Formula One, abbreviated to F1 and also known as Grand Prix racing, is the highest class of single-seat open-wheel formula auto racing. It consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, held on purpose-built circuits or closed city streets, whose results determine two annual World Championships, one for drivers and one for constructors. The cars race at speeds often in excess of 300 km/h (185 mph) with engines that produce, as of 2005, around 950 bhp at just over 19000 rpm.
Porsche’s comeback in Le Mans was a long time in the making. As the automaker with the most wins in the race’s history at 16, Porsche returning to the scene of its glory has put the clock on its rivals.
But it wasn’t the only racing series the automaker was considering.
Before deciding on a Le Mans comeback, Porsche R&D boss, Wolfgang Hatz, told Autocar that the company also considered Formula One. In the end, however, the decision was made to return to Le Mans because conditions in Formula one were so "extreme that it cannot result in any development in our road car understanding."
It’s a valid reason, especially considering that Formula One technology seemingly has a life of its own and it didn’t make sense for Porsche to spend valuable resources and finances in a series that wouldn’t translate to its production development.
So there it is. Formula One’s loss - if it cares - is Le Mans’ gain. And with the competitiveness of the latter in the past few years, the return of the king will only make Le Mans even more fun to watch.
Click past the jump to watch Porsche’s history at Le Mans
The movie is still months away from hitting theaters, but the anticipation surrounding the Niki Lauda-inspired movie "Rush" is becoming more and more palpable by the day.
Last week, we saw the first trailer of the movie starring Spanish-born German actor, Daniel Brühl, playing the role of Niki Lauda and Chris Hemsworth playing the part of rival James Hunt. It was, in a word, riveting.
This week, the second trailer for "Rush" was released and if you loved the first one, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be equally in love with the second trailer. It’s longer, for one, and it gives us a better idea regarding the story of the movie and how it turned both Lauda and Hunt into far more than just fierce rivals.
Let’s face it; the greatest F1 rivalry will always be Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, but if there was a 1A, it would be Niki Lauda and James Hunt.
Rush, which was directed by Ron Howard, tells the story of the duo’s interlinked history.
Click past the jump to see the first trailer of Rush
If we told you to do something in 2.05 seconds, about the only thing you can do is breathe, blink or if you’re lucky, a combination of both.
But for the pit crew of Infiniti Red Bull, 2.05 seconds is a long time, long enough, in fact, to successfully change four tires on a Formula One racecar in the middle of competition. In doing so, the 2.05-second pit stop has been recognized as a new world record for being the fastest pit stop in history, eclipsing the previous record set by McLaren a year ago when it recorded a pit stop of 2.31 seconds.
Actually, the McLaren time from a year wasn’t the record when Red Bull recorded its 2.05-second pit stop for Mark Webber. The record was 2.13 seconds that was also set by the team for Sebastian Vettel...12 laps earlier.
All in all, six pit stops from the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix went faster than McLaren’s record last year, including one by the British race team who managed to post a new team record pit stop of 2.28 seconds.
It’s hard to imagine how you can successfully do a full pit stop in 2.05 seconds but if you need visual proof as to how those record setting two seconds happened, just watch the video and you’ll understand why those pit crew folks are the best at what they do.
And if you want to watch McLaren’s 2.31-second record-setting pit stop from Germany last season, you can find the video after the jump
Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber spend inordinate amounts of time in their respective Formula 1 RB9 racecars that it’s hard to imagine them having trouble dressing up a bare model with all of its liveries.
But that’s exactly the predicament the duo found themselves in after the team decided to challenge them to put all of the RB9’s liveries in their proper places. To their credit, Vettel and Webber got a few of the liveries correct, but most of them ended up being either in the wrong place, the wrong direction, and in one case, the wrong order.
Maybe Red Bull technical director, Adrian Newey, was right in his assessment of the two upon seeing the mess Vettel and Webber did to the RB9’s carbon monococque body. "Stick to your day jobs," Newey said.
We’re not about to disagree with that.
Check out how Vettel and Webber did when tasked to dress up the RB9 with all of its sponsors’ liveries. It’ll make for a couple of good laughs that much we’re certain of.
Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa are arguably two of the best racecar drivers in the world right now. So you can imagine just at-home they’d feel behind the wheel of a supercar like the Ferrari 458 Italia.
Well, it turns out, they’re a lot more confident in that seat than they are riding shotgun.
This video released by Ferrari, a marketing vid if there ever was one, features the two Scuderia Ferrari Formula One racers each getting his turn driving a 458 Italia with the other in the front passenger seat.
The video was shot at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona and if there’s a big takeaway we can get from seeing Alonso and Massa inside the Ferrari supercar, it’s that when you put them in a place where they’re most comfortable, you can see how genuinely human they can be. It’s a far cry from the serious nature of Formula One and to see both laugh, curse, and fear for their lives gives us a reminder that these two are all just like us.
The only difference is they get paid to do a job that most of us can only dream of.
But the consensus among people in F1 seems to believe that Danica Patrick isn’t good enough to compete at their level. One voice that shared his opinion on Danica’s chances of success should she race in Formula One was Dr. Helmut Marko, the driver manager at Red Bull, who above all else, questioned her credentials. "You have to look at Danica’s results in the road races," he said. "It’s not enough."
"We are looking for drivers based on performance, not by quota," Marko added.
Triple world champion and Mercedes chairman, Niki Lauda, also weighed in and was a little more diplomatic about his answer, saying that it wasn’t so much Danica Patrick’s skill set, but more about the technical level of Formula One and how U.S. drivers wouldn’t be able to cope with the technical side of F1 in general.
"The last American who had success in Europe was Mario Andretti — and that was in my day!" exclaimed the 63-year-old.
Lauda, however, wasn’t closing the door on a female driver racing in Formula One, saying that they should get a chance if they have the kind of skills to allow them to be successful in the series. If for nothing else, having a female on the F1 grid will boost the sport’s popularity exponentially. Lauda was even quoted by the Bild daily saying that "if we could get a woman into the top six, you would immediately have twice as many fans in front of the TV".
"For ten years," Lauda added, "I’ve told Bernie Ecclestone he’s dopey for not getting a woman into Formula One."
But, at least as far as the F1 folks opine, that ’woman’ isn’t Danica Patrick.
Sauber Motorsports F1 has plenty of expectations heading into the 2013 Formula One season. Relative to its more heavily funded competitors, the team’s only objective is to probably score more constructor points this season than they did a year ago, a feat made impressive with their sixth place finish - 16 points away from the disappointing Mercedes F1 team.
With their new ride, the C32, the team is looking to make an impression with a radically redesigned F1 race car that looks to accomplish their objectives for the year. The most noticeable of the changes are the partially stepped nose, the narrow side pods and a redesigned rear end.
The nose, in particular, offers a different take from some teams that have taken to using a stepped nose with others opting to use a vanity panel. The redesigned side pods and the pull-rod suspension also suggests that Sauber wanted to make the C32 as light as possible. The radiator placement, the Coanda exhaust design and the outlet placements are all different from the C32’s predecessor, the C31.
What’s the same is the chassis, which is still made from a carbon-fiber monocoque. Meanwhile, the front and rear suspension was co-created by Sachs Race Engineering and Penske. The car’s six-piston calipers, carbon pads and discs all come by way of Brembo.
With its technological partner, Ferrari, continuing to supply the engine - in this case, a 2.4-liter eight-cylinder engine - and the KERS system, the improved C32 has expectations to be better than its predecessor, and in return, allow the team the chance to scoop up more points than the 126 points they scored last season.
Caterham F1 was one of only three teams that failed to register a single point in the 2012 Formula One season.
Caterham believes it has the car that can change its fortunes with the CT03.
