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2015 F1 Practice Sessions: What You Need to Know

2015 F1 Practice Sessions: What You Need to Know

Mercedes is still fast, Alonso is all better, and Ferrari has a chance

The last few weeks have been the open practice sessions for the upcoming 2015 season of Formula One, and there has been quite a bit of excitement. 2014 was a rough season for most of the competitors, thanks to the massive rule change to smaller, turbocharged engines, aerodynamic changes that reduced downforce, and new fuel restrictions.

This new season sees subtler rule changes, so teams are more prepared for what is coming next. That said, there was a huge driver mix-up at the end of last season, and this is the first chance for drivers to really test their new cars. In short, this is the first chance spectators get to see who has improved, who looks promising to win, and who is going to have new challenges to overcome.

We only have two weeks until the first race of the season, so keep reading to find out what we learned these last three weeks, and find out what you need to watch for in Melbourne.

Keep reading to learn more about the F1 2015 Pre-season testing results.

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2014 Ferrari F14 T

2014 Ferrari F14 T

With the initial preseason testing underway in Jerez, Spain, Ferrari has joined the list of teams who have revealed their cars for the 2014 season of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship,

Named the F14 T after an online poll by Ferrari. Though its new 1.6-liter, V-6 engine is less powerful than last year’s V-8 engine, when combined with the ERS system, this drivetrain will actually produce more peak power than last year’s car. The F14 T features a significantly upgraded design especially up front, as we reported previously.

The F14 T will be driven by Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, which is one of the best driver lineups by any team this year, in our opinion. With Ferrari promising it’s drivers a new LaFerrari if they manage to win the World Championship title, we don’t think we’ll have to worry about not seeing the Ferrari drivers doing all they can to challenge Adrian Newey and his boffins at Red Bull Racing.

Click past the jump to read more about the F14 T.

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Ferrari Planning Birthday Celebration for Michael Schumacher

Ferrari Planning Birthday Celebration for Michael Schumacher

With F1 legend, Michael Schumacher, still in a medically-induced coma stemming from his skiing accident last week, the world has been waiting with baited breath to hear about any sort of positive developments for the man many regard as the finest race car driver in history.

But today is an especially difficult day for the Schumacher family, as Michael should’ve been celebrating his 45th birthday instead of being in a hospital fighting for his life. But like some men who have as devoted a following as Schumi, his fans and former colleagues are rallying behind him in the kind of way that just speaks volumes on the influence he had on them.

For its part, Ferrari has announced plans to pay tribute to its iconic F1 driver by holding a "silent and respectful event" at the Grenoble University Hospital where Schumi is recovering from that unfathomable accident.

The Italian automaker made its plans known on its Facebook page, calling for Ferrari owners to show up with their cars to celebrate Schumacher’s 45th birthday. It’s not the most ideal of circumstances to be holding such a celebration, but the thought and motive behind it are undoubtedly admirable. After all, it’s Schumacher who is largely responsible for Ferrari’s dominant run in Formula One in the last decade no driver, we argue, means more to its team than the man the tifosi call the Maestro.

The event is being scheduled by the Scuderia Ferrari Club and interested owners can contact their local club for additional information in the event they want to attend. It’s a hastily planned tribute, but nothing about this situation has been planned.

On our end, we continue to wish Michael Schumacher a full recovery from this accident. We’re rooting for you, sir, and sincerely hope you win this one last race for your family, friends, and loyal fans.

Click past the jump to read about Michael Schumacher

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Raikkonen, Alonso to get Ferrari LaFerrari if They Win Title Next Season

Raikkonen, Alonso to get Ferrari LaFerrari if They Win Title Next Season

Ferrari LaFerrari 2.5 Seconds

How’s this for incentive?

It’s no secret that Ferrari is starving to win a Formula One championship after watching Red Bull dominate the series for four years now. Though they won’t admit it, signs of desperation are coming out of Maranello and you don’t need to look further than the team’s decision to bring back Kimi Raikkonen as the new teammate of Fernando Alonso.

