Ferrari pays tribute to the Austrian champion
Maranello, 21 May 2019 – A workaholic, a computer-like brain ahead of his time, a stickler for detail who could separate emotion and rational thought and go straight to the heart of the matter. But at the same time, a person who could have moments of madness, who, to take the title of his autobiography, went on a journey “to hell and back.” A man who found the strength to jump back in his racing car just six weeks on from that terrible accident which he miraculously survived. These were just some of the elements that made up Andreas Nikolaus Lauda, known to everyone simply as Niki. Last night, at the age of seventy, he passed away.
“This is a very sad day for me, having been fortunate to have actually seen him race and also for all fans of Ferrari and Formula 1,” commented Ferrari Vice President, Piero Ferrari. “Niki leaves us having suffered so much and that is painful for me. He won so much with Ferrari and with other teams too and he always remained a friend. He was a fantastic driver, an accomplished businessman and an amazing person. I will miss him.”
“My memories of Lauda go back to my childhood,” recalled Scuderia Team Principal Mattia Binotto. “When I was little I saw him and Regazzoni win for the Prancing Horse on race tracks all round the world. I was not yet ten and to me he seemed like a fearless knight. Once I came into Formula 1, my relationship with Niki was one of mutual respect. I think that thanks to his bravura and his undoubted charisma, he helped make this great sport well known and loved all over the world. I have fond memories of him telling me that my Swiss approach was just what was needed to bring order to the very Italian Ferrari! That was Niki all over, straight talking and direct and even if you didn’t agree with him all the time, you couldn’t help but like him.”
Lauda was born in Vienna on 22 February 1949. He was an innovator and a champion who brought a new way of thinking to his racing. When Niki first appeared on the Formula 1 scene, he came across as a stubborn young man, with strong self-belief, to the extent that he ignored the wishes of his family and took out a loan to follow his dream to race in Formula 1. In 1973, the Austrian drove for BRM alongside Clay Regazzoni and it was the Swiss driver who mentioned the youngster to Enzo Ferrari. In one of those typical moves that caught out everyone in the sport, Ferrari signed Lauda for 1974. Right from the start, at the races in Spain and Holland, Niki was a front-runner, fighting for the wins in the 312 B3-74. He missed out on the title, but in 1975 he would drive the 312 T. Lauda was fully immersed in the team, helping it to improve with his mania for detail and his attitude endeared him to Enzo Ferrari, who treated him like one of his family. Lauda and the Scuderia evolved into the perfect partnership and grit and determination brought win after win. In 1975, the Austrian took his first world championship crown, also helping the Prancing Horse to win the Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles for the first time after an eleven year wait.
The 1976 season got off to an encouraging start for the reigning champion. Niki won five of the first nine races – Brazil, South Africa, Belgium, Monaco, Great Britain – so that he had more than double the number of points of his closest rival. Then it was time for the German GP at the Nurburgring, the circuit known as the Green Hell, because it was so long, tricky and dangerous. On lap 2, Niki lost control of the car on the damp track and crashed heavily into the barriers. As a result, the car burst into flames. Thanks to the valiant efforts of other drivers, he was pulled from the wreckage, but he was seriously injured, to the extent he was given the last rites. But Lauda was not the sort to give up easily. He fought just as hard in his hospital bed as he had done on track and recovered in record time. Just six weeks later, he was racing again, although in great pain. He was determined to retain his title, but it was not to be. He missed out on the championship by a single point under a downpour at Fuji in Japan. Events had turned Lauda into a true hero, in sport and in life. His popularity transcended the world of racing as he entered the collective imagination, to the extent that his life was even turned into a film.
In 1977, Lauda won his second world championship, but it was also the year in which he severed his ties with the Scuderia and Enzo Ferrari. Lauda switched to Brabham for the following year but, on their own, neither he nor Ferrari managed to win. Niki briefly retired from the sport, before returning to take his third and final title in 1984, with McLaren.
Despite a turbulent end to the relationship with Scuderia Ferrari, the story of Lauda and Maranello would have a final chapter, when he returned as a consultant to the team in 1993. With his two titles and 15 wins over four seasons, Lauda is the second most successful driver for Scuderia Ferrari in Formula 1.
