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2015 Australian Grand Prix in pictures

2015 Australian Grand Prix

Here we go again, another season of Formula 1 images starting in the best place on the calendar, Australia! You can relive the 2015 season opener after the break with our gallery of 89 images, all clickable to 2560px mega image sizing.

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Is it toys out of the cot time for Red Bull?

Christian Horner and Helmut Marko, Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing had a pretty ordinary time of it at the Australian Grand Prix. Daniel Ricciardo lost one of his four engines for the year during practice. Daniil Kvyat lunched a gearbox on the way to the starting grid and didn’t start the race.

Even junior outfit Toro Rosso suffered, with Max Verstappen forced into retirement with engine woes.

After previously having its own way for four years in succession the prospect of a second year with no world title is not pleasing the top brass at Red Bull Racing one little bit. In fact, you could say it’s tantrums all round. And the blame is being laid squarely at the feet of power unit supplier Renault.

“Across the four cars we’ve had two engine failures, one within five laps, and a whole bunch of driveability issues, so it’s not the start that Renault can afford to have,” Horner said.

“I think it masks so many things regarding corner entry, corner exit, degradation, slip control of the tyre,” Horner added. “You’re not able to drive the car properly. So you then start moving your brake balance around to try to compensate, so you are so far away from optimum. You start to lose temperature in brakes, and then the tyres aren’t working as they should. It’s a spiralling effect.”

Meanwhile, there’s conflicting views on the long-term interest in Formula 1 held by Red Bull’s owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko is leading the charge there telling reporters in Melbourne: “We will evaluate the situation again [in the summer] as every year and look into costs and revenues.

“If we are totally dissatisfied we could contemplate an F1 exit.

“Yes, the danger is there that Mr Mateschitz loses his passion for F1.”

Predictably, and coming back to Renault, it’s the power unit regulations that are the sore point for Marko.

“These power units are the wrong solution for F1, and we would say this even if [Red Bull supplier] Renault were in the lead,” he claimed.

“The technical rules are not understandable, much too complicated, and too expensive.”

However, Cristian Horner denies a Red Bull departure is on the cards and he attempted to hose down rumours that Audi is willing to buy out Red Bull and, crucially, that Mateschitz is willing to sell.

“You’re wide of the mark. There’s been statements from Dietrich to clarify that, It’s a non-issue,” Christian Horner told F1 reporter Adam Cooper.

There’s also talk that Renault might want to have its own factory team again, with Toro Rosso being the most likely match.

And all of this simply because Mercedes AMG has cleared the pack once again. Where was Mercedes when Red Bull was dominating and were they whinging and carrying on like pork chops that it just wasn’t fair?

Dominance in any sport, in particular in Formula 1, is cyclical. If Red Bull is prepared to stick around it has shown it has the capacity to reach the top.

It’s one thing to achieve success once. But coming back to succeed again after losing that dominance, that takes true courage and determination. And that’s how legends like Ferrari, McLaren and Williams have been made.

[Source: Autosport & Adam Cooper]

Ferrari Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Lewis Hamilton wins 2015 Australian Grand Prix

2015 Australian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has made a perfect start to his world championship title defence with a seemingly easy win at Albert Park yesterday.

It was a funny week for Formula 1, with the Giedo van der Garde v Sauber saga dominating headlines, the return and then no show of Manor, Valtteri Bottas’ injury withdrawal and the failure of Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat to start after their cars died on the out lap before the race.

Only 13 cars started the grand prix and it seems a miracle that 11 of them finished. The expectations were that more cars would run into reliability problems.

In the end Hamilton defeated his teammate Nico Rosberg by 1.3 seconds. You sense Hamilton would have been able to hold off Rosberg if a serious challenge for lead was mounted. It wasn’t.

Sebastian Vettel claimed the final podium step in his Ferrari debut, a few seconds ahead of Felipe Massa.

The real winners, though, were Sauber who had their two preferred drivers finish strongly. Felipe Nasr marked his F1 debut with a fifth place and Marcus Ericsson came home eighth. Last year Sauber didn’t manage a single championship point, now they have 14 after just one race. Who knows what the courts will dictate for them in Malaysia and beyond, but after a terrible week that’s one team party that would have been a blast last night.

The Toro Rosso kids had a fun time with the grown ups too. Sadly for Max Verstappen he was forced to retire, but Carlos Sainz finished in a credible ninth place.

Jenson Button did finish the race in his McLaren. But he was stone motherless last, two laps off the pace, and the only finisher who didn’t score a championship point. It was valuable testing time for the struggling McLaren-Honda outfit.

It’s easy to tell how boring this race was when the highlight was the post-race podium interviews conducted by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yes, that Arnold Schwarzenegger!

I had a shiver of horror go down my spine when Arnie was announced for fear that this interview would end in high farce. Fair dues to the Hollywood icon because either he has a clue or is a genuinely good actor and thankfully he handled the role well.

So, who knew Arnie was a Formula 1 fan!

There will be more exciting times ahead in this 2015 F1 season, but save from the sunny weather and mostly clean racing this was as dull as it gets for a season opener.

Well done Lewis, well done Nico, well done Mercedes, you were just too damn good.

Formula 1 McLaren

Fernando Alonso to miss Australian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso

McLaren has confirmed Fernando Alonso will miss the Australian Grand Prix as he continues to recover from his testing accident in Barcelona last month.

According to a team statement (available in full after the break) Alonso’s doctors say, “that they see no evidence whatsoever of any injury; and that they therefore describe him as entirely healthy from neurological and cardiac perspectives alike.”

However, as a precautionary measure. “Fernando’s doctors have recommended to him that … for the time being he should seek to limit as far as is possible any environmental risk factors that could potentially result in his sustaining another concussion so soon after his previous one.

“In order to limit those environmental risk factors, specifically, his doctors have advised that he should not compete in the imminent Australian Grand Prix.”

Alonso has recommenced full physical training and is expected to be declared fit to race in time for the Malaysian Grand Prix (27–29 March). His car will be driven by reserve driver Kevin Magnussen in Melbourne.

Formula 1 Honda

Honda NSX Concept coming to Australia

Acura NSC Concept

One of the first tangible signs for car buyers of Honda’s return to Formula 1 will take place at the Australian Grand Prix (15–18 March) when you will be able to get up close to the NSX Concept.

The NSX Concept will be on display at Albert Park and will also help mark the comeback of the McLaren-Honda partnership.

“This is a new era for Honda in more ways than one,” said Honda Australia Director, Stephen Collins. “The NSX is the rebirth of an icon and represents power, sportiness and efficiency. The NSX Concept will be the star attraction of Honda’s on-circuit display at Albert Park. There will be many fans of the original supercar who we know will enjoy this exclusive preview.”

Australian buyers interested in the NSX should be able to place orders mid-year for delivery in 2016.

Formula 1 News

Australian Grand Prix secured until 2020

2014 Australian Grand Prix

Victorian Premier, Dr Denis Napthine, has been making waves today to tell the world he’s signed a contract extension which will keep the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne until 2020.

“Formula 1 is a key pillar of Victoria’s major sporting events strategy,” Dr Napthine said. “This calendar is unrivalled worldwide, commencing with the Australian Tennis Open and Asian Football Cup in January, followed by the ICC Cricket World Cup in February, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in March, the AFL Final Series, and the Spring Racing Carnival.”

It’s good news for Australian F1 fans who are often used to hearing Victorian politicians threaten to drop the race. Usually such comments are all dependent on the electoral cycle, of course.

Often, pollies will talk tough when in opposition and then when they get into power and have a chance to smile at their adoring fans from the victory dais they tend to change their tune. Speaking of which, Dr Napthine hopes to have a photo of he and world champion hope Daniel Ricciardo on his mantlepiece real soon.

“Within this contract we hope to see Australia’s own Daniel Ricciardo win the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix and become World Champion,” Natpthine added.

There’s no talk of any financial agreements between Victoria and F1, just that Ron Walker, AGPC Chairman, has secured “the best deal for Victoria.”

We can’t forget Bernie, either, he sounds over the moon at this new deal. Really, he does. If nothing else it makes a nice change from all that bribery chat.

“I congratulate Melbourne for the excellent way in which it presents Formula 1 to the world,” Mr Ecclestone said.

The 2015 Australian Grand Prix will be held on Sunday 15 March.

[Source: Australian Grand Prix]

Formula 1

Sir Jack Brabham trophy for Australian Grand Prix

2014 Australian Grand Prix

CAMS has today announced the winning trophy for the Australian Grand Prix will now be called the Sir Jack Brabham trophy. It is a fitting tribute for Sir Jack, who passed away on 19 May.

The current trophy design, being shown off by Nico Rosberg above, already references Sir Jack with the design based on the steering wheel from his 1959 championship winning Cooper Climax.

Sir Jack’s widow, Lady Brabham, was honoured to accept the renaming of the trophy.

“I have been overwhelmed by the tributes that have been pouring in from around the globe,” Lady Brabham said. “It has been comforting to hear kind words from the likes of Jean Todt, Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart to Alan Jones. Jack would have been so very proud.”

Daniel Ricciardo, fresh from his stunning win in Montreal yesterday morning, says he would one day love to lift the Sir Jack Brabham trophy for himself one day.

“What he [Sir Jack Brabham] achieved was incredible,” Daniel said. “Paying tribute to him each year with the Australian Grand Prix winner’s trophy is a fantastic way to celebrate this legend. It would be something very special to be able to lift that trophy.

“Racing at the Australian Grand Prix in front of a home crowd is a huge buzz; to be able to stand on the top step of the podium and lift the Sir Jack Brabham Trophy would be incredible.”

The public will have the chance to honour the late Sir Jack Brabham at his State funeral on Wednesday 11 June at 1.30pm at the Church of Christ in Southport, Queensland.

[Source: CAMS | Pic: Mercedes AMG]

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Red Bull loses Ricciardo appeal

2014 Australian Grand Prix

Red Bull Racing’s presentation to the International Court of Appeal has failed and Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix for his car exceeding the maximum fuel flow rate will stand.

