Category Archives: Releases

Virgin launch VR-01 online

The new Virgin VR-01

The new Virgin VR-01

The Virgin Racing VR-01 has been launched online, which makes them the first of the new teams to launch their cars.

The car was released entirely online, which gives the Virgin the tag of an “all-digital” car. This is because this car was entirely designed using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), which is using computers to simulate the aerodynamics of the car. The designer of the car, Nick Wirth, was behind the CFD project, and said:

“Today is a very proud day for everyone involved with Virgin Racing, however on this occasion, where the car is the star, I want to pay tribute to all the amazing people at Wirth Research who deserve so much of the credit for the VR-01. Putting together an F1 team, assembling an engineering group and designing a new car from scratch is an epic task in the timeframe we have been working to.”

“I have been fortunate to have worked with the very best designers in F1 and I am well aware of exactly what it takes to be successful in this sport. When you see what the existing teams have achieved using the conventional but proven design approach, it is unsurprising that there is a great deal of scepticism about our all-CFD approach. But we are competing in a sport that is undergoing significant change having come face to face with today’s harsh economic realities. Under resource restriction, convention will become too costly and necessity really will be the mother of invention. I have absolute belief in the digital design process and the opportunity to put the all-CFD approach to the test at the highest level – to demonstrate that this could be the way for the future of F1 – is very, very exciting.”

I’m only taking a guess here, having never seen the performance of a CFD car, but this seriously looks like the future of technology in F1. The most affected team by this would be Williams, who recently invested tens of millions of pounds into 2 new wind tunnels.

The team principal of Virgin, John Booth, explained why the car wasn’t ready for the Valencia tests:

The first stage in our on-track evaluation programme is our two-day shakedown at Silverstone on Thursday and Friday this week, where we will conduct systematic testing and confidence-building of all car parts and on-car systems. It was always intended that we would miss the first all-team test in Valencia this week and very early on we targeted the second Jerez test in two weeks’ time for our public testing debut. It is a testament to our methodical approach and the sheer hard work of the team that we are heading to Spain a week earlier than planned to take part in the first Jerez test next week.”

Richard Branson added to this, saying:

I’m sure we will be measured by how fast the car is on the track in Jerez next week, but I hope that doesn’t overshadow the far bigger achievement of pulling an entire racing team together and taking a brave step that defies convention. In many ways this is an exploration, but given the absolute self-belief we have seen, I can’t help but feel very excited about what we can go on to achieve in the years ahead.”

“For now though I’m looking forward to seeing the VR-01 on –track in testing in the coming weeks as we prepare for Virgin Racing’s very first grand prix.”

VR-01 dimensions

Length: 5,500mm
Height: 950mm
Width: 1,800mm
Wheelbase: 3,200mm

Having never seent the car on track, it would be a bad idea to make judgements on the Virgin car already. However, we can definitely say that the livery looks great. I was pretty close when I showed the picture of the possible livery last week.

The car itself is a bit odd in places. First of all, the front wing looks heavily underdeveloped, in all sections. The Red Bull nose has been adopted, but only slightly. The nose cone itself is very different to the other teams, being much narrower. Also, the side engine intake area doesn’t look very aerodynamic at all.

Does it remind anyone else of the MF1 car from 2006?

Video of the car launch:

Pictures of the launch:

Toro Rosso STR5 launched

The Toro Rosso STR5 was released today in Valencia.

For me, this was the best moment of the day, because this year’s car was built by Toro Rosso on their own, and not with assistance from Red Bull, as has been the case in the last few years. Giorgio Ascanelli explains this:

“At the end of March 2009 we got the green light as to what actually constituted being an F1 Constructor; that was the starting point for building up our operation in such a way that we could actually design a car which was achievable in engineering terms, working in a different way to the methods we had adopted in the past.”

“Being recognised as a Constructor involves owning the intellectual property rights to what are defined as the listed parts: these are effectively the monocoque, the safety structures that are subject to homologation and crash testing, which means the rear and front structures, primary and secondary roll-over structures and the complete aerodynamic package, the suspension, fuel and cooling systems.”

The livery has also been done over, albeit not too much. The back and middle are pretty much the same, but the nose has been done over, and is now flaunting much more red than blue and gold. It looks much better, even if it was a subtle change.

The car itself has a few modifications. Toro Rosso have fully intergrated the Red Bull style nose, and front wing additions. The wing mirror/turning vane has been heightened, so it now nearly reaches the floor of the car. The bargeboards have also been lowered.

However, it wasn’t all good news. First of all Sebastien Buemi said that htere was a noticable lack of grip compared to last year’s car. At first most people put this down to the narrower front tyres, but then Toro Rosso admitted that they have difficulties with a lack of downforce. I know it’s only the first day of testing, but things could be much better than they are.

Pictures from the launch:

Williams FW32 released

The Williams FW32 was released in Valencia today.

There was much less hype about this car, because practically everyone had seen the “spy shot” video released a few days ago.