Raikkonen and Alonso are without question two of the best drivers in the grid today and according to TheSupercarKids, Ferrari is giving the pair quite an incentive if they win the world championship next year.

If Alonso or Raikkonen take down Sebastian Vettel’s dynastic run at the top of Formula One, both of them will be given a Ferrari LaFerrari. Yeah, the same supercar whose production run is already sold out.

Then again, it seems that Ferrari is more than willing to let its engineers build a couple more for the occasion. Lord knows it’s an important year for the team in Formula One. It hasn’t won a title since Raikkonen in 2007, and if they come up short again next season, it would be seven straight seasons without any hardware to show for all the hard work.

That would also be the longest drought Ferrari has had since that 19-year drought from 1980 through 1999.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ferrari LaFerrari

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Video: Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa Take Turns Behind the Wheel of a Ferrari 458 Italia

Video: Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa Take Turns Behind the Wheel of a Ferrari 458 Italia

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.

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2013 Ferrari F138

2013 Ferrari F138

A week after teasing us with their new 2013 Formula One race car, Ferrari has finally pulled the covers off of their 2013 racer with every intention of using it to finally supplant Red Bull’s three-year dominance in the racing series.

The car is called the "F138" and if you didn’t know the meaning behind the designation, we’re here to tell you what F138 means. The "F" obviously stands for ’Ferrari’ while the "13" signifies the year - 2013 - where the car is going to race. As for the "8", that’s the number of cylinders the race car carries. There’s plenty of significance for the V-8, at least as far as Ferrari is concerned. With the engine ending its Formula One run this year — the series will switch to turbocharged V-6 engines in 2014 — Ferrari saw fit to pay homage to the departing naturally aspirated 2.4-liter V-8 engine, hence the inclusion in the official designation of the car.

2012 runner-up Fernando Alonso will spearhead Ferrari’s attempt to finally end Red Bull’s three-year reign, where he will be once again joined by teammate Felipe Massa. We have no expectations for Massa this year, but Alonso’s a different case altogether.

If there’s anybody that can dethrone Red Bull and three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, it’s Alonso and the Ferrari F138.

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Ferrari Drops Teaser of its 2013 Formula One Race Car

Ferrari Drops Teaser of its 2013 Formula One Race Car

After what ended up becoming one of the most dramatic and controversial Formula One seasons in recent history, Ferrari is already gearing up for the 2014 season and they’re set to drum up the hype with the debut of their 2013 Formula One race car.

Set to be unveiled on February 1, Scuderia Ferrari has prepared a countdown teaser ahead of the race car’s live online debut.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of changes Ferrari has up its sleeves after star driver Fernando Alonso came so close to dethroning reigning and defending champion, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. At the same time, Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo, acknowledged the need for the team to cost cut in line with the FIA’s objective to remain financially and economically viable in the long run.

Be that as it may, we’re still very interested to see what’s lying under that red sheet. If Alonso came within a controversial non-penalty by Vettel of winning the title last year, we’d be surprised if Ferrari doesn’t have a car that puts the Spaniard over the hump.

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Video: Life-sized replica of Ferrari F150° is the Ultimate Lego/Ferrari/Shell Promotion

Video: Life-sized replica of Ferrari F150° is the Ultimate Lego/Ferrari/Shell Promotion

Ferrari’s reputation as one of the finest automakers in the world is unquestioned. However, creating some of the best exotics isn’t the only thing the Italian automaker is good at. It also fits the bill as an adept cross promoter.

Recently, Ferrari celebrated 100 years of history in Italy by tying up with Shell and Lego to build a 1-to-1 scale model of the automaker’s Ferrari F150° Formula One race car. No, it doesn’t come with an actual engine, but make no mistake, it’s pretty freaking awesome by itself.

It’s safe to say that work done on building a life-sized Formula 1 race car is a task in itself, but what’s really impressive about this whole build it that the final product looks almost lifelike from a distance.

Shell even has a time-lapse of video on how to entire build went down from bare bones to the final product. It’s definitely something that’s worth spending less than two minutes of your time watching.

