Grand Prix Experiences Blog

European GP: Rosberg Back to Best

Posted by Darragh Farrelly on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 @ 03:06 PM

It was a tale of two differing stories for the Mercedes’ team as Nico Rosberg dominated the European Grand Prix, with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton struggled to fifth place.

Rosberg led from the first corner and never looked back as Hamilton struggled to make up ground in the inaugural race in Azerbaijan. The world champion started 10th and was hampered by a problem with an engine setting during the race.

Rosberg.jpgWith Rosberg’s victory, Hamilton is now 24 points adrift of the German in the championship as a result. Hamilton said he had an "off day" in qualifying and Mercedes were at a loss to understand what happened.

Nico Rosberg is again in charge of his own destiny – and with Austria to come, where he has won for the past two years, there was an extra spring in his step after the weekend’s racing. All signs are pointing in the right direction for him. With two bad race weekends behind him (Monaco and Montreal), Rosberg’s five victories compared to Hamilton’s two have left the Briton with little room to maneuver in this year’s championship.

Vettel Takes His Own Advice

Ferrari finally had a strong race - only after Vettel decided not to listen to engineers and not pit when they asked him to

Ferrari’s decision-making this season has left a lot to be desired, particularly after the criticisms of their decision to switch to a two-stop while leading in Canada a week ago. This time, Vettel questioned the team and after initially saying he had to stop because he was going to be under-cut by Ricciardo, they kept him out - stopping Raikkonen instead, which led to a strong second place finish.

On the face of it, Ferrari’s showing in Baku was more than decent, with Vettel finishing second and his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen fourth, but only after Vettel totally ignored a call to pit for fresh rubber. Vettel was helped by troubles at Red Bull, and by Lewis Hamilton’s failure to find his right engine mode. But he was right to show a lack of faith in his team and that is why he finished strongly.

Baku Delivers

Baku.jpgPolitics aside, Baku was a great success. Despite some chaotic safety restarts in GP2 earlier on, the venue delivered massively over the course of the weekend.

Vettel was in no doubt. “It’s the first time here and I didn’t know what to expect but it’s been a great track,” he said. “The circuit is incredible – you need to be well equipped around here.”

See The Action Live!       

As we move towards the business end of the F1™ season, don’t miss your chance to experience it all up close and personal. Kick off your Formula One Paddock Club™ access with Grand Prix Experiences – it’s literally the best seat in the house!  Enjoy the luxury that the Paddock Club offers with privileged views of the race, gourmet food spreads, an exclusive Pit Lane Walk, access to the Support Race Paddock, and much, much more!

 

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Topics: Formula One

Canadian Grand Prix Previewed: Hamilton Closing on Rosberg

Posted by Darragh Farrelly on Tue, Jun 07, 2016 @ 10:06 AM

“Stronger Than Ever”

// AUTOMATED COPIER REMOVED SCRIPT FROM HERE. PLEASE REINSERT


Following on from last week’s race down the streets of Monte Carlo, Lewis Hamilton goes to Montreal and the Canadian Grand Prix after his victory in Monaco full of confidence. Despite recent criticism over his lifestyle and form this season, Hamilton insists he is “stronger than ever” as he looks to close the gap on teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ championship.

“I've proven that I'm just as strong as I've ever been and I will be for the rest of the year, so I'm looking forward to the next chapter,” Hamilton said.

“Montreal has always been a good track for me, so hopefully I'm able to shine like I did the first time I went there in that great city atmosphere.” 

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Canadian_circuit.jpgLocated on the man-made Ile Notre Dame in the St Lawrence river, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a true high speed challenge with a picturesque backdrop. Having been staged at the Montreal circuit since 1978, German legend Michael Schumacher holds the record for the most wins at the circuit (7). Current world champion Lewis Hamilton has won here four times, including his first ever win back in 2007.

Originally named the Île Notre-Dame Circuit, the circuit was built and finished in 1978. In 1982, it was renamed in honor of Canadian Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve, father of Jacques Villeneuve, following his death earlier in the year. The circuit is located in a part of the city of Montreal known as Parc Jean-Drapeau.

The final sector of the lap sees cars travel alongside the Bassin olympique, a stretch of water which was used in the 1976 Olympic Games for rowing and canoeing events. 

The famous last corner of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve became well known for crashes involving former World Champions. In 1999, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve all crashed into the same wall which had the slogan Bienvenue au Québec (Welcome to Quebec) on it. The wall became ironically known as the "Wall of Champions".

