2014: Formula One Fact-File

In just two weeks time the wait will be over and the 2014 Formula One season will roar into action with the Australian Grand Prix. We’ve already had two winter tests (the first in Jerez and the second in Bahrain) and the third has just commenced, giving teams and drivers their last opportunity to get to grips with their 2014 machines before the first race, and iron out any problems.

Read on for The H Duct‘s 2014 Formula One Fact-File full of all the information you will need for the year ahead.

Teams and Drivers

Remaining with 2013 teams: Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean, Jenson Button, Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Gutierrez, Jean-Eric Vergne, Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton (11/22)

Moving to a new team for 2014: Daniel Ricciardo, Pastor Maldonado, Sergio Perez, Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil (5/22)

Returning to a former team: Kimi Räikkönen and Nico Hulkenberg (2/22)

Rookies: Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat, and Marcus Ericsson (3/22)

Returning to Formula One: Kamui Kobayashi (1/22)

Who’s missing?: Mark Webber (retired – driving for Porche in WEC) Paul di Resta (returned to DTM after losing his F1 seat), Giedo van der Garde (moved to Sauber as a test and reserve driver), and Charles Pic (Lotus reserve and test driver).

For a full list of the 2014 line-up and their new permanent numbers, click here.

Milestones

Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa are both approaching their 200th Grand Prix. Räikkönen has entered 194 while Massa has entered 193.

Ages
(ages specified are correct for 14th March, the day of FP1 in Australia)

Oldest driver: Kimi Raikkonen (34 years & 148 days)
Youngest driver: Daniil Kvyat (19 years & 322 days)
Oldest driver pairing: Ferrari (67 years & 25 days)
Youngest driver pairing: Toro Rosso (43 years & 280 days)

For a full list of driver ages click here!
For a full list of combined team ages click here!

Experience
(in terms of races entered)

Most experienced driver: Jenson Button (249 races)
Least experienced driver: Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat and Marcus Ericsson (0 races – rookies)
Least experienced driver (excluding rookies): Esteban Gutierrez, Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton, and Valtteri Bottas (19 races)
Most experienced team-mates: Ferrari (411 races)
Least experienced team-mates: Marussia (38 races)

For a full list of number of races entered click here!
For a full list of combined team number of races entered click here!

Newcomers

There are three rookies in Formula One this season, as mentioned above, but who are they and where did they come from?

Kevin Magnussen – McLaren: Danish driver Kevin Magnussen is the son of former Formula One Jan Magnussen. The 21 year old was Formula Renault 3.5 champion last season. He has been a member of the McLaren Young Driver programme for a number of years and has appeared at the Young Driver Test for them.

Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso: Daniil Kvyat is a young Russian driver who won GP3 last season. He also competed in the European Formula 3 Championship in 2013, winning one race. The 19 year old was a Toro Rosso test driver as well and beat off competition to replace Daniel Ricciardo for the upcoming season.

Marcus Ericsson – Caterham: Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson is a Formula BMW UK and Japanese Formula 3 champion who finished in sixth place in GP2 last season. The 23 year old drove in the Young Driver Test for Brawn GP in 2009 and was announced as a Caterham driver early in 2014.

Driver Numbers
(follow links to drivers Twitter accounts)

In 2013 the FIA announced that they would be introducing a permanent driver number system from 2014 onwards. This means that drivers have picked a number that they will carry with them for the remainder of their Formula One career. The reigning champion gets #1 by default, should he decide to use it.

#1 Sebastian Vettel – Reigning world champion Vettel has chosen to take number one for the year ahead but has picked #5 for the remainder of his career. He chose this number because it was the number he used when he was karting and also the number he carried on his Red Bull when he won his first championship.

#3 Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull’s new driver has chosen to take #3 as his permanent number. “It was my first ever number in karting and I was also a fan of Dale Earnhardt,” Ricciardo revealed on Twitter.

#4 Max Chilton – Another driver with ample marketing opportunities from his number selection, Chilton has already had some fun with M4X.

