Friday, 12 December 2014

2014 In Review - Part 1 - The Drivers

Part one of my season review focusses on the in-car heroes, our drivers who've fought with
everything they've got to prove that they are the best. Each driver is scored out of 10 G's (Gawne Points) for those who listen to my radio show :)

Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes
GBR | Championship Position 1st

World Champion of 2014 with 11 wins really does tell a big part of the story of this year. Lewis has been in devastating form on sunday afternoons getting the better of his team mate on multiple occasions, often when starting behind. Lewis has defied expectation as being the driver consistently driving within the limits of the fuel use, tyre wear and getting the best out of the new regulations for the year. He has shown that he isnt just the hard core racer we all know and love to watch, but an intelligent, humble and more measured competitor. Only marked down from a full score due to his sometimes lacklustre performances on a saturday afternoon.

SCORE| 9.5G's out of 10

Nico Rosberg | Mercedes
GER | Championship Position 2nd
Our championship runner up this year has provided us with a fantastic battle which has gone down to the wire and the final showdown in Abu Dhabi. Nico deserves a lot of credit for proving that he can match Hamilton and beat him, especially in qualifying where many would put Hamilton down as the quickest driver over one lap. Yes there were questionable moments in Monaco Qualy and the Belgian race but all in all Nico Rosberg has proved he is one tough competitor and a worthy challenger for the title,

SCORE | 8G's out of 10

Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull Racing
AUS | Championship Position 3rd

Daniel was the new boy in the world champions team, but he came and wiped the floor with his four time champion team mate. The only winner not driving the Mercedes, Daniel has really come of age in 2014. He has thrilled us with his defiant overtaking and his stunning racecraft. Very much one of the stand out performers of the year. In fact many drivers would have been destroyed by the highs and crushing lows of the fuel flow issues in Melbourne, but Dan never let anything get to him and continued to push relentlessly and has earned his position of team leader for 2015.

SCORE | 9G's out of 10

Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull Racing
GER | Championship Position 5th

After four consecutive world titles, Sebastian really came back down to earth with a bang. He struggled to get a grip on the new regulations which meant that the car wasn't as well suited to his driving style. Sorely missing the blown diffuser and mid corner downforce that had propelled him to the crown last year. Sadly as the season drew on, the void between Seb and his team mate grew, and Vettel realised he'd have to move on to improve peoples perception of him. So Vettel had a tough last year with the team that have given him so much, the occasional petulance let him down but hopefully with a new challenge in '15 we'll see a rejuvenated seb

SCORE | 5G's out of 10

Valterri Bottas | Williams
FIN | Championship Position 4th

A stand out year for the young Fin, With multiple visits to the podium, making the most of the neat Williams package he was given. His racecraft is great to see and surely we are witnessing the first steps of a future champion. Valterri comprehensively beat his much more experienced team mate and should be very proud of his year.

SCORE | 8.5G's out of 10

Felipe Massa | Williams
BRA | Championship Position 7th

After so long at Ferrari, it was great to see Felipe getting a chance to show that he has not lost his speed or racecraft, and that all he needed was a chance to be given equal machinery and a chance to step out of his team mates shadow. Whilst Felipe didnt have the greatest year, he certainly proved to be a safe pair of hands. he certainly had more of his share of bad luck and did end up getting caught in some silly incidents, without these the gap to his young team mate would have been much much smaller.

SCORE | 6.5G's out of 10

Fernando Alonso | Ferrari
SPA | Championship Position 6th

Put simply, the Ferrari was a bad car, It was never looked like it could even be developed into a challenger but as usual, the ever consistent Fernando Alonso managed to hustle the car into places it frankly shouldn't have been. He dominated his team mate again and has made us all desire to see him in a competitive car. His internal battle with the Ferrari team hierarchy which eventually sealed his departure has marred what would have gone down as another battling year for Fernando.

