- Tributes continued to pour in from the Formula 1 community on Wednesday in Monaco following the death of three-time world champion Niki Lauda earlier this week at the age of 70.

- Mercedes and Toro Rosso both unveiled tributes to Lauda that would race on their cars this weekend. Lauda served as Mercedes’ non-executive director throughout its recent success in F1, and was instrumental in the team’s signing of Lewis Hamilton in 2013.

- Hamilton was excused from Wednesday’s FIA press conference in light of Lauda’s death, with teammate Valtteri Bottas taking his place. Hamilton conducted no media activities on Wednesday. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff will hold a special press conference on Thursday morning to talk about Lauda, with the pair working closely together at Mercedes.

- One word kept coming up when figures in the paddock discussed Lauda and his influence: unique. “You don’t come across people like him very often, not just inside Formula 1 but in general. I think he was a unique person,” Vettel said. Haas team boss Gunther Steiner said he owed his F1 career to Lauda, with the pair working together at Jaguar in the early 2000s: “Niki gave you memories every day. It’s Niki. You cannot compare him. He was unique.”

- Mercedes team personnel will wear black armbands from Thursday onwards. The FIA is set to confirm what tributes it has planned to Lauda at a later point.

- Home driver Charles Leclerc will race with a special half and half helmet in Monaco this weekend. One half uses the design of his father, with the other being the design of his godfather, Jules Bianchi.

- F1 title contender Valtteri Bottas enters this weekend hopeful of improving his recent record in Monaco, having never finished on the podium in the principality: “In the past two years we’ve been struggling a little bit, we weren’t happy with our car here as we couldn’t go quickly as we did in other tracks. With that in mind we are a little bit cautious but also very motivated to change that and to be performing here, as well.”

- Mercedes could break the record for the most consecutive one-two finishes in F1 this weekend if it can chalk up a sixth in a row.

Sebastian Vettel remains optimistic of Ferrari’s chances despite its slow-corner struggles and tyre woes so far this season as the team bids for a maiden win this year. Vettel explained that Pirelli’s 2019 tyres remain “sensitive” and “difficult” to manage, although his view has not been widely shared through the F1 paddock.

- Max Verstappen has been tipped by many as the most likely driver to end Mercedes’ winning streak at the start of this year, given Red Bull’s recent success in Monaco. However, the Dutchman said Mercedes was “clearly the favourite”, adding: “I don’t think we are as good as we were last year, so we will find out. I’m confident we can fight for the podium but we need to find out which step of the podium.”

- While Daniel Ricciardo may stand next to no chance of a second straight win in Monaco given Renault’s tough start to the year, the Australian said his motivation remained as high as ever. “My motivation certainly hasn’t dipped by any means,” he said. “It is going to take a bit more time. I am certainly trying as well and doing everything I can, and I feel that also everything I’ve put in has had really been taken on board and the team is certainly willing to grow and learn.”

Carlos Sainz says McLaren found an issue with its car after the Spanish Grand Prix that explained why it was so slow in the final sector, saying it was “similar to a damaged car” at the end of the grand prix. However, he said slow-speed corners had been a weakness for the team throughout the season so far.

- Teammate Lando Norris remained coy when asked whether he agreed with the stewards’ decision not to penalise Lance Stroll for their clash in Spain last time out, with the incident ending both their races.

- Haas will race with an unchanged livery in Monaco despite the High Court ruling against the stag logo of title sponsor Rich Energy. Steiner explained that it was a matter aside from the team. “We were told to keep the logo like it is, and if there’s any other distraction coming, we are ready for it,” Steiner said. Rich Energy is set to have a further hearing in its case with Whyte Bikes at the end of June.

- Steiner also explained that drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen remained free to race despite their run-in at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix. “We’ve got two drivers which are always close to each other, in each grand prix. I’d rather have added performance and a little bit of a headache on Sunday to keep me awake than anything else.”

- Both Haas and Alfa Romeo will race with Ferrari’s updated power unit in Monaco this weekend, taking the update one race later than the factory team.

- A couple of logistical improvements have also taken place in Monaco. The VIP lounges between the Swimming Pool chicane and La Rascasse have been upgraded, as well as updating the commentary boxes, in-keeping with the paddock updates that took place last year. There is also a new permanent structure in the F1 paddock next to the motorhomes.

- Track running begins at 11am local time in Monaco on Thursday with FP1 (10am UK).

 

Comments

Loading Comments...