Melbourne post race: Williams



Williams’ Felipe Massa finished fourth in today’s Australian Grand Prix. Starting in third and opting for a one-stop strategy, Massa lost a place to the Ferrari of Vettel after being jumped at the first pitstop, but after that showed consistent pace to bring the car home with 12 points to start the 2015 season. Valtteri Bottas was unable to race following a lower back injury sustained during qualifying. Following an evaluation by the FIA’s medical team and following a series of tests the FIA Medical Delegate deemed him unfit to take part in today’s race.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It’s always difficult to compete with only 50 per cent of your armoury with Valtteri having to miss the race, so today was about damage limitation in the Constructors’ Championship and we have managed to come away only a few points behind Ferrari which is a decent result. The team worked very well as a unit all weekend; the pitstop was good and so was the work on the pitwall. We made a decision to pit early because Vettel was a bit quicker behind us, but unfortunately this didn’t pay off for us. We are in a really competitive battle with the teams around us so this race is a marker for the rest of the season. We need to continue improving the car and getting maximum performance from what is a strong package.”

Felipe Massa: “The aim of today was to start the season with a solid points haul and demonstrate that we have a competitive car. We have managed to achieve much of what we wanted so this has been a positive start. The only disappointing part of the race was that I was jumped at the first pitstop by Vettel after losing a second and a half behind Ricciardo on my out-lap which was enough to lose the position. I have faith in the team and the car and we head to Malaysia knowing we are very much in the fight.”

Valtteri Bottas: “I have done a lot of work since the issue with my back came in qualifying to get myself ready, starting treatment immediately, so the news that I couldn’t race today was obviously disappointing but I respect the decision. I now have two weeks until the next race to receive further treatment to ensure I will be back to full fitness and even stronger in Malaysia. I’m very eager to get back in the car and race because the FW37 is looking competitive and I’m confident we can fight for podiums.”


_89P4448 _W2Q3824

Melbourne post race: Sahara Force India

Nico Hulkenberg leads team mate Sergio Perez.

Nico Hulkenberg leads team mate Sergio Perez.


Sahara Force India scored seven points in today’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix with Nico Hulkenberg racing to seventh place and Sergio Perez picking up the final point in tenth.

P7 Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Tyre strategy: New Softs (21 laps) – New Mediums (23 laps) – Used Softs (13 laps)

Nico Hulkenberg: “I am very pleased with today’s result and starting the season with two cars in the points is always positive. It was a good race; I didn’t make any mistakes and, while the reliability of our car helped us take advantage of the problems of others, at this stage in the season it is important to capitalise on any opportunity. We were ready when it counted; we had a good strategy and we delivered under the pressure. In terms of performance we are not yet where we would like to be, but everyone is working really hard to get there and make our car quicker. With points on the board we can now look forward to Malaysia in a couple of weeks and hopefully take another step forward.”

P10 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Tyre strategy: New Mediums (38 laps) – New Softs (19 laps)

Sergio Perez: “It was one of those unusual races where so many things happened, but I’m certainly happy to come away with a point and see Nico also score good points for the team. We went for a different strategy compared to Nico to maximise the team’s chances so I started on the medium tyres in order to have the advantage on the softs at the end of the race. Unfortunately, after the safety car the FIA asked me to give a place back to Ericsson, which also meant dropping behind Button, and that was really painful for my race. Button was on the soft tyres and, although I was quicker, it was not easy to overtake and I lost a lot of track position. Still, I’m focusing on the positives of scoring a point from a difficult race, which is a good result for the team.”

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “A double points finish is a positive way to start the season and a reward for all the hard work everyone in the team produced over the winter. In a race with high attrition, we made the most of the reliability of the VJM08, which at the moment is one of our strengths. Nico completed an excellent race, without putting a wheel wrong from lights to flag; he looked in control and we were never in doubt he would score well today. Sergio had an eventful race, recovering from contact and a spin early on: he made the most of his ability to manage the tyres with a very long stint and was able to score a point. Unfortunately, Sergio had to relinquish the positions he made at the start, otherwise he would have been very close to Nico. Still, it is always good to start a season with two cars in the points and we can leave Melbourne feeling positive.”


Sergio Perez.

Sergio Perez.

Melbourne post race: Lotus

Pastor Maldonado in the E23 on the grid.

Pastor Maldonado in the E23 on the grid.


The cruel hand of fate dealt a bitter blow for Lotus F1 at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with both cars out of the race by the end of the first lap. Pastor Maldonado was pitched into a spin from behind, resulting in his car hitting the barriers, whilst Romain Grosjean suffered from a loss of power, and retired at the end of the first lap.

Grosjean started from P8 on the grid on his qualifying soft tyres, but suffered from an immediate loss of power, retiring at the end of the first lap. Maldonado started from P9 on the grid on his qualifying soft tyres, before being pitched into a spin and ending his race in the tyre barriers after the exit of turn 1.

Romain Grosjean, DNF, E23-02: “We had a loss of power on the formation lap; there was a technical issue which we are investigating. It’s not how you want to end your race, but we know the car is good and we’re miles ahead of where we were last season. We have a good baseline with the E23 and a good engine. We also have new pieces that we are bringing over for the next races, so more performance coming. The first race is always a bit of a tricky one, you never know what might happen and, unfortunately it was bad luck for us today but it doesn’t matter: I’m still very hopeful for the year.”

Pastor Maldonado, DNF, E23-03: “Racing is like this. It was quite a busy start, going into a narrow corner. I just felt a big hit on the back and didn’t see what happened. It’s disappointing because it was a great chance for us to have a great race. The pace of the car was looking much better than in qualifying, so looking forward we can learn from this race. It was a good weekend until today – it’s looking quite promising. In two weeks we will be again fighting for points and again doing our best to be even more competitive.”

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal: “What a frustrating day! Pastor’s race ended through no fault of his own and Romain’s race was over at the end of the first lap too. This is not the way any team wants to start the season and there were a few choice words in the garage when we realised our race was over so soon. It was particularly frustrating as we had great potential to deliver very strong results today. The team is not downcast, however, and we have a lot of enthusiasm for the races ahead as we’ve seen what is possible from the season ahead. The whole vibe of the team is tremendously positive.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director: “A very short race for us to end a weekend full of promise. Pastor was an innocent victim whilst Romain suffered from a loss of power which we are investigating. We ran very reliably in pre-season testing, but sometimes certain issues don’t manifest themselves until the season starts. Everyone back in Enstone will get to the root of the issue and we’ll come back fighting in Malaysia. Fortunately today was one race in twenty and we’ve demonstrated over the course of the weekend that the E23 hybrid has tremendous potential. We can’t wait to exploit this potential once we get to Sepang.”


Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Australian Grand Prix - Race Day - Melbourne, Australia Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Australian Grand Prix - Race Day - Melbourne, Australia

Caterham auction 11/12 March – very sad

Can’t believe I’m reading this, but valuer and auctioneer Wyles Hardy & Co has sent over the following:

CaterhamF1 Race & Pit Lane Equipment – 2 Day Timed On-Line Auction 11th/12th March 2015

Wyles Hardy & Co the auctioneer retained by joint administrators Finbarr O’Connell, Henry Shinners and Anthony Spicer of Smith & Williamson to realise the assets of the CaterhamF1 racing team expect brisk business on Monday the first day of viewing prior to the online auction of CaterhamF1 Race and Pit Lane Equipment next week.

Interest in this, the first of a series of online auctions to sell the assets of the race team, has been “terrific” according to Matt Hardy, Director of Wyles Hardy & Co. “We have had interest from all four corners of the globe with bidders registering from Japan to Iceland and the US to New Zealand.“

With everything on offer from the two CaterhamF1 2014 chassis, as raced by Kamui Kobayashi and Will Stevens in the final GP of the season at Abu Dhabi, to pit lane trollies and wheel nuts, professional race teams and F1 fans have something to bid for.

If you say so. What a sad end…

See for further information.

Second pre-season test: final day

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 4 -  Barcelona, Spain


Lotus F1 ended the final day of pre-season testing early after a systems issue compromised Pastor Maldonado’s braking into turn four resulting in him making contact with the barriers. Maldonado had previously completed 36 laps, mainly aero and comparison work. With the E23 hybrid requiring a reasonable amount of rectification work for the damage sustained to the front wing and front suspension, the team opted to end the day’s running early. Maldonado’s best time from the morning assessment was 1min 28.272secs.

