Tag Archives: Martini

Formula One: Felipe’s final goodbye

Williams Martini Racing’s Felipe Massa makes his final remarks over his time with the team and in Formula One. Speaking candidly about his departure Felipe comments on now being the right time to call time on his career.

 

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Formula One: No Tim Holmes but still very special

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Ahead of Felipe Massa’s final home Grand Prix this weekend, Williams Racing title sponsor Martini has dedicated it’s iconic logo to the driver replacing the MARTINI with MASSA.

Whilst the livery is not the bold helmet inspired design imagined by motorsport designed Tim Holmes, the gesture demonstrates the close relationship Massa, Williams and Martini have developed since the Brazilian joined the team in 2014

 

The surprise livery change, the first of its kind for a Formula One partner, was revealed to the Brazilian-born driver today at the Autódrome José Carlos Pace track in Sao Paulo. In addition to the famous MARTINI ball and bar logo being replaced with MASSA, the rear wing has also been adorned with the phrase ‘Obrigado’ – which means ‘thank you’ in Portuguese.

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“I’ve always said that I drive the best looking car on the grid, but this takes it to a whole other level,” joked Felipe Massa.  He continued, “I’ve never known a sponsor to do this for a driver before. It’s an honour and I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit emotional about it.  But it goes to show that because of MARTINI’s heritage in racing, they are more than just a sponsor. They are a true partner and fan of this beautiful sport. I’ve been lucky to have them as part of my team the last three years.”

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Shane Hoyne, CMO, Bacardi Europe said, “Felipe isn’t just a driver, he’s a friend.  And not just to MARTINI but to his teammates and other drivers out there on the grid.  We thought it only right that we mark the occasion and give his name pride of place on the car. Obrigado on the rear wing is not just our way of saying thank you to him, but for Felipe to say thank you to all his fans in Sao Paulo.”

Felipe has spoken openly of a dream to thank his home fans with one final podium this weekend. With mixed conditions forecast and tensions simmering amongst the top teams all eyes will be on the Brazilian to realise his dream.

Click here to check out more helmet inspired F1 livery designs from Tim Holmes

Formula One: Deconstructing Stroll

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Following the announcement of Felipe Massa’s intention to retire from Formula One at the end of this season, the consensus of opinion is that Lance Stroll will be his most likely successor. Lance Stroll left the Ferrari Driver Academy and joined Williams at the end of 2015 in a development driver capacity. He is currently leading the European F3 Championship with Prema Powerteam.

Lance will turn 18 at the end of October and through his 2016 F3 campaign has achieved sufficient success to qualify for an FIA Super License and allowing him to participate in Formula One activities on track. Lance is the son of multi billionaire Lawrence Stroll. Lawrence, a keen motorsport enthusiast himself, has supported Lance through his career in junior categories. This support should not in anyway suggest Lance should be labelled as a ‘pay driver’ his domination in the European F3 championship clearly demonstrates he is a talented driver.

Williams have a reputation for signing up and coming drivers, signing Lance Stroll would be in keeping with this reputation. At this point all signs point to his announcement as a driver in 2017 seem entirely reasonable. In fact, both Lance and team representatives have suggested the levelling effect of regulation changes in 2017 would make it a logical time to make the change.

There is however another rumour about Lance Stroll which doesn’t make quite so much sense. In recent months highly reputable journalists in the Formula One paddock have suggested that Lance Stroll and the Williams team are completing extensive familiarisation tests for the Canadian using 2014 machinery at multiple circuits on the F1 calendar. These journalists suggest the programme is being bankrolled by Lawrence Stroll to the tune of up to $20M. At this time neither team or driver have officially commented on the rumours.

Rather than make a claim one way or the other, it seems of merit to delve into the challenges of  how such a test programme could be achieved within current FIA regulations and Williams partnerships:

  • Power Units. Whilst it is within regulations for a team to complete tests with power units from seasons two years prior to the current season which would allow Williams to complete tests using current hybrid power unit technology, Williams do not own any Power Units. The partnership agreement with Mercedes is a supply agreement only which means Mercedes deliver Power Units to the team on a race weekend. The team do not retain anything. In order for tests to be taking place an additional agreement would be required with Mercedes. Mercedes would then have to agree to supply or manufacturer 2014 specification Power Units. This is not impossible but does add a level of complexity.
  • Tyres. FIA approved tests with 2014 machinery require tyre supply from Pirelli. Pirelli are only permitted to supply demonstration tyres for such tests. These tyres do not perform in the same way as a race tyre. This would devalue the purpose of familiarisation tests. Of course it is possible the team have found a dispensation within these rules, but again, Pirelli would be required to dedicate resource to this programme at the same time as developing 2017 tyres. It should be noted Williams declined to participate in the 2017 tyre development programme. Again this does not make the Lance Stroll test programme infeasible rather illustrates a supply challenge.
  • Circuits. Contrary to the belief of some in the F1 paddock, Racing circuits do not lie dormant for the 362 days a year that F1 is not using a venue. Booking circuit time is not a simple task. Shutting a circuit down for private testing would not go unnoticed.
  • Existing Commitments. Lance Stroll is currently leading the European F3 championship. The championship requires more commitment than an arrive and drive mentality. He will be fully focused on the task in hand.
  • Existing Infrastructure. Williams, as with many leading teams on the F1 grid, have invested heavily into race simulators, completing tests way from the simulator in old machinery may suggest a lack of confidence in their own technology.
  • Regulations. 2017 will see a radical overhaul in Formula One technical regulations. Ambitious projections suggest a lap time improvement of up to 5 seconds per lap. If this is accurate, the value of testing machinery by that time 3 years old and possibly up to 7 seconds per lap slower becomes highly questionable.

Without official confirmation from driver or team it is not possible draw a conclusion over these rumoured tests, but given the challenges surrounding their feasibility on the face of it they appear unlikely. A far more logical and cost effective approach would be to wait until Lance turns 18 and place him in Felipe Massa’s car in the Free Practice One sessions in the remaining races of the 2016 calendar.

Another challenge the Williams F1 team may face in signing Lance Stroll for 2017 could be with their principle partner Bacardi (with the Martini brand) Williams drivers pay a key role in the activation of the Martini Sponsorship, a driver not of legal in the US could prove to be a challenge for the business and this approach.