Category Archives: Ferrari

Formula One: Iceman becomes Fireman – Kimi’s Job Swap

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In the build up to this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen took time away from the circuit to try his hand as a fire fighter in the latest project in the  the Shell V-Power Job Swap campaign.

Job Swap, as the name suggests, takes Scuderia Ferrari drivers away from the familiarity of an F1 cockpit and gives them an opportunity to experience other roles in which vehicle and fuel performance are critical for a very different reason. Following Sebastian Vettel’s job swap with a Paramedic earlier this year, Kimi set out to go one better working Mohd Uzair bin Abdullah – a veteran with Malaysia’s Fire and Rescue Department.

Unsurprisingly when commenting on his experience tackling a purpose build obstacle course in an 18 tonne fire truck Kimi remarked “The fire truck is such a different vehicle to my Ferrari car, and it was a new experience to drive it.”

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Uzair mentioned, “getting the opportunity to work with Kimi to understand how he safeguards himself, helped me realise how similar we are in our jobs. Although we face different challenges, ultimately we both strive to protect ourselves so we can perform better at our jobs.”

“Initially, we were unsure what to expect from this unique activity. In the end, both drivers discovered the importance of preparation, and the vital role played by protection in the performance of both roles. Shell is committed to motorsports as an integral part of our Research & Development programme. Our innovations developed for the track help us make better fuels for our customers, enabling them to perform on the road with engines protected by Shell V-Power” said Shairan Huzani Husain, General Manager of Shell Retail Malaysia/Brunei.

With a strong performance from Scuderia Ferrari in the opening practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Kimi and Sebastian look to be in a position to challenge for the top step of the podium this weekend. The team will be working closely with Shell to ensure the perfect balance between performance and efficiency as they seek to bring secure the best possible position in the 2016 Formula One World Constructors Championship.

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Formula One: Vettel to start from the pitlane

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Scuderia Ferrari have installed a 6th Power Unit and Gearbox into Sebastian Vettel’s ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix today. This should equate to a 15 place grid penalty for the German which would be normalised to zero given his start position , however with the change having taken place under Parc fermé conditions a pitlane start is more than likely.

After a disastrous qualifying session, in which an anti roll bar failure saw the German unable to set a representative time in Q1 and the team with insufficient time to repair the issue, Vettel was set to line up on the grid in 22nd place.

With a high probability of a safety car during the Singapore Grand Prix, time lost through a pitlane start is expected to be minimised. Through starting from the pitlane Sebastian will be able to avoid the risk of incident off the start. Heavy rainfall in Singapore between qualifying and the race will have removed all rubber put down through the race weekend up until this point leaving the surface quite “green’ this may impact the tyre strategy Scuderia Ferrari opt for with Vettel with the life of the ultra soft compound tyre expected to be significantly reduced.

Formula One: Silly Season revisited

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The 2016 silly season on the face of it has turned out to be some what of a damp squib. With Mercedes, Ferrari, & Red Bull locking down their drivers early on change at the front of the field has been ruled out

Back in May this year I made a few predictions around changes. As the F1 circus returns from a well deserved summer break, outstanding driver agreements will feature highly on many teams ‘to do’ lists. Based on the current driver market I’ve revisited my silly season predictions. It’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below or through twitter (@jonnywilde)

Mercedes AMG Petronas:

As predicted Nico Rosberg’s contract with the team has been renewed. This comes despite a number of incidents between Nico & Lewis on track. Rosberg now has a contract with Mercedes until 2018. This sees his agreement fall in line with Hamilton’s contract. If nothing else, salary demands of Lewis and Nico by 2018 are likely to necessitate a change in line up. With this in mind Mercedes are priming Wehrlein and Ocon as future works drivers.

