|Monaco GP – A challenge for seventy years|
| At the previous round of the championship in Barcelona, where Fernando Alonso produced yet another fantastic drive in his Ferrari F2012 to take second place, the majority of teams had introduced new packages to coincide with the first European race of the season. If some elements had failed to deliver a clear picture of their benefits, there was usually talk of waiting to see how they would perform in Canada. Had the designers and engineers forgotten that, before going to Montreal, the F1 circus stops off at its most famous venue in Monte Carlo? Not at all, it's just that the Monaco Grand Prix throws up such a unique technical challenge it simply does not fit into the overall picture of how the season is evolving. 'You have to set the car up quite differently for Monaco,' explains Scuderia Ferrari's Technical Director, Pat Fry. 'On the street circuit you don't attack all the corner entries as hard as you would on a normal circuit, because the barriers are so close to the track at the entry and exit. However, trying to get the right car balance is as difficult as at the other venues.'
The Monaco Grand Prix is older than the World Championship itself and in fact it celebrates its seventieth birthday this year. One element that has not changed in all that time is that the lap is short and very slow, the slowest on the calendar in fact. 'This means it is more about downforce and less about efficiency and engine power,'' continues Fry. 'You need as much downforce as possible and a car that behaves consistently.' Even if Monaco is unique, many of the updates introduced on the F2012 in Spain were aimed specifically at generating aerodynamic downforce and will therefore prove useful this weekend. 'As a result of a lot of work in the wind tunnel and on the track, we had a lot of updates including a different front wing, floor, turning vanes, brake ducts and a new rear wing. All in all, we're reasonably happy with the update we made, but obviously we've still got a long way to go and we have to keep on working at a similar rate. In fact, we will have a few more small updates this weekend to add a bit more downforce to the car and, as usual this season, it will be interesting to see how each car uses its tyres.'
It is true that tyre behaviour has been the single most influential factor on the evolution of the five races so far this year and Monaco's unique characteristics will not make this weekend's race immune to that. 'We have seen that just a small change in track temperature can have a large effect on tyre performance,' maintains the English engineer. 'And apart from this sensitivity to temperature, they are also quite sensitive to the way the drivers use them. In a race where three pit stops would be considered the norm, if the driver is very very careful on the rear tyres, you might be able to keep them in good enough shape to do just two stops. But if you push hard on the tyres they degrade and a driver can damage them a little bit by pushing. So, when you are fighting in traffic, you take more out of the tyres than you would do if you're running in clean air.' Given that Monaco is synonymous with traffic, whether or not a race is taking place, finding that elusive clean air is the main challenge for the strategists. 'Monaco is a short lap, so your thinking time is reduced,' says Fry turning to the subject of race planning. 'While you look at all the usual factors such as tyres degradation, you have to be very aware of trying to keep the drivers out of traffic so as to try and give them a clear run. So if you are starting from the mid-field it's always a challenge, therefore starting at the front of the grid makes the job a little bit easier.'
After two pairs of back-to-back races to kick start the season, we are now back in the classic routine of a race every fortnight all the way through to the Germany-Hungary double-header at the end of July. Therefore, while for Fry and the team the immediate focus is on Monaco, the work never stops on developing the car for each coming race. 'In the medium term we are constantly driving to bring in updates, as indeed is the case for all teams,' reveals Fry. 'For Canada, we will have a different rear wing and front wing package, which will deliver a slightly different downforce level for this circuit. Work on the exhaust system is ongoing and we have new versions to test. Having learned a lot at the start of the year, we were able to address some of our problems at the Mugello test prior to the Spanish GP and I think now we have a good understanding of our car, trying to add performance to it in a constant drive that will go all the way through to the final race.'
| NEW PRIVATE CLIENT SERVICE BRINGS AUTOMOTIVE DREAMS TO LIFEDesign and bespoke build expertise previously available only to the world's most prestigious car manufacturers can now be commissioned by private clients. The new Bespoke Car service will be launched at the Top Marques Show in Monaco (April 17-20).|
The world's most successful individuals can now have their dream car designed and built to their own personal specification, without compromise, using manufacturing techniques proven in Formula 1. Envisage Group's new Bespoke Car Service off....
|CHINESE GP – CLOSING THE GAP TO THE TOP TEAMSMaranello, 15 April – The Formula 1 season has been rushing along at a hectic pace since the curtain raiser in Melbourne, with no less than three Grands Prix taking place in the space of three weeks. The data base of information available to the Scuderia Ferrari engineers has grown since the first race of the year and the numbers generated have been poured over, picked at and used to drive simulation programmes back in Maranello. However, despite the advances made in virtual car developme....|
| 1982 Dutch Grand Prix: Pironi's Dutch DelightThere have been many moments throughout the history of sport where an individual's life off the field is about to spiral out of control and that at those moments, on the field, he or she has managed to put together the performance of a lifetime. In the case of Didier Pironi in 1982, all of the pressure would be found at the track. Yet, in the midst of incredible pressure he would come through with one of the best drives of his career.|
No sooner had Villeneuve's body come to a rest against the....
| 1980 Belgian Grand Prix: Pironi's Star on the RiseFollowing the outstanding performance in the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans that resulted in victory for Renault, its only victory in the 24 hour race, Didier Pironi would be considered a man to watch. On the 4th of May, 1980, in just his second season in Formula One, he would prove why.|
He had to be careful to let the tactics play out. This would not be easy as the sister-car drew far away into the distance. It was the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans and Renault was still to crack the reliability and per....
| AUDI BEGINS NEW ERA AS WORLD CHAMPIONS◾FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with new regulations|
◾Two strong challengers for Audi in the LMP1 category
◾Audi builds its lightest and most efficient sports prototype ever
Ingolstadt, April 14, 2014 – This is a change of historic proportions: The new regulations of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) force the automobile manufacturers to use significantly less fuel than last year. The new rules will come into effect at the Silverstone (GB) season opener on April 20. ....
|FOUR CHINA WINS FOR FERRARIMaranello, 14 April – Sunday's event will be the eleventh Chinese Grand Prix. The race has always been staged on the 5.451 kilometres of the Shanghai circuit, a futuristic venue designed by German architect Hermann Tilke. Ferrari has won four times here, which is a hit rate of 40%. The race was first held in 2004, three from the end of the season. Ferrari took the maiden win, courtesy of Rubens Barrichello in the F2004, who produced a faultless performance. The Maranello squad took a clea....|
| Ferrari Racing Days gets underway in Sydney tomorrowSydney, 10 April –The first ever Ferrari Racing Days to be staged in Australia gets underway tomorrow at the Eastern Creek circuit on the outskirts of Sydney. The event is a pretty much an Olympic games of Ferrari Corse Clienti programmes and promises action packed entertainment with the exclusivity that is the hallmark of the world of Ferrari.|
The main attraction is round 2 of the Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific and in addition there will be demonstrations of the cars in the XX Program....