Tag Archives: Bahrian

Formula One: Who is Stoffel Vandoorne?

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With the confirmation that  Stoffel Vandoorne will sit in for Fernando Alonso this weekend at the Bahrain Grand Prix, you may be asking who exactly is Stoffel Vandoorne?

In this film shot in 2015, Stoffel himself talks through his Formula 1 ambitions and commitment to Mclaren:

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Born March 26th 1992, Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne made his motor racing début aged just 6 years old! In 2010 Stoffel graduated to single seater’s claiming race wins in his maiden F4 season. In 2013 he joined the Mclaren development driver programme and competed alongside fellow Mclaren development driver Kevin Magnussen in Formula Renault 3.5. something Jenson Button was keen to point out in this team mate profile film from 2015:

 

2014 saw Stoffel join the ART GP2 team, after a strong first season in the category in which he finished runner up to Renault Sport F1 driver Jolyon Palmer, Stoffel continued with the team in 2015 and went on to dominate the series, sealing the championship with Sochi with 5 rounds remaining.

Stoffel Vandoorne is extremely highly regarded across the F1 paddock, with Renault Sport believed to have approached Mclaren over a seat for the Belgian in 2016. It is widely expected that irrespective of this weekend’s developments Stoffel will likely see a full time place on the F1 grid in 2017 and with only two weeks between the Bahrain and Chinese Grand Prix it is possible Stoffel may be required to stand in for Alonso again this season.

 

Formula One: Confirmed -Vandoorne replaces Alonso in Bahrain

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Following FIA confirmation that Fernando Alonso has not been granted permission to participate in this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Mclaren have confirmed through social media that Stoffel Vandoorne will make his début for this team in his place.

More information on this developing story will be published through the day.

 

Formula One: The rain in Bahrain falls mainly… before the race.

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As build up for the 2nd round of the 2016 Formula One World Championship continues, team and journalist social media channels were awash this morning with comments on the spectacle of rain in the dessert.

Whilst forecasts suggest the rain will more than likely have passed before cars hit the track on first practice on Friday, heavy rain storms in the build up to the race weekend have played havoc with teams preparation and set up. The impact of rain on the circuit is likely to be felt during free practice as early running from teams will involve reduced emphasis on clearing sand and debris from the track. This should prompt increased running from teams through Friday and may lead to faster lap times over the race weekend.

Current forecasts suggest a 20% chance of rain on Sunday.

 

Formula One: Rio Haryanto “Formula 1 in Indonesia is huge”

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Manor Racing preview the Bahrain GP

Find out what Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto took away from their Grand Prix debut in Melbourne and what lies ahead on the shifting sands of Sakhir this weekend.

Pascal, a big weekend in Melbourne. How was it for you?

“Melbourne was amazing. Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of lining up on the grid for the first time and taking the chequered flag at the end of your first Grand Prix. They are special memories for sure.”

Was there a standout moment?

“My start! I’ve replayed it over and over in my mind – and a little bit on TV! To find myself running in 13th place at one point was pretty incredible. To be honest, the whole first stint was really positive and a good reflection of the step the team has made since last season.”

Not all plain sailing though. What could have gone differently?

“As a team we learned a lot in Melbourne. Qualifying didn’t work out well for us and as we have the same format here in Bahrain we need to put those lessons into practice. We still have a way to go with optimising the set-up to counter the tyre degradation problems we experienced in the second half of the race. It was a good start, but there’s a lot of room for improvement in every area, including me.”

Hot on the heels of your first Grand Prix, your first night race! How about that?

“Yes, pretty exciting. My first F1 night race will be fun and it’s really cool to have that experience so early in my F1 career. I’m sure the circuit will feel spectacular to drive under the lights. I can’t wait.”

Rio. Despite the obvious disappointment of your retirement, you seemed pretty positive about the overall experience?

