All is calm at Ferrari insists test driver Marc Gene

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Ferrari test driver Marc Gene has insisted that the team is still calm and focused despite an indifferent start to the season in 2013.

The Italian team has claimed one win so far this year, but with Fernando Alonso losing ground after retiring from the Malaysian GP and the team enduring a nightmarish weekend in Bahrain, many believe that the Scuderia could already have lost its chance to beat championship leaders Red Bull this season. However, Gene insists that there is no crisis in Maranello.

“Despite what happened the other day, the atmosphere at Maranello is calm,” Gene told EFE.

“I think this year we will fight until the end for both championships.”

Gene echoed Christian Horner’s belief that the 2013 constructors’ title would be fought for by four teams, and the Spanish driver tipped Red Bull as being the current pace setters.

“The nice thing about this season is that there are many teams fighting for the top positions. Red Bull is the benchmark, and Lotus is the other team that is very strong, but we also do not forget about Mercedes.”

Following Ferrari’s miserable weekend in Bahrain, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko snubbed the team by highlighting Lotus as the current champion’s closest rivals. However, Gene was confident that the DRS failure Alonso suffered would be a one-off, and that Ferrari could quickly make up the gap to Red Bull.

“I think this is just psychological warfare. It was an unusual problem that has never happened before and won’t happen again.”

Gene last raced in Formula One in 2004, deputizing for the injured Ralf Schumacher at Williams for six races.

F1 2017 driver review: Nico Hulkenberg

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Nico Hulkenberg

Team: Renault
Car No.: 27
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Abu Dhabi)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 43
Championship Position: 10th

Expectations were hard to peg for Renault heading into its second full season back in F1 with a factory team, but Nico Hulkenberg was surely expected to be the man spearheading its charge.

With teammate Jolyon Palmer severely underperforming, Hulkenberg did exactly that, bringing home all but 14 of the team’s points in the final standings. However, consistency was never something he truly found.

Many of Renault’s issues were down to reliability issues, sidelining Hulkenberg for six races – four coming in a five-race stint from Singapore to Mexico – yet he only scored points in consecutive races on three occasions.

When Hulkenberg and Renault were on form, they proved to be a potent combination, often topping the midfield fight and even looking faster than Force India come the end of the season. His run to sixth at the final race in Abu Dhabi was crucial for the constructors’ championship as Renault jumped Toro Rosso, securing an extra slice of prize money in the process.

But for a driver who was so often tipped as being a future star in F1, Hulkenberg still has a lot to prove. Renault is set to offer a good platform for the German moving forward with factory support, yet if he cannot beat new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. through 2018, concerns will surely be raised.

Season High: Charging to sixth in Abu Dhabi despite a penalty.

Season Low: A tough run to 16th in Malaysia.