Monthly Archives: April 2014

De Silvestro Completes Two Day Test With Sauber

Sauber’s affiliate driver Simona de Silvestro was behind the wheel of the 2012 C31 this weekend for a two-day test with the Swiss outfit.

The Swiss driver was behind the wheel of a Formula One car for the first time, after signing as an affiliate driver with Sauber earlier this year. The test was held at Ferrari’s Fiorano circuit in Italy and was held to help de Silvestro familiarise herself with Formula One cars. 25-year-old de Silvestro began racing in the American IndyCar series in 2010 and was that year awarded the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award.

Although it’s something very special to drive a Formula one car, I was not too nervous in the morning,” de Silvestro said after her first day of running. “I was more focused on what my job would be. but, after completing the installation lap, I realised that this was my first lap in a Formula One car and that this was something really special.

Overall I’m happy with my first day in a Formula One car. I concentrated mainly on understanding the tyres and finding out how to get the best out of them. And with every outing I learned more about the behaviour of the car.

Physically I feel quite good, which is definitely a result of my preparation in recent months. I have been training really hard and this paid off. 

The feeling you get driving a Formula One car is just awesome!” she concluded.

De Silvestro completed a total of 180 laps between the two days which is enough to earn her FIA Super License, a license which any driver much posses before they take part in a race weekend. To do so, a driver must have driven 300km in an F1 car, while de Silvestro has completed 540km.

Images courtesy Sauber Motorsport AG. 

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Win A VIP Porsche Experience At Le Mans With Exxon

Exxon are offering you the chance to win a VIP experience with Porsche at the 24 hours of Le Mans race this June.

To be in with a chance of winning, one must simply register on their website before the closing date, the 28th of May 2014. The winner will win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – watching the 24 hours of Le Mans race from the Porsche VIP hospitality area.

The 24 hours of Le Mans race is a 24 hour endurance race competed as part of the World Endurance Championship. Former F1 driver Mark Webber joins Brandon Hartley and Timo Bernhard at the Porsche works team who returned to the WEC this year. They will be hoping to take glory at the prestigious Le Mans race this year, which was last year won by former Toyota driver Allan McNish.

As part of their ambition to bring fans closer to motorsport, Mobil 1, who are partnered with the McLaren F1 Team, produced this brilliant video about an unsuspecting worker who won a race that he didn’t even know he was in.

Don’t forget to enter here, and good luck!

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Miscommunication Caused Flag Error At Chinese GP

Hamilton takes the chequered flag for the second time

Hamilton takes the chequered flag for the second time

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport has pinpointed the cause of the premature waving of the chequered flag at the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend, which reduced the race length from 56 laps to 54 laps. The rules dictate that once the chequered flag is shown, the race is over, which means that although the drivers continued to race the remaining laps, the final two laps do not count in the final standings.

Reportedly, local race director (each race has a local race director, who would preside over most races at the track, but is under the command of FIA race director Charlie Whiting during F1 races) Zhuang Tao radioed to Whiting to ask him if he should wave the white flag to signal the start of the penultimate lap. After Whiting replied, Zhuang radioed the flagman with the words “no flag now”. It seems the flag man missed the word “no” and believed that he was to wave the flag, which he did.

Although Lewis Hamilton still won the race, and there are no differences in the top ten point-scoring positions, it does make Kamui Kobayashi’s spectacular overtake on Marussia’s Jules Bianchi on the penultimate lap redundant, moving the Japanese driver back to nineteenth.

Image courtesy Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

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Pirelli Applaud Bottas’ Bravery

Pirelli have applauded Valtteri Bottas’ bravery after the Finn reached almost 200mph in wet conditions during Qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Bottas peaked at 196 mph on the back straight of the Shanghai circuit, but incredibly Bottas was using the intermediate tyres which displace less water than the full wet compounds. At their best, the blue intermediate tyres will displace 100 litres collectively per second, while the full wets can displace a staggering 260 litres per second – that’s more than a bathtub of water.

“Seeing Bottas achieve those sorts of speeds, in the wet in China, was one of those moments that gave you goosebumps: which is what Formula One is meant to be all about,” Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said today.

“The Cinturato Green intermediate is in fact the only tyre in our range that is completely unaltered compared to 2013, but it was still able to provide complete control even under extremely marginal conditions. This performance underlines the sheer bravery and talent of today’s Formula One drivers – which is what everyone wants to see.” 

The huge change to regulations ahead of this season reduced the downforce produced by cars, which in turn makes them faster in a straight line. This contributed to Bottas’ particularly fast speed on wet conditions, where aquaplaning is a real danger due to the width of the Formula One tyres.

Bottas qualified and finished seventh, despite making contact into the first corner of the race and briefly going off track, as well as driving the whole race without telemetry. The Finn, who is in his second season in F1, was pleased with the progress the team had made over the weekend and looked to Spain where he hopes to make further steps forward. However, Felipe Massa endured a horrible race in the other Williams following a botched pit stop which lost him over a minute. He finished the race in fifteenth. You can read my report of the race here.

Image courtesy Williams F1 Team. 

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Red Bull’s A to Z of Formula One

Watch as Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, reserve driver Sebastian Buemi, Team Principal Christian Horner and Aerodynamics guru Adrian Newey talk you through the A to Z of Formula One. This is part two, E to H.

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Another Trip To Court Looms For Red Bull

With the talk in the paddock still very much focused on the Red Bull appeal against Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix, which saw them go up in front of the FIA Court of Appeal last week, Red Bull look set to be going back to court, this time to battle McLaren.

Ron Dennis, the McLaren CEO, confirmed the plans to drag the reigning Champions to court over an employee at Red Bull, who Dennis claims signed a contract with McLaren for 2014 but failed to begin work with the Woking based team and was instead promoted at Red Bull where he currently works. Dan Fallows, the man at the centre of the controversy, was on gardening leave with Red Bull ahead of his move to McLaren before suddenly changing his mind and returning to Red Bull as the Head of Aerodynamics.

Ron Dennis claims that Fallows signed a contract with McLaren for 2014 which Red Bull have breached after, as he claims, they wooed him back with the offer of a more important role in the team.

Speaking to Autosport, Dennis said, “To be honest, that’s completely unacceptable to us. Just days before Fallows’ McLaren start date – and despite having signed a legally-binding contract with McLaren, being on gardening leave from Red Bull, and moving to a new home near Woking – he suddenly informed us that he no longer wanted to work for us.

“The problem was, he had no legal basis on which to make that U-turn because he’d already formally accepted, and contracted himself to our offer of employment. Sadly, it’s now likely that McLaren will have no alternative other than to pursue a High Court action against Red Bull, which will ask very serious questions as to that team’s integrity and sense of fair play.”

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner aired his disappointment at this news, telling the Press Association: “I’m disappointed in Ron’s comments. The matter is now in the hands of the lawyers, but this is something we will defend vigorously. We don’t see there is any case to answer.

“It’s disappointing McLaren has pursued this route. Perhaps Ron would have been better giving me a call.”

Dennis reacted angrily to Horner’s suggestion that he should have given him a call, saying that Horner was formally contacted several weeks ago regarding the Fallows issue.

“We formally emailed Christian Horner more than two weeks ago,” Dennis said, “asking him about Dan Fallows’ whereabouts, so it’s a bit rich for him to say ‘Why didn’t Ron call me?’ now.

“Moreover, the point is that Fallows has a legally binding contract with McLaren yet Red Bull chose to ignore that and instead convince him to return to Red Bull.”

There has been no date set for the court case and, for now at least, Fallows remains with Red Bull.

Image courtesy Red Bull/Getty Images.

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Vettel Hoping That Team Can Make “Steps In The Right Direction”

Sebastian Vettel has admitted that his car is not performing to the level that he needs it to be, but has added that he thinks the team can make “steps in the right direction” in the coming Grand Prix.

I’m not yet where I want to be with the car,” Vettel said after today’s Chinese Grand Prix, “but it’s an ongoing process; hopefully at the next few races we will make some more steps in the right direction.”

“Our weakness isn’t in the corners, but on the straights. The first stint today was okay but after that I’m not sure what happened”.

Vettel had a strong start to the race, jumping team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and running in second place for the first part of the race. After that, however, Alonso had passed him in the pitlane and he was starting to lose ground to a charging Nico Rosberg who eventually got past him too. This left Vettel defending against his team-mate for the second race in a row, and for the second race in a row, Red Bull issued team orders against Vettel.

Vettel initially defied the orders, telling his engineer “tough luck”, but he later clarified that this was due to a misunderstanding over tyre strategies: “I moved over for Daniel once I knew that we were on different strategies. When I was first asked, I didn’t understand as we were on the same tyre, unlike in Bahrain, so I double checked.

“When the team said we were on a different strategy, I moved over and then, as the race went on, I saw more and more that I didn’t have the pace. There was no point in holding Dan back.”

Ricciardo has had the upper-hand on Vettel across all four races this season, especially poignant as Ricciardo only joined the team this year while Vettel has been with the team in 2009.

Image courtesy Red Bull/Getty Images.

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