Formula 1 Lotus

Lotus F1 Team trials 18-inch tyres

Lotus E22 on 18 wheels and tyres

At the Formula 1 in-season testing held at Silverstone overnight Lotus ran part of the day on 18-inch wheels and tyres, instead of the usual 13-inch setup. The test was done purely to judge the aesthetics of the larger wheel setup. Although, of course, with such a reduction in sidewall height there will be handling changes too.

Charles Pic was at the wheel of the Lotus E22 and completed 14 fairly sedate laps. His official comments can be read below, but of more value is the feedback he gave to Autosport.

“If we go with this type of tyre one day, it will be a big challenge,” Pic said. “For the teams, because they will have to build a completely new car around it because the philosophy is completely different, and also for the drivers because they are completely different.

“The overall grip was very low, I think it was five or six seconds off the pace, mainly for the reason that the rest of the car was made for the normal tyre, not the prototype.

“It is true that they are more reactive and nervous, and then on top of that you lose a lot of aero.”

Pirelli’s current contract runs out at the end of the 2016 season, so 2017 would be the most likely year the larger wheels would be introduced. Although, Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport boss, says with enough notice they could be brought in for 2016 and that he has a preference for 19 or 20-inch tyres.

“The regulations are talking about 2017 at the moment but we feel ready for 2016 if they wanted to bring it forward a year,” said Hembery. “The priority today was to show people what a current F1 car would look like with a change in rim.

“We said many years ago that the larger diameter rims were something we would always go along with, but we have also said we will do what the sport wants and that is the over-riding factor.

“It is about aesthetics. Does it make F1 more relevant for road cars and is it a direction the sport wants to take? The 18-inch tyre is one solution, but going forward I think 19-inch or 20-inch tyres are the direction you want to go.”

What do you think of the look of an F1 car running 18-inch wheels? Would 19s or 20s look better or worse?

Click on the image above to view in 2000px sizing. The images after the break are not available in larger sizes.

[Pics: Lotus F1 Team]

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

Toyota wins 2014 6hrs of Silverstone

2014 6 Hours of Silverstone

The 2014 WEC season got off to the best possible start overnight after Toyota claimed a dominant 1–2 victory in a rain affected 6 Hours of Silverstone. Two laps behind the winning #8 Toyota TS040 (Davidson, Lapierre, Buemi) was the #20 Porsche 919 (Bernhard, Hartley, Webber). That result marks a promising return to the LMP1 category for Porsche.

“The team did a fantastic job all weekend,” said Anthony Davidson after the victory. “It looked like it would be an epic fight with Audi and Porsche if it had stayed dry, but we knew the rain was coming and we had set our car up for wet conditions.

“We made the right call on tyres, the strategy was just perfect; that’s how you win races.”

Defending champions Audi had a race to forget with both the R18s crashing out of contention. Luca di Grassi was at the wheel when the #1 R18 went out early in proceedings, while the #2 car lasted until mid-race distance having lost time due to a separate incident in the first hour.

The #14 Porsche 919 also went off-track briefly, although no major damage was done. However, its race came to an end early in the second hour due to a “technical problem”. This highlights how valuable the third place for the #20 car was, enabling the team to gather valuable track time and experience in addition to championship points.

In a three horse race, with two established rivals and a new kid on the block, this set of results builds anticipation for the 6 Hours of Spa in two weeks.

The Audis have shown they have raw pace, setting the fastest single lap in both qualifying and the race, and with multiple championships behind them they’re unlikely to repeat the double blunder we saw here at Silverstone.

Toyota has built on its LMP1 experience and this result will give them confidence to carry its momentum to Spa. While Porsche has shown it can have the reliability it needs to keep its more fancied rivals honest.

“It’s been a brilliant day for us,” Mark Webber siad post-race. “I’m happy to have played a small role in the effort that’s gone in from the team and everyone back at the factory to get to this point.

“Timo and Brendon drove exceptionally as well. It was unfortunate for the other car, but it wasn’t their day. It was a tough race for all the drivers with tricky conditions, and drizzle on slick tyres is never easy. We managed to dodge a few bullets and survived some of the tricky phases.

