Ferrari have become the first team to launch their 2011 Formula One car – named the F150.
Thw F150 name comes from the fact it is 150 years since Italian unification, the flag bearer for the nation decided it was important to increase exposure of the major event in the country’s long history. The cars rear wing features an Italian tricolore flag too to increase the patriotism of the famous team.
The car itself is not abnormal in colouring to previous Ferrari’s, the beautiful scarlet paintwork is retained. Sponsors look thin on the ground, but they are bigt and important. Bank Santander have increased their sponsorship of the team, as they begin to move away from former team McLaren. Philip Morris brand Marlboro are still a sponsor, but have no presence on the car any more following the banning on the bar code blank out design. A new Scuderia Ferrari logo instead dominates the engine box.
The car looks very similar to the 2010 beast that nearly won the world title. It does not have a shark fin rear wing, as the f-duct system is now banned. Aldo Costa the chief designer at the team said the car looks similar but underneath is a whole new package.
“The major aspects with the most impact on the project were connected to the aerodynamic development. The car will change a lot. The double diffuser, the F-duct, is gone.” Costa told Ferrari.com
“The rear wing will be movable, so that the driver can overtake the car in front of him and use it in the qualifying according to his needs. The KERS is back. Although we’ve improved its size, it’s still quite big.
“As far as the looks are concerned the rules keep them [the cars] quite unaltered. The cars look like the ones from last year, but from a technical point of view they will be really different.”
The boss of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo has stated a clear intention that this car has been built to win the world championship.
“This year we have to win and we will do our best to win,” di Montezemolo declared at the team’s Maranello headquarters.
“We have updated the team, we have made some improvements and we are awaiting the challenges against our first opponents.”
Meanwhile star driver Fernando Alonso – who shook the car down a few days ago – was buoyant and said this vehicle was much better than last seasons.
“There are no doubts that when I arrived in January 2010, I drove a car that had different characteristics to what I drove in previous years,” said Alonso at Ferrari’s launch in Maranello today.
“Now I will drive a car that is a continuity of what I drove in 2010. I think all the developments and the direction that you go with improvements in the car over one year has some kind of definition of your driving style.
“I think that helps the designer of the car and the technical people with next year’s car, so I think in 2011 there will be some kind of direction that we took in 2010 regarding my driving style.
“So I think I will feel more confident with this year’s car. I will feel more comfortable driving the car, it will be more predictable to me. And I know the team now – I know the people, I know the guys, I know the names of all my mechanics, something that was not the case in Bahrain last year. So that will also help.”
Ferrari have reshuffled their senior engineering team following a series of failures that saw them lose the 2010 Formula One World Championship at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
One of the most senior Ferrari members called Fernando Alonso into the pits too early, forcing him to be stuck well down the field and handing Sebastian Vettel the title.
Chris Dyer, who worked with both Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen during their championship years has been ousted from the pit wall. His new role is as yet undefined.
Pat Fry steps into the team as head of race track engineering. Fry formerly worked for McLaren. Neil Martin also formerly of McLaren joins the team, working under chief designer Aldo Costa.
“The mistake was, in terms of magnitude, huge – and it produced devastating effects. But in a normal race it would have been a normal error,” Team principal Stefano Domenicali told Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
“So you must not jettison everything, even the good things, because of that mistake. We will change things and officially announce things in the coming hours – and we will make sure that those who make delicate decisions are able to have all the tools they need not to be wrong again.”
He added: “I will personally try to help the team from a psychological point of view as well, because the hardest penalty in a shoot-out is the one coming after you missed one.”
Luca Badoer, the infamous Italian Ferrari test driver has resigned from his role with the team and will make a final appearance for the squad today.
Badoer became a household name in 2009, when he took over Ferrari race duties from Felipe Massa when the Brazilian recieved severe head injuries at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He underperformed in both races he competed in, indeed finishing last at Spa a race which was won by team mate Kimi Raikkonen. Following ridicule in the Italian press, he cancelled his come back and the role was given to Giancarlo Fisichella.
Badoer had been a tester alongside Fisichella and Marc Gene at the team, but will now leave after he shows off a 2009 Ferrari to the Bologna Motorshow.
Ferrari described the 13 year partnership with Badoer was “extraordinary”.
Luca di Montezemolo, the head of the Ferrari Group, has reacted to criticisms that have been piled onto the team from many sources, but most vocally criticising those from the Italian Government.
