50% of Mercedes staff working on 2014 car

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Toto Wolff has revealed that Mercedes is slowly switching focus to its 2014 car, with over half of the team members set to be working on the W05 by next month.

“We’re already working on 2014 and we’ll gradually raise the percentage of people working on next year’s car,” Wolff told the official Formula One website.

“I would say that in May we will reach a point where more than 50 per cent will work on the 2014 car.”

This move comes despite Mercedes having a strong start to the season, claiming two pole positions and currently occupying fourth place in the constructors’ championship. However, Wolff believes that the shift to 2014 is a natural move for all teams bar those competing for the title.

“There is no doubt that at a point in the summer everybody will switch their main resources to the 2014 car, as this is a very complex and complicated machine.

“Of course it all depends on where you are in the standings. Those who are fighting for the title will of course concentrate longer on this year’s car.”

With a new raft of regulations due to come into effect for next season, preparation will be key if Mercedes is to challenge for both championships in 2014. Regardless, Wolff was still hopeful of the team excelling in 2013.

“I want to be among the four top teams in the constructors championship and have a driver among the top four as well.”

Ferrari signs Callum Ilott to young driver academy

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Ferrari has confirmed the signing of rising British racer Callum Ilott to its prestigious driver academy ahead of the 2018 season.

Ilott, 18, is a former member of Red Bull’s junior program, and has spent the last three years racing in the FIA European Formula 3 series, taking eight race wins.

After finishing the 2017 season fourth in the championship with Prema Powerteam, Ilott has now linked up with the Ferrari Driver Academy in the next step of his racing career, becoming its first British member.

“Ferrari Driver Academy is pleased to announce that British driver Callum Ilott is the latest promising young driver to be selected for its development program,” an announcement from Ferrari reads.

“18 years old, Ilott joins the FDA in his third season in car racing, having just finished the FIA F3 European Championship. He comes with a strong pedigree in international Formula 3 racing, having made the jump directly from karting as reigning European Champion.

“Ilott joins Charles Leclerc, Antonio Fuoco, Guan Yu Zhou, Giuliano Alesi, Marcus Armstrong and Enzo Fittipaldi in the programme, which supports talented young drivers on their career path in motorsport.”

Besides its existing roster, the Ferrari Driver Academy also played a part in the careers of Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and the late Jules Bianchi.