“It was a great experience for me, I learnt so much today in the race. We were spot on with the pit stops in terms of the tyre strategy.”

Official race reports and photos from Toyota, Porsche and Audi can be viewed after the break.

Porsche WEC

Stuck in a job going nowhere?

Mark Webber FIA WEC promo

Mark Webber and his Porsche 919 buddies make their competition debut in the 6 Hours of Silverstone this weekend. Australian readers can watch the race live and exclusive on Foxtel’s Speed TV channel.

To remind you of that fact Speed TV has come up with a very cool and quite amusing promo which you can see after the break.

Race coverage begins at 9pm on Sunday and runs through until 4am on Monday (AEST). If you don’t have Foxtel or can’t park yourself in front of a telly you can tune into Radio Le Mans for audio coverage.

Formula 1

You mounted them the wrong way, silly!

Pirelli tyres on display at 2013 British Grand Prix

After the PR disaster that was the British Grand Prix, where four drivers suffered exploding rear tyres, Pirelli has explained its theories on why things went wrong, which largely reads as “it’s not our fault!”.

According to Pirelli four main factors caused the issues and just wait until you read the first one! These factors have been outlined in an article published to the Pirelli website (recommended reading) and state:

After exhaustive analysis of the tyres used at Silverstone, Pirelli has concluded that the causes of the failures were principally down to a combination of the following factors:

1) Rear tyres that were mounted the wrong way round: in other words, the right hand tyre being placed where the left hand one should be and vice versa, on the cars that suffered failures. The tyres supplied this year have an asymmetric structure, which means that they are not designed to be interchangeable. The sidewalls are designed in such a way to deal with specific loads on the internal and external sides of the tyre. So swapping the tyres round has an effect on how they work in certain conditions. In particular, the external part is designed to cope with the very high loads that are generated while cornering at a circuit as demanding as Silverstone, with its rapid left-hand bends and some kerbs that are particularly aggressive.

2) The use of tyre pressures that were excessively low or in any case lower than those indicated by Pirelli. Under-inflating the tyres means that the tyre is subjected to more stressful working conditions.

3) The use of extreme camber angles.

4) Kerbing that was particularly aggressive on fast corners, such as that on turn four at Silverstone, which was the scene of most of the failures. Consequently it was the left-rear tyres that were affected.

Ferrari Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

Nico Rosberg wins 2013 British GP

2013 British Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes AMG) has won an incident-packed British Grand Prix, just 0.765 seconds from Mark Webber (Red Bull). Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) filled the final podium position.

But where to start with the drama this race contained! Off the start line Webber was slow to move, although it appeared he may have been ever so slightly baulked by Rosberg ahead of him. That put the Aussie in thick of the action going into the first corner and unavoidable contact was made with Romain Grosjean (Lotus). Webber was forced wide, with a damaged front wing, and rejoined the track in fifteenth place. His day seemed over.

Out front Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes AMG) made the most of his pole position to establish a two second lead over Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull). But on lap eight the story of the day, and Pirelli’s worst nightmare, emerged when Hamilton’s left rear tyre delaminated before it spectacularly exploded. He limped back to the pits and rejoined in last place.

Alas that was the first of four delaminations for the day with Felipe Massa (Ferrari) and Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) to lose their left rear tyre in the same fashion as Hamilton soon after. As a result there was debris around all over the place and the Safety Car was deployed to clear the track.

Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) inherited the lead from Hamilton and was able to post a small gap back to Rosberg after racing resumed on lap 21. Rosberg stayed in touch with Vettel, but on lap 41 the triple world champion coasted into the last corner with gearbox problems, stopping on pit straight. The Safety Car was brought out to move Vettel’s car out of harm’s way.

Webber, who had worked his way back through the field was in third place after Vettel’s retirement, came in for a final tyre stop coming out behind the Safety Car in fifth place. When racing resumed there were six laps remaining, Rosberg in the lead heading towards his third grand prix win. Webber looked the most likely to challenge, if he could overtake the cars ahead.

Shortly after the restart Sergio Perez (McLaren) suffered the final tyre blowout of the race, he was narrowly avoided by Alonso who was preparing to pass the young Mexican. Thankfully a Safety Car wasn’t needed and we were treated to an exciting race to the flag.

Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Adrian Sutil (Force India) and Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) stood between Webber and Rosberg. Mark was able to quickly pass Ricciardo and Sutil in the chase for the lead and Raikkonen, on old tyres, was also overtaken without too much bother.

Less than two seconds separated first from second and Webber really needed to within one second of Rosberg so he could benefit from DRS. To Rosberg’s credit he was able to fight hard to keep his lead out of Webber’s reach to take the race win. Another lap or two may have seen a fairytale victory for Mark, but it wasn’t to be.

For all his troubles Lewis Hamilton also drove a great race and finished fourth. All of the top four drivers will have been pleased to have made some inroads into Vettel’s championship lead.

Daniel Ricciardo slipped down to eighth on his old tyres. His late fade out will be softened by the fact teammate Jean-Eric Vergne retired at about two thirds race distance.

It was a deserved win for Rosberg as the Mercedes AMGs were fast all weekend. He’ll take renewed confidence into next weekend when the German Grand Prix takes place at the Nürburgring.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

2013 British GP: Qualifying report

2013 British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has blitzed the field to claim pole position for the 2013 British Grand Prix. The 2008 world champion set a best lap of 1:29.607, four tenths quicker than his Mercedes AMG teammate, Nico Rosberg (1:30.059).

So it’s another Mercedes front-row lockout, followed by a pair of very closely matched Red Bulls. Sebastian Vettel (1:30.211) will start from P3. In his final appearance at Silverstone Mark Webber (1:30.220) will line up on P4, just nine one thousandths of a second off Vettel. That’s Mark’s poorest qualifying result here for five years.

“We were up against it to get on the front row against the Mercs, they’re on another level as they have been for the last few events,” Webber explained. “It was disappointing to get pipped by Seb there at the end by a hundredth, it was very close. I was happy with the first part of my lap, but I could have done better in the last sector.”

It’s expected the Red Bulls will have better race pace than the Mercedes duo, a familiar theme so far this season and Webber is hoping there’s more to come. “We have a good balance for qualifying and race pace in terms of where we prioritised things. It should be an interesting race, we can get a good result from there,” he said.

Sensing a need to put his name at the forefront of Christian Horner’s mind, Daniel Ricciardo (Torro Rosso, 1:30.757) shone throughout qualifying to earn himself sixth place on the grid. He’ll start alongside Paul di Resta (Force India,1:30.736), who will be very pleased with himself to start his home race from P5.

Also pleasing for Ricciardo is the fact his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne (1:31.785), and fellow applicant for the vacant 2014 Red Bull Racing seat, could only manage the thirteenth best time. It’s a great result for Daniel who is ahead of both Ferrari and both Lotus drivers.

“Coming off the back of a bad couple of races, I expected to be strong here and I was more motivated than ever,” said Ricciardo. “However, if I’d been told I could be sixth this afternoon, I would have been surprised. We were very close to Di Resta in fifth, but we can be happy with this position.

“Now I am looking forward to the race when I hope I can come away with a good handful of points. I’d like to think I could finish at least in the same place I am starting from. It would be nice to do even better and I will be pushing hard to achieve that.”


Really Sideways

Porsche 911 GT2 RS

We all know the RS in Porsche 911 GT2 RS stands for Renn Sport. Or Race Sport if you want to use the English version. However, in Scottish, RS stands for Really Sideways. At least, that’s the conclusion one could make after watching Porsche driving instructor Gordon Roberston thrashing the GT2 RS around Silverstone.


How close is a Porsche GT3 Cup to a 911 GT3 RS?

Porsche GT3 Cup

Autocar brings us another interesting video via their YouTube channel. Ever wondered just how close the track only Porsche GT3 Cup is to the road going 911 GT3 RS? Well, so have they. And what better place to compare the two than at Silvertsone. Copse, Maggotts and Becketts before a mini-relax along Hangar Straight. There wouldn’t be too many better experiences to be had in a car.

It’s actually not really a pleasant sound, but the noise made by the sequential gearbox is pure delight. We know that’s a bit of a contradiction, but we also expect many will know exactly what we mean.

It’s fair to say they could have upped the excitement levels in this video, but it’s worth watching all the same.

