Formula One – Mclaren confirm Jenson Button for 2016

JB2016

McLaren-Honda is happy to confirm that Jenson Button will race for the team in 2016.

Ron Dennis (Chairman & Chief Executive Officer) said: 

“Jenson and I have been discussing his plans in private for the past few weeks, and the fact that our talks have led to today’s announcement is very pleasing to both of us and will delight and motivate all at McLaren-Honda.

“As I have made clear whenever I have been asked about the subject, Jenson’s current contract is of two years’ duration [2015 and 2016]. There is a ‘terminate after year one’ option that McLaren could have triggered if we had wished to do so, but, once it became clear from my many conversations with Jenson that he remained as enthusiastic and as committed and as focused as ever, that option immediately became an irrelevance. That being the case, Jenson will race for McLaren-Honda next year, under the terms and conditions as set out in the two-year contract that both parties entered into a year ago.

“As I say, I am extremely pleased. Jenson is the most experienced driver currently racing in Formula 1, and next season he is due to become only the third driver [after Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher] in Formula 1 history to pass the milestone of 300 Grands Prix. But, although that wealth of experience makes him a massively valuable asset to our team, hugely expert in all aspects of the 21st-century Formula 1 driver’s craft, he is also supremely fit and as super-fast as ever.”

Jenson Button said:

“Over the past month or so I have done quite a lot of thinking, and it is no secret that I was at one point in two minds about my future.

“But I have been a McLaren driver for six seasons now [2010-2015], and in that time I have got to know Ron very well. He and I have had some very good chats these past few weeks, and during those chats it has become clear to me that Ron is both utterly determined and uniquely equipped to lead our team through its current difficulties to great successes in the future. That gives me great confidence, and it is for that reason that, together, he and I have decided to continue our partnership; and, as soon as I had made that decision, straight away I realised it was the correct one.

“Okay, granted, this year has not been an easy one for us, but we know what we need to do to improve things and, in collaboration with Honda, we will work extremely hard over the next weeks and months in order to make sure that 2016 will be a much better season than 2015 has been.

“I can’t wait!”

Opinion – After what appeared to be increasingly public contact continuation talks it is great to see Jenson Button continuing with Mclaren into 2016. Jenson is a huge asset to Mclaren, his amiable character is appealing to sponsors and media alike, an attribute a team like Mclaren truly values in their drivers. It will be interesting to see if the team feel is necessary to make a similar reconfirmation of contact announcement for Fernando Alonso in the coming days. In this challenging period for the team driver and management stability will be key. 

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Formula E – Michelin confirmed as sole tyre supplier through to season 5

Michelin

The World MotorSport Council (WMSC) confirmed Michelin as the single tyre supplier for the FIA Formula E Championship. The contracts will cover Seasons 3 (2016-2017), 4 (2017-2018) and 5 (2018-2019), subject to the finalisation of the corresponding agreements.

Full report here.

Opinion: A contract extension that was never really in doubt. Michelin’s supply to Formula E demonstrates long lasting tyres don’t negatively impact racing. Quite the opposite in fact. Other racing categories would do well to pay attention. Also interesting that the FIA announce tyre supply for this series and yet don’t appear to be the decision makers in other categories.

Formula Two – Significant Progress made towards GP2 morphing into the final step of the FIA Single Seater Ladder

FIA

FIA Formula 2 Championship

Significant progress has been made in negotiations with the promoter of GP2 regarding the establishment of the final step in the FIA’s single-seater ladder; the FIA Formula 2 Championship.

Discussions remain ongoing with the intention of finalising an agreement.

Full Press Release

Opinion: In amongst the F1 2016 calendar confirmation the FIA have publicly commented for the first time on progress around the progress of GP2 morphing into F2.  GP2 organisers have commented on the prospect but in recent months talks appeared to have stalled. It’s fantastic to see logic being applied to the development of the FIA single seater ladder. It will be interesting to see the timing around the transition and the FIA drivers license points requirements to enter the series.

Formula One – Chandon becomes new official partner of McLaren Honda

Mclaren Chandon

McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team announces an exciting new partnership with Chandon, signed today.

As one of the most successful teams in Formula 1 history, McLaren meets Chandon, the vibrant sparkling wine with a boundless conquering spirit. The partnership perfectly highlights Chandon’s open spirit, ‘joie de vivre’ and spontaneous approach to life.

The partnership is a long-term, global collaboration that will bring Chandon’s sparkling attitude to the famous McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team.

The partnership was made official today at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey, England. It was signed by Christophe Navarre, Chairman and CEO of Moët Hennessy, and Ron Dennis, McLaren Technology Group Chairman and CEO.

For more information on the announcement please click here.

To visit the Chandon website please click here.

Opinion – Fantastic to see Mclaren bringing another new partner to the world of Formula One.  In what has been a challenging year for the team, this announcement hopefully marks an upturn in fortunes. Jenson Button was present at the sponsor presentation with significant Chandon branding across the chest of his overalls, this along with the sizable on car branding suggest the team is of significant value to the team. The press release suggests the branding will commence from 2016 onwards although it may appear as early as the Russian Grand Prix.

The announcement of this agreement serves to cement the credibility of the Mclaren brand demonstrating commercial partners are taking a long term view on the success of the team. Chandon joining the team should encourage other partners to do the same.

Formula One – Mclaren Honda – #TurboHeros Campaign

#TurboHeros

Over the last 24-hours, you may have noticed McLaren-Honda’s social channels sharing some rather unusual posts…

Introducing the #TurboHeroes campaign.

Join the mighty Turbo Heroes, McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, as they battle the evil racer Exhaustus. Follow the thrilling journey across the globe in a tense battle to return mythical artefact – the Jade Dragon of Suzuka – to its spiritual home in Japan.

Turbo Heroes evokes the classic 8-bit gaming era of the 1980s with a series of innovative and unique gaming scenarios involving McLaren-Honda’s two racing heroes.

Watch Now

Opinion – Keen to move on from what must be one of the most challenging racing weekends in the history of the team, Mclaren have started the week well with the announcement of new sponsorship agreement with Chandon this morning, alongside kicking off this #TurboHeros campaign. This, hopefully first of many, films plays on the 80’s style games console memories, similar to the short film the team released prior to the car launch at the beginning of the year. The team successfully bring some much needed humour back to the sport in general and for themselves. These kind of Japanese themed campaigns will hopefully put to bed the continued rumours of unrest between Mclaren and Honda. They may also hint towards future additional Japanese partners….

Formula E – Teams limited to two driver changes per car

driverchanges_news

The 10 Formula E teams will be limited to just two driver changes per car during season two.

Last season 30 drivers took part in the all-electric racing series, with some teams changing drivers multiple times. This season they will be limited to just two changes, and no changes will be permitted during the final three races of the season to avoid any potential conflict in the fight for the championship.

In the event of force majeure and the driver is unavailable for an unforeseen reason, a change of driver will be permitted at the discretion of the Stewards.

All drivers must also comply with the new e-Licence system, which is a mandatory requirement to participate in an FIA Formula E Championship event. As well as taking part in a specific FIA training session to cover the most important points of electrical safety, technical and sporting aspects of the series, drivers must have accumulated 20 points in the previous three seasons under the FIA points system used to qualify for an F1 Super Licence.

A driver judged by the FIA to have consistently demonstrated outstanding ability in single-seater formula cars, but with no opportunity to qualify under any of the requirements above, can still obtain an e-Licence.

Any driver change now has to be announced two weeks prior to the event.

Opinion –  Limiting in season driver changes moves to further stabilise and bring credibility to Formula E. Regulations around driver changes are now aligned with that of Formula One. It should not go unnoticed that Formula E have also outlined regulations around new drivers having to accumulate points 20 over the past 3 seasons under the FIA driving experience points system. Presumably this rule will be applied only to drivers new to the series as many existing drivers would not qualify.  For example, neither Amlin Andretti driver have accumulated sufficient points under the system to participate. Outside of super license holders Sam Bird is one of the few drivers in the series who would qualify to participate under these rules. 

FORMULA E – PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCED WITH LITTLE DOT STUDIOS

LittleDOT FEFE168 – Formula E partners with Little Dot Studios

Formula E continue to lead the way in Social Media engagement with the announcement of a partnership with Little Dot Studios, a next generation broadcaster and producer, creating and distributing video content across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Periscope.

