Paddy Lowe says it will be "interesting" to see how Lance Stroll develops as a driver this season without Felipe Massa around to pace him. Last season, in his debut campaign, Stroll was up against the vastly experienced Massa as his Williams team-mate. Massa outscored Stroll by three points, however, the Canadian was the only driver outside of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull to reach the podium. This year, the 19-year-old will have Sergey Sirotkin as his team-mate meaning it is now up to him to better himself as a driver. "We should still remember he is still 19, which is still very young although he is a very mature young man for that age," said Lowe. "But he is on a completely different level to how he was 12 months ago and I think we will see that in the way he approaches races. "It’s a different context for him with Sergey alongside him rather than Felipe that puts a different focus for him. "Felipe was a great reference for Lance but we need to develop in … [Read more...] about Lowe: It is up to Stroll to do it better
Mercedes are the latest to be impressed by Haas' showing at pre-season testing and think they could be firmly in the midfield mix. Haas have been dubbed this year's 'dark horses' after Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean finished 1.1s and 1.2s respectively off the pace in the final two days of testing, while eyewitness reports on the VF18 suggest the car is one of the more planted challengers on the track. And Mercedes boss Toto Wolff hopes there are more positive signs to come from the American outfit in their third Formula 1 season. “In our statistical data they looked pretty quick, but then again if someone is 20kg lighter, it’s eight tenths difference,” Wolff said via the official Formula 1 website. “I very much hope they are there. They deserve it. Gene [Haas] has taken some risks. He’s a true entrepreneur. Crazy Guenther is giving it all. He’s a good operator. He knows what he’s doing.” But Wolff is also expecting Renault, McLaren … [Read more...] about ‘Pretty quick’ Haas catch Mercedes’ eye
Sebastian Vettel has played down his rivalry with Lewis Hamilton, saying it "does not matter" who he is driving against in Formula 1. Both drivers are heading into the 2018 season as four-time World Champions and while Vettel enjoys beating someone of that calibre, he is merely just an opponent on the track. “Lewis is a four-time World Champion and one of the best F1 drivers,” Vettel said in an interview with Sport Bild. “He is an opponent on the track, but not in life. Honestly, it does not matter to me who you are driving against. “But if you win against Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso at the end, you're proud of it because you know that the level at which Lewis or Fernando are racing is extremely high.” Vettel's biggest flashpoint with Hamilton last season was the infamous incident in Baku, but the German was quite philosophical when asked about his actions again. “What errors are, everyone can judge best for themselves. Of course you … [Read more...] about Vettel: Hamilton rivalry is nothing special
Esteban Ocon is hoping to lock horns with Max Verstappen further down the line and battle his long-time rival for the Formula 1 World Championship. Ocon and Verstappen's rivalry began to develop in 2011 when the latter beat the Frenchman to the WSK Euro Series title, but Ocon would respond three years later by winning the European Formula 3 Championship. And Ocon would jump at the chance to face his old foe for the biggest title of them all. "Yeah, if there is a championship at the end of that fight I'd sign straight away, there's no problem there," Ocon told Autosport. "Charles [Leclerc], Max, those drivers are very, very strong. I've been racing with them since the very beginning. "I know how good they are and I'm sure we'll meet in the future again." Elaborating further on his rivalry with Verstappen, Ocon said: "It goes back as long as 2010, 2011. "[We were] not friends at all. It was a very intense fight. It came out a bit too much at some point. Now we have no problem at … [Read more...] about Ocon eyes title fight with Verstappen
In the last of our prediction polls for the 2018 season, it’s time to pick which team you think will finish bottom of the Constructors’ Championship. Sauber were last year’s bottom team but there is a brighter outlook at the Swiss outfit following their busy off-season, attracting a raft of new sponsors and acquiring a current-spec Ferrari engine. Other contenders include Williams, with neither car or driver line-up inspiring many heading into the new campaign, while McLaren and Toro Rosso could end up being vulnerable if their engine swaps do not go to plan. Haas could struggle to live up to their billing as ‘dark horses’ after a good pre-season. Cast your vote below, and make sure to take part in our other polls if you have not been able to do so already: Who will be World Champions?Who will finish best of the rest?Which team will suffer the first DNF? All results will be revealed on Monday. … [Read more...] about Predictions: Which team will finish last in 2018?
