Tag Archives: Webber

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.”

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.

 

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 #719

CLARK AND NASIR ARE OVER THE MOON WITH THE SPECIAL INTERVIEW OF FERNANDO ALONSO’S FORMER TEAM MATE… GIANCARLO FISICHELLA FROM THE DAYTONA 24 HOURS RACE LAST WEEKEND.

Minardi (1996)

In 1996, he made the move to Formula One, making his debut for the Minardi team, after being the official test driver the previous season. However he did not complete the full season since Minardi required a driver who could bring funding to the team, and replaced Fisichella with Giovanni Lavaggi.

Jordan (1997)

For 1997 he made the move to Eddie Jordan’s eponymous team, where he drove alongside former F1 champion Michael Schumacher’s brother Ralf, himself a former Formula Nippon champion. Fisichella gained his first podium finish at the 1997 Canadian Grand Prix, and went on to finish higher in the points standings than his team-mate. At Hockenheim a victory looked to be within reach for Fisichella, but a puncture and the performance of an on-form Gerhard Berger denied him the win. Fisichella was able to show his talent again at the rain-soaked Belgian Grand Prix in which he finished a commendable second behind Michael Schumacher. Following this race, the Benetton team signed him for 1998.

Benetton (1998–2001)

Fisichella driving for Benetton at the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix.

The timing of his move to Benetton move was unfortunate. Following Renault’s withdrawal from Formula One, Benetton would contest the 1998 season without “works” (factory-supplied) engines, instead using rebranded development versions of 1997 Renault engines. Despite not having the latest engines, Fisichella still managed second places at Montreal and Monaco, even being in contention for a victory in Canada until gearbox problems slowed him down. In Austria, Fisichella scored his first pole position, although an on-track clash with Jean Alesi during the race cost him any chance of a good result. He was then able to add only two more points to his total in the second half of the year as Benetton lost ground on their competition.

1999 proved to be a similarly inconsistent season for Giancarlo Fisichella. He did score some points finishes, including second at Montreal, and again came close to a victory in the European Grand Prix, until he spun off whilst in the lead. This would prove to be his best chance of a victory for the next few seasons.

Fisichella’s season was to follow a similar pattern in 2000. He again gained some surprise podium finishes early in the year, but Benetton’s now unfortunately traditional poor second half of the season meant that he failed to score any more points. Since joining Benetton, Fisichella had comprehensively outperformed his Austrian team-mate Alexander Wurz, who would then leave the team to make way for British rookie Jenson Button in 2001. Renault had purchased the Benetton team by the start of the 2001 season, but their investment was too late to enable much progress with Benetton’s uncompetitive 2001 car, and as a result, Fisichella was battling for much of the season with teams such as Minardi and Prost. However, the efforts of technical director Mike Gascoyne and his staff did result in improvements over the year, culminating in a 4-5 finish at the German Grand Prix and a third-place finish for Fisichella at the Belgian race. Despite Fisichella gaining the team’s best results that season and consistently outperforming Button, he was not retained by the team, so he rejoined Jordan for 2002.

Jordan (2002–2003)

Fisichella driving for Jordan at the 2002 US GP.

Fisichella managed to score just seven points in 2002, comfortably outpacing new teammate Takuma Sato, although the Jordan-Honda car of that year was never truly competitive. After Honda withdrew their engine supply, Jordan switched to Ford engines for the 2003 season, but the team were still unable to compete with the top teams on the grid. Despite this lack of performance, Fisichella won his first race at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Battling with McLaren’s Kimi Räikkönen amidst heavy rain and numerous crashes, Fisichella took the race lead on lap 54, soon before the race was red-flagged. However, he was demoted to second place on the podium, because (per regulations) Räikkönen was the race leader two laps prior to the red flag. Several days later, though, the FIA determined that Fisichella had already begun his 56th lap before the red flag, meaning that he, and not Räikkönen, had been leading the race two laps before its premature end, awarding the Italian his first F1 victory. Fisichella was the only F1 driver to have won a race without having stood atop the podium. He collected the winner’s trophy at the next race at Imola.[2] Fisichella’s only other points finish of 2003 was to be a seventh place at Indianapolis.

Sauber (2004)

Fisichella driving for Sauber at the 2004 US GP.

Unhappy at the Jordan team’s performance, Fisichella moved to Sauber in 2004 in the hope of greater results, and of using the team as a way of gaining access to, and a drive for, 2003 World Champions Ferrari, who supplied re-badged engines to the Sauber team. Fisichella drove well all year, comfortably outpacing team mate Felipe Massa for much of the season (scoring 22 championship points vs Massa’s 12).

Renault (2005–2007)

Fisichella at the 2005 United States Grand Prix.

His strong performances prompted former Benetton-Renault team boss Flavio Briatore to re-sign him for the 2005 season as partner to the young Spanish driver Fernando Alonso. A win at the season opening race at Melbourne signalled the Formula One breakthrough that commentators had been predicting, but it proved to be something of a false dawn. A run of poor luck saw Fisichella fall behind his team mate in the championship standings, and at times the pair were achieving noticeably different lap times with the same equipment. It appeared that Fisichella simply did not have the pace to match Alonso.

The difference in pace between Fisichella and Alonso was noticeable, and while Alonso’s metronomic consistency helped him win the 2005 championship, Fisichella’s general bad luck was to cost him points finishes. He was overtaken and lost the lead on the final lap of the Japanese Grand Prix by McLaren driver Kimi Räikkönen, despite his race engineer urging him to avoid letting Räikkönen past. Nevertheless, his performances alongside Alonso throughout the season enabled Renault to win the World Constructors’ Championship ahead of McLaren and Ferrari, the team that had won that title the previous six seasons.

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DAYTONA 24 HOURS

Daytona International Speedway, Sunday 29 January 2017 – No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac Dpi-V.R won the 55th edition of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA this afternoon, completing 659 laps of the famous Daytona International Speedway. Ricky Taylor took the chequered flag first after a testing 24 hours ensuring that he and his team mates, Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli and NASCAR legend, Jeff Gordon, were awarded the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA trophy and a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. Captivating, spectacular and extremely demanding, the ‘Rolex 24’ is one of few motor sport events in the world to test the ultimate limits of man and machine, all against the clock.

Hurley Haywood, five-time winner of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, waved the green flag at 14:30 local time on Saturday, officially marking the start of America’s famous race. The Cadillac Prototype trio of the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing, #10 and #5 Mustang Sampling Racing set the pace from the beginning before early favourite, #31, suffered steering issues in the eighth hour. As darkness fell the rain began to fall and a bitter cold set in, making the track treacherous and demanding the utmost concentration from the teams.

In the early hours of Sunday morning with the extreme conditions refusing to let up, the field experienced two extended hour-long safety car periods, underlining the true attritional nature of this test of endurance. The cars competing this year are the most technologically advanced of this era; every lap is a learning experience for teams who are pushed to the limits. With three hours remaining, and finally a dry track, the Prototype (P) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) winners were far from decided with multiple cars on the lead lap. Counting down the final minutes on the Rolex clock, the race went down to the wire with a thrilling battle between the leading Cadillacs; ultimately the #10 took the lead from the #5 with a legal and robust move into turn 1 with only moments to go. Throughout the 24 hours the #10 successfully answered everything its rivals, nature and time could test it with and deservingly took the chequered flag by only 0.671 seconds from its sister car.

#66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing took victory in a very competitive GT Le Mans class having battled until the closing minutes of the race with the second place #911 Porsche GT Team holding off #62 Risi Competizione. #38 Performance Tech Motorsports won the Prototype Challenge (PC) title and #28 Alegra Motorsports the GT Daytona (GTD) class.

Forty-one of the 55 race starters made it to the finish, further exemplifying the punishing nature of this two-lap test of the clock. The 3.56-mile circuit demands a unique combination of resilience, skill and awareness, as well as reliability and performance, proving there are two types of winners at the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA: those who win and those who cross the finish line after 24 hours.

RALLY MONTE CARLO

Ogier takes his Monte Carlo triple

Look at the people who’ve won the Rallye Monte-Carlo three or more times – as Sébastien Ogier now has – and you see some of the greatest names in the history of rallying: Walter Röhrl, Tommi Mäkinen, Carlos Sainz, Sébastien Loeb. Ogier’s victory was… well, classic Ogier, with barely a missed beat as he calmly negotiated his way from his hometown of Gap all the way back to Monte Carlo.

People might talk about home advantage – one of the stages even passed along the route Ogier used to take to work back when he was a ski monitor – but Ogier’s shown enough class over the last few years for his rivals to know better than that.

Kris Meeke nearly steals the win

While Citroën’s Kris Meeke was nowhere to be seen during Sunday’s glitzy Monte Carlo podium ceremony, the Northern Irishman – who’ll only be competing at selected rounds this season as Citroën develop their 2017 car – came close to spoiling Ogier’s party.

After Ogier took the first stage win of the season, Meeke – with a three-year Citroën contract in his pocket and no championship to aim for – fought back and claimed the second to lead the rally overnight. The pair went toe-to-toe on Friday and Saturday’s stages until a cut through a right-hander saw Meeke rip the sump guard off his DS3 and damage his gearbox. But it was a tantalising look at the type of fight between the pair that we could be treated to next season – in fact, Ogier enjoyed it so much that he called VW to see if they could offer any help to Meeke…

Thierry Neuville re-finds his flow

Hyundai debuted its new i20 WRC at the Rallye Monte-Carlo, with Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville driving the car as Hayden Paddon stuck with the 2015-spec machine. Neuville would be the first to admit that he was in need of a good result in Monte Carlo after a tough previous season, and he showed just why Hyundai had put its faith in him with a strong drive to third, including a number of stage wins in tricky conditions despite still searching for the ideal set-up on his new car.