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.

‘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.”

New Ferrari engine hits reliability targets

Date published: February 15 2018

There are encouraging signs coming from Ferrari’s Maranello base, with Autosport reporting that reliability targets have been met with their 2018 engine.

The reliability of the power units will be under even more scrutiny this season with the engine limit being reduced from four to three before grid penalties start coming into effect.

Ferrari’s season unravelled partly due to reliability issues, but it appears the Scuderia have been learning from their mistakes.

Autosport believe Ferrari engine boss Corrado Iotti has been overseeing the development of a new cylinder head which will be rolled out later in the season without an alloy steel piston concept which was going to be introduced by ex-Ferrari chief Lorenzo Sassi.

Sassi was axed by Ferrari last year and is due to start working with rivals Mercedes now that he is close to serving his gardening leave period.

Haas’ plan to be ‘within half-second’ of Ferrari

Date published: February 14 2018

Gene Haas reckons Haas’ 2018 F1 car needs to get “within a half-second” of Ferrari in order to be competitive this season.

Last year Haas finished eighth in the championship with 47 points, matching their finish from their debut campaign.

And although P8 is a reasonable position given that the team’s newcomer status, Haas wants better this season.

However, in order to achieve that, he reckons they need a car that is within a half a second of Ferrari’s pace.

“It looks like everyone is going to be better,” he said.

“We identified our weak spots and Guenther (Steiner, team principal) and I had a good heart-to-heart talk on that one in Mexico City about what direction we were going to take and how we were going to improve.

“It’s no secret we use a lot of Ferrari equipment, so we’re using them as our baseline.

“We need to be within a half-second of the Ferraris in order for us to be competitive.

“We weren’t last year.

“I would say we were a second to a second-and-a-half slower than the Ferraris.

“Overall, we were maybe two seconds off the pole qualifiers, so we need to knock a second off that if we really want to be competitive.”

‘Hamilton handles pressure, Vettel folded’

Date published: February 13 2018

Lance Stroll is hoping to take inspiration from Lewis Hamilton, not Sebastian Vettel, as he progresses through his Formula 1 career.

Stroll will be the most experienced driver at Williams in 2018, starting his second campaign alongside rookie Sergey Sirotkin.

And the Canadian wants to emulate Hamilton and the way he applies himself to races when the pressure is on.

“You saw in the title race last year how well Lewis handles pressure, (Sebastian) Vettel folded, but Lewis was able to handle that expectation,” Stroll said via the Daily Express.

“His car wasn’t always easy to drive. Mercedes struggled at a few races.

“But he still managed to get the most out of it and score points when he had to. He was consistent throughout the whole year. He really was on it, he was determined to score points every weekend.

“Hats off to him, he completely deserves the success he has had. He is extremely talented and I hope I can have half the success he’s had in my career.”

Hamilton and Vettel are both tied on four World Championships apiece and are set to do battle once again in 2018.