Tag Archives: Austin

Opinion: Formula One – WIN on Sunday, TEST on Monday

.
.

Horrendous weather conditions plagued the build-up to the 2015 United States Grand Prix with teams achieving minimal track time on Friday or Saturday. This led to a heavily condensed race schedule with qualifying taking place on the Sunday morning, and the only dry running over the entire weekend taking place in the race itself, and what a race it was!

With very little time to refine car set up for the race, teams and drivers went in to the race having to rely on pre-work ahead of the race weekend and instinct. The result was one of the best races of the season.

Wouldn’t it be great it all races could reach the levels of excitement achieved in Austin? Are there any elements of that weekend the sport replicate?

Let’s rule out the obvious, random sprinkler systems are not the way forward! As much as every commentator likes to refer back to Bernie Ecclestone’s flippant comment from a few seasons ago it’s not really a feasible option. Any claims of purest racing would be lost once and for all. So if controlling the weather conditions isn’t an option, what else can we look at?

Should Formula One consider a shorter race weekend? Condense the event from three days to two perhaps even one? The one day format seems to work in Formula E. On the face of it reducing the time a driver and team have to refine set up based on performances in Austin seems to bring raw talent to the fore. Drivers no longer able to rely on highly analysed data to define the best possible approach to a lap and the race. Driver and teams have adapt to what they have and respond to the circuit on the day. This lack of data seems to be what created great racing.

On the negative side, a one or two day schedule significantly devalues the product; circuits, promoters, and broadcasters are have to offer to the paying public and sponsors. If you remove Friday from the schedule ticket prices should be adjusted accordingly and as a consequence revenues will be reduced. So how do you reduce team’s ability to perfect set up and not devalue the overall product?

Why not move the Friday sessions to Monday? The amount of time spent at a circuit by teams will not be impacted rather shifted by a day. Teams will have chance to try out upgrades for future races, but do so with no immediate impact on the race weekend. Pirelli would get their wish for increased testing. Everyone wins!

By moving the Friday sessions to Monday teams may be more inclined to run junior or development drivers safe in the knowledge the race car would not be damaged ahead of a race weekend. Both Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen have recently called for a revamp of the format of a race weekend, could this be the way forward?

Of course in time team would adapt and invest in new technologies, Mclaren performances in Austin served to highlight that despite everything going on with the team they have a truly first class simulator, confidence in the data from the simulator had a huge impact on the teams performances and very nearly resulted in their best result of the year. If the race weekend format changed team investment plans would follow suit, but in the short term fans would be in for some thrilling races and F1 action on a Monday morning!

Advertisements

Formula One: Austin – Lewis Hamilton 3 times World Champion!

Lewis Hamilton - Champion

Lewis Hamilton clinches his third World Drivers’ Championship in thrilling United States Grand Prix with Nico Rosberg completing a historic Silver Arrows 1-2

  • Lewis took his 10th win of the season, the 43rd of his Formula One career, en route to sealing his third World Drivers’ Championship crown
  • The result sees Lewis become the 10th driver to win three or more titles and the only Briton to successfully defend his crown
  • Today also saw Lewis become the first driver to claim ten or more victories in consecutive seasons
  • Nico Rosberg finished second to clinch his 12th podium of the season and 38th of his Formula One career
  • The result marks the 25th 1-2 finish for the Silver Arrows in Formula One and the 50th for Mercedes-Benz power
  • Both drivers started on intermediate tyres, with each pitting twice for option (soft) compound slicks
  • MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS now lead Ferrari by 200 points in the Constructors’ Championship

Lewis Hamilton
It’s an overwhelming moment. Remembering my first British Championship, when my dad and me drove home singing ‘We Are the Champions’. Thinking about how much my family sacrificed – my Mum, my Dad, my whole family. And also thinking about my fans. They give me so much energy and I hope I inspire them to never give up on their hopes and dreams. The race today was really amazing and anything could have happened. The last 10 – 15 laps were extraordinary – it was just a crazy, crazy race. I was in the lead, then I was fourth and the conditions were really tricky. Nico was driving really well, too. All the way through, I was thinking; “The Championship is there somewhere… how can I get it?” It was so close I could smell it and there was never a  moment I didn’t believe I could do it. It’s just incredible to equal Ayrton, too. My target was always three titles as he was the one who inspired me. There is no one I want to equal now – I just want to carry on as far and long as I can. For any driver, you want to win in anything you compete in – but this is the ultimate goal. Championships mean greatness – yours and your team’s! This Team has been so amazing. I feel incredibly thankful. I thought I would win with this team, so that’s why I moved… and I did!

