Grosjean lifts the lid on 2018 helmet design

Date published: February 19 2018

Romain Grosjean has become the latest driver to reveal his new helmet design for the 2018 F1 season.

The Frenchman took to the Twitter with an animated clip to show off the predominantly blue livery, which features slashes of orange and white.

The design was created by Adrien Pavot for supplier Bell.

Haas unveil first challenger of the 2018 season

Date published: February 14 2018

Haas have become the first team to officially unveil their 2018 car – the VF18 – after an online launch on Wednesday afternoon.

Williams were due to be the first team to peel the covers off their car, but the American outfit have stolen a march on their rivals with an unannounced launch via their social channels.

Haas are preparing for their third season in Formula 1 and are looking to improve on respective eighth place finishes in the World Constructors’ Championship. Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will be behind the wheel once more.

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.”

Haas not yet good enough for an American driver

Date published: February 14 2018

Gene Haas insists he is not saying ‘no’ to putting an American driver in one of his F1 cars but only down the line, when Haas have learnt more lessons and improved as a team.

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner irked America’s F1 drivers when he stated that “at the moment there is nobody ready for F1 in the United States in my opinion.”

This led to a barrage of criticism, however, team owner Haas says too much was read into Steiner’s comments.

“Well, I’m pretty sure I know where that talk came from,” he said. “Guenther Steiner, our team principal, was asked about having an American driver in Formula 1 and, more specifically, with Haas F1 Team.

“He responded by saying something to the effect that it wasn’t at the top of our priority list, and things kind of took off in a bunch of different directions as people made a bunch of assumptions.”

Haas, though, does concede that right now putting a rookie American driver in one of his cars may hurt both the driver and the team as the latter is still learning the ropes in Formula 1.

He added: “The fact is that we’re still learning here in Formula 1, and bringing on a driver who needs to learn about Formula 1 probably isn’t the best thing for us or them.

“I felt like there were times last year where our drivers were better than our cars. So, we need to step up, but we know where we need to improve thanks in large part to the experience of our drivers.

“We’re not saying no to having an American driver… This debate about American drivers really isn’t a debate. I believe in American drivers – my NASCAR team is full of them, and we’ve won a lot of races and championships.

“Obviously, the discipline is different, but sure, there are competent American drivers who can compete in Formula 1. But we’re not ready for that yet, and with the limited amount of testing teams have, getting anyone up to speed who hasn’t already been a part of a development program would be hard. I think that’s the point Guenther was trying to make.”

K-Mag makes move to ‘become better driver’

Date published: February 9 2018

Kevin Magnussen has relocated from Denmark to Dubai during the off-season in a move that he hopes will make him “a better driver”.

The Dane is preparing for his second season at Haas after accumulating 19 points last year to finish 14th in the World Drivers’ Championship.

But now Magnussen is hoping to improve on that finish and feels cutting down on his travel time will help achieve his goal (whilst giving his bank balance an extra boost with the tax relief benefits in Dubai).

I have an apartment in the area called Dubai Marina, which is near the international airport,” Magnussen said.

“Dubai is far more central than Copenhagen when you look at the F1 calendar.

“I can save a lot of travel days by living in Dubai that I can use for training. And the weather is similar to the temperatures of many F1 races.

“So it’s something that hopefully will make me a better driver.”

Grosjean calls on Haas to validate updates

Date published: February 7 2018

This year Romain Grosjean has urged Haas make sure their updates do the job before putting them on the car so as not to lose “three months” with things that don’t work.

Last season Haas managed eight top-ten finishes in the first half of the championship while in the second they scored just five times.

Part of that, Grosjean reckons, was due to introducing updates that didn’t do what they were supposed to.

“There are a few areas where we need to focus on and get better,” the Frenchman told Autosport.

“One is making sure that the updates when they are coming are working well and they have been validated before, so not losing three months of time to bring something that doesn’t bring what it was supposed to do.

“I am not going to go through everything because it is confidential but that is just an example.

“This is two years in a row where the trend is to go a bit down during the year. We started twice with a very, very good platform and we have been struggling with the tyres.

“We are not up there with tyre usage and understanding. Behind the scenes there are a lot of things we can coordinate better between the factory in Maranello, the one in Dallara and the one in England to make things run smoother and more efficient.”

Revealed: Entry fees for each team for 2018 season

Date published: February 4 2018

Following the confirmation of 2018 entry list from the FIA, the fees that each team have paid for the upcoming season have now been revealed.

According to the current regulations, every team has to pay a base figure of $516,128 (£365,455), which is indexed by the US consumer price index of annual inflation. The champions must then pay an additional $6194 (£4386) for every point earned and the other teams must pay at a reduced cost of $5161 (£3654) per point.

After being involved in a slightly closer title fight in 2017, Mercedes’ have seen their entry fees drop by $600,818 (£425,421), while Red Bull, Williams, Toro Rosso and McLaren are also paying less.

Ferrari’s improvement means the Scuderia are paying $639,964 (£453,139) more this year, with increases, too, for Force India, Renault, Haas and Sauber.

Entry fees:

Mercedes – $4,653,720 (£3,295,159)
Ferrari – $3,210,170 (£2,273,025)
Red Bull – $2,415,376 (£1,710,255)
Force India – $1,481,235 (£1,048,818)
Williams – $944,491 (£668,765)
Renault  – $810,305 (£573,752)
Toro Rosso – $789,661 (£559,135)
Haas – $758,695 (£537,209)
McLaren – $670,958 (£475,085)
Sauber – $541,933 (£383,726)

Figures via F1 Technical