For many years, Cosworth has been providing Formula One teams with high-performance engines and rumors have been floating around that it may pull out when the new F1 engine standards take hold in 2014. When Williams chose to drop Cosworth as its engine supplier in 2011 and switch to Renault, it looked like the nail had been firmly driven into Cosworth’s F1-racing coffin. Cosworth continued on with only two teams using its engines – Marussia and HRT – and its current owners have reportedly seen enough.
A report out of the UK-based newspaper, The Times, is stating that the famed engine builder’s owners have chosen to sell the company. According to the same report, Rolls-Royce is being tossed around as a potential suitor for the high-performance engine builder. The reason Rolls-Royce comes up is because Rolls is also one of Cosworth’s key customers in the aerospace side of its business. That would immediately give Rolls-Royce a leg up in the aerospace industry and net it a leg up in auto racing as a byproduct.
There are several other names floating around, like British aerospace company, GKN, but Rolls is certainly the front runner at this point. The fact that it can also benefit from the automotive engine technology could really push Rolls to up the ante and give Cosworth’s owners a fair bid. Whoever chooses to buy the automotive and aerospace company needs to work fast, as it will need to have an engine build and tested in time for the 2014 F1 season, if it hopes to compete.
We’ll keep an eye on how things shape up and let you know if any other bidders arise. Hopefully this doesn’t turn into a Saab -like situation.
We have already learned the Porsche is returning to Le Mans, but now there are some new rumors with a little bit of validity regarding Porsche and professional racing. This new rumor is that Porsche is considering a return to F1 . This rumor, however, has some strength, as Porsche has been hiring folks with F1 background. The latest hiring episode by Porsche included: Fritz Enzinger, Alex Hitzinger, Mike Krack and Urs Kuratle.
Enzinger was the Head of F1 Test and Race Organization at BMW Motorsport, Alex Hitzinger was the Head of Advanced Technologies’ for Red Bull F1 and Scuderia Toro Rosso, and Mike Krack and Urs Kuratle were race engineers at BMW Sauber. That’s a lot of F1 experience for any other manufacturer to hire, but Porsche is not your typical manufacturer, so those hirings alone are strange, but really no big deal.
There are also rumors that Porsche is scouring the F1 pits searching for more talent to add to its stable. This odd hiring trend combined with these rumors may be to prepare for Le Mans. If you really think about it though, wouldn’t Porsche hire a more eclectic group of racing experts or stick with Le Mans talent for that?
We definitely think there is something to this rumor and that Porsche will soon announce that it is returning to F1 in some capacity. Stay tuned for more!
Recently, the World Motor Sport Council approved the proposed change to F1 engines. This new change requires all cars to switch from the current 2.4-liter V-8 setups to a smaller 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged setup. Interestingly enough, this just so happens to be the exact engine that Honda developed only months ago to run in the WTCC.
This drew suspicion that Honda might be interested in doing more than just run in WTCC with its new boosted 4-cylinder, which is also widely expected to grace the engine compartment of its upcoming Civic Type R . Autocar had a sit down with Honda’s head of R&D, Yoshiharu Yamamoto, about the engine and the possibility of Honda using this engine when F1 begins enforcing these new laws, which is scheduled for the 2014 season.
Yamamoto didn’t outright say Honda would return, but was quoted as saying “On a personal level I love racing, but there is a lot involved when you are in F1 – it is the very top of auto racing and that requires a large commitment. But it is true that we do look up at those races and hope that one day we can take part again.”
He the added “I do not personally think we can just go straight back immediately, but there is potential for the rules to change and attract us. I follow the rules, certainly, and if they present an opportunity then it would be nice to go back.”
He was later grilled again on the topic and made Honda’s intentions more clear by effectively saying that if the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine has success in the WTCC, there is a chance that Honda will look into creating variants for other racing series. We all assume that one of those racing series would almost have to be F1.
So for now we have an “eh, maybe” answer about Honda getting into F1 again, but the pure fact that F1 passed the rule about using a 1.6-liter turbo engine, then Honda released the exact same engine just seems too much of a coincidence to us. We’ll keep an eye on this, as Honda continues to retest the racing realm again.
