Posts Tagged ‘f1’

So – now we get a real look at a 2014 F1 car and more specifically that nose and, like Cyrano turning to face Roxanne for the first time, it’s hard not to be shocked. That is one hell of a conk. Don’t blame the design team at Williams, they are only responding to the rule changes and it’s expected that by next Tuesday — by which time we will have seen all but one of the new cars — the F1 paddock will resemble a colony of proboscis monkeys.

The nose of the Williams-Mercedes FW36, which will be raced by Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas this year, is a response to a rule that simultaneously obliges the lower edge of the front bulkhead (the front of the monocoque) and the tip of the nose to be lowered — the tip by over 360mm.

The aero team, however, still demands as much air as possible goes under the car, hence what designers call ‘a finger’. Caterham’s Cyril Abiteboul said yesterday: “It does remind me of Alien…with something coming out of the mouth and whatever. It’s not very nice. Kids should be dreaming when they see a Formula One car. I don’t know what sort of dream or nightmare you will get when you look at those cars. It is going to be ugly.”

But back to the new Williams, the successor to last year’s terrible FW35 and the first to use Mercedes power now Williams have split from Renault. They were two years which only very occasionally evoked memories of the partnership’s success in the eighties and nineties. Now under the technical direction of Pat Symonds, the FW36 is Williams’ first turbo-powered car since the Mansell era, and Symonds is candid on the challenges packaging the heavier V6 turbo and its two energy recovery systems: “The build has gone remarkably smoothly, but it’s been a challenge to get the car down to the [690kg] weight limit,” he has said.

The computer generated image of the Williams-Mercedes FW26, along with yesterday’s image of the Force India-Mercedes VJM07, do give us the beginnings of a feel for F1’s new turbo-hybrids. This morning’s shot especially shows us the lengths aerodynamicists will need to go to now the extreme left and right of the front wing has been moved inwards (by 75mm each side) and effectively inboard of the front wheel. The trick will be to turn the airflow inside the front wheel and not just for aerodynamic reasons — those massive sidepod intakes are the first look we’ve had at all the extra cooling the turbo-hybrids require.

Tomorrow at noon we see the McLaren MP4-29, and let’s hope McLaren gives us a look at the back. There are big changes both to the exhaust (which can no longer blow the rear diffuser) and to the rear wing itself, which can no longer sport the lower beam wing. Together the changes mean a lot less drag but also a lot less downforce. Which is just what you need for a powertrain that promises to deliver great lumps of torque…

 

Seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher’s condition has improved slightly after a second operation to relieve pressure on his brain.

“Michael’s condition has been carefully supervised all the night and has remained stable also this morning,” said Sabine Kehm, Schumacher’s assistant on Wednesday. “For the moment, the good news for today is that we will not hold a press conference because there are no significant changes. Still, the condition overall is critical.”

Schumacher suffered a head injury while skiing in the French Alps. Following the second operation, doctors said a scan showed signs that he was “better then yesterday, but still not out of danger”.

“We can’t say he is out of danger but… we have gained a bit of time,” anesthesiologist Jean-Francois Payen told a news conference . “The coming hours are crucial.”

“But all the family is very much aware that his state is still sensitive and anything can happen.”

Schumacher was skiing with his 14-year-old son and two others in the French resort of Meribel when he fell on Sunday morning. He was taken by helicopter to hospital in Moutiers before being moved to Grenoble.

The hospital where he is being treated first released a statement on Sunday evening describing his condition as “critical”, and said that he “was suffering a serious brain trauma with coma on his arrival”. He was immediately operated upon.

The F1 world has shown its support for Schumacher through Twitter. Jenson Button tweeted: “My thoughts are with Michael Schumacher at this tough time. Michael more than anyone has the strength to pull through this.”

Felipe Massa has posted a picture of him hugging his former Ferrari teammate. “I am praying for you my brother!” wrote the Brazilian. “I hope you have a quick recovery! God bless you Michael.”

We wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Ross Brawn leaves Mercedes F1

Posted: November 29, 2013 in News
Tags: , , , ,

 

Ross Brawn will step down as team principal of Mercedes AMG F1, the Brackley team has today announced.

Brawn will officially depart Merc at the end of the year, leaving Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe – recruited at the start of 2013 from McLaren – in charge of the team.

After an extended period of wrangling, it seems the decision to leave was Brawn’s own. “We have had long discussions with Ross about how he could continue with the team,” said Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda. “But it is a basic fact that you cannot hold someone back when they have chosen to move on.”

In an official statement, Brawn said: “The most important consideration in my decision to step down from the role as team principal was to ensure that the timing was right for the team in order to ensure its future success.”

Brawn exits a team he once literally called his own. Mercedes F1 was born from the Brit’s own Brawn GP outfit, which won both constructors and drivers titles in 2009 after Honda withdrew its funding.

“We must say thank you to Ross,” said Merc chairman Niki Lauda. “When you consider the step that has been made from finishing fifth in 2012 to the second place that we have secured this season, he has been the architect of this success. Toto and Paddy are the right people to lead our team in 2014 and beyond.”

We don’t know yet where Brawn shall head next, but no doubt he’ll be in demand: as well as doing the 2009 double, he was also instrumental in helping Michael Schumacher to seven titles at Benetton and Ferrari. Could he return to the Scuderia?