Tag Archives: Formula 1

Formula One: Could F1 consider cloud seeding to ensure Sunday’s race?

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Friday free practice running for the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix was all but a complete washout. With conditions at the circuit and the neighbouring city, in which the hospital on call for medical emergencies from the race weekend, too poor for helicopters to operate in, the FIA delayed and eventually cancelled most of the days running.

Current weather forecasts suggest conditions will improve for tomorrow, but are likely to return on Sunday. Should forecasts prove to be accurate there is a real possibility that it will not be possible for the race to take place on Sunday as scheduled. With only a one week turnaround between the Chinese and Bahrain Grand Prix it will not be possible to hold the race on Monday or at a later date. As such FOM, the FIA, teams, drivers, and broadcasters are apparently in talks to host the entire race weekend activities tomorrow.

Within Formula One, there is no prescient for a race taking place a day earlier than scheduled, and in reality with the highly complex global broadcast agreements in place, it is highly unlikely that terms for running the race a day early can be agreed. Sponsors, Broadcasters, race attending fans, teams, will all seek compensation. As such at this point in time the most likely outcome, if the poor weather returns, is that fans will be treated to a four hour broadcast of no track action at all on Sunday.

This will significantly damage the reputation of Formula One globally and most specifically in Asia, a market in which the sport is struggling (note the discontinuation of the Malaysian Grand Prix agreement from 2018 announced earlier today). To avoid such an outcome it is time for Formula One Management to get creative? Could they look towards a solution involving Cloud Seeding?

Cloud seeding is a form of weather modification, a way of changing the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud. The usual intent is to increase precipitation (rain or snow), but hail and fog suppression are also widely practiced in airports. (thank you Wikipedia). The process could be applied in areas away from the circuit and the route to the hospital supporting the race.

It is understood organisers of the Singapore Grand Prix, have long used this technology to ensure a dry race weekend during the rain season for the region.

The process was used during the 2008 Beijing Olympics to ensure a dry Olympics.

No doubt, as the weekend processes, the weather forecast will evolve and fans concerns will evaporate!

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Formula One: Stroll responds to F1 pressure

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Williams F1 Driver Lance Stroll’s debut weekend in Formula One hasn’t been the smoothest. With lights out less than 30 minutes away, Lance, Felipe and Claire Williams explain how team and driver cope with and respond to pressure.

In this first film of the season for Sure, we hear about Lance Stroll’s journey to Formula One and his dominance in European F3 in 2016, and what gave Williams the confidence to put Lance behind the wheel of the FW40.

 

Formula One: Giovinazzi replaces Wehrlein at Sauber in Melbourne

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Italian Antonio Giovinazzi will replace Pascal Wehrlien for the Australian Grand Prix this weekend with the Sauber F1 Team. The Scuderia Ferrari development and reserve will make his Formula One debut sitting in for the German due to niggling fitness concerns following a incident during the pre-season Race of Champions Event.

My fitness level is not as it should be for a full race distance because of my training deficit. I explained the situation to the team yesterday evening. Therefore, the Sauber F1 Team has decided not to take any risks. It is a pity, but the best decision for the team.” Comments Wehrlien.

At this time both team and driver remain confident Pascal will return to the cockpit for the second round of the 2017 season in China.

“We have great respect of Pascal’s openness and professionalism. This decision was definitely not an easy one for him, it underlines his qualities as a team player. The focus is now on his fitness level, and in such a situation we do not take any unnecessary risks. Pascal will be in China as planned.” Remarked Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn.

Giovinazzo completed Fp3 in P20 as he aclimitises to the track and continues team integration.

Formula One: Ricciardo dreaming of Champagne (Sparkling wine) from the top step

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo heads to his home Grand Prix, the opening race of the 2017 F1 season, in Melbourne with aspirations of a top result. In this race preview for Mobil One’s The Grid, Ricciardo explains the complexities of preparing for the Melbourne Grand Prix and how the team will be looking complete as many laps as possible through free practice to fine tune setup.

Having experienced the Melbourne podium in 2014 (as result which was taken away following a post race sanction), Ricciardo sets out a clear ambition to reach the top step in 2017 and “taste the big bottle of champagne” Unfortunately for Daniel, with Mumm Champagne being replaced by Chandon last season, should he reach the top step he’ll have to make do with sparkling wine. That being said I’m sure it’ll still taste sweet, even if it’s from a sweaty shoe!

Formula One: Exclusive – Hisense on motorsport. F1 & Nascar

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With the 2017 Nascar season underway and the start of the 2017 F1 season less than one week away, JWGP caught up with partner to both championships, Hisense, to understand what attracts them to motorsport and why it pays to have partnerships in both Nascar & F1.

Hisense are a Chinese electrical goods company with an annual turnover in excess of $15 Billion. The company was founded almost 50 years ago. The company is made up of more than 40 subsidiaries, each focusing on a specific sector within the electronics sector. Hisense focus their motorsport activities on promoting the Television division of the business. Following an extensive period of evaluation of Formula One, in which an evaluation of how the sport can and will work for the business and how best to activate a partnership within the sport, in 2015 Hisense joined the Red Bull Racing Formula One Team. This multi-year partnership sees the team carry Hisense branding on the nose of the car and within the team environment.

In the same year Hisense joined Nascar team Job Gibbs Racing as principle partner. JWGP caught up with Deputy Director of Global Marketing Rolland Zhang to further hear more about their involvement in motorsport.

What attracted Hisense to Motorsport?

Hisense has two motorsport partnerships; one in NASCAR and one in Formula One. Generally speaking, there are a lot of synergies between motorsport and consumer electronics as technology and innovation sit at the heart of both.

Our technology and products have been integrated into team factories and garages around the world, used by the teams and sports we sponsor to improve performance on the track. This integration of technology shows consumers that if these world-class teams trust and rely on our products, they can too.

The fact that technology is so important in team performance is similar to our own values in terms of innovation and development, so it’s fantastic for us to be part of it.

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NASCAR is a hugely popular sport in the United States, so it is the perfect platform for Hisense to engage with the US market. In 2016, Denny Hamlin won the Hisense 4k TV 400 in a Hisense branded car. That played a huge role in raising the profile of Hisense in the United States. Our partnership with Red Bull Racing allows us to engage with audiences on a global scale. The Formula One season features Grands Prix in key markets that are important to our growth.

Why did Hisense choose Red Bull Racing over any other team in F1?

Red Bull Racing is a young, innovative and highly competitive team and we possess a lot of shared values.Red Bull Racing is a challenger brand, constantly pushing boundaries, which drives success on-track. We have a similar ethos and goals; we’re always looking to innovate and develop our technology to give our consumers bigger, better and more advanced products.

Red Bull Racing is also a fun and adventurous team; the drivers are exciting and fiercely competitive and the team is a very well-oiled machine which showed in their performance last year. The team’s determination, drive and success make us extremely proud to be a partner.

As a partner to Red Bull Racing, how does Hisense look to activate the partnership?

 Hisense supports the team by providing television screens in the Red Bull Racing factory and in the garage at races all around the world.  Last year, we installed a 9.6m by 3.6m state of the art LED screen in the team’s operations room at the factory in Milton Keynes. The screen allows the engineers at the factory to analyse live data and communicate effectively with the team at the track, no matter where they are racing in the world.

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In local markets, we use the buzz of the Grand Prix and driver appearances to amplify product launches and host media and influencers at the track. The markets also use Red Bull Racing assets in out of home advertising and in-stores to reinforce our partnership with the coolest team on the F1 grid.

Our social and digital channels are also a focus for us, giving us a direct line to consumers and the ability to interact with Red Bull Racing online.

How important is social media in the activation of Hisense in F1? 

Social media is the most direct route we have to reach consumers, potential customers and Red Bull Racing fans.We have social channels dedicated to our global sports sponsorships specifically, which include tennis, football and of course motorsports. Our local markets also have channels that they activate on, so we are reaching people in their local language and with market-relevant content.  Last year, Hisense UK ran a Facebook Live Q&A with Max Verstappen which was very successful. It was nicely timed too, just after ‘that’ Brazil race, so there was a huge amount of engagement.

Thanks to Rolland Zhang for his time. JWGP will carry updates around Hisense & motorsport through the 2017 season

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Formula One: Are Cosworth the solution to McLaren-Honda’s woes?

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On the eve of the 2017 F1 season McLaren Honda head into the third year of their partnership with little cause for optimism. Despite the FIA’s removal of the Power Unit development token system which previously limited manufacturers ability to modify / redesign technology, Honda solutions seemingly remain at odds with the F1 Hybrid era.

2017 pre-season testing saw Honda introduce an entirely new Power Unit, a fully integrated unit developed around the MCL32. In a bid to improve performance and resolve drivability issues which plagued the 2015 / 16 design, Honda engineers have taken inspiration from the solutions seen with their immediate competitors. This approach, in the short term at least, appears to have failed. McLaren have reported extensive issues with vibrations within the power unit limiting any ability to push for out right performance. Neither team nor engine manufacturer have been able to validate design concepts through pre-season testing and have minimal expectations around the team’s ability to complete a race distance let alone score points in the opening races of the 2017 season.

The situation is unsatisfactory for all parties involved.

In recent days it has emerged McLaren may have made preliminary enquiries towards Mercedes around future power unit supply, some media outlets going as far to suggest a mid season switch could be possible. The reality of this is highly unlikely, both from a commerical and technical perspective the strategy defies logic and any form of long term thinking.

McLaren maintain an ambition to compete for and win world championships. Using Williams Martini Racing as a prime example, despite access to the dominant power unit for the past three seasons, customer status with Mercedes limits their ability to challenge. This should not be the strategy McLaren seek or accept. It may resolve short term frustrations with partners, but it will not deliver world championships.

