Saturday, 31 January 2015

Toro Rosso launch STR10 ahead of Jerez test

(Scuderia Toro Rosso via Twitter)

Scuderia Toro Rosso have become the latest team to launch their 2015 car. The car was unveiled in the Jerez pit-lane by their new 2015 drivers, Carlos Sainz Jnr and Max Verstappen.

Carlos Sainz Jnr will be in the car tomorrow before handing over to Max Verstappen on Monday.

Carlos Sainz Jnr will be back in the car on Tuesday before Max Verstappen concludes the test on Wednesday.

(Scuderia Toro Rosso via Twitter)

The STR10 no longer features the Gonzo style nose as the team have gone for the more conventional front nose look for 2015.

Speaking about the new challenge he faces entering Formula One as the youngest ever driver in the history of the sport, Max Verstappen stated:

With two days in the 2014 car at the Abu Dhabi test and the Friday mornings I did last season, combined with time spent in the simulator, I feel well prepared and I'm really up for this challenge, which is very exciting.

He went on to say:

‘Six days on track here in Spain and then it will be time to head for Australia and my first grand prix, something I have been looking forward to ever since I started karting.

Carlos Sainz Jnr commented on the opportunity that he has been given by Red Bull saying:

‘I am very happy to be making my first official appearance as a Formula 1 driver here in Spain and I am looking forward to trying the car for the first time tomorrow.’

The Spaniard went on to say:

‘I have worked very hard over the winter on my personal fitness, as well as spending time in Faenza to familiarise myself with the team, having also done some days in the simulator. Now we have just 12 days to prepare for Melbourne, so going through all the race weekend procedures will be a priority for me, as well as putting in as many miles as possible behind the wheel.’

(Scuderia Toro Rosso via Twitter)

© Ben Johnston 2015

New Ferrari SF15-T set to suit Raikkonen


The new Ferrari SF15-T is expected to suit Kimi Raikkonen better than last year’s car, according to Scuderia Ferrari Technical Director James Allison.

Raikkonen who returned to Ferrari last season replacing Felipe Massa as Fernando Alonso’s team mate endured an extremely difficult season and was comprehensively beaten by the Spaniard throughout the season.

In 2015 however, Alonso has returned to McLaren and Raikkonen has been joined at Maranello by his friend and four time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Speaking at the launch of the new car on Friday, Allison who was in charge of this year’s Ferrari project, stated:

We will only know for sure once we are running on the track, but I hope that the SF-15T will be much more comfortable for him with both a stronger front end in mid corner and more support from the rear under braking,

Raikkonen will drive the new car on the third and fourth day of the opening test in Jerez while Sebastian Vettel will drive the car tomorrow (Sunday) and on Monday.

© Ben Johnston 2015

Friday, 30 January 2015

No get out clause for Alonso


McLaren Technology Group Chairman Ron Dennis has confirmed that new signing Fernando Alonso has no performance related get out clause with the Woking based outfit amid suggestions that the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team could try and sign Alonso for next season should reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton leave the team.

Dennis confirmed that no driver has ever had a get out clause and that is the case with Alonso. The 67 year old has also dismissed suggestions that he could be ousted by the board if he does not come up with the capital to buy shares in McLaren that would allow him to take a majority shareholding in the company. Dennis currently owns 25 percent of the McLaren Technology Group.

Dennis also confirmed that there is no time limit to when the capital needs to be raised. The Englishman has also played down reports that the team approached Christian Horner, saying 

'not to my knowledge and I certainly didn’t.’

© Ben Johnston 2015

Red Bull confirm Jerez line up

(Eric Vargiolu DPPI for Renault Sport F1)

Infiniti Red Bull Racing have confirmed that Daniel Riccardo will drive the RB11 on the first and third day of the opening winter test in Jerez.

Daniil Kvyat will be in the car on the second and fourth day of the test.

© Ben Johnston 2015

New partner for Williams Martini Racing

(Williams Martini Racing Team)

The Williams Martini Racing Team have added to their partnership portfolio with the announcement on Friday that they have come to an agreement with Alpinestars as their new technical apparel supply.

The new agreement will see Williams’s drivers Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas, Susie Wolff and Alex Lynn wearing Alpinestars boots, race suits, under layers and gloves. 

Williams Martini Racing Team’s mechanics will also be supplied with overalls from Alpine Stars. It is the latest in a list of new partners to join Williams Martini Racing ahead the 2015 Formula One season.

Speaking about the new partnership, Williams Martini Racing’s Deputy Team Principal and Commercial Director, Claire Williams said:

'Alpinestars are known as one of the leading suppliers of high tech performance wear for top level motorsport and we’re delighted to confirm a new multi-year partnership. We will be working together to make sure that our drivers and pit crew have high performing gear that will give our team the edge next season both in terms of style and technology.'

