Ferrari, Renault pass initial 2022 crash tests

Ferrari and Renault are reported to have already passed initial front crash tests for their 2022 Formula 1 entries.

Work is, of course, taking place on 2021 cars and Ferrari are, according to the Italian version of Motorsport.com, also still developing this season’s SF1000 and beginning to look at their 2022 edition when the F1 regulations significantly change.

The Scuderia have “already passed the FIA frontal crash test and the nose of the car has obtained the homologation of the governing body”, says the report.

The same applies to Renault, who will be rebranded as Alpine next year when Fernando Alonso makes his return to Formula 1.

Although teams cannot yet work on aerodynamics for 2022, they can make progress on the structural parts of the car.

Ferrari have said that realistically it will be 2022 before they can again challenge for a World Championship or even race victories in normal circumstances.

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Ferrari

But at least they will have a new engine for 2021, with a comparative lack of power having been one of the major issues in their fall down the pecking order this season – the Italian giants sit sixth of 10 in the constructors’ World Championship standings.

In terms of recent developments, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto revealed that an upgrade introduced for the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring had yielded minor progress but nevertheless a “positive” one after Charles Leclerc qualified in P4.

“I think we were not expecting a lot of difference,” said Binotto. “It was a small upgrade and it was completing a package we started introducing in Russia.

“The positive is that it was correlating well with what we saw in the wind tunnel and back in the factory. And that somehow means we are moving the car in the right direction.

“There will be some more further upgrades during the remainder of the season, which will be as well important.

“And for us, what’s key is the team developing the car, and more important, making sure the direction we are taking the car is the right one.”

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Ferrari Driver Academy set up Down Under

Ferrari has joined forces with Motorsport Australia to help unearth the next generation of Asia-Pacific racing talent.

The Scuderia may have rejected one Aussie in the form of Daniel Ricciardo in favour of signing Carlos Sainz next year, but they have shown that they may still want a driver from Down Under to race for them in future.

They are also casting their net out to Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and China as Motorsport Australia will run a programme for drivers (aged between 14 and 17) from these countries on an annual basis at the Centre of Excellence in Sydney.

The two best drivers from this programme may then have a shot at joining the European Formula 4 Championship in Italy.

“Today’s signing with Motorsport Australia, after the partnerships already established with the Italian Motoring Federation ACI and with Karting world powerhouse TonyKart, is a key step forward in our Scouting Strategy in order to ensure that we continue to secure the best talent of the future,” said FDA boss Laurent Mekies.

“We have a long-standing relationship with our friends at Motorsport Australia, and we trust that together we will build a fantastic selection programme for the region that will inspire and attract many young drivers.”

Motorsport Australia president Andrew Papadopoulos added: “Our up-and-coming open wheel drivers will now have an even better opportunity to be part of the Formula 1 system at an early age.

“Australians have proven throughout history that they can compete with the best in the world – and ultimately we believe this programme will help us find the next Daniel Ricciardo or Mark Webber, and hopefully the next Australian FIA Formula 1 World Champion.

“Ferrari has a proud and wonderful history in motorsport and are arguably the team most young drivers aspire to be a part of.

“We are delighted to be partnering with FDA and look forward to developing a strong relationship between our two organisations.

“This partnership with Ferrari Driver Academy is a historic moment for Motorsport Australia and certainly a significant boost to the development opportunities that exist here in Australia.”

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Special delivery from Ferrari to Kimi Raikkonen

Good job Kimi Raikkonen was at home. Imagine the delivery driver having to leave his US Grand Prix-winning Ferrari SF71H with a neighbour.

The Iceman has been reunited with the car that is very likely to have provided him with his last-ever victory in Formula 1 and shared a couple of snaps of it via Instagram.

The car will provide a lasting reminder for Kimi in what was an incredibly long-awaited victory at the Circuit of The Americas in 2018. It was his first win since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix.

We cannot completely rule out Kimi uttering the same words as he did when he passed the checkered flag in Austin…”F*cking finally.”

But it just goes to show…once a Ferrari driver, always a Ferrari driver.

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W Series chief defends Ferrari’s female driver plans

Ferrari principal Mattia Binotto’s desire to add a female driver to the Academy received some criticism, but W Series chief Catherine Bond Muir has defended the team’s intentions.

The Scuderia have confirmed their Academy line-up for 2020, one which included Charles Leclerc’s newly recruited brother Arthur.

But Binotto also made it clear that the team wanted to add a female driver to their Academy soon, an announcement which some people saw as just some marketing.

Bond Muir though, who runs the all-female W Series, has defended Ferrari and doesn’t think their desire to recruit a female driver is “just a marketing tool”.

“Obviously I would hope that driver would come from W Series,” Bond Muir told Crash.net.

“I know that Ferrari have come under some flack on social media here but what we all have to remember is that if we cast our minds back to a year ago, there weren’t very many women involved in motorsport at a high level.

“If you look back to the amount of times that you were writing about women in motorsport, it was much, much less than it is now. I think that is what we have to applaud.

“The tide is rising for all women in motorsport and I think what Ferrari are trying to do is to help that tide to rise. I don’t think it is just a marketing plan, I think that they really genuinely want to see if they can get a women into F1.

“And if they can attract a young superstar and take them through their academy and be the first team to get a driver into F1 then frankly, hats off to them.”

The W Series has announced an expanded eight-round race calendar for 2020, while for the first time the United States and Mexican rounds will form part of the F1 support programme. The winner of the 2020 W Series title will earn 15 points towards the 40 required for an F1 superlicence.

Inaugural W Series champion Jamie Chadwick remains part of the Williams team as a development driver.

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New Ferrari simulator won't be available until next spring

Ferrari won’t be able to exploit the assets of its new simulator at the start of the 2020 season, with the Scuderia’s hardware expected to be up and running next spring.

Given the constraints on testing implemented for 2020, more resources and time are set to be devoted by teams to simulation programmes, a change which motivated the House of Maranello to replace its current decade-old system, nicknamed “the spider”.

However, the introduction in 2021 of F1’s budget cap also incited Ferrari to bring forward its multi-million dollar investment in its new, state-of-the-art virtual device.

While the Scuderia initially hoped to rely on its new simulator for the development of its 2020 car from the outset, a delay means the system won’t be exploited until the season is well underway.

Ferrari has retained Mahindra Formula E charger Pascal Wehrlein as its simulator driver for the 2020 season.

The Italian outfit is currently the first team scheduled to unveil its 2020 car, with the presentation taking place in Maranello on February 11.

Ferrari enjoyed a strong second half to its 2019 season, winning three races, and with regulations unchanged for 2020, the Scuderia is expected to be once again at the forefront of the title fight.

©Ferrari

However, team boss Mattia Binotto cautioned against the prospect of Ferrari defeating its mighty Mercedes rival.

“To open a winning cycle and to be in front of Mercedes in a stable way, it will still take a few years,” Binotto said, quoted by Motorsport.com’s Italian website.
“But I know that as Ferrari we always have a moral obligation to try every year. We, therefore, start with the goal of doing very well in 2020, we don’t start to finish second.

“However, if one is to say that the team should reach the maturity and the know-how sufficient and necessary in all aspects to be dominant, it is fair to say that this is not done in two days.”

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Binotto wants Esports to help supply Ferrari Driver Academy

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto says Esports is set to become a purveyor of talent to its prestigious Driver Academy in the future.

Last year, Ferrari entered the virtual world with a bang, its FDA Hublot Esports Team winning the drivers’ title in the F1 Esports Pro Series at the final round in brazil thanks to gamer David Tonizza.

Binotto admitted to being impressed by the teenager who picked up all of the team’s 184 points in 2019, and the Swiss underscored the importance of the Esports craze.

“The 2019 season was the first year that we were participating,” he told f1esports.com.

“We recognise that it’s a very important factor for younger generations.

“We have been lucky to win the championship on the very first season, but I think we’ve got the right driver… David Tonizza won the title, which we are pleased about.”

2019 F1 New Balance eSports Pro Series drivers champion David Tonizza

© F1 eSports Pro Series

The Ferrari Driver Academy currently includes a core of five hopefuls who will be racing in F2 this season: Robert Shwartzman, Callum Ilott, Mick Schumacher, Giuliano Alesi and Marcus Armstrong.

It’s presently unclear how or when a virtual talent such as Tonizza, or future FDA Hublot gamers, could be integrated into the Scuderia’s junior plans.

But it’s evident that the lines are increasingly blurring between the real and virtual worlds of racing.

“We understand the importance of gaming for the new generation, and esports is part of our Ferrari Driver Academy programme,” added Binotto.