FIA WEC Super Season 2018 – 2019 – Round 7 – Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps – Five Ferraris at Spa-Francorchamps
Maranello, 1 May 2019 – The penultimate act of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Super Season takes place this weekend at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium. The seventh of a season that concludes with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, follows the 12 Hours of Sebring where the Ferrari of Spirit of Race driven by Flohr, Fisichella and Castellacci triumphed in the Pro-Am class. Five Ferraris are due to start, two in the GTE-Pro class and three in the GTE-Am.
Not an easy race. The 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps that marked the start of the 2018-19 Super Season was particularly tricky for Ferrari, because of the Balance of Performance. However, it nevertheless secured unexpected podiums in the GTE-Pro with Davide Rigon and Sam Bird, and in the GTE-Am with Matt Griffin, Weng Sun Mok and Keita Sawa for Clearwater Racing. One year later, the situation remains the same at least as far as the BoP is concerned. The potential of the 488 GTE is still more limited than its rivals. So there are no high hopes for the Belgian race. Maranello’s cars will try to use the car’s aerodynamic and chassis qualities to hold off their opponents in the stretches of the circuit that runs along the hills of the Ardennes.
GTE-Pro. In the GTE-Pro, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado will be in world champion car no. 51, while Davide Rigon and Sam Bird in car no. 71, will try to repeat the podium won in round 1.
GTE-Am. In the GTE-Am, the Spa-Francorchamps race offers a chance to Spirit Of Race no. 54 crewed by Giancarlo Fisichella, Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci, to further close the gap on the championship leaders after the podium won in Florida. Matteo Cressoni, Matt Griffin and Luis Perez Companc in Clearwater Racing no. 61 will be seeking payback after an unlucky 12 Hours of Sebring. The third Ferrari in the class is the no. 70 of MR Racing, with Olivier Beretta, Eddie Cheever III and Motoaki Ishikawa which finished fifth in the gruelling American marathon.
History. Ferrari has a long tradition of success at the Belgian track, with over 100 victories to its name. The first came in 1949 courtesy of Luigi Chinetti and Jean Lucas, in a 166 MM, while the latest was the very recent triumph of Jiří Písařík, Josef Kral, Matteo Malucelli in the colours of Scuderia Praha at the 12H of Spa in the 24H Series.
Programme. The first free practice session was on dry track while the second one was affected by torrential rain and was interrupted three times with the red flag. It seems rain will stay for the rest of the weekend, Tomorrow at 11 the cars will take the track for the last free practice session while qualifying will be at 3 pm. The six-hour race kicks off at 1.30 p.m. on Saturday.
Formula 1 Socar Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 – We wanted more
28 April 2019 – Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow leaves Azerbaijan having taken its third podium finish of the season, but with a sense of regret at not getting a better result. Sebastian Vettel finished third for the second consecutive race, while Charles Leclerc, starting back in eighth because of his qualifying mistake, worked his way up to fifth and, at one point even led the race for 19 laps. He also took the point for setting the race fastest lap.
Sebastian maintained his third place off the grid, while Charles, on the Medium tyres dropped from eighth to tenth but, from the second lap began a great climb up the order. He picked off his rivals at the rate of one per lap, despatching them in the order Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, to move to third place, by the time Vettel pitted on lap 11. Shortly afterwards, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton pitted to go from Softs to Mediums and that saw Charles in the lead.
At this point, the team opted to lengthen Leclerc’s stint as much as possible, in case a Safety Car period would mean the Monegasque driver could pit losing less time and could thus set off in attacking mode for the final stint. The opportunity never arose and Charles came in on lap 34, rejoining sixth behind Pierre Gasly, whom he took one lap to pass.
In the closing stages, Sebastian managed his lead over Max Verstappen, to finish third behind Bottas and Hamilton. Charles was running unchallenged in fifth and therefore on lap 47, he pitted for fresh tyres to go for the fastest lap of the race. He did it, setting a new track record of 1’43”009. It was Ferrari’s 250th fastest lap in Formula 1. The next round takes place in two weeks’ time in Spain.
Sebastian Vettel #5
“That was fun driving today, although not so much in the first stint when I couldn’t get the tyres to work and I didn’t have as much grip as I’d expected. We were not quick and the performance was uneven because I damaged the tyres trying to get them up to temperature and then, once they were there, they didn’t give the performance I’d expected because, they were damaged. After the pit stop I really got a good pace and I had fun because I felt the car was fully under control and I felt free to push, even if it wasn’t enough to put our rivals under pressure. At the restart following the Virtual Safety Car, I set my fastest lap and I managed to get the gap to Verstappen to a second. I think that by then he realised he couldn’t attack me and so I was able to drop the pace a bit in the closing laps. Our pace was alright today, but not good enough. The whole team is working to the maximum and so I feel confident. I believe in this team and I know we can improve. We have a good car, but we’re not using it in the way to get the results we should be getting. It’s like a Rubik’s cube where you have to have everything in the right order. We have a lot of clever people in the team who could solve that puzzle in less than two minutes, but in this case the cube is a bit bigger.”
