Tag Archives: FOM

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.

 

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Formula One: Major new partner for Toro Rosso

 

 

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Scuderia Toro Rosso and Acronis, a global leader in hybrid cloud data protection which partnered with the team on the occasion of last week’s Hungarian GP, have announced the extension of the agreement to a new long-term partnership, designed to reach new heights in racing and technological product development.

The new partnership will lead to rapid innovation, increased safety and enhanced performance during races and off the track.

The Acronis logo, which was already visible on our STR11 cars in Budapest, will continue to be on the team’s cars and its drivers’ race suits, signifying Acronis’ commitment to the team through providing the latest technology to protect Toro Rosso’s IT infrastructure.

Acronis’ team appreciates the complexity of racing in the pinnacle of motorsport, where every millisecond counts. Toro Rosso will use Acronis hybrid cloud data protection solutions to guarantee data availability when it’s most needed — during races and preparing for new events.

Scuderia Toro Rosso produces up to 700 GB of data every race weekend. Hundreds of sensors with multiple data points monitor the cars, providing real-time information, which is immediately analysed and used through the race to improve performance. The data is also transferred to Toro Rosso’s base in Faenza, Italy, where a support group of engineers and data analysts use it for car improvements and new race strategies.

The sport is a data-driven business — the data collected on the racetrack fuels rapid innovation and enables the team to make educated decisions more efficiently.

“In our competitive environment it is becoming increasingly more important to protect all our technical information with a very high standard of software and Acronis can offer exactly what we need. Now that we have a long-term project together, we can’t wait to start working with Acronis, not only on a sponsorship level, but also in terms of adopting their data protection products within our factory and race team. I am sure we will both benefit from this technical cooperation and it will help our team to continue moving forward,” commented Team Principal Franz Tost.

Scuderia Toro Rosso is an R&D powerhouse, which analyses massive amounts of data and fine- tunes cars for each new race, depending on previous history and the current track condition. Acronis places great importance and invests large amounts of resources into R&D activities as well. The two teams will join forces to deliver the best results in racing and in the field of data protection by focusing on precision engineering, performance, design, innovation, and teamwork. The new partnership will lead to increased safety and enhanced performance on and off the track.

 

Acronis is a cutting edge and forward looking company, growing rapidly in the field of data protection, which links in very well with the sport. This cooperation will see them and us work well and progress together,” said Scuderia Toro Rosso driver, Daniil Kvyat.

“It’s great news that Acronis has decided to support our team with a long term partnership”, commented Scuderia Toro Rosso driver, Carlos Sainz. “Formula 1 is a technologically intensive sport and Toro Rosso is looking forward to working together with Acronis”.

“Racing teams are very efficient in using the collected data for rapid innovation and developing new technology. Acronis will race alongside Scuderia Toro Rosso on and off the track, perfecting our own technology and delivering the best products to our partners and customers in the same efficient way,” said Serguei Beloussov, Acronis’ Founder and CEO. “This is a first class sport and Acronis subscribes to its philosophy of success – focusing on a combination of personal ingenuity, team unity and cutting-edge technologies and engineering. We really value the Red Bull brand and we’ve chosen Scuderia Toro Rosso, having great respect for its Team Principal, Franz Tost, and its drivers, Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz. Their vision for the team coincides with our corporate culture of being alert, responsive, vigilant, decisive and relentless, knowing firsthand how often things can work out just at the very last moment when the temptation to quit is greatest. This is relevant to dynamic sport and business”

JWGP  attended the launch of this new partnership in Hockenheim, further insights from the event will follow in the coming days.

Formula One: F1 ownership broken down

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Throughout motorsport journalism there is often talk around who owns Formula One, and what exactly do they own. Paul Caramés of Business and Sport, has put together this fantastic set of infographics to try and explain the true ownership of the sport.

