D on thursday is the PR day before a Grand Prix. auto motor und sport will find stories and rumors for you in the paddock. We ask the engineers what's new about the car and the drivers what they think of the race. Here is our foray through the ten garages.
Mercedes only brought a small aero upgrade for the scary race in Singapore. Nothing to scare Ferrari. “The key will be to keep the rear tires in the window,” predicts team manager Ron Meadows. That also depends on the conditions. Last year, Lewis Hamilton was the fastest man on the track in the second half of the race. “After the rain, the temperatures were cool. That helped us, ”explains chief engineer Andrew Shovlin.
Mercedes will like the weather report. Every day rain is forecast between 3 and 8 p.m. Hamilton has completed half a world tour with a detour via New York on the way to Singapore. The defending champion is also counting on Red Bull on the street circuit: “They stopped developing a while ago, but they should be strong on this track. Singapore demands a lot of downforce and it's important to keep the rear tires in good shape. Red Bull is strong in both disciplines. “
Will Kimi Raikkonen help the teammate in the future? “I can only drive one car,” came back in response. Helping is not as easy as it looks from the outside, said Raikkonen. “You can't plan something like that. It always depends on the racing situation. ”Sebastian Vettel also does his jobTeammates looking back on Monza no allegations. “Every team handles it differently. There are constellations where it makes sense. Something like that always depends on the situation. Monza may not have been optimal and I gave my opinion on it. But that has nothing to do with my personal relationship with Kimi. We are both grown up. If you take it seriously, I've already cleared it twice in our Ferrari years. ”
Ferrari is the favorite in the Singapore City Grand Prix. Vettel doesn't see any automatism in this: “The car is good, but it won't be a walk in the park. Red Bull may have slacked off a bit, but Mercedes is still strong. We can't rest on the fact that we have a good car. ”And then the World Cup runner-up says another interesting sentence:“ I now have a car that I can play with. If my performance is right, anything is possible. My biggest enemy is myself. ”Is he referring to his slip-ups at Paul Ricard, Hockenheim and Monza?
Daniel Ricciardo wants to finally win this race. The Australian stood on the podium four times in a row, three times in second place. “We're not the favorites here, but I wouldn't be happy with another second place.” Isn't the Marina Bay Circuit a Red Bull circuit? Max Verstappen is careful with predictions: “Last year we were three tenths missing on Ferrari. And the engine has improved. 'Ricciardo gives interesting insights into how he is preparing for the biggest heat battle of the year:' I train in the sauna. In the fitness room I turn on the heating and have seven layers of clothes on so that I can simulate exactly that cramped feeling that you have here in the car. '
Force India brings its big upgrade to Singapore. The front wing, underbody and baffles are new, plus a lot of little things are scattered around the car. 'It's our biggest step this year,' says Andy Green, head of technology. If it gets as big as last year's Singapore upgrade, Renault and HaasF1 will have to wrap up warm. Back then that broughtAero package almost half a second.
Sergio Perez is optimistic: “Now the time has come when we have to deliver. The numbers are good. That should bring us a good step forward, even if Singapore is not our strongest track. ”The season's goal is definitely ambitious. “We're seventh now. So our next goal has to be 6th place. Beating McLaren is a big job. But at the end of the year I will draw my own balance with all points. And we want to finish fourth there. ”
Williams is also expecting certain opportunities for Singapore. Because the curves on the street circuit are short. “We start to suffer in curves with an angle greater than 120 degrees,” reveals operations manager Rob Smedley. On the Marina Bay Circuit, 16 of the 23 corners are at an angle of 90 degrees or less. “Still, it will be more difficult for us here than in Monza,” warns Smedley. “In Singapore, the engine plays only a minor role. But the downforce makes up almost everything. And compared to the competition, we're still missing a lot. ”
Fernando Alonso was quick in Alabama between Monza and Singapore to get a Dallara Honda from Andretti. Testing teams at Barber Motorsports Park. He apparently enjoyed it: “It was different, more exciting, more physically demanding than Formula 1 and it showed me that there is still a life outside of Formula 1.” A decision whether he will only drive the Indy 500 in 2019 or the whole Alonso has not come closer to the season. “I'll make up my mind in October. The test wasn't there to give me answers to my questions. “
For Alonso, the Singapore GP marks the start of a marathon between Formula 1 and WEC: “For the next nine weekends, I'll just sit in the racing car.” The route at Marina Bay should suit the McLaren from the rest of the program best. But Alonso is skeptical: “Our car is no longer as good as it was last year. There was a place in the top ten in Singapore. This time a lot will depend on how we do in qualifying. Unfortunately, it determines the order in the race. ”
StoffelVandoorne is slowly getting used to the idea that he will not have a Formula 1 seat in 2019. “Nothing has been decided yet, but there are some indications that I am in similar difficulties as Ocon. Another cockpit closes for me every day. ”In contrast to Ocon, Vandoorne has a plan B outside of Formula 1. The Belgian definitely wants to drive. If necessary also in the IndyCar series. “The Indy 500 is very appealing to all drivers because it's such an important race. But when you look at Robert Wickens' accident, you start to wonder if it's worth the risk. ”
Singapore should be good ground for Toro Rosso . Red Bull's junior team showed its best races in Monte Carlo and Budapest. The car suits routes with a lot of downforce. Brendon Hartley continues to seek a contract extension. 'I need a few more points to convince Mr. Marko.'
HaasF1 wants to show it to his opponents on the racetrack again. Team boss Guenther Steiner calls Renault's protest in Monza an “act of desperation”. The South Tyrolean fiercely adds: “If you can't beat us on the racetrack, try it in court.” HaasF1 has meanwhile filed an appeal. “We want to demonstrate that we won't put up with everything,” said Steiner. HaasF1 presents the last major upgrade of the season in Singapore. Underbody and the baffles under the nose and in front of the side boxes are new. This is 100 percent legal again.
The worst races are over. In Singapore, Renault wants to intervene in the battle for fourth place on the track. For this purpose, the technicians have unpacked new baffles that harmonize better with the latest level of the sub-floor. It made its debut in Spa and above all improved the aerodynamic stability in slow corners. “That should help us in Singapore. We already saw the first positive effects in Monza, ”reports Operations Manager Alan Permane.
Nico Hülkenberg is at his 150th GP startglad that he doesn't get engine penalties again and doesn't have to backfire. “The goal is a normal weekend and that I reach the points. I think we are well positioned for Singapore. The new underbody works, Singapore is not an engine track, and we have a small aero upgrade with us. All of this should play into our cards. ”And what does he expect after the 150th Grand Prix of his career? “Again at least 75 races.”
The talk of the day at Sauber is still the exchange of places between Kimi Räikkönen and Charler's Leclerc. And who gets the second cockpit. Behind the scenes we hear: main sponsor Alfa Romeo, i.e. Ferrari, insists on Antonio Giovinazzi. How far does the Swedish owners protect Marcus Ericsson? Team boss Frédéric Vasseur makes it clear: “Kimi was on the market.” In other words: Ferrari has nothing to do with the transfer. Raikkonen summed up his motives in a simple way: “I go to Sauber because I want to. Leaving Ferrari wasn't my own decision. Going to Sauber, on the other hand, does. ”
Sauber is unpacking its last aerodynamics package in Singapore. “It ran through the wind tunnel in June. Since then we've only been working on the 2019 car, ”reveals Vasseur. The reason why the modifications to the underbody and the brake ventilation are only now being used is the nature of the track. It's a package for maximum downforce. Vasseur: 'It was finished after the summer break, but we couldn't use it for the last two races in Spa and Monza.'
In the gallery we show you the pictures of the day.