Alpinestars President and CEO Gabriele Mazzarolo commented on the new partnership saying:

'Our technology development is based upon testing at the pinnacle of world motorsport; Formula 1, NASCAR, WEC, MotoGP, Motocross and every other form of top-level competition. Forming a technical partnership with Williams is a natural continuation of that philosophy given the team’s long and illustrious record of innovation and success. Our technical support will ensure continuous development of product technology to ensure drivers and crew benefit from the highest level of product performance so critical in Formula 1.'

© Ben Johnston 2015

Presenting the new Ferrari SF15-T


Scuderia Ferrari launched their new car, the SF15-T in Maranello on Friday morning. The new car looks more streamlined and no longer features the sloped nose like it did last season.


Speaking about his first impressions of the car, Kimi Raikkonen, who is joined by Sebastian Vettel this season said that the new SF15-T looks nice and that it different to last year’s car. The Finn said its looks good from the data that he has seen but they will have to wait until they get the car out on track before seeing how it performs. 


Raikkonen feels that the team have learnt a lot from last season and is hopeful that they can be stronger this season and bring Ferrari back to the front where they should be. The Finn said it is too early to say where they will be this season but that they plan to work forward from the winter and continue to develop the car following testing.

He is looking forward to working alongside Sebastian Vettel and challenging each other on the track but in a good way. Raikkonen was asked about his time at Ferrari and he said that he is happy to be with the team and glad to be with the team.


Sebastian Vettel joins Ferrari and he thinks the car looks beautiful and watching the car come together was something very special. The German was asked about the change in driving position but he said that is ok as it is customised so that isn’t a problem as you can ask for what you want.


He said that the main changes are the steering wheel layout and the strategy, however he feels he will have the team during testing to get into the grove with things. 


He is looking forward to racing in the historic red of Ferrari. It will take a bit of time to adapt to the new things in place at the team but expects that this will be easier during the season. Speaking about Kimi Raikkonen he doesn’t expect any problems as the Finn is very straightforward.


When asked about the expectations for the season, Vettel was cautious and said that it will take time to deliver success. Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene has targeted at least one race win this season, but Vettel is believes that the changes at Ferrari will take time to find a groove.


Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene likes the aesthetics of the new car but in terms of performance he is not sure but from the outside the new SF15-T looks sexy. Speaking about the managerial changes at the team, Arrivabene said that this had nothing to do with the philosophy of the team as the founder had set the philosophy.


He said that the team want to win as much as possible and that when he said in December that one victory was the target he was being realistic.


The Italian expects his drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel to work together and to do the best for the team. Arrivabene concluded by saying that Formula One needs a revolution and evolution amid suggestions that the engine regulations will be changed once again in 2017.   


Scuderia Ferrari Technical James Allison believes that the new look Formula One cars for 2015 will be more appealing in relation to the front wing and nose assembly.

He feels that the weight limit allows teams on the grid to have a sensible ballast both at the front and rear of the car without fear of the car being overweight. 

Allison stated that the team have worked extremely hard over the winter to rectify the problems with overall performance they suffered last season and they hope that this will not happen in 2015.

© Ben Johnston 2015

New partner for Sahara Force India F1 Team

(Sahara Force India Formula One Team)

The Sahara Force India Formula One Team have announced a new partnership with Apsley as their official tailors.

The new deal will see Apsley dress the Sahara Force India F1 Team drivers and team personnel with jackets, blazers and suits to be worn over the course of the 2015 season. Speaking about the new agreement, Sahara Force India Formula One Team Chief Operating Officer Otmar Szafnauer commented saying:

'Apsley Tailors are known for providing stylish suits and I’m delighted to welcome them to the Sahara Force India family. 

We want everyone on our team to look their best and we know that Apsley can make this happen. We've been very impressed by Apsley's excellent service and the quality of their garments. We're looking forward to a stylish and successful partnership this season.'

Managing Director of Apsley Tailors, Aeshad Mahmood commented saying:

'Apsley Tailors are proud of our sporting associations and we are happy to continue our involvement in the racing world by providing bespoke clothing for the Sahara Force India team. We're excited at the prospect of working with such an innovative team and supporting them as they take on the 2015 season with a dynamic new car and exquisite new suits to match.'

© Ben Johnston 2015

Sauber C34 Technical Specification

(Sauber F1 Team)

After a season with the most comprehensive technical changes in the history of Formula One, there are significantly fewer regulation changes for the 2015 season. During the development of the new Sauber C34-Ferrari the Sauber F1 Team’s engineers focused on three areas: performance in slow corners, weight reduction, as well as braking stability.

