Category Archives: Releases

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 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.

Pirelli unveil softer tyre compounds and new colour coding for 2012

Pirelli have introduced 4 new tyre compositions

Pirelli have introduced 4 new tyre compositions

Following the first look at the Caterham CT01, Pirelli have also revealed the rubber that all 12 F1 teams will be running on this season.

The Italian manufacturer has constructed brand-new soft, medium and hard compound tyres, with the super-soft formula being carried on from last year. There is also a new extreme wet tyre to be used.

The new tyres will be of a softer composition compared to last year.

The colour coding for the dry tyres remains roughly the same, except the hard tyre is now a much lighter silver colour, and it is expected to be almost invisible at high speed.

The intermediate tyre is now coloured green, while the new extreme wet compound is blue.

All 6 variants of tyre contain slightly wider contact patch than 2011, to counteract the loss of downforce from the banning of off-throttle diffusers. Pirelli explained that they have incorporated less of a rounded shoulder on the rubber to improve grip.

They also noted that they intend to reduce the performance gap between the options and primes on race weekends, from 1.2-1.8 seconds last year to around 0.6-0.8 in 2012.

Caterham show pictures of new CT01 early

The Caterham CT01 features a "distinct" nose cone

The Caterham CT01 features a "distinct" nose cone

Caterham are the first team of 2012 to release pictures of their race car for the year – the CT01.

The launch was planned for tomorrow, but pictures were released today by F1 Racing magazine. Caterham have since shown one of their official photos on their Twitter feed.

Caterham's official picture of the CT01

Caterham's official picture of the CT01

The rest of the launch and images will be on the Caterham site tomorrow.

The most striking part of the CT01 is undoubtedly the platypus-style nose cone, with much larger front suspension mounts, which are now raised above the nose. This is expected to become the norm this year, as the FIA seek to reduce the height of the nose cones, while teams seek to raise their suspension mounts as high as possible.

The sidepods are much slimmer than last year, and the all-carbon blade roll hoop has been replaced by a more conventional roll structure.

It is clear that these photos of the car include 2011-spec wings and vanes. The CT01 also seems to be more aerodynamically aggressive than its predecessor, which was deliberately conservative. The team are also running a KERS unit in the year’s model for the first time, which should help them challenge the midfield.

The car will make its track debut in Jerez next month when testing begins.

Force India VJM04 launched

The new Force India VJM04

The new Force India VJM04

Force India were the last F1 team to unveil their 2011 car. Today saw the launch of the VJM04 online.

Despite the apparent use of the 2010 front wing, other changes have been made to the sidepods, nosecone, undertray and rear suspension. The livery has also been altered, with a clash of orange and green at the back. Like all of the other teams, the shark fin engine cover has been dropped.

The roll-hoop air intake has been changed from a conventional system to a “blade” design, which was first introduced by Mercedes last year, although they have since ditched the layout.

Mercedes engines will be used as per last year, as well as Mercedes-designed KERS systems.

This is the first car for Force India to be designed by Andrew Green. While they finished 7th in last year’s constructor’s championship, the team say they want to be in the top 5 in 2011.

Green explained in detail the changes to the car:

“The most obvious visual change is that we’ve gone away from a conventional roll-hoop 
to a blade. This gives us a small packaging improvement compared to a more 
conventional style.

The engine cover is different, in-line with the abolition of the F-duct system. But 
there are a lot of differences under the skin that people won’t necessarily notice.

We’ve recovered a lot of the aerodynamic performance, we believe. We still have a 
little bit to go, but we are still in the process of the realignment after the end 
of last season, because it does take a long time to move aerodynamically from one 
position to another.

The movable wing is a whole new game, and we’ll be trying to exploit its performance 
to the max.

Exhaust management will also be a big area of development this year. There will be 
an upgrade for the first race, so there are some changes that will come into effect 
at the Bahrain test. Further down the line there are some big updates for the front 
of the car coming in for the first European race.

The Mercedes KERS system looks very strong, and we’re really happy with it.

We’ve done a lot of running in the simulator, so the drivers are well up to speed 
with how to use it. We’re well developed with what we have to do for harvesting and 
deployment. It’s smaller and lighter than in 2009, and packaging required very few 
vehicle compromises.”

HRT F111 revealed

The new HRT F111

The new HRT F111

Hispania Racing are the second last team to show off their 2011 car: The F111.

This car was launched online today, and reveals a new livery, designed by renowned Daniel Simon of Cosmic Motors. Instead of last year’s bland grey,  striking red and white setup has been applied, with various chequered flag-style pictures around the car.

The new HRT F111

The new HRT F111

Technically, there are several changes. Both the front and rear wing are revised, as well as a half-shark fin engine cover, similar to the Red Bull RB7.

Despite the addition of Narain Karthikeyan, who brings along with him several sponsors, the car does not include any extra sponsors. Instead, the team have placed “This could be you” and “Your logo here” messages on the car – although you could argue that the former message was aimed at drivers rather than companies!

HRT are not going to participate in the next test in Jerez next week. They will instead be going to Monza on the 14th-16th February, to complete several filming days with Pirelli. They will meet up with the F1 paddock in Barcelona on the 18th. However, sources have claimed that the F110 will be used at this Barcelona test, and the F111 will only be driven in the Bahrain test (3rd March), which suggests that the car isn’t fully finished yet.


