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Formula 1: Recapping the past week’s news

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Below are some of the biggest headlines from the FIA Formula 1 World Championship during this past week.

Haas, Williams Reveal Their 2018 Cars

Haas F1 Team and Williams Martini Racing became the first teams to unveil their 2018 cars, Haas doing so on Wednesday and Williams doing so on Thursday.

The Haas F1 Team VF-18. Photo courtesy Haas F1 Team

Team launches are scheduled to continue next week. Below are other confirmed launch dates, with Sahara Force India the only team not to confirm a date as of writing.

February 19 – Red Bull Racing

February 20 -Alfa Romeo Sauber, Renault Sport F1 Team

February 22 – Scuderia Ferrari, Mercedes AMG Petronas

February 23 – McLaren F1 Team

February 26 – Scuderia Toro Rosso


Alonso to Contest Full Slate of Formula 1, WEC Races in 2018

Although Fernando Alonso previously confirmed his plans to contest FIA World Endurance Championship events, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, a conflict of dates between Formula 1’s U.S. Grand Prix and the WEC’s 6 Hours of Fuji saw both events originally scheduled for the same weekend, October 21, with the assumption being that Alonso would skip the Fuji WEC round to stick with his full-time Formula 1 duties with McLaren.

However, the WEC Fuji round has subsequently been moved up one week to October 14, meaning that Alonso will be able to contest all rounds of the WEC in 2018 alongside his full-season Formula 1 campaign.

However, the move now puts the 6 Hours of Fuji in conflict with the Petit Le Mans, the season finale of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Such drivers as Harry Tincknell, Mike Conway, Bruno Senna, Renger van der Zande, and Augusto Farfus rank among those who would affected by the conflict, as all were originally scheduled to contest both events.


Mercedes: F1 teams need to work together to avoid split

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Friday that Formula One teams have a responsibility to try to overcome their differences over the future of the sport in the face of a threat by Ferrari to quit because of a number of proposed changes.

Bernie Ecclestone, who ran F1 for 40 years before being replaced by new owners Liberty Media last year, has raised the possibility that Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne could walk away from F1 and form a breakaway series over Liberty’s future vision for the sport.

Ferrari is unhappy with Liberty’s proposal to simplify engines and redistribute prize money among F1 teams after the current contract with teams expires at the end of 2020.

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene would not comment on the specifics of Marchionne’s previous comments at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday, but said: “My only suggestion, please take him seriously.”

Wolff is also taking the possibility of Ferrari walking away seriously. He told Britain’s Press Association before the Australian GP that he agreed with Marchionne’s concerns and that Formula One can’t afford to alienate Ferrari or lose the team.

“Don’t mess with Sergio Marchionne,” he said. “Formula One needs Ferrari much more than Ferrari needs Formula One.”

Wolff was more diplomatic on Friday, saying he hopes all sides could come together for the good of the sport.

“I think this as much a battle on track as much as it is a fight off track for an advantage,” he said. “It is clear the current governance and how the rules are being made is not very functional. There’s too much different opinions and agendas on the table and we need to sort it for 2021 for the best interest of the sport.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed there are too many competing agendas, suggesting that the FIA-Formula One’s governing body-and Liberty Media come together to decide on a set of regulations and financial framework for the next contract and the teams can then decide if they want to accept it or not.

“Trying to get a consensus between teams that have varying objectives, different set-ups, is going to be impossible,” he said. “It’s history repeating itself. It happens every five or six years, every time the Concorde Agreement comes up for renewal.”

Tempers also flared during Friday’s media conference over another issue of contention between the teams – Ferrari’s recent hiring of FIA’s ex-safety director, Laurent Mekies.

Horner believes Ferrari broke an agreement among teams at a recent meeting to institute a 12-month waiting period for any former employee of FIA or FOM (Formula One Management) to be able to start working for one of F1’s teams. The concern is that former FIA staff who go to work for a specific team could share secrets from other teams.

“Certain teams were pushing for that period to be three years, but in the end it was agreed upon being 12 months,” he said. “It almost makes those meetings pointless if we can’t agree on something and action it.”

Arrivabene defended Ferrari’s move, saying Mekies would not join its team until after a six-month “gardening leave” period.

“There is nothing wrong with that because we were absolutely respecting the local law, the Swiss local law where Laurent was hired,” he said.