Tag Archives: Baku

Formula One: Ricciardo Uncovered

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In the aftermath of the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which saw Aston Martin Red Bull Racing teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen collide after a race long battle for position, many questions have been raised as to how the team should respond and what happens next. When contemplating the options moving forward, opinions and viewpoints aren’t always based on a fair representation of a situation or the individuals involved.

Opinions and judgements from fans and in many cases the media as to the temperament and character of a driver are more often than not based on 2-3 minute sound bites from drivers over a race weekend. It is easy to build a false impression of a driver and their perspective on issues.

Over the past 12-24 months, long-form interviews in the form of independent podcasts have grown significantly in popularity, offering a platform for individuals to offer a greater level of insight into their personalities and what makes them tick. Earlier this year Natalie Pinkham launched her own series of podcasts “In the Pink” with Daniel Ricciardo being one of the first guests.

Recorded ahead of the 2018 season, the interview covers everything from his upbringing in Perth, his almost entirely trouble free, save for a small incident with superglue, school life, to his taste in music, and self-belief. When fans seek to understand the man behind the smile, and what may or may not be going through his head following the incident in Baku, they would do well to listen to this podcast.

It would be great to see other drivers follow Ricciardo’s lead and sit down for an hour or so to record an hour ‘in the Pink”!

To download Daniel Ricciardo’s’ interview with Natalie Pinkham or subscribe to ‘In the Pink’ on the Acast network follow this link.

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Formula One: Williams break the 2 second pit stop barrier

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Williams Martini Racing set a new record for the fastest recorded pit stop at the Grand Prix of Europe. The team finally broke the magical 2 second barrier with Felipe Massa’s stop. Williams are the first team to officially complete a pitstop in which all 4 tyres are changed in under 2 seconds in Formula One.

After a series of calamitous pitstop performances throughout the teams 2015 campaign, for 2016 the team employed a process manager to analyse possible areas of improvement and implement change. One change has been to introduce a 21st person to the process. The person is responsible for monitoring the pitlane throughout the stop and signal (through a hand-held remote) when it is safe to release the car. This additional person reduces the number of tasks to be completed by the front jack man, and as a consequence has allowed for increased focus and improved efficiency. By allocating only single tasks to individuals in a pitstop process focus can be absolute. No doubt rival teams will be looking to emulate the Williams pit stop process in races to come.

For the 2016 Season DHL are awarding a Fastest Pitstop award after each Grand Prix. Williams have won this accolade at every race this season.

Formula One: Rosberg’s video diary of a winning weekend

Nico Rosberg continues his commitment to share his 2016 F1 championship challenge with as many fans as possible. In this series of films Nico takes viewers through his build up for the weekend, pre race trip from the hotel to the track and post race celebrations.

The increasingly infamous Monaco Resident Private Jet service shows the relationships drivers have away from the circuit. Rosberg and his management team are clearly investing in providing fans a real insight into life as an F1 driver. The production values of the You Tube films are very impressive and feature content filmed using drones.

Nico’s commitment to sharing his experiences with fans both positive and negative is highly commendable.

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Formula One: Stats and Facts from the Grand Prix of Europe

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The very first Grand Prix in Azerbaijan was won by Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, who started from pole and stopped just once, passing from supersoft to soft tyres, without ever losing the lead.

The top six started on the supersoft and stopped only once for the soft tyre, between laps 8 and 21. This meant that their soft tyre stints lasted up to 43 laps, in the case of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. The result was achieved despite a higher wear rate than expected owing to warmer temperatures than those seen in practice and qualifying.

The highest placed of the three drivers to have instead started on the soft was Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, who finished ninth from 12th on the grid. Hulkenberg stopped just once, while the best of the two-stoppers was Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who used all three compounds nominated for Azerbaijan: supersoft, soft and medium, which was the case also for his team mate Max Verstappen.

Another alternative strategy was adopted by Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein, who completed a very long 29-lap opening stint on the soft, then reverted to the medium before his retirement. Renault’s Kevin Magnussen, by contrast, had a very long closing stint on the soft tyre that even lasted for 46 laps. Manor’s Rio Haryanto went even longer: 48 laps.

