The 2018 French Grand Prix is the first race of Formula One’s Triple header. Over three successive weeks, Formula One will first the South of France, the mountains of Speilberg, Austria, and the more than likely soggy Silverstone.
Whilst the prospect of back to back to back races may leave drivers and fans drooling, the prospect is a little more daunting for the supply and logistics team tasked with ensuring each event runs seamlessly. In the 48 hours following each event DHL, The Official Formula One Logistics Partner, is tasked with moving more than 1000 tonnes of freight safely and on time.
“For the spectators at the track and in front of their TV sets view, a Grand Prix is a huge spectacle,” says Martin Pople, Trackside Manager at DHL. The logistical effort behind it, on the other hand, remains invisible to the spectators: “A single race weekend involves months of planning and the work of two dozen of our specialists,” explains Pople. The fact that this “race behind the race” is fast and safe is also due to the expertise of the DHL specialists.
The challenge ahead for DHL and the race teams themselves is not something drivers take for granted, Force India driver Esteban Ocon, reflecting “When I was a kid I wanted to race every day, so now it’s coming alive, that dream. I think, on the other hand, I’m thinking about the mechanics, all the people travelling around Europe, the truckies, everybody in the teams, you know, building up those beautiful hospitalities and tents and all that. This is going to be very hard for them, so we need to make life as easy for them as we can, because at the end, we are a team, so we need to support everybody.”
Since the 2018 F1 Triple Header was announced, teams and support crew will have been evaluating the most efficient way in which to manage both the physical and logistical challenge the schedule creates. The team that comes out of top come Sunday evening in Silverstone will likely be very well placed for the remainder of the season.
As with any support role, the role of the DHL Specialists will likely and for their sake hopefully go largely unnoticed. Their role is to ensure on time in full delivery of the championship and teams needs. When they manage this, they’ve done their job. The painstaking work required to ensure this performance will likely pass most people by.
So when if with three successive F1 race weekends, your thirst for F1 news isn’t quenched, check out the DHL Triple Header Diary for all the latest information plus fascinating background stories from Le Castellet, Spielberg and Silverstone. dhl.com/F1TripleHeader
Formula One returns to Paul Ricard this weekend for the first French Grand Prix in twenty years. The legendary circuit redeveloped in the early 2000’s under the guidance of former CEO Phillipe Gurdjian, has in recent years become a venue of choice for Formula One tyre development testing and was the logical home for the return of Formula One to its spiritual home of France.
Redevelopment of the Paul Ricard circuit was initially focused on the venue hosting racing testing and development programmes. Succesful completion of this objective came in the form of the FIA awarded the circuit as First Centre of Excellence for Motor Sport Safety. This recognition comes in part due to the layout of the circuit, it’s approach to run off areas and ability to sustainably simulate dynamic weather situations. As mentioned in an early article here on JWGP available here.
Whilst the venue’s approach to vehicle safety, through large tarmac covered run-off areas, perfectly lends itself to performance testing, minimising the risk of a driver being penalised for on-track errors and will likely lead to teams pushing the boundaries of track limits throughout the Grand Prix weekend. Coupled with this, the current philosophy surrounding Formula One aerodynamics have left many well informed observers to suggest overtaking will be somewhat of a challenge through the race:
Don’t want to put a dampener on it before it’s started but doesn’t look like there’s an overtaking spot on the French Grand Prix track. Got to be a concern the braking zones into Turns One and Eight are too short and the corners too fast. Hope to be proved wrong pic.twitter.com/hlX0yta6JE
With this in mind Formula One is at risk of a fourth successive event in which on track excitement looks set to be minimal. But worry not, there is a solution! As mentioned the Paul Ricard HTTT (High Tech Test Track) has a visionary trick up its sleeve, under the guidance of previous circuit owner Bernie Ecclestone and more recently his ex-wife Slavica, the circuit has an inbuilt sprinkler system.
The system is capable of simulating a multitude of wet weather scenarios at the touch of a button. Formula One returning to France and Paul Ricard offers owners Liberty Media the ability to bring to life the long-promised proposal from Mr Ecclestone to spice up Formula One through the use of sprinklers! (check out some of his other proposals here)
Of course, with no announcement of such trial being made prior to the race weekend, Liberty Media will have to manufacture a scenario in which the magic sprinkler system can be activated by mistake thus creating global media coverage for an otherwise uninspiring event. Winne Harlow, what are you up to this weekend? 😉
Ahead of the opening rounds of the 2018 European Formula 3 Championship, Blockchain market leaders, Dragon Corp, has announced a multiyear partnership with leading the Hitech F3 team. The partnership, which spans both the European and Asian F3 championships, forms a key element to Dragon’s increasing involvement in motorsport and sees the industry leaders supporting tomorrow’s stars of Formula One as they find their way up the motorsport ladder.