The Numbers

  • The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has a length of 4.361 km, according to the official Formula One website, with the average lap taking around 75 seconds to complete.
  • The races 70 laps see cars complete a distance of 305.270 km, with the grand prix usually lasting between 90 and 95 minutes.
  • The lap record is held by former Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello, who set a time of 1:13.622s on Lap 68 of the 2004 Canadian Grand Prix.
  • Apart from Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen (2005),Fernando Alonso (2006), Jenson Button (2011) and Sebastian Vettel (2013) are the only current drivers to win at the track.
  • The longest race in F1™ history took place here in 2011, when it took Jenson Button 4h 4m 39.537s (which included a two-hour rain break) to complete the race. Jenson Button prevailed in the most dramatic of circumstances, fighting back from 21st on the road to pass Sebastian Vettel on the final lap.

Who’s Your Money On?

A Mercedes driver. It’s as simple as that. Though Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have shown huge promise in the first six races of this season, speed will ultimately win this race.

Ruing his luck in Monaco, Championship leader Nico Rosberg hopes he has used up all his bad fortune following a lowly seventh place finish in Monte Carlo. “I expected and prepared myself for some difficult races after the awesome start to the season,” Rosberg said.

Make no mistake about it though, all the momentum lies with Hamilton. After a topsy-turvy start to his season, all signs point to the three-time world champion being right back on track after his first victory this season. “I have to say how grateful I am to my mechanics for sticking at it and sticking with me after what's not been an easy start this year,” said Hamilton.

And what of arguably the best driver of his generation, Sebastian Vettel? His Ferrari is getting better, he says. Despite demonstrating the pace to do so last time out, Ferrari and Vettel have failed to win a race so far this year. After setting a blistering pace in practice in Monaco, Vettel’s fourth place finish left a lot to be desired. "This year by nature the gap is smaller, we are closer, we probably haven't had smooth races like we had in the beginning last year, so things didn't yet come together which is also our fault,” claimed Vettel.

Form is temporary and class is permanent, or so they say. With 42 wins and an improving Ferrari under him, expect Vettel to be in the shake-up this weekend in Montreal. Will he beat both Mercedes’ drivers to the checkered flag? Doubtful, but a place on the podium would represent a good result for the Italian team.

See A Race Live!

2014_ASM_BAHRAIN_IMG_02.jpgAs we move towards the business end of the F1™ season, don’t miss your chance to experience it all up close and personal. Kick off your Formula One Paddock Club™ access with Grand Prix Experiences – it’s literally the best seat in the house!  Enjoy the luxury that the Paddock Club offers with privileged views of the race, gourmet food spreads, an exclusive Pit Lane Walk, access to the Support Race Paddock, and much, much more!


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With the deficit at the top of the leaderboard down to just 24 points between the two Mercedes drivers, Formula One™ begins one of the busiest periods in its history this weekend in Canada, with six races in the next eight weeks.

Topics: Formula One

Monaco Grand Prix - What's It All About and Predicting the Outcome

Posted by Darragh Farrelly on Fri, May 27, 2016 @ 02:14 PM

Monte Carlo

monaco-grand-prix.jpgMonte Carlo is the place to be this weekend. Well, aside from the other 51 weekends of the year, of course. The Monaco Grand Prix will see some of the wealthiest people in the world come out in force as they witness one of sport’s most prestigious and spectacular events.

With the Principality of Monaco as a backdrop, the sun-kissed mountains and yacht-filled harbor which border the Mediterranean Sea, many have dubbed the Circuit de Monaco "an exceptional location of glamour and prestige.” It is by far the most popular and important race on the Grand Prix calendar.

The race is held on the narrow streets of Monte Carlo, and with its high-tempo chicane and tight twists and turns, drivers describe Monaco as the toughest and most demanding track on the calendar. Taking about six weeks to construct through the narrow streets of Monaco, it takes about three weeks to disassemble, or 250 races run back-to-back.

Fun Facts

  • The Monaco Grand Prix was first held back in 1929. It has been on the Formula One calendar uninterrupted since 1950.
  • McLaren have scored the most victories at the Monaco race with fifteen wins. The second most successful team is Ferrari with nine. 
  • Drivers on average change gears 54 times per lap at Monaco.
  • The Monaco circuit is the shortest Grand Prix track on the calendar at 3,340 kilometers. The race distance of 260,520 km is the shortest of the season and nowhere else does a race cover more laps (78).
  • The great Ayrton Senna has won the race (6) more times than anyone. He dominated the race from 1987 to 1993. Michael Schumacher and Graham Hill have both won with five teams in Monte Carlo.
  • Fernando Alonso is the only driver to have won the race in consecutive years for different constructors, winning for Renault in 2006 and McLaren in 2007.
  • Current World Champion Lewis Hamilton has won this race once, in 2008. Having qualified on pole position last year, he finished third.