 Scuderia Ferrari:

Many expected the Scuderia to replace Kimi Räikkönen in 2017, I suggested Sergio Perez would be the ideal candidate to take on the role, but with a strong first half of the year Ferrari have elected to maintain the Vettel, Räikkönen line up for a 3rd season. Kimi’s life away from the track appears to be having a positive effect on his performance as a driver and as a Ferrari brand ambassador. With changes in the Ferrari management team, driver stability for 2017 and perhaps beyond could be a good thing.

Red Bull Racing

At the time of writing my original silly season article, I commented Verstappen was a shoe in for the second seat with Red Bull Racing alongside Daniel Ricciardo. I also suggested it could happen before the end of the year. I did not expect it happen so quickly. Nor did I expect Max to win a race in 2016! (did anyone?) Both Daniel and Max are now locked down at Red Bull Racing until at least 2018. Putting the Red Bull Racing Junior Driver Development programme on hold.

Williams Martini Racing

2016 has been tough for Williams. The team have fallen behind in the development race, possibly / hopefully due to an early switch in focus to 2017. With engine performance convergence emerging, budget shortfalls in comparison to the top 3 have been felt more than in recent seasons. It seems to be widely expected that 2016 will be Felipe Massa’s last year in F1, with this in mind Botta’s performances haven’t been strong enough. I suggested in the previous article that Kyvat and Bottas’ would be a formidable line up for the team. I now see this as less likely. I struggle to buy into the Button return narrative, but can imagine sponsors would be more than happy to see him re-join the team. That being said if Williams adopt a bold strategy they could look towards development driver Alex Lynn, and replace Bottas with Jenson. If they require funding alongside a driver, Perez could be attractive, although this would be nothing more than a lateral move for the Mexican.

Mclaren Honda

Jenson Button is out of contact at the end of this season. Fernando Alonso is contracted until the end of 2017. The team have Stoffel Vandoorne waiting in the wings. I expected Jenson to leave the team at the end of the season, If the 2017 Mclaren Honda is not in a championship contending position I also see Alonso finally calling time on his F1 career. Stoffel will step up into a race seat with the team for 2017, but who will he race along side? Whilst the original Mclaren Perez relationship did not end well in 2013. Sergio brings substantial backing and has consistently over delivered for Force India. Could he be an outside bet for a seat with Mclaren? The team has the manufacturer backing Perez’s sees as a must to contend for future championships.  With the top team drives locked down, Honda or Renault are his next best bet.

Sarhara Force India

Vijay Mallya has gone on record to state both drivers will be retained for 2017. I do not see this happening. As mentioned above I believe Sergio will move on to pastures new. To me the same logic applies to Hülkenberg. Neither driver is going to contend for championships with Force India. Neither driver is getting any younger. I believe Hülkenberg will move away from F1 towards WEC in 2017. This leaves Force India will a huge budget and talent shortfall. The team may look towards Mercedes and taking on a development driver in the form of Pascal Wehrlein for 2017, who on circuits with which he has prior knowledge has looked very impressive at Manor this season. The team could overcome the budget shortfall and maintain the Mexican links with the team through promoting Alfonso Celis or picking up Esteban Gutiérrez after his tough return to the sport with Haas. Equally, the team have Russian driver Nikita Mazepin on their books, he brings backing in the form of Uralchem and whilst a little hot tempered has performed strongly in junior series.

Renault

2016 was always a holding / building year for the team. They inherited a driver partnership with Jolyon Palmer and to be honest, he has looked a little out of his depth at times this season. I don’t expect the team to retain him. Renault are keen to re-establish the French connection with the team. Assuming Ocon performs well at Manor in the second half of this season I expect him to move over the Renault for 2017. Renault will be keen for the French man to sever his links to Mercedes moving forward and will likely be prepared to pay for the privilege. The other seat at Renault, to me, is between Kevin Magnesun and Sergio Perez. The team know KMag, and know what he can do with the car, but in Perez they have a driver capable of over achieving and a driver with significant backing and a huge fan base. Perez and Ocon would be a strong line up for a team rebuilding and looking to challenge for future championships.