Eric Gandelin, chief designer of the Sauber F1 Team, explained:

“We were able to gain a lot of experience during the course of the 2014 season, which will have an influence on the Sauber C34.”

Aerodynamics traditionally play a key role in the development of a new car. But on this occasion it wasn’t only a question of optimising downforce and drag, but also improving the balance of the car and its responses in particular through low-speed corners.

The greatest visual difference compared to the Sauber C33 can be found around the nose section, which is now bigger in volume and lower to the ground following further changes to the technical regulations.

This has a considerable impact on the aerodynamics of the entire car: the nose and front wing play a key role in determining how the air flows around the front wheels and how effectively the central and rear sections of the car function aerodynamically. The new design of the wheel rims has progressed in a similar direction, in the interests of optimising airflow around the front wheels.

The front suspension concept has changed little, with the springs and dampers again pushrod-actuated. However, the engineers put a lot of effort into improving the feedback from the steering for the drivers.

The sidepods of the new Sauber C34, however, are now slimmer than those of the Sauber C33, despite higher cooling requirements from the new power unit. This has been made possible by modifications to the attachment of the side crash elements. In addition, the architecture of the radiators, which are now positioned horizontally, has been fundamentally revised.

The engineers also paid great attention to the flexibility of the cooling system, which can be adapted precisely – and individually for the various components – to the ambient temperature and circuit characteristics. For example, small air vents on the side of the cockpit are only used in certain situations.

Beyond this, the rear section as a whole is less voluminous, which benefits aerodynamic efficiency.

The car’s minimum weight has been increased in line with the FIA’s technical regulations, up from 691 kg a year ago to 702 kg now. The engineers, of Sauber F1 Team Press Kit 5

course, set out to undercut this figure in order to give themselves ample room for manoeuvre when it comes to weight distribution – an important factor in determining how the car uses its tyres.

Modified powertrain

The car’s engine, energy recovery system and gearbox are again supplied by Ferrari. The 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engine has a rev limit of 15,000 rpm. The technical regulations allow for certain components to be completely redesigned for the 2015 season. 

The aim has been not only to increase the power from the turbocharged engine, but above all to optimise the car’s energy recovery and energy storage capability.

In terms of its concept, the engine is very much comparable with last year’s, but its architecture has changed significantly, necessitating numerous adjustments to the chassis.

The exhaust tailpipe is again positioned centrally between two pylons, though they are no longer supported by the rear crash element, but by the gearbox housing.

The spring and damper elements at the rear axle are again pullrod-actuated, but otherwise this is a totally new construction with separate lower wishbone legs. In addition, the engineers worked on improving the mechanical traction. 

Besides a number of other parts, there will be optimised gear ratios to support this effort.
As with its predecessor, the packaging of the C34 presented the engineers with a genuine challenge. After all, in excess of 40 electronics boxes have to be accommodated, of which more than 30 require cooling.

New parts to follow in stages

A first impression of the value of these measures will be obtained at the first test in Jerez. “Later on it will be crucial to see where we stand in comparison to our competition,’

Explained chief designer Eric Gandelin.

The Sauber F1 Team will use a roll-out version of the car for the first test at Jerez. Some components are still from the C33 and will be successively replaced by new parts. 

“We will use the time up to Melbourne to ensure we’re as competitive as possible when we line up on the grid for the season opener,” added Eric Gandelin.

Chassis – Carbon Fibre Monocoque
Front Suspension - upper and lower wishbones, inboard spring and damper elements (Sachs Race Engineering) actuated by push-rods

Rear Suspension - upper and lower wishbones, inboard spring and damper elements (Sachs Race Engineering) actuated by pull-rods

Brakes - brake callipers (Brembo), carbon-fibre pads and discs (Brembo)

Transmission - Ferrari 8-speed quick-shift carbon gearbox, longitudinally mounted, carbon-fibre clutch

Chassis Electronics - MES

ERS - Ferrari

Steering Wheel – Sauber F1 Team

Tyres – Pirelli

Wheels – OZ

Dimensions – Length – 5,300mm

Width – 1,800mm

Height with T camera – 950mm

Track Width, front – 1,460mm

Track Width, rear – 1,416mm

Weight – 702Kg (including driver, empty tank)

Ferrari Engine:

Configuration – V6 90 Degrees

Displacement – 1600cc

Bore – 80mm

Stroke – 53mm

Valves – 4 per cylinder

Maximum revs – 15,000

Turbo charging – single turbo

Maximum fuel flow – 100kg/h

Maximum fuel capacity – 100kg

Injection – 500 bar direct

Units per driver - 4

ERS System:

Battery energy (per lap) – 4Mj

MGU-K power – 120kW

MGU-K maximum revs – 50,000rpm

MGU-H maximum revs – 120,000rpm

© Ben Johnston 2015

Sauber F1 Team launch the C34

(Sauber F1 Team)

The Sauber F1 Team have become the latest outfit to unveil their 2015 challenger. The Ferrari powered C34 will be driven by Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.

