By Berthold Bouman
Williams was the last team to launch their 2013 contender at the Circuit de Catalunya, Spain, today. The FW35 is an evolution of its predecessor, but according to a statement, it has a new gearbox, new rear suspension, new radiators, a new floor, new exhausts, new bodywork, a new nose, and the car is a lot lighter as well.
As there have not been any significant regulation changes, Williams Technical Director Mike Coughlan has had a relatively easy job. “I’m pleased with the gains that we’ve been able to make with this car. It’s a better, more refined Formula One car than the FW34 and I think everyone involved in the project can feel proud of the work they’ve done,” said Coughlan.
Coughlan also said Williams will during the season explore the benefits of the Coanda effect. “The Coanda effect is going to be a big thing for us,” he said, and added, “There’s been no rule clarification concerning this area of the car, so we’ll work closely with Renault to maximise the available gains. Use of the DRS is more restricted this year, so we’ll take some resource away from that and focus on other areas.”
Sir Frank Williams was proud to present his new car, but was cautious about the expectations of the FW35, “We will have to wait until Australia to truly see what we have, but we believe it is step forward from last year’s car which was also a very competitive vehicle.”
He nevertheless remained optimistic about the forthcoming season, “I’m hoping that with the current team we have in place, our new FW35, the combined talent of Pastor [Maldonado], Valtteri [Bottas] and Susie [Wolff], and the continued support from our partners; we will be in a position to challenge the very best.”
All Photos: Williams F1
Pastor Maldonado is ready for his third season with the British outfit, and he’s confident the FW35 will be competitive, and even thinks about winning more races, “Last year we won a race and were competitive, but this season we must be even more competitive which I believe is possible. Consistency will be our aim to close the gap to the teams in front.”
And he added, “Being part of the Williams family is very special as a driver and I want to thank Frank [Williams] for not only giving me the opportunity to drive for him, but also to deliver a win. My goal is to help take the team back to the top.”
Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas will make his Formula One debut this season, and he’s looking forward to his first Grand Prix for Williams. “I have been doing a lot of training, meeting with my engineers and working in the simulator in preparation; so I feel ready. We know we have improved our car from last season but I am looking forward to seeing how it compares on track. We have a busy test programme ahead but I’m really excited,” he said, adding, “The moment the start lights go out in Melbourne is a moment I have been building towards my whole career.”
Development driver Susie Wolff is actually the only one who has already had a taste of what the FW35 is like before the official launch, as she did the initial shake-down at Idiada. “Being the first to get behind the wheel of the FW35 at Idiada was a real honour. It was a special feeling to drive the FW35 out of the garage for the first time and successfully complete its first kilometres in front of many of the team who have put so much effort into the design and build,” she commented.
Today is the first day of, in total, eight days of testing at the Barcelona circuit, the first four days are scheduled for this week, the next and final four days of testing take place from February 28 to March 3.
By Berthold Bouman
Also Marussia introduced their 2013 challenger, the MR02, today at the Spanish Circuito de Jerez. One of the main changes is the introduction of the Williams’ designed and supported KERS system which should make the car quicker.
The car is an evolution of the MR01, and Marussia will continue their partnership with Xtrac and Cosworth this season. In a statement Marussia said, “The MR02 will be powered by Cosworth’s CA2013K power unit this season. Our transmission technology partner Xtrac brings an evolution of the 2012 gearbox design, with particular attention paid to increasing the installation stiffness of the suspension.”
The team also continues their partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies, ‘to provide some of the tools which allow us to design and develop an increasingly competitive race car, in particular the use of wind tunnel and simulator’.
John Booth, Marussia’s Team Principal today commented on the new car, “We embark on the first pre-season test of 2013 feeling very positive about our new car — the MR02 — and what lies ahead in this next important chapter in the development of the Marussia F1 Team.”
Marussia Team Principal John Booth – Photo: Marussia F1
“Whilst we have experienced some changes over the winter, the one area of stability we have enjoyed is the one that is most important to our progression from here, the design of our 2013 race car, led by our Technical Director Pat Symonds.”
