With the first four ‘flyaway’ grands prix out of the way, it’s a good time to assess the start each team has made to the season and look at how each team has fared so far with the new hybrid turbo technology. And the subject of our second post-‘flyaway’ analysis pieces is a team many expected to profit from the changing regulations but which has found itself once again facing troubled times… Ferrari Best result: P3 (Alonso, China) Best grid slot: 4th (Alonso, Malaysia) Average grid slot: 7th.
Bernie Ecclestone’s first day in court in Munich saw a joke about his marital status and a robust denial of the charges he faces. He is on trial for bribery and aiding and abetting breach of trust in a case relating to the 2006 sale of Bayern LB’s shares in Formula 1 to CVC Capital Partners. According to a Financial Times reporter in court, Ecclestone’s lawyers read a statement which began with a reference to the threat from German bombers during Ecclestone’s childhood.
F1’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone will appear in a Munich court this morning on the first day of his bribery trial, that is expected to last well into the Autumn. The case, slated to run for 26 days, will run for months as the judge has scheduled a limited number of days in court each week to allow Ecclestone to continue to run the multi-billion dollar F1 business from his office in London. What’s behind it?
With the first four ‘flyaway’ grands prix out of the way, it’s a good time to assess the start each team has made to the season and look at how each team has fared with the new hybrid turbo technology so far. Over the next week or so, we will look in detail and what’s gone well and what hasn’t, and assess the outlook for the season. To start with, a team that began the season well but has been a bit of an enigma ever since.
The UBS Chinese Grand Prix was not as thrilling as the Bahrain GP, which preceded it, but from a strategy point of view and in terms of revealing the decision-making process that goes on behind the scenes during Formula 1 races, it was a fascinating event. There were a number of talking points, one of the main ones being the Red Bull team trying to manage its two drivers, asking Sebastian Vettel to move over so as not to prevent team mate Daniel Ricciardo challenging Ferrari. Vettel initially refused, then relented
“We still cannot think about catching up with Mercedes. Then again, the season is not over, so anything should be possible,” said Sebastian Vettel yesterday.
The Chinese Grand Prix was not as thrilling as the Bahrain Grand Prix which preceded it, but there were nevertheless some strong performances up and down the field. So who was your Driver of the Day? Lewis Hamilton The Briton took his third consecutive win (a first in his career) and led every lap of the race after securing a strong pole position on Saturday
Christian Horner has insisted that aerodynamicist Dan Fallows’ decision to rejoin Red Bull Racing was his own and that the technician had not been induced to return to the Milton Keynes squad, as had been suggested by McLaren boss Ron Dennis before today’s Chinese Grand Prix. Horner added that if McLaren “want to get lawyers involved, that that’s what will have to be done”.
After out-qualifying Sebastian Vettel for the third time this season and leaving his team-mate second best in consecutive races for first time since 2012, Daniel Ricciardo has had an impressive start to his career at Red Bull. In Bahrain his pace led to the four-time World Champion moving aside, under orders from the team, as the Australian was on the faster tyre at the time. Fast forward to Sunday afternoon and just after one third distance in the 56 lap race once again Red Bull management edict comes over the radio to Vettel: “Seb, let Ricciardo through he is faster ;More…
Lewis Hamilton has completed the first hat-trick of race victories in his Formula One career, driving untroubled to head a Mercedes one-two at the Chinese Grand Prix and closing in on Nico Rosberg’s Championship lead, whilst Fernando Alonso completed the podium. The 25th win of Hamilton’s career sees him join Mercedes team boss, Niki Lauda and two-time World Champion Briton Jim Clark at eighth in all-time Grand Prix victories. Nico Rosberg still leads the championship, but his lead is down to just four points after the four long haul fly-away races.
Sebastian Vettel has said that while his third qualifying defeat of the season to team-mate Daniel Ricciardo is “not to my liking”, he has to accept that “if he’s quicker than me, he’s quicker, nothing else.” After losing out to his new team-mate in Australia, where he was dumped out in Q2 as Ricciardo went on to claim a front-row start, and then suffering the same fate in Bahrain, where he again exited qualifying in the second phase, Vettel has again struggled against the Australian here in China. Despite easing through Q1 and Q2 ahead of Ricciardo, Vettel could not ;More…
Lewis Hamilton has put himself in the box-seat for a hat-trick of race victories by mastering the wet conditions in Shanghai to take pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix, heading Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel. The 34th pole of the Briton’s career, his third of 2014, was thoroughly dominant, as he topped each phase of qualifying with a margin over the Red Bull pair and the sister Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. However, come the top ten shoot-out and Hamilton stepped up a gear, initially holding provisional pole by 6/10ths of a second over the pack as the intermediate tyre ;More…
Honda’s motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai has revealed that the Japanese company will only supply McLaren in 2015, ruling out the possibility of customer power units in the short term. “For year 2015, McLaren is our only customer,” said Arai at the Chinese Grand Prix.
