F1 gossip: Horner, Sainz, Mekies, Todt, Wolff

Lewis Hamilton and Christian Horner
Christian Horner said “it's difficult to see Lewis leaving Mercedes, but I guess you can never say never."

Friday, 16 March

Team principal Christian Horner has joked Red Bull could line up a shock move for Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton with the team considering their options in case Daniel Ricciardo opts not to extend his contract beyond this season. (Express)

But Red Bull are remaining calm over Ricciardo's potential departure with Carlos Sainz in place as a back-up option for 2019. (Express)

McLaren have accused Ferrari and the FIA of breaking a gentleman's agreement after the Italian team announced they had signed FIA safety and deputy race director Laurent Mekies. (autosport.com)

FIA president Jean Todt has blasted the current financial climate in the sport by stating it's unacceptable to see the majority of teams "struggling to survive" and is eager to usher in positive change. (crash.net)

Mercedes avoided Pirelli's new hypersoft tyre in testing because it will just be a compound to "survive" on this season, according to team principal Toto Wolff. (motorsport.com)

Thursday, 15 March

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton said a new contract "is not really my priority at the moment".

World champion Lewis Hamilton has hit back at critics who have questioned why he has not yet signed a new Mercedes contract, with the Briton heading into his final year with the Silver Arrows. (Express)

Ferrari have followed in Renault's footsteps and signed FIA safety director Laurent Mekies to bolster their technical department, a move which is set to anger fellow teams. (planetf1.com)

The FIA has warned teams against using a "false" engine mode to take advantage of the new exhaust-blown rear wing design debuted by Renault during pre-season testing, which is legal but deemed to be against the spirit of the technical regulations. (crash.net)

Haas' Kevin Magnussen has continued to criticise the mandatory 'Halo' device, calling the new safety innovation "very annoying and ugly." (Ekstra Bladet in Danish)

Renault would support a cost cap being included in the new rules for 2021 with a limit of £150m per team. (planetf1.com)

Wednesday, 14 March

Sebastian Vettel on track during day two of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Catalunya in February
Sebastian Vettel said he had "fun" driving the Ferrari car during winter testing

Sebastian Vettel is not worried about Ferrari's winter testing results. (f1today.net)

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner believes his team could be in the hunt for fourth place this season despite only finishing eighth last year. (planetf1.com)

F1 race director Charlie Whiting has dismissed fears of potential chaos with new standing restart rules. (autosport.com)

McLaren's Fernando Alonso has warned resurgent Honda that "one test is not the same as 21 races". (planetf1.com)

But Honda are happy to be more involved in their new partnership with Toro Rosso rather than McLaren, according to technical director Toyoharu Tanabe.(motorsportweek.com)

Tuesday, 13 March

Valtteri Bottas (left) replaced Nico Rosberg as Lewis Hamilton's (right) team-mate at the start of last season
Bottas (left) replaced Nico Rosberg as Hamilton's (right) team-mate at the start of last season

Valtteri Bottas believes it is possible he can beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton but says he will not be going "into a complete mental fight within the team" as part of his strategy. (Planet F1)

Red Bull diver Daniel Ricciardo says hopes the start of the new season will make "the situation a little easier to handle" when it comes to contract talks with the team. (F1i.com)

Renault chief technical officer Bob Bell says the team "pushed like hell to get the maximum aerodynamic performance from the car" but that has meant "giving ourselves more headache with thermal management".(Autosport)

The future of the German Grand Prix remains in doubt as its current deal expires this season and there is no deal in place to extend it. (Crash.net)

Monday, 12 March

Max Chilton
Chilton has switched from Chip Ganassi Racing to Carlin for the 2018 season

British former F1 driver Max Chilton finished 19th for new team Carlin in the season-opening race of the Indycar season as France's Sebastien Bourdais claimed victory in St Petersburg, Florida. (Carlin)

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says Ferrari are "wrong to hold F1 to ransom" after the Italian team threatened to quit the sport over new proposals by F1 owners Liberty Media. (El Confidencial via Wheels24)

Max Verstappen says his Red Bull outfit need to be within three tenths of pole position at this month's season-opening Australian Grand Prix to be in the fight for victory in the race. (F1i.com)

McLaren chief Eric Boullier says the last three years were difficult for the team but they have to be "ambitious" for the 2018 season and to do so they will have to "take risks". (Planet F1)

Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley believes the team can increase their targets for the first race in Melbourne after exceeding expectations in testing. (Autosport)

Sunday, 11 March

Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes
Mercedes were only seventh fastest in pre-season testing

World champion Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes' W09 car - new for the 2018 season - is a lot faster than its W08 predecessor and believes the team have "as much information as we could" with preparations for the new season. (TheCheckeredFlag)

Red Bull chief engineer Pierre Wache has been promoted to the newly-created role of technical director in a move the team calls "part of the evolution" of their structure. (Autosport)

Williams might have to wait until the latter parts of the 2018 Formula One season to fully optimise the potential of their car, according to technical chief Paddy Lowe. (ESPN)

Valtteri Bottas has denied a claim that Mercedes are a full second per lap ahead of F1's other top teams heading into this month's Australian Grand Prix. (GrandPrix.com)

Formula 1 rookie Charles Leclerc says he was angered by the spin that contributed to almost five hours of lost running time on the final test day before his debut. (Motorsport.com)

Saturday, 10 March

Red Bull
Red Bull were only fourth fastest on the final day of testing in Barcelona

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says opting to run a different fuel to engine supplier Renault is not a "strategic mistake" as Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff has suggested.(PlanetF1.com)

McLaren's new partnership with Renault got off to an inauspicious start as the team finished with the lowest mileage of pre-season testing, but racing director Eric Boullier says they were right to be "aggressive" with their car design. (Formula1.com)

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen believes his team have delivered a "strong package" for the 2018 Formula 1 season and that they could have gone faster during pre-season testing. (Motorsportweek)

World champions Mercedes say the only doubt they have over their new car is how well it can perform on Pirelli's softer tyres. (Autosport)

Daniel Ricciardo recorded 92 laps in the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing car at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, finishing fourth fastest overall, and believes the team "are close enough to be in the hunt". (thecheckeredflag)

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