Most of the livery has now been filled in with sponsors. There is still areas of black on the front wing, so I’m assuming that there will be more sponsors there later.

Now that we can see the car properly, I can definitely see changes from last year’s car. The nose is higher than last year, the front wing has been revised, and there are new sidepods. There aren’t much photos out yet, so I can’t confirm if they have covered up their diffuser like everyone else has.

The most interesting new feature seems to be a new type of engine air intake, one smaller one behind the other. I’ll upload pictures of this soon.

Pictures from the launch:

Mercedes W01 launched

The new Mercedes W01 car has been launched in Valencia.

The livery was revealed a week ago, in the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart. It’s good, but not great, I feel.

The car itself appears to look quite similar to last year’s Brawn. The main change is the revised nose cone, which is quite lower than other teams. The engine air intake has a very different shape. Also, the car sports last year’s Red Bull raised nose, as copied by Ferrari with their F10.

Otherwise, I’m actually struggling to find differences to last year’s Brawn. Hopefully underneath there are many changes, because at the moment I’m not convinced.

Nico Rosberg drove the car in the morning, before handing it over to Michael Schumacher for the afternoon.

Photos from the launch:

BMW Sauber C29 released

The new BMW Sauber C29

The new BMW Sauber C29

The BMW Sauber C29 was released today in Valencia.

The car, at the moment, has no sponsors. However, it is known that Scalp-D, a Japanese shampoo (ooh, exclusive!), and watch brand Certina have been confirmed as main sponsors. The logos were not ready to be put on the car in time, it is believed.

The livery itself just looks stupid. The white is not even slightly changed, the black is just boring, and the blue stripe on the nose is just a free ad for BMW.  Then, the front and rear wings are just plain black, with absolutely no imagination. Even the small red stripe, which featured on last year’s BMW Sauber, hasn’t changed.

To make matters even worse, there is absolutely no colour whatsoever in the driver overalls. Just look at it, it’s plain white. How bloody mind-numbing are these designers? I’m just hoping that this is just a temporary livery design.

The car has been significantly changed, however. The front and rear wings have been completely redesigned (note the 2009 McLaren-style rear wing endplate lift). The nose cone is 2009 Ferrari style – very long and slightly narrow.  Also, the car features a McLaren style engine intake support. The shark fin engine cover has also been retained.

Comparison photos are available here.

Just to add to current woes, the diffuser has yet again been covered over. I can’t help but feel another huge argument brewing because of this. I’ll write more about this later.

Specifications of the car have also been released:

Chassis: Carbon-fibre monocoque
Suspension: Upper and lower wishbones (front and rear), inboard springs and dampers, actuated by pushrods (Sachs Race Engineering)
Brakes: Six-piston brake callipers (Brembo), carbon pads and discs (Brembo, Carbon Industries)
Transmission: Ferrari Seven-speed quick shift gearbox, carbon, longitudinally mounted, carbon-fibre clutch
Chassis electronics: MES
Steering wheel: BMW Sauber F1 Team
Tyres: Bridgestone Potenza
Wheels: OZ
Length: 4,940 mm
Width: 1,800 mm
Height: 1,000 mm
Track width, front: 1,495 mm
Track width, rear: 1,410 mm
Weight: 620 kg (including driver, tank empty)

Willy Rampf said this about the C29:

“The increased length of the fuel tank means the car has grown longer overall. And because they are slimmer, the front tyres will be more heavily worked, requiring weight to be shifted further towards the rear of the car.”

“An eye-catching feature of the C29 is its highly intricate raised nose. Also very distinctive is an extremely long undercut at the transition from chassis into underbody. These and other aerodynamic measures also help to ensure optimum airflow to the double diffuser. Further changes were required to integrate the Ferrari engine and, in particular, the Ferrari gearbox.”

Ther are no videos available yet, but if there is I will upload it in due course.

Pictures from the launch:

Renault R30 launched, Kubica’s new helmet, Petrov, Tung and D’Ambrosio confirmed

The new Renault R30

The new Renault R30

The Renault R30 has been released in Valencia today.

Since ING and Mutua Madrilena pulled out after the crash-gate scandal in Singapore, Renault were free to go back to their old 1980’s livery, just as many anticipated. Personally, I think it looks great. Reminds me of the Jordan “Buzzing Hornets” design of 1999/2000! The only problem is the red endplates on the car are still red.

Comparison pictures of this and last year’s cars are available here.

Now, on to the car. The nose cone is a bit different to the other cars, lower and thinner. The “coke bottle” rear end design has been only partially implemented, and the front wing has been remodelled. The rear wing looks similar to the last one.

Also, Vitaly Petrov, Ho-Pin Tung and Jerome D’Ambrosio have been confirmed as Renault’s second and reserve drivers respectively.Petrov has raced in GP2 for the last 3 and a half years (read more about him here). Ho-Pin Tung and Jerome D’Ambrosio are only drivers because they are part of Eric Boullier’s driver managment agency.

In more Renault news, Robert Kubica has revealed his new helmet that he will be using with Renault this year. Also, Petrov has revealed his new design.