Charles Leclerc #16
“We extracted the most we could have done out of today’s race. After the setback in qualifying, I started from P8 on medium tyres. It was a bit tricky in the beginning, because everyone around me was starting on the soft compound while I struggled a little bit to get up to speed. Once I got the tyres up to temperature, I had good grip and the situation improved. We had a strong first stint and were able to gain some positions there. After the pit-stop it became clear that we would not be able to move further up the order, so we decided to stop pushing to save the tyres, pitted for a new set and so I was able to bring home the point for the fastest lap at the end. Overall, it hasn’t been the best weekend but our potential was clearly there and I hope that we will have a much better performance at the next GP in Spain again.”
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
“Our performance did not live up to our expectations today. Qualifying had not gone the way we would have wanted and, on this track, grid positions make a big difference, as starting further back makes everything more difficult. In the race, there were no Safety Car periods to take advantage of, which might have played into our hands against our rivals. Sebastian produced a solid performance, always close to the two leaders and he fully deserved to finish on the podium. Charles ran a great race, moving up the order, after losing a few places at the start, because it was harder for him to get his Medium tyres up to temperature than it was for those on the Softs. Today, our pace was not good enough and our rivals were faster. We have to go home, identify the areas where we are weak and push in our way of working, to make more aggressive choices to get back to where we deserve to be.”
Formula 1 Socar Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 – Ferrari third and fifth in Baku
Baku, 28 April 2019 – Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow came away from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with a third place courtesy of Sebastian Vettel and a fifth with Charles Leclerc.
The race. Sebastian held on to his start position of third and Charles dropped from eighth to tenth, before climbing all the way up to first, thanks to a long stint, having started on the Medium tyre.
Closing stages. Leclerc took the lead when those ahead pitted to shed the Soft tyres, while he came in on lap 35 for his change. In the closing stages, Vettel managed his lead over Max Verstappen, crossing the finish line in third place, behind Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. Charles, now in a comfortable fifth place, stopped for fresh tyres to have a go at setting the race fastest lap, which he duly did, setting a new track record of 1’43”009. It was Ferrari’s 250thfastest Formula 1 race lap.
Formula 1 Socar Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 – Second and fifth row starts for Ferrari
Baku, 27 April 2019 – The Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow SF90s will start the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from the second and fifth rows of the grid, when the race starts at 16.10 (14.10 CET).
Q1. Both drivers comfortably made the cut to Q2, doing three times laps each on just one set of Soft tyres. Charles did a 1’42”652, which he then improved on by over a second, doing a 1’41”426. Unfortunately, Sebastian had to abort his first run because of yellow flags in Sector 1, doing a 1’42”347 followed by a 1’42”042 before pitting.
Q2. In the second session, Leclerc and Vettel went out on Medium tyres. On his first attempt, Charles did an excellent 1’41”995, while Sebastian made a slight mistake and therefore posted a 1’43”355. Charles set off for another quick lap but ended up in the wall at Turn 8, which brought out the red flags. When the session restarted, the track surface was getting progressively cooler. Sebastian went out on the Softs and did a 1’42”209 and then a 1’41”889, which was good enough to get into the top ten shoot-out for pole position.
Q3. In the final 10 minutes of qualifying, Sebastian made two runs; a 1’41”124 and then a 1’40”797 to improve in the final seconds of the session. It was good enough for him to start from third on the grid, behind a front row made up of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. Charles Leclerc’s car is currently being repaired by the mechanics and will line up on the ninth spot on the grid, the first of those who will start the race on the Medium tyres. In fact, the time Charles set in Q2 before crashing remained the sixth fastest overall, which is how he qualified for Q3, even though he took no part in it.
