In the round-up: Mercedes play down the scale of their upgrade package for this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Upgrades already being added to Mercedes W14
Following their disappointing start to the season in Bahrain, Mercedes already have parts to add to their W14 car for round two of the season in Jeddah.
“This weekend in Saudi Arabia we will learn more about W14, its characteristics and its limitations,” said team principal Toto Wolff. “It provides a very different test to Bahrain, and it will be interesting to see how the car reacts.
“We are bringing some small developments to the car. They won’t be game-changers, but they can start moving us in the right direction. And we’ll be pushing as hard as we can to create opportunities, and hopefully will give us a better account of ourselves than in Bahrain.”
Mercedes are third in the constructors’ standings after Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished fifth and seventh respectively in Bahrain.
Positive relationship with rival bosses “may change” – VowlesWilliams team principal James Vowles may be new to the meetings with his counterparts across the paddock, having only assumed his current position just before pre-season testing, but he’s already familiar with many of them and particularly his previous employer Toto Wolff at Mercedes.
“There is definitely dialogue [with Wolff],” he said. “He and I have had a working relationship together for probably 12 years. And you simply don’t let go of those relationships overnight.
“But for what it’s worth, I have very good relationships up and down the paddock with most team principals. I have the same with Fred [Vasseur] I’ve known for many, many years of my life. Otmar [Szafnauer], I have known for many years, Zak [Brown] I know also. So whilst the relationship with Toto is incredibly strong as a result of working directly, and I’m asking questions of him, I’m also doing the same with many others up and down the public as well. And thus far everyone’s been supportive. That may change in time.”
Hunter-Reay lands seat for Indy 500
Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar champion, has signed with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing to contest this year’s Indianapolis 500 race.
The 42-year-old retired from full-time racing in 2021, after a career in the top level of American single-seater racing that included 18 wins over 18 seasons. He is the 33rd driver to be announced as entering the 2023 Indy 500, meaning he will currently automatically qualify for the race.
Should there be a 34th entry, which exceeds the size of the grid, then IndyCar will use ‘Bump Day’ qualifying to decide who misses out on starting the race.
Toyota top Sebring practice
Kamui Kobayashi led a Toyota one-two on the first day of practice sessions at Sebring for the World Endurance Championship.
The sister Toyota GR010 Hybrid, with Ryo Hirakawa at the wheel, set the pace in first practice, with two Ferraris and a Cadillac filling the positions behind and Kobayashi’s car lapping 0.964 seconds off the pace in fifth place.
In second practice Kobayashi posted a 1’46.954 lap that put him 0.318s clear of team mate Brendon Hartley, who shares his car with Hirakawa and Sebastien Buemi, while the two Ferraris and the sole Cadillac failed to improve on their pace from earlier in the day.
On Thursday there will be a third practice session and qualifying for Friday’s 1000-mile race.
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Doubling down on race week with our second poster of the 2023 #F1 season.
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