Archive for January, 2010

McLaren launch MP4-25

January 29th, 2010 3 comments

McLaren launched their new F1 car, the MP4-25, at Vodafone’s headquarters in Newbury today.

2010 marks the first time since the 1989 pairing of Senna and Prost that McLaren will have an all world champion driver lineup and as the 2008 champion and the 2009 champion pulled back the cover, Lewis Hamilton remarked how different the MP4-25 looks from its predecessor.

The significantly larger fuel tank has forced an aerodynamic overhaul, the most noticeable feature of which is the long shark-fin that stretches all the way back to the rear wing – similar to last year’s Red Bull RB5. McLaren’s chief engineer, Tim Goss:

The dorsal fin is partly to accommodate the additional cooling duct and partly a logical development of the high-downforce wing we ran last year at races like Monaco, which feeds air more efficiently to the rear wing upper element.

The car looks stunning; even more like a rocket-ship than last year’s MP4-24. McLaren have retained the striking silver finish, despite Mercedes GP also adopting the same colour. While I like the carbon fiber touches on the Mercedes, I think the McLaren has the better finish of the two.

But the thing I like most about all the cars this year is the uncovered wheels. Can’t wait to see those glowing discs again!

Images: McLaren

Categories: Cars Tags: ,

Ferrari unveil the F10

January 28th, 2010 No comments

Ferrari became the first team to unveil their 2010 car at a press conference that was streamed live on the internet.

2009 was a bad year for the Scuderia with Felipe Massa crashing heavily at Hungary and the poorly performing F60 claiming only a single victory in the whole season. Ferrari stopped development of last year’s car early to work on the F10, a tactic that had seemed to work well for Brawn GP (Honda) the year before.

In 2009, Brawn’s secret weapon was the double-diffuser. The teams have agreed to outlaw the controversial design next year but it is clearly a vital part of this year’s car. Ferrari’s chief designer, Nicholas Tombazis said:

The diffuser was fundamental: to optimise performance we had to review the car’s whole rear axle, changed the steering to make more room for the diffuser. The diffuser is much bigger and better performing compared to last year’s.

Ferrari obviously don’t want to give any secrets away as the whole diffuser was hidden at the launch. We will have to wait until Valencia to see what they have come up with.

Of course, the F10 is a beautiful car, but so was the F60 and the McLaren MP4-24 for that matter. The old motor sport saying that if it looks good it goes good didn’t seem to apply to those cars, at least at the start of the season.

As always, we will just have to wait until we see them on track.

Images: Ferrari

Categories: Cars Tags: ,

Red Bull to launch RB6 in Jerez

January 27th, 2010 No comments

Red Bull have announced that they will miss the first test and release their 2010 challenger on 10 February at Jerez.

Designer Adrian Newey said that because the RB6 is an evolutionary design following on from last year’s radical RB5 he didn’t feel they needed to be at the first test to “establish the basic concept of the car.”

Instead, the team will save their engines and tyres while they further research the car in the wind tunnel back at Milton Keynes.

For now, here’s some hot RB5 on ice action. They obviously can’t wait to get back to Montreal…

Video: Red Bull

Categories: Cars Tags: ,

Mercedes launch their new team (pictures)

January 25th, 2010 No comments

Today’s launch at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart was a team and livery launch – not, unfortunately, the launch of their 2010 car. For that, we will have to wait until 1 February when the MGP W01 will make its track debut at Valencia.

Nevertheless even without a new car on display the first (sort-of) launch of the new season was still enough to bring down the Mercedes GP website. McLaren is planning to live stream the launch of their MP-25 at Vodafone UK’s headquarters in Newbury on Friday January 29. I hope their servers are up to it…

Still, it was a chance to see what the new car’s paint will look like and also for Michael to say how excited he is to be driving for Mercedes-Benz again and how it is a “dream come true” for Nico. It will be very interesting to watch the dynamic between these two drivers once they get on track.

The new livery looks great: Mercedes’s traditional silver with flashes of green for new sponsor Petronas. On the nose and other parts of the car, the silver paint has been removed to allow traces of black carbon fibre show through. This is a nice touch – a reminder of the first Silver Arrow of 1934.

