Formula One: Performance Gains at Ferrari

ShellAD

 

With the 2015 Formula One Season having concluded under the spot lights of the Yas Marina Circuit, Scuderia Ferrari alongside technical partner Shell, offered a few insights into how an aggressive approach to developments powered the team to 14 podiums, three victories and second in the 2015 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship

Guy Lovett, Innovation Manager, Shell Motorsport commented:

“It was always our plan to adopt a more aggressive strategy in 2015 with the development of our Shell V-Power race fuel in comparison to previous years. We really applied our learnings from 2014, a year of new and innovative hybrid technology, to our 2015 race fuel, of which we introduced five new powerful blends. We worked closer than ever with our colleagues in Maranello where we fully integrated our development plans to optimise the fuel-engine package and it was great to see that our hard work paid off, helping to power the team back to winning ways. Now the hard work continues ahead of 2016.”

This approach translated into performance gains of up to half a second a lap, equating to a 30 second improvement in the overall race time. The partnership with Shell in both fuel and lubricants has delivered 25% of the performance gains the team have seen over the course of 2015. This gain exceeds all previous achievements of the partnership and serve as the key performance indicator behind the  recently extended a partnership spanning over 50 years.

James Allison, Technical Director, Scuderia Ferrari commented:

“2015 was a really positive year for Scuderia Ferrari and we made great strides in performance, particularly with the power unit, compared to last year. The considerable improvements Shell made with its Shell V-Power race fuel and Shell Helix Ultra with PurePlus Technology lubricant really did contribute to our own improvements on the race track, not only helping to deliver greater horsepower but reliability as well. Our Technical Partnership with Shell has never been stronger and we look forward to continuing our work with them for at least the next five years with the aim of winning more races and championships.”

The partnership can now fully shift focus to the 2016 season and work to ensure the Scuderia with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are in a position to battle for championship glory.

 

 

 

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Formula One: Mercedes gift Rosberg the final win of the year

GP ABU DHABI F1/2015
GP ABU DHABI F1/2015 – 29/11/15 © FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER PIRELLI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE)

Through a series of strategic calls AMG Mercedes Petronas elected to gift Nico Rosberg victory around the Yas Marina Circuit.

In a move reminiscent of the 98-99 Mclaren Mercedes domination in which the car leading into the first corner of the first lap would win the race, Mercedes elected to move away from procedures applied since Bahrain 2014 where by driver s, when in a dominant position, would not be permitted to split strategy, it would appear that Nico Rosberg as the lead driver was not only awarded the optimal strategy for the race, but Lewis Hamilton was actively disadvantaged.

Through the opening stint of the race Nico Rosberg was able to open up a lead of almost 7 seconds over Lewis Hamilton. However Lewis was able to bring this gap down to within DRS detection as Nico stopped for the final time. Subsequent to Nico’s second stop, Lewis held an advantage slightly short of 22 seconds, the time required to make a pitstop. Had Mercedes chosen to apply protocol Lewis as the 2nd driver would have stopped within 1-2 laps, in so doing the cars would have run within 1 second of each other in the closing laps of the race.

However, Mercedes elected to extend Lewis’ middle stint despite him losing at times more than 1.5 seconds a lap to Nico. During this extended stint pitwall exchanges were broadcast in which Lewis and his engineer debated elected not to stop again and running the super softs for again, both options were dismissed by the team despite as unsafe despite Ferrari and Red Bull running longer final stints on the super soft and Nico Hulkenberg achieving a stint of 31 laps on the soft.

Once Lewis made his final pitstop of the 2015 season he set about trying to catch Nico Rosberg setting a series of consecutive fastest laps. Having halved the deficit with 5 laps remaining his pitwall instructed him to turn down engine performance. Lewis initially ignored this order, a decision the team responded to by instructing Nico to turn to a higher engine mode.

The rationale for decisions taken by the Mercedes pitwall today are unclear, fans  were seemingly denied of the prospect of close racing in the final race of the year for a greater good determined by the team. As fans of racing, this decision is not an omen for how  AMG Mercedes Petronas will approach 2016.

Formula One: Sergio Shines under the Yas Marina lights

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Abu Dhabi, UAE
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Saturday 28th November 2015. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Sahara Force India shone under the lights of Yas Marina as Sergio Perez qualified in a season-best fourth place ahead of teammate Nico Hulkenberg in seventh for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
P4        Sergio Perez              VJM08-02
Q1: 1:41.983                 Q2: 1:41.560                 Q3: 1:41.184
Sergio: “Fourth place on the grid is a great result for us and I’m very pleased with our strong performance all the way through qualifying. We’ve made some good decisions this weekend with the changes we have made to the car and it’s taken us in a very positive direction. I think the analysis we carried out after the weekend in Sao Paulo has really paid off and we’ve learned a huge amount. All of my laps this evening were very clean and tidy, and we managed to get the maximum from the car. The challenge tomorrow will be keeping some very quick cars behind me, but I also think we have a good chance to make up some positions at the start. I have the confidence in the car to really push and there is definitely the potential to come away with a great result this weekend. In many ways it’s a shame that tomorrow is the final race of the season because the car is working very well at the moment and I’m enjoying the racing so much.”
P7        Nico Hülkenberg       VJM08-03
Q1: 1:41.996                 Q2: 1:41.925                 Q3: 1:41.686
Nico: “It was a good qualifying session for the team, although I feel I could have been higher up the grid. I was pretty happy with my laps, especially the one in Q3, so to find myself in seventh actually feels a little bit disappointing. We need to look at the data and figure out where we lost time and what we can do to recover it. Looking ahead to the race, we’ve been working hard to improve our race pace and hopefully the changes we have made will pay off tomorrow. The car is quick on the straights and the balance has felt good from the start of the weekend. Starting from the fourth row, we have every opportunity to score a good result tomorrow.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer:
“We’ve looked competitive in every session leading up to qualifying, so I think tonight’s strong showing is a fair reflection of our performance level at this circuit. Both Checo and Nico did a great job this evening with clean laps in all the sessions to secure fourth and seventh on the grid. It gives us a good opportunity to end the season with an equally strong race result, especially as we can race relatively free from pressure having already secured fifth place in the championship. The big question tomorrow is how our race pace will compare to our competitors because we saw on Friday that there are very small margins between all the teams. Whatever happens we will fight hard to sign off 2015 with a good helping of points.”

Formula One: Lewis ’44th win is still out there’

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Record-Breaking Night for the Silver Arrows in Abu Dhabi!

  • Nico took a sixth consecutive pole position – the 22nd of his Formula One career and seventh of the 2015 season
  • Lewis will line up on the front row for the 18th time in 19 races this season – the 90th time he has started in the top two throughout his career to date
  • A 15th front row lockout of the season for the Silver Arrows sets a new Formula One record

 

Nico Rosberg
Normally I’m not too over-excited when I’m on pole, as you don’t get any points on a Saturday. But this time was a pretty cool feeling. My last lap felt absolutely fantastic and it’s great to be starting P1 again. I’m also quite happy that I’ve been quicker than Lewis for the last couple of race weekends. At the beginning of the season he was always this tiny little bit ahead, so it’s good to turn that around. This is the best position to start the race tomorrow. I want to win this one to finish the year on a high and give the boys in the garage a really good reason to have a great season-ending party tomorrow night.

Lewis Hamilton
I’ve generally been struggling with the car all weekend. I’ve changed a lot to try and get around the issues – but I’m still not really feeling comfortable with it. I did what I could out there tonight – but Nico was just really quick and did a great job in Q3, so I wasn’t really surprised he did a better lap in the end. It hasn’t been the best run of qualifying sessions for me lately – but I’ve still managed to turn three of those into wins. So, there is still an opportunity – even it is particularly hard to follow through the first sector. I will work as hard as I can to have a great start tomorrow and improve from there. I’ve got a lot of support here this weekend and that 44th win is still out there to grab, so I will be working hard for it tomorrow.

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
That was a great qualifying session to end the season. Nico did a phenomenal lap at the end of Q3 with a really amazing final sector to take the pole position – his sixth in a row. Lewis had a solid session but things didn’t come together for him in Q3. Nevertheless, P2 is not a bad grid position at this circuit – as last year showed. Everything is set up for a great battle tomorrow. Both boys will want to take the momentum of a win into the winter – and we’re looking forward to the battle.

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
It was a fantastic, tense final qualifying session of the season under the lights here in Abu Dhabi. As in Brazil two weeks ago, we saw no need to save option tyres for the race, so it was quite a straightforward programme for both drivers with a single run in Q1 and Q2. That set up the Q3 showdown, with both Nico and Lewis running two new sets of option tyres. Lewis clearly underperformed on his first run in Q3 relative to Q2, then put a strong final effort together. But this was beaten by Nico’s tremendous lap. Congratulations to Nico for his pole and to both drivers for fantastic qualifying performances throughout the season, which is not something that should ever be underestimated. To take 15 all-Mercedes front rows is a very proud benchmark. Now we look forward to the final instalment of their battle tomorrow.

Formula One: Opinion – Formula Finances

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As teams prepare for the final qualifying session of the season, what started as murmurs around teams requesting advances on 2015 prize money from Formula One Management (FOM) is heading towards a deafening crescendo with Manor Marussia, Sahara Force India, and  the Sauber F1 team reportedly making requesting support.

The distribution model under which teams are allocated and receive prize funds was established a number of years ago. The model has not changed. The distribution model splits prize fund payments to the team through the season following the season in which the funding was earned. Once a paying position is achieved (i.e. higher than 10th place in the WCC) the team are assured payment for multiple seasons.  Payments are only made in season.

It is the payment structure teams appear to struggle with. Since requests have been lodged it should be assumed the teams in question have insufficient funding or credit rating in place to sustain team plans from December to March.  The Force India F1 Team found themselves in a similar situation in the lead up to the 2015 season, commenting that ‘close season’ is the most expensive period for a team and the only period when they as not getting paid through prize funds or commercial agreements.

Formula One Teams are companies in their own right; they are independent of Formula One. They are masters of their own destiny. They develop their own commercial agreements, agree to the terms of funding distribution models, and should be empowered to budget accordingly. Teams find themselves in a predicament of funding shortfalls in the ‘off season’ because they have made decisions to spend money they, in reality, did not have. A complaint Bernie Ecclestone has often publically voiced.

If a team is not capable of planning capital expenditure over a rolling 12 month period do they really deserve to represent the pinnacle of motorsport?

Perhaps it is cynical to view Formula One teams in this regard, to suggest they should operate as first and foremost as a business, perhaps it would diminish from the racing spirt, but would a more calculated approach to racing really be such a bad thing? To achieve a level of sustained security as to which teams are on the grid and what their position is within the sport may make investment a more attractive proposition.

Looking back to early part of 2015, the financial challenges faced by the Force India team were clear for all to see, the team failed to attend the majority of pre-season testing stating the car they would begin the season with was essentially the 2014 challenger updated to comply with 2015 safety regulations. This hybrid 2014/2015 car was the result of severe budget restrictions limiting payments to 3rd party suppliers. Working to a limited budget the team used this car for the first 8 races of the year, developing the 2015 challenger once prize funding and sponsorship revenue came back to the team. Through these first 8 races, the team amassed 31 points, an average of 3.8 points per race. Once the team were able to introduce the 2015 challenger they achieved a further 89 points over 10 races, (average 8.9 per race) the culmination of these 2 vehicles have left  Force India with 120 points heading into Abu Dhabi, with 5th place in the constructors championship assured.

But what if they had taken a different route? Had the team stuck with hybrid 2014/15 challenger for the entire season and for the sake of argument maintained their points scoring ratio of 3.8 per race they would be heading into Abu Dhabi with 70 points battling with Lotus and Toro Rosso for the 5th they have already secured. Had the introduced the non-budget constrained 2015 challenger from Melbourne and assuming a the afore mentioned average of 8.9 points per race they could have been looking at a total point’s tally of 160 points, but still be in 5th place with an outside chance of achieving 4th against Red Bull Racing.

This simplistic maths ignores the variable points tally other teams would have been able to achieve had Force India’s performances differed from those actually seen, but the point is in both scenarios the possible outcomes in terms of constructor championship performance  do not differ greatly if at all.

The very fact that Force India are again requesting  early payment of prize funds ahead of the 2016 season suggests the team went the wrong way, the desire to race, to compete, overtook the business rationale, perhaps this is what racing is all about, but is it sustainable? Force India over achieved through apparently over spending and are now reliant on external influences to assure 2016 plans.  This is not a criticism of any specific team, rather an observation of the culture of racing.

Across business the way in which a Formula One Pit Crew services a car in under 3 seconds is often cited as the epitome of teamwork, individuals working together towards a common goal. These lessons in teamwork have changed the business world. Perhaps the world of business can give something back to Formula One, and teach teams that a budget is something you work within, not something you take to Bernie when the numbers turn red.

Formula One: McLaren’s learning sessions + Win Driver Helmets

Jenson Button on track.
Jenson Button on track.

As the challenging 2015 season draws to a close Mclaren took today’s free practice sessions in Abu Dhabi to focus on 2016 developments.

Today’s were a busy pair of practice sessions: not only did we refine MP4-30 for its last competitive outing on Sunday, but we also spent a considerable amount of time collecting and correlating data for use for our 2016 car.

Fernando’s car ran with a test rear suspension set-up for today, and he also ran an interim 2016-spec steering wheel. Both drivers conducted aero correlation work as we continue to improve our understanding of our car’s behaviour, with a view to optimising next year’s chassis.

Fernando Alonso:

FP1 1m45.865s (+2.111s) 20 laps 14th
FP2 1m42.955s (+0.972s) 31 laps 9th

“Many things could be behind this afternoon’s performance: first, I think we’ve made some improvements to the car – the team has kept pushing hard to bring performance. But, second, we probably ran the Supersoft tyre at the optimal point of the session, a little bit later than the others.

“I’m happy with the car, and our progress, but, unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll be ninth-fastest tomorrow.

“I tried the Supersoft on my long run – as we expected, there’s a bit of graining on that particular tyre, so the race will be tough, but it’ll be the same for everybody”

To close out the year Mobil 1’s Grid TV are giving away a scale replica of Fernando Alonso’s helmet to enter the competition follow the below link:

 

 

Jenson Button:

 “Our side of the garage was trying very different things from Fernando’s. Our programme was all about gaining an understanding for next year. I’ll be changing my car over to his settings tomorrow, which’ll make it a bit more enjoyable, but it’s all useful learning. “Fernando’s performance was very encouraging – we’re pretty happy with that – it’s very promising. I’ll be running that set-up on my car tomorrow, so we’ll see how it goes. “Our biggest issue on the Supersoft tyre is overheating in the final sector. That makes the car quite pointy, so it’s about looking after the rears while also pushing the fronts hard to make them work in the first sector. It’s a tricky balance and will make for an interesting race.”

 

Mobil 1’s Grid TV are giving away a  1:2 replica of Jenson Buttons’s helmet to enter the competition follow the below link:

 

 

Eric Boullier

This was a very busy day, as we had a number of important test items to evaluate during free practice. Happily, we made good progress, and we’ve got some very useful data to take home and study as we busy ourselves with preparations for next year’s car.

“Moreover, it was pleasing to see Fernando set a time on the Supersoft tyre that was within a second of the fastest time of the afternoon; to have achieved that, on a circuit that we did not expect to favour our package, was encouraging, and bodes well for the rest of the weekend.

“Jenson didn’t find a comfortable balance in either of today’s sessions, something which was probably exacerbated by the shift in conditions from day into night, which didn’t smooth his progress.

“Nevertheless, we have a good baseline to take forward into tomorrow, and we’ll make progress tonight – of that you can be certain.

Yasuhisa Arai

“Our first day of the last race in Abu Dhabi went smoothly. Both FP1 and FP2 sessions were completed according to the run-plans, and we were able to confirm the data-mapping on both power units.

“Fernando’s car had a high-voltage sensor go into fail mode at the very end of FP1, but a quick parts replacement was all that was necessary to prepare for FP2. He had a very good feel for the car during the evening session, and seemed satisfied with the overall set-up of the car and the power unit.

“Jenson ran smoothly during both sessions, but seemed to struggle to get the spot-on settings that he preferred. However, we gained an abundance of data from both drivers today, so it will be a busy night to analyse and further tweak the set-up tomorrow in preparation for qualifying and the race on Sunday.”

Formula One: Hype’d Force India Impress in Free Practice

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Practice Day - Abu Dhabi, UAE
Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08 leaves the pits. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Friday 27th November 2015. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Sahara Force India delivered a strong performance in today’s two practice sessions in preparation for Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez              VJM08-02
FP1:     1:44.934            (P8)                  27 laps
FP2:     1:42.610            (P3)                  23 laps  
Sergio: “Today has been a good start to our race weekend, despite the brake issue we experienced in the evening session. The first session is not very representative of race conditions here, because the track temperatures are much higher than you would have in the evening, so we took the opportunity to try a few test parts that will help us in the development of next year’s car. FP2 was a very positive session: I felt comfortable in the car from the start and the changes we made worked well. Our long run programme was interrupted by the brake issue, but we have plenty of data from Nico’s runs that we can analyse tonight. The baseline set-up we worked on is already quite good, so we’re in good shape for tomorrow.”
Nico Hülkenberg       VJM08-03
FP1:     144.751             (P6)                   22 laps
FP2:     1:42.928            (P8)                  35 laps
 
Nico: “I’m feeling pretty happy with a successful day and lots of laps under our belt. In the morning we had a busy programme with several test items and future development work, which went to plan and gave us a lot of information. The afternoon was straightforward with no issues and our one-lap performance looks quite competitive. There is still room to improve with our long runs so we need to do our homework tonight and understand what we can change for tomorrow. Overall I’m feeling positive about our performance today.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer
“The car has been working well straight out of the box and both drivers were happy with the baseline balance, which allowed us to push ahead with an extensive test programme to gather data with a view to next year. The cooler temperatures in the second session were much more representative of what we expect for qualifying and the race, and both Nico and Sergio remained happy with the balance and the changes we made between the sessions. We look quite competitive, but the margins between all the teams are very small. Sergio lost some track time towards the end of the second session with a left rear brake issue, the cause of which we are still investigating. It means he missed out on doing a long run with the option tyre, but fortunately Nico completed a full programme so we have enough information to analyse this evening.”

Formula One: Sauber F1 team announce Premium Partnership with CNBC for 2016

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The Sauber F1 Team have announced CNBC as a Premium Partner for the 2016 FIA Formula One Championship. CNBC is the leading global broadcaster of live business and financial news and information. This is the first time the Sauber F1 Team has partnered with an international broadcaster.

CNBC and the Sauber F1 Team will use the global Formula One media platform to maximise their potentials, as well as to reach a broader audience around the globe. The CNBC branding will appear on the rear wing end plates of the Sauber C35, on the drivers’ overalls of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, as well as on the team’s clothing.

To launch the partnership with CNBC, the logo will be visible on the rear wing end plates of the Sauber C34-Ferrari during the 2015 Formula One season finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend.

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal of the Sauber F1 Team:
“CNBC and the Sauber F1 Team have many common values such as accuracy, speed and credibility. Both companies maintain these values on a global level. It applies to both of us that we face a tough competition in our field with the objective being perfection. These similarities build a strong basis for a solid partnership.”

KC Sullivan, President and Managing Director of CNBC International:
“This partnership joins two organisations with strong heritage and exceptional ambition. Working with the Sauber F1 Team, CNBC is joining a family of professionals and corporate partners committed to the standards of excellence and performance that elite sports demand.”

Formula One: Infiniti Red Bull Racing continue to tease with further partnership extension announcements

RBR2
Infiniti Red Bull Racing has announced an extension of its partnership with Sabelt into 2017, continuing a long and successful relationship with the Italian safety equipment manufacturer.
This partnership extension is a continuation of a long and successful supply relationship between Sabelt and Infiniti Red Bull Racing, which has been in place since the team’s inception in 2004. Sabelt have provided high quality safety belts and fittings for all our drivers in the team’s 11 year history in the sport.
Sabelt was founded in 1972 as an Original Equipment Manufacturer of seat belts, and went from supplier to partner of Infiniti Red Bull Racing in 2005.  The Italian company has pioneered innovative manufacturing techniques for producing reliable, light weight safety equipment for extreme applications. As such, Sabelt has established itself as an industry leader in safety harness equipment across a range of top-level motorsports, as well as aerospace and automotive applications.
In addition the team has announced  an extension of its longstanding partnership with wheel manufacturer OZ Racing for a further three years until the end of 2018.

The wheels supplied by OZ Racing are exceptionally lightweight, whilst at the same time easily withstanding the extreme forces experienced on track; making them a great partner for Infiniti Red Bull Racing.
OZ Racing is an Italian company with its main headquarters and production facility in San Martino di Lupari, Padua, Italy. They sell light alloy wheels through a global network into multiple sectors, including: racing, after-market, motorbike, and OEM.
OZ has been involved in motorsport for more than 30 years as supplier of top teams across a variety of global race series. The quality and performance of OZ’s racing products is evidenced in the number of victories and World Titles their customers have achieved during a long history in motorsport. OZ use these years of racing experience to develop a superior performance product, offering wheels which combine cutting edge material and manufacturing technology, quality and safety.
Claudio Bernoni, CEO, OZ SpA: “Our partnership with Infiniti Red Bull Racing demonstrates the value, competence and reliability of our products. For us, this is the best opportunity to test our products in extreme conditions and transfer the experience to our wheels dedicated to street use.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal: “We select our innovation partners carefully, and in each case have selected what we believe to be the best available product for the job – as well as a great partner to work with. OZ Racing are no exception to this, and we’re pleased they will be continuing as a partner to deliver exceptional products to us for another three years”.

Formula One: Ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Through the continued Starwood Hotels and Resorts partnership with the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, Lewis Hamilton recently filmed a new short film at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in London to showcase Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) membership. As Lewis and the team prepare for the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi, Starwood Hotels and Resorts have shared behind the scenes images taken during the filming where we see Lewis, fresh from filming his Zoolander 2 cameo, is keen to get behind the camera.

LH2

Ahead of the launch of the #TravelLikeLewis campaign on Thursday you can preview the finished film here:

Starwood Hotels and Resorts choosing Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team as ambassadors for SPG membership further demonstrates the value of F1 engagement and the sports  audience reach. It also goes to show a Formula One drivers job extends far beyond requirements at the track.

To see more from #TravelLikeLewis you can follow SPG on twitter by clicking here.