Tag Archives: F1 news

Formula One: A Brief History of Formula One Racing Games


Photo: pinterest

Formula One racing games have evolved dramatically over the years. It’s now a very popular genre, which has a proud and illustrious tradition that dates back more than four decades.

As some may remember, the ‘70s witnessed a number of firsts in terms of the whole console gaming industry. Games Radar highlights the likes of Magnavox Odyssey, which was the first gaming console ever and was one of the primary modes of entertainment of that era. Who can forget the Ataris, the Pong games, and other archaic gaming platforms that were also prevalent during that time.

Basically, the aforementioned decade saw various game developers’ incorporation of arcade technology and how they transitioned it into handheld and home ventures. F1 racing games, for their part, also followed the same path.

The ‘70s

In 1976, there were titles such as Formula One Championship, F1. This old school arcade machine was the first one to integrate a Formula One racecar into games. Despite its rather primitive state, it featured a film recorded racetrack that’s projected on screen. F1 was also the first legitimate arcade racer on the Atari console. In 1979, Monaco GP followed suit and went up a notch by including a simple day/night cycle. Slowly but surely, Formula One racing games were adapted for various consoles.

The ‘80s

The next decade saw popular games like Pole Position and Pit Stop. Of course the ‘80s still had other console favourites such as Formula One on ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC, as well as Super Monaco GP for the Sega Mega Drive. As 16-bit gaming consoles were becoming the “in thing” in the middle and latter part of the 1980s, F1 racing titles added certain visual elements into the equation. This decade introduced Formula One titles like RC Pro-Am, Final Lap, and Winning Run.

The ‘90s

The ‘90s were not just about grunge music and coming-of-age movies, it was also the time when landmark Formula One racing franchises were introduced to the gaming market. From the more gimmicky racing games such as F-Zero and Super Mario Kart, to Virtual Racing and Formula One Grand Prix, to Gran Turismo, the list became more diverse and to a certain extent futuristic. Obviously, there were still age-old classics like Pole Position and Grand Prix Manager to appease the masses.

The 2000s

Since the popularity and marketability of racing games became apparent, the next decade followed the same footsteps, which in a way continued the legacy. Graphics become clearer, more lifelike, and the actual gameplay was close to real life as well, as reflected by EA’s first venture into Formula One racing, F1 2000. In addition, developers took advantage of the Internet as a tool to create a network of virtual racers – and even incorporate specific aesthetics to heighten the experience.

This current era underlined the significance of online game modes. There’s again the Gran Turismo franchise, which fully incorporated Formula One racecars to its roster. Also, according to this article on James Allen On F1, virtual and augmented reality entered the picture. Furthermore, many Internet based game developers included state-of-the-art racing themes into the equation. There’s an electronic slots game on Spin Genie that has futuristic automobile elements called Light Racers which represents the latest take on motorsport games.

In Conclusion

All in all, Formula One racing games have come a long way from being initially developed for old school arcades. Nowadays, they’re played in households on famous consoles, and have entered the worldwide web through a bevy of online games. It proves that F1 racing cars have a definite place not just on the racetrack, but also in the virtual world.

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Formula One: Are Sauber ahead of Mclaren?

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With the first week of pre-season testing in Barcelona drawing to a close to decipher the true pace of any team is almost impossible. All teams will be running their own development programs with differing approaches to fuel loads, tyre usage, aero set up, and engine mode settings. However after four days of testing some trends are beginning to emerge. One such trend could be concerning for Mclaren.

With the Sauber F1 team opting to run a 2016 Ferrari power unit through the 2017 season many expect the team to struggle for outright performance. When the decision was first announced the team explained this move would ensure stability in design and reliability allowing them to focus on the challenges of the changes in aerodynamic regulations for 2017. This approach appears to have paid off as through the first week of testing, only Mercedes and Ferrari have covered more KM’s in testing, 2,597KM  & 2,173KM  to Sauber’s 1,624KM. Mclaren on the other hand have struggled for reliability and not to mention outright pace. Power unit supplier Honda have new approach to the 2017 engine configuration to address inherent performance shortcomings, unfortunately this new design coupled with a new fuel and lubricant supplier, has lead to unreliability. In four days testing Mclaren have covered less than 1000KM.  As teams head into the second pre season test in which performance will should become a greater focus, Mclaren are unlikely to have collected sufficient baseline data to understand how best to extract maximum performance from the MCL32.

As stated in the first week of pre-season testing teams rarely focus on outright performance, however there will certain simulation runs in which drivers are allowed to push the car and situations in which softer compound tyres will be used.

@MsportXtra has complied a useful summary of fastest time set by each driver, total number of laps, and tyre used to set the fastest lap in tweet below:

Comparing the data between Sauber and Mclaren in this format adds further weight to the suggestion Mclaren could be set for a difficult start to the season. In every session in which Mclaren and Sauber completed their fastest laps on the same compound tyre, Sauber were able to post faster lap times. Further more in the session in which Mclaren worked with the Ultra soft compound, Sauber were faster using the super soft compound.

In reviewing the below table provided by Pirelli of the overall fastest times over the test, Mclaren again look to be in a precarious position.

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It is widely understood that Mclaren are not able to use all performance modes with the Honda power unit owing to concerns over reliability. Much of the teams issues can be attributed to this, but with such limited running the team may struggle to validate aerodynamic concepts in the design of the MCL32. After a challenging 2 seasons for the Woking based team could 2017 see the team fall further back down the grid?

The approach taken by Sauber of focusing on understanding the new aerodynamic regulations and minimising the impact of using a year old power unit appears to be paying off, with strong reliability the team should be targeting points early in the season which should also attract interest from new partners, something most teams in Formula One are actively seeking.

Formula One: F1 tickets for your BLOOD!

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It’s been quite the day in the world of F1. Mercedes AMG Petronas have confirmed contract extensions for F1 team shareholders Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda, cementing their positions with the team until 2020.

Sahara Force India have announced a partnership with forex trading firm FXTM, a partnership which will see FXTM branding feature on the rear section of the sidepods of the 2017 contender.

Spanish Insurance giant Mapfre have confirmed a new partnership with the Renault Sport F1 team, the partnership will see Mapfre branding feature on the nose and wings of theRS17 and on the helmet and overalls of Jolyon Palmer.

Sauber released stunning images of the C36-Ferrari, becoming the first team to release images (not renderings) of a 2017 F1 car,

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and Mobil One’s the grid have released complete steering wheel perspective footage of Daniel Ricciardo’s demonstration run at the ExxonMobil HQ.

For the news obsessed F1 fan, February 20th should be regarded as a more than satisfactory day, but by far and away the biggest news of the day came from the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. Whilst other circuits are announcing payment plans to pay for F1 tickets in instalments, the home of the Spanish Grand Prix is offering entry to F1 testing in exchange for blood donations.  Donation points will be set up around the circuit throughout the two pre-season tests, the circuit is working in collaboration with the Catalonian blood and tissue bank for the campaign. In Catalonia, it takes 1,000 blood donations a day to cover the needs of hospitals. In general, anyone who is in good health, who is of legal age, weighs more than 50 kilos and, in the case of women, who is not pregnant, can donate blood. Three people benefit from each donor, since the blood is separated into three components: white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

To find out more about this initiative please follow this link

Can the F1 world top this tomorrow?

Formula One: Red Bull Racing confirm ExxonMobil Partnership

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After months of speculation Red Bull Racing and ExxonMobil have confirmed a new partnership from 2017 and beyond. The partnership will see ExxonMobil become the official fuel and lubricant supplier for the team.

At this time it is not clear if the partnership will extend to Scuderia Toro Rosso. It is also not clear if Renault will also switch to ExxonMobil supply, and if Mclaren will retain ExxonMobil supply.

Should Renault maintain the Total fuel and lubricant supply partnership in 2017, Red Bull Racing running alternative fuel supply will necessitate a separate power unit development programme.

As a team partner, official fuel partner, official lubricant partner, and official motor oil partner of the team in 2017, ExxonMobil will provide Red Bull Racing with leading-edge Mobil 1™ lubricants and Synergy Race Fuels. ExxonMobil will deliver engineering support to develop next-generation lubricants designed to improve race car engine and gearbox performance.
The company’s Mobil 1 and Esso brands will feature on  cars, driver overalls and helmets, as well as being displayed at the Red Bull Racing Factory in Milton Keynes, and at trackside events.