The second chart below details the value shareholders have extracted from the sport:

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This final chart indicates the FOM race fees taken from each of the circuits the F1 circus will visit over the 2016 season:

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The differences between each venue is quite staggering. When you take a cold view of the value creation from each circuit it is entirely understandable why FOM may seek to move away from Europe to more lucrative venues.

To anyone interested in the finances behind Formula One, this data goes someway to explain the complicated ownership model behind the sport.

Data shown in this article is collected through publicly available sources. It is by no means definitive, rather illustrative based on best information availble.

You can follow Business & Sport on twitter here

Many thanks to Paul Caramés for agreeing to my reposting this data here on JWGP.

Formula One: Acronis joins Scuderia Toro Rosso in Hungary

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Scuderia Toro Rosso have announced a new partnership with Acronis, a global leader in hybrid cloud data protection, for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

“We are very happy that Acronis has chosen to our team to celebrate the speed and technological excellence of Acronis Backup 12, for a one-off partnership in occasion of the Hungarian race in Budapest on July 24” commented our Team Principal, Franz Tost

Formula 1 is the fastest and most technologically advanced data intensive sport on earth, and with the world’s fastest data protection speeds, Acronis demonstrates a perfect fit.

If you don’t blink, you may see the Acronis logo stamped on the side of our STR11 racing past your eyes at the Hungaroring this weekend. Before the car completes one full lap, Acronis Backup 12 users will be able to restore more than five servers. With the world’s fastest data recovery time of less than 15 seconds, Acronis Backup 12 is a new solution giving businesses and IT managers more control over their data and workloads than ever before.

According to the latest report released by Network Testing Labs this week, Acronis Backup 12 has largely outperformed other competitors. It only takes 35.6 minutes to back up a 180GB virtual machine with Acronis, compared to higher numbers with anything else on the market. This makes Acronis Backup 12 the fastest data protection technology in the world.

To mark the achievement and as part of the broader partnership negotiations, Acronis selected Scuderia Toro Rosso as the launch partner for Acronis Backup 12.

Shaving milliseconds from the lap time can make the difference between winning and losing. Reducing data recovery time from the industry-standard of 15 minutes to less than 15 seconds can make the difference between business success and demise.

“Acronis is a cutting edge and forward looking company, growing rapidly in the field of data protection, which links very well with our sport. This cooperation will see Acronis and us work well and progress together,” said Scuderia Toro Rosso driver, Daniil Kvyat.

 

“Scuderia Toro Rosso competes in the highest category of Motorsport and Acronis subscribes to its philosophy of success – focusing on a combination of personal ingenuity, team unity and cutting-edge technologies and engineering. We are proud to be associated with Scuderia Toro Rosso as the main launch partner for Acronis Backup12,” said Serguei Beloussov, Acronis’ Founder and CEO.

 

JWGP Comment  “as this press release suggests Acronis are using the Hungarian Grand Prix to evaluate the impact of  sponsorship with a view to a more significant partnership within Formula One. The brand will be monitoring fan awareness of the partnership and any increased traffic towards Acronis social media channels and websites. In addition they will be monitoring new commerical opportunities from a B2B perspective through interactions arising from within the paddock. STR and the agency introducing this partnership will no doubt have lined up numerous senior leadership meetings with other bluechip organisations represented on the F1 grid”

 

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Formula One: Hungarian GP – Tyre stats, watch outs, and reminders

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Following the flat-out straights and fast corners of Silverstone is the tight and twisty Hungaroring: two circuits that could not be any more different. The medium, soft and supersoft tyres have been nominated for Hungary: statistically the most popular combination of the year so far, which was last used in Baku. The Hungaroring has been described as being like an oversized go-kart track, and adding to the challenge of the first circuit ever to stage a grand prix behind the Iron Curtain exactly 30 years ago are weather conditions that can range from extremely hot (a common occurrence) to rain (which was the case two years ago, as well as 2011).