About last season Booth said, “The incremental steps we were taking in the latter half of last season gave us the confidence to not only fight hard for 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship, but to feel encouraged by our overall design direction, which was the basis for the car we are fielding here in Jerez today.”
And he added, “It is early days in our pre-season development programme but there is a great deal of optimism amongst the Team for what lies ahead. With that in mind, we all look forward to seeing the MR02 make its on-track debut later this morning.”
Marussia has only confirmed one driver for this season, the 21-year old Max Chilton, who will take the car through its paces today. Chilton was already test driver for the Anglo-Russian team in 2012 and also drove for the Marussia Carlin GP2 Team, and finished in fourth place of the 2012 GP2 Championship.
All Photos: Marussia F1
By Berthold Bouman
A busy day at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain today, as it is the first day of the first pre-season testing days, but early in the morning, before testing officially started, Caterham revealed their 2013 contender, the CT03, to the public.
According to Technical Director Mark Smith, the CT03 is the first car produced in the Leafield Technical Centre, and therefore ‘marks an important milestone in the development of the team’. As all other teams, Caterham also had to work on their 2014 car, and therefore decided the CT03 would rather be more an evolution of its predecessor, and not a completely new designed car.
Smith commented about the changes of the 2013 design, “Among the most obvious are around the lower chassis where the side pods have been significantly undercut to improve airflow to the rear of the car. The diffuser, engine cover and cooling exits have also seen major changes and there are more subtle improvements to other areas of the car, such as the sidepod turning vanes and the lower tea-tray area,” Smith said.
All Photos: Caterham F1
But he’s already thinking about the future development of the car, “This is the package we will take to race one in Australia and as part of the 2013 upgrade program we will then bring new front and rear wings and a new diffuser soon after the start of the season.”
Cyril Abiteboul, who was appointed Team Principal last year, commented, “This is the first car we have produced since I joined the team so this is a proud day for me. I am very pleased that we have been able to allocate our resources and budgets as efficiently as possible to produce a car that will allow us to consolidate our position in Formula One whilst also starting work on the 2014 car as early as possible.”
The CT03 has a slightly different livery this season, and Abiteboul said, “From the outside, the most obvious change to CT03 car is the livery. Whilst retaining the green and yellow paint scheme that has become synonymous with our team since 2010, we have refreshed both colours to enhance their visibility on track and give them what will be, we believe, one of the best looking liveries in the pit lane.”
He’s also happy with the choice of drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde. “Charles and Giedo are both young and dynamic and we expect that their enthusiasm for the sport and the team will be fuelling our growth. Additionally, they provide clear proof of our dedication to developing young driver talent and now, any aspiring driver who dreams of F1 can see that there is a clear route to the F1 grid under the guidance of the Caterham Driver Development Program, the 2013 format of which will soon be presented,” he said.
Tony Fernandes, Co-Chairman of the Caterham Group said, “Having stepped up to the role of Co-Chairman of Caterham Group I will be playing less of a day-to-day role with the team but I am delighted that we go into our fourth season in such a strong position.”
And he added, “I am realistic enough to know that we still have a long journey ahead of us, but the dream is steadily coming true. We have invested in the long-term, not taken any short-cuts and we have everything in place to keep moving forwards.”
By Berthold Bouman
Not only the fans are looking forward to the 2013 car presentations, the teams are also looking forward to it, but then of course, they are curious about the cars of the rival teams. Last year Red Bull even covered-up the rear of the car when it entered the pit lane during testing to prevent other teams getting a peek at the new car.
Keeping novelties a secret has been part of the sport for as long as it exists, in 1978 Lotus boss Colin Chapman covered-up the rear of the Lotus 79 to mislead his rivals, it took weeks before the others finally realised the rear wasn’t the secret of the Lotus 79, but the floor, as it was the first ground-effect car using a reversed wing-shaped floor.