Roberto Calderoni, of the Italian Northern league party called for Di Montezemolo, amongst other high ranking Ferrari officials, to resign from the company following what he called a “demented strategy” with regard to Fernando Alonso’s pit stop in yesterday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Spanish driver was on the verge of winning the World Championship for the Ferrari team, but following a bad pit stop call he ended up finishing just a handful of points behind eventual winner Sebastian Vettel.
“For all of us it’s a difficult day, the night hasn’t lessened the bitter taste after the sad end to an extraordinary season,” di Montezemolo said on Monday.
“We’re sorry to see that there are some politicians on the outside who are ready to push for the guillotine when things go badly.
“We don’t understand anyone who revels in self-defeatism, who sinks into the culture of ‘everything’s gone wrong, we have to start all over again’. They are vices that are very Italian, that we must learn to shake off.”
“The hard law of sport requires just one winner, but we ended up fighting right up to the final race – including an exceptional fightback when the critics said we were beaten four months ago,” he said.
“We have always stayed united, acting as the people of Ferrari know how: gritting our teeth and never letting go.. We have returned Ferrari to where it should be – fighting for victory.
“In sport, we remember the margin between victory and defeat is always very slim. You have to know how to accept losing just as you have to enjoy your successes with restraint.”
Fernando Alonso has said he is looking for the “perfect” weekend in Abu Dhabi, to try and win the World Championship without the need for careful calculations.
The Spanish driver has had a mirculous turn around in his season, from the mid point where he was far behind the Red Bull’s and McLaren’s he declared he would win the world championship. Now as we head into the final round, he is in front – by a few points anyway – and is in the best position to win the championship on Sunday night.
Alonso says he is looking for a first or second place to keep it safe for the victory.
“The Interlagos result allows us to be in charge of our own destiny: with a win or a second place we won’t need any more calculations,” Alonso wrote in his blog for the official Ferrari website.
“Our approach hasn’t changed for this all-important race: we know that if we get everything perfectly right, then we will have the chance to reach the target that we set ourselves at the beginning of the season,” Alonso explained.
He did, however, acknowledge that the sheer speed of the Red Bull could be a tough obstacle to overcome.
“We can do it, even if we know our principal opponents are very strong: so far, perhaps apart from one race, theirs has been the best car on every type of circuit. That still doesn’t mean we expect to be beaten,” said Alonso.
If Alonso wins on Sunday, it would be his third world championship. He would also replicate Kimi Raikkonen, winning the title for Ferrari in his first season with the team.
As the Formula One “silly” season comes around again, and drivers are beginning to sign on the dotted line to new contracts one of the more overlooked rumours this weekend in Japan has been the possibility that Felipe Massa could be ready to leave Ferrari in search of being an out and out first driver.
The Brazilian was drafted into Ferrari and raced as Michael Schumacher’s understudy in 2006. In 2007, he was overshadowed by Kimi Raikkonen who went on to win the title. In 2008, he missed out on the championship by just a single point and 2009 was the infamous year where he was nearly killed. 2010 has been a difficult year for Massa. he had to move aside in Germany, so that Fernando Alonso could win the race in order to help his world championship challenge. It smelt like Schumacher/Barrichello from years before.
At the time Massa accepted the decision, but has become increasingly unhappy both on and off the track. His performances have slid, and he doesn’t look happy in the garage. On Thursday ahead of the Grand Prix, Massa told reporters that he “Didn’t want to be a 2nd driver, only the first driver. I don’t want to be another Rubens Barrichello”. Hastily, the boss of Ferrari Luca di Montezemolo said that he was still a number 1. But how can a team have two number ones? Especially when the other driver is Fernando Alonso. Lets not forget 2007, when Alonso was challenged at McLaren and he didn’t accept it.
Italian Press and the Suzuka paddock have been awash with rumour that he was ready to leave the team. The main teams he is being linked with are Renault, and believe it or not – Force India. The latter statement shows just how far the little team based in Silverstone has come, to attract a driver like Felipe. Word in the paddock is that now Raikkonen has declined Renault, Adrian Sutil will leave Force India and head across to Enstone to partner Robert Kubica. This leaves the Force India door wide open for Scotsman Paul di Resta to take over from Tonio Liuzzi, and Felipe Massa could slot in as the number 1 driver within the team.
So it looks like Felipe may hold the key to the driver market this season. If he leaves, it leaves a completely empty race seat with Ferrari – who could potentially be the drivers championship winning team. Both drivers at Red Bull and McLaren are secure for 2011, so it would be likely to be an outsider driver coming in to the team. They have a range of options. They could select a youngster, one of their young driver programme drivers, but this is highly risky for the team and they would have to be confident that the driver could perform at the highest level straight from the off.
