New look for Williams F1 in 2020

This is the new livery design and car concept from Williams. The Mercedes-powered FW43 will be driven by George Russell and the 2019 Formula 2 runner-up Nicholas Latifi this season.

Its red, white and blue livery represents a major departure from the colour scheme as seen on the FW42.

Williams is coming off the back of a disappointing 2019 season where it finished last in the constructors’ championship with just a single point scored by Robert Kubica in the German Grand Prix.

The outfit endured a particularly difficult start to the year when its new car was late for pre-season testing, and it parted company with then technical chief Paddy Lowe soon after.

Its problems prompted the team to change its processes and conduct a reshuffling of staff, and it is all set to make the start of testing now, with the car having already run in a Barcelona shakedown.

“This year marks a fresh start for the team,“ said deputy team principal Claire Williams.

“We have spent time addressing our areas of weakness and have ensured that we have the right people, structures, procedures and resource in place to deliver competitive race cars. We are all committed to re-building Williams and returning the team to competitiveness.

“As such, our 2020 campaign is about making progress. The fighting spirit is still very much alive, and this year, everyone will continue that fight until we get back to where we want to be.”

Hopefully the new FW43 will turn around the disappointing and frustrating past year with a solid performance in 2020. Best of luck Williams.

AlphaTauri presents bold livery and car

Scuderia Toro Rosso is no more, as the team is now rebranded as AlphaTauri and this is the new livery and 2020 car, the AT01.

It certainly looks fresh and exciting after so many seasons featuring the Red Bull branding. The white and blue livery looks brilliant. The AT01 was unveiled at Red Bull’s Hanger 7 facility in Salzburg after the presentation of AlphaTauri’s clothing line and team wear.

AlphaTauri, which was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in Salzburg, is Red Bull’s in-house fashion brand.

The rebrand is the team’s first since Red Bull took over the Minardi Formula 1 entry and Faenza base ahead of the 2006 season, and means that familiar ‘STR’ prefix in the names of the cars themselves has also been retired.

Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly will unite for their first season starting as team mates following Gasly’s demotion from the senior Red Bull Racing outfit ahead of last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Although both drivers raced for Toro Rosso in 2017, Kvyat’s 15 races and Gasly’s five outings – in a season when the team ran six drivers – did not coincide.

The team finished sixth in the 2019 constructors’ championship – its best result since 2008, the year Sebastian Vettel famously won the Italian Grand Prix.

Both Kvyat and Gasly scored podiums for Toro Rosso in 2019 – the former took third at the crazy German Grand Prix and the latter finished second in Brazil.

“We are looking with a new car to a new season, and I must say we are very optimistic for this season,” said team principal Franz Tost.

“Why? Because first of all the car showed very good results in the windtunnel, for second Honda, our friends in Japan, Sakura, made big progress during the winter months, from the performance side as well as from the reliability side. Third, we have two good drivers, they showed it already last year.

“We are really optimistic. The team must perform well, we have a fantastic partner with AlphaTauri and I am really convinced that AlphaTauri will have a successful season.”

Hopefully the performance by AlphaTauri this season will be competitive even with a new paint job. Best of luck to the team previously known as Toro Rosso.

World champions Mercedes unveils their 2020 challenger, the W11

This is the new W11 from the defending Formula 1 world champions, Mercedes. The German car manufacturer hopes that this 2020 race car can earn the team’s their seventh successive title.

Mercedes released some images of the W11 online followed by a shakedown test at a filming day at Silverstone.

Mercedes will have an unchanged driver line-up this year, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas remaining on board for the fourth season as teammates.

The Brackley-based team had already revealed the tweaked livery of the W11 at a sponsorship event with new principal partner INEOS.

Mercedes success in the V6 turbo-hybrid era has broken several records and 2019 was one of its most emphatic seasons yet.

The team won the first eight races of the season, 15 in total from the 21 grands prix, and banked 739 points – its second-highest tally despite more competition than before.

However, while Ferrari and Red Bull had clear peaks and moments of superiority over Mercedes last year, neither put together a full title challenge.

