Tony Ross, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Sochi, 2017

Bottas’s race engineer moving to Formula E

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas’s race engineer Tony Ross, who was Nico Rosberg’s race engineer when he won the world championship in 2016, is moving to Mercedes’ Formula E programme.

What they say

Toto Wolff explained the change for next season:

Tony Ross is going to be the chief race engineer of our Formula E programme. He’s going to dash off into a funny environment with only one race day and funky cities.

Who replaces him, who, we’re discussing that.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Pirelli’s tyre labelling changes for 2019 get Gavin’s approval:

Finally! Every other series I’ve come across does this (notably Moto GP which often brings bespoke tires to certain races) where they always refer to a soft/medium/hard tyre but there is information available underneath if you care to look into it.

In the midst of racing and people switching compounds around it makes life easier for the viewer to know who is on what rubber relevant to the GP. With a reverse strategy battle going on and times etc. all I need to know is who is on performance tyres and who is on endurance rubber so to speak.
Gavin Campbell

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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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52 comments on “Bottas’s race engineer moving to Formula E”

  1. Aston Martin continue to peddle the fiction that they’re not making an F1 engine because Liberty is sticking to the hybrids; while the reality is that Liberty is continuing with the current engine formula only because no new manufacturer responded to their call for simplified engines (and Liberty waved a big budget cap stick at the current manufacturers who wanted to safeguard their MGU-H investment).

    Whatever appeases your investors, eh, Aston Martin?

    1. Much like how mclaren keep pretending its other peoples fault… first honda, now renault, and even brexit!


      1. And like the fiction that Honda have a good engine for next year which is what RB are pushing. I fully expect it to be better, but as good as Ferrari or Merc? It hasn’t even reached par with Renault yet.

        Unfortunately next year RB may have much the same story to tell as McLaren. But they learnt nothing from McLaren’s experience. Under-promise and over-deliver. I will never understand why people big note before they have the runs on the board.

        I know there is a lot of hype around Honda at the moment. I personally would love to believe it all. Honda is one of my pet companies. I was excited to see them back in F1 and every year I have dreamed of more. But…

        By comparison, I like Renault. But I don’t have any real affinity for them. However, I do find it frustrating that everyone is talking about Honda all the time right now and how they will be so much better than Renault. I am not sure I believe it, but I do believe both will be closer to the front.

        To qualify that, since the Renault C spec engine came out, all of a sudden, RB became competitive. In the race, they are the best overall package a some of the time. In qually, it still rarely happens. Yes, RB plays a major part in that, but they were nowhere earlier in the season. Now they seem to be able to complete on tracks that we didn’t think possible only a few months ago. The Renault engine still clearly lacks the qually modes that Ferrari and Merc have. But in race trim, they don’t look that bad and in Mexico they had the clear best engine.

        Before people start saying that it is all RB and not Renault. Look at the factory Renault team. They fully admit that on the chassis side they moved on long ago. But the Renault team is now clear 4th best for most of the last 6 races. If the Chassis isn’t being developed (which isn’t completely true), then it can only be the engine. And Renault aren’t even running the C spec.

        It is well talked about that Honda has been experimenting this year. But here are the things that influence my thoughts here outside the hype.
        – TR were a midfield team at the start of the year and they still are now. There has been no progression at all. In fact they have probably fallen back a bit in overall race speed. (Yes this could be chassis related). BUt engine penalties aren’t to blame for for the lack of race competitiveness.
        – RB have very clearly closed the gap on the front runners as the season has progressed. They look like real possibilities for a genuine race win on merit now (and have done). Not a fortuitous one. I find it hard to believe that RB didn’t also switch off chassis development early to focus on next year. They haven’t been in the race for anything other than 3rd for a long time, so why keep developing this years chassis? Which only leaves engine progression.
        – The Renault team were middle of the pack at the start of the year, but they have moved into clear best of the rest. Force India’s problems have helped them though.
        – RB have two pole positions this year and only 1 in the last 4 years. Plus a number of Quallys where they didn’t qualify 5th and 6th which is they usual position for the last 5 years. Most have happened in the second half of this year. Yeah, the drivers help, but they have had the same drivers for a while and it didn’t help. So what has made the difference?

        Lastly, I will finish with something else. Both Renault and Honda look closer to Merc and Ferrari than they have for a a million years (well it feels that long). Yay. Did I say Yay! Well I meant it. They must close the gap. I, and most other people badly want them to. I am begging you guys to do it and I really believe it can happen this time. It won’t get them on par, but it might be enough to get us excited.
        – Go Honda. Fulfil my hope in you. I want you to show everyone what you can do.
        – To Renault, I don’t love you. I also don’t dislike you, but I will be delighted if you exceed my expectations. It might make me love you if you did.

