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F1 testing resumes on Tuesday as Vettel leads the way

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The second week of pre-season testing for the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season kicked off on Tuesday with Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel leading the way with a quick lap of 1:20.396.

Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Valtteri Bottas was second fastest, followed by Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in third. Lewis Hamilton was fourth for Mercedes, while Pierre Gasly rounded out the top five for Scuderia Toro Rosso.

The total laps completed continued to increase for multiple drivers, with Vettel completing 171 trips around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 41 more than the next highest total, which went to Verstappen with 130. Alfa Romeo Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson also did over 100 laps of running, totaling 120.

McLaren F1 Team, however, struggled with reliability as Stoffel Vandoorne completed only 38 circuits after suffering three stoppages during the day, the team struggling first with electronics problems and then with hydraulic issues.

Also of note: Sauber confirmed Tatiana Calderon, previously a development driver with the team, as a test driver for the 2018 season. The 24-year-old Calderon spent 2017 competing in the GP3 Series, adding a pair of races in the World Series Formula V8 3.5 as well.

Results from Tuesday’s running can be found here. Pre-season testing resumes on Wednesday.


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.