What we’ve learnt this week is a weekly round-up of all the paddock news and gossip, we will bring you all the stories from the teams and drivers. With pre season testing coming up, Formula E teams finalising their lineups include Venturi and Mahindra. We also look at Haas’ Monza appeal and how Williams’ 2014/15 success has hurt it’s current form.
d’Ambrosio tests for Mahindra:
Having already confirmed earlier this year that he won’t be staying with Dragon Racing for Season 5; Jerome d’Ambrosio has recently completed a test for Mahindra in Calafat and looks set to join the Indian team replacing Nick Heidfeld, he is expected to take a test role with the team.
Jerome has won 2 races in Formula E, although both have been after the race winner (Lucas Di Grassi on both occasions) was excluded from the race. Despite this, Dragon’s recent form has frustrated d’Ambrosio and his relationship with team boss Jay Penske was fractured at the end of their partnership. Maximilian Gunther is hotly tipped to replace the Belgian at Dragon for season 5.
2014/15 form “blindsided” Williams:
Williams enjoyed a resurgence at the beginning of the turbo-hybrid era moving from 9th in the constructors to 3rd for both the 2014 and 2015 seasons. A strong driver lineup, stable car and the best engine on the grid rocketed them to regular podium contenders. The two years that followed saw Williams slip firmly into the midfield and this year sees them last of all and set to finish 10th in the constructors championship. Claire Williams portions some blame for it’s current form on the success it had in 2014/15.
“I think one of the key things we missed, and as a result of probably not having the time to do it, was addressing some cultural issues that we have within Williams,”
“Probably we were somewhat blindsided that the success that we managed to achieve very quickly in 2014 from doing the work in 2013, and that was a big turnaround.”
Williams have made solid progress this season and have a better understanding of their car which will hopefully allow them to make a leap forward for 2019.
Kubica may explore other racing series for 2019:
He narrowly missed out on a full time race drive for 2018 when Williams instead opted for Sergey Sirotkin, but Kubica may still drive in 2018 if Lance Stroll make his widely anticipated switch to Force India mid-season.
Kubica has said though that if he cannot land a full-time drive in F1 for 2019 that he would look elsewhere.
“I spent a lot of time and effort to have a chance and the priority would be to be on the starting grid in Australia, but if this doesn’t happen I would consider some different championship or different role”
Kubica, a race winner in Formula One has already proved his critics wrong who say that his physical limitations would slow him down in an F1 car. He impressed in pre-season and mid-season testing and has also been solid in his FP1 outings this year. The driver market is hard to predict but we may still have the fairy tale ending of Kubica racing again in F1.
Raikkonen to Sauber & Leclerc to Ferrari:
There has been much speculation for many months that Charles Leclerc would step up to the Ferrari factory team in 2019, but things changed and it would seem that Ferrari would retain the services of Kimi Raikkonen.
It soon swung the other way again, and Charles Leclerc will now partner Sebastian Vettel for 2019 with Kimi Raikkonen taking his place at the team where he made his Grand Prix debut.
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Mortara retained for Season 5:
Edoardo Mortara has been officially confirmed as Felipe Massa’s teammate for Season 5. This will be the Swiss driver’s second season with the team after a mixed rookie season. Mortara was set to win the second race in Hong Kong last year until a costly mistake saw him lose out to Daniel Abt and Felix Rosenqvist. Crashes and strong pace characterised his debut season but Venturi had enough faith to retain him.
“The decision to extend our journey with Edoardo came after careful consideration,” said Susie Wolff (Team Principal)
“We are convinced that he and Felipe Massa will form a solid pairing at the wheel of these new Gen2 cars.
Haas appeal Monza exclusion:
Romain Grosjean finished 6th on the road in Monza but was later disqualified after a complaint was lodged by Renault Sport after concerns that the American outfit was running an illegal floor. After the FIA’s investigation it was found that Haas did indeed have a floor that did not comply within the regulations and were therefore excluded. Haas have now appealed this decision with the hearing set to take place in November. Haas’ reasoning is that they had proactively sought clarification on the rules from the FIA but were informed too late to make the necessary changes to the floor before Singapore.
Gunther Steiner has expressed frustrations over Renault’s reasoning for the complaint citing that the fight for fourth in the constructors has been Renault’s main reason for the complaint.
“I wouldn’t have done the same, I would have done what other people have done before, but Renault is in a position where they got overtaken for fourth position, and I think that triggered ‘we need to do something, or we finish fifth’.”
Giovinazzi still in frame for Sauber drive:
Many thought that Kimi Raikkonen moving to Sauber for 2019 would close the door for Giovinazzi, but it is understood that he and Daniil Kvyat are both in the frame. Raikkonen has signed for Sauber independently and not as a Ferrari driver meaning that Ferrari still has its reservation on the other Sauber drive.
This would mean that Ferrari would lose it’s simulation driver who has been instrumental in turning Ferrari’s poor Friday pace into solid pace on Saturday, but Giovinazzi has no desire remaining a reserve and test driver for the rest of his career.
Nissan purchases stake in e.dams:
Nissan has purchased a stake in e.dams ahead of it’s debut in Formula E next season, Jean-Paul Driot become the sole shareholder in e.dams after Alain Prost sold his shares to focus on Formula One. Roel de Vries, Nissan corporate vice president was proud to announce the partnership.
“For Nissan’s first Formula E experience, it makes sense to partner with e.dams and be able to draw on the organization’s experience of winning races and championships,”
“As part of our commitment to our partnership, Nissan has now purchased an ownership stake in the organization, and we’re excited to work with Jean-Paul and his team.”
It is expected that Nissan will announce it’s driver lineup in the coming weeks with Oliver Turvey in the frame for one of their seats.
And that’s it for this week. We will bring you more news in our round-up next week.
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