Commenting on the partnership Team Principle Christian Horner remarked:

“Mobil 1 and Red Bull Racing are two global brands that share a passion for racing, performance and innovation. Mobil 1 has been an iconic brand in Formula One for more than 30 years and our new partnership provides us with a unique opportunity to tap into ExxonMobil’s world class expertise.”
Christian added: “In addition to welcoming ExxonMobil to the Red Bull Racing stable, I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the technical team at TOTAL, who have made a valuable contribution to our success in Formula One during our partnership.”
Matt Bergeron, vice-president of marketing for ExxonMobil Fuels, Lubricants & Specialties Marketing Company, said: “Red Bull Racing provides a dynamic platform to showcase our world-class lubricant and fuels technologies. We are excited about building a relationship with Red Bull’s excellent young drivers who are establishing reputations as competitive racers and who will help showcase our brands to generations of consumers.”
The new ExxonMobil and Red Bull Racing partnership extends the Mobil 1 synthetic lubricant brand’s successful 38-year involvement in Grand Prix racing. Mobil 1 has lubricated more than 100 Grand Prix-winning cars, and has won six Formula One world drivers’ championships and five Formula One world constructors’ championships since entering the sport in 1978.
There will be more news to follow in the coming days on this and related stories.

Formula One: Silly Season revisited

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The 2016 silly season on the face of it has turned out to be some what of a damp squib. With Mercedes, Ferrari, & Red Bull locking down their drivers early on change at the front of the field has been ruled out

Back in May this year I made a few predictions around changes. As the F1 circus returns from a well deserved summer break, outstanding driver agreements will feature highly on many teams ‘to do’ lists. Based on the current driver market I’ve revisited my silly season predictions. It’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below or through twitter (@jonnywilde)

Mercedes AMG Petronas:

As predicted Nico Rosberg’s contract with the team has been renewed. This comes despite a number of incidents between Nico & Lewis on track. Rosberg now has a contract with Mercedes until 2018. This sees his agreement fall in line with Hamilton’s contract. If nothing else, salary demands of Lewis and Nico by 2018 are likely to necessitate a change in line up. With this in mind Mercedes are priming Wehrlein and Ocon as future works drivers.

 Scuderia Ferrari:

Many expected the Scuderia to replace Kimi Räikkönen in 2017, I suggested Sergio Perez would be the ideal candidate to take on the role, but with a strong first half of the year Ferrari have elected to maintain the Vettel, Räikkönen line up for a 3rd season. Kimi’s life away from the track appears to be having a positive effect on his performance as a driver and as a Ferrari brand ambassador. With changes in the Ferrari management team, driver stability for 2017 and perhaps beyond could be a good thing.

Red Bull Racing

At the time of writing my original silly season article, I commented Verstappen was a shoe in for the second seat with Red Bull Racing alongside Daniel Ricciardo. I also suggested it could happen before the end of the year. I did not expect it happen so quickly. Nor did I expect Max to win a race in 2016! (did anyone?) Both Daniel and Max are now locked down at Red Bull Racing until at least 2018. Putting the Red Bull Racing Junior Driver Development programme on hold.

Williams Martini Racing

2016 has been tough for Williams. The team have fallen behind in the development race, possibly / hopefully due to an early switch in focus to 2017. With engine performance convergence emerging, budget shortfalls in comparison to the top 3 have been felt more than in recent seasons. It seems to be widely expected that 2016 will be Felipe Massa’s last year in F1, with this in mind Botta’s performances haven’t been strong enough. I suggested in the previous article that Kyvat and Bottas’ would be a formidable line up for the team. I now see this as less likely. I struggle to buy into the Button return narrative, but can imagine sponsors would be more than happy to see him re-join the team. That being said if Williams adopt a bold strategy they could look towards development driver Alex Lynn, and replace Bottas with Jenson. If they require funding alongside a driver, Perez could be attractive, although this would be nothing more than a lateral move for the Mexican.

Mclaren Honda

Jenson Button is out of contact at the end of this season. Fernando Alonso is contracted until the end of 2017. The team have Stoffel Vandoorne waiting in the wings. I expected Jenson to leave the team at the end of the season, If the 2017 Mclaren Honda is not in a championship contending position I also see Alonso finally calling time on his F1 career. Stoffel will step up into a race seat with the team for 2017, but who will he race along side? Whilst the original Mclaren Perez relationship did not end well in 2013. Sergio brings substantial backing and has consistently over delivered for Force India. Could he be an outside bet for a seat with Mclaren? The team has the manufacturer backing Perez’s sees as a must to contend for future championships.  With the top team drives locked down, Honda or Renault are his next best bet.

Sarhara Force India

Vijay Mallya has gone on record to state both drivers will be retained for 2017. I do not see this happening. As mentioned above I believe Sergio will move on to pastures new. To me the same logic applies to Hülkenberg. Neither driver is going to contend for championships with Force India. Neither driver is getting any younger. I believe Hülkenberg will move away from F1 towards WEC in 2017. This leaves Force India will a huge budget and talent shortfall. The team may look towards Mercedes and taking on a development driver in the form of Pascal Wehrlein for 2017, who on circuits with which he has prior knowledge has looked very impressive at Manor this season. The team could overcome the budget shortfall and maintain the Mexican links with the team through promoting Alfonso Celis or picking up Esteban Gutiérrez after his tough return to the sport with Haas. Equally, the team have Russian driver Nikita Mazepin on their books, he brings backing in the form of Uralchem and whilst a little hot tempered has performed strongly in junior series.

Renault

2016 was always a holding / building year for the team. They inherited a driver partnership with Jolyon Palmer and to be honest, he has looked a little out of his depth at times this season. I don’t expect the team to retain him. Renault are keen to re-establish the French connection with the team. Assuming Ocon performs well at Manor in the second half of this season I expect him to move over the Renault for 2017. Renault will be keen for the French man to sever his links to Mercedes moving forward and will likely be prepared to pay for the privilege. The other seat at Renault, to me, is between Kevin Magnesun and Sergio Perez. The team know KMag, and know what he can do with the car, but in Perez they have a driver capable of over achieving and a driver with significant backing and a huge fan base. Perez and Ocon would be a strong line up for a team rebuilding and looking to challenge for future championships.

Scuderia Toro Rosso

I expect the driver line up of Sainz and Kyvat to go unchanged into 2017. Sainz was confirmed earlier in the season, his role is secure. With Kyvat the story is a little different, he has struggled since returning to the team from Red Bull Racing. His ultimate pace and skill are not in question. The team must work with him to rebuild his self confidence. STR has historically been the home of junior Red Bull drivers. Pierre Gasly would be the logical driver to make the step up to the team in 2017, but I personally see Red Bull placing him else where, possibly with Manor. STR in order to grow should no longer be seen as a proving ground for future Red Bull Racing drivers and with the current line up at RBR locked down until 2018, STR have an opportunity to operate as their own entity.

The Haas F1 Team

After an incredible start in F1, Haas have settled in a midfield team. I expect 2017 will be a huge challenge for the team. With major regulations changes and the team no longer having such unregulated support from Ferrari I expect them to be battling at the very rear of the field. Grosjean appears to have very few options away from the team, that being said a return to Renault should not be ruled out. For Haas to bring F1 to America they would do very well to sign Indy 500 winner Alex Rossi for 2017 alongside Grojean. I expect Esteban Gutiérrez to move on.

The Sauber F1 Team

With the future of the team secure through Longbow Finances. The Swiss based team can look towards rebuilding themselves. Security in reality has come a little too late to kick start a 2017 challenge into anything more than a return to consistent points finishes, but this is a great place to start. Stories continue to swirl around Marcus Ericsson’s backers being behind the Longbow Finance investment into the team. My personal take is that even if this is true I do not believe the backing is linked to Ericsson maintaining a drive with the team. Investments are made with an expectation of return not simply to pay for a drive. That being said I hope the team will maintain their current line up into 2017. Stability during a period of rebuilding is key, and it should not be forgotten both Nasr and Ericsson are more than capable of turning in strong performances.

Manor Racing

The Manor Racing team have a history of announcing driver partnerships very late on into the year. Rio Haryanto’s mid season demotion to reserve driver demonstrate the continued reliance on drivers with backing. I expect the team will be keen to maintain a development driver relationship to a larger team, be that with Pascal Wehrlein and Mercedes or Gasly and Red Bull Racing (despite the Mercedes power unit agreement) The second seat at Manor, I believe will be taken by Jordan King. He has performed admirably in GP2 this season with Racing Engineering and brings a healthy budget to his seat. It should not be forgotten his father supported the team in their re-emergence from bankruptcy.

Spa, Monza and Singapore have a history of being a circuit in which driver announcements are made, expect significant news in the coming weeks.