Tag Archives: F1 2010

Senna: HRT a second faster than Lotus and Virgin

Even though HRT are yet to even set a single lap in their car, Bruno Senna seems confident of a good start to the season, saying that their car is up to a second faster than the Virgin and Lotus counterparts.

According to Senna, this is becasue the data accumulated in the Jerez and Barcelona tests by Virgin and Lotus have already been acquired by HRT. He said:

"Lotus and Virgin were in Barcelona, just a good second faster than
the GP2 cars, of which Dallara has all the data.

According to their calculations, we should be faster than the GP2
cars right away, by two seconds...of course, much will also depend
on whether the car is stable from the beginning, to some extent.

I hope that we will be ahead; firstly because of the experience of
the Dallara men and secondly because we might have a little luck in
the way of some problems hitting the other teams again, particularly
with the hydraulics (as in testing)."

I suppose that there is truth in what Bruno is saying here, but having never driven the car, how does he know that the car won’t explode every race? Reliability can’t be made from data, it’s done by testing out on track, and that’s what HRT completely lacks.

Virgin seem to have sorted their front wing and hydraulic problems, while Lotus have fixed most of their difficulties as well. HRT may be faster, but a string of technical issues is what I think will happen in Bahrain next weekend.


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

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):

Stefan GP not on FIA 2010 entry list

Stefan GP’s bid to enter the 2010 F1 world championship appears to have failed, as the team does not appear on the FIA’s entry list for 2010.

With only 8 days until practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, Stefan GP were hoping that they could take the place of the fallen USF1 team. However, they do not appear in the new entry list, which is the final one before the season starts.

Also, this is the first time that Sauber have appeared on the entry list, as the list had not been updated recently until now. Campos Meta now appears as HRT Cosworth, while Bruno Senna is still listed as the only driver for the team.

The FIA has made the following statement:

"The USF1 Team have indicated that they will not be in a position to 
participate in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship. Having 
considered the various options, the FIA confirms that it is not 
possible for a replacement team to be entered for the Championship 
at this late stage.

In the coming days the FIA will announce details of a new selection 
process to identify candidates to fill any vacancies existing at the 
start of the 2011 season."

This means that, instead of now, they will wait until 2011 to look at accepting a new team to fill USF1’s shoes, which may include Stefan GP.

Full FIA entry list:

No. Driver Team Constructor
Sebastian VETTEL (DEU)
RED BULL RACING (AUT) Red Bull Racing Renault
Felipe MASSA (BRA)
Fernando ALONSO (ESP)


AT&T WILLIAMS (GBR) Williams Cosworth
Adrian SUTIL (DEU)
Vitantonio LIUZZI (ITA)
FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM (IND) Force India Mercedes
Sébastien BUEMI (CHE)
LOTUS RACING (MAL) Lotus Cosworth
HRT F1 TEAM (ESP) HRT Cosworth
VIRGIN RACING (GBR) Virgin Cosworth

Note: The USF1 Team have indicated that they will not be in a position to participate in 2010.

F1 to be filmed in HD

The BBC has confirmed that the F1 2010 championship will be filmed in HD this year.

But, before you get too excited, this HD feed is not being made available to broadcasters until at least 2011. The BBC’s head of HD, Danielle Nagler, wrote on her blog:

The events are being filmed in HD (as far as we know) but they are
not made available by F1 to broadcasters in HD.

Lee McKenzie, part of the BBC F1 team, has previously said that F1 broadcasters will be offered the chance to show F1 in HD from 2011 onwards, but it is unsure who will take up the offer. Let’s be honest though, the BBC will definitely be one of the first to sign up.

Still though, it seems like a waste of time filming it in HD and not broadcasting it. Maybe FOM wants to get experience first, then broadcast it when they’re ready. Hopefully the end-of-year review will have HD clips instead.

Meanwhile, this year’s NASCAR championship will be the 6th year of being broadcast in HD. F1 is well behind.

Campos to become Hispania Racing, and Lopez linked with team

Campos Grand Prix, whose name will soon be changed

Campos Grand Prix, whose name will soon be changed

The Spanish media are reporting today that Campos Meta is poised to be renamed as Hispania Racing F1 Team, after the takeover by Jose Ramon Carabante 2 weeks ago. As well as this, Karun Chandhok is still expected to partner Bruno Senna, with Jose Maria Lopez now linked with the reserve seat.

With Adrian Campos no longer involves with the team that has his name on it, a change of team name was imminent. The Spanish news agency EFE is saying that this name change will be implemented before the season starts.

