Tag Archives: Ferrari

Formula One: Turning the Red Bull Racing Aston Martin story on its head

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Amongst the #ToroHondaRenaultMcLarenRosso hype during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, news of around Aston Martin increasing its involvement in Formula One with Red Bull Racing has started to solidify. Andy Palmer, Aston Martin CEO, when quizzed on the grid by Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle confirmed the business is keeping a watching brief on 2021 engine regulations, which should they fall favourably towards independent manufacturers, could lead to increased involvement of the brand. Should this be the case Palmer confirmed Aston Martin may seek to preemptt the regulation change by enhancing their visibility with Red Bull Racing possibly from as early as 2018.

This news comes at a time in which the media are speculating Red Bull’s long-term interest in Formula One may be dwindling, which has lead some observers to suggest a change of ownership of Red Bull Racing under the guise of Aston Martin. Whilst this is entirely possible, there are, in my opinion, a few to many creative leaps being taken for this outcome to be viable.

Firstly, lets address Red Bull or more specifically Dietrich Mateschitz’s diminished interest in Formula One. Red Bull entered F1 to sell a product, this objective is the same today as it was 30 years ago. In 2016 the Red Bull achieved more than $1,000M in media coverage from through Formula One. This far exceeds any investment the brand makes into the sport. With budget caps on the horizon, the business rationale for a marketing focused business to be involved with F1 will only increase. Should a $150M budget cap be achieved, Red Bull Racing can be assured of achieving this investment through existing sponsors, and prize funds. Red Bull stand to benefit from $1000M in free advertising.

2017 saw Aston Martin return to profit for the first time in over a decade. The business has stated ambitions around going public in the coming 5 years and are focused on expanding their automotive range to increase revenues. At this time, and in the mid term they are not a business capable of sustaining any form of Formula One engine development plan. Aston Martin Racing is a completely separate business to the Aston Martin which sponsors Red Bull Racing.

Returning to Dietrich Mateschitz. A serial entrepreneurr and self made billionaire. In recent years, he has seen the likes of McLaren diversify into the production of cars, and Williams create successful businesses in the application of their technology within a commercial environment. He is aware that the technical capability of the Red Bull Racing group is under utilised, something which will only increase under a F1 budget cap.  Projects such as Newey’s America’s Cup Project and the Aston Martin Valkyrie Hypercar project show an evaluation of ways in which the team can direct resources to other projects. Could this lead to an alternative direction for Red Bull Racing?

Rather than Aston Martin becoming title sponsor of Red Bull Racing, with a view to producing a power unit under the 2021 regulations. Could Red Bull be considering buying Aston Martin, supporting them in the acceleration of their automotive expansion plans, facilitating F1 power unit development, through their partnership with AVL, and using the proven brand power of Formula One allow Dietrich Mateschitz to evolve Aston Martin into a genuine competitor to the entire Ferrari Group.

Dietrich Mateschitz acquiring Aston Martin and reshaping his position in Formula One towards a Red Bull owned Aston Martin F1 Team, from a business perspective appears entirely more feasible than a company reporting $16M profit, having committed $550M to new road cars, suddenly investing $20M per annum in title sponsorship then paying to develop  an F1 engine.

All that being said, Red Bull, through offering half stories and snippets of information continue to dominate F1 news despite being unable to challenge for a world championship. The business continues to offer a master class in media manipulation. As in 2014, when F1 news was dominated by stories of Red Bull looking set to quit Formula One, Red Bull have an ability to create their own news to ensure they dominate the F1 headlines between the races.

Finally, despite quotes to the contrary, Red Bull Racing are very well aware that the best chance they have of securing a return to a championship challenging position is with a fully funded manufacturer. Talk of Aston Martin, in my opinion, is nothing more than a negotiating tactic around the terms under which the Volkswagen Group will enter Formula One.

Credit to Sean Bull for the fantastic livery creation supporting this article. 