Their other option is to bring in someone experienced. Kimi Raikkonen rejected Renault for the team, as opposed to rejecting the prospect of Formula One. Could he make a sensational come back to F1 with Ferrari? Another possibility could be Michael Schumacher, the tainted son of the Italian team, has allegedly been offered an ultimatum by his Mercedes Benz bosses – perform or face the sack. Returning to Ferrari would guarantee him continued legend status, and almost certainly a competitive car. If Schumacher did leave Mercedes, then Nico Hulkenberg could go across to the all German team – his race seat at Williams is rumoured to be being offered to Pastor Maldonado, the GP2 World Champion.
It could make for an exciting winter season after all!
Fernando Alonso has described the Italian Grand Prix as a critical race to gain a result from for both himself and for the Ferrari team.
The Italian race, held at Monza is Ferrari’s home Grand Prix. It will be Alonso’s first in Ferrari red and he wants the home tifosi fans to have something to shout about.
He is lagging behind in the championship standaings after his DNF at last weekends Belgian Grand Prix where he suffered a string of different problems before eventually crashing his Ferrari out of the race in the rainy conditions.
“There is no denying that the Monza race will be very important,” he wrote in his blog for the Ferrari website.
“At our home circuit we will have to do everything to avoid losing any more points: a good result here would be a great boost. If things go badly, it won’t be over but it would be a hard knock for team morale.”
He is adamant that all is not yet lost for Ferrari this season and that a change of luck could make a massive difference.
“I have always said – and I repeat it now – that in the course of the season, good luck and bad luck tend to balance one another out, so let’s hope that from now on it’s payback time,” said Alonso.
“The first ‘final’ went badly, but there are still six to go. Going into these seven races, I had said that whoever did the best job in them would take the title: clearly, there are now three of us who need to make up for ground lost in Spa.
“With this points system and the way races swing one way or another, I am convinced we still have a significant chance. There are 150 points up for grabs, enough to turn the situation around. We must remain calm and concentrate, to try and make up the difference as soon as possible.”
The FIA have announced that Ferrari will come before the World Motorsport Council hearing on September 8th.
Ferrari are being called before Formula One’s highest court for allegedly breaking rule 39.1, which states that team orders are not allowed in any form within the sport. The incident in question occured at the German Grand Prix two weeks ago, when Felipe Massa was allegedly asked to move aside so that Fernando Alonso could win the race.
Ferrari were immediately fined $100,000 and could face further penalties.
There was significant furor at the time of the incident, but it is now being called into question over whether they actually did break the rule or not. They did make one car move aside for the other, but the indication from Bernie Ecclestone (who sits on the judging panel) was that the rule is in place not to stop a team deciding which order their cars finish but moreover to stop two teams working together to fix the result of a race.
With the hearing only a matter of days before the Italian Grand Prix, it is likely any penalty will be met with distaste from the Italian Tifosi fans.
Bernie Ecclestone, the owner of Formula One says that the team orders ban in Formula One must be dropped following the incident in last weekend’s German Grand Prix where Ferrari switched Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso so that the Spaniard could win the Grand Prix.
Team orders had been banned in F1 since 2002 thanks to a similar incident involving Ferrari, although there have always been allegations of secret orders through many top teams since the ban.
In the wake of last Sunday’s events though, Ecclestone believes it is at the team discretion to have their drivers finish in a particular order, believing F1 to be a team sport rather than one of the individual.
“I must confess I would agree with anyone who thinks that [the team orders rule should be dropped],” said Ecclestone. “We make people call it a team, we say it’s got be a team.
“All the cars have to be exactly the same, the drivers wear the same overalls, so everybody has to look like a team – a team of people that are racing.
“I believe what people do when they are inside the team, and how they run their team is up to them. That’s my opinion.”
When asked if he would push for the rule to be dropped in his high profile position of power within the sport, he added ”I don’t know, we’ll have to see. It’s something that needs to be discussed.
“As far as I’m concerned a team is a team, and they should run it whichever way they want to run it.
“Nobody should interfere as to how they run their team.
“But of course if they do something that’s dangerous then obviously they’re going to be in trouble, otherwise get on with it.”
Fernando Alonso has declared himself and his team to be fired-up and ready to fight for race wins and ultimately the world championship as F1 hits Germany.
The Spaniard has been in commading positions to score big points in the last two races, but run ins with the FIA and safety cars have led him not to score a single point. Despite this, and the deficit to the top, Alonso believes he can still win the title.