Commenting on the agreement Paul Moynan, Co-Founder of Dragon remarked: “Everybody at Dragon is very excited to begin this long-term partnership with Hitech GP. We have identified motorsport as a strategic avenue for growing awareness of our brand and the international reach of Hitech GP’s Formula 3 programmes offers significant visibility in our key markets.”
Following a series of strong performances in pre-season testing from young drivers, Enaam Ahmed, Alex Palou, and Ben Hingeley, Hitech head into the 2018 season as favourites.
Dragon’s partnership with Hitech builds on existing partnerships in motorsports established in Formula E with Championship Leaders, Techeetah, and in ELMS with Spa 6hrs Class winners G-Drive.
On the announcement, Hitech GP Team Principle Oliver Oakes commented:
“The relationship with Dragon represents our most significant partnership to date and offers significant long-term investment for our Formula 3 programmes. Dragon is a young and exciting company with big ambitions, and they recognise the value of motorsport’s global stage to grow their brand. We share their love of technology and innovation, and will work hard to ensure the partnership achieves our shared objectives on and off track.”
In the coming months, further details regarding Dragon’s involvement with Hitech in the Asian Formula 3 Championship alongside additional programmes with the Hitech GP team will be announced.
As the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship heads to Barcelona, silly season is kicking into high gear. At present, when looking towards the 2019 season, the state of play for the likely top four finishers in the Constructors Championship this season is as follows:
Mercedes: both drivers out of contract
Ferrari: One seat open
Red Bull Racing: One seat open
Renault: both seats open
Being only four races into the 2018 season it may seem a little premature to be talking about 2019, but the events of Baku are likely to play a pivotal role in the decision-making process across the market.
With 99% certainty, it can be expected Lewis Hamilton will or has already renewed his commitment to Mercedes for 2019 and beyond in what will likely be his final contract as a driver in Formula One. Leaving a single seat with the Silver Arrows. Whilst many have questioned his outright ability to take the fight to his competitors, Bottas has proved to be a reliable second driver for the team. Lewis’ response towards his teammate after being gifted his first win of the year, illustrates a team working in cohesion. Management would have to think long and hard about what they were trying to achieve in looking to replace Bottas. I expect he will be retained for a third season unless Ocon finds himself without a seat at Force India.
Over at the Scuderia, Kimi has been in his final season since he rejoined the team in 2014. Whilst never stella, he again creates an environment in which his teammate can thrive. Arguably he weakens Ferrari’s ability to challenge for the constructor’s championship, but I personally believe he will either be renewed on another single year agreement, or make way for Charles le Clerc, who finally started to prove his strengths with a fantastic performance in Baku. I do not believe Ferrari are considering Ricciardo as a possible partner for to Vettel.
Then to the curious case of Red Bull Racing. In Baku, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo broke the golden rule of motorsport and took each other out. The incident was a long time coming, after a race in which multiple passes between the two had already resulted in contact, the drivers compromised their own strategies and slowed each other down. With the team standing by their philosophy to “let them race”. In the short term, I don’t believe this will destroy team harmony, but it went some way to sowing the seed in Riccardo’s mind that a team not willing to favour one driver over the other may not be the team in which he achieves his ambition of securing a world championship. This coupled with the widely expected announcement that Red Bull Racing will switch to Honda power for 2019, which whilst much more competitive with Toro Rosso than it ever was with McLaren may not quite be at the level to compete for championships.
Then to Renault, a team whose 3-year plan to reinvigorate the Enstone facility and rebuild a once championship contending team, is now starting to come to fruition. From 2019 onwards Renault should expect to be challenging for outright wins and comfortably challenge the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari. In Hulkenberg and Sainz the team have a formidable but unthreatening lineup. As the team look to challenge for wins, they need a superstar driver. Could Ricciardo become Renault’s next superstar? As a works team, they are in a position to offer the salary driver of Ricciardo’s calibre should command, and they can offer something no other team can, the ability to shape the team around him. Some will say it would be risky for Ricciardo to give up a race-winning seat for a team which hasn’t won a race in over a decade, but the same could be said for Lewis Hamilton when he walked away from McLaren. Renault presents opportunities Red Bull Racing simply can’t offer.
