Category Archives: Renault

Formula One: Throwback Thursday – Red Bull Racing (don’t) split from Renault

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If you’ve caught more than 10 minutes F1 coverage or spent anytime on popular F1 news aggregator sites over the last few weeks you would be forgiven for thinking the Mclaren Honda divorce was complete. Based on all confirmed sources this is not the case.

F1 media, as with any media, has a tendency towards sensationalism. A controversial headline will attract readership.  I have to admit, I’m not adverse to the occasional sensationalist headline here on JWGP.

So, whilst the F1 world awaits formal confirmation from both Mclaren and Honda around future plans, now seems as good a time as ever to reflect on the last “SENSATIONAL” Team and power unit supplier fall out. When with no official word from either Red Bull Racing or Renault, after 18 months of continuous headlines around a fallout, their split was announced by the media. Except it wasn’t. Two seasons later the partnership is still alive. Yes it has been modified, but the fact remains Red Bull Racing and Renault are partners.  Below is a screen grab of just a few of the credible outlets that “confirmed” the news.

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So while we wait for official news from Mclaren and Honda about the future of their partnership, one fact to bare in mind;

As per FIA sporting regulations, Honda and Mercedes have already confirmed power unit supply plans to the FIA for 2018 (see story with verified sources here). Within this confirmation, Mercedes will supply the same teams they are in 2017, Honda will supply Mclaren and Sauber.

In retrospect Looking back at the “confirmed” Red Bull Racing Renault split, the story ensured continual press coverage for a team performing well below expectations over a 12 month period. This coverage was arguably greater than that which Mercedes received whilst fighting for the championship. A masterstroke in marketing by a true marketeer Dietrich Mateschitz. In November last year, Mclaren replaced Ron Dennis with marketing guru Zak Brown.

How many newspapers are giving midweek coverage to Mercedes win on Sunday?

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Formula One: F1 tickets for your BLOOD!

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It’s been quite the day in the world of F1. Mercedes AMG Petronas have confirmed contract extensions for F1 team shareholders Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda, cementing their positions with the team until 2020.

Sahara Force India have announced a partnership with forex trading firm FXTM, a partnership which will see FXTM branding feature on the rear section of the sidepods of the 2017 contender.

Spanish Insurance giant Mapfre have confirmed a new partnership with the Renault Sport F1 team, the partnership will see Mapfre branding feature on the nose and wings of theRS17 and on the helmet and overalls of Jolyon Palmer.

Sauber released stunning images of the C36-Ferrari, becoming the first team to release images (not renderings) of a 2017 F1 car,

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and Mobil One’s the grid have released complete steering wheel perspective footage of Daniel Ricciardo’s demonstration run at the ExxonMobil HQ.

For the news obsessed F1 fan, February 20th should be regarded as a more than satisfactory day, but by far and away the biggest news of the day came from the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. Whilst other circuits are announcing payment plans to pay for F1 tickets in instalments, the home of the Spanish Grand Prix is offering entry to F1 testing in exchange for blood donations.  Donation points will be set up around the circuit throughout the two pre-season tests, the circuit is working in collaboration with the Catalonian blood and tissue bank for the campaign. In Catalonia, it takes 1,000 blood donations a day to cover the needs of hospitals. In general, anyone who is in good health, who is of legal age, weighs more than 50 kilos and, in the case of women, who is not pregnant, can donate blood. Three people benefit from each donor, since the blood is separated into three components: white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

To find out more about this initiative please follow this link

Can the F1 world top this tomorrow?

Formula One: Scuderia Toro Rosso switch to ExxonMobil

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Following the announcement that Red Bull Racing have entered into partnership with ExxonMobil from 2017 as the teams Fuel and Lubricant supplier, JWGP can confirm the partnership will extend to a supply agreement for Scuderia Toro Rosso.

At this time it is not clear if the supply agreement will include the use of ExxonMobil or associated businesses branding on the STR 12, but sources at Red Bull Racing have confirmed the supply partnership.

With Scuderia Toro Rosso returning to Renault power unit supply for 2017, following the 2016 campaign in which a 2015 Ferrari power unit was used, Italy’s second team is expected to make significant strides up the grid. Toro Rosso are yet to indicate how the 2017 power unit will be badged. It is understood the power unit has been made available under the same agreement as Red Bull Racing allowing the team to sell the naming rights for the Power Unit, as seen with Tag Heuer and Red Bull Racing. With performance improvements expected such naming rights could prove highly valuable to an existing team sponsor seeking to increase exposure.

