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Scuderia Toro Rosso

F1 2011 Launch Catch Up – McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Renault…

Catching up on the launches in one mega post.  Here in you’ll find quick interviews with senior members of the team and photos from the Red Bull, Sauber, Renault Lotus, Toro Rosso, Mercedes and McLaren launches.

Apologies for being somewhat late, the whole blog isn’t running at full power until the season starts again.

Red Bull RB7

The world champions launched their new car, named the RB7.  A clear advancement on the hugely successful RB6, hopes are high that this machine can deliver once again.

“This year is no different to any other,” said Christian Horner, team principal of Red Bull.

“I think if we had not have won either championship last year there would have been that expectation and obviously the pressure that comes with that. We’ve achieved that and achieved that in a short space of time and I think it is like winning your first grand prix.

“Out of that comes confidence but not arrogance, but the team goes into this year very, very motivated and very committed but you have to remember we are still an independent team with a customer engine that achieved some remarkable things last year and that is our target again, again, obviously this year.”

 

Sauber C30

The independent Swiss team pulled the covers of their new car, the C30 marking the second incarnation of the team in its modern era.  The new car is backed heavily by Mexican giants Telmex and will be raced by Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez.

Former Force India but now Sauber technical director James Key said: “Our aim in the development of the Sauber C30-Ferrari has been to build on the strengths of the C29 and to eliminate its weak points.

“In addition, it is also important for us to go into winter testing with a car we understand, and we have worked hard on ensuring the characteristics of the car are heading in a direction we believe in. There will be much to learn about the new Pirelli tyres and in this respect we want to ensure there are no surprises with the way the car is handling.”

“My rookie season was a very challenging, very exciting period,” Kamui Kobayashi commented at the launch as he enters his second full season of racing.

“Now it’s still exciting but it’s a different role. It’s more the experienced driver in the team. I am thinking how I can bring a good level to the team.

“I have to be ready to lead the team. That’s why Peter Sauber and the team chose me for this year. This is definitely my challenge and let’s say I am ready to be the leader for the team.”

 

Renault Lotus R31

Newly backed by Group Lotus, Renault pulled the covers off their new car – the R31 – to a mass of media wondering what the final paint scheme would look like, and wondering how the Lotus name debate would go on.  The debate on the name may still be rumbling, but there is no debate over how fabulous the car looks in classic JPS brown and gold.

Featuring front blown exhausts, it looks fast and could be a title contender.  And with Bruno Senna as a spare driver, it harks back wonderful memories seeing the yellow helmet inside a JPS liveried Lotus.

“I’m happy that we had some creative designs on the car. We clearly back our team and definitely our technical team because we want to be fast, we want to be at the front.” said team principal Eric Boullier

“We know it takes time. You have to be creative. You have to find different ways of creating downforce or performance points. We have been taking this path because we believed, quite early in 2010, that we could find more gains going this way.

“In the wind tunnel, or on paper shall we say, the car already has more performance than 12 months ago. If it’s on the car it’s because we believe it works. But we will see on the track.”

Meanwhile Robert Kubica, the number 1 driver was somewhat cautious on their chances “I think realistically speaking is far too early to say what will be possible to achieve this year,”

“Last season was quite disappointing and let’s hope this year will be different. I think definitely we are more prepared this year, because of the more stable situation in the team than last winter, when I joined the team.

“The winter of 2009 and 2010 was very difficult for Renault and I think this year the engineers and designers had a much easier time and much more time to design the car and I think they have done a really good job.”

 

Scuderia Toro Rosso STR6

Toro Rosso, always in their senior brothers shadow has brought a new design to the table and hopes it will deliver them more success this season in the capable hands of Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi.

The pairing are aiming for 6th place in the Ferrari powered beast.

“My expectations are to do a decent year and we have to have the target to be eighth and as I said, we are good to be ninth but we have to do better. And at the end of the year we have to bring back an eighth place,” said Giorgio Ascanelli.

“Last year we didn’t have a wind-tunnel, the CFD was not mature in order to define the car,” he added. “Therefore, we did not change very much apart from those elements linked to the change of regulation between 2009 and 2010.

“This year the tools which design the car in its performance aspect, which are again the wind tunnel and CFD, are more mature, which means that although we are still learning how to make the best of them I think we have started using them properly.

“For this year, we have to aim for eighth place, because that is our target and I didn’t think that was possible if we had gone with some sort of conventional car.”

 

Mercedes Benz WO2

Mercedes Benz will be hoping that their second modern F1 car can deliver them some more success than last season.  With Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg behind the wheel they have plenty of potential.  A well sponsor backed car now features the light green of Petronas merging into the brushes silver paintwork.  Ross Brawn, the technical mastertmind behind multiple drivers world championship wins will be eager to deliver the German squad some success.