 

Steve_Monaco_IMG_9963.jpgThis Year’s Contenders

Coming off the back of a maiden F1™ victory in the Spanish Grand Prix, 18-year-old Max Verstappen will be high on confidence. The same can’t be said for Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian was left enraged by a pit wall in the Spanish GP that saw him ‘take one for the team’ in place of Verstappen and had to settle for a fourth-place finish. Having started this week’s practice off at a blistering pace, many see Ricciardo as a genuine threat to take the checkered flag. Of course, a lot depends on qualifying on Saturday, given the unique nature of this circuit. World champion Lewis Hamilton, winless in 2016, enters this race with a lot at stake. Already 43 points behind Rosberg in the drivers’ standings, a win this weekend would revive his challenge.

Prediction: Lewis Hamilton – experience is key around this track and the world champion cannot slip any further behind the championship lead.

Don’t Miss the Canadian Grand Prix

As we move towards the business end of the F1™ season, don’t miss your chance to experience it all up close and personal. Kick off your Formula One Paddock Club™ access with Grand Prix Experiences – it’s literally the best seat in the house!  Enjoy the luxury that the Paddock Club offers with privileged views of the race, gourmet food spreads, an exclusive Pit Lane Walk, access to the Support Race Paddock, and much, much more!

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Topics: Formula One

Nico Rosberg: In It to Win It

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Tue, Apr 05, 2016 @ 05:04 PM

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg is two for two this season and is sitting pretty with five consecutive wins all together from 2015. Let’s take a look at who was able to prevail in the desert and who was left in the dust.

4.5_F1_Standings.png

Rosberg Rewind

Rosberg’s teammate Lewis Hamilton dropped to ninth on the opening lap after Turn 1 contact with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, but in a damaged car fought his way back to secure a lonely final podium place. The second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel failed to start after a suspected engine failure on the formation lap.

Rosberg didn’t put a wheel wrong in Bahrain’s twilight. As Hamilton and Raikkonen made poor starts, he sped into a lead that was never seriously contested, thus increasing his championship lead. Whenever Raikkonen pushed, he responded, keeping clear of the red threat to score his second consecutive win of 2016, and his fifth in a row since Mexico last year. Two races in, and he has a 17-point lead over his reigning champion teammate…

Mario_china_11-1.jpgRaikkonen is ThisClose

Raikkonen kept the pressure up as they both ran the super-soft Pirelli tires on which they had qualified before switching to softs. Hamilton, with time to make up after being half spun in the first corner by an over-enthusiastic Bottas (who was given a drive-through penalty for his pains), switched to mediums on his first stop as he embarked on yet another 2016 damage-limitation race.

Raikkonen got close to Rosberg at times, but never close enough as Rosberg always had an answer. They each switched back to super-softs in their second stops, as did Hamilton, but it was clear the race lay between Rosberg and Raikkonen. They shadowed each other yet again in their final stops, back to softs, but in the end the Mercedes driver was 10.2s ahead.

2014_ASM_MALAYSIA_IMG_05-2.jpgHurry Up, Hamilton!

Hamilton, who had been breathtaking on the mediums as he matched the leaders, took softs for his final stint and for a while closed in, but the first-lap damage to his car was too limiting and he finished a distant third.

Hamilton was lucky insofar as he was able to continue, but Toto Wolff estimated that floor and bargeboard damage cost the world champion up to a second a lap. He is now 17 points adrift of his teammate, and it’s beginning to look like the start of 2014 all over again. But we all know how that turned out in the end…

Haas: The American Dream

Haas did a fabulous job to finish sixth with Romain Grosjean on their debut in Australia, but fifth here was even better because it was won the hard way. Yet again strategist Ruth Buscombe took an aggressive stance, which was made possible when Hulkenberg bumped Grosjean from Q3 in the dying seconds of Q2 and freed up their tire choice.

Two sets of new super-softs, another used set, and a set of new softs enabled the Frenchman to withstand a delay in his final stop and still finish well, though arguably that might even have cost them fourth place. It’s a long time since a new team looked so accomplished, which might explain Grosjean’s slightly OTT (over-the-top) post-race radio message.

Chinese Grand Prix, Here We Go!

The 2016 qualifying format may still be a contentious issue, but the choice of three tire compounds really has spiced things up and created a great race with battles throughout the field for the 57 laps.

Get to the Chinese Grand Prix with Grand Prix Experiences and enjoy F1™ racing as a true racing fan should! Get behind-the-scenes access, exclusive insider extras, premium hospitality, and more!

