Tag Archives: 2017 season

Capito: McLaren wants “big step” with Honda for 2017


In an interview with the media today, McLaren Racing boss Jost Capito says he fully expects Honda to make a “big step” forward with their power unit in 2017, as they have had enough time to understand what is required of them and for the relationship with McLaren to fully form.

Whilst Honda have taken massive strides this season compared to 2015, their power unit is still considered the weakest on the grid.

The Japanese manufacturer has big plans for next year, which includes a complete overhaul of the power unit’s design – which has been made possible by the decision to scrap engine development tokens.

In his interview with the media today, Capito is therefore expecting huge gains on both sides as he admitted McLaren too must improve if they’re to beat the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull. Capito stated the following:-

‘I expect improvement on the car from McLaren and a big step from Honda on the engine. It takes always a certain time to form a team with a new partner like this. McLaren and Honda were partners before but it was a long time ago. All new people are involved and it takes a while for Honda to understand how McLaren works and for McLaren to understand how Honda works. I think this is now achieved.’

Further on in his interview with the media, Capito is confident the improvements will lead to a competitive McLaren. Capito added the following:-

‘It is a very good partnership and the Honda guys understand more what is needed from the chassis side and we understand more what is needed from the engine side as well. I expect really not just the improvement of each but also the improvement of the overall relationship. So one plus one is not two – it should be three.’

Ericsson to remain at Sauber for the 2017 season

All rights reserved to Sauber Motorsport AG.

All rights reserved to Sauber Motorsport AG.

On Monday, the Sauber team has confirmed that Marcus Ericsson will remain at the team for 2017.

The announcement therefore extends Ericsson’s stay at Sauber to a third season. The news was widely expected in the F1 paddock due to his close ties to the team’s new owners, Longbow Finance.

In a statement to the media on Monday, Ericcson is excited to see what Sauber can achieve with its new backers under the new regulations in 2017. Ericsson stated the following:-

‘It is great news that I will be racing for another year for the Sauber F1 Team. I have spent two years with Sauber now, and I really feel at home. A big thanks to everyone within the team for trusting in me again. From a personal point of view, I have developed a lot as a driver during my time at Sauber. We have had ups and downs, but we always stick together and work as hard as we can.

‘Since the new ownership, there has been a positive push in the team, so it will also be exciting to go into this new era. Many motorsport experts are becoming part of Sauber, which is a good sign for the future. For 2017 my aim is to build on my performance from the second half of this season, and to continue working hard with the team. I cannot wait for the 2017 season, so that we can make our way up to the midfield with the objective to score points on a regular basis.’

Also in a statement to the media on Monday, Sauber Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has praised Ericsson for the commitment he has demonstrated in the difficult 2016 season. Kaltenborn said the following:-

‘We are very pleased to announce that Marcus will remain our race driver for the Sauber F1 Team in 2017. During the current season Marcus has again showed he is willing to go that extra mile in order to make progress. He went through very difficult times with us, but managed those very well. In the last two years, he has made significant steps in regards to his personal development, proving his skills on as well as off track, especially when circumstances are not easy.

‘He is not only a good driver, but also an important team player who understands how to work with the team and how to motivate everyone with his positive attitude. Formula One goes into a new era in 2017, and I am confident that we can count on Marcus to bring the team back into the competition.’

The announcement also said Sauber will announce Ericsson’s 2017 teammate “in due course”. Felipe Nasr, who scored two valuable points for the team in Brazil, is yet to be signed for another season with the team.

Renault expects power unit progression in 2017


In an interview with the media yesterday, the Renault F1 Team expects to continue the progress it has made this season with its power unit over the winter to make it even more competitive in 2017.

The new power unit regulations proved a struggle for Renault initially, with 2015 seeing an uncompetitive engine lead to a falling out with main customer Red Bull. Having returned to the sport as a full constructor this season, Renault has also made clear steps forward with its power unit and managing director Cyril Abiteboul is confident 2017 will see further progress. Abiteboul said the following:-

‘Abu Dhabi is our final Grand Prix in our rookie season as Renault Sport Formula One Team. It has been a tough 20 races so far on track, as we expected, but for us the story has been our real progress made behind the scenes.

‘In terms of our power unit this season we have taken a great step forward in terms of performance and reliability and that is something we expect to continue in 2017. In terms of the infrastructure at Enstone we’re making massive strides with our expansion programme progressing well. The first fruits of this expansion will be seen in next year’s car, the R.S.17.”

With one more race remaining this season, Abiteboul further stated that he is also targeting a strong end to the year for Renault in what will be Kevin Magnussen’s final race for the team. Abiteboul added the following:-

‘On track in Abu Dhabi we want a strong and positive race to end the season. There will be a lot of attention at the front of the field as the Drivers’ Championship is decided, but for us a strong end to the year would be a good endorsement of all the hard work wrought over the last twelve months. We have faith that both Kevin and Jolyon [Palmer] will deliver what’s expected of them for the final time this season and for Kevin we wish him well for the future.’

