Joe’s Midweek Round up…

Hello and welcome to the second edition of The Crew’s Formula 1 Bitesize brought to you by The Pit Crew Online, and what a week it has been.

Last Sunday gave us arguably the best race weekend of the season so far. From Fernando Alonso’s sublime qualifying, to the first corner overtakes and antics, strategic masterclasses from Mercedes and Sauber, and McLaren did not have any Sunday reliability issues – crazy I know.

It wasn’t all good for McLaren Stoffel Vandoorne has received a grid penalty ahead of Monaco for his collision with Felipe Massa. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that he may have been caught out by the Williams’ Mercedes power.

But this update is not about the races as such, the Crew have all of that covered already. This is for what you may have missed in the week surrounding race and non-race weekends.

During this week’s bitesized report we cover some interesting Red Bull news, as well as comments from my favourite Austrian, Toto Wolff.

So, without further ado, let’s get cracking!

2021, The Four Numbers on Red Bull’s Lips

Red Bull Racing chief Helmut Marko has stated that the team may quit F1 if there are not significant changes planned for engine regulations ahead of the 2021 season.

Sport officials are already in talks regarding alterations for the power units after 2020, but the third-placed constructors’ championship sitters have some suggestions of their own after seemingly being left behind due to the Renault’s lack of power.

“The idea is very simple”, the energy-drink boss told El Confidencial.

“We want an engine that is 1000-horsepower, with a single standard KERS and battery, and development does not cost more than $15 million to $20 million.

“They should have sound and allow the driver to make the difference. And independent companies like Ilmor and Cosworth should be able to enter so that we or McLaren can use them if we want.

“Last year, Mercedes would not give us an engine; neither would Ferrari, and Renault was only forced by [Bernie] Ecclestone to give us one.

“We want to have an equal situation where we are not blackmailed by a manufacturer.”

It certainly would be a shame to lose Red Bull from the sport, however, these comments seem driven from a lack of progression in a season that offered promise in challenging Mercedes due to more focus on Aerodynamics.

It appears then that Marko is unimpressed with how things have panned out, but it feels like he is holding F1 to ransom because they have not been able to take advantage of the rule changes in the same way the Silver Arrows or Ferrari have.

The pinnacle of motorsport is certainly in transition under Chase Carey’s leadership and undoubtedly improvements will be made, however, Red Bull only have themselves to blame for the underwhelming start they have made to the 2017 season.

RB13 is Still Some Time Away

Staying with Red Bull and their underperformance, the team have announced that the major updates that were planned, but did not feature in Barcelona, will now not appear until the Austrian grand-prix in early July. All about Austria this week – great place.

Minor changes will occur ahead of Monaco and a low downforce package will debut in Canada, however, it will not be until the energy-drinks’ home race in just under two months’ time before we see the big RB13 upgrade with the team hopeful that Renault’s improved power unit will also be available.

“If we could turn the power up full, we would not be far from Mercedes and Ferrari”, an unnamed team member told F1i.com.

“But because of reliability, we can’t do it yet.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo may as well have been racing by himself on Sunday, finishing over 75 seconds behind winner Lewis Hamilton – clearly emphasising how much needs to be done if Christian Horner and his team want to challenge for any titles again in the near future.

Wolff: Alonso Could be a Mercedes Driver in 2018

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff, my favourite Austrian, has not ruled out the king of frustration, Fernando Alonso, joining the current constructors’ champions ahead of the 2018 campaign.

The two-time world champion has made no attempts in hiding his disappointment with this season’s McLaren car, particularly the sheer lack of power available from the Honda engine which averaged around 7mph slower over the 66 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya compared to number 44.

In the past Wolff and Niki Lauda have ruled out the fiery Spaniard joining the Silver Arrows due to a potential personality clash, particularly with ex-teammate Hamilton, however now the 45-year-old has now stated that nothing is off the table.

“You cannot say ‘no’ in advance – that would be stupid”, the Merc boss told Spanish newspaper Marca.

“What you can say is that if he is not the best, he is one of the best out there. His energy and motivation are still there.

“He’s in the final stages of his career, but that does not mean he cannot win races and titles in the next two or three years.

“If you could choose the Fernando today as he is, as a person, it would be much easier than to choose him with all the historical context.

“Lewis plays a key role in this. I think a driver always accepts a challenge, and Fernando would be a challenge.

“But it’s much more than just Lewis feeling right with Fernando. The whole dynamic of the team is important. Everything has to fit, but I think Fernando is a different person to how he was in the past.”

Alonso has already shown he still has the passion to prove his capabilities by competing in the Indianapolis 500 and attempting to complete the motorsport triple-crown.

It would certainly be interesting to see the old-timer back in the seat of a title challenging car, however with a number of leading drivers available in 2019, Wolff and co. may find it more beneficial to hold off for a younger superstar.

Final Word

It has been another hectic week in the world of F1, including a stunning Spanish Grand-Prix on Sunday. We will catch up again same time next week with more news and views on the biggest stories of the week, and, just in case you are wondering, no I am not Austrian.

Until next time!

18/5/17

Images courtesy of McLaren Honda F1 Team

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