“I’ve been in Maranello four days last week working with the team,” Alonso said in a video interview for Ferrari’s website.
“Overall I felt a very good atmosphere in the team. All the guys in Maranello are very, very focused on fighting for this championship.
“After these two bad races people are even more motivated than before because they feel we deserve a good race finally.”
“We saw this year if you have two or three bad races or two or three good races, it can change the picture of the championship completely,” Alonso said.
“We arrive [in Germany] after two bad races with not many points. I think before long we will arrive at a good moment. We need to take the maximum from our car, do two or three podiums in a row, and I’m sure with the new points system we can be in the fight for the championship very soon.”
Fernando Alonso, the former two time world champion, has said he feels the total in season testing ban imposed on Formula One is a mistake and has made the sport feel ‘stale’.
Alonso, who won championships with Renault, currently drives for Ferrari and despite early good form in winning two races he has recently struggled with penalties during the race received from the FIA.
He also believes that the team spent too long developing the F-Duct as opposed to making higher downforce parts for the car. Ferrari has huge facilities and Fernando believes they have been the hardest hit by the austerity drive in F1.
Other Formula One community members including Geoff Willis and Eddie Jordan have told news sources they believe the total test ban to be a mistake, and we here at The F1Fanatics Blog agree.
“The goal is always to win but it’s not so easy,” Alonso said. “You cannot invent new things without testing. There is little room for creativity; our technicians have their hands tied,”
“The test ban is not the perfect thing when you are behind, when you have to close the gap to the top teams. But I think it hurts a bit more for Ferrari because we have superb facilities in Maranello. We have everything here, we have the Fiorano circuit and when we look out the window it is normally empty because we cannot test the Formula One car. It’s sad to see that but that’s the way it is, the teams agreed to do that.
“We need to be better than the others in some other aspects; we have to be better than the others with simulations, etcetera. I think we have all the tools and all the facilities to be the best.”
Felipe Massa has extended his Ferrari contract for two more seasons, according to an official announcement made this morning.
The Brazilian driver, who narrowly missed out on winning the 2008 F1 World Championship, was set to be out of the deal at the end of this season. Many expected Massa to leave the team, as Robert Kubica was touted as a replacement but now he will be staying for the foreseeable future.
Massa has been working with Ferrari since 2001 in test roles and race roles with the former Sauber team whom Ferrari supplied engines too. He became a fully official Ferrari driver in 2006, partnering Michael Schumacher and then in 2007 until 2009 he partnered Kimi Raikkonen who won the 2007 Championship.
“I am happy to be given the opportunity to drive for Ferrari for a further two seasons,” said Massa.
“Throughout my entire Formula 1 career, I have always raced with an engine made in Maranello and it is a matter of pride for me to be able to continue working with a team that I regard as a second family.”
Meanwhile the team also announced a signing to their young driver programme. 11 year old Canadian Lance Stroll with join the programme having been successful in various kart championships around the world. Ferrari will now guide him through the lower formulas as they prepare him as a future F1 driver.
“We are pleased to welcome Lance to our group,” said Luca Baldisserri, who runs the Ferrari Driving Academy. “He is very young, but he has already shown in karting that he is exceptionally talented.
“We will follow him step by step in his forthcoming events in North America and he will soon also take part in our courses at Maranello.”
Scuderia Ferrari’s boss Luca di Montezemolo has offered assistance to MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi in his recovery from a broken leg sustained in practice for last weekend’s Italian Motorbike Grand Prix.
Rossi, who is the current reigning world champion in MotoGP and is widely regarded as one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time had a horrific accident at the Mugello Circuit where he crashed in free practice. He was airlifted to hospital in Florence and has sustained a broken leg. It is expected he will be away from motorcycle racing for 2 months at least.
The rider popularly known as “The Doctor” has close links with Ferrari, having tested various road cars and even their Formula One cars. He has been linked with a drive with the Italian team.
“Everyone at Ferrari is with you at this difficult time,” Montezemolo told the official Ferrari website.
“We are sure that you will be back on track soon, even stronger than before.
“If during your convalescence you feel you would like to do some training on four wheels, then remember that the door to Maranello is always open to you.”
Force India and Red Bull Racing have confirmed that they will be running F-Ducts in the practice sessions for the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend as they evaluate whether the air flow control mechanism is a worthy new technical advancement to their cars.
Vitantonio Liuzzi told reporters that the Force India team were very confident of their system, a system which is operated by the drivers wrist.
