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.
The Mercedes W10 was in the garage with a new rear wing. The front wing also had to be adjusted in order to balance the car. Valtteri Bottas does not see the secret of Mercedes' success this year in a superior car.
“We have another car that is not easy to set up. And sometimes it's hard to drive too. It wasn't always the fastest car in the field either. But we've managed to get the maximum out of every area three times. That's key this season. We don't feel invincible at all. But on the contrary. We take every race as if it was the first of the season. ”
Ferrari not only has the track-specific aero package on board in Baku. We have also recognized modifications to the underbody, diffuser and baffles that should generally make the car faster. Sebastian Vettel hopes that the changes close the gap to Mercedes. 'It's a good step on paper.'
Charles Leclerc is ready to fight for supremacy in the team. When it comes to stable management, he still makes a good face for a bad game. “As a driver, you are naturally frustrated when the order comes to let your team-mate pass by. But at the pit wall you have a better overview. I have to accept that. Whatever they tell me, I'll do it. Up to a certain point. ”How can you best protect yourself against stable management? Leclerc has the answer: 'I have to show on the track that it makes no sense to whistle back.'
Red Bull is replacing the complete set of the drive unit of the Honda V6 Turbo in both cars. It is the first of a total of four planned expansion stages. At this step, there is talk of 20 hp. Max Verstappen hopes that Honda's upgrade will be enough to at least keep up with Mercedes on the straights.
“I have put pressure on the engine to come now. He should bring us two tenths, ”hopes the Dutchman. This is in stark contrast to the statements made by teammates Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon, who reduce the progress of the Honda engine mainly to stability.
The bigger problem, Gasly agrees with Verstappen, is in But wait a minute the car. “We find it difficult to exploit the full potential. Max feels a little more comfortable in the car than I do. That's why he's closer to the limit. Since the race in China I have at least known what I have to change in my driving style in order to get the most out of the car. ”
Gasly announces that all problems will not be resolved until the next race in Barcelona . “Then comes a new upgrade. The team is developing under full steam, and it looks very good on paper. I am confident that we will have all the answers to our questions in Barcelona. ”
All dates and times for the race weekend in Azerbaijan can be found in our data center
Sergio Perez looks back on his sensational starting lap in Shanghai. The Mexican has not yet seen the video himself, but still likes to look back: “That was really cool. Everything was fine. I would have got Ricciardo even if Gasly hadn't stood in the way. ”His former team-mate Nico Hülkenberg applauds:“ Checo drove a tremendous race in China. Not only was the opening lap good, the rest of the race, how he defended his position. ”
Incidentally, Perez is the only driver in the field who has already been on the podium twice in Baku. 'Then it's time for a third time,' grins the Racing Point driver. Is the car good enough? “Anything can happen in Baku,” says Perez. The engineers have developed a special rear wing for high-speed battle. The main blade is slightly bent up in the middle.
First upgrade at Williams: The team brought a new rear wing to Baku. For Robert Kubica it is the first city race in nine years. “In addition, the track is new to me. I'm really excited to see what to expect. 'Kubica hopes that the Williams will keep one of its few good qualities for the race in Baku.
' The car is unlike last yearpredictable. That's a big help on a street circuit. ”But the Pole also says:“ Sometimes the car's balance shifts from one training session to the next. We haven't fully understood why that is. That wouldn't be of great help on a course like Baku because you have to adjust to it again. ”
Nico Hülkenberg can breathe a sigh of relief. He does not get a starting place penalty. The battered MGU-K survived. It could be fixed. Like many teams, Renault has a new rear wing on the car. It is the fourth version. “One more is coming. This is the Monza grand piano. The five variants should be enough to get through the season, ”says Operations Manager Alan Permane.
In addition to the visible changes to the rear and front wing, there is also a modification to the steering. It speaks less directly now. That calms the car when turning. A first step in this direction was already having an impact in China. 'We are now going even further in this direction,' reveals Hülkenberg. It is one of those modifications that can be said to be: small cause, big effect.
In contrast to Red Bull, the two Toro Rosso only swap the combustion engines. The MGU-K remains unaffected. For good reason. Otherwise Toro Rosso would have threatened starting place penalties. Before the race in Baku, both drivers were already on the road with the second unit with the four key elements engine, turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K. The engine still has air, but not with the MGU-K. Alexander Albon hopes that his first engine survived the Shanghai crash. “The Honda engineers are still checking. They tell me it looks good. We should at least be able to use the engine again in the Friday training sessions. ”
Then the man who drives with a Thai license takes away all Honda fans' hope that the new expansion stage is an afterburner. “As I understand it, the main focus of the new specification is on reliability. There shouldn't be so much power. But on a track with so many straights, every horsepower is welcome. ”Albon sees Toro Rosso in thedense midfield exactly in the middle: 'We are better than the score shows.'
The US racing team is still wondering why the trip to the last two grand Prix went backwards after a good qualification. Haas qualified for Q3 three times with almost no effort in both cars, but only in Melbourne did one car score points. In Bahrain and China the cars got slower and slower in the race. The technicians believe it is because of the tire temperatures. With longer running times, the temperature in the jacket drops into the cellar. The car then starts to slide, which increases the surface temperature and reduces the grip.
Kevin Magnussen explains where the team is now when it comes to troubleshooting: “First you have to know: What is the problem? Then you have to find the cause. And in the third step the solution. We are still in phase two. There are solutions, but we won't know until after the weekend whether they work. 'Team boss Guenther Steiner says grimly:' I'm still calm. But if we should have the same problem again in Barcelona, where we flew during the test drives, I will no longer understand the world. ”
After a clear round, McLaren wants to collect points again in Baku. Carlos Sainz is optimistic: “It is enough to find a good setup and get through the weekend cleanly, then things can go a long way.” Personally, the Spaniard does not see the situation as critical after three zero numbers. “The speed has always been right, just not the results. But that's only a matter of time. ”
Antonio Giovinazzi has to drop ten starting positions. The new control unit that Ferrari and Haas have already used in China must now also be built into the Alfa-Sauber. It's actually not new at all, but the 2018 version. But that requires new lines and different cabling.
Sauber could not do that in the short time before the GP China. And promptly had to bite the bullet. Giovinazzi suffered the same damage as Charles Leclerc in Bahrain. That meant the first exchange of the control unit. The installation of the2018 electronics box is the second change. Since only two units are allowed, Giovinazzi is the first driver in the field to exceed his drive contingent.