Tag Archives: Bahrain

New Hamilton contract “just needs to get signed” says Lauda

Niki Lauda says he is not concerned that Lewis Hamilton has yet to sign his new Mercedes contract for 2016 and beyond, and insists that the deal really is done and dusted.

The saga of when Hamilton’s deal might be formalised and announced has been dragging on since late last season.

“It’s all going in the right pace,” Lauda told this writer. “There’s nothing wrong. It is basically sorted out, no more discussions. It is sorted out. It just needs to get signed.

“For me it’s out of the way because it’s done. An announcement, I don’t care. There’s nothing to worry about.”

Lauda dismissed suggestions in the German media to the effect that Hamilton might now be eyeing up Ferrari: “No, he can’t. We all agreed he’s driving, he agreed, we agreed, that’s it. Simple.”

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Tyres more consistent and durable, says Hembery

Paul Hembery says that the teams made good progress with Pirelli’s latest tyres in Bahrain this week, and the conclusion is that they are more consistent and durable than last year.

Pirelli admits that it has taken a conservative route, but Hembery repeated that the company is willing to make changes if necessary.

“The teams were able to learn more about tyres over the four days in Bahrain than they could in Jerez two weeks ago, thanks to increased running time and optimal weather conditions,” said Hembery. “Although the teams are still at a comparatively early point on the development curve with their new cars, testing data so far indicates that the 2014 tyres are more consistent and durable than their predecessors. As a result, we are also seeing fewer ‘marbles’ on the circuit: one of our objectives at the start of this season.

“However, teams are likely to improve their performance and understanding of the car-tyre package still further in the test to come, which means that the lap time differences we have been seeing between the compounds are likely to come down, especially when the teams discover more downforce as the season goes on. We’ve collected plenty of useful data from this test, but of course we are still ready and able to change the specification of the tyres for the start of the season if this is shown to be necessary.”

Pirelli also made an interesting comparison between the performance of the four available tyres, noting: “The performance differences in Bahrain between the compounds so far are approximately as follows: the supersoft is around 0.7s per lap faster than the soft, the soft is around 1.2s per lap quicker than the medium, and the medium is around 1.3s per lap quicker than the hard. These gaps should come down considerably as the cars evolve.”

The quickest times of each day were recorded as follows:

Day 1
1. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)
 1m36.880s 
 on Soft New
2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
 1m37.879s
 on Medium New  
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
 1m37.908s
 on Hard New

Day 2
1. Kevin Magnussen (McLaren)
 1m34.910s 
 on Supersoft New
2. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)
 1m36.445s
 on Soft New
3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
 1m36.516s
 on Soft Used

Day 3
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)     
 1m34.263s 
 on Soft New
2. Jenson Button (McLaren)
 1m34.976s
 on Supersoft New
3. Felipe Massa (Williams)
 1m37.066s
 on Soft New

Day 4
1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)       
 1m33.283s  
 on Soft New       
2. Jenson Button (McLaren)
 1m34.957s
 on Soft New
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
 1m36.718s
 on Soft New

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Sebastian Vettel: “We might have the best car, I don’t know…”

Sebastian Vettel remains confident that the Red Bull RB10 will improve despite ongoing problems for his team in Bahrain today.

Vettel stopped on circuit after an issue with the rear brakes locked the rear wheels, and a minor fire ensued. The team insisted that issues had been addressed since Jerez, and that a new problem cropped up today.

“Obviously we’re not happy with where we are right now, but we’ve still got a long way ahead of us,” said Vettel. “It’s fairly difficult to judge where we are. I haven’t had much of the car yet. The first gut feel is OK, but surely we need more running to judge the car, to judge reliability, to judge general performance.

“It’s not easy to find a quick fix, but I think we understand the problems. As I said it’s not that easy to find the solution for the problems we found. We fixed the problems from [Jerez], we had a problem with temperature, which we seemed to fix, at least with the couple of laps we could do. But very often you fix one problem, and another problem pops up.

“There’s stuff to do on the Red Bull Racing side, in terms of reliability, temperatures, general around the car. And there’s stuff on the Renault side. But it’s not fair to separate those two. We are a team, and we’ve been very successful in the last years together. Now it’s obviously not the start we were hoping for, but we’ve obviously got some time, and clever people on board, which hopefully can fix the problems.”

Asked if this was a strange situation for him to have a bad car, Vettel pointed that it would be wrong to write off RBR in terms of competitiveness, because the car hasn’t yet run shown its potential.

“It’s more strange not to know how good the car is – we might have the best car, I don’t know. We can say that it’s not the most reliable right now, but that’s what testing is for. It’s zero points for everyone.

“Surely all the homework you get done in the winter testing helps you, certainly at the beginning of the season, because you don’t need to catch up. We’ve still got some days left. I think we know what is going on, but as you can see it’s not that easy to fix, otherwise we wouldn’t volunteer to do only 14 laps.”

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