China Grand Prix Official Ticket Packages

 

Topics: Formula One

8 Things We Learned From the F1™ Australia Grand Prix

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 @ 02:03 PM

2014_ASM_AUSTRALIA_IMG_05.jpgThe season opener has a habit of throwing up interesting statistics, and so it proved again on Sunday. Nico Rosberg of Mercedes fought for every inch he earned on the track on Sunday, and it proved to be enough as he took home the checkered flag. Plenty of noteworthy things happened in the 2016 F1™ opener which made it hard for us to narrow it down to eight.

  • In finishing second, Lewis Hamilton matched Michael Schumacher’s record of six podium finishes in Australia. On Saturday the Briton joined the great German in becoming one of just three drivers (the other being Ayrton Senna) to have scored 50 or more pole positions in F1 racing.

    Hamilton fought early on to get out from the middle of the pack as the beginning of the race, which was something different than what we’ve come to expect from the Mercedes crew. It didn’t take them long to work through the poor start as they found their footing and soon proved that they are still the team to beat in Formula One™. Though helped in part by the red flag brought on by Fernando Alonso’s crash and subsequently, Ferrari’s decision to not change tire compounds during that red flag, Rosberg showed that Mercedes still have the ability to control a race comfortably from the front.

  • Romain Grosjean’s sixth place finish ensured Haas became the first brand-new team to score points on their Grand Prix debut since Mika Salo finished sixth for Toyota in 2002. Haas are also the first American team to score points since the similarly named (but completely unaffiliated) Team Haas finished sixth with Alan Jones at Monza in 1986. Worth noting that Grosjean only finished in the top six once last season with Lotus.

    Grosjean without a doubt exceeded all expectations to claim sixth in Haas’ debut race. Again, without the red flag, it’s unlikely Grosjean would have even scored one point, but his driving in the second half of the race was world-class, and he deserved every single one of the eight points he scored.  2014_ASM_AUSTRALIA_IMG_04.jpg

  • Daniel Ricciardo’s fourth place finish equaled the best result for an Australian driver on home soil – a tie with Mark Webber’s fourth place in 2012. Ricciardo also became just the second Australian - again after Webber - to record a fastest lap at home.

    Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a successful home race after an average qualifying performance. The Australian worked his way up to sixth, working with super-soft tires, but these were switched for a new set of softs during the red flag stoppage. He was overtaken by Lewis Hamilton and his second stop dropped him to fifth, but soon after leaving the pits Ricciardo overtook Felipe Massa to reclaim fourth.

  • Max Verstappen’s tenth place finish ensured he is now - at 18 - the youngest points scorer in Australian Grand Prix history. Current Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat had previously held the record for finishing ninth as a 19-year-old on his debut in 2014.

    The younger generation continues to come to the proverbial table ready to play. Sure it’s going to take them a few seasons to find their groove, but much like Stella, they’re bound to find it soon!

  • Speaking of Daniil Kvyat, the Russian has now failed to take the start in two successive season openers in Australia because of mechanical woes.

    Daniil Kvyat was forced to watch from the sidelines yet again, he said that the retirement didn’t affect him as badly as his similar problem the year before when he made his Red Bull Racing debut. The unfortunate snafu begs the question, “What Russia do to Australia? Is there a feud we don’t know about?”

  • Three drivers finished the race in identical positions to where they finished in the same race last season: Sebastian Vettel (in third), Nico Hulkenberg (in seventh) and Carlos Sainz (in ninth).

    They say history is destined to repeat itself and we got a perfect glimpse of that with the Australian Grand Prix. Considering the major accident that occured, it is surprising to see these drivers place where they did.
  • For the first time ever in Melbourne, the first 13 drivers home finished on the lead lap – that’s the highest number in history, and a good indication of the competitive nature of the grid.

  • FIA’s safety standards DO work

    If there ever were an incident that represents a testament to the FIA’s gold standard safety regulations, it’s this one. Alonso’s McLaren flew, spun, and violently broke apart, yet the driver was completely unscathed and able to walk away from the wreck.

2014_ASM_BAHRAIN_IMG_02-1.jpgSee You in Bahrain!

Kick off your Formula One Paddock Club™ access with Grand Prix Experiences – it’s the closest you’ll get to the hottest racing action without being an actual driver!  Enjoy the luxury that the Paddock Club offers with privileged views of the race, gourmet food spreads, an exclusive Pit Lane Walk, access to the Support Race Paddock, and so much more!

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Topics: Formula One, Australian Grand Prix

Formula 1™ in 2016: Who is ahead for Australia? Part 2

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Fri, Mar 18, 2016 @ 09:03 AM

Circuit-of-The-Americas-Experiences-F1-USGP-Racing-Austin-033.jpgIf testing is anything to go by, the 2016 F1™ season is going to be defined in one word: impressive. The last two weeks have been incredibly busy for the 11 teams in Formula 1™. It seems that every single team came to perform. In the few weeks that testing has taken place, we’ve seen more from every team than we have in years prior.