That is expected to change this year, the final season with this set of car regulations, which means Mercedes’ should face the biggest threat to its dominance.

“I think success is taking each day at a time,” said team boss Toto Wolff about Mercedes’ 2020 goals. “Today success would be a good shakedown, we clock the mileage and get the filming in, both drivers get a first feeling with the car.

“No brake failure would be good!”

Hamilton said he did not feel any pressure at this point of his season preparations, and batted away talk he has seen from other drivers including Max Verstappen – who was recently quoted as saying that Hamilton was “good but not God”.

When asked at Mercedes’ shakedown about winter comments from rivals, Hamilton replied: “I find it funny, seeing that. I’ve always known to do my talking on the track. Often I tend to see [off-track comments] as a sign of weakness.”

Hamilton has never questioned Mercedes’ work ethic but it was clear last year that he felt there was plenty of room to improve with its 2020 car.

That was down to the aerodynamic and engine sides of the package.

“It’s not been a great year for us in terms of the great issue, in terms of our engine development,” said Hamilton in 2019. “It’s just not been as successful in that department, as I say.

“We’ll push to try and maybe reduce the drag a little bit but also increase power for next year.”

Earlier this year, Mercedes High Performance Powertrains chief Andy Cowell said his team had indeed targeted “lots of improvements across the whole power unit, on the ERS side and on the internal combustion engine side”.

The work on the W11 that began in late-2018 will have evolved to incorporate the lessons of the chassis department last year, too.

McLaren reveals the MCL35

This is the new Renault-powered MCL35 from McLaren, that will compete in the 2020 Formula 1 season.

At a special launch event from McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, the team revealed the MCL35 car that will be driven by Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris.

The MCL35 retains the team’s papaya and blue colour scheme from the previous season. But there is a significant block of blue along the side pods, as well on the airbag at the top of the engine cover.

McLaren enjoyed its best season for eight years in 2019 as it finished fourth in the constructors’ championship, heading the midfield teams.

Sainz managed to take sixth position in the drivers’ standings, behind the top five race winners in the championship, and even scored McLaren’s first podium since the 2014 Brazilian Grand Prix.

As for Norris, this will be his second season in Formula 1 and at McLaren. Norris did an impressive job in his debut season last year by scoring 49 point and achieving a best result of sixth in Austria.

Team principal Andreas Seidl is hoping that McLaren will continue to progress well in terms of scoring championship points and is proud of his team’s efforts so far.

“I have to say, it’s simply great to be part of this McLaren team today standing next to the MCL35,” said Seidl at the launch.

“I want to thank every single member of the team for all the hard work.

“Last year we simply kept improving race by race.

“I’m very happy with my leadership team, they are doing a sensational job, they have a clear plan of how we approach the future and now it’s important to keep this positive momentum up and keep improving as a team.”

The McLaren MCL35 car will make its on-track debut at the start of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Renault Sport teased their 2020 Formula 1 racer

Renault Sport F1 has teased the first images of its new 2020 race car and the French outfit says this is an “evolution” compared to last year’s Formula 1 car.

The team published glimpses of the new RS20 online and during a Paris event with its management plus the driver pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon.

Its 3D renders showed only parts of the car in a completely black livery. This bold, black look will only be used for pre-season testing while the normal colour scheme of yellow will return back when racing.

Renault is hoping to bounce back from a disappointing 2019 campaign during which it dropped down to fifth in the constructors’ championship, scoring fewer points than the previous season.

Team boss Cyril Abiteboul insisted the goal for 2020 was to regain fourth position behind the top teams.

“2020 is a pivotal year,” said Abiteboul. “It is the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one: we want to be present with the finalisation and conclusion of commercial agreements in the medium and long term.

“Of course it needs to take into account 2019, which is a year underneath our ambitions. The ambitions need to be moderated, need to be attained, need to be realistic.

“The objective is to be fourth, that is realistic and possible.

“We want to hold ourselves to reliability at the beginning of the season, and aggressive development through the season and realism on the track, nothing unrealistic on that.

“To attain that and get where we want to go we need to look at the medium and long term.

