Formula One: Rexona promote Magnit partnership through Williams in Sochi

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Lead Williams F1 team partner Rexona (Unilever deodorant brand known as Sure in the UK) are promoting an innovative new partnership with Russian retailer Magnit with revised branding on the FW38 for the Russian Grand Prix.

Magnit branding features on the rear wing endplate of both Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa’s in tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix.

In addition Rexona are promoting the brands key antiperspirant in Russia – Cobalt on the FW38 SPLEF. In so doing the driver numbering has been moved to the top left section of the rear endplate.

With Bottas and Massa starting 2nd and 4th on the grid respectively (having qualified 3rd and 5th), Magnit and Rexona will be more than satisfied with the exposure.

Valtteri Bottas: I’m very pleased with our qualifying performance; it was the maximum result I think we could have achieved, and my lap in Q3 was very good. It now puts us in a very good position for the race and we need to focus on turning a good qualifying, into a good race performance. This is a track that I really like and normally do well at, and it’s a track that suits our car. The new parts we have introduced are helping us, so the team at the factory and track have done a good job in improving the car. We have some fast cars starting behind us which will make the race difficult, but a podium will be the target.
Felipe Massa: It was a good qualifying for us as starting P2 and P4 is positive. We were a bit lucky with the penalties for Ferrari and Mercedes but I think it was definitely a good session. We just need to concentrate to have a good race tomorrow. Anything is possible and it’s probably the best track for us so far this season, so we’ll try and put everything together in the race.
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Formula One: Rio Haryanto “It was an interesting session for us”

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Temperatures tumble for Qualy creating slip-slidey conditions at the Sochi Autodrom

Sochi Autodrom

Pascal  Q1  P20  10 laps  1:39.399

Rio  Q1  P21  10 laps  1:39.463  

Rio Haryanto:

“It was an interesting session for us; it feels like we’ve made a step up and we’re closer to those around us versus previous races. My last lap could have been better. I suffered a bit with traffic and lost about two tenths in the last sector, so it was frustrating not to get a clean lap. As for tomorrow, I can’t wait. The aim is to get a good clean start, especially with such a long run down to the first corner, then get the maximum from the car. Our long runs on Friday looked positive so with good tyre management I’m looking forward to a strong race tomorrow!”

Pascal Wehrlein:

“Qualifying was a bit frustrating today. This morning the track temperature was much hotter and the sun was out, so it was easier to bring the tyres to temperature. This afternoon it was harder to get them into the working window. We were hoping for more to be honest, because in FP3 we looked good. I think the race will be a different story; you can see from today that my lap times have improved so I think after 5 to 10 laps we’ll be okay. In qualifying you only have one or two laps and when you are just sliding; it’s hard. So, I’m focusing on tomorrow and hopeful that we can have a good battle with Sauber and Renault.”

Dave Ryan, Racing Director:

“After final practice this morning it seemed that the hard work last night had paid off for us but we struggled slightly more in qualifying when the cooler ambient temperature made it more difficult to get the tyres into the right operating window. The tyres were improving with every lap so that bodes well for the race tomorrow and hopefully we can enjoy a good battle with the cars around us.”

Formula One: Lewis “I’ve never been superstitious”

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Bittersweet afternoon for the Silver Arrows in Sochi

Lewis Hamilton
It’s obviously not a great feeling to be on the sidelines again – but that’s life. I knew there was a problem and that it was probably the same failure that I had in China pretty much straight away. I went out for a second run in Q2 to get a feeler lap and felt the same power loss as last time. When it happened in Shanghai it was something we hadn’t seen before and now unfortunately it’s happened again, so we need to understand it. I’ve never been superstitious about these things, though, and I never will be. There’s nothing I can do about it, so I’ll move on and look ahead to the race. I don’t know where I’m going to start yet – we’ll wait to see how that unfolds. But I never give up and I’ll give it all I’ve got to recover whatever I can in the race, like always. It’s not an easy track for overtaking. With the levels of tyre degradation and it being so tough to follow here, it’s not going to be easy to make my way forward. But there are long straights and we’ve got good pace, so if I can keep the car in one piece I’ll be fighting for decent points I’m sure.

