Sunday, February 18, 2018

Williams Shows Off 2018 Car


(Image credit to: Williams Martini Racing)

    Williams has launched it’s “new approach” challenger for the 2018 Formula 1 championship, the FW41.

    The first Williams to be fully designed under new technical chief Paddy Lowe, the car boasts a new aerodynamic philosophy, with a number of significant differences to its predecessor.

    Apart from the compulsory halo head protection device, the Williams features a fin running along its engine cover – not too dissimilar to the now banned shark fins of last season.

    “It’s very exciting to be giving everyone the first look at the FW41,” said Lowe. “The car has many new features, most of which are not all that obvious, but externally the team has pursued a very different aerodynamic concept which has allowed us some significant progress in aerodynamic performance.

    All Formula 1 cars are an evolution of what has gone before to some extent, but the FW41 does involve a number of departures from the directions that have been pursued in the past.

    Overall, the philosophy we are starting to see emerge is a new approach to the collaboration between aerodynamics and design to achieve the optimum working result.”

    Lowe added that developments from the Mercedes power unit also shaped the car’s packaging.

    Mercedes is understood to have pursued a different engine concept to previous seasons.

    Williams will field the youngest driver line-up on the grid this season, with 19-year-old Lance Stroll joined by rookie Sergey Sirotkin in 2018.

    The pair are hoping to improve on Williams’ disappointing 2017 performance, when the team finished fifth in the constructors’ championship and was unable to challenge Force India in fourth.

    “With a season under my belt with the team, I can’t wait to get back on track and see what the new car is like,” said Stroll.

    “Until we are on track we will not know what the competition has been doing, but I am very optimistic about the car the team has built.

    Last year was a steep learning curve for me and now I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.”

    Sirotkin added: “I’ve been in the simulator regularly, going through different set-ups with the car, different tracks, seat fittings and also a lot of engineering meetings and factory tours to meet everyone.

    I’ve been having fun with all the guys from different departments. It’s busy times, but I am really enjoying it. I’m getting ready for the season in the best possible way.”

    The FW41 will get its first on track outing at preseason testing, which will begin in Spain on February 26th.

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Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
No copyright infringement intended
Photo rights belong to Williams Martini Racing F1 Team
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Haas Reveals 2018 Car


(Image credit to: Haas Ferrari F1 Team)

    Haas Formula 1 team has become the first to pull the covers off its 2018 challenger.

    The team revealed images of their third F1 car, the VF-18, which it describes as a refinement of its 2017 car.

    With no major changes in regulations, much of the car appears similar to that of last year’s entry, with the most notable exceptions being the inclusion of the halo head protection devise and the absence of the shark fin and T-wing aero devices.

    “The biggest part of the car’s evolution was the addition of the halo,” said team principal Guenther Steiner. “It took quite a bit of study by the aerodynamicists, but the designers had to work hard to modify the chassis so the halo could survive the mandated loads.

    The total minimum weight of the car increased because of the halo, and there’s a higher centre of gravity simply because of the halo’s position. But everyone is in the same boat.

    The regulations stayed pretty stable between 2017 and 2018, so the VF-18 is an evolution of our car from last year. It’s less about reinvention and more about refinement. You see elements we had from last year on the car this year.

    Our 2017 car was actually pretty good but we didn’t always get the best out of it, and that’s what we aimed to change in 2018. We got the car as light as possible to carry more ballast. We were able to do a better job of putting the weight where we wanted it.”

    Haas finished eighth in last year’s constructors’ championship, just six points behind Toro Rosso and 10 points behind Renault. Drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, who continue at the team in 2018, finished 13th and 14th in the drivers’ championship.

    Once again, the team will be using parts provided by Ferrari, who also supply the team with engines. Team founder Gene Haas says the team will use Ferrari as a bench mark going into its third season in F1.

    “It’s no secret we use a lot of Ferrari equipment, so we’re using them as our baseline,” he said. “We need to be within a half-second of the Ferraris in order for us to be competitive.

    We weren’t last year. I would say we were a second to a second-and-a-half slower than the Ferraris. Overall, we were maybe two seconds off the pole qualifiers, so we need to knock a second off that if we really want to be competitive.

    We’ve eliminated a lot of variables where we knew we were weak, and we knew where we needed to focus. We need to be able to go to the majority of the races and put the car don on the track and be fast. We’ve focused on what it’s going to take to get the cars to be consistent and to close that gap between the top cars.”

    Last year, Haas had at least one car retire from seven of the 20 races, including a double retirement in Australia at the start of the year.

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Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
No copyright infringement intended
Photo rights belong to Haas Ferrari F1 Team
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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Alonso Enters WEC For 2018


ALONSO TO COMPETE IN WEC AND F1 IN 2018

    McLaren’s Fernando Alonso continues his fight for the Triple Crown of motorsport as he joins Toyota Gazoo Racing for the 2018-19 World Endurance Championship.