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has suggested Carlos Sainz could replace Daniel Ricciardo should he leave the team at the end of the season. With Ricciardo's contract expiring this year, talks between himself and Red Bull are expected to take place by the end of next month with motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko confirming a deadline was in place. And while Horner wants to keep Ricciardo and retain the partnership with team-mate Max Verstappen, he did name Sainz as a potential replacement. "Our intention is to have him [Ricciardo] with us in the future," Horner told CNN. "But if that isn't possible, we have other good alternatives. We have good drivers in the junior programme and although he's with Renault now, we still have Carlos Sainz under contract." Horner does not feel he will be able to tempt Lewis Hamilton to the team, even though he too is out of contract this year. "Lewis' contract also expires," he added. "It's hard to see him leaving Mercedes, but we never say never." … [Read more...] about Sainz an option to replace Ricciardo at Red Bull
Sergio Perez is hoping that a strong season with Force India will help him in his quest to move up the grid in 2019. Although Perez is entering his fifth season with Force India, the Mexican racer did have the opportunity to move to Renault last year. He opted against it, believing his future would be best served by remaining with Force India rather than trying to rebuild Renault. However, next year it is anybody's guess given that race-seats could become available at Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. "Definitely it is a year that is going to determine my career, my coming years," Perez told Reuters. "This year it's going to be interesting to stay where we are and then see what's available. "I definitely want to be in the best possible car I can be." … [Read more...] about Perez: 2018 season will determine my career
It’s the tag that nobody wants, but which team do you think will suffer the first DNF of the season? We’ve asked for your World Champions and your best of the rest, now it’s time to get into the murky waters of unreliability. The Mercedes-powered cars ran reliably as ever in winter testing, while Ferrari have been known to have some very costly DNFs of late. The Renault engine can be ticking timebomb, as Red Bull and Toro Rosso found out last year, while the latter will he hoping the Honda engine does not slip back into its old habits after such a positive pre-season. McLaren, meanwhile, surely have to be a contender given their continued troubles in testing despite switching to Renault power. Cast your vote below, and we will reveal all your predictions on Monday, the first day of race week. … [Read more...] about Predictions: Which team will suffer the first DNF?
Williams could be in for a tough start to 2018 with Paddy Lowe acknowledging that the FW41 has limitations, most notably "corner entry and stability". Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin, the youngest line-up on this year's grid, did not have the best pre-season. The duo struggled for pace, often finishing at the bottom of the timesheets. It doesn't bode well for Williams' chances at next weekend's Australian GP with technical boss Lowe conceding that the car has issues. "The limitation in the car at the moment is corner entry and stability," he told Autosport. "That is quite often the limitation in a car to be honest, but it's particularly exaggerated at the moment with what we're running. "I think if we can unlock some progress there, we will find a lot more lap time than we've got at the moment – because some other aspects of the car are working really, really strongly through other phases of the corner." The former Mercedes man believes Williams' decision to adopt a different … [Read more...] about Lowe admits limitations on corner entry, stability
Declaring that "title number five is the ultimate goal" when he visited Brackley earlier this week, Lewis Hamilton is adamant he's up for the fight. The four-time World Champion paid a visit to Mercedes' Brackley headquarters on Monday before making his way to Melbourne for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Hamilton was in a buoyant mood. "It is hands down the best team because we all work together, and that's really inspiring for me," he reported told the team personnel gathered for the send-off. "I will give it everything this season, title number five is the ultimate goal. "Let's go for it!" However, in order to get title number five, Hamilton has to beat Sebastian Vettel, who is also chasing his fifth. Last year it was Vettel who led throughout the first half of the championship before Hamilton put in a strong run mid-season and raced to the title. "Nothing's going to be different," he told Sky Sports. "We're going to be going hard at it as we did last year. "I cannot … [Read more...] about Hamilton: Title number five is the ultimate goal