• F1 News

    It’s been a hectic 24 hours after the dramatic British Grand Prix and with action underway in Germany in just a few days there is plenty going on, here are the top stories in the paddock:
    Jean Eric Vergne

    Formula One racing’s official tyre suppliers Pirelli say that it is too early to pinpoint the cause of the blow-outs that affected several drivers in Sunday’s 2013 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix.

    However, they have ruled out the new bonding process used on tyres for the race at Silverstone as being at fault.

    Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and McLaren’s Sergio Perez all suffered tyre failures, prompting Pirelli to launch a thorough investigation ahead of next weekend’s German round at the Nurburgring.

    Formula 1 teams and Silverstone have agreed to open this month’s young driver test to the public.
    It had initially been suggested that the test, which takes place on July 17-19, would be closed to fans.
    However, following discussions with the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA), tickets for all three days are now available.

    As well as on-track action from the 10 teams involved, teams have also agreed that show cars will be put on display at the end of each day.

    The young driver test has been in the headlines recently, with Mercedes banned from it because of its secret Pirelli test, and some teams now pushing to let their race drivers take part to help F1’s current tyre crisis.

    Kimi Raikkonen finished in the points for the 25th consecutive race in the British Grand Prix, breaking Michael Schumacher’s record.
    Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Silverstone, 2013Raikkonen has finished in the top ten in every race since last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
    Schumacher finished in the points for 24 races in a row from the 2001 Hungarian to the 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix. But as noted last week points were not offered down to tenth place when Schumacher set the old record.
    Unsurprisingly, Raikkonen did not seem at all interested in the record when it was pointed out to him.

    Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed talk of a boycott of Sunday’s German Grand Prix as a result of themultiple tyre failures at Silverstone.
    After six drivers suffered blowouts during the British Grand Prix, the Formula 1 boss said: “I don’t think that will happen. I don’t think it’s something we need to address.”
    Ecclestone had agreed with Jean Todt, boss of the FIA, to allow tyre supplier Pirelli to do two three-day tests this week but F1 teams and Pirelli say it is unlikely a test could now take place.
    Pirelli said it was still analysing the problems and expected to have a short-term solution for this weekend’s race in place by Tuesday.
    Mark Webber (left) with Daniel RicciardoMark Webber believes fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo should replace him at Formula 1 champions Red Bull in 2014.
    Webber, 36, announced last month that he would be leaving Red Bull at the end of the season to compete in the classic Le Mans 24 Hours race for Porsche.
    Toro Rosso driver Ricciardo, 23, who made his F1 debut in 2011, finished eighth in Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

  • McLaren Shifting Focus to 2014

    McLaren are switching attention to next season’s car – but will continue to develop areas on this year’s car that could help in 2014.
    McLaren driver Jenson ButtonThe team are heading for their first year without a win since 2006, with Jenson Button’s fifth in China their best in 2013.
    “We have got to ensure we are in a competitive situation next year,” said McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh.
    “We are putting more effort into next year’s programme, earlier than usual.”
    Button could only manage 11th on the grid for Sunday’s British Grand Prix, while team-mate Sergio Perez was 14th.
    McLaren, whose last of eight constructors’ championships came in 1998, ended last year with the fastest car as Button claimed victory in Brazil.
    But rather than produce an evolution of the car for this season, like many of their rivals, the team chose to change the design radically. Since then, they have struggled to understand the car and have fallen behind their rivals.
    The team are sixth in the constructors’ championship, 164 points behind leaders Red Bull.
    Button is 10th in the drivers’ standings, 107 points adrift of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, with Perez a further 13 points behind.
    The next two seasons will represent huge change for McLaren. Next year, the engine regulations will change with a switch to 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines.
    While in 2015, the team will swap Mercedes for Honda power units.
    Whitmarsh added: “We’re racers, so we’re not giving up on this season. We’ll be pushing hard, but we’ve got to be realistic about what is achievable and what our priorities are.
  • FIA Brings in Penalty Points

