F1 News, Views and Reviews

Posts tagged “Valencia

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.”





European GP 2009: Hamilton Takes Pole In Valencia

Lewis Hamilton slotted his updated McLaren Mp4-24 onto pole position for tomorrow’s European Grand Prix in Valencia.

His team mate Heikki Kovalainen will line up alongside the World Champion, and Rubens Barrichello is just behind in 3rd.

Championship challenger Sebastian Vettel is 4th despite blowing his engine in Free Practice 3.  Jenson Button is back in 5th and should be worried about the KERS powered Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen alongside in 6th.

Kubica and Heidfeld had a better performance in the BMW’s dropping into 10th and 11th.  Amazing how the car improves when you’re jobs are on the line?!

New boy Romain Grosjean will line up 13th after a tidy qualifying.  Not so good for Luca Badoer, he is so far off the pace it is actually beyond laughable.

Pos  Driver       Team                       Q1        Q2        Q3     
 1.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:38.649  1:38.182  1:39.498
 2.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:38.816  1:38.230  1:39.532
 3.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:39.019  1:38.076  1:39.563
 4.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:39.295  1:38.273  1:39.789
 5.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:38.531  1:38.601  1:39.821
 6.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:38.843  1:38.782  1:40.144
 7.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:39.039  1:38.346  1:40.185
 8.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:39.155  1:38.717  1:40.236
 9.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:38.983  1:38.625  1:40.239
10.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:38.806  1:38.747  1:40.512
11.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:39.032  1:38.826
12.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:39.145  1:38.846
13.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  1:39.459  1:38.991
14.  Grosjean     Renault               (B)  1:39.322  1:39.040
15.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:38.912  1:39.514
16.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:39.531
17.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:39.795
18.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:39.807
19.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:39.925
20.  Badoer       Ferrari               (B)  1:41.413


European GP 2009: Barrichello Fastest In FP1

Rubens Barrichello was the fastest man in the first practice session at the Valencia street-circuit this morning.

He was ahead of the usual top suspects of team mate Jenson Button and the McLaren’s.  Adrian Sutil made a good effort into 6th for Force India.

New boys Romain Grosjean and Luca Badoer did not fare to well, Grosjean was 17th and Badoer was a lowly 20th some 3 seconds off the pace of the leader.

Pos Driver        Team                      Time             Laps
 1. Barrichello   Brawn GP-Mercedes    (B)  1:42.460           19
 2. Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:42.636  +0.176   16
 3. Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:42.654  +0.194   18
 4. Button        Brawn GP-Mercedes    (B)  1:43.074  +0.614   19
 5. Vettel        Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:43.088  +0.628   17
 6. Sutil         Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:43.209  +0.749   13
 7. Nakajima      Williams-Toyota      (B)  1:43.225  +0.765   25
 8. Webber        Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:43.243  +0.783   19
 9. Alonso        Renault              (B)  1:43.345  +0.885   18
10. Raikkonen     Ferrari              (B)  1:43.384  +0.924   23
11. Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  1:43.389  +0.929   30
12. Kubica        BMW Sauber           (B)  1:43.419  +0.959   20
13. Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  1:43.637  +1.177   30
14. Rosberg       Williams-Toyota      (B)  1:43.746  +1.286   22
15. Heidfeld      BMW Sauber           (B)  1:44.040  +1.580   23
16. Fisichella    Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:44.126  +1.666   17
17. Grosjean      Renault              (B)  1:44.356  +1.896   23
18. Trulli        Toyota               (B)  1:44.638  +2.178   26
19. Glock         Toyota               (B)  1:44.732  +2.272   28
20. Badoer        Ferrari              (B)  1:45.840  +3.380   25


European Grand Prix Preview 2009

The European GP comes after a 4 week break for Formula One and it feels like centuries.  With the whole saga of “will he, wont he?2 with Michael Schumacher, I cannot wait for the 11th round of the season to GO!GO!GO!.

The Track

Although Valencia has a permanent racing facility used mostly for motorbike racing and occassional F1 testing, the organisers of this event decided to build a new street circuit around the historic harbour area.

Debuting last season it looked like a very fast track, and indeed was.  However the circuit appeared to be in the middle of a building site with high concrete walls, little or no views and a poor turnout.

It’s long sweeping back straight and the preceeding bridge are two of the best bits of what is otherwise a disappointingly dull circuit.


A Lap of the Track


Pre-Event Thoughts

Jenson Button (Brawn) "It’s going to be great to get back racing again after the summer break and everyone at the team is looking forward to Valencia.  There’s been a lot of work going on at the factory following our shutdown and with the cars at the front being so close at the moment, it will be an interesting weekend."

Luca Badoer (Ferrari) "I have a good impression and it’s obvious that there’s a difficult task waiting for me at Valencia.  The first race will help me to get back into the rhythm of a Formula 1 weekend. I haven’t set myself any goals, just to end the race."

Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) "We got a good result in Hungary, which allowed us to climb back on the third place in the Constructors’ Championship. This is the team’s realistic goal for the final part of the season.   Last year I didn’t end the race at Valencia caused by an engine failure. So this year I want to return and maybe even gain a place on the podium. This is our realistic goal, although we know that it will be difficult."

Fernando Alonso (Renault) "Racing at home is always special and Valencia is a beautiful city and a great place to have a race.  I’ve always enjoyed racing on street circuits as they have a special atmosphere and the whole city gets involved in the race.  Also, as it’s a home race for me I know that there will be amazing support from the fans and I really want to reward them with a good result. As I’ve said, I would love to fight for the podium, but the main priority is to score points this weekend."

Pre-Event Photos

Renault WILL Race In Valencia After Appeal Is Won

The Renault F1 Team will be present at the forthcoming European Grand Prix in Valencia after successfully winning an appeal to overturn their suspension from the race weekend.

Renault had been banned for one race weekend after a wheel was attached incorrectly on Fernando Alonso’s car in the Hungarian Grand Prix.  Mechanics released the car from the pits with a wobbling wheel which later flew off at some speed, just a matter of days after Formula 2 saw tragedy when Henry Surtees was hit by a loose wheel.

The FIA imposed the ban just hours after the race.

The full reasons for the appeal success will be released in the coming days, but some suggest it is damage limitation from the FIA allowing the Spanish son Fernando Alonso to compete in the faltering European GP, hit recently by the lack of Michael Schumacher.

An FIA statement said:

“Renault admitted to the court that it breached the sporting regulations, in that it failed to ensure that car #7 complied with the conditions for safety throughout practice and the race, and that it released the car after a pitstop when it was unsafe to do so. However, it requested the court to reconsider the severity of the sanction imposed by the stewards.

Having heard the arguments of the parties, the court has decided as follows:
1. to allow the appeal and overturn the sanction imposed by the stewards in the contested decision;
2. to issue a reprimand and impose a fine of $50,000 upon Renault”

Valencia To Become Mediterranean GP?

The European GP at Valencia could become known as the Mediterranean Grand Prix from next season.

The title European GP has been used by the Nurburgring for the second German Gp, but now the event is down to just 1 german GP per season it seemed fine for Valencia to be called the European GP.

However, ADAC who own the Nurburgring do not want to buy the German Grand Prix name share from rivals AVD who run the Hockenheimring. Therefore, next season when the German event is at the Nurburgring there could not be 2 European Grand Prix.

The Mediterranean title has not been used for some time, and is owned by Adrian Campos who claims to have sold it to Bernie Ecclestone last weekend.

Valencia Street

Valencia Sold Out Already

Tickets for the forthcoming European Grand Prix, at the new Valencia street circuit have sold out.

The organising company have shifted all 112,711 tickets, with only 8,000 left after the first day!  Its a staggering turnout for the first race at this new track wedged in the harbour of the popular testing city.

Around 60% of tickets have been sold to the native Spaniards, showing there is a huge F1 following after a poor time.  They will be out rooting for Fernando Alonso.

“[We’re] very happy with how tickets have sold.” Jorge Martinez, CEO of the company commented

“We knew that there was lots of expectation but frankly it never crossed my mind that a sellout would be reached in 10 days,” he added.

Valencia Track Under Contruction

Valencia Track Works Begin

Builders have moved into the Juan Carlos harbor area in Valencia to begin the work on the new 5 kilometer street circuit, where the European GP will be held in 2008.

The track will see drivers getting an average speed of 200km/h from their cars, with a top speed of 320km/h.

Being a street track is draws obvious connections to Monaco, although this track is likely to be faster, with an average lap taking around 1.37seconds but covering a larger track.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting