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2019 Pre Season

2021-04-22 01:28

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#2019, Fulvio Conti, Giulia Mizzoni, Translated by Sofia Monteferri,

2019 Pre Season

The Championship lost by Ferrari, due to the mistakes of Sebastian Vettel but also of the team, despite a competitive car, have severed the last threa

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The Championship lost by Ferrari, due to the mistakes Sebastian Vettel and the team made, despite having a competitive car, has cut the last thread that linked team principal Maurizio Arrivabene and technical director Mattia Binotto. On the eve of the new Championship, Scuderia Ferrari decides to weave its organizational web again, with a reversal: the one who leaves is Arrivabene, sixty-one years old, from Brescia, former number one in marketing at Philip Morris, member since 2012 of the board of directors of Juventus Football Club, managing director and team principal of Ferrari Gestione Sportiva since 2015. He is replaced by Mattia Binotto, fifty years old, born in Switzerland, who, after graduating from the Lausanne Polytechnic, joined Scuderia Ferrari in 1995 as an engine engineer for the team and, from there, he climbed all the positions until becoming Chief Technical Officer, the head of the engineers working on the car, in 2016. The man that, in the last two seasons, especially in the first part of 2018, proved he could finally aspire to the title that has been missing since 2007. The change at the top of the Ferrari Gestione Sportiva is official on Monday, January 7th, 2019.

 

"After four years of commitment and tireless dedication, Maurizio Arrivabene is leaving Scuderia Ferrari. The decision was taken by mutual agreement with the company's top management after a deep reflection in relation to Maurizio's personal needs and Scuderia Ferrari’s. From today, Mattia Binotto assumes the role of Team Principal for Scuderia Ferrari. All technical functions will continue to answer to Mattia".

 

On February 15th, 2019 the new single-seater will be presented: it will be driven by Vettel, again, and the young Charles Leclerc, the twenty-one-year-old from Monaco. He started from the Ferrari Academy, and after his first year as a rookie in Alfa Romeo Sauber, Leclerc was promoted to the Ferrari seat replacing Kimi Raikkonen, as Sergio Marchionne wanted. Impossible not to give any explanations before the start of the new adventure and not to dissolve the mounting tensions of these last months. The disappearance of the Italian-Canadian manager more than halfway through the World Championship, at the end of July, between the German and the Hungarian Grand Prix, has upset the team balance more than it seems. The appointments of Michael Manley as managing director of FCA and Louis Carey Camilleri as Ferrari's managing director, promptly made by John Elkann, leave open the wound in the racing team that Marchionne firmly held in his hands. At Suzuka, in the first days of October, after making a mistake in qualifying, Arrivabene summoned the journalists and vented his anger, pointing the finger at the team led by Binotto, responsible for the errors. He wasn't the first. And with the Championship almost over, Arrivabene's communicative approach couldn’t be welcome: he accentuated the distance and underlined the technical deficiencies of the car rather than addressing the reasons for the setback of the driver and the entire team. An inexorable decline followed: the former team principal began to complain about the technical involution from Singapore, and then, in Japan - after a strategy error on Saturday - he summoned the press and pointed the finger at Mattia Binotto, responsible for the failure.

 

"We need a track man, someone with flair".

 

Vettel, now challenged by himself but also by the little internal cohesion, will later admit that something has changed and, at the end of the season, he will say:

 

"We need to communicate better, as a team".

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The Swiss engineer has the necessary skills: esteemed among his colleagues and by the competition, he will also have to deal with the American owners of Liberty Media in order to make Ferrari's role count for the future, with the arrival of the new regulations in 2021. And the whole Ferrari, on the eve of a World Championship that will start in advance, on March 17th, 2019 in Melbourne, will need the solidity missed with the death of Sergio Marchionne. Binotto will have the power, including political, in view of the regulation change in 2021.

 

"It is either him or me".

 

That is what he would have told Ferrari's top management. Binotto, the man chosen by former president Sergio Marchionne to rebuild a Ferrari in ruins, fishing in the belly of the factory and finding this engineer born in Switzerland of Reggio Emilia parents. Orphaned by designer James Allison, who moved on to Mercedes, Binotto made Sergio Marchionne's dream come true, creating a horizontal organization of second lines in charge, with Enrico Cardile and Corrado Iotti. Out of this came the best car in a decade, which could have won if only Ferrari had not self-eliminated due to the drivers’ mistakes, as well as for organizational and communication errors. The removal of Maurizio Arrivabene from the lead of Ferrari, and his replacement by technical director Mattia Binotto, is an inevitable, but late, move: inevitable because the coexistence of the two of them within the Gestione Sportiva had become impossible - with the former irritated by the recognition of Binotto’s work, and the latter impatient with the impetuosity of the former -; late because, as everybody knows, Formula 1 is a sport in which the effects of the decisions taken in the factory reverberate on track with a four to six months delay. And so, it is easy to imagine that the 2019 car, which is in fact ready, was created in a climate that was not exactly serene and through an organization of work set up by a different hand, compared to those who will have to manage it.

 

The Arrivabene/Binotto change should have taken place as early as June 2018, when Marchionne confessed his intention to redesign the team's entire organizational chart by placing the Swiss engineer of Emilian origin, his protégé, at the centre of the organizational machine. But then, destiny blocked everything and Arrivabene found himself with another, unexpected chance. Louis Camilleri, the man called to replace Marchionne, had always been one of his greatest sponsors. Given the situation, Maurizio might not have won, even though it was undoubtedly the best Ferrari seen on track since the post-Schumacher era: in order to survive, it would have been enough for him not to look bad. Instead, Arrivabene played it very badly. He literally imploded. He has managed Vettel in the worst way possible, first overloaded with responsibility and then abandoned to his loneliness, and has left the field open to his rivalry with Binotto. Binotto, in the months following the umpteenth lost World Championship, was more than once on the verge of leaving - it is no secret that he had offers from Renault and the new Force India, as well as Mercedes - until the decisive aut aut. Compared to Marchionne's original plans, the situation that has arisen is very different. Because unlike what would have happened with Marchionne still in charge, today, Binotto, who is not a politician (an indispensable characteristic for this role), cannot count on a strong, authoritative and univocal guide above himself: suffice it to say that his appointment was decided from Turin after a long tug-of-war with Camillieri, whose time at Ferrari is running out.

 

"The choice of Binotto was shared with Arrivabene. No overturning but a choice made in continuity".

 

This is Ferrari president John Elkann’s comment. He adds:

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"And the CEO Camilleri is not to be touched".

 

If someone knows the internal dynamics of Formula 1 racing teams, this is Giancarlo Minardi, 71 years old. Twenty-five years of management, other than his experience as a driver, founder of the team that bears his name, he was in the paddock from 1980 to 2005 and many drivers, from Trulli and Fisichella to Fernando Alonso, were basically raised in Faenza. Minardi, what do you think of this twist?

 

"Coup de théâtre? No, it was in the air. And don't be misled by the timing: if you think about it, the last Grand Prix of 2018 was held on November 25th, 2018. If there's a delay, it's only by about ten days. These things are done when the dust settles, the decision was probably made in mid-December".

 

So, are you saying you were expecting this?

 

"Well, the rumour was strong in May. Then, we had the Marchionne thing".

 

Where does Minardi stand?

 

"Well, I'll say it right now so that there's no misunderstanding: I approve. Because Binotto grew up with Ross Brawn. He's a down-to-earth guy".

 

Here, what kind of person is Binotto?

 

"A close-minded looking guy, but that's not the case. I know him, but I've never worked with him. He certainly knew how to manage the group of Italians in Ferrari, without the mercenaries".

 

And what was Maurizio Arrivabene's fault?

 

"A hundred, and none. He was the team principal, so everything and nothing. But the Italian Grand Prix at Monza is still in my eyes. That, in my personal opinion, is the key error".

