Formula 1, the pinnacle of motor sport, is set to launch early in the
2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season F1 TV, an innovative way
for fans to enhance and enjoy their experience of Grand Prix racing.
F1 TV is Formula 1’s over the top (OTT) platform and marks F1’s biggest investment in its digital transformation to date.
Formula 1 fans will get commercial-free live streams of each race
with multi language commentary. In addition, the service will provide
exclusive access to all 20 driver on-board cameras throughout every race
session. F1 TV Pro will have unique feeds not available on any other
platform with the capability of multi-level personalisation.
Subscribers will be able to choose the content they view and how and
when they access it. All of practice, qualifying and races, will be
offered live, along with press conferences and pre and post-race
interviews. Subscribers will be able to watch live races of the main
support series, the FIA Formula 2 Championship, GP3 Series and Porsche
Supercup, among others.
During the season, F1 TV will be made available in four different
languages (English, French, German and Spanish) and will appear in
nearly two dozen markets at launch (including Germany, France, USA,
Mexico, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and much of Latin America). Access
will initially be available through desktop and web, with mobile apps
and TV apps being phased in on Amazon, Apple and Android, enabling users
to watch on a range of different devices at no additional cost. Pricing
for F1 TV Pro will be offered on a monthly basis of USD$8-$12, and
annual rates will be priced according to market.
A less expensive, non-live subscription tier, F1 TV Access will
provide live race timing data and radio commentary, as well as extended
highlights of each session from the race weekend. It will also be
underscored by unprecedented access to archive video content from the
amazing historic archive owned by Formula 1. F1 TV Access will be
available on a near-global basis at launch, to complement F1 TV Pro.
CDN and connectivity services to distribute the F1 TV content
globally will be supplied by Tata Communications, Formula 1’s Official
Frank Arthofer, Director of Digital and New Business, Formula 1, said:
“With the launch of F1 TV, we are beginning on the journey to build a
cornerstone of our digital transformation. F1 TV subscription products
are clearly and centrally aimed at our hardest core fans, and we are
firm believers that while we are bringing a new audience to the sport,
we must always remain focused on delivering products and experiences
that serve the most avid F1 fans.
“Our objective with F1 TV is simple: provide these fans with the best
available service to watch live Grands Prix and provide them with the
best sports OTT customer experience in the world. Our team and our
partners are singularly focused on delivering on that vision: not just
for launch but over the long-term. Live streaming video is an exciting
space changing almost daily.”
Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director, Tata Communications’ F1 Business, said:
“F1 is the first global sport to adopt such an ambitious mobile
strategy – and we’re excited to be part of it. A single global OTT video
platform, with multiple live feeds and hundreds of hours of past
highlights, gives fans the power to create their own unique, immersive
motorsports experiences. It’s a way to keep existing audiences hooked
and attract new fans to the world of F1 too.”
Renault is open to McLaren influencing the design of
its F1 engine, but says the British team is unlikely to have any impact
until the partnership enters its third season.
has given up works status with Honda to join Renault’s customer F1
engine programme until the end of 2020, when the current V6 rules cycle
As a works partner with Honda, McLaren
influenced the design and packaging of Honda’s troubled F1 engine,
sending personnel to Honda’s Sakura HQ and even collaborating on the
design of certain electrical components of the power unit.
By returning to customer status, McLaren will now have to adjust its 2018 chassis around whatever product Renault delivers.
hopes to influence Renault’s engine in a similar way to Honda as their
new relationship develops, but Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul told
Motorsport.com the deal for 2018 came too late for McLaren to have any immediate say on engine design and packaging.
Abiteboul said Renault would be “open to their suggestion” but cautioned McLaren would probably have to wait until the final season of its initial three-year deal to hold any real sway.
“It’s a bit complex,” Abiteboul said. “First and foremost, we developed a complete power unit before working with McLaren, so it’s not like with Honda, where Honda was dependent upon McLaren – we have the whole parameters of the power unit under our responsibility.
"I think we will take it step by step. We want to be very pragmatic. Clearly for 2018 and even 2019, it’s very late for McLaren to have any influence on the hardware of the engine.
"Having said that, we want to be humble. We accept that we can
improve our product, that we have to improve our product, and we will be
open to their suggestion.
"I think it’s more on the medium to long-term. First, we have to
accept it’s a new relationship, we will have to see how it evolves, but
if it’s working well, if it’s a fruitful and positive relationship, then
there is no reason it could not go further than this cycle of
"And therefore that we can have a different and more connected way of
working together for the medium to long-term future. But it’s not
something for before 2020 in my opinion.”
Billy Monger has completed his first day testing
single-seaters as he plans to return to racing after his horrific
British Formula 4 crash last April.
suffered amputations to both of his legs following his collision with
Patrik Pasma in the final F4 race of the Donington Park weekend.
The 18-year-old has now begun a testing programme with Carlin in BRDC
British F3 machinery, with the first day of testing taking place at
Oulton Park on Tuesday.
Ever since his crash, Monger has made it clear that he wanted to return to racing – and ideally by remaining in single-seaters.
During the winter Monger worked with the FIA and the Motor Sports
Association – the governing body of British motorsport – to overturn a
rule that prevented disabled drivers from competing in international
He tested in Fun Cup machinery last July to get his race licence back
and has since completed extensive testing in Carlin’s simulator.
Formula 1 bosses have announced the championship
will feature children on the starting grid in 2018, following the recent
decision to no longer use grid girls.
sport made the announcement that it would drop grid girls last week, a
call that generated mixed opinions among fans and even Formula 1
On Monday, F1 chiefs – in partnership with ruling body the FIA – announced the new Grid Kids initiative.
Kids will be chosen by local motorsport clubs on merit or by lottery,
and they will accompany and stand alongside the drivers on the grid in
every grand prix.
“This will be an extraordinary moment for these youngsters: imagine,
standing beside their heroes, watch as they prepare to race, the elite
of the elite in motorsport, to be there, alongside them in those
precious few minutes just before the start,” said F1 managing director
“What an unforgettable experience, for them, and their families. An
inspiration to keep driving, training and learning so that they can
dream of one day being there themselves. What better way to inspire the
next generation of Formula 1 heroes.”
The grid kids, who will be accompanied by their immediate family,
will be chosen at every F1 event and also Formula 2 and GP3 races where
FIA president Jean Todt added: “Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor
sport and the dream of every young racer competing the junior series
that make up the FIA’s single-seater pyramid, from karting all the way
"We are therefore delighted to bring that dream a little closer by
giving the future champions of our sport the opportunity to stand
alongside their heroes on the grid in the build-up to the race start.
"For the wider FIA, this is an excellent initiative that provides
additional support to our member ASNs in their efforts to grow
motorsport worldwide through a unique reward they can make available to
youngsters participating in their national series.”
First, the hydraulic suspensions of Mercedes and Red Bull were
banned. In the winter break, the FIA also banned the new front
suspension, which lowers the car when turning. Here we explain the
Most of the lap time is in the aerodynamics. Since one year you could
also say it’s in the suspension. In 2016, Mercedes, McLaren and Red
Bull developed systems based on their hydraulic suspensions that came
very close to an active suspension.
The aim was to make the aerodynamic platform as stable as possible,
so that airflow is disturbed as little as possible. Ideally, you lower
the car on the straights to reduce drag and increase top speed. Red Bull
brought the principle close to perfection in late 2016.
But then Ferrari, in the winter of last year, thwarted their plans.
At the instigation of the technical department of Maranello, the FIA
reinterpreted the theme of suspensions. Therefore, suspensions were
allowed to serve only their primary purpose, namely the attachment of
the wheels to the car in a manner which isolates the sprung part from
Any reaction that did not happen naturally and had the purpose of
optimising the aerodynamics was banned – even storing energy in the
hydraulic elements to manipulate the vehicle’s motion. This meant that
Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren had to expand their intelligent chassis.