“My debut was an incredible experience and one I’d waited a long time for, so I tried not to dwell too heavily on retiring. There were too many positives to take away from the weekend so that’s what I did. On a personal level I was quite happy with my pace and how I translated everything I’d learned at the tests into a race weekend context. I know the team were disappointed with the problem that ended my race but it’s all about looking forward and there’s so much more to come.”

The support from Indonesia was massive. That must have put a big spring in your step all weekend?

“It’s really quite something to have that many people rooting for you. The appetite for Formula 1 in Indonesia is huge now and it makes me feel very proud to know that I’m flying the flag.

What did you get up to in the break between races?

“I went home to Solo in Indonesia. Everyone wanted to hear about the racing so I got to relive the experience again and again! It’s my job to reward the support by sharing every detail of the experience with the fans back home, so there was a lot of media work and some appearances, and a little bit of time to prepare for Bahrain.”

What are you most looking forward to this weekend?

“My first night race will be pretty special! Generally though, I think the weekend here will be a lot smoother and I’ve got some really good experience to draw on in every area. Most of all, I can’t wait to see the chequered flag!”

Dave, your two rookies did a good job in their debut race. How would you rate the team’s performance?

“We came away from Melbourne feeling a little disappointed, no two ways about it. The drivers did a great job and there’s a lot of potential in the car but we need to do a better job of bringing everything together when it counts. I’m sure every team can say the same as it’s only the beginning but I’m expecting us to make improvements in every area this weekend.”

What kind of Bahrain Grand Prix can we expect to see this weekend?

“This race always throws up a few surprises doesn’t it? It’s a bit of a moving feast to be honest, especially when you consider the weather we’ve seen here in the past few days. Rain is less of a factor, as it evaporates so quickly, but the wind can be a distraction for the drivers and the pit wall. Track conditions can vary significantly from the afternoon practice sessions to the twilight timing of qualifying and the race. So there’s a lot for the engineers and drivers to get their head around in order to make the right strategic calls.”

What about the new qualifying format?

“It’s back, so we have to work with it. Notwithstanding our opinion of it, we didn’t do a good enough job in Melbourne, so that’s where our team needs to focus its attentions. We’ve reviewed our approach and there’s plenty of room for improvement, some of which will come from developing the car and some from our performance as a team. They say the proof is in the pudding so let’s see how things look after the second helping!”

Formula One: Kimi “Maybe I could have won last year”

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Ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, second round of the Formula One world championship, Scuderia Ferrari’s driver Kimi Raikkonen and Race Team Manager Diego Ioverno describe the main features of a track that’s quite unique.

For Kimi, last year bring some bittersweet memories: “I enjoy Bahrain, obviously it’s good itself, not the most difficult corners but still hard to make a good lap there and obviously conditions can change a lot because of the wind, it’s hot at midday and cold enough in the evening, but it’s a good place. Maybe I could have won last year, but it’s pointless to start guessing things, we were second and that’s it. It was not too bad, but I guess it could have been better.”

Such a hard-braking circuit puts a premium on the brake-by-wire system: “In an ideal word when all works it’s fine although obviously sometimes you can have issues, but we have a good system so far- This circuit is quite hard for practice, so some cars might run into problems with their brakes, but it really depends how much you are willing to push on the brake cooling if you have issues or not.”

Diego Ioverno: “First time for Bahrain GP was in 2004. Since then the circuit has been a challenging environment for all the Formula1 team, including 15 corners and a long combination of straights, kinks and hairpins. The Bahrain circuit layout normally suits quite well to medium-to-low downforce car configuration. The circuit is very challenging also for Power Units and for brakes because of the heavy braking points. So, it is really important to look after the cooling of the car, as it is important also to give particular attention to the mechanical setup for the kerb driving”.
Sand and darkness also make this venue quite unique: “The circuit of Bahrain is in the middle of the desert. The sand in the past was a fact and we have been experiencing sessions heavily affected by the sand. More than this, in the last few years, Bahrain race was in night time, while free practice session were in the day. This has given another variable to the race weekend format, forcing teams to face cooling level changing during the whole weekend. So, this is another factor that makes the Bahrain race really challenging”.

