Mercedes not using French GP layout for Paul Ricard test

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas says Mercedes’ upcoming tyre test at Paul Ricard will not use the same track configuration as next month’s race.

What they say

Mercedes will conduct wet weather tyre testing for Pirelli at the home of the French Grand Prix.

No, it’s not [the grand prix] layout. We tested on it but now it has a new Tarmac so it’s going to be different. It should be a similar Tarmac to Barcelona and Silverstone, so we’ll see how the tyres behave.

But it’s a very different track from many others, so many long corners. Sector three is really hard for the tyres and it’s going to be hot in the summer. But anything we can learn from wet running and all that will be important.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Would Daniel Ricciardo be best off staying at Red Bull?

Where he currently is isn’t a bad place to be. Right now he is the Red Bull lead driver and doing well.

If he stays he has that to look forward to and I don’t honestly believe Verstappen is a better driver. Maybe he’s faster on his good days but Ricciardo is so consistent.

If he stays he has a good chance of Red Bull pulling it together and then has the option of going to Mercedes or Ferrari later. I don’t see them signing Raikkonen or Bottas into long term deals so his options will open up again in the coming years if he decides to stay.

I believe he is one of the best on the grid and would be able to give Vettel and Hamilton a good run for their money.
@ColinChapman

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  • 40 comments on “Mercedes not using French GP layout for Paul Ricard test”

    1. Not to let pass a day without a comment about grid girls, a better policy would be write off from the budget cap any new engineering/technical job position filled by a woman – existing female-filled position write off by 50%.
      If F1 were to do that, I wouldn’t care if there were naked people on the grid.

      1. Ah please no, let’s not use reverse discrimination, it’s as bad as the problem, especially in a first-world context like F1. I’m pretty sure teams today already recruit and employ the best staff based on capability, not based on what’s between their legs.

        If we put in a waiver to the cap like you suggest, then poorer teams will most likely recruit more women, resulting in their poor performance (due to chassis/PU) being ascribed to the high number of women in the team. See how easily good intentions can backfire?

        Let’s not conflate grid girls with team gender ratios, they’re extremely separate topics. The latter is a situation (note that I do not say it is a problem) that will not be solved today, but its solution starts today by encouraging more women in STEM, ensuring STEM fields are not hostile to women, etc. A generation down the line, and we’ll see fruits of that.

        1. @phylyp

          There is no evidence that STEM is hostile to women and lots of evidence that far fewer women are in interested in certain professions.

          1. There is no evidence that STEM is hostile to women

            Errr…

            Women in STEM jobs are more likely to experience hostile work environments, including discrimination and sexual harassment, according to a new nationally-representative Pew Research Center study.

            First search result.

            and lots of evidence that far fewer women are in interested in certain professions

            Lots? Provide some then.

      2. If nothing else, that TAG Heuer promotion was tragically naff.

        1. I though that was trending, what am I going to do with this swatch tattoo now?

    2. I think Ricciardo’s choices are Ferrari and Red Bull. If the later confirm a switch to Honda, staying with them would be a big risk.

    3. Seeing people stamped with a corporate logo like chattel was just too on the nose. It was like some kind of banksy style satire on the idea of grid girls.

      1. @DMW I agree but good luck explaining that to whoever came up with it…

    4. Oh, gawd Max, just drop the act, those of us who’ve watched it longer than you’ve been around have seen it before.

      1. Which quote by Verstappen got you so upset?

      2. @faulty I too have been watching F1 Longer than Max has been alive…what’s your point??
        So what was so infuriating about Max admitting he has put himself in a position where he cannot afford to make a mistake and has to drive with some margin. Seems like a mature, reasonable response.
        Unless of course you have some kind of “Super F1 Watching Sofa” that allows you to become more of an expert than an actual F1 driver…nevermind one that is the offspring of two VERY FAST drivers, raised in the world of F1 and motorsport and has spent his entire life solely focused on becoming a F1 driver.
        So please tell me how sitting on your backside watching tv longer than Max has been alive makes you so superior that you get so angry about him giving a clear, concise answer to a question?
        (Personally, I prefer that kind of answer to the waste of time we get from Kimi)

        1. @eoin16 Well said. I’m a big Max fan and I felt we were all robbed of a much more enthralling Monaco GP due to his costly mistake, but nobody is feeling it more than Max. I just think he is special and so he will rise above these tough lessons he’s thrust upon himself this season. I’m hopeful that Monaco is a turning point for him. We know he unquestionably has the pace. He just has to ‘calm down’ as Massa put it in the post-race interviews. Max has incredible talent and an incredible career ahead of him. The good news is that it is better to have the pace and just have to tame it a bit, than to always be having to look for pace and not even be in the thick of it around which to have these lessons occur. A calmer Max is going to be formidable.

          1. I’m hopeful that Monaco is a turning point for him

            After hoping Bahrain (where he threw away good points) would be a turning point, and then hoping China (where he threw away a race win) would be a turning point, I too hope Monaco (where he again threw away a race win) will be a turning point.

            Hopefully Canada won’t have to be another turning point.

    5. It is a bit farcical the whole grid girl thing. Reuters reported: “Instead of holding up the drivers’ racing numbers and posing for cameras, they will be brandishing iPads to take pictures that will be posted on social media and also relaying questions from fans.” It sounded completely implausible and that it was.

      Seeing it all unfold has been a good bit of entertainment though. I felt a bit embarrassed for everyone, the girls (and boys), TAG, F1 as a whole at just how hard it’s fighting with itself. In the end I think they shouldn’t outlaw these sponsored model positions for the circuits that want to partake.

      Those who care will learn what businesses don’t align with their moral values and who they shouldn’t support. Those who don’t care will get some eye candy to stare at. Just for the love of god clean them up on the grid. It was groan-worthy watching them chase cameras waving silly signs.

      1. In the end I think they shouldn’t outlaw these sponsored model positions for the circuits that want to partake.

        @skipgamer – I think Liberty have put themselves in an unenviable place here.

        I had made this comment earlier – if Liberty had done away with their grid girls on a value/ROI perspective, not many would have batted an eyelid. Instead they tied it in with the point of ‘core values’ and ‘respecting women’, and earned deserved praise for a good move, as well as criticism from others. However, with the Monaco GP, and what is likely to occur in Sochi as well, it is something that will bring focus back on this topic.

        Now, with circuits having found a loophole around this, by getting their circuit sponsor to bring in “girls/people on the grid”, it leaves Liberty in a bit of a spot. They can either say “Well hey, we don’t have any control over a decision between a circuit and it’s sponsor”, which will earn them some criticism of having passed the buck on their core values and having facilitated grid girls by proxy, or they will have to start adding this as another point into their contracts with circuits… but Liberty are already on the backfoot due to part of the contractual legacy left by Bernie.

        It will be amusing to see how this shapes up.

    6. I agree with the COTD.

    7. Loved the grid girls, they were super hot addition to this pretty dull race.

      1. And you can save yourself the F1 TV membership, by just visiting those free sites.
        F1 will never be a sport for everyone.

      2. +1

        Some absolute stunners and they looked like they were having a great time.

        Still failing to see how grid girls are any more offensive than the modelling industry as a whole? Thats all it is at the end of the day, a modelling job. Same as tv ads, catwalks and millions of corporate events the world over…

        1. Neil (@neilosjames)
          29th May 2018, 12:42

          Still failing to see how grid girls are any more offensive than the modelling industry as a whole? Thats all it is at the end of the day, a modelling job. Same as tv ads, catwalks and millions of corporate events the world over…

          There’s no difference at all… except that grid girls were an easy, lazy target. Picking the low-hanging fruit is usually enough for such campaigns.

          1. Well said. And if rumours are to be believed, exacerbated by that horrifically cheesy pre-race show at the USGP last year with Michael Buffer and the cheerleaders.

        2. RB14 – “Still failing to see how grid girls are any more offensive than the modelling industry as a whole?”

          The main difference being I don’t pay any attention at all ever to the fashion world and or modeling.

          I do, however, watch all F1 races. A fan of F1 since the 1960s I’ve never understood the need for grid girls at a Grand Prix.

    8. When the season started, I was in two minds about where I felt Ricciardo should go. My first preference was to Mercedes, as Mercedes aren’t shy about fielding two competitive drivers. Ferrari was the other option, as Kimi had been a bit of a lame duck. And I really felt that Ricciardo must make such a move.

      However, both Finnish drivers have been putting in strong performances this season, and also appear to be good team players. Bottas also has age on his side, unlike Kimi. Assuming the non-Finn drivers stay put, team bosses have very little reason to rock the boat, but equally, they have a fair amount to gain if they are ambitious and willing to manage the driver pairing.

      Between Ricciardo and Red Bull, I think there’s a bit of a game of chicken going on – Red Bull want to lock in Ricciardo so they have a freer hand in picking an engine supplier, whereas Ricciardo is probably waiting to see if (and how long) Red Bull extend their contract with Renault, or if they choose Honda. Here, RBR have a slight edge since going the Honda route means they can recall Sainz from Renault, which gives them either Ricciardo’s replacement (if he’s decided to leave), or a bit of leverage in their discussions with Ricciardo.

      1. It’s a tough choice:

        He can stay at Red Bull: a team that has been proven to have less than zero loyalty to it’s drivers but is still 3rd best.
        He can go to Ferrari in place of Kimi, but he’ll end up as a hard no.2 to Vettel. (See Barrichello with Schumacher)
        Last choice is Mercedes in place of Bottas. He’ll get equal treatment but Lewis (with one sole exception) blows his teammates into the weeds over a race year.