The Swiss based outfit will be hoping for a much better season in 2015 after failing to score a single point last season and finishing in 10th place in the championship. 

(Sauber F1 Team)

Speaking at the launch of the new car, Sauber F1 Team Principal Monisha Keltenborn stated:

2014 was a very disappointing year. However, this is in the past, and we now focus on what comes next. We have learned our lessons and are confident for the new season. We have to improve, and be able to fight for championship points.” For the Sauber F1 Team 2015 is its 23rd season in Formula One; it is the fourth oldest of the current brands.

Keltenborn went on to talk about the Sauber F1 Team's new driver line-up, saying:

'I am delighted about our two new drivers who bring a breath of fresh air. Both are young, talented and highly motivated. On their way to Formula 1 both stood out through victories in Formula BMW and Formula 3. Both then finished this career progression off in the GP2-Series. While Marcus looks back to one season in Formula 1, Felipe will have his rookie year in which he comes fully prepared due to his role as test and reserve driver at Williams last year. I feel confident with regard to our drivers.'

(Sauber F1 Team)

Former Caterham F1 Team driver Marcus Ericsson joins the team and is looking forward to driving for them. The team will be in Jerez on Sunday for the start of Winter testing. Speaking at the unveiling of the C34, Ericsson stated:

(Sauber F1 Team)

'I ampleased about being a member of the Sauber F1 Team. After a difficult season, we want to move forward and fight in the mid-field like the team previously did. From a driver’s point of view, I want to continue to learn and establish myself as a Formula One driver. I have the feeling of being in the perfect environment to do so. 

In Formula One it is difficult to have precise targets, as it depends on the overall package. It is clear that we want to be fighting for points. In Formula One it is difficult to have precise targets, as it depends on the overall package. It is clear that we want to be fighting for points.'
(Sauber F1 Team)

Ericsson is joined at the Sauber F1 Team by Formula One debutant Felipe Nasr who will make his Grand Prix race debut with the Swiss based outfit. The Brazilian joins the team having previously been the test and reserve driver at the Williams Martini Racing Team. Speaking at the launch of the new car, the Brazilian stated:

(Sauber F1 Team)

'In my rookie season there is a lot to learn, and especially as I have not yet driven on some circuits yet. In general, I am ready to take on this challenge. In my role as test and reserve driver for Williams last year, I was involved in every race weekend. Furthermore, I also had the chance to drive the car a few times, so I think I have a certain understanding of Formula One. Now I am taking the next step in being a race driver, and I am looking forward to bringing my experience from 2014 as well as to supporting the Sauber F1 Team in getting back into the points.'

The Sauber F1 Team have a new test and reserve driver, with Raffaele Marciello joining the team. Marciello won the 2013 Formula 3 championship and speaking about his appointment, Team Principal Monisha Keltenborn stated:

'Raffaele’s previous career is impressive. Therefore it is a logical step for us to give him the opportunity to become more familiar with Formula 1. As a team we are pleased to be there with him on his way to the pinnacle of motorsport.'

The Swiss driver, who will take part in a number of Free Practice sessions during the year stated:

'I am really pleased to be a member of the Sauber F1 Team, which has a long tradition of building up excellent drivers. I really think that this is the best choice for my future career. I am also happy to compete for one more season in the GP2 Series, which, together with my new F1 role, will give me a very busy 2015 season. I want to thank the people at the Ferrari Driver Academy who are responsible for giving me this important opportunity, and now I really can’t wait to start delivering my best.'

© Ben Johnston 2015

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Toro Rosso STR10 hits the track for the first time

(Scuderia Toro Rosso via

The Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10 hit the track for the first time on Wednesday as the Faenza based outfit conducted a filming day at the Misano circuit in Italy.

The STR10 will be driven by Formula One debutants Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jnr who join the team replacing Daniil Kvyat who joins Infiniti Red Bull Racing while Jean Eric Vergne is racing in Formula E as well as working as test driver for Scuderia Ferrari.

Scuderia Toro Rosso will unveil their 2015 car on Saturday prior to the start of winter testing at the Jerez circuit in Spain on Sunday.

© Ben Johnston 2015

Interview with Honda R&D Senior Managing Officer - Chief Officer of Motorsport Yasuhisa Arai


Honda R&D Senior Managing Officer – Chief Officer of Motorsport Yasuhisa Arai is looking forward to start their new relationship with McLaren Racing.

