Thursday, 17 April 2014

What's going wrong at Ferrari?

With Ferrari starting 2014 poorly with a car and power train that is clearly off the pace, team principal Stefano Domenicali has bitten the bullet and resigned from the team with immediate effect. But why? Why is the team not competitive in 2014? why are things that bad?

Simply,  Ferrari’s problems are not new, Stefano Domenicali has left the team as his failure to lead the team to a championship since 2008  is unacceptable given the money spent and talent at his disposal.

Their problem is clearly not drivers speed, with Alonso and now Raikkonen they have two world champions, potentially the best line up on the grid. Two proven race winners who knows what it takes to win.

However the team excelled in the days of unlimited track testing and unlimited spending; they invested heavily in their own test track & facilities. With unlimited backing from their tyre suppler who built tyres just to suit them and all day and niight to test them, how could they not build winning machinery! Other teams could only dream and invested in their own alternative systems including innovative tyre modelling software / CFD and simulators.

Since the bans on testing for cost control, Ferrari have clearly struggled to get up to speed with ‘new’ testing methods such as the simulator. They have also struggled aerodynamically for many years with wind tunnel issues however these were claimed to have been fixed. Is it possible that using CFD instead of track testing is also hampering them as they're systems are just not as far advanced?

The team needs a top down management restructure, the team had clear guidance under Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and in Michael Schumacher, a driver who’s talent included rallying the best staff around him and motivating HIS team. Alonso and Raikkonen are not key motivators, I believe that is really showing. If anything Alonso is more downbeat when things aren't going his way and is quick to criticise the team, you hear him on the radio calling the team 'stupid' etc and know there is something lacking. If out of control, the Spanish, passionate temperament probably is less suited to the style of being a driver but also a motivator for the team.  This is not constructive for a team that is crying out for motivation and leadership.

Ferrari have the money, they have some great staff and facilities. But they need to build better cars for fear of losing their star driving talent. however one thing is for sure, Luca Di Montezemelo slagging off the sport as a whole is now not taking the world's eyes off of the poor job his team is doing and their failure to build a consistent challenge at the front of the field.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

McLaren Enhance partnership with Gillette


WOKING, SURREY, UK – 14th April 2014 - Gillette, the world’s leading male grooming brand, is enhancing its collaboration with McLaren Mercedes, one of the most prestigious and successful teams in F1 history. The two brands are extending their partnership to bring to life an innovative marketing campaign focused on Precision Engineering.

The partnership covers the Europe, Middle East and Africa. Gillette and McLaren, which share an ethos of innovation and precision engineering, are coming together for an exciting new marketing campaign emphasising the ways the two brands push boundaries of technology. With this partnership, the male shaving category will move up a gear.

As the ultimate male grooming and high-technology experts, Gillette and McLaren constantly innovate to achieve greater precision and enhanced performance. Ultimate precision technology and a passion for winning are deeply encoded in the DNA of both brands. Gillette and McLaren lead engineering refinement, whether that’s seen in developing blades thinner than a wave length of light, or engineering car components that are accurate tolerances of a fraction of a human hair.

Gillette ushered in the era of modern shaving and for 110 years constantly reinvented the shaving category. McLaren pioneered the first carbon fibre chassis in Formula 1 and introduced advanced electronic systems leading to decades of ground-breaking achievements on the track.

This passion for the best will be further leveraged through a pioneering sports marketing campaign that aims to reach and inspire millions of men with cutting edge communication behind TV, Digital, PR and In-store programs. McLaren Mercedes F1 drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen will engage men’s passion for Formula 1 and thrill the millions that enjoy Gillette grooming expertise and superior technology day in, day out.

Eric Boullier, Racing Director at McLaren Mercedes, said: “It is very exciting to be able to announce a new partnership between McLaren Mercedes and Gillette.  Gillette is synonymous with precision engineering and with innovation. These are values we hold dear at McLaren as we strive to deliver world beating performance. The fact that a global brand, of the stature of Gillette, has chosen to engage in a major multi-national partnership with McLaren Mercedes is also a reflection of the strength of our brand and our ability to reach millions of avid motorsport fans around the world.”

“Gillette has a rich heritage of making men feel and be at their best. We stand for excellence in shaving. We couldn’t think of any partner that shares those values more than McLaren Mercedes”, commented Hossam Ashour, Gillette Europe, the Middle East and Africa Shave Care Vice President. “For more than 40 years McLaren has innovated in superior engineering and performance. This makes them the ideal partner to demonstrate our belief in the importance of the precision when it comes to shaving.”