Let’s take into account testing that took place a two years ago, where teams weren’t able to get two or three laps out of their cars with cars not running or breaking down and now we have teams like Toro Rosso running 150-160 laps a day. A DAY! This year’s testing has been amazing.

Mercedes has actually completed a season’s worth of laps in just two weeks of testing, already. It’s only just now that Lewis Hamilton is experiencing a few liability issues with his car. With all the exciting new demonstrations of power that we’ve seen during the winter testing, let’s take a look at the 2016 season and figure out this season’s pecking order.

Has anyone gained ground on Mercedes? What will Ferrari’s version of the halo head protection concept do for them? Who is leading in this year’s testing? It's almost time for the 2016 Formula One™ season to kick off in Australia, which means we are about to see the results of what the teams have been frantically working on.

Check out Part 1 of our Australia Preview

Manor Racing

After a sickly-looking season in 2015, it had been all change over at Manor, most notably in the renaming of the team formerly known as Manor Marussia. The ownership has also changed, as well as engine supplier, from Ferrari to Mercedes. They clearly liked Mercedes as they selected two drivers with previous affliliation with Mercedes, in German 21-year-old Pascal Wehrlien and Indonesia’s first-ever F1 driver, Rio Haryanto.

Toro Rosso

During the winter testing weeks Toro Rosso proved that it can run (to the surprise of many a team this year). Running more laps than anyone predicted gives new hopes to fans as the testing suggests that they will be right among the pack behind Mercedes and Ferrai and, with the incredibly talented teenager Verstappen, behind the wheel Toro Rosso could even top Red Bull.  Toro Rosso is quietly awaiting the opportunity to race among the leaders of the pack and this could very well be the year they do.

Renault

Having stepped back to become simply an engine supplier in 2011, this season marks the return of Renault as a full works team after they completed a takeover of Lotus. The French team has gone with two new drivers for their return, with Dane Kevin Magnussen, who had one season with McLaren in 2014, being joined by British newcomer Joylon Palmer.

Red Bull Racing

For such a young team, Red Bull Racing has seen a lot of success. However, last year the team was held back by power issues with its Renault engine. Daniel Ricciardo and Danill Kvyat unfortunately really struggled in the last few races of the 2015 championship, here’s to hoping the vast improvements they’ve shown in the winter testing is an indication of how the 2016 season will fare for them.

Ferrari

Having succeeded Luca di Montzemolo last year, new Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne made it very clear that success in Formula 1 is a top priority, and early signs in testing would suggest the Italians have the pace to challenge Mercedes. With its shortened nose, Ferrari’s engineers have fitted the car with pushrod suspension for the first time in four years.

Circuit-of-The-Americas-Experiences-F1-USGP-Legends-Club-Lunch-with-a-Legend-90.jpgSee F1™ in Austin!

See the world’s most complex and innovative vehicles put to the test as they compete on one of the most exciting and challenging tracks in Formula 1!  If you’re an F1™ fan, you already know that COTA is one of the most popular tracks on the calendar.  It’s one of just four anti-clockwise tracks on the schedule, featuring 19 turns and a 133-foot climb into a blind left turn. Last year’s championship was decided at Circuit of The Americas, will we see a repeat this year? Be there and find out for yourself!

Secure your spot at the F1 USGP!

Topics: Formula One, United States Grand Prix

Formula 1™ in 2016: Who is ahead for Australia? Part 1

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 @ 09:03 AM

Circuit-of-The-Americas-Experiences-F1-USGP-Racing-Austin-006.jpgIf testing is anything to go by, the 2016 F1™ season is going to be defined in one word: impressive. The last two weeks have been incredibly busy for the 11 teams in Formula 1™. It seems that every single team came to perform. In the few weeks that testing has taken place, we’ve seen more from every team than we have in years prior.

Let’s take into account testing that took place a two years ago, where teams weren’t able to get two or three laps out of their cars with cars not running or breaking down and now we have teams like Toro Rosso running 150-160 laps a day. A DAY! This year’s testing has been amazing.

Mercedes has actually completed a season’s worth of laps in just two weeks of testing, already. It’s only just now that Lewis Hamilton is experiencing a few liability issues with his car. With all the exciting new demonstrations of power that we’ve seen during the winter testing, let’s take a look at the 2016 season and figure out this season’s pecking order.