“This year needs us to enable to continue moving ahead and in line with our objectives which are more ambitious.”

After missing out on a drive for the team last year following the shock signing of Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon will now join the team’s line-up for this year, replacing Nico Hulkenberg.

It will be fascinating to see Ocon settling in with Renault and going up against Ricciardo. Hopefully his knowledge after spending a year at Mercedes – Ocon was the reserved driver – will be valuable for Renault in this upcoming season.

Red Bull Racing shows off the RB16

This is the new Honda-powered Red Bull RB16, which was unveiled online ahead of its first shakedown test run at Silverstone.

Unlike last year, when the car was first showcased with that fancy red camo livery, Red Bull Racing has opted to display the 2020 challenger in its usual colour scheme.

The RB16 will be driven by Max Verstappen, who signed a new contract extension to remain with the team until the 2023 season. He will be partnered this year by the promising Alex Albon, who got promoted from Toro Rosso mid-season last year.

Verstappen will be driving the car in the Silverstone shakedown, while Albon will make his debut behind the wheel of the RB16 in Barcelona pre-season testing.

Honda’s progress and a change in philosophy to avoid what had become an all-too-familiar slow start to the season has left Red Bull convinced it can mount its first sustained title challenge of the hybrid era this year.

Red Bull Racing becomes the fourth Formula 1 team to offer a major glimpse of its 2020 car, following images of the new Haas, Mercedes’ livery reveal on its 2019 car and Ferrari’s full car launch.

The RB16 retains prominent branding from Aston Martin in what will be the British manufacturer’s final year as Red Bull’s title sponsor, ahead of its 2021 link-up with Racing Point.

Ferrari unveils the SF1000

This is the new SF1000 from Scuderia Ferrari that will compete in the upcoming Formula 1 world championship.

The SF1000 is named in honour of the Italian manufacturer being set to participate in its 1000th race later this year.

The new racing car was presented to the public and watching media on social platform with an extravagant launch event at the Romolo Valli theatre in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

It features the prominent branding from title sponsor Philip Morris International’s ‘Mission Winnow’ initiative and even though the livery appears mostly unchanged, with other major partners like Shell, UPS and Ray-Ban remaining in prominent positions on the sidepod and elsewhere on the car.

The driver line-up remains the same as last year with the talented and double race winner Charles Leclerc entering his second season with the Scuderia alongside the four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.

The former has signed a new deal to remain with the team through to 2024, whereas Vettel’s current contract expires at the end of this season.

Leclerc and Vettel combined three race victories and nine pole positions with last year’s car, the SF90, but it was not competitive enough against the likes of Mercedes.

Hopefully the SF1000 will be a match in terms of performance with the W10 from the Silver Arrows.

The SF1000 has adopted an “extreme concept” in terms of design, despite the overall look seems very similar to last year’s chassis, the SF90.

“The starting point of that car is the SF90 but certainly we have been extreme on all the concepts as much as we could,” said Binotto at Ferrari’s launch in Italy.

“We developed the car and tried to look for the maximum aero performance – that’s first trying to maximise the downforce level.

“So the entire car, the monocoque, the power unit layout, the gearbox has been really packaged in a way to have a very narrow and slim body shape.

“I think that’s quite visible on it.”

“It is clearly going to be an interesting year, tough competition, a long season but it is also an important season because in parallel we have to create and develop a completely new car in line with the regulations that will govern F1 in 2021 and beyond, so the team is going to be very, very busy,” Ferrari chief executive Louis Camilleri said at the launch.

“I have every confidence in our women and men, their creativity, their discipline and determination and, above all, the work ethic they have had before which is the hallmark of this company, one instilled upon us by our founder Enzo Ferrari.

“Mattia [Binotto, team principal] and his team are doing a great job and we look forward to successes going forward.”

Haas F1 reveals 2020 racer

The American-owned outfit Haas has become the first Formula 1 team to reveal their 2020 racer, the VF-20, with online images ahead of pre-season testing.

The outfit will wait until the first official day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona to unveil its actual car, as artwork of the Ferrari-powered machine are posted on social media.