#6 Nico Rosberg – Rosberg will race with #6 on his car this year. “My future wife’s and my dad’s lucky number, so it has got to work for me too! ;),” Rosberg wrote on Twitter. Rosberg’s dad, world champion Keke Rosberg, won the title while running car #6.

#7 Kimi Raikkonen – Raikkonen’s reasoning for picking #7 was that he had the number last year so saw no reason to change it. Simple.

#8 Romain Grosjean – Grosjean picked #8 because he liked it. He revealed on Facebook that his wife’s birthday was on the 8th, they started dating in 2008 and he considers his son to be the eighth wonder of the world (cute!). Like Raikkonen, it is also the number he carried last year.

#9 Marcus Ericsson – Another set of team-mates with consecutive numbers. Ericsson started karting aged 9 in 1999 and won races.

#10 Kamui Kobayashi – Kobayashi has picked the number 10 – the car number he first ran when he stood in for an injured Timo Glock for Toyota back in 2009. He certainly made an impact then so will no doubt be hoping to do the same again.

#11 Sergio Perez – Perez was pleased to get #11, revealing it was a number he had used in karting as a kid and that even his email had 11 in it and it was a number that had “a lot of things to do with it” for him.

#13 Pastor Maldonado – The #13 has been missing in Formula One since 1976 due to the belief that it is an unlucky number. In many cultures it is considered lucky and this is the case in Venezuela, where Maldonado hails from, so he has chosen to bring it back in 2014.

#14 Fernando Alonso – Alonso is another driver who has favoured sentimentality when picking his permanent number. He used #14 when karting and enjoyed considerable success, finishing third in the world championship in 1995, winning the World Junior Title in 1996, and winning championships in Spain and Italy in 1997.

#17 Jules Bianchi – During the driver number selection process, all drivers were asked to nominate three numbers with their first preference first. Numbers were allocated in championship order so poor Bianchi lost out all three of his options – to Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and Bottas. He eventually chose #17.

#19 Felipe Massa – Massa revealed the meaning behind his number to The H Duct in a Twitter Q & A he conducted with Williams: “It was my number when karting & my uncle also used 19 when he raced. Luckily it was one of our numbers this year anyway!”

#20 Kevin Magnussen – Rookie Magnussen won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship last year carrying the #20 on his car. Since choosing the number he has posted a number of McLaren cars bearing the number on Twitter.

#21 Esteban Gutierrez – Keeping it straight and to the point, Gutierrez picked his lucky number – #21.

#22 Jenson Button – After Honda’s withdrawal from Formula One, Brawn GP raced with the car numbers 22 and 23 for the 2009 season. Button won his world championship with car #22 so he hopes the number will bring him more “great memories”in the future.

#25 Jean-Eric Vernge – Another nostalgic pick, with 25 being a number that Vergne used in his karting days.

#26 Daniil Kvyat – Kvyat’s driver number is coincidentally the consecutive number to his team-mate’s. He said after picking it that the number has no story, yet… “the story about the number has to be made,” he tweeted.

#27 Nico Hulkenberg – Following the reveal of the numbers that drivers would be carrying, Hulkenberg expressed his happiness at receiving the number he chose – #27. He said, however, for him it is not such a big deal and it just a number.

#44 Lewis Hamilton – Hamilton is another driver who has chosen a number of early significance to him. Hamilton used #44 in his early karting days, running it in the Champions of the Future Series (which he won).

#77 Valtteri Bottas – When Bottas first hit the F1 scene, he gained a lot of attention on Twitter and had his own hashtag (#BOTTAS). The number 77 provides him with a lot of marketing opportunities as #BOTTAS is set to become #BO77AS. (Valtteri also has a double T…)

#99 Adrian Sutil – Sutil went all out and picked the highest number available. “I went for the highest number – I am aiming for the maximum,” he revealed afterward.

Engine Suppliers

Renault: Red Bull, Lotus, Toro Rosso*, and Caterham
Mercedes: Mercedes, McLaren, Force India, and Williams*
Ferrari: Ferrari, Sauber, and Marussia

* new supplier for 2014

The Calendar

The season will kick off with the Australian GP on the 16th March and finish on the 23rd November in Abu Dhabi. On their trip around the world, the Formula One paddock will visit 19 countries.

