Friday, February 8, 2013

Will the F138 be Ferrari's Key to 2013 Formula 1 Glory?

Photo credit: Ferrari North America
From what was seen in the Australian Grand Prix opener in 2012, the season appeared to be a write-off for the Ferrari F1 organization. Concerns immediately mounted that the F2012 race car was too unstable to be competition in competition. However, with lead Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso collecting three victories and taking a firm hold of the drivers point standings over the course of Formula 1's summer break, the sight of the glorious red cars were actually far more apparent than originally thought. The 2012 season for Ferrari's Formula 1 program was also better than originally thought for second driver Felipe Massa. Facing much outcry early in the season as many questioned the Brazilian's performance compared to that of Alonso, it appeared to many that the only people believing that Massa and Ferrari were going to end the 2012 together was the team and driver. Ten consecutive finishes in the top-10 and a strong second place result at the Japanese Grand Prix silenced critics. Overall ending the 2012 Formula 1 season in distant second place to Red Bull Racing in the Constructors' championship, Ferrari wants it all heading to the 2013 tour.

The F138 nameplate is a combination of the second two digits in the current year and the cylinder of the eight-cylinder Ferrari engine. Entering 2013 with the same driver line-up (with the addition of Pedro de la Rosa to the test pilot roster), the efforts have been squarely focused on finding a successor to the Ferrari F2012. Introduced just ahead of the Formula 1 team's Jerez test, the Ferrari F138 was presented in an unveiling including special effects. Detailing a metamorphosis, Ferrari's newest Formula 1 machine evolved from a hologram into the F138 race car. It is the desire of Scuderia Ferrari that the birth of the new car will be the key to championship triumphs for both driver and manufacturer.

A car said to have involved a complete rethinking of each component that made the F2012, the Ferrari F138 Formula 1 contender has undergone many changes. Conforming to new front wing and weight rules set by the Formula 1's sanctioning body, engineers and specialists have worked hard to enhance the performance of the new Ferrari race car. The rear portion of the F138 has been refashioned to minimized rear drag while other remarkable changes have resulted in modifications to the air intakes and the reworked braking system.

Ferrari North America

Head of Production Department Corrado Lanzone described two priorities to the development of the F138 race car as being weight reduction and miniaturisation. Although the FIA regulates the minimum weight of Formula 1 machines, reducing the vehicle's overall weight allows teams to place ballast in key areas during a race weekend. Movements towards miniaturisation of components has meant the Ferrari F138 will be aerodynamically efficient compared to the vehicle last season.

Visually, black is more prominently featured within the new paint scheme of the Scuderia Ferrari cars in 2013. Echoing hints of the 1980s and 1990s era vehicles campaigned in Formula 1, the number '3' will be worn by Fernando Alonso and the number '4' will be driven by Felipe Massa.

Heading into 2013, Scuderia Ferrari will be anxiously hunting their 17th constructors' title.

Video provided by Ferrari YouTube channel

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Caterham F1 Team Debuts CT03 Race Car

Photo credit: Caterham F1 Team

With only a month and a half ahead of the Formula 1 season opener, race teams are working aggressively on the hope that they have found the crucial tenth of a second that could make all the difference at the Australian Grand Prix and beyond through the 19-event 2013 tour. Fighting to work their away up the grid just a few more positions this season, the Caterham F1 Team is putting their efforts behind the CT03 chassis during the 2013 season.

Featuring a remarkably brighter paint scheme compared to previous seasons, the yellow, green and black colouring is only one of many difference found on the Caterham CT03 race car. Engineering and aerodynamic enhancements are in place on the new car has ultimately resulted in a lowered chassis. Reworked sidepods and engine cooling also detail the CT03 chassis Caterham F1 Team is pairing once again with a Renault V8 engine.

Caterham F1 Team's latest competition machine is not the only massive makeover occurring at the organization. The Formula 1 team's driver line-up has hired two new primary pilots for their 2013 season. Sophomore Formula 1 driver Charles Pic and rookie competitor Giedo van de Garde join the Caterham F1 Team. Charlies Pic arrives to the team after spending last season with the Marussia F1 organization after extensive experience in several forms of Formula Renault competition. Set to become a new addition to the Formula 1 grid, Giedo van de Garde was graduated from the team's test driver role and Caterham's GP2 group. Van de Garde top career achievement to date is two victories in the GP2 Series in 2012 and a 2008 championship in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

Photo credit: Caterham F1 Team

Entering 2013, the Caterham F1 Team is still chasing an elusive honour of finishing in a points-paying position in a grand prix event. Founded as the Lotus Racing organization, the efforts on the track would be overshadowed by a complex licensing fight for the Lotus name as auto company Group Lotus partnered bought into the Renault F1 team. Eventually, the Caterham F1 Team was created when Lotus Racing's (briefly using the Team Lotus name) team principal Tony Fernandes lent the name his newly-purchased Caterham Cars auto company to the Formula 1 operation. Operating as Caterham F1 Team last season, the 2013 season can be the second year for where the organization can concentrate on their on-track performance. A team structure that has undergone four seasons of competition, the need to gain a meaningful milestone is growing evermore important.

Photo credit: Caterham F1 Team

Running the #20 and #21 cars during the 2013 season, Caterham F1 Team has immediately started to shakedown the new Renault-powered vehicle at Jerez this week.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

World Champ Red Bull Reveals 2013 Formula 1 Challenger

The Formula 1 World Constructor Champion for the past three seasons, Red Bull Racing has risen from a mid-marker team to a superpower in a relatively short time. Entering the 2013 season with the driving team of three-time Formula 1 driving champion Sebastian Vettel and the formidable Australian driver Mark Webber, the top-tier operation on the surface appears to merely have to defend their high spot on the podium. Conversely, Red Bull Racing will find their quest for simplicity will be among the most difficult tasks. As the team every other Formula 1 operation will be gunning for in 2013, Red Bull Racing became the first team on Sunday February 3rd to premiere the look of their competition machine.

For 2013, the effort to create a successor to the effective RB8 chassis has spawned the RB9. Designed to conform with new regulations set out by Formula 1's (FIA Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) sanctioning body. Red Bull Racing's RB9 car will be heavier than the RB8 and sport more rigid front wings compared to last year's car in accordance with 2013 Formula 1 rules. The team's new RB9 race car incorporates many of the stylistic attributes of the 2012 car (Even the notorious stepped-nose front end is retained in a slightly subtler form).     

In the livery of the RB9, the most visually notable change is the increased presence of premium auto brand Infiniti. Wearing the Infiniti badging prominently on the side pods for 2013, the Formula 1 organization will be promoting itself as Infiniti Red Bull Racing as part of a four-year licensing partnership agreement announced in November. Japanese-based premium car name Infiniti is part of the Nissan-Renault company alliance. Red Bull Racing's engines have been supplied by Renault Sport since 2007.

Presenting nothing radical, Red Bull Racing's ability to isolate the winning formula in the highest echelons of motorsports is destined to make the team a force to be reckoned with again in 2013.