In all honesty, I think this is one of the best stories I have heard for quite some time. We live in a world where may of us want to make change but not sure how to do so other than pledging money to a charity of our choosing. While we can make a difference there, I am so happy to see a new incentive and not a financial one that teams can profit from.
BWT Racing Point released a statement today to let us fans know that they are racing for something else.
For every race that Checo or Lance finish in the top 10 for the 2020 season, their main sponsor BWT will build a well in the villages of Gambia. So far with the first 8 races confirmed the team could win them selves championship points but, also make a difference in the world. This really tugs on the old heart strings.
"An Important Mission"
"The BWT b.Water Mission – a project of the AQA Pearls Foundation by BWT – is a cause close to the heart of BWT CEO Andreas Weißenbacher, with valuable work having already been underway over the past two years.
Having already teamed up with its brand ambassadors in ski jumping through the BWT Distance Award, Racing Point becomes the latest BWT partner to use sporting performance as a platform to contribute to the project.
The principle target of the initiative is to build a total of 10,000 b.Water Mission taps within the next seven years, ensuring that nobody in Gambia is forced to walk more than 150 metres to find clean, safe drinking water."
A Few Words from Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal BWT Racing Point F1 Team:
“One of the key strengths of our partnership with BWT is a shared commitment to using our expertise and the global platform of sport to drive real progress in global sustainability projects. BWT are already supporting the team in our push to cut down on single-use plastics in the Formula 1 paddock – and with the b.Water Mission, we now have an opportunity to make an impact beyond the confines of the racetrack. As we make our long-awaited return to racing in Austria, we now have an even greater incentive to push for strong results and play our part in this fantastic initiative.”
#ForzaAlex will be a message you will see a lot especially in the Ferrari garage. Alex Zanardi was in a serious accident recently taking part in a handbike event to promote sport with those who have disabilities. He is still fighting for his life in Siena hospital. Both cars will have the #ForzaAlex message on the HALO just in front of the camera.
Ferrari have secured 5 wins at the Austrian GP which with this year totals 33 races held at the venue. The likes of Lorenzo Bandini winning in 1964, Jacky Ickx in 1970, Eddie Irvine in 1999 and Michael Schumacher in 2002 & 2003. Leclerc was One of Eight drivers to secure pole position on the track where he did so last year.
Here are Mattia, Vettel and Leclerc's thoughts pre race weekend.
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
"This weekend the car will run in the same configuration used towards the end of the Barcelona tests. This doesn’t mean we have been twiddling our thumbs in the very limited time of just five and a half weeks in which we were able to work on the cars, because of the stringent procedures involved in working around the pandemic as well as the total shutdown of activities required by the FIA in agreement with the teams.
The truth is that the outcome of the tests led us to take a significant change of direction in terms of development, especially on the aerodynamic front. First, we had to understand why we did not see the results we had expected on track and how much to recalibrate the whole programme as a result. It would have been counterproductive to continue in the direction we had planned, knowing that we would not have reached our goals. Therefore we decided to come up with a new programme that looked at the whole car, knowing that not all of it would be ready for the first race.
Our aim is to introduce the updates at the third race on 19 July at the Hungaroring. Apart from that, over and above the actual development of the car itself, these past few weeks we have worked a lot on analysing its behaviour, with simulation work and with the help of our drivers and I think that will prove its worth in Austria.
We know that, at the moment, we don’t have the fastest package. We knew it before heading for Melbourne and that hasn’t changed. Having said that, the Spielberg circuit has different characteristics to Montmelo and the temperatures will be well above those of February. In Austria, we must try and make the most of every opportunity and then in Hungary, with the new development step we are working on, we will be able to see where we are really compared to the others, while having to take into account the developments our competitors themselves will have brought along.
The truth is that trying to make predictions at the start of such an unusual season is even more pointless than usual. There will be a few pointers come the end of the three hours of Friday practice, but a more accurate idea will be available after Saturday’s qualifying. Only then will we start to have a clearer picture of the hierarchy among the teams, but then there is always the uncertainty that comes with the opening round, in terms of reliability and tyre performance over a race distance. We must try and be perfect in everything we do, in preparing for every session and in how we carry out our tasks. The aim? To bring home as many points as possible, as is always the case in fact."