Today, teams still play hide and seek. Ferrari covered the rear of the F138 with a piece of carbon fibre so the diffuser doesn’t show, and a lot of black paint, which is also heat-resistant as the exhaust gasses are led through the rear of the car by the Coanda-style exhaust outlets, does the rest. The carbon parts are also black which adds to the confusion. It’s almost impossible to see the details but with a little Photoshopping we can reveal some details.
Same applies to the Lotus E21, although they didn’t really hide anything, the whole car is black which makes it very difficult to photograph the details. But after enhancing the contrast, the complete rear section of the car, including the structure of the diffuser, is revealed.
Force India VJM06
Force India is the only team that took their car out on the circuit for a spin as well, but again due to the black paint on the rear parts of the car it is difficult to see the details, again enhancing the contrast reveals more of the details.
McLaren and Sauber didn’t, very conveniently, publish any detailed photos of the car, or only published photos taken under a certain angle in such a way the details stay hidden. Playing around with Photoshop does make the rear of the McLaren more clear, but the crucial parts, like the diffuser, stay hidden.
Red Bull RB9
Red Bull kept everything hidden as well, and didn’t allow photographers to make their own pictures, though there is very little to see at the rear of the car, the exhaust looks similar to the 2012 version.
Toro Rosso STR8
Mercedes was even better in hiding the goodies, there is no single picture that discloses the secrets of the W04. Toro Rosso didn’t publish very detailed photos either. There is not much to see in the rear, and the exhaust is not really special either.
And last is the Caterham CT03, a beautiful car, Caterham has nothing to hide, nevertheless, a bit of Photoshopping reveals even more details, like all teams Caterham have worked hard on the rear of the car, with the Coanda-style exhaust outlets, and the very smooth rear section with diffuser.
By Berthold Bouman
Also present in Jerez, Spain, today was Red Bull’s Italian sister team Toro Rosso, who unveiled their 2013 car, the STR8. Toro Rosso finished in ninth place of the Constructors’ Championship last year, but are this season aiming for more podium places.
The STR8 features a so-called vanity panel to hide the stepped nose, and has a similar exhaust system as the 2012 car.
Team Principal Franz Tost believes his team is ready for the future, “Formula One is approaching a new era, specifically in 2014, and, at Toro Rosso, we have already made significant changes to our structure both in terms of manpower and facilities, to be ready for that.”
And he added, “We believe the changes made will also help in the short-term for this coming season and, combined with the fact that Daniel and Jean-Eric are more experienced, now that they have a season with us under their belts, we start winter testing in a mood of justified optimism.”
Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo embark on their second journey with the Italian team, last year they finished in 17th and 18th place respectively of the Drivers’ Championship.
All Photos: Toro Rosso
Frenchman Vergne is going into his second full Formula One season and commented, “Going into this season is a completely different experience to this time last year, when I had to deal with a lot of unknowns. I had to learn the majority of tracks, understand so many details about Formula One and adapt to working with the team.”
But he’s adamant this season will be different from his point of view, “This year, I will still be learning — you never stop in Formula One — but the basics are there and I will be able to focus on more important aspects of the job. In general, I sense a new philosophy within Toro Rosso: I wouldn’t say people are working harder, but maybe they are going in a better direction.”
Ricciardo enjoyed a holiday in his native Australia, where the first race of the season also will take place on March 17. He too, has learned a lot, “The 2013 version of me is a more confident person and driver, with more self-belief than last year. I’ve always had the desire and determination to succeed and now I’m ready to reinforce that and let everyone see what I’m all about.”
And the Australian driver added, “I spent most of the winter Down Under and when I came back into the factory in Faenza, I could feel a very positive atmosphere with everyone excited about the new car. The target for us this year is very simple: to improve on last year!”
By Berthold Bouman
Mercedes became the sixth team to reveal their 2013 contender, the Mercedes W04. The new car was presented during a simple ceremony at the Circuito de Jerez, Spain, where pre-season testing will commence tomorrow.
Of course also present were both drivers Nico Rosberg and a freshly recruited Lewis Hamilton, who signed a three-year deal with the Silver Arrows team. Also new to the team is Toto Wolff, who has been hired to strengthen the management team of the German-owned outfit, while Ross Brawn is still Team Principal.
