Category Archives: Formula One

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Manor F1 Team apparel supplier Erreà + Store Discount Code

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Malaysian Grand Prix - Practice Day - Sepang, Malaysia

In the first of a series of exclusive interviews with commercial and technical partners involved in Motorsport, Fabrizio Taddei, Export manager for Erreà, the apparel partner for the Manor Formula One team offers unique insights into; how the partnership was initially established, the challenges & opportunities Formula One engagement presents, and the satisfaction around launching the special edition Alexander Rossi fan-wear ahead of this weekends United States Grand Prix.

By way of thanking supporters of the Manor F1 team and readers of JWGrandPrix, Erreà would like to offer this exclusive discount code: PROMOMANORF1 offering a 15% discount on any purchase in the Erreà online store.

Fabrizio, let’s kick off with you talking us through how the Erreà Manor F1 team partnership came about?

I’ve always been a motor sport and F1 fan since my teenage years in the 70’s and I was lucky to meet 2 former members of Marussia, Mr. Mike Scudamore and Mr. Mark Zimmer at a famous Sport Business event in London, by start talking we found so many common points and we start planning a possible partnership.  Therefore it was a little bit of good luck and a little bit of try to make the best you can out of a possible business meeting.

What are Erreà’s expectations around the Manor Marussia F1 team agreement?

First of all, for us passion is always the driving force when entering into a new arena or a new “circuit”.  We are truly passionate sports people. A result is always the sum of many aspects that just adds up.

The exposure is important due to the global reach of F1, entering in a new sport is important for us to learn new skills and to bring something of our experience into a new market.

Alexander Rossi

With Alexander Rossi joining the team for selected races in the conclusion of the season, Erreà have made available to fans special edition Manor F1 Team clothing, how important to you was it to have an American driver join the team line up?

This decision was taken in conjunction with Manor F1 team. Despite a very tight deadline we managed to produce a special t-shirt and a special driver cap in time for Austin.

This is what we consider the start of a more important and wide range of products for the coming season. Due to the very hectic start of the season for Manor, everything this season was made at the last moment therefore it was more a case of reacting quickly compare to planning for us and for the team.

I truly believe we both did a great job and the guys and girls in the team look great and sporty in their Erreà gear. Having Alexander in the team for Austin is just the icing on the cake. All the Manor drivers are really nice guys and great drivers and I was lucky to meet all of them, Will, Roberto, Fabio and Alexander.

Will Erreà build on 2015 Formula One engagement over 2016 and beyond?

This is the plan.

Did Erreà define any key performance indicators around Formula One involvement in 2015?

The indication and the feedback from fans have been very good, as I’ve said before this is a new venture for us in year one we’re not looking for any key indication; we are looking to build the foundations for a future in supplying Motor Sport teams.

How would Erreà describe its experience of the world of Formula One and its fans when compared to other sporting categories?

For me personally and for other members of Erreà staff that were fortunate to touch “first hands” the F1 community, so far it’s a great experience. There is nothing more exciting than Motor Sport, fans are incredibly passionate and my feeling is that they also are more “knowledgeable” about their sport compare to other fans in other sports.

Has Formula One involvement presented any unexpected challenges or opportunities for Erreà?

Not really, the business principle for a manufacturer and supplier like us are more or less still the same, obviously it was important a constant dialogue with Manor staff to understand fully what their needs are.

What trends do Erreà see emerging in the sportswear industry in the coming years? 

Complicated question, it really changes from sport to sport and it is not easy to reply in few lines. Personally I believe that the key factor will be for a manufacturer to integrate new technology applications (gprs, cardios, sensors etc.) into technical gear. Everything is moving towards a more “performance gear”

Would Erreà recommend Formula One involvement to other companies as a tool to increase brand awareness? 

Yes, with no doubt.

How does the cost of Formula One involvement compare to other sports? 

F1 is the pinnacle of professional sport; therefore it’s more expensive compare to other sports.

What has been Erreà’s highlight of the Formula One season? 

Everything was great and challenging for us, from supplying the entire team one week before Melbourne without a contract and with a gentleman hand shake, to supplying a new range in the middle of the season, to decide, together with Manor, to produce special gear for Alexander for his home GP. Sport is about challenges and we had plenty of challenges this year with Manor if you consider that all this was mixed with our “normal” business of supplying Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Rugby, Handball and Running teams throughout Europe.

Fabrizio, thank you for your time today, to conclude our interview could you give an overview of Erreà as a company?

