Category Archives: Formua One

Formula One: GPDA “Decision making process is obsolete and ill-structured”

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The Grand Prix Driver Association (GDPA) have taken to social media to publish an open letter to Formula 1 stakeholders, followers, and fans, calling for change in the decision making process surrounding the sport remarking that the current process is obsolete and ill-structured. This letter follows a challenging start to the 2016 season in which changes to qualifying format were seen to have failed, coupled to this has been the sports inability to finalise technical regulations for 2017.

Public perception of regulators and the implication of this letter is that the sport focuses on less fundamental regulations such as limited helmet or livery design change in season, or seeking to prohibit the discarding of visor tear strips whist on track.  This perception is damaging to the credibility of the sport.

The GPDA acknowledge the dynamic way in which fans consume content and seek for the regulators and promoter to do the same. They go on to state Formula One should be the home of the best drivers, circuits, and teams with the best suppliers and partners. Only through doing this will it remain the pinnacle of motorsport.

One element of frustration regarding the 2016 qualifying process is that the format was implemented with teams, drivers, and broadcasters fully aware they format would fail to meet expectations. There is a feeling that the system was approved so that it could publicly fail.

The GPDA have been keen to highlight they are not seeking to be disrespectful in publishing this letter and remain committed to the sport.

The letter can be seen in full here:

Driver Position Statement

You can follow further comments from the GPDA here

Formula One: Manor Racing Pre-Launch Interview

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The all-new Manor Racing MRT05 breaks cover this morning at the Circuit de Barcelona in southern Spain. John McQuilliam (Technical Director) and Dave Ryan (Racing Director) give us the heads-up before Pascal Wehrlein takes the car for its first road test.

John. Dream Racer?
“Absolutely. Even at this early stage of the game, we can easily say this is the best car we’ve ever launched. Certainly the most developed, the most ambitious and the most aggressive. The overall package is a very significant step forward, not just from last year, but from any of the cars from our stable. So yes, we have a long way to go from here in terms of developing the MRT05, but it’s already a dream package for the 154 Manor Racing people who’ve worked so hard to design and build it. In a small team like ours, every single individual has played their part.”

What’s so special?
“Well, for starters, it’s all new. As it should be of course, but we had to ‘make do’ last year and that’s not what we’re here for. We build fast race cars for a living and it’s great to get back to doing what we love. We’re also pretty good at it, when we have the right tools for the job. So that in itself is quite special. Better still, the MRT05 is a contender. We really believe that. The design team have focused almost exclusively on it since the middle of last season and it’s just a whole different ball game to any of its predecessors. We haven’t left any performance on the table and right now I can say there’s not a single part of the car we’d have designed differently.”

So what has it got on it?
“We’ve carried over the 2015 fire extinguisher (winks), the rest is brand new. Some 3393 different parts in fact and that’s just our in-house components. We delayed the monocoque programme to wait for the new Power Unit, which was well worth waiting for of course. The Mercedes-Benz PU106C Hybrid Power Unit is a magnificent feat of engineering and we’re proud and excited to be powered by championship-winning technology developed by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains. We also have a very competitive transmission package thanks to our technical partner Williams Advanced Engineering, who supply our gearbox and other rear-end components. Together with the efforts of our accomplished aero and mechanical design teams, that’s a pretty impressive package.”

You love it, don’t you?
“Absolutely. It was already a great-looking car but the new livery is stunning.”

First road test coming up. What are you thinking?
“I’ll get back to you later today.”

Dave, more or less 90 days in your new role. How has that gone for you?
“It’s been a very busy time, but it has really served to underline everything I thought when I first agreed to join the team – a great little operation, with huge potential and the vision and ambition to make a big step forward. There was a lot to do to prepare for this season. The team did a laudable job last year given its circumstances over the previous winter. This year, with the package we have, we need to be every inch the professional racing outfit. That’s where I’ve been focusing my attentions.”

Two new technical partnerships to get to grips with. How are those relationships developing within the team?
“Fantastically well. Our Mercedes HPP and Williams Advanced Engineering personnel have been installed in the factory for quite some time now and both of their headquarters are less than an hour away from our factory in Banbury. So we have all the resource and support we need pretty much on tap. It’s a really nice, easy relationship, with everyone working together very closely on our factory floor. The transition has been pretty seamless.”

What about the peddlers?
“Pascal and Rio are a great addition to our team. They are young and hungry but, crucially, experienced racers with a lot of talent and a great deal of potential. We’re very proud that they’re making their F1 debut with Manor Racing.”