Whilst unconfirmed, Renault Sport F1 are not expected to make any changes to their fuel and lubricant supplier TOTAL. The team have confirmed they have made provisions to homologate the 2017 Power Unit for 2 fuel and lubricant suppliers. Such a move will set in motion a separate Power Unit development programme between the Red Bull owned teams and the works Renault Team and could form the basis for an as yet unnamed engine manufacturer entering the sport through the back door….

Formula One: Renault Sport F1 Team confirm Palmer retention

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The Renault Sport F1 Team have confirmed Jolyon Palmer will remain with the team for the 2017 season. Palmer will line up alongside Nico Hülkenberg with the power of fully redeveloped Renault Power Unit as the team set about restoring their reputation as leaders in the sport.

Speaking on the confirmation Palmer commented:
“I’m over the moon to be racing with Renault Sport Formula One Team for a second season and I can’t wait to reward the team’s faith in me on track. Having worked out of Enstone since 2015 I can fully appreciate the development of the infrastructure this year. This means I share the excitement of the team looking to 2017 and our new car. For me, it’s been a steep learning curve driving in Formula 1 and I know that I am performing better than ever, and that there’s still more to come. There is tremendous drive and enthusiasm in Enstone and Viry looking to next year and I am honoured to be part of this.”

Renault Sport Racing Chairman added:
“We are delighted to retain Jolyon as our driver for the 2017 season. Jolyon has shown his hunger to develop with us as the team grows and we have been impressed with his increasingly strong performances on track as the season has progressed. We are confident that the combination of Jolyon and Nico Hülkenberg offers a very promising driving force to meet our goals. Jolyon understands the team’s spirit and motivates everyone he works with. The line-up of Jolyon and Nico harnesses the benefits of continuity and fresh blood. I am sure that having Nico as a team-mate will help push Jolyon to greater achievements. We thank Kevin Magnussen for his efforts in 2016 as he has done a great job for us this year. We wish him all the best for 2017 and beyond.”

It is widely expected Kevin Magnussen will join the Haas F1 team for 2017 and beyond.

Formula One: Magnussen states his intentions

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Following confirmation that Nico Hulkenberg will be joining the Renault Sport F1 team from 2017, Kevin Magnussesn has taken to social media to confirm his future intentions.

In a series of tweets posted earlier this morning, Magnussen seeks to put to bed rumours of a possible move to Indycar and restates his desire to remain part of the Renault Sport F1 team future. In that this news is coming from Kevin himself with no comment from the team it is possible to conclude there are other drivers in the running for his seat in 2017.

Current team mate Palmer is thought to have an outside chance of retaining his position within the team. Bottas and Ocon are also known to be contenders. The performance of the Renault power unit with Red Bull Racing this season suggests a fully funded works Renault team can expect to be competitive in the near future making this, the only works seat available on the grid, an promising prospect.

 

 

 

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: Canel’s return to Renault Sport

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Branding of the Mexican confectioner Canel’s has returned to the livery of the Enstone based team Renault Sport F1  for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Whilst the team are yet to issue a press release on the partnership, it is believed the partnership has been renewed following a successful trial at the Mexican Grand Prix in 2015. It is likely the partnership will also include the 2016 US & Mexican Grand Prix.

Canel’s branding can be found on the lower section of the RS16 engine cover.

To find out more about Canel’s click here

image credit: auto-motor-und-sport.de

Formula One: Palmer “I did also offer to get the spanners out”

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Renault Sport F1’s Jolyon Palmer reflects on his challenging Monaco Grand Prix, the aftermath of the weekend, and looks ahead to Montréal.

What went wrong for you in the Monaco Grand Prix?

 

We went over the data and it looks like it was the lower grip as I crossed the white lines of the zebra crossing which meant my wheels span as I pushed to accelerate. The car was pitched sideways and I collected the barriers. It was just the wrong place

