Category Archives: Releases

Williams reveal FW33 in interim livery

The Williams FW33 in interim livery

The Williams FW33 in interim livery

Williams skipped the media release of their new car, and went straight to the track instead, to show off their Fw33 car.

Driven by Rubens Barrichello today, the engine cover section has been revised, the sidepods have been changed, and a very high nosecone has been adopted.

The car will remain in its traditional navy testing livery until the first race in Bahrain.

Red Bull RB7 released

The new Red Bull RB7

The new Red Bull RB7

Red Bull were one of the four teams to reveal their new 2011 car in Valencia today.

The RB7 features a heavily revised rear end, and a very interesting shark-fin concept, where the fin is cut off abruptly, leading to an addition on the middle of the rear wing.

Red Bull RB7's shark fin and rear wing

Red Bull RB7's shark fin and rear wing

The front wing has a very high-angled third flap, and the back of the car sports a slightly revised suspension system.

The livery is the same, apart from an extra bit of red, both on the car and on the driver overalls.

2010 World Champion Sebastian Vettel took the RB7 out for its first run today, and ended the first test on top of the timesheets. More on this later.

Toro Rosso STR6 launched

The Toro Rosso STR6

The Toro Rosso STR6

The Toro Rosso team are the latest to show off their 2011 car. The STR6 was brought to the Valencia pit lane this morning, and has been running on track since, as the testing season begins.

The team will be using a Ferrari KERS system, the same as Sauber. Unfortunately, apart from the loss of the shark fin engine cover, there appears to be little to no changes to the outside of the car, and the livery is the same as last year.

 

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.

HRT F1 car launched, and Chandhok confirmed

The HRT 2010 car

The HRT 2010 car

The HRT Formula 1 team have unveiled their F1 car, and confirmed their second driver as Karun Chandhok, only 8 days before the season begins in Bahrain.

The car was entirely designed by Dallara. However, when getting the car, HRT then proceeded to do absolutely nothing in terms of an interesting livery. First of all, it’s grey and greyer. Then, there are no sponsors at all, apart from Bruno Senna’s sponsor Embratel. I’ll look forward to not seeing it at all in Bahrain, as hopefully the cameras will focus on something more interesting, and quite a bit quicker as well.

On a slightly nicer note, Karun Chandhok was revealed alongside the new HRT car as their second driver for the season. Colin Kolles had this to say about the Indian driver:

"I am very pleased to use the Murcia site to officially unveil our
car livery today. We also complete the driver's team line-up with
the Indian Karun Chandhok at the wheel of the car for our first ever
season.

We have been very impressed with Karun's performance in GP2. India
is a great country. It will be great for the sport to have an Indian
driver on the grid for the first Indian Grand Prix. Murcia is part
of the roots of the team.

Everything is now in place after an impossible race against time to
register the team's name and I truly believe that we have an
excellent platform to build on and move forward for a strong 2010
performance. Now, we need to work together. We need to learn
together and keep developing as a team."

The team chairman, Jose Ramon Carabante, added:

"The new HRT F1 Team, Hispania Racing F1 Team is born in Murcia. I
am proud to welcome you in Murcia where the team has its roots and
to have given to my country the pride of the first ever Spanish
Formula 1 team.

The name of the team contains the word Hispania, which is not only
the name of one of my companies, but Hispania was also the Roman name
for the Iberian Peninsula. That reflects now our team's new identity.
2010 will be a major debut for the team and drivers at the wheel of
our HRT F1 Team car."

Karun Chandhok is also the latest driver to feature on Twitter. His profile is available here.

This signing also means that there are now no more seats to fill for the 2010 season, with only a few reserve places yet to be confirmed. The disallowance of Stefan GP means that Jacques Villeneuve is unable to race in 2010, alongside Jose Maria Lopez, who was without a drive after the collapse of USF1.

Video of the launch:

Pictures of the new HRT car (more will be added soon):

New Lotus T127 launched

The new Lotus T127

The new Lotus T127

The Lotus T127 has been launched in London today.

As I reported a few days ago, the team are to use the same livery that they used in the 1950′s and 1960′s. This is green, with yellow stripes.

The last time Lotus raced in Formula 1 was in 1994. The team is now owned by Air Asia chief executive officer Tony Fernandes.

At the launch, Fernandes said:

“Words cannot express how I feel today. It is an amazing job to get an F1 licence, have five people in Hingham and turn up today with this car.”

“I was thrilled when Clive [Chapman] said that this was just like te beginning of Lotus back in the early days.”

Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen are to be the team’s drivers for 2010. They will join the other teams in Jerez testing next week. The car has already been shaken down, in Silverstone last week. The engne firing-up was completed a few days beforehand.

