Category Archives: F1

Formula 1 Staff Movements 2013 end to start 2014 (and some stats)

First off welcome back to my blog, and a new beginning in 2014. Hope all was well over the seasonal period. From the end of 2013 at Brazil to the start of the Pre Season Test season there has been many movements, many from the Lotus F1 team to other teams, but there has been many from Red Bull to other teams as well. Here is a summary of some of the environment switches in F1 in the past 6 or so months:

Red Bull Appointments

–       Richard Mead, Aerodynamics Engineer (former Electronics Engineer), from Mercedes HPP to RBR, Jul. 2013

–       Nick Gibbs, Trackside IT Support Engineer (former IT Analyst), from FI to RBR, Jul. 2013

Mercedes Appointments

–       Tito Amato, Senior Simulator Engineer (former Vehicle Dynamics Engineer), from Ferrari GeS to Mercedes, Oct. 2013

–       Craig Dear, Senior Aerodynamicist (former Aerodynamicist), from Williams to Mercedes, Jan. 2014

–       Enrico Balbo, Aerodynamics Group Leader, from Williams to Mercedes, Jan. 2014

–       Mark Ellis, will begin work at Mercedes in June 2014

–       Giles Wood, will begin work at Mercedes in June 2014

–       Mark Hudson, Pre Fir Engineer, Porsche AG

Ferrari Appointments

–       Florian Puget, ERS Hybrid Systems Engineer (former KERS Hybrid Systems Enginner), from Mercedes HPP to Ferrari, Nov. 2013

Lotus F1 Appointments

–       Riccardo Barri, Senior Composite Design Engineer, from Ferrari to Lotus, Sep. 2013

–       Gerson Brand, CFD Aerodynamicist (former Aerodynamicist), from Caterham to Lotus, Dec. 2013

McLaren Appointments

–       Adam Painter, Composite Design Engineer (former Junior Composite Design Engineer), from FI to McLaren, Jan. 2014

–       Andrew Jarvis, Vehicle Dynamics Engineer (Undisclosed)

–       Marieclaire Smid, Structural Design Engineer (Undisclosed)

–       Guillermo Vilaplana, Aerodynamicist (Undisclosed)

–       Andy Garratt, Spares Co-ordinator (Undisclosed)

–       Brian Gruncell, CFD Engineer (Undisclosed)

–       Ian Giles, Composite technician (Undisclosed)

–       Steven Reichard, Aerodynamic Design Engineer (Undisclosed)

–       Indi Kaur, Recruitment Assistant (Undisclosed)

–       Peter Prodromou (2015) From RBR

–       Dan Fallows (With Above) From RBR

–       Ciaron Pilbeam, Head Engineer, From Lotus

–       Eric Bullier, Team Pricniple, From Lotus (Highly Rumored)

Force India Appointments

–       Jonathan Marshall, Head of Vehicle Science (former Simulator Engineer), from Lotus to FI, Jan. 2014

–       James Knapton, Aero Data&Modelling Group Leader (former Head of Vehicle Dynamics), from Sauber to FI, Nov. 2013

–       Michael Tramonto, Design Engineer-Aerodynamics (former Aero Surface Designer), from STR to FI, Jan. 2014

–       Lawrence Wilkinson, Senior Control Systems Engineer (former Principal Control Engineer), from Mercedes to FI, Dec. 2013

Sauber Appointments

–       None

Toro Rosso Appointments

–       Frederic Launoy, Senior CFD Aerodynamicist, from Lotus to STR, Jan. 2014

–       Raffaele Boschetti, Technical Director Advisor (former ICT-A&IT Responsible), from Ferrari to STR, Jan. 2014

–       Davide Felappi, Aerodynamics Team Leader, from FI to STR, Oct. 2013

–       Paul Smart, Wind Tunnel R&D Engineer (former Aero Software Consultant), from Ferrari to STR, Jul. 2013

–       Charlie Constant, Simulation Engineer (former Tyre Performance Analysis Engineer), from Michelin to STR, Dec. 2013

–       Xevi Pujolar, Senior Race Engineer (former Chief Race Engineer), from Williams to STR, Jan. 2014

–       Steve Booth, Lotus Deputy Head of Mechanical Design to STR

–       Ricardo Penteado, Lotus to STR as Race Engine Support Leader

–       Ben Mallock Mercedes to STR as Deputy Head of Aero.

