Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2017 -
... new season 2017... 20 races ...new drivers ... new regulations ... new cars ... new F1 Management ... new F1 Strategy ...
The traditional season-
WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING
'It is an exciting time of year for everyone in Formula One including the huge number of fans around the world, as we head to Australia for the first race of the season. This year is particularly exciting as the regulations have changed substantially concerning the bodywork of the cars and the dimensions of the tyres, so we expect to see quicker cars and far more challenging racing for the drivers.
Coming back to the paddock has that feeling of being “back to school” after our winter away: everybody energised for the new season ahead, meeting friends again and welcoming new faces. I always feel that the first qualifying session of the year is the most intense and interesting hour in the entire Formula One calendar, as that is the point when all the smoke and mirrors of winter testing must stop and the real pace is finally put on the table. It is only then that we will see how the cars and drivers perform and get our first true indication of the season which will unfold.
The race itself is always eventful with more than the usual degree of incident and car failure as the cars and drivers engage in their first competition of the year. And the spectators bring extra enthusiasm to Albert Park, many of them having come from all over the world to see this first race of the F1 season. From a technical point of view, the tyres for this year’s race are not only wider but also softer -
For me personally, I’m very happy to be back at Williams, the team where I started my Formula One career. We have a very talented group of people here and two great drivers with whom I haven’t worked before, so I’m looking forward to stepping into the paddock with them in Melbourne to start the 2017 season.'
'I am really excited for Melbourne. It’s going to be quite an experience being my first ever Grand Prix. It’s a new track and I have never been to Australia. I am just really looking forward to it all and very excited to get started. I can’t wait. I have driven the track in the simulator and I have seen some videos, and onboards. It looks quite tricky. Even though it is a new track for me it’s a different track also. It’s kind of a road course, so the track really changes a lot throughout the weekend, so that will be a good challenge. I will just take it as it comes, push as hard as I can, enjoy it and look forward to the weekend.'
'Australia is a fantastic place to start the season, not only because it’s a beautiful country, but also because the people are so nice. So it’s always a big pleasure to go to Australia. It really is the perfect place to get started. It’s quite a tricky track though. It’s half racetrack, half street circuit, so it’s definitely not easy. It’s good to have a difficult challenge at the start of the season though. I’m just really looking forward to getting started! It’s always a very important race because it’s the first time all of the teams will be together and racing for real.'
“The start of a new season always gives us a range of feelings – great excitement to be racing again, and the sense of the unknown as we go into a formula with a brand-
“I’m incredibly motivated for 2017 and I can’t wait to see what kind of racing this new shake-
“After a difficult two weeks of testing we’re prepared to face a difficult weekend in Melbourne. We’ll do our best with what we have and there’s a lot of hard work and collaboration happening within the team, but the lack of time before the first race means you have fewer options for big changes. The first step will be to work on reliability before we can make any assumptions or predictions about performance, and we will try to enjoy the weekend as much as we can.”
“Since my position as full-
“I’m looking forward to stepping into the MCL32 cockpit on Friday morning and I feel totally ready for the challenge ahead. I’ve prepared very well over the winter, worked a lot on my training and in particular my strength and endurance, and I’m incredibly motivated to work hard with the team to make improvements step by step. I’ll be pushing hard as always and I’m looking forward to getting back into the car.
“In terms of performance, I’m not setting myself any particular targets, other than to keep my head down, learn a lot from the team and from Fernando, and do my best. I know the guys and girls at McLaren and Honda very well, and I feel very much part of the family, so there’s no sense of nervousness about starting my first full season as a Formula 1 driver. It’s my first time in Australia so I’ll be soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the buzz of the first race of the season, and we’ll see how the weekend unfolds from there.”
“It’s no secret we at McLaren-
“As a team, we’re very excited to be going racing again, but aware of the unknowns that face us as the lights go out to start a new era of Formula 1. We don’t yet know where the formbook lies, so until we hit the track on Friday morning it’s impossible to predict how the weekend will unfold. It’ll be interesting for us all to see the pecking order emerge as each session goes by, as well as where our own strengths and weaknesses lie, and we’re prepared for a challenging weekend ahead.
“We will approach this season race-
Honda R&D Co. Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer
“It has been a challenging winter for everyone at the team. Obviously the problems we had in Barcelona limited our track time and put added pressure on our pre-
“In terms of performance, there has been room for improvement with mapping in order to have better driveability, and with further analysis we were able to make additional changes to be ready for Melbourne. We know we are heading in the right direction and we’ll continue our efforts in order to increase our competitiveness throughout the season.
“As a season-
“It won’t be an easy weekend, but despite the challenges we love coming to Melbourne. The fans are amazing, and we always have fantastic support from our Honda Australia peers. We hope we can show our appreciation through our efforts on the track."
139 laps pre -
Conclusions? “It’s too early to understand the available potential: we focused on our programme, without paying the slightest attention to what the other teams were doing. All winter we have prepared so as to get here in the best possible shape. But there are still around four weeks to go to the first race and there is much work to do, so much in our programme. The stop towards the end doesn’t bother me: we were trying something that didn’t work, that’s all.”
“There’s a good feeling but it’s too early for predictions”.
MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 Team
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-
"It's the dawn of a new era -
"The target with these new regulations was to make this generation of F1 cars the quickest in the history of the sport. And looking at the results from testing, we're well on the way to achieving that. It's something that's never been done before and that's a radical change. We've even made them look more spectacular.
"Having spoken to the drivers, these machines are violent -
"Lewis and Valtteri are in a great place. They have a respectful and friendly relationship from what we've seen in our team briefings so far. It's an exciting time for them because these new cars are a real physical challenge. Both felt from testing that the G-
"We have tackled with determination the challenge of the new regulations. We have been very successful over the last three years through stable rules -
"There is an art to managing expectations. You must not set them too low -
"We enter 2017 with that mindset. We take every one of our rivals seriously and respect every team's ability to find that magic bullet. They are all full of very clever people -
"What we've seen from Barcelona is that the margins at the front of the field have shrunk. We'll see how that pans out in Melbourne, because we still don't know about the fuel loads, weights or power settings of the other cars. As the old saying goes, it is when the flag drops that the bullshit really stops."
SAHARA FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM
Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya
“I always say that Melbourne is a great place to start the season and this year there is so much to be excited about with the new generation of cars making their race debut. It’s interesting for the teams, the media and most importantly, the fans. Let’s hope we put on a great show to kick off the season in style.
“We will race in our new colours for the first time in Melbourne. BWT have given us a very exciting livery and they have generated a huge buzz among the media and fans. The VJM10 looks stunning and it’s great to see such a positive reaction on social media.
“As for our expectations this weekend, it’s still not easy to make predictions – even after eight days of testing in Barcelona. Qualifying on Saturday will give us our first indication of the true pecking order. Testing taught us lots of things and we’ve identified where we can improve, which is exactly why we go testing. We’ve addressed most of those things in time for Melbourne and we’re in good shape.
“The VJM10 is largely reliable and clocked up 785 laps in testing, and we took encouragement from our long run pace. We’ve got to approach the early races believing we can pick up where we left off last year. We arrive in Melbourne feeling optimistic and confident that scoring points is a realistic objective.”
“The first race of the year is always good fun. We’ve had a long winter to recharge the batteries, but now I just want to go racing again. Australia is the best place to start the season: it’s a great country and I really enjoy going there. There is so much to do in Melbourne and it’s a fun weekend, even if it’s busier than some of the other races.
“It’s important not to get distracted: we want to start well and get back into the race weekend rhythm, and get on with our work. The track itself is quite enjoyable and it’s a challenge to drive because it’s almost a street circuit. It starts the weekend very green and as you go on, you get more grip and more confidence in your new car.
“I am confident we can do well and score points from the first race: Australia is a place where anything can happen and we have seen some very unpredictable races there in the past. You never know what opportunities turn up in a race so you have to be ready at all times to take them.”
“I am feeling great after a long winter and I’m very excited to go to Melbourne. It will be the first time racing at Albert Park for me, so I do not really know the track, but last year I went there and I liked what I could see. It’s a proper old-
“Joining this team has gone very smoothly from my perspective. The team welcomed me and made me feel at ease straight away. I feel very comfortable about the way we work and I feel this will help me give my best in Australia.
“I think we did a good job as a team during winter testing and I also feel confident because of all the simulator work we did over the winter. We continue to push on the simulator and I was at the factory a few days ago doing the final preparation for Melbourne. I was very open to the team – I told them I’d be available at HQ as much as they needed me over the winter and I feel satisfied with the work we’ve done together so far. I think we’re on track to extract everything we can from the car, which is our objective. We’ll go out and do the best we can and see where we are.”
“It’s always good to be back on home soil and enjoy a bit of sunshine after winter testing. My home race is awesome in so many ways but it’s also super busy and full on, the week for me starts on Monday and doesn’t stop until Sunday night. It’s nice that there’s so much media attention at the start of the season and everyone is super excited to see how I go. I try and attend as many events as I can but I’m still there to do a job.
“We get a pretty big greeting from everyone when we arrive at track each morning, the fans are so enthusiastic! “This year they have named a grandstand after me, the Ricciardo Premium Grandstand with views of turns three, four and five, which is pretty cool. It’s another bit of motivation for me to do well and I will of course give the fans a wave. It’s great to have such positive support and I’ve heard the tickets sold out pretty quickly for the stand.
I will definitely embrace the weekend, have some fun with it and try and give the fans a reason to celebrate on Sunday.”
We always arrive in Australia a bit early due to the time difference, this way we have a bit longer to acclimatise. The first two or three days you struggle with jetlag a bit but then it's fine because you are just really excited for the first race of the year.
“I enjoy going to Melbourne as it’s a cool city, nice environment and good weather so generally a great place to stay. I found some nice restaurants down by the Yarra River so whenever we have time I will head down there for some dinner. “The first race is always exciting as you never really know where you are in terms of performance with the car because everything is so new, this is reflected in the paddock too, it’s a refreshing feeling.
“Being Daniel’s home grand prix he obviously gets a lot of support which is very nice for him. I can’t wait to feel the buzz of all the cars going out for the first practice and seeing the excitement on everyone’s face.”
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