Tag Archives: Renault

Formula E: Technical Regulations Season 2 Preview – With Renault eDams

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The essential technical updates:

POWERTRAIN

Season two will again feature 10 teams that are essentially the same as in the first season. However, 2015/2016 sees the introduction of eight manufacturers, selected by the FIA, who are allowed to develop new powertrains, specifically the e-motor, inverter, gearbox and cooling system. Among them is Renault, with the French constructor providing exclusively Renault e.dams with is own Z.E.15 powertrain, which has been developed by Renault Sport at Viry and is the result of many years of expertise in electric systems.

BATTERY

Williams Advanced Engineering is the sole supplier of batteries for the FIA Formula E Championship. The maximum power output of the batteries will increase to 170kW during each race in season two of the Championship, which is 30% more power than they were initially designed for.

CHASSIS

Italian firm Dallara, who boast more than 40 years’ motorsport experience, have constructed the Spark Renault SRT_01E monocoque chassis. Made from carbon fibre and honeycomb aluminium, the chassis is both super lightweight and incredibly strong and fully complies with the latest FIA crash tests.

DIMENSIONS

Overall length: 5000mm (max) Overall width: 1800mm (max) Overall height: 1250mm (max) Track width: 1300mm (min) Ride Height: 75mm (max) Minimum weight (inc. driver): 888kg (each battery 360kg)

WHEELS & TYRES

Bespoke 18-inch treaded Michelin tyres for use on both wet and dry surfaces. The idea of this is to bring the racing tyre closer to road tyres and, similar to the tyres on a road car, that don’t get changed when it goes from dry to wet. With an 18-inch tyre you are able to have a larger contact area and so less deformation. For each race event, each driver is supplied with four new front tyres and four new rear tyres, plus one front and one rear tyre from the previous event.

Championship specific wheel dimensions:

O.Z. Racing Magnesium rims

Max width front:

260mm / rear 305mm

Max Diameter:

front 650mm / rear 690mm

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The Sporting Regulations

CHAMPIONSHIP

The FIA Formula E Championship will consist of both a Drivers and a Teams’ championship. Points accumulated at all races now count to the overall classification in both categories.

DRIVERS

The FIA Formula E championship has decided to implement a limit of two driver changes per race number for the second season. What’s more, no changes will be permitted for the final three races except in cases of force majeure.

Super Pole – NEW FOR SEASON 2

The five fastest drivers from qualifying will then contest a single-lap Super Pole session to determine the top five positions on the grid, while the maximum power output in qualifying trim will be to 200kW.

FanBoost

Fan Boost has been revamped ahead of Formula E’s second championship. Voting will open 12 days prior to the event while fans will also be able to cast their ballot in real-time until six minutes into the race. The voting will again be possible on the official Formula E website and app, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the relevant hashtags. The three most popular drivers will get an extra 100kJ of energy that can only be used after swapping car mid-race.

PIT STOPS/CAR CHANGES

During races, drivers must make one mandatory pit stop in order to change cars. This must take place in their box and be observed by an FIA steward to ensure all safety equipment is correctly applied. A minimum time period (determined on the day) will also be enforced. Tyre changes, unless a puncture, are not permitted during this pit stop.

FULL COURSE YELLOW

The second Formula E season also sees the introduction of a Full Course Yellow (FCY) system – similar to those seen in other FIA championships and F1’s Virtual Safety Car. Under the FCY regulations all drivers must maintain the gap to the car in front and abide by a 50kph speed limit, including in pitlane, which remains open.

POINTS

Drivers will score points using the standard FIA system of:
1st = 25pts

2nd = 18pts

3th = 15pts

4th = 12pts

5th = 10pts

6th = 8pts

7th = 6pts

8th = 4pts

9th = 2pts

10th = 1pt.

Three points will be awarded to the driver securing pole position, whilst the driver setting the fastest lap receives two points.

LICENCE

New changes have been made to the e-Licence system for 2015/2016 and will be mandatory for any driver wanting to participate. In order to qualify for an e- Licence the following will be required:

• A specific FIA training session regarding the most important points of the electrical safety, technical and sporting regulations of the competition.
• To have accumulated in the previous three years at least 20 points of the FIA points system used to qualify to the F1 Super Licence, or to have previously been holding an F1 Super Licence, or to have participated in at least three races of the previous FIA Formula E Championship.

• 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.

CAR CHARGING

Car charging is only forbidden during qualifying and the race, together with their respective Parc Ferme periods. Charging can take place during non-qualifying (practice) periods.

Formula One – OPINION: Red Bull Racing to enter 2016 F1 season with Ilmor Engineering.

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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 – PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCED WITH LITTLE DOT STUDIOS

LittleDOT FEFE168 – Formula E partners with Little Dot Studios

Formula E continue to lead the way in Social Media engagement with the announcement of a partnership with Little Dot Studios, a next generation broadcaster and producer, creating and distributing video content across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Periscope.

Founded by Andy Taylor and Selma Turajlic just over two years ago, Little Dot Studios has grown rapidly and now distributes video content on social platforms for over 60 producers, broadcasters and rights-holders worldwide. In August alone, Little Dot Studios amassed over 350 million views to its client’s content. Under the partnership, Little Dot Studios will distribute social videos including clips, highlights and compilations from each race, as well as unseen footage from the pitlane and behind the scenes. Little Dot Studios will also be on site at each race, producing original video content for each of the social platforms.

Opinion – In the spirit of continuous improvement Formula E continue exploit social media as a tool to bring the series to the public. It is impressive to see Formula E can make these forms of agreements alongside TV broadcasting deals with the likes of Eurosport, ITV, & Rai, a feet Formula One either have not attempted or have not been able to manage. In a period of growth and with a strategy of increasing brand awareness Formula E continue to make all the right noises. The challenge will come in attempting to monetize the sport in the future. 

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.