There is a (probably apocryphal) story about how the 1934 Mercedes Silver Arrows racing cars got their colour.  Before the introduction of sponsorship, racing cars had always been painted in the traditional colour for their country; Britain was British Racing Green, France was French Blue and Italy was, of course, Rosso Corsa.  German cars were painted White.

From 1934 onwards a maximum weight limit of 750kg was introduced and Mercedes-Benz found that their W25 weighed 751kg.  After puzzling over what they could do to lose weight, racing manager Alfred Neubauer came up with the idea of scraping off all the paint to leave the silver aluminium exposed.  This supposedly saved the 1kg required and the Silver Arrows were born.

Images: Mercedes GP

Categories: Cars Tags: ,

Welcome to 2010!

January 19th, 2010 2 comments

F1 Buzz isn’t dead. We’ve just been taking a little holiday!

There is now less than two months until the 2010 Formula One season kicks off in Bahrain and less than two weeks until the first test in Valencia, so now might be a good time for a round up of who will be driving what this year.

BMW Sauber announced on Tuesday that ex-McLaren test driver, Pedro de la Rosa, will be partnering rookie Kamui Kobayashi at the Swiss team. What a great driver lineup Sauber have this year! De la Rosa is one of the most experienced test drivers in the business and I’ve always liked watching him when he has had the chance to race. The pairing of his experience and car development skills with the banzai driving style of Kamui Kobayashi mean BMW Sauber will be a team I will be watching closely this year.

Kimi Raikkonen has been ejected from Ferrari in favour of two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso. Felipe Massa could find himself under pressure as he returns to Formula One after his terrible accident at last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Massa and Alonso have not been the best of friends in the past but Massa is insisting they will have a good relationship saying:

I’ve spoken more to Fernando now than in three years with Kimi.

McLaren have the dream team of back to back British World Champions with Jenson Button confident he can do well at the team many people think is built around Lewis Hamilton. If the pace of McLaren’s development at the end of 2009 is anything to go by, the new MP4-25 should be a serious contender and it will be great to watch Button and Hamilton in equal machinery.

The team formerly known as Brawn will be the home of the new Silver Arrows as Mercedes take over last year’s Constructors Champions. This will be another team to watch in 2010. The Mercedes engine is probably the best on the grid and Nico Rosberg should finally have the car underneath him to make him a serious Championship contender. Of course, he may feel a little intimidated by having the most successful Formula One driver in history as a team mate, but while Michael Schumacher will no doubt be competitive, he hasn’t raced in F1 for a few years so it will be interesting to compare his performance against Rosberg.

Red Bull and Force India are the only two teams to carry over the same drivers from the last race of 2009 to the 2010 season. Last year saw Force India’s first podium and Mark Webber’s first win. Both will be trying for one better in 2010.

Everyone’s favourite number 2 driver, Rubens Barrichello, will partner rookie Nico Hulkenberg at Williams. Along with the four new teams on the grid Williams will be using Cosworth power this year. The last time Cosworth competed in Formula One was 2006 so it will be interesting to see if their engine has the required performance and reliability.

Jarno Trulli (the rolling roadblock) and Heikki Kovalainen (the flying Finn) have landed seats at new team Lotus. I think with these two experienced drivers, Mike Gascoyne in charge and a name like Lotus the Malaysian team could be one to watch in 2010 and the years to come.

Ex-Toyota driver Timo Glock will partner ex-GP2 driver Lucas di Grassi at Virgin. I have no idea what to expect of this team but although they will miss the first test the team claim that they are still ahead of schedule and will be at the second test in Jerez.

The remaining teams are yet to announce their full lineup, but this is what we know so far:

  • Toro Rosso will keep Sebastien Buemi, one of the more successful rookies of 2009.
  • Robert Kubica is hoping Renault can give him a car equal to his talents.
  • Bruno Senna, the kid competing with Michael Schumacher for the most famous name on the grid, will drive for Campos.
  • USF1 are yet to announce any drivers and while they have a preference for American talent, could we see Nick Heidfeld heading States-side? There are rumours the team may not even make the first race let alone pre-season testing…

2009 was another fantastic season and while the changes in regulations for 2010 are not as dramatic it is still shaping up to be a great year of racing.

Stay tuned!

Image: Lotus F1

Categories: Drivers Tags: