First W15 assessment made after simulator run leaves lasting impression – F1 news round-up

Henry Valantine
Mercedes logo. F1 news

Mercedes were one of three teams to announce their car launch dates for 2024 on Monday.

Monday’s F1 news has been a busy day of headlines, with a new week and the sport beginning to look ahead to the new season bringing plenty with it.

Three teams confirmed their launch dates for their 2024 challengers, there’s a new contract for one of the big team bosses and Red Bull are taking an altogether different direction with naming their car this year.

All that and more, as well as a Christian Horner exclusive, in Monday’s F1 news headlines.

Three teams reveal F1 2024 launch dates

Feel that? It’s beginning to look like car launch season, and three more teams confirmed the dates for your diaries on Monday.

Alpine will launch their car on February 7, Mercedes will unveil the W15 a week later on Valentine’s Day, and Red Bull will follow them a day later on February 15.

It all becomes that bit more real when the dates go in the calendar, and with McLaren having teased a big rebrand on their social media channels, they may well announce their launch date soon too.

Read more: F1 2024 launch season hots up as Mercedes and Alpine confirm reveal dates

Exclusive: Christian Horner offers 2024 car update as launch date confirmed

PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher spoke to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner to get his latest thoughts ahead of the new season, with the reigning World Champions looking to build on unprecedented success.

“I think as far as targets can be, yes,” he replied when asked if their new car is on target for what the team set out for it at this stage.

“We don’t have a lot of preseason testing these days, we’ve got a lot to focus on and to get done, but it’s always a busy time of year in the factory in the planning stage for the season ahead.”

Read more: Christian Horner exclusive: Red Bull boss lifts the lid on RB20’s development path

Toto Wolff reveals first Mercedes W15 feedback

Having not been able to compete for regular victories since Formula 1’s mass regulation changes, Toto Wolff has said he received positive feedback from former F1 driver Anthony Davidson, who has been able to test the W15 in the team’s simulator.

The Mercedes simulator driver knows more than most about how the car has handled over the past few years, and the team boss was happy with what he heard in response.

“He was driving Melbourne [in the sim],” Wolff said of Davidson to the Telegraph.

“And he said: ‘The car feels like a car for the first time in two years…’”

Read more: W15 verdict in: Mercedes driver delivers first feedback to Toto Wolff

Wolff commits future to Mercedes with new three-year deal

In the same interview with the Telegraph, Wolff confirmed that his future with Mercedes is going to be for at least another three years, penning a new deal to stay on as team principal.

He, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Daimler boss Ola Källenius are the three joint-owners of the team, and they all felt it was in the team’s best interests for him to continue in the role he has held for over a decade now.

“I think the most important thing between the three of us is that we trust each other,” Wolff explained.

“At the end of the day, as a shareholder myself, I want the best return on investment. And the best return on investment is winning.

“I’m not going to try to hang on to a position that I think somebody is going to do better than me. I make sure that I have people around who can tell me otherwise. In the end the three of us decided: ‘Let’s do it again’.”

Read more: ‘I’m not going anywhere’ – Toto Wolff signs new Mercedes deal, ‘performance clause’ talk addressed

AlphaTauri rumoured to have scooped long-time Alpine servant

Alan Permane, former Alpine sporting director who had spent 34 years in the paddock before his abrupt dismissal last summer, has reportedly been snapped up by Red Bull to head to AlphaTauri in their rebranded for this year.

Motorsport.com report that the former ‘Team Enstone’ stalwart is set for a paddock return after his departure, in a senior position at Red Bull’s sister team.

“Alan Permane is one of the rocks of F1,” Christian Horner told media including PlanetF1.com in Belgium last summer in response to the news.

“He is one of the longest standing senior engineers in the sport, and certainly someone with a lot of knowledge.

“I don’t know about the ins and outs of the management reshuffle there, but there is a lot of very respectable people in there. And definitely, you shouldn’t discount anyone of that seniority.”

Read more: Major Red Bull scoop with key hire secured for rebranded junior team – report