SCORE | 7.5G's out of 10

Kimi Raikkonen | Ferrari
FIN | Championship Position 12th

Kimi has has a bad year. The Ferrari was poor, and it was an even poorer car in his hands as it was never developed for his driving style. As the season grew old he closed on his team mates performance, but this has to go down as a learning year to start his second tenure at Ferrari

SCORE | 5G's out of 10

Jenson Button | McLaren
GBR | Championship Position 8th

Jenson actually had quite a good year considering the pace of the car he was given. He dominated his team mate in the points tally and his racecraft proved to be impeccable as always and as Fernando at Ferrari managed to drag the car into positions it really shouldn't have been in. Jenson deserves a lot of credit as it is his hard work that has kept McLaren ahead of Force India in the constructors championship and earned the team a big difference in prize money.

SCORE | 7.5G's out of 10

Kevin Magnussen | McLaren
DNK | Championship Position 11th

Kevin had an OK season as a rookie, he made everyone take notice with a fantastic first GP in Australia but then seemed to struggle more and more as the season wore on. Of course he had a difficult car and when the car worked he invariably did well. Kevin lost out to Jenson on racecraft which is where the points difference between him and his team mate was created. As a rookie, with all of the pressure of coming into such a big team he equipped himself well and shouldn't be ashamed of a great effort. More in car learning required so its sad that he wont be in the race seat next year.

SCORE | 6.5G's out of 10

Sergio Perez | Force India
MEX | Championship Position 10th

Lost out in the points table to his team mate due to a lack of inconsistency and some bad luck. Sergio had a better year than his previous one in the McLaren and had flashes of brilliance such as his podium in Bahrain. Deserves another year in the sport and has got a good opportunity next year with Force India. He will however need to run his team mate a lot closer to prove his long term worth.

SCORE | 5G's out of 10

Nico Hulkenburg | Force India
GER | Championship Position 9th

Made the most of the Mercedes power and had a very good year. He beat his team mate fairly comprehensively and once again put himself in the shop window. Sadly never getting the opportunity (after discussions with Ferrari). Of course you have to wonder how many chances he will get but he thoroughly deserves to be in a top team. However if Force India keep improving like they did this year, he could well find himself a little closer to the sharp end of the field.

SCORE | 6G's out of 10

Jean-Eric Vergne | Toro Rosso
FRA | Championship Position 13th

Jean-Eric has had quite an interesting year, he needed to bounce back after being overlooked for the Red Bull seat, and he did so fairly well. Blighted by reliability issues he managed to pull out some good results and consistently beat his team mate. The Frenchman must wonder what he has done wrong as he was then overlooked again for promotion to the big team as his rookie team mate Kvyat got the nod. A fighting finish to the year ensured he stayed in contention to keep his seat but then the young driver programme spat him out as it has many drivers in the past. It'll be interesting to see if Toro Rosso made the right decision when they field two rookies in Australia 2015.

SCORE | 6G's out of 10

Danil Kvyat | Toro Rosso
RUS | Championship Position 15th

A great rookie year for the young Russian including a spectacular qualifying performance on home soil. Didn't do enough to beat his team mate but managed to show enough potential to get the call up to replace Ferrari bound Vettel in the big sister team. his hard work and flair certainly impressed many. Danil didnt really struggle to get used to F1 and all in all had a very impressive year.

SCORE | 7G's out of 10

Romain Grosjean | Lotus
FRA | Championship Position 14th

Lotus provided Romain with a very poor car this year,  starting late and hampered by the Renault power train issues there was very little chance to debug and prepare the car for the season opener. Romain however kept his head and worked hard. In the end he scored the majority of the teams points with two 8th place finishes in Spain and Monaco.

SCORE | 6G's out of 10

Pastor Maldonado | Lotus
VEN | Championship Position 16th

With the poor Lotus it was always going to be a tough year for the team. Pastor struggled with the car more than his team mate and had quite a few more incidents. His only real highlight of the year was the two points he scored in Austin. A year to forget for Pastor, and the team.

SCORE | 3G's out of 10

Adrian Sutil | Sauber
GER | Championship Position 18th

Sauber's first pointless season. Adrian had a poor year and looked to struggle with the car at every event. Of course the car was bad and the engine was underpowered but there was just no inspiration from the German. Personally I wasn't surprised that he has been replaced for 2015, my only surprise is that both Sauber drivers made it through the whole season.

SCORE | 2.5G's out of 10

Esteban Gutierrez | Sauber
MEX | Championship Position 20th

As with Sutil, he didn't have the machinery to show his worth but didn't inspire confidence either. Esteban is a likeable chap but sadly he just didn't perform.

SCORE | 2.5G's out of 10

Jules Bianchi | Marussia
FRA | Championship Position 17th

This is the difficult part of the review. Jules had a great year prior to his accident and scored heroic points at Monaco which catapulted the team to 9th in the constructors championship, a place they'd subsequently keep until the end of the year. Jules showed every bit his promise as a future star however sadly his tragic accident is the headline event of the season. #ForzeJules

SCORE | 8G's out of 10

Max Chilton | Marussia
GBR | Championship Position 21st

Max never quite had the measure of his team mate but drove well (barring Canada) and did very well to keep his head against the backdrop of financial turmoil. After Jules' accident Max bravely drove the Russian GP. Deserves a shot in a midfield team to see how he'd in the closer pack.

SCORE | 6G's out of 10

Kamui Kobayashi | Caterham
JAP | Championship Position 22nd

Kamui was overtaking in the pit lane in the first test showing his character and what we'd missed whilst he was away. Sadly we didn't see that much flair in the races as the Caterham was so slow it was right at the back with mostly only his team mate to beat, which he did easily I should add. Not a classic year for Kamui but he was faster than his team mates!

SCORE | 5G's out of 10

Marcus Ericsson | Caterham
SWE | Championship Position 19th

Not a great debut year for young Marcus. He struggled badly to get used to the Caterham and we only saw his true colours for his last few races with the team. In the grand scheme of things its easy to look back at how much slower he was against Kobayashi and then Lotterer, However it's clear to see he was only just finding his feet when the rug was pulled from underneath him. We can't really judge him fully until we've seen how he does against Nasr in the Sauber in 2015.

SCORE | 3G's out of 10

Andre Lotterer | Caterham
GER | Championship Position 24th

Showed a good account of himself considering his relative inexperience.

SCORE | 4G's out of 10

Will Stevens | Caterham
GBR | Championship Position 23rd

A great debut amongst difficult circumstances. Deserves a chance to prove his ability.

SCORE | 4.5G's out of 10


Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Official Mclaren Driver Announcement

On Wednesday the 10th of December, I got a message from a friend inside McLaren telling me that Jenson Button was to remain with McLaren for the 2015 season partnering the returning Fernando Alonso. On Thursday, McLaren released the following statement:



McLaren-Honda prepares for 2015: laying the foundations for future domination

McLaren-Honda is delighted to announce its new driver line-up for 2015: Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Kevin Magnussen will remain an important part of the team, as test and reserve driver.

All three men will play crucial roles in re-establishing the ascendancy of one of global sport’s most iconic unions, for McLaren and Honda have already formed one of the most dominant partnerships in motorsport history: Honda broke new ground in the 1980s by creating a turbocharged engine that was unparalleled in both its output and its efficiency, and, between 1988 and 1992, McLaren-Honda won eight world championships and 44 grands prix, and took 53 pole positions and set 30 fastest laps, all in just 80 grands prix.

In 1988, the partnership created arguably the single most successful Formula 1 car of all time: the all-conquering McLaren-Honda MP4/4, which was driven to victory by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in an amazing 15 of the season’s 16 grands prix.

The lure presented by those same goals has once again brought the legendary Japanese corporation back to the pinnacle of global motor racing; and, again, that company, Honda, is developing its revolutionary new turbocharged engine at its all-new purpose-built state-of-the-art motorsport facility in Sakura, Japan.

It is against that backdrop that McLaren and Honda are now committing to rebuilding afresh the strongest possible partnership in Formula 1.

The aforementioned Ayrton Senna, in the opinion of many the greatest driver in the history of our sport, won 30 of the 44 grands prix that McLaren and Honda annexed together between 1988 and 1992. Ayrton once said: “We do not need myths. We need examples to be followed – examples of courage, determination and hope. We need to believe it is possible to win, and it is our duty to pursue that belief.”