at the wrong time. I had a bit of bruising on my feet so it was just my ego and the car that had to suffer.
I have been in Enstone since Monaco, to get some time in the Sim, but I did also offer to get the spanners out to help build the new chassis… I’m very grateful for all the hard work that goes in at the track and back in Enstone and Viry and I did more than my fair share of damage to the car in Monaco.
Away from the track, Monaco is such a big week and you really feel it afterwards. On Monday night I slept a straight 14 hours to recover; I was exhausted! It’s a really cool weekend, but it’s just so busy! You start a day early then there’s no track running on Friday
but all kinds of exciting media initiatives including showcasing the R.S.16 Clio which was cool
What are your thoughts heading to Montréal?
I was there last year and I realised what a really cool city it is. It’s also one which genuinly embraces Formula 1 coming to town so can’t wait to return. The track itself looks great with good overtaking opportunities. There has been good racing there in the past so it’s exciting to be headed for my first race there.
I will get the B spec power unit for the first time. It looked like it made a good difference in Monaco and Canada is a more power-hungry circuit so if it was a positive step in Monaco it should certainly help our cause in Montréal.
The new engine mapping certainly looks to have been beneficial and you need good traction in out of the lower speed corners in Canada. It’s got more power too so everything is good in that regard!
We should be a good chunk more competitive. We’ll do everything we can to maximise the car around the track and we’ll be pushing all the way as usual!

Formula One: Disappointing double retirment for Renault Sport

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Renault Sport Formula One Team suffered a disappointing double retirement from an eventful Monaco Grand Prix. Kevin Magnussen showed promising progress with an early swap to intermediate tyres after a race start on full wet tyres behind the safety car. Kevin’s potential was ultimately undone by an unfathomable onslaught from a one-lap-down Daniil Kvyat. He continued to race but subsequently ended up in the barriers again and retired from the Grand Prix. Jolyon Palmer’s race was far shorter, ending after aquaplaning into the barriers on the main straight, then into the barriers at Sainte Devote on the eighth lap.

Kevin Magnussen, #20, R.S.16-02: Started P16, DNF
“We had a good start to the race and made a really good strategic call to change to the intermediate tyres just after the safety car. We were the only ones to do it so early and it was the right decision. We were in a good position as a lot of people were still to pit and we gained a lot of places. Unfortunately, Kvyat just lost his mind and crashed into me and that was effectively the end of my race. We did continue and made an early change to slicks as we had nothing to lose, but ultimately I hit the wall and damaged the front wing. We were several laps down at that point and the car had been in the wars so it was safer to retire. It’s a shame we didn’t have a good weekend as we were very optimistic for the race. Now we have to shift our focus to Canada and have a better weekend there. Montréal should be a stronger track for us and should play to the strengths of the updates for the car.”

Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.16-03: Started P18, DNF
“The traction was appalling after the safety car and I got caught out. I had wheelspin in fifth gear on the white line that crosses the track. There was nothing I could do – I was just a passenger and went straight away into the wall. It’s so difficult as we know that the white lines are slippery but they are everywhere. I’m disappointed as I love this track and it’s been good for me in the past. But I’m now looking forward to Canada and putting this weekend behind me. Monaco hasn’t been good to me this year so we need to move on to the next race and look for a better weekend.”

Fred Vasseur, Racing Director
“It was a tough weekend for both cars. Jolyon’s race ended on the straight as soon as the race got underway. He had a pretty serious shunt, a fast one, and that put an end to his day; there was nothing to be done. For Kevin, he asked to swap to intermediates pretty early in the race which was a good call, despite suffering from being in traffic for a while. His race effectively ended thanks to the incident with Kvyat which is a shame especially as there may have been something to be done from where he was ranked as we had a strategy that was slightly out of step from everyone else’s. In any case, we’ll go lick our wounds and move our focus to Canada.”

Formula One: Toro Rosso return to Renault, RBR extend

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As speculated on JWGP yesterday ,Renault have this morning announced that Scuderia Toro Rosso will return to Renault Power Unit supply for 2017. The agreement will see the team use in year technology for the 2017 & 2018 with the freedom to badge the engine as they see fit. Similar to the TAG Heuer Red Bull Racing Partnership, who have also extended their relationship with the French manufacturer through the 2017 & 2018 seasons.

Speaking on the partnership Jérôme Stoll, President of Renault Sport Racing, commented: ‘We are very pleased to partner with two such strong teams as Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso. Having competitive partners demonstrates the confidence both have in the improved Renault power unit and in our organisation as a whole.’

On the extension of the Renault RBR agreement Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal, said: “We are delighted to extend our partnership which has proved very successful over time. After the reconstruction that Renault has undertaken, clear progress has been made which has made it logical to continue with the TAG Heuer badged engine.”

With this deal confirmed, no further changes are expected in team a  Power Unit supply across the remainder of the grid for the foreseeable future.