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

First of all, a huge congratulations to Lewis. He has driven like a Champion all season and now rightly takes his place in a special group with a third title. I have no doubt there is more to come from him, so if we can keep delivering a car that is capable of doing the job then anything is possible for him. For Nico is has been an unlucky year in many ways. But he has shown his fighting spirit once again today and that will not change in the seasons to come. Looking back at today, we saw a fantastic race from start to finish and I hope that everybody watching was as entertained as we were – particularly the people in the grandstands who braved the weather this weekend. On the pit wall it was a very difficult race to manage, with so many decisions to make and so many marginal calls with the safety cars. We tried to play it fair and square as we always have done and perhaps not every call was the right one. But in the end Lewis had the World Champion’s luck on his side and when you drive the way he has done this season you earn that luck. The first corner was certainly a tense moment and Nico was clearly not happy. It’s never going to happen that a driver is completely happy to see a rival winning. But we have three races left and it’s crucial that we don’t allow today’s incident to have further consequences. We will go away, have a few days of cooling off, and then talk. Looking ahead, we have three races still to go. I have never been in that situation where everything is comfortable and I can sit back and enjoy the race as a fan, so I’m looking forward to seeing our two drivers fight flat out with nothing to lose.

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
What a day! Massive congratulations first and foremost to Lewis. A third World Championship is a great credit to all the hard work he has put in not only this season but over a fantastic Formula One career to date. It is very much deserved and I think he can rightly stake his claim as a legend of the sport. At the same time, all credit to Nico today. He’s had a tough season in terms of luck but has kept pushing throughout. He drove superbly today and, bar one small mistake which handed Lewis the lead, would surely have won the race. It’s been an emotional day – not just for Lewis and the team but also for the sport. We saw a truly incredible race – one of the most exciting for many years – which atoned for what had been a pretty grim weekend. The fans here in Austin have been fantastic despite the conditions and very much deserved the entertainment we saw today as a reward for their dedication.

Formula One: Austin through Infographics – Pirelli

GP USA F1/2015

Lewis Hamilton has won the United States Grand Prix and the 2015 World Championship, following an action-packed race that went from wet to dry conditions. All the drivers started on new intermediates, waiting for the right crossover point when the track would be dry enough to move onto slicks. Both Hamilton and his team mate Nico Rosberg, who finished second, completed one opening stint on the intermediates followed by two stints on the soft tyre.

The timing of the pit stops proved to be the key to victory, with the pit wall and drivers having to make tactical calls despite no dry running before the start, which deprived the teams of the usual tyre wear and degradation information.

Two safety cars (as well as two virtual safety cars) shaped the strategy, with Hamilton stopping during the second safety car period – just before the finish – but not during the first safety car period, earlier in the race.

Those who stopped during the first safety car period looked like they had an advantage, but the second safety car period eliminated a large part of that, by allowing those who hadn’t yet stopped to do so while containing the pit lane time loss.

Hamilton emerged from his second and final pit stop in second place, but used the speed advantage of his fresh P Zero Yellow soft tyres to claim the lead from Rosberg, who had started from pole following the qualifying session this morning.

The highest-placed three-stopper was Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who ended up on the podium. Vettel made his second stop onto the medium tyres, rather than the soft tyre used by his direct rivals. However, he then made a third stop during the final safety car, at the same time as Hamilton, having started from 13th on the grid.

With the race start held in wet conditions, there wasn’t the usual obligation to run both slick compounds. Most drivers chose to use the faster soft tyre throughout the dry part of the race, but Vettel was the first of the frontrunners to use the more durable medium.

Force India’s Sergio Perez was the only driver to make the intermediate-soft-medium strategy work, finishing fifth after stopping twice. The Mexican finished ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button and Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz, who went from last following an off in qualifying to sixth at the race finish: also stopping three times. The highest number of pit stops was completed by Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, who was in the pits five times but still finished in a points-scoring ninth.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “After several delays and washouts, we finally got the race we had been waiting for, where the wet conditions at the start added another fascinating tactical variable rather than just being an impediment to the action. As was inevitable with no dry running before the start, the teams had to read and react to the changing situation rather than rely on prior information, so it was the drivers who were able to work with their teams best under these challenging circumstances who won out. Congratulations to Lewis for a well earned third championship title, after a brilliant season. Right to the end, the final outcome of this grand prix was unclear, ensuring a thrilling finale to the race that the fans deserved most of all, after a weekend that is certainly going to be very memorable…”

Austininfo AustinInfo2

Formula One: Austin Qualifying with Lotus: So Wet!

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - United States Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Austin, USA

Lotus F1 Team has qualified thirteenth and fifteen for today’s United States Grand Prix. In extremely wet and slippery conditions, both drivers proceeded to the second qualifying session but were unable to break into the top ten for this afternoon’s race. Both drivers gain two positions on the grid as a result of penalties for other competitors, meaning Romain starts in P11, Pastor starts in P13.

Romain Grosjean, E23-04. Q: P13, starts P11, 2:00.595
“Conditions were certainly very hard for everyone out there. We knew our relative performance on the wet tyres wouldn’t be as good as it is in the dry. We pushed as hard as we could to get into the top ten but we just couldn’t make it. The rain fell harder in Q2 and it became too wet to run any further laps.”

Pastor Maldonado, E23-03. Q: P15, starts P13, 2:01.604         
“At the end of Q2 it was raining too much which made it very tricky. I found it very difficult with our car as even staying on a line was tough. The rear was very unstable and we had a lot of oversteer. The track itself was too wet for the last few laps so I can understand why Q3 didn’t take place.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“The weather is clearly the primary consideration.”

How was qualifying?
For the drivers it was a game of finding some clear track away from the spray and maximising the opportunities when the track was at its driest. It rained all through the session so it was difficult for everyone out there. The conditions were very poor at the end of Q2 which was highlighted by Q3 being aborted.

What are the considerations for the race?
The weather is obviously the primary consideration. It’s raining right now and we’re watching the skies and the satellite maps very closely.

Formula One: Watching the Rain with The Lotus F1 Team – United States Grand Prix

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - United States Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Austin, USA

Lotus F1 Team endured a soggy waiting game at the Circuit of the Americas with a very wet FP3 and a much delayed and ultimately postponed qualifying session. Qualifying is now scheduled for 9am tomorrow morning at the track.

Romain Grosjean, E23-04. Q: Delayed. FP3: P12, 2:02.825
“Many years ago as part of the Renault Driver Development programme I enjoyed surfing as part of the training. This would have been really useful had we tried to qualify today! The weather was pretty extreme and I really feel for all the fans who braved the elements to come watch us. I hope we’re able to put on a fantastic show for everyone tomorrow.”

Pastor Maldonado, E23-03. Q: Delayed. FP3: P13, 2:02.921    
“There’s nothing you can do about the weather and it’s been a pretty long day waiting to see if the weather would improve. We got some laps in the morning and it was very slippery on track. I definitely think it was the correct decision not to run, but I’m sorry that everyone at the track had a wasted day.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“Not a productive day.”

What does a Sunday morning qualifying mean for the team?
It will make for a busy race day. The weather is predicted to be better tomorrow, however there’s still a chance of rain. It’s going to be important for both cars to come through qualifying with minimal issues as there will only be a short time between qualifying and the race. We saw a Sunday morning qualifying last in Australia a couple of years ago so it’s not an alien concept.

What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
We have less time to work on strategy permutations based on starting position and we don’t have much dry run data. If it’s wet there are the usual wet weather considerations. We certainly are looking forward to the race and we have a good opportunity for points.

Formula One: Lotus F1 Team announce Jolyon Palmer as race driver for 2016

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - United States Grand Prix - Practice Day - Austin, USA

Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce that Third and Reserve driver Jolyon Palmer has been promoted to a race seat for the 2016 season, completing the team’s driver line-up alongside Pastor Maldonado.

Jolyon, 24, has driven for the team in the majority of this season’s Free Practice 1 sessions, and will be back in the E23 Hybrid at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix. He joined Lotus F1 Team in January, following an outstanding GP2 campaign in 2014 where he won the championship in dominant fashion, becoming the first British driver to win the GP2 Series since Lewis Hamilton in 2006.

Gerard Lopez, Chairman and Team Principal, Lotus F1 Team:
“We are very pleased to announce that exciting British racing talent Jolyon Palmer is promoted to a race seat with the team for next season. We’ve seen Jolyon’s hard work and talent this season in the way he’s approached his third driver role and he is a really popular choice for the team. As well as having a great future ahead of him behind the wheel, Jolyon is an intelligent and highly marketable asset to the team. He deserves this opportunity, and everyone at Enstone is excited to see what he can achieve next year.”

Jolyon Palmer, 2015 Lotus F1 Team, Third and Reserve driver; 2016 race driver:
“I’m obviously delighted that I’ll be racing in Formula 1 next year. Lotus F1 Team gave me a tremendous opportunity this season and I thank them for assisting my development to a level where they have put their trust in me for a crucial season in their evolution. I’ve enjoyed and learnt a lot from my year as Third and Reserve driver so I’m looking forward to putting this into practice as a race driver in 2016. I can’t wait for next season to get underway!”