Only one bad piece of news. My fears about another diffuser row have been heightened, because now Renault’s diffuser has been blocked away as well.

Also, the Renault team’s new website has been published. You can view it here.

You can view the team’s studio video here:

Kubica and Petrov’s team photos:

Vitaly Petrov and his new helmet

Vitaly Petrov and his new helmet

Robert Kubica and his new helmet

Robert Kubica and his new helmet

Pictures from the launch:

Virgin VR-01 to launch online on Wednesday

Virgin Racing

Virgin Racing

Virgin Racing have announced that they are to launch their car online, on their team website, on Wednesday 3rd February.

The car, to be called the VR-01, will make its track debut at the second Valencia test.

Virgin have called it an “all-digital” launch, to coincide with the fact that they are only using Computer Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as opposed to normal wind tunnels.

The car will be launched at 10:00 GMT. Hopefully they have more server capabilities than Ferrari, whose site was overrun when they launched their F10 last Wednesday.

I have added this to my list of launches on the F1 2010 page.

McLaren MP4-25 launched (pictures)

The new McLaren MP4-25

The new McLaren MP4-25

McLaren’s new MP4-25 was released today, though some picture were leaked early online.

At the launch in Newbury, Lewis Hamilton was joined by new team-mate Jenson Button.

The most striking part of the new car is the shark fin engine cover. The red stripe on it looks brilliant! Otherwise, the wheelbase has been largely lengthened, with the driver area moved forward to accomodate this. The bargeboards are now shorter, with a higher angle of attack.

The front wing has many new sections, including a completely revised bridge wing. The endplates are also heavily changes, with two main vertical sections. Also, the front wing is higher, wider and more flat.

To be honest, I think it’s much vetter looking than last year’s car. I’m dissapointed that the paint scheme is nearly exactly the same, as I would have loved them to revert to their traditional black, or even orange!

F1 Fanatic have done some great pictures comparing the McLaren and the Ferrari, and the McLaren against last year’s car.

Here is a part of the launch (I didn’t include the full launch, it was just talk!):

More pictures from the launch:

First picture of Williams FW32

Autosport has revealed the first picture of the new Williams FW32. For copyright resaons, I can’t reproduce the photo on this site, but you can view the photo here.

Nico Hulkenberg gave the car a shakedown today, before the F1 tests begin in Valencia on 1st February.

Sam Michael, the Williams technical director, said of the FW32:

“The FW32 is a clean-sheet design from front to back. It’s pretty much brand new from an aerodynamic point of view.”

“The fact that we had a consistent car across all of the tracks in 2009, and wiped out a lot of the vices that we had in the previous car, gives us confidence.”

Rubbish, as far as I can see. The nosecone looks to be higher, and the bargeboards have been hightened. Apart from a revised engine intake vent, it looks exactly the same to me.

Also, this is not the livery that Williams will be using. I’m not sure about the colour scheme, but there will be more sponsor logos on it when the Valencia tests begin.

Ferrari F10 unveiled (pictures)

The new Ferrari F10

The new Ferrari F10

Today Ferrari has unveiled their 2010 challenger, dubbed the F10.

However, the internet streaming did not go as planned, as a record 3 million people went onto the Ferrari site, and crashed the servers for anyone else trying to get on.

Regardless, the event went ahead, except without the promotional video. This is because the Fiorano track had practically frozen over, with temperatures barely getting over the freezing mark. Just a thought, we would have preferred it if they had filmed it on ice!

Felipe Massa will test the car first, on Monday in Valencia. He will then hand the car over to Fernando Alonso, who will drive it for the other 2 days.

Lets have a look at the car. First of all, it sports the nose arch hornlet featured by Red Bull last year. The rear wing has a new support structure, and a slightly revised engine cover. The bargeboards are different, and the wing mirror/turning vane now reaches much lower down. The front wing also has new endplates and other downforce-generating sections.

As expected, the car has a longer wheelbase, to deal with the enlarged fuel tank. Ferrari have kindly released specifications for the car:

Chassis

Carbon-fibre and honeycomb composite structure
Ferrari longitudinal gearbox
Limited-slip differential
Semi-automatic sequential electronically controlled gearbox – quick shift
Number of gears: Seven, plus reverse
Brembo ventilated carbon-fibre disc brakes
Independent suspension, push-rod activated torsion springs front and rear
Weight with water, lubricant and driver: 620 kg
BBS Wheels (front and rear: 13 inch)

Engine

Type: 056
Number of cylinders: Eight
Cylinder block in sand cast aluminium: 90-degree V
Number of valves: 32
Pneumatic distribution
Total displacement: .2398 cm3
Piston bore: 98 mm
Weight: > 95 kg
Electronic injection and ignition
Fuel: Shell V-Power
Lubricant: Shell Helix Ultra

F1 Fanatic have done some great comparison pictures with this year’s car and the old F60. You can view them here.

A Youtube video of the launch is also available here:

More pictures are also included here:

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