It is also being rumoured that Carabante will present his plans for 2010 in the Victor Vellegas audotorium in Murcia on Thursday. It may be the case that the drivers are confirmed here as well. While they are only rumours, the Lopez story seems to have truth behind it, as Victor Rosso, part of his managment team, explains:

"There are many chances that he will become the reserve driver at

"At the moment, Felipe McGough (Manager for López) is finalising
details to release him from his US F1 contract and retrieve his money
- it all now depends on how the termination of the contract goes.

"We have made it clear to the Americans that he should not be treated
like another businessman but instead like a person who has earned that
money thanks to much effort and that, furthermore, this is the last
chance he will have to race in Formula 1."

How F1 cars have evolved from last year

As you all should remember, 2009 was the year of massive technical regulation changes, which hugely shoock up the order of the grid. Brawn GP were the best to learn from the regulations, which required a perfect aerodynamic balance. Since then, many teams have caught up, and the 2010 testing season has shown us that technical innovation  has moved on from last year. So, let’s have a look at what the teams have been inventing.

Accomodating larger fuel tanks

Wheelbase and fuel tank capacity changes

Wheelbase and fuel tank capacity changes

The main change to the 2010 regulations was that refuelling is banned. This meant that the fuel tank capacity has increased (2) from 120 to about 235 litres. This huge increase in size ensured that the teams would have to deal with two problems: 1) Adjusting the car’s balance and 2) Moving the mechanical components to facilitate this.

The inevitable solution was to increase the cars’ wheelbases. However, it was critical that the increase was not too big, in order to save handling, and thereby tyre wear. Through multiple innovations which we will now analyse, the wheelbase was only increased by around 15cm. This means that the extra 160kg of fuel has less effect on the weight distrubution of the car. However, the increased tank size meant that mechanical components had to be moved. It is believed that some teams have moved the oil tank  behind the fuel tank (since 1998 it has been ahead of it), to allow space to be saved, and therefore meaning minimal increase in the wheelbase.

Shorter gearboxes (5) save unnecessary wheelbase extensions

Shorter gearboxes (5) save unnecessary wheelbase extensions

Another innovation was to reduce the size of the gearbox, again to reduce the need of moving the wheelbase. This was combined with the fact that all of the other mechanicals were moved slightly more than the wheelbase adjustment. This space deficit was countered with a smaller suspension system (see picture above). Only Red Bull seem not to have gone down this route, instead choosing to keep its pullrod rear suspension, which moves further down the car.

More space for the double-decker diffuser

Ferrari's engine mounting allows more space for the diffuser

Ferrari's engine mounting allows more space for the diffuser

Like it or not, but the double-decker diffusers meant that the teams were looking to extract maximum downforce in the rear area. The front section was dealt with by the front wing, so the diffuser was the best area to work on. An interesting solution introduced by Ferrari replicated that on the very intelligent design of the Arrows A2, from 1970. Their F10 engine was mounted at a 3.5 degree angle (1). This meant that the exhaust pipes are located further forward than usual, which allowed for more space at the back for the diffuser. This solution was first done by the A2 in 1970.

All of that means that there is more space to play with in the back of the car. The concept of the double-decker diffuser was that there was a slot in the underside of the car, which fed a much larger diffuser on top. The extra space generated by the exhausts being moved forward means that the diffuser will be larger, meaning more downforce.

Higher gearbox positioning allows for more diffuser space

Higher gearbox positioning allows for more diffuser space

A more simple solution from Red Bull here. Adrian Newey’s idea was to elevate the gearbox instead of shortening it, which had the same effect without difficulties with the shorter gearbox afterwards. The yellow area in the photo shows the difference made by a simple adjustment. This explains why they retained their pull-rod suspension (see 3rd paragraph on larger fuel tanks) in stead of reverting to the traditional push-rod system. Since the pick-up points of the pull-rod suspension are now lower, it means that space for the diffuser is increased. These are two completely different solutions to the same objective: Make space at the back for the diffuser. This is why Formula 1 is such a great place to show technical innovation.

Rear aerodynamic airflow

McLaren's rear aerodynamic layout, which aims air at the rear wing and diffuser

McLaren's rear aerodynamic layout, which aims air at the rear wing and diffuser

As well as the diffuser, airflow management was important on the outside of the car. McLaren’s MP4-25 is the best example of this. First of all, completely the opposite of Ferrari, their exhausts have been moved further back (red arrow). The second part of this solution is to use the airflow of the airbox exit to cool the air from the gearbox radiator (blue arrow). The smaller red arrows show how these two airflow systems go over the diffuser, and the lower part of the rear wing, at certain speeds.

