Posted on April 17, 2014


The return to competitiveness of Renault and Lotus should take another step this weekend in China, as the black and gold cars have some updates on the chassis side and they will also have the latest specification Renault power units as used in Bahrain by Red Bull and Toro Rosso. The season has started very badly for a team that this time last year was fighting for wins and podiums in the early flyaway races. Lack of mileage due to reliability concerns has been hugely frustrating for the team and its drivers. Even the Bahrain test after last week’s grand More…

Posted on April 5, 2014


Renault’s Remi Taffin has said that the French manufacturer is a month behind its rival Mercedes, with Red Bull Racing’s Adrian Newey adding that, as a result, it will be “extremely difficult” for his team to catch Mercedes before it’s too late to save the championship. “We can clearly see that we are something like a month behind, ” said Taffin in the Bahrain paddock yesterday. “During the winter I would say (we were) a month or two (behind). “We really need to focus on this,” he added. “Obviously the fact that we have these back-to-back races is not that More…

Posted on April 3, 2014


Why was McLaren faster than Ferrari in Melbourne, but slower in Malaysia? And how much faster was Valterri Bottas than his Williams team-mate Felipe Massa in Sunday’s Grand Prix – enough to make a pass on Jenson Button ahead, as the team believed? With the help of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan we can attempt to answer these questions, thanks to the latest performance graphs. NB – The vertical axis is the lap time in seconds, with the faster lap times lower down and the slower ones higher up. Click on the graphs to enlarge them. McLaren vs More…

Posted on March 28, 2014


The war of words over Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification in Australia went up a level today as Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said that the fuel flow sensors, which the FIA has specified and which were at issue in Australia, are not good enough for F1. Horner confirmed that they and another Renault powered team had suffered a further sensor error during today’s free practice session. Asked whether he felt that the sensors were good enough for F1 he said, “With where it’s at at the moment I would have to say no. We need to work with the FIA More…

Posted on March 23, 2014


Picture an F1 car standing still in the pit lane. The sidewalls of the tyre are nice and straight and the contact patch of the tyre is touching the ground. But imagine what that tyre looks like when loaded up in a high speed corner – it flexes and the shape is no longer that ideal vertical line, so easy to model in a wind tunnel. In modern F1 there is a real premium on understanding this phenomenon and being able to work with the changing shape of the tyre so that the car’s aerodynamics are the best they can More…

Posted on March 21, 2014


As always on JA on F1 we like to bring the fans closer to the sport in many ways and after the first race of the new Formula 1 in Australia, we’ve analysed the performances of some of the leading teams to give a better picture of the relative pace at this early stage of the season. Thanks to JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, we have some pace charts which give a good idea of the relative speed of the cars and Mark has given us his thoughts on what it all means and what we can expect More…

Posted on March 17, 2014


We have had a lot of readers asking why F1 has introduced a fuel flow rate monitoring regulation this season as part of the new rules for the hybrid turbo power units. This is in the light of Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification for excessive flow rate in Sunday’s Australian GP. JA on F1 technical expert Mark Gillan has written this advisory note on the matter: It was decided pretty early on in the FiA Technical Working Group meetings (which I was a member of) to agree not only on a maximum fuel quantity (i.e. 100kg) but also to a maximum fuel More…

Posted on March 5, 2014


When you watch next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, some of what you see and hear on your screens will be being operated by technicians sitting next to an airfield in Kent, collaborating in real time with colleagues 10,500 miles away. This is something a little different – the first time we’ve been behind the scenes at F1′s Technical Headquarters in Biggin Hill, in the South of England and we’ve made a video of it with our colleagues from Tata Communications. As well as much of the equipment needed to put on a Grand Prix at 19 venues around the world, More…

Posted on March 5, 2014


With less than two weeks from the end of the final test in Bahrain to the first practice session in Melbourne and only a handful of days now until the freight leaves for Australia the teams are literally in a race to turnaround the test cars, parts and support equipment in time to get them to Australia and have everything in place for set-up day, writes JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan. The factories will be 100% operational right now in ensuring that the cars leave with enough spares for the first race. For example ideally one wants 6 More…

Posted on March 4, 2014


With the changes in F1 technical regulations this year to small capacity hybrid turbo engines, placing the emphasis on resource efficiency, innovations in F1 will increasingly filter down into the automotive and other industries and this will be an important story for the sport to tell. Today, however, we saw a good example of existing F1 technology being repurposed for applications which have no connection with automotive, but which also aim to reduce environmental impact; in this case in aviation. McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT), part of the McLaren Group, are to work alongside a consortium of technological development companies to More…

Posted on March 3, 2014


The winter testing is over and now the teams have just over a week to prepare for the new F1 season which kicks off in Melbourne. It’s been clear throughout the three tests in Jerez and Bahrain with the radical new hybrid turbo power units that we are seeing a different competition in F1 from recent years with Mercedes looking strong and Red Bull struggling, but what is the pecking order going into the first race and what trends are there to consider? As ever, with the help and input of JA on F1 Technical adviser Mark Gillan, formerly chief 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 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 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 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 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 January 30, 2014


The numbers didn’t lie yesterday; there was clearly something wrong at Renault. On day two of the Jerez test the four Mercedes-powered cars completed a total of 212 laps; the two Ferrari runners, 100; and the three Renault-powered cars just 19 laps. Even adding the Day 1 total, another 19 laps, cars powered by the new Renault Energy F1-2014 engine had completed just 38 laps. Problems in the integration and management of the batteries in the powerful energy storage system have been identified as the culprit, although Red Bull is understood to have suffered an issue on the turbo. “Trepidation” More…