Sebastian Vettel #5
“It was a tough call in the end. When the track temperature dropped the car balance changed and getting the tyres to work for that one lap, especially after such a long straight before starting the lap, was not easy. With the clock ticking down, everybody was banking on the last run and getting a tow so at some point I had to make the call; do I prioritise my tyres or the tow? Which would have meant compromising the outlap and I didn’t have the feeling that I could afford that and I wanted to have a clean shot. My first Q3 run was ok, but on the second run I didn’t have anybody to tow me along, so I dealt with it just focusing on my lap and obviously I lost quite a lot, about four tenths, compared to the previous lap. But that’s what happens at this track. It was a tricky session. I saw Charles in the barrier and realised qualifying was over for him. It was a shame to lose one of our cars. In the end, we are one team and everybody is working extremely hard no matter which side of the garage you are on. Anyway, we need to turn the page as tomorrow is a new day and it’s a long race where anything can happen. As a team we can recover and put our rivals under pressure. Overall I feel we have a strong car so we can go and race hard and should have some fun.”
Charles Leclerc #16
“I am disappointed with myself. Our pace was good all weekend and we expected to have a positive qualifying result. My first lap in Q2 was very good considering we were on Mediums, but then I made a driving error on the second lap. I just didn’t do the job. The team and all the people supporting us out there deserved much more. Tomorrow is a new day. I will stay positive and push to do the best job possible in the race.”
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
“We are not happy about the outcome of qualifying. I think our car was performing well today and we could have certainly achieved a much better result. The upgrades we brought here worked well and we are happy with the way they are behaving. Sebastian improved run after run and found the best feeling with the car right on his last attempt. This is such a peculiar track and had he found a better feeling before he could have done a better job. Charles will be one of the very few of the top ten starting on Medium tyres and he can still have a great race. He was very fast today and can be very fast tomorrow as well. It has been a real shame that his qualifying ended at turn 8, but these things happen when you push to the limit.”
Formula 1 Socar Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 – Second and fifth rows for Ferrari
Baku, 27 April 2019 – Qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix turned out to be tougher than expected for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow. Sebastian Vettel will start the race from the second row, while Charles Leclerc will line up on the fifth row, having ended his Q2 challenge in the barriers.
Complicated Q2. Charles and Sebastian both got through the first part of qualifying and took to the track for Q2 on the Medium tyre. The Monegasque driver did a 1’41”995 but his session then ended as he hit the barriers. Sebastian had to do another lap on the Soft tyre, getting through to the final decisive part of the afternoon with a time of 1’41”889. In those last 10 minutes, Vettel did a 1’41”124 before getting down to a 1’40”797 on his second run. Sebastian will start from third on the grid, while Charles will start ninth, once his SF90 has been repaired by the mechanics. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix starts at 16.10 (14.10 CET.)
Formula 1 Socar Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 – Ferrari out in front in final practice
Baku, 27 April 2019 – The Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow SF90s were first and second fastest come the end of the final free practice session prior to qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the fourth round of the Formula 1 World Championship.
14 laps. Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel each completed 14 laps, setting their best times on the red-banded tyres in the second part of the session, as the track grip levels gradually improved. The Monegasque driver topped the time sheet with a 1’41”604, while the German stopped the clocks in a time around two tenths off his team-mate, in 1’41”802.
Qualifying. Qualifying starts at 17 (15 CET) with tomorrow’s race getting underway at 16.10 (14.10 CET)
Formula 1 Socar Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 – A half day
Baku, 26 April 2019 – Friday at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was pretty much a half day, given that the scheduled three hours of track time was reduced to slightly less than 90 minutes. The first session was stopped after 13 minutes when a manhole cover came loose in the first sector of the 6.003 km long track, and did not re-start. Then, in the second session, there were two red flag interruptions, which reduced the scheduled time by 18 minutes. Therefore one cannot read too much into the lap times, as teams had to adjust their programmes to fit the available time.
FP1. In the first session, Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow was the only team to set a time. Charles Leclerc did 5 laps with a best time of 1’47”497. Sebastian Vettel did four, the fastest being a 1’49”598. Both drivers used the Medium tyre.
FP2. All the teams tried to make the most of the afternoon session. Charles and Sebastian worked on an evaluation of some aero updates fitted to the SF90. Then they focussed on set-up for the race and qualifying, using the Medium and Soft compounds, setting their fastest laps on the latter, doing 28 laps each. Charles did the fastest lap of the day in 1’42”872 and Sebastian was second in 1’43”196.
Programme. Tomorrow’s third and final practice session to prepare for the race and qualifying takes place at 14 local time. Qualifying is at 17 (15 CET). The race on Sunday gets underway at 16.10 (14.10 CET).