Ideally, though, you’d want a race car that’s primed and ready for competition when the season starts in March. That’s not the case with these guys because it appears that the car will head to Melbourne as presented, which means that any form of upgrades will happen during the season.
Not exactly the way you’d want to achieve your first points in Formula One. Then again, the CT03 does come with a lot of modifications, which Caterham hopes can be enough for the car to stay on track for an entire race, let alone finish with some points. The resculpted side pods have been added while the engine, the diffuser, and the cooling exits all have had their own improvements.
Like every other F1 race car, the CT03’s body is made entirely out of carbon fiber. Meanwhile, the car’s powertrain is a Renault-sourced 2.4-liter V-8 RS27-2012 engine that’s mated to a gearbox from Red Bull Technology. Dampers come by way of Penske & Multimatic while brake discs and pads are sourced from Carbone Industrie or Hitco. Other sourced parts on the CT03 include cockpit instrumentation from MES, seat belts from Schroth, fuel cell from ATL, and wheels from BBS.
All together, the team still needs to temper their expectations for the CT03 because expectations don’t match the reality that while this racecar has some improvements, it’s still a ways away from the rest of the field.
Russian automaker Marussia hasn’t had the kind of success it initially expected when they made the jump to Formula One racing.
The team hopes to change all that with the introduction of their 2013 F1 racer, the MR02.
Representing a comprehensive evolution of the 2012 car, the MR02 received a host of new changes that has put the onus on the team to be more competitive than they’ve ever been in the racing series. The chassis, for one, carries a number of elements that are new, allowing the car to handle the rigors of hardcore racing to the fullest. That in itself is a victory for the MR02, considering its predecessor had a hard time just staying on the track last season.
The biggest change to the MR02, though, is the addition of the KERS system, which is making its debut on a Marussia race car. With the installation of the KERS system, team engineers had to work double and triple time to integrate the system while also reducing the overall weight of the carbon chassis and redesigning the body to accommodate new signatures to the car. The new side pod design and the more aggressive Coanda-style exhaust are also key improvements for the MR02, all of which we’re made while under pressure to still meet mandatory FIA crash tests.
As for its engine, the MR02 will still be powered by Cosworth’s CA2013K engine and mated to a modified seven-speed Xtrac longitudinally mounted aluminum transmission. Marussia’s partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies is also a boon for the MR02, with the latter providing tools - a wind tunnel and simulator being two of them - that Marussia can make good use of to continue development of the MR02.
It’s not the most powerful setup in the grid by any stretch of the imagination, but for a team like Marussia that hasn’t been around Formula One all that long, all the modifications given to the MR02 will go a long way to making them a lot more competitive in the grid.
Anytime you win the last three Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships in Formula One, there’s always that level of pressure (in this case, through the roof) to be better than ever before.
That pressure lies on the shoulders of Red Bull Racing, which is looking to win its fourth double championship in as many years. With three-time champ Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the helm, you can expect these guys to remain in the thick of the championship race and they’ve got the RB9 to help them make it four-in-a-row.
At a special gala event held at the team’s headquarters in Milton Keynes, England, the RB9 officially made its highly anticipated debut. Parts of the overall design of the RB9 were taken from its predecessor, the RB8, including that stepped-nose design that ruffled a whole lot of feathers on the grid last year.
Since regulations for this season are pretty much similar, there weren’t a whole lot of radical modifications to the RB9. In addition to the similar body, the same Renault-sourced naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter V-8 engine complete with a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) is still in there too.
If there was any change to the new Formula One car, it’s the livery that now prominently features Infiniti on the side of the racecar instead of the usual Red Bull logo. Now that the former has become the title partner of the team - they’re officially known as Infiniti Red Bull Racing - then it only seems appropriate to have the automaker’s logo displayed where the cameras usually focus.
Other than that, the biggest focus for the team lies in continuing development of their Energy Recovery Systems.