Posted on January 28, 2014


They say you shouldn’t run before you can walk and that’s exactly what happened here in Jerez today. As pre-season testing got underway there was a lot of treading lightly and a few missteps but not a lot of speed on show – at least not straight away. It was to be expected, however. The start to the first day of a new era was always going to be a slow but steady one despite many wanting to get the on-track party started immediately in order to hear the sound of the new V6 engines for the very first time. More…

Posted on January 26, 2014


We have now seen 2014 F1 cars launched by six of the 11 F1 teams, with Toro Rosso due to reveal its challenger – now powered by the same Renault engine as the sister Red Bull team – due to launch on Monday. Already we have seen lots of different interpretations of the radically different technical regulations, particular in the nose section of the car. So here is the initial feedback of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, former chief operations engineer at Williams, Jaguar Racing and Toyota. McLaren MP4-29 McLaren are the first to release pictures of the More…

Posted on January 14, 2014


The controversial new rule for 2014 awarding double points for the last race is likely to have unintended consequences, like influencing the way that the smaller teams in F1 design the cars. This is one of six key points to look out for in 2014, according to JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan. “The smaller teams could well completely change their design process in an attempt to secure these points, as it could make a significant difference to their constructor’s position. If I were running operations for one of the smaller teams I would definitely do it,” said Gillan, More…

Posted on January 10, 2014


The man in charge of managing the F1 Grands Prix on the circuit, Charlie Whiting, has said that the Drag Reduction System (DRS) has been a boost to F1 and is here to stay. Giving the Watkins Memorial lecture at Autosport International show in Birmingham, Whiting said that he had listed to some of the criticism from fans, who felt that DRS has made overtaking too easy at many events and downgraded the skill of the driver. But he is still of the opinion that it requires great skill to use the system properly. DRS is a switch that drivers More…

Posted on January 8, 2014


With its first race set to take place in Beijing this September, Formula E has today made a step towards announcing its first set of drivers as eight established names signed up to the series’ Drivers’ Club. The Drivers’ Club, which includes six former Formula One competitors, sees those announced giving their endorsement to the series and putting their name in the hat for a race seat. Up until now Lucas Di Grassi had acted as the sole test driver of the Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E car, however the group of eight can now carry out pre-season tests. Included are More…

Posted on January 1, 2014


As the calendar page turns to 2014, thoughts focus on the new F1 season which is now just 73 days away. The change to the technical regulations is the biggest for a generation and no-one is really sure how the racing will be affected. Reliability is going to be vital, Mercedes’ Niki Lauda has said he thinks it could be the decisive factor in the end for the championship. F1′s popularity has been hit by the domination by Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull and what many people will be waiting to see is whether the change to the hybrid turbo More…

Posted on December 20, 2013


As Ferrari launched its 2014 turbo F1 engine in Maranello, the team’s disappointing 2013 came to a point of closure. Felipe Massa ended an eight-year stint with Ferrari, as the team chose to sign Kimi Raikkonen in his place, alongside Fernando Alonso for next year. So, as part of our series of comparisons, we’ve run the numbers on their time together. The Brazilian, who will drive for Williams next season, spent four seasons with Alonso as his team-mate and according to the statistics, Massa was comfortably outperformed by the Spaniard during that period. However, it needs to be born in More…

Posted on December 17, 2013


Sauber last week announced that Adrian Sutil will join the team next season but they did not say who would partner the German. Esteban Gutierrez will be hoping for a second chance, but much will depend on whether Sergey Sirotkin’s money and superlicence come through. Did Gutierrez do enough this season to keep his seat? As part of our series of analysis of the head-to-head records of team pairings, here’s the analysis of the Mexican’s season alongside Nico Hulkenberg at the Swiss team. It was a tough start to the year for Sauber but after the summer break, they unlocked More…

Posted on December 16, 2013


Mark Webber’s decision to quit Formula 1 at the end of this season brought to an end a seven-year association with Red Bull. The Australian partnered Sebastian Vettel for his final five seasons, during which Vettel won the title four times and finished second once. During the same period, Webber managed three third place finishes in the standings, plus a fourth and sixth. But how close was Webber to his more decorated team-mate? Overall, Vettel had the edge in qualifying, outperforming Webber 77 times to 22. The German also had the more impressive pole record, with 44 to the Australian’s More…

Posted on December 15, 2013


Continuing our series of analysis of the head-to-head records of team mate pairings, here’s the analysis of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton’s seasons at Marussia. The Anglo-Russian team fielded an all-new line up in 2013, dispatching with Timo Glock and Charles Pic and bringing in rookies Chilton and Bianchi. The team’s goal was to beat rivals Caterham and finish 10th in the constructors’ championship, after agonisingly losing the position at the final race of last season, and they achieved it this year courtesy of Bianchi’s 13th place in Malaysia. Bianchi was impressive all season and looked to have the measure More…

Posted on December 9, 2013


In the next of our series of analysis of the head-to-head records of team mate pairings, we look at Jenson Button and Sergio Perez’s season together at McLaren. With Lewis Hamilton leaving for Mercedes, Button had a new team mate for 2013 in the form of Perez. The Mexican joined the Woking-Based outfit after a strong season for Sauber where he scored three podiums and came close to winning the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix. It proved to be a difficult year for McLaren, who failed to score a single podium all season for the first time since 1980. The team More…

