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FORMULA 1

NICO WINS, HAMILTON CLIMES BACK TO TAKE SECOND, FERNANDO SURVIVES A HORRIFIC CRASH.

A bad start dropped Hamilton from pole to sixth but he fought to take second. Rosberg took advantage when the race was stopped following Alonso’s high-speed barrel-roll to switch strategy and overhaul early leader Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel’s strategy gamble on super-soft tyres mid-race failed and he took third ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Trying to pass the Mexican on the run down to Turn Three, Alonso’s front right wheel tagged the right rear of the Haas and he was launched into a barrel roll, coming to rest upside down in the barriers.

The two-time champion was clearly shaken but, although he limped away from his car, he was uninjured.

For the re-start, Ferrari chose to keep Vettel on the fast but fragile super-soft tyres he had fitted at his first pit stop, while Mercedes switched Rosberg from soft to medium tyres with the aim of going to the end without another stop.

From that moment on, the race was Rosberg’s barring problems. He merely had to hang on to Vettel and wait for the Ferrari to stop, which he did on lap 35.

Because of new restrictions on radio transmissions, Rosberg was unaware of potential problems with overheating brakes and excessive wear on his left rear tyre. But, while on the edge, both issues stayed under control until the end of the race.

FORMULA 1

MERCEDES PICKS UP RIGHT WHERE THEY LEFT OFF AND THE NEW QUALI FORMAT IS A DISASTER!

RED BULL COMMENTS ON QUALIFYING:

DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 8, (3rd Practice – 8, 1:26.768)
“To make it into Q3 is good, we expected to more or less be in the top eight. Another tenth would have probably given us a couple of more positions, but that’s always the way. As for the new qualifying system, Q1 and Q2 seemed okay, the clock ticking down added a bit more pressure and it might have been a bit more exciting for the fans, but Q3 didn’t seem to work as well, it was a bit weird to have the session still going and all the drivers out of their cars.”
DANIIL KVYAT, Position: 18, (3rd Practice – 13, 1:27.430) 
“Of course it’s frustrating to be P18 but we will learn from what we have done today. My first lap was compromised by traffic so I had to give it up, and on the second push lap the tyres lost a lot of performance so it wasn’t enough. It’s a new system and someone had to get it wrong and today it was us but we have plenty of things to analyse from our short life in Q1. I will do my best to go through the field tomorrow, definitely. It’s not going to be enjoyable to start from P18 but it’s a long race and we have to try and squeeze everything out of it and bring some points home.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER: “For me, this new qualifying system did not work and really we should apologise to the fans. We have not put on a show for them at all today which is a shame, especially for the first race of the season. It’s not good for qualifying to be done with five minutes to go, drivers and cars need to be out on track fighting for pole up until the last second. We should accept that we tried it, it didn’t work and the important thing is we learn from it and address it quickly. Qualifying needs to build up to a crescendo, not what we saw here today.”

FORMULA 1

RED BULL AUSTRALIA GP – FRIDAY PRACTICE

DANIEL RICCIARDO 
First Practice Session: Position: 3, Best Time: 1:30.875, Laps: 13
Second Practice Session: Position: 4, Best Time: 1:39.535, Laps: 9 
“Today was the definition of Melbourne. Four seasons in one day, that’s what everyone says and we got that today. It’s a shame we didn’t do that much constant running, but I’m not too frustrated with the position we’re in. The laps we did, I was pretty happy with and the car is in a decent place. It’s just nice to be back in the car again to be honest and I was very happy to put the helmet back on. I think tomorrow will be a little bit of a mixed bag for everyone. We did get enough running to feel all conditions and if it is variable throughout the weekend then we’re prepared for that. I took a little trip to the gravel this morning, but I noticed there were a lot of fans at Turn 12 and I wanted to say hello to them.”
DANIIL KVYAT 
First Practice Session: Position: 2, Best Time: 1:30.146, Laps: 14
Second Practice Session: Position: 10, Best Time: 1:42.411, Laps: 10
“Everything went well today I think, the car felt good out of the box so it’s promising. Obviously there wasn’t much running but it was the same for everyone and every lap we tried to take the most out of it, to learn as much as we could and we can put this data in our pocket for qualifying tomorrow and for Sunday. There’s not many indications from today, it’s impossible to predict what others were doing, what they’re going to do and so on, and so it wouldn’t be wise to draw any kind of conclusions. We still don’t know what the weather will be like tomorrow so we just have to be patient and see what the day will bring us.