Founded by Andy Taylor and Selma Turajlic just over two years ago, Little Dot Studios has grown rapidly and now distributes video content on social platforms for over 60 producers, broadcasters and rights-holders worldwide. In August alone, Little Dot Studios amassed over 350 million views to its client’s content. Under the partnership, Little Dot Studios will distribute social videos including clips, highlights and compilations from each race, as well as unseen footage from the pitlane and behind the scenes. Little Dot Studios will also be on site at each race, producing original video content for each of the social platforms.

Opinion – In the spirit of continuous improvement Formula E continue exploit social media as a tool to bring the series to the public. It is impressive to see Formula E can make these forms of agreements alongside TV broadcasting deals with the likes of Eurosport, ITV, & Rai, a feet Formula One either have not attempted or have not been able to manage. In a period of growth and with a strategy of increasing brand awareness Formula E continue to make all the right noises. The challenge will come in attempting to monetize the sport in the future. 

Formula One – Letter of Intent Signed between Group Renault & Gravity Motorsports – Lotus F1 Team

Press Release

Renault have this morning confirmed signature on a letter of intent regarding the potential acquisition of the Lotus F1 team. At this time there has been no formal public response from the Lotus F1 Team of Gravity Motorsport, but it is likely this notification will lead to the sale of the team which should serve to resolve the immediate cash flow issues faced by the team.

In the short press release from Group Renault, a keen emphasis is placed on the long association Renault have with Formula One, it can be expected this history will place a significant role in the rebranding of the Enstone based team.

The announcement makes no reference to the relationship between Red Bull Racing and Renault, with the latter formally under supply agreement for 2016. Further news on this should be expected in the coming days and weeks.  No mention has been made around the Power Unit the team will use in 2016, logically it can be assumed the team will run the Renault unit, despite agreements in place with Mercedes Benz. Renault have elected to focus power unit developments on the 2016 program rather than introducing upgrades through the token system in 2015, no doubt significant strides will be made in 2016 regarding performance and reliability.

Sponsors and Driver Line up developments will be of particular interest, with Renault likely to transfer Infiniti and Total Agreements from Red Bull Racing to the Renault team.

Pastor Maldonardo has been announced as a 2016 driver for the Lotus F1 team, the Venezuelan brings substantial national backing to team in the form of PDVSA branding. It will be interesting to see if the team which will act under a new legal entity maintain this contracted commitment.

Romain Grosjean is expected to announce his departure from the team on tomorrow moving to the newly formed Haas F1 team. Possible replacements include Esteban Ocon & Jolyon Palmer. It should also be noted with the possible departure of Red Bull Racing from the sport Daniel Riccardo, Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz may also be seeking a seat in 2016.

Formula E – IN-RACE VOTING FOR FANBOOST IN SEASON TWO

Fanboost

Press Release FE167

Formula E fans will have the chance to boost their favourite driver during the races this season following changes confirmed to this unique socially interactive concept.

Starting at the Beijing ePrix on October 24, voting for FanBoost will remain open during the opening six minutes of the race.

As well as being able to vote during the race, fans will also find it much easier to have their say as changes to the voting system will make it possible to vote using a hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This has been achieved through a partnership with Telescope, the global leader in real-time fan engagement.

Voting will be possible through the official Formula E website and app and fans will be able to vote once a day through each of the available channels. As was the case during season one, FanBoost voting will open 12 days before the race takes place, which means that voting will open for the Beijing ePrix on Monday, October 12.

As a result of these changes FanBoost will only be available on the car that the drivers get into following their mid-race car swap. Unlike last year FanBoost will provide an extra 100kJ of energy to be used in a power window between 180kW and 200kW.

This presents the three winning teams and drivers with a strategic call to make. Do they raise the power for a short boost or run at a slightly lower power for a prolonged period? As before, FanBoost can only be used once, rather than in a series of short bursts.

OPINION: In race FanBoost will in theory bring fans closer to the sport, encouraging live viewing which will be music to the ears of the FTA broadcasters recommitting to and joining the sport for season two. Flexibility in deployment will appeal to teams and drivers, but removing FanBoost from the first stint of the race feels like a miss. Qualcomm and technical partner’s developments in induction charging on track must be the ultimate end point for FanBoost. Overall it’s fantastic to see the series evolve.

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