Posted on December 5, 2013


Romain Grosjean’s season ended in a cloud of smoke in the Brazilian Grand Prix as his Lotus’ Renault engine expired on the first lap of the race. However, it was a rare disappointment in a very strong final half of the season where the Frenchman scored four podiums in five races. It marked a turnaround in form for the 27-year-old who has struggled to better his 2007 world champion team-mate Kimi Raikkonen over a two-year period. Grosjean was called a “first lap nutcase” by Red Bull’s Mark Webber after a series of first and second lap incidents in his first More…

Posted on December 4, 2013


Continuing our series of analysis of the head-to-head records of team mate pairings, here’s the analysis of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil’s season at Force India. At least one driver, maybe both, will miss out on a seat with the team next year after Force India announced that Nico Hulkenberg will return to the outfit in 2014. Most people expect ex-McLaren driver Sergio Perez to get the second seat, but with the team breaking with tradition and not naming both drivers at the same time, it seems there is still room for negotiation. Sutil and Di Resta were first More…

Posted on December 2, 2013


Following on from last season’s very popular analysis of the head-to-head records of team mate pairings here’s the analysis of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s first year as team-mates at Mercedes. It was the end of an era when Hamilton left McLaren for Mercedes at the end of last season, but has had an impressive first season with the Brackley-based team, outperforming Rosberg who has been at the team for three years, although the trend was towards Rosberg after the summer break and post the Pirelli tyre specification change. The Briton has complained all season that he has been unable More…

Posted on November 30, 2013


The Mumbai-based company, Mahindra Group, has announced that it is to compete in the FIA Formula E Championship from 2014 under the name of Mahindra Racing. They become the eighth team to join the new series, which is set to host its first race in Beijing in September next year. At the same time, one of Japan’s leading broadcasters, TV Asahi, has taken exclusive TV rights for the series in Japan. The Mahindra Group is one of the largest multinational corporations in India and covers a broad range of businesses. Expertise in aerospace, agriculture and financial services now includes the More…

Posted on November 21, 2013


We have been following the progress of the Formula E series since it was first announced in April 2011 and the temperature has been rising lately on the FIA’s new world series, which is due to start in September 2014. Last week saw the publication of a report by Ernst & Young into the impact the series is set to have on global car market trends, then the Abt Audi team was confirmed as an entrant and today they announced that the prototype car has tested for the first time. Formula E is a new series of zero emissions racing, More…

Posted on November 5, 2013


Never one to hand out praise readily to his team mate, Mark Webber said after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, “Seb was on another planet today and was very, very strong in the first stint. He was in another category today. “He was super quick and his tyres didn’t wear out, which is a recipe for disaster for the rest of the opposition, me included.” Indeed the opening stint is a talking point; not only Vettel’s pace but the length of the run at 14 laps. Webber had taken pole position confidently on the Saturday in the same More…

Posted on November 3, 2013


Alain Prost was on hand in Abu Dhabi this weekend as Renault Sport upped the noise about 2014 engines with a briefing for selected media. Prost was on good form, providing insight into the driving techniques necessary to do well with the new small capacity hybrid turbo engines coming in next year. His message was clear, it will be intelligent and adaptable drivers who will thrive, by being open to changing their driving style and working hard behind the scenes to learn how to get more from the powertrain. “It has always been the case (that F1 drivers need to More…

Posted on October 25, 2013


Alain Prost and former GP2 Championship winning squad DAMS have joined forces to set up a Formula E team, e.dams, to compete in the series when the inaugural season gets underway in September 2014. The four-time World Champion together with DAMS owner, Jean-Paul Driot, launched the team on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, becoming the fifth team to join the Formula E grid for the first race in Beijing. It is a move of relative ease for DAMS, who have the technical and logistical capability to run a competitive team. The Le Mans based squad took Romain Grosjean to his 2011 More…

Posted on October 20, 2013


There has been significant interest among F1 fans around the world regarding the way Red Bull managed its two drivers in the Japanese Grand Prix. Mark Webber was ahead of Sebastian Vettel, then was switched onto a three-stop strategy and ended up finishing behind him. Red Bull got a 1-2 finish. With the help of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, who headed Williams’ track operations last year, we’ve got a fuel corrected graph, which expresses the lap times of the three leading drivers during the race. There are several conclusions we can draw from this and some useful More…

Posted on October 17, 2013


Mercedes engine boss Andy Cowell says the new 1.6 litre turbo engines, which will be introduced next year, will not be the dominant factor – however he does expect there to be more of a difference between rival power units compared to this year. Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault will supply units to teams next year, with Cosworth leaving the sport at the end of 2013. The new units, which will have more relevance to road cars, will replace the current V8s. “I think we could see more of difference across the power units next year,” Cowell told the October edition More…

Posted on October 9, 2013


Nico Hulkenberg’s standout drive at the weekend in Korea, where he finished fourth and his strong recent form have made him a candidate for a number of seats for next season. The driver market is quite fluid at the moment and there are opportunities. But we keep hearing that driver weight is an issue and a potential stumbling block for tall, heavy drivers like Hulkenberg. We flagged this up on JA on F1 several months ago, but now that the serious talking has begun, it’s front of mind. So here is an insight into why weight is suddenly such a More…

Posted on September 30, 2013


One of the most commented aspects of the Singapore Grand Prix was the astonishing speed of Sebastian Vettel, particularly in the opening laps and the initial laps after the safety car. There have been many questions about how this was achieved and some interesting observations, such as Giancarlo Minardi’s comments about a strange sound coming from Vettel’s exhaust in these phases. Here with the input of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, former Williams F1 team chief operations engineer, is our analysis of Vettel’s speed and a consideration of why it was so noticeable in Singapore and whether it More…

