Sauber unveils the C35 in time for second Formula 1 test

Sauber C35 main

After running the previous specification race car in the first official pre-season test, Sauber has released images of its 2016 challenger ahead of the second test session.

Sauber’s team boss Monisha Kaltenborn is aiming a target of being a regular midfield runner.

The late arrival of the C35 meant the Swiss team had to re-adjust their preparations. The late amendment to the Formula 1 world championship was also a factor.

Sauber’s technical director Mark Smith has commented that not debuting the C35 until the second test would “not hurt us too much”.

Speaking ahead of the roll out of the new car, which will take place in the Circuit de Catalunya pitlane on March 1, Kaltenborn said: “We want to clearly improve.”

“Obviously, there’s a certain position we’d like to achieve.

“But, to start with, it’s important to become established in midfield.

“Only then are we going to focus on individual positions.”

Sauber C35 side

Felipe Nasr has previously acknowledged the threat of newcomer Haas and admits it will be tricky to know where Sauber will rank among their rivals.

“It’s difficult for me to predict how the positions behind the top teams are going to pan out this season – and where we’ll be able to line up in that part of the field,” he said.

“The whole team has been working very hard to explore areas in the car that we can improve. That’s why I’m confident that we’ve made progress.”

Team-mate Marcus Ericsson added: “The battle for positions is getting fiercer.

“But I’m convinced that, with the new car, we’re going to take a step forward so that we can finish in the points with greater consistency and under our own steam.

“Last year we managed a good start. In the second half of the season it was a harder struggle for us to score points.

“This season I’d like to see us being in contention for points and fighting on a level where speed is decisive.”

As for the livery, the blue and yellow colour scheme remains unchanged from the previous season but it’s very uninspiring. Hopefully the Ferrari-powered C35 is competitive and can fight with the other midfield teams in the upcoming championship despite the bland paint job.
Sauber C35 front

Manor Racing introduces the MRT05

Motor Racing - Manor Racing MRT05 Reveal - Barcelona, Spain

Manor Racing unveiled their 2016 racing car, the MRT05, on the first official day of pre-season Formula 1 testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The team have even described the MRT05 as this is the best it has ever produced, thanks to a technical partnership with Mercedes and Williams.

Considered to the most powerful engine on the grid, the Mercedes power unit will aid performance for Manor Racing. In addition, the Williams engineered transmission and other key components is expected to bring the team much closer to competitiveness after six seasons adrift in the midfield pack.

Manor technical director John McQuilliam said the team was confident of a massive step forward in 2016.

“Even at this early stage of the game, we can easily say this is the best car we’ve ever launched,” he said.

“Certainly the most developed, the most ambitious and the most aggressive.

“The overall package is a very significant step forward, not just from last year, but from any of the cars from our stable.

“Yes, we have a long way to go from here in terms of developing the MRT05, but it’s already a dream package for the 154 Manor Racing people who’ve worked so hard to design and build it.”

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test One - Day 1 - Barcelona, Spain

Manor’s new racing director Dave Ryan, who arrived after the exits of founders John Booth and Graeme Lowdon last year, said he had been impressed by what he had seen at the team so far.

“It’s been a very busy time, but it has really served to underline everything I thought when I first agreed to join the team – a great little operation, with huge potential and the vision and ambition to make a big step forward,” Ryan said.

“The team did a laudable job last year given its circumstances over the previous winter.

“This year, with the package we have, we need to be every inch the professional racing outfit.”

Manor Racing only just made it to the start of the 2015 campaign after being rescued from administration on the eve of the season, and used a modified 2014 car for the year.

It has an all-rookie driver line-up in DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein and GP2 race winner Rio Haryanto.

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test One - Day 1 - Barcelona, Spain


Toro Rosso STR11 hits the testing track

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11. 22.02.2016. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain. Monday. -, EMail: - copy of publication required for printed pictures. Every used picture is fee-liable. © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

This is the new Toro Rosso STR11. The Italian-based team have switched from Renault to Ferrari power units ahead of the new campaign – a significant change which necessitated a change in the new machine’s architecture and contributed to the STR11 debuting in a temporary dark blue livery.

