Vettel: We have positive expectations ahead of 2018

Date published: February 23 2018

Sebastian Vettel is “confident” Ferrari’s new SF71H will be a “good” car, but how good remains to be seen.

The German was on hand at Maranello on Thursday to take the covers off the Scuderia’s 2018 challenger.

It is the car that Vettel hopes will carry him to his first World title with Ferrari after missing out last season.

He had been leading the championship through to the Italian Grand Prix but a spate of poor races meant Lewis Hamilton took control, and the title.

Vettel is hoping to bounce back this season.

“Well, I think we always have some positive expectation,” he said.

“The amount of work that goes into a new car is immense, it’s not just the work of the winter.

“Work on this started quite early during last season to look after this year’s car, and this is the result.

“Exciting times!

“In terms of expectations, it’s always difficult… we’ve worked very hard and we think in the right way.

“The next few weeks will be very important to understand if all the things we’ve thought of start making sense.

“We’re confident the car will be good to drive, and I can’t wait to get a feel.”

Gallery: Ciao to the new Ferrari SF71H

Date published: February 22 2018

Seven down, three to go! Ferrari are the latest to reveal their 2018 challenger, shortly after main rivals Mercedes peeled the covers off the W09.

Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene were all present at a special launch event at the Marenello base.

A section of the Ferrari garage were also invited to celebrate the launch of the new SFH71.

Following the presentation, Ferrari released a small collection of studio shots to allow us all to get a better look at the car.

The new Ferrari is pretty much all-red following the departure of major sponsor Santander. Still enough time for a major sponsor to take its place, however.

Ferrari confirmed that the SFH71 has a longer wheelbase compared to last season, more in line with the title-winning Mercedes W08.

Ferrari also have some aggressively-looking sidepods, a very tightly-packed rear, and the nose/chassis transition vanes have vanished.

Some McLaren-style front wing pillars have also been added.

Check out the other 2018 launches so far:

Red Bull

Ferrari take the covers off the SF71H

Date published: February 22 2018

No sooner had the covers come off the Mercedes W09, Ferrari were hot on their heels with the officially unveiling of their 2018 challenger – the SF71H.

Ferrari re-emerged as Mercedes’ main title threats in 2017 after a strong pre-season was followed up by four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel spearheading the Scuderia’s revival.

The German headed into the summer break with the World Championship lead, but his and Ferrari’s challenge would eventually fade away as dreaded DNFS and reliability issues took hold.

But Ferrari will be hoping those issues will be a thing of the past with the successor to last year’s SF70H.

Toro Rosso, Mercedes and McLaren have all been victim to leaked images of their new cars so far, but Ferrari managed to keep their challenger under wraps until the official launch time of 1400 GMT on Thursday.

Ferrari confirmed at launch that the new car has a longer wheelbase compared to last year and more aggressive-looking sidepods.

Click here for a gallery including studio shots.

First image of Mercedes’ W09

Date published: February 22 2018

Mercedes’ W09 has broken cover a little earlier than planned with a photograph of the new car leaked on social media.

Just a day after Toro Rosso’s STR13 was unveiled through a leaked photo, Mercedes’s W09 has greeted the world in a similar fashion.

The new car, which will be officially unveiled at 12:10GMT at Silverstone, features a tweaked livery and the controversial Halo.

Unfortunately for Mercedes, Sky Sports are reporting that the car didn’t get very far on its first run, breaking down in the pit lane.

Mercedes are conducting a day of filming during the unveil meaning they can cover a maximum of 100kms.

‘Red Bull, Ferrari may make a play for Hamilton’

Date published: February 22 2018

Nigel Mansell says Red Bull or Ferrari may do “something special” to sign Lewis Hamilton, however, at the end of it all he expects the Brit will remain with Mercedes.

Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013 and has won three Drivers’ Championships with the Brackley squad.

But with just 12 months left to run on his current contract, his future has yet to be decided.

Hamilton is in talks with Mercedes about an extension but Mansell reckons if they don’t wrap that up soon, Red Bull or Ferrari may make a play for the driver.

He told Press Association: “I would be very surprised if Lewis did not sign a new deal with Mercedes but if Red Bull or Ferrari were to do something special over the winter by making the jump over Mercedes, and then offer Lewis Hamilton an incredible deal, who knows?.

“At the moment however, Lewis has the world at his feet, he is in the best car and at the best team, so why would you want to change it?

“Some people in their careers are very privileged to be in a strong position and Lewis is one of those because he can afford to be patient.

“When the time is right for him, he will sign on the dotted line.”

Kubica was ‘almost convinced’ he’d race in Australia

Date published: February 22 2018

Although Robert Kubica tried to keep his expectations in check, the Pole has confessed he was “almost convinced” he’d race for Williams at this year’s Australian GP.

Kubica was believed to the frontrunner for the vacant Williams race-seat only to lose it at the final hurdle to Sergey Sirotkin.

Williams threw Kubica, whose F1 career looked to have ended with his 2001 rally crash, a lifeline as they signed him as their reserve driver for the upcoming campaign.

The 33-year-old, though, says for a moment he believed he would be the one racing for Williams.

“The next seven, eight, nine months of the season can bring me closer to this [return],” Autosport reports him as having told Polish newspaper Przegla%u0328d Sportowy.

“I don’t really know how close I was at that moment, but now it’s not important anymore.

“As a rule, I keep expectations low and I have a habit of believing in things only when they happen, but at some point I was almost convinced that I will be taking part in Australia.”

And although Kubica will head to Melbourne as a reserve driver, a moment he is not relishing, he is hoping that it will lead to a race-seat down the line.

“I was thinking about it and to be honest, I don’t think it will be a nice moment for me,” he said.

“Going to races to see other drivers are racing will not be nice, but it’s worth trying in order to come back.

“It may as well just be a part of the long journey I’ve completed so far and I’m glad I found myself at this point.

“I also think that there will be great moments when I’ll feel satisfaction with this role, even though I won’t compete and fight on track.

“I will do everything to have a chance again. I’m aiming to take back what life took away from me to some extent. I hope it wasn’t taken away forever.”

Renault ‘motivated’ by Red Bull, McLaren challenge

Date published: February 22 2018

While Cyril Abiteboul acknowledges that taking on Red Bull and McLaren with the same engine is an “extra challenge” for Renault, it is, he says, also extra motivation.

This season Renault will power two of Formula 1’s biggest teams in Red Bull and McLaren while also seeing to their own works outfit.

It promises to be an interesting campaign for Renault as their improvements will be marked against that of McLaren, who last year were ninth in the championship with Honda engines.

But while McLaren are hoping that their swap to Renault will yield podiums, Red Bull want a title challenge, and Renault reckon they are both good benchmarks for this own team.

“Our strategy in Formula One is very clear,” said managing director Abiteboul. “We are in Formula One as a full works team. 

“The marketing value is associated to the works team and that’s clear.

“However, power unit technology is at the heart of what we do and what we offer. 

“Renault has an amazing track record of supplying engines to the best teams and best drivers, securing many successful results with Formula 1 teams, from Williams to Red Bull. 

“It’s natural to continue that history and stay true to that legacy.

“It’s an honour to supply to teams as big as Red Bull and McLaren and is a recognition of the quality of our product and work that they have chosen Renault. 

“Of course, they are very strong competitors and that’s an extra challenge and motivation. They will clearly be our benchmarks for performance this season.”