Formula One: Hamilton back behind the wheel

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Following the conclusion of the 2016 Formula One World Championship, Lewis Hamilton has returned to the cockpit this morning to take part in the final assessment of 2017 Pirelli tyre compounds and sizes.

As per regulations Lewis Hamilton is completing the test in a modified W05. This test session should serve to draw a line under rumours around Lewis’ relationship with the team following his approach to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix over the weekend.

Further details around the test will be issued in the coming days.

Hamilton will complete the morning session, with Pascal Wehrlein completing the afternoon session. Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari are also taking part in this final 2016 evaluation of 2017 Pirelli tyres.

 

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Formula One: Let the countdown begin!

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As the 2016 Formula One season reached it’s thrilling climax yesterday, Tag Heuer and Red Bull Racing confirmed the extension of their partnership and officially launched the countdown to the 2017 season.

The partnership sees Tag Heuer retain naming rights for the Red Bull Racing power unit alongside extensive branding on the Rb13 challenger, drivers helmet and race suits as well as the team environment and of course on the drivers and team members wrists!

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Commenting on the partnership Marc Biver, Tag Heuer Global Sports Director stated:          ” Formula 1 is part of TAG Heuer’s DNA. Red Bull Racing is a young, dynamic  team, perfectly in tune with our marketing strategy. This extension will give us even greater visibility, with a real focus on the future. We have a lot of different projects ahead of us for 2016, projects with are both creative and exciting. Our motto #DontCrackUnderPressue is our guiding principle in all our actions, with the support of the Red Bull Racing team and its highly contagious enthusiasm.”  

Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principle added” I am very pleased to be extending our engine partnership with TAG Heuer today. TAG Heuer and Red Bull Racing are two brands which both have a passion for racing and a drive to do things differently, and this forms the basis of our partnership. The TAG Heuer motto of ‘Don’t Crack Under Pressure’ is something that we at Red Bull Racing live by day-to-day, so we look forward to helping TAG Heuer tell that story in the seasons ahead.”

As Formula One regulations shift focus towards an aerodynamics and development race Red Bull Racing and the powerhouse of Adrian Newey are emerging as serious contenders for the 2017 championship.

Formula One: Tyres available for the Abu Dhabi GP

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Ahead of the 2016 Formula One Season Finale from Abu Dhabi, Pirelli have release details of the remaining tyre allocation availble for each driver in the race.

The most likely strategy in the race is for two pit stops, with tactics playing an important role in the race as the Yas Marina circuit is quite difficult to overtake on, as has been seen in the past here during previous championship deciders. One predictable factor should be the weather, which is expected to be similar to conditions today.

With no difference in the remaining tyre allocation between the Mercedes and Ferrari duo very little differentiation can be expected in their respective race strategy. Red Bull Racing head into the season with only used super soft tyres available, these are the tyres they will start the race with, and may encourage the team towards a more aggressive approach to the race with undercuts the target to move up through the field.

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Formula One: Active Ticketing joins Force India in Abu Dhabi

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Active Ticketing have joined Sahara Force India as partner for the 2016 season finale. The technology and security company will deliver an innovative mobile application at the 2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Active Ticketing branding will be visible on the chassis side of the VJM09 and on the drivers’ suits.
The Active Ticketing mobile platform will enhance the fan experience for the Sahara Force India VIP guests, who will be able to access a mobile pass, enter competitions, and view exclusive content about the team.
The system will generate valuable new insights for the team and showcase the benefits of mobile experiences as part of Sahara Force India’s hospitality offering.
Otmar Szafnauer, COO of Sahara Force India: “Mobile interaction is the new frontier of fan engagement and Active Ticketing is at the forefront of this sector. It’s great to be working together to offer our guests a fresh dimension to their Grand Prix experience.”
Lee Booth, CEO of Active Ticketing: “Sahara Force India is one of the most innovative teams in F1 today. Partnering with them to deliver a premium and engaging VIP guest platform is hopefully just the start of a long-term strategic relationship to create the ultimate fan and team experience.”
For more information on Active Ticketing head to the company website here
 

Formula One: The Honest Interview

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As Formula One heads into the 2016 season climax in Abu Dhabi, Red Bull Racing duo Max Verstappen & Daniel Ricciardo got together to review the season. The highs, the lows, their favourite trophies, their hair! The drivers are at the most open I’ve seen them.

Intriguingly both Max and Daniel, whilst acknowledging the value of their friendship they both comment they would be prepared to sacrifice friendship in return for the ability to challenge for the championship, as they have seen with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Formula One: The Power of Teamwork

As the Mclaren Honda team head into the final race of the 2016 Formula One World Championship, Mobil One’s the grid caught up with a few key players within the team to discuss the importance of teamwork.

Race engineer Tom Stallard give a fantastic explanation around team mater rivalry, commenting it is the teams role to find the optimal set up to allow both drivers to perform at their peak, a performance advantage found by one driver or by one half of the garage in set up, leaving the other driver behind is not how to go racing. Rather Mclaren seek to give both drivers the best possible chance to perform.

Mclaren Honda will see a huge overhaul in the team dynamic over the winter break, with a new CEO joining the team in Zak Brown, and a revised driver line up. Finding success in these destabilising times will be a huge challenge for the team. For now their focus will be ending 2016 on a high and giving Jenson Button the sign off to his racing career that he deserves.

Formula One: Do we want a clean fight?

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With an incredible nine wins a piece, Nico Rosberg & Lewis Hamilton head into the final round of the 2016 Formula One World championship knowing whichever driver takes their tenth win of the season will be crowned world champion….

….except they won’t.

After a season in which Nico Rosberg has elevated himself from the accomplished team mate to the formidable championship challenger, and the combined misfortune of half the grid seems to have fallen the way of Hamilton, simply winning on Sunday will not be enough to secure a forth world championship for the Brit. Every self respecting F1 fan will be more than aware of the finishing positions each driver must achieve relative to the other in their quest for the championship, but for the sake of clarity the simplest way of looking at things if Lewis wins, Nico must finish at least 3rd to be crowned champion.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas W07 will be remembered as one of the most dominant cars in F1 history. True, the reliability of one of the cars has been rather questionable but there has been no circuit in which the W07’s dominance has genuinely been in question. There is no reason to expect Abu Dhabi will be any different. The team and drivers can, with some confidence, expect to find themselves on the front row of the grid on Sunday.

So how will the drivers approach the race? Lewis has an incredible track record around the Yas Marina circuit and heads into the weekend on the back of three straight wins. Since Lewis’ retirement in the Malaysian Grand Prix Nico appears to have been secure enough in his championship position to not feel the need to push for outright wins accepting he does not need to win another race this season to seal the championship. Will we see a repeat of this on Sunday? Does Lewis believe the best he can do is simply get his head down and win the race and the leave the outcome of the championship to fate. Could Nico see a return of his form from earlier in the season and dominate Lewis removing any possibility for Hamilton to do anything other than accept 2nd place both in the race and the championship? Or will either driver try to change up the race to influence the result for their rival?
Knowing Lewis MAY be considering an aggressive approach, could Nico take matters into his own hands and end both his own and his team mate’s race in the first corner by simply driving into him? Nico appears to have taken on a much more aggressive approach to his racing and defending this season. Securing his championship in this manner should not be ruled out. And would anyone blame him?

Earlier this week Nico reflected on his approach to the 2016 championship and how he plans to carry that into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:
“In Brazil, after the race, I was joking that I would still be taking things one race at a time. But, the more I think about it, the more that’s actually not as crazy as it sounds. I have to treat this like any other race. Doing a good job on a Grand Prix weekend is always a challenge. Nothing in this sport is easy, so this won’t be any different and I still have to go all out for a good result.
The closer it gets, the more I’m feeling excited. It will be a big battle and hopefully the fans will get a great show to end the year.
I will give it everything to end the season with a win.”
Of course the team will publicly deplore any actions their drivers take to imped the progress of each other, but after sealing the constructors championship back in Suzuka will they really mind? Viewers of the Brazilian Grand Prix would be forgiven for thinking Max Verstappen won the race so little airtime was given to the dominant Silver Mercedes finishing ahead of him. If Mercedes want exposure, which let’s face it is one of the primary reasons they are in the sport, perhaps their drivers working to manipulate the others race result is the best way to achieve this.  Whilst they might not support any efforts either driver may take to increase pressure on his team mate, they might feel they owe their drivers the freedom to approach the conclusion of the drivers championship as they see fit.
In the build up to the Grand Prix Toto Wolff has commented:
“As a group, we now have one very important final duty this season – to give Nico and Lewis the platform they need to battle it out to the flag. Both of them have been exceptional and either one would make a worthy Champion. It’s been a gruelling year for us all, with a record-breaking calendar and the added challenge of a new regulation set to prepare for in 2017. After such a battle of endurance, the winner can say without doubt that they earned it. We are all excited to see who that will be. May the best man win.”  

So what could Lewis do in the race? In the lead up to the weekend he was quoted as saying:
“I can’t and won’t give up. You never know what might happen.
I’m approaching this weekend the same as I do every race. I want to win and I’ll give it everything to finish the season on a high.”
Assuming he is the pole man and manages to maintain this position at the start of the race with Nico in second, would he look to back his team mate into the clutches of his rivals? Ferrari will desperate to close out the season with the best possible result, and the Red Bull Racing duo will be fighting tooth and nail for supremacy as they head into the winter break. Nico won’t want any of those drivers anywhere near his car during the race and so would be unlikely to battle too hard for fear of a race ending incident. Realistically one or more of them getting past Nico is Lewis’ best chance of taking the championship.

Yes, anther factor to consider is that statistically Nico is long overdue a mechanical issue in his W07, but Lewis can’t and won’t bank on statistics finally falling his way. Any issue Nico faces could hit him as well.  I’ve read a lot of articles recently asking if Nico Rosberg is worthy champion. To my mind, if you’re leading the championship at the end of the season you are champion. Simple as that. There is no worthy or not worthy. Whoever that may be they deserve all the accolades and respect they will receive.
So what kind of race do we want to see on Sunday? I for one don’t want to see another demonstration of Mercedes dominance. We’ve seen twenty of those races already this year. I want to see tactical excellence from two drivers at the very top of their game. Ignore the team calls, ignore the critics, you have a championship to win and a championship to lose, be the master of your destiny and give us a truly historic race.

Formula One: Your Own McGinnis Manor Racing Print

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Arguably the coolest sponsor to join Formula One in 2016, Daffy’s is signing off it’s maiden season in style. To celebrate their season with the Manor Racing team Daffy’s commissioned Robert McGinnis, the artist responsible for their iconic bottle artwork as seen on the barge boards of the Manor Racing MRT05, to create a modern day classic piece reflective of the teams challenger mentality within the glitz and glamour of Formula One through the eras.

Robert McGinnis, is world renowned  his illustrations with more than 1,200 paperback book covers and over 40 movie posters, including Breakfast at Tiffanys and the James Bond book collection to his credit.

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Chris Molyneaux, Master Distiller Daffy’s Gin commented:

“The past year working alongside Manor Racing for the 2016 F1 season has been the most incredible experience for us. We wanted to create a very special reminder of this period in Daffy’s world and the artwork created by Robert McGinnis has exceeded expectations
As a small but growing premium brand from Scotland, getting the overwhelming positive response that we have had from the F1 world has been extremely exhilarating for us. From our Manor Racing D&T’s hours; across the globe and our Limited Edition Manor Racing gin that we produced to celebrate our relationship, it has overall been an experience which will be very hard to beat!”

the Limited Edition numbered prints are available online now for only £60 per print. With only 500 available, the print will undoubtedly make for a truly unique Christmas gift for any F1 fan.

Follow this link to order your print now!

Formula One: Sauber retain Marcus Ericsson for 2017

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The Sauber F1 team have confirmed Marcus Ericsson will remain with the Swiss team for a third season.

Commenting on the extension Marcus commented:

“It is great news that I will be racing for another year for the Sauber F1 Team. I have spent two years with Sauber now, and I really feel at home. A big thanks to everyone within the team for trusting in me again. From a personal point of view, I have developed a lot as a driver during my time at Sauber. We have had ups and downs, but we always stick together and work as hard as we can. Since the new ownership, there has been a positive push in the team, so it will also be exciting to go into this new era. Many motorsport experts are becoming part of Sauber, which is a good sign for the future. For 2017 my aim is to build on my performance from the second half of this season, and to continue working hard with the team. I cannot wait for the 2017 season, so that we can make our way up to the midfield with the objective to score points on a regular basis.”

Team Principle Monisha Kaltenborn added:

“We are very pleased to announce that Marcus will remain our race driver for the Sauber F1 Team in 2017. During the current season Marcus has again showed he is willing to go that extra mile in order to make progress. He went through very difficult times with us, but managed those very well. In the last two years, he has made significant steps in regards to his personal development, proving his skills on as well as off track, especially when circumstances are not easy. He is not only a good driver, but also an important team player who understands how to work with the team and how to motivate everyone with his positive attitude. Formula One goes into a new era in 2017, and I am confident that we can count on Marcus to bring the team back into the competition.”

With 2017 regulations set to have a dramatic impact on vehicle performance characteristics, teams seek to achieve continuity wherever possible in order to optimise feedback. Marcus maintaining his position in the team will support Sauber in seeking to achieve this.

The team have confirmed their second driver will be announced in due course.