Everyone at McLaren, and at Honda, agrees with every word of that inspirational remark, starting with our newly re-recruited driver, Fernando Alonso.

Fernando Alonso said:


“I have never hidden my deep admiration for Ayrton Senna, my favourite driver, my idol on track, my reference.

“I still remember, as a kid, the posters in my wardrobe, my toy cars in which I dreamed I would one day emulate Ayrton, and the kart that my father built for my older sister, and that I ended up falling in love with. That kart had the livery of one of the most legendary partnerships in the history of Formula 1, McLaren-Honda, the car that Ayrton drove, the same partnership to which I am now honoured to join, to take part in the next Formula 1 world championship.

“I am joining this project with enormous enthusiasm and determination, knowing that it may require some time to achieve the results we are aiming for, which is no problem for me.

“Over the past year I have received several offers, some of them really tempting, given the current performance of some of the teams that showed interest. But, more than a year ago, McLaren-Honda contacted me and asked me to take part, in a very active way, in the return of their partnership – a partnership that dominated the Formula 1 scene for so long.

“McLaren-Honda’s repeated and open desire, perseverance and determination in making it possible for me to join their exciting renewed partnership, have been some of the main factors that made me take this decision, not forgetting the most important factor of all: we share a common objective and expectations, and there is a very solid future, with confidence, ahead.

“I have had in-depth discussions with all the senior people at both McLaren and Honda, I have viewed their fantastic facilities in both the UK and Japan, and it is clear to me that, together, McLaren and Honda are in the process of beginning what is sure to be a long and successful partnership. And I intend to give 100% effort to help make it exactly that.

“Finally, I want to thank the persistence of those who have fought so hard for this to come true. I will do everything in my power to deliver for everyone and for our team, based on a formula that has always worked for me: effort, sacrifice, perseverance and faith.

“We have time, we have hopes and we have the necessary resources. Let the legend return: that is our challenge.”

Jenson Button said:


“I am extremely excited to be embarking on my 16th year in Formula 1 and my sixth season for McLaren.

“Like Fernando, I am certain that McLaren and Honda will achieve great things together, and I feel sure that, working together, all of us will pull incredibly hard to create a brilliantly effective winning team.

“I admired Ayrton Senna enormously, but, for me, it was the exploits of his McLaren-Honda team-mate Alain Prost that inspired me most as a boy. The way he stroked those beautifully brutal red-and-white cars to grand prix wins and world championships was to my mind poetry in motion, and I have tried to emulate his driving style ever since.

“Being a part of new-look McLaren-Honda is a wonderful opportunity for all of us, and I am very pleased to have been invited to do my bit. In fact, I am absolutely raring to go.

“I am also very glad that Kevin will remain part of the team. He is a very quick driver and a really nice guy.

“Looking forward, I know the Honda guys well, having driven Formula 1 cars powered by their engines from 2003 to 2008. I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for them, and promise to give 100% to make their partnership with McLaren a success.

“Last but far from least, I am very much looking forward to having a driver as fast and as experienced as Fernando as my team-mate. I am sure we will work extremely well together.”

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

“I am absolutely delighted to be on the threshold of leading McLaren-Honda to a new era of partnership, and I speak on behalf of all at McLaren when I say that. I am equally confident that our colleagues at Honda share that determination and passion to win.

“As regards drivers, McLaren’s policy has always been to assemble the strongest line-up possible, and in Fernando and Jenson I firmly believe that is exactly what we have.

“We signed Fernando a little while ago, but we decided not to announce the fact until we had also re-signed Jenson as his team-mate. For many reasons our negotiations with Jenson took quite a long time, but, now that they have been concluded, we are confident that our collaboration with him will continue to thrive in the future every bit as well as it has in the past. Make no mistake about it, Jenson is 100% committed to McLaren-Honda, to Formula 1, and to winning.

“As a pair, he and Fernando are supremely experienced. Fernando has started 234 grands prix, has converted 32 of those starts to victories, has stood on a grand prix podium 97 times, and has won the drivers’ world championship not once but twice. He is a class act.