“We are really optimistic about it,” Liuzzi said. “You can never know. It might change tomorrow, but the team has done a big work in the wind tunnel for the last two weeks to test it and it seemed to work pretty well.
“Tomorrow we’ll get the confirmation because on track you never know, but we are pretty optimistic that it should be spot on.”
“We made a simple system with the wrist so we don’t have to take the hand off the steering wheel,” he added.
Meanwhile Red Bull Racing’s man of the moment Mark Webber told reporters in the pre-race press conference that Red Bull were to evaluate their own F-Duct system as they try and maintain their recent dominance.
“Yes, we will give the F-duct a go tomorrow,” Webber said during a pre-event press conference in Turkey. “We will give it a chance.”
Ferrari, who were one of the first teams to use the system are going to try a variation on the position of the hole that needs to be covered in order to stall the air during practice.
ART Grand Prix, the multiple GP2 and Formula 3 winning constructor have announced they have tendered an application to be considered for the available team slot in Formula One from the start of the 2011 season.
One of ART’s manager, Nicolas Todt the son of FIA president Jean announced the intentions to Autosport.
“The news that we have proposed ART is real, but at the moment it’s just a request, there is no certainty we’ll take the start next season,” he said.
“Realistically, I think it won’t be easy to take part in the 2011 F1 championship, because it’s not easy to set up a programme with very high costs.
“In light of this, I didn’t want to make bold statements over something that still needs to be defined. If we don’t make it, then it won’t be a drama. We’ll carry on working over this project, and if it doesn’t happen next year, then we’ll try again in the future.”
The team took Lewis Hamilton to a world title among other drivers and have sufficient experience to be a successful name within the sport.
Also announcing their intentions for an entry is a revised edition of the failed USF1 team project, with Chad Hurley and Parris Mullins two of the former board members of the team wanting to come into Formula One.
The team is based around a team known as the Cypher Group.
“I am part of a project right now that is trying to enter the sport,” Mullins told AUTOSPORT, in his first full-length interview since the end of US F1. “I can’t give away any specifics right now, but I can say I don’t believe a start-up team is possible.
“That is definitely a topic that will be debated for some time until a practical solution is found, but I think personally, given the current state of the sport and its rules, then a competitive start-up team simply isn’t possible.
“This sport is all about knowledge and you need to apply the experience gained from the previous years of competing in the sport, and the team needs to be operating in a cohesive environment.
“I think a great example is the Honda/Brawn situation last year. Here was an existing team that was taken over, the necessary changes were made and it was turned into a championship-winning team the following year. And that is no different from what we have seen in the past – with Red Bull Racing, Force India and Toro Rosso.”
Ferrari could throw the team a lifeline into Formula One by suggesting it wants to outsource two cars to use as a junior team for Ferrari in a similar fashion Toro Rosso are used by Red Bull.
“I dream of a third Ferrari managed by an American team, with the stars and stripes flag,” Luca di Montezemolo the boss of Ferrari told Gazzetta dello Sport.
Luca di Montezemolo the head of Ferrari has declared himself very happy with new driver Fernando Alonso.
Montezemolo stated his happiness with the two time world champions driving following some criticsms following a jump start and the bad accident he had in Monaco. Some Itlaian media had suggested Luca was unhappy with Fernando and wanted Michael Schumacher back.
Montezemolo dismissed these claims however.
“Not one bit,” di Montezemolo said when asked by Gazzetta dello Sport if there were regrets. “It was good with Michael but it’s over. No regrets. Today I’m very happy with Alonso, both on and off the track.
“Alonso has team spirit, conscientiousness, attachment to the team. And when he races he’s a fantastic fighter.”
“I consider a mistake only what happened at Monte Carlo, due to excessive confidence,” he said. “He wanted to test the limit while thinking of pole, and he crashed. The jump start in China was down to the tension. But we are in a great position for the championship – the game is on.”
Montezemolo also hinted to La Gazetta Dello Sport that Felipe Massa could keep his seat with the Scuderia.
“[He needs to]Carry on working with the same spirit while taking care of himself and the team.”
Some rumours in the German and Italian media have been suggesting Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher could make a sensational return to Ferrari.
Fernando Alonso has told Spox.com that he was not surprised Michael Schumacher tried to pass him while under safety car conditions in Monaco.
The former rivals were in 6th and 7th place on the final lap when Schumacher pulled the contraversial overtake at the final corner. Schumacher believed the safety car to have gone in so racing continued, but was in breach of rule 40.13 which states that if a safety car is out at any point on the final lap then no overtaking can take place.
