FORMULA 1

RENAULT SPORT FORMULA ONE TEAM LAUNCHES THE R.S.17 IN LONDON

Renault Sport Formula One Team today launched its 2017 challenger, the R.S.17, at a showcase event in front of international media and team partners, in London, England.

Highlighting new partners and sponsors including BP, Castrol and MAPFRE, the launch was also the first public revealing of the new Renault Sport brand identity, designed to provide a stronger link between Renault Sport Racing and Renault Sport Cars.

Powered by Renault Sport Racing’s R.E.17 power unit, the R.S.17 has no carry over parts from the R.S.16. The team has worked from a clean sheet of paper to respond to Formula 1’s latest regulations. It is the first Formula 1 car designed from the outset by Renault Sport Racing from its two locations in Enstone, England and Viry-Châtillon, France.

Present at the launch were Thierry Koskas, Groupe Renault Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Jérôme Stoll, President and Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director of Renault Sport Racing, as well as Renault Sport Formula One Team’s senior management and drivers, and Alain Prost as Renault Sport Racing Special Advisor.

The R.S.17 was unveiled by race drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Jolyon Palmer, whilst Third and Reserve Driver Sergey Sirotkin was also announced today.

The car was unveiled with the hashtag #RS17Launch.

The 2017 Renault Sport Academy line-up was also confirmed, with Jack Aitken, Max Fewtrell, Jarno Opmeer and Sun Yue Yang all being supported by Renault Sport Racing through their 2017 seasons. Jack will contest the GP3 Series, whilst Max, Jarno and Sun will contest the Formula Renault Eurocup in an historic-high 30-cars-grid.

Jérôme Stoll, President of Renault Sport Racing:

“The R.S.17 is the first car which Enstone and Viry have been able to plan and develop from the outset and we’re satisfied by the fruits of this interaction. It’s a beautiful car. As well as the excitement of the R.S.17 itself, we also have a highly important new partner in BP through their BP and Castrol brands. For 2017 our performance targets are clear. We want to take a definite, tangible step forward in performance and results. Fifth position in the Constructors’ Championship is our goal.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing Managing Director:

“For 2017 we are perfectly placed to take the step forward we all desire. The R.S.17 is the result of many long working hours spent over our two integrated locations and the result is a car we can be proud of. We have a strong line-up of personnel at all levels of the team and we’re proud to see Nico and Sergey join Jolyon in 2017. We are joined by a strong group of partners with BP, Castrol, MAPFRE and SMP Racing representing the best pre-season sponsorship acquisition campaign in the paddock. We are the fastest growing F1 team and we now need to prove our performance on track. Our objective is to score points at every round.”

FORMULA 1

THE SAUBER C36-FERRARI – THE ANNIVERSARY CAR FOR THE NEW ERA

In 2017 the Sauber F1 Team celebrates another milestone: it is the 25th Formula One season in the teams’ history. Together with its new owner, Longbow Finance S. A., the Sauber F1 Team starts a new era. In the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship the Swiss team will again be competing with driver Marcus Ericsson (SE, 26) and the new arrival Pascal Wehrlein (DE, 22). The official rollout of the new Sauber C36-Ferrari will take place on the occasion of the first winter tests at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona from 27 February to 2 March.

A new era
Not only will Formula One be starting a fresh era with its new technical regulations and rules, but also the Sauber F1 Team. With new ownership, the Sauber Group has the chance of a new beginning, and can establish itself and can create a solid basis for a competitive and successful future. CEO and Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn is looking forward to exciting times: “Together with Longbow Finance S. A., we have great opportunites to be competitive again and to return to previous successes in Formula One. We want to position ourselves with a new approach, and we have already taken the first steps in order to build a solid foundation for the future.“

Despite the fact that Formula One and its teams will again enter new territory based on the new technical regulations and rules in 2017, the Sauber F1 Team’s expectations are straight to the point: “We clearly have to improve,” says Monisha Kaltenborn. “With the Sauber C36-Ferrerai we have a solid basis as well as the resources to further develop the Sauber C36-Ferrari through the season. This will be important to establish in mid-field.”