After a successful run with McLaren, Lewis Hamilton became likely the hottest free agent in recent F1 history. There was a lot of debating and speculation that Hamilton had already signed with Mercedes , who only just recently signed the Concorde Agreement after rumors that it may leave F1, and that McLaren refused to match. It looks as if all of the Hamilton-to-Mercedes rumors were true, as Mercedes has officially announced the signing of Hamilton through the 2016 season.
This signing comes on the heels of McLaren , Hamilton’s former employer, announcing that it had signed the up-and-coming Sergio Perez. An unfortunate byproduct of Mercedes bringing in this young blood means the old blood, in the form of Michael Schumacher, is out of a job. There is some speculation that Schumacher will head back into retirement, but other rumors are placing him with Sauber, taking the spot vacated by Sergio Perez’s jettison to McLaren. Ah, and the evil circle of F1 continues…
It is up for debate as to whether Mercedes or McLaren got the better end of the deal, as you have a proven talent in Hamilton who had some struggles last year. But on the other hand you have the 22-year-old Perez with an impressive three podium trips last year and is heading into the prime of his career.
Either way, both Mercedes and McLaren got their guys and both Hamilton and Perez will likely continue strong in the coming years. Also announced today by Mercedes is that 3-time F1 champ, Nikki Lauda, will join Mercedes as a non-executive chairman.
While a lot of people will tell you that the Monaco Grand Prix is still the crown jewel of the Formula 1 season calendar, the Singapore Grand Prix has become the premier Asian destination for F1. So much so, in fact, that you could make a case in a few years that Singapore could potentially overcome Monaco as the most prestigious F1 race in the calendar.
But that discussion is for another time because the 2012 Singapore GP just concluded - and it was a complete doozy.
The records will show you that Sebastian Vettel emerged from the chaos with the win, his second in the five years the race has been run. But the story doesn’t end there because Vettel’s win was probably overshadowed by the mayhem during the race that actually caused it to be stopped two laps before the finish because of F1’s new two-hour race limit.
The first 22 laps of the race were uneventful with Lewis Hamilton emerging in front from pole position. Vettel and Button, starting on third and fourth, respectively, managed to overtake second place qualifier Pastor Maldonado in the start, effectively putting a McLaren-Red Bull-McLaren top-to-third order. Then, as if a sign of things to come, the two Caterham race cars collided with each other, thus putting an abrupt end to the team’s participation.
On the 23rd lap, the race turned upside its head when Lewis Hamilton, sitting pretty in first, unceremoniously retired after an electrical malfunction resulted in a blown gearbox. With his race done, Vettel emerged as the leader in what he thought would be a smooth sail to the finish line.
Little did Vettel, or anybody else know, that the chaos was just getting warmed up.
After upgrading the SLS AMG with a new name and better specs, Mercedes has also opted to replace its Safety Car version with the new Mercedes SLS AMG GT . The new SLS AMG GT Safety Car will be used during the 2012 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix on September 21st, 2nd, and 23rd.
The new Safety Car will be present with an aluminum spaceframe construction that helps keep its total weight down to just 3571 lbs. It will be powered by the same V8 engine found in the standard model, which delivers a total of 591 HP and is mated to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission with optimized shift times. Next to this impressive engine, the SLS AMG GT Safety Car also received a high-performance ceramic composite brake system and weight-reduced AMG 10-spoke forged light-alloy wheels painted in matte black with a high-sheen finish.
As if all of this wasn’t enough to get the fans’ attention, Mercedes has also allowed the Mercedes SLS AMG GT Safety Car to stand out with a number of LED lights and a specially developed rear silencer that provides an even more sensational V8 soundtrack.
In December of 2011, Sid Watkins retired as F1 ’s Institute President. In his career, Watkins was known as the man that saved many drivers’ lives with the safety innovations that he headed up and his medical services. He is also noted as the doctor that tended to Ayrton Senna following the 1994 crash that ultimately killed Senna, who also happened to be Watkins’ dear friend.
This man that was so well known for saving lives has now seen his own life come to an end. Just 10 months and two days following his retirement, Watkins has passed away at the age of 84 years old. This oft-light-hearted neurosurgeon was beloved by many F1 drivers not only for his advancements and medical treatment, but as a friend.
