The Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix this weekend will see all-new Megane R.S. make its first public appearance around the Principality’s famous street track, in the hands of F1 driver Nico Hülkenberg.
Lewis Hamilton won the Brazilian Grand Prix yesterday, ensuring the Championship fight goes right down to the final round in Abu Dhabi.
Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell saloon has made its first motorsport appearance.
Aston Martin and F1 team Red Bull Racing have announced a partnership to develop a new Aston Martin hypercar.
Codenamed Project ‘AM-RB 001’, Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey is key to the agreement following years of speculation as to when the widely regarded most successful Formula One designer of all time may help design a road car.
The new hypercar is described as ‘ground-breaking’ and will represent the ‘ultimate blend of cutting edge F1 technology with Aston Martin’s sports car design’. The new partnership unites some of the world’s best ‘aerodynamicists, composite experts and manufacturing masters’.
Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer said: “Formula One offers the ultimate global stage to build wider awareness of the Aston Martin brand. However, this partnership will deliver even more than that when the hypercar that Aston Martin and Adrian Newey are in the process of developing hits the road. These are exciting times for Aston Martin and arriving hot on the heels of our DB11 launch earlier this month, this new partnership underlines that our brand really is racing again.”
Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner said of the new partnership: “This is a very exciting project for everyone at Red Bull Racing. Through this Innovation Partnership the iconic Aston Martin logo will return to Grand Prix racing for the first time since 1960, and Red Bull Advanced Technologies, led by Adrian, will be harnessing our Formula One DNA to produce the ultimate of all road cars. It’s an incredible project which also realises a dream and vision long held by Adrian to design a road car. We are very much looking forward to what I’m certain will be a successful partnership.”
Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman said: “We are in the process of developing a hypercar that combines the latest in aerodynamics from F1 and the stunning design language of an Aston Martin sports car. The opportunity to collaborate with Adrian and Red Bull Advanced Technologies will be a fascinating experience for everyone involved. Unconstrained by F1 regulations, we have a unique chance to create a car in its most efficient form that will represent the ultimate fusion of art and technology.”
Having an illustrious Formula One career spanning nearly 30 years, and as the designer of ten World Championship winning Formula One cars, the partnership represents a new challenge for Red Bull Racing’s Adrian Newey.
“From the age of six I have had two goals in life – to be involved in the design of racing cars, and to be involved in the design of a super car.” Newey commented. “Whilst the former ambition went on to form my career to date, the latter has always bubbled away, resulting in countless sketches and doodles over the years. The opportunity to now develop and realise those ideas whilst working with Marek and his colleagues from Aston Martin is tremendously exciting. It allows us to translate the technology we have developed in F1 into a new arena.”
To celebrate the partnership, the RB12s F1 race cars will carry the Aston Martin wings logo throughout the 2016 season, making their debut at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne.
With the new F1 season just around the corner, Ferrari has been testing a new lifesaving ‘Halo’ device.
Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel drove modified versions of their SF16-H F1 car around the Catalunya Circuit in Barcelona, fitted with the tubular carbon structure mounted over the cockpit. The design aims to protect the driver from flying debris while retaining F1’s open car feel. It follows recent motorsport tragedies including British driver Justin Wilson, F1 driver Jules Bianchi and former world champion John Surtees son Henry, in 2009, all of whom died as a result of race related head injuries. A prototype version has been trailed at this week's final pre-season test with a view to it being rolled out on all cars in time for the 2017 season.
On track for his final test-run prior to the opening round in Melbourne, Raikkonen completed 41 laps in Barcelona. On his installation lap, the Finn debuted the prototype. He said: “This morning I tried the Halo protection device and the difference to the usual driving was surprisingly small. The visibility is just a little bit limited at the front but I don’t think this is the final version of the device, so it can be improved further.”
Sebastian Vettel also tried out the safety device, put forward by the FIA as a means of providing additional head protection for drivers. He added: “I think “Halo” is ok, even if I believe that this system can be improved in terms of both aesthetic and visibility and I think we will see an evolution of it very soon. In principle, I think it doesn’t look very nice but if it can help saving lives, and if thanks to it at least the two drivers who died recently could still be here with us, then I think it can be the ugliest system, but nothing could justify not having it fitted.”
Other drivers were not so impressed with the device, as triple world champion Lewis Hamilton told the BBC the change was ”too drastic" and the "worst-looking" modification in Formula 1 history. He added "I understand safety is a huge issue and something we have to work towards, but this is not the one". Hamilton said F1 cars had lost “the cool look they used to have in the 1980s and 1990s" adding "It is not F1 for me. If they do implement it, I hope we have a choice of whether we have to use it and are not forced to, because ultimately it is our safety."
The Formula 1 season returns March 20 in Australia.
BBC Sport is to end its Formula 1 television contract three years early, with Channel 4 taking over from next season.
The beeb described how it has to 'reluctantly' cancel the remaining three years of its contract as part of savings across the corporation. Barbara Slater, BBC's director of sport said: "The current financial position of the BBC means some tough and unwanted choices have to be made. A significant chunk of BBC Sport's savings target will be delivered through the immediate termination of our TV rights agreement for Formula 1.”
BBC Sport broadcasted 10 live races of Lewis Hamilton's world championship-winning season in 2015 with a one-hour build-up to each grand prix. It also offered highlights of the nine other races. As part of a £150m gap in the corporation's finances from next year, BBC Sport was asked to deliver £35m of savings.
BBC Sport regained F1 rights from ITV in 2009 but - in another cost-saving move - had been sharing the broadcast rights with Sky Sports since the 2012 season.
Channel 4 and Formula One agreed the new three-year deal for 2016-2018, and immediately confirmed the live races to be broadcast without advertising breaks. Channel 4 will broadcast 10 races per season live – with highlights of all 21 races, including practice and qualifying sessions, in each of the three FIA Formula One World Championship seasons from 2016 to 2018. It will also broadcast highlights of all 21 Grands Prix and qualifying sessions – including those shown live by Sky Sports F1. All of the live coverage and highlights will be broadcast free-to-air and in high definition.
Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive Officer of the Formula One group said: “I am sorry that the BBC could not comply with their contract but I am happy that we now have a broadcaster that can broadcast Formula 1 events without commercial intervals during the race. I am confident that Channel 4 will achieve not only how the BBC carried out the broadcast in the past but also with a new approach as the World and Formula 1 have moved on.”
David Abraham, Channel 4 Chief Executive said: “Formula One is one of the world’s biggest sporting events with huge appeal to British audiences. I’m delighted to have agreed this exciting new partnership with Bernie Ecclestone to keep the sport on free-to-air television.”
Details of the 2016 races broadcast live by Channel 4 will be agreed in early-2016. Further details of Channel 4’s production and presenting teams will also be announced in due course.