At lower speeds, this air goes through the diffuser, to generarte low-speed grip. When the car becomes faster, and the front and rear wings become more powerful, this airflow then moves to the lower part of the rear wing (black rear wing section). This creates a certain amount of grip without the original drag of the diffuser. This solution shows how the car’s aerodynamic system can change between grip and speed as it gets faster.

Frontal aerodynamic airflow

McLaren's front nosecone splitter, which separates airflow

McLaren's front nosecone splitter, which separates airflow

Again, McLaren’s aero setup is noteworthy here, as it incorporates a solution used by Williams last year. The nosecone splitter (black arrow) changes the airflow passing over and under the front of the car, and thereby the entire aerodynamic layout of the car.

The Sauber C29's endplate system

The Sauber C29's endplate system

As well as this, the cars’ endplates are getting more and more complicated, as the teams look for more methods to divert the air away from the front tyres. Last year, it was more difficult, as the tyres were wider, and the endplates were therefore creating more drag as they pushed more air sideways in the car. This year, because the front tyres are narrower, the endplates now feature more sections to create as little drag as possible, while still ensuring that the tyres weren’t making turbulent air by mixing with the car’s airflow.

While most teams opted to push the air outside the front tyres, Sauber went for a mixture of two solutions: To move the air around as well as over the tyres. The inner part of the endplates is traditional in creating as little drag as possible while diverting airflow. However, the interesting section is the outer part, which moves air over the tyres. As well as having a dual layout system, it means that slightly more downforce is generated by the cars at speed.

So, as we can see, there have been plenty of new technical innovations for the 2010 season, and we haven’t even started yet! Hopefully, across the season, we will see some morenew inventions, which I will feature on the blog in several round-ups across the year.

USF1 offers compensation to miss season



The American racing channel Speed TV is reporting that USF1 gave offered the FIA a 7-digit compensation figure to miss the entire 2010 season.

The Charlotte outfit are not going to be able to make it onto the grid, and they are turning desperate. Speed TV are  calling it a “substantial 7-figure surety bond as proof of their intentions to race next year”. This money is being offered by Ken Anderson and Chad Hurley, who is the head of YouTube and a major partner of the team.

Update: I’ve removed this paragraph, simply because I got this part completely wrong. I had written this piece before the news came out that it was actually a surety bond. Which means that all my ramblings about bribes were complete rubbish, sorry about that, I know very little about surety bonds and the like.

A photo and video review of the testing season

So, as the Barcelona test concluded today, we have learned much about the upcoming season in 2 weeks time. For now, let’s have a look at some of the photos and videos that summarised this year’s testing season.

The Videos

Mclaren owned by Ferrari:

For the last few weeks, many of us have been worrying about the fact that most of the teams have been trying to hide their diffuser from the others. It’s been a hot topic: Will we see another diffuser battle? Mostly, cover sheets and boxes are used to stop other team mechanics stealing designs of the diffusers. But, in Barcelona, Ferrari went one step further (to the delight of the audience) to get the message through to McLaren.

For my childish side… PWNED!

Felipe Massa onboard head-cam:

Remember last year, when the Ferarri F60 was released, and we were treated to the great onboard footage of Massa’s first lap in the car? This year it’s even better, he’s driving in heavy rain conditions this time. Unfortunately the camera is pointing slightly downwards, so visibility isn’t great, but this video is still well worth a watch. Oh, and it’s also available in HD, which is nice 🙂

Life’s a Beach- Virgin Racing

I’ll get this out of the way, I’m not quite sure why they made this video! Still though, it’s got some nice shots of the Virgin car, as well as Lucas di Grassi’s attempts to sound badass, this time without the glasses.

The Photos

Putting on a brave face!

Putting on a brave face!

Like I’ve said before,there’s plenty of worry around the paddock of another diffuser battle this year. So, while most of the teams covered up the back of their cars and hid them away, Sauber put a smile on our face by making their diffuser more pleasant to look at! This is why I love privateers compared to manufacturers 😀

The reconquest begins, apparently...

The reconquest begins, apparently...

Note the flags of Oviedo on the left and right. This picture was taken on one of the first days of testing, when Fernando Alonso made his first appearances for Ferrari. Also, the eagle-eyed F1 fans may notce the two aces of clubs and diamonds, the same that Fernando has printed on the back of his helmet, to symbolise his two championship victories in 2005 and 2006(note ’05 and ’06 written in place of numbers on the cards). Obviously, the Spaniards were out in force to greet their hero, and made their presence known. They seem to be very confident of an Alonso comeback this season, and I’m with them!

Brought back down to earth

Brought back down to earth

Like the last picture, this was taken on one of the first days of Alonso’s test with Ferrari. This time, the Spaniard was forced to stop out on track with a mechanical problem. Fernando seemed very dissapointed to let down his fans afterwards, but this is F1.

Drying out

Drying out

It seems so long ago to me, but the two Jerez tests were blighted by heavy rain.  Teams struggled across the 8 days to find time to do full-length race testing. Here, a Bridgestone technician checks the track to see are conditions improving. In fact, they were.

Spun out

Spun out

Back to the 18th February. It was another disastrous day for the Virgin team, as yesterday Timo Glock only got 10 laps in the wet conditions. This day, it got no better, with the German spinning out ar Turn 2. A mechanical problem was believed to have caused the spin, and the wet track didn’t help. After the front wing incident, it became apparent that CFD didn’t make the Virgin car bulletproof.

The news did get better for the team, but it took some time.

Subtle observation

Subtle observation

More McLaren eagle eyes this time (they never get bored of it do they?). Here, the Red Bull of Mark Webber is being brought back to the pits after a mechanical problem.  The McLaren engineers had been closer, but you can see a Red Bull engineer getting them well back. Damn straight 😀

Set sail to Bahrain...

Set sail to Bahrain...

And, quick as a flash, it’s all over. Less than an hour after the chequered flag fell on the last day of testing, the teams were packing up to leave to Bahrain. Without a hint of delay, as I write this (the eve of the final day), most of the teams have already sent their trucks of equipment on their way to Bahrain. It’s kind of strange to see that the F1 world never sleeps.

Final plea from Stefan GP

Stefan GP might be struggling to get into F1, but at least they have a car

Stefan GP might be struggling to get into F1, but at least they have a car

The final statement has been released from Stefan GP headquarters, asking the FIA to allow them into the 2010 F1 championship in place of USF1.

The team has a car ready, which it plans to unveil next week. They have already sent their equipment to Bahrain, two weeks before any other team did. However, they need a current team to drop out, which will probably be USF1.

Their statement is as follows:

"SGP would like to re-confirm its desire and, importantly, its
ability to compete in the whole of the FIA 2010 Formula One World
Championship,' reads a statement on the team's website, stressing
that it is able to take part without missing Grands Prix, unlike its
American counterpart.

It recognises that this can only happen with the consent of the FIA
(governing body) and FOM (commercial rights holder), but has faith
that the Formula One 'family' will make the correct decision in the

There will be no more press releases on this subject and we look
forward to being allowed to show everyone our team in Bahrain."

So it seems this is the final attempt by Zoran Stefanovich to enter F1. After all I’ve said about them, I have to admit that the FIA might as well let them in. USF1 are dead, end of story. Stefan GP will be well off the pace if they enter the Bahrain GP, but is it better than having nothing?

And more to the point, why are we even having this discussion? This would never have happened if the FIA had picked plausible teams for 2010. Manor would have gone the same way as USF1 if Virgin hadn’t bought them out. Campos would have been similarly dead if Kolles and Carabante hadn’t taken over. This new teams thing is turning ridiculous.

New safety car for 2010- and it’s the fastest ever

The new Safety car, the Mercedes SLS AMG

The new Safety car, the Mercedes SLS AMG

As the Formula 1 2010 season edges closer and closer, we have been treated to the news that the new safety car will be even better.

This year it will be a Mercedes SLS AMG, which will be launched on sale on the 27th March. It is the most powerful safety car ever, producing 420KW (57 hp) and 650nm. This means that it accelerates from 0-100km in 3.8 seconds.

“Together with the entire AMG Team, I am very proud that the new SLS AMG is the official F1 safety car. I’m sure all Mercedes and AMG fans will be excited to see the gullwing model together with the new Mercedes GP Petronas Team at the F1 circuits,” says Volker Mornhinweg, Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

The new safety car will continue to be driven by Bernd Maylander, the 38-year old former DTM driver from Germany. He will still be assisted by 44-year old FIA worker Peter Tibbetts, who is from the UK.

The medical car will stay the same, as a C63 AMG estate.

The point of the safety car is to guide all of the F1 cars around the circuit in hazardous conditions, like debris on the track or extreme weather conditions. The fact that the safety cars are getting faster and faster is more than just showing off. Formula 1 cars need to be going quickly enough to keep their engines cool and brakes and tyres warm, so Maylander needs to be on the pace all of the time.