Tag Archives: 2016

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: Racing from the reprofiled Sepang

Sepang, home of the Malaysian Grand Prix, has seen extensive redevelopment since the 2015 F1 race last March. The circuit first joined the F1 calender in 1999, this redevelopment represents this first significant upgrade since its construction.

Thankfully, rather than focusing exclusively  developing the pit and paddock area, the upgrades are largely focused on the circuit itself. Making racing and fans the main benefactors. The entire circuit has been resurfaced, and many corners have been re-profiled. Whilst the layout is unchanged, Italian Circuit design house Dromo have set out to maintain the essence of the circuit and create a new challenge in races.

Earlier this year, a round of the SHELL Advance Asia Talent Cup Championship took place at the venue. This race highlights the impact of the changes, in particular the increase in racing lines into the final corner.

Dromo are the same design house tasked with the upgrades of the Monza circuit, which following the F1 contract extension now appear to have been postponed.

 

 

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: Indycar vs. F1. The Drivers Championship

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As a Driver, if you compare the gravitas of succeeding in Formula One to Indycar, on the face of it, Formula One is the ultimate accolade. Exploring the physicality of each series tells a slightly different story.

Current era F1 cars are both lighter and more powerful than an Indycar. They produce more downforce and utilise higher performing brake performance. However, they also feature power steering. An Indycar is heavier, less powerful, produces less downforce and critically has no power steering.

In recent interview for JWGP Felix Rosenqvist following his test for the Chip Ganassi team at Mid Ohio commented, “it doesn’t matter how fit you are, the first few laps in an Indycar destroy you. I’ve not driven in F1, but compared to my time in DTM, GT’s and F3, the physical strength required to drive those cars is much greater”

You see it in an Indycar driver’s physique, they train to build physical upper body strength much more than cardio work. Completing an Indycar race is far more physically demanding than an F1 race under current regulations. Current leading F1 drivers such as Daniel Ricciardo have acknowledged this and called for the 2017 regulations to place more emphasis back towards the driver.

The variety in circuits is another unique component to the challenge of Indycar. Over a single season driver’s will visit; street circuits, road courses, long ovals, and short ovals. Each configuration requires a very different style of driving ranging from man handling a car around St Pete, to driving like you re holding a cup of tea you can’t spill around Indianapolis. Drivers can’t afford to specialise in one style of racing. To win in Indycar you have to be strong in all circuits. As Will Power explains in the film below from Mobil One’s The Grid:

Ultimately Formula One elevates a driver’s profile to global super stardom, but is Indycar the real human test of raw skill? With former F1 driver, now Indycar winner Alex Rossi opting to complete his season in Indycar rather than return to F1 with Manor Racing this season perhaps the tide is turning. Indycar has created an environment in which driver skill and strength is key, the economics of the series enable drivers to earn a living with reduced pressure around finding a budget to race.  Has Indycar quietly become the new home of the real racing driver?

Formula One: Tyres available for the Hungarian Grand Prix

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After an enthralling, if stop start qualifying session in which both wet and dry compound tyres were used. With clear skies and dry weather set to return for the race tomorrow, drivers making appearances in only the opening segment of the session will have plenty of tyres to choose from.

Commenting on the qualifying session and likely strategy for the race tomorrow, Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “In a sport that’s thrown up some crazy situations in the past, this was one of the most mixed-up days that we’ve witnessed – but the end result was still a Mercedes one-two. The teams certainly got to try a wide range of our tyres today, and the mixed conditions means that they have a good allocation of unused slicks to choose from tomorrow, which will probably be a two-stop race.”

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How the tyres behaved today:
Medium: Used minimally in practice but not in qualifying, unlikely to be seen in the race.
Soft: Not seen at all in qualifying but will figure prominently in the race strategy.
Supersoft: The teams switched straight to this tyre once the track dried up.
Intermediate: Used from Q2 onwards, despite the standing water.
Full wet: With the circuit waterlogged during Q1, the automatic choice for this session.