Sebastian Vettel #5
“It’s no secret that we’re all really keen to get back on track, as it’s been such a long time now. At the start, the break was enjoyable, as usually we are always travelling around the world and we have little time to spend with family and friends, but the time has come to get back on track.
I’m ready to give it my all, even if it won't be the same without the fans there supporting us. The Austrian track is like a carousel that goes round really quickly but I like it a lot, especially as it is high in the mountains which I love.
We have to be realistic when it comes to the pecking order seen at the tests, but we are not downhearted. It will also be unusual doing two races in a row here as for the second one we will have a lot of data to work with. What we do in the first weekend will have an important effect on the second.”
Charles Leclerc #16
“I like the Spielberg circuit very much, because of all its changes of gradient and its high speeds. It’s nice to be starting again there, even if we won't be able to see the support of our fans at the track.
During the long lockdown, I spent time working on my physical training and also doing quite a lot of virtual racing on my simulator, having fun with other drivers and I hope it was also entertaining for those watching from home. But now it's time to get back in the cockpit of a real car.
Last week in Mugello, we were able to get into a Formula 1 car again and I have to say it was really enjoyable to be back behind the wheel.
Carlos and Lando have given their thoughts ahead of the F1 season opener at Austria this weekend. Even though this will be Carlos's last season with the team he seems focused as ever and prasies the McLaren during testing.
“After a long and difficult time away from racing, it's finally time to get back at it! It's been my longest period without competing since I started in go-karts many years ago! The MCL35 felt really good during winter testing, a positive continuation of what we had last year, so I'm very excited to finally compete this season. It’s also been an interesting period away from track, but now we’re back to racing I’m completely focused on the 2020 season. Due to less races in the calendar and the strong competition we expect from our direct rivals we can't afford to lose concentration. We actually don't even know the amount of races we are going to do, it's an unprecedented scenario, so every point we can get is absolutely crucial. As always, I will do everything to perform at my highest level and help the team. I've been keeping fit and ready to get back in the car, so I’m ready to hit the ground running in FP1.
“Last year we did well in Austria, having to battle into the points from the back of the grid due to a penalty, so we know there are plenty of opportunities for on-track overtakes. However, it's difficult to confidently predict our performance given the time away from track. The double header at the same circuit presents a new challenge for everyone and we need to make sure we extract the maximum out of it. I know that by the time the lights go out on Sunday, we'll be more than ready to fight for the best position possible.”
Lando has been a big personality in the world of esports over the lockdown period and has competed in many different races. His fellow races George Russel has become even quicker on the Williams simulator due to his recent success in the online world, lets hope that this can also pay dividends for Lando going into this season.
“I can't wait to get back into a Formula 1 car, it’s been a long time coming! This break has been the longest I’ve ever taken since I started racing at seven years old, I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been working hard throughout this period away from track to stay sharp and ready to go racing again. I’ve been training at home a lot and spending plenty of time on my simulator. I’ve also managed to get some karting and F3 sessions in with Carlos over the last few weeks to help get race ready as best I can.
“I’m pleased we’re getting started again in Austria, it’s a great, fast, track and we performed well there last year. It will be an interesting challenge to race there two weekends in a row, but also a great opportunity to analyse how the first race could have panned out differently and adjust our strategy for the second. I expect all of the grid will be feeling a bit rusty going into FP1, but I’m sure we’ll all be back up to speed when it comes to qualifying on Saturday. It will be a real shame not to have the fans at the track as we feel their support, but safety is the priority and we’ll be doing everything we can to give them a good show.”
BWT Racing have sent out to the media a quick fire round of questions they did with Lance and Checo ahead of the Austrian GP this weekend. Even saying that its race week seems unbelievable but we are finally here. See the questions and answers below about the race ahead and the 5 things they say to look out for!