        1. @mickharrold

          o qualify that, since the Renault C spec engine came out, all of a sudden, RB became competitive.

          You know that the “winning” races RBR used the spec B version.
          Spec c is definitly a step in the right direction but still a long way to go.
          GPS data form RBR shows the most recent Honda is on par with Renault, or better.
          Next year will tell .

          1. I do know that RB were using the B spec for a lot of the races. Like Mexico… where they were lauded as having the best engine that weekend. The B spec one! But it must be noted that it wasn’t the same B spec that entered service early in the year. And if that is the B spec, how good is the C spec? Not as good as the Merc and the Ferrari I suspect. Not by a good margin.

            All I am saying is that you need to cut though the marketing speak to look for real results. You also need to look at who is saying things and what their motivation might be for saying it.

            Yes, RB say Honda is better as you mentioned. And when I say RB, I mean Verstappen and Marko. Horner never says that Honda is better than Renault. He often says he hopes that “Next year with a more powerful engine… we might be able to challenge” I haven’t heard Newey out there singing Honda’s praises either. The marketing team with no real knowledge of the Honda engine are the ones telling everyone how good it is. What does Verstappen really know about Honda’s engine program. Does he even know how an engine works? The people with real knowledge are saying very little and that must carry some weight. It might be that they are saying nothing because they are nuts and bolts people who know that you should always under-promise and over-deliver. I respect them for that.

            Maybe Honda will smash them all next year. But nothing I have seen backs this up at all.

            1: In race trim, the Renault actually looks to be a close match for the other engines. (Observers can see this)
            2: The Honda may be there as well and is most definitely masked by the TR chassis. (This is all speculation)

      2. Agree. Honda appears to have mage little progress – at least as much as they claim.
        I find it hard to believe Honda will have made sufficient enough HP gains to catch Red and Merc.
        Maybe they did find 60 more HP but I’m sure the leaders aren’t going to make gains.
        Reliability is another question mark.
        Marko and Horner keep criticizing Renault – a classless bunch. A good dose of karma would be justice.

    2. @phylyp, not to mention that he sticks to the fiction that Aston Martin would have made the engine – he admitted in the past that it would have to be built by an external supplier, like Cosworth, and all Aston Martin would have supplied is cash and a name badge.

      Mind you, I don’t think that anybody really took Aston Martin seriously – especially since, behind the scenes, it seems that they only sent representatives to the first working group meeting (the one that they made sure to tell everybody that they were attending to generate the maximum amount of headlines), and then stopped going once the number of headlines they were generating had peaked.

      Now that they’ve managed to launch their shares in their recent IPO, they’re now conveniently finding a reason to ‘cancel’ a project that I suspect was never intended to get going anyway – this whole affair smacked of Palmer wanting cheap headlines ahead of the Aston Martin IPO in an attempt to pump up interest in the company and to inflate the share price.

      If that was his intention, it seems to have failed dismally – Aston Martin had to cut the predicted upper range of their share price before the IPO (from £22.50 to £20 per share), and their shares have tanked heavily after the IPO – they launched at £19 a share and fell fairly sharply after that to £14 a share, where they’ve stayed since.

      1. their shares have tanked heavily after the IPO

        anon – Thank you for that context around their share price’s (non)performance.

        I know this might not be cause-and-effect, but it’s still feels karmic to see misleading BS hitting companies where it hurts.

      2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        28th November 2018, 9:47

        Aston Martin don’t even make their own engines in road cars these days they use AMG units, it was absolute fiction from the start that they’d suddenly be able to build one of the most advanced hybrid engines in the world.

        1. Don’t forget the Aston Martin Cygnet

  2. Re. the tweet by Brendon Hartley…

    He thanks almost all the TR staff. And then goes on to qualify that by then thanking all members of various departments.

    One group of people conspicuous by their absence? The management.

    1. To my knowledge Toro Rosso also hasn’t acknowledged Hartley yet, while Honda has issued an official statement thanking him for his contribution towards the development of their engine. He’s entitled to expect the management to thank him first, given that the team opted not to sign him, and not the other way around.

      1. Brendon has always seemed to me to be one of the best drivers for giving clear useful feedback over his radio.
        One of his strong points I suspect.

    2. Management of Torro Rosso is not so good. We had the conflict between Ver and Sai that wasn’t properly managed and now the soap between Har and Gas. Helmut is controlling everything and management of Torro Rosso doesn’t take a side. When Franz Tost is saying something it is most of the time blabla.

    3. I don’t think Brendon’s comment was helpful for his F1 career expectations. He should have thanked the whole team, after all the team management gave him this second opportunity in F1. Other team principals would have had a fair idea what was going on behind the scenes.
      As a professional driver, driving isn’t just about controlling the vehicle, it is about using that vehicle to produce results that please your boss. Franz Tost would have made it obvious he wasn’t producing the results they expected. Just like the rest of us, if our boss tells us we need to improve then we need to work on improving how we do our job.
      I suspect he would have had to pay Christian Horner a visit a few times this season, and he would have been told quite clearly he needed to improve. Helmut Marko probably wanted him as a replacement for Daniel Ricciardo if he decided to move to another team when his contract expired.