The real 2016 colours scheme will revealed on February 29, a day before the second testing session.

Carlos Sainz is scheduled to drive on days one and three of this week’s four-day session, with 2015’s top rookie scorer Max Verstappen behind the wheel on days two and four.

A change in the engine department will be significant. From the under-powered Renault to hopefully a more competitive Ferrari power unit could aid performance.

Toro Rosso is expecting a top-five finish in the constructors’ championship this season.

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11. 22.02.2016. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain. Monday. -, EMail: - copy of publication required for printed pictures. Every used picture is fee-liable. © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

Force India presents the VJM09 on the eve of Formula 1 testing

Force India 2016

A Force to be reckon with? This is the new VJM09 from Force India, which was presented to the media just a few moments before official pre-season testing at Barcelona.

Development driver Alfonso Celis Jr will have the unique opportunity to shakedown the new car on day one, before Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg take their turns later in the week.

Technical director Andrew Green confirmed the VJM09 was closely based on the predecessor. “You can say the B-spec car from last year formed a basis on which to build our 2016 one,” he said.

“We were in a situation in which the performance on track was very good, and in which the data we were getting correlated well to what we were expecting, so we knew we could continue to develop on a solid platform.”

“With the regulations likely to change for 2017, it didn’t really seem like an efficient use of our resources to start from scratch on a project that would have such a limited lifetime.”

There are high hopes for the Mercedes-powered VJM09 after Force India’s performance surge in the second half of the 2015 campaign.

The Silverstone-based outfit finished fifth in the constructors’ championship and is set to challenge Williams as the leading customer Mercedes runner.

The Sahara Force India F1 VJM09 is unveiled. 22.02.2016. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain. Monday. -, EMail: - copy of publication required for printed pictures. Every used picture is fee-liable. © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images

Haas enters Formula 1 with the VF-16

Haas F1 main

Joining the grid this season is the ambitious Haas Formula 1 racing team with the new VF-16.

Gene Haas’s team is the first complete newcomer to the sport since the arrivals of Lotus, Virgin and Hispania in 2010.

Haas, who is a highly successful team co-owner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup in partnership with Tony Stewart, has recruited an array of experienced Formula 1 personnel headlined by ex-Jaguar and Red Bull Gunther Steiner as team principal.

It’s refreshing to see a new outfit on the grid. Especially an American based. It’s been 30 years since an US outfit last competed in Formula 1.

A fresh new challenge awaits the team in the upcoming season. Despite being newbies in the sport, Haas are hoping to make a mark on track by hiring two quality drivers to help build up confidence and speed.

Haas F1 side

Romain Grosjean and Esteben Gutierrez will lead Haas F1. The ex-Lotus driver is up for the challenge after many seasons with Team Enstone. As for Gutierrez, his Ferrari backing help secured Haas F1’s with solid power units.

Its affiliation with Ferrari is a key part of the team’s approach, with the relationship extending beyond an engine and powertrain supply to take advantage of rules that allow teams to run ‘non-listed parts’ from other squads.

That means Haas has been able to focus on its monocoque and bodywork design primarily, while taking most other components from Ferrari.

The team has taken over the former Manor facility in Banbury to give it a European base alongside its US headquarters in Kannapolis.

So an exciting new team making its debut this season. Hopefully more successful than USF1’s last attempt. Best wishes to Haas F1.

World champions Mercedes unveils the F1 W07 Hybrid

Mercedes F1 W07 main

Will this be the racing car Mercedes hopes it can win the Formula 1 world championship for the third successive time?

The new F1 W07 Hybrid is one good-looking racing car and it’s not surprising Mercedes has gone for “optimisation absolutely everywhere” with their latest challenger.

The car had it’s first shakedown run on Friday (February 19) at Silverstone, as Nico Rosberg and world champion Lewis Hamilton clocking up just under 100 kilometres between them as part of a promotional event.

Despite winning the constructors’ and drivers’ title in the past two years, the team’s target is still for perfection according to technical executive director Paddy Lowe.