Ferrari Formula 1 McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Renault

2010 British Grand Prix in pictures

2010 British Grand Prix

With victory at Silverstone overnight Mark Webber became the first driver to win three races in 2010. And, following that qualifying wing-swap controversy with teammate Sebastian Vettel, what a satisfying win it was too.

Webber was determined to take the lead by the first corner and after the race he explained, “It was pretty straightforward. I made a good start. I was very keen to make it my corner and it worked out well for me, so it was good.”

The Australian was still firm in his views when asked in the post-race press conference about the situation from qualifying, “Yesterday was a really unique situation. It was the first time that the team had really had one component. Honestly I would never have signed a contract again for next year if I believed that that was the way it was going to be going forward. That’s why I was disappointed yesterday and was honest with you guys. Let’s see how it goes in the future but I just keep doing what I do and hopefully it’s enough.”

The complete transcript from the press-conference is now available at Also, selected team and driver quotes recorded after the race, including words from Vettel, can be read as well.

After the jump a set of Red Bull Racing images captured from race day and qualifying are available. Images from other teams to follow soon.

UPDATE: brings us some amazing allegations of intra-team rivalry at Red Bull Racing: “Webber’s mechanics were said to have removed the ‘old’ front wing that Webber had been forced to race with and waved it at Vettel’s side of the garage.”

UPDATE II: New pics from McLaren, Mercedes GP, Williams, Sauber, Force India, Toro Rosso, Renault and Ferrari added below.

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Webber wins British GP

Mark Webber, winner, 2010 British GP

Mark Webber has won his third Grand Prix of the 2010 Formula One season at Silverstone this evening. Webber started from second on the grid, behind his Red Bull Racing teammate Sebastian Vettel, but was able to edge ahead of Vettel into the first corner.

Through the next series of corners Vettel ran wide and picked up a puncture after minor contact with Lewis Hamilton. This setback which sent Vettel to the back of the field. From there it was a masterful race from Webber who maintained the lead for the rest of the race.

Lewis Hamilton finished second and was able to pressure the Australian in the in the first part of the race when both drivers were on the softer compound tyres. Hamilton came into change tyres before Webber, but Red Bull Racing got Webber in and out safely on the next lap and back out ahead of Hamilton. Once on the harder prime tyres Webber was supreme and the only way Hamilton could close the gap was thanks to a safety car period to clear some debris from the track.

After the restart Webber once again pulled away and established a comfortable lead. As the race drew to an inevitable end Webber slowed his pace and coasted to victory just 1.3 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Nico Rosberg finished in third place. Vettel, for his misfortune at the start of the race, managed to make the most of the safety car period to fight back into the points finishing in seventh position.

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Mark Webber drives virtual lap of Silverstone

Mark Webber

It’s Mark Webber’s turn to tell us all about the new Silverstone layout today. He’s a bit excited about racing in England, too. It’s the home race for Red Bull Racing, there’s very passionate fans and, best of all, Mark gets to snuggle under his own doona at night.

Actually, on that point, I think I heard the other day that Webber is the only current F1 driver who lives in the UK. All the rest are living it Playboy mansion style on the continent I guess. Still, you can’t expect a kid from Struggle Town to be attracted by the bright lights of Monaco. That’s simply a place you go to win races.

Formula 1

A look at the new Silverstone GP circuit

Silverstone - New Grand Prix Circuit

With the British Grand Prix now just a few days away, it’s a good time to take a look at the revised Silverstone layout. Those familiar with the old layout will immediately notice the infield section from Abbey through to Brooklands is new. Other than that the bulk of the course is unchanged, save for a minor rework at Club Corner.

Overtaking opportunities should present themselves into Village and the Loop. Late braking into Brooklands might also offer chances of drivers to claim track position.

There’s a couple of videos available after the break featuring Martin Brundle’s thoughts on the new layout. They’re well worth a look and, if anything, will heighten your expectations for this weekend’s action. Watching F1 cars scythe through the Maggott-Becketts-Chapel section is one the highlights of the year and I get the feeling the new Abbey-Farm series might be just as spectacular.

The map above has been adapted from a PDF made available for download from the official Silverstone website, so make sure you check that out, as well.