The FIA has released a brief statement, which can be read below, and says full details will be published later this week.

At this stage there appears to be no further sanction for Ricciardo or Red Bull.

This result was expected and while Red Bull’s defence had merit, it was always undermined by the fact that the team was warned by FIA stewards during the race that Daniel’s car was in breach of the regulations. When you’re given an opportunity to right a perceived wrong by the referee and you ignore it you can’t really expect them to pretend it didn’t happen.

Red Bull’s statement can be read below, after the the FIA press release.

[Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Red Bull explains defence for Australian GP appeal

2014 Australian Grand Prix

Christian Horner has revealed to Autosport the approach Red Bull Racing will take in its appeal to have Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix overturned. Ricciardo crossed the finish line in second place and he and the team have been stripped of the 18 world championship points earned on the day.

The team will argue its decision to ignore a technical directive to use the FIA-mandated fuel flow meter holds no regulatory value. Further, Red Bull will attempt to prove that at no stage during the race did Ricciardo’s car exceed the maximum fuel flow rate and therefore there are no grounds for the exclude Ricciardo from the final results.

“Technical directives are not of regulatory value,” Horner claims. “They are the opinion of the technical delegate—as was made clear in the Pirelli case, which clearly stated that opinions of Charlie are not regulatory.

“It is even stated on the bottom of the directives now, that these do not have a regulatory value.”

Horner goes on to explain that had the team followed the FIA’s directive there would have been a “significant impact on performance” with Daniel’s car. He claims Red Bull had no other option but to rely on its own data.

“So when you are faced with that dilemma of having a sensor that you believe to be erroneous, and a fuel rail that you believe to be entirely reliable, and you are racing for position with an engine already down on power compared to your opponents, what do you do?

“We are absolutely convinced that we abided completely by the technical regulations.”

The appeal will be held on 14 April. During that time the Malaysian and Bahrain Grands Prix will be held and Horner is in discussions with the FIA over what should be done if the same problems experienced in Melbourne reoccur in the next two races.

“Hopefully we will have a sensor that works,” Horner said. “But it is not a position that will be unique to Red Bull.”

[Source: Autosport | Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Ricciardo appeal unlikely to succeed

Gill Sensors Fuel Flow Monitor

Despite Red Bull’s best efforts we think it will be unlikely that Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix for exceeding the permitted fuel flow rate will get overturned.

Extra impetus has been given to uphold the FIA’s original decision after the controlling body reconfirmed its confidence in the accuracy of the Fuel Flow Meters at the centre of the controversy.

An official statement issued yesterday by Gill Sensors, manufacturers of the homologated part, claims the FIA has, “provided Gill Sensors with positive feedback on the performance of the Fuel Flow Meter, confirming their confidence in the development and stating the meters meet the FIA’s accuracy specification.”

Red Bull Racing immediately announced its intention to appeal the FIA’s decision blaming a faulty FFM with the added claim that their own data shows the rate of fuel being injected into Daniel’s car was within FIA specification. A team statement reads:

Inconsistencies with the FIA fuel flow meter have been prevalent all weekend up and down the pit lane. The Team and Renault are confident the fuel supplied to the engine is in full compliance with the regulations.

Speaking to the media on Sunday night Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal, added: “We could see a significant discrepancy with what the sensor was reading and what our fuel flow was stated as—that’s where there’s a difference of opinion.”

Further harming Red Bull’s chance of a successful appeal is this revelation from the stewards’ findings:

The FIA technical representative observed thought the telemetry during the race that the fuel flow was too high and contacted the team, giving them the opportunity to follow his previous instruction, and reduce the fuel flow such that it was within the limit, as measured by the homologated sensor – and thus gave the team the opportunity to be within compliance. The team chose not to make this correction.

The appeal will be heard by an independent FIA court at a date yet to be specified.

Caterham F1 in pictures Ferrari Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Toro Rosso

2014 Australian Grand Prix in pictures

2014 Australian Grand Prix

Here’s your first proper look at the 2014 Formula 1 cars in action. We’re lucky to get the first race in Australia and this is especially the case this season with such dramatic changes to the cars and their technology.

We’ve got over 100 photos for you to savour and, yes, we probably did get a bit carried away in the Red Bull photo archive. Although, interestingly for them, there aren’t many pics to choose from on race day showing the RB10 in full flight, so you’ve got lots of background material to admire.

Mercedes AMG has also come to the party with a better than usual selection of images as well. Which tends to be the case when one of its drivers wins a grand prix!

Formula 1 McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

2014 Australian GP: Post-race press conference

2014 Australian Grand Prix

While Daniel Ricciardo’s result has been taken away from him it’s hard to know for sure how much advantage, if any, he gained if his car was pumping in fuel faster than it should have been. In reality he crossed the line second and therefore much of what was said post-race still rings true.

For the first two years of his career Ricciardo had the luxury of learning his craft at a relatively young age while being shielded from the F1 spotlight by Mark Webber. Despite his disqualification there’s no way anyone can think Daniel is still in Mark’s shadow. He’s his own man, Australia’s own man and we like what we see!

Oh yeah, they also asked some questions of Nico and Kevin too.