Commenting on the race Pirelli’s Paul Hembery remarked:

 “The Baku grand prix contained a number of surprises; firstly with track temperatures still in excess of 50 degrees after one third of the race, and with very little drop in temperature throughout. And secondly because the much-anticipated safety cars never materialised. As expected, it was a one-stop race for the winner, with quite high wear and low degradation despite the long lap length and very high top speeds. We saw a number of different strategies being tried, including some very long stints even on the supersoft, which was key to Nico Rosberg’s victory on this spectacular track.”

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Formula One: Tyres available in Baku

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Ahead of the Grand Prix of Europe from Baku Pirelli have confirmed the remaining tyre allocation available to drivers for the race.

With a one stop race expected and increased running from drivers to familiarise themselves with the circuit, new tyre availability is minimal. Teams are expected to adopt a one stop strategy in the race with most starting on the Supersoft compound then changing to the mandatory Soft tyre at around 1/3rd race distance.

However, as seen in qualifying and free practice many drivers have struggled with braking points through around the circuit resulting in heavy flat spotting. Should this occur in the race additional pitstops will be required and with so few fresh tyres available drivers may be forced to run the Medium compound tyre.

Drivers such as Button and Hulkenberg arguably out of position have a wealth of fresh tyres available to them which may encourage them to consider an alternative strategy.

Commenting on likely strategy Pirelli remarked:

“The teams obviously have limited data regarding Baku, so there is less information than usual on which to base strategy calculations. However, a one-stop seems to be clearly the best option. The top 10 will all start on used supersoft, and we would expect them to move onto the soft on lap 22 (of 51). If starting on the soft, the time to switch to supersoft is lap 29. However, strategies will have to be flexible, as there appears to be a high likelihood of a safety car.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director adds:

“We saw an action-packed qualifying session, where the lack of experience and lack of grip on this new circuit was a key factor, causing a few surprises. The supersoft was used from start to finish, but the fresh asphalt meant that there was little grip on offer, and the track was evolving all the time. As a result it was an exciting session, which suggests also that there could be a high probability of a safety car tomorrow, as we saw in the GP2 race earlier. While a one-stop strategy is clearly the way forward, there are some good opportunities to have on this rapid circuit, which combines the unpredictability of a street circuit with the possibility to overtake and move up the field.”

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Formula One: Grand Prix of Europe preview

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Formula One arrives in Baku this weekend for the 8th round of the 2016 Formula One World Championship. The Grand Prix of Europe, takes the form of a high speed street circuit in which cars are expected to exceed 340 KMPH. The circuit at just over 6km is the second longest on the F1 calender. The race will take place over 51 laps.

The track surface is made up of a variation of new and temporary tarmac (covering cobbles for in the old town section of the circuit for the race weekend only) tyre degradation is expected to be minimal. Despite this expectation, since the circuit is new Pirelli have opted to supply teams with the medium compound range of tyres. It can be expected future events will use softer compounds. Team tyre compound selection has focused on the softest compounds available.

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With excessive straights followed by a series of tight low speed corners car set-up is likely to be somewhat of a compromise. Teams will be looking to run minimal downforce to ensure maximum speed on the straights whilst ensuring the car is controllable in the low speed sections, as a friend pointed out earlier today, these elements of the circuit are not dissimilar to the old Hockenheimring.

Teams with advanced simulators are likely to arrive at the circuit with a strong baseline set up, others may require much of Friday running to find the optimal approach to the circuit.

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Formula One: The race to Baku

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A mere 8 hours after the conclusion of today’s Canadian Grand Prix, all teams will be required to have completed race equipment pack up and have all containers ready to be shipped to Baku ahead of the inaugural Grand Prix of Europe, taking place in Azerbaijan next weekend.

In order to meet this deadline, many teams will begin the pack up process as soon as the race gets under way later today. With mixed conditions forecast teams will be hopeful they do not see a repeat of the 2011 event which due to severe weather conditions saw the race take place over a 4 hour period including a 2 hour red flag period, such scheduling will play havoc with teams planning for the following race.

