F1 2015

Alonso Crashes in Barcelona Test

Today on the last day of the first test in Barcelona, Fernando Alonso’s McLaren left the circuit exiting turn 3 and hit the inside wall, he came to a rest just before Turn 4.

He was airlifted to hospital after his crash as his G-Meter sensor in the car had been activated. Fernando was conscious and talking with trackside doctors before his visit to the hospital. A further CT scan revealed he has suffered no injuries, but will spend a precautionary night in hospital.

Any driver has to go to hospital if this sensor is activated to ensure they are checked over after any crash.

McLaren had been experiencing MGU-K issues with the car prior to this accident, no official reports have been made public as to the cause of this crash, but Sebastian Vettel following Alonso on circuit said “The speed was slow – maybe 150kph,” “Then he turned right into the wall. It looked strange.”

We still await news on what caused the crash, but I’m sure you’ll all be glad that Fernando is doing well.

Engine Upgrades Allowed in 2015, Except Honda

After all the evolving engine regulations for the new hybrid era of F1 we have entered, it appears that a loophole has been found in the regulations that means engine development can be continued throughout the season, except for Honda.

In what appears to be unfair advantage to the rest of the other teams this will be a blow to not just Mercedes, who could lose some of their edge, but it will also be a blow to Honda. Being a ‘new’ manufacturer, they must have their 2015 power unit homologated and locked in by February 28th.

During last season there were many concerned in the paddock that the pace of the Mercedes was going to be hard to catch up on, Mercedes were keen not to allow any relaxations in the regulations as to ensure they held their advantage, but there were protests from Renault and Ferrari, it appeared that there was going to a concession from Mercedes in form of offering their ERS unit to the other teams.

The engine freeze was originally put in place as a cost-control tactic with changes only allowed if the FIA agrees that it falls under a reliability, safety or cost-saving issue. It is understood that Ferrari are the ones to have found the loophole and after many meetings Renault then joined the cause.

With the FIA admitting that the wording of the regulations was open to interpretation, it has subsequently told teams that the “most logical and robust” way forward is to accept that there is no actual date for 2015 homologation.

The ‘tokens’ the engine suppliers are allowed to use is reference to any developments made upon the power units, the teams this winter have 32 tokens they can use, but not one piece on the engine is worth 1 token, certain parts of the power unit maybe worth more, so the teams have to work out where they can make the best gains in terms of speed and pace in the engine but also reliability, which has been a lot better than expected in 2014, but I’m sure Renault will want to certainly improve reliability as their engines were the most unreliable.

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The teams will also be able to bring their developments whenever they wish throughout the season, this could mean one team gains advantage over another at different points in the season, this could prove an exciting development race from now on with now the engineers I’m sure in full swing back their factories.

Many questions will be now asked, Can Mercedes maintain their advantage with this new loophole discovered? Can Honda develop a good enough engine to keep up with the developing pack? How fast can the other teams develop to catch Mercedes

This is all part of the exciting world of F1 we all love and cherish, stay tuned!!

lilgodf1

What Can We Expect From F1 In 2015?

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Now that we’ve entered 2015 it’s now time to look forward the coming season instead of looking back on the old, we have plenty to look forward to in the coming months.

Revival of McLaren-Honda

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In 2013 McLaren announced that they would be re-uniting with legendary engine partners Honda, after their abrupt retreat from the sport at the end of 2008 it was hard to imagine them returning to the sport so soon, with the new hybrid engine regulations it seems that they’ve been tempted back into the fray of F1, It also appears that they are not coming back to just make up numbers on the grid. Honda have invested heavily into their new engine program as well as the McLaren team and have stated that they want to be winning upon their return, signing Fernando Alonso and keeping Jenson Button is the best line-up possible to do the job as well as I have said in a previous article. Honda wanted a big name signing to join the team and in bringing Fernando in certain has done that. We’ll have to see in winter testing if there are any signs of improvement from the Woking outfit.

Vettel’s move to Ferrari

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Towards the end of 2013 we found out Sebastian was leaving Red Bull Racing, his home since he was a young boy, it was confirmed nearer the end of the season that the poorest secret of all was that he was joining the Ferrari team alongside Kimi Raikkonen. With Ferrari in a massive state of rebuilding it would be hard pressed to imagine Ferrari fighting up the sharp end of the field, but with James Allison the chief designer finally developing the new car all the way through and massive restructurings in personnel with a new team principal in Maurizio Arrivabene and including poaching Jock Clear from Mercedes, Ferrari’s position on the grid this season will be a massive mystery, Sebastian’s idol was Michael Schumacher and he has said he would love to emulate him by helping rebuild Ferrari, question is. How long if at all will we see a Ferrari revival?