Mercedes designed a car without a stepped nose, and the W04 is now a true Silver Arrow again with a smooth and slender nose section. Again, not many details were visible with the naked eye, most attention went to Mercedes’ new sponsor Blackberry — as both drivers posed willingly taking a snap-shot of the new car with their Blackberry.
All Photos: Mercedes-Benz
Rosberg, who already had tried the new car this morning, said, “It all went to plan, I very much felt at home [in the car] and that’s important. So, it’s good and this afternoon it’s going to be Lewis, he’s going to give it a go. Tomorrow is our first day of proper testing and I’m really looking forward to that.”
“A quite exciting day for us,” said Hamilton, adding, “the launch of a new car, and to be team mates with Nico; we were just saying how crazy it is because we used to be team mates back in 2000 when we were go-karting, so it’s a dream for me to be back here as his team mate.”
About his new car he commented, “It looks beautiful. It’s a lovely car, I’m just excited to get in it. I’m just really excited to get in and see what it feels like.”
By Berthold Bouman
Red Bull Racing unveiled the RB09 at their headquarters in Milton Keynes, UK, today. After winning both Formula One titles three times in a row, the Austrian team is aiming for another successful campaign in 2013.
Team Principal Christian Horner said, “The 2012 season was tough and long, but our success was testimony to all the hard work and dedication in the factory.” He thinks continuity is the key to success this season, “We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to maintain continuity within our group.”
“This is the fifth year that this driver pairing has been together. We’ve got continuity throughout all of the technical teams and all the key areas. I think that’s proof that there is a fierce determination to keep both of those trophies in the cabinet for another year.”
Designer Adrian Newey was of course present to see his latest creation being unveiled, but he said the RB09 is not a revolutionary, but more an evolutionary car, something said before by other Formula One designers.
About the 2013 season he said, “Probably the most significant change is not the regulations, but the new Pirelli tyres. We had a quick test with those in practice ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix but in truth we didn’t learn a lot because of the conditions. Pirelli have supplied us data about how the new tyres behave but past experience tells us that it’s only when we go testing that we really find out.”
All Photos: Red Bull Racing
As said, continuity is key, and Mark Webber will go into his seventh successive year with Red Bull, the Australian reckons this is a benefit for both parties, “The fact that this is my seventh season with the team is a massive advantage.” And he added, “I couldn’t have envisaged it when I joined and it’s hard to believe that you could be with the same Formula One team for seven years, as continuity is not always easy to achieve in this sport. I’ve really enjoyed the years I’ve had here so far and I can’t wait to get going this season!”
Vettel goes into his fifth season with Red Bull. He took the Formula One drivers’ crown for the third consecutive time in 2012, the youngest driver ever to do so, and he’s ready for the 2013 season. Of course winning the title again is on top of his list. About last year he said, “We had a very strong finish last season, but it was hard as the season was so long — it was important for me to enjoy being home.”
And he added, “Pretty soon though I started training again, preparing for the new season and I’m very excited because this is the first time I’ve seen the car in one piece. I’ve seen little bits, but it looks very nice, so now we’ll get to see if it works as expected. I’m excited to get going again, to get back in the car, start testing and then go racing. Then, we’ll finally find out where we are.”
And indeed, the RB09 will be shipped to the Circuit Jerez de la Frontera in Spain this night, on the first two days, February 5 and 6, Webber will take the RB09 through its paces, and the next two days Vettel will be behind the wheel.
By Berthold Bouman
Red Bull Racing uncovered their 2013 contender, the RB9 designed by Adrian Newey, at their headquarters at Milton Keynes today. The new car does still have the stepped nose, and according to Newey is an evolution of the last year’s RB8. Red Bull of course aims to win their fourth consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship this season with drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
Red Bull is the sixth team to reveal their 2013 contender, and Newey said, “We know what we believe we’ve done but we don’t know what everybody else has done. There’s still a lot of unknowns.”