The company was founded in 1988 by the Chairman, Mr. Angelo Gandolfi, his wife Rosanna and 5 employees of which 3 are still at the company.  Once a Football player and a team manager, Angelo Gandolfi eventually decided to embark in a new adventure and make his dream come true. He therefore combined his love for sport with his attention to details, a characteristic that has always been peculiar to him, and in 1988 he began to produce the first Erreà technical athletic apparel.

In a few years, thanks to the high quality of its products, the greatest attention to design details and its excellent customer service, Erreà grew unrestrained. It became the technical sponsor to a number of sports clubs, from junior amateur teams to some of the most famous clubs in Italy and around the world: not just football, but also volleyball, basketball, rugby and other sports. Our values reflect the strictest values of true athletes, who do not want to accept any compromise when physical exercise is most demanding: that is why so many teams have chosen our technical athletic apparel. Nowadays Erreà Sport, based on the experience gained throughout the years, produces customised sportswear and garments thanks to two fundamental factors: the internal and direct management of the entire production chain and the creativity and skills of its graphic designers. One of Erreà’ s great prides is that it produces all of its products in-house, which means that the products are conceived, designed and manufactured within the corporate plants. This assures a final product of excellent quality and delivery of a flawless customer service, capable of satisfying any need, even at short notice.

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Formula One: Mclaren-Honda confirm Hilton partnership extension to 2019

Mclaren Hilton

McLaren-Honda today announced the extension of its corporate partnership with leading global hospitality company Hilton Worldwide by an additional year until the end of 2019. The renewal coincides with the 10th anniversary of the partnership, which began in the autumn of 2005, and will be marked by ‘Hilton.com – book direct’ sidepod branding on the McLaren-Honda MP4-30s at two strategically key races – the US Grand Prix, in Austin, Texas, starting this weekend, and the Mexican Grand Prix, which returns to the F1 calendar after a 23-year absence, in Mexico City.

Speaking about the new deal, Aligi Gardenghi, vice-president marketing, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Hilton Worldwide, said, “We are delighted to be extending our partnership with McLaren-Honda, providing the team with a home from home at the majority of race locations they travel to across our 4,440 hotels worldwide.

“It is through key partnerships like this that we continue to be able to offer our Hilton HHonors members exciting, authentic, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences which they can use their points to redeem through our Hilton HHonors auction site.”

McLaren Technology Group Chairman and CEO, Ron Dennis, added, “It’s extremely satisfying to see a global player such as Hilton underline its confidence and commitment to the McLaren brand by signing a renewal through until the end of 2019. That really emphasises the importance we place on nurturing and building long-term relationships with like-minded corporate partners.

“This is an exciting period of growth for the racing organisation, and this announcement clearly demonstrates the enduring appeal and longevity of McLaren. It is one of the sports world’s most enduring and iconic brands.”

OPINION: Hilton extending it’s partnership with Mclaren-Honda serves to underline the faith placed upon the relationship to deliver brand exposure which will only be achieved through improved performance. This announcement coupled with the recently confirmed Chandon partnership for 2016 demonstrate the underlying credibility of the Mclaren brand. 

Increased branding in countries of particular relevance to corporate partners is rapidly becoming the norm with across all teams, perhaps it is time for FOM and the FIA to review sporting regulations around freedoms in livery change during the season.

Formula One: Renault Sport confirm ICE upgrades available to both Red Bull Racing & Toro Rosso for Austin

renault sport

Rémi Taffin, Director of Operations

There’s very little not to love about Austin. The setting is impressive, the welcome is warm and the track is one of the best we visit all year. There are some very impressive corners and flowing complexes that challenge drivers, engineers and the technology we use. The power unit works in the mid to high range throughout the lap, with high average speeds and some very technical sections.

We will have our new specification of power unit available to use in Austin. The principal changes involve the internals of the ICE to give improved power and efficiency. We know that introducing the new PU will incur a grid penalty so the decision to use will be made in full consultation with the teams. At this point of the season obviously points are crucial so if circumstances allow then we will use on track.

Whatever spec we do use, we are looking forward to Austin. Our reliability has been good in the last three races and performance more in line with our expectations; both our teams just need a clean weekend to show the improved potential of both packages.

Austin Power Unit details

ICE

– Austin is one of the most demanding tracks of the second part of the year for the ICE, with just under 50% of the lap taken at wide open throttle, rising to 55% in qualifying. The average speed will be around 200kph with top speed peaking at over 320kph.

