Welcome to the second edition of this week in F1. The countdown to this month’s first test in Barcelona is in full swing and is edging ever closer. This week there has been no shortage of news. Everything from somewhat of a car launch (all will be explained below), a driver announcement, a look at this season’s newest circuit on the calendar, further bad news from the Schumacher camp and more. Here is your weekly round up from all the biggest news in the world of F1.
Wednesday was a big day for Renault and was the day that for many people, including myself, considered the real start of the season. Renault, who were Lotus, took the wraps off their livery which will be used during winter testing however, it will change before the opening race in Melbourne.
So it wasn’t the offical first car launch of the season and it wasn’t the new 2016 car that was liveried up in the new black and yellow colour scheme, so you could ask what was the point in the event which dragged on for over half an hour? Though the event did finally gave us the answer to the Pastor Maldonado v Kevin Magnussen fight.
— Renault Sport F1 (@RenaultSportF1) February 3, 2016
Reports emerged a few weeks ago that Magnussen had a shot at Maldonado’s seat after the Venezaulian’s funding had dried up. The former McLaren driver who scored a podium on his debut in Australia in 2014 will partner former GP2 champion and Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer.
Renault now have perhaps the most exciting young driver line up on the grid. Whilst Palmer took to GP2 crown in 2014, Magnussen himsef is a champion in his own right by winning the World Series by Renault 3.5 championship in 2013. If Renault can produce a good car this season it could be quite the season for Renault.
Schumacher news “not good”
Former Ferrari cheif Luca di Montezemolo has labled the latest information that he has on the conditon of Micahel Schumacher as “not good”.
The seven-time drivers’ champion suffered serious brain injuries after a skiing accident back in December 2013. Since his accident two years ago there has been conflicting reports on the condition of the driver who won five of his seven titles in the red of Ferrari. Schumacher is still recieving intensive treatment in his home.
— SPEED (@SPEED) February 5, 2016
“He was the most successful driver Ferrari ever had. He only suffered one accident in his entire career, in 1999, and it was our fault, not his. Unfortunately, a skiing accident ruined his life.” said di Montezemolo
Hopefully the next time that we cover F1 in this weekly piece it will be bringing you a positive update on the German’s situation.
Baku looking tight, twisty and dull
A new circuit being added to the calendar is always exciting. Us fans are wanting to see the track layout as soon as the race is announced, want to see an onboard lap on a version of the track that someone has poorly made on a computer game and needing to see pictures of the venue.
The positive energy soon dissapears when we find the track to be tight, twisty and well to be quite honest, dull.
Baku, in Azerbaijan is no exception. I am all for F1 visiting other countries but some just make zero sense with the races ultimately failing, case and point South Korea.
Best bit of the Baku City Circuit: the soon to be famous turns 8, 9 & 10 pic.twitter.com/Un9WtLrctw
— Ted Kravitz (@tedkravitz) January 30, 2016
The latest images from Baku backed up my fears, it may be too early to say but the European Grand Prix in the July looks as if it will be a snorefest and will be a procession.
The twenty-turn Baku City Circuit is 3.7 miles long, going by the latest images and the track map, the circuit looks to be uninspiring at best, with the first sector being made up of five 90 degree corners. Yawn.
Although the chances look slim, there could be some opportunity for overtaking in the middle sector that does look to be fast and freeflowing. The layout looks extremtly dull to say the least however under the lights it could look spectaular. The FIA have announced that it will have a 6pm local start time and will be a twilight race, the race will start 2pm UK time.
Red Bull did not contact Mercedes
The Red Bull and Renault partnership has soured over the last two seasons, but no more so than in 2015. Renault have found themselves in constant meeting with the higher-ups at Red Bull during last season. A relationship that was all rosey during their dominant four seasons of 2010-2013 was on the verge of a dramatic collapse.
Red Bull make no secret of the fact that they were “shopping around” for a new supplier for 2016 but eventually ended up sticking with Renaut.
Reports emerged in July that Red Bull had come to Mercedes to talk about a partnership for 2016. More reports followed stating that Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had blocked any chance of a Red Bull Mercedes car being on the grid this season.
Dieter Zetsche of Mercedes, has rubbished claims that Red Bull had formally approached the defending two time constructors’ champions aout an engine partnership.
“They never formally asked us for them,” Zetsche told Gazzetta dello Sport. “There were discussions but there was never an offical request.”
Red Bull will be running Renault power next season but will be baged as TAG Heuer after Red Bull took one of McLaren’s longest serving sponsors.
Red Bull did make contact with Ferrari regarding being supplied with a power unit going forward but allegedly turned down an offer from Ferrari that would see Red Bull run with a Ferrari 2015 spec engine.
Next week we could have news regarding the Manor line up for the new season and information on the new cars that are set to be launched in the coming weeks. Make sure you check back next week!