At the dawn of pre-season testing in Jerez, Red Bull Racing became the latest team to reveal their 2015 challenger albeit with a camouflage livery.
The transition from 2014 to 2015 is less dramatic than the changes at the start of last season and the team have used what they learnt last year as the basis for the RB11. “There are some changes that affect the shape of the front of the car but beyond that most of the changes are under the skin,” Chief Engineering Officer Rob Marshall explained. “We’ve identified the areas where we can make improvements and we’ve worked hard on these. There won’t be a lot that’s visible to the naked eye bit a lot of hard work has gone into the bits that are hidden.”
“It’s been an organised winter,” Team Principal Christian Horner revealed. “We’re pushing to the limit as usual. We have been on a very tight timescale for the car to be prepared in time for the first test, but that’s normal in this team. If you’re not on the limit you’re not trying hard enough.” One of the main struggles Red Bull faced last year was the engine deficit Renault faced in relation to Mercedes. The team have worked closely with the French engine manufacturers to ensure they do not suffer the same problems again. “The relationship with Renault is a lot closer now,” Horner continued. “Red Bull is the only partner for Renault now, with ourselves and Toro Rosso, and that focus from Renault together with a close involvement with our design team is yielding good results and a far closer integration between the power unit and chassis side. Working in unison with Renault we can really make some steps forward this year.”
At the end of 2014, Red Bull Racing said goodbye to four time world champion Sebastian Vettel as he headed to Ferrari. They have promoted Daniil Kvyat to join Daniel Ricciardo at the team.
“It’s going to be very exciting to drive a Red Bull Racing car for the first time for me,” Kvyat revealed. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and I’m really looking forward to finally getting in the car. It’s going to be cool. In a way it’s starting from zero, though many people in the team know we quite well there is still the challenge of entering a new team for myself. However, I haven’t really set any targets for 2015. I just want to keep doing the best job possible with hard work and the right attitude and that’s the best thing I can do.”
Ricciardo is equally as excited about the new season. “I feel really good coming into the 2015 season,” he said. “After last year I come in with a bit of confidence and I’m really just ready to keep going from where I left off last year. I’m aware that third was a great result in the championship but I would love that big trophy and a few more trips to the top step!”
In 2015 Scuderia Toro Rosso will mark ten years in the sport. They launched their new car – the STR10 – in the Jerez pit-lane prior to the first pre-season test commencing tomorrow.
The team will run an all new rookie line-up this season with Max Verstappen being joined by Carlos Sainz Jr. They took the covers off the car, becoming one of the only teams to physically unveil their machines this season. Most other teams have favoured online launches with studio shots of their car being uploaded.
“The launch of the new STR10 car today here in Jerez marks the start of a new and hopefully thrilling F1 season,” Team Principal Franz Tost said. “We are delighted that that CEPSA has hosted us again and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them, as well as our other long-term partners Red Bull, Nova Chemicals and Sapinda, for their continuous collaboration over the years. I am especially pleased that they are with us again this season as Scuderia Toro Rosso marks a decade in Formula 1. I’m also happy to welcome our new sponsor Estrella Galicia 0,0, who has just joined us today.”
“The 2015 season is a new challenge for all of us,” he continued. “We’ve put a lot of work into the STR10 and we are convinced that we will have a successful year. Our objective is to finish fifth in the constructors championship and we are ready to do our best to achieve it. Our engine partner Renault has also worked very hard to come up with new modifications and I’m sure that our joint effort will give us a package which will certainly be very competitive. All in all, we have a much stronger team as well as a very competitive STR10 and fast drivers; it’s a great combination.”
This is not the first time Toro Rosso have used an all rookie line-up as the team strive to bring young drivers through the ranks to Formula One and in particular to a seat at Red Bull Racing. “I am very happy to be making my first official appearance as a Formula 1 driver here in Spain,” Carlos Sainz Jr said. “I am looking forward to trying the car for the first time tomorrow. I have worked very hard over the winter on my personal fitness, as well as spending time in Faenza to familiarise myself with the team, having also done some days in the simulator. Now we have just 12 days to prepare for Melbourne, so going through all the race weekend procedures will be a priority for me, as well as putting in as many miles as possible behind the wheel.”