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CVC Reducing its Ownership Stake in F1

CVC Reducing its Ownership Stake in F1

To say that F1 is struggling is a bit of an understatement. First, the lack of parity has somewhat alienated fans and sponsors, as Red Bull and Ferrari both pulled corporate association last year. Then came the delay in releasing F1 stock on the Singapore stock market, citing worldwide economic unrest as its main reason, though we tend to think F1 officials are waiting for the time when the sport regains its footing.

The latest bit of F1 business news that may indicate that F1 is in for a tough future is the fact that F1’s majority owner, CVC Capital, has sold down its share in the racing series. It’s one thing if a majority owner dumps 5 of 6 percent of its stock, that’s simply business, but when an owner dumps 1/5 of its stack, that is a little more serious.

CVC Capital dumped $1.6 billion first and has more recently dropped another $500 million of its F1 ownership, dropping its overall stake from a hefty 63.4 percent to just 42.5 percent. The total sale was split amongst three different investment groups.

CVC still remains the majority shareholder, but its drastic drop is rather ominous. Does this mean that CVC sees something on the horizon that could cause the worth of F1 to drop significantly? We really don’t know, but there is no other reason to drop over 20 percent of your ownership in such a short period of time. Add this drop to the lack of two monster-sized corporate racing sponsors – Red Bull and Ferrari – not being a part of F1 and you can start seeing the writing on the wall that marks change.

There is no way that F1 would simply fold up, but we suspect that there will be some serious restructuring coming down the pipe very soon. We’ll keep you updated as more news becomes available.

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2012 Grand Prix of Monaco is in the books

2012 Grand Prix of Monaco is in the books

As always, the Grand Prix of Monaco provided a fairly spectacular showing, likely one of the few in this year’s F1 series. As most would expect, Circuit de Monaco lap-time record holder and five-time winner, Michael Schumacher took the pole position, but officials forced him back five grid positions after he caused a collision during qualifying. With the technical nature of Monaco, that pole position is very important and Schumacher’s penalty was an ominous sign that this would not be a good race, as he retired due to fuel issues 63 laps in.

Schumacher’s penalty propelled Red Bull’s Mark Webber into the pole position. Webber held onto that pole position, despite a lead change during a pit stop, and took home the checkered flag on a rain-coated Circuit de Monaco. As we said in our preview of the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco, this race had some serious overall points influence, as the leaders were only separated by a few points each.

This victory for Webber places propels him up to a second place tie with Sebastian Vettel at 73 points and puts Fernando Alonso, who finished third, in the points lead at 76. An impressive run by Nico Rosberg placed him in second, just behind Webber, proving that his wide margin of victory in China was not just a one-time deal. This superb finish by Rosberg jumps him up two slots to fifth place overall.

From the looks of it, this season is shaping up to be a rather close points race with a few new faces near the top. Unfortunately, the leader board, for the most part, looks identical to the 2011 and 2010 seasons. The lack of parody in F1 has really been its Achilles heel in recent history. An overall points victory by Nico Rosberg would certainly be a push in the right direction for F1, so we’ll keep a close eye on his performance.

Click past the jump to see the complete placement board for the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco and the overall points standings.

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Grand Prix of Monaco Preview

Grand Prix of Monaco Preview

Rarely is something both the slowest and the hardest at the same time, but that all goes out the window when you’re talking about the Grand Prix at Monaco. For the majority of the F1 season, the drivers get to open up their cars a good bit. At Monaco, those chances to go wide open are limited to about three, as there are only a three extended straightaways on the track.

Besides those three straights, drivers get to deal with a plethora of intense twists and blind turns that require great care to negotiate correctly. These tight turns all amount to Monaco being the lowest average speed course on the F1 circuit, and arguably the hardest one on the circuit.

Well, the 70th running of this ultra-technical road course is due to start on May 27, 2012 and we’re going to provide a quick preview of what’s to come.

