FERRARI LAUNCHES THE SF 90
Ferrari on Friday unveiled their new Formula One SF90 car which the Italian stable hopes will end their decade-long title drought to mark the team’s 90th anniversary.
The new SF90, featuring the team’s traditional red with splashes of black, was launched at a glitzy ceremony at Ferrari’s Maranello headquarters by drivers Sebastian Vettel and new 21-year-old team-mate Charles Leclerc.
I’m extremely excited, I see the car completely assembled for the first time,” said Vettel, 31, who along with Leclerc wore a black suit with the Ferrari crest.
“Unfortunately, I’m not dressed properly and can’t just jump in and drive off. I can’t wait.
“I’m looking forward to this year, I think the team is on the right path and hopefully we can continue improving.”
Ferrari are the sport’s most successful team, but have not won the drivers’ title since Kimi Raikkonen took the title in 2007. The team’s last constructors’ title was in 2008.
The past two seasons have held out the promise of Ferrari challenging Mercedes’ dominance, with Vettel finishing runner-up to Briton Lewis Hamilton on both occasions.
Vettel is heading into his fifth season with the team while Leclerc has replaced Raikkonen.
“Sebastian is hungry as ever, he knows the whole team is behind him,” said Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri.
“This year is an important one for us as we celebrate our 90th anniversary as the Scuderia Ferrari was born in Modena in 1929.
“It’s an important milestone as we continue to be inspired and guided by the vision of our founder Enzo Ferrari.
“Last season was our best in the last 10 years, yet we fell short of our objectives.
“Such a setback is never easy to swallow, but I assure you we look forward with strong commitment and determination.”
Before joining Ferrari, Vettel monopolised the world title for four consecutive years with Red Bull from 2010 to 2013.
Ferrari team are under new leadership with Mattia Binotto replacing Maurizio Arrivabene as team principal.
Binotto explained that the “innovative” new car built on the successful features of the 2018 model.
“We got really good achievements in 2018 and it’s a development of last year’s car,” he said. “We tried to push again to raise the bar and tried to be as extreme as we could.”
MCLAREN LAUNCH NEW MCL34
McLaren unveiled their new MCL34 car for the 2019 Formula 1 season.
The car retains the historic papaya colour of last year, with added blue at the front and rear, with the team saying their second Renault-engined car features “substantial changes” from its disappointing predecessor.
“We just want to see a good step forward from where we were last year,” executive director Zak Brown…
We didn’t develop a very good race car, we’ve certainly got higher hopes for this year’s car. But it’s hard to tell until you get out there. The competition is only getting tougher in this sport.”
Although they finished sixth in last year’s Constructors’ Championship, an improvement of three places over their final year with Honda, McLaren admitted their car’s performance fell a long way short of expectations with the second half of the season proving especially difficult.
“We’re all committed, motivated and united in our ambition to return McLaren to competitiveness, and the MCL34 is only the start of this process,” said Brown.
“We have a fresh driver pairing, who together represent the new generation of Formula 1 talent, and are an integral part of the team and our collective effort to advance McLaren forward.”
FIRST GLIMPSE OF THE RB15
HERE IS THE NEW RENAULT R.S.19
Q&A WITH CYRIL ABITEBOUL
Renault Sport Racing Managing Director
Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul ensures all aspects of Renault Sport Racing are structured, resourced and working to their optimum to deliver on their performance potential. He also sets the commercial, marketing and communication targets to ensure Groupe Renault takes full advantage of its Formula 1 activities.
Cyril knows the Anglo-French team and Renault inside out. After graduating from the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, he joined Renault in 2001 and worked in various positions at the company HQ in France and at the F1 team in Enstone. His commercial acumen saw him appointed Development Director of the Renault F1 Team in 2007, looking after commercial matters, partners and sponsor acquisition.
He became Executive Director in 2010 before moving back to Viry in 2011 when Renault re-centred its F1 activities around engine supply. As Deputy Managing Director, Cyril oversaw all contractual relations, marketing and communications activities with partner teams and created a solid platform for Renault as it re-established itself in its new guise.
Cyril’s success in the role led to him being head-hunted by the Caterham F1 Team in 2012 to become team principal. He rejoined Renault in September 2014 to become Managing Director of Renault Sport F1 and successfully spear-headed the analysis of reacquiring and restarting a team for the Renault brand to continue its long F1 tradition in 2016.
Since then, Renault F1 Team has grown to be the most dynamic team on the F1 grid.
2019 is the fourth season of Renault F1 Team. How much has the team progressed since returning to the sport in 2016?
I’m genuinely proud of the team in Enstone and Viry. Three years ago, we created Renault F1 Team with an ambitious programme, but with realistic hopes. We knew we needed to rebuild many elements of the company: facilities, workforce but also the confidence of the team. We introduced an extensive rebuilding programme in Enstone with new buildings and new production tools, including a wind tunnel upgrade, a new ultra-modern operations room, new chassis machine tools etc. A huge recruitment drive has also increased our workforce by fifty percent. Efforts have been made at Viry as well, with new investments in engine dynos and also in construction of a new building due for completion next year aimed to rehouse all engine assembly.
Launching all these projects while participating in the championship was an incredible challenge as was getting the major points finished. The final commissioning of the investments was a tremendous achievement and I’m impressed by how everyone has taken to the task. This shows in the momentum we have gathered: ninth in 2016 with eight points, sixth in 2017 with 57 points and fourth last year with 122 points.
We go into this season aiming to keep this strong and measured momentum. We do not target x or y position or a number of points: what I want to see is that the team continues its positive trajectory. The added momentum of the Daniel-Nico partnership brings confidence to the team this season.
How much are you looking forward to seeing our driver line-up behind the wheel of the R.S.19?
I can’t wait, and this feeling is shared by the entire team. I believe we have one of the strongest – if not the strongest – driver line-up on the grid. Daniel brings proven race winning experience and knowledge of a top team, while Nico is hungry. He’s hugely underrated – he’s quick, determined and a team motivator. Individually they are very strong and I feel the two will complement each other extremely perfectly.
Having two experienced and talented drivers is another motivating factor for the team. The energy they have brought to the team is very tangible and I hope we can give them a car to show their considerable talent.
TORO ROSSO UNVEILS THE STR 14
The second Toro Rosso car to be designed around the Honda power unit, the STR14 was launched online via a video on Monday. Following on from the Haas release last week, the new car showcases the 2019 regulation changes that include a simplified front wing and larger rear wing, as well as tweaks to the brake ducts.
“In regards to our performance, as is always the case before the start of a season, it’s too early to say and we don’t want to set a specific target — at least not now,” team principal Franz Tost said. “All things considered, the quality of the synergies with Red Bull Technology, the belief in our very high level of in-house technical knowledge, the impressive development trajectory Honda has shown so far, and the couple of strong young drivers we have available make me feel confident we will put ourselves in a strong midfield position in the championship.”
With technical director James Key on “gardening leave” ahead of a move to McLaren, deputy technical director Jody Egginton says the STR14 was developed under a new approach.
“A number of changes have been put in place regarding how we develop the 2019 car, including the approach to how we develop the car aerodynamically,” Egginton said. “This was a topic which had been under review for a while and while there is never an ideal time for such a change, based on what we had learned in 2018 it was decided that now was the time to introduce these changes.
“Although the timescale for some of these changes was tight, and in the short term these changes have generated some extra work, the development rate of the 2019 car is now strong and responding well to the aero developments being evaluated in CFD and the wind tunnel.