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Monday, May 20, 2013

Dr. Gary Hartstein on his time in F1

All video's today.

I haven't seen this one but will be watching it later to see if he has said anything about the way in which he was pushed out.  He expressed his anger quite forcefully on twitter after being replaced and did say he'd be giving his side of the story at a later date.

MSC drives the Nordschleife Run in F1 Mercedes

The video of Schumi enjoying the Nordschleife

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Honda McLaren Video

Here's the video of Honda and McLaren announcing their reunification in 2015

Honda Return!

At 8.32am GMT McLaren issued a press release confirming the rumours which have been circulating in the press and on the web since the new engine regulations for 2014 were first mooted back in 2011.

From the start of the 2015 season McLaren will partner with Honda as the works team for their 1.6 litre V6 turbo engine.

This is great news for the McLaren team, who enjoyed their most successful period in Formula 1 when partnered with the Japanese manufacturer winning 4 Constructor's and 4 Drivers Championships: the highlight of that partnership was the 1988 season when McLaren Honda won 15 of that season's 16 Grand Prix.

Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. provided an insight into the thinking behind Honda's return to the sport after leaving at the end of the 2008 season
The new F1 regulations with their significant environmental focus will inspire even greater development of our own advanced technologies and this is central to our participation in F1.  We have the greatest respect for the FIA’s decision to introduce these new regulations that are both highly challenging but also attractive to manufacturers that pursue environmental technologies and to Formula One Group, which has developed F1 into a high value, top car racing category supported by enthusiastic fans.
Martin Whitmarsh is understandably delighted:
The names of McLaren and Honda are synonymous with success in Formula 1, and, for everyone who works for both companies, the weight of our past achievements together lies heavily on our shoulders. But it’s a mark of the ambition and resolve we both share that we want once again to take McLaren-Honda to the very pinnacle of Formula 1 success. Together we have a great legacy – and we’re utterly committed to maintaining it.
Honda has built a reputation as a worldwide engineering giant, but its roots, its specialism and its passion lie in the advancement of the internal combustion engine. Throughout its history, Honda has pioneered engine technology in road cars, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. Indeed, its experience as a manufacturer of turbocharged engines is unequalled by any other car manufacturer currently competing in Formula 1.
Jenson Button, of course has 3 years experience racing with Honda who took over BAR in 2006, and won his first GP with them in that year.  It may be that his familiarity with Honda F1 personnel will be valuable, should he remain at McLaren in 2015.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How do you Solve a Problem like Marussia?

Journalists, commentators and fans have, in recent years, regularly discussed how to make the lower Motorsport categories of GP2, F3, etc. more relevant to F1 and also how best to break new F1 drivers into the top echelon of motorsport on merit.

Having never reached a consensus on how this might be achieved I was listening to the news today that Wigan had been relegated after losing to Arsenal last night and it suddenly struck me that F1 could operate in a similar manner, with a little help from the Concorde agreement and the FIA.

Let us assume that, at the end of this season, Marussia and Caterham are at the bottom of the F1 table why not relegate the bottom team and promote the top GP2 team.  This team would be provided, through the Concorde agreement, with a customer midfield F1 car for its first year - the midfield teams providing same on a rotation basis - and would have to give the GP2 and F3 champions a race seat.

A basic cost associated with going racing for the first year would be paid (a la Marussia at £38 million p.a), while 60% of any team revenue from sponsorship or other income would have to be saved to enable the design and build of a new constructor F1 car by its third year in the sport.

Should the new team survive its first year the Concorde Agreement provides half the racing costs for the second year with 40% of the previous season's sponsorship and another 40% of the second year's sponsorship paying for the rest and then are given £10 million the third year at which time the team becomes liable for all its costs and must operate as a full constructor. If the team does not survive the 60% saved revenue from each of the first two years is recycled by F1 to pay for the next promoted team.

F1 is then a meritocracy rather than simply monetary and the teams at the bottom are given an incentive to move up the grid and become de facto constructors.

Now I know the plan has flaws and it's probably easy to pick them out, but I do think there is the germ of a workable solution here.  This would provide for 11 teams on the grid, with the option for a 12th team to enter the sport should they have the money to do so.

Were a 12th team to seek a grid slot they would be given a 3 year grace period before becoming subject to the relegation rule.

I'm interested in your thoughts on this idea, especially those which point out the flaws.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lotus confirm Allison departure by announcing Nick Chester promotion

Lotus Press release:

Wednesday 8th May 2013
Nick Chester appointed Lotus F1 Team Technical Director
Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce the promotion of Nick Chester to the position of Technical Director. Nick will replace the departing James Allison, who will leave Enstone after working with the team most recently since 2005 and previously from 1991-1992 and 1994-1999.
Nick has worked at Enstone since 2000, most recently as Engineering Director, and previously as Head of Performance Systems, Head of Vehicle Performance Group and Race Engineer. Prior to coming to Enstone, Nick worked for Arrows Grand Prix for five years.
Eric Boullier, Team Principal:
“We are pleased to announce Nick Chester as our next Technical Director. Nick is well known to everyone at Enstone having been with the team for over twelve years. He is already directly involved with this and next year’s cars, ensuring a smooth transition which has been underway for some time. It’s an illustration of the strength and breadth of talent at Enstone that we can draw on personnel of the calibre of Nick and it’s something of an Enstone tradition for new Technical Directors to be promoted from within. He assumes his new position at a tremendously exciting time for the sport. The 2014 technical regulation changes present many challenges, while our current position of second place in both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ World Championships mean we cannot lose sight of this year’s development battle. Nick really has his work cut out, but we know he is more than capable of handling the tasks ahead. As a team and individually, we would all like to thank James Allison for his efforts during his three stints at Enstone and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
Nick Chester, Technical Director, Lotus F1 Team:
“I have worked at Enstone for over twelve years and am delighted to take on the role of Technical Director. I am grateful to the management at Enstone for the faith they have in promoting me to this position. I am very aware of our need to keep pushing development of this year’s E21 whilst developing next year’s car to a set of very different regulations. There are some exciting times ahead for Enstone and I’m honoured to be part of it.”

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teams to test resolve on in-season testing

Teams are to take a vote today on in-season testing, ESPN are reporting.

This vote has sneaked up on me as I've been a little out of the loop recently due to the fact that I'm struggling to keep my company afloat in these tough economic times and lately all of my efforts have been focussed on the "real" world rather than my passion; the upshot being that I haven't had time to check out all of the exciting things happening in the F1 world.

When you chuck in the fact that I don't watch Bahrain you can appreciate that it was easy to lose touch with the Blog.

Anyhoo, the hullabaloo about testing in-season has been Ferrari's pet peeve since it was banned in 2009 as a cost-cutting measure.

Prior to the ban being imposed the teams had a third pit team whose only function during the season was to go testing.  Each in-season test cost over $300,000 per team in terms of salaries, cars,parts, transport and accommodation.  But of course Ferrari have their own test track at Fiorano, making the whole thing much easier and far cheaper for the Italian team.

Jonathan Neale from McLaren seems to think that there are four teams in favour of testing but falls short of naming them.

I think I can do that for him:

Ferrari at Fiorano (obviously)
Force India (Silverstone)
Mercedes (Brackley - just down the A43 from Silverstone)
Red Bull (Milton Keynes - Just down the A5 from Silverstone)

I'm assuming that it is unlikely that Caterham or Marussia would support a return to in-season testing simply due to their budget issues, but the likes of Lotus and Williams are not too far away from Silverstone either so the costs associated with testing there might be achievable for those two teams.

Certainly, Williams would have a history of testing at Silverstone and would probably like to have in-season testing to focus their efforts on improving the car this season.

McLaren however are not in favour of a return to in-season testing, citing the economic climate, cost saving and equal opportunities as their reasons.

We know however that they test their cars in-season on their secret test track under the MTC as first revealed in Episode 1 of TOONED (with that kind of facility in place, out of the eyes of the prying media and FIA they can carry out their secret test programmes while pretending to be on the side of the little teams).