Daily Archives: January 15, 2010

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Newey: Banning DD diffusers won’t help overtaking

Adrian Newey

Adrian Newey

Red Bull aerodynamicist Adrian Newey says that the potential banning of the double-decker diffusers in 2011 will not help overtaking in F1.

Talking at the Watkins Lecture at Autosport International, he said:

“I don’t think [double diffusers] affected the overtaking. It gave us more downforce and made the cars about a second a lap quicker. That doesn’t change whether the car’s going to overtake or not, there’s no difference in the aerodynamic wake which is what affects the ability of the car behind to overtake.”

Also, he believes that the sport should not get back into the habit of “piecemeal modifications” during the 1998-2008 technical era:

“The regulations we had for 2009 were the subject of a lot of research by the Overtaking Working Group. It’s questionable whether they worked or not, but the process, I think, was correct.”

“What’s now happening is we’ve gone back to these piecemeal modifications – banning double diffusers or getting rid of barge boards. For me, it’s very frustrating that it’s not being thought out. [It needs] a clear goal and proper research.”

“So often in Formula 1, things are changed with very little research.”

Also, he has concerns about the banning of refuelling for the 2010 season:

“I think the ban on refuelling is another example of that where… maybe it will be good for the racing, but it was not thought out. Some people thought “we could save a £100,000 here by cutting the cost of flying the refuelling rigs around the world. But if that destroys the spectacle and the racing becomes more boring as a result of that and people start turning their televisions off, then that wasn’t £100,000 well saved.”

Sutil: 2010 a big opportunity

Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil, driver for Force India, thinks that 2010 can be a huge opportunity for him and his team.

In an interview with Formula1.com, he says that Force India can now be an established team:

“It feels very good to be a competitive team in Formula One. The 2009 season was one of the most important seasons for us. We were able to make a name for ourselves in F1 with constantly good performances and a few huge surprises. Now it’s important to continue our good work and try to be even more competitive in 2010.”

“What probably was a shortfall in the past is now turning into a big advantage for us right now, as we are used to working within a small budget and with less people. We can fully concentrate on our development, as we used to do over the last few years, without having to shift energy into various downgrades. Other teams need to learn – probably painfully – how to work efficiently with less people and a reduced budget. That could take a little while and so 2010 could be a big opportunity for us.”

Speaking about the new car, the VJM3, he said:

“The whole team is hard at work developing the best car possible and it looks very, very promising right now. For sure the new rules are a big challenge for everybody, so to make a clear statement about how good we have been in interpreting those new regulations we will have to wait until the first test in Jerez, where I will drive the VJM3 for the first time.”

Talking about his schedule before the season begins, he stated:

“The whole team is hard at work developing the best car possible and it looks very, very promising right now. For sure the new rules are a big challenge for everybody, so to make a clear statement about how good we have been in interpreting those new regulations we will have to wait until the first test in Jerez, where I will drive the VJM3 for the first time.”

Horner: Continuity crucial for Red Bull (includes video)

Christian Horner

Christian Horner

Red Bull team prncipal Christian Horner has said that driver, engine and staff continuity is crucial to Red Bull’s charge for the championship this year.

The team is the only one to keep both its drivers for 2010: Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. The engine will continue to be supplied from Renault, and there are few changes at the staff.

Speaking at the AUTOSPORT International show, he said:

“So we are probably one of the only big teams that has not had a change, and there is always that settling down period, especially with the restricted testing, that drivers who change teams or new drivers coming into teams are going to be under pressure to get up to speed quickly.”

“We have the benefit of continuity, but obviously the other teams are quality teams and world class drivers and I am sure by the time we arrive in Bahrain they will all be in good shape. “

Horner is adamant that the decision to skip the first test session, to give them more development time, will not be a disadvantage.

“Strategically it is something that we looked at, and it is something that you look at when you look at the planning of the car,” he said. “It was something we elected to do in 2009, to give the designers, Adrian [Newey] and his team as much time as possible, to optimise the launch car.”

“Last year it poured with rain for three days at Parc Algarve, and we don’t have good enough weather satellites to say it is going to do the same in Valencia. But it is a strategy we have adopted.”

“We believe it gives us the best preparation for the first race in Bahrain, and the season ahead. It is a long campaign, 19 races this year, so rightly or wrongly that is our decision. It is an aggressive route to take. It has always been part of our strategy and we will hit the ground running at the second test in Jerez.”

Speaking about the team’s decicion to keep Renault engines for this year, he said:

“I don’t think the engine decision made any difference at all to our planning. There was obviously some discussions with Mercedes-Benz during the latter part of the summer, but as soon as it was clear what our engine choice was going to be, it hasn’t compromised anything in any way.”

