Posted on February 28, 2014


Today February 28th, has been a very busy one in F1, with not only the testing going on in Bahrain, but also deadlines for new teams to enter the sport in 2015 and for engines to be homologated as well as a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group. There are three headlines arising from the day which F1 fans need to be aware of. Double points still in place but only for last race The Group discussed the suggestion that the controversial idea of awarding double points at the final race should be extended to the last three races. This More…

Posted on February 28, 2014


Sergio Perez maintained his position as pacesetter at this week’s final Formula One pre-season test in Bahrain, heading a tightly-bunched  top three completed by Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo, Mercedes and Lotus, meanwhile, were force to cut their running short for the second day in succession. Lewis Hamilton’s penultimate day in the Mercedes W05 before the Australian Grand Prix did not start well – a trip to the gravel trap bringing out the first of four red flags on the day. There were no lingering problems following the Briton’s stop, however, and he soon was back out and conducting a More…

Posted on February 28, 2014


The F1 teams’ Association, or FOTA as it was known, has been disbanded. The seven remaining members of the union decided not to continue after meetings in the last week. A spokesman told the BBC, “I can confirm that FOTA has been disbanded, as a result of insufficient funds to continue, and lack of consensus amongst all the Teams on a revised non-contentious mandate”. FOTA was formed in 2007, with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo the driving force, along with McLaren’s Ron Dennis and Flavio Briatore, then head of Renault. The idea was to stick together in crucial negotiations with More…

Posted on February 27, 2014


Force India’s Sergio Perez set the pace as the final four days of pre-season testing got underway in Bahrain today, the former McLaren driver finished ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen on another worrying day for Renault and its customer teams. With just four days until the teams turn their attention to Melbourne it was another strong day for Mercedes-powered cars, with all but Rosberg completing more than 100 laps and building on the reliability that they have shown throughout the winter. As for the works Mercedes driver, even he put in 89 laps, but described it as a More…

Posted on February 27, 2014


Tomorrow, February 28th, is the deadline for the new hybrid turbo F1 power units to be homologated. This means that the engine makers, Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault have to send the FIA a sample engine and the specification of this engine and Energy Recovery System is then fixed for the season. It is clear from the testing so far that Mercedes and Ferrari are in a position to do this, but Renault has been playing catch up after suffering a range of problems with the energy storage side of its power unit. So what will happen next? Will Renault be More…

Posted on February 26, 2014


The final pre-season test begins tomorrow in Bahrain, giving teams just four more track days to prepare their cars for the new F1 season, which starts on March 14th with free practice in Melbourne. It is already clear that, with the radical changes in technical regulations this year, and cars now running 1.6 litre hybrid turbo power units, some teams are in better shape than others. For Red Bull and the other Renault powered teams, for example, it is a crucial test as they have done very limited running compared to their rivals. With this in mind there was a More…

Posted on February 25, 2014


Following months of speculation that Rob Smedley would follow Felipe Massa to Williams F1, the former Ferrari engineer has today been announced as Head of Vehicle Performance at the Grove squad. He will join the team between the Malaysian and Bahrain Grands Prix. Smedley will take up a newly created position in the team, working alongside engineers trackside while assisting with the of the FW36 development across the season. His engineering experience will also see him support Andrew Murdoch and Jonathan Eddolls, the respective race engineers of Massa and Valtteri Bottas. The team also announced that in an effort to More…

Posted on February 24, 2014


Susie Wolff will become the first female driver to take part in a Grand Prix weekend for over 20 years when she drives the Williams in two Free Practice sessions, the team has announced. Wolff, who has been part of the back room driving staff at Williams since 2012, drove in the Young Drivers Test at Silverstone last July and has been given the opportunity to get some more mileage, under the spotlights of a Grand Prix weekend. The team has not specified which two events she will participate in. She will also get a full test day at one More…

Posted on February 22, 2014


Renault Sport F1′s Deputy Managing Director Rob White has said the power unit manufacturer has made progress this week but that the company is “not back on schedule”. Speaking as the second pre-season test in Bahrain came to a close – a four-day spell in which Renault-powered teams continued to suffer – White admitted there had been more setbacks but insisted that progress has been made. “We have had some setbacks, but we have definitely made progress and have taken several steps forward,” he said. “The changes have improved the PU behaviour in the car and we are have accumulated More…