His team-mate Max Verstappen is also looking forward to getting started. “I can’t wait for the season to start and tomorrow will seem like a very long day watching Carlos in the car!” he said. “With two days in the 2014 car at the Abu Dhabi test and the Friday mornings I did last season, combined with time spent in the simulator, I feel well prepared and I’m really up for this challenge, which is very exciting. Six days on track here in Spain and then it will be time to head for Australia and my first Grand Prix, something I have been looking forward to ever since I started karting.”
Ferrari have become the sixth team to officially reveal their 2015 car.
The Scuderia unveiled photos of the SF15-T online, as has been the trend so far this season. The Williams, Lotus, McLaren, Mercedes and Sauber challengers have already been seen – along with Force India’s 2015 livery on a 2014 car with this year spec nose – prior to the start of the first pre-season test, starting in Jerez on Sunday.
Alongside a new car, Ferrari also have a new line-up as four time world champion Sebastian Vettel joins Kimi Raikkonen at the team. Raikkonen won his world championship with the team back in 2007 but they suffered a bit of a slump last season. As was the case with Renault powered teams, Ferrari found themselves at a bit of a deficit to Mercedes power and the team eventually finished fourth. Fernando Alonso picked up two podiums while Raikkonen grappled with a car which did not play to his strengths as a driver. For Vettel at Red Bull it was also a difficult season as he failed to pick up a win after enjoying such success in the past few years. There were a few podiums but it was his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo who picked up the wins.
“Obviously we want to be as strong as we can,” Raikkonen said of the new season. “It’s too early to say where we’re going to be and as long as we do our things 100%, work as one team with two cars, we can push things forward and keep building what we’ve been building over the winter and go from there. That’s the starting point and then obviously the results will come. There’s no point from my side to make any goals yet, we’ll start from the first test and go from there.”
“It’s a change of colour for me, so it’s a new experience but I think the car looks beautiful,” Vettel revealed. “To see how it comes together is always special, every year when there’s a new car when you see the first bits and finally the final car all assembled. I can’t wait to go on track and see how it feels. The first time when I arrived [in Maranello] last year the opportunity to test the car from 2012 was already something magical, something really really special. Of course now, to get going, to start the 2015 season properly will be something special. I think when the flag drops in Melbourne I think will be again a very special thing.”
Ferrari have shaken up their technical team, with long-term team member Pat Fry departing. They also have a new team principal in the form of Maurizio Arrivabene. Two drivers from the 2014 season – Esteban Gutierrez and Jean-Eric Vergne – have joined the team in a testing capacity.
The Sauber F1 Team has an all new line-up and all new colour scheme for the 2015 season.
Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr have joined the team while Ferrari Academy Driver Raffaele Marciello was recently appointed test driver. Last year’s car featured a grey colour scheme while this year, thanks to new sponsorship, the C34 is blue and yellow.
“I am pleased about being a member of the Sauber F1 Team,” Ericsson explained. “After a difficult season we want to move forward and fight in the mid-field like the team previously did. From a driver’s point of view, I want to continue to learn and establish myself as a Formula One driver. I have the feeling of being in the perfect environment to do so. In Formula One it is difficult to have precise targets as it depends on the overall package. It is clear we want to be fighting for points.”
Formula One rookie Nasr shares Ericsson’s enthusiasm for the year ahead. “In my rookie season there is a lot to learn, and especially as I have not yet driven on some circuits yet,” he explained. “In general, I am ready to take on this challenge. In my role as test and reserve driver for Williams last year, I was involved in every race weekend. Furthermore, I also had the chance to drive the car a few times, so I think I have a certain understanding of Formula One. Now I am taking the next step in being a race driver, and I am looking forward to bringing my experience from 2014 as well as to supporting the Sauber F1 Team in getting back into the points.”
Like other teams on the F1 grid, Sauber have been posting teasers in the run up to their launch and posted a video of the car being fired up to allow fans to hear what it sounds like.
Sauber, like Lotus, were another team who slipped down the order in the championship last year. Having finished seventh in 2013 with 57 points the team unfortunately scored no points in 2014. Adrian Sutil finished 11th on two occasions but points alluded them for the whole season due to lack of pace and reliability problems. The Ferrari engine also struggled in 2014 so the team will no doubt be hoping it will have improved for the season ahead.
“2014 was a very disappointing year,” Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said. “However, this is in the past, and we now focus on what comes next. We have learned our lessons and are confident for the new season. We have to improve and be able to fight for championship points. I am delighted about our two new drivers who bring a breath of fresh air. Both are young, talented and highly motivated. On their way to Formula 1 both stood out through victories in Formula BMW and Formula 3. Both then finished this career progression off in the GP2 series. While Marcus [Ericsson] looks back to one season in Formula 1, Felipe [Nasr] will have his rookie year in which he comes fully prepared due to his role as test and reserve driver at Williams last year. I feel confident with regard to our drivers.”
“Raffaele’s previous career is impressive,” Kaltenborn concluded. “Therefore it is a logical step for us to give him the opportunity to become more familiar with Formula 1. As a team we are pleased to be there with him on his way to the pinnacle of motorsport.”
It is a common goal within the team to get back to scoring points. Like most other teams, Sauber will be running at the first pre-season test in Jerez, giving them the first opportunity to get their car out on track for some proper running.
McLaren have revealed the car they hope can move them back up the grid in 2015.
Having reunited with previous engine partners Honda, McLaren have unveiled the MP4-30 via a video on Youtube.
The team have also been posting teaser videos to their website including a ‘Back to the Future’ style video featuring 2015 drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. They also posted a video of three key McLaren engineers which included a windtunnel and 80s toys. Featured in the video is new Chief Engineer Peter Prodromou who has joined the team from Red Bull, where he worked alongside Adrian Newey to design four world championship winning cars.
McLaren’s mantra this year is that they do not want to repeat history – referencing their dominant years in the late 80s with Honda previously – but instead make history. Alonso has rejoined the team after seven seasons away to partner Button. Kevin Magnussen is remaining with the team as a test driver. The new car will take to the track for the first time in the first pre-season test, starting this Sunday.
Jenson Button (Race Driver):
Fernando Alonso (Race Driver):
Kevin Magnussen (Test and Reserve Driver):
Eric Boullier (Team Principal):
Jonathan Neale (Chief Operating Officer):
Lotus has become the latest team to unveil its 2015 challenger.
Images of the E23 Hybrid were released on the team’s website and shared via social media. After a disappointing 2014 campaign – where Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado picked up just ten points between them – the team dropped to eighth in the constructors championship having finished fourth in 2013 with over 300 points. Lotus have swapped engine suppliers this year, leaving Renault as they join forces with Mercedes in the hopes it will move them back up the grid.
“The E23 Hybrid represents a new era for Lotus F1 Team,” CEO Matthew Carter explained. “Not only in the change to a Mercedes Benz Power Unit but also it is the fruition of a busy winter behind the scenes. Improvements within our Design, Aero and Simulation departments have all contributed to the development of a car which is a huge step forward. As a team we are confident that the new car coupled with additions to the Race team will be a huge leap forward.”
While 2014 was a season of struggle, Lotus have used this to help them ensure they are improving the areas that need it most moving forward. “The E23 Hybrid represents a massive step forward for us,” Lotus’ Technical Director Nick Chester revealed. “We’ve made strong progress in the wind tunnel as well as in areas such as packaging and cooling. We expect the E23 to perform far, far better than its predecessor. In terms of what’s new, obviously a massive change for us is a new Power Unit supplier. We made this change as it looked and looks to be the one area of the car which could bring us the greatest performance gain. It’s not just performance, but reliability and driveability as well as packaging and cooling too.”
“The E22 did deliver good figures in the wind tunnel, even if it was difficult to unlock its potential,” Chester continued. “We’ve paid more attention to making the characteristics of the car more adaptable. In terms of the suspension, we were delivered something of a blow last year when the front-rear interconnected suspension was outlawed mid-season. The E23’s suspension design is specific to the updated regulations so we’re not trying to update a system originally intended to work a different way. We learnt a lot in many areas of the car over the course of 2014 so there are many lessons which have been applied. We know we’ve made a big step. We won’t know how our car will fare in relative terms until we’re out in action at a Grand Prix, but we certainly expect to be much more competitive than last year.”
Lotus have added GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer to their line-up, welcoming him as third driver as they look to have a much better season than last year. “We are full of optimism going into the new season,” Carter concluded. “It is time to put the disappointment of last season behind us and benefit from 12 months of hard work; we are ready to return to our rightful place at the pinnacle of the sport.”