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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.”

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.

F1Weekly podcast # 718

CLARK AND NASIR ARE STILL REMINISCING ON THE 2016 RACING SEASON SAYING GOODBYE TO BERNIE AND SHARING THEIR HOPE ON A POSSIBLY GREAT 2017 F1 SEASON. CLARK IS ALSO EXCITED ABOUT RENAULT ENTERING FOUR R8 GORDINI’S IN THE 2017 RALLYE MONTE CARLO HISTORIQUE!!

Barcelona, January 25, 2017 – Renault today announced it will take part in the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique 2017 involving four teams at the wheel of Renault 8 Gordinis:

  • Team n°5: Manu Guigou / Jean-Pierre Prevot
  • Team n°8: Jean Ragnotti / Sebastien Delanney
  • Team n°12: Michel Leclere / Michel Duvernay
  • Team n°14: Guillaume Chancel / François-Paul Forgeoux
The Renault 8 Gordini, a legend!

Few cars can have made such an impact during their time as the Renault 8 Gordini, prompting Renault to enter Renault 8 Gordinis in this competition. This was one the most popular sports models ever made by Renault, offering a top speed of 175 km/h at a very affordable price.

The Renault 8 Gordini appeared in 1964 to open up the thrill of sports driving to a whole generation. Though the “Gorde”, as it was affectionately known, was based on the Renault 8 Major, racetrack modifications at the hand of wizard Amédée Gordini left it largely unrecognisable.

Nothing was done halfway: the original model’s sensible engine was transfigured to squeeze out almost twice the power, with changes like a new cylinder head and two splendid Weber carburetors. Then the suspension, steering, brakes and equipment were upgraded to achieve a the top speed of 175 km/h. Visual signs of this remarkable sporting aptitude included round instrument dials and a smart blue finish with white stripes. The 1108 cc engine of the initial release gave way to a 1255 cc unit with the 1966 facelift, which also brought in the tell-tale dual headlamps. The Gordini Cup, introduced the same year, went a long way to developing the Renault 8 Gordini myth, consolidating its reputation with an impressive list of racing honours. Many racing drivers learned their craft at the wheel of a Renault 8 Gordini, and hold very fond memories of it. In 1970, the great little Renault 8 Gordini finally gave way to a Renault 12 model bearing the same name.

The four Renault 8 Gordinis entered by Renault are equipped with Michelin X M + S 89 tyres of dimensions 135X15 which have already proved their efficiency in previous editions.

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FORMULA 1

BERNIE’S OUT BRAWN IS IN

Liberty Media set to become the majority shareholder in F1 when it closes a deal to acquire 100% of Delta Topco – F1’s holding company – this month, Ecclestone’s position had been thrown into doubt. Originally, the 86-year-old claimed he had been asked to continue in his role for another three years by Liberty, but it is now understood the new owners want to put their own management structure in place, ousting Ecclestone.

Following approval from the FIA for Liberty to complete its takeover, Ecclestone admitted he did not know if he would remain in place to look after the commercial side of the sport, but on Monday he told Auto Motor und Sport that he was out, effective immediately.

“I was dismissed today,” he told AMUS. “I am simply gone. It’s official. I am no longer the leader of the company. My position has been taken by Chase Carey.

“My new position is one of those American terms. It’s something like an honorary president. I have this title now, even though I don’t know what it means.”

Ecclestone said he still expects to appear at grands prix in an unofficial capacity.

“I still have many friends in Formula 1. And I still have enough money to afford to attend a race,” he said, although he told AMUS he does not expect to retain his seat on the World Motor Sport Council.

“I doubt it,” he said. “First of all, I have to talk to [FIA president] Jean Todt about this.”

Carey is Liberty’s newly appointed F1 chairman.

FORMULA 1

IT’S OFFICIAL…BOTTAS TO MERCEDES AND ANOTHER YEAR OF FELIPE MASSA.

Bottas’ move to F1’s most sought after seat provides the opportunity for Brazilian Felipe Massa to come out of retirement to replace the Finn at Williams and pair up with Canadian teenager Lance Stroll.
“It’s mega to be driving a Silver Arrow this year,” Bottas said at Mercedes’ factory Monday. “I can’t wait to get working properly.
“My goal is immediately at the first race to get all the points that are available. I guarantee I will be giving it all. I want to thanks Toto (Wolff, Mercedes head of motorsport) and everyone at the Mercedes and Daimler boards for this opportunity.
“This is my fifth season in F1. I got nine podiums with Williams, but I’m still missing my first win, so that’s my first mission.”
Bottas finished the 2016 season in ninth place with 85 points, with his only podium coming as he finished third at the Canadian Grand Prix in June.
New teammate Hamilton, who Rosberg pipped to the world title by five points, endured some frosty exchanges with Mercedes over the course of last season, but Bottas is confident they will perform well as a duo.
“I think with Lewis we are going to be a strong pair together,” the 27-year-old said. “I really respect him as a driver and a person.
“I’m sure we are going to close, and we’re going to be both pushing each forward. I’m sure we can work as a team.”

DAKAR RALLY

Torrential rainfall puts pay to Stage Six of the Dakar Rally

With much of Oruro and the surrounding area underwater this morning the Dakar Rally organisers had no choice but to cancel Stage Six. The “extreme climatic conditions” in the region saw competitor safety put first and the proposed 527-kilometre timed special stage between Oruro and La Paz called off.

Get a real sense of the torrential rain falling in Oruro and the impact it had on proceedings by watching/downloading today’s News Cut here.

Those competitors who remain in the race after a gruelling first week that has seen high-profile retirements, such as Nasser Al-Attiyah, Carlos Sainz and Toby Price, came into La Paz this afternoon. The racers were greeted by hoards of enthusiastic fans that lined the streets of the highest capital city on the planet.

Now comes a well-earned Rest Day in La Paz with racers searching for a slice of comfort after exiting the mudbath of the Oruro bivouac. Rest Day gives Dakar competitors a chance for a full service of their race vehicle, various media commitments and hopefully the chance to get some much needed shuteye.

The Rest Day also gives a chance for petrolheads such as windsurf legend Robby Naish to get an up close look at how the Dakar works. Naish is due in the La Paz bivouac on Sunday to catch up with crews such as Team Peugeot Total, the Red Bull KTM Factory Team and Team Kamaz Master. After a dramatic first week of action they’ll be no shortage of stories for the thrill-seeker to hear about.