Posted on September 26, 2013


The Singapore Grand Prix saw a significant development in the broadcast of Formula 1 with Formula 1 Management trialling a Proof of Concept for delivering video content to broadcasters. FOM’s Chief technical officer John Morrison hailed it as “ground breaking” and it could soon affect the way all F1 fans consume content. The trial, conducted with FOM’s Connectivity partner Tata Communications [which is also a sponsor of the JA on F1 website], involved a live video feed of Free Practice being sent via the TCL global fibre ring back to FOM’s headquarters in Biggin Hill, England. The demonstration included the supply More…

Posted on September 13, 2013


One of the defining stories of this 2013 F1 season has been the rise of Mercedes and the way they not only grabbed pole position in eight of the first 12 qualifying sessions (by getting the most out of the Pirelli tyres), but also got on top of heavy tyre wear issues in races to allow Rosberg to win twice and Hamilton once. Analysis by former Williams chief engineer and JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan of photos of Mercedes wheels, taken by leading F1 photographer Russell Batchelor of XPB Images, shows the complex internal design which Mercedes has More…

Posted on September 10, 2013


After much expectation, the Formula E car that will contest the new zero emissions racing series starting next September was launched today at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Spark-Renault SRT_01E is a fully electric single seater racing car, designed aerodynamically to encourage overtaking, is built by Dallara, with technology input from F1 teams McLaren and Williams. Spark, run by ART Grand Prix’s Cedric Vasseur, has designed the car and assembled a consortium of motorsport technology firms to supply key components. McLaren produces the electric motor, which has been developed for the next McLaren road car, the P1, as well as More…

Posted on August 17, 2013


The F1 teams heading back to work after the enforced summer shutdown with next week’s Belgian Grand Prix, will be relieved to learn that Pirelli has bowed to their wishes and decided against increasing the size of the rear tyres for 2014. Just before the shutdown it emerged that Pirelli had requested some changes to the dimensions of the tyres for next year – they wanted to increase the rear-tyre width by 20mm to 400mm and the diameter to increase from 660mm to 690mm. But today sources within Pirelli have confirmed to this website that the tyres will stay the More…

Posted on August 11, 2013


Codemasters have announced that the latest edition of their Formula 1 franchise – F1 2013 – will hit the shelves this autumn and feature a new twist – classic race drivers and cars. And we’ve spoken exclusively to the Creative Director behind the game franchise. Alongside the latest cars and drivers from the 2013 season – with the likes of Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes and Sergio Perez now in a McLaren – gamers will also be able to race as their heroes such as Nigel Mansell in his 1980s and 1990s Williams cars. Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger, Mario Andretti, More…

Posted on August 9, 2013


Formula E, the new all electric racing series due to start in September 2014, is set to receive a substantial boost from a deal with the Fox Sports Network for coverage on TV and online of the 10 race series. The deal, to be announced this afternoon, means that much of the globe is covered, with 80 territories under the Fox umbrella; the USA, Latin America and South East Asia in particular, with the UK and parts of Europe still to be filled in. The Fox Sports network is currently a big player in Formula 1 broadcast coverage, with the More…

Posted on August 6, 2013


Following on from criticism from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo that Mercedes’ form over the five races since its controversial Pirelli test in May damages the credibility of the championship, we’ve done a couple of graphs analysing the car’s race tyre performance over the last three events, with the help of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan. In the first graph we compare Lewis Hamilton’s lap times with those of Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull and Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus. The vertical axis is the lap time, (faster lap times towards the bottom, slower lap times higher More…

Posted on August 2, 2013


Mercedes has just released a You Tube video which will give fans an idea of what the new generation 2014 small capacity hybrid turbo engines will sound. The recording was done with one of the development units at Mercedes’ High Performance Engines division at Brixworth, near Silverstone. The new powertrains are due to be introduced next season and some concern has been expressed by fans as well as by stakeholders like Bernie Ecclestone about the sound. Mercedes has been the most proactive engine builder so far in releasing details and content about the 2012 engines. They hosted a media event More…

Posted on July 26, 2013


Here is something a little different: Honda, which is gearing up for a return to F1 in 2015, has made a commercial in Japan featuring acoustic technology which allows them to recreate Senna’s pole lap at Suzuka from 1989. It’s eery and exciting and shows amazing ambition. Using a system of speakers and lights set up around the length of the 5.8 kilometre circuit, they made a piece of sound and light magic, which gives a flavour of the way they plan to approach their return to F1. The messaging behind the commercial is all about the power of data More…

Posted on July 21, 2013


Now the dust has settled on the Young Driver Test at Silverstone, we can analyse who performed well and look at some of the drivers for whom this was a vital audition, like Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull. We can also look at some of the tyre test runs carried out by the experienced race drivers to see what the new generation Pirellis will be like for the rest of the season. With the help and input of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, former chief operations engineer at Williams, we will look in detail at Kevin Magnussen’s run More…

Posted on July 17, 2013


Andretti Autosports, run by former Indycar and F1 racer Michael Andretti, has become the third team to formally enter the new FIA Formula E series, due to start in September 2014. It joins UK-based Drayson Racing, whose principal, Lord Drayson recently set a new world electric land speed record, together with China Racing, led by Steven Lu. The Andretti name will be a huge boost to the series in the USA, which is set to host two of the ten city-centre rounds in Los Angeles and Miami. Andretti’s team has a strong reputation in US motorsports, having won the Indycar More…