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The three P’s of Formula One: Points, Penalties and Prizes – Paddock Magazine

The 2017 Italian Grand Prix served to highlight once again that current Formula 1 regulations around grid penalties for exceeding…

Source: The three P’s of Formula 1: Points, Penalties and Prizes – Paddock Magazine

Formula One: #5ForTheFans Shell Motorsport & Scuderia Ferrari fan Q&A

As the 2017 Formula One season got underway earlier today, Shell Motorsport & Scuderia Ferrari sat down to answers a series of questions from fans submitted through Twitter to Shell Motorsport. With Kimi, Seb and Shell’s Guy Lovett there is a sense of optimisation coupled with quiet confidence around their 2017 challenge.

Thanks to Guy for answering my question (@jonnywilde) in full and not giving the short response suggested by Sebastian!

Shell Motorsport will run more fan engagement sessions similar to this through the season, follow them on social media to get involved!

Formula One: A fitting tribute to a great man – John Surtees

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With the final day of pre-season testing for the 2017 Formula One season came the terrible news of John Surtees passing. It was on with a sombre feeling current drivers reflected on their memories of the true racing legend, of how he inspired them, and the times they had spent together.

As the weekend passed many have spoken about his record of being the only person to hold championships on both two and four wheels, something almost incomprehensible in motorsports today, but how many of us actually know the history behind such an achievement? Speaking to Mobil One’s The Grid John Surtees in his own words reflects on his career and what lead him to transition from two to four wheels in the first place. Sir Sterling moss goes on to detail the sheer drive and passion John Surtees applied to life.

I can’t claim to know a great deal about the history of sport beyond that which I have lives through, so for me this film gave a fascinating insight into a time in motorsport I can only dream of. The purity and passion of motorsport at this time is something current drivers and the sport in general should aspire towards.

Formula One: Kimi & Seb head to the beach

Ahead of 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen tried their hand at Beach Volleyball. In an event organised by long term team partner Santander the duo competed against each alongside banking customers who later took time out to explain the challenges of fitting training into a hectic life schedule.

Scuderia Ferrari and partners Santander, UPS, & Shell have gone to great lengths in 2016 to create accessible content for fans of the team to engage with their drivers in new and original ways.  The approach is clearly paying off as Kimi, notorious for not enjoying the commerical aspect of F1 life, can be seen in this film actually smiling!

Great job Santander!

Formula One: Kimi & Seb race across the border!

Whilst some drivers in the F1 paddock will have spent the week between the United States and Mexico Grand Prix relaxing on a beach, Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen have been working hard on their very own “Top Gear” style race. Working with team partner UPS, drivers were challenged to deliver goods from Austin to Mexico city. Fastest delivery wins!

Dealing with customs, language barriers, and a distinct lack of humour, who will take the crown in the teams first race of the weekend?

Excellent piece of work from the UPS team!

 

Formula One: Iceman becomes Fireman – Kimi’s Job Swap

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In the build up to this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen took time away from the circuit to try his hand as a fire fighter in the latest project in the  the Shell V-Power Job Swap campaign.

Job Swap, as the name suggests, takes Scuderia Ferrari drivers away from the familiarity of an F1 cockpit and gives them an opportunity to experience other roles in which vehicle and fuel performance are critical for a very different reason. Following Sebastian Vettel’s job swap with a Paramedic earlier this year, Kimi set out to go one better working Mohd Uzair bin Abdullah – a veteran with Malaysia’s Fire and Rescue Department.

Unsurprisingly when commenting on his experience tackling a purpose build obstacle course in an 18 tonne fire truck Kimi remarked “The fire truck is such a different vehicle to my Ferrari car, and it was a new experience to drive it.”

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Uzair mentioned, “getting the opportunity to work with Kimi to understand how he safeguards himself, helped me realise how similar we are in our jobs. Although we face different challenges, ultimately we both strive to protect ourselves so we can perform better at our jobs.”

“Initially, we were unsure what to expect from this unique activity. In the end, both drivers discovered the importance of preparation, and the vital role played by protection in the performance of both roles. Shell is committed to motorsports as an integral part of our Research & Development programme. Our innovations developed for the track help us make better fuels for our customers, enabling them to perform on the road with engines protected by Shell V-Power” said Shairan Huzani Husain, General Manager of Shell Retail Malaysia/Brunei.

With a strong performance from Scuderia Ferrari in the opening practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Kimi and Sebastian look to be in a position to challenge for the top step of the podium this weekend. The team will be working closely with Shell to ensure the perfect balance between performance and efficiency as they seek to bring secure the best possible position in the 2016 Formula One World Constructors Championship.

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Formula One: Vettel to start from the pitlane

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Scuderia Ferrari have installed a 6th Power Unit and Gearbox into Sebastian Vettel’s ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix today. This should equate to a 15 place grid penalty for the German which would be normalised to zero given his start position , however with the change having taken place under Parc fermé conditions a pitlane start is more than likely.

After a disastrous qualifying session, in which an anti roll bar failure saw the German unable to set a representative time in Q1 and the team with insufficient time to repair the issue, Vettel was set to line up on the grid in 22nd place.

With a high probability of a safety car during the Singapore Grand Prix, time lost through a pitlane start is expected to be minimised. Through starting from the pitlane Sebastian will be able to avoid the risk of incident off the start. Heavy rainfall in Singapore between qualifying and the race will have removed all rubber put down through the race weekend up until this point leaving the surface quite “green’ this may impact the tyre strategy Scuderia Ferrari opt for with Vettel with the life of the ultra soft compound tyre expected to be significantly reduced.

Formula One: Scuderia Ferrari deny rumours surrounding Paddy Lowe

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Scuderia Ferrari have moved to deny rumours suggesting Paddy Lowe will join the team taking on the role vacated by James Allison earlier this season.

Commenting directly to JWGP a team representative remarked:

“There’s no comment to make as it is what it is-just rumours generated from some media.”

Mercedes AMG Petronas are yet to respond to the rumour, but a similar response should be expected. Such rumours are common around this point in the season, silly season extends far beyond the driver market these days!

It should be noted that Paddy Lowe has attended all races this year with AMG Mercedes Petronas, if he were to be switching teams he would likely have been placed on gardening leave.  Furthermore, should any change prove to be on the cards existing contracts would likely preclude Paddy Lowe from any involvement with the Scuderia for a minimum of 12 months. Which would in effect marginalise his ability to influence any F1 car design until 2019.

With many elements of teams 2017 challengers already in place, a rival team seeking to challenge the dominance of Mercedes through poaching key personnel would have had to have made a move far earlier in the season.

Paddy Lowe joined Mercedes in 2013, at the same time as Lewis Hamilton. Lewis Hamilton has a contract with the Silver Arrows through to 2018.

Formula One: Seb’s Summer Job Swap

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As the Formula One circus heads into the traditional summer break Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took some time to try his hand at a very different kind of high speed performance vehicle.

In the first of  series of Job Swap Challenges developed by the Shell V-Power team, Sebastian Vettel handed over the keys of a Ferrari 488 GTB to Alex Knapton, a South Central Ambulance Service paramedic with more than 1300 call emergency call outs to his name, who in return gave Vettel the keys to his florescent pride and joy! The challenge; which driver could set the fastest lap time in vehicles somewhat different to those used in their day job! Although with Alex behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 GTB with a top speed of over 200 mph, and Sebastian trying his hand in a 3 tonne Ambulance with a top speed of only 88 mph, the advantage going into the challenge was clear.

After a morning of mutual tutoring the two went head to head against the clock, check out the results here:

Speaking about the challenge Sebastian commented: “Paramedics play an essential role in motorsport around the world and not just in Formula 1. They need to perform to such high standards every day because people’s lives depends on them”

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Alex went on to add “Getting the opportunity to swap the ambulance for the Ferrari 488 GTB was a dream come true! It was an unbelievable experience to get that close to one of the stars of Formula 1. Sebastian was on great form coaching on high performance driving tips and joking about the lack of a radio in the ambulance.”

The continually novel approach from Shell to bring the virtues of Shell V-Power Nitro + to life are incredibly impressive. The innovations Shell bring to the track through the long standing partnership with Scuderia Ferrari, whilst focused on bringing performance to the racing team, are ultimately developed with the forecourt and the customer in mind. 99% of the compounds used in fuel used to go racing is seen in V-Power fuels for the road.

Hopefully Alex’s experience will have convinced him and the South Central Ambulance Service to use Shell V-Power in future… … maybe that will help him find that missing 7 seconds!

Follow the Shell Motorsport team on Twitter here