Category Archives: Drivers and Teams

Adrian Sutil beats Jules Bianchi to final Force India seat

With only 16 days left until the start of the F1 season, Force India have finally completed their driver line-up. Adrian Sutil will return to the cockpit after a 1-year hiatus, being chosen over young driver Jules Bianchi.

Sutil was convicted in January 2012 of an assault on Genii Capital CEO Eric Lux, and was given an 18-month suspended sentence. This led to his dismissal from the team for the following season.

Even with worries that he may not be allowed into China (where the assault took place), Sutil has been granted a spot in his old team. He drove for it when it was called Spyker (2007), then Force India from 2008 to 2011.

Jules Bianchi, who was also in contention for the final F1 seat of 2013, has been retained by the team as a reserve driver, and the team have hinted that they will consider him as a future driver in years to come.

Luiz Razia confirmed as Max Chilton’s teammate at Marussia

Marussia will have an all-rookie line-up this season, with Luiz Razia confirmed as the team’s second driver.

He joins Max Chilton, who won two races in GP2 last season, and the duo have replaced Charles Pic and Timo Glock within the squad.

Razia has previously won the 2006 South American Formula 3 championship, and finished 2nd in the 2012 GP2 series with 4 race wins. In 2011 he drove for both Force India and Toro Rosso in the young driver tests, and tested in free practice sessions for the Caterham team.

The last team to run an all-rookie line-up was the 2010 HRT team, whose drivers didn’t all make it to the end of the season.

Marussia MR02 launched on first test day in Jerez

On the morning of the first test session of the 2013 season, Marussia have finally revealed their MR02 car.

For the Marussia team, the MR02 represents some large steps forward. This is the first of their cars (including the Virgin team) to be designed in a wind tunnel, and not just using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). It is also the first of their cars to feature a KERS system.

One interesting addition to the MR02 is a Coanda exhaust system, which was utilised by the frontrunning teams last year. It is unclear whether this innovation or the DDRS system will be the focus of more development in 2013.

On a worrying note, there appears to be a shortage of sponsors on the main body of the MR02 – at least for the moment.

Caterham CT03 revealed

In the first of two car launches today, Caterham have taken the covers off their CT03 challenger.

Interestingly, they have opted not to run the vanity panel on the front, instead opting for a stepped nose similar to last year.

Technical director Mark Smith noted that, as well as the Ct03 being an evolution of last year’s model, work on the 2014 car is already underway.

The livery of the car has also been changed, with the main body predominantly green, with the yellow colours relegated to the back of the car, and black on sections of the front wing.

 

First pictures of Toro Rosso STR8

Only an hour after the launch of the Mercedes W04, Toro Rosso have unveiled their STR8.

Visually, the most striking thing about the car is the unusual nose, which goes much further ahead of the front wing than any other car on the grid.

The team have adopted a McLaren-style exhaust, and the same heavily undercut sidepods similar to last year.

More details will be added soon.

Mercedes unveil W04 at Jerez

With only a day to go until the first test session of the season, Mercedes have finally shown off their W04 car, along with new driver Lewis Hamilton.

The W04, arguably one of the most eagerly-awaited releases of the off-season, is an evolution of the erratic W03, which won races at the start of 2012, but quickly slid down the order.

The stepped nose is covered by an unusually smoothened panel, and the nose is at its widest at the end, similar to the Sauber C32. The exhausts and rear of the car have been redesigned over the winter, with many new visible additions to the diffuser area of the car.

The livery is virtually identical to last year’s, save for the addition of phone manufacturer Blackberry as a sponsor.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg attended the event, with Hamilton getting his first opportunity to drive a Mercedes car.

First pictures of Red Bull RB9

Red Bull are the latest team to reveal their 2013 F1 car, called the RB9.

Pictures are hard to come by at the moment, since the “reveal” was simply a 3-minute video, and the team are currently doing their best to stop any photography of the actual car.

A screenshot from the launch video is a start though. We can see that the blue on the sidepods has been replaced with purple, and an even more aggressive stepped nose has been adopted.

The rear of the car is rather similar to the 2012 model, and Adrian Newey has referred to it as an “evolutionary” car.

More details will be added as they emerge.

Sauber C32 unveiled

Sauber are the fifth team to show off the 2013 challenger, called the C32.

The car was shown off via online stream, with the team taking the covers off the C32 in their Hinwil base. The most notable change is that of the livery, which changes to 90% grey instead of white and grey.

The stepped nose is covered by the vanity panel as expected, and it is believed that the C32 runs pushrod suspension.

More details will be added soon.

Force India release VJM06, but confusion reigns over second driver

Force India followed Ferrari’s suit in showing off their 2013 car today – theirs is called the VJM06.

The car was launched via an online feed, but a large amount of viewers – myself included – were unable to watch it due to the page not loading, presumably due to high demand.

Technical

As expected, the VJM06 builds upon the strong points of the VJM05. However, they appeared to have taken a new direction on the nosecone, which is wider at the end than it is in the middle.

Some have noted that this may to be to deflect air around the car, instead of over it. The raised section of the nose has been shielded by the modesty panel, meaning that only Lotus so far has not used the device.

Interestingly, much of the rear of the car was painted completely black, probably in order to hide their exhaust solution until Jerez testing. However, amateur photos at the event have shown that the exhaust air is directed towards the wheels as opposed to the diffuser.

No news about second driver

While Paul di Resta was on hand to pose in some photos, there was no statement from the team regarding his teammate.

Force India have confirmed that they will not confirm their second driver until testing begins, and they may not even make an announcement until the second test in Barcelona.

It is believed that Adrian Sutil, Jaime Alguersuari, Bruno Senna and Jules Bianchi are still all in the running for the race seat.

Giedo van der Garde promoted to second driver for Caterham

2012 test driver Giedo van der Garde has been promoted to a race seat for 2013 by Caterham.

After the departure of Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov, there was a huge roster of drivers looking to take one of the last remaining seats before the 2013 season started. It was believed that Adrian Sutil, Jaime Alguersuari, Bruno Senna and Luiz Razia were all in contention.

However, the team has made the decision to promote their test driver to join Charles Pic.

Van der Garde won two races in the 2012 GP2 championship, and previously finished 3rd in the 2011 GP2 Asia Series. He has also won the  2008 Formula Renault 3.5 championship. It is unknown whether the Dutch driver brings sponsorship to the backmarker team.

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