Monthly Archives: January 2011

Lotus reveal T128

The Lotus T128

The Lotus T128

Lotus have shown off their 2011 car: The T128. Originally intended to be named the TL11, it was changed after the recent disputed with Renault/Group Lotus regarding who owns the Lotus name.

This car features extremely thin sidepods, as well as the split airbox design that Mercedes introduced last year. While the 2011 regulations were changed to avoid such a design, Lotus appear to have found a way around this. The nosecone has also been lowered at the very front.

The gearbox this year will be supplied by Red Bull, after several problems last year. Also, engine power has switched from Cosworth to Renault.

Also, the team have stated that they will not be using KERS at the start of the season. Keith Saunt, chief operating officer, explained:

"If KERS was going to get us from eighth to sixth then we’d have it. But 
when you look at the weight of it and some of the engineering challenges, I 
think it’s a good decision not to start with it. We might end up with it, 
who knows?"

Livery-wise, the car remains the same, apart from a yellow addition onto the back of the engine cover.

Sauber C30 released

Sauber's new C30

Sauber's new C30

Sauber are the second team today to show off their 2011 car, the C30. With this model, the team say they are hoping for regular points finishes.

Sauber's new C30

Sauber's new C30

It is Sauber’s first car designed by James Key, the man who turned around their 2010 season after moving from Force India.

As expected, it was shown off by Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez. They have also ditched the shark fin engine cover, and the C30 also featured revised sideboards and nose cone.

As for the livery, the new logos thrown on make it the worst looking car so far of 2011. Unfortunately, Peter Sauber has stated that he liked last year’s design, so expect this livery to stick around for some time.

Renault R31 launched

The new Renault R31

The new Renault R31

The Renault R31 has been revealed today, featuring its new black-and gold livery.

It was unveiled today in the pit lane in Valencia, where testing starts tomorrow.

At the same time, the team have also announced their two newest test drivers as Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean, joining Jan Charouz, Ho-Ping Tung and Fairuz Fauzy.

The car has dropped the shark fin layout, like Ferrari last week. They have also adopted the pull-rod suspension layout, the one that Red Bull have been using to great effect in the last 2 years.

Update: I’ve heard that the exhaust pipes on this car are nowhere to be seen. According to reports, Renault are operating a revolutionary system, where the exhaust pipes are brought to the front of the car, then the gases are pushed into an exhaust blown diffuser – all at the front of the car, not the back.

First image of Mercedes W02

A first look at the Mercedes W02

A first look at the Mercedes W02

The first rendering of Mercedes’ 2011 challenger, the W02, has been published by the team.

Although this is not the actual launch, as that is happening on Tuesday in Valencia, it gives us a good look at the car. Mercedes appear to have adopted Red Bull’s high nosecone, which becomes wider at the front, similar to Ferrari’s F150.

The wings appear generally the same, although they have reverted to the old airbox design, compared to a radical split airbox layout last year.

This image was first published by German newspaper Bild earlier today.

Ferrari F150 launched

The new Ferrari F150

The new Ferrari F150

The first of the 2011 Formula 1 cars have been revealed, with Ferrari showing off their newest challenger: the F150.

The 150 in the name is in recognition of 150 years since Italy’s unification. It was launched today at the team’s base in Maranello.

The new Ferrari F150

A front-angle view of the Ferrari F150

In technical terms, it’s certainly a case of evolution over revolution. The shark-fin engine cover has been dropped, in favour of the conventional engine cover. The nose cone is much higher than the F10, and becomes wider near the front. The entire rear wing is now mounted to the central pylon.

Several new sections on the rear wing of the Ferrari F150

Several new sections on the rear wing of the Ferrari F150

Eagle-eyed viewers may notice that the front wing is exactly the same as the one used at the end of last year, seeing as it has the adjustable section (which is banned for 2011). This probably means that we will see an interim 2011 front wing in testing.

The top rear wing flap is new, presumably to be used as the adjustable rear wing section. The bottom section of the rear wing has also been rounded off.

Other aerodynamic pieces, such as the turning vanes and bargeboards, remain the same.

The livery is generally the same, apart from the new Ferrari logo on the engine cover, replacing the barcode design of last year. The Italian flag colours new feature on the back of the rear wing.

In an interview, Stefano Domenicali said that there are “too many very good teams” and that their team “would not underestimate anyone”:

Here is a video walk-around of the F150:

 

Di Resta joins Sutil, Hulkenberg test driver for Force India

Di Resta and Sutil are Force India's race drivers, while Hulkenberg is test driver

Di Resta and Sutil are Force India's race drivers, while Hulkenberg is test driver

After weeks of speculation, Paul di Resta has finally been announced as the second driver for Force India.