 

What do you mean by that?

 

"That a technical director has to make decisions, and never in life Hamilton should have had the chance of overtaking".

 

What happens now?

 

"Well, it's too early to say. I keep thinking about 2018, with recriminations".

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Ferrari could have won.

 

"Absolutely. I say without a shadow of a doubt that Maranello, with two different drivers, could have taken home, if not the Drivers' title, at least the Constructors'".

 

This is a strong statement.

 

"That’s facts, not my opinion. Sebastian Vettel made nine to ten mistakes, and I don't have to repeat them right now. I think all fans remember Baku and Hockenheim, just to give a few examples".

 

So what?

 

"Vettel has recovered. He had some problems. At a certain point of the season, he was no longer at one hundred percent, and in Formula 1 it takes nothing to lose precious tenths to your rivals".

 

All right, but what could Arrivabene have done?

 

"I don't have to point it out, but his job was supporting the team. The team principal is exactly the figure paid to decide and solve internal problems. I'm even thinking of the post-World Championship tests: Leclerc did better times than Vettel, and even then, the German was not protected".

 

Do you remember Mauro Forghieri in the 1970s? Do you see similarities with today's Binotto?

 

"Yes, there are similarities. But Forghieri had an advantage because there were fewer people in Ferrari and, above all, he referred directly to Ferrari, whose emanation he was. Binotto's task today is more difficult, but not impossible. There's a lot to be done, but people with common sense know where to put their hands".

 

While this change at the top of Ferrari is taking place, Niki Lauda is back in the hospital. According to the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung, on Sunday, January 6th, 2019, the former Austrian driver is admitted to the intensive care unit of the Allgemeinen Krankenhaus in Vienna, due to a flu that struck him during the Christmas vacations at his home in Ibiza. His immune system is still weak from the lung transplant he underwent in August of the previous year, and so Lauda - who will turn 70 on February 22nd, 2019 - was taken to the hospital. According to the sources, his conditions are not worrying and Lauda should be discharged next week. It seems that a spokeswoman for the university polyclinic told Orf, the Austrian national broadcaster, that this new hospitalization will last about a week. A precautionary hospitalization, then, but given his clinical situation, fear inevitably returns. A few weeks earlier, the former Ferrari driver and current non-executive chairman of Mercedes said he was optimistic about his recovery process, to the point of seeing himself back in the pits to follow the races live next season. He promised:

 

"You'll see me again soon".

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It was late November, on video. It was a celebration and a threat of his own at the same time.

 

"I'll be back and the pressure will rise again".

 

Two marriages, five children and a business with two airlines later, Lauda is back where it matters: on track. Consultant to various teams, since 2012 he has been the non-executive chairman of the Silver Arrows (he also holds a ten percent share of Mercedes), and he led the negotiations to bring five-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to the team the following year. His protégé's last adventure was almost entirely seen from home; in the season that just ended, he quietly disappeared from the paddock to face yet another challenge. At the end of which, he resurrected in a message on social media at the end of November with a red cap and a blue shirt on, praising the team for the drivers' and constructors' titles:

 

"I've had a rough time regarding my health. The support I've had has been incredible. This year's success has been exceptional because it's the fifth in a row, we couldn't have done a better job. And now the important message is that I'll be there soon and we'll start again. The pressure will rise for the sixth time".

 

He’s saying the truth. Thoracic surgery chief Walter Klepetko said, after operating on him:

 

"The engine is running again. It will not be easy to find a fighter as tenacious as Niki Lauda".

 

After the designation of Mattia Binotto as head of Ferrari's racing department, in Maranello they are reflecting on the structure for the 2019 World Championship. The new hierarchies may favour the rise of Leclerc. The work quantity and complexity do not frighten the Italo-Swiss engineer, who knows well the sense of the factory: teamwork, sharing, horizontal organization as imagined by his main sponsor, former president Sergio Marchionne. His wide vision, covering several areas and suggestions, made him, in the eyes of the owners, the most suitable man to replace Maurizio Arrivabene. But Binotto is not a one man show, nor does he possess the political expertise required by the role, especially in view of the change in Formula 1 regulations in 2021, that his predecessor, a former Philip Morris, could boast. The engineer needs a trusted, internal prime minister. As the revolution completes its rounds, Binotto could lean on or give more delegated authority to engine engineer Corrado Iotti and aerodynamicist Enrico Cardile, or hand over coordination to Laurent Mekies, the French engineer and former safety director for the FIA who joined Ferrari in Abu Dhabi as sports director. The team principal will have to immediately show strong shoulders and gentle hands with the new pair of drivers. Sebastian Vettel, who arrived in Maranello with Arrivabene and is now orphaned of a travelling companion, needs to recover confidence in himself and in the team and to face the rampant Charles Leclerc, twenty-one years old, an ambitious partner, whose intentions with Ferrari are serious. And, looking at the future, Mick Schumacher would be about to sign in the coming days for the Ferrari Driver Academy, which offers him, among other things, the opportunity to carry out the tests that will be held on the Tuesday and Wednesday following the Grand Prix of Bahrain and Spain. Out of these four days, two will be dedicated to rookie drivers who have competed in no more than two Formula 1 races. Last year, this role was held in Ferrari by Antonio Giovinazzi, who will be an official Sauber driver in 2019. In 2018, Mick Schumacher won the European Formula 3 championship title and will compete in the Formula 2 championship this year. Forty Grand Prix in Formula 1, five victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, two engineer sons in Formula 1. Emanuele Pirro knows what we are talking about when it comes to sons of art. What do you think about the hypothesis of another Schumacher at Ferrari?

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"If it were so, as a romantic racing fan, it would be a beautiful fairy tale. Motorsport has taught us that sons of art are good stories. We've had several. Of course, the test driver can now do little to help the team, but at Mick's career point, it means putting a foot inside Formula 1, gaining experience".

 

Is being a child of art more of a help or a pressure?

 

"No doubt, a help. Maybe some of them would like more tranquillity. Fortunately, the racing world is still quite meritocratic. I would add that a son of art sees in his father the competitive culture that the others learn along the way. To put it simply, my two sons who are engineers, got a leg up thanks to me, meaning that a father tries to transfer his experience, and if his children know how to absorb it, they will benefit from it. Then, I repeat, they're called single-seaters, so it's up to them to get on with it. But Mick seems to me to be mature, he's in gear".

 

Some people think they are facilitated.

 

"No, at the end of the day telemetry speaks for everyone, and you're on your own in the car".

 

Will he continue with the lower series?

 

"I take it for granted. Because testing is contingent nowadays. At McLaren, I was on track three days a week. Not today, the space for young people is limited. But you are in the paddock, you breathe the air, you drive the simulator. But I repeat, his main activity, his season, will have to be supported by a Championship: Formula 2 with Prema, a structured team that can teach him everything he needs to learn. Of course, if he had his dad next to him, it would be much better".

 

Well, Schumacher will be happy.

 

"Of course. A beautiful story, in such a scientific and technological world. Believing, and getting excited about this kind of stories, is something I really enjoy".

 

But are children of art destined to be better?

 

"No, they aren’t. There have been better sons than fathers, like Verstappen, but there have also been Andrettis. So, nothing is taken for granted".

 

Shortly after, this news becomes official: on Saturday, January 19th, 2019, Mick Schumacher, son of the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion, joins the Ferrari Driver Academy, the nursery of the Maranello team, reserved for young drivers to grow and race. This was announced by Ferrari itself. Together with Schumacher, Giuliano Alesi, son of Jean Alesi, will also be part of the Academy.

 

"I am delighted to have reached an agreement with Ferrari and that my near future in racing will be in red, becoming part of the Ferrari Driver Academy and thus also of the Scuderia Ferrari family".