THE CIRCUIT FROM A TYRE POINT OF VIEW:

  • There’s only one real straight on the Hungaroring, which means tyres are constantly working.
  • It’s a well-balanced track, with traction, braking and lateral energy demands roughly equal.
  • High temperatures make thermal degradation a factor.
  • The emphasis is on mechanical grip, as a low average speed means there is little downforce.
  • Drivers describe the Hungaroring as one of the year’s most physically demanding circuits.
  • Hungary starts another back-to-back weekend, with the teams then going straight to Germany.

THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:

  • White medium: a mandatory set that must be available for the race, low working range.
  • Yellow soft: another mandatory set whose versatility will make it a popular race tyre.
  • Red supersoft: used for qualifying but it’s not yet clear how much they will figure in the race.

PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR:                     

“Hungary provides a very different type of challenge to what we’ve seen at Silverstone, but some of the teams used the recent Silverstone test to try out a few ideas that could be relevant to the Hungaroring, so it will be interesting to see what effect this has. The track has been completely resurfaced, and we saw in Austria that this had quite a profound influence as well: we will need to see if this is case in Hungary too, so free practice will be very important.”

WHAT’S NEW?  

  • The track has been entirely resurfaced and the circuit infrastructure upgraded this year.
  • There is also some new kerbing and run-off areas while the effect of the resurfacing has additionally been to smooth out some of the bumps. This should culminate in faster lap times.

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Formula One: The British Grand Prix from Silverstone Six

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I don’t like the British Grand Prix, It’s a shocking statement. Especially for a Brit! Over the year’s I’ve been fortunate enough to have the money to attend a number of races all over the world, during that time I’ve been to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone 4 times. My last trip to the circuit had been in 2009. Don’t get me wrong on TV the British Grand Prix is an incredible spectacle. The high speed challenge of the circuit is a joy to watch, and more often than not the circuit provides some excellent racing. However, As a fan at the circuit always felt I missed out.  Sure the atmosphere is something special, unique to the British, but the nature of the site never lent itself to the fan.

The circuit, build around a former military airstrip is flat and huge. Two features that don’t lend themselves to great visibility for the race attending fan. Most grandstands are situated on the outside of the circuit, this results in limited viewing. Modern F1 circuits are designed with the race attending fan in mind. It is possible to see a large percentage of the track from a single viewing point. Silverstone was not designed in this way. That was until the circuit was remodelled in 2011.

I realise writing a review on a 5-year-old circuit upgrade may feel a little unnecessary, but there are many race fans similar to myself who avoid Silverstone because of the outdated perception that the circuit isn’t great for spectators. I am happy to report this is no longer the case. Courtesy of my good friends at Shell V Power I was given two tickets to the Silverstone Six hospitality stand for the British Grand Prix. The unit is situated on the infield of the Maggots- Becketts complex, which in itself is an incredible view. Adding to this the grandstand is elevated and overlooks the new sector of the track with views of the loop and Aintree corner. In total from a single vantage point I could see 6 corners, and over the course of the 2016 British Grand Prix witnessed some of the most incredible overtakes I have seen in modern F1.

Now to be honest, during GP2 and GP3 Races I found myself getting confused with the old and new circuit layouts, tracking cars around the lap at the wrong time, but I think that just shows my age. The Silverstone Six Grandstand gave me an entirely fresh perspective of the entire circuit. I remembered why I enjoyed Silverstone in the first place. As a spectator you get a true feeling for the challenges of the circuit and for the speeds drivers are taking into corners.

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The Silverstone Six experience is something special. Arriving at 8:10 AM on Sunday morning, 5 minutes before the GP3 race started we had a full breakfast buffet available to us, and even Mumm Champagne for those feeling eager! Leading up to the race a full lunch menu was available. Whilst the weather in the minutes leading up to the race was not great for fans in a grandstand the entire hospitality unit we sat in (the Brabham suite) decamped to our seats for the race. The race itself was a thriller! Another great addition to Silverstone has been larger clearer screens around the circuit along with radios playing commentary of the race to ensure you can keep up to speed. Many times during the race there was so much going on it was hard to chose between sections of the circuit or the screen to look at. Following the race the suite stays open until 6:30, offering an afternoon snack and further drinks. The quality of food and drink in the suite is fantastic.

Silverstone have done a great job at tackling the inherent issues of the circuit. They have invested in sound and logical infrastructure and made the event something to be proud of.

Finally, I would like to thank the staff at Silverstone Six for making the day so memorable. It is easy to forget how tough it must be to pull off an event such as the British Grand Prix. The entire team should be proud.

For more on Silverstone and the Silverstone Six hospitality suites click here.

Formula One: Herbie Blash to step down as Deputy F1 Race Director

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A 50-year veteran of Formula One, Michael ‘Herbie’ Blash (pictured on the right in the above image) began his Grand Prix career in 1965 working with privateer Lotus entrant Rob Walker. In 1968 he was employed by Lotus where he became race engineer to Jochen Rindt. In 1972 he moved to the Brabham where he became team manager, a post he would hold until 1988. Following a period as Sporting Director with Brabham in the early ‘90s he then moved to Yamaha as Sporting Director. In 1996 he became the FIA Deputy Race Director in Formula One, a role he has fulfilled without fail ever since.

The role of F1 Deputy Race Director will be taken on by Laurent Mekies who joined the FIA as Safety Director in 2014. A graduate engineer of the ESTACA School in France, Laurent Mekies began his Formula One career as a race engineer with the Arrows F1 team in 2001 before moving to Minardi the following year. After the team’s takeover and renaming as Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2006, Mekies was appointed Chief Engineer. In 2012 he took on a new role as Head of Vehicle Performance at the Faenza team. Mekies will continue to hold the post of Safety Director but will now also work alongside FIA Formula One Race Director Charlie Whiting at all Formula One races.

FIA President Jean Todt said: “I would personally like to thank Herbie for all of his hard work for the FIA over the past 21 years, and especially for his contribution in maintaining Formula One’s place at the pinnacle of motor sport. Along with Charlie, Herbie has been instrumental in the seamless running of grand prix races for over two decades, and we are pleased that he will continue to work with the FIA in future.

Replacing someone with Herbie’s immense experience was never going to be easy. However, we are fortunate to be able to appoint Laurent Mekies to this position. Laurent brings a wealth of Formula One experience, and has been responsible for driving the FIA’s safety agenda since joining us. Combining his strong Formula One history and work as the FIA’s Safety Director, I am confident that he will ensure that the FIA’s flagship single-seater championship continues to set the benchmark for race management and safety – a status that his predecessor, Herbie, can take great pride in helping to nurture.

Whiting said: “I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to Herbie for his years of tireless work for our sport. It has been a huge pleasure to be alongside him for almost two decades. Of course Herbie will be hard to replace but, with Laurent’s extensive experience in F1, I’m sure he will be a worthy replacement, he will also be able to bring a new dimension of experience to our team of F1 officials.

Herbie Blash will formally stand down from his position at the end of this season.

Formula One: 2 punctures for Rosberg in Canada

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Sources within Pirelli have confirmed that Nico Rosberg suffered 2 punctures in the laps preceding his second pitstop on lap 51 of the Canadian Grand Prix. The cause of both punctures has been identified as debris damaging the tyre.

The first puncture is understood to have been relatively minor leading to a slow loss of pressure, the second more substantial resulting in a rapid loss of pressure thus requiring immediate serving of car number 6.

Some parties have questioned Mercedes decision to service Nico with a set of Soft tyres in his second (unplanned) stop on lap 51. With only 19 laps to go both the Super Soft and the Ultra Soft compound could have completed the race distance. However as this article indicates, going into the race Nico had no fresh Ultra Soft tyres available, it is unlikely a used set of Ultra Soft compound tyres would have completed the race distance. The decision not to run the red Super Soft tyres will have been down to the issues Nico was managing in the car around fuel consumption and brakes. A tyre with greater performance could have led to greater issues in the closing stages of the race.

Commenting on Nico’s struggles Paddy Lowe remarked:

“For Nico, a late puncture[s] forced a second stop. It looks like he also collected some debris in one of his radiators, as he had overheating throughout the race. While this may not necessarily have affected his performance, it would have been quite a big distraction to manage. A podium was a possibility for him today – but unfortunately it didn’t work out”

Adding to this Nico himself commented on his race:

“I did my best to fight back and I there was a chance of a podium – but then I got the puncture and had to pit again – dammit! I was pushing hard after that to regain the positions but it was a massive mission managing the car with brake warnings coming on and running low on fuel.”

Pirelli went on to confirm that of the drivers that did manage to successfully complete the race on a single stop strategy; Hamilton, Bottas and Alonso. Did so well within the life of the soft compound tyre. Whilst confirmation of the number of laps it could be expected the tyres would have completed beyond race distance remains confidential Pirelli confirm no driver was near the limit of the life of the tyre.

 

Formula One: Lewis “It’s been an awesome day”

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Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, along with Technical Director Paddy Lowe offer their thoughts on FP1 & 2 from Montreal:

Lewis Hamilton
It’s been an awesome day. This has always been a strong circuit for me and I’m really enjoying being back here again. I’ve generally been really happy with the car so far. The focus today has been on working hard to make sure we have a good understanding of the tyres. I’m enjoying myself and hoping the weather stays like this over the weekend for all the fans out there in the grandstands.”
Nico Rosberg
“Generally I feel good in the car. But getting the tyres working is not so straightforward here, so that needs some further analysis tonight. I lost most of my time in the first sector – possibly because of tyre temperatures. So, that part of the lap is the main area to work on and find some improvement for qualifying. The long runs have looked good so far, though. It’s been great to see so many spectators out there already today and I’m sure there will be an awesome atmosphere over the weekend.”
Paddy Lowe
“It’s great to have some decent weather after freezing conditions yesterday – particularly for the fans, who have come out in their thousands. The main interest of the day was to see how the three different tyre compounds functioned on low and high fuel. We managed to complete our programme without any major issues and both drivers are fairly happy with the balance of the car. It’s difficult to compare lap times precisely with everybody running slightly different programmes – but our performance looks reasonably strong. We’ve still got a lot to do to be fully prepared for qualifying – and in a shorter timescale than normal too. We’ve had normal running hours today – but curfew begins an hour earlier tonight, as we lose an hour tomorrow with the early start to FP3 and Qualifying. The team in the garage have a tough evening ahead to get the cars prepared.”

 

Formula One: Red Bull Racing do Drones

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In the build up to the Canadian Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing duo Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen spent some time trialling racing drone technology armed with streaming Go Pro’s and VR headsets.

As well as showing of their drone handling skills(!), in the film below drivers give their analysis on the Monaco Grand Prix and look forward to the Canadian Grand Prix. Both expect the upgraded power unit to perform strongly around the circuit and hope to be able to compete at the front. Hopefully the two will avoid hitting each other on track, something they didn’t manage with the drones.

The use of drone technology is understood to be high on the agenda of Formula One Management’s technical revolution in race broadcasting and content creation, with trials expected to take place over the Italian Grand Prix weekend. which is coincidently a Grand Prix which Heineken are now a title sponsor. It is not clear if the trials will lead to imagery being used in broadcast or as a form of VR trail, but it is clear FOM are looking into new ways to present the sport.

Filming & streaming content from drones could enable FOM to showcase the sport in an entirely new format at a much lower cost than more traditional filming via helicopter. The sport could even consider the use of VR to allow fans to control their view of the sport from a drone. A direction, FOM, SKY, and Mercedes AMG Petronas partner Tata Communications is keen to facilitate and encourage as discussed in this interview.

FIA Formula E, trialled the use of drones earlier this year following the Mexico ePrix. Click here for more.