That hit Red Bull harder than Mercedes.
The calm lasted only briefly. At the 2017 Austrian GP, the teams
whose cars were equipped with hydraulic suspensions again, received mail
from the FIA. The control guards heard that these teams were able to
change the chassis characteristics through targeted heat transfer
between qualifying and the race by preheating the hydraulic elements or
skillfully placing the actuators near oil lines. Mercedes, Red Bull,
Toro Rosso, Force India and Red Bull had to adjust.
Ferrari comes up with a new front suspension
The arms race on the front suspension went on, however. This time
Ferrari started. In the tests after the Hungarian GP, an extreme
geometry was tested on the front axle and premiered four weeks later at
the Belgian GP.
The arrow points at the
pushrod, which is positioned higher up on the upright, towards the top
wishbone. This is why it’s called extreme pushrod-on-upright.
It had become natural in the last two years that the pushrod was no
longer connected to the lower wishbone but directly to the wheel
carriers. When steering, the connection moves with the strut. Depending
on how the connection is designed, you can set it so that the height of
the car changes or not. Crucial, however, is that the car at the corner
exit as soon as possible returns to the initial height.
This led to extreme excesses in 2017. The angle of the pushrod
remained nearly the same, but the connection point on the strut
continued to move upwards. The upper and lower wishbones were spread
differently and offset each other differently. The new geometry made the
front of the car move much more down while steering. Especially in slow
corners, where you need a lot of grip on the front axle, the front ride
height reduced significantly.
When driving straight ahead, the car came up again. The trick has
greatly influenced the vehicle height in the front area. Of course
intended. The closer the front wing is to the road, the better the
downforce. Red Bull and Renault had paid close attention and tried to
copy Ferrari’s idea.
The trick also has its downsides. It does not work equally well
everywhere. And the drivers have to relearn driving. Force India
technical director Andy Green explains why: “The new geometry changes
the steering characteristics. When turning it sometimes comes to a point
where the car steers by itself. So the driver has to resist when the
front of the car drops down. After turning in, the drivers have to pull
the car up again with the steering.”
“The drivers complained about the strange feeling in the steering.
Some did not like it and could not drive with it. Because it goes
against everything that you are used to as a driver, when the steering
is not linear but changes suddenly during the steering. But once the
drivers get used to it, it’s faster. You just get more grip on the front
axle.” Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo hated the new technology.
Raikkonen went back to the old front axle already at the Malaysian GP.
Sebastian Vettel only one race later in Japan.
FIA controls the suspension with strict limits
Although this type of suspension is relatively cheap, the FIA wants
to put a stop to the excesses. Because they clearly violate the new
interpretation of the suspension. In Technical Directive TD/044-17 of 12
December, FIA race director Charlie Whiting warned the teams that they
would not tolerate any extreme change in ground clearance when steering
To be precise: “Although a certain change in vehicle height from
steering stop to steering stop is normal, we suspect that some systems
were far from accidental changes. We consider these forced changes as an
intervention in aerodynamics. They also violate Article 3.8 of the
Technical Regulations.” At the end of January, this directive was
The FIA spurred on all teams to provide them with accurate
documentation of the steering effect on ground clearance of the front
axle. The teams have to prove that this effect is natural and not
reinforced. To be tolerated is a lowering of the ground clearance of 5
millimeters with a steering input of 12 degrees.
The FIA commissioners will control the suspensions this season on
their measuring platform using a new procedure. For this purpose, a
gallows is mounted in the area of the front axle, which measures the
ground clearance of straight-standing wheels on the center line of the
vehicle. The wheels are then turned 12 degrees to the left and to the
right for a comparative measurement.
Back to the Stone Age or active suspension?