Posted on July 14, 2013


Red Bull’s preferred method of winning races is to do the damage to the opposition at the start, create a margin and then manage the race from there. But the lap time traces from the German Grand Prix show that Lotus got a bit too close for comfort, according to JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan. “Vettel tends not to push too hard in the second half of the race,” says Gillan. “But in Germany he had to push because Raikkonen was catching. If you study the traces you can see that Raikkonen took a bit too much out More…

Posted on July 4, 2013


Formula 1 drivers will have greater protection when in the cockpit after the FIA Institute announced a new side impact system which will be introduced next year. And JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan has given us his views. After a year-long collaboration between four teams – McLaren, Mercedes, Marussia and Red Bull – and the FIA Institute, cars will feature a system designed to improve safety in angled impacts. At the moment, crushable tube structures are attached to the side of the chassis to protect drivers from a side impact, but they can break off during oblique accidents, More…

Posted on July 2, 2013


[Updated] Pirelli has announced a package of measures ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the FIA Sporting Working Group in Germany, aimed at addressing the tyre failures witnessed at Silverstone at the weekend. The press release from the Italian company, issued this evening, is likely to cause waves among teams as it essentially accuses them of misusing the tyres, claiming that the tyres are safe if used correctly. However the change of specification has been unilaterally put through by the FIA on the grounds of safety. FIA president Jean Todt described it on Sunday night as “a safety problem”. Pirelli also More…

Posted on June 26, 2013


Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting believes the sport is set to enter a new era of excitement when it introduces 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged engines next season. Whiting was speaking on the opening day of the FIA Sport Conference Week, hosted by our own James Allen, which looks at the vision for motorsport over the coming years as well as the challenges facing the sport in terms of safety, sustainability and affordability. Whiting highlighted that fuel efficiency will be key, with 2014 cars requiring around 50kg less fuel than this year to complete a race distance. “We have new powertrain More…

Posted on June 22, 2013


Renault Sport F1 unveiled its new 2014 F1 engine, dubbed the Energy F1, at an event in Paris on Friday. The timing was rather unfortunate, as the F1 media was on red alert waiting for the announcement of the verdict in the Mercedes Pirelli Tribunal hearing, but the significance of the Renault announcement -particularly the message it contained – is not to be ignored. Following on from Mercedes, which presented its 2014 engine to selected media at the start of the year, Renault pulled the cover off an engine which – it clearly feels – aligns F1 more with the More…

Posted on June 14, 2013


Williams are to provide the battery system that will be used in the FIA Formula E championship which is set to debut in Autumn 2014. Williams Advanced Engineering, a division of the Williams group which commercialises Formula 1-based technologies, will partner Spark Racing Technology to design and assemble the units. The single seater fully-electric championship is set to start in September 2014 with 10 city centre races – eight of which have already been announced in the form of London, Rome, Los Angeles, Miami, Beijing, Putrajaya (Malaysia), Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. Bangkok is under consideration for one of More…

Posted on June 7, 2013


Lewis Hamilton has never been outqualified by a team mate four races in succession. Here in Montreal, arguably his most successful track, where he has won three times, he knows he has to regain the upper hand over Nico Rosberg, author of pole at the last three events. And it is going to be in the braking that he will do it. Montreal is all about the brakes. And a lot of Hamilton’s speed has always come from his ability on the brakes. “The braking has been a bit of a killer for me this year,” Hamilton admits in his More…

Posted on June 4, 2013


Six years ago, Robert Kubica had a huge accident at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, crashing into a wall at 180mph while trying to overtake Jarno Trulli in the Canadian Grand Prix. Incredibly, the Pole escaped serious injury, emerging with only a slight concussion and a sprained ankle, thanks to the work of the FIA to improve safety standards in Formula 1. The sport’s approach to safety has changed dramatically since the death of Ayrton Senna in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix with the FIA’s crash tests for Formula 1 cars becoming more and more stringent. The FIA’s technical delegate Jo More…

Posted on May 21, 2013


This season we have seen how starts are almost as important as qualifying in setting up a driver for a good result. Crucial places gained off the line by Alonso in the Spanish Grand Prix or Raikkonen in the Australian Grand Prix, for example, set them up for their wins in those respective races. Starts at Monaco make a huge difference; last year 13 cars ended the opening lap in a different position from their grid slot. So how is it done? What is the secret of a good start? JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan provides the answer. More…

Posted on May 19, 2013


There has been a raft of activity recently around the new FIA Formula E series, set to debut in 2014 and JA on F1 has recently interviewed Alejandro Agag, promoter of Formula E. Agag says the new zero emission motor sport championship is targeting a reverse calendar to F1, which will see the series start in September and end in June. Also recently the series announced that Bangkok, Thailand is a candidate for one of the two remaining slots on the 2014 calendar. The city is close to a Formula 1 night race and Formula E is dealing with the More…

Posted on May 14, 2013


The sudden announcement by Pirelli that they are to change the tyre specifications from the seventh round of the world championship onwards will inevitably raise many questions: who will it favour, what are the implications for the racing? With no testing available – a significant part of the reason why Pirelli has struggled to get the tyres right this year – they will have to use a construction solution that has been proven to work in the past, rather than try something new. JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan was chief operations engineer at Williams until the end of More…

Posted on May 13, 2013


The Spanish Grand Prix threw up a few interesting comparisons from last year to this, not least in the relative pace of the cars and the improvement in speed of the pit stops. At one end of the spectrum the Mercedes was 2.3 seconds faster in qualifying than in 2012, while the Williams was a second slower than Pastor Maldonado’s pole time from last year. But in the pits there has also been progress; Ferrari set the fastest stop on Sunday, a clear second faster than its best time last year (when it was again fastest) thanks to the many More…

Posted on May 2, 2013


JA on F1 technical adviser and former Williams chief engineer Mark Gillan thinks that Mercedes will be hurt by Pirelli’s decision to make a small tweak to the hard tyre compound. Last week the Italian tyre manufacturer said it will change the hard tyre, rather than the soft as expected, to be closer in specification to the 2012 tyre, which would make it more durable. It will likely have a larger working range, so will be more versatile, and Gillan adds that the move will help every other team on the grid except for Mercedes. “Pirelli specified at beginning of season More…

Posted on May 1, 2013


Fernando Alonso goes into his home Grand Prix at Barcelona next weekend looking to bounce back from the disastrous Bahrain Grand Prix in which he lost a chance of victory due to a failure on the Drag Reduction System rear wing. It means that after four rounds of 19, he now lies 30 points behind title rival Sebastian Vettel. The fallout from the DRS failure is interesting. According to a statement from Ferrari, “Analysis revealed that the problem was caused by the breakage of a mechanical component within the system. It’s the first problem of its kind on this system More…

Posted on April 29, 2013


F1 in Schools in the Middle East – Watch this Space! By Steve Nevey F1 technical business expert, formerly with Red Bull Racing As part of my Business Development role with the fabulous F1 in Schools educational initiative, I have the occasional pleasure to meet some of the inspirational students who participate in the program. F1 in Schools is currently active in more that 40 countries, making it a truly Global initiative that encourages children to develop an interest in the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). http://www.f1inschools.com One of the regions where F1 in Schools is really beginning More…

Posted on April 25, 2013


After weeks of speculation, Pirelli has today announced that it is changing one of the F1 tyres in its range from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards. The hard tyre will be changed to be closer in specification to the 2012 tyre, which would make it more durable. It will likely have a larger working range, so will be more versatile. It was the preferred race tyre in Bahrain at the weekend for most teams. This is a surprise change in some ways, as there was speculation that the soft tyre would be the one to face changes. It proved troublesome More…

Posted on April 8, 2013


After the first two Grands Prix the teams have had a couple of weeks to prepare for the next pair of races in China this weekend and then Bahrain the following week. In terms of development, new parts will be coming to many of the cars for these races, but one innovation which many will be working to perfect is the FRIC suspension system, which has helped Lotus and Mercedes for far. FRIC stands for “Front and Rear-Interconnected” system, which links the front and rear suspension using hydraulics with the aim of improving ride stability. This helps to give the More…

Posted on April 4, 2013


JA on F1 technical adviser and former Williams chief engineer Mark Gillan believes it will take McLaren quite some time to fix problems with their 2013 car. The Woking-based team ended last year with the fastest car, but decided to go for a significant change, rather than evolve the 2012 design. They have been well off the pace in the first two races of the season, with ride issues among their problems. The team has just four points, 62 less than championship leaders Red Bull, with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez scoring a ninth place each. However Button was on More…

Posted on March 21, 2013


Before the season started, JA on F1 Technical Adviser Mark Gillan observed in the first podcast of the season that the key to success in 2013 would be thermal tyre management. And the first Grand Prix in Melbourne proved it, with Red Bull able to dominate qualifying, but losing performance in the race, while Lotus went the other way. So what was happening? And will it happen again this weekend in Malaysia? The key with the Pirelli tyres is to get the fronts warmed up evenly with the rears for a single lap in qualifying. But with the same set More…

Posted on March 19, 2013


Innovation in F1 is not limited to new technology on the cars or in communications devices, it even extends to the clothing worn by mechanics in the pit lane. And this weekend in the heat of Malaysia it should come into its own. A new material developed from high-tech sportswear used by top tennis stars and other athletes is now helping to keep race mechanics cool and less tired when working in the pit lane in intense temperatures. Human Performance Engineering, a company set up by Nick Harris, the man who trained top drivers like Mark Webber, David Coulthard and More…

Posted on March 8, 2013


The promoters of the new Formula E series have released details of eight city centre races that will form the basis of the new zero emission motor sport championship next season. And we want to hear your thoughts on the initial designs for the new car. The host cities are London, Rome, Los Angeles, Miami, Beijing, Putrajaya (Malaysia), Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. The London event will be particularly exciting as it is believed to be based around the Olympic Park in Stratford. Two more venues are expected to join the calendar before it is finalised in September. The More…

Posted on March 4, 2013


Now that the testing is finally over and the teams are back at base preparing their cars for departure to Melbourne later this week, we can look more closely at what happened in Barcelona last week and what it tells us about the relative pace of the cars. We’ll do it in two separate posts: * Analysis of lap times and long runs, looking for further trends and indicators * A look at some of the Technical innovations which indicated what we might see in season With the help of JA on F1 Technical Adviser Mark Gillan, formerly the top More…

Posted on February 22, 2013


The four day test at Barcelona ended today with rain, but the three previous days gave the teams a chance to learn more about the performance of their new cars and especially about the way they work on the new Pirelli tyres. While it is still a bit early to say too much in terms of who is fastest in outright pace, as the definitive aerodynamic packages will only come onto the cars in the final test next week, we can nevertheless look at some details of long run performance, which shows us who is looking good. Below you can More…

Posted on February 16, 2013


Already it is clear from winter testing that the battle at the front in F1 this year is going to be very close. It’s an important season for all the top teams – Ferrari and McLaren in particular, but also Lotus and Mercedes, are keen to put a stop to Red Bull winning the title for a fourth consecutive season, while Red Bull themselves want to keep that momentum going. How have they managed it? Clearly having technical chief Adrian Newey onboard is a major asset and his group’s designs and innovations through this period have kept Red Bull’s noses More…

