Tag Archives: Senna

F1Weekly podcast # 654

Clark and Nasir go over the Chinese Grand Prix we have a packed Motorsports Mondial with a bonus Motorsports Mantra! and…Tech Talk with Tim.

Obituary: Ayrton Senna

Ayrton Senna da Silva (Ayrton Senna), racing driver: born Sao Paulo, Brazil 21 March 1960; World Formula One Champion 1988, 1990, 1991; married (marriage dissolved); died Imola, Italy 1 May 1994.

WHEN Jim Clark died after crashing at Hockenheim, in Germany, in 1968 his passing stunned the motor racing world. Chris Amon, one of the few men with the talent to challenge the brilliant Scot, summarised every other driver’s feelings when he said: ‘We were all left feeling totally exposed, vulnerable. We all felt, ‘If it can happen to Jimmy, what chance have we got?’ ‘

On a weekend when motorsport plunged back to the nightmares of the Sixties, Ayrton Senna’s death after crashing during the San Marino Grand Prix yesterday has had precisely the same effect.

Though he had been beaten in the first two races of 1994 by the German prodigy Michael Schumacher, Senna was the yardstick not only by which all other racers were judged, but by which they judged themselves. To the real stars, matching or even beating Senna was the highest possible triumph. An endorsement of one’s own greatness. Few could ever achieve that, let alone aspire to it. To lesser lights, finishing second to him was as good as a victory.

Born of wealthy parents in Sao Paulo in 1960, Ayrton Senna da Silva began racing karts when he was four, with the encouragement of his father, Milton. His phenomenal progress through the motorsport ranks marked him clearly for greatness; a world championship was inevitable.

When he arrived in Britain in 1981 he raced with Denis Rushen, a colourful owner of a Formula Ford team. ‘He was so quiet,’ Rushen recalled, ‘that he was always the guy you found standing shyly in the kitchen at parties.’ He remained thus for many years, although it was only a short time before his English improved to the point where he could no longer be duped into greeting fresh acquaintances with earthy Anglo-Saxon.

Senna brought an extraordinary level of commitment to his motor racing, to such an extent that clashes with fellow rivals and the media were inevitable. He had a towering self-belief that sometimes bordered on zealotry. The first manifestation of that belief came at the small Cadwell Park track, in Lincolnshire, in 1983. Senna had won nine consecutive Formula Three races, but crashed heavily in practice for this 10th round. But even when his car was out of control, he kept his foot hard on the power. He would never surrender anything without a fight. He won the championship that year and sprang into Formula One with the Toleman team for 1984. He scored his first world championship point in only his second grand prix, when, despite heat exhaustion, he came home sixth in South Africa.

Later that year came the first signs of the other side of his nature, when he left the team in acrimonious circumstances to join Lotus. Once the news of Senna’s impending defection had been revealed, Alex Hawkridge, the manager of Toleman, suspended him from the Italian Grand Prix before the end of their relationship. Senna was stunned. ‘I did it,’ Hawkridge revealed, ‘because it was important to teach him that for every negative action you perform in life there is a penalty.’ It was a lesson that Senna never forgot, even if he never came to approve of any sanction against himself.

With Lotus he won his first grand prix, in Portugal in 1985, but by 1987 he had lost patience as he covetously eyed Alain Prost’s situation at McLaren. Their partnership at McLaren in 1988 made all other sporting feuds look tame, but by the end of that season the first world championship had been delivered, in true Senna style. He stalled his car at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, before storming home to win on a track rendered greasy by rain. On the way he beat Prost soundly.

Earlier that year he had demonstrated the dark side of his character by deliberately swerving at Prost as they raced wheel to wheel down the long straight at the Estoril track in Portugal. Time and again Senna’s blend of impetuosity and self- righteousness led him into trouble. He railed against exclusion from victory in the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix after a collision with Prost, accusing the sport’s governing body of cheating him out of a second title. He was forced to make an apology of sorts before he was granted a licence for the following year. By then Prost had left for Ferrari, and the two fought for the championship again at Suzuka. There, in a move that prompted some to question what his sheer competitive intensity and his feeling of being wronged could push him to, Senna drove into the back of Prost’s Ferrari when the Frenchman beat him to the first corner. With both retiring on the spot, Senna clinched his second championship at Prost’s expense.

Two weeks later, when I showed him a series of photographs of the incident, and asked him why he had apparently driven Prost off the road, Senna refused to accept the damning evidence in front of us, denying the physical positions of the cars, despite what the photographer had recorded. A year later, in an extraordinary outburst following victory in the Japanese Grand Prix which had clinched his third world championship, he finally admitted that he had deliberately driven Prost off the track, that it would be tit-for-tat for what he had seen as Prost’s role in his downfall in 1989.

Without question Ayrton Senna was an extraordinary individual. Over the years his relationships were often like a roller-coaster, but to his friends he was intensely loyal. In 1983, when he was racing in Formula Three, he struck me as a lonely man who felt that the British press preferred his rival Martin Brundle. And to an extent he remained a vulnerable character despite his overt aggression on the track and the occasionally disdainful manner that his successes had developed. Much of it seemed like a protective wall, and there was another Ayrton Senna deep within.

This was an altogether kinder man, the sort who would give up his seat to usher an old lady down the stairs while once waiting for an appointment with Professor Sid Watkins, of the London Hospital, the regular chief medical officer at grands prix, and the man who yesterday administered to him at the Tamburello corner which claimed his life. In his homeland he was lionised, and he made significant charitable donations which he never remotely attempted to publicise. He loved children, too. ‘They are the honest ones,’ he once said.

If he didn’t like you, you knew it; in 1986 he was at war with the British press after preventing Derek Warwick from joining him at Lotus. Over the years that animosity mellowed, but often the feeling he nurtured that his trust had been betrayed caused flare-ups. He was roundly condemned last year for striking his rival Eddie Irvine – again, almost inevitably, at Suzuka – and the cold war began again.

But, whatever some of his failings may have been, Senna was a man with whom you always knew where you stood, and though his tactics on the track were frequently and deliberately intimidatory, he was without question one of the greatest racing drivers the world has ever known. To see Senna on a quick lap was to be awed by majesty.

On Friday afternoon he took pole position for the race in which he died, the 65th time he had been fastest in practice for a grand prix. With a commanding success in his last race for the McLaren team in 1993 he had taken his total of grand prix victories to 41, second only to that of his arch-rival Prost.

When he finally joined the Williams team for 1994, he spoke of the need for a fresh challenge, and he was determined to redress the points imbalance between himself and Schumacher that had made this season so exciting after the first two races. His outstanding ability to relate to his engineers precisely what his machinery was doing at any given point on a circuit, on any given lap, had passed into grand prix legend, and already last weekend it was clear that Williams had made significant progress in developing its car.

To all who witnessed him at work it seemed that Ayrton Senna’s artistry and air of invincibility would always protect him no matter what befell him. In a weekend when motorsport was thrown into despair, it lost one of the greatest kings it will ever know. To many, especially those with whom he worked, he will always be the greatest.

[audio :http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/04-29-14f1weekly654.mp3]

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: Andrew Ferraro/WilliamsF1

THE WILLIAMS F1 TEAM LAUNCHES ITS 2012 SEASON LINE UP

The Williams F1 Team unveiled its 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship season entry, the Williams Renault FW34, at the Jerez circuit in Spain today. This year marks the team’s 35th year competing in the sport which it will do with a revitalised line-up.

The mechanical and aerodynamic design and development direction of the FW34 has been driven by a new technical leadership. Guided by Technical Director Mike Coughlan, this year’s car takes on a fresh design philosophy. Revised FIA technical regulations – of which the most significant are bans on exhaust blowing and exotic engine mapping and a drop in nose height, the FW34 carries fewer than five per cent of the parts from last year’s FW33.

The team will also race with a new driver pairing in 2012 as Bruno Senna partners Pastor Maldonado after a considered winter evaluation process. Finn Valtteri Bottas completes the driver line up as Official Reserve Driver, taking part in most of the season’s Friday practice sessions.

Williams rejoins Renault for its engine partnership. Williams and Renault enjoyed a nine-year association between 1989 and 1997 which produced four Drivers’ and five Constructors’ titles and 63 race wins. The French manufacturer’s RS27 V8 power unit is renowned for its drivability, flexibility and durability and will provide the FW34 with a strong performance platform for the forthcoming season.

Powering the team’s efforts in this year’s championship will be a broad partner group. Existing partners, including Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), Venezuelan Tourism, Randstad, Thomson Reuters, Ridge Solutions, Hatch and McGregor will be joined by new additions confirmed today. Gillette, Embratel, Head & Shoulders, OGX and MRV, together with Michael Johnson Performance announced in January, will all be supporting the team as it works towards a competitive season of Formula One motor racing.

Frank Williams, Team Principal:
“One could say that looking at the Williams F1 Team today we are off to a truly fresh start. We have a new car, new driver line up, new engine and new senior personnel. We also have a number of new partners who have joined the team in the past few months. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome them formally and sincerely wish that they have an enjoyable and, most importantly, a valuable experience with us. The team has had a good winter at the factory and we feel ready and strong for the fight.” 

Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer:
“We are really looking forward to this season and from a personal perspective I can’t wait to get the FW34 on to the race track. The factory has worked extremely hard over the winter to ensure that the car met its design, build and rig test targets and we start testing with the car prepared to a high standard. We’ve worked in close co-operation with all of our partners to achieve that, including Renault Sport F1. In the run-up to Australia, we will be working hard with our exciting new driver line-up to ensure that we maximise and unlock the full potential of the FW34. It is imperative that we demonstrate a continuous improvement in our performance and deliver results throughout the season.”

Pastor Maldonado:
“I’m happy to be racing again with Williams. I have faith in the FW34 and the Renault engine and so have high hopes for the races ahead. It will be very important that we develop the car from the start of the season to the end. Now that I have a year’s experience, I can help in that area much more now. As we start a new year, it’s an exciting moment for my country Venezuela and I hope we can give them some good results to thank them for their continued support. We have many new components in the team so we will need to be focussed and work together well so that we may be stronger every day. I wish everyone in the team the best for the year and welcome Renault and Bruno.”

Bruno Senna:
“I’m very excited to be back in action with the Williams F1 Team in Jerez. This is my ever first pre-season testing programme since I started in Formula One two years ago. I’m really motivated and looking forward to working hard and with everyone in the team. I hope we have a successful month testing and developing the car so we arrive in Melbourne as well prepared as possible.”

Valtteri Bottas:
“I am really excited about the year ahead and grateful to the team for giving me this opportunity. I will be driving one practice session at 15 races which will give me some proper mileage with the car. This will give me a better understanding of the car as well as an insight into what happens at a race weekend. I will still spend a lot of time at the factory preparing for the practice sessions and helping the team to develop the car over the season.

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: LAT

WILLIAMS F1 CONFIRMS BRUNO SENNA FOR 2012

Williams F1 today confirmed that Bruno Senna will contest the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship for the Williams F1 Team. The appointment finalises the team’s line up for this year following confirmation in December that Pastor Maldonado will enter his second season in Formula One as a Williams race driver. Bruno will make his debut with the Williams F1 Team in Jerez on 9th February at the first of the winter tests.

Frank Williams, Team Principal, said, “Bruno only started racing when he was 20 years old but quickly proved his talent in F3 and GP2. In a tightly fought 2008 GP2 season, Bruno finished second in the Championship with notable victories in Monaco and Silverstone, the latter in the wet. The circumstances of Bruno’s two seasons in Formula One have not given him an ideal opportunity to deliver consistently so it was essential that we spent as much time with him as possible to understand and evaluate him as a driver. We have done this both on track and in our simulator and he has proven quick, technically insightful and above all capable of learning and applying his learning quickly and consistently. Now we are looking forward to seeing that talent in our race car.”

Bruno commented, “I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers. The team has a great heritage and I hope I can help write a good chapter in their history. The evaluation process has been intense and methodical but the time I have spent in the factory has demonstrated that the team has great people and all the resources needed to achieve better things this season.

“It will be very interesting to drive for a team that my uncle has driven for, particularly as quite a few of the people here actually worked with Ayrton. Hopefully we can bring back some memories and create some great new ones too. I also want to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today. I am very proud to be Brazilian and more motivated than ever to demonstrate what I can do. Ever since I first sat in a go-kart I never wanted to do anything else.”

 

Motorsports Mondial

By special arrangement with F1 in America and The San Francisco Formula 1 Group, ‘SENNA’ will be shown Thursday, August 18th, ahead of general release in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Director Asif Kapadia (The Sheep Thief, The Warrior, Far North) has graciously arranged to make time to attend this San Francisco screening to discuss the film for a truly one-of-a-kind evening with you – all interested in the film and it’s legendary subject are welcome to attend.

Asif Kapadia (@asifkapdia)

Over 15,000 hours of archive footage were considered by Kapadia for a work of film that critics, F1 fans, non-race fans and especially the Senna family love. The film has been moving moviegoers around the world since it opened last October, and hit the ground running in the United States earlier this year taking the 2011 World Cinema Documentary Audience Award at Sundance.

This event is happening with the support of friends and the greater car club/racing community, and members of the Brazilian community are particularly encouraged to attend. This showing will not be advertised, so please spread the word around your favorite forums and boards about this special night. Movie posters will be available at the screening, while supplies last.

TICKETS are now available online for this special San Francisco only advance screening with Director, Asif Kapadia. Showtime is 9:45pm.

SENNA officially opens in Berkeley and San Francisco August 19th, and Palo Alto on August 26th.

Motorsports Mondial

R31 Launch: BLACK TO THE FUTURE

The world’s media got their first glimpse of Lotus Renault GP’s 2011 challenger this afternoon as the R31 was presented in the pit lane of the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo.

Robert and Vitaly joined Gerard Lopez (Chairman of LRGP) and Eric Boullier (Team Principal and Managing Director) to pull back the covers and present the car the team hopes will continue the squad’s push towards the front of the grid.

“For Genii Capital and Lotus Renault GP, the 2011 season will be the one in which we achieve our aims,” said Gerard Lopez. “We now have 100% ownership of the team, and we’re tackling the coming championship with the intention of continuing to do things our way – but always with humility. I would like to welcome Lotus Cars, a new ambitious title sponsor with us for the long term. Renault and Total have also chosen to accompany us again in this adventure and we thank them for their valuable contribution. Our aim for 2011 is to continue our march towards the front of the grid, seize the slightest opportunity and do better than last season in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. We feel we are well prepared for the challenge ahead.”


Eric Boullier echoed those sentiments and paid tribute to the enormous effort back at the team’s base in Enstone: “All the hard work over the winter has been focused on delivering a big improvement for 2011. The result is a car with more than 92% new parts compared to the R30. But technical innovation isn’t the only key to performance. Since last year, we have reviewed all our internal processes and our overall efficiency has now improved by 15%. That means we should be more competitive than last year, on the track and at the factory.”

Technical Director, James Allison, explained how the team approached the design of the R31: “Words like ‘aggressive’ and ‘innovative’ are very much in vogue in Formula 1 at the moment, but where the R31 is concerned we feel those adjectives are appropriate. It’s true to say that the car has been designed in an ambitious manner and a quick glance at the layout will confirm that its entire concept differs considerably, not just from last year’s car, but from any car this team has ever produced.”

Both Robert and Vitaly were enthusiastic as they got acquainted with their new car and eager for the season to get underway.

“After a long winter break you always feel ready to jump back in the car,” explained Robert. “At the moment it’s difficult to know just how competitive our package will be, but the engineers have decided to go for an innovative design, which is good.”

Vitaly added: “It feels exciting to be starting my second year of Formula 1 and I can’t wait to try this beautiful car for the first time tomorrow. Now that I have a year of F1 experience behind me, I feel more confident and ready to deliver. I’m determined to do well and fight hard for this team.”

The team’s new third drivers were presented as well, with Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean adding further strength to the team’s driver line-up. The team’s reserve drivers (and members of the LRGP Academy) were confirmed as Jan Charouz, Ho-Pin Tung and Fairuz Fauzy (who was unable to attend the launch due to his GP2 Series commitments).

The team also welcomes two important new partners in SunCore and Sibur, while Genii Capital promotes its Business Exchange platform through more significant branding on the car.

F1weekly podcast # 476

Photo: LAT

Podcast number 476

Will the real Lotus please stand up!

Alain Prost bummed for France to loose Renault F1

RENAULT MAINTAINS ITS COMMITMENT TO F1 AND

ANNOUNCES THE CREATION OF RENAULT SPORT F1

Focusing on a proud tradition as an engine manufacturer

Renault announces the creation of Renault Sport F1, the sporting division that will be responsible for Renault’s involvement in Formula 1™ racing as a supplier of engines and

technology for the 2011 season and beyond. Renault Sport F1 will supply three teams in 2011, which equates to 25% of the grid.

As well as supplying engines, Renault Sport F1 will conduct advanced research studies with its partners, as well as engineering programmes in areas such as transmissions and kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS).

The new division will put forward Renault’s technological response to the challenge raised by the new F1™ regulations on engines. It will be a laboratory for developing technologies

that better respect the environment, applicable to combustion and electric powertrains as well as to production models.

Renault Sport F1 will operate from Viry-Châtillon, Renault’s traditional F1™ racing base.

Its Chairman will be Bernard Rey, a member of Renault’s Management Committee.

The creation of Renault Sport F1 follows Renault’s decision to sell its minority stake in Renault F1 Team to Genii Capital. Renault will continue to provide strong support for the Enstone team as a supplier of engines, as well as technological and engineering expertise.

Renault has taken part in 29 F1™ racing seasons, winning nine Constructors’ world champion titles, most recently with Red Bull Racing in 2010. Renault engines secured 23

podium finishes in 2010, including a historic 1-2-3 at the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2010. Renault engines have won three of the last six world championships.

RENAULT SPORT F1 WILL BE SUPPLYING ENGINES TO THREE TEAMS IN 2011

Renault will be supplying engines to three of the teams on the grid in 2011:

Lotus Renault GP: Renault will be supplying engines and technological support to Lotus Renault GP,

the team that previously competed under the name of Renault F1 Team and with which it won two

world championships in 2005 and 2006.

Red Bull Racing Renault: the 2010 world champion has been using Renault engines for four

seasons. Demonstrating its confidence in Renault, it has extended the partnership for a further two years.

1 Malaysia Racing Team (UK) Ltd: a new customer for Renault in 2011. This team made its F1

debut in 2010. It has a sound technological base with the Renault engine and Red Bull Technology transmission.

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/12-09-10f1weekly476.mp3]