The 2020 Formula 1 season is getting closer and closer. The first race of the year, the Australian Grand Prix, is now just a month and a half away as teams are starting to ramp up their preparations.
But before they all head off to Barcelona for pre-season testing, all F1 teams will first launch their cars for the new season in the coming weeks.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is no doubt busy with all the preparations ahead of the new season, but he took some time to respond to accusations of cheating levelled against the Scuderia last year.
Meanwhile, Racing Point will get a rebrand for the 2021 season after making a significant investment into Aston Martin.
Learn all about the big news stories SBOTOP Formula 1 should know as the new season closes in.
Formula 1 teams set to launch 2020 cars
Next week will mark the start of teams launching their new cars for the 2020 season. The launch dates for all 10 teams have now been confirmed.
Ferrari will kick things off on Feb. 11 as they launch their newest car at the Romolo Valli Municipal Theatre in Reggio Emilia.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel recently got to sit in his new car for the first time as he looks to improve on last season’s performance. The four-time world champion finished a disappointing fifth in the driver’s standings, 24 points behind team-mate Charles Leclerc. The German also had just one win all season, which came in Singapore.
Red Bull and Renault are next on the schedule as both teams will launch on Feb. 12. Max Verstappen, who just signed a new contract extension at the start of the year, will lead the charge for Red Bull after a promising season where he ended up third in the driver’s standings and won three races. His win in Germany, in particular, was a classic.
McLaren will be the sole team to launch on Feb. 13, while Alpha Tauri and reigning constructors champions Mercedes will hold their launch on Valentine’s Day.
Racing Point’s and Williams’ launches are set for Feb. 17, while Alfa Romeo and Haas will round things out on Feb. 19.
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto fires back at cheating accusations
Ferrari faced some damning cheating accusations from opposing teams last season surrounding the legality of their power unit. The FIA had to issue Technical Directives in the wake of these allegations.
But Ferrari strongly denied any wrongdoing on their part. Team principal Mattia Binotto even claimed via Motorsport-Total.com that those cheating accusations were merely a political ploy by the team’s rivals.
“It’s political to me. They’re pointing the finger at us. It’s all about building pressure.”
Binotto believes that the fact that Ferrari had to answer questions about those allegations during interviews led to increased pressure within the team.
“You have to answer every question in interviews,” he said, “and there was a certain tendency. We had to live with that.”
Binotto also considers it a “weakness” that Ferrari don’t engage more in the political realm, which is a significant part of the Formula 1 game on the whole.
“Formula 1 is not only a technical and sporting challenge but also a political one,” he added. “I think that’s what one of the weaknesses we showed during the season. We are not good enough in politics. There are people who are better. They use the media to apply pressure.
“We have to understand how we can do this better and act better in the future because that is part of the balance of power in a season.”
But aside from politics, Binotto and the team still have other weaknesses to fix in 2020 if they are to overtake Mercedes, who are the big favourites according to Formula 1 2020 predictions after winning the constructors’ championship by a massive 235 points last season.
Racing Point to be rebranded as Aston Martin in 2021
In other Formula 1 2020 news, Racing Point will be known as Aston Martin for the 2021 Formula 1 season after a consortium led by Racing Point’s current owner, Lawrence Stroll, made a £182 million investment into the British automobile company.
With this investment, Stroll’s consortium now have a 16.7 per cent stake in Aston Martin. Stroll will also become Aston Martin’s executive chairman.
Stroll’s group came in 2018 to take control of Force India, which was renamed Racing Point at the start of 2019.
The team, whose driver line-up comprises of Stroll’s son, Lance, and Sergio Perez, finished seventh in the constructors’ championship last season.
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