Should the top four teams be covered by four manufacturers, it would be fantastic to see the top four drivers of the current era; Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, and Ricciardo behind the wheel of different cars each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Daniel Ricciardo racing for the Renault Sport F1 Team for 2019 is my prediction for the big shift this silly season. Sainz may well return to Red Bull fold as a result, but I personally believe he will remain with Renault with Hulkenberg heading to life after F1 and Gasly moving into the Red Bull Racing team.
In the aftermath of the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which saw Aston Martin Red Bull Racing teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen collide after a race long battle for position, many questions have been raised as to how the team should respond and what happens next. When contemplating the options moving forward, opinions and viewpoints aren’t always based on a fair representation of a situation or the individuals involved.
Opinions and judgements from fans and in many cases the media as to the temperament and character of a driver are more often than not based on 2-3 minute sound bites from drivers over a race weekend. It is easy to build a false impression of a driver and their perspective on issues.
Over the past 12-24 months, long-form interviews in the form of independent podcasts have grown significantly in popularity, offering a platform for individuals to offer a greater level of insight into their personalities and what makes them tick. Earlier this year Natalie Pinkham launched her own series of podcasts “In the Pink” with Daniel Ricciardo being one of the first guests.
Recorded ahead of the 2018 season, the interview covers everything from his upbringing in Perth, his almost entirely trouble free, save for a small incident with superglue, school life, to his taste in music, and self-belief. When fans seek to understand the man behind the smile, and what may or may not be going through his head following the incident in Baku, they would do well to listen to this podcast.
It would be great to see other drivers follow Ricciardo’s lead and sit down for an hour or so to record an hour ‘in the Pink”!
To download Daniel Ricciardo’s’ interview with Natalie Pinkham or subscribe to ‘In the Pink’ on the Acast network follow this link.
Leaders in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the Techeetah Formula E team announce a new partnership with SPINE OPTICS.
The Techeetah Formula E team rounded out the South American leg of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship with a second win of the season for Championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne yesterday.
The team and driver now hold a commanding lead in the constructors and drivers championships respectively. Highlights of the thrilling race from Punta del Este can be seen here:
Away from the circuit, the team have been finding success with new partnerships in the form of Blockchain Crypto Currency Dragon Inc, and industry-leading eyewear manufacturer SPINE OPTICS. As a core brand within the Mondottica group, SPINE OPTICS are revolutionising eyewear with a patented arm design.
The Techeetah Formula E Team SPINE OPTICS Partnership will see all Team Members wearing SPINE wear for the remainder of the FIA Formula E Season with SPINE branding featuring prominently within the team environment.
For more information on SPINE head to their website here.
Ahead of the 6th round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship coming from Punta del Este, Championship Leaders Techeetah have announced a major new partnership with Blockchain platform provider Dragon Inc.
The partnership will see Dragon branding feature prominently on the side pods of the four TECHEETAH race cars, garage, race wear and drivers’ helmets.
Speaking on the announcement Paul Moynan, Dragon Inc. Co-Founder commented: “Dragon Inc. is pioneering a new era of blockchain and entertainment while Formula E is leading the electric revolution across motorsports, it is only natural that both come together for a ground-breaking collaboration. Both Dragon and TECHEETAH are applying technologies that are reinventing their respective industries. We seek to support one another not only in the sharing of technology but by bringing a greater awareness of the benefits to the world stage. Being a former Royal Marine Commando, I’m taught to lead by example and set our standards high to pave the way for others to follow; the combination of Formula E and Dragon’s blockchain solutions is doing just that. This will be an amazing year for both our teams and by working together we can build something bigger than ourselves,”
Keith Smout, Chief Commercial Officer for Techeetah added ” We are very pleased to welcome Dragon Inc. to the team. We are constantly striving to bring new and exciting partners on board and with Dragon now joining us we feel that we have accomplished this. We look forward to helping build their brand and share our aligned technologies as we push for the Formula E Championship,”
Select motorsport related media outlets and a UK based news outlet have built themselves into a little bit of a frenzy over the past few days around possible similarities between the new Formula One logo and a possible logo for 3M brand Futuro.