Posted on February 22, 2014


Nico Rosberg today brought the first Bahrain test to a close with a flourish, the Mercedes driver setting the week’s fastest time with a lap of 1:33.283. The only driver to break the 1min 34s barrier, Rosberg’s time was set on soft tyres in the midst of a sequence of fast short runs. The German also racked up the most laps on day four of the test with 89 tours of the Sakhir circuit. “We can be very pleased with the first test in Bahrain this week,” said Rosberg. “We completed a lot of mileage and learnt more about the More…

Posted on February 22, 2014


If ever there was a case study of how quickly things can change in F1, it is the Williams team. They won the Spanish Grand Prix in May 2012, failed to get a podium for the rest of the season, then had a dismal 2013 with only 5 points scored (four of them in the penultimate race). Now the signs are that Williams is going through a renaissance; the team has the right hybrid turbo power plant in Mercedes and it’s announced a series of sponsors in recent days with an even bigger one to come on March 6. It More…

Posted on February 21, 2014


Lewis Hamilton finished the third day of testing in Bahrain at the top of the timesheet, as Red Bull Racing suffered another set-back, the team ending running early after Daniel Ricciardo had completed just 28 laps. Hamilton spent the morning focusing on short runs and spent the best part of the day almost three seconds ahead of his rivals. His best time of the day was a 1:34.263 set on soft tyres. The Briton retired to the garage for a spell in the afternoon while Mercedes worked on a hydraulic problem but later emerged to work through longer runs, eventually More…

Posted on February 21, 2014


Following on from yesterday’s powerful statement by a High Court judge regarding Bernie Ecclestone, Formula 1′s commercial boss for the last 30 years, the sport is holding its breath to see what action the sport’s major shareholder, CVC Capital Partners, will take next and specifically whether they will seek to remove the 83 year old from his executive role in the sport he built up. Ecclestone has already stood down from the board of F1′s holding company pending his criminal trial in Germany in April. But will CVC follow through on a threat to remove him if he was found More…

Posted on February 20, 2014


Kevin Magnussen posted the fastest time of the second day of testing in Bahrain as Mercedes-powered teams once again set the pace. The McLaren rookie’s best time was set late in the afternoon on the super-soft Pirelli tyres. The Dane’s late run dropped yesterday’s fastest man Nico Hullkenberg to second on today’s timesheet. The Force India driver posted a best time of 1:36.445, 1.5 seconds adrift of Magnussen. Third quickest was Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard continuing Ferrari’s solid performance in testing with a time of 1:36.516. Nico Rosberg was fourth for the works Mercedes team, finishing four tenths off Alonso’s More…

Posted on February 20, 2014


Bernie Ecclestone has won his London High Court battle with a German media company, but despite victory the F1 boss was described as a “not reliable or truthful” witness by the judge in the case, Mr Justice Newey, who also ruled that the 83-year-old had paid a bribe over the sale of the Formula 1 Group. Ecclestone had been accused of entering into a “corrupt agreement” with German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to facilitate the sale of the Formula 1 Group to a buyer chosen by him. Media group Constantin Medien alleged it lost out as a result of the deal More…

Posted on February 20, 2014


Lotus this morning confirmed that it will continue to use Renault power for “2014 and beyond”. “Lotus F1 Team and Renault Sport F1 have enjoyed a successful partnership these past few years and we look forward to continue to build on our relationship and collaboration in 2014 and beyond. It is the beginning of a new era in Formula 1 and we are pleased to embrace it together with Renault Sport F1,” said Lotus CEO Matthew Carter. The deal, which according to a BBC report is for five seasons, continues a partnership begun when Genii Capital bought a majority stake More…

Posted on February 19, 2014


Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg went quickest on the first day of the second pre-season test in Bahrain as Red Bull Racing again hit trouble. Sebastian Vettel completed just 14 laps of the Sakhir circuit in the afternoon before a mechanical issue brought his running to a halt. The defending champions arrived in Bahrain hoping that work at its Milton Keynes base and at Renault’s HQ in Viry had cured the problems that restricted the team to just 21 laps in Jerez but day one Bahrain began in the same style with RB10 garage-bound until the afternoon. When Vettel eventually emerged More…

Posted on February 18, 2014


Williams has signed a multi-year deal with Brazilian energy company Petrobras, renewing a partnership that lasted from 1998 until the end of 2008. “Petrobras and Williams have had a successful partnership before and we are both looking forward to reuniting for 2014,” said Team Principal Sir Frank Williams. “Technologically they are very strong and that will be important for the team as the new regulations have made fuel efficiency increasingly important. They are also a very ambitious global company and we are looking forward to working together to further their marketing goals.” Petrobras’ logo will feature on the side of More…

Posted on February 17, 2014


Jann Mardenborough, the video gamer who graduated from console racing to Le Mans racing and F3 competition, has been signed to drive for Christian Horner’s Arden International Team in this year’s GP3 championship. He has also secured access to Red Bull Racing’s driver development facilities. The 22-year-old driver graduated to professional racing by winning GT Academy, a competition organised by Nissan and Sony that saw gamers compete on the Gran Turismo video game in pursuit of a real-world drive. Mardenborough won the 2011 edition beating out some 90,000 other entrants. Since then he has competed in GT cars, Le Mans Prototypes More…

Posted on February 17, 2014


The post-race, wheel-spinning ‘donuts’ that got Sebastian Vettel into hot water with race officials after he secured his fourth world championship title last year have been legalised by the FIA, though only if conducted in a safe manner. F1’s governing body has published a new set of sporting regulations containing a number of minor modifications, including a rule allowing drivers to celebrate victory in rubber-burning style. In an addition to article 43.3, which covers end-of-race procedure, the latest sporting regulations state that a winning driver may now “perform an act of celebration” before reaching parc fermé provided that the act More…

Posted on February 16, 2014


At a recent F1 related event I was approached by a senior figure from one of the leading F1 teams; “This Formula E series, what do you think? Will it happen?” The question, laced with a mixture if curiosity and scepticism, still arises. “We are on schedule,” says Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag, when I put this question to him in his office in London’s Hammersmith area. “We just ran a test with the car using the large battery for the first time (on a test track outside Paris) and we did 55 laps with no glitches. Williams have More…

Posted on February 14, 2014


The first pre-season test in Jerez was a revelation in terms of who went well and who did not. One of the talking points to emerge was the gap in lap times set by this year’s cars and those set at the Spanish circuit last year. This year, McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen set the week’s fastest time with a lap of 1:23.276. In 2013, however, Felipe Massa went quickest, recording a lap time of 1:17.789 on third day of the four-day test. The more than five-second gap raised a few eyebrows but teams were quick to point out this year’s More…

Posted on February 14, 2014


Sauber have signed female IndyCar racer Simona de Silvestro to a role it has dubbed ‘affiliated driver’. The 25-year-old Swiss driver has been racing in the US since the age of 18, initially competing in Formula BMW and then the Atlantic Championship before graduating to IndyCar, where she has raced for the past four years. Last year, she scored a podium finish with second place in the first race of a double-header in Houston, Texas. She was named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year in 2010, and placed 13th last season racing for KV Racing Technology. She now joins Sauber More…

Posted on February 13, 2014


Michael Schumacher has now been in a coma since December 29th – 46 days ago. The process of “waking him up” has been underway for two weeks; this is done by means of reducing the chemical sedation, which was keeping him in a medically induced coma, to control the swelling in his brain following his severe head injury. Schumacher suffered the injury when skiing in the French alps and is still in Grenoble Hospital. In a statement released today by Schumacher’s manager, Sabine Kehm, the family are continuing to carefully guard his condition and there is no mention of the More…

Posted on February 12, 2014


Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali says that his team has started the new era of hybrid turbo technology “in the right way” and added that in new signing Kimi Raikonnen he has a driver who knows that for Ferrari, “finishing second is a tragedy.” In an extensive interview with Gazzetta dello Sport today, the 48 year old team principal says that there he is pleased with the way his team has responded to falling short the last few years – he has a photo on his office wall of the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix debacle which cost Fernando Alonso and More…

Posted on February 11, 2014


One of the more bizarre episodes in F1 of the last couple of years has now been resolved with an out of court settlement between Paul di Resta and Anthony Hamilton, father of Lewis. Hamilton briefly managed Di Resta, but the pair fell out spectacularly in 2012 over a mooted sponsorship deal for an energy drink and it led to Hamilton suing Di Resta for wrongful termination of contract and loss of earnings. The court case at the end of last year in London was painful to watch for both sides, with the evidence coming out on how their relationship More…

