Tag Archives: Fernando Alonso

Formula One: Motorsports Mayweather vs. McGregor

Mayweather Vs McGregor

The Formula One circus springs back into life this weekend with the championship heading to Spa for the iconic Belgian Grand Prix. If history is anything to go by we can expect to see Red Bull Racing have made a step forward in performance through the break, and for Lewis Hamilton’s form to kick into high gear.

For the F1 fan during a Grand Prix weekend, it can easy to forget other forms of motorsport exist let alone other forms of sport, but this weekend it will be nigh on impossible to miss the relentless coverage of Mayweather vs McGregor.

Everyone loves a cross over! Mayweather vs McGregor is the sporting world’s ultimate cross over. The undefeated heavyweight boxing champion Floyd Mayweather coming out of retirement to answer the challenge of UFC legend Conner McGregor. Cynics would say it’s all about the money with each fighter set to earn in the region of $200 Million for the night and let’s face it, it is, but who cares?

Give the fans what they want and the world will talk about it. Prepare for every social media record ever set to be broken!  It costs more for a sponsor to have their name on Conor McGregor’s elasticated waist for 1 night than it does to be title sponsor of a leading F1 team for an entire season!

How can any other sport compete? Has there ever been a comparable event in motorsport? Could F1 or any other category put on a similar show?

What the world of boxing and UFC have in Mayweather and McGregor are personalities. Neither are backward in coming forward, both believe they are the best in everything they do and both have a constant need to tell the world. Their respective categories embrace this, encouraging them to build their names, which in effect will build the category. They are showman, they are entertainers. Within Motorsports this level of self-adulation isn’t overtly encouraged, the sport is about the team and is often attached to an automotive manufacturer whose reputation could be tarnished by an extrovert driver. In the coming years, should F1 elect to move away from it’s mandate of acting as a basis for automotive development and focus more on entertainment, the Mayweather and McGregor characters could emerge. Until then, we’re stuck with drivers being forced to apologise for sneezing in a way which could damage the brand they represent.

Motorsports is no stranger to a crossover. This year alone, Fernando Alonso was given the opportunity to try his hand in Indycar and proved to be no slouch, drivers often compete in multiple categories such as Jean Eric Vergne racing in Formula E and the World Endurance Championship this season. But when did a champion of one series last race directly against another champion? The simple answer is the annual Race of Champions event, which can attract a high calibre of driver including the likes of Vettel and 2016 champion Montoya, but given the knock out style of the event do they really get to race against each other? Is it really want the fans want?

Motorsport can do better than the Race of Champions. Liberty Media should take inspiration from Mayweather vs McGregor and go all out.  What would you like to see them do? Who would you like to see compete?

Finally, how many F1 drivers will be getting up at 5AM / staying up until 5AM on Sunday morning to watch the arguably the greatest sporting event of the year, and how many drivers will dare tweet about it?

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Formula One: Zak Brown’s strategic masterstroke?

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McLaren Honda’s announcement that Fernando Alonso will compete in the 101st running of the Indy 500 this week came at the perfect time for both the team and driver. After a more than challenging start to the 2017 season the team were in dire need of some positive press coverage. The move towards Indy, initialed by Zak Brown (Team Principle) has achieved exactly that.

There are a plethora of reasons as to why this move will be a positive for McLaren Honda moving forward, this article will seek to explore these from driver, commercial, and team perspective.

Driver: Fernando Alonso’s contract with McLaren expires at the end of the 2017 F1 season. Mclaren Honda’s failure to provide Alonso will a car capable of challenging for regular points let alone podiums or wins has been seen by many as a waste of Alonso’s talent. Should Fernando seek to remain in Formula One beyond his current agreement McLaren Honda will have their work cut out to convince him they can deliver a car that will allow him to challenge for a 3rd world championship. Zak Brown and the team realise this, and as such have begun to explore other ‘benefits’ they can bring to the table that other teams may struggle to offer. Running at the Indy 500 is one such benefit. With Honda power supplying half the grid in Indycar, slotting Alonso into a front running team was not a challenge. Realistically only McLaren could offer an active works F1 driver this opportunity.

