Formula One: Rossi to combine F1 & Indycar roles

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Alexander Rossi is back in the Manor Racing fold as Official Reserve Driver. Although he’ll be racing in the 2016 IndyCar Series, he will also be making history as the first driver to perform a Formula 1 role simultaneously.

Alex will attend 11 Grands Prix with Manor Racing, where he will work with the engineers and drivers to help develop the MRT05, contribute to team and partner marketing activities and be available to deputise should he be required to compete at short notice. His first F1 event will be the Russian Grand Prix in May.

Dave Ryan, Racing Director:

“We’re very fortunate to have someone of Alex’s calibre in the role of Official Reserve Driver. The fact that he’s racing full time in the IndyCar Series this year was simply a challenge to be overcome; something we’re pretty good at. We need a safe pair of hands for the role, which always carries the potential to have to step up to race, but also someone who can really contribute to the development of the car. For Alex, F1 is still unfinished business. He did a great job when he drove for us in five of last season’s races and he’s a highly rated and valuable part of our line-up. He does have one heck of a schedule ahead of him and it’s a commitment that only the most disciplined of drivers would be able to manage. We’re confident he’s the man for the job.”

Alexander Rossi:

“I’ve invested most of my career in F1 and I’m not one to kick my heels and wait for things to happen, so this is my way of staying sharp and prepared. It was disappointing to miss out on a race seat with Manor Racing this year; everyone knows I pushed and worked hard for it. As Official Reserve Driver though, I have a very complimentary dual program at the highest level of motorsport. IndyCar Series is the premier category of open wheel racing in North America and extremely competitive. I also have the privilege of racing with a championship winning team, Andretti Autosport. I’m confident this experience will add to my role as a very important cog in an F1 team’s wheel. My schedule this year is demanding, but no more than a full time F1 schedule. I will attend 11 Grands Prix, only five of which take place during the IndyCar season, and I am certainly used to the travel demands of the F1 calendar. It’s great to be back with a team I know and with whom I share a mutual respect and passion for the sport we love.”

Formula One: 2016 Tyre Regs and Oz GP selections

The Buxton Blog

With yesterday’s Pirelli announcement of the individual tyre choices for the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, I wanted to take a few minutes to try and simplify and explain the 2016 tyre regulations, and how they might play out at the first race weekend.

Using chocolate and colouring pens.

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Formula One: Split tyre compound strategy from the Mercedes duo

GP UNGHERIA F1/2015

Pirelli have announced the driver choices for tyre compound allocation for the first round of the 2016 Formula One World Championship.

Unsurprisingly there is little variation in tyre compound choice for the drivers, with most teams electing to make the same allocation for each driver. Notable exceptions to this are the Mercedes drivers with Hamilton electing to use an additional set of soft tyres over Rosberg choosing leaning toward an additional medium compound set of tyres.

Teams electing to weight their allocation toward the supersoft compound would logically be looking toward a multiple pit stop strategy in the race or expect to require multiple runs in early qualifying sessions.

It should be noted, drivers made tyre allocation decisions before the new qualifying process was agreed.

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Formula One: Alonso targets the Triple Crown of Motorsport

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In an interview during his first visit to the Baku street circuit, Fernando Alonso has spoken of his ambitions to achieve the hallowed Triple Crown in motorsport.

The Triple Crown is the name for winning the Monaco Grand Prix, The Indy 500, and Le Mans 24 hours. The only driver to achieve the accolade was Graham Hill. There have been only  17 drivers to complete in all 3 racing categories. At this time Juan Pablo Montoya is the driver best positioned to achieve the Triple Crown having taken victories in both the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix. Montoya tested the LMP1 Porsche 919 Hybrid last season and has stated a desire to participate in Le Mans following the conclusion of his current Indycar commitments.

Alonso’s comments further serve to demonstrate his mind is moving beyond Formula One, and he is seeking a new challenge. This interview also marks the first time Alonso has publicly expressed interest in oval racing.

Honda’s continued presence within Indycar could facilitate Alonso transitioning to the sport following the conclusion of his current F1 agreement.

Alonso has won the Monaco Grand Prix twice in his F1 career in 2006 and 2007.

Alonso is a driver ambassador for the 2016 Grand Prix of Europe in Baku, he spoke favourably about the venue and the potential for great racing and an opportunity for Mclaren to perform strongly at the race in June. When questioned around his current Mclaren agreement, Alonso reaffirmed his commitment not only for 2016, but also for 2017 when he expects regulation changes could give Mclaren an opportunity to move forward.

More information on the Grand Prix of Europe can be found here.

