Williams has split with Dirk De Beer, their aero chief, which follows the recent departure of Ed Wood, the team’s chief designer. Perhaps not wholly surprising, given how poor the car has been this year. Apparently the 2018 car’s weakness is due to a significant aerodynamic flaw. The problem involves the turning of the front wheels disrupting air to the rear, making the car very ropey on long corners (they’re going to have fun at 130R when we go to Japan).
After his victory in the world’s most exciting race, Ricciardo will be facing a grid penalty for using too many parts. This is thought to be at least a 10 place penalty for using more MGU-K bits than permitted, but could include other penalties too. Given he’s likely to qualify around 5th or so, any extra penalties will see him pretty much starting last. Update: after all that, he apparently won’t have a penalty after all as the team managed to replace a broken part with an old one.
His team mate, meanwhile, has not necessarily ended questions over his temperament. Verstappen, perhaps unwisely, said he might headbutt someone if he kept being asked about his crashes (I’m sure he just meant it in a lighthearted way, but then, so did Hamilton a few years ago when he questioned penalties from stewards and said maybe it was because he was black).
Thanks to Mr. eek, from PB, who reminded me that as well as the Renault engine upgrade, Honda are doing likewise for Toro Rosso. The Renault performance boost is not thought to be massive (but every little helps, of course). Ferrari are also bringing an enhanced engine, meaning Mercedes is the only manufacturer not doing so (it was planned for now but has been delayed).
Speaking of Toro Rosso, they sought McLaren’s permission to sign up their chap Lando Norris, to replace Brendan Hartley. McLaren declined. Some reckon Alonso will leap into a McLaren Indycar team next year, with Norris getting promoted to the F1 team. Not to mention, if Norris helped Toro Rosso (and Honda...) beat McLaren in this year’s Constructors’, that would be something of an own goal.
It’s not F1, but recently it’s emerged Formula E is going to enable racing (as a game) in real time against drivers. That’s a fantastic idea which will, I think, really help enthuse the fan base, and expand it to those who like e-sports as well. Smart thinking.
The weather forecast, a few days ahead of practice, was for it to be dry throughout the weekend.
In first practice, Verstappen was fastest, with Hamilton less than a tenth behind. Ricciardo and Vettel were next up, followed by Bottas and Raikkonen. Alonso, Sainz, Vandoorne and Gasly rounded out the top 10.
Second practice was also topped by Verstappen, this time with Raikkonen next up, and Ricciardo again occupying the next position. Hamilton, Vettel and Bottas followed, chased by Grosjean, Ocon, Perez and Alonso.
At this stage I think both Ferrari and Mercedes are sandbagging. It’d be an interesting surprise if Red Bull really were fastest here.
There’s a reasonably high chance I won’t be in for third practice so I’m going to post this now, even though it’s earlier than planned. Not offering a tip on qualifying, but am quite intrigued to see who’s been sandbagging most and who will end up being best of the rest. If Haas can get the hypersoft working, unlike in Monaco, they could be set fair.
Also, do give my comedy The Adventures of Sir Edric a look. It’s rather good and, unlike my tips, you’re near certain to get value for money. Ideal for Blackadder/Red Dwarf fans.
That’s about as tempting an offer as a threesome with a leper and a corpse.
“Have you ever considered trying an acupuncture bed?” Belinda asked. “They can work wonders for a bad back.”
Perhaps, but I bet the pillow fights are horrendous.