“It’s not something which is fully separated – it is a part of it.”

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Esports important part of Ferrari Driver Academy

Ferrari principal Mattia Binotto says Esports are not only very important for younger generations, but also their Academy.

In 2019 the F1 Esports Pro Series featured all ten teams on the real-life grid for the first time with Mercedes and Ferrari signing up after missing the inaugural season.

And it proved to be a masterstroke for Ferrari as their FDA Hublot Esports Team secured the drivers’ title courtesy of David Tonizza, at the final race in Brazil.

Tonizza scored all of the team’s 184 points in 2019, so unsurprisingly Binotto was very proud of the teenager.

“The 2019 season was the first year that we were participating,” he is quoted by f1esports.com.

“We recognise that it’s a very important factor for younger generations. We have been lucky to win the championship on the very first season, but I think we’ve got the right driver… David Tonizza won the title, which we are pleased about.”

The worlds of motorsport and Esports are becoming increasingly intertwined.

Having now turned 18, the legal driving age in Italy, Tonizza could follow in the footsteps of his fellow gamers in giving real-life racing a go.

Brendon Leigh has appeared in Formula Ford, while Cem Bolukbasi tried out GT racing and Formula Renault Eurocup in 2019.

But most impressive was the achievements of Enzo Bonito who defeated both Lucas di Grassi and Ryan Hunter-Reay back at the 2019 Race of Champions.

Ferrari currently boast the strongest arsenal of junior drivers in F1 – Robert Shwartzman, Callum Ilott and Mick Schumacher all appeared at various F1 Esports events in 2019, and they have all landed competitive Formula 2 seats for 2020.

They will be joined on the grid by fellow Ferrari prospects Giuliano Alesi and Marcus Armstrong, and Binotto was clear that Esports does play an important role in the Ferrari Driver Academy.

“We understand the importance of gaming for the new generation, and esports is part of our Ferrari Driver Academy programme,” he explained.

“It’s not something which is fully separated – it is a part of it.”

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Two new ponies for the Ferrari Driver Academy

Ferrari Driver Academy have confirmed the addition of two young guns to the junior programme at Maranello.

Arthur Leclerc (right), brother of Charles, and Dino Beganovic (left) who will begin the journey in a programme also includes Mick Schumacher, son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher.

The Ferrari Driver Academy is pleased to announce that two new drivers are joining the Maranello marque’s racing driver training and development programme, which has now been operational for eleven years.

The drivers in question are Arthur Leclerc and Dino Beganovic, whose 2019 performances showed they have what it takes to be part of the FDA.

In Formula Regional. Arthur Leclerc is the younger brother of the highly rated and current Scuderia Ferrari driver Charles, himself a former alumnus of the FDA. Arthur was born in Monaco on 14 October 2000 and will tackle the Formula Regional series this year, having first raced single-seaters in 2018 in the French Formula 4 championship.

In only his second race, he won at Nogaro, going on to repeat that feat later in the year at Magny-Cours. He first came into contact with the FDA last year, when he took part in one of its evaluation Camps, aimed at assessing talented young drivers. He stayed with Formula 4 last year, but moved to the more competitive German ADAC Formel 4, where he performed very consistently.

He took one win at Hockenheim, as well as finishing on the podium a further seven times, on his way to a strong fifth in the championship. Leclerc will, therefore, move up a category, racing for Prema Powerteam. In Formula Regional, Arthur will be teamed up with Gianluca Petecof.

The Brazilian has been on the FDA books since 2018 and came second in the Italian Formula 4 championship to earn his right to move up a series this year.

From karts to Formula 4. The second FDA freshman is the very young Dino Beganovic. Born on 19 January 2004 and from Landeryd, Sweden, he showed his class in karting, with two Swedish titles already to his name and a second place in the WSK Euro Series in 2019.

Dino was recommended to the FDA by the people at Tony Kart, who act as scouts for the Maranello programme, in the world of karting. Apart from Beganovic, the Italian company was also responsible for introducing Marcus Armstrong and Gianluca Petecof to the FDA.

The Swede will be making his single-seater debut, with Formula 4 as the natural first step. He too will come under the wing of the Prema Powerteam.

New school year. The two “new boys” will start work in Maranello in the second part of January, when they will meet fellow students and FDA staff. There are no fewer than nine FDA pupils this year.

