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Sauber, Renault reveal 2018 cars

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The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team and Renault Sport F1 Team revealed their 2018 cars on Tuesday. Sauber’s, dubbed the C37, kicks off its new partnership with Italian auto maker Alfa Romeo and features significant changes from last year’s C36, especially regarding the aerodynamics.

“The aerodynamic concept has changed significantly, and the C37 has several new features in comparison to its predecessor,” said technical director Jörg Zander during the unveil. “We are positive that the new concept offers us more opportunities and will help us to make improvements during the course of the season.”

Team principal Frédéric Vasseur is optimistic that the team, with drivers Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc, will improve their 2017 results, which consisted of only two finishes in the points (eighth and tenth, both at the hands of Pascal Wehrlein) on their way to last in the constructor’s championship.

“I am very much looking forward to the 2018 season, and to seeing Marcus and Charles on track,” said Vasseur. “We have put lots of effort and hard work into the C37 over the last few months, and it is fantastic to be launching the new car today. I am convinced that Marcus and Charles form the perfect driver line-up, with one being an experienced driver and one a promising rookie.”

Vasseur continued, “Our target ahead of 2018 is clear: We have to catch up with the field and continue improving our performance during the course of the season. We have put lots of energy and commitment into the development of the C37. I want to thank our partners and fans for their continuous support. The return of Alfa Romeo to Formula 1 sets another milestone in the team’s history, and I am proud that such a historical brand has chosen us for their return to the sport.”

For Renault, which enters its third season under its latest incarnation, their 2018 car, the R.S.18, is more of an evolution of their 2017 challenger, the R.S.17, than a revolution, featuring developments and improvements to the car’s suspension design as well as an increase in downforce from the aerodynamics.

Also, improvements to the power unit – the 2018 iteration now named the R.E.18 power unit – are expected to enhance both power and reliability, in hopes of building on a 2017 season that saw them finish sixth in the constructor’s championship.

Their launch was also somewhat unique in that they initially released holographic images of their car prior to revealing the car’s official images.

“Renault Sport Formula One Team’s ambition is clearly to uphold the outstanding record of the past and the 2017 season has confirmed we are on the right track,” asserted Renault Sport Racing President Jérôme Stoll when the car was revealed. “We are a team on the rise. We have two very talented drivers who are hungry for results. Enstone is regenerated and the workforce has already increased by more than 35%. Our investment has so far been successfully translated to the track as we rose from ninth to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship in 2017 and ended the year with the fourth fastest car.”

Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing managing director, echoed Stoll’s sentiments, emphasizing that progress, with tangible improvements, is the ultimate goal this year.

“Our headline target is to show continued progression through results. We want to be able to showcase our progression in every regard: power unit, chassis, operations, drivers. Everything must improve and we must continue to grow. We want to demonstrate this in many different ways, from the teams we will be directly racing against, to the gap to the leaders, including also our fan base and the respect that our team will inspire in our way we behave on and off track.”


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.