Tag Archives: Le Mans

FORMULA 1

THE NEW HAAS VF17 HAS ARRIVED

BARCELONA, Spain (Feb. 26, 2017) – Haas F1 Team’s 2017 challenger in the FIA Formula One World Championship, the VF-17, made its official debut today via the organization’s social media platforms and website. It hits the track Monday for the first day of preseason testing at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.

The VF-17 follows the team’s very first car, the VF-16, which carried Haas F1 Team to an eighth-place finish in the 2016 constructor standings. Twenty-nine points were scored by the VF-16 during Haas F1 Team’s inaugural season, the largest points haul of any new Formula One team in this millennium.

Incorporating “VF” into the name of the car is a nod to the history of Haas Automation, the team’s title sponsor. The first CNC machine manufactured by Haas Automation was the VF-1 in 1988. The “V” stands for vertical, which is an industry standard designation for a vertical mill. Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, added “F1” to the name to unofficially designate it as the company’s “Very First One”.

As chairman of Haas F1 Team, the “F1” moniker of that first machine takes on added significance as Haas prepares for its second Formula One season.

“Being a Formula One participant brings a level of credibility that you just won’t get through traditional advertising,” says Haas, whose entry in 2016 became the first American Formula One team since 1986. “People are kind of ‘show me’ people, like show me what you can do and then I’ll believe in you. That was the initial concept – to convince people of our ability to do things others can’t, and I think that translates into being a machine tool builder.

“Bigger, Better, Faster, Lighter is what we strive for in the machining industry and it’s what we strive for in motorsports. People see what we can do in Formula One, and people believe Haas Automation can build world-class machine tools.”

The VF-17 was built under a new set of technical regulations featuring an advanced aerodynamic package designed to create a higher level of downforce. A wider front wing, larger barge boards, a lower and wider rear wing and a diffuser that expands 50 millimeters (two inches) in height and width comprise the changes, along with wider tires from Pirelli, by 60 millimeters (2.4 inches) in the front and 80 millimeters (3.1 inches) in the rear, a 25-percent increase to bring the front tires to 305 millimeters (12 inches) and the rear tires to 405 millimeters (15.9 inches).

“I think the pedal box is the same, but all the rest is very different from last year’s car,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1 Team. “You always try to make a faster car, which is normally a lighter car. Now we can put on more ballast and get better weight distribution. The aero is completely new, as are the tires, so we needed to have some built-in adjustability.

“Aesthetically, the car has a more aggressive look. It’s lighter and more aerodynamically efficient. Everything we learned from our first car has been applied to our new car.”

The colors from the original car were carried over to the VF-17, but the overall scheme is different. A dark gray makes up the majority of the livery, with tones of red, black, white and light gray incorporating the look of Haas Automation’s complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. Approximately 1,300 employees encompass Haas Automation, with the Oxnard, California-based company exporting its machines to more than 60 countries. The VF-17 showcases Haas Automation’s commitment to technology and innovation to a passionate, global audience.

The VF-17 tests at Barcelona Feb. 27-March 2 and again March 7-10 before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix March 26 in Melbourne

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

McLAREN-HONDA MCL32 BREAKS COVER

Dynamic orange and black livery reflects team’s glorious 50-plus-year history, and heralds new era led by Executive Committee and new senior management, featuring established world champion and exciting future star

A stunning new colour scheme that harks back to the team’s 1960s roots, a restructure in senior management, a new race driver, and a set of challenging but exciting new technical regulations all frame the genesis of McLaren-Honda’s newest Formula 1 challenger, the MCL32.

The MCL32 follows in the evolutionary footsteps of its two immediate predecessors, MP4-30 and MP4-31, but it has been overhauled in every area as the design team has looked to capitalise on a series of new aerodynamic regulations introduced for 2017.

The result is an extremely elegant but aggressive-looking race car, fitted with Honda’s latest-generation power unit, the RA617H, which has been thoroughly revised by the company’s team of talented engineers.

NEW COLOUR SCHEME

Most strikingly apparent is the MCL32’s new colour scheme, which blends old-school McLaren history with contemporary thinking on vehicle livery design. The MCL32 has been exclusively painted by long-term partner AkzoNobel Sikkens, in Tarocco Orange, a custom McLaren colour with a pearl sparkle, and a contrasting satin black and gloss white finish.

The new colouration is a particularly crowd-pleasing touch, intended not only to revisit McLaren’s past but also to kick-start a fresh chapter in the team’s history.

Mohammed Bin Essa Al Khalifa, Executive Committee Principal, McLaren Technology Group, says:

“The launch of a new Formula 1 car is always a time of anticipation and expectation.

“At McLaren-Honda, we’re fully focused on returning our team to the top step of the podium – a task we view as a multi-year project that requires thorough strategic planning and execution.

“Having analysed our corporate culture and structure with great care and attention, and having consequently made important improvements, we’re now confident that all the building blocks are in place, and that we now have the expertise, the experience, the energy and the enthusiasm successfully to make the journey back to the front.

“We knew changes were required – and, now, with Zak [Brown], Jonathan [Neale] and Eric [Boullier], and of course our drivers Fernando [Alonso] and Stoffel [Vandoorne], backed by a superb team of men and women in both Woking [UK] and Sakura [Japan], we’re fully equipped to tackle this year’s exciting changes to the Formula 1 regulations, and, in addition to that, we’re already liaising strategically with the new owners of our sport, Liberty Media, to improve its spectacle and success.”

Mansour Ojjeh, Executive Committee Principal, McLaren Technology Group, adds:

“Over the past few months we’ve been working extremely hard to prepare for the new Formula 1 season – from every point of view – and the first visible output of that massive effort is a car that looks fantastic in my view.

“Its colour scheme incorporates a significant nod to our team’s founder, the great Bruce McLaren, but it’s deliberately not orange all over. The black stripes and white trims not only add to the overall aesthetic effect, but also reference more recent colour schemes as well as the traditional corporate colour of our much-valued power unit partner, Honda, whose engineers have been toiling night and day over the past few months.

“I’ve been involved in Formula 1 far too long to make precise performance predictions – more than 30 years – but I can say without fear of contradiction that we’re now in a very good place: we’ve got the right people, with the right attitude, motivated by the right kind of collaborative ambition, and we’re ready to continue to work as hard as is humanly possible to do what it takes to succeed.

“I’m proud of them all.”

FORMULA 1

MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS LAUNCHES NEW W08

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport today took the first step on the road to the 2017 Formula One season with the official presentation of the new F1 W08 EQ Power+.

The new car was launched to the team’s fans from the Silverstone garages via a live 360-degree broadcast on Facebook, YouTube and the Team’s official website – reinforcing the “fan first” approach that has grown Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s social media community into the sport’s largest, at over 14 million people.

The Launch was held as part of the Team’s official 100 km Filming Day, during which the F1 W08 EQ Power+ completed its first laps on Silverstone’s 2.96 km International Circuit, in the hands of both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

The all-new F1 W08 EQ Power+ has been designed to maximize the performance opportunities offered by radically different aerodynamic regulations for the 2017 season which will probably see the new cars become the quickest in the history of the sport – while leaving sufficient scope for an in-season development rate expected to be among the fastest ever in Formula One.

The M08 EQ Power+ is the fourth iteration of the Turbo Hybrid generation of Power Units and has been conceived to withstand significantly increased physical loads and a more severe duty cycle under the new rules, while also maximizing potential performance developments.

Upon unveiling the new car, Toto Wolff commented:

“The new rules for 2017 were designed to make the fastest F1 cars ever through a big increase in aerodynamic performance. They should be more physical to drive and hopefully more spectacular for the fans to watch. The proof will come in the opening races but we have probably achieved that target.

“Of course, in terms of relative performance, it’s clear that any rule change brings with it a big reset but also a big opportunity. This is the time to stay humble and keep our feet on the ground. None of the teams has raced under these rules and we all have the same points right now: zero.

“But the dominant feeling in the team right now is one of excitement – the factory is buzzing with anticipation. It has been a really motivating challenge to develop a brand new car concept and I have never seen our determination to succeed higher than it is right now.

“Of course, we had a curve ball from Nico late last year that left us scrambling a little bit in the winter. But we found a great solution with Valtteri and I am sure that he will form a strong partnership with Lewis. They have both been working hard in the factory with the technical teams and, although we have a different dynamic to manage than in recent seasons, I don’t expect the competition between them to be less intense. And that’s how we like it.

“This year, in-season development will play a big role in determining the championship outcome. None of us know where we will stand at the first race but I am confident that, whatever that position is, we have the people and the capability to deal with every challenge that comes our way. This will be the season where our full works team can show its true strength.”

FORMULA 1

SAHARA FORCE INDIA REVEALS NEW LOOK FOR 2017 SEASON

Sahara Force India launched its 2017 season today offering fans and media their first look at the team’s new car, the VJM10. Silverstone circuit was the venue as Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon pulled back the covers to reveal the team’s dynamic new look including an updated livery and expanded partner portfolio.

The VJM10’s new aerodynamic package is guaranteed to get heads turning, while the silver and orange livery retains the team’s traditional colours with a fresh twist. Branding from Johnnie Walker appears on the rear wing and top of chassis marking the start of a partnership with the whisky brand. Telecommunications brands Claro, Telcel and Infinitum continue their partnerships for a fourth season, while NEC branding remains on the engine cover.

Motor oil brand, Quaker State, continues its relationship with the team, as does long-time partner, Kingfisher, with its logo positioned on the engine cover. The VJM10 headrests carry eye-catching Hype Energy branding, while the team’s newest partner, FXTM, takes up a position on the rear of the sidepod. The team also welcomes eyewear brand, LDNR, with its logo on the front wing end plate.

Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya, was the first to praise the VJM10: “I can’t remember being more excited ahead of a new season. The VJM10 looks aggressive and purposeful, and is the result of a huge effort behind the scenes over the last twelve months. We have big hopes for this car, which looks stunning in its new livery.”

With a complete overhaul of technical regulations, the VJM10 represents a clean sheet of paper in terms of design. “This year the cars are completely new and nothing can be carried over from previous years,” explained Chief Operating Officer, Otmar Szafnauer. “Although we have completely new aerodynamics on the VJM10, it’s fair to say that our aero philosophy is very similar to 2015 and 2016.”

Technical Director, Andrew Green, explained how the team has relished the challenge presented by the new rules and expects huge scope for in-season development: “It’s definitely a big overhaul; one that requires a change in mentality. It took a bit of time to adjust at first, but we are there now and I am confident we know where to look and where the performance is coming from with this car. The development slope is incredibly steep and we are going to see significant updates to the cars at regular intervals, right from the start; it’s going to be big updates and I don’t think development will start to taper off any time soon.”

Vijay Mallya remained cautious on setting a target for the season, preferring to reserve judgement until the racing begins: “Simply repeating our performance level of 2016 will be a big task in itself. I don’t want to set goals or targets other than to say that we intend to maintain the momentum we have built up in recent years and carry it into the new season. There are too many unknowns to say more than this.”