Half-arsed F1

Clive Couldwell:

An alternative view of F1’s engine situation…

Originally posted on joeblogsf1:

The deadline for expressions of interest to identify an alternative engine supplier for the Formula 1 World Championship for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons has now passed and, although there has been no official word (nothing new there then) it seems that there are at least three engine companies that are bidding to be considered for the deal, if indeed such a thing ever happens. It is anticipated that Ferrari will veto the proposal if it is voted through and then there is likely to be a legal fight about the team’s right to veto, based on documentation that is not in the public domain. This will likely end up in a legal mess, which could delay the introduction of such an engine. That would create a problem because while the legal mess is sorted out, it would be a huge risk for any engine company to spend money to develop…

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Damon rejoins Williams

Williams’ 1996 world champion Damon Hill will celebrate the 20-year anniversary of his title with the team at the 2016 Autosport International Show.

Williams will be a major feature of the show in January, with the team’s eight-metre-tall track hospitality unit constructed inside the Birmingham NEC, next to the Autosport Live Stage. There will also be a selection of Heritage cars displayed at the stand, including Hill’s title-winning FW18.

Hill first tested for Williams in 1991 and was promoted to a race seat in 1993, alongside Alain Prost. He contested the championship with Michael Schumacher over the following years before clinching it himself in 1996.

He won eight of the 16 races and, with a further four wins in the hands of team mate Jacques Villeneuve, the FW18 became the most successful Williams of all time.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

It’s just six years since Abu Dhabi arrived on the calendar with Formula One’s first ever day-into-night race, yet the Yas Marina circuit already feels like one of the long-established homes.

The ultra-modern design stands apart due to its unique features, including the LED-lit hotel sprawling over the circuit and tunnelled pit lane exit, as well as joining the likes of Monaco and Singapore in boasting a trackside yacht-filled marina. The long straights and open nature of the circuit promote entertaining racing.

Brazilian GP: Williams

Felipe Massa, Williams FW37 Mercedes, in the pits. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams

Felipe Massa, Williams FW37 Mercedes, in the pits.
Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams

Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sunday 15 November 2015. Felipe Massa, Williams F1, meets some fans. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image W89P5485

Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Felipe Massa meets some fans. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams


Valtteri Bottas finished fifth and Felipe Massa eighth in today’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Bottas made a brilliant start to regain two of the three places he lost to a grid penalty. He settled into P5 from the first lap and made a two-stop strategy work. Massa ran in the battle for P6 all day with Hulkenberg and Kvyat. He was unable to find a way past so gambled on a late pit stop for fresh tyres, but was unable to close the gap before the end.

Williams has sealed third place in the constructors’ championship for the second successive season. The race stewards excluded Felipe from the results after his right rear tyre was believed to be in excess of the 110-degree Celsius limit prior to the race. The team has served notice of an appeal.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “We have achieved our primary target for the season which was to retain third in the constructors’, showing a marked improvement compared to where we were a few years ago. We’ve shown consistency in consolidating that position and the team has worked very well to achieve that. Today’s race was not what we wanted, we just didn’t have enough pace. Valtteri was able to get past Hulkenberg and Kvyat in the first stint and show the car’s true pace, while Felipe was unfortunately caught behind them for most of the race and unable to do the same.”

Valtteri Bottas: “The start was the most exciting part of the race for me as I gained a few places. After that I just had to maintain the tyres and make them work on a two-stop strategy. We were missing pace today so we need to have a look at why and improve for Abu Dhabi. I am so proud of the team to get P3 in the constructors’. We are competing against teams that are much bigger than us, and in some cases beating them, which is really cool. The guys at the track and in the factory have done really well this year, so a massive thank you must go to them and also to Mercedes HPP for a really strong power unit. We want to win though, so next year we must continue to make that step forward.”

Felipe Massa: “The atmosphere is always fantastic here, it’s a great feeling from the people. Unfortunately my race today was not anything to compare with the atmosphere. I was struggling all weekend with lap time. I started eighth and finished eighth, so there isn’t much to say. It was a frustrating race for me. We just need to finish the championship on a high now, with a much better result than I had here.”


Valtteri Bottas leads Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull Racing RB11 Renault), Nico Hulkenberg (Force India VJM08 Mercedes), Felipe Massa and the remainder of the field at the start. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams

Valtteri Bottas leads Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull Racing RB11 Renault), Nico Hulkenberg (Force India VJM08 Mercedes), Felipe Massa and the remainder of the field at the start.
Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams

Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sunday 15 November 2015. Felipe Massa, Williams FW37 Mercedes, makes a pit stop. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image W89P6552

Another Massa pit stop. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams

Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Saturday 14 November 2015. Valtteri Bottas, Williams F1. World Copyright: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image WW2Q4894

Valtteri Bottas

Brazilian GP: Sahara Force India

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg


Sahara Force India secured fifth place in the championship today as Nico Hulkenberg raced to sixth place in the Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of Sergio Perez in P13.

P6 Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-03
Strategy: Used Softs (9 laps) – New Mediums (26 laps) – New Mediums (35 laps):
“I’m very happy with sixth place and with scoring the points that helped the team secure fifth place in the championship, which is great news. It’s the best result in our history and shows the progress we have made over the years. This fifth place is a result of all the hard work from everybody in the team and we should feel very proud of what we have achieved together. The race today was fun, although I didn’t have the best start and got some wheel spin, which dropped me behind Bottas and Kvyat. Fortunately I was able to get one of those places back with an aggressive early pit stop, but that forced me to do two very long stints on the medium tyres, which was the main challenge of the day. We made it work, though, managing the tyres and delivering the two-stop strategy. I’m now looking forward to Abu Dhabi and ending the season on another high note.”

P13 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Strategy: New Softs (10 laps) – New Mediums (23 laps) – New Mediums (18 laps) – Used Softs (19 laps):
“It hasn’t been the best of weekends for me. I have struggled to feel comfortable with the car from the start and I feel I didn’t go in the right direction with the set-up yesterday. Today was more or less the same so we will need to go back and analyse all the data from the weekend to address the issues before we arrive in Abu Dhabi. Today’s result, however, should take nothing away from what has been a great championship so far. The team has now finished fifth, so there are a lot of positives to celebrate. I am proud of what we achieved together this season and I am looking forward to aiming even higher in the future.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal:
“Everybody in the team is delighted that we have secured fifth place in the championship with a race to spare. It’s the reward for all the hard work put in by everyone back at the factory in Silverstone, at the wind tunnel, and here at the track. We have been through a lot this year, but we never let our target out of our sight and today we can celebrate. The race itself leaves us with mixed feelings as we wanted to seal this result with a double points finish. Nico drove very well, making a two-stop strategy work and withstanding a lot of pressure in the closing stages when Kvyat was behind him. Unfortunately Checo missed out on the top ten despite fighting hard this afternoon, but he didn’t feel completely comfortable with the car all weekend. We now head to Abu Dhabi to close off this record-breaking season on a high and secure top ten positions in the drivers’ championship for both Nico and Checo.”


Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez

Brazilian GP: Lotus

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 E23. Brazilian Grand Prix, Saturday 14th November 2015. Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Pastor Maldonado

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 E23. Brazilian Grand Prix, Saturday 14th November 2015. Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Romain Grosjean


Romain Grosjean finished P9 and Pastor Maldonado P11 after spirited runs up the order in the Brazilian Grand Prix. After a disappointing qualifying yesterday, today’s 71 lap race saw both drivers making moves on their rivals whilst employing different tyre strategies. Maldonado looked like scoring with P10 until late in the race and did receive a five second penalty, served at his final pit stop, for contact with another driver.

Grosjean started from P14 on the grid on new Pirelli soft compound tyres. He changed to new medium tyres on laps 10 and 35, then scrubbed softs on lap 54. Maldonado started from P15 on new medium tyres, changing to new soft tyres on lap 25 and new mediums on lap 44.

Romain Grosjean, P9, E23-04:
“It was a fun race, and I enjoyed going through the field with some nice overtaking manoeuvres with our aggressive race strategy. It was quite hard to follow the cars but we had good power to overtake into turn 1. It has been an emotional weekend so it is good to be back in the points. The next race will be my last one with the team and taking the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi will be very special but I will give my best to bring a good result.”

Pastor Maldonado, P11, E23-03:
“It was a very active race with lots going on. We used a different strategy to most by running with the slower but more durable tyre for the first stint, when it was difficult to make progress against those on the softs. That meant when we changed to the softs we could push harder in the middle stint and make some good places. Then at the end we were defending with harder tyres from those with softer and fresher ones so it was difficult to keep P10, but from where we started it was a good race.”

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal:
“A great job from Romain, and also from all of the race team here, to work so well at what is nearly the end of a very long season. Thanks too to everyone at Enstone for all their efforts which we were hoping would be rewarded by both cars in the points. It’s a big shame that Pastor received a penalty as otherwise he would have finished at least P10, and this is very frustrating for all of us.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“That was a strong race where we got back to where we should have been fighting after yesterday’s disappointing qualifying. Romain drove superbly today and Pastor should have scored too were it not for his penalty.”


Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 E23. Brazilian Grand Prix, Saturday 14th November 2015. Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 E23. Brazilian Grand Prix, Saturday 14th November 2015. Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Brazilian GP qualifying: Sahara Force India

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez


Qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix saw Nico Hulkenberg set the sixth fastest time of the afternoon with team mate Sergio Perez ending the day in P13.

P6 Nico Hülkenberg VJM08-03
Q1: 1:12.595 Q2: 1:12.485 Q3: 1:12.265:
“I’m very happy with the qualifying result. I always enjoy driving here because I love the track, the country and the atmosphere that surrounds this event. The car felt great today and I was really happy with each of my laps in all the sessions. We made some important changes to the car last night and found a positive direction, which really paid off this morning because I was much happier with the feel of the car. With the penalty for Valtteri (Bottas), it means I will start from fifth place with just the Mercedes and Ferraris ahead of me, so that’s a fantastic effort by the team. At the very least we want to hold position in the race and bring home the result because there are some quick cars behind us who will try and make things difficult. I’m feeling confident for tomorrow and looking forward to a fun race.”

P13 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Q1: 1:13.140 Q2: 1:13.147
“I think we had a clear opportunity to go through to Q3, so I am quite disappointed about today’s result. I made a mistake on my final lap in Q2, braking too late into turn one and locking up, and that cost me the chance to be in the top ten. It’s a very short lap and, when you make a mistake, it’s difficult to recover from it. All weekend I haven’t felt completely comfortable with the car: I have taken a different direction with the set-up compared to Nico and I haven’t been able to find my rhythm around here. It’s not an ideal situation, but I’m still looking to the rest of the weekend with optimism. I am starting eleventh, but the races in Brazil can often be very eventful and a lot can still happen. I think we can still finish in the points and come home with a good result.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal:
“Overall we feel pretty satisfied with our performance today. Nico will line up in fifth place and Sergio is expected to start from eleventh, so we are ideally placed to score well and secure fifth place in the championship. Nico found the sweet spot this morning with some set-up changes overnight, but Sergio has not been so comfortable and a small error cost him a place in Q3. Nonetheless, the car has strong race pace and I’m confident both drivers can end the weekend on a high note. Of course, the racing this weekend has been overshadowed by the tragic events in Paris and the thoughts of everyone in the team are with those who have been affected.”


Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg


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