Tag Archives: Formula 1

Formula E: Why Audi don’t need Formula One

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Following on from yesterday’s post suggesting that after their success in the World Endurance Championship, Porsche may be considering a future in Formula One, Livery designer extraordinaire & MsportXtra partner Sean Bull went on to post livery concepts around a Future for Audi in F1 again partnering with Red Bull Racing.

Whilst I’m a huge fan of the livery concept. To me, Audi’s future in motorsport sits within Formula E. Earlier this month Audi became the first German Automotive manufacturer to officially commit to the championship, taking over the Abt team license.

As an automotive manufacturer, Audi has recognised the trend towards Electric Vehicles and are embracing it. In motorsports, with Formula One, Audi would be forced into a battle of the budget in order to compete and to be seen as a success. With Formula E, they can engage with a younger audience demographic within a cost controlled environment, in a sport supported by governments and industry. They have an opportunity to lead, not follow.

As Audi works driver Lucas Di Grassi tweeted last month, drivers might miss the 1000bhp LMP1 beasts of Le Mans but the future is Electric, and Audi have embraced their future.

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Formula One: Throwback Thursday – Red Bull Racing (don’t) split from Renault

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If you’ve caught more than 10 minutes F1 coverage or spent anytime on popular F1 news aggregator sites over the last few weeks you would be forgiven for thinking the Mclaren Honda divorce was complete. Based on all confirmed sources this is not the case.

F1 media, as with any media, has a tendency towards sensationalism. A controversial headline will attract readership.  I have to admit, I’m not adverse to the occasional sensationalist headline here on JWGP.

So, whilst the F1 world awaits formal confirmation from both Mclaren and Honda around future plans, now seems as good a time as ever to reflect on the last “SENSATIONAL” Team and power unit supplier fall out. When with no official word from either Red Bull Racing or Renault, after 18 months of continuous headlines around a fallout, their split was announced by the media. Except it wasn’t. Two seasons later the partnership is still alive. Yes it has been modified, but the fact remains Red Bull Racing and Renault are partners.  Below is a screen grab of just a few of the credible outlets that “confirmed” the news.

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So while we wait for official news from Mclaren and Honda about the future of their partnership, one fact to bare in mind;

As per FIA sporting regulations, Honda and Mercedes have already confirmed power unit supply plans to the FIA for 2018 (see story with verified sources here). Within this confirmation, Mercedes will supply the same teams they are in 2017, Honda will supply Mclaren and Sauber.

In retrospect Looking back at the “confirmed” Red Bull Racing Renault split, the story ensured continual press coverage for a team performing well below expectations over a 12 month period. This coverage was arguably greater than that which Mercedes received whilst fighting for the championship. A masterstroke in marketing by a true marketeer Dietrich Mateschitz. In November last year, Mclaren replaced Ron Dennis with marketing guru Zak Brown.

How many newspapers are giving midweek coverage to Mercedes win on Sunday?

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Formula One: Champagne returns to the F1 podium!

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The eagle eyed F1 fan may have noticed a new name featuring at the Monaco Grand Prix podium, that name, Carbon Champagne. As the name suggests, Carbon Champagne fits perfectly into the world of Formula One, with a unique carbon fibre surround crafted for  the premium champagne.

After Mumm Champagne transitioned motorsport involvement from Formula One to Formula E, a decision covered in detail here, Formula One Management partnered with sparkling wine brand Chandon. As followers of this website and  JWGP on Twitter, drivers and teams referring to Chandon as champagne had been a continual pet peeve of mine. With this in mind I applaud Formula One Management for bringing a true champagne back to the podium celebration.

Entering into partnership with Carbon Champagne represents a curious strategic development from Formula One Management and possibly hints towards an evolving business strategy. Carbon Champagne fits into the super premium drinks segment both in terms of quality and price point. A single bottle of Carbon Champagne costs between 10 and 20 times that of the podium product it replaces. This partnership perhaps reflects Formula One’s ambition to ensure the sport retains it’s status as the pinnacle of motorsport through association with brands unattainable to the typical fan. It is clear the sport is walking a tightrope seeking to broaden the appeal of the sport and grow the audience, whilst maintinaing and perhaps elevating its premium nature.

Typically the relationship between a champagne partner and a sports championship is more expansive than the three bottles drivers receive during podium celebrations. As a minimum, a champagne partner can expect to see all championship hospitality requirements to be purchased through this relationship. Beyond increased brand awareness earned through Formula One association, this sale will provide a clear return on investment for the brand against any sponsorship fee agreed. With Carbon Champagne this relationship could prove challenging due to the super premium price positioning of the product. Put simply, it may be challenging for Carbon Champagne to be made available within Grand Prix hospitality without increasing ticket pricing, a move unlikely to be well received by patrons of such said hospitality.

The Carbon Champagne Formula One partnership is one of the first under Liberty Media Management, however long the partnership lasts, it represents a clear statement of intent from Liberty Media. Decisions around championship partners will be made to build brand equity not dilute it.

Formula One: No Mercedes power for McLaren in 2018

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Away from incredible on track performances this season, recent Formula One news has been increasingly fixated by the prospect of ‘divorce’ between Honda and McLaren, with a number of respected outlets and leading pundits suggesting the separation is already all but finalised.

Whilst frustrations around the on track performance of the McLaren Honda partnership are plainly visible for all to see, with senior representatives from McLaren doing little to calm stories, one key factor appears to have been forgotten. The FIA Sporting Regulations.

Within the FIA Formula One World Championship Sporting Regulations, all power unit manufacturers are required to submit a list of teams they will supply in the following season by May 15th.  Under this regulation both Honda and Mercedes have already informed the FIA of the teams which will be using their power units for 2018

No power unit may be used in a given Championship season unless the Power Unit Manufacturer supplying such power unit accepts and adheres to the following conditions.

Each of the Power Unit Manufacturers of an homologated power unit must :

i)  provide the FIA, before 15 May (or such other date as agreed in writing between all the Power Unit Manufacturers and the FIA) of the season preceding that in which such power units are to be supplied, with the list of teams (clearly identifying the appointed “works/factory” team, if any) to which a supply agreement has been concluded for the given Championship season ;

ii)  if called upon to do so by the FIA before 1 June (or such other date as agreed in writing between all the Power Unit Manufacturers and the FIA) of the season preceding that in which such power units were to be supplied:

T = 111-A/B-C

–  A = Total number of teams (including “works/factory” teams) having a supply agreement concluded for the given Championship season with a New Power Unit Manufacturer.

–  B = Total number of manufacturers of homologated Power Units for the given Championship season.

–  C = Total number of New Power Unit Manufacturers for the given Championship season.

provided that if the result contains a fraction then the fraction shall count as a full team (e.g. 11 teams divided by 4 manufacturers = 2.75, each manufacturer must, if called upon to do so by the FIA, supply at least 3 teams).”

Appendix 9 – FIA Formula One World Championship Sporting Regulations. 

Earlier today, confirmation was sought from both Mercedes and Honda as to the contents of the lists provided to the FIA in accordance with this regulation.

Honda stated their list submitted to the FIA documents Power Unit supply intentions for both Mclaren and Sauber. Mercedes confirmed their submission to the FIA references three teams, Force India, Williams, and the factory Mercedes team.

No provision is made within the Sporting Regulations around deviation from this commitment. With both Honda and Mercedes having stated intentions around 2018 it seems highly unlikely any change is planned or possible without the consent of all teams participating in the championship.

Formula One: Time for Mercedes to go Aggressive?

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The 2017 Russian Grand Prix looks set to be the race in which Scuderia Ferrari cement their status as the dominant force in the World Championship. Having won two of the first three races of the season, the Scuderia’s pace was unquestionable yet many felt AMG Mercedes Petronas still held an ultimate performance advantage.

However with Ferrari having locked out the front row in qualifying for the first time since 2008 at a circuit which Mercedes have dominated in recent years, it is becoming clear that the boys in red have overtaken the silver arrows in terms of out and out pace. Since the introduction of the current power unit regulations, ignoring a few erroneous races, Mercedes have been the dominant force. The team has adopted an approach in which only an inter team battle is considered as a threat. In so doing, in a bid to ensure equality amongst drivers, race strategies have been safe and mirrored on both sides of the garage.

With a genuine threat from Ferrari for the overall  2017 World Constructors Championship clear, has the time come for this to change? At this point in the season Mercedes and Ferrari are the only team capable of challenging for race wins. Red Bull Racing being the next closest team were 1.8 seconds of the pole lap time in Russia. In this situation the challenging team, in this case Mercedes have two choices; acknowledging the lack overall race pace, they could take adopt the same approach as Ferrari in qualifying and the race, with the hope that driver skill or mistakes will elevate performances, or they could switch to an aggressive strategy, splitting their drivers tyres compound section in the hope of interfering with Ferrari.

For Mercedes to maximise an interference strategy the team should have sent either or both Hamilton and Bottas out into Q2 on Super Soft tyre compounds, with Ferrari qualifying on Ultras softs. This move would have safely taken them through the session and allowed them to run much longer in the first stint of today’s race. In electing not to do this Mercedes opportunity to interfere with Ferrari today will be limited to a strong start, or adopting a two stop approach over the expected one stop norm.

Moving forward, in order for Mercedes to challenge for their 4th successive constructors championship they must adapt to the new norm and consider irregular approaches to race strategy. Simple accepting, ‘the second row was a the best we could expect’ is not good enough from a championship winning team.

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!

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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