Quickfire Questions with Lance and Checo
Q: What’s the best thing about Austria?
LS: “Austria is awesome! It feels like home out there. You’re up in the mountains and I’m definitely a mountain guy. I’m big into my skiing and I love the outdoors. You can really soak up the fresh air and all that spectacular scenery in Austria. I really love going there.”
Q: Just how challenging is it to perfect a lap of the Red Bull Ring?
LS: “It’s short and technical which makes it feel really tight – but it’s got a really nice flow to it too. It’s only just over a minute for a Quali lap, so every corner has to be spot on. It’s almost like a kart track in that sense. Every detail of the lap and every hundredth of a second matters. Those sorts of fractions can be the difference between two or three positions on the grid – and that makes it really exciting.”
Q: What do you think of when people talk about Austria?
SP: “I first raced there in 2014, so only a few years ago. I haven’t spent as much time as I’d like in Austria away from the track – but it’s a place that I really enjoy visiting. It’s a really unique venue with beautiful scenery – you really feel like you’re surrounded by nature. It’s also the home race for BWT, who have been really supportive of us over the years, so it’s important for us to put on a great race for them.”
Q: What’s the trickiest part of the Red Bull Ring?
SP: “It’s quite a challenging track, actually. It’s a really short lap and every corner is tricky, so you’ve got to be very precise and make sure that every single one is perfect. It’s quite different to most tracks in that sense, because there’s more pressure than normal on a single lap. Turn 3 is one of the best challenges. It can be hard to spot your apex point – especially in traffic – but it’s a cool corner and one that I enjoy.”
Five Things to Look Out for in Spielberg
Today saw the Scuderia Ferrari's on track at Mugello. A track that has been linked to make an aperance. The track is owned by Ferrari and has been used by them for testing in the past but has also been open for other teams to test as well. Their Statement Below.
"Morning. Sebastian drove first, back in a Formula 1 car 116 days on from the Barcelona test. He covered the equivalent of a Grand Prix distance, enjoying himself amidst the rolling Tuscan hills, which he was tackling for the first time at the wheel of a Ferrari. He last drove at Mugello with another team, back in 2012.
Afternoon. In the afternoon, it was Charles Leclerc’s turn in the SF71H. It was his second recent F1 drive after running the SF1000 through the streets of Maranello last Thursday. It was the Monegasque driver’s first time at Mugello in a Formula 1 car. However, the track was not a new experience for Charles, as he first raced there in 2014, the year he moved up from karts to single-seaters. Leclerc also got in the groove after a few laps and went on to complete a comparable distance to a Grand Prix.
Procedure. The test was deliberately run in the same working conditions the teams will experience in Austria, for the opening round of the 2020 season. The anti Covid-19 protocols were assessed, with mechanics and engineers working in masks and respecting social distancing in a modified garage layout. Sebastian and Charles also did the same when they changed over seats in the SF71H at the lunchbreak."
Obviously after so many days out the drivers were obviously thrilled to be back on track. But while some teams are testing at Silverstone and Austria, Ferrari are making sure they are ready should Mugello become a part of the calendar. They both said:
“I was glad to get back in the cockpit after a break that was even longer than the usual winter one. I was also very pleased to see all the guys from the team at last.
It was great to once again get those feelings from a car and to do so at such a spectacular track. I really think Mugello deserves to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix.
I hadn’t driven it for eight years, so it took a few laps for me to get used to the track and then I really enjoyed myself.”
"How great was that, getting back on track for real. I’d missed it! Even though I’ve been pretty busy with virtual racing during this long break, I needed to once again get that physical impression of speed.
Being able to drive on such a spectacular track as Mugello, for the first time at the wheel of a Formula 1 car, helped to make this day even more memorable. Now, we’re looking ahead to the season and as from next week, things get serious!"
Formula one have announced how you can be Track side when your not...…
Sounds intriguing doesn't it.
So their way of bringing you to the track and to add to the atmosphere, they have introduced FANCAM!
"Our new F1 FanCam screens put you trackside at the Grand Prix. Show your team or driver your support like never before. Upload your roars, cheers and Ricciardo smiles in a short film for a chance to be featured around the world in broadcast or social. But be quick. For a chance to have your video used for the first race in Austria, you only have 4 days to get your entry in. After that, we’ll be selecting the best videos to use across the season."
"Now warm up those fist pumps for the first ever # F1FanCam."
Get your videos in. See the link below. Feel free to share them with us as well.
A lot has been happening in the Formula 1 World recently even though we have not been able to watch any races up until now when we are 2 weeks away. With Vettel leaving Ferrari, Silly season started, lets just say a little early.
But this prompted Riccardo to jump ship and make the move to McLaren. And he has opened up about it.....
"I think back when I signed with Renault in 2018, I was having conversations with McLaren at the time, so I guess I kept somewhat of a relationship with the guys there.
So, it was quite easy to reignite the conversation earlier in the year. It was a lot of thought and it wasn't an easy process, especially not having any racing and a whole lot to dictate the decision from at least this year.
"But just having the space and being out on the farm, I certainly had no distractions so I had a lot of time to make my mind up. But not an easy one still, obviously."
"The reality is it's still not like a clear-cut decision, I guess,"
McLaren made great progress last year beating Renault in the constructors championship and that was with the Works team Engine. Now they have made the leap for a Mercedes Engine for 2021, the move o McLaren looks like a much stronger bet for the Aussie.
“Mercedes won the championship again, but it was quite clear to most that McLaren was the team which made the biggest step out of all. That was really encouraging for them, and that’s really all you can base it on.
“And then the pitch for the future. Obviously they are switching power units and all that. Even talking about it now it’s certainly tough, because by no means was it an easy decision, and not having very much to gauge from 2020, that was pretty difficult.”
"There are arguments for and against. Time will tell if the one I've made is the right one."
One thing is for sure, we cant wait to see his infectious smile back on the podium and it cant come too quick.
"I don’t normally like getting up early, but this morning there was a great reason to do so. Maybe it woke a few people up, but it was great to drive through the streets of Maranello in the SF1000.
It was exciting to get back in the car today, particularly on such a special route. Being back in the cockpit felt like coming home again.
It seemed like a fun way of saying we are ready to get back on track. Now I can’t wait to drive the SF1000 in Austria.” Charles Leclerc said about his "commute" to work.
I can almost guarantee the People of Maranello would have woken up this morning, like it was Christmas when they were a child, with the roar of the SF1000 tearing through their streets. Not something you would see, well ...… anywhere in the world other than Italy.
It has been an agonising 110 days since the final day of testing at Barcelona. Today the SF1000 has been fired up before it set off from the Officiana Classiche, in the heart of the Maranello factory, where the racing department was based. The Gate Leclerc emerged from was the same gate that Enzo Ferrari used on 12/03/1947 in the first car to bear his name. The 125 S.
The Ferrari past many iconic locations on its first "Wake up Drive". Crossing the deserted Via Abetone Inferiore, the Ferrari passed the Gestione Sportiva in Via Enzo Ferrari 27, where Scuderia's F1 cars have been designed, built and developed since 2015. Then a drive by the Maranello Museum which is home to some of the most beutifu; Ferraris built in the last 73 years.
Then on to the chequered flag! Ferrari said "Leclerc is the first driver of the modern era to have driven a Formula 1 car though the streets of Maranello and he ended his run taking Via Gilles Villeneuve on his way to the legendary Fiorano Track. This is the track where every road going Ferrari since 1972 is driven for the first time and, until testing restrictions were introduced, it was also the proving ground for every Formula 1 car to come out of Maranello."
As of 15:30 today (15/06/2020) Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrain (HPP) have announced that as of 1st June 2020 Andy Cowell is said to leave his position as Managing Director following informing the team back in January of his plans.
Andy Cowell has worked with the team for 16+ years is now seeking "a new engineering business challenge". However Cowell will be staying on until early 2021 to make sure that the transition for the newly appointed Managing Director of HPP Hywel Thomas, is as smooth as possible. A new management team will also be put into place which will see Adam Allsopp become Project One Powertrain Director reporting directly to Markus Schäfer on Project One; Operations Director Richard Stevens; and Finance and IT Director, Ronald Ballhaus.
Cowell said,"After 16 enjoyable years working for HPP, I have decided that now is the right time to move on from my role and seek a new engineering business challenge. I have appreciated the opportunity to work with Markus and Toto in defining the future leadership structure of the company and I have every confidence in the ability of Hywel and the team to lead the company forward. It has been an absolute honour to work for Mercedes and especially to be Managing Director of HPP for seven years. Thank you to everyone who has provided me with such amazing opportunities and enjoyable challenges, especially Ola Källenius who had the courage to support me back in 2006."
Toto Wolf - "Andy's leadership of the team at HPP has been a key factor in our championship success in recent seasons. He has made an outstanding contribution to our motorsport legacy and I have valued and enjoyed our working relationship since 2013; I am sure he will enjoy great success in the next challenge he decides to take on. Our philosophy has always been that a winning team is a dynamic organisation, and that change is a natural part of every company's development. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to work together to create a new leadership structure, by building on the strength in depth of the team in Brixworth. It puts us in a very strong position for the years ahead, as we aim to set new benchmarks in Formula One and Formula E."
New MD Hywel Thomas -"I am proud to have been part of HPP for 16 years and it is an incredible organisation in terms of its team spirit, values and integrity. That is no small part thanks to the leadership it has enjoyed over the years, from Mario Illien and Paul Morgan through to the current day. Andy and I have worked together throughout my time here and I am thankful to have been able to learn from him during this time and through a period of great success for the team. Our new leadership group is very excited to step up to this new challenge: we have an incredible team of people at Brixworth, and we are all focused on delivering maximum performance on track in the years ahead."
Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, commented: "Our new senior leadership team at HPP knows the business inside out - and I am confident they will drive the company forward with energy and innovation over the coming years. From F1, to Formula E, to Project One, they are responsible for some of our most exciting and challenging R&D projects on our journey towards carbon free mobility and raising our digital competence to a next level - and I know that each of these areas will thrive under their leadership. I also wish to say a special word of thanks to Andy for his contribution to Mercedes over the past sixteen years. His legacy at Mercedes is not measured simply in race wins and world championships, it is also in the competitive spirit and engineering ambition that characterise the team at HPP. Andy will support a major future project of Mercedes-Benz AG and we wish him well for the next stage of his career."
So what has prompted this leave after 16 years and for someone who has been behind a lot of success in formula 1 from being a part in Johnny Herberts Cosworth engine that was used to win the 1999 European Grand Prix, the BMW Engine that powered Williams to four wins in 2001 and working with Toto wolf and Mercedes to bring them 6 world championships. Is there another team in or coming into formula 1 which he feels would give him the challenge or will it be in a completely different category?
Over the past week we have all heard that Azerbaijan, Singapore and the Japanese Grand Prix's have joined the list of tracks that have canceled.
This has opened up a lot of fresh enquiries as to whether there may be another double header at Sochi, but other tracks in Europe have al thrown their hat in to the ring to host a Grand Prix.
The Algarve Circuit, Portugal, is one of them. Apparently a spokesperson from the Track has confirmed that talks have been ongoing and there has been support from teams to hold a race there.
The Spokesperson said:
"We are in contact with FOM and in strong negotiations," the spokesperson said.
"As Ross Brawn has said, it is a possibility.
"For now nothing is confirmed, but we know that there is a lot of willingness among the teams that Portugal be chosen for the calendar and we are working very hard and doing everything we can to have the F1 in our race track.
"We are the option that everyone wants, from the location, the track, the large facilities that allow greater safety distance, the climate, the hotels and the reduced impact in the country of COVID-19.
"Any decision only will be made in July."
Ross Brawn has recently stated that there are various options for European Races but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.