Alonso made a small error into La Rascasse giving Schumacher the opportunity to pull the illegal move.
“The team told me over radio that we could not overtake,” Alonso said.
“I wanted to attack Lewis Hamilton, but I was forbidden by the team to do it. The fact that Michael went ahead to pass me did not surprise me.”
“I was calm and that was later confirmed by the stewards, who put things right,”
Stefano Domenicali, the team principal of Ferrari has said he is going to try and lobby to change the rules regarding the test or spare car which were banned in attempts to reduce costs through equipment and crews.
However last Saturday Ferrari’s top driver Fernando Alonso smashed his car up in practice so badly he was unable to qualify.
This has meant the question over whether T-Car’s as they are known has reared its head into conversations with the FIA with the discussions stating that the teams want there to be a third car once again, based on the fact they take all of the equipment to build a third car in the event of such an accident – all that happens is that the mechanics have to work around the clock to build the car rather than adjusting it for each driver.
“Let’s start from the reasons why the rule book was modified a couple years ago: costs had to be reduced by getting rid of the T-car and reducing car crews,” said Domenicali. “This was the reason why the regulations were changed.
“After that, as usually happens in F1, we lost sight a bit of the events that may happen, like on Saturday. So I think this is an issue that will be re-discussed again as soon as possible, because preventing spectators from seeing the car for this sort of reason is in my opinion worth looking at.”
Ferrari have become the second engine manufacturer to be given permission by the FIA, F1′s governing body, to make adjustments to their engines despite the homoglation rules.
Renault set a precedent at the end of last season when they were allowed to make adjutsments to their engine which has resulted in slightly more power from the French produced unit.
Ferrari have struggled significantly with reliability both on their own cars, and on their customer cars at Sauber. The problem was rooted at a pneumatic system which was unable to recharge itself with the required amount of air with the new super fast pitstops. 3 seconds instead of nearly 9 was not enough time for the system to gain the air it needed to function.
A statement by Ferrari said: “A lot of work was carried out on the test bench, completing several long runs and this work produced some solutions which it is felt will solve the reliability problems experienced in Bahrain and Malaysia. The team therefore requested and received authorisation from the FIA to make some changes within the framework of the current engine regulations and these modifications will be fitted to the engines to be used in Spain.
“While since China, everyone in the Gestione Sportiva has been working hard as always on their various areas of activity, it is fair to say that over the past weeks, the staff in the engine department really produced a major effort, working night and day to analyse, evaluate and solve issues that have affected engine performance in past races.”
Scuderia Ferrari and their title sponsor the Marlboro cigarette company have been accused by some British doctors of creating a subliminal advertising message through the use of the bar-code Marlboro block out on the rear of their Formula One cars.
Since 2002 there have been heavy restrictions in place regarding tobacco sponsorship, which were pushed into Formula One in 2005 when majority of the cigarette advertisers who had been in the sport for years left. Marlboro remained with Ferrari, but the last time their logo was used was in 2007 with instead the use of a bar-code insignia on the cars to state where their advert should be.
This contravenes no rules or regulations, however doctors who helped outlaw tobacco advertising in an attempt to reduce smoking take up and use say that the bar code makes a subliminal message encouraging people to start.
“The bar code looks like the bottom half of a packet of Marlboro cigarettes. I was stunned when I saw it,” John Britton, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and director of its tobacco advisory group told The Times.
“This is pushing at the limits. If you look at how the bar code has evolved over the last four years, it looks like a creeping branding.”
However Ferrari have hit back and released this statement
“Today and in recent weeks, articles have been published relating to the partnership contract between Scuderia Ferrari and Philip Morris International, questioning its legality. These reports are based on two suppositions: that part of the graphics featured on the Formula 1 cars are reminiscent of the Marlboro logo and even that the red colour which is a traditional feature of our cars is a form of tobacco publicity.
Neither of these arguments have any scientific basis, as they rely on some alleged studies which have never been published in academic journals. But more importantly, they do not correspond to the truth. The so called barcode is an integral part of the livery of the car and of all images coordinated by the Scuderia, as can be seen from the fact it is modified every year and, occasionally even during the season. Furthermore, if it was a case of advertising branding, Philip Morris would have to own a legal copyright on it.
The partnership between Ferrari and Philip Morris is now only exploited in certain initiatives, such as factory visits, meetings with the drivers, merchandising products, all carried out fully within the laws of the various countries where these activities take place. There has been no logo or branding on the race cars since 2007, even in countries where local laws would still have permitted it.
The premise that simply looking at a red Ferrari can be a more effective means of publicity than a cigarette advertisement seems incredible: how should one assess the choice made by other Formula 1 teams to race a car with a predominantly red livery or to link the image of a driver to a sports car of the same colour? Maybe these companies also want to advertise smoking! It should be pointed out that red has been the recognised colour for Italian racing cars since the very beginning of motor sport, at the start of the twentieth century: if there is an immediate association to be made, it is with our company rather than with our partner.”
It is an interesting point, however there has been no previous discussion that the bar code was used for an effect to make smokers start. I reckon a fair few people know that the brand is Marlboro, such has been the partnership. It brings up a question in my mind then, to why Rizla the maker of cigarette papers and filters are allowed to openly sponsor the Suzuki MotoGp team? I mean if a bar code can resemble a cigarette packet and make a subliminal advertising case, then surely advertising everything but the tobacco itself is encouraging people towards it? Its tough ground, and very complicated but there is one certainty, Ferrari do NOT colour the cars red because of Marlboro!
Scuderia Ferrari CEO Amedo Felisa has told Autocar that he believes any new adoption of rules and engines for the 2013 season, the next major change point for regulations in Formula One should aim to push technology as far as possible in order to make the sport more efficient.
The boss of Ferrari believes that the adoption of smaller turbo charged engines would be a step in the right direction for the sport, which downscaled from V10 engines to V8 ones in 2006 to much furor.
The engines to be adopted are rumoured to be 1.5litre turbo charged engines with an output of around 670-700 bhp. Felisa wants the use of Gasoline Direct Injection technology to be used, pushing the boundaries of the new technology to the forefront of the leading world motorsport event.
“If F1 has to develop something helpful for real driving conditions, then the best solution is for an engine that is turbocharged and GDI,” said Felisa. “That is what we would support.
“It is the best solution for driving efficiency and utilisation of the engine in a positive way.”
However Mercedes Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug says that Formula 1 can never be totally “green”.
“The fascinating thing about Formula 1 is it’s fast, it’s loud, it’s on the limit,” he told this week’s Autosport Magazine.
“We can discuss green initiatives, but Formula 1 needs to be technically driven. If you fly from Europe to Japan on a 747, you would use more fuel than an entire F1 season. We need to see the whole picture.
“We need to be mindful that we are building the cleanest cars we can. The engine will be downsized in 2013 because the fuel consumption has to go down, and we need to cut carbon emissions. But we must not think that a 700bhp engine is going to be the greenest car ever, because that’s not great.”
Ferrari have confirmed that they will be working on new aerodynamic structures and cooling vents on their F10 car to combat some of the cooling issues it suffered in the first race of the season in Bahrain.
In the extreme temperatures both Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were told over the pit to car radios that their engines were running at dangerously high temperatures. Ferrari say they need to combat this now, despite finishing 1st and 2nd in the Grand Prix giving them the maximum available constructors points.
“The temperature of the engine is the result of the aerodynamics of the car, so we have to work on that in order to make sure we don’t have any more of these kinds of issues for the next hot races,” Stefano Domenicali told ESPN.
Meanwhile rumours of a B-Spec Ferrari F10 continue to circulate. Giuseppe Azzollini has been drafted in to Maranello, a former CFD expert for the now defunct Toyota F1 team and he is working on producing a new intricate diffuser that was supposed to be fitted to the Toyota TF110. Ferrari are hoping this new take on the design will blow the competition away.
For the first time since 1993 refuelling has been banned in Formula One. Gone are the days of pitstops lasting 10 seconds or more, the chance of fires and the intricacies of fuel stop strategies and in their place have come 3 second pit stops as the tyre men throw on slick tyres at a lightening rate.
While those tyre men have had to work harder and train ever more with the tyres, what about the companies behind the fuel rigs? They have had to work even harder to ensure their fuel optimises everything from power, efficiency and weight.
Thanks to Shell, The F1Fanatics Blog can bring you an exclusive look at some of the challenges surrounding the fuel company who provide their V-Power mixture to the Ferrari F1 Team.
Lisa Lilley, who is the top manager for Shell’s racing fuels department and works directly with the Ferrari F1 Team told us “The 2010 refuelling ban is by far the biggest challenge we have seen in fuel development in 15 years, but it is also a really positive one for Shell. Over the last year we have put a lot of work into the formulation of the Shell V-Power race fuel for the new season, and our main objective has been to optimise the power and performance benefit of the Shell V-Power race fuel for Ferrari.”