Possible race strategies and maximum laps*:

Pirelli recommends that the following numbers of laps are not exceeded on each compound:
Soft = 29 laps
Supersoft = 14 laps

On this basis, the optimal pit-stop strategies predicted by Pirelli are as follows:

QUICKEST
Two-stopper: two stints on soft of 29 laps each + one 12-lap stint on supersoft
SECOND-QUICKEST
Three-stopper: three stints on supersoft of 14 laps each + one 28-lap stint on soft
SLOWEST
Three-stopper: two stints on soft of 24 laps each + two 11-lap stints on supersoft

Formula One: Nasr committed to Sauber for 2017 – JWGP Exclusive Interview

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Ahead of the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix, JWGP caught up with UK based Brazilian driver Felipe Nasr to discuss his season to date, his views on the halo device and future regulation changes, along with a view on his plans for 2017 and beyond.

  • As we head towards the mid point in the F1 season, how would you rate your performance so far?

Felipe Nasr: In absolute terms it might look not good, relatively to last year it is not good, but when you look deep into it I think it is a good performance. Together with the Team we managed to do some very good races.

  • How have you developed as a driver from 2015-2016?

FN: Learning, the popular saying goes, never exhausts the mind! I can say that, I am more excited every day with the developments we have made and those that we have in the pipeline.

  • From a driver’s perspective can you explain the impact of the challenges Sauber have faced in 2016?

FN: We are a big family and whenever one part of it is suffering, we all suffer together. One impact in one point reverberates everywhere.

  • How do you approach a race weekend? What motivates you?

FN: Besides the physical preparation a lot of mental focus. The motivation comes from the fact that I am living my dream: to be a F1 driver one of the 22 chosen ones.

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  • What would you say are the key strengths of the 2016 Sauber? Which of the circuits left on the calendar do you expect the car to suit?

FN: We have a good project base from 2015 and with the proper modifications the car can be competitive and score points. We have one update now in Hungary and other packages in races 13 and 14. We are all positively waiting for that.

  • What would you like to see from your team through the remainder of 2016?

FN: The same enthusiasm and commitment that they showed until now.

  • What do you think of the 2017 regulation changes? Do you think they will improve racing? Have Sauber started working on the 2017 car?

FN:It is in the F1 DNA to keep changing and improving. For sure the races will have another balance of power, here at Sauber we have not given up on the 2016 car, but we have already thoughts about what the 2017 car will be.

  • What is your position on the Halo system? Do you think it is the right solution? Is this the right direction for the sport?

FN: A solution has to be found and I am sure that the best one will be chosen.

  • Looking ahead to 2017, you will be out of contract with Sauber, are you talking to other teams on the grid? If so which?

FN: I have a contract with Sauber until the end of the year, I have to think about the here and the now. Why not to continue here in 2017, after putting so much effort together?

  • Have the team kept you informed regarding commercial developments to secure the future of the team? Do you believe they will find a solution?

FN: As I said before we are a family and we have to be honest and talk about everything between us, I can assure you that the solution is already there.

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  • Brazil has a strong heritage in motorsport, how important is the continued fan support to you? What do you think about rumours Interlagos may disappear from the calendar?

FN: Brazil also has a very strong tradition about rumours, it is not the first time that the end of Interlagos is announced. I am sure that in the end everything will be arranged.

  • How would you describe the F1 paddock atmosphere?

FN: Competitive, highly competitive all the time!

  • Can you give a bit of background as to your Banco do Brasil relationship? how did it come about? what does the partnership mean for you and prospective future developments?

FN: Banco do Brasil started sponsoring me when I still was racing in GP2. They wanted to diversify as they were heavily concentrated on Volleyball.  For them it was a very good move and they are very happy both in the promotional and commercial aspects, Motor Racing opened a lot of new opportunities for them and their products all over the World. For me they are fundamental for future developments and plans.

  • What do you think of racing series such as Formula E or WEC? Would you consider a drive in either of these series after Formula One?

FN: Formula E has [seen] a lot of success and WEC has always been one of the stepping stones of Motor Racing. They are both options for my racing career after F1.

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JWGP would like to thank Felipe Nasr for taking time out of his Hungarian GP preparations for this interview. Thanks also to Carlos Lua for facilitating our time together. All the best to Felipe Nasr and the Sauber F1Team for the Hungarian GP and the remainder of the season.