Charles Leclerc #16
“After a day like today, it’s difficult to get a clear picture of where we all stand, especially in terms of long run pace, when I think traffic was a factor. In qualifying trim, I felt comfortable, but also in this aspect, we will have to wait until tomorrow to get a clearer picture. However, we still have quite a bit of work to do to get the maximum out of the SF90 and that’s what we will concentrate on in the final free practice session. If we manage that, then we can be competitive.”
Sebastian Vettel #5
“It was a rather complicated Friday, because we weren’t able to do much running and the track was slippery and dusty. But it was fun all the same. So it took a while to get into a rhythm but overall I feel comfortable with the car. Maybe tomorrow we should be able to get a better idea of where we stand, because while I felt good in the car, there’s definitely still room for improvement. Tomorrow, we will continue working as it’s vital to get into a rhythm and have a good feel for the car and be totally confident about the track. I think qualifying will be very close, because I imagine our rivals will be very fast tomorrow.”
Formula 1 Socar Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 – Ferrari out in front in second free practice
Baku, 26 April 2019 – The second free practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix saw the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow SF90s end up at the top of the time sheet. In terms of the work sheet, it was very different to usual, because of the time lost in the morning, when there was only 13 minutes of track time.
28 laps. Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel began the session on the Medium tyres before switching to the Softs, with which they set their fastest times: 1’42”872 for Charles and 1’43”196 for Sebastian was good enough to top the time sheet.
Programme. Track action resumes tomorrow at 14 (12 CET) with the third and final free practice session, before qualifying gets underway at 17 (15 CET.) The race is on Sunday at 16.10 (14.10 CET.)
Formula 1 Socar Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 – Only 13 minutes of Practice 1
Baku, 26 April 2019 – The first free practice session for the Azerbaijan GP lasted just 13 minutes, before being red flagged when a manhole cover on a straight in the first sector of the track came loose.
Session stopped. Charles Leclerc drove his SF90 over the offending cover just before George Russell’s Williams was damaged when the cover lifted off. The session was immediately stopped so that the track could be cleaned up, but shortly afterwards it was decided that the session would not be re-started as all the other manhole covers on the track had to be checked before the track could be declared fit for purpose again.
Only Ferrari. Up to that point, the only two cars to have set a time were the two Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow SF90s. Charles Leclerc did five laps with a best time of 1’47”497, while Sebastian Vettel did four, the quickest in 1’49”598. The second session is due to start at 17 local time (15 CET.)
Formula 1 Socar Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 – “In Baku to do well”
Baku, 25 April 2019 – Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc spent their Thursday in Baku splitting their time between talking to media, having meetings with the engineers and walking the track. The two Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow drivers walked round the street circuit here in the Azerbaijan capital, before the first full planning meeting with engineers and technicians prior to the start of track action tomorrow.
Ready to do well. Sebastian Vettel was first up in front of the press, telling them he was set for a busy Friday. “We have some updates that we will have to test and evaluate to decide if they can help us get the results we’re expecting.” As to the topic of their chances of fighting for the championship title, the German had no doubts about it. “We are still in the hunt. In the first three races, things did not go as we had expected and so maybe the competition got a bit more than they deserved, while we got a bit less. But we are working to turn things around. I still believe we have a very competitive package and if we manage to make it work properly we can be very quick and make life difficult for our rivals.”
This track has always smiled on me. Next up it was Charles Leclerc’s turn to face the media in the team hospitality and he began by repeating the fact he loves the Baku track. “I adore all the street circuits and I have to say that this one has always smiled on me, both in Formula 2 and Formula 1, as it was here last year that I scored my first points.” The Monegasque driver expects to be competitive this weekend and is aiming for the win, even if he insists he’s not obsessed with the idea of taking his first Formula 1 win. “If I have a goal, then it’s simply to do a good job, to work on getting everything out of the car and bring home the best result I can. Of course, I’m not saying I’m not impatient to take my first win at this the highest level, but I also know it’s wrong to focus more on the win than on doing the work. We will start like that and I am convinced we can get the results we are after.”
Timetable. The first two free practice sessions take place tomorrow, at 13 and 17, while on Saturday, after a final hour of practice at 14, comes the battle for pole position at 17. The race gets underway on Sunday at 16.10. Baku is 2 hours ahead of Central European Time.
Formula 1 Socar Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 – Racing past the castle walls
Maranello, 23 April 2019 – Formula 1 is visiting Baku for the fourth time. The race first appeared on the calendar as the European GP in 2016. As from the following year, it changed its name to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The Baku street circuit is one of three venues on the current calendar where Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow has never won. The other two are Sochi in Russia and Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi. The best result for the Maranello squad at this venue was last year’s second place courtesy of Kimi Raikkonen.
