Tag Archives: Ferrari

Formula One: Ferrari Experimenting?

GP BRASILE F1/2015

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: Cost Reduction Statement – FIA

Austin

FIA Statement 

The FIA has studied cost reduction measures for teams participating in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship which were not conclusive, including:

– a global cost ceiling,

– a reduction in costs via technical and sporting regulations,

– an increased standardisation for parts.

The FIA, in agreement with FOM, suggested the principle of setting a maximum price for engine and gear box for client teams at the last Strategy Group meeting.

These measures were put to the vote and adopted with a large majority.

However, Ferrari SpA decided to go against this and exercise the right of veto long recognised under agreements governing F1.

In the interest of the Championship, the FIA has decided not to legally challenge Ferrari SpA’s use of its right of veto.

Therefore the FIA will initiate a consultation with all stakeholders regarding the possible introduction of a client engine, which will be available as of 2017. Following this consultation a call for tenders for this client engine, the cost of which would be much lower than the current power unit, could be undertaken.

Supported by FOM, the FIA will continue in its efforts to ensure the sustained long-term development of the Championship and look for solutions enabling it to achieve this. It asks all of the teams to make a positive contribution to the success of this approach through proposals and initiatives in the interest of the Championship and its continuation over the long term.

Opinion : Public declaration of plans from the FIA to launch a tender for a client engine (independent) package is a bold approach from the FIA, no doubt in conjunction with FOM, made ever greater through holding Ferrari’s veto rights to account for the decision. This move could be seen as part of an extended chess game encouraging Ferrari to renege on their earlier stated position, or a way in which the FIA could quietly move away from the current engine Formula. 

Details of the engine specification under which tender proposals are to be made have not been made clear, but it should be seen as unlikely that the current specification would be maintained given the development costs. In order for an engine to be attractive to teams it must have the capability to compete with all teams as well as being cost effective. The likely customers for such an engine still have an ambition to win, accepting an uncompetitive engine simply to allow them to be on the grid would be short sighted and not commercially attractive to sponsors.

Should two specifications of engine be available in Formula One, which one requiring substantially less investment surely all manufacturers would develop engines to the lower cost base.  Nullifying the current Formula. 

I personally do not envisage Formula One getting to this point. Ferrari will bow under the pressure of this threat from the FIA and agree to cost caps. 

However, if I’m wrong. Why would Renault still seek to buy a team in F1, why not focus on a customer engine package? Other likely Independent submissions would come from Ilmor or Cosworth, but both would require assurances around customer base and commitment in order to ensure profitability of any engine programme. Renault on the other hand could off set engine costs as commercial or marketing expenses. 

Formula E: Amlin Andretti prepare for Season 2

Amlin

With arguably the most exciting driver line up on the grid, Amlin Andretti enter season two with new backing, new partners and a determination to succeed.

As highlighted in the Renault eDAMs preview yesterday, teams appear to facing the challenge of season 2 less as the difficult second album, and more of the time to get serious.

Both Robin Frijns and Simona de Silvestro have for now at least been passed over in the F1 driver pecking order, both suffering at the hands of questionable management and the challenges of the Sauber F1 team. In Formula E with Amlin Andretti they seem to have found a home.

The team had a challenging pre season with TE Connectivity partnership plans not quite ready to hit the track. For season 2 the team will rely on the trusted base power unit used in season 1. Working with established systems should position the team well for early reliability and provide confidence in what their machinery can achieve.

In Amlin, Andretti have found a commercial partner keen to make themselves heard. highly active on social media and hugely interactive with fans, this dedication will appreciated and will help the team enhance their fan base over the course of the season.

In this short interview Simona discusses the most exciting prospects for her first complete season with Formula E, whilst she mentions the Paris ePrix , I wouldn’t give up hope of the Lugano event quite yet!

Formula E: Julius Bär extend Global partnership agreement

JuliasBaer

Formula E has today announced that Julius Bär, the leading Swiss private banking group, will remain as the championship’s Global Partner till the end  of season five.Julius Bär, who joined Formula E as a Global Partner prior to the inaugural Beijing ePrix last year, share similar values to the fully-electric series such as innovation, sustainability and forward-looking pioneering spirit.

Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, said: “I am delighted that Julius Bär remains the Global Partner of the FIA Formula E Championship until the end of season five in 2019. This long-term partnership highlights Julius Baer’s continuous support and commitment for the series and shows that we share common values of innovation and sustainable mobility.”

Boris F.J. Collardi, Chief Executive Officer of Julius Bär, commented on the extension of the partnership: “After the success of the inaugural championship, Julius Bär is very proud to extend its commitment to support the FIA Formula E Championship as the exclusive Global Partner until 2019. Since the beginning of the partnership Julius Baer and Formula E have shared common values such as innovation, sustainability and forward-looking pioneering spirit.

We look forward to continue to adhere to these values and to share a vision of a world with more sustainable means of transport with our stakeholders and clients.”Speaking about the addition of the Hong Kong ePrix on the calendar in season three, KavenLeung, Deputy Region Head Asia Pacific & CEO North Asia at Julius Bär, added: “It is wonderful to bring the FIA Formula E Championship to Hong Kong in 2016, which really shows the attraction of this international city. Not only does the tournament’s pioneering spirit meet our business and brand needs in a key market like Hong Kong, it is also an effective platform for us to engage with the communities in which we operate.”

Opinion: Julius Bär extending this agreement is testament to level of confidence Formula E Management have managed to instil around the series. It should be noted the value of the agreement has not been documented in public, this could be interpreted in numerous ways most of which are positive for the series. It can be expected Julius Bär are providing the series with the services is would offer to clients and using Formula E as a basis for business to business engagements. Formula E represents an appealing cornerstone to a private banking portfolio. 

Julius Bär will no doubt play a key role in Formula E’s ambition for to achieve stock listing in the near future. 

Formula One – OPINION: Red Bull Racing to enter 2016 F1 season with Ilmor Engineering.

RBR

Disclaimer. Views expressed in this blog are my own. They represent a rational pragmatic view of a situation.

I’ll kick off with the headline. Red Bull Racing will enter the 2016 F1 season with a self-funded engine program supported by Ilmor. Now I realise this view flies in the face of 90% of what the team and media are reporting, but hear me out. Why wouldn’t they?

In 1997, Dietrich Mateschitz purchased a majority shareholding in the Sauber F1 team; this investment came only 3 years after Red Bull launched globally. Dietrich Mateschitz is a self-made billionaire who only a few years prior to his F1 involvement invested his entire life savings on buying a 49% share in Taiwanese Beverage Company bought to his attention by chance when travelling on business suffering with jetlag. It can be safe to say that the first significant investment Dietrich Mateschitz made with his new found wealth was into Formula One. The cynic could say it was simply because he saw the marketing potential of the sport for his brand; my personal belief is he has a passion for motorsport. Either way, passion and marketing potential do not disappear overnight. Walking away from the sport, I believe, is not an option.

Take a second to consider the success of Red Bull. This did not happen by mistake, the growth and development of the business has been carefully structured and strategically managed. This approach to business would not allow itself to be reliant on the goodwill of its peers to allow it to stay in the market. We cannot be expected to believe that Red Bull Racing truly expect Ferrari or Mercedes to supply them with engines, media coverage around these talks has been managed as a distraction technique. Something those with experience of Formula One Management will be well versed in.

The struggles Renault & Red Bull Racing have experienced in the hybrid era of the sport did not come as a surprise to the team. In 2013 the team, despite clinching their fourth consecutive constructor’s championship were making moves to streamline the operation. In the knowledge of a drop in competitiveness the team discontinued the contracts of a number of employees working on temporary contracts. With the knowledge that performances were unlikely to meet those of their competitors it could be argued that the team began considering the long term future of their relationship with Renault at this point already.

In the first half of the 2014 season the Red Bull Racing Renault relationship rapidly deteriorated. Before the first lap of the Melbourne GP Red Bull Technologies had already seemingly taken on some responsibility of engine development entering into an agreement with AVL, the world´s largest privately owned and independent company for the development of powertrain systems with internal combustion engines, to resolve immediate performance issues and use the company rolling road facilities. At this time there was a rumour Red Bull Technologies signed off investment in their own in house rolling road.

Later in 2014 Helmut Marko publically earmarked the Austrian GP as a milestone date by which time Red Bull Racing expected Renault to have resolved performance issues. There was no public statement around the consequence of failing to meeting this milestone, but it is my opinion that this was this point at which Red Bull Technologies green lit their engine development partnership evaluation between AVL and Ilmor. Renault, in my opinion, had full awareness of this project and the likely end point.

Moving further forward consultation between Red Bull Technologies, Renault and Ilmor was made public; the details of the agreement remained unclear, but Mario Illien (Ilmor co-founder) was present as a guest of Red Bull Racing  at a number of races in 2014. It was stated that Mario Illen acted advisory capacity providing direction on possible development routes for the Renault power unit, earlier this year it was announced that Renault had elected not to take the development path outlined through the Ilmor partnership. In my opinion this represented Renault allowing a contractual option defined by Red Bull Technology to expire.

It is my belief that the ‘messy divorce’ between Red Bull Racing and Renault is around the Ilmor engine development program. The Ilmor program uses Renault developed technology as a baseline. Red Bull will argue they have been involved and invested in the development since the beginning and as such lay claim to the rights to the engine. Renault of course will disagree. This disagreement will be concluded through a financial settlement, and the basis for future Red Bull Racing engine supply will remain the original Renault power unit with development direction becoming Ilmor’s domain. The project may latterly be badged by another manufacturer.

When I have discussed this option in the past I have lambasted on two key points. Firstly, the time it take s to develop an engine, and secondly Red Bull can’t afford an engine program. I don’t see either of these arguments as valid.  To support this I contacted a Cosworth representative some weeks ago to understand the time they believe it would take to develop a power unit compliant with current regulations, their response; 10 months. Red Bull Technologies and Ilmor by the start of preseason testing for the 2016 season may have had as much as 18 months (Since the 2014 Austrian GP), and will have been using an existing engine to base the concept on  which would serve to further reduce the development  time required.  To address financing, how much do we believe it costs to develop an engine? If we consider Red Bull Racing have been awarded $200M in prize funds over the past two years alone, and have an extremely healthy sponsorship portfolio minimising the investment Red Bull have to make into their own racing team, despite operating as a private company and as such not reporting profits, we can be confident Red Bull is a highly profitable organisation. Red Bull has the money. It should also be noted the cost of engine development may not be paid up front. The cost of capital could be shared over future years performances, with FOM heritage payment assured Red Bull could borrow money against his assurance to fund an engine program if necessary. So in summary, they’ve had the time and they can afford it!

If Red Bull pulled out of F1 they face significant penalties from FOM and will be left with extensive racing infrastructure on their books. The cost of leaving the sport is greater the than the cost of a self-funded engine development route.

So, to 2016 and the prospects for Red Bull Racing & Toro Rosso, it is my view that the current ‘negotiations’ or lack thereof with Mercedes and Ferrari are somewhat of a front. Red Bull wants to position themselves as the injured party with no other option than a self-funded program. This will go some way to once again endear the team to fans of the sport. Success with the Ilmor project will not come overnight, but that is fine. The teams can spend 2-3 seasons as a capable mid field entrants, focusing on restoring their reputation as a fun team with the fans, whilst using their clout with FOM and the FIA to restore an emphasis on aerodynamics in future technical regulations.  Success in Formula One is cyclical. Red Bull, despite what we see through the media appreciates this and remains fully committed to the sport.