Norris hoping for test run so he can fulfil reserve role

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In the round-up: McLaren reserve driver Lando Norris says he’s hoping to get some time in the team’s car soon so he is better equipped to serve as a substitute should a replacement be needed for either of the team’s race drivers.

What they say

Norris, who tested the team’s MCL32 last year, was asked when he expects to drive their current car:

I haven’t been told the exact first day I’ll be in the car this season. I think one of the young driver tests I’ll be in. I’ve been preparing for that to make the most use of it I can. It’ll be an opportunity for, if anything happens to Fernando [Alonso] or Stoffel [Vandoorne], I’ll have a bit more of an understanding about the car, be a bit more confident in jumping in and doing a good job. It’s another day for me to improve and get to learn about Formula One. So hopefully one of the young driver tests or a Pirelli test I’ll get a bit more experience.

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Comment of the day

Are we still yet to see the best from Nico Hulkenberg?

I’ve been a Hulkenberg fan for many years now, and there are so many times that I’ve thought about his collision with Lewis Hamilton in Brazil 2012 and how different his career might have been today if he had the privilege of carrying the “race winner” tag around with him. Barring his two mistakes in that race, it was one of the most astonishing drives I have ever seen by a driver in a midfield car. The kind of margins he managed to pull over the rest of the field (with Button in the first stint and with Hamilton in the second) were remarkable. He qualified only 7th in the dry.

It’s a shame that almost every podium opportunity he has ever had has been squandered either by bad luck or his own mistakes and that he has to carry the title of “most starts without a podium”. Frankly, lesser drivers have won a race (Pastor Maldonado) and I don’t think anyone can argue that Hulkenberg doesn’t have the talent to score a podium at least, based on his pace and general consistency, given that he can stop messing up at the most crucial moments.
Aaditya (@Neutronstar)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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43 comments on “Norris hoping for test run so he can fulfil reserve role”

  1. I don’t think Hülkenberg’s career would have been vastly different if he had won that race in Brazil, everybody can see what he is capable of. He is in his eighth season and was chosen by Renault to bring them back to the front, and if the rumours are true, was wanted by Mercedes when Rosberg retired. Now consider that he doesn’t bring in much financial backing and wasn’t backed by one of the big teams. Hülkenberg has done very well, not many drivers like that last more than a few years, even those who do prove themselves

    1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      25th April 2018, 2:54

      The more I hear (read) Grosjean talk, the more I dislike him. I understand that top-tier athletes are presumptuous, often to the point of arrogance, but now that Magnussen is often one-upping him, it seems like he’s doing it more this season, almost like he’s trying to convince himself he’s still one of the best.

      Re: COTD
      I honestly don’t think we’ll see a whole lot more from Hulkenburg. Depending how long Renault let him stay on board, will determine where his F1 legacy ends up. I can’t really see any other team wanting him in 2-3 years. While Mercedes did want him to replace Rosberg, I can’t see them dropping Bottas for anyone except Max, Danny or possibly Seb. Depending on Renault’s 2019/2020 cars, I could see him sniping a podium or two, but to do much more than that, is going to require a near-complete overhaul of engineering talent at Enstone.

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        25th April 2018, 2:55

        Not sure why my post replied to you, @strontium, but it was meant it wasn’t meant as a reply specifically to you.

      2. @braketurnaccelerate to be honest you don’t know what can happen. For example Rosberg was a completely average driver who fell into a WDC due to being in the right team at the right time, upping his game immeasurably alongside one of the greatest drivers of all time and having the reliability chips fall his way at just the right time. It can happen. As Murray used to say “IF is F1 backwards”

        Renault may well return to the top by 2021 or before and theres no reason that years of service to a midfield constructor wouldnt be rewarded, also a’la Rosberg.

    2. @strontium I agree with the COTD, but I agree with you as well as you have a very valid point concerning it.

    3. @strontium I kind of get what you mean, but winning that race would have showed that he is also capable of pulling off big results in crucial moments. The “race winner” title does come with many good connotations, regardless of how capable the driver seems otherwise and might have pursued the top teams to overlook his weight disadvantage, if that’s indeed the reason why he was never chosen for a front seat (with the exception being the rumors about Mercedes wanting him to replace Rosberg).

  2. “I have had two grands prix where I should have won the race but luck never turned my way.”
    – I don’t necessarily agree with him on that. Even without the alternator problem that led to the DNF, Alonso might very well still have won the race in Valencia in 2012, and since Kimi couldn’t pass Seb for the race win at Nurburgring the following season with the same machinery, I doubt to some extent at least that Grosjean would’ve been able to achieve that any more than him either.

  3. Re. Keith’s tweet – I think some users on the internet are yet to get used to the fact that nothing (good) in life is free.

    It’s been about two decades of the ‘net pushing the notion of free content with ads. However in recent years, an observation across several sites is that ad income has been dropping. I don’t recall seeing a reason for it, maybe its just the ad networks looking to turn profitable instead of getting marketshare, or maybe something else (e.g. publishing houses don’t want their website presence to be a loss-making entity any longer).

