Monthly Archives: February 2012

Karthikeyan to remain with HRT for 2012

Karthikeyan will return to HRT despite being dropped last year

Karthikeyan will return to HRT despite being dropped last year

Narain Karthikeyan is to return to the HRT team for 2012.

He drove 8 races for the team in 2011, before being ousted by Daniel Ricciardo. He made a relatively impressive one-off return at the inaugral Indian Grand Prix.

He will be racing alongside Pedro de la Rosa, forming by far the oldest driver combination on the grid. De la Rosa will be 41 in Melbourne, while Karthikeyan will be 35.

Giedo van der Garde was the other contender for the race seat, but it has since become clear that he failed to bring as much sponsorship money as Narain.

This signing effectively closes the 2012 driver market, as all driver vacancies have now been filled.

Force India release VJM05

Force India take the wraps off the VJM05

Force India take the wraps off the VJM05

Force India are the third team to show off their 2012 car – the VJM05.

The car was shown to the press at the Silverstone circuit, where it was given its first laps by Paul di Resta.

The car incorporates the new nosecone design similar to Caterham, and heavily redesigned sidepods. The “blade” roll hoop has been dropped in favour of the more conventional design.

The livery has been changed again, with partial owners Sahara now featured prominently on the side of the car.

Technical director Andy Green called the VJM05 a “big departure” from the 2011 version:

We’ve got a new front wing which sets up all the basic structures along the car 
and it’s a big step for us. It took us quite a long time and to go away from how 
perhaps we traditionally worked. The package is a big departure from what we’ve 
done before and the wind tunnel numbers are really encouraging and we’re looking 
forward to getting it on the track and seeing if it does produce what it should do.

The loss of the blown-exhaust is a bigger effect than lowering the nose. Massively 
bigger. We were quite late with extracting what we could from our diffuser last 
year and I don’t think it reached its potential by a long way. There were teams 
out there who extracted way more than we did. Hopefully it will hurt them more 
this year than it will us.

We spent the winter trying to salvage all the downforce we lost and I think we’ve 
got close. My feeling is that it should close the field up. You only have to look 
at Silverstone last year to see what effect it had."

The team have stated that their intention is to finish 5th in the constructors’ championship.

Snow forces cancellation of Ferrari launch

Ferrari's base in Maranello has been snowed in

Ferrari's base in Maranello has been snowed in

Ferrari have called off their intended launch for their 2012 F1 car.

Their base in Maranello has been beset by snow in recent days, which has forced the team to call off the event.

On their Twitter account, they stated: “It is still snowing heavily here in Maranello. Therefore, the launch ceremony of the new F1 car has been cancelled.”

An online launch will replace the cancelled event, with pictures and technical details being posted on ferrarif1.com tomorrow.

McLaren launch MP4-27 in Woking

The new McLaren MP4-27

The new McLaren MP4-27

McLaren are the second team to unveil their 2012 challenger, called the MP4-27.

Interestingly, the car does not feature the odd nosecone design that most teams seem to have been developing. Caterham, the only other team to have launched their car so far, incorporated the new innovation into their CT01, with mixed reactions regarding its appearance.

At the launch, Jenson Button noted that the MP4-27 was a “beautiful car”, but “many you see will not be”.

Lewis Hamilton talked about the redesign at the back of the car:

"Particularly the back of the car is a lot neater than it was last year. It’s 
much, much tighter. The focus is making it as snug as possible at the back to 
improve aerodynamics. It’s just refinement.

The rear wing is a bit better in terms of dropping drag. We’re trying our best 
to improve the rear flow especially with no blown diffuser this year it’s going 
to be very tricky for us. You’ll lose a lot of downforce without the blown diffuser.

When we were off-power last year we had a tremendous amount of downforce just 
coming from the back floor with the exhaust-blown diffuser. We don’t have that 
this year which is really the biggest loss for us.

It’s about finding the balance last year we obviously had a lot of weight and a 
lot of downforce on the rear of the car and we had to try to balance it with 
getting enough front end. This year I think it will be the other way around: 
having too much at the front and trying to find more rear."
A frontal view of the McLaren MP4-27

A frontal view of the McLaren MP4-27

Lewis also joked: “We’ve changed the mirrors, we’ll be able to see a lot better. Felipe [Massa] will be very happy with that!”

Instead of incorporating drastic changes in height on the nosecone, McLaren have opted to lower the front of their car, to cope with the lower front wing technical rule change this year.

Compared to the MP4-26, the car is tighter at the back for improved airflow. The U-shaped sidepods have been replaced with a more conventional design (which McLaren claim was a cause of the FIA banning exhaust-blown diffusers), while a revised cooling system now directs air to the gearbox oil cooling system.

Force India and Ferrari are next up to reveal their cars, both launching in two days time.

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