    Alonso,  who has already driven the Toyota in the end of season test last year, will compete in every WEC race that doesn’t clash with his F1 commitments, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

    “I’ve never been shy about my aim of winning motorsport’s ‘Triple Crown’ – the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” he said. “We tried for Indy last year, came close, but just missed out.

    This year, I have the chance thanks to McLaren to race for the win at Le Mans. It is a big challenge – much can go wrong – but I am ready, prepared and looking forward to the fight.”

    Alonso made it to the closing stages of the Indy 500 last season, but was forced to retire when his Honda engine failed 21 laps before the chequered flag.

    He’ll be racing with Honda’s Japanese competitor this season, but that won’t rule out a late problem in his Le Mans campaign. Last year, both Toyota cars were running at the sharp end of the field when they retired within 20 minutes of one another.

    Toyota is expected to be one of the front runners this season, and Alonso will have experienced team-mates in the form of Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

    Alonso added that adding to his F1 success is still his main priority.

    “In no way will this challenge take away from my main target of Formula 1 with McLaren,” he said. “In 2018, my aim is to be competitive at every grand prix, and I feel sure that we are closer to achieving that.”

    McLaren boss Zak Brown believes Alonso’s WEC fight will help his F1 performance.

    “It’s no secret that Fernando has wanted to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours,” he said. “And I think everybody within our organisation appreciates that a motivated, hungry and happy world-class driver such as Fernando is a formidable asset for any team in F1.

    Last year, we came to the joint decision to go racing with Fernando at Indy 500 rather than at the Monaco Grand Prix, but we’ve always said that we would consider each opportunity on a case-by-case basis, and we both know that in 2018, our core priority is success in Formula 1.

    Like Fernando, at McLaren we’re racers at heart, and our team is built on a brave heritage of competing and succeeding in different forms of the sport. Equally important is the confidence that nothing detracts from our number one goal of Formula 1.

After proper evaluation, we are satisfied that this campaign does not do that, and the McLaren’s best interests prevail.”

    Alonso made his endurance debut last month competing in the Daytona 24 Hours. The United Autosport car ran competitively early in the race, but tyre blow outs and mechanical problems dropped it back. The team finished 35th and 90 laps down.

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Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
No copyright infringement intended

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sirotkin Confirmed At Williams


SIROTKIN PARTNERS STROLL IN 2018

    Former Renault test driver Sergey Sirotkin will join Lance Stroll at Williams for the 2018 Formula 1 season.

    At just 19 and 22, the Williams duo is the youngest line-up on the 2018 grid, and one of the least experienced. They will be aided by Williams’ new reserve driver, Robert Kubica, who was also one of the favourites to replace Felipe Massa.

    “To say I’m happy and proud to join a famous team like Williams is an understatement,” said Sirotkin.

    "It took a huge amount of work to get where I am and I’m really happy and thankful to everyone involved.

    The result of our combined efforts has helped me achieve my dream and rest assured the team can rely on me to deliver my best.”

    Sirotkin makes the step up from GP2, where he finished third in 2015 and 2016. The Russian only completed a handful of races last season, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans with SMP Racing’s LMP2 squad.

    Last year, Sirotkin’s main focus was his test driver role with Renault. He ran in four free practice sessions throughout the year, including in front of his home crowds, as well as the Abu Dhabi test at the end of last season where he impressed Williams.

    “We have conducted a rigorous and exhaustive driver evaluation process,” said chief technical officer Paddy Lowe.

    “Ultimately Sergey impressed the team with his driving pace and talent, technical feedback and work ethic, both at the factory and trackside in Abu Shabi.

    I’m delighted he will be joining the tea to partner Lance next season. Lance will be going into his second season with us, after notable achievements in his rookie year.

    We have an exciting line-up for 2018, which we believe will help us to maximise the potential of the FW41.”

    Sirotkin’s appointment completes the grid for 2018. Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat are all without race seats for this year, though Kvyat has joined Ferrari as a reserve driver.

    Also without a race seat is Robert Kubica, who had been hoping to return to F1 after injuring his arm in a rally crash in 2011. He will play an active role within Williams as the test and reserve driver, but is still targeting a full F1 comeback.

    “I feel in the best physical shape that I have ever been, but it has taken a lot of work to get where I am now, so I’d like to thank Williams for the opportunities they have given me so far, and for putting faith in me with this appointment,” he said.

    “I have enjoyed being back in the Formula 1 paddock over these past few months, and I now look forward to working with the Williams technical team, both at the factory and at the track, to really help push forward the development of the FW41 and to make a real difference to their 2018 campaign.

    Having driven both the FW36 and the FW40, I’m looking forward to seeing how the FW41 measures up on track and working with the team to ensure we can maximise the performance of the car.

    My ultimate goal remains to race again in Formula 1 and this is another important step in that direction: I cannot wait to get started.”

    Kubica will run in a number of practice sessions as well as pre-season and in-season testing. He’ll also be on standby to fill in for Sirotkin or Stroll if needed, as was the case when Paul di Resta replaced Felipe Massa last season.

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Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
No copyright infringement intended

Friday, December 8, 2017

Alfa Romeo Partners With Sauber


ALFA ROMEO RETURNS TO F1 WITH SAUBER

    Sauber have officially partnered with Alfa Romeo in a long-term, multi-year agreement. They will now be known in F1 as the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team from 2018 onward.

    The Italian car manufacturer, founded in Milan back in 1910, has not been in Formula 1 since back in 1985.

    Their return is not only going to bring a new look for the Swiss team, but also the potential for a stronger success as well as the potential for more points and the possibility of their drivers finishing on the podium, something Sauber has not seen since 2012, when Sergio Perez drove alongside Kamui Kobayashi.

    Sauber only scored 5 points during the 2017, all of which were achieved by Pascal Wehrlein, who will not be returning with the team in 2018. Marcus Ericsson, however, will stay put and is partnered with new team-mate and recent 2017 Formula 2 Champion, Charles Leclerc.

    Alfa Romeo has achieved many great things in motorsport over the years and have not only been in Formula 1 but Formula 3 and Indycar as well, so their return is much anticipated and clearly welcomed by fans and the motorsport community.

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Article Written By: Amy Hawk
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Monday, December 4, 2017

Pirelli Reveals 2 New Compounds


PIRELLI REVEALS HYPER-SOFT AND SUPER-HARD COMPOUNDS

    Pirelli has extended its range of slick tyre options for the 2018 Formula 1 season with the introduction of hyper-soft and super-hard compounds.

    Seven different dry weather compounds will be available to teams next year, as well as the intermediate and wet tyres for wet conditions.

    All the compounds will be a step softer than their 2017 counterparts.

    “We realize that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative,” said Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing, Mario Isola.

    “The tyres we have created for 2018 address this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.

    However, the fundamental design concept of the tyres hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each sting."

    “The new range consists of faster tyres that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”

    The hyper-soft tyre was designed for circuits like Monaco, where maximum mechanical grip is required. The super-hard compound, however, isn’t likely to be seen during a race next year, with some claiming the tyre will only be used for demonstration events.

    Teams got a chance to trial the new tyres during the post season tests last week.

    The colours of the tyres have been switched to make room for the new compounds. The super-hard tyre will be orange, which was used for the hard compound this season. The hard tyre will now be blue, while the medium, softs, super-softs, and ultra-softs remaining white, yellow, red, and purple respectively. The hyper-soft compound will be pink.

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Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
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New F1 Logo Revealed


F1 GETS LOGO REVAMP

    After 23 years, Formula 1 bosses have changed the iconic logo of the series to a simpler design.

    As the championship enters a new era under Liberty Media control, a full re-brand is expected, with the new logo taking centre stage.

    F1’s managing director of motorsport, Ross Brawn, said the redesign was essential as the simpler logo will be more effective on digital platforms.

    “It has impact,” he said in a newsletter after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. “The old logo was neither iconic or memorable.

    “It was important to let Formula 1 fans see that we are entering a new era."

    “Our sport is changing and must look to the future and also outside its own environment if it is to attract new fans, especially among the young."

    “We believe the logo exemplifies this desire: in a world where visual communication is ever more important, we must also move in this direction.”

    The design, which was revealed during the podium ceremony after the 2017 season finale, is supposed to represent two cars going around a circuit and crossing the finishing line.

    F1’s marketing head Ellie Norman said the logo is more flexible and versatile.

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Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sauber Confirm 2018 Line-Up

(Image Credit: Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team)

SAUBER CONFIRMS THEIR 2018 DRIVER LINE-UP & REVEAL CONCEPT LIVERY

    Sauber have confirmed their 2018 driver line-up after many rumours and much speculation about if both seats would need to be filled or if one of Sauber's 2017 drivers would stay put.
    
    In the end, Sauber chose to keep long-time driver, Marcus Ericsson, and bring in GP3 (2016) and F2 (2017) Champion, Charles Leclerc. The young talent from Monaco, has proven himself over the last few years and brought race-goers to their feet with his risky, yet precise and accomplished overtaking skills.

    Leclerc recently drove for Sauber in the post-Abu Dhabi GP test and also completed multiple Free Practice sessions during the 2017 season. 

    Sauber finished the 2017 Constructors Championship in 11th, but a new and recent partnership with Alfa Romeo may change things around for the Swiss team. The team also revealed their concept livery, although it won't be confirmed what their 2018 car will actually look like, the concept gives a good idea of what it could be. 

