Here, Sports Mole rounds up the latest Formula 1 news on Tuesday, February 16.
Sports Mole rounds up all of the latest news regarding Formula 1 on Tuesday, February 16.
Tuesday morning’s Formula 1 news roundup
Alex Albon’s demise shows “how hard Formula 1 can be”, according to his friend Lando Norris.
As well as George Russell, Norris and Albon also raced through the junior ranks together and remained close as they ascended to the pinnacle of motorsport.
British-born Thai Albon was often the quicker of the trio in the junior categories, but he notably struggled alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull last year and has been replaced by Sergio Perez.
He will be a reserve driver whilst racing in the German touring car series DTM in 2021.
“Formula 1 can be a very hard world and we’re seeing that again,” Norris, 21, said on Monday when asked about Albon’s demise.
“It’s difficult because I’m good friends with Alex. We get along well and have always had good conversations, although we haven’t actually talked much about Red Bull,” the McLaren driver added.
“I’m sorry for him,” Norris said. “He’s a very good driver.
“It’s hard – it just goes to show again how hard Formula 1 can be. It can even happen to an extremely good driver.
“He beat everyone in all the junior categories, but once you’re in Formula 1 it’s all different – just a bit more competitive. It can be a very unfair world.
“You can lose your spot just like that and it’s all over as quickly as it started. I don’t know what to say about it – I like Alex and have a lot of respect for him.
“It’s a shame he lost his seat but I’m sure he’s going to do everything he can to fight back and get back into F1,” Norris added.
McLaren has played down reports that its new supplier Mercedes is struggling with “issues” related to its 2021 engine.
In material distributed by Mercedes itself, the reigning world champion outfit’s engine boss Hywel Thomas revealed the problems but said there are “plenty of plans in place to fix all of those issues”.
“I’m sure it will all be ready for the first race,” he added.
McLaren, the British team that revealed its 2021 car on Monday, has switched from Renault to Mercedes customer power over the winter.
Technical boss James Key played down any talk of engine issues.
“We have carried out full testing on a dynamic bench and had no problems,” he insisted.
“Mercedes can probably answer your question about any problems in more detail, but we haven’t had any,” Key is quoted by Russia’s Championat.
McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl, meanwhile, explained that the total absence of any Mercedes branding on the 2021 car is simply so that “we focus on ourselves”.
However, he insisted that McLaren has “confidence” that it will receive full support as Mercedes’ newest customer.
New team driver Daniel Ricciardo revealed on Monday that his contract runs for the next three full seasons, and he thinks that is enough time to ultimately launch a title bid.
“The clear goal is to switch our focus to 2022 as early as possible,” Seidl said.
More news from Formula 1:
Christian Horner believes Verstappen could replace Hamilton at Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton recently signed a one-year contract extension, but turns 37 next year. Read more.
McLaren’s Lando Norris insists the pressure is on Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo is among Formula One’s most established names and will partner Lando Norris at the British team this season. Read more.
Marko, Ricciardo approve of 2021 ‘sprint race’ trial
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali’s Saturday sprint race idea is gaining approval up and down the Formula 1 pitlane. Read more.
Prominent names linked with 2022 Red Bull engine
Red Bull is now pushing forward with plans to recruit potentially high-profile names to help with its new in-house engine supplier Red Bull Powertrains. Read more.
Verstappen to top Mercedes’ 2022 driver wish-list
Max Verstappen will be “at the top of the list” if Mercedes needs to replace Lewis Hamilton for 2022, according to Red Bull boss Christian Horner. Read more.