Posted on February 15, 2013


Of all the areas within F1 which arouse controversy and debate, perhaps none is as central as the penalties handed out – or not – by the FIA race stewards. The stewards are charged with assessing on track misdemeanours and punishing drivers accordingly; Grosjean, Maldonado, Hamilton, Petrov and others have all been on the receiving end of penalties in recent years. But today the FIA has released some details of how those decisions are reached. An extract from a fascinating article in the FIA’s new AUTO magazine, sheds light on what the Federation calls “cyber stewarding”. Fans expect the stewards More…

Posted on February 8, 2013


Formula 1 cars are prototypes and as such they are constantly changing and being evolved in the pursuit of performance. The first week of testing in Jerez has seen many teams racking up over a thousand kilometres on their new cars, first working on reliability then pushing new development parts onto the car looking for more speed. But what sort of thing are the engineers looking for and how can they see the difference between a new part that is working and one that is not? Here we offer a simple example to help readers get a better understanding. Downforce More…

Posted on February 5, 2013


As the F1 testing got underway in Jerez, three more teams launched their new cars, leaving only Williams to produce a 2013 model, which they will do at the second test on February 19th. All three teams under performed last year for different reasons and all need to raise their game this year. They have gone about it in different ways as we shall see. Here we take a look at each of their situations and former Williams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan looks at the changes to the cars and what they mean. Toro Rosso Toro Rosso revealed its More…

Posted on February 5, 2013


There are three tests before the start of the season, the first starts this morning in Jerez. So what are we going to see this week and will these first four days have any relevance to the 2013 season as a whole? This week’s initial four day test is where the basic launch cars circulate, doing the initial checks on cooling, brake systems and so on, as well as taking aerodynamic measurements that are essential with any new car and over the next few days working on understanding the new Pirelli tyres. However the chase for performance will follow at More…

Posted on February 4, 2013


Mercedes rolled out its new car today, the F1 W04. A lot of work has gone into this car, especially around the cockpit area and on thermal management. We are yet to see what they have in mind on the front and rear wings, but it looks like a lot of careful detailed work has been carried out by Aldo Costa and his team, so here is our analysis of what’s been done and what it will mean for Mercedes’ chances this year. Background Mercedes went down a high tech route last year with the double DRS and paid a More…

Posted on February 2, 2013


The Sauber team today unveiled its new car and two new drivers; Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez at a ceremony in Hinwil, Switzerland. Sauber had a great year in 2012 and this will be an interesting year for them, with two new drivers to bed in, but a sound technical platform on which to build. Like other teams in the “squeezed middle” they will have to be careful to manage their limited resources, developing the 2013 car for a short while, but leaving enough capacity to make sure they produce a competitive car for 2014, when the rules will change More…

Posted on February 1, 2013


Ferrari launched its car, the F138 in Maranello today. The team made it very clear that it intended to start the season strongly, unlike last year, where it played catch up to the McLaren and Red Bull cars in particular. In overview, the Ferrari F138, as presented at the launch, is similar in concept to last year’s model and does not show as many detailed changes as the McLaren, released yesterday. The stepped nose has gone, which is eye catching, but not hugely significant. The main work appears to have gone into the rear of the car and there is More…

Posted on January 31, 2013


McLaren launched its new 2013 challenger today, an evolution of the 2012 model, which was the fastest car for significant parts of the season, including the beginning and end. On the face of it, the new MP4/28 looks similar to the 2012 car, but there are several very significant changes and it takes what was good car and makes it, in all probability, even faster. They have made changes which give them a lot of scope for development as the year goes on. It is a strong gauntlet thrown down by the Woking team to its rivals Red Bull and More…

Posted on January 22, 2013


by Steve Nevey, F1 technical business expert, formerly with Red Bull Racing Formula 1 is all about who has the most money, yes? No! I once overheard somebody say to a Formula 1 boss, “So, you produce racing cars”. The reply was, “No. Actually, we produce knowledge and intellect. The car is just a brief manifestation of that intellect.” It’s true. If a team lost its cars in transit, or through some freak incident at its headquarters, it could rebuild them. If a team lost its data, then it’s in trouble. Monisha Kaltenborn, the Team Principal of Sauber F1, has More…

Posted on January 11, 2013


More spectacular racing, with F1 cars having more power than grip on corner exits and an opportunity to showcase technology and innovation, putting F1 back at the cutting edge – these are the likely hallmarks of Formula 1 as it will be under the new formula in 2014, according to experts who are building the new engines. A visit to AMG Mercedes High Performance Powertrains (HPP) in Brixworth today yielded some fascinating insights into how F1 is set to change and what fans will see next season. And we got the chance to see one of the new generation V6 More…

Posted on January 10, 2013


Yesterday the new FIA Formula E series announced its first team entry, following up on recent announcements on race venues in Rio and Rome. Lord Drayson’s team is the first of 10 which will contest the new series when it starts in 2014. Further venue and team announcements are due to follow in the coming months, including, it is understood, a race in London. Recently I met up with the promoter of Formula E, Alejandro Agag for an interview which makes for interesting reading for anyone interested in new ideas. Agag has been around F1 for several years, and his More…

Posted on December 27, 2012


On a technical level there were some interesting innovations on the cars this year as the F1 teams and engineers worked hard to get around regulation changes. The most significant change was the governing body, the FIA, wanting to restrict the practice of exhausts blowing into the diffuser area of the floor. During 2011 teams had adopted increasingly extreme solutions and this had resulted in huge gains in down force. Red Bull was dominant in 2011 because it optimized this practice. For 2012, engines were not allowed to be mapped in such a way that they continued to pump out More…

