Category Archives: 2017

Formula One: FIA confirm qualifying to revert to 2015 format

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In a short press release the FIA have confirmed that in full agreement with the teams and the rights holder, subject to the approval of F1 governing bodies, qualifying will return to the 2015 format from the Chinese Grand Prix and will apply for the remainder of the season:

At the unanimous request of the teams in a letter received today, Jean Todt, President of the FIA, and Bernie Ecclestone, commercial rights holder representative, accepted, in the interests of the Championship, to submit a proposal to the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council to revert to the qualifying format in force in 2015. 

This proposal, if approved by the F1 governing bodies, will take effect as from the Chinese Grand Prix and will apply for the rest of the season. 

Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone welcomed the idea put forward by the teams to have a global assessment of the format of the weekend for 2017. 

The statement can be found here.

Formula One: Sky Sports to become exclusive home of F1

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Sky has agreed a new broadcast partnership with Formula One Management, strengthening its position as the home of sport offering unrivalled choice for fans.

 

The new agreement comprises:
Exclusive: Sky Sports will be the home of Formula 1® in the UK and Ireland from 2019 to 2024, offering live coverage of every Grand Prix.
Free to air: The FORMULA 1 BRITISH GRAND PRIX, together with highlights of all other races and Qualifying sessions, will be shown on a ‘free-to-air’ basis.
Sky Sports Mix: Additionally at least two other ‘prime time’ live races a season will be offered on the soon-to-be-launched Sky Sports Mix along with other F1 content.
UHD: For the first time every race starting with the 2017 Championship will be shown in the stunning picture quality of Ultra High Definition via Sky Q, the next-generation home entertainment system.

 

Sky Sports F1® will continue to be the only place to watch each Grand Prix weekend live for the next three seasons in the UK, with 21 races live in 2016 beginning with the 2016 FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX last weekend.

 

The new agreement builds on the success of Sky Sports F1® since the launch of the award-winning channel in 2012. More than 13 million viewers have already enjoyed its live coverage with many more following F1® racing across Sky Sports’ digital outlets.

 

Bernie Ecclestone, CEO Formula One Group said: “I am delighted that we will continue to work together. Sky’s commitment to the Sport and standard of coverage is second to none.”

 

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports said: “This is a brilliant deal that takes Sky’s partnership with F1® to the next level.  Since 2012, we have demonstrated unrivalled commitment to F1®, offering fans innovations including a dedicated channel and the very best broadcasting talent. We are delighted that we are strengthening our coverage for viewers even further, with live and exclusive F1® from 2019 and the chance to watch in Ultra High Definition for the first time from next season.  We are pleased to support F1® and look forward to working with them to progress, develop and enhance coverage of the Championship during the agreement.”

 

Martin Brundle, commentator and analyst for Sky Sports F1® added: “I joined Sky Sports because I wanted to be part of a dedicated F1® channel with a total and long term commitment to the sport.  And we have certainly delivered on that.  In a fast changing media landscape, our coverage will get even better for F1® fans.”

Formula One: FIA investigate driver protection concepts

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In the FIA run quarterly magazine newsletter AUTO, the FIA have detailed the three driver head protection systems currently under review as part of the 2017 Formula One Technical Regulations.

The publication is available to review in full here:

The three concepts under review feature; the Halo Effect, the Mercedes AMG Petronas advised solution, which creates a solid halo structure around the driver cockpit. The central line roll up, comprising (in concept form) of 3 non rigid supports stretching over the length of the nose section of the car. Finally the is the review of additional frontal protection in the form of 3 rigid structures positioned in front of the cockpit aimed to redirect debris away from the cockpit.

Detailed analysis of each solution is available in the FIA publication. It is understood Red Bull Racing will soon submit an additional concept to the FIA for review which will be more ‘windscreen’ like in design. The FIA aim to define a single solution to be used as a standard component across all teams. The intention is to introduce this development through the 2017 technical regulations.

If you are unable to view the publication through the above page, please use this link.

Formula One: Jordan King sets sights on 2017 F1 debut

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Manor Racing will retain Jordan King in the role of Development Driver for a second season.

Jordan, 22, will continue to play a supporting role within the 2016 driver line-up, at the same time as contending GP2 Series with Racing Engineering.

Jordan King:

“Spending time trackside with the team last year was really important for me and for where I want to get to. I saw all the processes and techniques that go into running an F1 team, plus I got a good grasp of how the tyres work as well as the data. So when I got the chance to drive the MR03B in the Abu Dhabi test, it felt like I’d had a massive head-start and I was really confident. I racked up 300km in that test and loved every second in the car. But what I want to do now is race one and I’m flat out working to achieve that. Continuing in the Development Driver role with Manor Racing is key to that progression and I’m excited to be working with Dave Ryan, Pascal and Rio for the first time, as well as the guys I’m more familiar with.”

Dave Ryan, Racing Director:

“I was at the Abu Dhabi test where Jordan drove our car for the first time and he did an impressive job. It was clear that he’d taken full advantage of the opportunity to get under the skin of the team and understand the systems, processes and people. Over the winter months he helped us to refine driver installation with the new chassis, pending the signing of our race drivers, so the Development Driver role really is mutually beneficial. We look forward to having him around the team and wish him a successful season in GP2.”

In an interview for this site in 2015 Jordan discussed his hopes to make it to the F1 grid by 2017, maintaining his development seat with Manor Racing this season is a further step towards realising this dream. To see the interview in full click here.

Formula One: F1 Commission confirm new bodywork and sporting regulations

FIA

Meetings of the F1 Strategy Group and the F1 Commission were held yesterday in Geneva, with a number of constructive proposals being agreed. Upon the recommendation of the Strategy Group, the F1 Commission passed a series of new measures designed to deliver a faster, more spectacular FIA Formula One World Championship.

Qualifying format

A new qualification format was unanimously accepted by the F1 Commission. The new system is being evaluated for introduction, potentially as soon as the beginning of the 2016 season.

The basis of the new elimination format is as follows:

–        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.

Driver of the Day

The F1 Commission agreed to the introduction of a Driver of the Day award, to be implemented by the Commercial Rights Holder in conjunction with Formula One broadcasters, with the intention of driving greater fan engagement.

Viewers will be encouraged to vote online for their “Driver of the Day” throughout a Grand Prix, with the winner to be announced as part of the race broadcast immediately following the conclusion of the race, when the driver will be presented with their prize.

2017 Sporting and Technical Regulations

Following the recommendation of the Strategy Group, the F1 Commission agreed to postpone the deadline for the finalisation of 2017 Sporting and Technical Regulations until 30 April, 2016 – to allow all stakeholders the best opportunity to complete all relevant work.

2017 bodywork

New bodywork regulations have been adopted to create more exciting cars, delivering additional downforce to increase speeds and lower lap times.

The FIA, teams and official tyre supplier will continue discussions on the best solution for testing of the new tyres required as part of the regulations.

Power unit supply

Significant further progress was made on the four major topics regarding Power Unit supply:

–        Supply cost

–        Obligation to supply

–        Performance convergence

–        Further improvement of noise

 

A working group consisting representatives of the FIA, Commercial Rights Holder, Power Unit suppliers and customer teams will undertake further work with the aim of reaching agreement on a plan to meet the above requirements by 30 April, 2016.

Cockpit protection

The F1 Commission confirmed the intention of introducing some form of cockpit protection from the 2017 season. All stakeholders are working together to make this a reality, with the “Halo” concept currently the preferred option. Other options, such as transparent cockpit protection, will continue to be evaluated.

Full analysis of this FIA statement to follow.

Formula One: Williams F1 Team preview 2016 and beyond

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In an interview with Mobil 1 The Grid, filmed at the Autosport International Show in the UK earlier this year. Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer for the Williams F1 Team previews the 2016 season and gives insights into what we can expect from 2017 and beyond

Commenting on the minor technical changes in regulations for 2016, beyond the increased cockpit protection, Symonds remarks the season could lead to interesting results with teams having more opportunity to refine design rather than revolutionise. Increased freedom in tyre specification available over a race weekend should have a positive impact on racing.

Symonds is keen to compliment the Williams driver line up and the benefits of driver stability can bring to a team.

When discussing the proposed technical regulations changes for 2017 Symonds highlighted no clear consensus around the regulations has been found, but the expectation is a move to wider machines with greater levels of downforce and mechanical grip. Formula One in the eyes of Pat Symonds should be at the forefront of technology and innovation. The Williams F1 team, as the lead independent team in recent seasons is supportive of such a direction.

Formula One: Constructive progress towards 2017 Regulations from Milan

Pirelli

In a meeting between leading figures within Formula One; from the FIA, Teams, Drivers and Formula One Management, held at the Pirelli headquarters in Milan earlier today, reports are emerging of positive progress regarding 2017 technical regulations, the role of Pirelli, and importance of a unified approach and agreement around tyre construction and usage.

The meeting is reported as having been highly constructive acknowledging the need to accelerate clear definition of the new regulations. Once defined Pirelli, with the support of the teams have agreed to develop prototype tyres and test them on circuit as soon as possible.

Pirelli have again stated the criticality of a clear and timely testing programme to ensure are parties are adequately prepared for the 2017 season.

 

Formula One: Pirelli to host a meeting of F1’s key stakeholders to discuss the joint development of tyres for 2017

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A meeting will be held at Pirelli’s Milan headquarters next week in which key Formula One stakeholders will take part. The meeting will be to discuss target tyre performance guidelines in the light of the 2017 regulations.

Pirelli sees this meeting as being of vital importance in order to further consolidate the close collaboration that got underway last year with the FIA, FOM, and the drivers. Of the more than 250 championships in which Pirelli takes part worldwide, Formula One is the biggest challenge.

In 2017 the technical aspects will become even more complex, so Pirelli is even more convinced of the need to carry out more on-track testing.

This is a factor that has been extremely limited in recent years, despite the important evolution of the cars and subsequent increase in performance. All these are vital steps towards tyre development that takes into account the future evolution of the cars and added performance, which will be particularly notable in 2017. This will allow an even more effective use of the advanced technology that makes Pirelli the world leader in performance tyres.

Formula One: 2017 Regulation changes watered down?

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Reports are emerging that the plans for radical change in the 2017 F1 Technical Regulations are being increasingly toned down over fears that cars may become too fast with the targeted 5 seconds per lap improvement in performance possibly leading to safety issues.

As reported on Auto Motor und Sport (German), in a Technical Working Group meeting, discussions around these fears have lead to a recalibration of the proposed regulations.

Proposals to increase the width of the car at the widest point, the tyres, to 2 metres have been retained, but the bodywork between the axles will not increase to the planned 180 cm but remain at 140 cm, leaving a substantial area of uncovered floor. Also shelved are plans for a larger diffuser and changes to the front and rear wings which under earlier proposals had been set from dramatic change, with the diffuser set to double in height and the rear wing increase in width.

With this proposed watering down of the regulation change it is anticipated that only 25% of the targeted  performance improvement will be achieved.  Sources suggest that leading non works teams have expressed frustration that the body work changes will be barely visable and the series will retain its reliance on Power Unit development leaving limited scope for aerodynamic developments.

Full 2017 regulations are set to be published in March this year to ensure teams have sufficient time to prepare for any changes. Until such time it is unlikely any clear view will be provided on how the next generation of Formula One cars will be set to look.