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Vettel leads cold, snow riddled Day 2 of F1 testing

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Mother Nature intervened heavily on Day 2 of testing for the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season, as freezing weather and even some sleet and snow hit the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Tuesday. In fact, it was not until after 10:00 a.m. local time that a timed lap was even posted, with Renault Sport F1 Team’s Carlos Sainz Jr. being the first to do so.

At the end of the day, it was Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel leading the way with a quick lap of 1:19.673. Right behind Vettel was Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Valtteri Bottas, who actually led the way through the morning before Vettel’s time eclipsed him in the afternoon, with both drivers turning upwards of 90 laps despite the weather conditions.

Stoffel Vandoorne, Max Verstappen, and the aforementioned Sainz Jr. rounded out the top five for the day. A number of teams also spent the day gathering data about their cars’ aerodynamics, running test devices on various spots of their machines.

Also of note: Robert Kubica turned his first laps in the Williams Martini Racing FW41, completing a total of 48 laps with a best lap of 1:21.495, good for seventh, one spot ahead of teammate Sergey Sirotkin.

Testing is scheduled to continue on Wednesday, although the weather forecast looks set to take a turn for the worst, with snow and heavy rain predicted to hit the track. Results from Day 2 of testing can be found here.



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.