New Ferrari boss Marco Mattiacci, speaking at his first race in charge at Ferrari, did not today rule out the possibility of bringing in new personnel as he seeks to revive the racing fortunes of the Scuderia. “A team is made first of people, people, people, people,” he said in Shanghai on day when Fernando Alonso topped the opening practice session timesheet and finished second in the afternoon. “As I said, the chairman [Luca di Montezemolo], we discuss and discuss and clearly, whatever is needed, we will do, even going to the market but with the clear idea that not ;More…
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton set the pace on the first day of running in Shanghai, but Fernando Alonso’s performance in the Ferrari meant that it was not the customary Mercedes 1-2 on the time sheets. In front of new boss Marco Mattiacci, the Spaniard set the second fastest time, just over a tenth slower than Hamilton.
The return to competitiveness of Renault and Lotus should take another step this weekend in China, as the black and gold cars have some updates on the chassis side and they will also have the latest specification Renault power units as used in Bahrain by Red Bull and Toro Rosso. The season has started very badly for a team which this time last year was fighting for wins and podiums in the early flyaway races.
Fernando Alonso today said that Stefano Domenicali made a “very responsible move” in stepping down as Ferrari team principal, adding that the former team boss’ decision had been take in the interests of the team. “I think we need to assess what Stefano decided,” said Alonso in Shanghai ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
The UBS Chinese Grand Prix is always an intriguing race and strategy has played a significant role in the outcome in recent years. Overtaking is easy here because of the longest straight in F1 at 1.17km, so teams can plan for the fastest strategy knowing that traffic will not be a huge problem. That said, the speed differential between cars due to the new hybrid turbo engines, could see cars with less straight line speed struggle to pass midfield cars with good straightline speed.
Ferrari president has said that he has complete confidence in new team principal Marco Mattiacci and added that his Ferrari heritage is more important than F1 knowledge and he has vowed to spend more time in Formula 1 personally. “I decided to appoint a young manager in whom I have a great deal of confidence and someone from the Ferrari family, rather than going around the world looking for some mercenary,” Montezemolo said yesterday. “We are full of talent with quality and capability and and we are full of technical people from whom I now expect an immediate reaction
Red Bull Racing have failed in their appeal against Daniel Ricciardo’s exclusion from the race result of the Australian Grand Prix. The Australian driver was disqualified after finishing in second place at the season-opening event when stewards found the Red Bull driver’s car had “consistently” exceeded fuel flow regulations. The team appealed the disqualification claiming that the FIA-homologated sensors used to monitor fuel flow were faulty and that it was correct to apply it’s own fuel flow model
This weekend in China the new Team Principal of Ferrari, Marco Mattiacci, will be in charge for the first time. In promoting Mattiacci, the company is taking something of a gamble on one level, as he has very limited knowledge of Formula 1; it’s culture and the complex, difficult people who populate its higher echelons.
Red Bull Racing will have to wait until tomorrow morning to learn whether their appeal against Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from the result of Australian Grand Prix has been a success or a failure. Following the end of the six-hour hearing at the FIA’s Paris headquarters on Place de la Concorde, Jean-Christophe Breillat, General Secretary of the International Court of Appeal said:  “We will announce the decision tomorrow morning at the latest.” Red Bull Racing were represented at the hearing by Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner, Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey, Head of Car Engineering Paul Monaghan, R&D Project ;More…
Mercedes have announced that Technical Director Bob Bell is to leave the team. According to the team Bell “resigned his position in December 2013 and will leave the team at the end of November 2014, with the intention of pursuing new challenges outside the company”.
Stefano Domenicali has resigned as Team Principal of Ferrari in the wake of the team’s poor start to the 2014 season. He will be replaced by Marco Mattiaci, the former head of Ferrari USA. But the background to the story is not quite as many will imagine
Tomorrow (Monday) the appeal against Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from second place in the Australian Grand Prix will be heard. The Court of Appeal, an independent body, tasked with resolving issues like this by the FIA, will be the centre of a lot of attention as this case will be important for the governing body to assert its authority, which has been challenged by Red Bull’s approach in Melbourne to the technical and sporting regulations.