Click past the jump to read all about the Grand Prix at Monaco

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2012 Ferrari F2012 Formula 1 Race Car

2012 Ferrari F2012 Formula 1 Race Car

A few days after McLaren F1 presented their 2012 Formula One race car, the MP4-27, the Prancing Horse from Maranello has decided to unveil their 2012 F1 race car. Called the F2012, the race car is the fifty eighth F1 car Ferrari has ever built, and is arguably the most advanced race car it has ever developed.

As far as all the changes that have been done to the car to accommodate for new regulations, the F2012 was fundamentally and meticulously revised, most specifically the height of the front section of the chassis, the position of the exhaust pipes, and the re-tweaking of the car’s electronic engine management system.

According to the folks over at Ferrari, the F2012 comes with a revised suspension lay-out with both the front and rear ends featuring pull-rods that were designed to improve the car’s overall aerodynamic performance. The F2012 also comes with a stepped nose that was designed to follow new requirements set out to lower the front end of the car, while the front wing was developed from the one that was used in the 150º Italia - last year’s F1 race car.

Other important modifications include a redesigned side that improves the car’s side impact structures. Similarly, the radiators on the race were also repositioned while the lower part of the rear of the car was designed to be narrower and more tapered, allowing for improved aerodynamics and mechanical enhancements. Last, the rear wing is also similar to the one used in the 150 Italia and is still fitted with a drag reduction system.

As far as the engine on the car is concerned, the F2012 will carry a revised version of the 150 Italia’s 2.4-liter V8 engine to accommodate new technical regulations that are being enforced for the 2012 season. Ferrari will also be using the KERS system, which maintains its low location in the car while also cutting down on its weight and improving its overall efficiency.

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1/1 Scale 2011 Ferrari 150° Italia Steering Wheel Replica

1/1 Scale 2011 Ferrari 150° Italia Steering Wheel Replica

Strap on those safety harnesses and get your couch ready for the race! Okay, so there won’t be any real racing, but Ferrari has created a 1/1 Scale Full Size 2011 Ferrari 150° Italia steering wheel replica for all you serious collectors out there. The bad news is that there will only be 250 units built and each one of them comes carrying a $ 2,245.97 (€ 1,898) price tag. It’s a big price to pay, but you’ll be the proud owner of a replica of the steering wheel used by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in the 2011 F1 Championship.

The 2011 Ferrari 150° Italia is a full size steering wheel replica hand built from genuine carbon fiber. It is fitted with moving buttons, paddles, and switches, and come with a red leather base and a clear dust cover.

The wheel weighs a total of 14.5 kilos and measures 45 x 42 x 42. Each one of the 250 limited edition pieces comes with a certificate of authenticity and a unique numbered plaque on the base.

Once ordered, the 2011 Ferrari 150° Italia steering wheel replica will take 30 days to be delivered.

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Kaspersky Internet Security Ferrari Edition is a new wave of unorthodox profit-making

Kaspersky Internet Security Ferrari Edition is a new wave of unorthodox profit-making

Ever hear of an antivirus with a V12 engine? It may sound a bit confusing, but that is what you get when you mix software companies and the automotive world. Kaspersky Internet Security has announced the launch of a special Ferrari Edition antivirus to celebrate the Formula One season. This special antivirus has been developed in cooperation with Ferrari and will be available worldwide at the end of March 2011. And here we thought automakers were going to stop at mugs, apparel, and bicycles.

"It’s the first time that Ferrari has co-branded with a software company,” said Kaspersky co-founder and CEO Eugene Kaspersky. "Ferrari is co-branded everywhere, with merchandise and clothing in Ferrari stores all over the globe. This is the next step in our partnership; from my point of view Ferrari is perfect for us. It has speed and safety, and in IT security we also are all about speed and safety."

Don’t expect too much of Ferrari in the new program, though. There will only be a new Ferrari-themed user interface and an added Windows desktop gadget.

