Sauber rookie Kimi Raikkonen sits down for an interview

21-year-old Sauber rookie Kimi Raikkonen sits down for an interview with Martin Brundle (2001)

Mercedes struggling with engine development for 2019

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team boss, has said that the team have had a “setback” with its engine development:

“There is a tremendous development race that is happened as we speak.”

“Finding downforce, reducing drag and of course the engine is a very important part, adding more horsepower to the engine.”

“So we are setting ourselves really ambitious targets. We have actually increased the targets six weeks ago because we heard some rumours that others were doing well.”

“We’ve had a little bit of a setback on the engine side where we believed the new concept would deliver a little bit more. But these guys are very ambitious like all of us and so I’m optimistic.” When speaking of the development on the power unit.

“We will know when the first qualifying session gets underway in Melbourne, this is the moment where everybody shows their cards.”

Renault’s exact power deficit revealed

Cyril Abiteboul says they will be very close to the top two engine makers in the next season.

We’re missing about 15 to 20 kilowatts of engine power [20-27bhp] in the race, which under certain conditions could be made up for by the Red Bull chassis. But in qualifying, we estimate our deficit at 40 kilowatts [53bhp], and that’s significant

“With a customer engine from Mercedes or Ferrari, we would have qualified in seventh place in Abu Dhabi. This shows that we have a better chassis than our competitors [in the midfield], but also shows we are not as good as the three top teams.

“That’s why the main focus at first is on engine development. Next year, I don’t want to have to say anymore that we lacked too much power in qualifying. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari with the engine over the winter. With the chassis, it will take a little longer.”

“It’s hard for me today to set targets for next year,” he added. “In sport, that always depends a bit on the performance of the others. But if the curve points upwards like ours, you want this trend to continue.

“Maybe we won’t be able to do that in terms of the world championship position, but we want to reduce the gap to the top. Let’s wait and see what happens with Red Bull and Honda. Red Bull never gets tired of telling how good Honda is compared to us. May I say that Toro Rosso is still behind us?”

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