Raikkonen’s 2017 season ‘far from ideal’

Date published: November 23 2017

Kimi Raikkonen has said that although he can “live” with his results in 2017, it is “far from ideal” and wants to do a lot better next season.

The Finn’s last victory in Formula 1 came four years ago in Australia and, while he has seven podium finishes to his name this season, he finds himself fifth in the World Championship standings behind Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo.

“It is far from what I wanted, but it is where we ended up,” Raikkonen said in his assessment of the 2017 season.

“That is how it goes. There is one race to go, we try to make the best out of it and then obviously start next year, try to do a lot better.”

 “Obviously I am here to try to win races and win championships, so it is far from ideal.

“But this is how it turned out to be. I can live with it, but it is not why I am here.

“We started pretty poorly at the beginning of the year, not really where we should have been. It has been better since then but then we had too many DNFs and never really recovered from there.”

Alonso announces his own eSports team

Date published: November 23 2017

Fernando Alonso has become the first Formula 1 driver to venture into eSports and head his own team called FA Racing G2 Logitech G.

Alonso has joined forces with McLaren sponsors Logitech and his team will enter a plethora of events in both Formula 1 sim racing as well as other series, too.

“I am a team principal finally,” joked Alonso at the team launch in the Yas Marina paddock. “There will be no meetings very early. We will change completely the way we work!!”

“It is very exciting, and it is a completely new thing to discover.

“I think eSports in other formats has been very successful but in racing, it is at the very beginning, and I think huge potential will come.

“I am happy to be one of the first investing in this direction and I think good and fun times are coming – not only for us, but for gamers at home and for fans.”

Formula 1 commercial boss Sean Bratches has welcomed Alonso’s jump into eSports and believes it is something that will continue to grow within the sport.

“Fernando’s brand has been a pillar of the success of F1 in the linear world, and just like other brands going into other areas, he gives a credibility,” Bratches said.

“A lot of drivers and athletes, in their second career, go into business and I think while this is a fun participatory game, it is competition. It is a big business and it is just getting bigger.

“F1 and Fernando are getting in at the early stages, notwithstanding that it has been around a couple of years.”

Pirelli announce seven compounds for 2018

Date published: November 23 2017

Pirelli have added the ‘super hard’ and ‘hypersoft’ tyres into the mix for the 2018 season, extending the line-up from five different compounds to seven.

The tyres will be the fastest in Formula 1 history as all the compounds are a step softer than the 2017 tyres.

The new additions are a pink-coloured P Zero Pink hypersoft which comes below ultrasoft in the new set-up and Pirelli believe the newest, fastest compound will be suitable for the likes of Monaco where maximum mechanical grip is required.

The ‘super hard’ tyres are the new slowest tyres but they will be coloured orange, with the hard tyres now given an ice blue makeover.

The seven slick compounds will be introduced alongside the new Cinturato intermediates and wets.

Full line-up:

Super hard – Orange
Hard – Blue
Medium – White
Soft – Yellow
Supersoft – Red
Ultrasoft – Purple
Hypersoft – Pink

Head of Car Racing at Pirelli, Mario Isola, is confident the new line-up will lead to more “spectacular” racing in 2018.

“Compared to this year, when the tyres grew by 25% to fit a brand-new generation of cars, the changes for next year are less far-reaching,” said Isola.

“However, we’re pleased to present some important innovations with softer and faster compounds across the range: including the new hypersoft.

“We realised that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative: the tyres we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.

“However, the fundamental design concept of the tyres hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint.

“The new range consists of faster tyres that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”

Alonso struggles to think of Honda memories

Date published: November 23 2017

A disinterested Fernando Alonso was not particularly forthcoming about his good memories involving McLaren-Honda as they prepare to close the final chapter in the relationship.

McLaren-Honda’s divorce will officially go through after the race in Abu Dhabi, bringing an end to a miserable three-year spell between the duo.

Speaking at the final drivers’ press conference of the season, Alonso was not in the mood to re-live a certain race when asked about his good memories of the last three years.