It has been suggested Formula One may be facing difficulties around the use of their newly launched logo due to these possible similarities, and whilst it is true the shapes used to suggest the letter F in both the new Formula One logo and an image of Futuro product do bear a resemblance, it seems appropriate to add a little context to this continuing story.
Prior to launching the new Formula One logo Liberty Media will have secured all necessary trademark and copyright registrations to ensure no restrictions of use. This is standard practice. Any contest or conflict will have been addressed in private significantly ahead of launch.
With respect to the image of Futuro product with a similar logo, this logo is not currently used by the brand, as the brand website found here illustrates. Whilst the image circulating news outlets suggests the product may be on sale using this logo, it is likely the product shown is part of line trial by the business to review brand awareness when in a shop environment. ( a common trial completed when consumer goods explore rebranding products)
It is correct that 3M have registered the trademark with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, details of which can be found here. However, within this documentation, the categories under which 3M have registered the trademark are also clearly stated:
List of goods and services
Orthopedic articles; orthopedic braces and supports; orthopedic elastic bandages and wraps; orthopedic cervical collar; orthopedic sling; hot packs; cold packs; therapeutic hosiery; compression hosiery; anti-embolism hosiery; therapeutic arch supports; heat patch for application to skin for therapeutic purposes.
With such a limited scope, 3M would be unlikely to challenge the Liberty Media’s new logo for Formula One. Additionally, it should not be forgotten that the F1 logo contains the suggestion of 2 symbols, whereas the 3M logo suggests 1. It seems less likely still 3M would contest 50% of a logo.
If in the highly unlikely scenario 3M did take issue with the new Formula One logo and a similarity was determined, the most likely outcome would be that Liberty Media would be unable to offer branded products listed in the 3M registered trademark category. Simply put, Liberty Media might not be able to bring out those F1 branded compression stockings the world has been waiting for. Which I am sure is something that fans and Liberty Media will be able to come to terms with over time.
In a recent interview for Autosport, Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Piere Gasly commented:
“I don’t want to talk negative about Formula 1, because I think there are way too many people who are talking about it in a negative way, and it is a great series, great cars and people should be more positive about it.”
Perhaps its time for motorsport outlets, this site included, to take these comments on board. Rather than criticising the sport we choose to focus our lives on and strive to make a living within, we should seek to promote the sport and celebrate its successes.
Finally, the topic of logo similarities within the corporate world is nothing new, as a quick search for ‘similar corporate logos’ on Google or clicking here will reveal. If all these businesses found a way of making things work, its safe to say F1 will do the same.
Barely a day goes by without one of the leading motorsport websites publishing comments around the future plans for F1. From louder engines to racing game inspired car designs, 2021 will amaze and inspire a new generation of fans. All of which sounds great, but it’s 2018. There are 3 seasons of Formula One between now and the promised fantastical future. The landscape of the motorsport industry can and will change dramatically in 3 years. Can Formula One really afford to wait?
2017 saw the introduction of the current set of technical regulations guiding the sport. Whilst cars are visually more impressive than there predecessors with the dimensions of the cars and tyres increasing. An overall increased emphasis on aerodynamics has had a dramatic impact on drivers ability to overtake with the 2017 season seeing less than half the number of overtakes of 2016. At present, there appears to be no plan to address this issue, with the 2018 regulations seeing no modifications around aerodynamic regulations.
Mindful of a likely closer battle for wins, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing, may have focused the aerodynamic philosophies of their 2018 challengers around an ability to more closely follow a competitor, but without regulation changes a significant increase in overtaking from 2017 to 2018 is unlikely.
All this comes at a time the commercial positions of Formula One are coming under threat. Longstanding partners involved in the championship are defecting to the likes of Formula E or other sports, and at this time, prospects for new partnerships appear limited. With the Formula One business focusing their attentions towards 2021 why would a partner commit to the championship ahead of the ‘revolution’? The Formula One product from 2018 -2020 may be a difficult product to sell.
It is possible, Formula One management are focusing taking a strategy of focusing to the future with the view and expectation of teams demanding an earlier introduction of new regulations. With the Season 5 Formula E car set to make its public debut in the coming weeks, and Indycar looking strong with a new car concept, competition between championships is ever growing. Can Formula One and the teams committed to its success afford to wait another 3 years for change?