A video of the full interview is available here:

Newey: Red Bull blocked from Mercedes engine deal

Adrian Newey

Adrian Newey

Red Bull designer and aerodynamic expert Adrian Newey claims that Red Bull were blocked from getting a Mercedes engine deal this year.

He says that Mercedes users, McLaren and Brawn, decided to block the deal.

Talking at the Motorsport Safety Fund’s Watkins Lecture at Autosport International, Newey says that the team wanted the engines because of the Mercedes teams’ performance advantage:

“The Mercedes engine enjoyed a good advantage over the rest of the field last year. The lap time difference was significant – several tenths of a second. And when you have to find that kind of performance from the chassis, that’s quite a big ask.”

“But in the end Brawn and McLaren blocked us from having the Mercedes engine.”

The team had also looked at using Cosworth engines for 2010, but decided to stay with Renault for the time being, despite reliability issues.

Alonso to have new helmet with Ferrari (new pictures added)

Felipe Massa, Bernie Ecclestone and Fernando Alonso

Felipe Massa, Bernie Ecclestone and Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso is to have a new helmet, as he joins Ferrari this year.

At the Wrooom Ferrari event, a few days ago, he was pictured holding his new helmet. There may be another sponsor logo added to it, however.

New pictures have been added:

Massa had quizzed Piquet about Crashgate

Felipe Massa and Nelson Piquet Jr

Felipe Massa and Nelson Piquet Jr

Nelson Piquet's staged crash at Singapore 2008

Nelson Piquet's staged crash at Singapore 2008

Felipe Massa has revealed that he had quizzed Nelson Piquet Jr and Flavio Briatore about the events at the 2008 Singapore GP, even before the scandal had broken out.

In Singapore 2008, Nelson Piquet crashed 2 laps after Fernando Alonso had pitted, and brought out the safety car. This gave a huge advantage to Alonso, who went on to win the race. Massa, who had been leading and dominating the race, pitted when the safety car was over, but a disasterous pit stop meant he finished last. Felipe later lost the championship to Lewis Hamilton by a single point.

However, Massa says that he had always been skeptical about Piquet’s crash, even before the scandal broke out this year. At a Ferrari media event, he said:

“I spoke to him, yeah. I spoke to him before [it became public],” said Massa. “We were going together to drive go-karts in Italy and I asked him about Singapore – I wanted to hear the right story because I was thinking that the combination [of events] was so perfect [for Renault], what happened in that race.”

“And he was laughing, he didn’t want to say the truth. I said ‘okay, you’re laughing, but I understood. Maybe one day we’ll speak again’. And after one month or less, the story came back in the press.”

“I even spoke to Flavio about that in Bahrain last year. I asked Flavio about Singapore and he said ‘no, no, it’s impossible’ and he was even trying to laugh sometimes.”

However, even though he probably lost the championship because of it, he does not wish to revisit the incident.

“But if I spoke to them after I knew? It didn’t change anything,” said Massa. “Why should I go there and speak? We will not go back to the past. We need to think about the present and the future. The past is the past.”

“Everybody knows what happened in 2008. I don’t think we’re going to win anything by going back through all these problems. For sure it was very frustrating what was happening in that race, and it changed many things around the championship.”

“But anyway, we need to think forward. I hope these things don’t happen anymore – for the sport, not just the business. I hope we’ll go back to fighting for the championship and I hope I can be a champion one day. That’s the way I’m thinking.”

New constructions and compounds for tyres

Bridgestone F1 tyres

Bridgestone F1 tyres

Bridgestone have announced that they are to introduce new constructions and compound of their tyres this year, mainly to the refuelling ban meaning heavier cars.

Also, the green stripe on the soft and extreme wet tyres are to remain. This is to support the FIA’s Make Cars Green campaign.

The chief engineer at Bridgestone Motorsport, Jun Matsuzaki, said:

“All compounds have changed from last year based on the feedback and data we gained last season as well as the rule changes for this season. The tyres are designed to be more durable for this season due to the heavier cars and different strategy options because of no more refuelling.”

Bridgestone are to leave F1 at the end of 2010.

Mercedes reveal launch date, and Force India to miss first test

Mercedes GP have announced their car launch date to be the 25th February. The car, to be called the RB1 (named after Ross Brawn), will be revealed in the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart.

Also, Force India have announced that they are to to join Red Bull in not attending the first F1 test, on the 1st February, in Valencia. Instead, the VJM03 will first be run on the 10th February, in Jerez.

Adrian Sutil has told Formula1.com that this is to have more development time – a similar strategy to Red Bull.

“The whole team is hard at work developing the best car possible and it looks very, very promising right now,” explained Sutil.

“For sure the new rules are a big challenge for everybody, so to make a clear statement about how good we have been in interpreting those new regulations we will have to wait until the first test in Jerez, where I will drive the VJM3 for the first time.”

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