Speaking via video link from their HQ in Japan, Arai said that he believes that Honda and McLaren will work even closer than they did during the 1980’s to achieve success. Honda will have two bases, one at their R&D facility in Sakura, Japan and a second site to prepare their power units in Milton Keynes, UK.

© Ben Johnston 2015

McLaren-Honda MP4-30 Technical Specification




Monocoque Carbon-fibre composite, incorporating driver controls and fuel cell 

Safety structures 

Cockpit survival cell incorporating impact resistant construction and antipenetration panels, front impact structure, prescribed side impact structures, integrated rear impact structure, front and rear roll structures 


Carbon-fibre composite. including engine cover, sidepods, floor, nose, front wing and rear wing with driver-operated drag reduction system 

Front suspension 

Carbon-fibre wishbone and pushrod suspension elements operating inboard torsion bar and damper system 

Rear suspension 

Carbon-fibre wishbone and pullrod suspension elements operating inboard torsion bar and damper system 


Overall vehicle weight 702kg (including driver, excluding fuel) Weight distribution between 45.5% and 46.5% 


McLaren Applied Technologies. Including chassis control, power unit control, data acquisition, alternator, sensors, data analysis and telemetry 


McLaren Applied Technologies dashboard 

Lubricants & Fluids 

Mobilith SHC™ 1500 Grease – High temperature drive-shaft tripod lubrication Mobilith SHC™ 220 Grease – Low rolling resistance ceramic wheel bearing lubrication Mobil SHC™ Hydraulic Oil – High pressure, high temperature hydraulic fluid used for chassis, transmission and power unit actuation 

Brake system 

Akebono brake calipers and master cylinders Akebono ‘brake by wire’ rear brake control system Carbon discs and pads 


Power-assisted rack and pinion 


Pirelli P Zero 

Race wheels 





AkzoNobel Car Refinishes system using Sikkens products

Power Unit

Type Honda RA615H

Minimum weight 145 kg

Primary PU components

Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic (MGU-K) Motor Generator Unit – Heat (MGU-H) Energy Store (ES) Turbocharger Control Electronics

Internal Combustion Engine

Capacity 1.6 litres
Cylinders Six
Bank angle 90 degree vee angle
No of valves 24
Max speed 15,000 rpm
Max fuel flow rate 100 kg/hour (above 10,500 rpm)
Fuel consumption 100 kg ‘lights to flag’ regulated fuel capacity limit
Fuel injection
Direct injection, single injector per cylinder, 500 bar max
Pressure charging
Single-stage compressor and exhaust turbine, common shaft


ExxonMobil High Performance Unleaded (5.75% bio fuel)


Mobil 1™ Engine Oil – High protection low friction lubricant and coolant, for high durability and improved fuel economy
Energy Recovery System


Integrated Hybrid energy recovery via Motor Generator Units Crankshaft coupled electrical MGU-K Turbocharger coupled electrical MGU-H

Energy Store

Lithium-Ion battery, between 20 and 25 kg Maximum energy storage, 4 MJ per lap


Maximum speed, 50,000 rpm Maximum power, 120 kW Maximum energy recovery, 2 MJ per lap Maximum energy deployment, 4 MJ per lap


Maximum speed 125,000 rpm Maximum power, unlimited Maximum energy recovery, unlimited Maximum energy deployment, unlimited



Carbon-fibre composite main case, longitudinally mounted

Gear ratios

Eight forward and one reverse

Gear selection

Electro-hydraulically operated seamless shift


Epicyclic differential with multi-plate limited slip clutch


Electro-hydraulically operated, carbon multi-plate


Mobil 1 SHC™ Gear Oil – Low traction loss, high efficiency gear and bearing lubricant and coolant

© Ben Johnston 2015

Mercedes conduct W06 shakedown test in Silverstone

(Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team)

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team were in Silverstone on Thursday to conduct a shakedown of their 2015 car. World champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg completed mileage in the W06 ahead of its unveiling in Jerez on Sunday morning prior to the start of winter testing.

To see footage of the new car in action check out the official Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team Twitter feed -

© Ben Johnston 2015

Interview with McLaren-Honda Racing Director Eric Boullier


McLaren-Honda Racing Director Eric Boullier discusses the new philosophy within McLaren in terms of the development of the new MP4-30.

The Frenchman stated that there is lot of excitement within the team and they will know where they are in terms of performance by the end of the of winter testing programme and they will do their best to ensure that what they have seen in the wind-tunnel correlates with what is happening on track.
He also discussed the fact that the team sent personnel to Japan to work with Honda while the Japanese manufacturer sent personnel to Woking to ensure that there was a successful transition with the new partnership.