There are two new additions to the calendar – the return of the Austrian Grand Prix at the re-branded Red Bull Ring and the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

You can see the 2014 calendar by following this link.

If you reside in the UK (or watch Formula One on BBC from somewhere else in the world) here’s a handy guide to keep you right about which races they have fully live and which are extended highlights.

2013

Sebastian Vettel became world champion for a fourth time in dominant fashion. He won 13 races (including nine in a row at the end of the year). In total there were five different race winners in the first half of the season – Kimi Räikkönen, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Vettel. McLaren had a year to forget, with no podium finishes.

For 2014 the form book can be thrown out the window with the biggest rule changes to the sport in decades.

  • 2013 season statistics can be found here.

Rule Changes in a Nutshell

Gone are normally aspirated 2.4-litre V8 engines and in their place are 1.6-litre turbo powered Power Units. Along with this is the loss of KERS which has been replaced with ERS.

Last year’s engines produced around 750bhp with KERS providing an additional 80bhp per lap for a limited amount of time. The 2014 V6s produce around 600bhp but ERS will give drivers an additional 160bhp for a longer, but still limited, amount of time per lap.

Instead of a KERS button, power from ERS is delivered to the rear wheels via the throttle pedal. The new ERS system will mean that cars produce more torque at lower revs, making good throttle control more important than ever.

A problem with ERS could prove more costly in terms of reliability this year. Another factor which teams must incorporate is that there are more complicated regulations in terms of power units and their usage. Last year the rule was simple – drivers could use eight engines without incurring a penalty, but every engine used after the allocation resulted in a grid drop. In 2014, the power unit is split into six components – the engine, the motor generator unit-kinetic, the motor generator unit-heat, the energy store, the turbocharger, and the control electronics. Drivers can use no more than five of each component before incurring a penalty.

Along with the new power units and ERS systems, drivers will also have a new eight-speed, fixed ratio gearbox. Last year teams nominated 30 gear ratios ahead of the season and could run any seven of those 30 at each Grand Prix. This season gearboxes will house an additional gear but the ratios must be the same at every race. Teams can change once but after that they will incur penalties if they change the ratios again.

Another significant change is the introduction of a fuel limit for the race. Last year teams could use as much fuel as they wanted – generally around 160kg – but this season there will be a limit of 100kg per race with fuel flow being limited to 100kg per hour. It will become a battle of fuel efficiency for the engine suppliers and how well drivers can save it.

There are narrower front wings, visibly different noses which have caused much discussion since their reveals, and a re-positioned exhaust. This means that the likes of the ‘coanda effect’ and blown-diffusers will disappear. The nose changes, which most teams have embraced differently, are due to the height of the nose being reduced from 550mm to 180mm. This is for safety reasons to prevent cars being launched airborne in the event of a collision. The height of the chassis has also been lowered from 625mm to 525mm.

Finally, the minimum weight has been increased from 642kg to 690kg for 2014. This weight, which encompasses car and driver, is to compensate for the increased weight of the new power units; however there are concerns that heavier drivers are being penalized.

A link to some further rule changes including penalty points, return of in-season testing, and safety.

Links

Red Bull: www.redbullracing.com – @redbullracing
Ferrari: www.ferrari.com – @InsideFerrari
McLaren: www.mclaren.com – @McLarenF1
Lotus: www.lotusf1team.com – @Lotus_F1Team
Mercedes: www.mercedes-amg-f1.com – @MercedesAMGF1
Sauber: www.sauberf1team.com – OfficialSF1Team
Williams: www.williamsf1.com – @WilliamsF1Team
Force India: www.forceindiaf1.com – @clubforce
Toro Rosso: www.scuderiatororosso.com – @ToroRossoSpy
Caterham: www.caterhamf1.com – @CaterhamF1
Marussia: www.marussiaf1team.com – @Marussia_F1Team

Vote for Ferrari’s car name

Ferrari have become the latest team to announce the launch of their 2014 car. The as yet un-named challenger will be launched on Saturday 25 January. Before the car is unveiled, however, Ferrari have offered fans a unique opportunity to be involved with the naming process.