  3. Re. the tweet about the negativity around Stroll junior… I’m going to take the Stroll challenge – starting now, no criticism of Lance until after the Chinese GP. He gets a free pass for the first 3 races to settle into the car.

    And props to Lawrence for financially helping out two teams that are arguably the most starved (by F1 standards) of money.

    1. I think that’s fair. Seconded

    2. I’ll take the Stroll challenge as well, although we should have an option to review his Melbourne performance. @phylypp

      And for people who just want to help financially to eradicate this disease in F1 just follow this link.

      1. @coldfly – interesting to see that the SFI merch. is still on sale on the site. They quickly tape over the Saharas and Kingfishers on the staff’s overalls with pink squares, but when there’s money to be made, there’s no such qualms. :-)

        I wonder who gets the (sizeable) profits for an SFI-branded item – is it that RPFI took over the merchandise assets as well so they get the proceeds, or does it go towards defraying a small fraction of SFI’s debt?

        Taking a page out of Aston Martin’s book, I cannot commit to any purchase until this open question has been satisfactorily answered.

    3. After the first comment by Ami-Louise I thought “yeah – give the guy a break and let’s see what he does. It can only benefit everyone if he becomes a solid reliable driver”.

      But then I read the last comment by Andrew Benson and I’m concerned again.
      If Lance is hiding from (being shielded from?) the media then that doesn’t speak well as to his strength of character.
      It wont help his career or image to hide in a cotton wool world. He needs to get in the medias face and tell them, and us, that he is serious about this so we had just better get used to him being around.

      Anyway – that’s it – last Lance rant.
      Stroll challenge accepted.

      (why do I feel I’m going to be one of the first to fail the challenge? ;P)

      1. But then I read the last comment by Andrew Benson and I’m concerned again.

        I’m concerned that people still read Andrew Benson’s stuff ;)

        1. LOL – fair comment ;)

    4. Note to self: Check the calendar before committing to such bravado. It’s not just 3 races, that’s well over 4 months away. I’m going to be twitching as my self control battles my need to vent.

    5. Great idea @phylyp, sadly I already tweeted yesterday how much I disliked him after his comments about Williams this season. No more for another 4 months, I promise.

    6. I see your challenge @phylyp, but I want to raise the bar.
      Not only you shouldn’t criticise him, but you will have to point out is great drives and all the moments that indicate that he is a future star.

      You have 4 months, and plenty of material I guess?

      1. @johnmilk

        “99 days of Monza in the rain, 99 days of Monza
        “Take one day and talk it up, 98 days of Monza in the rain

        “98 days of Monza in the rain, 98 days of Monza
        “Take one day and talk it up, 97 days of Monza in the rain…”

        To the tune of a popular drinking song.

        1. @phylyp: I’m not up for your challenge. And neither is Lance.

          However…if you can’t keep the twitching at bay…type it out – and claim you heard it from me.

  4. So what’s Red Bull going to officially called next year?

    Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda?

    1. Red Aston Honda Racing Bull Martin

    2. Of course, naming in F1 is extremely complicated (I believe that’s the subject of Dr Marko’s PhD), @jaymenon10.
      Company entering the team: Red Bull Racing Limited
      Team: Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (unchanged)
      Chassis: Red Bull Racing (unchanged)
      Engine: Honda (was Tag Heuer)
      Car entry (chassis + engine): Red Bull Racing Honda.

      Thus Aston Martin Red Bull Racing will be racing a Red Bull Racing Honda in 2019.

      1. @coldfly
        Bloody confusing if you ask me.

        Red Bulls current official FIA entry is called Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. Note that Torro Rosso is entered and Red Bull Torro Rosso Honda.

        I’m quite certain that Honda coming as a works partner will demand to be included on official entry.

        Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda I think.. A mouthful, but I can’t see past this. Honda and Aston aren’t competitors, but it will be weird to see their livery on a work Honda powered car!

        1. There are 2 entries (4 if you include the drivers):
          1) the team: they (or their parent company) hold the racing license. This one is typically the name of the company and a title sponsor. In the case of RBR this is officially Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (so we should refer to them as AMRBR)
          2) the car: This is the conjunction of the chassis name (Red Bull Racing for AMRBR) and the Engine/PU name (this year Tag Heuer and next year Honda). Thus RBRH next year

          In the FIA entry list you typically see the team name (AMRBR), in the steward reviews they often refer to the car entry (RBRH).
          Check out the saga around RPFI; the stewards reviewed the legality of the car entered and referred to it as FIM (Force India Mercedes).