Because it is unsatisfactory for the FIA and the teams to fill new
loopholes, a heated debate arose at the end of the season about how to
tackle the problem of the interaction between suspension and
aerodynamics. Two approaches were discussed in the Technical Working
Group. Either return to conventional suspensions with conventional
dampers, springs and inerters, or use active suspension.
Mercedes calls for the return to active systems that have been banned
since 1994. For three reasons, as one engineer explains. “It’s cheaper
because you can develop the system once and then freeze the development.
That saves a million euros a year. You need four actuators that perform
linear movements. These are controlled by a standard software which is
the same for all cars. There are no gray areas anymore. It would be much
easier for the FIA to control. And it would make overtaking easier by
allowing the system to be programmed to minimize the negative impact of
Sounds logical, but only shared by Renault, Toro Rosso and Force
India. Ferrari wants to go back to the Stone Age with classic suspension
elements. Since the suggestion of active suspension comes from
Mercedes, the team from Maranello has the suspicion that the
championship opponent hopes of an advantage. Williams, Haas and Sauber
also share Ferrari’s vision. Red Bull and McLaren block everything. They
would like to have the status quo. With an active suspension all teams
would be on the same level. Note: Who believes to have a competitive
advantage, will not give up.
The FIA is to clamp down on Formula 1 teams using
steering angle to gain an aerodynamic advantage via the use of clever
front suspension systems.
Technical Directive sent by the Charlie Whiting last week made it clear
that the governing body believes that in 2017 some teams designed their
suspension and steering systems to lower the front ride height in
cornering, potentially providing an aerodynamic benefit and hence
Whiting acknowledges that a ride height change under steering lock is
normal, but he says that from now on, it cannot exceed 5mm – and that
it’s up to the teams to provide proof that the systems of their 2018
cars will comply.
The matter was discussed in detail with technical directors at the
most recent FIA Technical Regulations Meeting in London, where there
were conflicting views as to how much influence suspension should
henceforth be allowed to have on aerodynamics.
Sources indicate that Red Bull wanted to retain the freedom to develop suspension under the current regulations, while Ferrari was supportive of tighter restrictions.
Mercedes is understood to have suggested that active suspension should be allowed, with FIA-prescribed software and hardware.
It was three weeks after that meeting that the Technical Directive
was sent to the teams, all of whom are already far advanced with their
Whiting wrote: “It became clear during the season that some teams
were designing the suspension and steering systems in an attempt to
change the front ride height of the car.
"Whilst some change is inevitable when the steering wheel is moved
from lock-to-lock, we suspect that the effect of some systems was a far
from incidental change of ride height.
"We also believe that any non-incidental change of ride height is very likely to affect the aerodynamic performance of the car."
Whiting referenced a 24-year-old FIA International Court of Appeal
ruling on suspension as a precedent for the interpretation of the key F1
technical regulation that concerns aerodynamic influence.
One section of the regulations reads "any car system, device or
procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the
aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited,” and that may be
the wording that the FIA is using to help to justify its stance.
In the latest Technical Directive, Whiting concluded: “It is our view
that such steering systems should be treated in the same way as
suspension systems, i.e. that the 1993 ICA ruling should apply when
assessing compliance with Article 3.8 of the Technical Regulations.
"Hence, any change of front ride height when the steering wheel is moved from lock-to-lock should be wholly incidental.
"We will therefore be asking you to provide us with all relevant
documentation showing what effect steering has on the front ride height
of your car and, in order to satisfy us that any effect is incidental,
we believe that ride height should change by no more than 5.0mm when the
steering wheel is moved from lock-to-lock.”
It remains to be seen what the impact of the Technical Directive will
be, given that teams are so far along with their 2018 cars, and thus
might already be committed to their suspension and steering layouts.
The real test may come only if the matter reaches the FIA stewards on
a grand Prix weekend, when they will have to make a ruling.