Formula One: Wolff: “The sport is under scrutiny”

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Toto Wolff & Paddy Lowe preview the Bahrain Grand Prix, give comment on the current qualifying quandaries and talk tyre strategy:

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
We have made a solid start to the season. However, while our advantage in Melbourne was a healthy one, it was nevertheless close enough that those bad starts could easily have lost us the race. Bahrain is a track that should suit Ferrari, so we expect even smaller gaps and a very close match this weekend. After a successful debut for the new tyre regulations last time out, we can also expect an interesting strategy battle during the race – so there is plenty to look forward to. This weekend we will see the new qualifying system continue after a less-than-impressive debut in Australia. The teams were unanimous in their opinion of it on Sunday in Melbourne and it wasn’t a positive opinion. We haven’t found the right format with this change and it’s hard to see how it might be more entertaining for the fans this weekend in Bahrain. The sport is under scrutiny on this matter, so careful thought is required in order to make coordinated, intelligent steps forward from the position we are in right now. The fans want close racing, in a format they can understand, between the best drivers and cars in the world – in that order. We should be capable of delivering that to the people in the grandstands and watching around the world.

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
Bahrain is quite a different track to Melbourne, so it will be interesting to see how we fare. One thing you can normally guarantee is that it will be dry. Unlike the rain-hit Melbourne weekend, this will provide plenty of opportunity for track time. Thanks to their evening timings, qualifying and the race in Bahrain see much cooler track temperatures than the mid-afternoon FP1 / FP3 sessions – making the latter somewhat unrepresentative. This potentially makes tyre selection even more of a factor. We know already that there is a marked difference between the allocations selected by competing teams for this race, so we could see a few surprises. A big positive from Melbourne was seeing how well the new tyre rules delivered in terms of strategy variation – and we expect to see more of the same here. We’ve seen close battles throughout the field in both years of twilight racing in Bahrain, so we look forward to hopefully providing another spectacular evening for the fans.

2016 Tyre Allocation Regulations

When revised regulations governing race weekend tyre allocations were announced for the 2016 season, it’s fair to say that there was a reasonable degree of head scratching among both pundits and fans as to just how the new system would work. However, now the dust has settled from the opening race of the year in Melbourne, two things have become clear: first, that this latest tweak to the rules is not as complex in reality as it seems on paper; second, that it’s working…

Why does making a third tyre compound available lead to greater strategic variation?
It’s simple maths. If you pick three numbers, the quantity of different combinations in which they can be arranged is notably greater than if you had two to choose from. Likewise, having three tyres compounds available to each team over a race weekend has opened up two or three viable additional strategy options.

Did the availability of a third tyre compound have an effect on the race in Melbourne?
At the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, every driver was pushed into running a one-stop strategy – starting on the soft and finishing on the medium. And, had the same tyre choices been available in 2016, they would likely have done the same. The difference this year was that teams had the scope to run two or three different strategies that could potentially converge into a roughly similar solution at the end of the race, resulting in an interesting and unpredictable mix of one and two-stoppers. Even without the red flag, it would have been a very entertaining race.

What was the impact on the racing?
Melbourne saw more overtaking than in previous years – 40 overtakes compared to 13 in 2015 – and this is down in no small part to the new tyre regulations. At other circuits where it’s tough to pass such as Barcelona, Monaco, Budapest or Singapore, track position will again become potentially less of a factor. With three compounds, the difference between the tyres can now create overtaking scenarios.

Was Melbourne a one-off or will this trend continue at other circuits?
There are already signs that more options will open up strategy-wise at the next race in Bahrain – and China looks set to be yet more exciting again. It will create exciting races where one strategy initially appears better than the other – but then that could flip. Whether more cars choose to run one, two or three stops is not important. What creates variation and excitement is that offset strategies are now perfectly valid potential race-winning options, leading to more overtaking and more unknowns towards the end of the race.

Of course, there’s a fine line between interesting strategic differences and chaos. If teams had free choice of compounds for every race, there would be potential for someone to seriously distort the competitive order. The current concept, however, appears to have found the right balance between exciting but understandable racing.

What do the teams make of the change?
Pirelli have created a compound range that promotes excitement if deployed and promoted in the right way. The world wants to see teams and drivers trying to do things differently, and these regulations empower them to do so. Tyres are now a positive talking point before a race weekend. For example, the difference in Bahrain compound nominations between the Silver Arrows and Ferrari has attracted plenty of attention. What’s more, by bringing softer compounds to each event, the target of making the cars faster has already been achieved in large part. In qualifying, lap times will now be close to circuit records in the manner we saw in Melbourne. The current cars possess historic highs of chassis and engine performance – and this is now being translated into the headline times.

Is there room for improvement?
As is to be expected, there are a couple of teething problems. For example, teams were asked to nominate their compound choices for a different set of regulations to those under which the sport is now operating for qualifying. But this is a minor complaint. Arguably, the change to the tyre rules has had more of an effect than any other in recent memory. The vast majority of people appear rather excited about its impact – and long may that continue.

Formula One: Ferrari & Williams avoid soft tyre in Bahrain

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The FIA has communicated to Pirelli each team’s tyre choices for the forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix.  It is important to note that driver choices on tyre selection for the early rounds of the championship were made before pre-season testing.

As you may expect in the second round of the championship teams have tending to make the same tyre selection for both drivers. With only Sauber and Haas F1 electing to vary the weighting of tyre choice between drivers.

Both Scuderia Ferrari and Williams have weighted tyre selection away from the soft compound  opting to focus on the medium tyre (hardest available) and the super soft. This suggests both teams will maintain an aggressive approach to race strategy, with multiple stints on the super soft likely.

Mercedes have elected to take only a single set of the medium compound tyre to the race weekend, which may suggest they don’t intend to use the compound. However, Lewis took took only one set of the medium compound to Australia then used it for the majority of the race distance.

It should also be noted qualifying regulations are not resolved at the time of driver tyre selction.

 

OPINION: GP2 & WEC – Bahrain Rookie Test, the future of career development?

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With the size of your sponsorship portfolio rather than the success seen in your racing career continue to be a key determining factor in a driver stepping from junior racing category into F1, drivers whose skills are focused on keeping their car between the white lines are increasingly looking towards a career in endurance racing.

Owing to the cancellation of the German Formula One Grand Prix earlier in the season, in one month from now GP2 for the first time in the series history, take on the support race role for the World Endurance Championship in Bahrain. Following what promises to be a thrilling weekend of racing, the World Endurance Championship will run a series of rookie test sessions. These sessions will offer a selection of drivers from GP2, who may have otherwise lacked the budget to further advance their career, the opportunity to test championship winning LMP1 machines.

The test line-up will include Richie Stanaway, already competing the WEC with Aston Martin in the LMGTEPro category, who will be testing the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro. Mitch Evans, who has already discussed he ambition to move towards endurance racing, testing the currently dominant Porsche 919 Hybrid, and 2013 GP2 runner up, DS Virgin Racing Formula E, and LMP2 driver Sam Bird testing the Toyota TS040 Hybrid.

Does this test represent a seed change in the mind-set of drivers and promoters towards Endurance Racing? No longer should it be perceived exclusively as the place for retired Formula One drivers (although the Colombian variety of these will be represented and very welcome!) Endurance racing offers drivers a formidable racing challenge, arguably superior in many respects to Formula One. The World Endurance Championship is rapidly becoming the home of a driving elite. How long will it be before Formula One drivers don’t just dip their toe into the Le Man’s experience, but when it comes to contract negotiations consider a seat with an LMP1 team as a true alternative to an F1 team.

This event in Bahrain is a huge step forward for Motor Racing.