Continued Mercedes domination

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2014 saw Mercedes take the grid by storm in the all conquering W05, it was an engineering masterpiece that finally broke McLaren’s record of 15wins in a season, had Mercedes not have reliability issues they could have easily won all 19 races. It has been reported the Mercedes engine developers have said that they can find up to 60-100hp in the winter break for the new hybrid engines, this is an astonishing amount given the short time they have to achieve this. The W05 will also be evolved into the W06 this year, with any team always looking to improve the cars can the gap to them be closed down by anyone else or will the gap widen even more and leave Lewis and Nico to fight out the title once again?

Mexico’s Comeback On The Calendar

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In 2013 we heard rumblings that the sport may once again return the to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, in 2014 we finally had it confirmed, the last race we saw here was in 1992 (see picture above) with Nigel Mansell won it from Ricardo Patrese and Michael Schumacher following him up to the rostrum. The circuit is very fast and flowing but was renowned for being very bumpy, with some funds being invested into the circuit to bring up to modern standards. I’m also hoping that while improvements have been made, the circuit will keep it’s traits and give the drivers a great challenge when we arrive for the event in the autumn. With Sergio Perez being the only Mexican on the grid for the race as Esteban Guttierez was ousted from Sauber, I would like to hope that Ferrari will give Esteban a Friday outing but with it being a new circuit I doubt that it may happen. It’ll be great to get all nostalgic once we arrive ready to begin a new future in Central America.

Overview

With winter testing not very far away, like me I’m sure you’re all very keen for the action to get started once more, we can breathe a sigh of relief that the phallic noses are banned but we can also hold our breathe because the teams are only allowed to use 4 engines this season instead of 5 this means a huge undertaking for the engineers and designers, but it’s all part of the magical and wonderful world of F1 we all come back for time and time again.

69 days and counting until Australia.. Time is ticking!

@lilgodf1

 

 

F1’s Engine War Rages On

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/149/80413967/files/2014/12/img_1555.jpgAccording to BBC Sport, Formula 1 is considering cheaper, louder and more powerful engines in the future.

This for me is unacceptable in the wake of great strides the manufacturers of these power units have made in the past few years to get to this position, F1 finally took a huge step in it’s global attention when it decided to go down this hybrid route and it would be to great detrimental effect to go back now.

At the Team Principal’s press conference in Australia 2014 it was confirmed by Charlie Whiting who was in attendance that had the sport not gone to this new engine format, we would have lost Renault, Mercedes as an engine supplier and Honda would never have made it’s return, Mercedes would also not have come back as a factory team. F1 would be a Ferrari engined formula, and we all know this is not what the sport was all about.

In Formula One’s illustrious history we have seen many technologies come from the sport and put into our current road cars, ABS, Traction Control and Active Suspension to name but a few. Up to date road cars today are often having smaller engines attached to them with turbos to make up the power loss.

With hybrid technology is still new F1 can be a great researcher of this technology and help fine tune it for our road cars, current supercars are already attempting to utilise a KERS turbo type system, McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918 are examples of this.

Formula One needs to brave the start of this new era and keep the great work it has achieved so far, noise is only one aspect of this sport, we cannot go back to bigger and thirstier engines, in 2014 we achieved the target of 30% less fuel efficiency this new Formula, that to me is a grand success.

@SteveF1C

Engine Wars

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With Mercedes having said they know where they can find 60-100hp more when they fine tune the engines over the winter season, this must strike fear into the engine departments at the other teams.

Mercedes it appeared in winter testing to have a power unit running at about 750hp with Ferrari about 30-50hp behind and Renault 50-80hp. All the teams will know where they can make gains where they are allowed as per the regulations, but if every engine supplier made the same gains surely the status quo would remain?

I think we will see a continuation of Mercedes dominance in 2015, 2016 could be a different story, the F1 strategy group met yesterday to discuss engine regulations for that season onwards, Bernie wants to go back to normally aspirated engines in a V8 or V10, but it is clear that Formula 1 cannot take this backwards step again.

It is clear Formula 1 is heading into an engine war, Mercedes have the upper hand for now, but the future from 2016 is uncertain, who will come out on top?

Tell me your thoughts!

@SteveF1C

Strategy Group Meeting

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/149/80413967/files/2014/12/img_1549.jpgToday the teams will come together to discuss future of engine regulations for 2016 onwards.

The change from 2.4 litre V8 engines to 1.6 litre turbo-charged V6 hybrid units has seen costs rise from a reported £5m to £15-20m for customer teams.

Bernie is making a proposal of going back to normally aspirated engines, he said “I have been proposing, and am going to propose, at the next meeting we go back to a normally-aspirated engine with some hybrid bits built into it.

But the main part to this story is that it is rumoured Mercedes are prepared to let the other teams use their ERS unit, but it is still considered that Mercedes carry the best ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) on the grid, Is this concession enough to keep the other power unit suppliers happy? Is it enough to close the substantial gap to Mercedes?

The biggest question of all though is are Mercedes prepared to give up this clear advantage they have over the rest of the field?

Honda come back into the field as well in 2015, we await to see what pace they will have in the back of those McLarens, but it is clear that their return to the sport was integral to these new hybrid rules. Is Bernie prepared to let them immediately do a U-turn on their return?

@SteveF1C

Hamashima out, Clear in

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/149/80413967/files/2014/12/img_1546.jpgMore personnel changes at the Scuderia today appear to be coupled with the shock news with unconfirmed reports that Lewis Hamilton’s race engineer Jock Clear is to leave Mercedes for Ferrari.

Ferrari have also let go another member of staff in Hirohide Hamashima, who was responsible for tyre performance analysis, he will leave the Scuderia at the end of the year.

It is not uncommon for teams to change personnel during the winter break, but Ferrari are letting the axe fall a lot this season and Mercedes losing Jock Clear to the Maranello is a surprise in itself, we still await confirmation on this.

A team’s press release said “Ferrari announces that Hirohide Hamashima, currently responsible for tyre performance analysis, will leave the Scuderia at the end of the year,”

It appears Jock will not be able to join Ferrari for 12 months, so it may the case he will go on a ‘Gardening leave’ to protect secrets being taken from Brackley

We still await a statement from Mercedes on the move.

@SteveF1C

Fry and Tombazis leave Ferrari

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/149/80413967/files/2014/12/img_1535.pngNews out of Maranello today is that it has been announced Technical Director Pat Fry and Chief designer Nikolas Tombazis have left their posts within the team.

James Allison has been moved up the Technical director position with added responsibilities as understand it includes ‘track directing activities’.

It appears Allison will be assisted by new chief designer Simone Resta and engine boss Mattia Binotto while, in further behind-the-scenes reshuffling, Renato Bisignani will stand down as the team’s press officer to be replaced by Alberto Antonini.

This is an unprecedented move by Arrivabene as he has only been in he post 3 weeks, but it is clearly evident he wants to clearly indicate he wants to shake up the team and turn around Ferrari’s fortunes.

Below is the full statement from Ferrari.

‘Within a few days from his arrival Maurizio Arrivabene, Managing Director of Ferrari’s Gestione Sportiva and Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari, has restructured his team with a flatter structure and clear assignment of responsibilities.’James Allison is the Technical Director with two Italian engineers and home grown Scuderia talent reporting to him: Chief Designer Simone Resta and Power Unit Director Mattia Binotto, the latter will be supported by Chief Designer Power Unit Lorenzo Sassi, among others. Furthermore James Allison will direct track engineering activities ad interim.’Therefore he will be responsible for all technical aspects of delivering the Scuderia’s drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, as well as the newly appointed test driver and third driver Esteban Gutiérrez, with the most competitive Formula 1 car possible.’Furthermore, the Scuderia’s Formula 1 activities will be managed by Massimo Rivola, while GT and Corse Clienti racing will be managed by Antonio Coletta.’The Ferrari Driver Academy will still be managed by Luca Baldisserri, reporting directly to Maurizio Arrivabene. In addition, Arrivabene will manage the newly founded Commercial Department of the Scuderia ad interim. Renato Bisignani, who until now was the head of Scuderia Ferrari’s Press Office, will join the new department as Marketing Manager and Acquisition.’The press office of the Scuderia will be run by Alberto Antonini, a seasoned Formula 1 journalist and contributor to newspapers and magazines as well as TV commentator for RAI and Sky Italia. Antonini will also oversee the newly created Scuderia Ferrari digital team.

‘Nikolas Tombazis and Pat Fry will be leaving the Scuderia.’

@SteveF1C

Marussia auction begins Tuesday

IMG_1528.JPGNews out of the Marussia factory in Banbury today is that an auction for company assets will begin on Tuesday.

Administrators FRP Advisory confirmed the Banbury-based team had folded after failed efforts to find a buyer.

Investor Andrey Cheglakov pulled out of the team after the Russian Grand Prix in October and have since fallen into administration. This is such a tragic fall from the teams best season since it’s inception in 2011 taking over Virgin Racing.

We are on the understanding a live webcast sale will take place on Tuesday December 16 and Wednesday December 17, followed by a timed online sale on Thursday December 18, with the first lot under the hammer to be a 2010 steering wheel.

Car parts such as engine covers, noses and wings also be for sale, in addition to driver’s race suits. Such is the level of liquidation that seat-belts are even listed as items available to bid on.

Race and show cars without engines will be under the hammer as well as transporters and manufacturing equipment. The final day even has furniture and computer units ready to be sold.

A further sale will take place on January 21 when the 2014 race cars (excluding the engines of course) spare parts, pit equipment and even the Manor GP GP3 race cars will be up for grabs.

@SteveF1C