This page will be updated throughout the day.
Please if you are on Twitter press the tweet button below. If you re-write and tweet individual story headlines don’t forget to include #F1.
You may not realise how hugely important this is and has helped grow our community significantly
Formula E grid almost complete
One of the world’s most recognised and respected brands today announce it will be entering a team in the new Formula E Championship after signing an agreement with series promoters Formula E Holdings.
Based in the UK, the Virgin Racing Formula E Team will be headed by Team Principal Alex Tai and has the backing of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson. Both have been involved in a number of pioneering technology projects in aviation, space and more recently racing.
“The launch of the FIA Formula E Championship is exciting news for racing fans but also for those that believe in developing the great electric cars of the future,” said Sir Richard Branson. “The need to create fast, dependable and durable race cars will help to accelerate the sector and showcase electric cars to a large global audience. With races around many famous city centres, I am expecting a lot of spectators, plenty of fun and some sparks flying as the competition hots up.”
Virgin Racing will now be put forward to the FIA for final approval as the ninth of ten teams to enter the new zero emission championship, racing in 10 city-centres around the world. They join IndyCar outfits Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing, Asia’s China Racing, Super Aguri and Mahindra Racing, and European squads Drayson Racing, e.dams and Audi Sport ABT.
Team Principal Alex Tai is enthusiastic. “I’m absolutely sold on the concept of Formula E and believe that it is a great fit for the Virgin brand. The accessible nature of the series with its races being right in the heart of our great cities, should create a wonderful atmosphere.
The drive to develop new technology appeals to Virgin, which has always been a pioneering organisation. I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in a number of such activities over years, from the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer to Virgin Galactic activities that push technological and human boundaries and capture people’s imagination.
We have hugely exciting plans and over the next nine months will be revealing new parts to our story on a regular basis, so I’d ask fans and the commercial world alike to ‘watch this space.’”
Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin is a leading international investment group which has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony, travel, financial services, leisure, music, holidays and health and wellness.
With the calendar announced yesterday, Formula E has just one space left on the grid to fill before we hear the
roar whir of the electric motors fire up for battle proper in 2014.
Quick pic Comp
Maybe it was posted too late in the day, but we had a resounding – ZERO – responses to this. Maybe we’ve cracked the TJ13 readership???
Anyway, who where and when
The Mustang’s new era
It’s a little quiet on the F1 front today, so……….
Ford unveils its new Mustang GT today in six cities simultaneously – New York, Dearborn in Michigan, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Sydney and Barcelona. The company hopes the car’s history will appeal to buyers outside the US. Mustangs haven’t officially been sold outside the US since 1979.
Ford’s unveiling of its new Mustang follows revamps of several other famous US cars, like Chrysler’s Challenger (pictured) and Charger as well as General Motors’ Camaro and Corvette. These vehicles are known as “halo cars”. Although they may not sell in large volumes, it’s hoped they will entice consumers to buy other models.
The Mustang went on sale in 1964, the same year as Pontiac’s GTO, built by GM. The GTO (pictured) is considered the first mass-produced “muscle car”. It was created “for somebody who wanted the excitement and thrill of being able to drive a little aggressively“, says Jim Wangers, who led Pontiac’s advertising team at the time.
Ford’s Mustang (pictured) was different from the GTO, and was dubbed a “pony car” – a reference to the car’s iconic horse badge. “[The Mustang] was a remarkable breakthrough in styling, yet it was by Ford’s choice very moderately powered,” explains Mr Wangers. “So the two cars were in a sense competitive but not overlapping.”
The Mustang was meant to appeal to post-war baby boomers looking for a “personal car”. It was immediately popular: by 1966, more than one million Mustangs had been sold, prompting Chevrolet to release a competitor, the Camaro, that year.
Mr Wangers says part of the appeal of the Mustang was that it was iconic, roomy and safe. “While it has an image of fun and excitement and high style, it also has – and this is very critical – image of reliability and dependability,” he says. “What I’m saying in a delicate and slightly restricted way, is that it has a strong appeal to the lady.”
Muscle and pony cars – and their implicit lifestyle – quickly became part of the fabric of US pop culture. The Mustang has made an appearance in over 3,000 TV shows and films, memorably in the Steve McQueen 1968 car chase film Bullitt. The Dodge Charger was featured heavily in the classic US TV show Dukes of Hazzard.
But while there’s no doubt the Mustang, the Corvette, the Camaro, and others are iconic cars in the US, it’s unclear if they will appeal to buyers overseas. “The Corvette has never been much of a success overseas – it’s never been able to make much of a dent in Europe,” says Mr Wangers. GM launched this new Corvette last year.
But Ford thinks the appeal of the Mustang extends to places like China, with its growing middle class. Analysts are optimistic. “The Mustang is an iconic vehicle for Ford, everybody knows that car,” says Edmunds.com senior analyst Michelle Krebs. “I sort of think of it as being Ford’s ambassador around the globe.”