Clearly, the Lotus name puts a lot of pressure on Fernandes. Speaking at the launch, he said:

“We know we have a huge burden on our shoulers, standing on the shoulder of giants – Clark, Moss, Hill, and Mansell. We know we have a tremendous journey in front of us, we are honoured and cherished to be a part of history – we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts and we will do our best to return Lotus to its glory days.”

The livery looks great, as it really suits the car design. There are parts of the car that appear very well designed, like the hugely complicated front wing and endplate sections. The mid-section of the car looks good also. However, I’m slightly concerned at the simplicity of the rear wing and nose cone. The rear wing is incredibly plain and boxy, with no endplate add-on at the sides. The nose cone, while slightly similar to others in places, does not incorporate Red Bull’s horned nose design.

Having said that, the design doesn’t look bad, so I’m looking forward to their efforts in 2010.

Pictures from the launch:

Red Bull RB6 released

The new Red Bull RB6

The new Red Bull RB6

The new Red Bull car, the RB6, has been revealed at the Jerez test today.

The team have missed the first test session last week in Valencia, a risky move. Christian Horner, the team principal, explained the new changes on the car:

“The RB6 is very much an evolution of the 2009 car. We tried to refine and evolve it rather than go to new concepts.”

“As a result, the car looks similar with elements such as the chassis and pull-rod rear suspension retained. The two main challenges were the larger fuel tank and the smaller front tyre. With the fuel tank, there was more to it than simply putting a bigger tank in the car – it puts more load on the brakes, so the brake cooling has to cope with that and you also have to consider what effect that extra fuel will have on the tyre degradation early in the race and if there’s anything we should change mechanically to cope with that.”

“The narrower front tyre changes weight distribution and the balance of the car. I think it’s a sensible evolution of the 2009 car. One obvious difference is that the 2009 car was not designed to suit a double-diffuser and we had to try to put one on as best we could around the existing rear suspension and gear box. With this car we’ve been able to design that part of the car from scratch.”

The livery is exactly the same as last year, but that’s not a bad thing, as it still looks great. The car, on the outside, looks quite similar, but with a few small changes. Parts of the front wing sections has been lengthened, the horned nose section has been revised, and the bargeboard section has been changed.

The fact that there is no significant change worries me a little, but considering how dominant their car was in the last 3 races of last season, the team should still have high hopes. Mark Webber talked about their expectations for the season:

“I think the team has some very good, high expectations,” he said prior to his first run in the car. “We had a great season last year and we are not looking to go backwards from that position, so we have some tough goals to meet – as do all the other teams.”

“To go forward from there we need everything right and that’s what we’ve tried to do as best we can. We are very excited, we’ve worked hard and there’s been a lot of anticipation.”

Christian Horner talked about the team’s challenge, and said he expects a 4-way battle for the championship:

“I think that 2009 was a massive year for the team,” he said. “We made a huge step forward. I think the group matured very well.”

“You have to remember that Red Bull Racing is still a relatively young team, so I think with the lessons that we learned in 2009 about the performance of the car and how that evolved during the season, plus the stability we’ve had throughout the winter, we are in good shape for 2010.”

“Our target is obviously to win the championship, but we totally respect the quality of the opponents we have. We have set ourselves very aggressive targets.”

“I think you are going to have four teams that are race-winning contenders this season. McLaren and Ferrari look like they have come up with good cars, and for sure the Mercedes GP team is going to be competitive with its driver line-up.”

“But we are quietly confident we’ve made good progress during the winter. We’ve kept our heads down. We’ve kept working on the concept that served us well last year – and Adrian and his guys have come up with another very good car.”

“We go into the year with continuity with the drivers as well. Sebastian [Vettel] matured very well in 2009 and got stronger and stronger throughout the season, and Mark [Webber] is now back to full fitness – which compares to 12 months ago, when he was carrying a nasty injury.”

There is a good summary of photos, with a video on YouTube:

Pictures from the launch:

Force India VJM03 launched

The Force India 2010 car, to be called the VJM03, has been launched online today.

The team has said that this year’s car is an evolution of last year’s car, the VJM02. That car was superb in low-downforce conditions, but hugely struggled everywhere else. This year’s car is hoped to be much better in medium and high-downforce circuits.

Force India are to continue using Mercedes engines, widely considered the best engines on the grid last year. Their driver line-up has also been unaffected, with the team electing to stick with Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi. Paul di Resta will be the reserve driver, and will take part in Friday practice sessions with the team. This widens speculation that he will be hires as a race driver for 2011.