All Photos: Red Bull Racing
By Berthold Bouman
Today Sauber became the fifth team to present their car for the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship. Drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez unveiled the Sauber C32-Ferrari as is the official name of the car.
Last year Sauber had four podium finishes and scored 126 World Championship points, and the Swiss outfit is looking to build on their 2012 success this season. The new car will make its track debut at Jerez in a few days time, asked about the roll-out in Jerez Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said,” I’m very excited. The roll-out of a new car is a very special moment every year. It’s something you’ve been working towards for almost a year and then you get your first impressions of how good a job you’ve done. Everyone in the team is excited about this moment, because everyone has played their part in it.”
Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn – Photo: Sauber Motorsport
Asked about Sauber’s expectations for this year she commented, “What I can say is that we’re well-prepared, that we’ve got the new car finished in good time and that we’ve met the performance targets we set ourselves internally. That puts us in a confident frame of mind. But we’ll only really find out what it all amounts to at the first race of the season in Melbourne.”
And she added, “We put some good foundations in place last year. And now we want to build on that base and continue to improve as a team.”
Last year Sauber finished in sixth place of the Constructors’ Championship, what is the aim for 2013? “We’re not saying we want to finish in this or that position in the standings, as ultimately other factors will also come into play that are outside our control. What we can be clear about, however, is that we want to continue on our upward curve,” said Kaltenborn.
All Photos: Sauber Motorsport
By Berthold Bouman
Paul di Resta was the only Force India driver present at the launch of the new Force India VJM06 today at Silverstone, the Indian team owned by Indian entrepreneur Vijay Mallya still has to announce their second driver.
Meanwhile, di Resta is confident of a strong 2013 season with the brand-new VJM06. The Scot had a well-deserved winter break, but is now looking forward to get behind the wheel again. Di Resta is well-prepared for the 2013 season, “I had some good productive training with Gerry Convy and I think this year I can actually read my energy levels and really look at when is the right time to be training, when you feel ready, and when you feel strongest. I’m keen and eager to get back in the car and get back to business.”
But he also wants to make a stronger start than in 2012, “I think the pressure is on all the departments to make sure we start better, last year we under performed, certainly until the European season kicked in. We did get some good results before that — in the rain in Malaysia and in Bahrain, where we just got everything together and managed to achieve something remarkable that early in the season.”
One of the changes this season is that the Drag Reduction System (DRS) can no longer be used during free practice and in qualifying is restricted to the same zones as during the race. Will this make a difference? “In my mind I see it as a safer approach and it’s what most of the drivers want. I think ultimately the bigger teams with more downforce had the advantage, because they were coming out with double DRS systems and so on. Also, it was touch and go where you could use DRS. Some teams could use it through the corners, whereas we were closing it,” said di Resta.
The Force India VJM06 – Photo: Force India
And he added, “Ultimately it’s fine as long as the FIA make sure the DRS is quicker over the lap and it gives you the switch and the gear ratio choice for overtaking — that is why it was introduced. It’s not there to be a performance-enhancing device in qualifying.”
All teams have been able to test the new 2013 Pirelli tyres during the weekend of the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, asked about his thoughts di Resta said, “It will be interesting to see how it will affect the car. The day we tried them in Brazil we experienced the hottest track temperature all year — it was baking hot! They performed well.”
He is satisfied with the Pirelli tyres, “Pirelli has done a very good job over the last couple of years and the tyres do what they should do — they wear out and when you put a fresh set on you go quicker!”
Pirelli has promised more pit stops this year, which is good according to di Resta, “Last year we probably saw a few issues where there were not enough pit stops. We want to see races with more pit stops and more strategy coming into it.”
Asked about how optimistic he is ahead of this season he replied, “I’m feeling very good, I must say. I’m working very closely with my team of people, and that’s changed slightly in different departments.”
“We’re all trying to do the best job possible. Whether it’s managing time and making sure you’re in the best frame of mind or whether that’s on-track performance and the finer details of the car set-up, ultimately it’s all about performance and results. I know the way this team works and they know how I work. When it all gels well we can obviously see the results we get. We just need to make sure we can achieve that on a more consistent basis.”