“He is 33 – which, for an athlete as physically fit as he is, constitutes a Formula 1 driver’s professional prime of life. Moreover, he is old enough to be experienced and expert, yet young enough to be enthusiastic and energetic. I therefore firmly believe he will deploy those four e’s – experience, expertise, enthusiasm and energy – to drive forward McLaren-Honda’s on-track success next season and for quite a few seasons to come.

“As for Jenson, at 34, he is every bit as fit as Fernando but even more experienced: he has started 266 grands prix, has won 15 of them, and has stood on a grand prix podium 50 times. He, too, is an ex-world champion, and is one of the smoothest and fastest guys out there.

“To sum up, Fernando and Jenson have started a combined total of precisely 500 grands prix between them – a mighty aggregate – and have won 47 of them.

“I can safely say, therefore, that we now have by an order of magnitude the best driver line-up of any current Formula 1 team.

“Finally, I want to thank and pay tribute to Kevin, who has done a great job this season and will continue to be an integral part of our team. He will be our test, reserve and third driver, and remains an excellent prospect for the future.”

Yasuhisa Arai (Senior Managing Officer, Honda R&D Co Ltd; Chief Officer of Motorsport, Honda) said:

“Our partnership with McLaren goes from strength to strength, and I am very excited to welcome as part of our Formula 1 team two great world champions, Fernando and Jenson. Yet the magnitude of the announcement is quickly bringing me back down to earth to focus harder and stronger on the seasons ahead.

“Kevin has shown remarkable growth in the 2014 season, and we are delighted to continue working with him throughout 2015 and beyond; we are certain there is much more to come.

“Honda is dedicated to speeding up the development of the power unit based on the learnings of the recent Abu Dhabi test.

“Working together with these very experienced drivers, we will fine-tune and complete the power units to competitive perfection towards the new season.”

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

What to do when your not winning.....

Lotus F1 team haven't had the best year on track this year, amongs rumours of financial discontent and a late installation of their renault power unit, the team were arguably the slowest to get their head around the new regulations.

So what do you do when you have sponsors to please who aren't getting on the tellyboxes accross the world? you need to break out the ingenuity!

Firstly look at this music video from David Guetta - The song has reached a peak of no.5 in the Uk charts but has topped the chart in 12 countries and the video has had over 17 million views on youtube!


Also a couple of weeks ago a video of a Lotus truck 'jumping' over a Formula One car went viral on youtube gaining a further 9.7million views. You can watch this one here:


Both of these have potentially bought the newer 'digital generation's' eyeballs onto F1 machinery and have generated some great publicity for the sport and the team!

This is only the work of one team, Imagine the work that could be achieved if the FOM and the FIA worked together to promote the sport for the greater good in such ways. Imagine the marketing potential... Its such a shame that Bernie is too blinkered as to how we take the sport to the younger audience and generate a new fan base before the sport becomes out of touch and very "un-cool", and no-one really wants that.


Friday, 14 November 2014

CATERHAM F1 TEAM TO RACE IN ABU DHABI THANKS TO FUNDRAISING EFFORTS OF FANS

CATERHAM F1 TEAM TO RACE IN ABU DHABI THANKS TO FUNDRAISING EFFORTS OF FANS
 
Friday 14 November 2014

The Caterham F1 Team is delighted to announce that it will be racing at the final Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi next week thanks to the support of the fans, who have helped the team raise enough money to make it possible through Crowdcube, the world’s leading investment crowdfunding platform.

Finbarr O’Connell of Smith & Williamson, joint administrator of Caterham Sports Limited: “We set ourselves a major challenge, but it’s definitely been worth it! In only a week the fans have made the impossible, possible. We knew that the best way to keep this team alive and attract possible buyers was to show that it’s still a racing team and be in Abu Dhabi for the finale, and there aren’t enough words to say how grateful we are to all the fans that have made this possible.

