D Thursday is the PR day before a Grand Prix. auto motor und sport will find stories and rumors in the paddock for you. We ask the engineers what's new about the car and the drivers how they assess the race. Here is our foray through the ten garages.
Lewis Hamilton got a day off. The Englishman took part in the memorial service for Karl Lagerfeld, who died in February, in Paris. Valtteri Bottas represented his teammate. The Finn takes responsibility for himself after three defeats in a row.
“I have to minimize my mistakes and maintain confidence in the car. There are 14 races left and that's a long way to go. There's no point in worrying about Lewis being on a run and me not. I checked off the last two races. I'm starting over in France. And I know that I can beat Lewis. ”
Bottas warns against calling Mercedes a clear favorite. “There are long straights here too, and experience has shown that Ferrari is strong. We're not going into the weekend thinking that we'll have them in our pockets. ”
Ferrari has a new front wing and new brake ventilation in its luggage. It could mark the beginning of a new direction of development. Ferrari has retained the concept with the flaps sloping on the outside. Apparently Ferrari has discovered a correlation problem between CFD, wind tunnel and racetrack, which is now to be solved. The new wing is supposed to prove that the fault has been found in the system.
For Sebastian Vettel, Friday training is a key moment: “We have new parts on board and will try out a few things on Friday. There are all kinds of corners in Paul Ricard, including those in which we had problems recently. We hope that with the changes we can take a step forward in our vulnerabilities. It will be an important day to find out if the direction is right. ”
The German still doesn't want to give up the World Cup. “Mercedes has the better car on most tracks. Once you're in race number 10, it will be difficult to catch up. We can't beat them if we always finish behind them. ”
After the Montreal trouble with the five-second penalty, there was also reason to celebrate before the race in France. As reported by the Bild newspaper, the man from Heppenheim married his long-time friend Hanna in Switzerland. The newlyweds were in the paddockhis new wedding ring on the way.
Honda is using the third engine version in the eighth race a. Max Verstappen speaks of a small power gain. “Every little step helps, but I don't expect that we will suddenly be racing for victory.” According to Verstappen, the car also has to improve. “You cannot separate one from the other. The new front wing rules did us more harm than others, because we knew how to control the turbulence from the wing beforehand. ”
Also at Paul Ricard, Verstappen expects a difficult race. “Like Montreal, a type of racetrack that we don't really like. There are too many straights. ”The most interesting new feature on the car are new mirrors. They are really more wings than mirrors now. There are also new rims.
The next three races are the calm before the storm for Racing Point. Then comes the B version of the RP19 in Hockenheim. Therefore, the car is almost unchanged compared to Montreal. Only the baffles in front of the side pods were slightly modified.
Team manager Andy Stevenson explains again why the team sent Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez into the race in Montreal with different tactics, while Perez obviously used the wrong one. “With such bad starting positions you have to take a risk. We had to cover three scenarios. An early and a late safety car or none at all. ”
“ If a safety car had come in the first few laps, Sergio would have been better off with the medium tires. Then he would have finished in the points and not Lance. It turned out the other way around. The drivers were put in the picture before the race and both accepted. That would not have been possible with Perez and Ocon. Perez and Stroll, that's really good teamwork. ”
Robert Kubica complains that his car feels different from race to race. George Russell, on the other hand, says, “I can'tto confirm. It always feels the same to me. ”The Williams drivers will have to wait for upgrades. They won't come until Silverstone and Hockenheim. “That won't get us into Q2 either,” says Russell.
Renault is starting with a B-version of the RS19, which is not called that may. Team boss Cyril Abiteboul calls the large aerodynamics package “part two of our resuscitation plan”. The cooling system and thus the engine cover, which is now closer together, are new. In addition, the front wing, the nose, the baffles on the side pods and the underbody, especially in the rear.
Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg will run comparison tests on Friday. One with an old nose and old underbody, the other with the corresponding new parts. Hülkenberg names clear goals: 'We want to be the fourth team in the field and shorten the distance to the top teams so that we can make life difficult for them at some point.'
This time the less experienced Alexander Albon has better track knowledge: “I have often competed in the junior formulas here. Paul Ricard is one of the circuits I know best. ”Daniil Kvyat, on the other hand, has only ever been to the high plateau of Le Castellet once:“ 2011 in a Formula Renault. I can't remember much. That’s why I did a lot of work on the track in the simulator. ”
Like Red Bull, Toro Rosso has a new Honda engine. But only for Kvyat, who will receive a fine for it. Albon does without the upgrade from Japan. “We didn't want both cars to be moved backwards. And my engine still has some reserves, ”explained the rookie.
Haas brings his second major aero upgrade with a race delay. The cooling inlets and the complete air duct inside the car are new. This means that the paneling in the area of the side pods and engine cover has also changed. Kevin Magnussen is driving the hydraulic rear axle again. Romain Grosjean has to wait until the GP Germany. Only then can the gearbox of his car be changed again without penalty. Themakes it easier to install the hydraulic elements.
Magnussen looked back at the Canadian GP, where he cursed his car as the worst package he had ever driven. After Magnussen's training accident, Haas had gambled with the vote when rebuilding the vehicle with a new chassis and scored an own goal. “I've never been so frustrated in a racing car and I would have loved to park it. I almost bit the steering wheel. But I also understand that our team boss was not exactly thrilled. ”
Carlos Sainz expects a tough fight for a place in Q3 and championship points. “On one lap, Renault and Haas are better than us. We have to concentrate on doing a better job on Sunday. ”Technically, we have recognized a change on the front axle. As with many other cars, the strut now steers with a transmission on the wheel carrier. This means that the car falls more into the curve when turning.
The French GP is the first of three consecutive races in which the car is upgraded. The sub-floor, bargeboards and cooling shafts were modified. For Kimi Raikkonen the case is clear: “There is no special area on the car that we have to start with first. We're not miles away and just need more downforce. Our shortcomings have more of an impact on some routes and less on others. Paul Ricard should suit us better. ”
It was clear to Raikkonen from the start that the development steps at Sauber take longer than at Ferrari. “But it's not as bad as you should think. Only when many races follow one another in a short period of time do you notice that the reaction times are a little longer. ”