The new McLaren chassis, the MP4-31, has passed its crash tests ahead of the 2016 Formula 1 season, the team has confirmed today.
This means all 11 teams have had their new chassis complete the crash test and thus be ready for action starting with the first test of the winter February 22-25 at Barcelona, in Spain. Sauber has already indicated it will debut its new chassis at the second test.
McLaren, of course, will be looking for a better start to its season with race drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button and reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne. Alonso’s mysterious accident last spring at Barcelona ruled him out of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Sauber has confirmed its new nose and chassis of the C35 has passed the mandatory FIA crash test, in both static and dynamic settings.
Prior to today, Sauber was one of two teams – McLaren the other one – that had yet to confirm it had passed the crash test. The McLaren, in theory, should come in due course.
A good summary by F1 technical analyst Craig Scarborough is linked in the below tweet:
While the new chassis is good to go for Sauber, it won’t be running yet at the first test at Barcelona from February 22 to 25.
The team confirmed, via its website, that the 2015 C34 chassis will run for the first four-day test before the C35 makes its maiden run from March 1 through 4 at the second Barcelona test.
The team’s 2016 livery, however, will be revealed at the first test.
Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr are set to return for their second season as teammates; for Ericsson, it’s his third season in the sport while Nasr prepares for his sophomore campaign.
1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill believes that Nico Rosberg will be “more formidable” in 2016 following his back-to-back title defeats to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg took the title race down to the final race of the year in 2014 before losing to Hamilton, and proved to be the Briton’s closest rival again in 2015, albeit losing the championship with three rounds remaining.
Rosberg endured a five-month winless streak last season that led many to question his ability to battle with Hamilton for a championship, only for the German to answer by winning the final three races of the year.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Hill said that Rosberg showed his true strength with this trio of victories, signalling that he could put up a greater fight to Hamilton for the title in 2016.
“I think he is a little bit more formidable now,” Hill said. “I think after the Austin defeat, that day when he lost the championship and Lewis infamously tossed the cap and he tossed it straight back, there was a moment where Nico said ‘OK, I am not going to take this anymore’ and he did go ahead and win all the remaining races.
“He can go on ahead and become the other world champion’s son [Keke Rosberg won the F1 title in 1982] to become a world champion himself.
“He probably knows time is running out and when you get all those ingredients together you maybe get a little bit of a hardening of the determination. Maybe he will be more determined this year and harder to beat.”
Alexander Rossi remains upbeat about his chances of racing in Formula 1 once again with Manor Racing in 2016, saying that things are “looking positive” for the new season.
Rossi became the first American driver in eight years to start an F1 race when he replaced Roberto Merhi for the Singapore Grand Prix back in September.
Rossi took part in five races and matched Manor’s best result of the season by finishing 12th in the United States Grand Prix.
Manor is the only team in F1 yet to confirm its line-up for the new season, with Rossi facing competition from Rio Haryanto, Will Stevens and Pascal Wehrlein for a seat.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Rossi was hopeful of his chances of getting on the grid in 2016 with Manor and said that they are still engaged in regular talks.
“Talks are every day,” Rossi said. “I think the deadline is really when cars roll in Barcelona in a couple of weeks.
“Things sometimes get pushed out in this sport and it is something I am used to and hopefully it doesn’t go on to much longer. Things are looking positive and hopefully we get it done very soon.”
BUENOS AIRES – Alain Prost has confirmed that he will not have a role within the revived Renault Sport Formula 1 Team’s management.
Renault will return to F1 with a works team in 2016 after five years away, having taken over the Lotus operation at Enstone in December.
On Wednesday, the team unveiled its driver line-up and management team for the season, with Prost not being announced as having a role.
Many expected the four-time F1 world champion to take up a position similar to that of Niki Lauda at Mercedes, where the Austrian works as a non-executive director.
Speaking to MotorSportsTalk in Buenos Aires, Prost confirmed that he will not be involved with the F1 operation and will instead focus on his broadcasting commitments and his role in Formula E with Renault e.dams.
“I decided for sure, not so long ago. I prefer to be away from the operational work because it’s too complicated anyway with Formula E and the ambassador role and Canal+ [in France] and maybe Channel 4 [in Britain], different things that I have to do,” Prost said.
“I cannot do things everywhere, it does not work anyway. I think also the image could create more problems than advantages, especially for the management. They have a structure.
“It’s going to be tough at the beginning. I’ll let them work and I’ll still keep my role of ambassador and different things.”