A new car
In Jörg Zander a new technical director arrived at the high-tech factory in Hinwil in January 2017. The first thing he had to do was to get an overview of the technical prerequisites and to familiarise himself with both the new and the old conditions – which he soon managed to do because he felt comfortable from day one. Jörg Zander is a familiar face, returning to the Swiss team after having worked there from 2006 to 2007 as chief designer for the BMW Sauber F1 Team.

The German summarises the most conspicuous changes that define the Sauber C36-Ferrari due to the new regulations: “The cars are becoming wider again, from 1.80 to 2 metres, the tyres are 25 % wider, the front and rear wings are becoming wider as well, plus the diffuser is being enlarged. In total, this means more downforce, more grip and, as a result, faster lap times.” Consequently, work on the concept of the new car was focused on reducing the drag coefficient (due to the wider tyres) to a minimum as well as achieving a significant weight reduction, for instance by means of the new roll structure. In certain areas of lightweight design the team went to the limits. The aero concept includes the optimisation of the front and rear wings and the underfloor. The radiator, the sidepods and the bodywork were designed to be as slim as possible. Clear progress was also achieved in terms of additional downforce. The key here is to keep downforce, which is generated via driving, and remain stable in various track sections. Jörg Zander explains the changes in the development procedure in more precise terms: “We put greater emphasis on aerodynamic stability as opposed to maximising downforce.”

New regulations
“Basically, big teams also have an advantage when it comes to major changes in the regulations,” says Jörg Zander, “but when the cards are reshuffled new opportunities always present themselves as well. The Sauber C36-Ferrari is wider and lower, with wider tyres making the car look more muscular than last year’s model, the C35. Practically just by looking at it, one can tell the speed the new car has increased as a result of more downforce and shorter braking distances – measured against lap time, not top speed – it is written all over its face. The width of the front tyres has increased from 245 to 305 mm, that of the rear tyres from 325 to 405 mm. Something that has not changed compared with 2016 is the fact that the wider tyres will be able to decide races as well when it comes to how they work and harmonise with the car’s setup and with respect to wear. “With the tyres one might be able to mask deficits and get development concepts to work better,” says Jörg Zander.

 

FORMULA E

RENAULT E.DAMS WIN BUENOS AIRES EPRIX

Renault e.dams has won the third ePrix of season three of the FIA Formula E Championship with a mature and confident drive from Sébastien Buemi on the Puerto Madero circuit. The win is Séb’s third in a row and the team’s sixth consecutive victory, taking the Renault e.dams tally to twelve from twenty-four ePrix since the series inauguration, a 50% success rate.

Nico Prost backed-up Séb’s victory with fourth after a race-long dice with rival racer Lucas di Grassi, Nico has scored points in every ePrix this season, last finishing outside the points at the Long Beach ePrix in April 2016.

Race day started with the threat of the first full wet ePrix on everyone’s minds, however the clouds dissipated to a hot afternoon, once more putting the team’s technical focus on battery management.

Both drivers proved pacey through the practice sessions despite the repeated appearance of red flags as competitors clashed with the barriers as an illustration of the tricky track surface on the three-season familiar 2.48km anticlockwise, asphalt and concrete track. Séb drew Q2 and Nico Q4 for qualifying, with Nico unlucky to narrowly miss out on joining Séb in Superpole.

Séb started from P3, Nico P6. Séb maintained position at the start, whilst Nico lost a place, however both worked their way forwards, Séb into P1 ahead of the car swap pit stop, Nico into P3 by the same marker.

Séb thereafter sailed serene to his sixth win in a row, whilst Nico fell victim to Lucas di Grassi, dropping to fourth. Post-race, di Grassi did visit the stewards for an unsafe release at the pit stop – for which his team was ultimately penalised – but his finishing position remained.

Renault e.dams won in Buenos Aires thanks to the support of technology partner, HP. The team uses the latest HP technology to give the greatest potential for success, the proof of which has been seen by the perfect start to season three of Formula E with three wins from three races.