Haas F1 hopes that its new car, which features a change of livery following the end of its Rich Energy title sponsorship, will allow it to recovery after an a challenging and difficult 2019 season.

Last year was effectively derailed by an upgrade that was introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix did not deliver the step forward that had been hoped for.

The changes cost the team both a loss of performance as well as forcing it down a sequence of races where it had to run its cars in different specifications. In the end, the problem was traced back to a wind tunnel correlation issue which it hopes that it has got on top off.

Romain Grosjean, who has been retained for this year alongside Kevin Magnussen, commented that the team was going to throw all its efforts in to ensuring that it understood its 2020 challenger as soon as it could.

“We’re not making a presentation, we’re just launching,” said Grosjean. “We’re going to concentrate on the essentials and really get the best out of the car as quickly as possible.

“We’re waiting to see how is the car on track. We have all the numbers from the wind tunnel. I think we’ve learned a lot from last year. Now, again, the only answer we’re really going to get is when we run the car and see how it performs on the track.”

Hopefully the team’s performance will back on track and the VF-20 will deliver some positive results. It’s also great to see a new colour scheme for Haas following the dull and grey in the previous seasons.

Hamilton masterclass victory at Yas Marina

Abu-Dhabi-2019-podium

Six-time world champion signed off his successful season of Formula 1 racing with a lights-to-flag victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s eleventh victory of the year, his joint-best haul in a single campaign, was never in doubt as he comfortably led from pole position, aided by Leclerc getting ahead of Verstappen on the first lap.

Verstappen performed a long first stint then caught and forced his way past Leclerc to secure second and finish a career-best third in the drivers’ championship.

Poleman Hamilton streaked clear immediately at the start, as Leclerc used the slipstream to get ahead of Verstappen on the second of the two back straights.

The race remained stagnant until the two Ferraris pit on lap 12, with Leclerc far enough ahead of Sebastian Vettel not to hold up his teammate but Vettel subsequently losing time by a slow change of his left-rear tyre.

That meant Vettel rejoined behind Valtteri Bottas, who was running long after starting from the back of the grid, and Vettel lost time as the Mercedes struggled to clear the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg due to an issue that meant nobody was able to use the DRS through the first third of the race.

At the front, Hamilton and Verstappen ran extremely long on their medium tyres, with Verstappen stopping on lap 25 and Hamilton coming in a lap later.

Verstappen complained of “massive lag” when he rejoined and would continue to ask for a solution to the problem despite showing no lack of pace and slowly closing on Leclerc.

Red Bull told Verstappen it could not fix the issue, but that did not stop Verstappen using the DRS to attack at the end of the first back straight and squeeze by on the inside.

Leclerc tried to fight back with an aggressive, late-on-the-brakes pass on the outside at the end of the following straight, but Verstappen was able to rebuff the attempt.

With Vettel dropping back in fourth and eventually pitting, and neither Alex Albon or Bottas within a pitstop, Ferrari switched Leclerc to ‘Plan C’ and pit him for a second time to set the fastest lap – which he failed to earn.

That left Verstappen free to secure a comfortable second position, 16.7 seconds behind race winner Hamilton, who pumped in the fastest lap on his penultimate tour to clinch a bonus point.

Leclerc completed the podium, but his third position is in doubt as Ferrari faces a stewards’ inquiry into a “significant” pre-race fuel declaration discrepancy.

That means Bottas may yet be rewarded with a podium, having cleared Albon in the final third of the race to recover to fourth.

His progress from the back was slow early on because of the issue with the DRS, but strong pace thereafter eventually left him missing out on a podium to Leclerc by less than a second.

Vettel recovered some ground after his second stop by passing Albon for fifth with two laps to go.

Sergio Perez’s long first stint paved the way for a late charge to best-of-the-rest in seventh.

The Racing Point driver started 10th but a later stop than his midfield rivals allowed him to charge past five cars over the last 17 laps and pass the McLaren of Lando Norris on the final lap.

Daniil Kvyat finished ninth for Toro Rosso, beating its constructors’ championship rival Renault, but the Red Bull junior team’s two-point haul meant Renault still secured fifth position in the constructors’ championship.

Nico Hulkenberg looked set to sign off his three-year spell with Renault, and potentially his Formula 1 career, with a point for tenth but was passed by the McLaren of Carlos Sainz on the very last lap.

Sainz’s last-gasp move secured him sixth position in the drivers’ championship by just one point, ahead of Pierre Gasly.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in winning the season finale with a masterclass performance. Leading every lap in that beautiful Mercedes W10. This champions signed off their title success on a high. Kudos!

Hamilton-Abu-Dhabi-2019-race

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h34m05.715s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 16.772s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 43.435s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 44.379s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m04.357s
6 Alexander Albon Red Bull-Honda 1m09.205s
7 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1 Lap
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1 Lap
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1 Lap
10 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1 Lap
11 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1 Lap
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1 Lap
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 Lap
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 Lap
17 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1 Lap
18 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 2 Laps
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 2 Laps
– Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes Retirement

Hamilton signs off 2019 qualifying with pole position

Hamilton-Abu-Dhabi-2019-qualifying

The six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton signs off the 2019 Formula 1 season with an important pole position at the Yas Marina circuit.

The Mercedes driver was fastest on the first runs in Q3 with a time of one minute, 34.828 seconds. Hamilton then shaved a few hundredths off that time on the final run to post a one minute, 34.779 seconds to claim his grid position at the top of the timesheets.

Teammate Valtteri Bottas was second fastest, 0.194 seconds slower, but has to serve a back-of-the-grid penalty for power unit changes.

This means Max Verstappen will start in second position having set the third fastest time, 0.360 seconds off the pace.

Charles Leclerc won the intra-Ferrari battle by beating Sebastian Vettel to fourth position despite not reaching the line in time to start his final lap.

He complained of his teammate’s slowing ahead, although Vettel himself was being backed up as drivers prepared for their final quick laps.

But Vettel did not improve on his final lap, ending up 0.560 seconds off pole.

Alex Albon was sixth fastest for Red Bull, nine tenths off the pace.

All of the fastest six qualifiers will start on medium-compound Pirellis, except for Vettel, who used softs to post his fastest Q2 time.

Lando Norris won the midfield battle with seventh-fastest time, beating Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo by just two-hundredths.

In addition, Norris won a heated qualifying battle against his McLaren teammate. In the end, the Formula 1 rookie beat Carlos Sainz Jr. by 11-10.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was a further 0.003 seconds down in ninth position, with the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg a distant tenth.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was eliminated at the last moment in Q2 by Nico Hulkenberg’s late improvement after being pushed down to P11 – although Bottas’s penalty means he will start P10.

Pierre Gasly ended up P12 having briefly dipped into the top ten on his final run before being relegated by Norris and Hulkenberg.

Lance Stroll took the second Racing Pint to P13, 0.038 seconds faster than the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was P15, over a tenth slower than Kvyat – who is being investigated by the race stewards for a potential unsafe release during Q1.

Romain Grosjean was quickest of those eliminated in Q1 in P16 after being put into the elimination zone by Stroll at the end of the session.

Grosjean was vulnerable thanks to a poor first sector on his final lap, although he was still 0.341 seconds away from reaching Q2, apologising to the team over the radio for something going wrong on the lap.

Alfa Romeo duo Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen were P17 and P18, with both briefly lifting themselves out of the bottom five in the final flurry of laps before being shuffled back.

George Russell made sure of a clean sweep of Williams teammate Robert Kubica by taking P19, just over half-a-second ahead.

Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton with this pole position. It’s been a while since the champion last started out front – Germany – so it’s nice to see the Mercedes driver back in the winner’s circle.

Hamilton-Mercedes-Abu-Dhabi-2019-qualifying

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.779
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:35.139
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:35.219
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:35.339
5 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:35.682
6 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:36.436
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:36.456
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:36.459
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:36.710
10 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:37.055
11 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1:37.089
12 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:37.103
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1:37.141
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:37.254
15 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:38.051
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:38.114
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:38.383
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:38.717
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1:39.236
20 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:34.973*
*Grid penalties following power unit changes