    3. “Max’s Raging Bullship” would do it for me :)

      1. @nullapax – misread the last letter, and was left wondering “Max? Isn’t that Horner?” ;-)

  5. “Jos Verstappen: “Max was forced to make a number of moves yesterday for him to be able to get third place. Looking at Hamilton, he starts from pole and then wins the race, you don’t need to take such risks.””

    Still think it’s a shame cause I like to see Hamilton fight. The fight between him and Rosberg I like so muched.

    1. It was great to see the intra-team fight, but at the time a lot of people kept calling for a inter-team fight, which I guess we got these past two years, even if Ferrari/Vettel effectively had to give up on it partway through those seasons. Still not everybody happy, esp. Red Bull/Verstappen fans, because they haven’t really been in that fight yet.

      Then again, Jos clearly never watched either the 2018 Mexican or Austin GP, nor the British or German one, did he @ruben? In other words (quoting a post from @nullapax above): Raging Bullship (with @phylyp‘s misread that I too experienced).

      Fine, he’s proud of his son, and should be, Max Verstappen has been doing very well this season (after a scrappy, but clearly fast and racy start). But, to me, feeling like you have to bring someone else down to make your favourite rise above them doesn’t really show your regard for said favourite in all that great a light.

      1. But the simple fact a faster car makes life easier is undeniable.

      2. I think I made the quote in a wrong way. Sure I like Max driving style, but also like that of Ham when he has nothing to loose. Bottas is no match and the car was just to good, Germany was in my point of view a easy win. Mexico was dreadfull, Ham couldnt do anything and Max was P1. Only Austin I saw a nice fight.

  6. If only 10% of the car is carried over, Toro Rosso employs nearly 500 staff (plus management), and teams can legally buy the IP for the chassis, then …
    … why doesn’t RBR transfer the 90% obsolete IP to STR every year?
    A 2018 Red Bull might do very well in F1.5 in 2019.

    They could call the chassis Maroon Ox as it’s not as shiny new as the Red Bull ;)

    1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      28th November 2018, 9:53

      They used to do this I think. If anyone can shed more light on this it would be interesting to know more.

      Of course with the same engine from next year and the Haas / Ferarri relationship it should be a no brainer from 2020 really.

    2. Next year there are new aero rules, maybe that’s way only 10% of the car carries over. The new front wings will make them re-design completely the body of the car, so maybe having a 2018 car in 2019 won’t be such a good idea

      1. so maybe having a 2018 car in 2019 won’t be such a good idea

        it should be a no brainer from 2020 really.

        I’ll ask Keith to delete these posts and present this idea directly to RBR/STR for the 2020 season.
        Should be worth a few million ;)
        @ftruth, @johnmilk

        1. should I give you my bank account now or later?

  7. And yet another son of a famous driver enters motor racing.
    I’m telling you people – the day is coming where the entire grid will be the same last names we have all come to either love or hate over the years!

    (p.s. I always liked Rubinio, very similar to Ricciardo in his happy jokey temperament. Best wishes to his lad ;))

    1. @nullapax – Liberty must be thinking “We want the children of fans to get into F1, not the children of drivers”

    2. I’m telling you people – the day is coming that He Jiankui (that Chinese professor) identifies the racing gene and Crisprs it into the embryo of the next billionaire’s son ;)

      1. @coldfly – CRISPR is an unproven technology. Imagine he snags all the arrogance and none of the skills of an F1 driver.

        Why, we might end up with… (steps away from keyboard, muttering “four more months”).

        Phew, that was a close call for me. Damn you, @coldfly for leading me on.

    3. both his sons, and I think the dog as well race.
      His oldest even teamed up with him in a stock car Brazil race if I remember correctly

  8. It’s going to be a bit weird not to hear Tony Ross’ voice at all next season after all these years of getting used to hearing him a lot. He was Nico’s race engineer at Williams already.

    I agree with Andrew Benson. A bit ridiculous this delaying. RPFI implied they wouldn’t announce their second 2019 driver until Ocon’s plans have been sorted out, and they’re now sorted, as well as, William’s driver line-up, and yet still no official confirmation even though it’s been rather clear-cut since the more or less the Belgian GP weekend. The only way to get into a situation where Stroll couldn’t get any questions about the topic would merely be to announce him. The longer the delay gets dragged, the more questions he’s eventually going to get, which is quite the opposite of the attempt of the team.

    I still disagree with the topic pointed out in the COTD.

  9. Race engineer: gone
    Rival for seat: already in the garage
    Writing: on the wall

    Merry Christmas Bottas!

  10. Re: Will Smith F1 tweet..

    If I’d like to see Will Smith every 5minutes, I’ll turn on one of his movies. Please keep F1 about F1 and not Hollywood celebs.

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