Category Archives: Releases

Lotus E21 launched, Davide Valsecchi announced as third driver

Lotus E21The Lotus E21 is the first of the 2013 Formula 1 cars to be shown off to the public, having been unveiled online this evening.

Pictures were leaked before the event, confirming that the car will retain the stepped nose design as of last year.

The livery is mostly the same, save for an unusual red section around the sidepod.

Technical

As already noted, the E21 will continue to run the stepped nose system into 2013. Technical director James Allison explains the decision to not run the FIA-approved “modesty panel”:

"Such a panel is optional and I would not be surprised if the majority of the grid 
chose not to make use of it. The panel will add a few grams of weight and so is 
only likely to run on the car if a team can find a performance benefit for doing 
so."

Allison also noted that Lotus were considering running the double DRS system in the E21.

Unusually, there appears to be little drastic changes to the exterior of the car, leading some to claim that Lotus are yet to introduce several upgrades on the car. If so, this would be in order to protect technical secrets, at least until testing begins in Jerez.

Davide Valsecchi joins the squad

Also revealed today is that current GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi is to join the team as a third driver for the year.

The 26-year-old spent several years in the feeder series, before finally succeeding at the fifth attempt with the DAMS team, who are linked to Lotus team principal Eric Boullier’s young driver organisation.

 

Marussia MR01 revealed at Silverstone

Marussia reveal the MR01

Marussia reveal the MR01

Marussia are the last team of 2012 to show off their 2012 car, called the MR01.

Like HRT, Marussia failed the FIA crash tests, meaning they could not take part in pre-season testing. However, they used today’s launch to get some track time as part of a promotional event.

The MR01 marks Marussia’s first attempt at using a wind tunnel to build their car, after the disaster of their CFD approach over the last 2 years.

As rumours anticipated, the car has followed McLaren’s lead in not using the stepped nose design.

New HRT F112 launched in Barcelona

HRT showed off their F112

HRT showed off their F112

HRT have finally unveiled their F112 car in Barcelona today.

After failing their initial crash tests, the financially troubled team will take part in a filming day today to shake down the car. However, the F112 has still lost out massively from not completing any realistic test laps before Melbourne.

The livery has again been revised from last year. 2011′s design proved to be a hit with the fans, though this may not be the case this year. The base of the car is white, with deep red and gold lines along the side.

The F112 appears to have a stepped nose like many of its competitors, but the lack of front-end pictures makes it difficult to analyse.

A team photo afterwards revealed that Vitantonio Liuzzi was to stay with the team, undoubtedly as a reserve driver.

Mercedes reveal W03 in Barcelona

Mercedes' W03 features a large stepped nose

Mercedes' W03 features a large stepped nose

Mercedes are the final frontrunning team to release their 2012 F1 car, called the W03.

The Silver Arrows car has a distinctive nose design, featuring one of the highest steps on the grid so far. The bridge sections of the nose are particularly steep.

The W03 features a lower core weight than its predecessor. The Mercedes team noted that it took 4,500 parts to construct the W03, which is 200 more than the W02.

Over the last few months, the team have hired ex-Ferrari designer Aldo Costa, Renault engineer Bob Bell and Geoff Willis, who previously worked for BAR, Williams and Red Bull.

Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug has said that the aim from 2012 is to move into the top 3:

"2012 will mark the third season for our Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows works team, 
which was introduced in January 2010, and our target is to take a step forward in 
on-track performance.

A lot of work has been done throughout the last year, not just to design the new 
car but also to build a technical organisation that is capable of delivering to 
its full potential, with consistency. Our ultimate goal is to become regular race
winners and championship contenders, and so to write another chapter of success 
in the story of the Silver Arrows which began 78 years ago."

Team principal Ross Brawn called the stepped nose an “acquired taste”, but stated that the car is certainly a step forward from last year.

The W03 made its track debut in Barcelona today, with Michael Schumacher at the wheel.