Posted on December 3, 2012


Two innovators were honoured at the Autosport Awards last night as recipients of the Pioneering and Innovation Awards, sponsored by Tata Communications. Professor Sid Watkins, who passed away earlier this year, was celebrated for his contribution to safety in F1 and motorsport generally via the FIA Medical Team. 1996 world champion Damon Hill was there to sum up Watkins and the Team’s contribution, “F1 has made incredible progress, and to see where it came from, and where it has now got to, is a testament to Sid’s incredible determination and work.” “He was the last person you would want to More…

Posted on December 2, 2012


The FIA’s new Formula E electric vehicle racing series moved a step closer to reality yesterday with a launch in Rome, which will become the second world city – and the first in Europe – to host a round after Rio de Janeiero. FIA president Jean Todt and Formula E’s CEO Alejandro Agag attended the event hosted by the Mayor of Rome. The inaugural series in 2014 will feature ten races, so there are eight more slots to be filled by host cities in the coming months. There will be ten teams entered, with 20 drivers and 40 cars between More…

Posted on November 25, 2012


One man who will be keeping everything crossed this afternoon is Remi Taffin, from Renault Sport, hoping that the new specification alternators do not fail and affect the outcome of the world championship. Vettel lost a victory in Valencia to an alternator failure and suffered another in Monza, along with Romain Grosjean. The failure on Mark Webber’s car in Austin sent alarm bells ringing for Sebastian Vettel’s title deciding season finale, but that was the last of the oldest specification V1 units; this weekend all Renault powered teams are using Version 3 of the unit, which features a new design More…

Posted on November 19, 2012


One of the major talking points from the US Grand Prix weekend was the decision by Ferrari on Sunday morning to deliberately break a seal on the gearbox of Felipe Massa’s car, so that he would get a five place grid penalty which would move team mate Fernando Alonso one place up the grid and onto the clean side of the grid for a better start. Practice starts during the weekend had shown that the dirty side of the grid was so lacking in grip that the car would lose up to a second in the 350 metre run to More…

Posted on November 9, 2012


F1 fans will be familiar with the way that aerodynamicists explore air flow lines over a car, working with wind tunnels but also at circuits with flo-viz paint, to see how the air passes over a car. But here is something which takes the exploration of aerodynamic lines to a new – almost artistic – level. It’s a ‘light painting’, done on the McLaren P1 and I have to say I’d love to see this treatment done on an F1 car. Here is what the artists who did the light painting, MarshmallowLaserFeast, and James Medcraft, had to say about it. More…

Posted on November 5, 2012


There will be disappointment at Ferrari this morning on two levels; first that they were unable to take any more advantage of Sebastian Vettel’s grid penalty in Abu Dhabi than a mere three points. And second that the raft of updates on the car at this race didn’t produce the jump in performance they were looking for. Vettel had a bad day on Saturday and then a very good day, with some lucky breaks on the Safety Car, on Sunday, when the points were handed out. But the problem for Ferrari is clear: Alonso qualified 7th, 0.952s behind the pole More…

Posted on November 2, 2012


A team of teenagers from Adelaide has won the 2012 F1 in Schools title, after three days of intense competition in Abu Dhabi. The team of five 16 and 17 year olds from Brighton Secondary School, calling themselves Cold Fusion, beat 21 other countries and 32 teams, with two teams from the UK finishing in second and third places. The Australians collected the Bernie Ecclestone Trophy from Sahara Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg in a ceremony prior to the start of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend. This was the eighth time that F1 in Schools has held a World More…

Posted on October 26, 2012


If you watch free practice sessions on Fridays at Grands Prix, you could be forgiven for thinking that there are a lot of onboard cameras on the cars. And you’d be half right. But they are not all TV cameras, placed there by Formula One Management. The teams are allowed special dispensation to place their own cameras on the cars during practice to show how their latest updates are working. Most of the teams do it, but Red Bull have an infrared or thermographic camera, mounted on the right side of the engine cover, which can film the exhaust gas More…

Posted on October 15, 2012


On the same day that Red Bull’s daredevil Felix Baumgartner went faster than the speed of sound in a free-fall parachuting stunt, most of Sebastian Vettel’s rivals must have felt that they too were witnessing a man disappearing away from them at undiminished speed. Vettel’s performance in Korea, like the one in Japan a week ago, restored him to the top of the drivers’ championship in emphatic style and the first 1-2 finish of the season underlined that Red Bull is now back where it was in 2011, taking front row lock-outs in qualifying, with Vettel controlling the race from More…

Posted on October 11, 2012


“In its simplest form, the engine torque map is a theoretical model of the engine. It represents the torque output of the engine for a given engine throttle position and engine speed,” says Renault Sport F1 engine engineer David Lamb. Torque maps were a hot topic in July and August when the FIA made some changes to the way teams were using them mid-season. But they are the single most important map for the engineers to use for reference when trying to make sure that the engine is optimised for a given circuit, according to an interesting note put out More…

Posted on October 7, 2012


It’s not often that an innovation on an F1 car slips through without being noticed at a Grand Prix, but the talk of the Japanese Grand Prix was the double DRS device on the rear wing of the Red Bull, which had actually been on the car in Singapore. The idea is a simple variation on something tried by Lotus this year, to shed even more drag than a standard DRS wing. Lotus have a passive system and are yet to be able to qualify and race with theirs as they have problems getting the aero rebalanced once the device More…



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