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2015 Formula 1 Preview: Hamilton’s to Lose? or Formula 1’s to Ruin?

2015 Formula 1 Preview: Hamilton’s to Lose? or Formula 1’s to Ruin?

2015 Formula 1 Preview: Hamilton’s to Lose? or Formula 1’s to Ruin? I’m sitting over breakfast at my local spot in Newtown working out how to construct a preview to the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship, granted not your typical morning task. Located close to the University of Sydney, Newtown is a melting pot for … Continue reading

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The imminent transformation of the appearance of Formula 1 cars looks set to occur in 2017 at the earliest following the failure of teams to agree on proposed aerodynamic changes. The changes, which included wider cars and tyres, now look certain to coincide with plans to increase power unit performance to 1000hp along with the renewal of a new contract with a tyre supplier.

Further speculation is rife that Bernie Ecclestone is on the verge of announcing that Qatar will become the next middle eastern nation to host a round of the Formula 1 world championship. The race, which would be held on the streets of Lusail, is expected for inclusion on the calendar as soon as 2016. A decision by Formula 1 to host a Grand Prix in a nation state known widely around the world as being suspected of corruptly obtaining the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and allowing the gross mistreatment of migrant workers, would be a further scar on the image of Formula 1.

In the face of growing frustration from Red Bull Racing, attention remains centred on what direction the powers that be at Renault will take on the French manufacturers involvement in the sport will be. Possible options have Renault buying out one of the current teams to re-launch a works project. Present options have them taking over Toro Rosso or Lotus F1 Team but both options pose problems of their own. If current managing director of Renault Sport F1, Cyril Abiteboul, is to be believed then the focus for Renault remains centred on improving their V6 power unit. Abiteboul has left open the possibility that the French manufacturer could leave the sport, something that Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko suggested Red Bull may do, all this seems somewhat premature with the team signed up to the sport until 2020.

The increasing turmoil faced by Renault has been somewhat tempered however by the consistent point-scoring finishing of the Toro Rosso team, who out-performed Red Bull in Malaysia. This has left many to suggest that Red Bull has work to do in the aero department before they blame their engine supplier as being the sole cause of their current poor performance.

The decision to even have a progressive engine freeze on engine technology in its infancy is proving immensely problematic. In the writers opinion the progressive engine freeze is:

1.) Damaging the credibility of competition in the sport. It would appear all is being done to assist non-Mercedes engine manufacturers for their poor performance in the development stage so as to close the gap between teams.
2.) Damaging the image of Formula 1 by restricting the development on hybrid technology. The engine freeze seeks to halt the development in technology that is designed to greater assist the car industry. How does Formula 1 look relevant/progressive when it is halting the further development/improvement in the efficiency/performance of these engines?

In a rare case of acknowledging the overwhelming opinion of both fans and experts alike, the FIA have announced that both double points and the proposed introduction of standing re-starts will be removed for the 2015 championship season. The decision vindicates the strong belief at Racefans that the entertainment provided by motor sport should never arise through contrivance or gimmickry.

World Endurance Championship

Audi has won an epic Le Mans 24 Hours following a race that saw each of the three works LMP1 manufacturers hold the lead. The race has been described as an 'old school 24 Hours' with endurance very much in focus as teams struggled with the unreliability of the highly complex hybrid power trains of the new cars. Toyota had claimed pole position through Kazuki Nakajima and led the early part of the race. Behind the #14 Porsche hit trouble in the first half hour and lost four laps. During one of the massive rain storms a collision between the #3 Audi and the #8 Toyota resulted in their demise. 2 Audis, a Toyota and a Porsche remained in the hunt.

For some eleven hours through the night the battle went on between #7 Toyota and #20 Porsche. First it was the Porsche who struck trouble, ..., running wide at Arnage. At 5am #7 Toyota caught fire and was out along with Toyota's bid to claim the 24. This left Audi #2 and #1 sandwiching Porsche #20, each car taking turns at leading the race through the morning session. Finally however Porsche's feared unreliability on their return to Le Mans struck and the Audi's regained control.

The final period of the race was dominated further by the unreliability of the Audi's who, despite having to replace turbos on both their cars, were able to manage the lead to Porsche #20 to take their fifth successive Le Mans and their 13th since arriving there in 1999. The winner? Audi #2 in the hands of Lotterer, Fassler and Treluyer taking the victory.

Highlights of the race can be viewed through the link on my Twitter account.

NASCAR

It can't be race day every day, or at least that's what NASCAR is being faced with following qualifying for the front row of the 2015 Daytona 500. Clint Bowyer was left furious following the decision to have qualifying contested by drivers all out on track at once in an F1 style knock-out system. Aside from the incredible suggestion that a Formula 1 regulation had been adopted by NASCAR to help improve its show, the presence of some 50 cars contesting for only the front row does strike this writer as being a little ridiculous. The 2.5 mile trivial of Daytona also ensured that competitors were desperate to be last in the pack to maximise the draft and ensure the fastest time, leading to farcical scenes as drivers were left in a stand-off with one another, trying to be the last out. It would appear that even in the most contrived form of motor sport there is, the blue-ribbon Daytona 500 should be exempt from such decisions.

MotoGP

Aprillia will return to the top category with a works MotoGP bike in 2016 for the first time in 12 years. Since moving out of MotoGP, Aprillia has enjoyed great success in the World Superbike Championship. It has also been successful in the CRT class of MotoGP but this really isn't anything to gloat about as seen by their decision to build proper bikes for the premier category. The announcement comes off the back of Suzuki's earlier announcement that they would be returning to MotoGP in 2015.

Honda have made the surprise decision to sign current Moto3 Championship leader Jack Miller to a three-year deal in MotoGP. The 19-year old Australian will join current Ducati works rider Cal Crutchlow at the LCR Honda squad in 2015.

KTM have announced that they will return to the MotoGP class by 2017. KTM's decision comes on the back of announcements that Suzuki and Aprillia will also join the premier class in the years to come.

Will these announcements, together with an increase in 3 bikes per works team, lure Casey Stoner out of retirement for the 2015 season? Racefans thinks it definitely will and expects an announcement on Stoner's return to the sport mid-way through this year.

V8 Supercars

The V8 Supercars have signed a six-year, $241 million television rights deal that will see the sport telecast on both free-to-air television on Network Ten and pay television with Foxtel. The return to Network Ten however is not as good as it would first appear with the Network only able to televise 6 race weekends live (Adelaide, Townsville, Gold Coast, Sydney, Sandown, and Bathurst). Further insight into the deal and the ramifications for V8 Supercars to follow soon.

WRC

Sebastien Ogier has continued his unbeaten run in this years 2015 WRC with victory in round 3 at the Rally Mexico. Underneath however, the championship continues to show signs of momentum with the presence of all four works manufacturers featuring in the top five finishers. With a works Toyota team set to return to the championship in 2017 with the Yaris WRC, the cars may not be to the liking of those seen a decade ago, but the championship continues to show strength. Round 4 of the championship, Rally Argentina, commences on 24 April.

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Vale Jack Brabham 1926 – 2014

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