Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Fernando Alonso: a medical update (From the McLaren Honda Press Office)

Having performed an exhaustive series of tests and scans – some of them as recently as yesterday evening – McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso's doctors have informed him that they find him asymptomatic of any medical issue; that they see no evidence whatsoever of any injury; and that they therefore describe him as entirely healthy from neurological and cardiac perspectives alike.

However, Fernando's doctors have recommended to him that, following the concussion he sustained in a testing accident at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 22nd, for the time being he should seek to limit as far as is possible any environmental risk factors that could potentially result in his sustaining another concussion so soon after his previous one, so as to minimise the chances of second impact syndrome, as is normal medical procedure when treating athletes after concussions.

In order to limit those environmental risk factors, specifically, his doctors have advised that he should not compete in the imminent Australian Grand Prix meeting, which will take place on March 13th, 14th and 15th.

Fernando has understood and accepted that advice, and the two McLaren-Honda cars will therefore be driven in Australia by Fernando's team-mate Jenson Button and the team's test and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen.  

Fernando's doctors acknowledge that he feels fit and well, and that he regards himself as ready to race, and, that being the case, they are comfortable with the fact that he has already recommenced physical training, with a view to preparing for a return to the cockpit of his McLaren-Honda car for the Malaysian Grand Prix meeting on March 27th, 28th and 29th. Indeed, his doctors are supportive of that ambition, satisfied as they are that he sustained no damage whatsoever during his testing accident on February 22nd.

All at McLaren-Honda fully support Fernando's decision in respect of his doctors' advice.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A Statement from McLaren Honda Regarding Fernando Alonso

Today at 12:35 CET, while testing at the Circuit de Catalunya (Barcelona), during the fourth and final day of the current test, Fernando Alonso's McLaren-Honda car left the track at Turn Three, causing the right-hand side of his car to strike the wall.
Fernando was driven to the circuit's Medical Centre where the circuit's doctors gave him first aid.
He was conscious and spoke with the doctors.

However, as per usual procedure in such circumstances, he was then airlifted to hospital where he is undergoing precautionary checks.
We will issue a further update in due course.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Some latest #F1 headlines

So Ferrari launched a concept F1 car render, which they feel would make the sport more exciting. It got them some sponsor exposure as the pictures were shared and got tongues wagging, however it'll never happen as F1 engineers are employed to trim the fat and create cars that generate the most downforce, so unless the rules are going to be completely re-written to create more aesthetically pleasing cars, engineers aren't going to be adding the wings and styling for no aero gain.

The pictures are here:

The FIA have decreed that no driver shall be allowed to change their helmet design during the season, which seems like a bit of a strange rule. Yes it wasnt as easy to spot a driver when helmets changed every week, but is it really the biggest issue that F1 faces?

The F1 strategy group have ruled against making any knee-jerk reaction rule changes for 2016 to create 'more exciting looking cars'. These rules will now be refined and worked on for a potential 2017 introduction. These include larger rear tyres, A wider car, 1000 horse power engines etc etc.

Manor (Nee Marussia / Nee Virgin racing) has vowed to make it to the grid this year, the FIA has given them leeway in terms of holding the entry list open for as long as possible, however they would need to create 2015 spec cars in time for the Bahrain GP at the very latest (as they are allowed to miss the first three races under the same rule that saw them miss the last three of 2014) Fingers crossed!

F1 #HappyTesting Full Driver Line-up!

Testing resumes tomorrow, with four days at Barcelona's Catalunya circuit. Expect more updates on the cars, a 2014 Force India and more times that are difficult to read into! Of course all updates can be found by following @MSportXtra on twitter and following the #tag #HappyTesting.

We are expecting to maybe see some more variations on the nose design, as the teams move away from the 'safe' launch option to converge on the best aero profile, Red Bull have already hinted as much. We are also expecting some tweaks to the Sauber livery (with a yellow 'swoosh' on the nose).

A lot of eyes will be on the back of the McLaren to see if the 2014 suspension concept reappears and of course if their Honda can get out of the garage and turn some serious mileage.

The schedule is as follows:

Thursday 19th
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton
Red Bull Racing:  Daniel Ricciardo
Williams: Susie Wolff
Ferrari: Kimi Raikkonen
McLaren: Jenson Button
Force India: Pascal Wehrlein
Toro Rosso: Max Verstappen
Lotus: Pastor Maldonado
Sauber: Felipe Nasr

Friday 20th
Mercedes: Nico Rosberg
Red Bull Racing: Daniel Ricciardo
Williams: Valtteri Bottas
Ferrari: Kimi Raikkonen
McLaren: Jenson Button
Force India: Sergio Perez
Toro Rosso: Carlos Sainz Jnr
Lotus: Jolyon Palmer
Sauber: Marcus Ericcsson

Saturday 21st
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton
Red Bull Racing: Daniil Kvyat
Williams: Felipe Massa
Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel
McLaren: Fernando Alonso
Force India: Pascal Wehrlein
Toro Rosso: Max Verstappen
Lotus: Pastor Maldonado
Sauber: Marcus Ericcsson

Sunday 22nd
Mercedes: Nico Rosberg
Red Bull Racing: Daniil Kvyat
Williams: Felipe Massa/Valtteri Bottas
Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel
McLaren: Fernando Alonso
Force India: Nico Hulkenburg
Toro Rosso: Carlos Sainz Jnr
Lotus: Romain Grosjean
Sauber: Felipe Nasr

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Could Force India's future be linked to a vote on Marussia / Manor today?