Formula 1 will have 12 teams and 24 cars on the grid next season after the US based team Haas Racing was granted a licence to compete by the FIA. This follows a consultation process, whereby the team’s plans, financial position and other aspects were carefully assessed by an FIA panel in early March. The panel comprised FIA deputy president for sport Graham Stoker, Charlie Whiting and other FIA figures as well as auditors, with input from Bernie Ecclestone’s FOM as well
Lewis Hamilton ended the first in-season test of the season almost 1.5 seconds clear of his rivals as Ferrari were forced to call an early halt to their final day with a damaged chassis. Mercedes spent the day tyre testing for Pirelli and Hamilton’s best time came in the morning session when he posted a lap of 1:36.164. That was good enough to stand for the rest of the day, with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne second with a lap of 1:35.557
Red Bull Racing this morning announced that Dan Fallows has been appointed Head of Aerodynamics, with Peter Prodromou going on ‘gardening leave’ in advance of his move to McLaren. McLaren announced last October they had signed Prodromou but Red Bull Racing insisted that would do their best to hold on to one of their key men, with team boss Christian Horner saying that Prodromou’s contract “runs for quite a while yet”. With no further news of the aerodynamicist’s departure coming to light over the winter it seemed that the champions had won the battle to keep the highly regarded technician ;More…
As they prepare to launch their new Sahara Force India collection, we’ve teamed up with memorabilia specialists Memento Exclusives to give away an exclusive signed VJM07 photo. The team’s official photographer James Moy shot this pic of the 2014 Sahara Force India machine at the car’s launch earlier this year and it’s since been signed by race drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hülkenberg. The framed picture also includes a piece of genuine race-used bodywork from the 2012 car.
The first in-season test of 2014 got underway in Bahrain today, with Mercedes somewhat predictably setting the pace. Nico Rosberg worked his way through 121 laps of the Sakhir circuit on his way to a best time of 1:35.697 and afterwards the German said his day’s work had focused on tyres and brakes.
The Bahrain Grand Prix was one of the most exciting races for many years, featuring wheel to wheel battles throughout the field and lots of interesting strategy work, which affected the outcome. There was a Safety Car, which is a rare occurrence at this circuit and it made for a thrilling climax after the restart, with cars using a mixture of different strategies. But even without the Safety Car, this was a fascinating race from a strategy point of view and here we will analyse and explain some fundamental details which led to the race turning out as it did.
Daniel Ricciardo’s rollercoaster season, which in the opening two races hurtled from incident to incident, finally ignited in Bahrain with the Aussie delivering an excellent drive from 13th on the grid to fourth at the flag. Indeed, with just under half a second separating the Red Bull driver from Sergio Perez in the closing stages, Ricciardo might have stood on the podium for the second time this year had the race been a lap longer.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo left the circuit with 12 laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix still to go, missing the final sprint finish after the safety car, but having taken in enough to know that his team is once again in trouble. The new hybrid turbo era has not dawned well for Ferrari, with Montezemolo forced to admit that, “To see this Ferrari is painful.” Earlier the president had called F1 “Formula Boredom” and complained that the fuel regulations were incomprehensible and made for dull racing, where the drivers were forced to trundle around like taxi drivers. Few would ;More…
The Bahrain Grand Prix was a classic with plenty of strong performances throughout the field. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg put on quite a show in their fight for the win, but so did the Force India drivers, the Williams drivers and Red Bull drivers among others. So who was your Driver of the Day
If Formula 1 in 2014 is a battle of the taxi drivers, as Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo called it this morning, then it could catch on. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg gave an exemplary display of close racing today to have a race-long battle in the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Hamilton claiming victory at the Sakhir circuit following an enthralling race, in which Sergio Perez completed the podium.
This weekend there is a lot of talk about the 2014 rules and the possibility of making some changes, under pressure from Red Bull and Ferrari in particular. We’ve had lots of comments, especially in light of the criticism voiced by Red Bull’s Adrian Newey on Friday and here we post one of the most eloquent and well argued of them, to give a fan’s perspective and to give voice to the fans’ view. Both Ferrari and Red Bull teams and their senior figures have been talking down the sport recently, as has its commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone; trying to ;More…
Renault’s Remi Taffin has said that the French manufacturer is a month behind its rival Mercedes, with Red Bull Racing’s Adrian Newey adding that, as a result, it will be “extremely difficult” for his team to catch Mercedes before it’s too late to save the championship. “We can clearly see that we are something like a month behind, ” said Taffin in the Bahrain paddock yesterday. “During the winter I would say (we were) a month or two (behind).
Red Bull Racing design guru Adrian Newey launched a broadside against the 2014 rules yesterday, questioning the environmental argument for switching to hybrid turbo engines, the cost of the switch and the relevance of the technology to the outside world. “You have to question the whole thing,” he said.
Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team showed ominous pace in Free Practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix to head the field by a comfortable margin on the first day at the Sakhir Circuit, with Fernando Alonso completing the top three. Having set the fastest lap ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg in this morning’s first practice session using Pirelli’s medium compound tyre, the order was unchanged when the switch to the soft compound came during FP2, with Rosberg settling in behind the Briton, 0.36s adrift of Hamilton’s 1:34.325 pace, with Alonso a further 0.7s slower.
Michael Schumacher is starting to “show signs of consciousness and awakening”, according to a statement from his manager, Sabine Kehm. The 45-year-old seven-times world F1 champion has been in a coma since a skiing accident on December 29th 2013 in Meribel, France. Doctors have been trying to wake him for the past few weeks and there were discouraging rumours last week that the attempts were having little success
Michael Schumacher is starting to “show signs of consciousness and awakening”, according to a statement from his manager, Sabine Kehm. The 45 year old seven times world F1 champion has been in a coma since his ski accident on December 29th 2013 in Meribel. Doctors have been trying to wake him for the past few weeks and there were discouraging rumours doing the rounds in the last week
This weekend the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain marks decade a decade as part of the sport of Formula 1 and it has named a corner after seven times world champion Michael Schumacher, who remains in a coma after a ski accident. Following a civil conflict that led to the race being abandoned in 2011 and which is still in the background to the event each year, the Middle East’s first F1 venue is ten years old this year and to raise the bar and ring the changes, this weekend it hosts its first night race.
Fresh from his commanding victory last time out in Malaysia, Lewis Hamilton has arrived in Bahrain with a strong message for those who question how his friendship with Nico Rosberg will survive their battle for honours with Mercedes this year. In what looks like a well considered and prepared line, Hamilton argues that he and Rosberg and not close friends and that he expects their cordial relationship to date to be tested in the heat of battle this year, as both strive to become Mercedes’ first world champion since 1955. “What people need to understand is, people are always talking ;More…
Why was McLaren faster than Ferrari in Melbourne, but slower in Malaysia? And how much faster was Valterri Bottas than his Williams team mate Felipe Massa in Sunday’s Grand Prix – enough to make a pass on Jenson Button ahead, as the team believed? With the help of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan we can attempt to answer these questions, thanks to the latest performance graphs.
The teams did a significant amount of pre-season testing in Bahrain this year, which will give them a good baseline understanding of the best way to attack this Grand Prix, however this year the race is being held at 6pm local time as a night race for the first time and this will mean that the track conditions will be cooler than in previous races here and the temperatures will fall as the race goes on. Pirelli has brought the soft and medium tyres from its range; although last year the medium and hard were brought, the tyres this year ;More…
In the back corridors of F1 the next month will be an interesting one, and the next week in particular. Bahrain is set to be a meeting point of key players to discuss changes to the new Formula 1. From a simple raising of the engines’ decibel level, to more radical ideas like shortening the races and abandoning the controversial fuel flow meters, it seems that discussions held so far will channel into a significant meeting of teams, FOM and FIA, a gathering of the F1 Strategy Group to frame a new policy and then possible ratifications of any changes ;More…
Only two races into the new hybrid turbo formula, the intense heat of Malaysia was always going to be a stiff challenge for the teams, but once again an impressive 15 cars from the 22 starters made it to the end. Pace was the ultimate decider of this race, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton simply too fast for the rest, leading home a Mercedes 1-2, but behind him there were some good battles in which strategy played a key part in the outcome. Alonso vs Hulkenberg: Different strategies at play Before the race one of the key decisions was whether to ;More…
“Strike one to Lewis,” said Hamilton’s former team mate Jenson Button, after the Malaysian Grand Prix, where the Briton beat his current team mate Nico Rosberg by almost 20 seconds. It was an important psychological blow for Hamilton, but Rosberg seemed calm, knowing that he had extended his lead in the world championship.
Felipe Massa has insisted he was right to ignore a team order to let team-mate Valtteri Bottas past him to take seventh place in the closing stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix, despite concerns on the Williams pit wall about the state of the Brazilian’s power unit. In an uncanny replay of the Ferrari command at the 2010 German Grand Prix in which Massa was told “Fernando is quicker than you”, Massa was informed that Bottas in eighth was running faster than him and that he should let the Finn through. He ignored the request and went on to claim ;More…
A dominant win for Lewis Hamilton, 25 seconds ahead of the next non-Mercedes car, as the Silver Arrows pressed home their competitive advantage in Sepang. There were some strong performances up and down the field, once again, but who stood out for you? Who was your Driver of the Day