Australian GP – Williams images

And some nice ones as well…


Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 20 March 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams Martini Racing. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams F1 ref: Digital Image _89P5035

Valtteri Bottas

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 20 March 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams FW38 Mercedes, leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 TAG Heuer, Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso STR11 Ferrari, and the remainder of the field on the opening lap. Photo: Sam BloxhamWilliams F1 ref: Digital Image _L4R5038

Felipe Massa leads Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz Jr and the remainder of the field on the opening lap.

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 20 March 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams Martini Racing, has his photo taken with fans. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams F1 ref: Digital Image _W2Q3072

Felipe Massa having his photo taken with fans.

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 20 March 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams FW38 Mercedes, arrives on the grid. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams F1 ref: Digital Image _W2Q3776

Felipe Massa arrives on the grid.

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 20 March 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams Martini Racing, on the grid. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams F1 ref: Digital Image _W2Q3810

Valtteri Bottas on the grid.

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 20 March 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 Mercedes, makes a pit stop during the race. Photo: Steven Tee/Williams F1 ref: Digital Image _X0W6601

Valtteri Bottas makes a pit stop during the race.

Australian GP post race – Force India

Nico Hulkenberg in the VJM09.

Nico Hulkenberg in the VJM09.


Force India scored six points in today’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix with Nico Hulkenberg coming home in seventh place ahead of Sergio Perez in P13.

P7 Nico Hulkenberg VJM09-01
Strategy: New Softs (16 laps) – New Mediums (41 laps)
“To get some points in the bag at the first race is a positive way to start the year. It was not an easy day and it’s difficult to know what would have happened without the race being stopped and restarted. I think the red flag made things a lot more difficult for our planned one-stop strategy because it gave everybody around us the chance to reset and change their tyres.

“So that was a shame and it meant I was out of position and got stuck behind the Haas for most of the race. It was not easy to get close to Romain and I had a lot of cars behind me, which meant I was always under pressure and having to defend as well as chase. So, given all the circumstances, seventh place feels quite satisfying.”

P13 Sergio Perez VJM09-02
Strategy: New Softs (16 laps) – New Mediums (41 laps)
“It’s a real shame to finish outside of the points. My problems began at the start: I lost a couple of places off the line and that put me in a very difficult position. I spent my first stint behind Alonso, who was on a faster compound, and being stuck in the dirty air destroyed my tyres. Unfortunately there was a very similar situation after the restart because I was passed by Jenson (Button) who was on supersoft tyres and that cost me a lot of time.

“Sadly the Safety Car and the red flag ruined our strategy which was to stop only once. When the race restarted we had our work cut out: I had pressure from behind and the Renaults and Williams ahead were very difficult to catch – I got close but couldn’t really attack. In the end I had an issue with overheating brakes, probably because I spent most of the race in traffic, but we still managed to finish the race.

“It’s not an ideal start of the season for me, especially after the good work we had done in qualifying yesterday, but we have to keep looking ahead and continue working hard.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal
“The first race is always a bit of a step into the unknown, so getting some points on the board is a positive conclusion to a challenging weekend. Our strategy was shaping up very nicely with the plan to stop both cars only once, but the red flag reset the strategies of everyone around us and made our task much more difficult.

“Making our pit stops just prior to the safety car also cost us track position. Getting Nico back up to seventh place was a good recovery and he did an excellent job of containing Bottas and the Toro Rosso pair for most of the afternoon. Sergio’s strategy was also undone by the red flag, even more so than Nico’s because he dropped to the back of the midfield traffic jam and suffered with high tyre degradation. So a day of mixed fortunes for us, but at least we’ve got some points on the board and we are looking forward to Bahrain.”


Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez

Australian GP post race: Haas F1

Wet nose


Haas F1 made history before and after the 32nd Australian Grand Prix Sunday in Melbourne. The organisation’s debut in Round 1 of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship marked the first time a US team had competed in Formula One since 1986. And after ending a 30-year drought for an American squad in Formula One, Haas F1 ended another drought for an organisation’s maiden F1 race.

After starting 19th, Romain Grosjean finished an impressive sixth, earning the team eight points in the constructor standings. The last time a Formula One team scored points in its debut race was in the 2002 Australian Grand Prix when Mika Salo finished sixth for Toyota.

The fortunate outcome was due in part by the misfortune of Grosjean’s teammate, Esteban Gutiérrez who was taken out of the race in a spectacular accident involving McLaren driver, Fernando Alonso. On lap 17 while entering turn three of the 5.303-kilometre (3.295-mile), 16-turn circuit, Alonso moved to the outside of Gutiérrez in an attempt to overtake.

Alonso’s right-front wheel touched Gutiérrez’s left-rear wheel. The impact launched Alonso into the air and sent Gutiérrez spinning into the gravel trap. Alonso clipped the outside retaining wall and then sailed over the gravel trap. His splintered car ended up on its side against another wall, whereupon Alonso climbed out. Gutiérrez quickly came to check on his fellow driver, and the two walked away unscathed from the harrowing accident.

With debris littering the track, officials displayed the red flag. The field came to the pit lane where the cars were stopped, and the only work teams could do to their cars was change tyres.

After starting the race on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow softs, the team took advantage of the red flag and changed Grosjean’s tyres to the Pirelli P Zero White mediums. While the mediums did not have nearly as much grip as the softs, they also did not wear out as fast. When the race went back to green, Grosjean was good to go the distance without pitting.

His strategy was to outlast and outrun as many of his counterparts as possible. He succeeded, with only five drivers finishing ahead of him, all of whom belonged to race teams with decades of experience. The sixth-place finish was worth eight points, placing Haas F1 Team fifth in the constructor standings.

F1 is back, and America is back in F1 in a big way.

Second pre-season test: final day

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 4 -  Barcelona, Spain


Lotus F1 ended the final day of pre-season testing early after a systems issue compromised Pastor Maldonado’s braking into turn four resulting in him making contact with the barriers. Maldonado had previously completed 36 laps, mainly aero and comparison work. With the E23 hybrid requiring a reasonable amount of rectification work for the damage sustained to the front wing and front suspension, the team opted to end the day’s running early. Maldonado’s best time from the morning assessment was 1min 28.272secs.

Track: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, 4.7km
Chassis: E23-02
Weather: Cloudy, early spots of rain, then sunny. Ambient 10°C – 22°C Track 12°C – 31°C

Programme: Aero assessments including back to back aero component evaluations
Laps Completed: 36
Classification: P8, 1:28.272
Interruptions: Barrier

Pastor Maldonado: “It was a shame to end the day early, but that was the only issue we’ve had like this during testing so we can look to the positive that we have a lot of information to take the car in the right direction. My braking was compromised coming into turn four, meaning I went off the track and hit the barriers. I was able to brake and slow, just not as much as the maximum otherwise possible. The car was not too badly damaged and I am fine, but it’s a shame we had this issue as we would have been looking at running the softer tyres in the afternoon and putting in some fast laps. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car in Melbourne as I think we have good potential this season.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director: “Certainly ending the final pre-season test in the barriers was not part of our game plan, but overall we’ve had a productive two weeks here in Barcelona following on from our initial outing in Jerez. Pastor was unfortunate to have a braking-related issue which meant he wasn’t able to slow sufficiently into turn four and the car was damaged. There was nothing Pastor or any driver could have done to avoid this accident which was systems related and we’re investigating thoroughly to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We now have a quick turn-around to get the car back to Enstone, then shipped out to Australia at the end of the week. It was a pity we weren’t able to run any low fuel laps later in the day. We are looking forward to Melbourne where we will get a full picture of the relative pace of the E23.”


Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 4 -  Barcelona, Spain Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 4 -  Barcelona, Spain




Driver: Valtteri Bottas
Chassis/Engine: FW37-01/PU106B Hybrid
Location: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 4.655km
Objectives: Performance and Aero work
Weather: Warm and Dry
Air and track temps: 10 – 21ºC / 12 – 32ºC

Rod Nelson, Chief Test and Support Engineer: “Today’s programme was similar to yesterday, as we try to get the drivers in the best position before heading to Australia. Due to this the focus was more on performance with a mixture of long and short runs rather than just reliability work. Both drivers have worked extremely hard throughout the test and the entire team have worked very well together. We are really looking forward to Melbourne.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It was a really good day and a great way to finish the test. One of the main points we have learnt is that the FW37 is very reliable. The car we are taking to Melbourne is very competitive and should make for an interesting start to the season. We have made the most out of our time testing and I need to say a really big thanks to the team, not only trackside but also everyone back at the factory as they have produced a really quick and reliable car.”


Winter testing came to an end with another productive day for Sahara Force India. Sergio Perez completed his first miles in the VJM08, clocking 130 laps at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.

Sergio Perez #11
Chassis: VJM08-01
Laps: 130 laps
Mileage: 605km
Fastest lap: 1:25.113
Classification: P6 of 9

Sergio Perez: “My first day in the car has been a good one, with a very high number of laps and a good atmosphere in the team. It’s no secret that we have some catch-up to do but I am optimistic: the team has a clear direction to work towards and we have been able to collect a large amount of data in such a short time which will help all those working back at base. Every run we do, here or at the races, teaches us a lot and moves us closer to where we want to be. Now we must focus on Melbourne: I am really excited about going racing again, the first race of the season is always a special one and one to which you really look forward since the end of the previous season.”

Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer: “Our pre-season testing comes to an end with a solid 130 laps. Today was Sergio’s first day in the VJM08 and, as he got accustomed to the new car, we continued our work of understanding its behaviour, trying various set-ups in both performance and long runs. All we have done in these tests in Barcelona will help us prepare for Melbourne, and even though we may arrive with less mileage than others, we have gathered lots of valuable data. We are making rapid progress with the car and we have a lot of material to analyse back at the factory ahead of the first flyaways. This last week’s work highlights the spirit of this team: credit must go to everyone involved with the design, manufacturing and assembly of the car. It has been a massive effort from everyone in the team and to get so many laps is testament to the great work done by all.”


Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 4 -  Barcelona, Spain Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 4 -  Barcelona, Spain

Pre-season test: Day 3

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 3 -  Barcelona, Spain


Romain Grosjean drove for his final day of pre-season testing today, completing 116 laps in the Lotus E23 hybrid at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. He ran a comprehensive programme including a race simulation, clocking a best lap time of 1min 24.200secs.

Track: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, 4.7km
Chassis: E23-02
Weather: Chilly, warm, chilly. Ambient 5°C – 18°C Track 9°C – 30°C
Programme: Set-up assessments, race simulation, aero evaluations
Laps Completed: 116
Classification: P5, 1:24.200
Interruptions: None

Romain Grosjean: “That was a long day and the track conditions varied quite a lot. This morning went pretty well, we had a lot of work to do with some aero and set-up tasks as we’re trying to test as many things as possible before Melbourne. In the afternoon we ran a race simulation and other performance evaluations. There’s potential for improvement in some areas but we have plenty of data to get the car more to where we want it to be for Melbourne. I can’t wait to for the season to start.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Today we completed another extensive programme with the E23 running reliably throughout. Track conditions were quite difficult for establishing a baseline as the track temperature varied a lot through the day, but nevertheless we ran for over 100 laps and have a lot more information relating to the various aero and set-up configurations. We have quite a long night ahead of us as tomorrow is the final day of testing where we hope to make further progress with Pastor at the wheel.”


Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 3 -  Barcelona, Spain Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 3 -  Barcelona, Spain




Driver: Felipe Massa
Chassis/Engine: FW37-01/PU106B hybrid
Location: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 4.655km
Objectives: Chassis and aero work
Weather: Warm and Dry
Air and track temps: 5 – 17 ºC / 9 – 30 ºC

Rod Nelson, Chief Test and Support Engineer: “It was Felipe’s last day in the car before Melbourne and we have had a busy day. We focused on chassis and aero work as well as longer runs on scrubbed tyres to see the degradation and tyre performance. We did a grid simulation at lunchtime to ensure the procedural processes are all in place for when we arrive in Melbourne. We have just one day of the test left now, and it will be another busy one for the team.”

Felipe Massa: “We had another good day with over 100 laps completed. We reached the end of the programme in good time and the car has remained very reliable over all three tests. Our long runs look positive and the car remains consistent throughout the stints. We are not the only quick car on the track though and the fight behind Mercedes will be interesting. I now have to get ready for the first race of the season in Melbourne, which I am really looking forward to.”


Sahara Force India completed another busy day of testing in Barcelona as Nico Hülkenberg clocked 158 laps at the wheel of the new VJM08.