Paul di Resta in the VJM06 at Silverstone today – Photos: Force India
By Berthold Bouman
Force India is the fourth team to unveil their 2013 contender, the VJM06, but unlike other teams, Force India took the VJM06 out for a spin on the Silverstone circuit, and thus are the first team to show a running car.
As the 2013 regulations have hardly changed, the new car is more an evolution than a complete revolution, and design and production has been overseen by Technical Director Andrew Green. But all parts have been redesigned Green said, “It’s a brand new car from the ground-up — everything is new. We discussed carrying over big chunks of last year’s car, including the chassis, but decided not to.”
Force India is the first team to use the ‘modesty’ or ‘vanity’ panel, to hide the step in the nose of the car. “The biggest change that everybody is going to notice this year is the fairing on top of the nose to hide the ‘step’. It’s neutral as far as the car’s performance is concerned but tidies up the flow over the top of the chassis,” Green said.
Paul di Resta drives the VJM06 at Silverstone – Photo: Force India
Team Principal Dr. Vijay Mallya commented on the new car, “The VJM06 doesn’t look massively different to its predecessor, but beneath the skin we’ve looked at every detail to try and find more performance.” And he added, “I’ve followed the development of the car closely and I’m proud of what we have achieved. The objective now is to make sure we build on the promise of last year and have a strong start to the season.”
Chief Operating Officer Otmar Szafnauer is optimistic ahead of the new season, “We’ve been working hard over the winter, trying to make improvements where we know we can find performance. Everything has come together very nicely. We’ve also focussed on operational strength by bolstering our simulator programme and increasing our CFD capacity with new hardware.
But still missing during the launch, was the second Force India driver, only Paul di Resta was present at Silverstone, and he commented, “Seeing the car built and complete for the first time is a special feeling. I’ve followed its progress in the tunnel and it looks very impressive — aggressive and fast. Now I’m just eager to get out there and see where we stand compared to our competitors. After the winter I feel refreshed and keen to get back to business!”
All photos: Force India
By Berthold Bouman
Ferrari launched their 2013 contender, the F138, at their headquarters in Maranello today. The car, designed by Technical Director Pat Fry and Chief Designer Nicolas Tombazis, doesn’t have the stepped nose, but still has the pull-rod front suspension like its predecessor the F2012.
Ferrari reorganised their technical department ahead of the 2013 season, and the F138 is described by Ferrari as an evolution of the 2012 car, but every part has been revised in order to maximise the performance.
According to a Ferrari statement, “The design philosophy of the suspension layout has not changed and it continues to use pull-rods both front and rear, but it has been refined to the limit, in order to gain as much aerodynamic advantage as possible, especially at the rear.”
“The configuration of the front and rear wings derives directly from the last versions used on the F2012, partly because development of that car ran all the way to the final race of last season,” the statement further read.
The Ferrari F138 – Photos: Ferrari
But the aerodynamic elements of the car as shown today are already obsolete, and ‘significant modifications will be introduced in the weeks leading up to the first race and a busy development programme is already planned’.
The Drag Reduction System (DRS) on the rear wing has been revised due to the modifications of the 2013 Sporting Regulations. According to Ferrari, “Great attention has been paid to weight reduction and on increasing rigidity.”
The KERS system is still located in the mid-lower part of the car to maintain maximum safety standards. Ferrari put a lot of effort in reducing the size and weight of the system, and at the same time improved the efficiency of the components to ensure the highest level of performance during those seven seconds the system can be used during a lap.
During testing in Jerez and Barcelona, Ferrari will also work on understanding the new Pirelli tyres, the team’s pit stops work and strategy management.
By Berthold Bouman
Lotus was the first team to show off their 2013 contender, the Lotus E21. Compared to last year the car has a completely redesigned front and rear wings, it has the Coanda-style exhaust system, and, according to Technical Director James Key, “The devil is in the detail, and the detail of this car adds up to a significance amount of performance.”
All Photos: Lotus F1