Formula One: Renault Sport confirm ICE upgrades available to both Red Bull Racing & Toro Rosso for Austin

renault sport

Rémi Taffin, Director of Operations

There’s very little not to love about Austin. The setting is impressive, the welcome is warm and the track is one of the best we visit all year. There are some very impressive corners and flowing complexes that challenge drivers, engineers and the technology we use. The power unit works in the mid to high range throughout the lap, with high average speeds and some very technical sections.

We will have our new specification of power unit available to use in Austin. The principal changes involve the internals of the ICE to give improved power and efficiency. We know that introducing the new PU will incur a grid penalty so the decision to use will be made in full consultation with the teams. At this point of the season obviously points are crucial so if circumstances allow then we will use on track.

Whatever spec we do use, we are looking forward to Austin. Our reliability has been good in the last three races and performance more in line with our expectations; both our teams just need a clean weekend to show the improved potential of both packages.

Austin Power Unit details

ICE

– Austin is one of the most demanding tracks of the second part of the year for the ICE, with just under 50% of the lap taken at wide open throttle, rising to 55% in qualifying. The average speed will be around 200kph with top speed peaking at over 320kph.

– The longest straight is the burst between Turns 11 and 12 at 1,016m. The power units will spend approx. 14secs at wide open throttle. Top speed is 325kph at the end of this straight in qualifying trim.

– The changes in gradient stress the internals of the ICE. When going downhill the mechanical parts and lubricants are squashed to the bottom of the car but when going uphill they are pushed back upwards. These repeated changes of pressure are unusual on the calendar and will be monitored over the weekend to avoid any potential problems or pressure drops.

Turbocharger 

– Austin’s gradient changes are an important consideration. The run from pole to the first corner is the most acute example of the change in altitude. The track rises 25m over 500m – equivalent to a gradient of 1 in 20 but at its steepest is 1 in 8. This elevation change means the turbo rotates at a higher speed to generate the same amount of power at the top of the hill.

– The low ambient humidity of the Texan grasslands has a big effect on the power units. The air will contain more oxygen and a naturally-aspirated ICE will generate more power, but the aridity is very taxing on the internals. A turbocharged engine mitigates this effect by varying the rotational speed to provide the correct amount of air to the ICE.

MGU-K

– The circuit layout with its flowing corners in the first sector, straight line in the second sector and stop/start character of the last sector makes the consumption per kilometre one of the highest of the season. This makes energy recovery through braking crucial.

– The third sector is very stop-start, but the hairpins and tight corners give the MGU-K a chance to recharge. At each corner, the driver will stamp on the brakes, putting large forces through the K and filling the battery once more.

– Three hairpins triangulate the track; Turns 1, 11 and 12. Revs drop to 7,500rpm and the car speed to just 80kph. All three come after a long period of open throttle, meaning engine braking and rear stability on the apex are crucial. The exits and correct engine response from the hairpins are however equally important since they each lead back onto another straight.

MGU-H

– A high percentage of Sector two is given to the long straight, which will give the MGU-H a chance to recover energy from the ICE.

– The flowing section between Turns 2 and 4 require the driver to maintain a constant level of throttle. This will require the ICE to turn at a constant speed, producing a steady stream of exhaust gas, which the MGU-H can recover.

OPINION: Renault bringing their highly anticipated engine upgrades to Austin is a significant statement of intent, if nothing more than to cement Renault remain committed to the sport and the current regulations.  Renault have not officially confirmed the number of tokens used for this upgrade, or if it represents the final development of the season. No doubt they will be keen to validate the developments on track and will encourage one or both customer teams to run the updated Power unit. 

Formula One: US Grand Prix – Alexander Rossi Takes On COTA

Alex Rossi

Courtesy of Mobil 1 The Grid, Alex Rossi previews the US Grand Prix with iZone Driver Performance Racing Simulators

Opinion:  Thanks to Mobil 1 The Grid for posting this preview. Alex Rossi’s presence on the F1 grid for the 2015 COTA Grand Prix is great news for the Circuit and Formula One in general. Having an American driver on the grid should serve to further endear the track with locals and heighten the atmosphere at this fantastic venue. the COTA circuit manages to encapsulate some of the greatest corners in recent F1 history and bring them together into one single thrilling lap.

Rossi and the Manor team promised additional sponsorship backing from the Austin GP onwards, with his Californian roots perhaps Alex has been able to tap into the Silicon Valley Billions, adding to the mid season Airbnb partnership, I can picture the Uber Manor F1 team now! A strong showing in Austin should put Rossi in a good position for a full season campaign with the team in 2016.