Like McLaren Mercedes, its Official Partner, Gillette has always applied immaculate detail to every one of its own innovations; engineering and refining products down to the microscopic razor’s edge. It is this precision that gives 800 million men across the globe the edge; shaving performance that makes them look, feel and perform at their best. With years of technological and product innovation of this calibre, Gillette has created its most advanced razor ever – as seen in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide, a true advancement in shaving precision and performance.

RED BULL RACING - APPEAL STATEMENT

TEAM STATEMENT - APPEAL
April 15, 2014
 
Infiniti Red Bull Racing accepts the ruling of the International Court of Appeal today.
We are of course disappointed by the outcome and would not have appealed if we didn't think we had a very strong case. We always believed we adhered to the technical regulations throughout the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. We are sorry for Daniel that he will not be awarded the 18 points from the event, which we think he deserved. We will continue to work very hard to amass as many points as possible for the team, Daniel and Sebastian throughout the season.
We will now move on from this and concentrate on this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

Monday, 14 April 2014

More details on the new HAAS entry for 2015

More details emerged today regarding the Gene Haas Formula One project which was officially granted a
license on Friday.

The team is definitely going to be based in the USA in the new section of their current NASCAR base which is nearing completion. The team will also operate a European base for that part of the season as logistics during F1's summer months in Europe would be extremely hard flying back and forth to Calafornia.

The team has yet to choose an engine partner and is in advanced discussion with Dallara over the building of the first car. Gene Haas gave this interview to Autosport:

"We're not looking to start our own shop," Haas confirmed when asked by AUTOSPORT if he was looking for a partner to design and build a car for him. "We've had preliminary talks with Dallara and they're ready to go. They have a complete facility, they're experienced, [and] they've been involved in racing forever as far as I can remember.

"It would be insurmountable to say we going to figure out how to build a chassis by ourselves and hire all the people in nine months. We're going to have to compromise on what we do with construction of the car and acquire whatever we can. We want to learn We're not going to just go over there and say 'build us a chassis', we want to put people in there to learn the processes because ultimately our goal is to become a constructor Our [first] car is not going to be the Haas Formula car entirely, a lot of the technology will come from our partners to begin with. But we'll learn and figure it out and eventually the car will evolve into our own."

Haas also revealed that he has the option to defer the entry until 2016 if necessary as it is a very tight schedule to make it for 2015.

The motivation for the entry was also discussed with Haas revealing that the decision has been made to promote his machine tooling business which already has a good market share in the USA but he wants to grow globally, it was decided that the best way to achieve that would be to use Formula One.

The team will be called Haas Formula.


Domenicali Quits Ferrari!

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has today left the team releasing the following statement:

"There are special moments that come along in everyone’s professional life, when one needs courage to take difficult and very agonising decisions,” said Domenicali. “It is time for a significant change. As the boss, I take responsibility, as I have always done, for our current situation. This decision has been taken with the aim of doing something to shake things up and for the good of this group of people that I feel very close to.

With all my heart, I thank all the men and women in the team, the drivers and the partners for the wonderful relationship we have enjoyed over all these years. I hope that very soon, Ferrari will be back where it deserves to be. My final words of thanks go to our President, for having always supported me and to all our fans. I only regret that we have been unable to harvest what we worked so hard to sow in recent years.”

Domenicali joined Ferrari immediately after graduation from Bologna University, where he was studying business in 1991, Between 1992 to 1994, he was race director at Mugello and was involved in MotoGP, DTM and other racing series. In 1995, he was appointed head of personnel in Ferrari's sporting department and was also involved with sponsorship liaison, before being promoted to Team Manager in December 1996.  He remained there till January 2001. After a brief stint as Logistics Manager became the team's Sporting Director in 2002. On November 12, 2007 Ferrari announced Domenicali would take on the role of Director of the Ferrari Formula One team, a position previously held by the now FIA president Jean Todt, He then was given the title of Team Principal in 2008.