Posted on February 10, 2014


Over the weekend it emerged in the French media that former Citroen and Peugeot motorsport boss Olivier Quesnel is in pole position to take over from Eric Boullier as team principal of Lotus F1 team The role is currently filled on an interim basis by team owner Gerard Lopez, who told L’Equipe newspaper on Saturday that Quesnel is the first choice, but that “The decision is not yet made.” Quesnel, who has a glittering career of success in rally and sportscars, was on the list of candidates four years ago when Lopez hired Boullier for the role and he was More…

Posted on February 9, 2014


The priority for Formula 1 this year is to get costs under control and there are signs that the first steps towards achieving that may be within reach. It was announced by the FIA at Christmas time that a budget cap would be brought in for 2015 and behind the scenes in recent weeks there have been extensive discussions which have proved more fruitful than in the past. The main stakeholders are all engaged: the teams, the FIA and the commercial rights holder. F1 almost tore itself apart in 2009 when then FIA president Max Mosley tried for force a More…

Posted on February 7, 2014


The Lotus E22, the final car to hit the track in this pre season build up, should finally get a run out today at Jerez, Spain. It is due to be given a shakedown in preparation for the crucial Bahrain tests starting in a couple of weeks. Pastor Maldonado will drive the car and he tweeted, “Finally back to the track work, planing a filming day in Jerez today. Looking forward to drive the new E22.” Lotus elected to skip the Jerez group test last week, which in retrospect looks like a reasonable plan given the troubles that Renault powered More…

Posted on February 5, 2014


Felipe Massa’s quote at the weekend about the new ‘brake-by-wire’ systems on the 2014 F1 cars taking some getting used to has sparked a lot of discussion on the JA on F1 site, with readers wanting to know more about what it is and how it works. Let’s start with an explanation from the Sauber F1 team, “The braking system concept is totally new, taking the form of a brake-by-wire system for the first time at the rear wheels. This has become necessary due to the significantly increased performance of the ERS, which requires much greater variations in rear wheel More…

Posted on February 4, 2014


The subject of awarding double points at the end of the F1 season has proved controversial since its introduction at Christmas. As things stand the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner will collect 50 points and the driver finishing third will score 30 – more than the winner gets at any other 2014 Grand Prix. Bernie Ecclestone, whose idea this was, is now pushing for the last three races to be awarded double points, which would require unanimous approval from the teams. But with the obvious problems faced by Renault powered teams at this early stage of the season – Red More…

Posted on February 4, 2014


Eric Boullier started work yesterday at McLaren as Racing Director, a position from which he will carry out the responsibilities of a Team Principal, albeit with a different job title. It was reported last week that there has been a further change, with the departure of Marcin Budkowski, the Polish born Head of Aerodynamics since 2012 at McLaren, who had been due to work alongside Peter Prodromou, Adrian Newey’s right hand man at Red Bull Racing, as well as his existing colleague Doug McKiernan, Chief Aerodynamicist, who remains with the team. But in a further twist, it now appears that More…

Posted on February 2, 2014


The first test session at Jerez last week threw up some major surprises and interesting talking points, including the failure of Renault and the innovative aerodynamics on the McLaren. Here JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, former chief operations engineer at Williams and Toyota explains how the F1 teams approach the pre-season tests and analyses what they will be doing now, back at base, to get ready for the next test in Bahrain. What the F1 teams were aiming to achieve at the Jerez test The 2014 energy recovery system (ERS) boosted F1 cars are extremely complex systems so More…

Posted on February 2, 2014


Felipe Massa ended the Jerez test, his first for Williams, in an upbeat mood describing the situation at Williams as “better than expected” and tipping his former team mate Fernando Alonso to have the upper hand at Ferrari over his replacement Kimi Raikkonen. Asked by Italian media why he he had said Alonso would come out on top Massa said, “Because he is very intelligent, he’s already worked out the new regulations and he knows what he needs to do to be quick straight away. He combines talent with savvy. He has a lively intelligence and that is what is More…

Posted on February 1, 2014


Ross Brawn exited Mercedes at Christmas and this week has given strong indications that he will not return to a frontline job in F1. Speaking at the Motor Sport Hall of Fame evening on Wednesday, he said that he had “no plans” to return to F1. This weekend he has gone further at a fishing event in Scotland, telling an audience that he has retired “and it’s not tongue in cheek.” The 59 year old has made a fortune, selling his eponymous team to Mercedes for €123 million in 2009 and earning multi million salaries every year since the late More…



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