FORMULA 1

NEW RENAULT SPORT FORMULA ONE TEAM LIVERY RIDES THE WAVES DOWN UNDER

Renault Sport Formula One Team has unveiled its definitive livery for the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship.

The team debuted its distinctive yellow-gold and black colours in an event hosted in Docklands, Melbourne, in a highly unique way. The R.S.16 was first seen by the guests as it literally surfed the waves at Boat Harbour Park beach just outside Sydney !

RENAULT F1 SIDE

Renault Sport Formula One Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer plus Australian pro surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey undertook the shoot on Monday before the Australian Grand Prix. The car – a showcar for those concerned about whether it will dry out in time for Sunday’s race – was fixed to the 7.5m long board using bespoke harnesses. It was then towed out into the Pacific Ocean where it was unleashed to catch its first-ever waves.

Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director of Renault Sport Racing, commented: ‘We had a new livery to unveil in Melbourne, but we wanted to do things a little differently. We’re in F1 to ultimately get lots of points on track, but also to get lots of attention off track, so we came up with this idea. To our knowledge it’s the first time an F1 car has ever surfed! It fits with the Australian theme, but moreover it aligns us with the spirit of adventure we see in the latest range of Renault products such as the Captur and Kadjar.

‘The black and yellow Sirius colours themselves are naturally the corporate colours of Renault Sport, but also share the heritage of Renault Sport on track. The first-ever Renault F1 car, the RS01, hit the track in yellow and black in 1977 and this latest livery is a nod to this formidable car. To create much more tangible links between Renault Sport Cars and Renault Sport Racing, we have also used colours to showcase the matt white colour available on the Renault Clio R.S Trophy.

‘Meanwhile we have added some contemporary touches to make the R.S.16 stand out. We have used metallic colours that will reflect the lights at the night races, the ‘diamond’ pattern at the rear of the car fits in with our new brand identity and the gold flashes signify we aim for the top.

‘We are really happy with the new look of the car and hope you enjoy the video as much as we enjoyed making it!’

 

INDYCAR SERIES

ALEXANDER ROSSI TAKES TOP ROOKIE POSITION IN DEBUT
INDYCAR SERIES RACE

Alexander Rossi finished his first IndyCar Series race just outside the top ten in P12 and leader of the rookies as round one of the 2016 season got underway on the streets of St Petersburg, Florida.

Alexander and Andretti Autosport made a strong start to the weekend as Friday’s practice session took place under typically blue Florida skies, with Alexander quickly putting his No. 98 car at the sharp end of the field. The American was able to open his first weekend of racing and third day behind the wheel of the black and white Indy car with a strong tally of 47 laps and a best time of 01:01.5198, impressing those around him by his capacity to adapt and immediately get straight on the pace.

Final practice on Saturday morning saw a few braking issues on the Castrol Edge/Curb Honda which were unable to be resolved going into the qualifying session later that day. Alexander was first up to qualify in the initial group, however was knocked out of round one, setting a best lap time of 01:01.5794 and finishing the session in P19.

Sunday’s race was met with sunny skies, despite the potential threat of rain forecast for later on in the day. Alexander lined up 19th on the grid, with everything to do to fight his way back up through the field. As the race kicked off, Alexander made an excellent start and gained five positions on lap one to reach P13, steering clear of trouble and incident.

As the race progressed Alexander and the team were able to battle their way further up the grid, running in P5 at one point, and a strong pit and fuel strategy kept Alexander right in the thick of it as the Grand Prix unfolded. Narrowly escaping an incident with minimal damage which saw a ten car pile up, Alexander kept a clear and calm head to manage the situation and focussed on bringing the car home.

Despite the pressure on the final laps, and having to negotiate between allowing the race leader Montoya through as well as battling to maintain his position, Alexander was able to take the fight to the flag, crossing the line in P12 and crucially ahead of the three other rookie contenders.

