Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Renault Launch Pictures & Press Release

Groupe Renault Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn today revealed Renault’s complete motorsport plans at an event held at the Renault Technocentre in Guyancourt, France.

Renault Sport will be managed by two entities: Renault Sport Racing and Renault Sport Cars.

Renault Sport Racing will encompass all Renault’s motorsport activities, including Renault Sport Formula One Team, Renault e.dams, Formula Renault 2.0, Renault Sport R.S.01 Trophy, plus further customer racing and rallying programmes. Renault Sport Racing will cover operations at the two Renault motorsport sites at Enstone, UK, and Viry–Châtillon, France.

Renault Sport Cars, an evolution of Renault Sport Technologies, will manage the development and commercialisation of the Renault Sport car portfolio. Renault Sport is recognised worldwide for its excellence in hot hatches such as the Mégane R.S. and Clio R.S. as well as efficient and accessible GTs including the new Mégane GT. Renault Sport will develop its international footprint, brand appeal and portfolio growth with increased R&D investment.

Renault will use the new structure for two primary functions. Initially, it aims to promote the Renault Sport brand to a wider audience primarily using the Renault Sport Formula One Team and the global audience of F1. Secondly, it will use Formula E and racing activities such as the Clio Cup to showcase the image and design of other aspects of the Renault range such as electric vehicles.

Renault Sport Racing and Renault Sport Cars will work hand in hand to maximise technical and commercial synergies from track to road. The first demonstration of the relationship will be revealed at the Monaco Grand Prix.

‘Motorsports still spark the imagination of both enthusiasts and everyday drivers, and we are putting a comprehensive program in place today. Formula 1 is a big part of our efforts to boost awareness of Renault, particularly in markets where Renault is a newcomer, and will enhance the transfer of technologies from the track to our road cars.’ said CEO Carlos Ghosn.

To ensure the operational autonomy required to perform in the fast moving racing and high performance environment with the strategic corporate objectives and requirements of Groupe Renault, a supervisory board has been created, which will be chaired by Carlos Ghosn.

Renault Sport Racing will be headed by Jérôme Stoll as President, supported by Cyril Abiteboul as Managing Director. Frédéric Vasseur will report to the latter as Racing Director, responsible for sporting and technical matters. Renault Sport Cars will be headed by Patrice Ratti as Managing Director. Guillaume Boisseau, Groupe Renault Brands Director, will lead the marketing efforts of the group to ensure the alignment and activation of the racing programs with Renault’s marketing strategy.

Renault Sport Formula One Team announced
At the core of the racing activities will be the newly-created Renault Sport Formula One Team. The new F1 challenger consists of the Renault R.S.16 chassis, developed and manufactured in Enstone, whilst the Renault R.E.16 power unit will continue to be developed in Viry-Châtillon.

A number of key appointments have been made in the F1 team to avoid any dilution of the specific requirements of Formula One. Bob Bell is appointed F1 Chief Technical Officer and will manage the efforts of Nick Chester as Chassis Technical Director and Rémi Taffin as Engine Technical Director. Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer are confirmed as Renault Sport Formula One Team’s race drivers, and will be supported by Esteban Ocon, who joins the team as Third and Reserve Driver.

Key Formula One partners confirmed
Renault announced its partner portfolio at the event. Renault-Nissan Alliance partner Infiniti will continue its journey in Formula One alongside Renault and will enhance its involvement through a specific technology program developing the second generation of energy recovery systems (ERS) for the F1 power unit.

The technical collaboration between Total and Renault will continue in 2016.

Renault also announced new partnerships with other prestigious brands, including premium watch supplier, Bell & Ross, revolutionary audio systems inventors, Devialet, clothing company Bestseller as well as continuing relationships with the F1 team’s current partners, including Microsoft and EMC. Renault will continue its working relationship with Gravity Motorsports, an affiliate of the Genii Capital Group, which will retain a minority shareholding in the F1 team. Genii and Gravity worked tirelessly to ensure the team’s survival in extremely difficult circumstances and Renault is pleased to recognize this commitment as Gerard Lopez remains a non-executive director of the team.