Ericcson likely to remain at Sauber for the 2017 season

All rights reserved to Sauber Motorsport AG.

All rights reserved to Sauber Motorsport AG.

Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson  says he is “very likely” to remain with the team in 2017 and hopes to sign a new deal with the team ahead of next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Sauber is one of two teams with seats available for next season, with Manor also yet to confirm either of its drivers for 2017. Following the confirmation of line-ups at Force India, Renault and Haas ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Ericsson says in an interview with the media yesterday that he now expects to remain at Sauber for a third consecutive season. Ericsson said the following:-

‘I think I’ll still be here next year, let’s see. Nothing is done yet but that’s what it looks like now, especially after last week with what happened. It’s likely, but before it’s done I need to wait until it’s done, let’s put it that way. But it is very likely I would say.’

Asked if he hopes his future is confirmed before Abu Dhabi, Ericsson replied with the following:- ‘Yeah, I hope so.’

Despite Felipe Nasr picking up Sauber’s first points of the season in Brazil, ex Sauber and soon to be ex Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez has also been linked with a seat at the team and was pictured in talks with Monisha Kaltenborn at Interlagos.

While Ericsson could end up fighting his current team-mate for one of the Sauber seats, he insists in his interview yesterday that he was pleased to see Nasr score the points that moved the team ahead of Manor in the constructors’ championship. Ericsson added the following:-

‘It’s just fantastic for the team. Felipe did an exceptional job in the race. I’m really, really happy for all the people here, they’ve been working extremely hard all year. It’s not been an easy one. Especially the second half of the year we’ve made steps forward all the time and improved and it’s been really good. To get those points is fantastic for everyone, so I’m really, really happy for everyone.

‘It’s a team sport and as a team that’s what we’ve been aiming for the whole year. Of course I wanted it to be me, it’s easy to understand like that, but I’m a team player. Felipe did an exceptional job in Brazil and I’m really happy for him and for the team.’

And lastly, Ericsson says the result motivates him to do well in the final race next weekend having crashed out in Brazil. Ericsson said the following:-

‘No, I thought Mexico was close enough and Brazil was another chance. Of course it’s a big relief for the whole team, we will be a bit more relaxed in Abu Dhabi, but I am still very determined to do a very good job there because I don’t want to end the season like this.’

Ocon: Tough Task replacing Hulkenberg


With Esteban Ocon replacing Nico Hulkenberg at Force India, the Frenchman has recently admitted in an interview with the media that he has big shoes to fill going into the 2017 season.

Despite only having half a season in Formula 1 under his belt, the 20-year-old expressed his excitement of working with Sergio Perez at the Silverstone-based outfit.

In his interview with the media earlier this week, Ocon is truly grateful to Force India for having confidence in him despite in his inexperience in the sport. Ocon stated the following:-

‘They [Force India] believe in me, they think we can achieve great things together, and they want a strong driver to replace Nico, which is a tough task, but I will do my best to replace him the best way possible.

‘Coming with not a lot of experience halfway through the season was very hard. Probably my progress was a good point, and I also tested with Force India back in 2015, and the test was great.

‘I remember being P2, just behind the Mercedes, and it was a hard day – raining, drying, so I remember a great test, great memories, and the team welcomed me well back then.’

Gutierrez in talks with Sauber and Manor


After being dropped by Haas for Kevin Magnussen in 2017, Esteban Gutierrez revealed in an interview to the media yesterday that he has already began talks with Sauber and Manor for a drive next year.

With the vacant seats at Renault and Force India already taken, the Mexican’s options have now narrowed down to just Manor and Sauber, admitting that the American team’s decision to delay their line-up for next season hurt his chances of securing a seat.

When asked yesterday by the media why he and Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn were seen chatting on Sunday morning, Gutierrez confirmed it was about his future in the sport. He said the following:-

‘You know what the two options are that are available, so we are in talks with them. Nothing is really decided yet but I think in the next week we will see some progress.’

He was then further asked by the media if he was also in talks with Manor for Esteban Ocon’s race seat, Gutierrez answered with the following:- ‘Yes, as well.’

Ocon signs for Force India for the 2017 season


Yesterday afternoon the Sahara Force India is pleased to confirm Esteban Ocon as a race driver for 2017 and beyond following the signing of a multi-year contract. The 20-year-old Frenchman will race alongside Sergio Perez to form one of the most exciting line-ups on the grid with a blend of youth and experience.

In a statement to the media yesterday, Ocon is delighted to have signed for Force India next season and is ready for the opportunity to enhance his career in the sport. Ocon stated the following:-

‘I’m very excited to join Sahara Force India. I know the team quite well already because I was a test driver last year and I’m really looking forward to working with everybody at Silverstone once again. I’m still relatively new to Formula One, but spending half a season at Manor Racing has given me some valuable experience and I feel ready for this new opportunity with Sahara Force India. The next few months will be very busy as I do all I can to prepare for the challenge ahead of me.