Apart from Enzo Fittipaldi, who races in the FIA Formula 3 series with the HWA Racelab team, Petecof and Beganovic, it was announced last November that five drivers will race in FIA Formula 2: Giuliano Alesi, Callum Ilott and Mick Schumacher on their second season in the category, with, from FIA Formula 3, Marcus Armstrong and reigning champion Robert Shwartzman.

Laurent Mekies Scuderia Ferrari Sporting Director: It’s been a busy winter for the Ferrari Driver Academy. We have been trying to build up the best development programme for our drivers in 2020, with a significant increase in their activities and training programme at our headquarters in Maranello.

“We have also been scouting for more talented youngsters and we are happy today to announce that Arthur and Dino are joining us for what’s going to be a very exciting season. We have FDA drivers in all the categories of the FIA single-seater ladder and our focus will be on supporting them the best we can in their development as racing drivers and as young individuals.

“All of us in Maranello are very much looking forward to seeing how our nine young drivers will perform over the coming months. quote

Marco Matassa FDA Technical Director: “Today we are very pleased to confirm two more young drivers are joining our 2020 FDA line-up. All our drivers taking part in F3, Formula Regional and F4 are rookies in their respective categories, so the season looks like being very interesting and competitive.

“In each case, the FDA’s objectives are to continue to help them progress both technically and as individuals, in their path towards reaching our common goals. quote


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Binotto: Ferrari being No.1 will take ‘a few years’

Ferrari boss, Mattia Binotto, has warned it will take a “few years” for them to replace Mercedes as the number one team in Formula 1.

The Scuderia has not been able to add any more silverware to their trophy cabinet since 2008 when clinching the Constructors’ Championship. The last Ferrari World Champion was Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.

Four out of the last five Formula 1 seasons have resulted in Ferrari finishing runner-up in the Constructors’ standings to Mercedes, who themselves are looking for an unprecedented seventh consecutive World Championship double in 2020.

But, while Ferrari has shown glimpses of knocking Mercedes off their perch, Binotto feels that arduous task is still years in the making despite recognising there is “a moral obligation” to try win every year at Ferrari.

“To open a winning cycle and to be in front of Mercedes in a stable way, it will still take a few years,” Binotto is quoted by Motorsport.com’s Italy edition.

“But I know that as Ferrari we always have a moral obligation to try every year.

“We therefore start with the goal of doing very well in 2020, we don’t start to finish second.

“However, if one has to say that he reaches that team maturity, that know-how, that sufficient and necessary running in all aspects to be dominant, it is fair to say that it is not done in two days.”

A couple of rumours have been swirling around Ferrari during the winter break.

The first being that Ferrari engineers have not being impressed with the initial numbers coming back from tests performed on their 2020 car.

The second rumour is Ferrari’s new simulator will not be ready for use until the spring and will be forced to continue using their current model, nicknamed “The Spider”, which has been in operation for over a decade.

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New Ferrari simulator not ready until spring

According to rumours in Italy, Ferrari will be without their new simulator for the start of the 2020 season and it will not be ready until spring.

Ferrari’s current simulator, powered by 10 interlinked computers and nicknamed ‘The Spider’, is set to be retired after a decade of use.

The Scuderia wanted to introduce a new, state-of-the-art simulator before tighter budgets via a cost cap came into effect for the start of the 2021 season alongside a major overhaul of the technical and sporting regulations.

The simulator is poised to become of even more importance to all Formula 1 teams given the fact the number of days of testing have now being reduced from this upcoming season.

Pre-season testing is now six days instead of eight, while all mid-season tests have also been scrapped.

Ferrari had been hoping to use the new simulator from the beginning of the year but, according to the Italian edition of Motorsport.com, they are going to have to keep using the ‘The Spider’ for a few more months.

Ferrari boss, Mattia Binotto, recently confirmed that Pascal Wehrlein, formerly on Mercedes’ books, would be kept in a simulator driver role for the 2020 campaign.

“We still have experienced drivers for [2020] in the simulator,” Binotto said.

“So Pascal is staying with us [in 2020] but we’ve got as well other drivers who maybe are not so much experienced in Formula 1, but have done many years of simulator.

“Our simulator drivers are very well integrated in the team. The simulator is more and more important, that’s why we will invest on the simulator in the future.”

Ferrari are set to be first Formula 1 team to launch their 2020 car, having pencilled in February 11 to lift the covers off the new challenger at their headquarters in Maranello.

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