What can we expect from Manor Racing this season?
“Respectability and competitiveness. We are done with just turning up just to make everyone else look good and every single person in this Team is looking forward to the first race in Melbourne in a few weeks’ time. We know we have to improve in every area and in no way do we underestimate the opposition, but we have assembled a great group of people, we have a fantastic technical partnership with Mercedes-Benz and Williams Advanced Engineering and now it’s up to us to deliver.”

Formula One: Pirelli Confirm 2016 Tyre Regulations

Pirelli

After its meeting in Paris, yesterday, the FIA World Motor Sport Council formally approved the new 2016 Tyre Regulations for Formula One.

NEW REGULATIONS

  • The new regulations will apply only to the slick tyres. The rules regarding intermediate and wet tyres remain unchanged.
  • With the introduction of the new ultrasoft compound (which uses purplemarkings) the total number of slick compounds rises to five.

PRE-RACE TYRE NOMINATIONS AND PREPARATIONS

  • In consultation with the FIA, Pirelli will decide in advance which three compounds can be used at each race, and communicate this information to the teams.
  • The total number of sets that can be used during practice, qualifying and racing remains the same as it is currently: 13.
  • Pirelli will nominate two mandatory race sets for each car. Furthermore, one set of the softer compound will have to be kept for use in Q3 only.
  • The two mandatory sets chosen by Pirelli can be of two different compounds, from the three that have been nominated for the race weekend. These sets will obviously be identical for each team.
  • The remaining 10 sets can be chosen by each team, from the three compounds nominated for the race weekend.
  • The teams will make their choices within a deadline set by Pirelli. They will communicate their choices to the FIA, which will in turn tell Pirelli how many tyres to produce. The choices for each car will remain secret until 2 weeks before the race. If a team does not meet the deadline, the choice will be made by the FIA.
  • Once the choices for each car have been made, the FIA will continue to assign the tyres randomly via a barcode, as is the case currently.
  • The choices made by each team can vary for each of its cars: so each driver within a team can have a different allocation.
  • The tyres will be distinguished by different coloured markings on the sidewalls, as is currently the case.

DURING THE RACE

  • Teams will still have to give back tyres according to a certain schedule, but they can decide which tyres to give back at the following times:

–       One set after the first 40 minutes of FP1
–       One set at the end of FP1
–       Two sets at the end of FP2
–       Two sets at the end of FP3

  • The two mandatory sets nominated by Pirelli cannot be given back during practice and must be available for use in the race. At least one of these two setsmust be used during the race – but the teams can decide which one.

The top 10 at the end of qualifying will still have to give back the set of the softer compound nominated for Q3, and start the race on the tyres with which they set their fastest time in Q2 (the same rule as is the case currently). All other drivers will be able to use the set that is saved for Q3 during the race.

Formula One: Sauber F1 team announce Premium Partnership with CNBC for 2016

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The Sauber F1 Team have announced CNBC as a Premium Partner for the 2016 FIA Formula One Championship. CNBC is the leading global broadcaster of live business and financial news and information. This is the first time the Sauber F1 Team has partnered with an international broadcaster.

CNBC and the Sauber F1 Team will use the global Formula One media platform to maximise their potentials, as well as to reach a broader audience around the globe. The CNBC branding will appear on the rear wing end plates of the Sauber C35, on the drivers’ overalls of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, as well as on the team’s clothing.

To launch the partnership with CNBC, the logo will be visible on the rear wing end plates of the Sauber C34-Ferrari during the 2015 Formula One season finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend.

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal of the Sauber F1 Team:
“CNBC and the Sauber F1 Team have many common values such as accuracy, speed and credibility. Both companies maintain these values on a global level. It applies to both of us that we face a tough competition in our field with the objective being perfection. These similarities build a strong basis for a solid partnership.”

KC Sullivan, President and Managing Director of CNBC International:
“This partnership joins two organisations with strong heritage and exceptional ambition. Working with the Sauber F1 Team, CNBC is joining a family of professionals and corporate partners committed to the standards of excellence and performance that elite sports demand.”

Formula One: Infiniti Red Bull Racing continue to tease with further partnership extension announcements

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Infiniti Red Bull Racing has announced an extension of its partnership with Sabelt into 2017, continuing a long and successful relationship with the Italian safety equipment manufacturer.
This partnership extension is a continuation of a long and successful supply relationship between Sabelt and Infiniti Red Bull Racing, which has been in place since the team’s inception in 2004. Sabelt have provided high quality safety belts and fittings for all our drivers in the team’s 11 year history in the sport.
Sabelt was founded in 1972 as an Original Equipment Manufacturer of seat belts, and went from supplier to partner of Infiniti Red Bull Racing in 2005.  The Italian company has pioneered innovative manufacturing techniques for producing reliable, light weight safety equipment for extreme applications. As such, Sabelt has established itself as an industry leader in safety harness equipment across a range of top-level motorsports, as well as aerospace and automotive applications.
In addition the team has announced  an extension of its longstanding partnership with wheel manufacturer OZ Racing for a further three years until the end of 2018.

The wheels supplied by OZ Racing are exceptionally lightweight, whilst at the same time easily withstanding the extreme forces experienced on track; making them a great partner for Infiniti Red Bull Racing.
OZ Racing is an Italian company with its main headquarters and production facility in San Martino di Lupari, Padua, Italy. They sell light alloy wheels through a global network into multiple sectors, including: racing, after-market, motorbike, and OEM.
OZ has been involved in motorsport for more than 30 years as supplier of top teams across a variety of global race series. The quality and performance of OZ’s racing products is evidenced in the number of victories and World Titles their customers have achieved during a long history in motorsport. OZ use these years of racing experience to develop a superior performance product, offering wheels which combine cutting edge material and manufacturing technology, quality and safety.
Claudio Bernoni, CEO, OZ SpA: “Our partnership with Infiniti Red Bull Racing demonstrates the value, competence and reliability of our products. For us, this is the best opportunity to test our products in extreme conditions and transfer the experience to our wheels dedicated to street use.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal: “We select our innovation partners carefully, and in each case have selected what we believe to be the best available product for the job – as well as a great partner to work with. OZ Racing are no exception to this, and we’re pleased they will be continuing as a partner to deliver exceptional products to us for another three years”.

Formula One: Alfonso joins Sahara Force India

Alfonso Celis
Sahara Force India have announced the signing of Mexican racer, Alfonso Celis, as a development driver. The 19-year-old will get his first experience of Formula One power behind the wheel of the VJM08 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi test – sharing driving duties with Nico Hulkenberg.
Alfonso is one of the most promising young Mexicans emerging from the junior formulas. Following karting success in Mexico, he moved to Europe in 2013 to compete in the Formula Renault NEC championship, and progressed to the GP3 Series last year. This year he raced for ART in GP3 in parallel to a World Series by Renault programme with AVF.
In his development role with Sahara Force India, Alfonso will spend time on the simulator at the team’s Silverstone factory. He will also take part in seven official practice sessions at Grand Prix events during the 2016 season.
Alfonso Celis: “Ever since I started racing I’ve been dreaming of Formula One, so it’s a huge honour to begin working with Sahara Force India. It’s an amazing opportunity for me to learn about Formula One and to work closely with the engineers and race drivers. Being on the track in Abu Dhabi will be an incredible feeling. It’s going to be the biggest moment in my career and I am fully focussed on doing a good job for the team.”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “I would like to welcome Alfonso to the team and wish him well ahead of his debut with us in Abu Dhabi. As our development driver we will work hard to prepare him for the demands of driving in Formula One and provide a good grounding in all aspects of the job. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Alfonso to learn from Sergio and Nico, and to get valuable mileage in the car.”

Formula One: #placesalonsowouldratherbe how Hilton not F1 got it wrong.

 

#placesalonsowouldratherbe

 

F1 news over the past 48 hours has been dominated with journalists commenting on how Formula One Management should wake up to social media and could have capitalised on the viral event that was #placesalonsowouldratherbe. In many respects the comments are correct; the viral event demonstrated that there is a quick thinking well humoured proportion of the F1 community with impressive photo editing skills. To have this level of engagement is something Formula One Management should be proud of and embrace. Perhaps, for example, through a 3 part competition run by sponsor Tata Communications (@tata_comm) evaluating the graphical content and future broadcast plans for the sport.

Putting the viral event into perspective, #placesalonsowouldratherbe saw 14,500 imprints on twitter; this is less than 15% of the total number of imprints from #BrazilGP, the event specific naming convention used by the Formula One twitter feed. Taking this a step further the Formula One Qualifying broadcast will likely have been seen by an audience of at least 20,000,000 people (a very conservative number even taking into consideration the current decline in F1 viewing figures) this would mean that 0.07% of the F1 audience participated in this viral event. Is this really an audience the Formula One Management Twitter feed should be seeking to capitalise on?