Nico Rosberg
That was a very strong Qualifying session for me behind the wheel today. I found a great rhythm in Q2, then just turned the front wing down a bit for Q3 and the balance was then absolutely perfect. This is a really rare feeling to have out there in the car, so thank you to the guys for making that happen. I was able to really nail the first lap in Q3 and was quite confident that it was quick enough, so I gave it everything and more on the second lap and had a huge lock up, which is why I abandoned that attempt. I’m happy to have another pole – but tomorrow is a long race and a lot can happen. Even if we are looking strong pace-wise, I can never write off my opponents, that’s for sure. They’ve had some bad luck once again this weekend – Sebastian with his gearbox issue and Lewis with his engine again. But we’ve seen in previous races that they are able recover quickly and get through the field from behind. Let’s see what tomorrow brings…

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
It’s a bittersweet feeling after qualifying today. Nico took a dominant pole position and the car is really quick here. The team at the track has done a great job and the upgrades we brought are working well. But we didn’t get to see the battle we had all hoped for after Lewis suffered a repeat of the failure he experienced in Shanghai. It’s so unfortunate for him after the problems he has already faced this season – and of course we have the concern that the same thing could happen again. But this is also part of motor racing. The Power Unit is a core element of performance and one of our biggest strengths. We are pushing hard to find lap time in every area and it’s inevitable that sometimes you reach limits in that process. Lewis has handled everything so far this year with calm and professionalism. He is resilient and showing a great attitude, even though this is a tough time for him. For tomorrow, it’s clear we are in a strong position in terms of performance. But like the saying goes, to finish first, first you have to finish…

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
A great pole lap for Nico and our congratulations to him on a fantastic performance throughout the weekend so far. Unfortunately, however, our day has been tainted by a failure which deprived Lewis of a shot at pole – and deprived the fans of what would surely have been a thrilling climax to an immensely close battle between our two drivers. We’ve let Lewis down for the second weekend in a row, so our apologies go to him once again. It’s a cruel twist of fate that, out of eight Mercedes-Benz Power Units on the grid, the problem should befall the same driver twice. We’ve been working very hard over the past couple of weeks to understand what happened in China – but unfortunately there is clearly still more work to be done. Our focus for the immediate future, however, is on making sure Lewis’ car is in the best possible condition for tomorrow’s race to give him the best chance of making the kind of strong recovery we’ve seen him pull off so many times in the past.

Formula One: Felio Siby joins Force India

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Sahara Force India have announced a new partnership with  Felio Siby, which sees the luxury brand become the team’s official lifestyle partner. The Felio Siby logo will appear on the VJM09’s nose starting at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

A purveyor of some of the best leathers in the world, manufactured to the highest standards in a time-honoured way, Felio Siby is a reference for customers whose way of life is to find timeless and unique products. This is a vision that has now been extended to watch-making, as the brand embarks on a new venture with the best Swiss watchmakers to redefine the industry.

To celebrate the start of the partnership, Felio Siby will design a special edition Sahara Force India timepiece, due to be launched at next month’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India: “A luxury watch-maker and a Formula One team are a perfect match: both pursue excellence, have absolute attention to detail and work to produce awe-inspiring machines through the wonder of human ingenuity. We are delighted to welcome Felio Siby to our family and we are looking forward to sharing the successes of a long and fruitful partnership.”

Dominique Siby, CEO of Felio Siby: “Today is a day with great emotional significance for me, being the ten-year anniversary of my father’s passing. Working with a Formula One team was a project we always wanted to do together. I dreamed of being part of this sport since I was a child, watching the timeless battles between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. I am glad and thankful to be a partner of Sahara Force India: the team is the perfect match for Felio Siby and I can’t wait to show the world the unique watches we will be making for them.”

Formula One: Rosberg SMASHES Sochi lap record

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Nico Rosberg has set the fastest lap ever of Sochi to claim pole on the P Zero Red supersoft, comprehensively beating the previous record of 1m37.113s set in qualifying last year.

Rosberg’s Pole time of 1m35.417 eclipsed the previous lap record, also set on P Zero Red supersoft tyres, by almost 2 seconds.

