Monthly Archives: January 2016

Palmer picks F1 race number

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Bahrain Grand Prix - Practice Day - Sakhir, Bahrain

It was announced Jolyon Palmer has picked No.30 to carry through his Formula One career as he prepares for his rookie season in 2016.

Palmer joins the grid with Renault this year after a season as Lotus’ test driver in 2015. During the Friday practice sessions he took part in last year, Palmer was assigned No.30 on his car and he has decided to stick with the number for the remainder of his F1 career.

Palmer announced this on Twitter as follows:-

Drivers are allowed to choose which number they want to compete with when they enter Formula One and then keep the number throughout their career.

Magnussen tipped to replace Maldonado at Renault


It was announced yesterday that Kevin Magnussen looks set to return to Formula One racing this year after being tipped to replace Pastor Maldonado at Renault.

According to an report by Autosport that the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA must offer guarantees of funding to Renault in the coming days in order to keep Maldonado at the team, with Magnussen in line to take the seat if negotiations are unsuccessful.

PDVSA, which has bankrolled Maldonado’s career in F1 to date has been hit hard by a global decline in oil prices in recent months and reports of late sponsorship payments have put the Venezuelan driver’s future in doubt. Maldonado signed a contract to drive for the team last September, but that was before the then struggling Lotus outfit was taken over by Renault.

The termination of Maldonado’s contract would leave the door open for Magnussen to return to the F1 grid after he was dropped by McLaren at the end of last year. Magnussen raced a full season for McLaren in 2014 and took part in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix as a substitute for Fernando Alonso, who was recovering from concussion at the time.

However, his F1 career appeared to reach a dead-end when he was told on his birthday last year that his position as reserve driver would not be renewed.

If Magnussesn does join Renault he will partner 2014 GP2 champion and F1 rookie Jolyon Palmer this season. A final decision is expected ahead of Renault’s official launch of its new team in Paris on February 3.

Sainz Jr to debut Toro Rosso at first pre-season test


It was announced yesterday that the Toro Rosso team has confirmed its driver schedule for the first 2016 pre-season Formula 1 test.

The opening four-day event will take place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from the 22nd-25th February.

Teams and drivers will then return to the Spanish circuit from the 1st-4th March for the second and final winter test.

The plan is for Carlos Sainz Jr to debut the team’s new, Ferrari-powered STR11, Toro Rosso confirmed to the media yesterday that the Spaniard will drive the car on Monday, before handing over to team-mate Max Verstappen, who will sample the 2016 car for the first time on day two.

Sainz Jr will return to the cockpit of the STR11 for day three, with Verstappen concluding the Italian outfit’s running at the opening pre-season test.

Haas F1 to launch their car on first day of pre-season testing


It was announced yesterday that the first Haas Formula One car will break cover on the opening day of testing in Barcelona ahead of the US-based team’s first season in F1.

The Haas F1 car will be launched with an unceremonious presentation in the Circuit de Catalunya pit lane on the morning of 22nd February  along with several of its rivals, which are also expected to skip a traditional launch in favour of a roll out ahead of the first day of testing.

The car will feature as many Ferrari components as is allowed under the current texhnical regulations which includes a Ferrari engine and gearbox, as part of Haas’ collaboration with Maranello. The chassis, which has already passed its mandatory FIA crash tests, is being manufactured by Italian company Dallara.

The team released a rendering of its showcar earlier this month (above), but the official livery is not expected to be revealed until the launch. The new car will carry the hopes of Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez, who were recruited last year as the team’s driver line-up.

With the Manor and Williams teams  also confirming that their launches in the pit lane on February 22 and are likely to be joined by several rivals. McLaren and Ferrari are due to unveil their cars via an online launch ahead of the first test.

Force India’s 2016 car passes the FIA crash tests


It was announced this afternoon that the Force India team has confirmed that it has passed the mandatory FIA crash tests with its 2016 car.

Ferrari, Renault, Manor and Haas have all already passed the tests ahead of the start of pre-season testing on February 22, and Force India has now confirmed to the media that its new car was homologated “some time” ago as progress continues with the car build.

In a interview with the media today, Force India’s technical director Andrew Green stated the following about the 2016 car and its progress as follows:-

‘We’re moving forward, the car mock up is going ahead, the chassis is finished and has all been homologated. That’s all been done and now we are looking forward to testing.’

This news means that Force India will be ready to run with its new car from the start of the first test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, having only run its 2015 car for the first time on the penultimate day of testing last year.

Force India will field this season with an unchanged driver line-up of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg for the third year in a row as it looks to build on last season’s fifth place in the constructors’ championship.

2016 Formula One Wet-Weather Tyre Test Review: Paul Ricard


With Pirelli requesting two days at the Paul Ricard circuit in order to test their 2016 wet tyres and intermediate tyre ranges; this is the first time we have seen action on the track since the post-season test at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

With the teams not allowed to run or test any parts on their cars in preparation for the 2016 season, many will be wondering how the three teams; McLaren-Honda, Ferrari and Red Bull will perform.

Day One


Day one of the test saw Daniel Ricciardo set the quickest time. Ricciardo put in a lap time of 1.08.713. McLaren test driver Stoffel Vandoorne was 0.4 seconds behind and second quickest ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari in third place who was 0.9 seconds behind Ricciardo.

However, McLaren didn’t finish its programme from Pirelli as Vandoorne stopped out on track shortly before the close of play due to a problem with the Honda engine. His McLaren returned to the pits on the back of a flat-bed truck.

Both Red Bull and Ferrari completed 10 sets of 10-lap runs on a full-wet prototype tyre. In total; 285 laps were covered across the three teams.

With the two-day test has been organised by Pirelli in order to test their wet weather tyres; the track at Paul Ricard was artificially soaked by sprinklers and each car left the pits at 10-seconds intervals, circulating for roughly 10 laps before returning to the pits so the track could be soaked again.

Pirelli has been working on a combination of different compounds, different tread depths and configurations, but as the temperature at the south of France venue never rose about 10 degrees centigrade conditions were not ideal.

In preparation for the second day of the test, Sebastian Vettel will take over driving duties from Raikkonen at Ferrari, while Daniil Kvyat replaces Ricciardo at Red Bull. Vandoorne will complete the second day for McLaren.

Day One Timesheet:-

1. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull  1.08.713, 99 laps

2. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda,  +0.418s, 87 laps

3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari,  +0.924s, 99 laps

Day Two


But the second and final day of Pirelli’s we-weather tyre test at the Paul Ricard circuit yesterday, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was quickest ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Stoffel Vandoorne.

With Vettel taking over driving duties from his team mate replacing Kimi Raikkonen in the cockpit of last year’s SF15-T, he topped the timesheets with a lap time of 1.06.750. He was ahead of Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat who replaced his team mate Daniel Ricciardo and was less than a tenth of a second behind Vettel. However, Vandoorne ended his driving duties for the McLaren-Honda in third place, just over a second behind the pace of Vettel.

Day Two Timesheet:-

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1.06.750, 134 laps
  2. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, +0.083s, 113 laps
  3. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda, +1.008s, 127 laps


The two-day test was conducted with the aid of the sprinkler system built into the Paul Ricard track, which artificially soaked the asphalt. This then allowed Pirelli to test different combinations of different treads and compounds of prototype full-wet tyres and running intermediates in yesterday’s test.

Pirelli has been working on improving the longevity and performance of its wet tyre and is set to introduce changes to its rubber this year as a result of the data gained at the test.

With Pirelli clocking up almost 1500 miles over its two days of wet-tyre testing, although times were irrelevant for the purposes of this test. The three teams chosen for the test and running in unmodified 2015-spec machinery; completed 374 laps in total, 89 more than on Monday, and a total of 659 laps overall.

F1’s next on-track action will be at the first of two pre-season tests for the new-for-2016 machinery at Barcelona’s Catalunya circuit on 22nd-25th February; with the second test on 1st-4th March

Ferrari’s 2016 car passes FIA Crash Tests


It was announced this morning that the Ferrari team is on schedule with its new Formula 1 car ahead of the start of pre-season testing in late February.

No official details have yet been released with regard to the Scuderia’s latest challenger, but they have passed the FIA crash tests.

Ferrari is the latest team to secure FIA homologation for its car alongside Haas, Manor and Renault.

That is despite the fact Ferrari delayed work on its 2016 car to fully develop last year’s SF15-T that won three grands prix.

It is anticipated the new car will be revealed by an online launch a few days prior to the start of testing at Barcelona’s Catalunya circuit on February 22nd.

Pat Fry to join Manor Racing as consultant


It was announced this morning that former Ferrari engineering director Pat Fry has joined Manor ahead of the 2016 season.

Fry will provide engineering consultancy to the Manor team in order “to help develop its engineering capabilities” ahead of the start of the new season. The team has undergone major changes since the end of last year after its founders John Booth and Graeme Lowdon resigned following disagreements with owner Stephen Fitzpatrick.

Fry joins his former McLaren colleague Dave Ryan, who was appointed as the team’s new racing director last year. In an interview with the media today, Ryan speaks very highly of Fry and believes that he will be a welcome addition to the team. Ryan stated the following:-

‘We are extremely fortunate to have Pat on board to help us hit the ground running with our exciting new technical package. The aim is to bring performance to the car with effect from the Barcelona tests, then translate that to the race track in Melbourne, to ensure we make the strongest possible start to 2016 and have a good basis for development in the early part of the season.’

Fry becomes the second ex-Ferrari engineer to join Manor this year after Nikolas Tombazis was announced as its chief aerodynamicist earlier this month.

Four recent Virgin and Marussia cars up for sale


It was announced this weekend that four Virgin and Marussia chassis dating from 2010 through to 2013 are being put up for sale by a private collector.

John Pye Auctions Luxury Assets is staging what it describes as “a unique opportunity to acquire a quartet of Formula 1 world championship grand prix grid cars – all with F1 competition provenance, from the Virgin Marussia Formula 1 Team.”

The cars are available for private sale either individually or as a collection, during which time they can be viewed by appointment the company’s Premium Saleroom at Marchington, Staffs on the 1st and 2nd of February with potential buyers accommodated on a first come, first serve basis.

In an interview with the media this weekend, business development manager Giorgio Vitale stated the following about the sale as follows:-

‘This is an incredibly rare and unique opportunity to own a piece of Formula One history. Race photos show great provenance but simply do not do the cars complete justice; they have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated for their styling and engineering beauty.’

The oldest car in the set is the Virgin VR01 from 2010 which was driven that season by Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi. Designed by Nick Wirth for Virgin Racing, it was the first Formula One racing car designed entirely with computational fluid dynamics.

At the end of the 2010 season, Marussia Motors bought a stake in the team and became the main sponsor, with the team renaming itself Marussia Virgin Racing for 2011 which means that the second car in the collection is duly badged the Marussia Virgin MVR02.

Also designed by Wirth, this chassis followed the VR-01’s design principle of exclusively using computational fluid dynamics instead of the more traditional windtunnel approach. The MVR-02 was designed to be the same length as the original VR-01 chassis whilst retaining the full-size fuel tank, and did not use a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS).

For the 2011 season, Glock was joined in the squad by new team mate Jerome d’Ambrosio, and Glock remained with Marussia for a third season in 2012 when he was joined by Formula One newcomer Charles Pic.

The team’s initial chassis that season was the Marussia MR01, which held the unfortunate distinction of being the only car on the grid still lacking KERS functionality. It was also one of only three cars not to feature the stepped nose common to most of that year’s designs, the others being the McLaren MP4-27 and the HRT F112.

The most modern of the cars up for sale is the Marussia MR02 driven by Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton in 2013. Designed under the leadership of Marussia’s technical director Pat Symonds, it was the team’s first car to utilise a KERS device. The team bought a version of KERS designed by Williams F1 that was based on the system Williams itself used when they were a customer of Marussia’s engine supplier Cosworth back in 2011, when KERS was originally introduced to Formula One.

Further on in his interview with the media, Miller added the following about the cars as follows:-

‘The cars have raced through the streets of Monte Carlo for the Monaco Grand Prix and across the F1 international circuit. It’s the ultimate auto sport asset provenance offering.’

Azerbaijan set for evening race

All rights reserved to and Sutton Images.

All rights reserved to and Sutton Images.

It was announced yesterday that the organisers of the European Grand Prix (which will take place in Azerbaijan), have confirmed that the inaugural race around the streets of capital city Baku is set to begin in the evening.

Azerbaijan has been given a June 19 slot for the 2016 season which clashes with the Le Mans 24 Hours. But the Grand Prix itself will begin at 18:00, just as the endurance race concludes.

With the sunset in Baku takes place at 21:14 on race date, which means there is not a four-hour daylight window; which was recommended following Jules Bianchi’s ultimately fatal accident at Suzuka in 2014.

However, officials have dismissed such concerns, stating “the three-hour window between the start of the race and sunset will allow drivers enough time to race through the streets of Baku during daylight.”

In a list of 2016 start times, published by UK broadcaster Sky Sports, the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix remain as twilight races, with the Singapore Grand Prix the sole night race.