The car was fired up earlier today. It will make its first public debut tomorrow, when Adrian Sutil drives the car at the second of the main F1 tests, in Jerez. The car’s designer, Mark Smith, said:

“The VJM03 is definitely an evolution of the VJM02 in terms of the design philosophies we have developed at Force India over the last year. We are very happy with the direction, therefore we have opted to evolve the car rather than significantly revise.”

“Obviously one of the major aspects we have had to contend with are regulation changes which have had a considerable impact on some aspects of the design of the car. The removal of refuelling from races increases the amount of fuel needed to be stored in the cars – almost twice the amount we ran in 2009. There is a compromise now: either make the car much longer or wider, or, as we have done, a combination of both. This of course has influenced the mechanical design solutions and also the aerodynamics, specifically with respects to the diffuser and bodywork.”

“Even with the ban of double diffusers for 2011, we recognise that we still have to push as much as we possibly can in this area in 2010 as we have targets to meet and the double diffuser is a key development aspect of the car.”

“The VJM02 was a relatively low drag car that showed well on the low downforce tracks. As was demonstrated throughout 2009, that was a useful attribute but as we go into 2010 we have tried to maintain a high level of aerodynamic efficiency, but we recognise that our championship position will be enhanced by a general level of performance that is suited to all types of circuits. We have, we believe, quite an efficient car overall.”

The livery is almost exactly the same, except the sides of the rear wing are now green. A bit lazy, in my opinion, but it’s still nice paint work. The car features a much wider wheelbase, mostly made at the back, for the larger fuel tank. The shark fin engine cover has been revised, the engine intake is lower and further forward, and the nosecone is higher. However, the team is not sporting last year’s Reb Bull horned nose design. The front wing actually looks much simpler, with bigger and less main sections, and oddly plain endplates.

They were right: it is definitely only an evolution rather than a revolution. The real question is whether they have solved their downforce problems. We should get a good indicator tomorrow at the Jerez test.

Force India have released interviews with Adrian Sutil, Vitantonio Liuzzi, and chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer:

Adrian Sutil, driver

2009 was a transitional year for the team, and you scored your best result in F1 to date. How would you sum up this year?
2009 was a really important year. I was very close to scoring points in a lot of races and, frustratingly, something always happened. So when we got to Monza, it was a pretty perfect weekend. I scored my first front row, my first points since 2007 and it gave me a lot of extra confidence. I was very happy when the success came and it was for sure a big moment in my career, the turning point. It’s really different to start from the front row and race at the front and I feel it has helped me to grow. I know I need to follow it up this year now.

How do you feel going into this year?
I hope we will have a good season and I am pretty confident we will. We have had a good winter and a very good development programme so expectations are high. The car looks great, we did a positive step with the wind tunnel simulations but let’s test and see where we are. I know we need to perform well and from my side I have tried to be perfectly prepared.

What will your aims be this year, how do you intend to build on last year?
2010 is a really important season and we are very optimistic about going well. When you start a season you always want it to be better than the previous one and I think this year it’s important to be consistent from the first race. It’s the first time we have been completely on schedule so I feel this will be the first season when I can show from the beginning to the end what is possible on the car and what I can do. I’d like to be in the midfield and be competitive from Bahrain.

This is now your fourth season with the Silverstone-based team. What does this stability mean for you?
I feel really good in the team, it’s like family for me as they know me very well, they know how I work and my strengths and weaknesses. With that kind of relationship they can really get the things that suit me and I have confidence in them to do it. At the end of last season I felt very good and it was hard to find a better option for 2010. Over the past four years we have of course seen many different changes but when Vijay took over in 2007 it was a step in the right direction. He’s committed to go for it and he has his goals. Right now we’re looking really good, we’ve sorted out all the issues and this winter has been a consistent working situation so it’s a big advantage. It’s nice to be one of the few teams who have stability now and can just focus on the racing.

The competition is very tough this year, with new teams and more world champions in the field than in previous years. What are your thoughts on this?
The competition of course will be really tough with four world champions in the field now – of course Lewis and Jenson in McLaren, Fernando in the Ferrari and now Michael back in Mercedes. I have a lot of respect for all of them and I’m actually really excited about being on the same grid, but at the end of the day they are your competitors. You can’t hold them up as heroes or goals – when we’re racing they are people you need to beat. If you do go well against them it will really lift you so I’m looking forward to seeing how I do.

Vitantonio Liuzzi, driver

It’s finally a chance to get a full race season under your belt for the first time since 2007. What are your thoughts on this?
After one and a half years in a test role, I feel really prepared, both physically and mentally for a full race season. My objective is to be as strong and consistent as possible and give good feedback to the team to help them improve. For sure scoring points as many times as I can is going to be the key and you never know, perhaps we can get something more as well if everything comes together.