Has anyone gained ground on Mercedes? What will Ferrari’s version of the halo head protection concept do for them? Who is leading in this year’s testing? It's almost time for the 2016 Formula One™ season to kick off in Australia, which means we are about to see the results of what the teams have been frantically working on.

AMG Mercedes

Mercedes has retained their winning formula as they seek to extend their dominance of Formula 1 for a third season. Winter testing in Barcelona suggested that they remain the team to beat, although their advantage may mean that a repeat of 2015 might take place and seal the championship for Lewis Hamilton once again. Rosberg finished strong in 2015 and the long-simmering rivalry between the two could boil over and ultimately hurt their chances to earn podiums.

Haas F1 Team

Haas’ introduction into Formula 1 has been quietly happening in the background for the past five years, so it is perhaps no surprise that the American team appears better prepared than recent newcomers to Formula 1. Their close relationship with Ferrari (engine supplier) might also have something to do with their success, as well as having two drivers with F1 experience. Romain Grosjean has 10 podiums under his belt and showed plenty of determination during his years at Lotus, while Esteban Gutierrez spent the past two seasons with Sauber.

Force India

Force India’s 2016 campaign hinges on an evolution of last year’s b-spec chassis. With regulations likely to drastically change in 2017, there’s little hope that they’ll make any more improvements to the existing chassis. Technical Director Andrew Green went as far to say it “didn’t really seem like an efficient use of our resources to start from scratch on a project that would have such a limited lifetime.” I guess some teams are perfectly okay with not earning a podium. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

McLaren

No team suffered a more chastening experience in 2015 than McLaren. One of the standard bearers of the sport and eight time constructors’ champions, the British team suffered a disastrous fall from grace, often failing to make it through the first phase of qualifying and not scoring a single point until the sixth race. It could be another painful year for McLaren and Co. with little sign of the hoped for improvement in testing.

Sauber

While last season saw an improvement on the miserable zero-point year of 2014, 39 percent of their 36 points came in the opening Grand Prix and they finished without a point in the final three races. With finances still a major constraint, there has been little to suggest a real improvement in 2016, and another tough season for the Swiss team could well lie in store.

Williams

The past two years have been something of a resurgence from the Martini-liveried Williams outfit. Having finished third in the 2014 and 2015 Constructors’ Championhip, Frank Williams will be looking to make a leap and start challenging Ferrari, Red Bull, and of course Mercedes for the top step on the podium. After an up and down 2015, which perhaps cost him a move to Ferrari, Valtteri Bottas will be looking to step it up and show he is worthy of a seat among the real title challengers. Time to make moves Bottas!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Australia Preview!

Circuit-of-The-Americas-Experiences-F1-USGP-Legends-Club-Lunch-with-a-Legend-74.jpgSee F1™ in Austin!

See the world’s most complex and innovative vehicles put to the test as they compete on one of the most exciting and challenging tracks in Formula 1!  If you’re an F1™ fan, you already know that COTA is one of the most popular tracks on the calendar.  It’s one of just four anti-clockwise tracks on the schedule, featuring 19 turns and a 133-foot climb into a blind left turn. Last year’s championship was decided at Circuit of The Americas, will we see a repeat this year? Be there and find out for yourself!

Secure your spot at the F1 USGP!

Topics: Formula One, United States Grand Prix

Formula 1™ Cars Revealed for the 2016 Season

Posted by Carolynn Wilcox on Tue, Feb 23, 2016 @ 01:02 PM

Formula-1-Bahrain-Grand-Prix-ExperiencesTesting opened at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona early Monday morning, where a number of teams finally unveiled their newly-minted and highly-anticipated machines for the 2016 season.  While the front ends of the cars didn’t see many changes from 2015, power units got a lot of attention in the offseason and crews worked around the clock to make aggressive improvements to the technology that drives each vehicle. 

Mercedes’ technical director, Paddy Lowe, described these developments as “mini-revolutions that make up an overall evolution for the new season.”  

Take a look at the gorgeous new machines that all 11 teams have produced below!

Haas

Drivers:  Romain Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez

Engines:  Ferrari

 

Mercedes

Drivers:  Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg

Engines:  Mercedes

 

And just for fun - here's Lewis Hamilton's family portrait.

