Events, Motorsports, Supercars, News, F1

Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing team up for new Hypercar

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.

News, F1, Motorsports

Scuderia Ferrari test new F1 Halo safety device

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.

Events, F1, Motorsports, Technology

BBC Sport ends F1 TV deal early

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.

Supercars, Sports Car, News

Works Renault team return to F1 as Infiniti-Red Bull split

Renault has confirmed a return to Formula 1 with its own team for the 2016 season, as Nissan, Infiniti and Red Bull Racing have reached mutual agreement to end their partnership a year early.

12-time Constructor's Champion Renault, with nearly 40 years in the sport, is an iconic brand in Formula 1. Work continues on finalising the terms to the acquisition of the Lotus F1 team in the 'shortest timeframe possible'. The Lotus F1 Team stood out as the ideal option for Renault having worked together for 15 years. As a full team, Renault will says it will take maximum benefit from its victories, adding 'the payback as an engine supplier proved to be limited'.

Renault has had uninterrupted involvement in Formula 1 for almost 40 years and has taken part in more than 600 grand prix, claiming 168 race wins, 12 Constructors' titles and 11 Drivers' crowns.

"Renault had two options: to come back at 100 percent or leave. After a detailed study, I have decided that Renault will be in Formula 1, starting 2016. The final details supplied by F1's main stakeholders gave us the confidence to accept this new challenge. Our ambition is to win, even if it will take some time," said Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO, Renault.

Meanwhile, Nissan, Infiniti and the Red Bull Racing Formula One team have reached mutual agreements to discontinue the partnership between the two automotive brands and the F1 team at the end of December this year, one year earlier than originally stipulated.

Infiniti and Red Bull Racing started their commercial partnership in 2011 before Infiniti became the title sponsor of the team in 2013.

Hybrid, News

Mercedes A 45 World Champion Edition unveiled

Mercedes-AMG has revealed an F1 World Champion Edition A 45 4MATIC.

It follows victory for Mercedes in the Formula 1 constructors' world championship as well as the drivers championship with Brit driver Lewis Hamilton. The exclusive special model - 'MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS 2015 World Champion Edition of the A 45 4MATIC' - blends the Formula 1 look of the victorious Silver Arrows with 'particularly extensive and unique equipment'.

The external characteristic of this exclusive edition is the hallmark 'foiling' with petrol green and black highlights in the design of the winning F1 W06 HYBRID car. There is also a 'streamlining package' - at the front it includes a larger splitter as well as special flics, a roof spoiler and streamlined tail end.

With a maximum output of 280 kW (381 hp) the A 45 4MATIC features standard-fit AMG Performance all-wheel drive and front axle differential lock. The special edition brings power to the road slip-free and 62mph is reached from a standstill in 4.2 seconds.

Available in mountain grey metallic, designo mountain grey magno and polar silver metallic, there are 19-inch cross-spoke wheels painted in titanium grey and accentuated with a petrol green rim flange to match. Further equipment includes the Night package, the AMG Performance seats, the AMG Exclusive package plus the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package.

The interior comes with a model distinguishing badge on the lid of the stowage compartment with the official lettering of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team. The electronically adjustable Performance sports seats in leather/Dinamica microfibre offer increased lateral support even in fast, dynamic bends and have an exclusive striped design. The 'fine petrol green' topstitching on the armrests and dashboard, the petrol green rings in the air vents plus the seat belts, also with petrol green highlight strips, round off the motorsport impression. The Performance steering wheel in Dinamica microfibre includes petrol green topstitching and a 12 o'clock mark in the same colour.

On sale now the F1 World Champion Edition A 45 costs 66,818 euros (Approx. £47,000) in designo mountain grey magno matt paint.

News, Supercars, Hypercar

Lewis Hamilton wins third F1 World Championship

Lewis Hamilton has won his third Formula One World Championship.

Taking victory in a dramatic United States Grand Prix, team-mate Nico Rosberg finished second and Sebastian Vettel third in a race weekend that featured extreme rain, a curtailed qualifying and plenty of safety cars.