The team will be realistic and down to earth and they expect to be competitive this season.  

© Ben Johnston 2015

Interview with Kevin Magnussen


McLaren-Honda reserve driver Kevin Magnussen discusses the new partnership between McLaren and Honda. The Dane will attend most of the Grand Prix this season.

Magnussen’s main role within the team this season will be to do simulation work but he will also be ready if one of the race drivers is not able to drive the car. He is excited by the new partnership but feels that it will take time for the partnership to succeed.

The Dane is hoping to drive the car during the year at a test and is also hoping to race in another category alongside his work with McLaren-Honda.

© Ben Johnston 2015

Interview with Fernando Alonso


Fernando Alonso is proud and honoured to be part of the McLaren Honda project and is excited about the new partnership with Honda having grown up watching the old partnership during the 1980’s.

Everyone is hungry to get working and he is looking forward to jumping into the car to learn new things with the car and to be ready with solutions to any problems that may arise. He feels that it is going to be very interesting working with Jenson Button and he is not just a great driver but a great person.

The Spaniard feels the first day in Jerez will be very emotional but he is very proud to be the first driver to test the new MP4-30 on the opening day.

© Ben Johnston 2015

Interview with Jenson Button


McLaren Honda driver Jenson Button discusses the MP4-30 and the new partnership with Honda and the rich history of their partnership.

The 2009 world champion is very excited albeit nervous to be jumping into the new car. Speaking about his expectations for this season he is convinced Honda will through everything into the performance of the car as they listen to what needs to be done.

Looking ahead to his partnership with Fernando Alonso he feels they like a similar car and he is looking forward to what he hopes is a good partnership.

He feels that the experience he and Alonso have will help move the team forward. Button is not expecting too much from the opening test this week and has warned fans not to expect anything big too soon from the team.

© Ben Johnston 2015

Interview with McLaren Honda Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Neale


McLaren Honda Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Neale discusses the team’s new partnership with Honda as well as the new MP4-30 driveability.

The team are being realistic about their ambitions. 

© Ben Johnston 2015

McLaren Honda launch the new MP4-30 - The Dawn of a new era


McLaren-Honda have officially launched their 2015 Formula One car, the MP4-30 that they hope will bring them back to the front of the sport after teaming up with Honda for the first time since 1992.

Press Release

McLaren-Honda – the name evokes stirring memories of the past; of Ayrton Senna battling Alain Prost for supremacy; of classic red and white machines dominating for season upon season; of an iconic team writing one of the defining chapters in the motor racing history books. Reuniting such an illustrious partnership brings with it the heavy weight of expectation, but all at McLaren and Honda are working to write a fresh chapter in Formula 1, one that respectfully nods to the past, but boldly looks to the horizon. Today’s reveal of the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30 – 

McLaren’s first Honda-powered car for 23 years – speaks volumes about the progressive nature of both companies. It is a thoroughly refined evolution of last year’s McLaren, it is the only chassis on the grid to be fitted with Honda’s RA615H Hybrid power unit, and it features an evolved colour scheme that firmly contextualises McLaren’s brand in the 21st century.

MP4-30 – new technical DNA in the mix In 2015 McLaren-Honda intends to maintain the momentum it achieved during the second half of 2014, when an intensive technical development programme for the MP4-29 allowed the team to establish a solid position within the chasing pack. 

Relatively stable technical regulations between seasons have permitted our engineers to evolve some of the newer philosophies explored on last year’s season-ending car while also adding some exciting new technical DNA into the mix. 

Moreover, our restructured and strengthened engineering departments have gained the conviction to embark on a number of changes of direction. With that in mind, the MP4-30 has been developed to provide us with the most effective and practical base package. It is a foundation – offering up a number of new exploratory development paths for our engineers, aerodynamicists and drivers to pursue during the season, and on into next year. 

The car has been aerodynamically developed over the winter, and the result is a pretty, elegant design with a refined nose-box solution, slimmed rear-end packaging – particularly around the gearbox – and the incorporation of an all-new power unit under its tightly contoured bodywork.

(McLaren Honda)

The new car looks striking in its charcoal grey and red lined livery going back to the retro look of the late 1990’s early 2000’s.

(McLaren Honda)

Fernando Alonso will debut the new car when testing gets underway on Sunday in Jerez, Spain. Speaking about the new car, Fernando Alonso stated:

(McLaren Honda)

'Although the winter period is a time for rest and relaxation from racing, my motivation could not be stronger for the new season. I’ve done a lot of training during the winter break, to reach my peak physical fitness, and I’ve been working hard in preparation for this new era of McLaren-Honda. 