Renault e.dams leaves Argentina with 111 points in the Teams Championship, ahead of ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport on 60 points. Sébastian has 75 points in the Drivers’ Championship with his nearest rival, Lucas di Grassi, on 46. Nico Prost is in third position with 36 points.

Renault e.dams, Sébastien and Nico will next be seen in action for the fourth round of season three, the Mexico City ePrix at Circuito Hermanos Rodriguez on April 1.

F3 EURO CHAMPIONSHIP

FIA FORMULA 3 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP INCREASES PRIZE MONEY FUND TO 500,000€

The FIA Formula 3 European Championship has confirmed an expansion of the newly introduced prize money incentive for rookie drivers to include teams and other drivers competing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship from the 2017 season.

In 2016 the FIA has already awarded the top three rookies in the championship with a substantial monetary prize to be used on a second season in the category. The driver winning the rookie title has received 100,000€ and 50,000€ each went to the drivers finishing second and third in the rookie standings.

The FIA has confirmed that the prize money incentive for rookies will remain in place for the coming season. In addition to the 200,000€ provided to novice drivers, the FIA F3 European Championship has now confirmed that a further 300.000€ prize fund will be at stake for the 2017 team and driver championship. While the championship winning driver will receive 100,000€ when moving to another FIA championship, the remaining 200,000€ will be distributed among the entered teams according to a performance distribution scale.

The introduction of prize money in the FIA F3 European Championship is part of the campaign to strengthen the championship further, but at the same time sustaining the existing values of the series. The FIA has already introduced changes to the Technical Regulations, which reduce the costs of competing in the series and create a common baseline for all teams entering the 2017 season. Further adjustments to the 2017 Sporting Regulations have had the same intention: creating an affordable series and a balanced competition, while at the same time retaining the crucial F3 DNA.

President of the FIA Single-Seater Commission, Stefano Domenicali, commented, “The general economy in single-seater racing makes it necessary for us to continue to work on the value of the championship for drivers and teams. With the newly introduced prize money incentive, which has already been awarded to the rookie drivers last year and will be extend to the teams this year, we want to establish some financial assistance for our competitors. This way teams will be able to broaden their search for drivers and offer seats to young talents who might lack some funding. The amount provided will not only be funded by the FIA, but also by the series sponsors and the promoter of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, the Formel 3 Vermarktungs GmbH. All parties involved in the series are working together to strengthen the series and to retain an attractive platform for all competitors.”

Walter Mertes, CEO of the Formel 3 Vermarktungs GmbH added, “The prize money incentive is another step in the bigger picture of creating an attractive FIA F3 package for 2017 and beyond. Formula 3 has always been the benchmark when it comes to driver development and improvements implemented from the upcoming season will guarantee it remains that way.”

WRC

CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT MOVING IN RIGHT DIRECTION

The second weekend of the 2017 World Rally Championship provided yet further evidence that it is one of the most open and unpredictable seasons in many years! In Sweden, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT met some of its targets thanks to its young drivers, Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre. Whilst not underestimating the scale of the challenge ahead, the team undoubtedly made progress and is heading in the right direction ahead of the first round on gravel.

THE STORY OF THE RACE FOR THE C3 WRCs

The rally got underway on Thursday evening with the Karlstad super special stage. However, all the crews were waiting until Friday morning before switching to maximum attack in the forests of the Värmland.

The Citroën C3 WRCs were in impressive form at the start of the race, with Kris Meeke setting the second fastest time on SS2 and Craig Breen finishing third on SS3. At the mid-leg point, Kris was third overall whilst Craig was eighth, less than twenty seconds adrift of his team-mate.

On the second loop, Meeke had to contend with excessive wear on his Michelin X-Ice North 3 tyres and was unable to hang onto third place. Meanwhile, Breen struggled with the handling of his C3 WRC after damaging the front aero package when he hit a snow bank. He held onto eighth place, but dropped time to the drivers ahead.