Instead McLaren may need to seek an alternative solution. It is understood Honda support the team and power unit development to the tune of $100 million per season. On the recommendation of McLaren, Honda could look to redirect this finance to a third party. The third party in question being Cosworth.

When the Hybrid F1 regulations were originally outlined in 2010, Cosworth, similar to Mercedes, dedicated significant resource to develop a new power unit for the sport. The intention had been for Volkswagen to badge the Cosworth power unit, however as the implementation of the new regulations grew nearer VW reneged on their F1 ambitions. This left Cosworth with a concept power unit 4 years in the making but no manufacturer budget to bring the power unit to the grid.

Cosworth have stated in previous years that with budget the power unit they developed could be on the grid within 6 months. They remain confident that the solutions they engineered would be competitive. In theory it would be possible for the Cosworth power unit to become the 2018 Honda F1 Power Unit. It is fair to say there would be a certain amount of pride to overcome between all parties involved, but ensuring future competitiveness may ease the short term pain.

To those who see the suggestion of Honda badged Cosworth Power Unit as the future of the McLaren Honda relationship as far fetched, take a look at the companies house registry for the list of directors at Cosworth. Top of this list you will find Mr Zak Brown, Executive Director of the McLaren Technology Group.

Formula One: Eddie Jordan slams Lewis Hamilton & Mercedes

Ahead of the 2017 F1 season former team owner turned pundit Eddie Jordan has suggested he would his response to Lewis Hamilton’s decision to back up Nico Rosberg in the final race of the 2016 season in a bid to secure his 4th World Championship would not have been as forgiving as that of Toto Wolff and the Daimler management board.

Never one to shy away from a headline, in this 2017 preview for Mobil One’s The Grid, Jordan comments on the departure of his good friend Bernie and the new start of a new era with Liberty Media.

Despite questioning Lewis’ approach to 2016, suggesting his lost focus, Jordan predicts he will be the favourite going into 2017. On Bottas, Jordan suggests 3-4 wins could be possible but questions his ability to push Lewis through the season.

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: Red Bull Racing ready to fight for the championship – Ricciardo

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Heading into the second and final pre-season test ahead of the 2017 Formula One World Championship confidence is sky high on Daniel Ricciardo’s side of the Red Bull Racing Garage. From the bold ‘My time’ statement made by the Australian in his latest helmet design to his confident demeanour in recent interviews, Ricciardo is  projecting the air of a driver destinted to challenge for the drivers crown this season.

In his first in depth interview for Mobil One’s the Grid, Ricciardo speaks candidly about his expectations for the season ahead and why he believes 2017 will be his year.

Formula One: Premium partners flock to Force India

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Judging by additional branding adorning the VJM10 and partnership announcements in the off season,  plaudits surrounding Sahara Force India’s forth place finish in the 2016 Formula One Constructors Championship have extended far beyond the commentators and fans.

With an increasing number of leading teams in Formula One struggling to secure new partners Force India are bucking the trend. The teams ability to attract new partners can be attributed in part to their success on track, but perhaps of more relevance, the way in which the success has been achieved. It is a well known fact the Force India operate on a significantly lower budget than the majority of other teams on the grid. Rather than complaining about a lack of finances, the team focus there efforts on maximising what they do have. The ratio of investment to performance gain and as a consequence exposure gain is far higher with Force India than with any other team on the grid. No doubt the marketing team of the Silverstone based team use this information as a key factor in presenting to new partners. The approach is paying off!

Diageo, have upgraded their relationship with Force India, increasing branding space and influence on the 2017 livery and shifting the brand they are seeking to promote through the partnership from mass market offering Smirnoff, to premium brand Johnnie Walker.

Innovative premium watch brand Felio Siby have extended their partnership with Force India for a second year, with promises of unique brand activation events through the season.

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Hype Energy Drink have expanded their partnership within the sport for the third season in succession. With increased branding on the VJM1o in premium exposure positions.

New clothing partner Farah have joined the team, supplying a unique range of travel wear and fan range to be launched later in the season.

Eye Respect – LDNR eyewear join Force India as the official sunglasses / eyewear partner for the team, taking brand positioning on the wing mirrors of the VJM10

Forex Trading partner FXTM also join the team with branding on the rear sidepod of the car. As forex trading moves into the mainstream Force India have done well to secure a leader in the sector.

With online gambling partner W88.com and digital technology partner Orangebus also joining the team, the Force India marketing team should be more than satisfied with an impressive winter work rate!

Another interesting component of the partnerships Force India have established ahead of the 2017 season is the amount of deals which are customer facing. Increasingly partnerships within Formula One are focused on business to business relationship building or hosting high net worth individuals. Force India are establishing partnerships which incorporate a consumer facing offering. They are achieving this whilst also introducing partners with aspirational product offerings.