“We now head to Abu Dhabi ready to show what a hard-working and positive group of people this is and to hopefully secure a future for the team.  During the past few days the interest of many potential buyers has increased massively and by racing in Abu Dhabi the team will be showcasing itself as a live and functioning team that deserves to continue into 2015 and beyond.  It has hard-working people, team spirit and experience and now it only needs a secure financial future which I’m very hopeful we can achieve.  Once again, I’d like to reiterate that we are racing in Abu Dhabi thanks to all the fans out there – an achievement that will go down in F1 history and one that we can all be very proud of. We still need to raise a bit more cash so please do keep an eye on the Crowdcube website. Let’s go racing!”

Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube: "We're thrilled to have helped get Caterham F1 Team on to the grid for the season finale in Abu Dhabi. It's fantastic that so many people have been inspired to support the team and crowdfund its return to Formula 1."

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Could Silly Season Get More Silly?

We talk a lot in F1 about Silly Season, for those not familiar with the term, its when all the talking takes place about who's going to which team to replace who etc etc etc.

This year the season is exceptional! We started off thinking that it was going to be fairly static as most of the key players had contracts that last until the end of 2015, but after a summer of discontent at Maranello, Ferrari called Fernando Alonso's bluff and signed Sebastian Vettel to partner Kimi Raikkonen in 2015. This has now left Fernando not holding all of the cards, and in some respects not being master of his own destiny.

As such where can the double world champion go? Well McLaren seems like the obvious choice with Honda wanting a 'star name' to bolster its return to the sport next year, but where is the guarantee that they'll be successful? Lets be honest, McLaren haven't built a great car for a good few years and have had more "off years" than most since his last stint at the team!

There is no secret that what Fernando really wants to be driving a Mercedes next year and is holding out for some fall out from the Hamilton / Rosberg war however that doesn't seem to be forthcoming. Of course had Ferrari not called his bluff, he could have sat out another year in red before going to Mercedes when Hamilton's contract ends for the 2016 season.

Another factor that could affect this story is the surprise signing of Felipe Nasr by Sauber. Because Felipe Massa's seat at Williams was negotiated in part by Bernie Ecclestone who was desperate to have a Brazillian on the books to keep the big money coming in from Brazilian TV. Now of course with Nasr at Sauber, Massa could well find himself in a less stable position. So  if your Mr Alonso, you want a competitive car and a Mercedes engine, where could be your best option? Williams of course, it almost makes sense doesn't it?

Of course it's fun to speculate and F1 never necessarily makes sense. But what of McLaren's very own World Champion Mr Jenson Button? Of course if Alonso doesn't want to return to McLaren then it would make sense for him to stay, or has the teams dithering cost them his loyalty? has Jenson now got his heart set on doing something else (such as professional triathlons or WEC racing?) mixed with some F1 media work? So this could leave McLaren with no world champion and no big name meaning they'd have to draw in the likes of Romain Grosjean to partner Kevin Magnussen??

So you see, no one really knows what is going to happen, when the music stops who'll be sat in what seat.. we must wait and see, but the intrigue is absolutely fascinating!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Sauber F1 Team announces Felipe Nasr as its driver for 2015 - Full Press Release

05.11.2014 - São Paulo. The Sauber F1 Team is pleased to announce Felipe Nasr as its driver for the 2015 season and Banco do Brasil as its partner. Felipe Nasr completes the driver line-up alongside Marcus Ericsson.

The 22-year-old Brazilian was the test and reserve driver for the Williams F1 Team this year. Felipe is also participating in the 2014 GP2 series, in which he is currently lying second with four wins. In 2011 he won the British Formula 3 championship and finished second in the prestigious Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix. In 2009 Felipe became Formula BMW Europe champion in his rookie year.

Banco do Brasil has been a partner of Felipe Nasr and has supported him for several years. Its logos will be visible on the side pods and at the back of the rear wing of the C34.


Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal:
“We have been following Felipe’s career path for some time now, and he fully deserves his position in Formula One having had a very successful career in junior categories. We are happy that he will be driving for our team next year. This means that Brazil will have one more young and talented driver in the sport. Banco do Brasil has been an important partner for Felipe so far, and we are delighted that such a renowned company is contuing to support him during this important step. We look forward to this partnership.”