With every driver using the supersoft in Q2 as well, this is the tyre that the top 10 on the grid will start on tomorrow. As conditions were cool in Russia today, drivers had to concentrate carefully on warming up the tyres. Similar conditions are expected for tomorrow’s race as well.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Russia is by no means a typical track as it features low grip that keeps wear and degradation at very low levels and also enables long stints. For this reason we saw drivers complete multi-lap runs during qualifying, with consistent performance from the tyres. We expect a one-stop strategy to be the preferred choice for most contenders tomorrow, and it’s unlikely that the medium tyre will be used.”

Pirelli Race strategy predictions: A one-stopper should be the favoured tactic on the smooth asphalt of Russia for the 53-lap race. Starting on soft or supersoft makes little difference to the overall race time. Starting on supersoft, the fastest way is to change to soft on lap 18. Starting on soft, it’s best to change to supersoft on lap 35. Some teams may gamble on a two-stopper, which is theoretically the fastest way to do the race but risks traffic. In which case: start on supersoft, change to soft on lap 12, then soft again on lap 32.

Formula One: Mercedes Debrief – Assessing a Power Unit Failure

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Some light reading for you between FP3 and Qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix. Mercedes AMG Petronas explain the power unit failure debrief process following Lewis Hamilton’s challenging Chinese GP weekend:

What do we now know about the failure on Lewis’ Power Unit in Shanghai?
The Power Unit in question arrived back at Brixworth in the early hours of Thursday morning of the week following the race and investigation into the failure has been on-going every minute since its return to the factory. The MGU-H has been stripped and the issue is suspected to be associated with the insulation. The turbocharger will be replaced in addition to the oil pumps, after debris was found in the oil system. With the repairs completed, this Power Unit will remain in the driver pool and travel to Sochi as a spare.

What’s the initial course of action when a Power Unit failure occurs at the track?
First and foremost, a group of engineers at the circuit and a much larger group at Brixworth will pore through readings from the data logger, noting what every sensor on the Power Unit has recorded. That’s an instant check which will quickly establish the severity of the problem.

What happens if a major fault is discovered?
If it’s then determined that there is an issue which cannot be fixed at the track and hardware needs to be removed, the trackside technicians will ready the components for transport back to Brixworth as quickly as possible. The engineer responsible for the system suspected to be at the core of the issue will subsequently draw up a strip request instruction while the components are in transit.

What exactly does a strip request instruction involve?
It’s a detailed sequence of instructions for the technicians working in the build department back at Brixworth, which outlines who will be allocated to each individual stage of the process, what specialist equipment and / or inspection techniques are required and which procedures need to be carried out. The list is written in chronological order with approximate time frames for each step to create a carefully considered timing plan that’s fully resourced.

Where do the technicians begin when deconstructing a failed component?
In most cases, the technicians will start by back-flushing oil through the various galleries and filters of the oil and coolant systems to collect any fine debris. While larger fragments can be removed by hand, the finer debris – which often points to the start of the problem – can settle at the end of blind galleries or in filters downstream of the failed part.

How is debris analysed?
Microscope analysis of the debris is the first stage – looking at the different shapes and sizes present to establish whether it’s a case of fine wear or a component which has shattered into small pieces. The debris will then be scanned with an electron microscope to check its chemical composition. This helps to establish the material type – which in turn provides an indication of the component that the debris might have come from.

What happens next to the various components in question?
Once the debris analysis has been completed and the components that were involved in the failure have all been stripped, everything is physically laid out to mimic its installed configuration. Looking at the series of components in front of them, what debris has been found and where it ended up, the engineers can begin to establish a likely sequence of events. They will then go back through the logged data from the track to find any step changes in the readings from each Power Unit sensor that might match up to a given theory.

Can virtual simulations be used in the investigation process?
Virtual simulation tools give a good insight into what’s going on within a system and are used extensively throughout the development phase. When a component has failed, those models can be referred back to and changes made commensurate with what the team suspects has gone wrong to mimic the cause of the failure.

Does the team ever carry out physical simulations to re-create a failure?
Deliberate errors can be manufactured into hardware, which can then be tested on the dyno in an attempt to replicate a failure. This might be seen as an expensive means of testing – but it’s cheaper than having a repeat issue at the circuit. Engines can be run with clearances altered to be either larger or smaller than the typical build standard tolerances – mimicking a scenario in which a surface has become worn, for example.