I’ve read a number of articles commenting that other sports or racing series do a far better job than Formula One on engaging with fans through social media, and whilst it can be argued that prior to the 2015 season this would be accurate it is no longer correct. The Formula One Twitter feed serves as an information point, providing exclusive pre and post-race content. It does not engage in conversation with followers, fans or teams, and why would it? Would it be an effective use of resources? I have read comments that Formula E and other racing series do a better job at engaging with their fan base through social media, on this point I disagree. The main twitter feed for Formula E operates in the same way as the Formula One feed. On occasion the individual maintaining the feed will acknowledge or respond to messages, but only in an informative style and this can only be achieved due to scale of the audience. The reputation Formula E has with respect to social media is borne out of the team and sponsor engagement.

Again some perspective @F1 has 1.68M followers on twitter, @FIAFormulaE has 76K followers on twitter. It is not realistic to expect Formula One Management to engage with fans in the same way Formula E can, the resource requirement is not realistic. @SauberF1Team has over 300K followers (the smallest of any F1 team) @AmlinAndretti has 13K followers (the most of any Formula E team) it is not realistic to expect the same level of engagement from teams in each series.

In my opinion, the #placesalonsowouldratherbe viral event served to demonstrate a failing not from @F1 but from that of @MclarenF1 and its sponsors. Many Formula One team sponsors have taken to live tweeting during on-track action, commenting on events as they unfold, commonplace with feeds such as Mobil’s @Grid1TV, or on the progress of their respective team or drivers seen with Force India F1 team sponsor @hypeenergy for example. I understand there are restrictions on the usage of team branding without agreement for fear or misrepresenting the team brand or ethos but imagine if the Hilton Group had taken the #placesalonsowouldratherbe viral event and placed Alonso in the lobby of their flagship hotel, or if they turned the hashtag into a discount code for online bookings.

For me the failing of the #placesalonsowouldratherbe viral was that sponsors did not react quickly enough. Perhaps it is time for the teams, not F1, to further adapt to social media. Give sponsors a freedom to engage in a way they believe their followers will respond.

 

 

As a side note, the image of Alonso used in this article, in every #placesalonsowouldratherbe tweet and subsequent article is the property of FOM. It was taken from their broadcast feed. FOM would be entirely within their rights to pursue copyright infringement cases for each use. The F1 of old may have taken this approach. F1 has is embracing social media.

Formula One: Circuit slower than in 2014 – Free Practice Round Up

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Mercedes drivers went first and second in both free practice sessions at Interlagos, with Lewis Hamilton using the P Zero White medium tyre to go quickest in the morning and Nico Rosberg setting fastest time of the day on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre in the afternoon.

Today was the first opportunity that the teams had to assess tyre wear and degradation on each compound heading into the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend: traditionally a key factor, due to the constant cornering during a short but frenetic and bumpy lap.

As is often the case at Sao Paulo, the weather conditions were inconsistent, with warm track temperatures in the morning but light rain at lunchtime, which dried up before the start of FP2.

The drivers used the morning FP1 session to reacclimatise to the track and determine the behaviour of the medium tyre, in ambient temperatures close to 30 degrees centigrade. In the afternoon, both the medium and soft tyres were used during FP2: complete with some long runs to assess wear and degradation on each compound with different fuel loads. With a high risk of rain returning, the teams were all straight out on track in FP2, aiming to maximise the opportunity of collecting useful data.

The session times were slower than their equivalents in 2014, due to a dirty surface and some damaged kerbs to last year, which meant that the drivers modified their lines in order to avoid them.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: “Friday’s two free practice sessions followed the established pattern of running, although the threat of rain – which never really materialised – perhaps added a certain pressure on teams to gather as much information as quickly as possible. We’ve certainly got plenty of data to analyse now, and while wear and degradation is typically high in Brazil, we are not noticing anything out of the ordinary from a tyre perspective so far. The track is still evolving so tomorrow’s comparative data will be interesting too, but we should be in for a busy race with plenty of strategies and pit stops. As always, the unknown factor seems to be the weather.”
FP1:
1.Hamilton 1m13.543s Medium new
2.Rosberg 1m14.062s Medium used
3.Vettel 1m14.168s Medium used

FP2:

1.Rosberg 1m12.385s Soft new

2.Hamilton 1m12.843s Soft new

3.Vettel 1m13.345s Soft new