FIA keeping an eye on IndyCar’s windscreen

Date published: February 12 2018

Although Formula 1 has opted for Halo as its cockpit protection device, the FIA are keeping a close eye on IndyCar’s windscreen trials.

This season Formula 1 will race the Halo have declared that cockpit protection is needed.

IndyCars over in America is following suit, however, they are taking a different route in trialing a windscreen.

“Of course we have seen it,” FIA safety delegate Laurent Mekies told Racer Magazine. “As far as safety is concerned we work closely with all other motorsport stakeholders. 

“Four times a year during our research working group we meet with all the key players for safety research. So we meet with IndyCar, we meet with NASCAR, we meet with the guys in V8 Supercars in Australia.

“They know exactly what we’ve done in the genesis of the Halo and we know that they have been pursuing to explore the route of a screen.

“So the exchange does work, I think it’s quite clear today what the advantages and the downsides are of the [two] solutions. 

“It’s very good that IndyCar is putting some energy in trying to develop solutions and maybe it can complement the work we’re doing one day.”

Formula 1 had looked into a screen, dubbed the shield, prior to settling on Halo but felt that it did not work as well as Halo.

Mekies added: “One of the key aspects is to pick a load case – what are you trying to protect against? There is no absolute truth with that; nobody is wrong and nobody is right. 

“You choose what you try to protect against, and after that you have to accept if something more than that happens it won’t help, or not as much as is needed.

“We’ll catch up to see where the items they tried puts them in terms of protection level. You might remember that we had ourselves scanned different protection levels. The shield itself we tried at Silverstone last year had a slightly reduced protection level, so it’s a matter of finding a good compromise.

“It’s very good that such an important player as IndyCar is getting very involved in this, and as I said we are working very closely with them.”

Formula 1 replace grid girls with grid kids

Date published: February 5 2018

Formula 1 have announced their intention to replace grid girls with grid kids at every race of the 2018 season and in supporting F2 and F3 races where possible.

After the controversial decision to stop the use of grid girls, Formula 1 and the FIA have announced a new ‘grid kids’ initiative where drivers from local motorsport clubs will be selected on merit or by lottery and will be accompanied on the grid by immediate family members.

“This will be an extraordinary moment for these youngsters: imagine, standing beside their heroes, watch as they prepare to race, the elite of the elite in motorsport, to be there, alongside them in those precious few minutes just before the start,” said F1 managing director Sean Bratches.

“What an unforgettable experience, for them, and their families. An inspiration to keep driving, training and learning so that they can dream of one day being there themselves. What better way to inspire the next generation of Formula 1 heroes.”

FIA president Jean Todt added: “Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor sport and the dream of every young racer competing the junior series that make up the FIA’s single-seater pyramid, from karting all the way to F1.

“We are therefore delighted to bring that dream a little closer by giving the future champions of our sport the opportunity to stand alongside their heroes on the grid in the build-up to the race start.

“For the wider FIA, this is an excellent initiative that provides additional support to our member ASNs in their efforts to grow motorsport worldwide through a unique reward they can make available to youngsters participating in their national series.”

Revealed: Entry fees for each team for 2018 season

Date published: February 4 2018

Following the confirmation of 2018 entry list from the FIA, the fees that each team have paid for the upcoming season have now been revealed.

According to the current regulations, every team has to pay a base figure of $516,128 (£365,455), which is indexed by the US consumer price index of annual inflation. The champions must then pay an additional $6194 (£4386) for every point earned and the other teams must pay at a reduced cost of $5161 (£3654) per point.

After being involved in a slightly closer title fight in 2017, Mercedes’ have seen their entry fees drop by $600,818 (£425,421), while Red Bull, Williams, Toro Rosso and McLaren are also paying less.

Ferrari’s improvement means the Scuderia are paying $639,964 (£453,139) more this year, with increases, too, for Force India, Renault, Haas and Sauber.

Entry fees:

Mercedes – $4,653,720 (£3,295,159)
Ferrari – $3,210,170 (£2,273,025)
Red Bull – $2,415,376 (£1,710,255)
Force India – $1,481,235 (£1,048,818)
Williams – $944,491 (£668,765)
Renault  – $810,305 (£573,752)
Toro Rosso – $789,661 (£559,135)
Haas – $758,695 (£537,209)
McLaren – $670,958 (£475,085)
Sauber – $541,933 (£383,726)

Figures via F1 Technical

FIA confirms entry list, team name changes

Date published: February 2 2018

The FIA has confirmed the 20 driver field for this year’s F1 World Championship as well as new names for some of the teams, but as yet not Force India.

This season ten teams and 20 drivers will take part in the championship, which has been extended to 21 races.

There are two rookies on the grid in Charles Leclerc, No 16, and Sergey Sirotkin, No 35.

There have been a few tweaks to the names of teams with Red Bull now Aston Martin Red Bull Racing; Toro Rosso will be known as Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda; Sauber have become the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team and McLaren have been renamed McLaren F1 team.

Force India will reportedly reveal the new name of their team when they unveil their 2018 challenger.

The 2018 entry list
8 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren F1 Team
2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren F1 Team
44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
3 Daniel Ricciardo Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
33 Max Verstappen Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
27 Nicolas Hulkenberg Renault Sport Formula One Team
55 Carlos Sainz Jr Renault Sport Formula One Team
11 Sergio Perez Sahara Force India F1 Team
31 Esteban Ocon Sahara Force India F1 Team
9 Marcus Ericsson Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team
16 Charles Leclerc Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team
5 Sebastien Vettel Scuderia Ferrari
7 Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari
10 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
28 Brendon Hartley Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
18 Lance Stroll Williams Martini Racing
35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Martini Racing

Formula 1 announce later start times for races

Date published: February 1 2018

Formula 1 have confirmed that European races and the Brazilian Grand Prix are being pushed back by an hour and 10 minutes.

All races have been initially moved to 10 past the hour instead of on the hour to allow all broadcasters to build up to the race start as some TV companies would start their shows as soon as the lights were going out.

The second announced change is that all European races and the Brazilian Grand prix will start a further hour later as research has shown Formula 1 bosses and the FIA that a larger audience can be reached by doing so.

Mercedes call for return of active suspensions

Date published: January 31 2018

Mercedes are reportedly pushing for the FIA to bring back active suspensions to Formula 1, believing it could help to cut costs.

While Mercedes are believed to be advocates of the system, it has been Red Bull who have benefitted most from a ‘trick suspension’ system which is now outlawed.

It allowed them to optimise their aerodynamic and tyre performance by adjusting the ride height of the car through the corners, attacking with a low front end and keeping the rear of the car high.

But, with the FIA clamping down on the intricate system, there are two potential proposals on the table to replace it. The first is to introduce a simpler system with springs and dampers; the other is to bring back ‘active suspensions’ which have not been used since 1993.

An unnamed Mercedes engineer told Auto Bild: “It’s cheaper because you can develop the system once and then freeze it. It will save a million euros a year and there would be no more grey areas.

“It would be much easier for the FIA to control, and it would help overtaking because you can programme the system to minimise the impact of the turbulence behind the car.”

‘Formula E will overhaul F1 in 20 years’

Date published: January 31 2018

Having launched the new Formula E car, series founder Alejandro Agag believes it will be the “biggest” racing championship within the next two decades.

Formula E made its debut in 2014 and has grown into a 12-race calendar that visits ten different countries.

“In 20 years’ time, I don’t see anything bigger than Formula E,” Agag tells City A.M.

“Formula One is an entertainment proposition, [like] today, horse racing is an entertainment proposition.

“Formula E will be the main motor sport championship because it is the championship that is connected to the industry.”

He added: “I think that we could become one and only.”

Agag is also bouyed by Formula 1 adopting some aspects from Formula E such as their approach to social media, online access and wanting more street races.

“They are copying many things we do,” he said, adding with a smile: “But it might be a coincidence.”