Will this alone be enough to convince Alonso to stay? Beyond money, which at this point in his career may not be an incentive,  what else could they offer him? Running in LMP1 at Le Mans for the foreseeable future would prove very tough for McLaren to offer to Alonso. With only Porsche and Toyota capable of challenging for a win, it is doubtful a manufacturer drive would be open.

Through Zak Brown’s involvement in the Motorsport Network he has a connection to Formula E (Motorsport Network are minority shareholders of the championship) in addition McLaren supply ECU units. Could the team offer him a drive in Formula E alongside F1 from 2018 and beyond? Equally Zak Brown runs his own endurance racing team, could this be used to entice Alonso to events such as the Daytona 24hrs.

If McLaren can find Alonso success in other categories could they convince him to remain with the F1 team whilst they rebuild? Or could it show him there is more to life than Formula One.

Of course this assumes Alonso would perform well in other categories. The flip side of this strategy would be if Alonso struggles at the Indy500 or other events the team ‘allow’ him to compete in, he will devalue his own stock. He may make himself less appealing not only to F1 teams but also to other championships. In running at Indy Alonso risks limiting his own options when it comes to negotiating new a new agreement with McLaren.

Commercial: McLaren Honda’s recent struggle to retain and entice new partners has been well documented. With another underperforming season in prospect the team’s ability to ‘stop the rot’ is unlikely. Partners join Mclaren on the basis of front running exposure. They are not receiving this. Media coverage the team does receive is largely negative or not focused on racing.

Alonso running at the Indy 500 has created a good news story for the team, media coverage has been extensive and positive. This will continue into Indy. Through running a McLaren livery at the Indy 500 with all Mclaren’s partners gaining exposure, Mclaren will be able to make up for any exposure shortfall they may have faced as a result of disappointing performances in Formula One. Running at Indy will also give Mclaren’s partners additional exposure in the US, a key strategic market. This will help the team in future partner discussions.

The counter argument to this is that existing partners may realise they can achieve expansive coverage, greater than that of F1, simply by partnering with a top driver at a single event. Any partner / sponsor questioning a future with the team may be presented with a new strategic direction through this gimmick / project.

Team. There is no I in team. As fantastic as it is to see a current F1 driver taking part in the Indy 500, but Zak Brown and McLaren Honda management can’t for one second forget that they have fundamental problems to address within their own team. Issues that no PR stunt will overcome. There is talk that Mercedes have agreed to support to Honda in overcoming some of their Power Unit shortcomings, assuming the support leads to a turnaround in form, perhaps there is a light at the end of the Honda struggle. McLaren must focus on this. There is no point ploughing resources into keeping Fernando Alonso happy if the situation around overall team performance does not improve.

A side comment on the offer of Mercedes support. It is impossible to imagine a scenario in which Mercedes will give Honda sufficient information to enable them to challenge for outright performance. Will a Honda Power unit developed with Mercedes not just become an incredibly expensive customer power unit which similar to a Williams or Force India will not be allowed to win?

Could McLaren Honda heading to the Indy 500 also be a comment to the FIA ahead of discussions around future power unit regulations? If they find success in Indycar will Honda start to camping for the same power unit to be used in F1? Are McLaren in sufficient a position of strength to threaten to switch to Indycar should future F1 power unit regulations not shift in their favour?

In conclusion. Zak Brown’s commercial minded approach to management of McLaren Honda and their issues is hugely refreshing for the fan and for sponsors. I look forward to seeing this same dynamic approach being taken to resolving team performance issues.

Credit to Tim Holmes for the concept Mclaren Indycar livery imagery supporting this article. Follow Tim on Twitter here

 

Formula One: Fernando Alonso looking to end decade wait for F1 crown

It has been over a decade since Spanish driver Fernando Alonso last won a Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship crown, but he isn’t ready to give up trying for another just yet.

The stylish Spaniard is a fan favourite and, despite not lifting F1 silverware since his last triumph back in 2006, he remains confident of finally ending that 11-year wait this upcoming season.