Hamilton took his 10th win of the season, the 43rd of his Formula One career en route to becoming only the second British driver after Sir Jackie Stewart to be a triple World Champion and is now also the only Briton to successfully defend his crown.

With just 10 laps to go and running in second place behind his team-mate, Hamilton had fresher tyres - having just pitted under yet another safety car, and was able to pressure Rosberg in to making a mistake. It was the lifeline the British driver needed and he was able to capitalise, taking the lead on lap 48 of 56. Hamilton saw the car home, winning the race and sealing the Championship with it.

Hamilton said: "It's an overwhelming moment. The race today was really amazing and anything could have happened. The last 10 - 15 laps were extraordinary - it was just a crazy, crazy race. I was in the lead, then I was fourth and the conditions were really tricky. Nico was driving really well, too. All the way through, I was thinking; "The Championship is there somewhere.. how can I get it?" It was so close I could smell it and there was never a moment I didn't believe I could do it."

The British driver paid tribute to his hero Ayrton Senna: "It's just incredible to equal Ayrton, too. My target was always three titles as he was the one who inspired me. There is no one I want to equal now - I just want to carry on as far and long as I can."

Mexico is the next race for Hamilton and co, returning to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit after a 23 year absence.


Ultimate Scalextric track to go under the hammer

Hornby Hobbies' Ultimate 2015 Scalextric track is set to go to auction at CarFest South on Sunday 30 August.

Designed by F1 expert and former racing driver Martin Brundle, the biggest layout the slot car track experts have ever created will take centre stage on Hornby's stand at the festival.

Scalextric's monster track is made up of 177 pieces and is 45 metres long and replicates corners, chicanes and circuit features from the 2015 Formula 1 calendar, including the Ascari Chicane at Monza, Casino Square in Monaco, the Wall of Champions in Canada, Copse corner at Silverstone and the Marina Complex in Abu Dhabi.

Hornby Hobbies Marketing Controller Jim Proctor-Blain said, "We are delighted to be supporting CarFest again this year and are excited so
many people will be able to enjoy the Ultimate 2015 track."

Kindly donated by Hornby and Sky, the Ultimate 2015 track will feature as part of the Classic Car Auctions sale and is offered with no reserve, with all the proceeds from the sale of the track going to Children in Need.

To see and race on the track visit Hornby on stand W25 at CarFest South from 12pm to 7pm on Friday 28 August and 10am to 7pm on 29-30 August.

Supercars, News

Drive an actual F1 car with Infiniti

Infiniti has launched an 'Ultimate Test Drive' competition offering the chance to drive a real Formula One car.

The campaign provides one lucky motorist from the UK the chance to get behind the wheel of an Infiniti Red Bull Racing F1 car with instruction from team driver Daniil Kvyat.

Customers who visit any Infiniti centre and complete a test drive will be entered into a prize draw. From there, 25 finalists will be selected to go head to head at Rockingham Motor Speedway where they will be assessed on all aspects of their driving ability and car control by a panel of judges - including Infiniti Red Bull Racing Test & Reserve driver Sebastien Buemi.

One UK winner will be selected to join winners from Russia and the Middle East for the ultimate prize. Starting with driver training on the Infiniti Red Bull Racing simulator at the team's factory in Milton Keynes, they will then be flown to Dubai to test drive a real, fully race specification Formula One car with personal guidance from Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver Daniil Kvyat. After the driving experience of a lifetime, they will travel to Abu Dhabi to experience a VIP hospitality weekend for two at the Grand Prix, courtesy of Infiniti.

Commenting on the event, Carl Bayliss, Country Manager, Infiniti UK, said: "Never before has Infiniti offered a prize of this calibre and we are delighted to be able to reward potential and existing customers with an opportunity like this. Our partnership with Infiniti Red Bull Racing has helped us to emphasise the performance part of our DNA, so offering one winner the chance to experience the ultimate test drive is a real testament to our own Inspired Performance."

The 'Ultimate Drive' campaign is currently operating at all UK Infiniti centres and will close on 16th August.