Virgin MVR-02 launched in London

The Marussia Virgin MVR-02

The Marussia Virgin MVR-02

The Marussia Virgin MVR-02 is the 10th F1 car to be launched so far this year.

It was first shown to the public at the BBC Television Centre in London today. Like last year, this car is designed solely by using CFD (Computer Fluid Dynamics) technology.

The air intake at the front of the car is modeled to look like a Marussia B2 road car. Designer Nick Wirth has confirmed that the car has not been created with KERS in mind, claiming the high cost of the unit deterred the team from using it.

The Marussia Virgin MVR-02

The Marussia Virgin MVR-02

In contrast to the other teams, the MVR-02 sports a very low and bulky nosecone. As well as this, a new front wing and a revised rear wing have been added. A new hydraulic system, which had caused severe headaches last year, has already been tested on the Vr-01 last week in Valencia.

One apparent disadvantage to the Virgin team is that Wirth’s CFD system does not yet incorporate underbody aerodynamics. It is unclear how they have solved this problem, although the team have clarified that they have not used a wind tunnel.

Interestingly, Wirth explained that his team had looked at using a front diffuser, similar to Renault:

“We’d heard about that towards the end of last year. It’s very cost-effective and easy 
for us to check other solutions out so I can confirm that we have tried a solution 
very similar to what you see on the other car and it gives results that are very 
different from ours. We’ve actually gone so far as to get our drivers to test it on 
the simulator to see.

We can see why they’ve done it but it takes a team of the financial, human and 
technical resources of Renault – or Lotus – to make that happen. If you’re fighting 
where they are you might be interested in doing it but we’re happy with the solution 
we’ve got.

It is a massive, massive undertaking what they’ve done, getting high-temperature 
exhaust gasses past the fuel system, past the cooling system, past wiring, hydraulics 
and, most important, getting it past safety structures, the side impact structures 
which are not normally tested at anything other than room temperature.

So they’ve obviously got to satisfy the FIA that it’s legal, even when it’s hot, so 
that’s just a massive job and hats off to them for having the bravery to do something 
like that.”

Driver Timo Glock explained his difficulties with the car last year, and why they should make a good start in testing:

“We could be in a good shape for 2011, or in a better shape. ‘Good shape’ doesn’t 
mean scoring points, it means taking a step forward, closer to the midfield teams.

An acceptable level would be very close to teams like Sauber, Toro Rosso, maybe 
Force India.

(Last year) I had some thoughts about ‘bloody hell, what am I doing here?’

Because you’re fighting the whole weekend and then you go into the race and after 
ten laps you get a radio call ‘Timo, you have to come back to the pits’. It was 
quite tough, quite hard.

I just want to drive 800km a day and fall into bed and say ‘OK, I did enough today’, 
and it was not that the car broke down again.

What we have to make sure is at the first test we have to hit the track and drive, 
drive, drive. See where the bad points are on the car to sort them out before the 
first race.

Because if you come to the first race and you’ve got a light of problems then you 
can’t sort it out, you’re already in trouble, and you start on the back foot.”


McLaren unveil MP4-26

The McLaren MP4-26

The McLaren MP4-26

McLaren were the 9th team of the Formula 1 grid to release their 2011 challenger: the MP4-26.

It was unveiled at Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz, where competition winners brought in different pieces of the car, and it was assembled in front of the press.

The innovative L-shaped sidepods on the McLaren MP4-26

The innovative L-shaped sidepods on the McLaren MP4-26

The team say that their objective was to achieve 2010 levels of downforce, despite the ban on double-decker diffusers this year. As well as KERS and the adjustable rear wing, the Mp4-26 also features a strange L-shaped sidepod arrangement.

McLaren say that this is to manage airflow to the rear of the car more efficiently, although it means that they cannot run deep undercuts in the sidepods.

The car will first be tested at the Idiada Proving Ground on Tuesday, before joining the rest of the F1 paddock in Jerez on Thursday.

Tim Goss, director of engineering, explains how the new KERS unit was implemented:

"The system was also more difficult to package because you’ve got to carry 
more fuel. That was the first challenge, but we got through that.

There were a few difficult decisions concerning architecture around 
different aerodynamic concepts, but I think we ended up with a design 
layout we’re happy with.

KERS is now a single integrated unit that sits within the survival cell, 
beneath the fuel-tank. In 2009, it was housed in the sidepods. The hybrid’s 
cooling intake sits directly below the main roll-hoop intake.

And, once again, we’ve really pushed the car’s cooling configuration: we’ve 
got a second air intake on the engine cover for gearbox and hydraulic 

A 3D view of their car is available on the McLaren website.

Mercedes launch W02

The Mercedes W02

The Mercedes W02

Mercedes were one of the four teams to reveal their 2011 cars today, with the Brackley-based squad pulling the covers off the W02.

Seeing as development had begun on this car back in July last year, expectations are huge for the all-German line-up. The front of the car is home to several changes, such as a very odd-looking nosecone, which becomes very wide and flat at the front. The angle of the bridges on the side of the nose are also very different.

The front wing has been heavily revised, and the sidepods now contain two smaller bargeboards instead of one. A pull-rod suspension system has been adapted to the rear of the car. Also, the roll bar appears to very unusually far back, well behind the overhead air intake.