He will join Adrian Sutil, while Nico Hulkenberg has been appointed as the team’s test driver. There is no news yet as to what will happen with Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Di Resta was unveiled today in Glasgow, at a press conference for sponsor Whyte & Mackay. He said:

"Naturally I am thrilled to be making my race debut this season. Becoming an 
F1 driver has been a long-held ambition of mine, something I’ve wanted to do 
since I first stepped into a kart, and to finally realise it feels amazing. 
I’ve worked really hard for this opportunity throughout my career and to get 
it with Force India, a young team that’s got ambitions as big as mine, is 
genuinely exciting. I can’t wait to be on the grid in Bahrain, it can’t come 
soon enough."

Test driver Hulkenberg sounded slightly less happy with his role:

"I am happy I can stay in F1 in 2011. I am looking forward to working with 
Force India and I am sure the team will continue improving in the future. I 
appreciate the team trusting me by signing a long-term contract. I will do 
my very best to live up to expectations."

The team have also published an interview with Di Resta:

Q&A with Paul di Resta

Paul, you are now a full-time, fully-fledged Formula 1 driver. What are your thoughts on making your F1 debut this year?
Naturally I am thrilled to be making my race debut this season. Becoming an F1 driver has been a long-held ambition of mine, something I’ve wanted to do since I first stepped into a kart, and to finally realise it feels amazing. I’ve worked really hard for this opportunity throughout my career and to get it with Force India, a young team that’s got ambitions as big as mine, is genuinely exciting. I can’t wait to be on the grid in Bahrain, it can’t come soon enough!

How have you been preparing for your first season?
I’ve been working on fitness to be completely ‘race fit’ and I’ll have some simulator sessions before the start of the testing programme. We will decide the days I will do very shortly, but I should be in the car at each of the tests to make sure the team and I have as much information as possible about the new car and its behaviour. I’ve been spending as much time as I can in the factory as well – even though I know the team very well from last season, I am strengthening those relationships so we function at our best level as a team.

You have stepped up from the test driver role, what do you think you’ll gain from that experience?
Obviously I know the team very well, and understanding how people work and the systems and procedures in place gives a real advantage as everything you do is improving, rather than learning from scratch. I will also know some of the circuits from my Friday experience so getting up to speed on those weekends will be quicker and easier. It’s an ideal position to be in when you make your race debut.

Which circuits are you looking forward to this year? How much experience do you have on some of them?
Silverstone will obviously be very special as it’s my home Grand Prix. Last year I was lucky enough to drive in the Friday practice session and was the first out on track so I could hear the crowd. The atmosphere was amazing so I’ll be geared up for that race. Equally all the circuits are special in some respects – Monza has the history, Belgium that incredible track and Singapore the lights. Really it will be about optimising every opportunity I have on and off track.

You’ll be the third British driver on the grid this year, but also joining some of the greatest names in British and Scottish motorsport. How does it feel to be stepping up to this level?
Britain has produced some great drivers over the years and Lewis and Jenson have really stood out in recent seasons as two back to back world champions. To be on the grid with them is pretty special. To then follow in the footsteps of some other great names – Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark for example – is a real honour and I hope that I will do justice to their achievements.

What will your aims be for the coming season?
Initially it will be to learn from the bottom up and create a solid foundation. Learn the tracks, understand the car and get the information everyone needs to achieve the ambitious goals we have set ourselves. To do this, we need to finish as many races as possible and to make sure that when we finish we’re in the points.

Have your family or anyone given you any advice?
They are all so pleased that I’ve been given this opportunity, but no one has told me what to do or what not to do, but I know that if I need some help or advice, all I need to do is ask. My father in particular has worked just as hard as I have to make this happen and to see his smile when we get to the grid in Bahrain will make me really proud.

Will you be competing in any other series this year, as you did last year, or will your attention be focussed on F1?
No, F1 will be my only series this year. With 20 races on the calendar, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to compete in anything else! I’ve waited a long time to get this chance and now all my efforts are going into this to be as successful as I can.

You’ve got two very quick team-mates, both of whom have F1 race experience. How do you think your respective talents will benefit each other?
Having two team-mates that have competed in F1 is an advantage as you have people who know the tracks, the business and how to deal with certain situations you only get when you are racing. Equally I hope that I can bring some experience from my outings last year, what I know about the team and a different perspective on things. I think we’ll complement each

Force India poised to unveil Di Resta

Paul di Resta is about to be confirmed at Force India on Wednesday

Paul di Resta is about to be confirmed at Force India on Wednesday

After a lengthy contract tussle involving Vitantonio Liuzzi, Paul di Resta is finally set to be revealed as Force India’s second driver. He will be unveiled at a press conference in Glasgow on Wednesday, to race alongside Adrian Sutil for 2011.

Over the last few weeks, 2009 and 2010 driver Liuzzi has been struggling to retain his drive for this year. It is presumed that he and Force India have come to an agreement to end his contract prematurely.

Meanwhile, the Scot has had a contract with the Silverstone-based team, but these contract difficulties have meant that he could not be confirmed. However, it appears that the debate is finally over, and he will gain a race seat with the team in 2011.

In 2010, Di Resta operated with the team as a test driver, driving the car during several Friday Practice sessions. He also won the DTM championship with Mercedes, in which he had finished 2nd and 3rd in previous years.

With this, the supply of race seats for 2011 has nearly dried up, with only one position left: the seat alongside Narain Karthikeyan at HRT.

Australian GP’s future in doubt?

Financial problems have thrown the future of the race into doubt

Financial problems have thrown the future of the race into doubt

While the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne has a contract for Formula 1 until 2015, annual losses and a lack of investment have thrown the event’s future into doubt.

While the 2010 race saw over 300,000 in the grandstands over the three days, the A$49.2m loss per year was a huge worry, and the state government appears unwilling to foot the bill for much longer.

Robert Doyle, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, stated:

"The big stumbling block to this scenario is the cost to the Victorian  
taxpayer. In 1996 when the race was a combination of a four-day event  
and corporate sponsorship was far more generous than it is today, the  
race still needed to be underwritten by about $1.7 million. Last year it  
was $50 million.

It is the old argument: pay up front but get many times the value of 
the upfront payment in downstream economic benefits.

For most events that formula is persuasive. But $70 million?

My judgment would be: Get ready. Time's up."

While it is worrying that such a good race is threatened, there is still hope for the Grand Prix. This race has consistently made losses, but the revenue from the event has reportedly brought up to A$180m in economic benefits per year.

On the other hand, the Australian public do not seem to be behind the funding of the Grand Prix as much as us F1 fans would have hoped. A potential $70m loss this year will be a huge deficit to tackle.

Rome gives up on Grand Prix plans

The planned circuit for the Rome Grand Prix

The planned circuit for the Rome Grand Prix

The speculated Rome Grand Prix has officially been ditched by the city, who now claim that they will be concentrating on hosting the Olympics instead.

From the end of 2009 onwards, it became apparent that Bernie Ecclestone was in negotiations to bring Formula 1 to the Italian city. However, in recent weeks, he has been making remarks that there is not space for two races in the same country.

A long-term contract until 2016 for Monza was another hint, until the mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, finally admitted defeat:

"We formally and definitely give up on the hypothesis of a Formula 1 Grand 
Prix in Rome. This move represents a step backwards because we have always 
said we would have done so, should the FIA have posed an alternative between
Rome and Monza.

However, we have an Olympic dream that is still going on: so let's make
clear to Italy and to the world that we want to stage the games in Rome."

With Bernie saying that only one race is allowed per country, surely this also spells concerns for one of the two Spanish races as well?

Pirelli aiming for two-stop races

Pedro de la Rosa testing Pirelli wet tyres in Abu Dhabi

Pedro de la Rosa testing Pirelli wet tyres in Abu Dhabi

Pirelli have stated that they are still hoping to have every Grand Prix next year to incorporate two-stop strategies. The plan is to use much softer and quicker-wearing tyre compounds than those used in recent years.

The extremely durable Bridgestones last year were certainly effective at lasting the distance – too well, many would say. Strategies last year were often the same, and on several occasions, drivers could use the softer tyres until the second last lap with no difficulties.

Occasionally, races last year such as Montreal produced fantastic racing because of heavily degrading tyres on both compounds, and Pirelli aim to emulate this for the 2011 season.

Paul Hembery, motorsport director at Pirelli, said that the company would try their best, but could not guarantee results at every race:

"We hope to have at least two tyre changes in every race. We want to try to 
create more of a show.

We will try to play our part to create as much interest in the sport as 
possible. But we have to be realistic. This is our first year and some of 
the tracks we can't possibly test at - like the street circuits, or the new 
circuits.

We have asked the sport to consider testing new compounds during the season 
and they have suggested, verbally at least, that it could be possible in 
Friday first practices to try different compounds."

Up to this point, Pirelli have completed nearly 13,000 kilometres in testing. Currently, they are testing their wet weather tyres at the artificially wet Abu Dhabi track. According to reports, they will be supplying 50,000 tyres to Formula 1 per season.

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