In effect, teams now have to decide whether they can afford to take a
risk and carry on with their intended designs, or build their cars to
the new interpretation.
One team insider told Motorsport.com: “I suspect it can’t be policed
anyway, and teams will just ignore it. It is just the FIA’s ‘view,’ it’s
not actually the ‘law’. Nothing will change.”
The FIA has changed Formula 1 superlicence rules for
2018, to make it tougher for drivers to participate in grand prix free
drivers only had to complete 300km in a “representative Formula 1 car”
over two days and answer questions on sporting regulations to qualify
for a ‘free practice only’ superlicence, so long as the FIA adjudged
them sufficiently capable based on their prior single-seater experience.
To apply for subsequent licences, drivers only needed their team to
demonstrate it had briefed them properly on the sporting rules.
From next season, drivers will also need to have completed six races
in Formula 2, or accumulated 25 superlicence points in eligible
championships during the previous three years, to qualify for their
first F1 free practice superlicence.
Drivers reapplying subsequently need to demonstrate they have
completed a full season in F2 or amassed 25 superlicence points during a
Of the third drivers who took part in practice sessions during 2017,
only Force India’s Alfonso Celis Jr would be affected by the ruling.
Although Toro Rosso practice driver Sean Gelael did not have 25 superlicence points, his F2 experience was sufficient.
Previous requirements concerning prior F1 mileage, knowledge of the
rules, and FIA judgement that a driver “must have consistently
demonstrated outstanding ability in single-seater formula cars” remain
in force, under article five of Appendix L in the FIA’s international
The FIA approved further changes to its superlicence qualification
structure in September, awarding more points to drivers who succeed in
F2 and IndyCar and downgrading the World Endurance Championship, Formula
E and European Formula 3.
The FIA has made a concerted effort to better structure and regulate
the awarding of superlicences in grand prix racing since Max Verstappen
graduated to F1 as a 17-year-old in 2015.
The Williams team says it will not discuss Robert Kubica’s speed following his two days of Formula 1 testing in Abu Dhabi.
who is regarded as favourite to land the second Williams drive
alongside Lance Stroll next year, finished the second day of running in
seventh position, two seconds off Sebastian Vettel’s pace.
The Pole was four tenths quicker than Sergey Sirotkin, who also drove
the Williams during the day, although the Russian set his fastest time
with the soft tyres while Kubica used the new hypersofts.
Williams’ tech chief Paddy Lowe said, however, that the laptimes
offered a misleading picture, and refused to discuss Kubica’s pace.
“I’m not gonna talk about speed,” said Lowe at the end of the second day of testing. “It’s a complicated topic.
"I’m sure you want me to give some answers about that but it’s not something we are not going to discuss.
"It’s a really complicated topic, performance and speed, so to read a
timesheet is quite misleading, so I’m not gonna talk about that. We
haven’t even analysed it for ourselves,” he added.
Lowe reiterated that Kubica’s runs had been without issue from the physical side.
“Robert drove the 2014 car at Silverstone and Hungary, so we have
lots of good information and Robert did a fantastic job,” Lowe said.
“He’s a very, very professional guy, very knowledgeable, very
experienced, and that was a great benefit during these evaluations.
"We wanted to see Robert as he hasn’t driven a current car, or
current tyres, so of course it was interesting to see how he got on with
"No problems. He’s absolutely fine. Good driving, no complaints, no issues. All went well.”
Lowe insisted the team was in no hurry to make a decision about its
2018 line-up, and suggested the fight for the remaining seat was not
just between the drivers it tested in Abu Dhabi.
“We’ll take the decision at the time we are ready. When we have all the information and we are ready to declare it.
"The drivers we brought to this test doesn’t mean that it’s the drivers under consideration for racing next year.
"This was a tyre test, which is an opportunity to look at two
different drivers as well as for Lance to look at the new tyres. That
was the purpose.
"Of course it gives us more information about drivers, but it’s not
setting a definition from the pool from which we will pick race