Tag Archives: GP3

FORMULA 1

THE NEW WILLIAMS FW40

The Williams Mercedes FW40 was revealed online today ahead of pre-season testing in Barcelona. This is a precursor to the first pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona, where the car will be seen on track for the first time with Felipe Massa behind the wheel on Monday 27th February.

With the first race of the 2017 Formula One season just around the corner, it’s shaping up to be one of the most highly-anticipated seasons in recent memory.

Williams FW40 Unveil
Friday 17th February 2017
Photo: WilliamsF1 (COPYRIGHT FREE For Editorial Use Only)

The new regulations could shake up the grid as everyone tries to find the best solution to the new regulations. This season, we will see the return of wider tyres, as well as revamped aerodynamics and a more physically demanding experience for the drivers.

Celebrating 40 years in the sport this year, the first image of the team’s 2017 challenger, the Williams Mercedes FW40, shows a very different look to 2016’s FW38.

This season we will see wider bodywork, wider front and rear wings, and fatter tyres. As a result of this, there will be a significant increase in downforce and mechanical grip with the 2017 cars really able to attack the corners, significantly faster than they have done in recent years. That, in turn, means braking distances will be reduced and G-loading will increase.

Williams Martini Racing FW40 Mercedes Launch.
Grove, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom.
February, 2017.
The Williams FW40 Mercedes pre-test photo shoot.
Photo: Drew Gibson/Williams
Ref: Heritage 002 – 19

Drivers will be pushed to their limits physically, which is why a key focus for them over the winter has been on training hard in preparation, with the primary focus on upper body strength. With the increased downforce there comes an increase in drag, and in some cases a reduction in the higher top speeds we have seen in recent years. That doesn’t mean laptimes will increase though, quite the opposite.

Laptimes are predicted to fall and lap records are expected to be broken. To set blistering laptimes, teams will need some heavy duty rubber to stick to the track. Pirelli have certainly delivered that with the significantly wider front and rear tyres. The front tyres are 60mm wider, but the rear tyres have increased by a staggering 80mm. This also poses a new challenge for the pit crew with heavier tyres and modified wheel guns needed. Practice is underway as the team prepares to fight to keep its position as the fastest pit crew in Formula One.

In order to be quick out of the blocks, teams will need to understand the new tyres, and do so quickly if they want to be, and remain, competitive. The team has increased its effort in this area which will hopefully mean it can start the season already having a good understanding of the new rubber. In-season tyre testing will also be more crucial than ever before, as understanding the tyres and how they work will be one of the key factors in pulling performance from the car.

Although cosmetically the 2017 cars will look very different to their 2016 predecessors, the core of the car, the power unit and the areas situated around the power unit, have not changed a great deal.

Barcelona’s pre-season testing will give teams the first real indication of how the cars are going to perform. But, similar to the engine regulation change in 2014, no one will have a real sense of the pecking order until we get to Melbourne. Even then, things can change extremely quickly, especially when the margins between success and failure are as slight as they are in Formula One.

FORMULA 1

THE FERRARI SF70H IS HERE

The 63rd single-seater designed and built by Scuderia Ferrari to take part in the Formula 1 World Championship is born out of a regulation change that is without precedent in this category of motor sport. Generally, in the past, regulations went in the direction of slowing down the cars. However, this year, the rule changes go in the opposite direction, meaning the cars have more aerodynamic downforce and more mechanical grip.

Aerodynamic concept

On this topic, the Gestione Sportiva group has concentrated its efforts on finding the right compromise between downforce and aerodynamic resistance, or drag. The new Pirelli tyres are much wider than in the past, by 6 centimetres each at the front and 8 at the rear. This increased frontal area constitutes a “brake” on forward motion as does the increased downforce coming from the 2017 specification front wing, floor and diffuser. Countering this effect, the combination of downforce and the bigger footprint from the tyres translates into increased grip, leading to higher cornering speeds.

Chassis

There are several differences between the 668 project and Ferraris from the recent past: the lengthened nose and the arrow-shaped wing are a consequence of the regulations, as is the obvious fin on the engine cover and the more complex aero appendages ahead of the air intakes on the sidepods, whose unusual shape was designed in harmony with the front crash structure. Visible at the front is a duct that has an aerodynamic role, while behind the driver, the roll-hoop, which incorporates the engine air intake has been completely redesigned. Also updated is the suspension layout, which still retains a push rod design at the front with pull rods at the rear. The hubs and wheel nuts have been redesigned to facilitate the work of the mechanics when changing wheels during the pit stops. Finally, also as a function of the expected increase in performance this year, the power-steering and braking systems have been upsized.

Power unit

In contrast to the aerodynamics, when it comes to the power unit, there have been few changes to the regulations. The main one concerns the amount of fuel that can be used by each car during the race: with the predicted increase in performance, with a bigger percentage of each lap spent at full revs, the permitted amount of fuel has increased from 100 to 105 Kg, although the flow rate is still fixed at 100 kg/hour. The 062 engine is a definite step forward compared to its predecessor, when it comes to chasing performance. The layout of some of the mechanical components on the hybrid power unit has been revised, while other areas maintain a similar layout to the 2016 car. On the sporting regulation front, the abolition of the “Token” system allows the teams more room for development over the course of the season.

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.”