Alexander and Andretti Autosport will now look to build on the strong start to the season and head to Arizona for the Phoenix Grand Prix on April 1st – 2nd, where Alexander will have his first taste of racing on an oval circuit.

Alexander Rossi: “Friday was a positive day in terms of the quick progress we made and adaptability found. The afternoon practice session was a big step forward for the No. 98 from the first morning, in terms of little issues, me knowing the track better and us understanding the car. It was only our third day out working together, so every time we go on track is a little bit of a learning experience still, but I would say the progression from morning to afternoon was very positive. We found we were still not really close to where we wanted to be, but we took a step in the right direction.

“Based on that, we were expecting quite a bit more from Saturday’s qualifying session. We had a bit of an issue in the morning on the Castrol Edge/Curb Honda with braking which we weren’t able to resolve. While of course that was a little disappointing, it’s the way it goes sometimes and I think that we, as a group of four cars, we were able to put our heads together Saturday evening and figure out the best solution.

“The short warm up session showed we had regained some ground ahead of the race. However we knew it would be tough starting from P19, and today was probably one of the more challenging days I’ve had in a race car in quite some time. We just didn’t have the car underneath us for whatever reason, and it was quite tricky out there. I think we made the most of what we could, we stayed out of trouble and obviously the finishing position doesn’t look that bad, but considering we were almost a lap down from our teammate is a bit of an issue. We need to really look at things in the next couple weeks. It’s another set of circumstances coming up in Phoenix, but we really need to understand this with Long Beach going forward.”

Rob Edwards, Director of Engineering & Race Operations, Andretti Autosport:
“This weekend was a learning experience for Alexander and he did a great job to bring the car home despite challenging circumstances at times. We all want results, and today was a solid foundation to build upon. In his limited time with us he’s proven to be dedicated and a quick learner. We are looking forward to the season ahead.

FORMULA 1

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

The traditional season-opener at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne is a fitting place to start the 2016 season. The part street circuit layout provides an interesting challenge for the drivers, with the late start time and setting sun making visibility tricky as the race unfolds. The laid back and knowledgeable Aussie fans always create an electric atmosphere, making this a popular destination for the Formula One circus after a busy winter. Williams has won five times in Australia and after another strong campaign in 2015 the team will be looking to make an impressive start to the season and signal its intent once again.
For Melbourne Pirelli has allocated each driver the supersoft (for use in Q3), the soft and the medium tyre for their dry-weather running. The intermediate and wet tyres are also available. Pirelli have allocated three sets of tyres to each driver, but each driver can now choose their remaining ten sets from the available compounds. Both Felipe and Valtteri have decided to go with one set of the medium compound, five sets of the soft compound and seven sets of the supersoft compound for Melbourne.
Pat Symonds
It’s always great to get back to Melbourne. It’s a real test for the teams and drivers as they move from winter testing mode into competitive racing. As a circuit, it provides a few engineering challenges. The entry to Turn 1 has been notoriously bumpy in previous seasons, although due to some resurfacing work, it should be smoother this year. The highspeed change of direction through Turns 11 and 12, which require an agile car, coupled with the relatively low grip that improves significantly throughout the weekend, leaves teams chasing a set-up that provides good low-speed grip with high-speed stability. We feel we have a good platform to work from this year and hope we can manage these challenges to achieve a competitive outcome.
Felipe Massa
Australia is always a nice place to start the season because it’s a fantastic country and everybody likes to go there, it is also a race where anything can happen. I’m really looking forward to starting a new season, and I hope we can start well like we did last year. Hopefully our car is competitive straight away, that’s the most important thing. I am pretty optimistic that we can have a good first race and a good season.
Valtteri Bottas
Melbourne is a really nice city and I always really enjoy going there. The people are nice and the weather is normally very good. Because it’s the first grand prix of the year it’s a very exciting time for everyone. I really like the track as well, for me it’s one of the best on the whole Formula One calendar. Last year was disappointing for me, because of my back injury, but this year I am looking forward to starting the season with a strong result.