Scuderia Toro Rosso

I expect the driver line up of Sainz and Kyvat to go unchanged into 2017. Sainz was confirmed earlier in the season, his role is secure. With Kyvat the story is a little different, he has struggled since returning to the team from Red Bull Racing. His ultimate pace and skill are not in question. The team must work with him to rebuild his self confidence. STR has historically been the home of junior Red Bull drivers. Pierre Gasly would be the logical driver to make the step up to the team in 2017, but I personally see Red Bull placing him else where, possibly with Manor. STR in order to grow should no longer be seen as a proving ground for future Red Bull Racing drivers and with the current line up at RBR locked down until 2018, STR have an opportunity to operate as their own entity.

The Haas F1 Team

After an incredible start in F1, Haas have settled in a midfield team. I expect 2017 will be a huge challenge for the team. With major regulations changes and the team no longer having such unregulated support from Ferrari I expect them to be battling at the very rear of the field. Grosjean appears to have very few options away from the team, that being said a return to Renault should not be ruled out. For Haas to bring F1 to America they would do very well to sign Indy 500 winner Alex Rossi for 2017 alongside Grojean. I expect Esteban Gutiérrez to move on.

The Sauber F1 Team

With the future of the team secure through Longbow Finances. The Swiss based team can look towards rebuilding themselves. Security in reality has come a little too late to kick start a 2017 challenge into anything more than a return to consistent points finishes, but this is a great place to start. Stories continue to swirl around Marcus Ericsson’s backers being behind the Longbow Finance investment into the team. My personal take is that even if this is true I do not believe the backing is linked to Ericsson maintaining a drive with the team. Investments are made with an expectation of return not simply to pay for a drive. That being said I hope the team will maintain their current line up into 2017. Stability during a period of rebuilding is key, and it should not be forgotten both Nasr and Ericsson are more than capable of turning in strong performances.

Manor Racing

The Manor Racing team have a history of announcing driver partnerships very late on into the year. Rio Haryanto’s mid season demotion to reserve driver demonstrate the continued reliance on drivers with backing. I expect the team will be keen to maintain a development driver relationship to a larger team, be that with Pascal Wehrlein and Mercedes or Gasly and Red Bull Racing (despite the Mercedes power unit agreement) The second seat at Manor, I believe will be taken by Jordan King. He has performed admirably in GP2 this season with Racing Engineering and brings a healthy budget to his seat. It should not be forgotten his father supported the team in their re-emergence from bankruptcy.

Spa, Monza and Singapore have a history of being a circuit in which driver announcements are made, expect significant news in the coming weeks.

 

Formula One: Seb’s Summer Job Swap

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As the Formula One circus heads into the traditional summer break Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took some time to try his hand at a very different kind of high speed performance vehicle.

In the first of  series of Job Swap Challenges developed by the Shell V-Power team, Sebastian Vettel handed over the keys of a Ferrari 488 GTB to Alex Knapton, a South Central Ambulance Service paramedic with more than 1300 call emergency call outs to his name, who in return gave Vettel the keys to his florescent pride and joy! The challenge; which driver could set the fastest lap time in vehicles somewhat different to those used in their day job! Although with Alex behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 GTB with a top speed of over 200 mph, and Sebastian trying his hand in a 3 tonne Ambulance with a top speed of only 88 mph, the advantage going into the challenge was clear.

After a morning of mutual tutoring the two went head to head against the clock, check out the results here:

Speaking about the challenge Sebastian commented: “Paramedics play an essential role in motorsport around the world and not just in Formula 1. They need to perform to such high standards every day because people’s lives depends on them”

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Alex went on to add “Getting the opportunity to swap the ambulance for the Ferrari 488 GTB was a dream come true! It was an unbelievable experience to get that close to one of the stars of Formula 1. Sebastian was on great form coaching on high performance driving tips and joking about the lack of a radio in the ambulance.”