By visiting http://2014f1car.ferrari.com/en/#countdown fans can vote five times for any of the following five options: F14 T, F14 Maranello, F14 Scuderia, F166 Turbo, F616. So far over 105,000 votes have been cast from all over the world with F14 T and F166 Turbo leading the way. 

Over the years Ferrari’s cars have been called F138, F60 and 412 T2 to name but a few. A number of cars have also carried the year in their names e.g. F2012, F2008, F2007 etc.

As well as being able to vote for the name, fans can submit questions for Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, and Stefano Domenicali. This can be done via the team’s Facebook page; by emailing askstefano@ferrari.com/askkimi@ferrari.com/askfernando@ferrari.com; or tweeting with the hashtag #askstefano/#askkimi/#askfernando.

The answers to the questions will be revealed after the launch of the car, with the name being revealed on Friday 24 January. Get voting and asking!

F1’s Silliest Season?

‘Multi 21, Seb. Multi 21’

After just two races in 2013, silly season kicked off after the Red Bull debacle at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Mark Webber was clearly unhappy after being passed by his team-mate Sebastian Vettel for the win, after the world champion had ignored orders to hold station behind his race leading team-mate. Reports instantly linked Kimi Raikkonen to the seat, with the Finn’s contract with Lotus due to run out at the end of the year.

Mark Webber announced in June of this year that he would be retiring at the end of the season to pursue a career in sportscars with Porsche. This announcement sent silly season into a frenzy and since then rumours have been rife about who will fill his vacated seat. Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso have both been linked to it, as has Kimi Raikkonen who has also been tipped to drive for Ferrari, Lotus and McLaren in 2014.

There is a saying, coined by Claud Cockburn, which is: “don’t believe anything until it has been officially denied”. This should definitely be remembered in Formula One.

This year silly season really centres around two vacancies: the one at Red Bull and a possible opening at Ferrari. Felipe Massa has once again found himself under pressure to turn his form around, if he wants to remain with the Scuderia for his ninth season with them. Team Principal Stefano Domenicali recently told the official Formula One website: “My favourite choice would be, of course, to keep Felipe because Felipe is a very good guy – very dedicated to the team – and when you look around there are not so many drivers out there that you swap and they immediately deliver.” He found himself in the same situation last season but was given a year-long contract extension for 2013. On the other side of the garage Alonso has a contract through to the end of 2016. The Spaniard is one driver that knows all too well, however, that contracts in Formula One are not always guarantees.

At the end of 2005, after Alonso had won his first world championship with Renault, he announced that he had signed a three year deal with McLaren from 2007. After a somewhat difficult season with McLaren, however, an amicable agreement was reached which saw Alonso leave his contract early, returning to Renault. Just a year later, Alonso found himself at the centre of another contract controversy.

Kimi Raikkonen was contracted with Ferrari until the end of 2010. This was the company line for most of the latter half of the season in 2009 (Q:”who will be driving for Ferrari next year?” A: “Kimi has a contract with us for 2010”). It was Alonso who ousted him. Ferrari subsequently paid Raikkonen to get him out of his contract and as a result Raikkonen sat two years on the sidelines, racing in WRC.

Last week, two Italian journalists on Twitter hinted that Raikkonen had signed a deal to return to Ferrari. With the next race being the Italian Grand Prix, many expected there to be an announcement from the Scuderia, however the team’s infamous Horse Whisperer moved to dispel that myth pointing out “from 1991, when the Maranello press office first began to put its official pronouncements down on paper, until now, only twice, in 2006 and 2008, has the team’s home grand prix provided the backdrop to an announcement regarding the drivers”. So the uncertainty could rumble on for a while yet.

Elsewhere it has been widely reported that Ricciardo has been for a seat sitting at Red Bull (where it was discovered his hips are too big for the 2014 car, but that’s another story) but again there has been no official confirmation from either party. So, if Ricciardo is confirmed at Red Bull that effectively leaves Raikkonen with two options: Ferrari and Lotus. He has been linked to McLaren but they are expected to keep both of their drivers on for next season.

This is always the case as the season enters its latter stages – who will drive where the following year? If a driver makes a compliment about another team, he’s going there. If a driver follows a team on Twitter, he’s going there (remember Jaime Alguersuari and Force India?). If a driver is spotted talking to a key member of another team, he’s going there. Drivers from years gone by are suddenly said to be making comebacks and anyone with a contract due to expire is a possibility for every team on the grid.

Chances are Ferrari will retain Massa and Alonso, Raikkonen will stay with Lotus and Ricciardo will make the move from Toro Rosso to Red Bull. At the end of the day, all this hooha could be for nothing and everything could remain very much as it is. That’s Formula One silly season for you!

Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix: What’s What

People usually talk about saving the best ‘til last. In the road racing world, it’s a case of saving the fastest ‘til last. Next weekend’s Ulster Grand Prix, taglined ‘the world’s fastest road race’ is the last international road race of the year and promises to be an enthralling one if the North West 200 and TT are anything to go by. Four time 2013 TT winner Michael Dunlop, fresh off the back of two wins at the Armoy road races, will be present along with a host of other familiar faces. This includes current lap record holder and eight time winner Bruce Anstey, whose impressive fastest lap of 133.977mph was achieved in 2010 around the 7.41 mile Dundrod circuit.

Conor Cummins during practice at Armoy

Conor Cummins during practice at Armoy

Bike Week kicks off on Sunday 11th August with a sponsored walk around the circuit. There will be various other events throughout the week, with practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. Racing also takes place on Thursday, with Saturday featuring a six race timetable. Further information about the schedule for the week can be found at the Ulster Grand Prix official website.

So who will be there?

Guy Martin gets interviewed at the North West 200

Guy Martin gets interviewed at the North West 200

There will be plenty of popular names contesting this year’s races including eight time winner Guy Martin. Also competing are Lee Johnston, Jamie Hamilton, Maria Costello MBE, Conor Cummins, David Haire and William Dunlop to name but a few.

Aussie Cameron Donald is returning to the race with Wilson Craig Racing having missed the event in 2012 due to other commitments. Also back is 2012’s fastest newcomer Dean Harrison who has been impressing the road racing world in 2013.

What races will I see?

There is an action packed calendar spread over Thursday and Saturday.

Thursday will feature the Dundrod 150 National Races:

Dundrod 150 National Race – 5 laps
Ultralightweight/Lightweight Race – 5 laps
Dundrod 150 Challenge Race  – 5 laps
Dundrod 150 Superbike Race – 6 laps

Saturday is dedicated to the Ulster Grand Prix Races:

Superstock Race – 6 laps
Ulster Grand Prix Supersport Race – 6 laps
National Ulster Grand Prix Ultralightweight – 5 laps
National Ulster Grand Prix Lightweight – 5 laps
Ulster Grand Prix Superbike Race – 7 laps
Supersport Race – 6 laps
Superbike Race – 6 laps

For further information, including specifications for each race, follow this link.

Who won last year?

Michael Dunlop's Supersport bike at Armoy

Michael Dunlop’s Supersport bike at Armoy

Michael and William Dunlop, Guy Martin, Bruce Anstey, and Davy Morgan were amongst the race winners at last year’s event and will all no doubt be hoping to retain their victories this year. One notable absentee from this year’s entry list is Ryan Farquhar who won the Supertwins race ahead of his protégé Jamie Hamilton in 2012. Fresh off the back of his Irish Road Race Championship, where he was unbeaten in the Supertwin class, Hamilton could be the one to clinch this year’s Supertwin victory.

And that’s not all…

New Zealander Bruce Anstey will be completing a demo on the Britten V1000, an iconic bike of which there are only ten in existence! This parade lap will take place between races on the Saturday.

Want more?

Visit the official Ulster Grand Prix Website: http://www.ulstergrandprix.net
Follow them on Twitter: @UlsterGrandPrix
Like’ their Facebook page
Download the app (available from iTunes)
Stay tuned to The H Duct for a round-up after the event

Wristbands for the week cost £25 (under 16s go free) and can be purchased, along with programmes, from Lidl branches in NI. These are also available to buy at any of the 13 entry roads during Bike Week.

eBay Motors Team “happy” after Media Day

The eBay Motors Team was the talk of the paddock as the class of 2013 were unveiled at yesterday’s British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) launch day at Donington Park. The newly designed eBay Motors BMW drew a large crowd of media and fans as the garage door opened and the car entered the pit lane to a buzz of excitement. One of the key talking points over the winter break has been the return of Colin Turkington after his 2009 Championship winning season and it was straight back to business alongside his team-mates Rob Collard and Nick Foster.

Collard, Foster and Turkington at the team's launch

Collard, Foster and Turkington at the team’s launch

Following the team’s own launch event in Richmond-upon-Thames last week, the BTCC’s media day provided the public with its first opportunity to see the striking new NGTC-spec BMW 125i M-Sport that will carry the eBay Motors colours this season.

All three drivers took to the track against their rivals in the only official pre-season test, with most teams taking part.

Former champion Colin Turkington emerged as the quickest of the three eBay Motors men on what was his first day behind the wheel of the car he will race during the season ahead.

The team with their new car

The team with their new car

With the car only completed at the circuit after the eBay Motors team worked into the early hours of the morning to get it ready for the event, Turkington treated the initial stages of the four-hour long afternoon test session as a shakedown before bringing his lap times down to end the day tenth on the time sheets, just 1.2 seconds down on pace-setter Andrew Jordan.

“I had a good feeling with the car towards the end of the day,” he said. “We are still finding our feet with the NGTC car and we didn’t make any changes today, so we know there is more to come. There were a few niggles we had to deal with, but we ironed those out and it went well.

“It’s all about time in the car as it’s different to what we have run before, but we’ve got a good basis on which to build and are starting in a good place.”

Nick Foster on track

Nick Foster (mostly) on track

For the Donington Park test, the second car was shared between Nick Foster and Rob Collard, with Foster the first of the pair to get behind the wheel. Nick would complete the most laps of the three eBay Motors men with 53 laps under his belt and was also happy with the way in which the day had gone.

“I’m pretty pleased with that,” he said, having posted the 17th quickest time. “The car was faultless and we just need to work on a few things to get the most from it. The conditions weren’t ideal on track with it being so cold and today wasn’t the day to go out and do something stupid trying to set a quick time.

“We know there is more to come from the car and there is more to come from me as I need to blow the cobwebs away a bit, but overall, I’d say it’s a case of so far, so good.”

With Foster’s programme complete, Collard then took over for the second half of the session and ended the day just ahead of his team-mate in 16th spot.

Rob Collard takes his turn behind the wheel

Rob Collard takes his turn behind the wheel

“It’s gone okay,” he said. “We ran reliably and set a decent lap time even though conditions didn’t favour the rear wheel drive car when it comes to getting heat into the tyres. We’ve got more running planned before the season opener and it all looks positive.

“We know that we need to find some time, but it’s a new car and there is still a lot to come. We’ve just got to wait and see where we stand when we get to Brands Hatch.”

The Donington Park test marked the first time that the team had run two of the new NGTC-spec BMWs, with work on-going to complete the third car ahead of the first race weekend of the new season.

With the latest target having been achieved, team boss Dick Bennetts said he was pleased with the progress made as the team works towards the start of its championship campaign.

eBay_Media_Day4“We’re very pleased with the way the test went,” he said. “Colin’s car was on track for the first time and after a few little teething problems, it ran well on track. We’re starting to learn more about the NGTC BMW but we ran different set-ups on the two cars and now have a lot of data to look at to see where we need to improve and what we can change moving forwards.

“We weren’t concerned about lap times and didn’t run the new softer tyre like some of the others, so we’re happy with where we’ve ended up.”

The eBay Motors team will now head to Silverstone for its next pre-season test before the new season gets underway at Brands Hatch on Easter Weekend.

To keep up to speed with all the news on the car development and the drivers’ preparations visit www.ebaymotorshub.co.uk and follow the team on Twitter @ebaymotorsbtcc

2013: Countdown to the NW200

hductlogo_RR_copyWith just ten weeks to go until the first international road race of the year, join The H Duct in the countdown to the Vauxhall International North West 200. With a brand new blog post every Monday, we will be previewing the event by profiling key riders and teams.

What is the NW200?

The North West 200 was first held in 1929, originally over 200 miles, giving it its name. Since then the course has been reduced to a 8.970 mile track in the triangle area in the North West of Northern Ireland encompassing Portstewart, Coleraine, and Portrush. Due to the nature of the track, with its long straights, speeds often reach 200mph with riders passing each other in the slipstream constantly. You could be eighth at the start of the last lap, and still go on to win if the leading pack is close enough. It certainly proves to be exciting racing for spectators as the track passes through residential streets and along the coast road. Recent Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis is a fan and a frequent visitor to the paddock.

A map of the course is shown below:

424px-Nw200

North West 200 Race Week

The North West 200 takes place over the course of a week with plenty of entertainment interspersing the racing. Events such as the Miss North West 200 competition and the “Givin’it Gas Chat Show” with Carl Fogarty and Jamie Whitham are just two highlights of this year’s schedule. A full schedule can be found on the official NW200 website. 

The Races

On Tuesday and Thursday roads will close between 9.30am and 2.30pm for practice sessions. At 5.15pm on Thursday the roads will close again for the following races:

  • Supersport 1 sponsored by Ballymoney Borough Council
  • Supertwin 1 sponsored by Anchor Complex, Portstewart
  • Superstock 1 sponsored by LiveWire AV Ltd

Saturday is the main day of racing, with five races including the NW200 Superbike race at the end of the day. Roads close at 10am and are due to re-open at 6.30pm. The race day schedule is as follows:

  • Supersport 2 sponsored by McKendry Fabrications fm Ltd
  • Superbike 1 sponsored by EventServ
  • Supertwin 2 sponsored by Vauxhall
  • Superstock 2 sponsored by CP Hire
  • NW200 Superbike race sponsor to be announced

Keep up to date 

The NW200 mobile app is available for Android and IOS. It includes:

  • Course map
  • GPS directions to great vantage points
  • Watch videos on the go
  • Events info
  • Send your picture

You can follow the event’s Twitter account @northwest200 and find them on Facebook. Their official website can be found at http://www.northwest200.org/default.aspx, which has all the information visitors to the North West 200 will need to know.

Watch this great promotional video for a taste of what’s to come:

Next week’s post will take a look at the newcomers including Karl Harris and local racer Sam Wilson. I hope you will join us!

2013: Car Launches: Lotus F1 Team

Launch Stats

Date: 28/01/2013
Location: Enstone
Chassis Name: E21
Key Personnel: Eric Boullier, Gerard Lopez, James Allison, Kimi Raikkonen, and Romain Grosjean

The Lotus F1 Team have become the first team to launch their car for the 2013 season. The launch, which took place in the factory after plans to hold it in a marquee went awry, was fronted by Sky Sports’ Craig Slater and streamed live on Youtube. Team Principal Eric Boullier, team chairman Gerard Lopez, and Technical Director James Allison were on hand to answer questions, but it was the team’s drivers – Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen – who took the covers off the E21.

The rules for 2013 have not changed much, meaning this year’s cars can be much more of an evolution from last season. James Allison revealed that, while the car did not look noticeably different, “the devil is in the detail”. Lotus’ stepped nose remained, and there was a striking difference in the livery, which features a lot more red. Before the launch, Lotus posted a teaser video featuring Raikkonen and actor Matt Le Blanc, who quizzed the Finn on the car. He did not give much away, however, fobbing him off with his famous words “leave me alone, I know what I’m doing”. They also launched a new hashtag, #imsexyandiknowit.

To get all the information of the car and keep up to date with the team in the lead up to the 2013 season visit their website and follow them on Twitter. For an analysis of the car, check out James Allen’s blog.

To read the full transcription of the interviews from the car launch follow this link!