 

Best family photo ever? Coco in the #w06, me in the #w07 and Roscoe in the #w05! #puppypower #bossdogs MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS  #TeamLH  photo by Steve Etherington http://lewis.social/RoscoeLovesCoco

Posted by Lewis Hamilton on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

 

Manor

Drivers:  Pascal Wehrlein, Rio Haryanto

Engines:  Mercedes

 

Williams

Drivers:  Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa

Engines:  Mercedes

 

Renault

Drivers:  Jolyon Palmer, Kevin Magnussen

Engines:  Renault

 

McLaren

Drivers:  Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button

Engines:  Honda

 

Ferrari

Drivers:  Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen

Engines:  Ferrari

 

Red Bull

Drivers:  Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat

Engines:  TAG-Heuer-branded Renault

 

Force India

Drivers:  Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez

Engines:  Mercedes

  

Sauber

Drivers:  Felipe Nasr, Marcus Ericsson

Engines:  Ferrari

„Marcus, do NOT follow the tyre marks on the track!“ ;-) Marcus Ericsson completed 88 laps in Barcelona today. More on...

Posted by Sauber F1 Team on Monday, February 22, 2016
 
 

Toro Rosso

Drivers:  Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz

Engines:  Ferrari

*Note:  Official launch scheduled for 2/29.

 

See These Machines Travel the World during the 2016 Formula 1™ Season

After seeing these beauties, we can’t wait to find out what the 2016 season has in store.  Want to see them in action?  Kick off your Formula One Paddock Club™ access with Grand Prix Experiences – it’s the closest you’ll get to the hottest racing action without being an actual driver!  Enjoy the luxury that the Paddock Club offers with privileged views of the race, gourmet food spreads, an exclusive Pit Lane Walk, access to the Support Race Paddock, and so much more! 

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Topics: Formula One

The American Haas F1 Team: The Great Melting Pot

Posted by Carolynn Wilcox on Tue, Feb 09, 2016 @ 11:02 AM

By now, you’ve probably heard the news that Mexican driver Esteban Gutiérrez and French driver Romain Grosjean joined the American Haas F1 Team in late 2015.  Looking for the lowdown on those driver acquisitions and more?  You’ve come to the right place!

The Haas F1 Team

This team still has that new car smell, due mostly to the fact that they haven’t put a car on the track just yet.  When Haas officially debuts in the FIA Formula 1™ World Championship this year, it will be the first American-led team to race in F1™ in three decades.  It was founded by industrialist Gene Haas, the founder of the largest North American CNC machine tool builder, Haas Automation.  Their base in the United States happens to be in Kannapolis, North Carolina, but they currently have three separate locations in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Italy. 

With outfits in three different countries, you can imagine that the logistics of the operation can be a bit harrowing at times, but team principal Guenther Steiner jokes that “The good thing is, we do not know any different.”  The team has about 180 people total in all three countries, with a race team of approximately 60.

Though new, Haas has already added two big names in Formula 1 to its roster – Gutiérrez and Grosjean.  Haas has aligned itself with Ferrari, which will produce the engines for its vehicles, and Italian manufacturer Dallara will be designing and building the chassis.  Haas is expected to reveal their new car at the first test in Barcelona – it’s already passed the required FIA crash tests – and we can’t wait to finally see what kind of monster this team has brought to life!

Romain Grosjean

French driver Romain Grosjean is the seasoned veteran driver in this group.  Over a decade ago, Grosjean took part in the Renault Driver Development program and joined Formula Three.  He consistently performed well in F3 and raced in the GP2 series as well, where he stunned the competition during his rookie season. 

Grosjean moved into Formula 1 in 2008, becoming Renault’s test driver and piloting his first F1 car at the U.K. round of the 2008 World Series by Renault weekend.  In 2009, he replaced Nelson Piquet, Jr., earning his first official F1 race seat.  Grosjean unfortunately suffered a slew of issues during his first season of driving, ranging from a collision to mechanical failures.  He took a sabbatical from Formula 1 to race sportscars and compete in AutoGP and GP2 races. 

When he joined the Lotus F1 team in 2011 as a test driver, he was promoted to a race seat almost immediately.  Grosjean quickly found success with Lotus, proving himself to be one of the most competent drivers on the track.  As you can see below, Grosjean can’t wait to pound the pavement with his new team!

 
// AUTOMATED COPIER REMOVED SCRIPT FROM HERE. PLEASE REINSERT
CNN International Tours Haas F1 Team's Banbury Facility with T...

ICYMI: CNN International's The Circuit goes behind the scenes in Banbury with team principal Guenther Steiner.

Posted by Haas F1 Team on Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Esteban Gutiérrez

Mexican driver Esteban Gutiérrez first drove a Formula 1 car in 2009 after winning the Formula BMW Europe championship.  He was named a BMW Sauber test and reserve driver in 2010, where he practiced alongside fellow Mexican national Sergio Pérez.  Gutiérrez was promoted to Sauber’s race team in 2012.  During his run with Sauber, he became the second-youngest driver to set a fastest lap (behind Nico Rosberg) and finished the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix in seventh place after starting fourteenth on the grid.