    And in turn, that has forced several sites to re-examine their income model. What this means for us users is that we have to take a stand in terms of supporting the sites we like. Conversely, it will also mean that the number of sites we support will reduce – because in the ad-driven and free model we could afford to visit multiple sites on the same topic, but when it comes to supporting a site via a subscription, we’d probably have to pick a smaller number. For those sites we don’t support, we will have to put up with ads, view limits, or not being able to access premium content (to its credit, RaceFans doesn’t do the last two).

    When it comes to F1, I’ve ended up picking this site as the one I support, and am happy to do so for two reasons – the obvious one being the quality of the articles, and the second being the interaction via comments with people of different mindsets, who bring various interesting (and sometimes entertaining) viewpoints to the discussion.

    1. I agree, the web is entering a more mature phase where a web site or blog is no longer just for fun. In order to compete it has to raise its quality to professional standards.
      I have to look at the publishing problem from the other side; irrespective of whether you are paper printing or e-publishing, sooner or later you need to make money. And the possible revenue streams are reader subscription, advertising and sponsorship (by article, issue or whatever) or a combination of all three.
      So far Keith has not gone the partial or complete paywall route that publishers like Autosport have done in order to keep that interplay of readers’ comments as widespread and lively as possible – which maximises the page hits and which keeps the interest of the advertisers. But it may only be a matter of time before compulsory registration or some kind of paywall is introduced; this is a very high quality site that gathers a vast amount of information – it can’t be cheap to run.
      In my field of magazine publishing, we had a major advertiser who intended to pull out and put all his faith/resources into his web site and social media. “After all,” he argued. “We will still get editorial coverage in your magazine.”
      Not if the magazine isn’t published any more, you won’t. No income stream, no publication. And the same applies to web sites like this.

    2. Ad revenue is dropping probably because more and more people use ad blockers. People use ad blockers because many websites are overbearing with many adverts on a single page, including video ads, popup ads, etc. Personally I am fine with one or two ads embedded on a page, but not six or seven. Once a person is using an ad blocker I think they are unlikely to go to the trouble of whitelisting well-behaved sites, they just leave it on.

      I have an old iPad 2 that works fine. It is still perfectly usable for many tasks, except for browsing websites because the sheer number of ads on many websites just kills it’s performance or they cause crashes. I’ve had to junk it, which seems like a waste. Even the ad-blocking Dolphin browser was struggling to cope.

      1. Personally I am fine with one or two ads embedded on a page

        I wish I could tell you it’s possible to run RaceFans on that little but it simply isn’t. If a law came in tomorrow saying the most ads you can put on a website was two per page I’d have to close the site down. It’s as simple as that.

    3. A big reason behind ad revenue dropping would be the emergence of ad blockers over the last few years

  4. @keithcollantine Thank you for the COTD!

  5. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    25th April 2018, 7:33

    The way Hulkenberg is outperforming Sainz surely shows he’s one of the fastest out there. His time at Force India (second stint) didn’t help his reputation because he just didn’t seem to be motivated. Back to his best now though but is time on his side?

  6. Can someone tell me why exhaust blowing was banned in the first place?

    Was it on safety grounds (like ground effects) or was it for some other technical reason?

    Given that exhaust blowing requires risk in terms of modifying engine modes, and possible higher fuel consumption, I just can’t see a justification for banning it?

    Wouldn’t the FIA’s time be better spent examining and limiting the number of extra appendages that seem to be appearing on barge boards and floors, particularly floors as some of those must be starting to get dangerously close to the old ground effects devices.

    1. @dbradock – It appears to be a step to help contain the gap between F1’s haves and have-nots. Quoting Mark Hughes from this article:

      It was felt that it was an area where £ spent in simulation would end up equalling quite a lot of lap time and thereby stretching the gaps between the big teams and small.

      1. Thanks @phylyp that pretty much sums up any development made on the cars these days given there’s nothing simple that can be done any more to get a chunk of lap time.

        Pretty sure there’s a heap more $ spent elsewhere these days whereas for exhaust blowing it seems that the PU manufacturer is the one that has to spend the money to enable additional modes.
        That being said, I guess its probably worth banning given that there would arguably only be 3 teams initially (Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes) that would initially benefit.

    2. It was banned to resuce costs, what costs you ask.

      The engine mappings they were usong stressed the engine, because it was producing gas rvrn when thete was no need for the engine to br accelerating. This led to a decrease in realiability.

      Also it was against the FIA philosophy of making engines more efficient, as they were basically burning fuel just to blow exhaust gases

      1. Btw it is a holiday here, I just woke up, and I was writing on a mobile. It might that I was drunk writing the comment above, but I was just sleepy. Now let’s have some coffee

      2. @johnmilk
        While I agree with what you have already said even though i’m not drunk :)
        I think the main reason why they were banned was that Adrian Newey took the concept to an all new level to the point that no other team was understanding what on earth RBR were doing. I remember the RBR drivers doing only one Q3 lap and step down knowing that no one will be able to get close to those times.

