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Singapore F1 organisers hope track changes will boost overtaking

The Singapore track has been modified at Turns 11-13

The Singapore track has been modified at Turns 11-13

The Singapore GP track has been modified in response to upgrading work to the city’s civic district, and which has prompted changes in the area of Turns 11-13.

It’s hoped that the revised corners will create more overtaking opportunities.

Organisers say that Turn 11 will be “realigned to sit tighter with the left hand side of Fullerton Road for a slightly slower corner speed compared to 2014. The left hand Turn 12 will also be modified slightly so that drivers now enter the left lane of Anderson Bridge.” In addition Turn 13 has been widened.

“It is a fantastic challenge to translate changes to Singapore’s Civic District into improvements to the Marina Bay Street Circuit,” said Engineering Track Manager Jonathan Giesecke. “I expect the modifications from Turns 11 to 13 will enable closer racing and the potential for additional passing opportunities.”

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Pirelli wet tyre test set for Paul Ricard in January

Pirelli is organising a two-day wet weather F1 tyre test at Paul Ricard early next year.

The test will take place on January 25-26 next year, using 2015 cars, and all teams have been invited to participate. The whole two days will be devoted to wet running, using the circuit’s sprinkler system.

Pirelli has been trying for some time to organise a proper wet weather test in the sort of controlled conditions that the French track can provide. As with all official tyre tests, teams would not be allowed to make changes to the cars, or undertake any form of development.

“The plan is to go to Paul Ricard in January,” Pirelli’s Paul Hembery told this writer. “You’ve got to go to a controlled circuit where water is applied on a consistent basis. It’s one of the few places where in January it should be OK in terms of weather.

“You only need one car to do the test we’re doing. We’ve extended it to everyone, if they all want to come, it’s good.”

The test is early enough for Pirelli to have new wet tyres ready for the Australian GP: “It’s for next year. The season starts later, so that helps. If we had the historical start, it would have been too late.”

Hembery hopes that Pirelli will have an opportunity to do more dry weather testing.

“Any testing for us is positive. We’d like to do a lot more, in reality. We’ve been asked to come up with two or three stops per race. This year we’ve been a little bit too close to one. The margins are really small, and when you do the analysis it’s five or 10 seconds is all that’s needed to jump between one strategy or the other, and to get that right without testing is very difficult. So we do need to have a little bit more testing. Really it’s for compounds, it’s not so much for the structure of the tyre.”

Paul Ricard will be a novelty for many F1 drivers, as it has not been used for a group F1 test since May 2008.

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Force India modifies wishbones after Perez failure causes crash

Force India is confident that an overnight suspension wishbone modification will allow the team to run in Hungary on Saturday without a repeat of today’s failure.

In FP1 Sergio Perez crashed after suffering an issue with the lower right rear wishbone when he went over a kerb. The team opted not to run Nico Hulkenberg while it conducted an investigation.

The wishbone that failed was of a design that has been used since last season, and while the particular component was of higher mileage – and was thus designated for Friday use – it was still safely within the usual limits. The team will modify the parts that it has at the track after the design team back at the factory came up with a suitable solution.

“It looks like a lower wishbone had a buckle,” CEO Otmar Szafnauer told this writer. “If that’s the case we’ve got to stiffen it. We’ll wrap it with carbon to make it stiffer – we’ve got the capability here on site, and we’ll do the same back at base and test it, and we should be OK for tomorrow.”

Szafnauer conceded that the drivers may have to pay more attention to kerb usage: “We’re not 100% sure, but we think the rumble strips set up a frequency. We should be able to go over the kerbs, but we’ll just be a bit more careful how long we stay on them.”

Meanwhile the team has a lot of mileage to catch up on.

“It’s not ideal. We’ve got to do some of the work we planned on doing in FP2 tomorrow. That puts us on the back foot. The good news is that Sergio was saying the car was good from the off, so hopefully we’ll dial it in and then do some long runs as well.”

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Force India skips FP2 after Perez crash

Force India didn’t take part in FP2 in Hungary today after Sergio Perez had a heavy crash in the morning session.

The Mexican suffered a right rear suspension failure as he ran over kerbs on a corner exit, which led to a spin into the barrier on the inside. The car then rolled in spectacular fashion after a front wheel caught under the chassis. Perez was unhurt, but as investigations into the failure continued the team opted to keep Nico Hulkenberg in the garage as well.

A team statement said: “Sahara Force India will not take part in this afternoon’s second practice session at the Hungaroring as the team continues to investigate a suspension problem, which caused Sergio Perez to crash this morning. Sergio’s car suffered significant damage to the bodywork, wings and floor and repairs are ongoing.

As a precaution, the team has chosen not to run Nico Hulkenberg this afternoon. The team will work hard to fully understand the cause of the failure and find a resolution in order to be ready for Saturday’s free practice session.”

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Teams still searching for 2016 in-season test dates

Teams are still planning for two in-season F1 tests next season, contrary to some suggestions in the paddock.

While the two-pre season tests in March at Barcelona have long been set in stone, the teams are still discussing the dates and venues of the in-season tests, with the matter having been complicated by the new calendar confirmed by the World Motor Sport Council.

The FIA Sporting Regulations explain the testing rules thus: “Two team tests of no more than two consecutive days duration carried out on circuits within Europe where an Event has just taken place, such tests commencing no less than 36 hours after the end of the relevant Events.”

While as this year the first test is expected to follow the Spanish GP, finding a date for second has proved difficult. A return to Austria is the favoured choice, but because the race is followed by the first trip to Baku – which is a flyaway race – the transport logistics will be challenging.

Silverstone, dropped this year largely because of the price quoted by the track was too high for the teams, is back-to-back with Austria, so it cannot be used.

Hungary would eat into the summer break and in any case is not regarded as a good test venue, while Spa and Monza are seen as ‘one-offs’ and also not useful for testing. However the Belgian track was used for a test in 2007, and could be an option.

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Todt confirms that Bianchi’s number 17 will be retired from F1

The FIA has confirmed that Jules Bianchi’s number 17 will no longer be used in the F1 World Championship. The news comes ahead of the Frenchman’s funeral in Nice tomorrow.

Since last season drivers have chosen a number that lasts for the whole of their career in the category.

An FIA statement said: “Jean Todt, President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, announced that the car number 17 will be retired from the FIA Formula One World Championship in honour of Jules Bianchi.

As F1 car numbers are now personally chosen by each driver, the FIA believes it to be an appropriate gesture to retire Jules Bianchi’s number 17.

As a result, this number can no longer be used for a car competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship.”


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GPDA vows to continue push for F1 safety

The Grand Prix Drivers Association has paid tribute to Jules Bianchi, and vowed to continue its push to improve safety in the sport.

The organisation said in a statement: “Formula 1 has lost a great talent, a great man and a great friend today. Twenty-one years after the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, we have now lost Jules, who has died as a direct consequence of an on track accident.

“It is at times like this that we are brutally reminded of how dangerous racing still remains. Despite considerable improvements, we, the Grand Prix drivers, owe it to the racing community, to the lost ones and to Jules, his family and friends, to never relent in improving safety.

“Our sincerest condolences go out to Jules’ family and friends.”

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