Nico Hülkenberg #27
Chassis: VJM08-01
Laps: 158 laps
Mileage: 735km
Fastest lap: 1:24.939
Classification: P7 of 9

Nico Hülkenberg: “It was a very positive day in terms of reliability and getting a lot of mileage under our belts. It was our first full day of testing so our main focus remained on getting to know the car, the way we set it up and its characteristics. I think we made some good progress in this regard and we managed to get a decent understanding of how the VJM08 feels under different conditions. That’s definitely a positive, although it remains very hard to judge where everyone is in terms of performance. Next time I will step in the car will be in Melbourne: I am very excited to fly to Australia as that’s when you get the racing feeling again. I am really looking forward to getting going and being back in a competition; that is something I relish. Hopefully the work we did in the last few weeks will pay off and we will be in a position for fight for a good result.”

Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer “It was another solid day of testing with the VJM08, which is proving to be a very reliable car so far: the plan we had set for ourselves today was very ambitious but we managed to achieve all its main points. We have taken another big step in our process of understanding the performance of the car and we were able to work through both performance runs and longer stints. Track temperatures were not ideal as they were very much on the cool side, but we still learnt a lot and gathered a significant amount of data to analyse tonight. It was Nico’s last day in the car before heading off to Melbourne: the work he completed today will help us ensure we make the most of our final day in the car tomorrow as Sergio steps in the cockpit for the first time.”


Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 3 -  Barcelona, Spain Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 3 -  Barcelona, Spain

The new F1 racing year

This year’s season-opener has the added excitement of being the first race for the brand new 1.6-litre power units.

It’s sure to be an unpredictable weekend at Albert Park and one wonders how many cars will make the finish line on Sunday evening; when Melbourne first hosted the Australian Grand Prix in 1996, only 11 cars reached the chequered flag.

Irrespective of what happens on the track, the F1 circus loves racing in Australia. The laid back vibe, the passionate and knowledgeable fans and the chance of some sunshine after the European winter all add to its appeal. As for Melbourne: what a city!

Williams last won this race in 1996 and the team hopes to kick off its new partnership with Mercedes-Benz HPP with another strong result. Says Rod Nelson, Williams’ Chief Test and Support Engineer:

“It’s a street track so we expect a large increase in grip through the weekend as the Pirelli rubber goes down, and as we often see at other temporary tracks it’s also quite bumpy.

“There’s a high probability of a safety car in the race – usually it’s about a 50 per cent chance around here.

“The weather can also be quite changeable as it’s the end of the Australian summer, and with the circuit being less than 1 km from the sea this can have a large effect. The race also starts late in the afternoon so visibility can become an issue for the drivers as the sun goes down.”

It’s been a very busy winter for Sahara Force India. Adds Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya:

“It’s been a massive challenge, especially for a smaller team like ours. That was why we put so many plans in place early last year to be ready for what has become a very different Formula One. All the hard work has paid off, but it has been a very steep learning curve and a huge undertaking to get where we are today.

“It’s the first time for many years that Formula One has been properly aligned with the automotive industry. The prospect of Formula One driving forward technical advances for road cars is a very exciting one.”

According to Renault Sport F1’s track support leader, Cedrik Staudohar, the main challenges of Albert Park will be focused on the power units:

“The high number of low speed turns will put the focus on low speed driveability through correct turbo response. Heavy braking will also need effective engine braking from the ICE to support the new brake-by-wire system. Short bursts of acceleration between the turns compound the challenge, while massively increasing fuel consumption.

“Heavy braking will also give an opportunity for the MGU-K to recover energy, particularly in turns three and four and the last complex through turns 14, 15 and 16 coming back onto the straight.

“Recovering as much energy as possible here is crucial to minimising lap time. Short straights don’t give huge chances for the MGU-H to recover from the exhaust, but there are several of them so it should be sufficient to keep the battery charged.

“It’s one of the tougher races. Fuel consumption is the second highest of the year, and the mechanical challenges add to the difficulty – Melbourne is in the upper half of the table.”

(The Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) which form an integral part of an F1 car’s power unit from 2014 take the concept of KERS to another level, combining twice the power with a performance effect around 10 times greater.

ERS comprise two energy recovery systems (Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic (MGU-K) and Motor Generator Unit – Heat (MGU-H]), plus an Energy Store (ES) and control electronics.)

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