Williams Appointments

–       Jakob Andreasen, Head of Engineering Operations, from FI to Williams, Jan. 2014

–       Craig Wilson, Head of Vehicle Dynamics, from Mercedes to Williams, Jan. 2014

–       Rod Nelson, Chief Test & Support Engineer, from Lotus to Williams, Jan. 2014

–       Greame Hackland, IT Director, from Lotus to Williams, Jan. 2014

–       Shaun Whitehead left RBR June 2013, and joined Williams Jan. 2014

–       Rob Smedley, Felipe Massa Race Engineer, From Ferrari (Rumored), Mar-Jun 2014

Marussia Appointments

–       Rob van den Heijkant, Aerodynamics Team Leader (former Senior Aerodynamicist), from FI to Marussia, Jan. 2014

Caterham Appointments

–       Richard Messenger, from Lotus (Senior Aero Design Engineer) to become a Lead Surface Designer Dec 2013

Others Appointments

–       José Gallego Segura, Head of Aerodynamic Design (former Lead Design Engineer), from Lotus to Porsche, Jan. 2014

–       Martin Norek, Vehicle Performance Engineer-Simulation (former Vehicle Dynamics Engineer), from Sauber to Audi, Sep. 2013

–       Christopher Harley, Heaf of CFD-Aero (former Aerodynamicist), from FI to Wirth Research, Sep. 2013

As of November 2013 the figures at each team, excluding consultants is as follows:

Mercedes (Brackley, UK):          600 (Chassis Side)

Mercedes (Brixworth, UK):                  400 (Engine Side)

Lotus F1 (Einstone UK):            500

Caterham (Leafeld, UK):           260

Marussia (Banbury, UK):           220

Force India (Silverstone, UK):    300

Red Bull (Milton Keynes, UK):    690

McLaren (Woking UK):              600

Williams (Grove, UK):               520

Toro Rosso (Milton Keynes, UK) 90 (Wind Tunnel at Red Bull Technology)

Toro Rosso (Faenza, Italy):               300 (Chassis Side)

Ferrari (Maranello, Italy):          700 (Chassis side)

Sauber (Hinwil, Switzerland):     320

However, Honda will be setting up a site in Milton Keynes for maintaining the McLaren power units in 2015. As well as the numerous suppliers at the likes of Carbotech, EPM Technology, Brembo, Gill Sensors and McLaren Applied Technology not included, F1 as a whole will probably have a workforce combined of 10,000 people and a turnover of up to €4b every year. Renault and Ferrari will have a estimated 350 to 450 in their F1 engine plants, especially if they are to take on LMP1/LMP2 with their power units in 2014 for Renault under the Alpine banner and Ferrari looking at a probable 2016 or 2017 entry in LMP1 as a Manufacturer.

On top of this, I can confirm that the power unit costs will be for a season:

Renault ENERGY-F1:        €21M

Mercedes PU106A: €16.5M

Ferrari 059/3:                 €14.7M

However, this is without any other ancillary supply like Gearbox, witch for the most part will add an extra €5M to €7M a season. Costs will likely decrease over time, likely to decrease 12% year on year, with a figure of €17.5m being looked at for a whole rear end for 2016.

It seems that there has been a revolving door at Lotus, all going in one direction. However, the amount of brainpower at Mclaren will see them get a kick in the right direction and also the right impetus with the eye to 2015 and Honda power. However, I also am looking for great things from Toro Rosso in 2014 into 2015 as well as they seem to have strengthened lots more than what is needed from a Red Bull B team. Williams and Force India will be able to lay groundwork for the Williams team and also Force India will be able to punch above their weight again.

One thing is for sure, F1 is going through a period of upheaval and this can only be good for the sport and natural progression of the sport.




Latest Item On The F1 Teams Cheat Sheet

There is a rumour floating around that teams have now found a way to pre heat the Pirellis more than permitted allowances, and such cheats were discovered post Monza and Singapore with the introduction of the Thermal Imaging Camera. The rumour is that teams are heating tyres to in excess of 110C where Pirelli have a guidance of 90C.

If you take what Paul Hembry said at Monza:

At a track like Monza the temperature range will be from 80-90 deg C at the start, when tyres come out of their blankets. The surface temperature can then go up to around 130 deg C, in particular at the end of La Roggia.

Teams can buy tyre warmers that can get up to the 110C range, that is no secret. Could the teams be using this as a way of pre curing the tyres before putting them on the car, its plausible. However tyres post Silverstone blow ups have been looking to try and gain extra back from what has been clawed back from the tyre restrictions applied in Germany from FIA Communication Document 8:

Tyre Operating Procedures

For safety reasons, we have been asked by Pirelli to ensure that the tyres on all cars are run under the conditions listed below. It will be the responsibility of each team to satisfy the FIA technical delegate that their cars comply with the following requirements at all times :

1) Minimum starting pressure front and rear : 16psi.

2) Minimum stabilised running pressure front : 20psi.

3) Minimum stabilised running pressure rear : 19psi.

4) Maximum negative EOS camber front : 4.0°.

5) Maximum negative EOS camber rear : 2.5°.

6) Front and rear tyres must be used on the side of the car for which they were originally designated (no swapping from side-to-side).

7) The blankets strategies set out in 13R09NUR Preview V3 must be observed.

I think Teams have been secretly boosting their blankets to temperatures outside the agreed limits as they are computer controlled to heat up in a certain order at certain times. I find it interesting that Pirelli have started to note the tyre temps as a car leaves the garage now in order to try and police a gate that has been opened and where the horse has bolted from.

How would I police the tyres better in  the future, id have a few simple rule changes to the above:

1) Minimum starting pressure front and rear: 19psi

2) Stabilised Running Front Pressure: 24psi

3) Stabilised Running Rear Pressure: 23psi

4) Maximum Negative Camber Front Starting: 2.5°

5) Maximum Negative Camber Rear Starting: 1.5°

6) Front and rear tyres must be used on the side of the car for which they were originally designated (no swapping from side-to-side).

7) Teams shall not be allowed to run tyre warmers at all, drivers must start with cold tyres in pit stops, start of the race drivers have to warm their own tyres in parade lap.

The reason for increased PSIs is that would make F1 rubber be closer to what is acceptable on the road as some cars have a PSI as high as 42. Cambers as this would narrow the cars in and leave the cars a bit less pointy for some drivers and keep tyre temps down quite a bit. 6 would remain the same, as i think its a good rule. As for 7, id ban tyre warmers as they are clearly able to be over-ridden to gain an advantage and no record is kept of them on a 15 min basis on both team and Pirelli side. And it would make the teams would then have to balance how quickly they tyre came in to wear rate, too quickly and you loose a lap on them, too late and you loose the undercut. Tyres should be a double edged sword that way, meaning the team that designs a tyre that can come in progressively but keep the undercut will gain more. Lets face it, GP2 and GP3 who also run Pirelli don’t have a problem with getting a tyre in its temp range as they take about two to two and a half laps, my guess is that a F1 car can gain temp in them in just over a full lap, maybes a lap and a sector.

How many times has Nico Rosberg been updated on his tyre temps in a race just to keep them in their operating window, which seems to be the thing thats most critical now,  operating window. If you have a car that can keep their tyres in that 10-15C operating window on both sets you are destined for a good weekend.

Also the teams would save €80,000 a month on shipping costs as tyre blankets are heavy and costly items to ship, HRT once spent €80,000 on 25 sets of them from the dissolved Epic World Series team for their operation. With them saving almost €1m in shipping costs, as most of the tyre blankets are sent as part of the teams equipment they use all the time, of which the teams have 8 aircraft containers to fill for transportation from race to race for the fly away races.

I think there will be more to come on this, but the theory in the paddock is that teams are boosting their tyre warmers to gain an extra advantage out of the pits.

2014 F1 Calendar, WMSC decisions & General Musings

So, the 2014 calendar has been announced, 22 races, 6 engines per driver. That will mean a distance of 350,000 for the season, the most ever to my estimation. And if there is zero engine failures (unlikely in my opinion) each engines useable life will be at about 2,700km, a rise on the present 2,100 at present. Id recon that some engines will do about 3,000km in the V6T era. The Calendar will include the returning Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, the Mexican GP in Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez and the new American GP in New Jersey and new Russian GP in Sochi.

The Red Bull Ring is presently undergoing construction works in order to have a new grandstand across from the pit lane and other construction works around the track in order to raise the track capacity from 40,000 to a estimated 85,000. The Red Bull Ring track has just undergone a massive improvement plan in the last 4 years and is up to spec, only minimal improvements will be needed. However a hard Austrian Winter will halt the works for 3 months at least, but the track will be completed once a good bundle of money and man power is thrown at it.

The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez has undergone its pre construction and planning walk by Charlie Whiting and Herman Tilke, the works are quite extensive, a new pit lane for one, and a lot of track modifications in order to get the track ready, the estimated budget is €100m+, €35m of which will be in a pit building alone. They have around 14 months, I think this can be done in this time.

As for New Jersey, this track has the most work to do, the pit lane is half built, and can be completed quite quickly, however there is a lot of permits and warrants that are needed from land owners that the track will pass over. There are some key services that need shifting as well in a few areas. The grandstands will always be temporary. This race could happen, its just how much money and manpower that is thrown at it, and how disruptive a North Eastern Seaboard winter can be to the works that need completed. This may be tough to call, a bit of a close call like Korea 2010 where it was right to the last minute, as the paving of the track with new asphalt is needed.

The Russian track at Sochi is coming along really well, the Pit facilities are almost complete and also the track is coming along to a decent standard. However, the 2014 winter Olympics still need to take place in order for the final detail pieces to be put into place. This race will happen, and the track will be completed. There’s more than money riding on this race.

If I was to say there may be one race that is omitted from the event list it will be Korea, as the customs to the country is a killer, taking up to 3 days to clear for some teams and also the 6 hour drive from Soul to Yeongam is a bit of a passion killer for the teams and media, especially when the nearest towns are an hours drive away from the track.

More interestingly in the FIA press release, there is provision that the FIA could set up single suppliers in more than the present of tyres. This may mean a standardised and homologated fuel for all. In 2010 there was supposed to be a new ‘high density’ fuel that has more energy and make the engines more fuel efficient, Virgin was caught out and Nick Wirth had to manufacture 3 new chassis for the team. I think this is a threat across the teams that costs need to be reduced now. Pirelli have all but been confirmed by the FIA to continue into 2014.

There has also been a confirmation from FOM that GP2 team Russian Time are going to run a GP3 programme replacing GP3 team Bamboo engineering in 2014. This is great news as the team are expanding on where iSport left off, and the fact they can make the team run on a €5m budget for 2013 and run for both Teams and drivers title with Sam Bird is encouraging. This will mean that Russian Time will need a budget of about €12m for all GP2 and GP3 running in 2014 to my estimates. There is musings that Russian Time are looking at a F1 entry in 2015 or more probably 2016. I find this highly doubtful, as the teams Modus Operandi has always been about providing drivers a way into F1. Time (or is that Russian Time) will tell.

The 2014 F1 calendar:

16 March Grand Prix of Australia
30 March Grand Prix of Malaysia
06 April Grand Prix of Bahrain
20 April Grand Prix of China
27 April Grand Prix of Korea (provisional)
11 May Grand Prix of Spain
25 May Grand Prix of Monaco
01 June Grand Prix of America, New Jersey (provisional*)
08 June Grand Prix of Canada
22 June Grand Prix of Austria
06 July Grand Prix of Great Britain
20 July Grand Prix of Germany (Hockenheim)
27 July Grand Prix of Hungary
24 August Grand Prix of Belgium
07 September Grand Prix of Italy
21 September Grand Prix of Singapore
05 October Grand Prix of Russia (Sochi)
12 October Grand Prix of Japan
26 October Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi
09 November Grand Prix of USA (Austin)
16 November Grand Prix of Mexico (provisional*)
30 November Grand Prix of Brazil

* Subject to the circuit approval