2015 Auto Show Calendar and Barcelona F1

Edmunds.com has a very useful calendar for the major US and International auto shows in 2015 here.

The next big show is the Barcelona International Motor Show, which is cunningly timed to coincide with the F1 Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona this weekend.  The show runs from 9th to 17th May, with the Grand Prix weekend starting Friday 8th.

Can you think of a better way to spend the weekend than watching what may well be the watershed race of the season, and then peruse the latest European automotive machinery?

Why is his such an important race?  Three reasons: Ferrari have been nipping at the heals of Mercedes at every race this year after making great gains following the disappointing (for Ferrari) 2014 season.  Traditionally manufacturers release enhancement packages to their cars at the Spanish Grand Prix.  We hear that both Mercedes and Ferrari have new components in their cars this weekend.

It all points to a distinct possibility that Ferrari could win their first race of 2015.

And what could you look forward to the following week at the show?  Seat are  set to reveal their new Neuvo Ibiza ahead of the market launch early 2016. If you are not familiar with the Seat brand, its the Spanish arm of the VW Audi Group.  They specialise in making small, chic and well engineered cars for a reasonable price.

Ole!

F1 2015 Bahrain Grand Prix Results – Ferrari continue to grow!

A very interesting weekend at Bahrain.  Mercedes were kept honest by an increasingly competitive Ferrari.

At the start of the race day the two Mercedes cars were split by Ferrari on the grid. Mid race was dominated by tactical tyre choices and pit stops. And on the final lap  simultaneous brake failures on both Mercedes meant that Hamilton just managed to cliing on to his first place, with Raikkonen overtaking Rosberg to finish second.  Vettel made lots of mistakes (uncharacteristically) to claim 4th.

Other items of note:

  • Williams continue to grow following a great fifth place for the excellent Valtteri Bottas.
  • Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo took sixth even though his engine EXPLODED as he approached the finish line!!!
  • A dramatic improvement for McLaren-Honda with Alonso finishing the race and looking to be in contention for points until the last third of the race.

So Hamilton has won three of the first four races.  However with growing competition from Ferrari, and possibly Williams, it could be the start to the best season in years.

The next F1 race weekend is Friday 8th May in Spain.

What Car? Auto Reliability Survey Results

What Car? have issued the results of their 2015 UK warranty survey on the reliability of cars of between 3 to 8 years old.  It showed that autos made by Japanese manufacturers were the most reliable, and (surprisingly) those made by the Germans amongst the worst.

The top three were Top of the poll was Honda, Suzuki and Toyota.  Whilst the worst was the (German owned) Bentley, with Porsche, Mercedes Benz and Audi just above.

It should be noted that repair costs were a factor in the scoring mechanism, and spare parts for a Bentley or a Porsche are going to be a lot more than for a Honda or a Suzuki.

1 Honda
2 Suzuki
3 Toyota
4 Chevrolet / Mazda
6 Ford
7 Lexus
8 Skoda
9 Hyundai / Nissan / Subaru
12 Daewoo / Peugeot
14 Fiat
15 Citroen
16 Smart
17 Mitsubishi
18 Kia
19 Vauxhall
20 Seat
21 Renault
22 Mini
23 Volkswagen
24 Rover
25 Volvo
26 Saab
27 Land Rover
28 BMW / MG
30 Jaguar
31 SsangYong
32 Mercedes-Benz
33 Chrysler
34 Audi
35 Jeep
36 Porsche
37 Bentley

 

F1 Malaysia 2015 Results – Vettel AND Ferrari are BACK!

We have patiently waited through several years of F1 predictability.  Red Bull and Vettel dominated for 4 years.  Then in 2014 it was the turn of Mercedes, albeit with the thrills of watching Hamilton and Rosberg go at each other like rabid dogs. And we thought 2015 would probably be much of the same again…

But maybe not.  Last weekend during practice and qualifying the Ferrari looked fast and Mercedes were struggling with reliability.  No excuses however on race day.  It was a fair fight.

Hamilton got a great start and the Mercedes duo stormed off in front.  However Raikkonen ended up at the back after limping back to the pits on a punctured tyre sustained at the start.  Another easy win for Mercedes and Hamilton?  Surely…?

Not! Vettel and Ferrari pulled off a master piece of tyre management to get the edge, and the pace of the Ferrari meant that the final position was a site for sore Ferrari-red eyes: 1st, Vettel/Ferrari, 2nd Hamilton/Mercedes, 3rd Rosberg/Mercedes, 4th Raikkonen/Ferrari.

Its early days in the tournament but we could be in for a vintage year.  We have the bitter intra-team rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg.  We have the vitally important inter-team tussle between Mercedes and Ferrari.  Vettel is hungry to prove his previous success was not just due to being in the right place at the right time.  And Raikkonen should never be discounted as his record of wins shows.

Its just over a week until the battle starts again in China.

Game on…

F1 Maylasia 2015

Its no secret we are big Formula 1 fans here in the office, and 2014 was a very exciting year. However the start of the 2015 season in Australia was marred by the heavily reduced field due to drivers and cars not being ready for the start of the season.  In addition with a crash from Lotus and retirements from Red Bull, Lotus and Toro Rosso all but one driver, Button, who finished the race scored points.

This weekend is the Malaysian Grand Prix and the good news is:

  • McLaren’s Fernando Alonso is fit to race
  • Williams’ Valtteri Bottas is fit to race
  • Marussia will be racing

So with more cars and drivers, and hopefully a few lessons learned, this weekend could be even better.

F1 Australia 2015

Was the start of the 2015 season a disappointment.  A heavily reduced starting lineup and  various engine and gearbox failures meant that only 11 cars finished, with all but an ever optimistic Jensen Button piloting the new Maclaren/Honda getting a point.

Ferrari must feel pleased with their podium finish which points to 2015 being a more successful year, but after their dreadful 2014 season it couldn’t really have been worse.  Looks like the excitement for the first few races of 2015 will come from the race between Ferrari and Williams.  Poor Alonso must be feeling like he took a wrong turn with his move to Maclaren.

Next race will be on 28th March in Malaysia.  Predictions?  Lets hope Bottas is race fit for Williams, and Red Bull/Renault are over some of their teething problems.  Hamilton/Rosberg sure to be 1st/2nd.  But after that its could be very close…

2015 Formula 1 Season Starts This Week

 

A sport that has been growing in popularity in North America is Formula 1.  And for good reason.  The years proceeding the 2014 championship were dominated by the Red Bull Racing Team and their driver Sebastian Vettel.  Whilst the visceral wail of the V8 engines was intoxicating, the drivers and constructors championships were becoming predictable.

However that all changed for the 2014 session, in which the FIA took the brave decision to radically change the series.  By removing the V8s and swapping for 6 cylinder plus electrical hybrid systems and introducing stringent fuel efficiency rules the FIA made F1 relevant to the challenges facing today’s motor industry.

But what would the racing be like…?

Well 2014 proved to be one the most exciting years for F1 ever.  The once dominant force of Red Bull was over shadowed by Mercedes.  And the once dominant driving skills of Sebastian Vettel were overshadowed by the Australian Daniel Ricciardo (possibly spurred on by the thought of .

And to crown it we had one of the most exciting season-long team-mate driver battles ever in the history of F1.  The rivalry between Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg was up there with the likes of Alain Prost vs. Nigel Mansell, and James Hunt vs Niki Lauda.

The head to head battle was full of acrimony, crashes, and season long jostling for position.  In the end it was Hamilton who was victorious as he managed to secure his 2nd world championship in the final race of the season.

So tune in for the start of 2015 in Australia:

  • Practice Friday 13th March
  • Qualifying Saturday 14th March
  • Racing Sunday 15th March

If you don’t want to miss any races you can view the full calendar here.

Formula 1 – How it works

Phew, the 2014 season was unbelievably tense.  The drivers are having a much needed rest before the 2015 season starts in March.  If you are new to the sport and are interested in starting to follow the sport here are the basics.

Formula 1 is a team event that revolves around two championships, The Constructors’ Championship and the Drivers’ Championship.  Each team has two named drivers plus a supporting cast of managers, engineers and test drivers to keep it all working.  There is lots of inter-team rivalry (between each of the constructor teams) and extra intense intra-team rivalry (between the two drivers).

Ten teams will be competing in the 2015 F1 season. Drivers compete individually in the Drivers’ Championship while their combined points go towards the team’s tally in the Constructors’ Championship.  The driver and the team with most points at the end of the season are each crowned World Champions.

In 2014 Mercedes Petronas won the Constructors’ Championship and Lewis Hamilton won the Drivers’ Championship.

In 2015 there will be are 20 races, starting in Australia on 15 March and ending in Abu Dhabi on 29 November.  For each race the winning driver receives 25 points, with descending points allocated down to 10th place – receiving one point:

Points awarded at Formula 1 race weekends

1st – 25 points 6th – 8 point
2nd – 18 points 7th – 6 points
3rd – 15 points 8th – 4 points
4th – 12 points 9th – 2 points
5th – 10 points 10th – 1 point

A race weekend consists of three practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself. On the Friday there are two 90-minute practice sessions, with a 60-minute session on Saturday ahead of a 60-minute qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.  There are three stages to qualifying – Q1, Q2 and Q3.

The race itself cannot run longer than two hours actual driving, unless there is red-flag and it is stopped due to bad weather, a serious accident, etc.  The race can continue after a red-flag but the entire duration of the race cannot exceed 4 hours.