“Erm…I don’t know.” Alonso said after a lengthy pause.

“It’s difficult to pick out one race because obviously the performance was never there.

“Even the P5 in Monaco last year wasn’t as fun as it should have been.

“What I take from the last three years is the commitment and the spirit of the team is amazing.

“I did have some highs and lows with different teams with different performance but it was the first time with the performance we had on Sundays that the team was this committed for the next race and the next step. There was not a single person giving up.”

Alonso also revealed he had high hopes for the Honda partnership, but they have fallen way below his expectations.

He added: “I personally had a lot of expectations for the McLaren-Honda project but we didn’t achieve the results so it’s now time for a change and I’m optimistic.”

Ericsson ‘nervous and worried’ about F1 future

Date published: November 23 2017

Marcus Ericsson has conceded that he is “nervous” that his future with Sauber has still yet to be resolved as Ferrari push for Antonio Giovinazzi to take his seat for 2018.

Sauber are set to become a feeder team for Ferrari after the duo renewed their partnership once the Swiss team cancelled an agreement with Honda.

F2 champion Charles Leclerc is all-but confirmed to take Pascal Wehrlein’s place in the team, but Ericsson is harder to budge given that his financial backers are the same as the ones who fund the team.

Some quarters of the Formula 1 paddock believe Ericsson’s place is secure, but the Swede is still not enjoying being left in the dark.

“[I’m] a bit nervous, it feels a bit weird, going to the last race of the season not having anything sorted for next year,” Ericsson said.

“It is a bit of a worry then but I still feel confident I will be on the grid next year but in this business you can never be sure before you have a contract signed.

“I think from what I understand it’s [the delay] talks with Ferrari and how much collaboration, and what they will include.

“For me that’s what’s been taking the time; Ferrari has bene pushing to get two drivers in the team and I mean that’s the main worry for me at the moment, but that’s not decided yet.

“Otherwise I’m quite hopeful/confident I will be one of the drivers unless Ferrari gets two drivers obviously.”

Ericsson also denied that he has already signed an agreement with Sauber for next season.

When asked if an announcement was due in Abu Dhabi, he replied: “I don’t think so, I don’t know – I haven’t signed anything yet, if there’s an announcement it’s not good for me!”

Vettel and Hamilton joke about Baku clash

Date published: November 23 2017

There was a relaxed atmosphere at the final drivers’ press conference of the season in Abu Dhabi with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton sharing jokes about their rivalry in 2017.

Hamilton was asked to pick a personal highlight from their title battle this season before Vettel interjected by addressing the suddenly the large elephant in the room.

Q: “Lewis can you pick out a highlight of your fight this year?”
Hamilton: “Ermm…”
Vettel: “Shall we start with Baku? Break the ice?”

The duo were then later asked what their favourite overtake of the season was, which lead to the following exchange between the duo.

Q: What was your favourite overtake of the season?
Vettel: “You (Lewis) didn’t have to pass many people this year.”
Hamilton: “Well, I passed you a couple of times…”

There was also a question about whether the FIA should introduce more awards so there is even more of an incentive for drivers and Vettel’s response provided plenty of laughs.

Vettel said: “I should get Move of the Year, Personality of the Year and what was the last one?.Fair play? Okay maybe not… but those other two for Baku.”

Sauber set for Alfa Romeo announcement

Date published: November 23 2017

Sauber will reportedly make a double announcement in Abu Dhabi, not only confirming their 2018 driver line-up but also revealing they will race with rebranded Alfa Romeo engines.

According to Italian sources the deal to bring Alfa Romeo back to the sport after a lengthy absence has been concluded, while the delay over their driver announcement is due to lengthy discussions over Ferrari’s wish to see two academy drivers at Sauber.

F2 World Champion Charles Leclerc is expected to replaced Pascal Wehrlein and the general consensus is that Marcus Ericsson has held onto his Sauber seat ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi.

Ferrari want to use Sauber as a complete feeder team for their reserve drivers, but Ericsson has very close ties to Sauber’s owners who want him to be retained for 2018.