Under his leadership, Ferrari won the 2008 Constructors' Championship and missed out on the drivers championship by a single point with Felipe Massa, Then the team endured a less competitive 2009 season in which the team won only a single race. In 2010, the team won five races and finished third in the Constructors' Championship, behind Red Bull and McLaren. In 2011 Alonso finish fourth in the championship table, two places ahead of Massa in sixth. Then the 2012 season, which saw Fernando Alonso just missing out on the title, despite having a largely uncompetitive car  Ferrari claimed three Grand Prix victories and placed second in both the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships. 2013 saw Alonso take two wins early in the season as the team dropped off the leading pace as the year went on, switching focus to the challenging 2014 rule changes.

This year the team has endured a difficult start to the campaign despite having one of the best driver line-ups on the grid and having the huge benefit of manufacturing their own power units in house.

Speculation regarding Domenicali's position has been rife in recent months due to the team not challenging consistently at the top of the championship.

Ferrari later released a statement regarding his successor:

Maranello, 14 April 2014 –Ferrari announces that, as from today, it has appointed Marco Mattiacci, current President and CEO of Ferrari North America, as the new head of the Gestione Sportiva.

Marco Mattiacci is a long time Ferrari employee working in the road car division in Asia and the USA and has never worked for Ferrari's racing business.


Friday, 11 April 2014

Gene Haas has entry accepted for 2015

Gene Haas Today released a brief statement saying:
"Obviously, we’re extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA. It’s an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula One. Now, the really hard work begins. It’s a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid.
I want to thank the FIA for this opportunity and the diligence everyone put forth to see our license application come to fruition."

In January, Haas revealed his intention to enter F1, while it subsequently emerged that Colin Kolles, former team boss at Midland and its descendants, as well as HRT, is involved in a bid, Forza Rossa, funded by a Romanian consortium along with a third bid from Zoran Stefanovic of Stefan GP fame.

Ecclestone confirmed in an interview with SkyF1's Martin Brundle that not only would Haas' bid get the green light from the FIA but that another team - thought to be that led by Kolles called FORZA ROSSA- would also get approval.

Officially confirming the news, the FIA, following a meeting of its World Motor Sport Council, said: "In close consultation with the CRH (Commercial Rights holder), the FIA has accepted the candidature of Haas Formula LLC and are in the process of conducting further investigations for Forza Rossa".

Haas Automation, which was founded in 1983, is understood to be the largest CNC machine tool builder in the world, while he also founded the Windshear rolling-road wind tunnel, the world’s first commercially available, full-scale, rolling-road wind tunnel.

The new comes just in time for Haas, who initially is understood to be looking to use Ferrari technology, albeit coupled with a Dallara built chassis.
"We needed to know about two months ago," he told the the press at the weekend. "If Mr Ecclestone says that we’re accepted and the FIA issues us some kind of notice in the next few weeks, then we can entertain 2015. But if we lose another month, I don’t think we could do it."

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Gatorade becomes official supplier to Sahara Force India

Sahara Force India is delighted to announce Gatorade UK, the sports performance nutrition specialists, as an official supplier of the team.

Gatorade was first developed in 1965 by researchers at the University of Florida to replenish fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes that athletes lose in sweat during athletic competitions. By linking up with the Sahara Force India Formula One team, Gatorade’s product range will be put to the test at the pinnacle of motorsport with the task of keeping the drivers, mechanics and engineers performing at their peak.

Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer of Sahara Force India: “To be successful in Formula One, you have to optimise every area of the team, especially human performance. That’s why our relationship with Gatorade is an important step for Sahara Force India and we look forward to benefiting from their expertise as a leading sports fuel supplier. Thanks to Gatorade’s wide range of products, we can provide all team members with the proper hydration and nutrition to help them perform.”

Gatorade UK Marketing Manager Alex Armstrong said: “We are extremely pleased to join up with Sahara Force India and are looking forward to an exciting first season working together. Their recent podium in Bahrain shows the team is ready for even greater success and, in Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, they have one of the most exciting driver partnerships on the grid. We wish them both every success in 2014.”

About Gatorade
The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), provides sports performance innovations designed to meet the needs of athletes at all competitive levels and across a broad range of sports. Backed by more than a 40 year history of studying the best athletes in the world and grounded in years of hydration and sports nutrition research at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, Gatorade provides scientifically formulated products to meet the sports fuelling needs of athletes. The company’s product portfolio is built around a 1-2-3 approach to athlete nutrition and hydration before, during and after training or competition. For more information and a full list of products, please visit: www.gatorade.co.uk

From the Sahara Force India Press Office