Milwaukee Racing will join up with Tickford Racing for the 2019 Supercars championship, the two teams have confirmed.
The two teams competed in a technical alliance for the 2018 season but next year they will combine in a development partnership as Phil Munday’s operation will move under one roof, although the two teams will still continue to operate as their own entities.
Munday’s 23Red team performed well in their debut Supercars season, finishing just behind Tickford in the Teams’ Championship, with Rod Nash excited to help build on an impressive first year.
“We’re excited to have 23Red Milwaukee Racing join Tickford Racing from 2019,” Nash said. “We’ve built a strong relationship with them over the past year, and we expect to continue to build on that as we bring our teams together.
“Phil brings a great energy to the team. He and I have known each other for over 20 years, and he’s been a great supporter of the RNR (Rod Nash Racing) entry over the years. We think his involvement will help us get back to the success we’re accustomed to having and we look forward to achieving that success together.”
The No. 230 is set to replace Richie Stanaway’s RABBLE.club car in the Tickford workshop as the team revealed they would be running four Mustangs in total next season with Chaz Mostert and Cameron Waters to be joined by the departing Mark Winterbottom’s replacement.
It means a return to Campbellfield workshop for Will Davison for the first time in nearly six years since leaving what was then called Ford Performance Racing.
“Having Will back is great for all of us,” Nash added. “He’s obviously done some great things in our cars in the past and has shown when given a strong car he can still compete. We look forward to giving him the opportunity to have more success in our garage from 2019.”
With the 2018 season drawing to a close last weekend in Newcastle, the off-season will see the teams transition into their new partnership ahead of the 2019 Adelaide 500 at the end of February.
Max Verstappen says he does not mind if his Honda engine “blows up” next season, as long as he is given more opportunities to win races.
Red Bull are ending their Renault partnership to switch to Honda and Verstappen is itching to start F1 2019 already, saying it’s clear the team’s new engine partners already have more horsepower.
There are, however, still concerns about the reliability of the Honda PU – Toro Rosso picked up more grid penalties than any other team in 2018, while Pierre Gasly suffered a failure at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.
“It’s our way of bringing young boys and girls into the sport of sim racing and build a transition for them into other programs that we have at McLaren,” Dharpan Randhawa, SVP of McLaren Group, told Foxsports.com.au.
“As a brand we’ve been around for 50 years and as you know F1 is a very data driven sport, so technology is the core of what we do, from McLaren applied technologies to the racing team.
“So with a deeper understanding of our fan base, we know that they consume content differently, so getting into esport was a natural evolution of what we wanted to do.”
Nine of the ten F1 teams, Ferrari excluded, participate in the official F1 Esports Series.
Playing the latest edition of the F1 video game, it was only fitting that Mercedes did the double, with the team taking the constructors title and British Mercedes representative Brendon Leigh defending the crown he won in the inaugural year of the league.
“Our guys go through gruelling stuff – six hours of sim racing a day,” Randhawa explained.
“We do a lot of testing with them on the applied technology side everything from cognitive, to concentration to vigorous conditioning.
“They race multiple tracks, they’re away from their family, they’re away from their friends. Everything they go through, from nutrition to the human performance side, we treat them as real athletes.”
But not only is this a great way for F1 teams to find talent, but it enables a new way for would-be drivers to make the leap to the professional ranks.
Take a look at the F1 drivers for the 2019 season and you’ll see essentially all of them are either from rich first-world nations, or have plenty of money behind them (or both). Much of this can be attributed to the fact that motorsport is expensive from day one.
“Traditionally if you wanted to get into F1, you’d have to go through the karting route. It’s an expensive sport and not a lot of people can afford it,” Randhawa said.
“That’s why we haven’t seen a lot of champions come from developing markets because karting was never there. We’re still hoping and exploring how sim racing can develop a new hotbed of talent to bring them into the industry.”
McLaren Shadow driver Rudy van Buren, for example, was able to get into karting in the Netherlands but eventually had to stop due to a lack of funds.
But he used his on-track skills in the esports world and eventually won McLaren’s World’s Fastest Gamer competition in 2017, enabling him to be an official simulator driver for the McLaren F1 team for a season.
This isn’t to say that driving in the virtual world will perfectly transition into reality. Motorsport is still a very physical endeavour, and the fear of crashing at hundreds of kilometres an hour can’t be replicated on a simulator.
Plus, the current F1 rules wouldn’t allow a sim driver to step straight into a cockpit. Drivers need a Super Licence to compete in F1, which involves competing in and winning a certain number of real-life races over several years.
But there is a definite overlap. Lando Norris has competed in online leagues and has had a simulator at home for some time; the teenager will drive for McLaren in F1 from 2019.
“Unlike any other sport or gaming genre, the transference of skills between virtual and real racing are direct,” Norris said recently.
The new generation is coming. And their parents won’t have to spend thousands of dollars to make their dreams possible.
Daniel Ricciardo has admitted he expected his relationship with now former-Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen to be a lot worse than it was.
The duo spent nearly three years together at the Milton Keynes-based outfit after Verstappen was promoted from Toro Rosso to replace Daniil Kvyat mid-season in 2016.
They have come across as good friends off the track but have shared some intense on-track moments, like battling for victory of the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2016 and their infamous crash in Baku earlier this year.
Verstappen’s dad, Jos, also revealed his son was angry at Ricciardo Mexico this year following his celebrations after sealing pole at the expense of his teammate in a last-minute lap.
But with Ricciardo leaving for Renault in 2019, the Australian believes the two’s relationship may actually improve as they will no longer be “direct competitors”.
“Unless we’re battling for the same bit of Tarmac,” Ricciardo said on a Red Bull podcast. “That could always spice it up!
“I’d say the relationship with Max and myself went better than, I’ll be honest, I thought it would go.
“Just our personalities and our self-belief. I really believe he thinks he’s the best in the world and I believe I am.
“So, that can obviously clash. But we always managed at least 99% of the time managed to keep that in its own little place.
“It was cool, it was a good, hard fight with him and I enjoyed it.”
Verstappen is widely tipped to be one of the closest challengers to Lewis Hamilton over the next few seasons, should Red Bull’s partnership with Honda go well, and Ricciardo is predicted greatness for the Dutchman.
However, he did concede that Red Bull will have to match Verstappen’s ambitions and that what he can achieve will be more down to being in the right car at the right time.
“There’s a lot of potential, for sure some potential greatness for Max,” Ricciardo added. “I think it’s all about the trajectory. He was quick from day one but I’m convinced he’s a lot quicker than his first win for Red Bull.
“So, I’m sure he’ll keep improving, but it’s probably going to be more of a scenario/situation if he’s going to be in a car that’s capable.
“That’s probably going to dictate what levels of greatness he’s going to achieve.
“He’s obviously very talented and I’ve enjoyed the challenge with him, the rivalry. I think we’ve both grown as drivers – it’s been beneficial to both of our careers.”