Just a quick thought...

We all know that Force India are struggling financially, they've made no secret of this fact especially after last years USGP boycott row. The failure of their 2015 car to turn up at the first test in Jerez and now in Barcelona for the second test has certainly set tongues wagging over whether they can afford to compete. The team of course have publicly denied such issues and claimed that the delays are due to suppliers.. but one has to wonder if a delay to suppliers being paid has led to a delay in deliveries of said parts.

Now today there is a strategy group meeting in which the opportunity for the Manor F1 team to race 2014 Marussia's for the 2014 season to allow them to compete, this would also then have to apply to the rest of the grid, as you can't have one rule for one and not the others.

As such could Force India be waiting for a vote so they can race in their 2014 cars? Could they be looking to save the money to stay afloat?

As I said.. Just a thought but you never know..

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Red Bull's RB11 Pictures and Full Press Release


After an intensely busy off-season, Infiniti Red Bull’s Racing’s 2015 Formula One car, the RB11, has hit the track and begun testing at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain ahead of the new season.

Featuring a striking new test livery, the RB11 features a host of improvements in all areas as the team seeks to improve on its 2014 campaign, when it took the RB10 from a difficult start to second place in the Constructors’ Championship. The most notable shape change to this year’s car is the lower nose box and front of the chassis, which were amended in line with the latest regulations, but beyond that many of the RB11’s updates are under its all–new black and white skin.


Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey said: “The design of the RB11 has been very much about understanding what we learned from last season, which was a big regulation change as far as the power unit is concerned and the packaging that goes with that and setting about optimising the car from those lessons.”

Chief Engineering Officer Rob Marshall added: “There are some changes that affect the shape of the front of the car but beyond that most of the changes are under the skin. We’ve identified the areas where we can make improvements and we’ve worked hard on these. There won’t be a lot that’s visible to the naked eye but a lot of hard work has gone into the bits that are hidden.”

A large part of that work has involved improvements to Renault Sport’s Energy F1 power unit, updates that have been made in closer collaboration with the team.

“The relationship with Renault is a lot closer now,” says Team Principal Christian Horner of the team’s technical ties with the French manufacturer. “Red Bull is the only partner for Renault now, through ourselves and Toro Rosso, and that focus from Renault together with a close involvement with our design team is yielding good results and a far closer integration between the power unit and the chassis side. Working in unison with Renault we can really make some big steps forward this year.”

Newey adds that the process of reducing the deficit the team suffered last year will take time. “We have been working very hard with our partners Renault to help them develop the engine,” he says. “What we have to remember is that the internal combustion engine and its very complicated associated items, the ERS and turbocharger, are long lead time items. Those are things where if one team takes an advantage then it takes time to overthrow that or get back on a par with or hopefully ahead.”


Christian Horner commented: “We’ve been pushing to the limit as usual. We had a very tight timescale for the car to be prepared in time for the first test, but that’s normal in this team.

If you’re not on the limit you’re not trying hard enough.”


The team’s 2015 challenge will be spearheaded by a new look Red Bull driver line-up, introduced last week at the team’s #OnBoard event, with Daniil Kvyat joining Daniel Ricciardo at the wheel of the RB11.

“It’s an exciting and dynamic line-up,” says Christian. “We know the quality of Daniel following his performances last year and in Daniil we have an outstanding talent. The speed, commitment and determination he demonstrated were all the qualities we’re looking for.

“We’ve already seen what Daniel is capable of and we firmly believe that Dany has all the same attributes,” he adds. “They’re young, hungry, they’re incredibly quick and I think they are going to push each other very hard throughout the year.”

For drivers Ricciardo and Kvyat the brief two-month wait for a return to the cockpit is over and a first taste of the RB11’s potential awaits.

“I’m looking forward to driving the RB11 and I’m hanging out to get behind the wheel again. I hope it’s going to be a beast. We’ll soon find out,” says Daniel.

“There was plenty of pressure on me last year to prove myself in a top team and I think everyone knows now what I’m capable of so I’m excited – excited to build on what we achieved in 2014 and ready to give Mercedes a good fight.”

“It’s going to be very exciting to drive an Infiniti Red Bull Racing car for the first time for me,” adds Daniil. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and I’m really looking forward to finally getting into the car. It’s going to be cool.

“Though many people in the team know me quite well, there is still the challenge of entering a new team for myself. However, I haven’t really set any targets for 2015. I just want to keep doing the best job possible with hard work and the right attitude and that’s the best thing I can do.”

On joining forces with Daniel for 2015, Kvyat added: “Me and Daniel have known each other for quite a long time, about five or six years from when I entered the Red Bull Junior Team. We have a good relationship and I hope to have a strong relationship based on healthy competition, which will push the team forward.”


The change in driver line-up behind the wheel has to a lesser degree also been mirrored in the team’s technical department. While Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey is still very much involved with the team, he divides his time between the team and Red Bull’s new Advanced Technologies division, a new technical group has been put in place to take the team forward.

“In anticipation of [Adrian’s dual role] we created a senior technology team, led by Rob Marshall, which is assuming some of the day-to-day responsibilities that Adrian previously held,” explains Horner. “However, Adrian still performs a very active role within that team and contributes on a daily and weekly basis.”

The Chief Technical Officer was still deeply involved in the conception of the RB11. “Although I’ve been slightly less hands on than previously, I was still very much involved in the layout of the car, the package, and really trying to eke every bit of performance out of it we can do, but very much working with the engineering team” says Newey.

That engineering team is headed by Rob Marshall, who previously held the post of Chief Designer. He now steps up to become Chief Engineering Officer. The group also features Head of Aerodynamics Dan Fallows, Chief Engineer, Car Engineering Paul Monaghan and Chief Engineer, Performance Engineering Pierre Waché.

Head of Aerodynamics Dan Fallows says: “Adrian has changed his role slightly and we’re now at the stage where we can be more self-sufficient. However, Adrian is still heavily involved. The reason the transition has been so good is that we’re all used to working the way Adrian works and we follow his philosophy. Therefore, when he does have an input into our discussions it feels very natural.”

Newey adds “I’m stepping back a bit, getting involved in other things, so that Formula One isn’t my sole focus. I will still be going to races and I will certainly be at the first race and at the pre-season tests, overseeing, guiding and mentoring and still trying to come up with some ideas of my own as well.”

The RB11 is the first product of this new process, with Newey heavily involved in the project, which has ultimately been delivered under the stewardship of the new technical group.

Christian concludes: “Our target is simple: to close down the gap to Mercedes yet further,” says Horner. “We were the only team other than Mercedes to win a grand prix in 2014 and we won three with Daniel Ricciardo. Our target is to close the gap down and put Mercedes under as much pressure as we possibly can. We know what we’re aiming at, we know what we need to achieve and I believe that with the RB11, with the drivers we have and with the new structures put in place we should be able to do that.”

Jerez F1 Testing Day One Selected Quotes & Pictures

Selected media quotes and photos from today's testing

1Sebastian VettelFerrari1m22.620s-60
2Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m22.777s0.157s73
3Nico RosbergMercedes1m23.106s0.486s157
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault1m23.338s0.718s35
5Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1m23.906s1.286s73
6Carlos Sainz Jr.Toro Rosso/Renault1m25.327s2.707s46
7Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda1m40.738s18.118s6

Nico Rosberg 
That was a great start to the winter testing. In the beginning it's all about reliability and we managed to do a lot of mileage today. The guys in the factories built a complete new car and now we come here and it's working great, so the team did a fantastic job over the winter. I was able to do some good long runs on the first day and that's really amazing. We have such a great team and this is what makes me really happy. As a driver, you always want to find out how quick you are compared to the others - but that will have to wait until qualifying in Melbourne. The next testing days are all about making sure we know the car inside out and we've made a good start with that today.

Valtteri Bottas
The day started off a bit slow, but it ended turned out to be a really good one. After that initial set-back we didn’t have a single issue with the FW37, which is impressive for the first day with a new car. We started off on shorter runs before longer runs later this afternoon, including one run that was significant considering again that it’s only the first day. The car was consistent, so it’s a really good start to the week and we are pleased that it’s still a step up from the car we had at the end of last season. We know we have a lot to learn and improve, but we also know where these gains can come from, and have work to do with the car performance and the power unit. There are a lot of strengths in this car and we’ve made good progress in just one day, so I am very pleased.

Daniel Ricciardo
We got going pretty well this morning and I got a few laps under my belt,” said Daniel. “So the first impressions are good. We’ll get a few more laps over the next few days, but so far everything seems pretty encouraging. I can feel a step forward. I won’t go into too much detail but it’s there. We didn’t do a whole lot of laps but definitely more than at this test last year! In general everything is behaving as it should. Obviously we had a couple of issues, but once the car is running it’s all going pretty normally. A good first day, there are some positive signs there.
The livery’s cool. It’s a testing specification for us but I think it looks really good. Maybe I need a matching helmet.

Marcus Ericsson
It was a very good day. First of all it was great to be back in the car after the winter break. I think we have good reasons to be happy. We were able to complete a lot of laps, and we went through quite a few different small tweeks on the set-up and did all the installations needed. There were no major problems with the car, which was really the main thing. Overall it's been a good day, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week. I hope we can continue like this.