Alonso will be buoyed by the fact reigning champion Nico Rosberg has departed proceedings after announcing a shock retirement last year, following his title-winning race in November.

The now 35-year-old was a dominant force during the 2005 and 2006 campaigns, as he rallied to back-to-back F1 title successes during the height of his powers when representing Renault.

He now resides with McLaren-Honda and is seeking to add a third world crown to his list of honours from over 10 years ago.

The Oviedo-born steerer endured a frightening crash last season, when his car went sliding off the circuit in Australia and collided with the track’s barriers at a whopping 180mph. He luckily escaped without any serious injuries, somehow sustaining just a collapsed lung and some fractured ribs.

Alonso ready to challenge for title again

The determined Spaniard is confident he can start the next season strongly and finally start to make an impact on races across the globe in his car.

McLaren boss Zak Brown angered Alonso recently when suggesting that the team are unlikely to win many races next term.

The Spanish driver was quick to overlook the comments and confidently claimed he will remain positive in his bid to enjoy success across 2017.

“I read what Zak Brown said, but who knows?” Alonso declared. “I am keeping a positive attitude, preparing for the championship as intensely as ever, and I will do everything in my power,”

The double world champion won his first world title at the age of 24, which then made him the youngest ever Formula 1 Championship winner.

Hamilton the man to beat

However, times have changed throughout recent years and the circuit veteran now finds himself up against a hugely talented roster of steerers. British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is currently leading the way and is regarded as the heavy favourite in the F1 odds to win a fourth world title in 2017.

Meanwhile, if Alonso is going to taste success this year he will have to get the better of Red Bull’s deadly duo too.

Young starlet Max Verstappen became a sensation last season when making history as the youngest ever F1 circuit winner ever. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo is also a threat and boasted plenty of pace all across last year.

Retirement on the horizon?

Previously quizzed as to whether 2017 could be his last campaign on the track, Alonso was coy regarding retirement plans.

“We’ll see. We’ll go step by step,” he stated.

Alonso is a long-serving F1 driver and believes he still plenty to give in the sport which he has mastered in his impressive career. Still, he faces a tough task in ousting the younger, hungry competitors in the 2017 circuit.

Formula One: The Power of Teamwork

As the Mclaren Honda team head into the final race of the 2016 Formula One World Championship, Mobil One’s the grid caught up with a few key players within the team to discuss the importance of teamwork.

Race engineer Tom Stallard give a fantastic explanation around team mater rivalry, commenting it is the teams role to find the optimal set up to allow both drivers to perform at their peak, a performance advantage found by one driver or by one half of the garage in set up, leaving the other driver behind is not how to go racing. Rather Mclaren seek to give both drivers the best possible chance to perform.

Mclaren Honda will see a huge overhaul in the team dynamic over the winter break, with a new CEO joining the team in Zak Brown, and a revised driver line up. Finding success in these destabilising times will be a huge challenge for the team. For now their focus will be ending 2016 on a high and giving Jenson Button the sign off to his racing career that he deserves.

Formula One: Win a Go Kart driven by Mclaren Legends

Earlier this summer Mclaren legends of the past present and future raced against each other behind the wheel of the great motoring equaliser, the Go Kart! In an event hosted by Esso and Mcalren Honda at Fernando Alonso’s go karting circuit in Spain, Alonso, Button, Coulthard, Vandoorne and Hakkinen competed on the same track together for the first time.

Check out this film to see how they got on:

Mobil One’s The Grid are offering you the chance to win one of the Go Karts used at this event. To take part follow this link and answer the question:

How many Grand Prix did David Coulthard win during his F1 career?

Best of luck!

 

 

 

Formula One: Past, Present & Future – Go-Kart Racing With McLaren-Honda

In an event for Mobil 1 and Esso, Mclaren Honda driver’s; Mika Häkkinen, David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, and Stoffel Vandoorne recently got together at Fernando Alonso’s Go Karting circuit in Spain to pit the skills of Mclaren drivers from the last 3 decades against each other.

