Sunday’s F1 news has the first F1 car launch date revealed, while the FIA is aiming to scare some F1 teams by showing up unannounced.
The paddock also mourns the loss of a well-respected figure and Jenson Button made a major announcement over his future on the track.
All that and more, in the best of Friday’s F1 news headlines.
Ferrari announces launch date for F1 2024 car
Ferrari is the first team to announce their car launch date for 2024, with February 13th as the unveiling date for the unnamed machine.
Having launched on Valentine’s Day this year, why did the team push a day earlier for next season?
“We will have one day more before the test!” Vasseur explained.
“No no, it’s quite tight, honestly, and more seriously, we have the test a bit before, and it’s quite a challenge to put everything together,” Vasseur said at a Ferrari Christmas lunch.
“It means we had no other option I think also, but some other teams are doing it also on the 14th. It’s quite challenging to be ready for Bahrain.”
FIA want to be able to make factory spot-check visits
In a bid to improve the policing of F1 teams’ work in their factories, the FIA would like to be able to make unannounced visits – where they expect to be kept waiting no later than 10-15 minutes at the gates.
“We actually want to make unannounced visits,” Tombazis said according to Motorsport.com’s Dutch site.
“We don’t think we should just barge in, but we do think it would be good to have a process where we can call teams, have someone come and pick people up and allow them to say, ‘I want the wind tunnel or whatever see’.”
It’s an idea the FIA have wanted to implement for some time, but only recently reached the number of inspectors needed to be able to make visits a regular opportunity.
Exclusive: The ‘fearless’ and driverless motorsport aiming to revolutionise motorsport
Over the Abu Dhabi GP weekend, our own Thomas Maher was invited along to the unveiling of a new autonomous racing car as A2RL showed off a driverless Dallara Super Formula car.
The aim is to unleash a field of these cars, which will race without fear or emotion, and are theoretically capable of learning how to go faster around a track than real-life drivers.
Find out all about it in our exclusive feature on the new racing league”
Toto Wolff details the ‘headwind’ challenge facing Mercedes going into 2024
While Christian Horner has spoken about how he fears ‘diminishing returns’ as the regulations mature into the third year of the ground-effect era, Mercedes’ team boss Toto Wolff is hopeful the same challenge will allow his team to close the gap to the reigning World Champions next year.
“You have the laws of diminishing returns, your development or performance curve flattens – that is clear,” Wolff answered in a far-reaching interview with select media, including PlanetF1.com.
“The more mature the regulations are, the more you can extract. Maybe our development curve is steeper because we are behind, but that is industrial theory. Whether you can apply it to the world of sports, I’m not quite sure.
“It’s good engineering, their (Red Bull’s) engineering team has just done a good job. They came out of the blocks, for whatever reason, much better than everybody else – and they have a driver who is on top of his game.”
Did Max Verstappen ‘mentally break’ Sergio Perez in a Grand Prix this year?
After a strong start to the year, Sergio Perez’s season fell apart dramatically through the middle portion of the season.
With two wins from the first four races and taking pole position in Miami as Max Verstappen was caught out by red flags, former Red Bull driver Christian Klien believes Verstappen’s comeback drive in that race to catch and overtake Perez ‘mentally broke’ the Mexican driver.
“I think Miami was already the turning point where [Perez] realised, ‘OK the guy on the other side of the garage is really unbeatable’,” Klien said.
“I think, mentally, that broke him a little bit. It took him a really, really long time, maybe until the last couple of races where he got back [on track]. He’s not a bad driver and you cannot unlearn how to drive a car fast. But in the end, it’s a mental game.”