    Sebastian Vettel and Felipe MassaFormula 1 has introduced a penalty-points system that will see drivers banned from a race if they commit too many offences.
    Points will be allocated to driving transgressions, such as forcing a rival off the track, and if a driver accumulates 12 he will be banned.
    No driver would have suffered a ban had the system been in force in the course of the last season and a half.
    Limited in-season testing has also been permitted, among other rule tweaks.
    The re-introduction of in-season testing after a ban for the last four seasons will see teams do four two-day tests after selected European races next year.
    The final list of testing locations will depend on the F1 calendar, which has not yet been published, but it is currently expected to be after the Spanish, British, Hungarian and Italian Grands Prix.
    The testing changes are part of a wider package aimed at reducing costs which includes a “significant” reduction in the amount of aerodynamic testing in both wind tunnels and through computational fluid dynamics.
    The four days of aerodynamic tests on straights or constant radius tracks and three days of young driver testing allowed this year have been removed.
    And the eight ‘promotional’ days on control tyres, which teams currently use to test new parts, have been cut to two.
    No draft calendar was announced but the season is expected to start in Bahrain on 2 March and could feature 21 races if the new events in Sochi in Russia and New Jersey USA both come off.
    The changes were all introduced at a meeting of F1’s legislative body, the FIA world council, on Friday.
    – Mercedes will be allowed to supply one more team with engines next season, bringing their total to four.
    – Each driver will have an extra set of tyres for use only in the first half hour of first practice to try to ensure teams do more running at that time
    – Gearboxes must be used for six consecutive events rather than five
    – Drivers may use only five engines per season and using an extra one will mean a pit-lane start
  • Britain Preview

    Another three week break completed and Formula One returns for some back-to-back racing action in Europe. After two street circuits, the F1 paddock is back on a dedicated surface, heading towards the rich racing history of Silverstone, tucked away in the heart of the British countryside. With the testing debacle sorted, attention can now focus solely on the race, as drivers try to stop Sebastian Vettel running away with it again.

    Red Bull had almost everything go their way in Canada, with Sebastian Vettel scooping pole position and the race victory, and both driver and team extending their lead in the championship standings. Silverstone is all about good balance and sweeping through the fast corners, a complete opposite to the hard-braking in Montreal – whether that will tip the order on its head again remains to be seen!

    Silverstone had just the one DRS area in 2012 but this year the FIA have put in a second activation and detection on the opposite side of the circuit. The original detection came ahead of turn 3, moments after the lap begins, with the rear wing opening up down the straight that follows.
    The new zone is detected at turn 11, just before the weaving section that leads into the second sector. Drivers can lower the rear wing flap for the straight that leads down to the ninety degree bend of turn 15. These two DRS zones are far enough apart not to directly influence each other, and will serve to make the high-speed circuit even faster!
    Built on an old airfield, the track used to be laid out with hay bales denoting the corners, and it has gradually improved to become the top level circuit it is today. For many years it was considered one of the old breed – a circuit with plenty of history, if some pretty awful facilities. The new plans hope to change all that, and the paddock complex is the first step in that direction.
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    Regarding the track, there are enough fast flowing corners and long straights to ensure that maximising your top speed is the key to getting a car set up right. Braking severity is low around the Silverstone circuit, and there are only a couple of low-gear corners to break up the momentum. Overtaking can be achieved around the track, although it is not always easy. Many of the teams celebrate their home races at the British Grand Prix, with the Force India factory just minutes away from the front gate, and the Mercedes buildings only a few miles down the road.
  • Silverstone Weather Forecast

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    The long range forecasts showed cloudy days ahead at Silverstone, but as we gradually creep closer to the event there are more specifics becoming clear. There’s talk of rain on Friday, but the sun could make an appearance over the weekend itself, leaving the race clear and dry… in theory.

    Forecast Summary

    • Outlook for Friday to Sunday

      Largely cloudy on Friday with some rain at times. Mostly dry on Saturday and Sunday, with some warm sunny intervals.

    Environmental Summary

    UV: 5

    UK Range: 1-7

    Pollen: Very High

    UK Range: Low to Very High