Tag Archives: Brazil

Formula One: No Tim Holmes but still very special

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Ahead of Felipe Massa’s final home Grand Prix this weekend, Williams Racing title sponsor Martini has dedicated it’s iconic logo to the driver replacing the MARTINI with MASSA.

Whilst the livery is not the bold helmet inspired design imagined by motorsport designed Tim Holmes, the gesture demonstrates the close relationship Massa, Williams and Martini have developed since the Brazilian joined the team in 2014

 

The surprise livery change, the first of its kind for a Formula One partner, was revealed to the Brazilian-born driver today at the Autódrome José Carlos Pace track in Sao Paulo. In addition to the famous MARTINI ball and bar logo being replaced with MASSA, the rear wing has also been adorned with the phrase ‘Obrigado’ – which means ‘thank you’ in Portuguese.

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“I’ve always said that I drive the best looking car on the grid, but this takes it to a whole other level,” joked Felipe Massa.  He continued, “I’ve never known a sponsor to do this for a driver before. It’s an honour and I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit emotional about it.  But it goes to show that because of MARTINI’s heritage in racing, they are more than just a sponsor. They are a true partner and fan of this beautiful sport. I’ve been lucky to have them as part of my team the last three years.”

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Shane Hoyne, CMO, Bacardi Europe said, “Felipe isn’t just a driver, he’s a friend.  And not just to MARTINI but to his teammates and other drivers out there on the grid.  We thought it only right that we mark the occasion and give his name pride of place on the car. Obrigado on the rear wing is not just our way of saying thank you to him, but for Felipe to say thank you to all his fans in Sao Paulo.”

Felipe has spoken openly of a dream to thank his home fans with one final podium this weekend. With mixed conditions forecast and tensions simmering amongst the top teams all eyes will be on the Brazilian to realise his dream.

Click here to check out more helmet inspired F1 livery designs from Tim Holmes

Formula One: Levi’s join Sahara Force India

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Sahara Force India have announced the iconic Levi’s® Brand as a team partner for the remainder of the 2016 season in Latin America.
The famous Levi’s® logo will appear on the roll hoop of the VJM09 for this week’s Mexican Grand Prix, as well as on the drivers’ race suits and other team assets.
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India: “It’s exciting to welcome the Levi´s® Brand to the Force India family. It’s a brand known across the world and ideally placed to benefit from Formula One’s global reach and exposure. Each pair of Levi’s® jeans is the product of a long history of creativity and innovation – the same values on which our sport is built. We look forward to a successful partnership.”
 
Arcadio Jaramillo, Levi´s® Marketing Director: “Auto Sports Racing drives a huge engagement across Latin America. Although the F1 calendar travels to Mexico and Brazil, fans from across the region follow or travel to experience the ultimate expression of the sport in these two countries creating an exciting moment for the fans at this time of the year. Force India has grown very rapidly as one of the most loved teams by fans across the globe. Partnering with this team places the Levi´s® Brand in the Center of Culture in our region with the right partner

Formula One: #placesalonsowouldratherbe how Hilton not F1 got it wrong.

 

#placesalonsowouldratherbe

 

F1 news over the past 48 hours has been dominated with journalists commenting on how Formula One Management should wake up to social media and could have capitalised on the viral event that was #placesalonsowouldratherbe. In many respects the comments are correct; the viral event demonstrated that there is a quick thinking well humoured proportion of the F1 community with impressive photo editing skills. To have this level of engagement is something Formula One Management should be proud of and embrace. Perhaps, for example, through a 3 part competition run by sponsor Tata Communications (@tata_comm) evaluating the graphical content and future broadcast plans for the sport.

Putting the viral event into perspective, #placesalonsowouldratherbe saw 14,500 imprints on twitter; this is less than 15% of the total number of imprints from #BrazilGP, the event specific naming convention used by the Formula One twitter feed. Taking this a step further the Formula One Qualifying broadcast will likely have been seen by an audience of at least 20,000,000 people (a very conservative number even taking into consideration the current decline in F1 viewing figures) this would mean that 0.07% of the F1 audience participated in this viral event. Is this really an audience the Formula One Management Twitter feed should be seeking to capitalise on?

I’ve read a number of articles commenting that other sports or racing series do a far better job than Formula One on engaging with fans through social media, and whilst it can be argued that prior to the 2015 season this would be accurate it is no longer correct. The Formula One Twitter feed serves as an information point, providing exclusive pre and post-race content. It does not engage in conversation with followers, fans or teams, and why would it? Would it be an effective use of resources? I have read comments that Formula E and other racing series do a better job at engaging with their fan base through social media, on this point I disagree. The main twitter feed for Formula E operates in the same way as the Formula One feed. On occasion the individual maintaining the feed will acknowledge or respond to messages, but only in an informative style and this can only be achieved due to scale of the audience. The reputation Formula E has with respect to social media is borne out of the team and sponsor engagement.

Again some perspective @F1 has 1.68M followers on twitter, @FIAFormulaE has 76K followers on twitter. It is not realistic to expect Formula One Management to engage with fans in the same way Formula E can, the resource requirement is not realistic. @SauberF1Team has over 300K followers (the smallest of any F1 team) @AmlinAndretti has 13K followers (the most of any Formula E team) it is not realistic to expect the same level of engagement from teams in each series.

In my opinion, the #placesalonsowouldratherbe viral event served to demonstrate a failing not from @F1 but from that of @MclarenF1 and its sponsors. Many Formula One team sponsors have taken to live tweeting during on-track action, commenting on events as they unfold, commonplace with feeds such as Mobil’s @Grid1TV, or on the progress of their respective team or drivers seen with Force India F1 team sponsor @hypeenergy for example. I understand there are restrictions on the usage of team branding without agreement for fear or misrepresenting the team brand or ethos but imagine if the Hilton Group had taken the #placesalonsowouldratherbe viral event and placed Alonso in the lobby of their flagship hotel, or if they turned the hashtag into a discount code for online bookings.

For me the failing of the #placesalonsowouldratherbe viral was that sponsors did not react quickly enough. Perhaps it is time for the teams, not F1, to further adapt to social media. Give sponsors a freedom to engage in a way they believe their followers will respond.

 

 

As a side note, the image of Alonso used in this article, in every #placesalonsowouldratherbe tweet and subsequent article is the property of FOM. It was taken from their broadcast feed. FOM would be entirely within their rights to pursue copyright infringement cases for each use. The F1 of old may have taken this approach. F1 has is embracing social media.

Formula One: Pirelli Race Review + Infographics: Brazil

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Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the Brazilian Grand Prix with a three-stop strategy, running one stint on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre followed by three remaining stints on the P Zero White medium tyre.

Rosberg was able to hold off his team mate Lewis Hamilton – on a similar strategy – from start to finish, maintaining his advantage from lights to flag without losing the effective lead of the race. Track temperatures remained warm, albeit cooler than the 50 degrees seen during qualifying, while the threatened rain did not occur. The track temperature progressively dropped however throughout the race, ending up at 35 degrees, which reduced wear and degradation in the later stages.

The top three all used a three-stop strategy, but there was a wide variety of tactics at work behind them. The highest-placed two-stopper by the end of the race was Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who used the strategy to gain fourth by the end of the grand prix, finishing just off the podium behind his Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel.

All the drivers started on the soft tyre with the exception of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan completed a long opening stint on his medium tyres, while Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg completed an even longer closing stint with the same compound – underlining the variety of strategic thinking in the closely fought race. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo also adopted an alternative strategy to climb seven places from his grid position, switching from soft to medium on lap two.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “With weather conditions warm but uncertain, strategy was always going to be a key element of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Rosberg’s considered approach to tyre management over the course of the whole weekend once again proved to be a key element of his victory, which was very well deserved. However, there were a number of drivers operating a two-stop race. We saw some long stints on the medium compound that helped drivers gain track position.”

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Formula One: Ferrari Experimenting?

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With the 2015 drivers and constructor championship positions confirmed team’s technical departments have shifted focus to the 2016 season, seeking to understand which areas of development they can expect to see most gains.

Free Practice One in Brazil saw Mercedes trialling positioning and sizing of an S duct system similar in thinking to the F duct pioneered by Mclaren in 2012. The system is designed to stall aero around the car at certain times to increase overall speed trap performance. The trial of this system is plain for all to see with both cars sprouting additional openings along the nose cone of the car.

Less clear are the experimental developments with Ferrari, ignoring the huge rake seen on the rear right end of Kim’s car in the early phase of FP1. Since Austin both Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel appear to have had issues under braking and in deployment of power, with both drivers suffering uncharacteristic spins or race ending accidents. These incidents have been put down to driver error, but the growing frequency of these incidents, most recently seen in Free Practice with Kimi Räikkönen suggest something there could be more to these incident than meets the eye.

Ferrari throughout the 2014 season was known to struggle with consistent harvesting and deployment of ERS (Energy Recovery System) power.  On the face of it this issues appears to have been resolved in 2015, but could an evolution of this harvesting system be causing the drivers new issues? As with any new technology the scope for development of the system must be significant, perhaps Ferrari have found a new direction with harvesting of energy. Could an evolution ot the team’s ERS  be what brings Ferrari into true championship contention in 2016?

The extent of Ferrari’s experimentation led may observers to believe the team had lost their way in the build-up for today’s race, but in qualifying 3rd and 4th on the grid it seems more likely the team have a clear understanding of exactly how to maximise the performance of the SF15-T and have switched attention to the 2016 challenger in free practice sessions. Sebastian Vettel’s experiences in 2013, when Red Bull Racing continued to develop their dominant machine until the final race of the year arguably severely impacting the team’s performance in 2014 may be influencing Ferrari’s current focus.

Sebastian Vettel or Kimi Raikkonen struggling under braking into turn 4 or through acceleration out of turn 12 in today’s race would suggest continued evaluation or developments with the teams energy recovery harvesting and deployment systems.

Formula One: Five on the bonce for Nico!

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Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has set pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix using the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tyre, nominated together with the P Zero White medium this weekend. With just over a second separating the two compounds, a number of different strategies are possible for the race tomorrow.
Many competitors are expected to stop twice, but a three-stopper is also very possible. With only a small percentage probability of rain at the start of qualifying, the track remained dry throughout all three sessions. Dry weather should be the case for tomorrow’s race as well, with the short lap and heavy traffic around Interlagos making strategy all the more important when it comes to gaining track position.
Just a tenth of a second separated the two Mercedes drivers in this morning’s final free practice session and their battle continued throughout qualifying. All the drivers completed Q1 on the soft tyre (with all but two of them having run a set of mediums at the start of the session). Qualifying then continued using only the soft compound, as the drivers prioritised saving the more durable medium for the race. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Romain Grosjean (Lotus) did not use any medium tyres during the qualifying session at all.
Lap times were generally slower than they had been in the equivalent sessions last year, mostly due to the new kerbs at Interlagos, which are much higher than they used to be and do not allow the drivers to go over them.
Track temperatures peaked at 50 degrees centigrade for the all-important top 10 shoot out: the hottest seen all weekend. Most drivers completed two runs in Q3, using a set of fresh soft tyres for the final run that decided pole – which went to Rosberg for the fifth consecutive time.

Nico Rosberg
“I didn’t have a good start in to Qualifying. Q1 and Q2 didn’t go to plan. But then I found a better rhythm in the final session, so I was happy to bring it all together in Q3. It feels great to be on pole again here. It’s the best possible position to start the race, I have the quickest car and on Friday we were able to practise a lot for the race, so I’m quite confident for tomorrow. It will be a good battle with Lewis and also the Ferraris, so I can’t wait for that. But what happened yesterday in Paris makes everything else relative. What we do here is really not important compared to that and I’m thinking of them today.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director:

“Although Interlagos takes a lot out of the tyres, which is why we’re expecting two or three stops tomorrow, the wear and degradation levels are where we would expect them to be at during this stage of the weekend. The biggest factor in the lap time has appeared to be the new layout with the kerbs, which the drivers have had to get used to since they experienced them for the first time yesterday. Track temperatures have been warm, but still nothing like the very hot conditions we found last year in qualifying. With quite a clear performance gap between the two compounds and dry weather, we’re set for a few different strategy options tomorrow, which the teams will be calculating carefully tonight.”

The Pirelli strategy predictor:
With wear and degradation levels lower than one year ago on this circuit, two different two-stop strategies are theoretically the quickest options for the 71-lap race tomorrow, although a three-stop is possible as well, depending on factors such as traffic and track position. A three-stopper would be: start on the soft tyre and then change to soft again on laps 15 and 30, before moving to mediums on lap 46 to the end. The two quickest two-stoppers are: start on soft, change to medium on lap 17, medium again on lap 44. Alternatively: start on medium, change to soft on lap 27 and then medium on lap 44. The time difference between these three strategies is minimal

Formula One: Circuit slower than in 2014 – Free Practice Round Up

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Mercedes drivers went first and second in both free practice sessions at Interlagos, with Lewis Hamilton using the P Zero White medium tyre to go quickest in the morning and Nico Rosberg setting fastest time of the day on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre in the afternoon.

Today was the first opportunity that the teams had to assess tyre wear and degradation on each compound heading into the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend: traditionally a key factor, due to the constant cornering during a short but frenetic and bumpy lap.

As is often the case at Sao Paulo, the weather conditions were inconsistent, with warm track temperatures in the morning but light rain at lunchtime, which dried up before the start of FP2.

The drivers used the morning FP1 session to reacclimatise to the track and determine the behaviour of the medium tyre, in ambient temperatures close to 30 degrees centigrade. In the afternoon, both the medium and soft tyres were used during FP2: complete with some long runs to assess wear and degradation on each compound with different fuel loads. With a high risk of rain returning, the teams were all straight out on track in FP2, aiming to maximise the opportunity of collecting useful data.

The session times were slower than their equivalents in 2014, due to a dirty surface and some damaged kerbs to last year, which meant that the drivers modified their lines in order to avoid them.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: “Friday’s two free practice sessions followed the established pattern of running, although the threat of rain – which never really materialised – perhaps added a certain pressure on teams to gather as much information as quickly as possible. We’ve certainly got plenty of data to analyse now, and while wear and degradation is typically high in Brazil, we are not noticing anything out of the ordinary from a tyre perspective so far. The track is still evolving so tomorrow’s comparative data will be interesting too, but we should be in for a busy race with plenty of strategies and pit stops. As always, the unknown factor seems to be the weather.”
FP1:
1.Hamilton 1m13.543s Medium new
2.Rosberg 1m14.062s Medium used
3.Vettel 1m14.168s Medium used

FP2:

1.Rosberg 1m12.385s Soft new

2.Hamilton 1m12.843s Soft new

3.Vettel 1m13.345s Soft new

Formula One: Can Rossi make it 5-0?

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This weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix will mark Alexander Rossi’s last Formula One race of the 2015 season, with the American returning to GP2 with Racing Engineering for the closing rounds of the season in a bid to secure a strong 2nd position in the championship.

Rossi can return to GP2 with his head held high having exceeded any expectations the F1 world may have placed upon him having outperformed his team mate, Will Stevens, 4-0 in races and thus far sharing the honours in qualifying.

Rossi’s place on the F1 grid in Singapore, Japan, the United States, and Mexico has served to increase interest in the sport across the US both with fans and business. With a soon to be five races under his belt, a healthy sponsorship portfolio and an open door into the American market, Rossi must be a strong contender for a full time seat with the Manor F1 team for 2016.

The prospect of a wet weekend in Brazil may allow Rossi and the Manor F1 team to dare to dream of those elusive first points of the year.

In this short preview filmed for Mobil 1 The Grid, Rossi previews the Brazilian Grand Prix, talking through his experiences at the circuit dating back to 2008 and his time in Formula BMW:

To celebrate Alexander Rossi’s time with Manor F1 team in 2015, Mobil 1 The Grid have launched a competition to win a special edition cap signed by the driver, to enter the competition follow this link for more details.

Formula One: Pirelli predict a 2-3 stop race at the rear right limited Brazilian Grand Prix

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The P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft compound have been nominated for this year’s Brazilian Grand Prix: the most popular combination of the season, which has been selected for the ninth and final time in 2015.
Brazil is one of the shortest but most intense laps of the year, with the circuit running in an anti-clockwise direction, which is quite unusual in Formula One. There is plenty of work for both the tyres and the drivers – as the Interlagos track requires a high degree of physical effort – and the situation is often made more complex by variable weather conditions. Last year, the hottest track temperatures recorded all season were in Brazil, but the race has also been affected by heavy rain in the past. If it remains dry, Interlagos is ideal territory for the versatile medium and soft slick compounds.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Interlagos is one of those historic venues that has helped to shape the history of Formula One, so it’s a pleasure to come here and experience once more the unique atmosphere and passion from the local fans, at the end of what is our first American triple header in Formula One, with races in the United States, Mexico and now Brazil. South America and Brazil in particular is one of Pirelli’s biggest global markets, so this is a particularly important race for us, as we are so widely represented here. The changes to the asphalt at Interlagos last year altered the pattern of tyre behaviour, so it will be interesting to see how that affects tyre usage this year. Traditionally, Interlagos is quite a high-energy circuit for tyres, so we would expect to see two or three pit stops for the majority of competitors. As always though, we will only have an accurate picture of the real situation after the opening free practice sessions on Friday.”

The biggest challenges for the tyres:
The re-asphalting of the circuit last year changed the abrasion levels of the surface, and it is also possible that there will be some additional patches of new asphalt again this year. Other improvements to the circuit this year include a new pit complex.

The circuit is rear-limited, with the right-rear tyre being the most stressed due to the anti-clockwise layout – which is also the case at the next and final venue on the calendar, in Abu Dhabi.

Tyres are often subjected to combined forces at Interlagos: in other words lateral and longitudinal demands at the same time. This raises the temperature of the compound. Downforce levels are generally high, with aerodynamic and mechanical grip requirements roughly in equal proportion.

Last year’s strategy and how the race was won: There was heatwave last year, so this was not entirely typical of what we would expect to see this time. In 2014, Nico Rosberg won the race for Mercedes using a three-stop strategy. He started on the soft tyre and then changed to the medium on laps seven, 26 and 50. The highest-placed two-stopper, Kimi Raikkonen, finished seventh.

Expected performance gap between the two compounds: 0.9 seconds per lap.

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Formula One: Riccardo is no fan of the Interlagos circuit

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Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo offers his take on the Brazilian GP

So Daniel, Brazil up next, what’s the secret to a great lap of the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace?

Don’t ask me, I don’t know – I don’t think I’ve ever done one, so I’ve got no secrets! What I have learned is that you shouldn’t think ahead too much. You have to take it corner-by-corner and concentrate on the one you’re in. There’s not many that you string together. There’s not many corners full stop.

It’s not your favourite circuit is it?

What gave it away? No, Brazil’s a wonderful grand prix with a great atmosphere in an exciting city but the track doesn’t really do it for me. There’s just not a corner that gives you any real satisfaction. I don’t want to make it sound dull, because it isn’t, but like Russia, there isn’t a corner that makes you go Woooo-Hoooo! It needs a few more corners and something really high speed. There’s a couple that look good on paper but because of the cambers, you never really have the grip to go barrelling in. The crowd really gets your heart-rate up before the sessions, so you want to be really on it but instead have to be very patient.

What about the crowd, you must hear them at the start

Oh yeah. The start-finish straight is very narrow, so if your grid slot is on the outside, you’re about two metres away from the grandstand. You better hope they like you because if not you’re a pretty easy target when you’re pulling your helmet on! It’s a good time though. Lots of noise, lots of airhorns, trumpets, drums. Like Mexico, it’s the crowd you want for a grand prix. Brazilians are cool

How about away from the track, what do you do?

Food! Amazing restaurants. Last year we went to Restaurante Figueira Rubaiyat, with the fig tree growing through the middle of the dining room. That was pretty special. Sadly, it not being the season finale, I can’t really indulge – but I can watch other people