Felipe Nasr:
“It is a very important step in my career to sign with the Sauber F1 Team for the 2015 Formula One World Championship. This is an unforgettable moment that I owe to all of those who have supported me - my family, my friends, my sponsors, my teams and my country. Today the dream has come true. Sauber was responsible for the arrival in F1 of great names such as Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel. I am proud now to also be part of this racing family. I had a wonderful year at Williams Martini, where I learned a lot and prepared myself to be a race driver in Formula One.”

Hayton Rocha, Marketing and Communications Director of Banco do Brasil, emphasises that the partnership consolidates the positioning of Banco do Brasil as the Brazilian bank that invests in most sports: "The main objective of this partnership is to make possible the entry of a new Brazilian driver into Formula One. A sport that has a faithful audience in our country. Banco do Brasil believes in the potential of Felipe Nasr, considered by the specialists to be the most promising Brazilian in motor racing since Ayrton Senna. Apart from that, it is an opportunity to create a connection between our brands and  symbolises our Brazilianness, modernity and technology."


About Banco do Brasil
Founded in 1808, Banco do Brasil is established as a private, mixed-capital Corporation, whose controlling shareholder is the Brazilian government. Latin America’s largest financial institution in assets, reaching R$ 1,3 trillion in 2013, Banco do Brasil provides solutions, services and products in the banking, investment, asset management, pension plan, savings bond and payment means segments, among others, to its 61.4 million customers. Banco do Brasil has the largest in-house service network in Brazil among financial institutions. Abroad, the network consists of 49 of its own outlets located in 24 countries, in addition to 1,200 partner banks that function as correspondents in 134 countries.


Felipe Nasr - Bio
Date/Place of birth: 21st August 1992 / Brasília (BRA)
Nationality: Brazilian
Website: www.felipenasr.com
Height / Weight: 1.75 m / 64 kg

Career:
2014      Test and reserve driver Williams F1 Team
              Currently 2nd place GP2 series
2013      4th place GP2 series
2012      10th place GP2 series
2011      1st place British Formula 3
              2nd place GP Macau Formula 3
2010      5th place British Formula 3
2009      1st place Formula BMW Europe
2008      11th place Formula BMW Pacific
2004,     1st place Brazilian Kart Championship

Monday, 3 November 2014

How To Fix F1

There is a lot of talk in F1 about problems, Be it financial, sporting, connecting with fans, safety etc etc. The one thing we're not hearing a lot about is answers, proposals to solve the problems in F1, ways to move forward and prevent next year being all about politics, or the year after .....

Rule number one - Don't Fix what isn't broken!
Firstly, before we look at fixes, we should celebrate what isn't broken and ensure that these stay untouched with changes later on:

The Racing
The racing on track this year has been fantastic, some would call it a vintage year of on-track battles. Just look at the USGP last weekend, there was some fantastic wheel to wheel action all through the field, and that's without the fight for the lead between the two Mercedes drivers

The Power Unit's
Yes they're expensive and quieter, BUT, they are more fuel efficient, they allow for a new strategic element to racing with choosing when to harvest / deploy energy & when to use the most power. They are also the future of motoring, look at the exciting new road cars already using this technology. they have also encouraged at least one more engine manufacturer to the sport (namely Honda)

The Tyres
Pirelli haven't had enough credit this year. They have bought a good selection of tyres to most events giving us varying strategy options and multiple (but not crazy) pit stops. Also no tyres have gone pop & the extra set in qualifying has made sure that most drivers at least take part in Q3.


So what needs fixing and how?

Money
The de-facto number one issue with Formula One at the moment it Financial. With Caterham and Marussia in administration it certainly looks like a bleak picture, and there are two trains of thoughts with this:
1) If you can't afford to take part in F1, you shouldn't waste your time trying
2) Even small teams deserve to be in F1 and deserve help to stay there

whichever side of the fence you sit on its clear that things need to change. I personally sit somewhere in the middle. Firstly you shouldn't spend more than you have (basic business principal no.1) and you should be more prepared to take on a championship like F1.