‘It means lots of days at the factory, working on the simulator and building relationships with the engineers and everybody in the team. It’s something I’ve been working towards my whole life and I intend to grab this opportunity with both hands so that I can deliver the results the team expects from me. I want to say ‘thank you’ to everybody at Manor and especially to Mercedes-Benz for their support and belief in me. I can’t wait for 2017 and my first full season racing in Formula One.’

In his own statement to the media yesterday; Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director stated the following about signing Ocon for next season as follows:-

‘It’s a pleasure to welcome Esteban as our new race driver. He’s an exceptional talent, as his status as a Mercedes Junior demonstrates, and I have no doubt he will flourish inside our team. We’ve had our eye on Esteban for a number of years and have followed his progress through the junior categories where he delivered outstanding results. We ran him in the car last year during testing and his performance convinced us that he is more than capable of racing alongside Sergio. Sahara Force India has a tradition of investing in young, talented drivers and the arrival of Esteban will bring some fresh energy and motivation to everyone in the team.’

Palmer is retained by Renault for 2017


The Renault Sport Formula One Team yesterday afternoon announced that it will retain Jolyon Palmer for the 2017 season. Jolyon will join the recently-announced Nico Hülkenberg to complete the team’s 2017 race driver line-up.

Twenty-five year old Jolyon joined Renault Sport Formula One Team’s predecessor Lotus F1 Team as Third Driver at the start of the 2015 season, graduating to race driver for 2016 with Renault Sport Formula One Team. To date he has started 18 Grands Prix, scoring his first World Championship point at this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix. He is the 2014 GP2 Series Champion.

In a statement to the media yesterday, Jérôme Stoll, Renault Sport Racing Chairman said the following about retaining Palmer as follows:-

‘We are delighted to retain Jolyon as our driver for the 2017 season. Jolyon has shown his hunger to develop with us as the team grows and we have been impressed with his increasingly strong performances on track as the season has progressed. We are confident that the combination of Jolyon and Nico Hülkenberg offers a very promising driving force to meet our goals.

‘Jolyon understands the team’s spirit and motivates everyone he works with. The line-up of Jolyon and Nico harnesses the benefits of continuity and fresh blood. I am sure that having Nico as a team-mate will help push Jolyon to greater achievements. We thank Kevin Magnussen for his efforts in 2016 as he has done a great job for us this year. We wish him all the best for 2017 and beyond.’

In a statement to the media yesterday Jolyon Palmer said the following about being retained by Renault for another season as follows:-

‘I’m over the moon to be racing with Renault Sport Formula One Team for a second season and I can’t wait to reward the team’s faith in me on track. Having worked out of Enstone since 2015 I can fully appreciate the development of the infrastructure this year. This means I share the excitement of the team looking to 2017 and our new car.

‘For me, it’s been a steep learning curve driving in Formula 1 and I know that I am performing better than ever, and that there’s still more to come. There is tremendous drive and enthusiasm in Enstone and Viry looking to next year and I am honoured to be part of this.’

Williams to announce 2017 drivers next Thursday


The Williams Martini Racing Team will announce their 2017 driver line-up at their Grove headquarters on November 3, with Lance Stroll expected to be confirmed.

The Canadian teenager will turn 18 this weekend putting to an end any concerns about his age given that Williams’ title sponsor is Martini.

Stroll will step up into Formula 1 having won the 2016 European Formula 3 Championship with Prema Powerteam.

He will partner Valtteri Bottas, who is expected to remain with Williams despite months of rumours linking to a Renault race-seat.

Williams will make the announcement next Thursday to the media.

Hulkenberg switches to Renault for the 2017 season


It was announced this morning that Nico Hulkenberg will be more than likely switching to Renault next year after Force India confirmed he will leave its team at the end of the current season.

The news of the switch first surfaced at the Japanese Grand Prix weekend and is now being reported in detail by German newspaper Bild. After several articles linking Hulkenberg to Renault this week, Force India issued a statement confirming the German is set to leave its team after the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi as follows:-

“Everybody at Sahara Force India wishes Nico well as he embarks upon a different path in Formula One. Having spent five years with us, Nico has become a great friend and contributed a huge amount to the team’s success.

‘He’s an outstanding driver, who has scored more points for this team than anybody else. While it’s true we will miss Nico, we respect his decision to explore fresh opportunities and it would be wrong to stand in his way.’

As we already know Renault is working on a five-year plan to return to the front of the grid and has said previously it is looking for a Michael-Schumacher style to rally its troops. The news follows months of speculation that Hulkenberg’s current teammate Sergio Perez would make the switch, but that ended two weeks ago when the Mexican finally confirmed he would remain at Force India.

Hulkenberg hinted at the Renault deal in a tweet today, where he screengrabbed the Bild article but only to make reference to the football fixtures further down the page.