I’ve never felt better, or more ready for a new season. “Of course, we’re prepared for a steep learning curve, but it’s clear to see that inside McLaren-Honda there’s total commitment, and a real change in feeling, as we start this new partnership. We’re all focused on the challenge ahead, and I feel extremely honoured to be part of a relationship that has shared so much history together.

My aim is to help write a new chapter in the history of McLaren-Honda. We understand the effort and teamwork required to take McLaren-Honda back to where it should be, at the front of the grid, and all our energy as a team is focused on that goal. “Our first target will be to learn the maximum from the car at the pre-season tests, understand the package, and extract as much performance as possible. That won’t be easy or trouble-free, but we’re ready for that. Why? Because our key focus will be on development. 

Historically, McLaren has already been characterised by its ability to bring updates to the car quickly, and develop a strong package. It’s going to be a real privilege to be the first person to drive the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30 at Jerez, and I can’t wait to begin what I’m certain will be a very exciting new chapter in my career. I’m as motivated now as I was when I was given my first opportunity at the wheel of an F1 car. “Last but not least, I’m excited to be sitting alongside Jenson [Button], a great team-mate and a very experienced competitor. Together we’ll push the team forward, to learn, to progress, and eventually to achieve the best possible results together. We are ready for the new era.'

(McLaren Honda)

Jenson Button heads into his sixth season with McLaren and is excited by the opportunity to embark on the new era with Honda. Speaking at the launch of the new car, the 2009 world champion stated:

'The off-season has really brought about a sense of renewal coming into 2015 – continuing my relationship with McLaren, getting married, and now embarking on such an exciting chapter: McLaren’s new partnership with Honda. 

I’ve trained hard over the winter, and I’m absolutely itching to get going in the new McLarenHonda MP4-30. “It’s been interesting to spend time in the factory during the past few weeks: you can really sense a feeling of reignited optimism and positivity around the building. I’ve never seen such motivation amongst the guys – we’re all massively keen to get going in Jerez and to work hard on developing our new car. 

But we’re under no illusion that it will be easy – there’s a huge challenge ahead of us to try to pull back the gap to our rivals, but we’re certainly up for it. We ended last season with great momentum and clear progress, and I’m determined to carry that forward into 2015. 

“I’m also looking forward to working with my new team-mate, Fernando [Alonso], and I’m confident that our joint experience on track will pay dividends in our development race to get our team back to the front of the grid. I’m hugely motivated to make more history in this new McLaren-Honda era.'

(McLaren Honda)

Kevin Magnussen remains at the McLaren Honda as third driver following his Formula One debut with the Woking based outfit in 2014. Speaking at the launch of the new car, the Dane stated:

'Although, naturally, I was disappointed to not be selected for a McLaren-Honda race seat for 2015, I’ve put it behind me and I’m now fully focused on the year ahead. 

“McLaren-Honda evokes so many great memories in race fans all over the world, and I’m really proud to be a part of this team at the restart of such an important and historic partnership. 

My new role as McLaren-Honda’s test and reserve driver is a really important responsibility, and I’m determined to prove my abilities and show what I can do not only on track, but also behind the scenes in the simulator, analysing the data and giving valuable feedback to the engineers. 

Our fight back to the front of the grid is our main focus, so it’s going to be down to me to work really hard to develop the MP4-30 and make a real difference to its performance in Fernando’s and Jenson’s hands.

“My aim is, of course, to return to a Formula 1 race seat as soon as possible, so I’ll be giving it 100 per cent, both on track and off it, to build on my last year’s experience, to show what I know I’m capable of, and to reward the McLaren-Honda team’s faith in me by keeping me on board.'

Chairman and Chief Executive of the McLaren Technology Group, Ron Dennis stated:

“McLaren Technology Group is driven by the relentless pursuit of technological perfection, and, perhaps more than any other element of our portfolio, Formula 1, which is the remit and responsibility of McLaren Racing, and now McLaren-Honda, most famously epitomises that. “McLaren-Honda is a partnership focused on performance, technology and innovation, and there’s no better example of that than the results achieved in our first collaboration in the 1980s and 1990s. 

I was Team Principal all those years ago and, while I don’t tend to like looking back to the past, our previous record of sustained success was certainly instrumental in creating the confidence to make the decision to partner with Honda again. Now, there’s real hunger to demonstrate the capabilities of the huge talent pool we share between us, and I’m totally committed to driving progress and achieving further success. 

“Although our renewed alliance began again many months ago, the launch of the McLaren-Honda MP4-30 marks the start of a lengthy journey. 

We’ve come a long way already and, although there’s a lot of work to do before we can expect to repeat the level of success we enjoyed together 25-or-so years ago, it’s already clear that there’s enormous synergy and potential in our partnership, and I’m positive that, together, we’ll get to where we want to be: winning Grands Prix and eventually World Championships as McLaren-Honda.” 

McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier has been in the role for almost a year and is looking forward to working with Honda saying that McLaren and the Japanese manufacturer are fully integrated. Boullier stated:

'The start of the 2015 season is actually the culmination of a period of great change, and change for the better, plus a huge amount of hard work from everyone in our team.

“It’s almost a year since I arrived in Woking, and, together with Ron and Jonathan [Neale, Chief Operating Officer, McLaren Racing], began an extensive restructure within McLaren Racing. 

We’re now seeing the benefits of that extensive restructure, and the result is a strengthened, skilled and efficient team, characterised by undimmed commitment from everyone throughout our organisation. 

“For a team with such incredible heritage as McLaren, being able to build on our past successes is hugely important to us. It’ll take time to attain the levels of success we aspire to, but you may rest assured that, in concert with Honda, we are totally focused on fulfilling the potential of our exciting new partnership. “I firmly believe that our team is stronger than ever, and that it’s in the best possible position to push the development of the MP4-30 forward. 

Progress is our purpose, and we’ve seen firm evidence of that from the very beginning of our renewed relationship. We acknowledge that our journey will require a huge amount of hard work, dedication and application from everyone involved, in both Woking and Sakura, but we’re ready.'

Honda return to Formula One in 2015 for the first time since 2008 when Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello drove for the works. The Japanese manufacturer are delighted to have formed a new partnership with McLaren who they enjoyed so much success with in the past.

Speaking about the new partnership, Senior Managing Officer of Honda R&D Co Ltd Chief Officer of Motorsport stated:

'Today is obviously a very exciting day for me and for Honda. It’s not every day that you’re involved in a launch of a new Formula 1 car and a start-up of a new partnership. 

“As you can see with the new MP4-30, we’ve dedicated ourselves as one team with McLaren to creating a new car that compromises on nothing – either power or aerodynamics. “Yet, in the midst of the excitement, both myself and our engineers are 100 per cent focused in both Sakura and Milton Keynes to prepare for Jerez and beyond. 

We’re confident that the technology is there, and I’m looking forward to see how it will perform. “We’re about to commence a long season, with numerous challenges, but Honda is determined to face them head-on. After all, we’re here to drive Formula 1’s technology forward and give our fans a thrilling ride.'

© Ben Johnston 2015

Presenting the McLaren Honda MP4-30

(McLaren Honda)

© Ben Johnston 2015

Pirelli - The 2014 numbers game

(Pirelli Motorsport Media)

The 2015 on track Formula One action gets underway on Sunday as the teams prepare for the first test in Jerez, Spain Pirelli have released some extremely interesting facts regarding 2014.

The Italian manufacturer have confirmed that they will bring their 2015 spec race tyre’s to the opening test and will instead take them to the second test in Barcelona which takes place from February 19-22.

In 2014, Pirelli were accused of being too conservative, so for 2015 they have decided to be aggressive in their tyre choices. Over the course of the 2014 season, 38,168 tyres were supplied to the teams.  

(Pirelli Motorsport Media)

As the graph shows there were a total of 817 pit-stops with an average of 43 per race and 2.02 per driver. The longest race of the season was the Singapore Night Race which lasted 2hrs 00mins 04.795s, the shortest race of the season was the Italian Grand Prix at the Monza circuit as it lasted 1hr 19mins 10.236s.

World champion Lewis Hamilton completed the most Kilometres per tyre with 8,230 completed on the White walled Medium compound tyre.

The double world champion also led the most laps on Pirelli rubber with 495 under his belt. Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo recorded the highest speed of Pirelli tyres as he completed a lap of the Monza circuit in Italy of 362.1KM. 

(Pirelli Motorsport Media)

Some fun facts, when it comes to entertainment Pirelli sold a whopping 11,000 podium caps. 1,200 Paddock Club guests were welcomed.

On average, they had 55 people per race enter their hospitality area which formed 10 different nationalities. Pirelli’s Formula One team speak 14 different languages. 

(Pirelli Motorsport Media)

© Ben Johnston 2015

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The sound of the Sauber C34

(Sauber F1 Team via

The Sauber F1 Team have released a sneak peak video of the sound of their new C34 challenger ahead of its launch on Friday.

The new car will be driven by Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. The Swiss based outfit have a number of new sponsors this season including Banco Do Brasil, Tetra Pak and Hewlett Packard. The team will once again be powered by Ferrari.

© Ben Johnston 2015