The issue here is that the goalposts are too frequently changing. The new teams arrived with the new Budget cap of $40m, this never happened. They also had free tyres from Bridgestone and cheap-ish engines of $7-10m. Since then Pirelli charge for tyres and of course the engines have increased to more like $35-40 per year. This is not a sustainable increase. Imagine signing a 6 month rental contract on a house for £500 per month, to then move on and be told that actually its going to be £700 but then again in month 2 being told its actually got to become £950 etc etc, you wouldn't stand for it would you?

The sport earns $1.8bn (roughly) per year, and only dishes out $900m in prize money, split between the teams. Ferrari also get a 5% bonus (of the $1.8bn) just for being Ferrari. The big teams are never going to give up their commercial deals, but if a new deal was to be negotiated it should certainly be more equitable. All teams should get the same 'turn up bonus' and of course prize money should be transparent.

The easy fix within the current agreements and constraints is to control some costs. Perhaps F1 should share some of its pie with the engine manufacturers. Give all of the engine manufacturers $50m in exchange that they have to supply PU's for $10m per year to anyone who wants one. This immediately impacts budgets and makes F1 more affordable, it'll also entice engine manufacturers to the sport if they are going to be paid to turn up and build an engine. Tyres should also be supplied Free of charge in exchange for more mandated sponsorship.

Positive PR
Lets stop dragging F1 through the mud! Bernie keeps putting the sport down and making it look ridiculous in front of the public - crazy for the promoter and rights owner! Drivers and team owners also need to take a long hard look at themselves as the public face of F1 needs to be promoting the brand and the amazing advances in technology in which F1 is having a great impact. How can we expect more fans to arrive when the product is being so publicly trashed by those at the top?

Interactivity
One of the biggest criticism's of F1 this year is that F1 doesn't do anything to interact with the audience or move in the 'new media' circles. F1 of course needs to be bought out of its shell and into this new world of interactivity and 'content' in order to entice younger viewers who spend more time on social media than in front of the TV watching sport.

Once again this is a fairly easy fix, F1 should send an official social corresponding to each event, tweeting behind the scenes pictures of the world's fastest sport., perhaps getting scoops from the stewards office and info from behind the wall in which TV just can't go. Guaranteed to get followers and provide a revenue stream as you can advertise your partners through twitter. This can include conversations during the races and braking news in between events.

Content is also an important part of this, teaser video's and best bits should be on youtube on an official account to entice people into watching the races. Archived seasons should be available on
the F1 website for a small fee (oh and youtube video's can easily be monetised too!!)

Points
Whilst i'm not totally against double points, Most people are, so they should probably be ditched or replaced with two races on the final weekend so double the opportunity to score. At least making it slightly fairer for whoever loses out on the double points!

Points should also be increased to award for every finisher, This will give the fight at the back a lot more interest and will make a lot more sense to the casual viewer rather than trying to work out who has the most 13th places etc..

Drivers not heroes? 
Personally I don't really buy this, as I understand how fit you have to be, mentally and physically to be able to wrangle the best out of modern F1 car. However a casual viewer may not appreciate the fitness level required, or how much thinking has to go on behind the ever complicated steering wheel of an F1 car.

Whilst the team radio ban helps slightly as we don't get blatant on-air driver coaching any more, this needs to not go to far as the F1 team radio can be highly entertaining and does help to narrate the story of the race in some cases.

So the answer here is to be more open about how hard it is to drive these cars, maybe make them even harder to drive and get rid of audio gear change beeps as surely they're pretty much cheating right?

Penalties
Whilst the introduction of penalty points and the 5sec stop go penalty have really helped this year, the stewards are having a crisis in terms of consistency. Why is driving off the track punished at some tracks but not others etc etc. this is serious as it does undermine some great racing at times. Also more incidents need to be investigated during the race, rather than adjusting results and applying retrospective penalties as its tough to explain why things have changed a few hours after everyone has turned the TV off.

Whilst not an extensive list I feel that we've touched on some issued that desperately need fixing and easy ways in which to do so! F1 is not in crisis, there is plenty of amazing action to discuss, but some fundamental tinkering needs to be done behind the scenes in order to increase the potential of this amazing sport, make the sport fairer and move the sport into the future. Now, someone get Bernie on the phone, its time to talk common sense.