“It is always a thrill to see a new car ready to take the track for the first time and this year is no exception,” said Brawn. “After our first year as the Mercedes-Benz works team, we are now seeing the benefits of our chassis and engine groups working well together.

“With a good technical structure and a strengthened race engineering organisation, both at the factory and the race track, I am confident that we have done and will continue to do a better job this year in all key areas.

“We want to be setting the standard right from the start but if we are not, we will respond very strongly to get ourselves into the game. Everyone is excitedly waiting to see what the new season will reveal.”

Meanwhile top driver Michael Schumacher was upbeat on the chances of the car delivering him a record breaking 8th world championship.

“I very much look forward to the new season. We have said it several times already but again, we are really to building up something big together. I am very confident that this season we will be standing on the podium much more regularly; ideally in the middle!”

 

McLaren MP4-26

McLaren launched their radical new car in Berlin in a ceremony hosted by lead sponsors Vodafone.  The car will be raced by two former world champions, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

The new car features L-Shaped sidepods, and a two tier floor amongst other technical advancements.  The squad are already looking at incorporating a front blown exhaust similar to the Renault Lotus’ design.

Lewis Hamilton was very happy with the machine on launch day.

“I hope the car proves just as innovative once we take to the track next week,” said Hamilton. “I head into 2011 in a relaxed but determined frame of mind.

“I’ve spared nothing during my winter fitness preparations and, in many ways, I feel as fit, focused and refreshed as I did ahead of my first season in Formula 1 in 2007.

“Having spent the past few weeks talking with our designers and engineers, I feel extremely happy that we’ve created a car that will once again allow us to fight at the front.”

 

 

 


Toro Rosso Announce 2011 Launch Date

Scuderia Toro Rosso have announced that they will be launching their 2011 Formula One car on February 1st.

The launch will take place at the Valencia Circuit on the day that official pre-season testing starts.  Swiss based squad Sauber are also launching their new car at the circuit.

The Faenza based team will have Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi driving for them once again.


Toro Rosso Sale Denied – Many Interested In Purchasing Team

Dietrich Mateschitz has been forced to deny that one of his Formula One teams, Scuderia Toro Rosso is up for sale.

It had been reported online earlier this week that the team, based in Faenza, was up for sale at a paltry €30million.  The team was formerly known as Minardi until the end of 2005 when Mateschitz took control of the outfit and rebranded it to fit in with his Red Bull portfolio.  Designed as a feeder team to the main Red Bull squad, it had been using repaints of the senior teams cars until this year when the rules on customer cars was finally sorted.

The team are most famous for producing the 2010 title challenger Sebastian Vettel who joined at the end of 2007, winning their first and only Grand Prix at Monza in 2008.  He was then promoted to the senior Red Bull Racing team.

“There are constant rumors about it, but now we have no plans to sell Toro Rosso,” Mateschitz’s PA told 422race.com.

Despite the denial of sale there are reported to already be a number of people interested in purchasing the team, should Mateschitz decide to sell.  These include Carlos Slim, the Mexican entrepreneur who has always been interested in buying in to the F1 dream.  Another interested party is Jacques Villeneuve along with the Duragno group who failed to succeed in becoming the 13th team for 2011.  Stefan GP have also been linked with purchasing the team now they have severed all links with the former Toyota outfit.


Toro’s Rule Out Using F-Duct System

Scuderia Toro Rosso have ruled out using an F-Duct system on their car, stating that it is too expensive for the potential gain.

The small junior Red Bull team is going it alone from their parent team this season with their own car design and development programme based at their headquarters in Faenza Italy.  They say that they have other aerodynamic developments to add to the car which will provide a greater benefit for the same cost.

“That’s because if I have ten euros in my pocket and I’m hungry, I buy two sandwiches with it instead of three grams of caviar,” Ascanelli told Autosprint

“Maybe we’d be able to find some advantages after five months of development, but in that same time span we can improve even more by developing other parts of the car.

“That kind of system is no good for those who, like us, began to get the wind tunnel to work properly only in November.”


In-Depth: Buemi’s Horror Smash In Chinese Grand Prix Free Practice

Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi was lucky to get out of his car unharmed this morning in Free Practice 1 in China after a massive accident at the end of the back straight.

Buemi, who drivers for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team, was doing approximately 195mph on the straight which is fed from a high speed banked turn not long before the end of the lap on the Shanghai Circuit, when disaster struck.  A failure of the upright structure caused the front right tyre to detatch from the vehicle, but the failsafe mechanism caused the front left tyre to part company with the STR4 chassis as well.