You can follow Felipe Nasr on Twitter here & the Sauber F1 Team here

Formula One: Hungarian GP – Tyre stats, watch outs, and reminders

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Following the flat-out straights and fast corners of Silverstone is the tight and twisty Hungaroring: two circuits that could not be any more different. The medium, soft and supersoft tyres have been nominated for Hungary: statistically the most popular combination of the year so far, which was last used in Baku. The Hungaroring has been described as being like an oversized go-kart track, and adding to the challenge of the first circuit ever to stage a grand prix behind the Iron Curtain exactly 30 years ago are weather conditions that can range from extremely hot (a common occurrence) to rain (which was the case two years ago, as well as 2011).

THE CIRCUIT FROM A TYRE POINT OF VIEW:

  • There’s only one real straight on the Hungaroring, which means tyres are constantly working.
  • It’s a well-balanced track, with traction, braking and lateral energy demands roughly equal.
  • High temperatures make thermal degradation a factor.
  • The emphasis is on mechanical grip, as a low average speed means there is little downforce.
  • Drivers describe the Hungaroring as one of the year’s most physically demanding circuits.
  • Hungary starts another back-to-back weekend, with the teams then going straight to Germany.

THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:

  • White medium: a mandatory set that must be available for the race, low working range.
  • Yellow soft: another mandatory set whose versatility will make it a popular race tyre.
  • Red supersoft: used for qualifying but it’s not yet clear how much they will figure in the race.

PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR:                     

“Hungary provides a very different type of challenge to what we’ve seen at Silverstone, but some of the teams used the recent Silverstone test to try out a few ideas that could be relevant to the Hungaroring, so it will be interesting to see what effect this has. The track has been completely resurfaced, and we saw in Austria that this had quite a profound influence as well: we will need to see if this is case in Hungary too, so free practice will be very important.”

WHAT’S NEW?  

  • The track has been entirely resurfaced and the circuit infrastructure upgraded this year.
  • There is also some new kerbing and run-off areas while the effect of the resurfacing has additionally been to smooth out some of the bumps. This should culminate in faster lap times.

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Formula One: Lewis becomes the bookies favourite for the 2016 WDC

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After securing back to back victories the Austrian and British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has become the bookies favourite to secure the 2016 Formula One World Championship. This despite a 1 point deficit to team mate Nico Rosberg in the current standings and having no fresh engines available for the remainder of the season without having to take grid penalties.

William Hill are currently offering odds of 1/3 for Lewis Hamilton to secure his 4th World Championship, with odds on Nico Rosberg taking the crown at 9/4. Such odds from bookmakers echo comments from the likes of Bernie Ecclestone and Jackie Stewart commenting:

“I think Lewis will win,” Said Ecclestone  “I don’t mean to say that it would be better for Formula 1, or that it’s anything bad about Nico. I would just put my money on Lewis.”

“Lewis will be champion again. There is no doubt. He is simply the best and especially the fastest driver in the field.” Joined Stewart.

There is a feeling in the paddock that the tide has turned in the 2016 Championship battle. Mercedes AMG Petronas are working with Lewis to minimise the impact of looming engine penalties, seeking to extend the life of his final power unit to a track in which taking a fresh engine and subsequent penalty will be minimised. It is likely the team will take a double penalty (introduce two engines on a single wkd) at a race such as Monza or Spa where they can expect to dominate.

For more odds from William Hill on the 2016 F1 Championship Challenge click here

Formula One: Herbie Blash to step down as Deputy F1 Race Director

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A 50-year veteran of Formula One, Michael ‘Herbie’ Blash (pictured on the right in the above image) began his Grand Prix career in 1965 working with privateer Lotus entrant Rob Walker. In 1968 he was employed by Lotus where he became race engineer to Jochen Rindt. In 1972 he moved to the Brabham where he became team manager, a post he would hold until 1988. Following a period as Sporting Director with Brabham in the early ‘90s he then moved to Yamaha as Sporting Director. In 1996 he became the FIA Deputy Race Director in Formula One, a role he has fulfilled without fail ever since.