Sniff Petrol explain why with this Mustang – things will be different.
Ford has confirmed the long-awaited new generation Mustang will be officially imported to the UK. As a result, the new model is to be made in right-hand-drive and, for the first time, it will be fitted with a system called ‘steering’.
‘This is the most technically advanced Mustang we’ve ever made,’ said chief engineer Stopp Hammertime. ‘For example, the new ‘steering’ facility takes the circular driver’s grab handle, airbag mount and iPad rest of the previous Mustang and, for the first time, connects it to a series of shafts, pinions and racks in order to permit the driver to take control of the front wheels, thereby allowing them to negotiate road conditions such as ‘cowners’. Am I pronouncing that right? Cornours? Whatever it is you Limeyass people call the parts between straightaways.’
Hammertime also noted that the new Mustang will finally get rid of the solid rear axle of previous generations. ‘That’s right,’ he confirmed. ‘Now we’ve gotta sell the ‘Stang in Yewrope the back axle is gonna have something called ‘inderpenderdent suspendionisation’. I think that’s how it’s pronounced. To be honest with you, on the development team we just called it the Pinko Commie Faggot Axle… WHY ARE YOU SIGHING?’
Dennis seeks to regain control of McLaren
McLaren boss, Ron Dennis, has joined the British prime minister’s trade delegation to China this week with a view to increasing the presence of the McLaren road car division in China. The first McLaren dealership in China was opened September 12, 2013 and now 8 new cities have been targeted for further McLaren dealership expansion.
Dennis states, “We consider this country to be a core part of the next 50 years of McLaren’s future. McLaren is looking to work closely with Chinese organisations as we seek to develop and expand the entire Group and develop a whole range of businesses in China. In time McLaren anticipates that China will contribute 10% of its global automotive sales, resulting in exports from the UK of over £50m per year.”
TJ13 reported last year there was trouble within the McLaren empire as sales targets had been missed and the Bahraini investors Mumtalakat and Mansour Ojjeh were getting nervous. Ron Dennis made a tangential reference to this at the launch of this year’s MP4-28, “Why am I disappointed? Because we’ve had to grow the business in one of the most difficult economic climates that this country and the world have seen. That’s made it much more challenging.
It has thus far been a massive investment in a difficult market. But I think the path is right. Will we need to put more money into automotive? Yes.”
More worryingly for investors, Dennis explained, “it isn’t going to instantly make money because of the amount of investment that you have to put into it”, and his obsession with the McLaren project is clear when Ron amusingly suggests, “It sounds very flippant but overall I think money’s completely unimportant – unless you don’t have any.”
Whilst in China Dennis has met with delegates from the country’s sovereign wealth fund and other possible investors in a bid to raise the capital to buy out the 25% stake in McLaren Group owned by Mansour Ojjeh’s TAG group. This would give Dennis overall control of the McLaren group.
McLaren have been quick to comment though that, “Mansour Ojjeh has not expressed any desire to sell his shareholding. So it is business as usual for all at McLaren, and we are fully focused on developing our new Formula 1 car so as to improve our on-track performance for the 2014 season.”
Sources close to Dennis have revealed he has been considering becoming more directly involved again with the F1 team in an effort to revive their fortunes. Further, he is unhappy over Whitmarsh’s recent efforts to sign Fernando Alonso because Dennis still holds the Spaniard partially responsible for McLaren being fined $100m (reduced to $50m) over the 2007 ‘spygate’ affair.
Ross Brawn is now a serious contender to replace Whitmarsh as F1 team principal and should Dennis be able to manage the politics or acquire the TAG shareholding, an announcement could be made as early as the weekend of the Monaco GP.
Ron Dennis is known for his obsession with McLaren and he expects loyalty from all who work for the company. Speaking to the FT earlier this year he said, “You cut yourself, you bleed McLaren. We’re about winning, we care about how we win . . . We want to win with the right principles, the right values. If people don’t want to be part of that and want to go and do different things, then fine.”
In a coded reference to recently departed employees Dennis was as equally uncompromising in his view. “People might think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but if they get the hosepipe and the lawnmower out, they can easily contribute to making the grass greener their side of the fence”.
Whitmarsh hears the rumour of Big Ron’s F1 return
Newey: The front wing will be the trickiest bit
translation of the original article at Auto Motor & Sport
Q: Which influence did the tyres have in the first half of the season?
An unusually big one. All the teams, which now claim that they had tailor-made their cars for the [original] 2013 tyres and all based on a single testing session at Brazil at 50° asphalt temperature are either lying to themselves or they are much cleverer than we are. I simply cannot imagine how anyone could have understood those tyres after a single testing session. I think the characteristics of the tyres just fit for some cars randomly and for others they didn’t. That had nothing to do with know-how.
Q: Did the return to the 2012 tyre construction help Red Bull?
It helped, although we already were on a good way to understand the 2013 tyres. Cars with a high rake, like ours, have profited from it, since the 2012 construction allows to lower the front. The higher the rake, the faster you are in highspeed corners.
Q: So what was the problem of the [original] 2013 tyres?
They reacted badly to lateral forces. With a full load of fuel you could not tackle highspeed corners without destroying the tyres. The 2012 construction works much better in those situations and since highspeed corners were strength of our car, we profited from it.
Q: Which influence did the driving style have?
The drivers did understand the tyres fairly well. They had enough experience with them. The key was more or less to adapt the car to the tyres. It was important, not to stress the tyres and even if that was impossible there were still options. You had to concentrate on using the tyres in situations without much load on them. For that there are mechanical and aerodynamical solutions. The tricky bit is to combine those two.
Q: Red Bull struggled the most on tracks which stressed the front tyres. Why?
That was true for the first part of the season. In Shanghai we were nowhere. In Barcelona we had problems, too. In the second half, things got better. Korea is the one track which is probably most demanding for the front tyres and we made a good impression there. One part was that the 2012 construction worked better on our car and the other part was the massive development of the RB9, which would have helped us even with the original tyres.
Q: Some teams claim that after the return to the 2012 construction they had to shift the aerodynamic balance towards the rear. They say it disadvantaged them. How was it for you?
We didn’t have to change our aerodynamic balance, that’s why I can’t comment on the problems of other teams.
Q: There were two exhaust layouts. How much of a compromise was the ramp behind the tailpipes in connection with the Coke bottle shape?
If the exhaust hadn’t been allowed in that place, the side pods would have looked differently. It is a compromise, but a small one. We’ve been using that solution for quite a while now and have refined it again and again, so I can’t say if the other solution is better.
Q: Did Sebastian Vettel’s driving style influence the design of the car? Was he the reason you concentrated on the blown diffuser even more?
I wouldn’t say that he was the driving force behind it. We developed in that direction, because CFD simulations and wind tunnel results confirmed our theories. Our discussions with Vettel and Webber in terms of car development did not influence us one way or the other. In fact Mark Webber was more sensible to aerodynamical changes on the car, so if anything he was to be the bigger influence. But the development of a car is never orientated towards a single driver.
Q: Why was the Red Bull that dominant in Singapore?
That’s difficult to say. I have no idea what the others were doing that day.
Q: Your car gained the most time in slow corners. That’s when there are less exhaust gasses to blow the diffuser. Which influence does the engine management software have?
A big one. It influences driveability, torque distribution and the production of exhaust gasses. Is our engine different from the others? I don’t know, because I know too little about the competing engine designs.
Q: The aerodynamic concept of the Red Bull has dominated F1 since 2009. How much of a danger is there that this might change in 2014?
The biggest problem next year is the narrower front wing. 150 millimetres might not sound like much, but it makes a huge difference as the end plates will now be right before the front tyres.It’s a monumental task to make up for that disadvantage. You have to decide whether to direct the air flow past the front wheels on the outside or the inside. The second challenge is to package in the engine and all its secondary devices. That powertrain is a complex beast. The installation is a bout two or three times as difficult as with the current V8.
Q: Will it still be possible to run with as much rake as you did in the past?
I cannot say yet. We cannot use the exhaust to seal the diffuser anymore. That’s because we only have one tailpipe under the rear wing and the turbo charger uses up much of the exhaust gasses energy. We probably integrated the exhaust into our aerodynamical concept the best, which is why we have the most to lose. On the other hand, I ran my cars with a rake before the exhaust blown diffuser, so I’ll try it again.
Hamilton vs Di Resta
Anthony Hamilton has been giving evidence in the High Court in London and is claiming Paul Di Resta’s ‘false’ allegations against him have made it difficult for him to persue his line of work as an F1 driver manager.
Hamilton says he spent “lot of my time and money” pursuing an F1 drive for Di Resta and that, “I had been led to believe that I would be rewarded both financially and with loyalty. Unfortunately this did not happen and I am now no longer managing Paul. As a result I have found it incredibly difficult to find new work in Formula 1 since Paul’s wrongful termination of the driver/manager agreement”.
Di Resta terminated Hamilton as his manager claiming that he had been misled over a multi-million pound deal with energy drinks company Go Fast. Hamilton stated that, “Paul has made allegations of fraud and incompetence against me, which has attracted a lot of bad press and has had a serious effect on my family and my business.
Paul’s allegation is completely unfounded. it has damaged my good reputation in the sport.”
In a stamen of evidence, Di Resta argues, “Anthony simply had insufficient contacts, insufficient staff and resources, was not taking a professional approach to seeking sponsorship for me. He was not discussing any strategy surrounding sponsorship with me … he wholly failed to deliver.”
Di Resta, whose F1 career looks to be now over, stated that Hamilton had told him he was looking at a “top team” for 2013 and added, “Whilst he was talking a good game, he wasn’t actually delivering anything.”
The case continues….
There have been a number of stewarding decisions this year that have brought criticism from F1 fans and participants alike. The most recent were in the final race at Interlagos which solicited significant disapproval from Il Padrino himself.
“I think it was disproportionate and unjust, as was Hamilton’s. If Felipe had stayed in fourth place, we would have been second in the Constructors’ championship. Every so often, the gentlemen who come to the races to act as Stewards make decisions that are a bit ridiculous and anachronistic. One needs to be careful that we maintain credibility, for the work of the teams that invest money and for the drivers who risk their lives”.
It was a very busy day yesterday at the place de Concorde and the FIA managed to find time to discuss the matter. It was affirmed that, “consistency in decision-making during grands prix is at the heart of maintaining credibility”.
There had been a meeting earlier in the year where the stewards and F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting met with the drivers and team representatives who highlighted a number of key issues they believed would help the stewards reach their goal of uniformity in decision-making. One suggestion was that there should be a full review of decisions taken during the year.
The gathering yesterday apparently “considered a number of incidents from during the season, with issues such as drivers leaving the boundaries of the track and possibly gaining an advantage being reviewed, again in a bid to find a consistent approach to ruling on such transgressions”. Unsurprisingly, the FIA do not disclose the outcome of this review and whether any decisions were inappropriate.
Commenting on the meeting, Whiting said, “good communication was a key element in keeping stewards up to date”, adding that their twice-yearly meetings are a critical part of the their duties”.
Staying true to the value of FIA self admiration, Garry Connelly a regular in the chair of the F1, stewards paid tribute to all the FIA staff present at Formula One race meetings, saying that “their dedication was crucial in the smooth operation of events. Whiting, meanwhile, also thanked the F1 media for their co-operation and understanding during the season just gone”.
He concluded, “As a group, the F1 race stewards are clearly determined to continue improving the system of stewarding, which is extremely important to Formula One.”
So no change there then. One way to improve consistency would be to removing from stewarding duties the gin swilling old dodderers who are invited as part of the FIA grace and favour programme and replacing them with full time professionals who attend each race.
Electioneering material from a disgruntled PR company
Who’s the F1 ‘Daddy’?
The problem with F1’s supremo is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell whether what he says is considered comment, off the cuff statements, buffoonery or as Il Padrino has suggested delusional ramblings due to the deterioration of his faculties.
During the first week of the Constatin v Ecclestone hearings, questions over Ecclestone’s successor were naturally put to him. He told the media “Christian would be ideal, I would be happy to hold his hand. We could have a transitional period. It needs someone who knows the sport. If someone comes in from outside, a corporate type, I don’t think I could work with them. It wouldn’t last five minutes. People deal with me because they know me. They know I’m straight with them. That’s how it is with Christian. I hope we can do it.”
Yet today Mr. E reveals to CNN that the whole idea was in fact a bit of a joke. “Somebody said to me, ‘What happens when you go, what’s going to happen?’ Christian walked past and I said: ‘What about him? He is a good guy.’
Clearly Red Bull and Horner didn’t realise this as they issued a statement on the Red Bull website saying that Christian was flattered by this suggestion but was fully focused on his role as team principal and the long term future of Red Bull Racing.
The fact is whoever Ecclestone recommends must have green light from Ferrari boss Luca de Montezemolo. Speaking to RAI, Il Padrino mocked the Horner idea saying, “Ecclestone sees Horner as his successor? As the years go by, he more and more enjoys making jokes and I’m happy he still has the desire to do so.”
This is clearly part of one of the many deals Ecclestone has done over the years to keep Ferrari happy and the prospectus for the defunct F1 float states, “We must obtain the written consent of Ferrari prior to the appointment of any person as our chief executive officer if, within the past five years, he or she has held a senior executive office or an ownership interest of 5% or more in any Team or automobile manufacturer which either owns more than a 5% interest in a Team or is a supplier of engines to a Team.”
To this end the prospectus also reveals there is a F1 nomination committee, whose responsibility is to “review and recommend candidates for appointments to the Board …” and surprise, surprise -.Luca sits on that committee.
So Montezemolo was not joking when he told RAI, “We have reached an agreement with Ecclestone and the FIA and we are the only team with the right of veto: more political weight than that is impossible! We are aware of our strength in Formula 1, which without us, would be completely different.”
It appears this influence even holds sway over the International Corporate Gamblers who own the commercial rights to F1.
Now who’s the F1 Daddy?
‘Rake’ not a Newey invention