Williams reveal FW34 with revised livery

Williams are the last of the teams to reveal their car - the FW34 - before testing

Williams are the last of the teams to reveal their car - the FW34 - before testing

Williams are the ninth F1 team to show off their car for the 2012 season – the FW34.

The team hope to bounce back after a dismal 2011 season, where the team scored only 5 points. As well as the new car, the team have switched to Renault engines for this year.

The car was revealed just before the beginning of today’s pre-season testing in Jerez. A revised livery was also shown off, with the back of the car significantly darker than previous years.

Technically, the car appears to have continued on the theory of a tight rear end (no joke intended), as the sidepods are much shorter and dip down much quicker. The infamous stepped nose is similar to the Ferrari’s, although it is partially hidden by the darker colour.

Toro Rosso launch STR7

Toro Rosso released their STR7 today

Toro Rosso released their STR7 today

Toro Rosso are the final of today’s launches, releasing their STR7 to the public in Jerez.

It is the third car to be designed in Faenza, after the split with Red Bull from Milton Keynes. The team has overhauled its driver line-up over the winter, with Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne now driving.

The team have taken quite an elegant approach to the raised nose section, with the side sections raised at a much higher angle than the middle, which gradually evens out further up the nose.

With this, there have been 8 cars confirmed out of 12. Testing begins in Jerez tomorrow, with Williams showing off their car in the morning.

Mercedes will release their car in two week’s time, Marussia will miss at least the first test finishing their car, while there has been absolutely no news from HRT.

Update: Interestingly, technical director Giorgio Ascanelli has described the team’s nosecone as “too conservative”, and that they wil revise it as the year progresses.

Red Bull post first images of RB8

Red Bull's first images of the RB8

Red Bull's first images of the RB8

Red Bull are the second of today’s launches, posting pictures of their RB8 challenger.

After back-to-back drivers and constructors championships, the team have retained their winning formula, with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the helm. Adrian Newey continues to head the design team. Ex-Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi is the team’s reserve driver.

The most interesting innovation so far appears to be in the now infamous nose section, where the team have placed an air intake right in the middle of the raised section. It is currently unclear what section this intake serves, but it would most likely be for the driver.

More pictures and quotes from the team will be added as they arrive.

First pictures of Sauber C31

Sauber have shown off their 2012 C31

Sauber have shown off their 2012 C31

Along with Red Bull and Toro Rosso, Sauber have released their 2012 car, the C31, today.

Just days ago, technical director James Key announced that he would be leaving the squad, posting a massive blow before the season has even started.

Regardless, the C31 has been described as “revolutionary where we had fresh ideas” by chief designer Matt Morris. He also stated that he believes that the exhaust blown diffuser ban will help the team:

"Because of the new definition in the rules we know that the disadvantages we had 
last year with a lack of the strong exhaust effect will be less of an issue for 
us now. As a result we evolved further our directions from C30 regarding the 
overall aero development of the car."
Side view of the Sauber C31

Side view of the Sauber C31

He also noted that the car will appear quite different at the first race in Melbourne, as more updates are added to the car.

Similar to last year, the car will be driven by Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez.

Lotus post first images of E20

Lotus revealed their E20 car online

Lotus revealed their E20 car online

Lotus are the latest team to have taken the covers off their 2012 race car.

Their challenger is called the E20. The name comes from their factory in Enstone, as this is the 20th Formula 1 car to be produced there.

The car features a stepped nose like its competitors, though not as extreme as Ferrari’s yesterday.

Lotus underwent large changes over the off-season, being taken over by Group Lotus, and switching both its drivers for Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

The team were known to be working on a reactive ride height system, though it was banned by the FIA last month.

The E20 was launched online, but the Lotus website has crashed several times under the pressure of thousands of viewers. Pictures are slow to be released, but they will be added as they arrive.

Here is the official video from Lotus:

Ferrari reveal F2012 with “distinctive” nose design

The newly-launched Ferrari F2012 will win no awards for looks

The newly-launched Ferrari F2012 will win no awards for looks

Ferrari are the fourth team to show off their 2012 challenger, appropriately called the F2012.

The standout feature of the F2012 is undoubtedly the horrendously ugly stepped nose design. Unlike other teams, who sloped the step between the two nose sections, Ferrari’s is at a near-45 degree angle at one point.

Chief designer Nikolas Tombazis describes the nose as “aesthetically not very pleasing”, which most fans have already considered to be one of the understatements of the year.

Chassis director Pat Fry noted that most of the team’s development would be focused on aerodynamics:

"We’re working on upgrading the aero, mainly. There will be an update for the 
third test and the first race. And then, in reality, it’s just a constant aero 
development all through the year.

The biggest differentiator is aerodynamics, still. I think there’s a lot less 
you can do now with engines affecting the aerodynamics.

The engineering side of engine performance moves back to actually producing 
horsepower and making it fuel-efficient, rather than the opposite that we had 
been doing. I think it is just going to be a constant aerodynamic development 
all through the year, really."

Aside from the nose, the most interesting innovation is the pullrod front suspension, which hasn’t been seen on an F1 car since the days of Minardi. Despite the fact that it is a mechanical system, it has been incorporated onto the car for mechanical reasons.

At the launch, Tombazis did a quick walk-through of the adjustments and innovations on the F2012:

"The front wing is an evolution of the wing we introduced in the 
last races of last season [tested in Indian GP]. That was introduced 
in order to learn some initial lessons about this subject and we 
understood quite a lot and we have further developed it, and there’s 
going to be further development at the third test before the start 
of the season.

The nose has a rather ungainly shape on the top. That is the result 
of the regulation which requires us to have the nose quite low, and 
an aerodynamic desire to have the lower part of the chassis as high 
as possible. So even though it is aesthetically not very pleasing, 
we believe it is the most efficient aerodynamic solution to that area 
of the car.

Going slightly further back, we get into one of the innovations of 
this car, which is the front suspension. For mainly aerodynamic 
reasons we have selected the pull-rod solution.

It took us quite a lot of work in the structural and design office 
and vehicle dynamics departments, in order to regain all the mechanical 
characteristics that we wanted the front suspension to have. We believe 
we’ve achieved that, but we also have, I believe, an aerodynamic 
advantage out of the solution.

Moving back, we reach the area of the sidepod inlets. There we have 
reviewed completely the project and we have changed out philosophy for 
the lateral crash structures. The crash test we had to do was much more 
difficult to homologate the car. But it has left us with some aerodynamic 
advantage in the area of the main turning vanes and the vertical profiles 
that lie next to the sidepod inlet.

Going further back we have a much more narrow profile especially at the 
low part of the ‘coke panel’. That has been made possible out of the 
repackaging of the chassis and engine rear part, and also out of the 
gearbox that has been completely reviewed and made narrower.

Whereas in the upper part of the sidepods we have a fairly wide solution 
because we have to host the new exhausts which are a result of the new 
regulations regarding exhausts.

So we have had to abandon to low exhausts of the previous years because 
of the regulations. We spent quite a lot of resource and time in 
investigating the new exhaust scenarios and in fact it will be an area 
we will research during winter testing before we finalist the exact 
configuration for the first race.

Regarding the gearbox, we have obviously got the external shape which 
is new and narrower but we have two different approaches from our side.

One of them is the rear suspension we have adopted, like quite a few of 
the others in recent years, a pull-rod solution. But we’ve also hosted 
part of our radiator cooling on top of the gearbox so as to reduce the 
cooling area required at the lateral part of the car.

The rear wing is basically similar to last year’s, but we have refined 
it and pushed the sections of the aerodynamic profile small, in order 
to produce more downforce.

The F2012 has a relatively small amount of carry-over compared to 
previous cars. The very desciptions I made indicate we have reviewed
almost the whole car. So components that are either physically the same 
as last year or conceptually the same are much fewer, therefore we’ve 
had to work much harder in the technical office and in production in 
order to be able to do all this work."

Finally here is the official launch video from the event:

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