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2011 Sauber C30-Ferrari

2011 Sauber C30-Ferrari

For teams like Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren, it’s another year of duking it out for both the Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships. The three title favorites remain at the top of the heap with the rest hoping to catch up in the 2011 season. One of those teams is Sauber, and recently, the Swiss team unveiled their 2011 racer, the C30-Ferrari, at the Circuit Ricadro Tormo near Valencia, Spain.

The team’s technical director, James Kay, has high hopes for the C30, especially after a disappointing 2010 season for Sauber. “In order to take a step forward in 2011, we were already systematically tackling the C29′s weaknesses over the last season – and we’ve made progress," he said.

"It was important for us to build, firstly, a fundamentally predictable car and, secondly, one that would provide sufficient flexibility to respond to ongoing findings at the track and during further development stages."

Sauber has also hand-picked their driver line-up for the 2011 season, tapping Japanese buzzsaw, Kamui Kobayashi, and 21-year-old Mexican and reigning GP2 runner-up, Sergio Perez, to lead Sauber’s charge up the order and back to Formula One respectability.

Details on the Sauber C30-Ferrari after the jump.

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Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa debut the Formula Rossa roller coaster

For two people who make a living racing cars at speeds that sometimes exceed 170 mph, you would think that riding a roller coaster would be like a walk in the park.

Turns out, Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa still have trepidations on riding coasters, especially one that boasts of being the fastest of its kind in the world.

The two Ferrari drivers got a chance to break out the Formula Rossa roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi a day before the final race of the 2010 Formula One season at the Yas Marina racing circuit, a race where Alonso failed to win the Driver’s title, losing out to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.

Previewing the roller coaster proved to be a big task for the two, especially Massa, who somehow couldn’t contain his nervousness before the ride shot off at 150 mph. And after a scintillating start that saw the faces of both drivers get contorted due to the speed of the ride, Alonso and Massa eventually settled down and seemed to enjoy the whole experience of Ferrari World’s main attraction.

Judging from the looks on their faces – and their wind-blown hairs, for that matter – it seems safe to suggest that Formula Rossa is going to be as good as advertised, maybe even better than what we’ve been led to believe.

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Ferrari Virtual Academy now comes with Mugello racing circuit

Ferrari Virtual Academy now comes with Mugello racing circuit

If the Ferrari Virtual Academy isn’t awesome enough by itself, Ferrari has decided to give it a few upgrades, notching up its cool factor by a couple more levels.

Among the new additions for the second round of the online racing simulator includes a new race track in Mugello to join the existing Fiorano race track in the simulator. Ferrari also outfitted the simulator with new control settings including eight new setups for differential lockup under braking, eight setups for lockup under acceleration, and four setups for the engine braking.

Check out the video preview of the new Mugello race track for the Ferrari Virtual Academy, which you can buy for 19.90 euros or if you’re in the US, around $27.75. There’s also word that the third race track of Ferrari’s online simulator will be out in November. Care to venture a guess what track it is?

If you guessed the Nurburgring, then consider yourself prophetic.

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Video: Ferrari's "promotional video" irks Formula One contemporaries

Video: Ferrari’s "promotional video" irks Formula One contemporaries

Formula One’s in-season test ban has become such a bane for all the F1 teams that most of them are trying to find whatever loophole they can find just so they can get a chance to take their cars out for test runs in the middle of the season.

Turns out, Ferrari just may have found theirs.

Technically speaking, a regulation in the F1 rulebook allows teams to bring their cars out on track during the season if it’s done merely for promotional purposes. Sounds skittish, but its true. So, Ferrari did what any sneaky team with a good legal department would do; they bent the rules without breaking them by giving Fernando Alonso some lap times on-board the Ferrari F10 at the team’s Fiorano race track so he could “test” - excuse us, “promote” - their new exhaust layout.

And to cover their bases to make everything “promotional”, they released the video of Alonso doing some lap times in his F10 at Fiorano. Genius idea, fellas.

Needless to say, the rest of the other Formula One teams didn’t find the whole episode in the “spirit” of fair play. Or maybe they’re just kicking themselves for not thinking of the idea first.

So, fair play or dirty pool? You be the judge.

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