Motorsports: FIA gears up to launch new Formula 4 championships worldwide

Filed under: Motorsports, Racing

Dallara F4

Formula One may get all the glory – and rightfully so – but it’s not the only racing formula out there. There are many steps along the motorsports ladder, but they’re all run by different authorities and under different names. There’s GP2, GP3, Formula Three, Auto GP, Formula Renault, Formula Ford, Formula BMW, Formula Vee… the list goes on, and leaves some rungs missing on the ladder up to the big leagues in some countries. But Gerhard Berger is keen on fixing that. The former F1 driver – winner of ten grands prix for teams like Ferrari, McLaren and Benetton – serves as the president of the FIA’s Single-Seater Commission, and he’s out to launch a new class of Formula 4 around the world. The idea is to provide a stepping stone between karting and Formula 3, which is too expensive for many would-be racers to get into without the sponsorship that can be attracted in lower formulae.

Rather than launch the new FIA F4 category as one unified series, with one engine and one chassis, the idea is to make it as diverse as possible. Individual countries are being encouraged to run their own F4 championship, yet each can choose its own engine supplier (conforming to a common 1.6-liter, 150-horsepower standard) and different chassis suppliers are being invited to participate.

One of them is Dallara, the Italian chassis constructor that makes race cars for numerous other single-seater series, including IndyCar and the FIA’s new Formula E series. Dallara has given little in the way of details about the new design, but it looks to incorporate a comprehensive aero package including front and rear wings and underbody ground effects.The FIA is calling for carbon-fiber construction to keep things light, strong and safe. Similar to its F3 chassis, however, Dallara plans on adapting the new F4 platform to accommodate different engine installations, including a possible hybrid version, for whatever power the individual national series organizers choose.

Dallara expects to launch the new car next spring, when it will have to compete with other chassis constructors as well on racetracks around the world. In addition to launching new series in some countries, Berger and company are looking to bring into the fold existing championships like Germany’s ADAC Formel Masters, France’s Signatech Formula 4, Italy’s Formula Abarth and Britain’s Formula Ford – many of which already have their own constructors in place.

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FIA gears up to launch new Formula 4 championships worldwide originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 31 Aug 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Formula E calendar set at ten races, top F1 teams being courted

Filed under: Motorsports, Performance, Electric

Formula E, the open-wheel EV racing series has finalized the calendar for its inaugural season. Set to kick of in 2014, the races looks like to have been distributed quite evenly across the globe.

Two American races (LA and Miami) along with a pair of South American races in Rio and Buenos Aires round out the contests in the New World. London, Berlin and Rome make up the European leg of the championship, while Beijing, Bangkok and Putrajaya cover Asia.

This news follows a report from Autoweek that Formula E is courting some of the top Formula One teams. According to AW, series organizer Alejandro Agag is already in talks with McLaren, and is of the opinion that one day the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull will take part in the emissions free series.

Despite the current lack of big names, the parts of the Formula E cars look promising. Batteries from Williams are mated to electric motors from McLaren, while Dallara provides the chassis. Like F1, there’s only one tire supplier, although we’re happy to announce it’s Michelin rather than Pirelli. Series test driver Lucas di Grassi showed us just what the FE cars can do with an in-car video a few months ago.

As for drivers, we don’t see Sebastien Vettel leaving his gas-powered racer soon. Formula E could see an influx of retired F1 drivers and GP2 veterans, although Agag told Autoweek “I can’t say any names yet.” The series will kickoff in 2014, in the Italian capital of Rome.

Formula E calendar set at ten races, top F1 teams being courted originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Jul 2013 18:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Ferrari Racing Days at Laguna Seca: F1 Clienti bring the Formula 1 experience closer to the masses

Filed under: Motorsports, Ferrari, Racing

Ferrari F1 Clienti at Laguna Seca

Without a doubt, the highlight of this past weekend’s Ferrari Racing Days at Laguna Seca was the F1 Cliente. Ferrari started the program in 2003 to allow their most significant and wealthiest customers to own and operate old Formula 1 cars at some of the world’s best racing circuits under the guidance and supervision of a dedicated team of Ferrari’s own mechanics and engineers. Participants in the program need only to show up – Ferrari takes care of the maintenance, care and transportation of the cars. The crew will even bring the owner’s racing suit to each of the events.

For the event at Laguna Seca, a total of six F1 cars were in attendance, ranging from a 1972 312 B2 driven by Jacky Ickx to an F2007 test car driven by Michael Schumacher. Two other Schumacher race cars from 2001 and 2004, an F2003-GA driven by Rubens Barrichello, and a Berger/Mansell F1-89 filled out the rest of the lineup.

The best part about the F1 Clienti is that Ferrari allows a relatively good amount of access to see the cars up close. Just try walking into the Ferrari garage at an actual Formula 1 race. To see and hear the cars in person is also an entirely different experience than watching on television. The zoom lenses of the television cameras betray the actual speed at which an F1 car can travel. The 599XX and FXX actually seemed slow in comparison.

You can watch the Ferrari F1 Clienti at Laguna Seca for yourself in the video after the jump, or check out our photos from the event in the gallery below.

Continue reading Ferrari Racing Days at Laguna Seca: F1 Clienti bring the Formula 1 experience closer to the masses

Ferrari Racing Days at Laguna Seca: F1 Clienti bring the Formula 1 experience closer to the masses originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 May 2011 19:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Formula One gets a new engine supplier

Filed under: Motorsports

With BMW, Toyota and Honda long gone from an expanded grid, the 12 teams in the Formula One World Championship are powered by one of four engines: Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Renault or Cosworth. The new turbo four formula that’s set to come into effect for the 2013 championship, however, is geared towards attracting new manufacturers into the series. And according to reports, it has landed its first newcomer.

But the engine supplier in question isn’t an automaker. Nor is it an established race engineering firm like Cosworth. It’s an entirely new enterprise, set up by a former team principal and driver manager. Called PURE, the initiative is being led by Craig Pollock, who managed Jacques Villeneuve’s career and ran the BAR-Honda team for a number of years. Pollock and his team are working on a completely new turbocharged four-cylinder engine design, and aims to have customer teams in place long before the new formula takes effect.

While PURE – which stands for Propulsion Universelle et Recuperation d’Energie (we’ll let you translate that one in your head) – is a new company, it’s not exactly starting from scratch. For starters, the design team mapping out its specifications have all been working on Peugeot and Renault engines for F1 and Le Mans for decades. For another, the engines will be manufactured by a subsidiary of Mecachrome, the company that builds Renault’s F1 engines – including the one that drove Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull to the championship last year – much as Ilmor does for Mercedes and Cosworth once did for Ford. In other words, they know what they’re doing, and while the existing engine suppliers are still tending to their current V8s, the PURE program could get a leg up by focusing “purely” on the new turbo four.

Formula One gets a new engine supplier originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 08 May 2011 08:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mitsubishi interested in electric Formula 1 series

Filed under: Motorsports, Japan, Mitsubishi, Electric, Racing

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi has expressed serious interest in FIA president Jean Todt’s proposed electric F1 series. The idea is in its infancy, and there is long way to go before silent F1 cars are zipping around the world’s best racing circuits, but interest from the brand gives the idea a bit of a boost.

Over the last two years, Mitsubishi has significantly reduced its motorsports participation, beginning with its withdrawal from the 2009 Dakar Rally. That, coupled with the recent controversy surrounding the future of the Lancer Evolution, has elicited criticism that the Mitsubishi is moving in an anti-motorsports direction.

Company brass say that isn’t true. Mitsubishi claims it’s very interested in electric-vehicle racing as a way to speed up EV technology development and make advancements in its future road vehicles. Still, we’d wager it’ll be years before an electric Evo hits the streets.

[Source: Mainichi Daily News]

Mitsubishi interested in electric Formula 1 series originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 01 May 2011 17:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Forces at play in Formula One enough to destroy wheels

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos

red bull f1 racer experiences front wheel failure

All this Red Bull racer wants for Christmas is his two front wheels – Click above to watch video after the jump

It’s no secret that Formula One exerts high levels of force on both drivers and cars. Case in point: As seen in the video after the break, Red Bull driver Sebastien Buemi experienced catastrophic failure of his front wheels under hard braking. Buemi was setting up for a corner and slowing from around 185 miles per hour when both of his front wheels tore themselves away from his race car.

We shared this news last year, but this version of the clip has a few more angles from which to take in the carnage. Click past the jump for a terrific show of F1 force.

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Forces at play in Formula One enough to destroy wheels

Forces at play in Formula One enough to destroy wheels originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 28 Apr 2011 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Formula One’s Turkish Grand Prix is on the outs

Filed under: Motorsports, Earnings/Financials

Bernie Ecclestone mobbed by cameras

Formula One and Turkey are apparently on the splits, as Turkish newspaper Haberturk claims that the Turkish Grand Prix won’t take place in 2012. Istanbul chamber of commerce chief Murat Yalcintas reportedly told the publication “It looks like the Formula One race won’t be held in Istanbul next year.” The reported reason for the decision was that Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone (above) raised the race fee from $13 million to $26 million; a price Istanbul doesn’t appear eager to meet.

The paper claims that the reason for the decision has less to do with the rising cost of F1 and more to do with the fact that Ecclestone is interested in a 2012 race in Moscow. F1 has made no formal announcements regarding a foray into Moscow or the future of the Turkey race.

[Source: Bloomberg | Image: Clive Mason/Getty]

Report: Formula One’s Turkish Grand Prix is on the outs originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 22 Apr 2011 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: University shuts down Formula SAE program over racy photo

Filed under: Motorsports, Performance, Etc., Racing

Waterloo SAE Car

According to TheRecord.com, The University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, temporarily shut down its Formula SAE team after a female team member was photographed next to the chapter’s race car, clad only in a bikini and high heels. The young lady who stripped down for the shot said she wanted to show her femininity juxtaposed with her engineering talents. The school, however, was not impressed with her racy display.

The irony, according to the team, is that the photo shoot was for an entry in a calendar contest designed to promote women. The female SAE member was hoping to use the photograph as her entry into the contest, which apparently celebrates beauty and brains.

Whatever her motives were, the university put the administrative clamp on the team, supposedly because they used the design department’s studio for the photo shoot without getting permission. The suspension means the team won’t be allowed to take their car to Michigan in May for the international SAE competition. Basically, the students’ months of toil on their 600-cc sportbike-powered track star will be for naught.

Despite the harsh penalty, the school was quick to praise the team’s efforts, and members were assured they’d still get academic credit for the work they put in. Still, for a team of aspiring automotive engineers who poured countless hours, more stress than anyone should ever live under and immeasurable passion into the build, academic credit is small consolation for missing the competition.

We’d love to show you the original image, but couldn’t find the photographer to ask permission. Instead, you’ll have to click here to see what all the fuss is about.

[Source: The Record, University of Waterloo | Image: University of Waterloo]

Report: University shuts down Formula SAE program over racy photo originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Apr 2011 17:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Formula Drift kicks off the 2011 season in Long Beach

Filed under: Motorsports, Racing

2011 Formula Drift Streets of Long Beach

2011 Formula Drift Streets of Long Beach – Click above for high-res image gallery

A handful of well-known drivers and manufacturer-sponsored cars typically dominate the Formula Drift circuit – Foust, Gittin, Hubinette and Millen. At the opening event in Long Beach this past weekend, though, the big names were noticeably absent from the podium.

Perennial contender Tanner Foust retired from the sport last season to focus on his rally and television careers, Sam Hubinette couldn’t manage to get his new Dodge Challenger to the starting line, and last year’s champion, Vaughn Gittin Jr., failed to qualify for Saturday’s knockout round. Rhys Millen in his newly painted Hyundai Genesis Coupe only managed to make it into the quarter finals.

The eventual podium featured first time winner Justin Pawlak, who drove to victory in Gittin’s hand-me-down Mustang, Matt Powers, another newbie to the podium, and Daijiro Yoshihara, who finished fourth last season. You can read more about the event in the press release after the jump or browse through our photos from the event in the high-res gallery below.

Gallery: 2011 Formula Drift Streets of Long Beach

Photos copyright (C)2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

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Formula Drift kicks off the 2011 season in Long Beach originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 11 Apr 2011 19:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Samuel Hubinette to field two-car Formula Drift team for 2011

Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Dodge, Racing

Samuel Hubinette Racing 2011

Two-time Formula Drift champion Samuel Hubinette is fielding a two-car team for the 2011 season, calling on European Pro Drift champion Dean Kearney as his second driver. The two will compete in a Dodge Motorsports Challenger and a Dodge Viper SRT-10. Kearney will wheel the Viper, while Hubinette will pilot the Challenger.

The two will drive for Hubinette’s own team, Samuel Hubinette Racing, and will get sponsorship from Dodge and V-LEDs Federal. Hubinette is sticking with longtime crew chief Brad Manka to lead both efforts.

Hubinette managed two Formula Drift championships in his first three seasons in the sport, and hopes to groom 22-year-old Kearney into the next Formula Drift champion. Kearney, a native of Ireland, won the 2009 European Pro Drift Championship. Watch for Hubinette and Kearney when the Formula Drift season kicks off April 8-9 in Long Beach, California.

[Source: Chrysler]

Continue reading Samuel Hubinette to field two-car Formula Drift team for 2011

Samuel Hubinette to field two-car Formula Drift team for 2011 originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 26 Mar 2011 19:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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