Hello and welcome to this week’s Formula 1 round-up, your one-stop-shop for biggest stories in F1 over the past seven days.
Today we cover a shock deal that has apparently already been done ahead of the 2018 season, a fresh, new look for all cars on the grid ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, a new deal that could see Honda become an even bigger presence in the sport than they already are, and a familiar face set to return. So, let’s get cracking.
Deal Done? Insider Seems to Think So
Ferrari’s number one driver, and the 2017 Driver’s World Championship leader Sebastien Vettel has a pre-contract agreement already in place with Mercedes for next year, according to someone close to Ferrari.
The German, who has a 13-point advantage over Silver Arrow Lewis Hamilton going into Sunday’s race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, was contacted when Nico Rosberg left the constructer’s world champions at the end of last campaign – this is not new information.
However, now well-known F1 blogger, and Ferrari friend, Leo Turrini has stated that the 29-year-old has a deal in place to join his biggest rivals come the close of this term.
“It is no secret to anyone that after Rosberg’s retirement, Mercedes contacted Seb”, he said as reported by F1i.com.
“During the pre-season test in Barcelona, Niki Lauda told friends confidentially that Vettel has a pre-agreement with the Germans for next season.”
These comments mirror those of pundit Eddie Jordan who also believes negotiations have taken place.
“Of course they’re talking with Vettel”, the 69-year-old stated.
It is unsure whether any formal agreement has been reached between the two German parties, and with the Italian manufacturer’s impressive race pace this year it remains to be seen if any deal will be done.
Another New Rule from Charlie Whiting
As we head into race-weekend number five in the 2017 season, teams are finally getting to grips with the new rules and regulations of this year in practice, however now there’s a new one.
All drivers will now have easier to recognise designs on their cars, allowing spectators and race officials to identify who is who out on track, or Article 9.2 according to Charlie Whiting.
“We require each car number to be clearly visible from the front of the car (Article 9.2)”, he stated as reported on pitpass.com.
“We feel that to be clearly visible the numbers should be no less than 230mm high, have a minimum stroke thickness of 40mm and be of a clearly contrasting colour to their background.
“Each driver’s name (or TLA) is to be clearly legible on the external bodywork (Article 9.3).
“We feel that to be clearly legible the names should be no less than 150mm high, have a minimum stroke thickness of 30mm and be of a clearly contrasting colour to their background.”
Mercedes were the first to release their new design ahead of strict rulings that all teams must abide by or face the stewards’ wrath, and boy does it look good. Suppose on this one we must admit it’s a positive. Thanks Charlie!
More Than Just an Engine
Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn has stated that the Swiss F1 team’s new partnership with engine manufacturers Honda could go beyond just a power unit supply.
The ninth-placed constructers became the third team to sign a deal with the Japanese company ahead of next year, however the team principal has stated that there could be more to come from their new relationship.
“We’ll see how it all pans put”, the 46-year-old told Motorsport.com.
“We’re really at the beginning now. I don’t know their deals with McLaren. We are a very different project.
“We’ll see where we can benefit from each other in this. We’ve been in situations where we were a manufacturer team – we’re not a manufacturer team now, we’re a customer to them.
“But we know that there are a lot of opportunities there, and this is one of the reasons why we decided for this partnership.
“It’s far too early to say we’ll be doing this and that, but yes, we’re open to anything.”
Honda have done well to secure two additional teams to McLaren considering the reliability issues the former-F1 force have been facing.
However, if they were able to overcome the problems incurred this year, the Japanese company could once again prove that they can supply race-winning power units.
Familiar Face Set for Return
Former Jordan, Toyota, Virgin Racing and Marussia F1 driver Timo Glock is to make his return to the pinnacle of motorsport.
It has not yet been formally announced when the three-time podium sitter will feature on the grid again, however following a successful DTM season the 35-year-old announced via his official Facebook account he was contacted by an F1 team for a seat-fitting.
Now the question is, which team?
Has Fernando Alonso finally snapped at McLaren? Are Renault fed-up with Jolylon Parmer underachieving? Is this the back up for Seb Vettel after he moves to Mercedes? (I doubt it but you never know).
One thing is for sure we will find out soon, and it will be good to see the German back.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading, and I will see you all again next time.
Joe Owens, F1 Correspondent @joejournosun.