Sebastian Vettel recently said that he fails to understand the ‘selfie generation’ and social media. This is possibly why he is ‘most suited’ to replace Bernie Ecclestone as F1’s oh-so-important CEO, according to Mithila and Kunal in this week’s episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast.
Other subjects covered this week include Honda’s strange announcement strange that they will focus on ‘power’ in their ‘power’units, and why Johnny Herbert has teamed up with Lewis Hamilton at Fernando Alonso’s expense.
Finally, the F1-loving duo take a look at why Lewis Hamilton is so unpopular in China and why teams will be employing a quick-change tyre strategy.
Join the conversation online by tweeting us using #360fans.
The Inside Line F1 Podcast is a weekly podcast hosted by Mithila and Kunal. This podcast aims to add much needed humour to an otherwise serious sport of Formula 1. Mithila is an avid travel and lifestyle writer. You can visit her blog on www.miss-wanderlust.com. Kunal is a former racer and sports marketer who worked with the Force India F1 Team for more than 100 races. You can visit his Formula 1 blog on www.kunalsf1blog.com.
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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says his team’s target is to match the development rate of other midfield teams this season.
Following two remarkable results which have seen Haas finish with one car inside the top six in each of the opening two races, one of the biggest challenges still facing the team this year is car development.
Steiner says Haas will also be working on upgrades for the VF-16 in its first season, and hopes to show a similar program to other midfield teams.
“It is very difficult, but we will continue to develop,” Steiner said. “We’ll continue to test in the wind tunnel and bring new developments to our car, and that will lead to gains in our aerodynamic program throughout the season. I think we’ll bring new developments like the rest of the midfield packs are doing, or aiming to do.”
Haas also carried out its first live race pit stops in Bahrain – completing one in just 3.1s – but Steiner still sees it as another area where big gains can be made.
“I would say two out of the three pit stops were good. We still can improve, but we were in the ballpark. In the third one we had an issue with one of the wheel nuts. I give credit to the crew member because when he went to put the wheel on, he realised something was wrong and took it off again. Had he not fixed it, the car probably would have been stopped after the first two corners from the wheel being loose.
“So we had an issue, but we solved it and maybe lost two seconds and it didn’t make a difference anyway. The mechanic and his actions stopped us from making an even bigger mistake.”
“In the first two races we were the first car to finish outside the points,” noted the team’s managing director Cyril Abiteboul. “This gives us a clear illustration of our target – to finish in the points – and know what we need to do to achieve this.
“The first two races have given us a guide to where we sit relative to our immediate opposition,” he added.
Renault team boss Frédéric Vasseur took over to make it clear where Renault saw themselves in terms of the ever-changing balance of power on the Formula One starting grid. “In terms of race pace there are positive signs – we’re not so far from Williams and we’re not so far from finishing with points,” he said.
Renault need to take care of a number of teething problems with the new chassis and eliminate some human errors as well. Once such issues are overcome, Renault’s chassis technical director Nick Chester agrees that the team could quickly find success in 2016.
“There’s a tight spread of cars ahead of us so we don’t need a lot to make a decent improvement,” Chester pointed out. “On race pace there’s a very close group in the midfield. We saw this in Australia and we saw this in Bahrain.
“It means we need to maximise every opportunity we have and every performance increase we can find could mean the difference between finishing just shy of the points or scoring.
“Our qualifying pace has been behind our race pace in relative terms, so this is an area of focus, but one which goes hand-in-hand with the target of overall performance gains.”