chief designer on their project but didn’t feel it was right so I turned that one down.

“Then, much more seriously, Jean Todt offered for me to join as technical director in 1996. At that point, I had offers to stay at Williams, join McLaren or join Ferrari.

“I thought long and hard about it but I had a young family at the time, and decided I wanted to stay in the UK.”

Years later Ferrari may a third attempt at signing Newey, who acknowledges that he gave it some thought in light of the fact that Renault, Red Bull’s engine partner, were letting them down at the time.

However, in the end, he opted to remain with Red Bull Racing.

“It became evident that the Renault was a long way behind the Mercedes in particular and to some extent the Ferrari – with no obvious end in sight,” Newey added.

“Renault didn’t seem to be willing to put the funding in to really sort the problem out, which was the depressing and worrying bit.

“I was in a bit of a difficult position. I didn’t want to walk out of Red Bull because it feels like home and I’d been heavily involved from the start with Christian [Horner, team principal], building the team up from the ashes of Jaguar to where it was today.

“I didn’t want to walk out on that but equally I didn’t want to be in a position where we were operating with one hand tied behind our back in the engine department.

“It was a very difficult decision. Ferrari came up with an incredible offer, very attractive, and it caused me a lot of sleepless nights deciding what to do and who to go for. In the end, it would have felt wrong to walk out on Red Bull.”

Raikkonen’s race engineer off to WEC

Date published: January 9 2018

Kimi Raikkonen will have a new race engineer this season as David Greenwood has left Ferrari in favour of a role in the World Endurance Championship.

Greenwood worked as Marussia’s chief engineer from 2012 to 2014 before heading over to Ferrari.

However, having spent three years as Raikkonen’s race engineer, he is now taking up a role in the new Manor LMP1 project in the World Endurance Championship.

Ferrari have yet to confirm his replacement.

Greenwood reportedly left Ferrari for personal reasons.

Vettel: Final step for Ferrari will be hardest

Date published: January 5 2018

Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari’s final step toward winning titles again will be the “hardest” one to take, but thinks the Scuderia have a solid platform to build on.

2017 saw a long-awaited revival from Ferrari but that ultimately could not be sustained over the entire season as Mercedes eventually came out on top again.

With Vettel now preparing to go head-to-head with fellow four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, he is optimistic that Ferrari have what it takes to complete the final step on the road to recovery.

“Obviously the regulations stay roughly the same. I think we have a good and healthy platform to build on at the beginning of the year so I hope we can continue,” Vettel told Autosport.

“What we have to do is take that final step. If you look back it’s always that final step that’s the hardest.

“There’s a lot of work going on already and for the last couple of months focusing on next year, trying to make the car faster, with more power into the power unit, and then we’ll see where we are.”

Vettel thinks it has mostly been “good news” for Ferrari since the introduction of the new aerodynamic regulations in 2017 and is hoping to be a title contender once again in 2018.

“In the end as a driver you want to win, and obviously when you are competitive at the beginning you don’t know if it will be enough to fight for the championship,” he added.

“Usually it’s a no-brainer: if the car is quick and you are doing your job well then as the season progress it will lead you to good news or bad news.

“For the most of it I think it’s been good news.

“There were a couple of weeks that were quite painful for us, but overall it’s always great if you have a package that you can take to the fight.”