    The car displays a nearly all-white paint scheme, with a huge splash of pearlescent red along the top, where the Alfa Romeo logo has been placed.

    Along with the new concept livery and driver pairing, the team also signed Antonio Giovinazzi as their 2018 reserve driver.

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Article Written By: Amy Hawk
No copyright infringement intended -  Image rights belong to Alfa Romeo Sauber-Ferrari F1 Team
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Post-Season Test - Day #2 - Re-Cap & Times


POST-SEASON TEST - DAY #2 - RE-CAP & TIMES

    Lando Norris and Robert Kubica impressed in the final Formula 1 test of 2017.

    It was Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at the top of the order, but the McLaren reserve driver and F1 race winner were the main attractions in Abu Dhabi.

    Kubica only completed a handful of laps, sharing testing duties for Williams with Sergey Sirotkin, a new addition to the list of drivers rumoured to be replacing the retiring Felipe Massa. Despite completing less than half as many laps as Sirotkin, Kubica was half a second quicker than the Renault reserve driver. His 1m39.485s lap time was also a tenth of a second faster than Lance Stroll’s best lap on Tuesday.

    McLaren’s Lando Norris also impressed in his first outing in an F1 car since being announced as the team’s reserve driver. He was completing the tyre test that was scheduled to take place after the Brazilian Grand Prix and finished 12th fastest, nearly two seconds slower than Stoffel Vandoorne, who finished eighth fastest in the other McLaren despite running into the tyre barriers in the first half of the day.

    Norris has been confirmed at Carlin’s Formula 2 team for the 2018 season.

    At the top of the order, Vettel set his best time of the day – a 1m37.551s – in the first hour of running. He put in 118 laps over the course of the day, but couldn’t better his time. Nobody else could even get close to it, though, with Mercedes Valtteri Bottas the next best and nearly a second slower.

    Max Verstappen was third quickest ahead of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, who shared testing duties for Force India.

    Just 0.41s faster than Kubica, Carlos Sainz Jnr was sixth quickest.

    Kevin Magnussen and Sirotkin rounded out the top 10.

    With news that Alfa Romeo would be sponsoring Sauber in 2018 breaking, Ferrari junior driver Charles Leclerc was in the car. He could only manage 11th quickest, but his 1m40.666s lap was more than a second faster than Marcus Ericsson’s best effort on Tuesday.

    Toro Rosso duo Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly completed the order.

TIMES: 

1. Sebastian Vettel - 1:37.551 / Ferrari-Ferrari / Germany / 118 Laps
2. Valtteri Bottas - 1:38.490 / Mercedes-Mercedes / Finland / 141 Laps
3. Max Verstappen - 1:38.736 / Red Bull-TAG-Heuer / Netherlands / 132 Laps
4. Sergio Perez (PM) - 1:38.818 / Force India-Mercedes / Mexico / 52 Laps
5. Esteban Ocon (AM) - 1:39.148 / Force India-Mercedes / France / 72 Laps
6. Carlos Sainz - 1:39.444 / Renault-Renault / Spain / 109 Laps
7. Robert Kubica (PM) - 1:39.485 / Williams-Mercedes / Poland / 28 Laps
8. Stoffel Vandoorne - 1:39.782 / McLaren-Honda / Belgium / 105 Laps*
9. Kevin Magnussen - 1:39.810 / Haas-Ferrari / Denmark / 124 Laps
10. Serge Sirotkin (AM & PM) - 1:39.947 / Williams-Mercedes / Russia / 86 Laps
11. Charles Leclerc - 1:40.666 / Sauber-Ferrari / Monaco / 148 Laps
12. Lando Norris - 1:41.714 / McLaren-Honda / Great Britain / 118 Laps*
13. Brendon Hartley (PM) - 1:43.345 / Toro Rosso-Renault / New Zealand / 61 Laps
14. Pierre Gasly (AM)  - 1:44.827 / Toro Rosso-Renault / France / 63 Laps

* - Notes McLaren is running 2 cars during this test.

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Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Post-Season Test - Day #2 - Line-Up


POST-SEASON TEST - DAY #2 - LINE-UP

Mercedes-Mercedes: Valtteri Bottas
Ferrari-Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel
Red Bull-TAG-Heuer: Max Verstappen
Williams-Mercedes: Sergey Sirotkin (AM & PM) / Robert Kubica (PM)*
Renault-Renault: Carlos Sainz
McLaren-Honda: Lando Norris & Stoffel Vandoorne**
Toro Rosso-Renault: Pierre Gasly (AM) / Brendon Hartley (PM)*
Force India-Mercedes: Esteban Ocon (AM) / Sergio Perez (PM)*
Sauber-Ferrari: Charles Leclerc
Haas-Ferrari: Kevin Magnussen

* - Notes drivers are sharing testing duties
** - Notes McLaren is running 2 cars during this test

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Article Written By: Amy Hawk
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