An example of the outpouring of support is the post on Rubens Barrichello’s Twitter page, as he tweeted “It was Sid Watkins that saved my life in Imola 94. great guy to be with, always happy...tks for everything u have done for us drivers. RIP.”
A signs of just how dedicated Watkins was to his craft, at the 1995 Australian Grand Prix, Mika Häkkinen crashed during qualifying and was knocked unconscious. Watkins was the final doctor to arrive at the scene – two volunteers arrived within 15 seconds – and Watkins actually restarted Häkkinen’s heart twice, and then was forced to perform a cricothyrotomy – incision through the throat to create an unobstructed airway – while on the side of the racetrack. That ultimately saved the driver’s life and was one of Watkins’ crowning moments as a doctor.
Though F1 has lost one of its greats, Watkins’ achievements and memory as a life saving and protecting doctor will live on through many generations. Our condolences go out to his family, friends, and the entire F1 series.
Any gearhead knows that the one of the top-10 best sounds in the world is a high-powered car flying through a tunnel. You get a nice surround-sound-like listen to the thumping of the pistons and its enough to make the hairs on your neck stand up.
Well, how about hearing am F1 car screaming through New Jersey’s Lincoln tunnel at 190 mph? Yeah, that makes a damn fine noise too. The folks at Red Bull Racing have decided to tease us for an upcoming race that uses said tunnel by releasing an in-car view of their F1 car performing this feat.
All we can say after watching this video is “Dang that looks fun... and scary.” Some people have a hard enough time going through a tunnel at the speed limit, and this driver cranked through at 190. Phew, good stuff.
Check out the above video and get a look for yourself. Those that get motion sickness easily may want to avoid this one.
Recently we saw Dodge pull out of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and it was sort of a shock, as they had just finished developing a new car just for that series. We are now hearing whispers that another car manufacturer may be pulling out of another racing series. This time around we are talking about Mercedes and its involvement in the F1 series, at least part of its involvement.
Auto Hebdo, a French weekly, has reported that Mercedes-Benz is trying to find a way to not foot a huge bill for a team, yet still earn money and notoriety from the series. The reasoning for Mercedes possibly leaving has more folds than Jabba the Hut in a size-2 bikini, but the gist of it is that Mercedes is not happy with and is the only team yet to sign the new Concorde Agreement, which gives preferential treatment to vested teams and also places these teams, which include Ferrari , McLaren , and Red Bull, on F1’s parent company’s board.
Where the partial pullout comes into play is the fact that Mercedes fields engines for various teams, like McLaren and Force India, and that may continue. This could be the reasoning for Mercedes switching its name from "Mercedes AMG Petronas F1" to "AMG F1" next year.
There are also contradicting rumors that said AMG F1 will field a team, but Mercedes will stay out of the racing side and focus only on engineering. The AMG arm would be the “hands-on” entity, which could also be considered a partial withdrawal. Of course, Mercedes is denying the rumors calling its involvement in F1 “long term” and an “integral component” of their philosophy.
With all of these crazy rumors flying around and Bernie Eccelstone saying “I very much doubt Mercedes will ever leave F1,” we’ll reserve our prediction for when these murky waters clear up a little.
The world of Formula One offers plenty of interesting characters and few have been more interesting than three-time F1 champ Niki Lauda. Turns out, it’s more than interesting enough to even catch the attention of Hollywood as the new biopic movie of the Austrian driver, called "Rush", has already been announced to be released on September 20, 2013.
While that’s still over a year from now, the production is already underway with the story centered around the 1976 F1 season when Lauda went toe-to-toe with British driver James Hunt in one of the most dramatic championships in Formula 1 history.
The movie is being directed by Ron Howard and stars Spanish-born German actor Daniel Brühl playing the role of Niki Lauda with Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, playing the part of James Hunt.
The rivalry between the two drivers stretched all the way to the season-ending race in Japan when Lauda, despite still being on top of the points table, retired from the race because of safety concerns, thus conceding the title to his British rival.
With one of the most legendary Hollywood directors at the helm and a rising stud in Hemsworth also involved in the movie, "Rush" is looking like a can’t-miss movie for the summer of 2013. Check out some of the new production photos from the movie in the gallery below.