Category Archives: Scuderia Ferrari

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Formula One: Vettel to start from the pitlane

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

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

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

Formula One: Silly Season revisited

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

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

Mercedes AMG Petronas:

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

 Scuderia Ferrari:

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

Red Bull Racing

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

Williams Martini Racing

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

Mclaren Honda

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

Sarhara Force India

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

Renault

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

Scuderia Toro Rosso

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

The Haas F1 Team

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

The Sauber F1 Team

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

Manor Racing

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

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

 

Formula One: Seb’s Summer Job Swap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow the Shell Motorsport team on Twitter here

Formula One: James Allison stands down from Scuderia Ferrari

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Scuderia Ferrari and James Allison  have jointly decided to part ways after 3 years of working together.

Maurizio Arrivabene, Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari, commented as follows:
“The Team would like to thank James for his commitment and sacrifice during the time spent together, and wishes him success and serenity for his future endeavors.”

James Allison stated:
“During the years I spent at Ferrari, at two different stages and covering different roles, I could get to know and appreciate the value of the team and of the people, women and men, which are part of it. I want to thank them all for the great professional and human experience we shared. I wish everybody a happy future with lots of success.”

Mattia Binotto will take on the role of Chief Technical Officer at Scuderia Ferrari.

Formula One: Why neither Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg want to win in Hungary

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Lewis Hamilton heads into the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend only one point behind his teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg. As teams head toward the mid season break, with 9 wins between them the drivers have dominated the 2016 championship. However, if either of them want to translate their success into the world championship, history suggests they do not want to win the Hungarian Grand Prix this Sunday.

The Hungarian Grand Prix has developed somewhat of a reputation for producing unexpected race results. In fact, not since the 2004 Grand Prix has the winner in Hungary gone on to lay claim to the World Championship. What’s more only twice in that period has the championship winning constructor sealed victory in Hungary.

The circuit is often referred to as an oversized go karting track with minimal straights and extremely limited overtaking opportunities. A Monaco without the yachts. On paper the circuit should lend itself to the strengths of the Red Bull Racing duo. That being said, the Hungarian Circuit has been entirely resurfaced for 2016, we saw in Baku that Red Bull Racing appear to struggle with tyre performance on a fresh tarmac. This may play into the hands of Scuderia Ferrari who are yet to seal a victory in 2016. With rumours of increasing senior management pressures a win in Hungary would go a long way for the team. Sebastian Vettel secured his second victory for the Scuderia around the circuit in 2015.

The European summer has officially kicked into high gear over the past week, with this weather forecasts for Friday and Saturday in Hungary suggest a scorcher, however with heat in Europe, comes storms, long range forecasts suggest the race on Sunday could be interrupted by heavy rain. If this proves to be the case the drivers at Scuderia Toro Rosso, and previous race winner Jenson Button could spring a surprise.

Formula One: 2017 technical regulations an opportunity for Shell

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The impact of  2017 changes in Formula One technical regulations have received significant media attention in recent months. With wider tyres and increased front and rear wings coming our way, the visual impact of a 2017 F1 challenger is set to be quite dramatic. An area which has been explored in less detail has been the impact the regulations may or may not have on fuel performance.

Speaking to select media at a Shell V-Power event at the Bruntingthorpe proving ground in Leicestershire following the British Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel and Guy Lovett, Shell Motorsport Innovation Manger, spoke about the regulations and the possible implications.

Guy Lovett: ” It [the regulation changes] gives us a little more opportunity, the token system is abolished so the engine development side of things is more open and its the same on the fuel side. The important thing is for us to exploit our close relationship with Ferrari and ultimately develop the best package. From a fuel perspective, that doesn’t necessarily  change how we work, it just gives us more opportunity”

Sebastian Vettel  “from a driving point of view, next year we will have more grip, more downforce, but that means also more drag down the straight which might slow us down a bit. And the fuel consumption might go up because you have more drag. Equally we go faster through the corners, so it will be interesting to see from that front what we need to do in the car. will we be saving fuel or can we be flat out?”

You can view the interview in full through the Shell Motorsport Periscope Channel Here:

Questions around the impact of 2017 regulations from JWGP can be seen at around 10 minutes into the broadcast.

Over the course of 2015, Shell V-Power introduced five fuel compound upgrades to Scuderia Ferrari, these upgrades delivered a performance improvement of around 0.5 seconds per lap. Such a rate of development and performance gain is a testament to the strength of the partnership. The development race continues into 2016 with Shell set to introduce a new fuel compound for Scuderia Ferrari in the coming races. With such a significant regulation change coming in 2017 Shell have already begun to divert resources towards the 2017 programme. After the summer break the resource split between seasons will be around 50/50, with a complete shift to 2017 planning coming soon after.

A key defining factor in 2017 compound development will be final conclusion of the technical regulations. At this time it has not been confirmed if Fuel tank capacity will increase from 100kg to 105kg or if the current regulation will be maintained. As mentioned earlier in the interview with increased drag through the aero regulations likely to increase fuel consumption, if fuel tanks remain at 100kg Shell will focus their efforts seeking efficiency gains. If the fuel tank capacity increases a greater focus on performance from fuel can be expected.

For more from Shell Motorport, you can follow them on Twitter here

Formula One: Ray Ban return to F1 with Scuderia Ferrari

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

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

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

Formula One: Jean-Éric Vergne open to an F1 return with Scuderia Ferrari or the Haas F1 Team

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Speaking from the London round of the FIA Formula E championship, Mumm Champagne ambassador Jean-Éric Vergne has spoken about his plans for season 3 in the championship and of an openness to the prospect of a return to Formula One.

After a troubled qualifying session in which Jean-Éric was unable to participate in the super pole shootout despite qualifying 5th, JWGP  caught up with the Frenchman to discuss his experience of Formula E and plans for the future.

Speaking candidly Jean-Éric confirmed his commitment to remain in Formula E for the 3rd season of the championship, but that he will be moving to another team on the grid.  Despite this commitment JEV would not rule out a possible drive with Scuderia Ferrari or the Haas F1 Team in 2017. Whilst there would be a few race weekend clashes between the categories, rules within Formula E would allow JEV to participate in both championships.

With Kimi Räikkönen out of contact for 2017 and both Haas F1 drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez having a level of flexibility in contracts based on team and driver performance, as Scuderia Ferrari Development Driver Jean Eric Verge is in a prime position to return to F1 should the opportunity arise.

Despite electing to transition to another team on the Formula E grid for season 3 Jean Eric was keen to praise the professionalism and hard work of the DS Virgin Racing team. Having adopted a duel motor single gear configuration, the team have been working season long with an overweight car resulting in challenging vehicle dynamics with which the drivers and team have fought season long to overcome.  Speaking of his season highlight ahead of the London ePrix Jean-Éric reflected on the inaugural Paris ePrix which saw him achieve his first pole position in the category, something he later translated into a strong podium finish.

Following our interview, Jean-Éric went on to secure his second podium of the year in the penultimate round of the FIA Formula E world championship. He will be looking to end the season in style today with another podium and hopefully that illusive first win.

You can follow Formula E the series You Tube channel here.

UK readers can watch the action unfold live on ITV1 today.

Formula One: VIDEO | Scuderia Ferrari preview the Austrian GP

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

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

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