The role of F1 Deputy Race Director will be taken on by Laurent Mekies who joined the FIA as Safety Director in 2014. A graduate engineer of the ESTACA School in France, Laurent Mekies began his Formula One career as a race engineer with the Arrows F1 team in 2001 before moving to Minardi the following year. After the team’s takeover and renaming as Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2006, Mekies was appointed Chief Engineer. In 2012 he took on a new role as Head of Vehicle Performance at the Faenza team. Mekies will continue to hold the post of Safety Director but will now also work alongside FIA Formula One Race Director Charlie Whiting at all Formula One races.

FIA President Jean Todt said: “I would personally like to thank Herbie for all of his hard work for the FIA over the past 21 years, and especially for his contribution in maintaining Formula One’s place at the pinnacle of motor sport. Along with Charlie, Herbie has been instrumental in the seamless running of grand prix races for over two decades, and we are pleased that he will continue to work with the FIA in future.

Replacing someone with Herbie’s immense experience was never going to be easy. However, we are fortunate to be able to appoint Laurent Mekies to this position. Laurent brings a wealth of Formula One experience, and has been responsible for driving the FIA’s safety agenda since joining us. Combining his strong Formula One history and work as the FIA’s Safety Director, I am confident that he will ensure that the FIA’s flagship single-seater championship continues to set the benchmark for race management and safety – a status that his predecessor, Herbie, can take great pride in helping to nurture.

Whiting said: “I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to Herbie for his years of tireless work for our sport. It has been a huge pleasure to be alongside him for almost two decades. Of course Herbie will be hard to replace but, with Laurent’s extensive experience in F1, I’m sure he will be a worthy replacement, he will also be able to bring a new dimension of experience to our team of F1 officials.

Herbie Blash will formally stand down from his position at the end of this season.

Formula One: Austrian GP – Tyre compound selction reminder & preview

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For Formula One’s annual visit to the Red Bull Ring, with its stunning mountain setting, the three softest compounds in the P Zero range have been nominated: soft, supersoft and ultrasoft. The Spielberg track is probably the closest that Formula One comes to a rally stage: with big changes of elevation and a sequence of fast and twisty corners. The weather in the region can also be quite unpredictable. Although the circuit only returned to the F1 calendar in 2014, it has its roots in the 1969 Osterreichring, which gives the track quite an old-school character that is still in evidence now.

THE CIRCUIT FROM A TYRE POINT OF VIEW:

  • The first two sectors are fast with the final sector being slower and more technical.
  • The circuit tests a wide spectrum of a tyre’s ability, in terms of lateral and longitudinal loading.
  • Wear, degradation and temperatures are quite low, which is why we have the softest tyres.
  • Judging the braking points is quite complex, as there are a number of uphill braking areas.
  • The track surface is generally low-grip and low abrasion, as well as being bumpy in places.
  • Spielberg is the shortest lap time of the year with only nine corners, so precision is vital.

THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:

  • Yellow soft: unusually this is the hardest tyre in the range, one of the mandatory available sets.
  • Red supersoft: these should play an important role in the race, also a mandatory available set.
  • Purple ultrasoft: the most popular choice by a long way, with up to nine sets nominated per car.

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Driver tyre selection could all be for nothing however, with wet weather forecast across the entire race weekend.

PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR:                     

  • “Austria is one of the most picturesque and individual tracks on the championship, which asks a lot from the tyres in terms of all-round mechanical grip and performance, which is why the ultrasoft has been resoundingly favoured here. As a result, we may have a two-stop race this time, even though last year was a one-stopper. However, this venue is always quite unpredictable: we had a safety car period right at the beginning of the grand prix last year, while rain as well as bright sunshine seems to be an equal possibility. The ultrasoft compound should be well-suited to the Red Bull Ring, which means that we will almost certainly see the fastest laps ever of this current circuit configuration this weekend.”

WHAT’S NEW? 

  • The circuit has been completely re-asphalted this year, with the new asphalt having a similar level of abrasion to before. The fresh bitumen may offer a different amount of grip though: it will be measured by Pirelli’s engineers on Wednesday before the race.
  • The ultrasoft makes its Austrian debut, having been introduced for the current season.
  • As well as cars, Spielberg also hosted the Red Bull Air Race earlier this year, above the track.

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