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.”

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.”

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