Track: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, 4.7km
Chassis: E23-02
Weather: Cloudy, early spots of rain, then sunny. Ambient 10°C – 22°C Track 12°C – 31°C

Programme: Aero assessments including back to back aero component evaluations
Laps Completed: 36
Classification: P8, 1:28.272
Interruptions: Barrier

Pastor Maldonado: “It was a shame to end the day early, but that was the only issue we’ve had like this during testing so we can look to the positive that we have a lot of information to take the car in the right direction. My braking was compromised coming into turn four, meaning I went off the track and hit the barriers. I was able to brake and slow, just not as much as the maximum otherwise possible. The car was not too badly damaged and I am fine, but it’s a shame we had this issue as we would have been looking at running the softer tyres in the afternoon and putting in some fast laps. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car in Melbourne as I think we have good potential this season.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director: “Certainly ending the final pre-season test in the barriers was not part of our game plan, but overall we’ve had a productive two weeks here in Barcelona following on from our initial outing in Jerez. Pastor was unfortunate to have a braking-related issue which meant he wasn’t able to slow sufficiently into turn four and the car was damaged. There was nothing Pastor or any driver could have done to avoid this accident which was systems related and we’re investigating thoroughly to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We now have a quick turn-around to get the car back to Enstone, then shipped out to Australia at the end of the week. It was a pity we weren’t able to run any low fuel laps later in the day. We are looking forward to Melbourne where we will get a full picture of the relative pace of the E23.”


Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 4 -  Barcelona, Spain Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 4 -  Barcelona, Spain




Driver: Valtteri Bottas
Chassis/Engine: FW37-01/PU106B Hybrid
Location: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 4.655km
Objectives: Performance and Aero work
Weather: Warm and Dry
Air and track temps: 10 – 21ºC / 12 – 32ºC

Rod Nelson, Chief Test and Support Engineer: “Today’s programme was similar to yesterday, as we try to get the drivers in the best position before heading to Australia. Due to this the focus was more on performance with a mixture of long and short runs rather than just reliability work. Both drivers have worked extremely hard throughout the test and the entire team have worked very well together. We are really looking forward to Melbourne.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It was a really good day and a great way to finish the test. One of the main points we have learnt is that the FW37 is very reliable. The car we are taking to Melbourne is very competitive and should make for an interesting start to the season. We have made the most out of our time testing and I need to say a really big thanks to the team, not only trackside but also everyone back at the factory as they have produced a really quick and reliable car.”


Winter testing came to an end with another productive day for Sahara Force India. Sergio Perez completed his first miles in the VJM08, clocking 130 laps at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.

Sergio Perez #11
Chassis: VJM08-01
Laps: 130 laps
Mileage: 605km
Fastest lap: 1:25.113
Classification: P6 of 9

Sergio Perez: “My first day in the car has been a good one, with a very high number of laps and a good atmosphere in the team. It’s no secret that we have some catch-up to do but I am optimistic: the team has a clear direction to work towards and we have been able to collect a large amount of data in such a short time which will help all those working back at base. Every run we do, here or at the races, teaches us a lot and moves us closer to where we want to be. Now we must focus on Melbourne: I am really excited about going racing again, the first race of the season is always a special one and one to which you really look forward since the end of the previous season.”

Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer: “Our pre-season testing comes to an end with a solid 130 laps. Today was Sergio’s first day in the VJM08 and, as he got accustomed to the new car, we continued our work of understanding its behaviour, trying various set-ups in both performance and long runs. All we have done in these tests in Barcelona will help us prepare for Melbourne, and even though we may arrive with less mileage than others, we have gathered lots of valuable data. We are making rapid progress with the car and we have a lot of material to analyse back at the factory ahead of the first flyaways. This last week’s work highlights the spirit of this team: credit must go to everyone involved with the design, manufacturing and assembly of the car. It has been a massive effort from everyone in the team and to get so many laps is testament to the great work done by all.”


Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 4 -  Barcelona, Spain Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 4 -  Barcelona, Spain

Formula E takes to the streets of Geneva



Swiss fans got the chance to see a Formula E car in action for the first time when a fully-electric single-seater sailed through the streets of Geneva as local IndyCar driver Simona de Silvestro took the wheel of the Spark-Renault SRT_01E.

Setting off from the newly opened TAG Heuer Geneva boutique the SRT_01E continued along the Quai du Général Guisan, past the Geneva branch of Julius Baer, then continued crossing the Pont du Mont Blanc Bridge before finishing on the Quai du Mont-Blanc.

The last motor race to be held in Switzerland was at the circuit of Bremgarten, near Bern, in 1954. Now, after a historic decision by the National Council to adopt a motion by MP Fathi Derder, Switzerland can welcome professional motorsport back into the country. It was Mr Derder who actually gave the start of the street demo, waving the Swiss flag ahead of the car.

The new law – to be confirmed by the Council of States – is restricted to only electric vehicle racing. This opens up the possibility for Formula E to race on the city streets of Switzerland in the future.

This month will also see attention turn to Geneva as the capital of the motorsport world with the launch of the Geneva International Motor Show from the 5-15 March. The Formula E car will be on display with the e.dams-Renault car also on show on the Renault stand.

Pre-season test: Day 3

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 3 -  Barcelona, Spain


Romain Grosjean drove for his final day of pre-season testing today, completing 116 laps in the Lotus E23 hybrid at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. He ran a comprehensive programme including a race simulation, clocking a best lap time of 1min 24.200secs.

Track: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, 4.7km
Chassis: E23-02
Weather: Chilly, warm, chilly. Ambient 5°C – 18°C Track 9°C – 30°C
Programme: Set-up assessments, race simulation, aero evaluations
Laps Completed: 116
Classification: P5, 1:24.200
Interruptions: None

Romain Grosjean: “That was a long day and the track conditions varied quite a lot. This morning went pretty well, we had a lot of work to do with some aero and set-up tasks as we’re trying to test as many things as possible before Melbourne. In the afternoon we ran a race simulation and other performance evaluations. There’s potential for improvement in some areas but we have plenty of data to get the car more to where we want it to be for Melbourne. I can’t wait to for the season to start.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Today we completed another extensive programme with the E23 running reliably throughout. Track conditions were quite difficult for establishing a baseline as the track temperature varied a lot through the day, but nevertheless we ran for over 100 laps and have a lot more information relating to the various aero and set-up configurations. We have quite a long night ahead of us as tomorrow is the final day of testing where we hope to make further progress with Pastor at the wheel.”


Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 3 -  Barcelona, Spain Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 3 -  Barcelona, Spain




Driver: Felipe Massa
Chassis/Engine: FW37-01/PU106B hybrid
Location: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 4.655km
Objectives: Chassis and aero work
Weather: Warm and Dry
Air and track temps: 5 – 17 ºC / 9 – 30 ºC

Rod Nelson, Chief Test and Support Engineer: “It was Felipe’s last day in the car before Melbourne and we have had a busy day. We focused on chassis and aero work as well as longer runs on scrubbed tyres to see the degradation and tyre performance. We did a grid simulation at lunchtime to ensure the procedural processes are all in place for when we arrive in Melbourne. We have just one day of the test left now, and it will be another busy one for the team.”

Felipe Massa: “We had another good day with over 100 laps completed. We reached the end of the programme in good time and the car has remained very reliable over all three tests. Our long runs look positive and the car remains consistent throughout the stints. We are not the only quick car on the track though and the fight behind Mercedes will be interesting. I now have to get ready for the first race of the season in Melbourne, which I am really looking forward to.”


Sahara Force India completed another busy day of testing in Barcelona as Nico Hülkenberg clocked 158 laps at the wheel of the new VJM08.

Nico Hülkenberg #27
Chassis: VJM08-01
Laps: 158 laps
Mileage: 735km
Fastest lap: 1:24.939
Classification: P7 of 9

Nico Hülkenberg: “It was a very positive day in terms of reliability and getting a lot of mileage under our belts. It was our first full day of testing so our main focus remained on getting to know the car, the way we set it up and its characteristics. I think we made some good progress in this regard and we managed to get a decent understanding of how the VJM08 feels under different conditions. That’s definitely a positive, although it remains very hard to judge where everyone is in terms of performance. Next time I will step in the car will be in Melbourne: I am very excited to fly to Australia as that’s when you get the racing feeling again. I am really looking forward to getting going and being back in a competition; that is something I relish. Hopefully the work we did in the last few weeks will pay off and we will be in a position for fight for a good result.”

Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer “It was another solid day of testing with the VJM08, which is proving to be a very reliable car so far: the plan we had set for ourselves today was very ambitious but we managed to achieve all its main points. We have taken another big step in our process of understanding the performance of the car and we were able to work through both performance runs and longer stints. Track temperatures were not ideal as they were very much on the cool side, but we still learnt a lot and gathered a significant amount of data to analyse tonight. It was Nico’s last day in the car before heading off to Melbourne: the work he completed today will help us ensure we make the most of our final day in the car tomorrow as Sergio steps in the cockpit for the first time.”


Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 3 -  Barcelona, Spain Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 3 -  Barcelona, Spain


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