The interview can be seen in full here:

 

Formula One: OPINION: Elimination Qualifying – a wasted opportunity

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Much has been written about the revised qualifying process set to be introduced at the 2016 Formula One World Championship season opener in Melbourne in 10 days’ time. Questions have been raised around its introduction, is it simply change for the sake of change? whether or not the broadcasters and timing software providers can support the change at such short notice and perhaps most fundamentally will the change have any impact on the racing itself.

For context the FIA announcement regarding the qualification process and details around the changes themselves can be found here.

As a fan of the sport, I believe the new qualifying process could have been fantastic. Unfortunately owing to the politics of the sport in which regulation is defined by committee, what may have started out as a great concept became watered down into something that may have little or no impact. I believe the originators of the concept may well have been mandated to bring jeopardy to Formula One action on a Saturday. To increase the frequency of cars on track and increase coverage of mid field teams. To make qualifying ‘must see TV’

In order to achieve this, inspiration was taken from the world of cycling. More specifically from the Elimination race which takes place in a velodrome. In this event competitors lap together all on track at the same time, once a certain distance is met the rider in last place is eliminated lap by lap.  This film from the London 2012 Olympic Games shows a race in full.

Now, imagine if the FIA had been able to implement a system where by qualifying positions were determined in this format.  In a totally unconstrained view of the process, drivers could actually be challenged to overtake in qualifying to move up the grid. It’s possible to imagine this kind of session could far exceed the entertainment of a standard race let alone a qualifying session.

Then sanity kicks in, how do you determine the order in which car’s leave the pits to ensure no unfair advantage? Not possible. So the session becomes time rather than position constrained. All cars must be lapping on track at all times, and the slowest lap after a predefined point in the session becomes the first car to be eliminated, until there are only two cars left.

Also not possible. Current tyres would not last an entire session in which drivers would have to complete at least 25 laps (warm up laps then 22 elimination laps, one per car)  So the system is sanitised again through maintaining the Q3, Q2, Q1 philosophy, with a set number of drivers eliminated from each session after a predetermined period of time.  Splitting the session allows drivers to pit and not be disadvantaged.

Finally, the concept that all cars eligible to run in a session must be running on track at all times with only their last lap being the lap that counts. Again not possible because it sends out the wrong environmental message about fuel and tyre waste. So the system is sanitised again. Drivers have to set a lap time within the opening 7 minutes of a session, after which time the slowest driver will be eliminated one after the other with every 90 seconds that passes. Which means the top teams will possible run even less than with the current format, and this is the new process we are left with.

The originator of the regulation had a fantastic concept, drawing from great sporting events, but in order to achieve that much heralded ‘unanimous approval’ from the F1 commission, the concept is watered down in to a change that the casual fan may not even notice. Sure we should wait to see the process in action, but I doubt the objective of making qualifying must see TV will be achieved through this change.  Democracy in Formula One is serving only to stifle the sport.

Formula One: VIDEO: Red Bull Racing – One Team, One Goal

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In just over 10 days time Red Bull Racing be firing up their engines in Melbourne and rolling the twin RB12s out on the track for the first time in anger as the 2016 Formula One season finally gets underway.

That point will be the culmination of an intense winter of work in which the entire team at the factory has been flat out designing, modelling, machining and building the new car.

But while shaping a new racing machine in just a few short months might appear to be a frantic rush, it’s actually a remarkably calm and controlled process in which every department goes about its task with methodical precision and single-minded purpose.

To launch the new season, the team have taken a peak behind the scenes at the factory to see just how the entire team comes together to translate thousands of drawings, concepts and components into a car designed with just one goal mind – the pursuit of excellence.

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Formula One: Mclaren Honda still lacking reliability

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With pre-season testing having concluded last week in Barcelona all eyes are now fully focused on Melbourne in two weeks time. Mclaren Honda’s performance in testing was a vast improvement compared to their 2015 preparation, with the team achieving eclipsing total pre-season running from 2015 in a single day as they prepare the MP4-31.

Despite this huge step forward the team remain some way off the pace, reliability, and consistency of their competitors. Mercedes AMG Petronas completed in excess of  6000Km over 8 days, all of which was a achieved on a single power unit. Mclaren Honda by contrast managed 3300KM over the same period, and worked through 3 power units.

The use of multiple power units may have been a deliberate strategy by the team to experiment with new components, but this coupled with a mid field performance when it comes to out right pace suggests that Mclaren Honda fans are set for another testing year. It is true the team are making progress and both Mclaren and Honda have always been keen to stress success will take time, but questions from drivers around the true ability for the project to succeed can not be far away.

Honda have confirmed that the power unit specification used in the final pre-season test was close to that which will be used in Melbourne with only minor changes for reliability and tuning expected. Neither of which will impact the performance of the ICE.

Formula One: ‘Should’ is the operative word

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The FIA confirmed unanimous approval from the F1 commission to introduce the much discussed new qualifying system from the Australian Grand Prix on Friday.  Within the announcement the FIA have used precautionary wording around the introduction stating:

‘The World Motor Sport Council approved the new qualification format, the principles of which were unanimously accepted by the F1 Commission. The new system should be introduced for the first round of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship’

The full details of the new system are detailed below with a link to the FIA confirmation.

In order for the new qualifying format to be introduced several hurdles are yet to be overcome, including development and simulation of modified software required to support both practical implementation and broadcasting of the process. Formula One management have highlighted this possible issue, but appear confident a solution will be found in time for the first qualifying session of the year.

Teams and drivers face a number of hurdles in the coming weeks in determining how best to approach the session and how to adapt their strategy including tyre selection for the race weekend. Many have expressed displeasure that it has not been possible to achieve clarity in such a regulation so close to the beginning of the season

It should be remembered however, that the purpose of the change in qualifying process is an attempt to not only improve race weekend coverage for mid field teams but also introduce an element of jeopardy to a race weekend.

FIA ANNOUNCEMENT:

FIA Formula One World Championship

Qualifying

The World Motor Sport Council approved the new qualification format, the principles of which were unanimously accepted by the F1 Commission. The new system should be introduced for the first round of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship.

The new elimination-style format:

–        Q1

  • 16 minutes
  • After 7 minutes, slowest driver eliminated
  • Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag
  • 7 drivers eliminated, 15 progress to Q2

–        Q2

  • 15 minutes
  • After 6 minutes, slowest driver eliminated
  • Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag
  • 7 drivers eliminated, 8 progress to Q3

–        Q3

  • 14 minutes
  • After 5 minutes, slowest driver eliminated
  • Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag
  • 2 drivers left in final 1 minute 30 seconds

The final elimination in each session occurs at the chequered flag – not when time is up.

The wording of the Sporting Regulations relating to this new qualifying format will be submitted to the F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission.

Link to FIA Statement

Formula One: Mercedes complete 19 race distances on a single power unit

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MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS concluded the second pre-season test of the 2016 season today at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz F1 W07 Hybrid in the morning and Nico Rosberg in the cockpit during the afternoon.

In total the team have completed 1,,294 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya  during the 8 days of preseason testing which equates to 19 race distances. The team have confirmed all testing was completed using a single power unit.  Such reliability is fairly ominous for the season ahead, the competition can now realistically only hope to finish ahead of the silver arrows on performance.

Lewis Hamilton
It’s been an amazing two weeks for the team. The guys have done an amazing job to get the car to where it is especially given the fact we’ve done more mileage in pre-season than we’ve ever done before. I’m kind of glad I broke the car at the end of my final run today because it’s better to have found something now than in Melbourne! I’m looking forward to putting the car through its paces at the first race and will be preparing myself mentally over the next few weeks. The car feels good and I’m really excited to go racing in 2016.

Nico Rosberg
This afternoon was probably the best the car has felt for me all the way through winter testing, so that was a really positive way to end the week. We have done so many miles in the past two weeks, so we can feel well prepared for Melbourne, and the team has done an incredible job to build such a reliable car. Of course, we haven’t seen the full picture yet in terms of performance, and everybody will be excited to find that out in Australia. Before then, I will be in the factory working on more details in the simulator next week. But I feel ready to go for 2016!

Formula One: For the discerning Formula One fan

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As the final pre-season test for the 2016 Formula One World Championship gets continues in Barcelona, HUGO BOSS have launched the 2016 ‘BOSS for Mercedes-Benz’ collection.

Photographed in Monaco by New York based creative duo Hunter & Gatti, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are seen modelling pieces from the new Spring Summer 16 BOSS collection.

The HUGO BOSS – MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team partnership was established in 2015. Within the partnership, there is a clear mutual ambition to build on each others premium and luxury reputation. To deliver a unique clothing range to followers of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team and to Formula One.

The casual range pictured is unmistakably inspired by motorsport, through it’s clean sophisticated cut and use of high quality materials.

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The ‘BOSS for Mercedes-Benz’ range is available now and can be found through this link.

As the 2016 season heads towards Europe later in the year the partnership will see further additions with unique pieces from each of the Mercedes drivers, follow HUGO BOSS here to keep up to date with future developments.

The modern F1 fan takes pride in wearing the team or drivers team kit, but to be honest, speaking from personal experience, the occasions in which your partner will let you go out wearing this gear can be few and far between. The ‘BOSS for Mercedes-Benz’ range offers fans a discreet way of supporting their team, confident that they actually look good!

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To further promote the range HUGO BOSS have released a behind the scenes film from the photo-shoot follow this link to see the film in full.