What about non-mechanical elements of the Power Unit?
Every element of the Power Unit can and will be analysed where necessary. An electrical component such as a PCB (Printed Circuit Board), for example, might be run in an oven at increasing temperatures to establish at what point its semiconductors stop working. This can then be tied in with knowledge about the temperature of that circuit board in the ERS module to establish whether overheating could be diagnosed as a cause of failure.

Who is generally involved in the diagnosis process?
In the first instance, an engineer with expertise in the system concerned will be assigned exclusively to investigating the issue through to its resolution. He or she will chair a meeting at least every 24hrs, calling in four to five people to help cogitate theories. These tend to be people that have a broad experience of the Power Unit, a good problem solving mindset and an ability for lateral thinking – working through theories step by step to ensure they are robust

Formula One: Red Bull Racing partner with Bristol for the Russian Grand Prix

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Red Bull Racing have announced a one race partnership with convenience chain store Bristol for the Russian Grand Prix.
As such, Russia’s most successful Formula One driver, Daniil Kvyat, and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo will wear Bristol’s logo on their race suits and the chain’s branding will also feature on the nose cone of the RB12. Such branding prominence will maximise the brands exposure over it’s home race.
One of Russia’s fastest growing neighbourhood store chains, Bristol was founded in the city of Nizhniy Novgorod in 2012. As of March 2016, the firm operates over 200 stores across the country, employing over 11,000 people.

Formula One: Strong Swiss Franc threatens Sauber’s Future

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The supercharged nature of Switzerland’s currency, the Swiss Franc, is having threatening Sauber’s ability to remain on the F1 grid. Given Swiss neutrality to EU legislation (as a non EU member) and a taxation system encouraging corporate domicile, during times of economic turbulence the Swiss Franc is perceived as a safe investment, the impact of which leads to a disproportionately strong currency, which put simply means the value of finance coming into a company such as the Sauber F1 team from sources outside of country has been increasingly diminished.

Speaking in the FIA Team Press Conference at the Russian Grand Prix yesterday Team representative  Beat Zehinder commented:

“A simple figure: in 2007, one dollar was 1.5 Swiss francs. Now we have parity. So what we had income in dollars is now worth 50 per cent less. Switzerland doesn’t make it really easy”

Sources of income for the Sauber F1 Team are seen in FOM prize fund payments, which are understood to be paid in either GBP or US Dollars, driver sponsorship payments which come from Brazil (BRL) and Sweden (SEK), and additional sponsorship income from UK and US partners. It can be assumed that agreements around these revenue streams will have been made in the currency from which the agreement originates, not the currency of recipient (Sauber) The below graphs illustrate the diminishing value of agreements from these sources.

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Source: http://www.xe.com/

Whilst many costs involved with the Sauber F1 Team may be made in Euro’s such as the Ferrari PU supply agreement, fixed costs such as employee salary and facility operational costs, will be made in local currency. This limits the teams ability to mitigate the strength of the Swiss Franc.

The strength of the Swiss Franc is has such an impact on teams finances that Sauber could finish as high as 5th in the World Championship and the net payment to the team in local currency would leave them with the lowest overall team payment.

Formula One Management could move to support Sauber during this challenging economic period through making payments to the team through it’s own Swiss head-office applying an inflationary  and currency adjusted payment. Or through rewarding the Swiss team in the same way Williams, Mclaren, Ferrari, Red Bull, and Mercedes are as teams of historical relevance to the sport. Sauber have been involved in Formula 1 for over 32 years making them the 4th oldest team on the grid.

With the strength of the Swiss Franc unlikely to diminish in the short to medium term the future economic viability of the team without support appears increasingly bleak.

 

Formula One: Rossi returns to Manor Racing for Sochi

Alex Rossi has confirmed through social media that he will be attending the Russian Grand Prix this weekend with Manor Racing.

The team are expected to confirm his role over the race weekend on Friday morning ahead of Free Practice 1.

 

Formula One: Your name on an F1 Car #LetsRaceTogetherContest

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Ok,  so I’m a couple of weeks late to this but I just came across the season long competition Renault Sport F1 are running to win the opportunity to have your name on the team’s car for a race weekend.

To enter, you have to be a follow the team on Twitter and send a message of support to the team using the hashtag 

Basketball player Tony Parker helped launch the competition at the Chinese Grand Prix:

You can follow the Renault Sport F1 Team on Twitter here

Very impressive fan engagement activity from the team!