The event saw Mika, David, and Jenson return to Go Kart for the first time in years, giving them an opportunity to roll out some tried an tested excuses for performances (of lack there of) on track. Jenson who is very media event you see him in comes across more and more like a presenter enjoyed the challenge, but was keen to point out Fernando’s home advantage.

Who ultimately took the chequered flag? Check out the film above from Mobil One’s The Grid to find out for your self!

For more films from Mobil 1’s The Grid, head to thier You Tube Channel here

 

 

Formula One: Alonso shunt set Mclaren Honda back 2 months

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Mclaren Honda have revealed the full extent to which Fernando Alonso’s shunt during the opening race of the 2016 Formula One World Championship set the team back. In this film from Mobil One’s the grid, Simon Roberts – Operational Director for the team, explains the complexities of component manufacturing & supply planning

Simon explains that in the immediate aftermath of the crash the team sought to access which components could be recovered and from there overlaid the manufacturing planning for new replacement components over and above any other plans. With an F1 car being made up of over 7000 handmade components, manufacturing replacements is not a 3 day job, the impact on production planning following an early season shunt at a point when spare parts are limited has far reaching effects. Simon estimates that changes to production planning impacted the overall plans for the team by as much as 2 months.

Another intriguing element to this film is around the evolution of component design. Revealing that Mclaren Honda are already on their 5th iteration of wheel nut design for the 2016 season, this before the mid point of the season.

Check out the film in full here:

Formula One: NTT Communications joins Mclaren

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Japanese telecommunications giant, NTT communications, have announced a 3 year partnership with Mclaren Honda. The partnership will see prominent branding for NTT Communications feature on the rearwing end plate and sleeves of driver overalls from the British Grand Prix onwards.

Joining the team as a Technical partner, NTT Communications will provide network, cloud, data connectivity and other innovations to meet McLaren’s need for an IT communications platform that delivers optimum performance to support its Formula 1 race team.

Speaking of the new partnership Ron Dennis Chairman and CEO of the Mclaren Group remarked : “I am delighted to welcome NTT Communications to the roster of McLaren-Honda’s high-technology and premium brands. NTT has a long association with technology that goes all the way back to the introduction of the telegraph in Japan. Given McLaren’s long association with innovation, it is only fitting that we should join forces with such an established and well-respected leader in enterprise communications technology who well understands our own drive for relentless technical development.

Tetsuya Shoji, President and CEO, NTT Communications said: “I am thrilled that NTT Communications is now a Technology Partner for McLaren-Honda, a symbol of innovation for motorsport fans worldwide. The NTT Communications technology repertoire is wide and deep, and McLaren’s excellence in Formula 1 is world renowned. With innovation a part of the DNA of both companies, this partnership will help McLaren-Honda transform how it manages the data generated during Formula 1 races and transcend hitherto established boundaries in motorsports racing.”

NTT Communications will offer Wide Area Network (WAN) and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) services to McLaren across multiple countries including UK, Spain, US, Singapore and Japan. During race weekends, this network is critical to support the transmission of data in real-time from McLaren’s race cars to the company’s technology and engineering teams based in the UK. NTT Communications will combine the management of WAN and LAN (Local Area Network) services to provide a seamless and consistently managed network to increase the quality, resilience and availability of end to end ICT services.

NTT Communications will offer its enhanced Enterprise Cloud 2.0 services to provide a platform from which McLaren can consume dedicated and shared computing and storage resources on a Pay-As-You-Go model. This service, together with the NTT Communications consulting practice and Cloud Management Platform (CMP), will offer McLaren a strong opportunity to deliver on its technology transformation strategy.

NTT Communications and McLaren will also work together to explore other advanced technologies capable of enhancing the performance of the team.

For more on NTT Communications click here

Formula One: VIDEO – Canadian Grand Prix Top Tips

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The Canadian Grand Prix, the 7th round of the 2016 Formula One World Championship, has all the makings of a potential classic. With mixed weather conditions forecast, a resurgent Lewis Hamilton, an angry Daniel Ricciardo, and power unit upgrades for most teams, this weekend’s racing is definitely worth getting excited about.