How would you review your five races in 2009? What did you learn?
It was a great opportunity to learn the tracks and then get back to the rhythm of a F1 car. I was a bit disappointed with some races, but we knew that the car would suit Monza much better than the other types of circuit. We had a bit of bad luck as well, like qualifying in Brazil when I aquaplaned off. Although it was difficult to score points, it was important for me to show that when the car is performing well I am ready to bring the results in and I’m always the same, fast competitive driver I’ve always been. It was a good warm up for 2010.

Do you feel this time round as a racer you’re approaching it differently?
In Force India I feel really good, the atmosphere is great and the team works well together. Even when I was in a difficult position last year as a test driver they were very supportive and I’ve built a good strong relationship with them. I feel like I’m in a family and for sure much better environment than I have been in the past. This year is a new start for me. I’m a different person from two years ago and I am approaching it from a different mentality. It’s a different Tonio and I’m looking forward to what can come. I’m still young and have a lot of time in front of me so I just want to prove what I can do.

Do you feel confident in the VJM03?
I have to say that the team, looking at what we did last year, has done a fantastic job. They never stopped working on the 2009 car to push right to the end, but have been flat out for 2010 as well. I am really confident in the work they have done over the winter and we’ve built a car that can regularly be in the points. That’s also my aim, plus to be more consistent and competitive throughout the whole season.

With the new teams coming in, Force India won’t be the smallest team on the grid any more. Is this an advantage?
Yes, this is an advantage for us as we know how to operate on smaller levels that the bigger teams will have to get used to, while the new teams have a tough job to do. I think it will be a good season for us.

Otmar Szafnauer, chief operating officer

You’ve been with the team for nearly four months now. What impressions have you gained?
I like the atmosphere in the team. With half the people of a big team we design a good car and the wind tunnel guys do a very good job in getting the numbers that are required. You just don’t have the time or resources available to waste, so you just get on with the job.

When you joined the team was in a very stable situation, and was enjoying some success on the track. Has that helped to make things very straightforward for you?
I think stability does produce results. That’s not to say you shouldn’t change and improve as clearly you should, but huge upheavals never help. If you can have stability with the right people pulling in the same direction, you’re much better off. Fortunately we have that here.

What improvements are already underway?
There are two big improvements from 2009. One has been the increase in our CFD [Computational Fluid Dynamics] resource, thanks to a new partnership with CRL in India, which has increased our capacity by five-fold. The other principal area has been the utilisation of the wind tunnel to a greater extent, almost 24 -7. Coupled together this has allowed us to take great steps forward. Last year Simon Roberts also instilled some very good processes and procedures that have also helped to refine our procedures, communications within the company and ultimately the decision making process. Simon did a great job in doing that, and I’m going to carry that forward.

Like Red Bull you missed the Valencia test, and instead you are shaking down the new car at Silverstone. What was the thinking behind that?
It was a strategic decision. By missing the first test, we can gain a little bit more development time – a little bit longer in the tunnel, a little bit longer thinking about what’s important on the car. It was just a trade-off decision. We completed a shakedown day, before the testing started that regains a little bit of what we’ve lost.

This year there is a Resource Restriction Agreement taking shape – how does that affect Force India?
There’s a step down in personnel allowed at races this year, as well as on external expenditure, but neither affect us at all. If we change nothing this year, we’ll be below both of the levels set whereas some other teams will have to come down. It is very much to our advantage as we are not having to learn any new skills or working operations procedures.

What are the big challenges that the team faces over the next year or two?
Our biggest challenge is to get the wind tunnel up to 24-7, and becoming efficient with our CFD capacity. For you to maximise your performance there are a thousand little things that you need to get right. This year the racing is going to be a bit different, with no refuelling, and it’s always good to have more money so you can do more development throughout the year!

You mentioned the changes in race strategy this year. Do you think that the team could gain from being quick on its feet and making the right calls?
Yes, especially early on in the year when people haven’t quite settled down yet. I think in F1 we’re all quick to learn, and quick to learn from each other. If we can make some good calls early on, that will help us.

You have kept the same drivers. What do they bring to the team?
Adrian is a great asset. He’s very talented, and he’s fast and fearless, and he’ll gain from the experience he now has. If Tonio can learn from last year, and his confidence is up knowing that he’s got a regular seat now, he has great potential.

Finally you have signed Paul di Resta as third driver. How do you see his role?
He’s a young driver with a lot of potential, and we’re going to work with him to maximise that potential. And that should be to the benefit of this team. He can help us in simulator testing, and he should be doing some Friday testing just to get familiar with the car and hone his skills. And then we’ll see about the future.

Pictures of the new VJM03 (helmet photos included):

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers