The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal will stage round seven of the 2018 F1 World Championship, the Canadian Grand Prix, this weekend.
The race has been kind to Lewis Hamilton, who took his first F1 win here in 2007 driving for McLaren, followed by two more wins for the Woking team before moving to Mercedes and achieving a further three victories between 2015 and 2017.
He must be Sunday’s hot favourite, but Toto Wolff, Mercedes team principal, does not seem all that confident.
He is concerned about Ferrari’s improved performance and Red Bull, who may debut the uprated Renault power plant.
Wolff has been in the limelight following the “inquiry” with the FIA’s technical director Charlie Whiting regarding the legality of the Ferraris.
The issue concerns the battery which the Ferrari software system sees as two batteries.
Whiting was quoted as saying: “I am not an expert, but we are trying to understand the difference of the two parts of the battery.”
He added that Ferrari is using a system that is completely different to other teams.”
The FIA were satisfied that the system was legal, but may continue to monitor the Maranello product in Canada.
Wolff is upset that Whiting divulged the names of those who raised the issue for Mercedes.
The tip came from James Allison and Lorenzo Sassi, both former Ferrari employees.
A bit of interesting news is the interview between a Sky Italia reporter and Esteban Ocon, the young Mercedes driver driving for Force India following the Monaco race.
The young Frenchman was asked if he had “made life too easy” for Hamilton to overtake, to which he replied, “I’m a Mercedes driver. You should ask the boss.”
When questioned as to whether there is an agreement that Force India does not impede Mercedes, he answered “maybe”.
Asked by a La Derniere Heure reporter if he indeed requested Ocon move over for Hamilton, Wolff replied that he had. Further questioned why he had done this, he said: “It is how it is.”
This raises some interesting questions, such as does an engine and driver supplier now have the right to utilise this arrangement to influence the outcome of a race?
If so it is a move that could expand across the field? I personally find this disturbing, but then I am a bit of a racing purist.
Expected for some time was the resignation of Vijay Mallya as director of his team, Force India. Stepping down from the board, Mallya remains as a major shareholder and will continue as team boss.