“We clearly still have work to do to make the most of our car’s potential in certain conditions. On this surface, we were fast on the first pass on the stages,” noted Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal. “We still need to work out why our drivers were less comfortable on the second runs.”

On Saturday, Kris Meeke was unable to hide his frustration as the seconds slipped away. Despite driving well, the Brit dropped to fifth place. In the afternoon, he made a mistake on Vargåsen 2: after missing a corner, the C3 went off the road and fell into a snow-filled ditch. Spectators rushed to help but unfortunately, it took them eight minutes to get the car back on the road…

Craig enjoyed a more positive day. Avoiding the previous day’s mistakes, the Irishman profited in particular from the misfortune of other drivers to move up a few positions. As he returned to service and parc ferme in Torsby, he could be pleased to have ended day two into fifth overall. The rally concluded with a sprint finish on Sunday, with just three stages to complete. Craig Breen and Scott Martin looked to make sure of their result and therefore took no risks. They added a second fifth-place finish to the one secured in Monte-Carlo!

Twelfth overall, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle nonetheless scored two points as they claimed fourth place on the Power Stage. With both Citroën C3 WRCs making it to the finish, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT added 16 points to its tally in the Manufacturers’ World Championship.

INDYCAR SERIES

NEWGARDEN LEADS FIRST DAY OF PHOENIX RACEWAY OPEN TEST

AVONDALE, Ariz. (Friday, Feb. 10, 2017) – The roar of 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines filled the air with sweet sounds at Phoenix Raceway, day and night, as 21 Verizon IndyCar Series entries turned laps for the first time together in 2017.

The first of a two-day open test for all full-season teams saw Team Penske newcomer Josef Newgarden record the fastest of 2,638 total laps turned on the 1.022-mile oval over the course of two three-hour practice sessions. The second practice came under the lights during the same time period that the Phoenix Grand Prix will take place April 29 on the short oval steeped in Indy car history.

Newgarden, who joins the 14-time Indy car champion Team Penske following five years as a rising star with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and most recently Ed Carpenter Racing, clocked the fastest lap of the day near the end of the afternoon practice at 190.129 mph (19.3511 seconds) in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Teams focused on race setups and running in packs in the night session, which was led by Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti in the No. 27 hhgregg Honda at 189.122 mph (19.4541 seconds).

PHOENIX OPEN TEST RESULTS: Practice 1; Practice 2; Combined results

“I think we had a pretty good start to today,” said Newgarden, who finished a career-best fourth in the 2016 championship behind the Penske trio who are now his teammates – Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Helio Castroneves. “The car was really great off the truck, so we didn’t have to do too much. We just got into our program and had a pretty easy start.”

Second on the combined session speed chart was owner/driver Ed Carpenter, in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, at 189.990 mph in the first practice. Defending Phoenix Grand Prix champion Scott Dixon was eighth in the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda (187.944) and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Pagenaud 14th in the No. 1 PPG Team Penske Chevy (186.403).

While drivers running Chevrolet engines and aero kits locked down the top four spots in the first practice, those equipped with Hondas claimed the first six positions in the night practice – led by Andretti, the third-generation Indy car racer.

“It’s always encouraging (to see your name at the top),” Andretti said. “It’s still early but it’s a good start. What I like about it is, you obviously want to be P1, but today we really focused on the car, the car, the car. We just focused on doing our jobs and maximizing whatever we can. And we ended up all right. I have a hunch that the opposition is turned down, but you might as well be there if you can be.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s great to be going and fun to be with Team Penske. It’s really been an interesting offseason for me, just I’ve not really wanted an offseason this time around. Normally you like a little bit of a break, but this year I wanted to get going immediately, so it’s been a long wait. But I feel fairly squared away with the new operation and just trying to gel a little bit with the group, the Verizon (No.) 2 car team is all new to me. They’re not new to each other, so there’s great continuity there, but I’m new to the group, so they’re trying to understand me and I’m trying to understand them. I think we had a pretty good start to today. The car was really great off the truck, so we didn’t have to do too much. We just got into our program and had a pretty easy start to the afternoon.”

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