        1. but he’ll end up as a hard no.2 to Vettel.

          I’m not convinced he will. We could easily see a Massa/Raikkonen situation where they’re both allowed to go for it and whoever is in the better position come the last few races, gets backed. While Vettel has led the team really well over his years at Ferrari, they’ve yet to win any of the big prizes. If they don’t win anything again this year, then why not take a punt at putting two competitive drivers in the seat and giving them equal treatment.

          Yes it hasn’t been the Ferrari way for the past couple of years, but it hasn’t exactly worked out too bad for Mercedes.

      2. I believe that RBR has already picked Renault for 2019 (need proof first that Honda is reliably fast).
        But they leave it to Honda (their 2020/long-term partner) to save face and declare that ‘they are not ready’ to pick up a second team in 2019.

        Both Mercedes and Ferrari(‘s #1 driver) are not willing to rock their smooth sailing yacht in 2019.
        Therefore, RBR is the best berth for Ricciardo; he is likely to extend his streak of beating his teammate there.
        Of course this will all change if Hamilton decides to focus on other things. I still strongly believe this might happen if he doesn’t pick up the WDC this year. @phylyp

        1. I believe that RBR has already picked Renault for 2019 (need proof first that Honda is reliably fast).
          But they leave it to Honda (their 2020/long-term partner) to save face and declare that ‘they are not ready’ to pick up a second team in 2019.

          @coldfly – yeah, I’d agree, and on the surface, the likelihood of them continuing with Renault for another year seems more reasonable.

          Your other point about saving face is interesting, because I wonder which is the better approach – let Honda say they can’t support another team (the subtext being that Honda’s engines fail so often that they supply two teams’ worth of engines to a single team) or RBR go ahead and announce the Renault deal (the subtext being that Honda’s engines weren’t good enough to convince RBR).

          That said, your reason is the only one that explains why – if they’ve decided on Renault – they antagonize that partner by delaying the announcement.

      3. @phylyp – “Between Ricciardo and Red Bull, I think there’s a bit of a game of chicken going on…”

        Agreed.

        The other day when someone asked Horner if Ricciardo’s value had gone up, his non-committal answer was of little surprise. Horner has bosses to answer to if he responds with a truthful yes to that question.

        Red Bull is looking more and more to be the best spot for Daniel. The only two questions really are a contract that will be good enough for Daniel, and which engine manufacturer?

    9. but Lewis (with one sole exception) blows his teammates into the weeds over a race year.

      @franton – isn’t that what appeals to Ricciardo, though? A championship-winning car and a fair crack at his teammate? I’m sure Ricciardo thinks he can be successful against Hamilton.

      Yes, Ferrari will struggle to convince him they will offer him a fair chance.

      1. @phylyp Oh I agree, if he has to move then Mercedes assuming Bottas leaves is the only real alternative. I just don’t see Valtieri moving.

      2. @phylyp Other than the rookies, I don’t think there is a driver on the grid who thinks they wouldn’t stand a chance against any other driver on the grid, given equal machinery. Whether they are or not is a completely different matter.

        1. But Ricciardo is the only one who can show on his resume that he’s done it before.
          I’d love to see if he can add Hamilton (and Alonso) to his list of first class teammates he beat over a season.

          1. So if LH is right and DR won’t be at Mercedes, then Ferrari is his only other option if he wants to have a WDC chance before the 2021 changes and a zeroing of the scales potentially resets the status quo. So DR either tries to go to Ferrari if they’re interested, or he otherwise has to just set himself up for 2021. I won’t be surprised if he goes to Renault.

        2. @tonyyeb – touché :-)

      3. Hamilton to Ferrari, Ricciardo to Mercedes, Alonso to Red Bull, Kimi leaves F1.

    10. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      29th May 2018, 12:13

      I agree with CoTD except for the fact that I don’t think Red Bull will be able to challenge for a title under the current rules with Renault or Honda. Short term Mercedes or Ferrari would be more likely chances of success.

      1. Yeah hard to argue that point.

        I do wonder if Renault the factory team is something DR has considered, or they him of course, as a team he could make ‘his own.’ They are pumping their team up, and for now you still need to be a factory works team to win the Championships, so…I don’t know the contract status at Renault but if it’s possible I know that if I’m Renault I’m at least going to approach DR and start a conversation…they may already have…maybe even months ago.

    11. F1 looks like an old lady that is belatedly trying to move with the times. The clumsy launch of F1 TV Pro, possible fabrication of social media messages and the grid girl debate that reached a new low in Wednesday’s presse conference (‘I like women, I think they look beautiful’) are just a few examples of that.

      1. possible fabrication of social media messages

        @girts – hoo boy, that sounds interesting and troubling. Thanks for sharing, and let’s see if any further info comes of it. The good news, though, is that it will all be on TAG, not F1, as they were TAG representatives, not F1 grid girls.

    Comments are closed.