        1. Which season was that, @tifoso1989 ?

          1. @phylyp
            It was the 2011 season.

          2. Thank you, let me refresh my memory about that season, it feels so long ago! @tifoso1989

          3. Indeed RBR had exhaust blowing curtailed on them…at least, that is how they viewed it. And it was the case. Newey was quite vocal about having development squashed not just for them but for everyone, but they were the most affected at the time as it was their dominating run that was being halted, just as others who have gone too long dominating have had their advantages curtailed as well. Hence Newey backed away from the team somewhat to do other things that would keep his attention and enjoyment.

            Newey was, and likely still is, all for opening up development and innovation, and while he knows and acknowledges on occasion the costs of doing that, he seems to be more about have teams being able to spend what they have ie. his desire for more freedom to innovate far outweighs his desire for what is best for F1 overall, at least wrt costs to compete.

  7. I’m not sure Horner is right that the PU is 70% vs 30% for the chassis.
    We typically see a much bigger spread between teams with the same PU, then between teams who are on top of their game with their chassis.

    1. We pretty much always have though – even in the V8/V10 days there was always a big spread between teams with the same engine.
      The difference then was though that top teams with different brands of engine were much closer together than they are now (in fact the engine that was known for its lowest power was the most competitive) so he’s probably not far out with his numbers.

      1. I think its probably just a matter of time. While a PU performs to a certain standard more or less out of the box, a chassis evolves over multiple races, seasons even, in a formula era. Look at Williams – in 2014, they killed largely due to the Merc PU, but as the other Merc customer built their chassis, they were outpaced. Also, since there are so many restrictions on changing PU components, the evolution will happen in a single swoop, like Ferrari’s PU this year, rather than incrementally or linearly.

      2. in fact the engine that was known for its lowest power was the most competitive

        Due to the power equalisation rules; almost as bad as reverse grids.

  8. Grosjean will probably be one of the first of the midfield/potential top-team drivers to leave F1. He’s relatively old at 32, and being brutally honest hasn’t really impressed since 2013. Grosjean will clearly never go to Mercedes given the comments Wolff has made about him, and really the only realistic option for his ascendancy in F1 would be as a number 2 driver to Vettel once Raikkonen leaves, to keep the seat warm for Charles Leclerc. But even with this scenario, it could only really happen if Raikkonen decides to retire this year which I think is unlikely and even then, will probably still mean Grosjean will be the first of the midfield pack to leave F1.

  9. And FIA should not worry about exhaust blowing until they are man enough to stop oil burning.

    1. It has been rumoured that Ferrari are oil burning this year – any idea how they’ve got around the limits imposed for this year? This year, the scavenged vapours are vented to the atmosphere and not fed back into the intake tract, and we’ve got a limit on the oil consumption. So what is a possible way they might be circumventing FIA scrutineering?

      1. *Puts on tinfoil hat*
        They scavenge the oil from the atmosphere – the technology has been available since 1984, when a UFO crashed near lake Okabogee. Ferrari managed to get it through their government contact in Chrysler.

      2. They aren’t burning any more than the other manufacturers, as you say, it is limited and the limit is monitored. These rumours are only around because or the ‘cloud’ of smoke that sometimes comes from the Ferrari garage on cold start-up.

        It is only a ‘tin foil hat’ rumour being spread by those who can’t explain the increase in engine performance relative to Mercedes.

    2. Wow, Ego, I agree with this lad. Kudos. Keep this coming man.

  10. “You need to have one of the two best cars to win a race” – Grosjean

    I seem to remember Lotus being the 4th best team while Raikkonen was his teammate and Kimi got them two wins.

  11. Vettel’s extra steering wheel pad is connected to the circuit’s blue flag alert, so he can start to tell other drivers he is coming earlier than the others

  12. If I were Ferrari i would put 2 extra paddles in both cars to really screw with the opposition. Painted bright red naturally. Of course the paddles would be attached to nothing or maybe the drink bottle. They could even make them blink every now and then, possibly on the straights.

    1. And write OIL on it

    2. Nice one! Label one of them TRACTION CONTROL ON/OFF.

  13. I think Grosjean’s hyping himself up a little too much. I don’t think people hold his race ban and rather terrible ‘first phase’ of his career against him because he’s shown himself to be a really decent driver and certainly deserving of being in F1. He’s clearly capable of fighting with the best of them. He wasn’t terrible against Alonso or Raikkonen, and comfortably blew Maldonado and Guttierez away.

    But I think he’s got a reputation for being a bit of a moaner and he’s not pulling away from Magnussen. In fact Magnussen, given his relative inexperience compared and the lack of stability in his career so far has proven to be just as quick, strong in overtaking and more capable of driving around issues with the Haas car than Grosjean. Tbh his only chance of moving ‘up’ the grid is probably at Ferrari but if I was the team boss I’d take Magnussen, Perez or Hulkenberg over Grosjean.

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