On top of just creating that faster fuel, efficiency is necessary so that the cars can complete the race as quickly as possible, yet the fuel needs to last them. While Bahrain’s Grand Prix yesterday was only 49 laps, the Monaco Grand Prix is 78. The fuel needs to work across the range of circuits to its top performance, and Shell have focussed on efficiency. Mike Evans, Shell Formula One Fuels Development Project Leader explains, “Engines, performance-wise, are tuned to run a rich, heavy type of fuel but you can then run them on a slightly leaner formulation, which will give you a small drop in performance but it will also give you better fuel efficiency. It’s getting that balance right.”
The more efficient the fuel can be, means that the fuel tanks can be smaller and can lead to the car being lighter and thus faster in race trim. Ferrari are well known for having one of the fastest engines in the pit lane, and when compared to the Renault equivalent in their rivals Red Bull Racing car the Ferrari engine guzzles its fuel much faster so this has been an added challenge for the fuel scientists. Mike Evans continues “[We have been] working hard for the last nine months leading up to the 2010 season, given the latest FIA rule changes.”
The heat of the engine on the fuel has been another concern for the manufacturers, with the engines and fuel tanks in a much more compact structure than they were back in the early 1990’s, there is a good chance of the engine heat affecting the fuel. This could occur even more frequently at races in locations such as Bahrain where the air temperature is usually around 36oC. ,Lisa Lilley continued her explanation “Without this cooling effect, and in addition to having the larger fuel tank sitting next to very hot engines, the fuel itself will be getting hotter while it is in the car this year.”
Lilley continued, “At Shell, our fuel experts have been working since last year to meet these challenges, and provide Ferrari’s Formula One team with a custom-made Shell V-Power race fuel that can provide optimum performance even at high temperatures.”
So it is very evident that Shell, like other fuel manufacturers have been working very hard. But what is the relationship between Ferrari, the most successful F1 team of all time and the Dutch fuel manufacturer? Stefano Domenicali was very happy with the links between the two companies “The technical partnership we share with Shell is key to our understanding of fuel development. Shell has unrivalled expertise and knowledge in fuel technology, and our close-working relationship means we can constantly push the fuel to its boundaries to achieve both power and performance.
Domenicali continued “The fuel is a crucial element that has always been very important to Ferrari and the refuelling ban in 2010 means the partnership will be absolutely fundamental this season.”
The drivers too seem very happy with the work Shell have done, newcomer Fernando Alonso told us “I think we are ready. We have some innovative new products from Shell, that we have spent a lot of the winter testing and I think we have found the right compromise. We have to be very optimistic for the season ahead”
Team mate Felipe Massa, who has been with Ferrari for many seasons alongside both Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen added “We are using V-Power from Shell, which is a great fuel anyway and we’re trying to make it even faster and even more reliable, because reliability is really really important now.”
So, after 10 constructors championships and 12 drivers titles with the Italian giants, we would be fairly confident that Shell know what they are doing with the fuel this season, and their expertise tied in with one of the best teams, Ferrari, and two of the best drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa could provide and unstoppable force in F1.
Stefano Domenicali has said he is very happy with the early victory Ferrari have got in 2010, after dominating the Bahrain Grand Prix with a 1-2 finish.
The team principal of Ferrari Domenicali, said that after all the hard work the team had put in to get the F10 car working well, and following a difficult 2009 season it was a great remedy to any underlying doubts fans may have about the car.
“Well, for sure this race is very important for the team,” said Domenicali. “After a difficult season like last year, and after a very difficult decision that we had to take last year, everyone was ready with the gun to fire. But that is part of the game.
“This is the reason why I have to take certain responsibility. It is good because it shows that the decision was right. I have to thank all the people at home who worked very hard, they were staying together, because it is easy when you have a very bad season – everyone says you have bad people and it was better in a different period. But that is life. We know that. So the only way to react is to come back with results.”
Red Bull Racing looked very good in this race, with Sebastian Vettel leading the field until reliability problems with the Red Bull lowered him to 4th place late on. However Domenicali is just happy the car looks competitive.
“What is important to see is that the car we have seen this weekend is a good base to look ahead for the future,” he said. “The season is very, very long and we have to stay with our feet on the ground because I am expecting all the others to be very aggressive and very competitive.
“But we have seen a good car in both qualifying and racing conditions, and it proves that the work that has to be done is a lot still. But we are starting from a good pace.”