– The longest straight is the burst between Turns 11 and 12 at 1,016m. The power units will spend approx. 14secs at wide open throttle. Top speed is 325kph at the end of this straight in qualifying trim.

– The changes in gradient stress the internals of the ICE. When going downhill the mechanical parts and lubricants are squashed to the bottom of the car but when going uphill they are pushed back upwards. These repeated changes of pressure are unusual on the calendar and will be monitored over the weekend to avoid any potential problems or pressure drops.

Turbocharger 

– Austin’s gradient changes are an important consideration. The run from pole to the first corner is the most acute example of the change in altitude. The track rises 25m over 500m – equivalent to a gradient of 1 in 20 but at its steepest is 1 in 8. This elevation change means the turbo rotates at a higher speed to generate the same amount of power at the top of the hill.

– The low ambient humidity of the Texan grasslands has a big effect on the power units. The air will contain more oxygen and a naturally-aspirated ICE will generate more power, but the aridity is very taxing on the internals. A turbocharged engine mitigates this effect by varying the rotational speed to provide the correct amount of air to the ICE.

MGU-K

– The circuit layout with its flowing corners in the first sector, straight line in the second sector and stop/start character of the last sector makes the consumption per kilometre one of the highest of the season. This makes energy recovery through braking crucial.

– The third sector is very stop-start, but the hairpins and tight corners give the MGU-K a chance to recharge. At each corner, the driver will stamp on the brakes, putting large forces through the K and filling the battery once more.

– Three hairpins triangulate the track; Turns 1, 11 and 12. Revs drop to 7,500rpm and the car speed to just 80kph. All three come after a long period of open throttle, meaning engine braking and rear stability on the apex are crucial. The exits and correct engine response from the hairpins are however equally important since they each lead back onto another straight.

MGU-H

– A high percentage of Sector two is given to the long straight, which will give the MGU-H a chance to recover energy from the ICE.

– The flowing section between Turns 2 and 4 require the driver to maintain a constant level of throttle. This will require the ICE to turn at a constant speed, producing a steady stream of exhaust gas, which the MGU-H can recover.

OPINION: Renault bringing their highly anticipated engine upgrades to Austin is a significant statement of intent, if nothing more than to cement Renault remain committed to the sport and the current regulations.  Renault have not officially confirmed the number of tokens used for this upgrade, or if it represents the final development of the season. No doubt they will be keen to validate the developments on track and will encourage one or both customer teams to run the updated Power unit. 

Opinion: Formula One – The Championship that could have been

Sochi2015Start

On December 10th 2013 much to the consternation the majority of Formula One’s global audience, the FIA announced plans to award double points for the final race of the 2014 season in Abu Dhabi. Bernie Ecclestone later revealed this decision was in fact a compromise with him having initially tabled a proposal for double points to be awarded in the final three races of the season.

Throughout the 2014 season; media and fans continuously voiced disdain towards the rule, arguing the rule reduced the sport to entertainment and detracted from a driver or team’s performance across the season. As it turned out the rule had almost no bearing on either the drivers’ or constructors’ championship standings, but the rule was drew such criticism it was dropped after only one season. The sport’s governing body listened to the fans.

Fast forward to the 2015 US Grand Prix should Mercedes achieve a 1, 2 finish with Lewis Hamilton winning; the drivers’ championship will be sealed with three races left to run. This coupled with Mercedes securing the constructors championship in Russia earlier this month, should we be asking was Bernie Ecclestone right after all?

Had Bernie Ecclestone got his wish and double points been available for the final three races of this season, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton would head into the closing races all with a chance of winning the drivers’ championship. Would that be such a bad thing?

Over the course of the 2015 season Ferrari has shown they are moving into a position to challenge Mercedes with genuine race pace. Had double points been available for Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, Ferrari could have dedicated all resources toward winning those final three races and challenging Lewis Hamilton for this year’s championship. Under the current system both Mercedes and Ferrari have focused efforts of 2016 acknowledging the battle for 2015 is all but over.

The current points system gives equal weighting to every race across the season, but in a championship in which a single driver or team has dominated the end result have never really looked in doubt. Adding an element of jeopardy to the championship could have served to sustain or even grow audiences, forced teams to remain focused on the current championship rather than diverting resources to the following season, and left drivers feeling vulnerable unable to rely on performances earlier in the year.

So next time Bernie Ecclestone or the FIA announce a radical rule change challenging the fundamentals of the sport we hold so dear, perhaps we should hear them out and give their ideas a chance!

Formula One: US Grand Prix – Alexander Rossi Takes On COTA

Alex Rossi

Courtesy of Mobil 1 The Grid, Alex Rossi previews the US Grand Prix with iZone Driver Performance Racing Simulators

Opinion:  Thanks to Mobil 1 The Grid for posting this preview. Alex Rossi’s presence on the F1 grid for the 2015 COTA Grand Prix is great news for the Circuit and Formula One in general. Having an American driver on the grid should serve to further endear the track with locals and heighten the atmosphere at this fantastic venue. the COTA circuit manages to encapsulate some of the greatest corners in recent F1 history and bring them together into one single thrilling lap.

Rossi and the Manor team promised additional sponsorship backing from the Austin GP onwards, with his Californian roots perhaps Alex has been able to tap into the Silicon Valley Billions, adding to the mid season Airbnb partnership, I can picture the Uber Manor F1 team now! A strong showing in Austin should put Rossi in a good position for a full season campaign with the team in 2016.

Opinion: Formula One – Breaking down the 4th wall

Sochi

Over the weekend of the Russian GP I found myself in Austria,  unable to pick up UK F1 coverage either SKY Sports F1 (my preference) or BBC. To be honest after a rather dull race in 2014 my expectations for the race  were quite low, so trying to stay positive I looked upon the race as an opportunity to work on my German.

ORF

Discovering ORF hold Austrian rights for sport I was excited to hear through Twitter positive reports about the broadcaster, especially when compared to RTL and importantly had no breaks during the race. It then dawned on me I would get to hear interviews from the likes of Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda in their mother tongue, and I might get to hear a new perspective on the sport.

Now, I should preface this with a comment that the race coverage was good, possibly helped by a great race. Co commentary from Adrian Sutil was, different, and I definitely learned some new German. Who knew that the marbles that caught out Romain Grosjean whilst following Jenson Button through T3 were actually Gummikugeln ( yes I had visions of gummy bears attacking a Lotus) but the pre and post race interviews… terrible.

I would have thought with any language barrier removed team members and drivers, such as Hulkenberg and Rosberg would be more engaged more insightful and dare I said more entertaining. I experienced the exact opposite. It felt like Toto Wollf was reading a script and the drivers (yes I know they had bad results) couldn’t wait for the interviews to be over.

skysportsf1

BBC Sport

So in summary I would like to thank the production team behind the humanised presenting style the BBC launched back in 2009 when they regained the UK broadcasting rights to the sport. Both the BBC and SKY have managed to break down the 4th wall making teams and drivers real people. Perhaps this approach isn’t right for Austrian audiences, but as guy on holiday I can tell you a missed it, so much so I re watched the entire SKY Sports broadcast when I got home on Tuesday!

Formula One: Sochi Stats & Round Up

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What a difference a year makes! Formula One returned to Russia this weekend and for most fans it was fair to say expectations of a great race were pretty low. Thankfully the second running of the Sochi GP proved to be a huge improvement, with excitement through to the final lap.

Congratulations to Lewis on his win, to Mercedes in clinching their 2nd successive constructors crown, and a huge congratulations to Sergio Perez and the Force India team for a well deserved podium. Gambling on an early pit stop during the send safety car period Sergio kept his calm despite huge almost overwhelming pressure to claim his second podium for the team

Congratulations also to Pirelli on the extension of their sole supply agreement to F1 through to 2019. Further details to follow in due course. In the meantime enjoy this inspired Ushanka (pictured) look Pirelli bought to the podium and these fantastic info-graphics!

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Formula One: Carlos Sainz & Team update

Sainz
Driver & Team Update:
Carlos Sainz (STR10-04, Car 55)
Third Practice Session – Best lap: 1:42.683, pos. 15th, 19 laps
Qualifying – did not take part
“Hi everyone! As you can see I am fine. My back and my neck are just a bit sore from the accident, but I’m totally ready. Hopefully tomorrow I will wake up in a good shape and maybe I can try and race – this is definitely the intention! Obviously we need to be cautious… I’ve always been conscious. As soon as the accident happened I tried to talk to the team on the radio, but it wasn’t working and those must have been some scary moments… I’d like to thank everyone for their support, it’s really nice to receive all your messages at a moment like this one! I hope to see you all tomorrow out there!”
 
Phil Charles (Chief Race Engineer)
“Our first considerations are obviously for Carlos. It was quite a big crash for him but it’s good to know that he feels well. We will now need to wait until tomorrow morning to hear if his final FIA medical checks are okay.
On the engineering side we are still finalising the details of our crash investigation. However so far there are no significant findings to talk about. From a personal point of view I am quite impressed to see that the car has survived such a shunt in quite a healthy way: the nose crush zone has worked very efficiently and the four wheels were still retained by the tethers. The monocoque looks to be in good shape as well.
Talking a little more about the car performance, both drivers were settling down nicely in P3 before Carlos’s crash, doing long-run tyre tests early on. In qualifying with Max, he did a good job as we were still evolving our approach as well, given we didn’t get a short run with either driver in P3. Most significantly we had to make a decision on the way we used the tyres selecting between build-push or push-charge-push. We elected for the second option in Q3. It is obviously difficult to say for sure which would have been better but Max put together a pretty good lap and I think we achieved most of what we could have today with our package.”
Franz Tost (Team Principal)
“I’m very happy that Carlos is ok and out of hospital, this is the most important thing for us! I hope he will have a good night’s sleep and tomorrow morning he will have to go through the FIA medical checks to decide if he will be able to take part in tomorrow’s race. Now, just to clarify what happened, prior to the accident, Carlos had completed a long-run on the Option tyre, before changing to the Prime to do two further laps. On Primes the grip level is lower. In addition he had changed the brake shape on the steering wheel, which meant he had more braking rearwards. A combination of these two factors might have been the cause of the rears locking, which made the car uncontrollable.”
Opinion: Carlos Sainz was fortunate to avoid serious injury in this FP3 incident. Whilst the team remain unclear as to the cause, the implication from Franz Tost appears to be driver error.  All parties seem hopeful Sainz will participate in tomorrow’s race. Presumably to be considered mandatory FIA regulated medical tests will need to be completed tomorrow morning. 

Opinion : Social Media and Formula One

Japanstart

Barely a day goes by went I don’t see someone commenting on the need for Formula One to embrace social media.  The latest coming Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche

Dieiter-Zetsche-Annual-North-American-Auto

“F1 must instead embrace the digital world and develop interactive strategies”

There can be no denying Formula One Management, FOM,  have taken a very cautious approach to social media, on the face of it this is born out of concern around damaging the cash cow that has been national broadcasting rights and the lack of clarity around how to monetise social media. Both concerns are valid. Social Media in its current form is great for increasing brand awareness, but Formula One is established. So how will social media improve Formula One as a product?

2015 has seen significant investment from FOM in improving content available through social media and developing a vehicle to deliver this content seen in the much improved F1 app.  Charges exist around elements of the content available but a surprising amount of exclusive insight has been made available with no restrictions or charges.

This is just the start. The folk at FOM are a bunch of clever people, they haven’t let go of the challenge to monetise a social media following. Mindful of developments in other sports, they have identified a commercial opportunity. Rather than simply launching a service, in the true spirit of social media, they plan to make their followers believe they’ve devised the opportunity themselves. What is this opportunity? In race gambling. A long established gambling model in Football, Rugby, Horse Racing, In play gambling seems to be such a great fit for Formula One it’s amazing no one has thought about it already!

Working with Tata Communications FOM launched a fan competition earlier this year asking entrants to propose technical solutions to enable fans to make and communicate predictions on race outcomes during the race itself. The only element not called out in the project brief was suggesting fans ability to monetise successful predictions. Whilst the winning entries refer to awards for success in points, turning points money is not a huge step.

Armed with fan support FOM have potentially unlocked an entire new sector for the sport. FOM could integrate live odds into social media feed and develop gambling platform through their own service, or more likely demonstrate proof of concept and sell in race gambling rights to the highest bidder.

skysports

skybet

Imagine if Sky Sports Commentary included live odds available only through Sky Bet on events taking place during the race.

You may wonder what a fan could bet on during a race; the more appropriate question is what couldn’t they bet on, 1st pitstop for car 44, lap on which fastest lap would be set, the list is endless.

You may also wonder how the odds for such events would be calculated. Well the data is already in place, teams have predictive software running throughout a race weekend to optimise performance and results, the data collection used for this could adapted with minimal investment to develop live odds.

FOM have, through PayTV agreements, confirmed there is an audience prepared to pay for the sport. This audience is likely to have a high confidence around their appreciation for the sport and highly likely to be willing to put their money where their mouth is. Especially is there is a feeling of being able to outsmart the management!

So FOM use their social media platform to launch in race gambling. They prove the concept, sell the rights or allow teams to generate income through agreements with gambling sites (for a fee of course) and then what?  Formula One Management move on, on to the next project to further add value to the product that is Formula One.