Renault Sport Racing programmes further detailed
Former Renault Sport Technologies customer racing staff will now come under the banner of Renault Sport Racing under the continued management of Jean-Pascal Dauce. The new organisation will allow Renault to connect more efficiently the various categories to which it is currently committed, from rallying with the Clio R3T, rallye raid, and one-make track series including the Clio Cup and Renault Sport R.S.01 Trophy. Renault will also continue its Formula Renault 2.0 single-seater series. For more than 45 years, the series has given eminent drivers and champions the opportunity to start motorsport and reach its highest levels. To date, some 60% of current F1 drivers came through Formula Renault.

Renault’s Formula E activity will also come under Renault Sport Racing. Renault has committed to the championship until at least season 4 with Renault e.dams team. The strategic importance of Formula E for the Renault brand is highlighted through the strength and stability of the management team composed of four-time Formula One World Champion Alain Prost and Jean-Paul Driot. Over the next seasons Renault Sport Racing will develop and supply a full powertrain composed of gearbox and electric motor to the team. Targets are ambitious, with an objective to win both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ title.

Renault Sport Academy
The Renault Sport Academy was also officially announced, with the double objective to find emerging talent that can be brought to Formula One and to provide an opportunity for Renault’s markets to take an active role in the construction of tomorrow’s sporting performance through promoting and following their local drivers.

With this announcement, motorsport once more becomes an integral part of Renault’s brand identity and, ultimately, DNA.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Sky & Channel 4 announce coverage details

Sky Press Release:

Sky Sports F1® will be the only place to watch live coverage of the F1® season opener as Lewis Hamilton begins his quest for a fourth World Championship at the 2016 FORMULA 1 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX .

As part of a record-breaking year of F1® with more races than ever before, Sky Sports F1® will be the only place to watch all 21 races live. The Sky Sports F1® schedule offers 11 of those races exclusively live including Monaco, Canada and three of the first four races.

Sky Sports F1® viewers can enjoy exclusively live coverage from Melbourne on 20 March as Lewis Hamilton begins his bid to become the first ever British driver to win four world titles. This season also sees the return of Hockenheim in Germany, the only place to watch the race live on 31 July will be on Sky Sports F1®.

Sky Sports Head of F1®, Martin Turner, said: “This season offers everything. More races, more stories and more drama and only on Sky Sports F1® can viewers enjoy the complete story live.  All eyes will again be on Lewis Hamilton while Mercedes and Ferrari will go head to head for the Constructors title.  Our award-winning coverage will be there from the opening grid to the final chequered flag on our dedicated F1® channel and across our digital platforms.”

Commentary this season will come from Martin Brundle and David Croft, with expert analysis by Damon Hill, Anthony Davidson and Johnny Herbert. Presenter Simon Lazenby will be fronting the coverage alongside reporter Ted Kravitz. There will be a host of programming, features and archive footage throughout the year.

In addition to watching every session of qualifying, practice and race in the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship™, viewers can enjoy live coverage of F1® feeder series GP2™ and GP3™. Race weekends will be supported by weekly episodes of the F1® Show and rolling coverage on Sky Sports News HQ, and across digital and social platforms and @skysportsf1.

Viewers can watch live on TV with Dolby 5.1 surround sound, via Sky Go or using Race Control accessed via the red button, or the Sky Sports App for iPad. Non-subscribers can also follow the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship™ without a contract through online TV streaming service NOW TV by purchasing a Sky Sports Day Pass for £6.99 or Sky Sports Week Pass for £10.99.

2016 FIA Formula One World Championship™ Sky Sports F1® schedule in full:
1                              20 March                            Australia                                             Exclusively live
2                             3 April                                   Bahrain                                                Live
3                             17 April                                  China                                                    Exclusively live
4                             1 May                                     Russia                                                  Exclusively live
5                             15 May                                  Spain                                                    Live
6                             29 May                                 Monaco                                               Exclusively live
7                              12 June                                 Canada                                                Exclusively live
8                             19 June                                 Azerbaijan                                          Live
9                             3 July                                    Austria                                                 Exclusively live
10                           10 July                                  Great Britain                                     Live
11                             24 July                                  Hungary                                              Live
12                            31 July                                   Germany                                             Exclusively live
13                            28 August                          Belgium                                               Live
14                            4 September                     Italy                                                       Live
15                            18 September                   Singapore                                           Exclusively live
16                           2 October                           Malaysia                                              Live
17                            9 October                           Japan                                                   Exclusively live
18                           23 October                        USA                                                       Exclusively live
19                            30 October                        Mexico                                                 Live
20                          13 November                     Brazil                                                    Exclusively live
21                            27 November                    Abu Dhabi                                          Live

Channel 4 Press Release:

British Grand Prix one of ten Formula1® races shown live in by broadcaster, with highlights of all 21 races

Live races to be broadcast without advertising breaks

Channel 4 has confirmed the ten Formula 1® Grands Prix it will broadcast live in 2016, which will include the 2016 Formula 1 British Grand Prix on July 10th.

As part of a new three-year deal from 2016-2018 with Formula One World Championship Limited, announced last month, Channel 4 will broadcast live coverage of ten Grands Prix, including practice sessions and qualifying over each season. Channel 4 will broadcast comprehensive highlights of all 21 races, including those broadcast by Sky Sports.

Channel 4 coverage will begin over the weekend of March 18th-20th with build up to, and comprehensive highlights coverage of the 2016 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix weekend. Channel 4’s first live race will be the 2016 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix, broadcast over the weekend of 1st-3rd April.

Following a picks process with Sky Sports, the full list of races broadcast live by Channel 4 is:

(Provisional Grand Prix start times – which are subject to confirmation – are indicated in brackets.)

Bahrain– 1st-3rdApril (4.00pm)

Spain– 13th-15th May (1.00pm)

Europe (Azerbaijan) – 17th-19th June (TBC)

Britain– 8th-10th July (1.00pm)

Hungary– 22nd-24th July (1.00pm)

Belgium– 26th-28th August (1.00pm)

Italy– 2nd-4th September (1.00pm)

Malaysia– 30th September-2nd October (8.00am)

Mexico – 28th-30th October (7.00pm)

Abu Dhabi– 25th-27th November (1.00pm)

All of the live coverage and highlights will be broadcast free-to-air and in high definition.

Stephen Lyle, Channel 4 Head of F1® said: “We are delighted to announce the full line up of races we will be showing live across 2016. The British Grand Prix is a huge highlight of the sporting calendar and we’re looking forward to covering all the action live from Silverstone this summer. ”

This follows the news announced earlier in the month that Whisper Films will produce coverage of the FIA Formula One World Championship™ and that 13 times Grand Prix winner David Coulthard will be bringing his extensive knowledge in Formula 1®, as well as his considerable contacts in the sport, to Channel 4’s coverage.

The full presenting and commentary team will be announced in due course.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Big changes behind the scenes at McLaren

McLaren prepares for increased growth with key new appointments

McLaren is pleased to announce two new appointments, each a key step towards achieving the Group’s aggressive growth ambitions.

Jonathan Neale, acting Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing, has been appointed Chief Operating Officer of McLaren Technology Group, and Jost Capito, Volkswagen’s Director of Motorsport, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing, supported by Eric Boullier, who will work closely with both Jonathan and Jost and whose position as Racing Director of McLaren Racing will remain unchanged. The timing of these moves will be actioned in 2016 in agreement with Jost’s current employer, and a further announcement will follow in due course.

Both Jonathan and Jost will report directly to Ron Dennis, whose position as Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Technology Group will also remain unchanged.

Ron Dennis (Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Technology Group) said:

“Consistent with McLaren Technology Group’s strategy of driving continuous growth, Jonathan has been promoted to the position of COO. He has done an excellent job as acting CEO of McLaren Racing – and that experience, together with the expertise he has attained in non-motorsport industry positions previously, makes him ideally suited to such an important new role at McLaren Technology Group.

“I first approached Jost last summer. He is an extremely impressive, competitive and ambitious individual, who comes to us with a very wide range of automotive and motorsport experience, encompassing senior positions at BMW, Porsche, Ford, Sauber and, since 2012, Volkswagen, leading the latter company’s World Rally Championship team to consecutive world titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“From a motorsport perspective he has experience in not only the World Rally Championship but also Sports Cars, Touring Cars,  Motorcycle Racing and Formula 1, about which he is hugely knowledgeable and infectiously passionate.

“I am therefore delighted to welcome Jost to McLaren, and I am certain that he will work extremely well with Eric and all at McLaren Racing, building on the very good work they have already done to take the McLaren-Honda programme forward towards grand prix victories and world championship successes.”

Jonathan Neale (Chief Operating Officer, McLaren Technology Group) said:

“After 15 years in senior roles within McLaren Racing, most recently as COO and acting CEO, I am excited to be moving up to take on a wider remit, working directly with Ron to assist his leadership of McLaren Technology Group.

“I have enjoyed my time at McLaren Racing, and will of course remain closely involved in supporting Jost’s and Eric’s efforts to optimise the future success of the McLaren-Honda programme.

“But I am equally conscious of my new areas of responsibility and influence within McLaren Technology Group, and  I am particularly keen to bring to bear my wider industry expertise and experience [principally with British Aerospace, now BAE Systems] to drive forward our strategy to grow each of our Group businesses.”

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Sneaky Rumor - Magnussen in for Maldonado at Lotus?

Is it Chinese Whispers? Well no smoke without fire is the term they use and everyone is talking about Maldonado being switched out for Magnussen at the newly acquired Renault team. 

The Maldonado deal was put in place long before the completion of the buyout and would have included a large slice of Venezuelan money heading to Enstone. However recent political developments at home have put a doubt on the money continuing to flow. 

As such, without the cash windfall that Maldonado brings, its clear that the Renault board see it makes sense to bring in a talented young driver who's probably less lightly to 'bin it' at every opportunity.

Who knows... Only time will tell.

5 days and counting #Comeback @TorbaySound #MondayNightLive

Monday, 11 January 2016

Pirelli Announce Wet Wether Test At the Paul Ricard Circuit


Pirelli organizes a wet tyre test to be held at Paul Ricard circuit, on January 25 and 26.

The two-day test will be focussing just on wet tyres (no intermediates). Different wet prototypes will be tested.

Three teams will take part in the test: Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren. More details on the drivers participating as well the test programme will be made available in the coming days.

David Coulthard signed as part of Channel 4 F1® presenting team

Contract awarded after competitive tender process

David Coulthard signed as part of Channel 4 F1® presenting team

North One Television to produce a number of accompanying programmes

Channel 4 has awarded the production contract for its coverage of the FIA Formula One World Championship™ to experienced independent sports production company Whisper Films.

The contract was awarded after a competitive tender process with production companies with Formula 1® credentials. The tender process was led by Ed Havard, Channel 4’s Head of TV Events and Sport, and Stephen Lyle - who has been promoted to the new role of Head of F1® - to a short timescale in order to meet the start of the season on March 20th.

It follows the news announced last month that Channel 4 would become the new terrestrial television home of Formula 1® from 2016-2018 – broadcasting ten live F1® races, practice and qualifying sessions each season as well as comprehensive highlights of all 21 Grands Prix and qualifying sessions.

Whisper Films was set up in 2010 by former BBC Sport F1® producer Sunil Patel, former Formula 1® driver David Coulthard and BT Sport and former BBC F1® presenter, Jake Humphrey. Channel 4 took a minority stake in the production company in 2015 as part of its Indie Growth Fund.

As well as demonstrating significant innovation and creativity in their approach to producing Formula 1® coverage, included within Whisper Film’s winning pitch was the signing of a number of key production personnel and presenters with extensive experience in the sport. These include Mark Wilkin, the editor of the BBC’s award-winning F1® coverage, as programme editor.

13-times Grands Prix winner David Coulthard is also announced as the first signing of the on-screen presenting team. He will bring his extensive knowledge from 15 seasons racing in Formula 1®, as well as his considerable contacts in the sport, to Channel 4’s coverage.

The full presenting and commentary team will be announced in due course.

North One Television, who have a track record in motorsports production, will also work with Channel 4 on a number of accompanying programmes to support Formula 1®.

Ed Havard, Channel 4’s Head of TV Events and Sport said: “Whisper Films outlined an extremely impressive and exciting vision for their F1 coverage, with outstanding on and off screen talent as an integral part of their pitch. We are delighted that David Coulthard will be at the heart of Channel 4’s coverage and look forward to announcing the full presenting team in the coming weeks.”

Sunil Patel, Executive Producer for Whisper Films said: “Whisper Films has an unrivalled production team with over 20 years’ experience in Formula One and unique contacts throughout the sport. Channel 4 and the sport have talked about a new approach and we believe we are ideally placed to deliver this.”

David Coulthard said: “This is an exciting time for the sport and an exciting time for Whisper Films. The F1 World has been incredibly impressed with what Whisper has delivered over the last five years and Channel 4’s decision is testament to that. I’m looking forward to being part of an exciting new era for Formula One, with Whisper Films and our proven level of creativity and innovation very much at the heart of that.”