In 2015, Gutiérrez became the reserve driver at Scuderia Ferrari – a team that also happens to be Haas’ technical partner.  This year, he’ll be racing alongside experienced driver Grosjean for a brand-new team that has established high expectations for its rookie season.  His youthful energy and natural hunger to compete will serve him well throughout the season, but even though he’s just 24 years old, he’s already had two years of experience running a full schedule in Formula 1 and the insight he can provide after driving for Ferrari will likely prove invaluable. 

See the Haas F1 Team in Action This Season

So far, it seems like Haas is doing all the right things and securing the right personnel to make a big splash in Formula 1 this season.  Haas has made it clear that he doesn’t want a participation ribbon at the end of the team’s rookie year – he expects to earn points and hopefully finish in or near the top 10.  No pressure on Gutiérrez and Grosjean at all, right?!  The stakes will be high, and you can bet that these two highly competitive drivers will be bringing everything they have to the table in 2016.

Kick off your Formula One™ Paddock Club access with Grand Prix Experiences – it’s the closest you’ll get to the hottest racing action without being an actual driver!  Enjoy the luxury that the Paddock Club offers with privileged views of the race, gourmet food spreads, an exclusive Pit Lane Walk, access to the Support Race Paddock, and so much more!  

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Topics: Formula One

VROOM! Formula 1™ Cars Will Bring the Noise in 2016

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 @ 10:07 AM

2014_ASM_MALAYSIA_IMG_03.jpg

A few years ago Formula 1™ head honchos, FIA’s World Motor Sport Council, received A LOT of criticism over the new generation power units they enforced, which produced a much quieter sound relative to the previous V8 engines. The sound of the cars has been heavily scrutinized since the new turbo hybrid power unit Formula 1 was introduced at the start of 2014.

Well Formula 1 finally heard those complaints loud and clear.  In an effort to make cars/races more exciting to watch, late last year the World Motor Council approved changes that demand that, “all cars must have a separate exhaust wastegate tailpipe through which all and only wastegate exhaust gases must pass.” The measure is being described as an effort that will increase the noise of the cars and will not have any significant effect on power or emissions, though we’ll have to wait to see until the cars finally hit the track in March.

The Little Engine That Couldn’t Even

What the heck was the big deal, you ask? In the past, teams have run their wastegate pipes into the main tailpipe of the engine. The wastegate on a modern turbo engine doesn’t open very much, hence less noise being produced by the engines. The motor generator attached to the turbocharger is used by teams to harvest waste energy and control the compressor speed rather than use a rather inefficient wastegate.  

Shanghai-IMG_5271.jpgHere Comes the Boom

After much criticism over Formula 1 losing its essence, changes are finally being implemented. Here’s what you can expect in 2016 from these engines. Engines now will have a pipe joining the wastegate and main tailpipe, and will act as a side branch resonator. What this means is that even with the wastegate closed, it acts like a silencer in the exhaust. Getting rid of that means it’ll be a bit louder. With the wastegate closed, what most people perceive that sound to be around 14 percent of the original noise. With the wastegate open, it’ll actually be 20-25 percent louder, significantly louder.

There hasn’t been any testing done on circuits yet, but I believe we’ll be hearing a few of the old signature noises from the turbos. Since the new engines were introduced, the sound has gradually gotten louder through natural development and they will get naturally louder this year in addition to the changes that have been made to exhaust systems.

More Change(s) is Gonna Come

The World Motor Sport Council also agreed to a number of other changes – including the tightening of the wording surrounding drivers adhering to track limits. “Sporting Regulations regarding track limits have been clarified and specify that drivers “must make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times and may not deliberately leave the track without a justifable reason,” the FIA said.

Further minor changes approved by the FIA include:

  • Cars must now comply with all cockpit and safety equipment requirements during testing; such as the position of the driver's head, all headrest padding, cockpit padding and ease of driver egress.
  • For 2017, on board cameras on stalks on the nose of cars will be prohibited.
  • The WMSC confirmed a number of clarifications were made to aerodynamic testing restrictions for wind tunnel use and CFD, specifically focusing on reporting and inspection processes for these development tools.
  • Any driver who causes a start to be aborted, even if he is then able to start the extra formation lap, will be required to start the race from the pit lane. The same process will be applied to a re-start from a race suspension where drivers have been brought to the pit lane.

2014_ASM_BAHRAIN_IMG_01.jpgReady to Ride?

I’m sure there will be more changes that’ll be announced before this new engines hit the track in March. Until then, all we can do is appreciate that the FIA is listening to its die-hard fans. This is a very big step in the right direction towards the future of the sport.

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Topics: Formula One