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Mick Schumacher admits, commenting on the officiality of his arrival in the Ferrari nursery:

 

"This is another step in the right direction. I will be able to benefit from the immense expertise there. I will definitely do everything to learn anything that can help me achieve my dream: racing in Formula 1. It is more than obvious that Ferrari has a huge place in my heart since I was born as well as in our family. I am also happy on a personal level for this opportunity".

 

Scuderia Ferrari's new team principal, Mattia Binotto, explains:

 

"For those who have always known him, like me, it certainly has a special emotional meaning to welcome Mick to Ferrari. We chose him for his talent and for the human and professional qualities he has already shown despite his young age".

 

A day blessed from afar, animated by reason and feeling, by formidable memories and great hopes, the one that brings Mick Schumacher into the Ferrari family. Twenty-four years after his father Michael, his heir officially opens the door of Maranello. After months of rumours, negotiations even on the table set by Mercedes' direct rivals, endorsements, flattery and nostalgia, Maranello wins the first race of the 2019 championship that has not yet begun: getting the most precious pupil. In the Maranello academy, that has also raised the Monegasque Charles Leclerc, promoted starter with Sebastian Vettel after a 2018 rookie year in Sauber, his companions are Giuliano Alesi and Callum Ilott, Marcus Armstrong and Robert Shwartzman, Enzo Fittipaldi, and Gianluca Petecof. On Sunday, January 20th, 2019 Mick Schumacher continues to prove that he is a predestined: the young German driver beats in the Race of Champions, race-show staged in Mexico, Scuderia Ferrari first driver, namely compatriot Sebastian Vettel, which enhances him:

 

"His father would be proud".

 

Despite being fun and highly followed, the race is what it is: exhibition and show. But the nineteen-year-old German took it seriously right away. At the Race of Champions in Mexico, which has brought together since 1988 drivers of the different series, from Formula 1 to Formula E, passing through Nascar, IndyCar, Rally, GT and sometimes even two wheels, after competing together with his four-time champion compatriot to gain the second place in the tournament for nations, the next day, in the individual clash, he was not intimidated by the more experienced Ferrari driver, and won the direct confrontation. Vettel placed second and he was eliminated, returning home without a Roc trophy for the first time.

 

"The Roc was a great experience, all the more because I shared it with Vettel. I go back to Europe with a big smile on my face".

 

Vettel, thirty-one years old, on a mega kart identical to the others - 475 kg, four-cylinder engine that can reach a maximum of about 193 km/h on a winding track built inside the circuit named after the Rodriguez brothers - loses but happily welcomes the heir of his boyhood idol into the family:

 

"It's great for him. I hope he can stay with us for a long time and that one day he can drive with me, or maybe I can give him the wheel when I stop in the future. It's special to be on a team with Mick. In my Roc debut I was watching Michael with admiration. Now, I get to run it with his son. I'm sure Michael would be extremely proud of him".

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Seb and Michael won six times in a row, together, between 2007 and 2012. From Michael Schumacher’s pupil and partner, to Mick Schumacher’s master:

 

"Let's give him time and let him make his own way, he already bears quite a lot of pressure. I think he can become a star in the future".

 

Mick wants to learn. European Formula 3 champion last year with Prema and, starting this year, racing with the same team in Formula 2, some people thought he would end in the orbit of All Road Management of Nicolas Todt, son of FIA president Jean, friend to the Schumacher family as well as former Ferrari team principal at the time of Michael's triumphs. Todt is already following Charles Leclerc, the Monegasque 21-year-old who has been promoted to Ferrari. Once the event in Mexico is finished, on Monday, January 21st, 2019, Mick Schumacher’s first day of school begins: this is what it feels like in Maranello, where Ferrari gathers its young students. Scuderia Ferrari's team principal, Mattia Binotto, as well as sports director Laurent Mekies, and FDA's Head of Technical Area, Marco Matassa, welcome the young drivers of the Ferrari Driver Academy. Management and drivers pose for a photo, as well as Antonio Fuoco, who remains in the FDA orbit with an advisory role. Marcus Armstrong, engaged in the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand, is absent. The FDA drivers are expected to face a year full of challenges: Mick Schumacher will be engaged in Formula 2 together with his two teammates Callum Ilott and Giuliano Alesi; Marcus Armstrong and Robert Shwartzman will race in the FIA Formula 3 championship; Enzo Fittipaldi in the new born Formula Regional and Gianluca Petecof in the FIA Formula 4 Championship.

 

"I'm happy to be the son of the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time. I'm happy he's the best Formula 1 driver ever and I admire him for that, and even though sometimes it can be difficult, things are the way they are. It has its good side and its bad side".

 

Mick Schumacher will tell FIA magazine:

 

"Having the support of many people around the world can't be bad. I'm grateful for that".

 

The young driver recalled that he loved going to the kart circuit with his father.

 

"I had a great time sharing this with him, and I remember he once asked me whether it was a hobby for me or I wanted to do it like a professional. And I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I wanted to do it professionally. I never wanted to do anything else".

 

As the new season approaches, on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019, CEO Louis Camilleri states during the 2018 accounts conference call:

 

"In 2018, we achieved the best result since we won the constructors' championship. For 2019, the goal is winning. An increase in expenses will reflect this ambition".

 

The administrator explains that this increase is also due to the adaptation to the new 2020-2021 rules. The next day, Friday, February 1st, 2019, it is announced that the Alfa Romeo brand is fully back in Formula 1, and no longer just as title sponsor: the Swiss team with Ferrari engine enters the 2019 Championship under the new name of Alfa Romeo Racing.

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The managerial independence of the Swiss team led by Frederic Vasseur remains, but the synergy with Ferrari becomes stronger, also given the technical area strengthened by Simone Resta, now technical director in Hinwil. After the eighth-place finish in 2018, FCA CEO Mike Manley declares:

 

"We will aim to do well".

 

At the wheel of the single-seater that will be presented on February 18th, 2019 in Barcelona - while a filming day is scheduled three days before -, there are Ferrari's latest champion, Kimi Raikkonen, and Antonio Giovinazzi, Italian from the Puglia region. Less than a month until Formula 1 World Championship again. Waiting for the green light in Melbourne, a crucial week is about to begin: from Mercedes to Ferrari, all the most awaited single-seaters of the circus will be presented. However, Haas is playing in advance, and, on Thursday, February 7th, 2019, in London, they will unveil the new VF-19, whose drivers will be once again Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. We have news in terms of colours: goodbye to white-red, moving to the more attractive black-gold. Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 will be Mercedes day: as usual, the W10 will be illustrated in live streaming with the presence of team principal Toto Wolff, along with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Two days after, here comes the Ferrari day: appointment in Maranello on Friday, February 15th, 2019 at 10:45 a.m. The name of the single-seater is still top secret, but the fans expect that the new Ferrari will allow Vettel and the newly acquired Leclerc to break the hegemony of the Silver Arrows. First, however, on Monday, February 11th, 2019, it will be Toro Rosso and Williams’ turn; on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019 it will be Renault’s; on Wednesday, February 13th, 2019, in addition to the aforementioned Mercedes, it will also be Red Bull and Racing Point’s day. On Thursday, February 14th, 2019 down the veils for McLaren; on Friday, as said, for Ferrari; and finally on Monday, February 18th, 2019, it’s Alfa Romeo’s turn. Engines will be on from February 18th to 21st, 2019 for the first seasonal tests at Montmelò, while the second tests are scheduled from February 26th to March 1st, until the final start in Melbourne, on March 17th, 2019. With a video published on its website, on Monday, February 11th, 2019, Scuderia Toro Rosso presents the STR14, the single-seater that will take part in the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship. The team from Faenza aims to redemption after a disappointing 2018, closed with an eighth place in the constructors' standings. Goal to be achieved especially taking advantage of the renewed synergy with Red Bull Racing, favoured by the fact that, in this Championship, the two teams will have the same engine again, supplied by Honda, as underlined by team principal Franz Tost:

 

"The components related to the power unit will be the same as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s, as allowed by the regulations. Most of the remaining components we receive from Red Bull Technology are from last year's specifications".

 

A collaboration with the Japanese engine manufacturer, which Tost looks at with renewed optimism:

 

"The step forward that Honda has made in just one year demonstrates the enormous commitment they have put into the project with us. Aston Martin Red Bull Racing's decision to use their supply will give a greater boost to further improvement".

 

Essentially unchanged in its livery, which retains the predominant electric blue with silver and red inserts already seen on track last season, the STR14 designed by Jody Egginton, the new head of technical development after James Key’s move to McLaren, has got some interesting innovations in its overall design.

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In particular, the adoption of a longer wheelbase is evident, a solution that allows to accommodate the greater fuel capacity in the tank (110 kg instead of the 105 kg in 2018), making Toro Rosso, which was the shortest car on the grid last year, adapt to the characteristics of Red Bull. The rear end also follows RB14’s, adapted to the needs of the Honda power unit. However, the most significant innovation, as known, is the driver line-up called to bring the new single-seater on track. For Daniil Kvyat this is a homecoming, after being test driver for Ferrari in 2018:

 

"Daniil has shown his speed skills since the beginning. The moment he switched to Red Bull Racing, he seemed to be ready. He showed good performances, but racing under pressure is always a big challenge: now, with hindsight, we can say it was too early. When he came back with us in 2016, he had to face a difficult moment, psychologically tough, but nobody ever questioned his driving skills. I firmly believe that he deserves another chance in Formula 1 and I feel that the best is yet to come for him".

 

Alongside the Russian, an absolute rookie like: Alexander Albon, making it to Formula 1 after a third-place finish in Formula 2 last season.

 

"Alex will have a lot to learn, like any rookie in Formula 1, but he has already left his mark in other categories such as European Formula 3, GP3 and especially in Formula 2, where he also won races. In the second half of the Formula 2 championship, last year, his performance was remarkable and it convinced us to bring him on board".

 

After Haas and Toro Rosso, ROKiT Williams FW42’s livery is presented - the team linked to a telecommunications company. As for the other teams, the unveiling only shows the new colour of the car, while, at the moment, it’s impossible to grasp other details about the British single-seater, in an attempt to hide as much as possible the innovations related to aerodynamics that will be known in the Barcelona tests. The FW42, unveiled in the Groove headquarters, is the first single-seater of Sir Frank Williams' team to no longer have the historic logos of the sponsor Martini. This season also marks the return of Robert Kubica, who will be joined by rookie George Russell. Powered by Mercedes, Williams will have to try to improve the disappointing last place in the standings and the seven points gained by Sirotkin and Stroll. Light blue dominates the base of the FW42: on the air scope, on the end of the nose, on the sides and on the bellies of the car. Same colour for the wing. White for the central part of the nose, the Halo and the hood. Claire Williams, vice president of the team, says, when asked what her father, Sir Frank Williams, thought about the break with the livery tradition:

 

"We are delighted to welcome ROKiT to our team as our main partner for the 2019 season and beyond. We share many values and aspirations with them. First and foremost, putting engineering and innovation at the heart of everything we do in our ongoing quest to become the best - this is the perfect foundation from which to begin a new partnership".

 

In Enstone, around 1:00 p.m., on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019, the new Renault is unveiled, with a livery that is actually very similar to the previous year. The single-seater is entrusted to the driving of the confirmed Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, called to redeem a difficult season at Red Bull. Renault, after the fourth place obtained in the 2018 Constructors' standings, will try to confirm or, if possible, improve this placement. Prospects and ambitions regarding the reliability of the French engine, which will have to prove to be more competitive than Red Bull’s, which switched from Renault to the Honda supplier. In this sense, the Barcelona tests, with the first round from February 18th to 21st, 2019 will be a first and important test bench.


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