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The Haas F1 Team have prepared a number of handy info graphics to illustrate the challenges of the second race taking place in Montreal today.

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Traditionally organisers of a new Grand Prix would look to have a minimum of a two week gap between the previous race and their own event. As such it is some what of an anomaly for FOM (Formula One Management) to schedule a Grand Prix at a new location at the tail of back to back races. Teams will be heavily reliant on the Baku infrastructure being 100% prepared to receive them and for there to be no issues in the release of goods from airports. As such many teams have sent crew’s to Baku a week ahead of the race itself.

In a bid to minimise the pressure or risk around set up delays many teams have elected to ship secondary equipment to Baku directly.

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Still the challenge remains to get a crew of around 80 team personnel  10,300 KM from Montreal to Baku in the shortest possible time. There will be little opportunity from team celebrations post race today.

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JWGP will give a bag of jelly babies to the first team to tweet from Baku with the garage set up with the cars in place!

Formula One: UPDATED First laps of the Baku City Circuit

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2016 Euro formula Open driver Gulhuseyn Addullayev took to the wheel of a Baku City Circuit livered GP3 car yesterday to complete the first laps of the Grand Prix of Europe city Circuit.

In GP3 machinery Gulhuseyn remarked on the challenging turns 8 – 9 section of the track. The track looks set to offer a truly unique challenge to F1 drivers.

Further images & video of the demonstration run can be found below. The circuit is looking in great shape ahead of the F1 circus heading to the venue in less than one month from now. Charlie Whiting gave final FIA approval to the circuit earlier this month.

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Formula One: Brundle will miss the Baku GP

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SKY SPORTS F1 commentator Martin Brundle will step down from his commentary duties for the weekend of the inaugural Grand Prix of Europe coming from Baku.  Replacing the microphone for a steering wheel Brundle for the weekend, Martin will be racing  alongside his son Alex, in the Road to Le Mans event, a precursor to the Le Mans 24 hours taking place over the same weekend.

The Brundle family will be participating in the event with the Zak Brown, co-founder of JMI, owned United Autosports team in a Ligier JS P3 competing in the LMP3 category. Brundle’s place in the commentary box alongside David Croft will be taken by an existing member of the SKY SPORTS F1 team. With regular co-commentator for Free Practice sessions Anthony Davidson also otherwise engaged at Le Mans, it is likely Paul Di Resta will be stepping up to race commentary team in Baku.

SKY SPORTS F1 will confirm the commentary team following the Monaco Grand Prix.

Formula One: Alonso targets the Triple Crown of Motorsport

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In an interview during his first visit to the Baku street circuit, Fernando Alonso has spoken of his ambitions to achieve the hallowed Triple Crown in motorsport.

The Triple Crown is the name for winning the Monaco Grand Prix, The Indy 500, and Le Mans 24 hours. The only driver to achieve the accolade was Graham Hill. There have been only  17 drivers to complete in all 3 racing categories. At this time Juan Pablo Montoya is the driver best positioned to achieve the Triple Crown having taken victories in both the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix. Montoya tested the LMP1 Porsche 919 Hybrid last season and has stated a desire to participate in Le Mans following the conclusion of his current Indycar commitments.

Alonso’s comments further serve to demonstrate his mind is moving beyond Formula One, and he is seeking a new challenge. This interview also marks the first time Alonso has publicly expressed interest in oval racing.

Honda’s continued presence within Indycar could facilitate Alonso transitioning to the sport following the conclusion of his current F1 agreement.

Alonso has won the Monaco Grand Prix twice in his F1 career in 2006 and 2007.

Alonso is a driver ambassador for the 2016 Grand Prix of Europe in Baku, he spoke favourably about the venue and the potential for great racing and an opportunity for Mclaren to perform strongly at the race in June. When questioned around his current Mclaren agreement, Alonso reaffirmed his commitment not only for 2016, but also for 2017 when he expects regulation changes could give Mclaren an opportunity to move forward.

More information on the Grand Prix of Europe can be found here.

The interview can be seen in full here: