Abu Dhabi GP post race: Williams

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa


Felipe Massa finished eighth and Valtteri Bottas 13th in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Both drivers were able to make up positions after the first lap, during the short first stint of the race on the super soft tyre. Massa spent most of the race in a battle for seventh place. He passed Kvyat for P8 in the final stint but was unable to catch Hulkenberg before the finish.

Bottas made contact with Button in his first pit stop, damaging his front wing. He had to pit again for a new nose and later serve a five-second penalty, which dropped him down the field. Bottas and Massa clinched fifth and sixth places in the Drivers’ Championship, with the team having already sealed third in the Constructors’.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It wasn’t the way we wanted to end our season, so we will go away and analyse how we could have done better at this race. We seemed to go forward in pace compared to Force India and Red Bull, but starting behind them in qualifying didn’t help us. We shouldn’t dwell on this race too much, we’ve had a really good season and finished a solid third again, which is important to the growth of the team. I’m incredibly proud of the way this team is constantly growing and improving. Our focus has been on the 2016 car for quite a long time, now we’ve got a long winter ahead and we have to come out the starting blocks in a full sprint next year.”

Felipe Massa: “It was a very tough race, but not much happened apart from trying to overtake a car with very similar pace. We didn’t have the pace we wanted and we’ve paid the price in the last few races. This is a poor way to end the season, but it is a good motivator to come back strong in 2016. The guys are working hard so we hope to make gains over the winter.”

Valtteri Bottas: “Of course that was not the way we wanted to finish the season. But in the end this could be good – it was a proper wake-up call that we really need to raise our game if we want to challenge for the wins next year. We all know the facts, we need to find big gains with the car during the winter, and there are operational things we need to do better. Everyone knows it and we are fully motivated to fix these things and have a much better season next year. I need to say a big thank you to everyone in the team because we achieved third place in the Constructors’ and with this team I managed to be fifth place in the Drivers’ Championship. This season gave me some good things to remember, like a couple of very special podiums, but we want more so none of us are fully satisfied yet.”


Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas

Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 28 November 2015. Felipe Massa, Williams F1. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams F1 ref: Digital Image WW2Q8361

Felipe Massa

Abu Dhabi GP post race: Sahara Force India

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg


Sahara Force India ended its season with a strong showing and 16 points as Sergio Perez raced to fifth place ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in seventh at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

P5 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Strategy: Used SuperSofts (6 laps) – New Softs (21 laps) – New Softs (28 laps):
“It feels great to end the season with a strong performance and I’m very satisfied with how everything has gone this weekend – both in qualifying and the race. We pushed hard to try and beat Vettel today, but he had too much pace on the supersofts and it wasn’t possible to hold him back. The rest of the race was straightforward for me, with no big dramas, because I was on my own looking after the tyres. When I was running fourth I was pushing very hard to stay within Vettel’s pit window, which took a lot from my tyres and meant that Ricciardo was able to get close to me at the end of the race. Fortunately I had enough left to hold him off. I think we got the maximum that was available to us and we can be proud of our performance. Looking back on the whole season it’s been my best year in Formula One and the most successful year for the team. There is a lot of potential for next season and we will be aiming even higher.”

P7 Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-03
Strategy: Used SuperSofts (7 laps) – New Softs (17 laps) – New Softs (31 laps):
“The race was a bit of a struggle at times, and I had a hard job on my hands. The start was pretty good – everyone went to the inside so I stuck to the outside. It was a brave move and I was able to make up a few places. However, I had a lot of understeer and it was difficult to get the car to turn in, especially at a track with so many tight corners, so I suffered in the first two stints. The final part of the race was a bit better and I was able to get into a rhythm, which was important to keep our position. It was a tough race so it was a really good result to come home with seventh place. It’s been a good season for the team and we will be aiming to build on it over the winter months. From a personal point of view, it hasn’t been one of my best years but it gives me an opportunity to learn from what happened and come back stronger. I am already looking forward to 2016 and working hard to make sure we are competitive from the first race of the season”

Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer:
“We end the season with a strong result and 16 world championship points – the most we’ve scored at any race this season. The strong result is the ideal way to conclude the most successful season in the team’s history. The car has been working very well here and the team has done a fantastic job to deliver our most competitive performance of the year in terms of outright pace. Today’s result shows just how much progress we have made this season and gives me confidence ahead of 2016. The second part of the season is testament to the hard work of everyone in the team and highlights the upward direction the team has followed in the last few years. We will celebrate this year’s results, but we know we cannot rest on our laurels: we’re already at work on our 2016 cars to pick up where we left off tonight and be competitive from the start of next year’s championship.”


Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez

Abu Dhabi GP post race: Lotus

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado (and below)

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 E23. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Saturday 28th November 2015. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.


Romain Grosjean gave an emphatic performance in his final race for Lotus F1 with a sterling effort from P18 on the grid to P9 at the chequered flag in the final race of the 2015 FIA Formula 1 World Championship at Yas Marina Circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Grosjean worked his way through the field with a superb driving display backed-up by exemplary pit stops and superb strategy. Pastor Maldonado was eliminated from the race on the first lap as a victim of an incident for which Fernando Alonso was penalised.

Lotus F1 ends its 2015 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season in sixth position in the Constructors’ Championship with 78 points. Grosjean started from P18 on the grid on new Pirelli soft compound tyres (he qualified P15 but received a five place penalty for a gearbox change, but other factors elsewhere bumped him up the order). He changed to new soft tyres on lap 23, then new super softs on lap 43. Maldonado started from P13 on new super soft tyres but was eliminated from the running at the first corner.

Romain Grosjean, P9, E23-04. Championship position P11, 51 points:
“It’s been an emotional journey for me and I’m so happy to be able to reward everyone at Enstone with points in my final race for the team. I had to push all the way and it wasn’t always plain sailing as there was a lot to manage on the car. The calls from the pit wall were great and my pit stops were fantastic. I owe a lot to this team and it really feels like a family to me. I hope to be back one day in the future. This has been the best season of my career.”

Pastor Maldonado, DNF, E23-03. Championship position P14, 27 points:
“It’s sad to end the race in the first corner because we were looking good for the race. Today we had a good strategy to go with our better race pace, but anyway this is racing and it can happen. I didn’t see the contact I just felt it in the back of the car from Fernando. I tried to restart but then I saw the suspension damage. Imagine if that incident had been the other way round, it would’ve been big news then!”

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal:
“2015 has been an incredible year for us for so many reasons and I must say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us through what has been a character-building season. The resolve of everyone at Enstone has been tested, but we have come through. Today’s race was illustrative of the fighting spirit of Enstone and Romain did us proud in his final race with us. Pastor was the victim of someone else’s incident so couldn’t end the season as he wanted. Our focus is now completely on 2016; watch this space, there’s plenty more to come.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“Romain drove a superb race and it’s a testament of all the hard work that’s been put in under difficult conditions over the year from everyone in the team that he could finish in the top ten in the final race of the season. Our relative pace today was much better than in qualifying and we were able to harness a strong strategy to move up the order. Pastor was very unfortunate at the start as he had looked strong all weekend here.”


Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean (and below)

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 E23. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Saturday 28th November 2015. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Sponsors required for Team Blaze

FullSizeRender (2)

Images of the team’s car and below, the design and manufacturing stages.


We’ve covered the progress of the F1 in Schools challenge over the years. It’s the only global multi-disciplinary challenge in which teams of students aged 9 to 19 deploy CAD/CAM software to collaborate, design, analyse, manufacture, test, and then race miniature compressed air powered balsa wood F1 cars.

But what’s it like to actually be in one of the teams. Based in Latymer Upper School Team Blaze is formed of team leader Joe, in-house PR whizz Ed and engineer Ishan.

Here’s Ed’s account…


Why should you read this, for it is quite clearly just trying to promote a team. But then again “history is written by the victors” so is not all writing, at heart, promotion of the writer? Even if it is you might as well still read the article as I hope you shall find it interesting, and if you have taken the effort to read this the rest won’t take long to read.

About the challenge

Before I talk about my experiences and hopes in the F1 in Schools competition I ought to explain what it is. In a very brief way F1 in Schools is an international competition which involves students designing, building and racing a 30cm long CO2 powered racing car. The competition takes place over three events: regional, national and international finals, with the winners from each going on to the next round.

However, explaining something in this way would be like trying to describe a human as a mere congregation of flesh and blood. The competition is much more (if I were an unoriginal writer I might call it a “journey” but that would be heavily clichéd) than just a competition as it really helps to learn things and discover skills.


IMG_2106 IMG_2107


The team

My current team consists of four members, two of whom, me included, were in a different team which competed a few years ago. In this previous team my job could not have been more different, I was dealing solely with the design and manufacture of the car and utterly ignored publicity and public relations and left that to other members.

This team dynamic seemed to make sense as I was doing a Design and Technology GCSE and so on the surface I was perfect for the job. That team did work and we realised that we were all reasonably good at our roles. We even came fifth in the London regional finals. But then when we came to start a new team, as some members had decided to prioritise other pursuits, we realised it was a rather odd team.

As I, the one thinking of doing Humanities at university, was going to do the engineering whereas our current team engineer was going to do publicity and PR when he wanted to become an engineer. We realised that this was not going to help us that much as we all wanted to develop skills that would help in the future. By swapping these roles we realised that we could actually do more things that we gave ourselves credit for.

Learning new skills

I learned that, although I was not the most social and was the one team member who did not use any social media personally, I could handle social media rather successfully. This is why we really are doing the F1 in Schools competition, not to win, but to develop skills and learn what we can do.

Also the competition really helped to show what F1 really is about. To people vaguely interested they would assume that this would be the cars. However, as soon as you start taking part in a competition based around F1 you realise that, although the design and manufacture is very important, the funding aspect is much more important.

There is no point having an intricate car design if it cannot be turned into reality. This requires funding and shows how pivotal the funding is, this pivotal nature is further shown by how all other things require money. This funding also shows the importance of publicity as raising sponsorship is much harder than someone might expect.

We need your sponsorship

Now back to that idea with which I started: promotion. I seem to have talked about many things about how great the competition is without promoting my team. And as I have hopefully shown you this competition is very useful, but the desire to compete alone is not enough. To be able to take part in the competition, we must raise sponsorship to fund the manufacture of our car and other things necessary for our success in the competition.

If you would like to support us in this competition, please do get in touch at Blaze.sponsorship@gmail.com.

Also check us out on Twitter: @Blaze_F1_Team

And do remember that quotation, if we win we shall be able to write the history and let show what a great help our sponsors have been to us.


Team Blaze logo

Team Blaze logo


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