Mercedes F1 W07 side

“After a highly successful season all round in 2015, our priority has been to identify the areas in which we were weakest and to try to improve on those,” said Lowe.

“Our objective is excellence in all areas and, while we had some fantastic results last year, there are many areas in which we can still be much better.

“That’s the kind of culture we try to instil throughout the whole organisation – one of constantly striving to reach something better.

“We had a number of races that didn’t go to plan in 2015 – Singapore in particular – so there were a lot of things that needed improving for 2016.

“We are seeking optimisation absolutely everywhere.”

The F1 W07 Hybrid certainly looks the part in terms of beauty. Long may continue the Silver Arrows supreme in Formula 1.

Mercedes F1 W07 front

McLaren launches their stealthy MP4-31

McLaren MP4-31 main

This is the new black, stealthy feel to the Honda-powered MP4-31, as McLaren hopes this car will lead them back into the winners circle.

The Woking-based outfit had a troubled 2015 championship as the Honda power unit struggled with reliability and performance. McLaren finished ninth in the constructors’ championship…

Jenson Button will shakedown the new MP4-31 on the opening day of pre-season testing at Barcelona.

“As we embark on the second year of our renewed McLaren-Honda partnership, all of us remain united in our purpose,” McLaren group CEO Ron Dennis said.

“That purpose is to develop our team towards our shared ambition: to win.

“We’ll make no predictions as to when those wins will come, but I can say without fear of contradiction that every member of our team has worked with truly relentless dedication over the past few months.

“The result is that MP4-31’s developmental trajectory has been usefully steepened over the winter, and I’m consequently very proud of our team’s efforts.”

McLaren MP4-31 side

McLaren has commented that the new chassis as ‘innovative’, and its fortunes will rest on Honda’s off-season progress with the RA616H power unit.

“Learning from last year, we’ve made changes to the compressor and other hardware of the power unit during the break, maturing our overall concept from last year,” Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai said.

“Our focus will be to test the car’s balance with the new chassis and power unit, and specifically the ERS direction during the eight days of winter testing.

“We won’t know exactly where we stand until we reach the end of the two tests, but we’re looking forward to getting back on track, gathering data, and feeding back the information to our engineers so as to prepare for Melbourne and onwards.”

McLaren retains its ‘size zero’ aero with the MP4-31. The drivers have noted the detail in this area.

“The immense amount of sheer hard work that has gone into the development of the MP4-31 over the winter makes me immensely proud, and consequently I go into the new season with even more motivation and belief,” Button said.

“From what I’ve seen so far, the aero detailing on the car looks fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to beginning the process of testing those new innovations when I get behind the wheel tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso will test the car on the second and fourth days in next week’s pre-season test.

“The aero package shows fantastic attention to detail,” the Spaniard added.

“The whole car is beautiful in fact – it’s particularly nicely packaged from an aerodynamic point of view.”

Fingers crossed the new Honda will be more competitive this season. The livery makes the MP4-31 a mean machine. Hopefully it can stealth back to winners.

McLaren drivers 2016

Retro livery for Ferrari’s SF16-H

Ferrari SF16-H car and drivers

Scuderia Ferrari unveiled their 2016 challenger, the SF16-H, with an online launch and hopes that this racing car can fight the Silver Arrows for the Formula 1 championship.

A retro livery sports the new Ferrari, last seen on the 1993 car. The white stripes appear on the engine cover and front wing.

In terms of the aerodynamics, the SF16-H features a shorter nose compared to last year’s car, while the engine cover appears to be tighter and slimmer.

Meaning the team has worked heavily on engine cooling over the winter period in a bid to make it more aerodynamically efficient.

Ferrari SF16-H front

When questioned about the car’s prospects, team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said: “Normally I am not setting the objectives, my boss sets the objective for the team.

“I think this year, we need to push a bit more. We would like to fight until the end for the championship.

“I know that is not going to be easy, because our competitors are not sleeping, but we are committed to do our best.”

After scoring three victories with Sebastian Vettel last season, Ferrari will be looking to push Mercedes even further this season.

The team made considerable gains with its power unit in 2015 that allowed it to step out of the shadows of its winless campaign in 2014.

Ferrari SF16-H side

But come the conclusion to the season, Vettel still finished 103 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, with Mercedes 275 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.

That underlined the gap Ferrari still has to bridge to Mercedes this year if it is to consider itself a realistic title contender.

Assessing Ferrari’s challenge for the year ahead, technical director James Allison said: “Back in 2013, Ferrari was not at the right level, the championship, except for maybe doing pitstops.

“We’ve worked very hard on all of those areas. Last year was a decent step forward and we hope this car will be another good step forward to make us properly competitive.

“We have improved across the board. All our hopes are in this car, and we can’t wait to see it on the track.”

I look forward to seeing the SF16-H on track too. The retro livery seems cool, similar to the style of the 1970s but the huge Scuderia Ferrari logo seems to ruining the scheme.

Although I do like Kimi Raikkonen’s new red helmet. Fingers crossed The Iceman can join Sebastian Vettel’s success by winning some races this season.

Ferrari drivers 2016

Williams unveils FW38 for the upcoming F1 season

Williams FW38 main

This is the new FW38 that will compete in this year’s Formula 1 world championship. The team believes it will be “a challenge” as it retains its position as the best of the rest behind Mercedes and Ferrari.

The iconic blue, red and white stripes of the Martini Racing colours once again appear on the car.

It seems to be an evolution on last year’s car, but hopefully the Mercedes-powered FW38 will have better performance.

Despite finishing third in the constructors’ championship in 2014 and 2015, Sir Frank Williams knows it will be a tall order to repeat this performance.

“Williams has started to cement our position back amongst the front-running teams after finishing third in the championship in the past two seasons,” he said.

“This has been a great achievement given the resources of those around us.

“Staying where we are will be a challenge in itself, but we are determined to keep improving because only winning will ever be good enough.

“We have a very stable team going into 2016, with Felipe and Valtteri teaming up for a third successive season.

“They work well together and both have the ideal blend of speed and consistency.

“Our technical team has also remained very consistent which will be to our advantage and we have some of the best engineering minds on the grid at our disposal.

“We have a busy couple of weeks of testing coming up to learn more about our package and to refine the car ahead of the first race.

“We will have to wait until Melbourne to find out exactly where we stand in the pecking order, but I’m confident that our hard work over the winter will stand us in good stead.”

Williams FW38 front

Bold new 2016 livery from Red Bull Racing

Red Bull 2016 launch

Red Bull Racing have unveiled their colour scheme for the upcoming Formula 1 season at an event in London.

The new livery retains the team’s traditional colours of blue, yellow and red, but with a matt finish.

Gone is the title sponsor Infiniti, with TAG-Heuer branding the outfit’s Renault engines.

Red Bull 2016 detail 1

Daniel Ricciardo has described the revised bold look as “pretty funky” and will shakedown the RB12 during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Team boss Christian Horner has commented that this new, reworked colour scheme is to be more exciting compared to the previous seasons.

“We decided that with a clean sheet of paper to go with something a bit more innovative, aggressive, that will stand out in the crowd and stand out in a few more drivers’ mirrors,” said Horner.

“It looks right and things that tend to look right, go right.”

Red Bull’s new chassis was not on display at the livery launch. The Milton Keynes-based outfit will reveal the RB12 in the pitlane come the first day of testing.

Red Bull 2016 detail 2

UPDATE: This is the definitive 2016-spec Formula 1 racing car from Red Bull. The RB12 powered by Renault and yet branded as TAG-Heuer, thanks to a new partnership deal with the Swiss watch manufacturer.


The bold paint job – with the matt finish texture – does make the RB12 look slick and stylish.

Red Bull Racing’s head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows said “the numbers from the CFD and wind tunnel are pretty encouraging” for the team’s new car.

“Certainly I’ve been incredibly surprised that we’ve been able to get so much out of this set of regulations, which has been fairly stable. It’s a function of everybody understanding the car we had last year but also I think identifying the problems that we had and really focussing on those. I think we’ve made some fairly big steps forward.”

Hopefully the step in aerodynamics will aid the performance of the car and team. Best of luck to the upcoming season.

RB12 front view