I’ve tried something a little (cringe-worthy) different for this weekend’ preview. Please let me know what you think in the comments section on here or You Tube. Don’t forget if you do think any of what I’m saying makes sense, head to William Hill for some of the best odds available on Formula One.

Lewis Hamilton

In earlier pre-race tips I’ve tried to avoid the obvious bet, but this weekend barring mechanical failure Lewis Hamilton looks very likely to be in a strong position to seal his 45th win. The odds being offered are not great for the customer, but at 6/5 you stand to make a return of 2.2 for every 1 (of which ever currency you use) you put down. Lewis would be a ‘safe’ bet for the weekend.

In addition to the high likely hood of a win, Lewis has to be a strong contender for the triple around Montreal. Setting Pole, plus taking fastest lap and the win. Odds of 11/2 are being offered on this. Lewis has a special relationship with the Canadian GP circuit. He took his first win in 2007 there and seems to be able to find that extra bit of performance when he needs it.

Weather

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Forecast predict that the Canadian Grand Prix is likely to be impacted by rain, an increasingly common feature of previews to Grand Prix weekends! Should rain hit the circuit, which at the moment it is forecast to do for Sunday only, focus, as in Monaco, should shift to the experienced drivers in the mid field. Again I would look toward Force India with odds of a win for Nico Hulkenberg being offered at 100/1 and Sergio Perez at 150/1. Whilst a win is unlikely, you can take an each way split on the bet and get 1/5 odds for a podium finish.

Red Bull Racing

I predict a tense weekend for the Red Bull duo. Daniel Ricciardo feels he’s been ‘screwed out’ of two race wins by the team. Max Verstappen had a shocker of a weekend in Monaco any other driver would be worried for their seat after such a performance. With both drivers receiving the upgraded Renault Power Unit they should be in the fight, I predict real hero – zero action from both the drivers. Look at a win or first retirement for either.

Daniel Ricciardo Win – 7/1 | first to retire – 25/1

Max Verstappen Win 12/1 | first to retire 22/1

Mclaren 

I have a feeling Mclaren could be in for a very strong weekend. Honda are bringing upgrades to the Power Unit, both Alonso and Button thrive in mixed conditions, the team are rebuilding in confidence. If the rain comes on Sunday, I would take a look at a long shot Each way bet on the drivers making the top step. Alonso is currently offered at 200/1 and Button 250/1.

It is a longshot, but who can forget Jenson’s incredible 2011 win. He knows how to win in Canada.

Strategy

Strategy options for the Canadian Grand Prix look likely to be something of a non starter. The Ultra soft Pirelli tyre is lasting much longer than many anticipated. the longevity of the tyre makes a one stop strategy pretty much inevitable for all teams. One possibility to look out for could be opportunities arising from an early safety car which could see drivers switch to the Soft (Yellow) compound tyre with a view of completing the entire race distance on a single set of tyres.

History suggests a safety car around Montreal is highly likely. As such the odds available are 1/3.

Power Units

Renault, Ferrari, and Honda, are catching Mercedes… … Quickly. With upgrades from all manufacturers expected over the Canadian Grand Prix, the teams most likely to shuffle back are the customers. Expect the performance gap between ‘Works’ and ‘Customer’ teams to start to increase as the season progresses.

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Formula One: Alonso checks out MotoGP Mugello

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Mclaren Honda’s Fernando Alonso attended the Mugello round of the MotoGP championship this weekend with the Repsol Honda Team.

Speaking to championship world feed broadcaster Alonso complimented the series on the great atmosphere around the circuit, the packed out grandstands a stark contrast to the poorly attended Spanish Grand Prix last weekend. Alonso commented on how impressed he was by the skills of the riders and the bikes themselves.

Despite attending the race as a guest of Honda, Alonso commented he would like to have seen a Rossi (riding with Yamaha) win for the fans and remarked how different it was to see the bikes in real life as oppose to on TV.

To see highlights from the Mugello Round of the MotoGP check out the series You Tube channel here.

Remember, you can win a Full size Fernando Alonso Helmet with Mobil One’s The Grid through this link: