Tag Archives: FIA

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. 

Advertisements

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.

Formula E – Michelin confirmed as sole tyre supplier through to season 5

Michelin

The World MotorSport Council (WMSC) confirmed Michelin as the single tyre supplier for the FIA Formula E Championship. The contracts will cover Seasons 3 (2016-2017), 4 (2017-2018) and 5 (2018-2019), subject to the finalisation of the corresponding agreements.

Full report here.

Opinion: A contract extension that was never really in doubt. Michelin’s supply to Formula E demonstrates long lasting tyres don’t negatively impact racing. Quite the opposite in fact. Other racing categories would do well to pay attention. Also interesting that the FIA announce tyre supply for this series and yet don’t appear to be the decision makers in other categories.

Formula Two – Significant Progress made towards GP2 morphing into the final step of the FIA Single Seater Ladder

FIA

FIA Formula 2 Championship

Significant progress has been made in negotiations with the promoter of GP2 regarding the establishment of the final step in the FIA’s single-seater ladder; the FIA Formula 2 Championship.

Discussions remain ongoing with the intention of finalising an agreement.

Full Press Release

Opinion: In amongst the F1 2016 calendar confirmation the FIA have publicly commented for the first time on progress around the progress of GP2 morphing into F2.  GP2 organisers have commented on the prospect but in recent months talks appeared to have stalled. It’s fantastic to see logic being applied to the development of the FIA single seater ladder. It will be interesting to see the timing around the transition and the FIA drivers license points requirements to enter the series.

Formula E – Teams limited to two driver changes per car

driverchanges_news

The 10 Formula E teams will be limited to just two driver changes per car during season two.

Last season 30 drivers took part in the all-electric racing series, with some teams changing drivers multiple times. This season they will be limited to just two changes, and no changes will be permitted during the final three races of the season to avoid any potential conflict in the fight for the championship.

In the event of force majeure and the driver is unavailable for an unforeseen reason, a change of driver will be permitted at the discretion of the Stewards.

All drivers must also comply with the new e-Licence system, which is a mandatory requirement to participate in an FIA Formula E Championship event. As well as taking part in a specific FIA training session to cover the most important points of electrical safety, technical and sporting aspects of the series, drivers must have accumulated 20 points in the previous three seasons under the FIA points system used to qualify for an F1 Super Licence.

A driver judged by the FIA to have consistently demonstrated outstanding ability in single-seater formula cars, but with no opportunity to qualify under any of the requirements above, can still obtain an e-Licence.

Any driver change now has to be announced two weeks prior to the event.

Opinion –  Limiting in season driver changes moves to further stabilise and bring credibility to Formula E. Regulations around driver changes are now aligned with that of Formula One. It should not go unnoticed that Formula E have also outlined regulations around new drivers having to accumulate points 20 over the past 3 seasons under the FIA driving experience points system. Presumably this rule will be applied only to drivers new to the series as many existing drivers would not qualify.  For example, neither Amlin Andretti driver have accumulated sufficient points under the system to participate. Outside of super license holders Sam Bird is one of the few drivers in the series who would qualify to participate under these rules. 

Formula One – Letter of Intent Signed between Group Renault & Gravity Motorsports – Lotus F1 Team

Press Release

Renault have this morning confirmed signature on a letter of intent regarding the potential acquisition of the Lotus F1 team. At this time there has been no formal public response from the Lotus F1 Team of Gravity Motorsport, but it is likely this notification will lead to the sale of the team which should serve to resolve the immediate cash flow issues faced by the team.

In the short press release from Group Renault, a keen emphasis is placed on the long association Renault have with Formula One, it can be expected this history will place a significant role in the rebranding of the Enstone based team.

The announcement makes no reference to the relationship between Red Bull Racing and Renault, with the latter formally under supply agreement for 2016. Further news on this should be expected in the coming days and weeks.  No mention has been made around the Power Unit the team will use in 2016, logically it can be assumed the team will run the Renault unit, despite agreements in place with Mercedes Benz. Renault have elected to focus power unit developments on the 2016 program rather than introducing upgrades through the token system in 2015, no doubt significant strides will be made in 2016 regarding performance and reliability.

Sponsors and Driver Line up developments will be of particular interest, with Renault likely to transfer Infiniti and Total Agreements from Red Bull Racing to the Renault team.

Pastor Maldonardo has been announced as a 2016 driver for the Lotus F1 team, the Venezuelan brings substantial national backing to team in the form of PDVSA branding. It will be interesting to see if the team which will act under a new legal entity maintain this contracted commitment.

Romain Grosjean is expected to announce his departure from the team on tomorrow moving to the newly formed Haas F1 team. Possible replacements include Esteban Ocon & Jolyon Palmer. It should also be noted with the possible departure of Red Bull Racing from the sport Daniel Riccardo, Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz may also be seeking a seat in 2016.

Formula E – IN-RACE VOTING FOR FANBOOST IN SEASON TWO

Fanboost

Press Release FE167

Formula E fans will have the chance to boost their favourite driver during the races this season following changes confirmed to this unique socially interactive concept.

Starting at the Beijing ePrix on October 24, voting for FanBoost will remain open during the opening six minutes of the race.

As well as being able to vote during the race, fans will also find it much easier to have their say as changes to the voting system will make it possible to vote using a hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This has been achieved through a partnership with Telescope, the global leader in real-time fan engagement.

Voting will be possible through the official Formula E website and app and fans will be able to vote once a day through each of the available channels. As was the case during season one, FanBoost voting will open 12 days before the race takes place, which means that voting will open for the Beijing ePrix on Monday, October 12.

As a result of these changes FanBoost will only be available on the car that the drivers get into following their mid-race car swap. Unlike last year FanBoost will provide an extra 100kJ of energy to be used in a power window between 180kW and 200kW.

This presents the three winning teams and drivers with a strategic call to make. Do they raise the power for a short boost or run at a slightly lower power for a prolonged period? As before, FanBoost can only be used once, rather than in a series of short bursts.

OPINION: In race FanBoost will in theory bring fans closer to the sport, encouraging live viewing which will be music to the ears of the FTA broadcasters recommitting to and joining the sport for season two. Flexibility in deployment will appeal to teams and drivers, but removing FanBoost from the first stint of the race feels like a miss. Qualcomm and technical partner’s developments in induction charging on track must be the ultimate end point for FanBoost. Overall it’s fantastic to see the series evolve.