As a result of losing both front wheels, Buemi was a helpless passenger as his Red Bull branded car went toboganning down the straight and into the gravel trap before catching a concrete wall and sliding to a halt in the sand.

The driver was shaken and alarmed, and ran back to his team garage to argue with his mechanics about what had just happened.  He was incenced at the dangerous situation he was in.

A Toro Rosso spokesperson told us that an upright on the front right hand side of the car, which had been re-designed for the weekend had suffered a “complete and total failure”.  The subsequent pressure load forced onto the opposing component on the left hand side “was far too much for it to cope with” and that failed too.  It was a new design brought in for this weekend.  Alarmingly, the wheel tethers failed and the two front Bridgestone tyres were flung across spectator fences.  It is unknown is Toro Rosso will recieve a fine and reprimand for this, as safety with tyres is paramount following the death of Henry Surtees in F2 last season, the young 19 year old was struck a fatal blow to the skull from a loose tyre via a failed wheel tether.

Buemi said this evening, once calmed, that he is prepared to drive again tomorrow.

“The track was really wide there, with a lot of run off.  It looked quite spectacular but from inside the car, it was not so big. Afterwards [once the car stopped], it took a bit of time to understand what happened, but it was not too bad.  Something broke, and it happens. We’ve changed the [parts on the] car, and it will be fine to go out again. As a driver we don’t think about it any more.”

“It is a bit difficult because we don’t really know how the car is going. We have [Jaime] Alguersuari’s data so we have to study that for tomorrow, as going into FP3 means we will have a lot of work to do, to be ready for qualifying.”


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Stefan GP NOT Given Entry As Official 2010 Entry List Announced

Stefan GP have not been granted an entry into the 2010 Formula One season, and will not be allowed to compete unitl potentially 2011 as the FIA consider opening up entries fo the next season of racing to newcomers.

Stefan have already got a car and sent equipment to Bahrain, and despite USF1 not competing this season the Serbian outfit cannot take their place.

“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,” the FIA said.

“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.”

USF1 are listed as deferring their entry until 2011 on the list, and Sauber retain the BMW moniker at the start of the name while Campos become HRT as mentioned yesterday.

Official 2010 Entry List

1  Jenson BUTTON (GBR)        VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES (GB)
2  Lewis HAMILTON (GBR)       VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES (GB)

3  Michael SCHUMACHER (D)     MERCEDES GP PETRONAS FORMULA ONE TEAM
4  Nico ROSBERG (D)           MERCEDES GP PETRONAS FORMULA ONE TEAM

5  Sebastian VETTEL (D)     RED BULL RACING (AUT)
6  Mark WEBBER (AUS)          RED BULL RACING (AUT)

7  Felipe MASSA (BRA)         SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO (I)
8  Fernando ALONSO (ESP)      SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO (I)

9  Rubens BARRICHELLO (BRA)   AT&T WILLIAMS (GB)
10 Nico HÜLKENBERG (D)        AT&T WILLIAMS (GB)

11 Robert KUBICA (POL)        RENAULT F1 TEAM (FRA)
12 Vitaly PETROV (RUS)        RENAULT F1 TEAM (FRA)

14 Adrian SUTIL (D)           FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM (IND)
15 Vitantonio LIUZZI (I)      FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM (IND)

16 Sébastien BUEMI (CH)       SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO (I)
17 Jaime ALGUERSUARI (ESP)    SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO (I)

18 Jarno TRULLI (I)           LOTUS RACING (MAL)
19 Heikki KOVALAINEN (FIN)    LOTUS RACING (MAL)

20 TBA                        HRT F1 TEAM (ESP)
21 Bruno SENNA (BRA)          HRT F1 TEAM (ESP)

22 Pedro DE LA ROSA (ESP)     BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM (CH)
23 Kamui KOBAYASHI (J)        BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM (CH)

24 Timo GLOCK (D)           VIRGIN RACING (GB)
25 Luca DI GRASSI (BRA)       VIRGIN RACING (GB)

Teams are up, no Stefan though...


Hulkenberg Fastest On Day 2 of Barcelona Final Test

Nico Hulkenberg narrowly beat Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on the second day of the final test in Barcelona.

The German driver did just under 100 laps as many drivers concentrated their morning runs on qualifying performance, and the afternoon on higher fuelrace based simulations with Bahrain being just 2 weeks away.

De la Rosa was 3rd with another impressive performance from Sauber, with Liuzzi showing the Force India pace with an impressive 4th.

Vettel and Alguersuari were close in 5th and 6th, despite the Toro Rosso now running its own chassis and aerodynamic package separate from the Red Bull teams, both ahead of Michael Schumacher in 7th however.

The new teams of Lotus and Virgin were still at the bottom of the timesheets however.

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time     Laps
 1.  Hulkenberg    Williams-Cosworth    (B)  1:20.614   99
 2.  Alonso        Ferrari              (B)  1:20.637  134
 3.  de la Rosa    BMW-Sauber           (B)  1:20.973  114
 4.  Liuzzi        Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:21.056   90
 5.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:21.258  125
 6.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  1:21.571  104
 7.  M.Schumacher  Mercedes GP          (B)  1:21.689   85
 8.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:22.152   93
 9.  Kubica        Renault              (B)  1:24.912   53
10.  Trulli        Lotus-Cosworth       (B)  1:25.524   70
11.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth      (B)  1:25.942   52


Jerez Test Day 4: Button Quickest

Jenson Button set the fastest time of the day, and the fastest time of the week on the final day of testing in Jerez yesterday.

The McLaren driver was narrowly quicker than an improved Robert Kubica, and Kamui Kobayashi brought Sauber back to the front of the times.

Vitantonio Liuzzi was fast in the Force India, slightly faster than Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari.

Jarno Trulli propped the tables after some mammoth long runs on his first day with the Lotus.

Pos  Driver             Team         Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Jenson Button      McLaren      1m18.871s            108
 2.  Robert Kubica      Renault      1m19.114s  + 0.243s  117
 3.  Kamui Kobayashi    Sauber       1m19.188s  + 0.317s  117
 4.  Tonio Liuzzi       Force India  1m19.650s  + 0.779s  80
 5.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes     1m20.061s  + 1.190s  130
 6.  Fernando Alonso    Ferrari      1m20.436s  + 1.565s  137
 7.  Jaime Alguersuari  Toro Rosso   1m21.053s  + 2.182s  139
 8.  Mark Webber        Red Bull     1m21.194s  + 2.323s  87
 9.  Nico Hulkenberg    Williams     1m21.919s  + 3.048s  137
10.  Timo Glock         Virgin       1m22.433s  + 3.562s  28
11.  Jarno Trulli       Lotus        1m23.470s  + 4.599s  141

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Jerez Testing Round 2 Day 1: Vettel Quickest

Sebastian Vettel made the most of the poor conditions, slotting the new Red Bull Rb6 onto the top of the timesheets on the second part of the Jerez test, day 1.

The Red Bull Racing favourite slipped ahead of Lewis Hamilton in 2nd, and Felipe Massa in 3rd both drivers making good times given the conditions.

Pedro de La Rosa was 5th, lamenting the conditions but still ended ahead of Michael Schumacher.  Paul di Resta got his first taste of testing, gaining 8th place in the Force India as he shared the cockpit with Adrian Sutil.

Lotus made their debut with the T127 and Malaysian driver Fairuz Fauzy getting behind the wheel with a solid day of testing, and Lotus declaring themselves pleased.  Virgin looked to be struggling a little still, not finding their feet as quickly as Lotus.

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time     Laps
 1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:22.593   99
 2.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:23.017   72
 3.  Massa         Ferrari              (B)  1:23.204   72
 4.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  1:23.322   79
 5.  de la Rosa    BMW-Sauber           (B)  1:23.367   76
 6.  M.Schumacher  Mercedes GP          (B)  1:23.803  111
 7.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:24.272   28
 8.  di Resta      Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:25.088   74
 9.  Petrov        Renault              (B)  1:26.237   55
10.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth    (B)  1:27.320  109
11.  Fauzy         Lotus-Cosworth       (B)  1:31.848   76
12.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth      (B)  1:32.417   10

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Jerez Test Day 3: Washout Continues But Alguersuari Fastest

The third day of the second test at Jerez was another washout, with Jaime Alguersuari coming out fastest after a scorching lap early on in the day in the cooler damp conditions.

Many of the drivers elected to do long runs on extreme wet tyres, with Rubens Barrichello clocking a massive 120 laps today.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa did some long runs, as did Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton who was low down the times.

Lucas di Grassi got his first taste of the Virgin, which kept its wing on today, and also kept itself stuck to the bottom of the timesheets.

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time     Laps
 1.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:19.919   76
 2.  de la Rosa    BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:20.736   58
 3.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:21.428   48
 4.  Massa         Ferrari               (B)  1:21.603   72
 5.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:21.783   59
 6.  Petrov        Renault               (B)  1:22.000   68
 7.  Rosberg       Mercedes GP           (B)  1:22.820   53
 8.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth     (B)  1:23.217  120
 9.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:23.985   68
10.  di Grassi     Virgin-Cosworth       (B)  1:37.107    8

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