The continually novel approach from Shell to bring the virtues of Shell V-Power Nitro + to life are incredibly impressive. The innovations Shell bring to the track through the long standing partnership with Scuderia Ferrari, whilst focused on bringing performance to the racing team, are ultimately developed with the forecourt and the customer in mind. 99% of the compounds used in fuel used to go racing is seen in V-Power fuels for the road.

Hopefully Alex’s experience will have convinced him and the South Central Ambulance Service to use Shell V-Power in future… … maybe that will help him find that missing 7 seconds!

Follow the Shell Motorsport team on Twitter here

Formula One: Ray Ban return to F1 with Scuderia Ferrari

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Scuderia Ferrari and Luxottica Group have signed a sponsorship agreement based on which the Ray-Ban brand will appear on the SF16-H Formula One cars, starting from the next Formula One race, the British Grand Prix in Silverstone.

Mr. Sergio Marchionne, Chairman and CEO of Ferrari, commented: “Adding another prestigious brand like Ray-Ban to our livery is very gratifying for Scuderia Ferrari. This new agreement strengthens the ties between Ferrari and Luxottica, two major Italian companies with shared principles and values that are both continuously striving for excellence. I am sure that this new partnership will be satisfactory for both companies and give the team an extra boost to strive for more”.

This announcement marks the return of Ray Ban to Formula One with the brand having been last seen with Honda and as a personal sponsor for Jenson Button.

Formula One: VIDEO | Scuderia Ferrari preview the Austrian GP

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Formula One  moves to Austria for the first in a string of six races that will complete the European season. Gone are the times of the old airport layout, marked by hay bales. The current Spielberg track, located in the Southeastern Bundesstate of Styria, was built in 1969 and has gone through many changes in layout, before being reintroduced in 2014 after an eleven-year absence.

“It seems like the track is situated in the middle of the mountains” comments Sebastian Vettel. “I think the track is great. You have a lot of elevation changes, up and down, which makes it always nice. You see the mountains around. When you’re lucky you can even see some snow on the top of the mountains around. The weather can be either very good or quite bad, but usually it is a place to enjoy. The track is very short, there aren’t many corners. So, it is incredibly important to get every single corner right. The lap is very short, so you do a lot of laps and it’s important to find the rhythm very quickly and just go with it, especially during the race.”

“It’s another challenging track, very different from Baku where we’ve just come from, but also very different from Canada and Monaco” adds Jock Clear, Scuderia Ferrari’s Head of Race Activities. “As always, we try to approach these Grand Prix races with new parts, new updates, new setups, specifically designed with the difficulties of each track. Austria is a very simple track with only five real corners and some good straights. So, it is a balance of power circuit with the downforce circuit. In terms of technical challenge it’s one of the shortest tracks, so that all the very small details make slightly a more significant impact on your lap time. The circuit itself has been resurfaced this year, yet we don’t know what this surface is going to give us. We don’t know the impact on the tires, but that’s the same for all the teams. Perhaps it will be a different situation from last year but we can’t answer until we get there and we do our practice running on Friday”.

Formula One: Vettel flouts tobacco advertising laws

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Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel is known to enjoy pushing the boundaries of regulations not impacting racing which he deems to be unnecessary. An exaple of this being the FIA mandate introduced in 2015 stating drivers are unable to change helmet design through a season. A regulation which has seen Vettel use 7 slightly different designs so far in 2016.

Pictured here during the track parade for the  2016 Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel defies regulations again, this time with his iPhone cover. Despite tobacco advertising being prohibited in Formula One for a number of years, Philip Morris International (Marlboro) remain the principle partner of Scuderia Ferrari. The partnership has explored numerous ways around the ban through adapting logo designs to mimic the iconic Marlboro logo and exploring subliminal messaging through barcode designs instead of Marlboro wording. The partnership seeks to make Marlboro synonymous with the Scuderia.

Vettel has taken this one step further in clearly showing the Marlboro brand whilst using his phone during an official Formula One session. Use of the logo in the public situation may not have been deliberate, but will no doubt lead to questions around whether of not the act constitutes advertising.

Formula One: Option Rally join Scuderia Ferrari

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If like me part of your enjoyment from an F1 weekend comes from looking out for livery team livery updates, you may have noticed that since the Spanish Grand Prix Scuderia Ferrari have been sporting some additional branding.

The branding comes in the form of the group Option Rally.

Option Rally are a trading platform specialising in lightning-fast Binary Option trading, offering clients the opportunity to trade on stocks, indices and commodities at various speeds, ranging from just 60 seconds. Commenting on the partnership a representative from Option Rally commented:

” We are delighted to be partnering with such a passionate, historic and competitive Formula One team. It made perfect sense as the leading binary brokerage to join forces with the most successful and trusted team in the world, Scuderia Ferrari”

Option rally branding can be found at the base of the sidepods of the SF16-H. Details on agreement length and value have not been disclosed at this time.

For more information on Option Rally follow them on Twitter here

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Formula One: VIDEO – Scuderia Ferrari preview the Chinese GP

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Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen talks through his 2007 victory at the Shanghai circuit in his maiden and championship year with the Scuderia.

“There were tricky conditions, it was wet to start with and then the track was drying up, so obviously there was a point to change the Intermediates tires and then we got a ride. Obviously not the easiest race to anybody, but we came out quite easily.” The track has changed little over all these years, but remains pretty interesting. “The circuit is quite challenging. First of all, you must mind the start with first few corners where you can get a lot of lap time, if you can get it right though. It’s not an easy circuit, but it’s fun.”

 

Scuderia Ferrari Race Engineer Riccardo Adami previews the 3rd Round of the Formula One World Championship coming from Shanghai. Commenting on the unpredictable weather seen at the venue and the impact it has on how the team approach vehicle set up. Also reflecting on the possible impact of Pirelli brining the supersoft compound to the circuit for the first time.

“It will be a challenge in setting up the car because we have a very long straight and also slow speed and high speed corners, so we should try to find the trade-off between those particular aspects of the track with the set-up of the car. Shanghai is a circuit with a particular shape. Turn 1 is a corner with longitudinal and lateral load transfers. So, we’ll try to find the right compromise between braking, but also the stability of the car in the corner.” And the challenges don’t end there: “The weather usually is very unpredictable. Over the last few years we have challenged ourselves with cold and rainy conditions. So, especially when it is cold, the front tackle becomes weaker, so then we need to tackle the set-up in this regard in order to find the good balance of the car”

This kind of track can make an engineer’s life hard, but luckily there are moments of relief: “China is not a big issue with the braking because there is not a high energy under braking circuit, even if it can be tricky with the balance of the car as I said for Turn 1, but also the other braking places on the track. So, we need anyways to raise our attention on this topic.” Finally, a word on the new challenges brought in by the 2016 regulations: “This year we will also have a third compound available, the Supersoft tire, while last year we had only Mediums and Softs, therefore it will be a very important item to understand the behavior of this compound in performance and degradation. So, we need to address a proper programme in order to find the right strategy for Sunday.”

 

Formula One: FIA investigating coded messages at Ferrari

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Reports coming from German publication Auto Motor und Sport claim that the FIA are investigating Scuderia Ferrari following a possible violation of regulations around communication to drivers whilst on track

According to reports, the FIA have been handed photographic evidence of a Ferrari pit board displaying “3.2-LFS6-P1” over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.

Charlie Whiting, earlier this year, confirmed that the FIA clampdown on communication between Team and Driver does extend to the pitboard.

The FIA have confirmed they are investigating the matter.

Should Ferrari be found to be acting outside of the regulations, possible penalties range from fines to possible points deductions.