The Azerbaijan capital has only recently featured on motorsport’s world stage, with the first race, a GT event, being held as recently as 2012. Nevertheless, the circuit was an immediate hit with the drivers who like the extremely high speeds experienced on the straights, especially on the start-finish one, which sees speeds in excess of 350 km/h.
The track features long straights and right-angle turns. That makes engine power a key requirement, while drivers have to brush the walls in search of a quick lap, using every inch of the track. There’s also a tighter section around turns 8,9,10 and 11, including the incredibly narrow section around the ancient castle, where good traction is the main requirement. The circuit map can be misleading, because it claims there are turns 17,18, 19 and 20 but this section is taken flat out and DRS can be deployed here.
Practice gets underway at 13 (11 CET) on Friday with the second session at 17 (15 CET) with qualifying at the same time on Saturday. The third Azerbaijan Grand Prix starts at 16.10 (14.10 CET) on Sunday over a distance of 51 laps.
Sebastian Vettel #5
“This six kilometre circuit has the longest straight on the calendar, 2.2 kilometres, where we reach 360 kph before the very heavy braking for the first slow left hand turn. The steep climb past the old city walls is only seven metres wide, which feels very tight in a Formula One car – you feel like you are threading a needle. There isn´t enough space for two cars here so you have to agree on the right of way between you! A big challenge at Baku is to find the right wing level to get good grip for the slow corners but also to be fast enough on the straights where we spend a lot of time at full throttle. It’s not an easy compromise.”
Charles Leclerc #16
“Azerbaijan is one of my favourite tracks of the season, I simply love it and I’ve always performed very well there, having won and got another podium finish in Formula 2 and also scored my first Formula 1 points last year. I always enjoy driving on it, especially the castle part with all those tight corners. It’s a unique track, you cannot find anything like it anywhere else in the world, so it’s pretty special. The rule is quite simple: never lose focus during the race otherwise at the first mistake you’re in the wall. Baku is a demanding track, but I can’t wait.”
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
Coming off the back of three races that definitely didn’t go the way we wanted, this GP is another important moment for us. We have prepared for it very well, analysing all the data we have acquired up until now, looking at areas where we can improve and working on adapting the car’s set-up and the power unit management to the characteristics of the track. In fact, Baku features a very long straight, which places special demands on the engine, both the internal combustion part as well as the hybrid elements. It’s relatively easy to overtake on this track, partly due to the DRS, especially this year as it has a greater effect than in the past. The track surface is very smooth, which means tyre wear is generally low, but as the tyres therefore generate less energy, it can be difficult to get them in the right working temperature range. We know from past experience that there’s a high probability of the Safety Car appearing on track in Baku and therefore it’s an important aspect to consider when looking at the race strategy. We are bringing a few updates to Baku, as the first step in the development of the SF90.
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – Ferrari third and fifth at Shanghai
Shanghai, 14 April 2019 – A third place for Sebastian Vettel and a fifth for Charles Leclerc: that was the outcome of the Chinese Grand Prix, the one thousandth race in the history of Formula 1, for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, held today at the Shanghai International Circuit.
Off the grid, Sebastian got away better than poleman Valtteri Bottas and attempted to go down the outside of the Finn at the first corner, but that resulted in Charles going past him on the inside. The cars in front were running at a slightly better pace than the SF90s, which is why, after 10 laps, the team asked the drivers to swap positions to see if Sebastian could match Bottas’ pace. Max Verstappen’s early pit stop then forced the team to bring Sebastian in to cover it, sending him out on the Hard compound, so that he would not end up behind the Dutchman, who did manage to get back on track ahead of Charles.
Sebastian pitted for a second time on lap 35, this time fitting the Medium tyres, as did Hamilton and Bottas, the latter now finding himself behind Charles. Leclerc’s second stop came on lap 43 and he rejoined almost 15 seconds off Verstappen.
In the closing stages, Vettel consolidated his third place behind Hamilton and Bottas, while Charles closed much of the gap to Verstappen, but not enough to try and secure fourth place. Ferrari is second in the Constructors’ championship on 73 points, while Sebastian is fourth in the Drivers’ on 37, with Charles fifth on 36. The next race is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on 28 April.
Sebastian Vettel #5
“We are happy we got the podium, but overall we can’t be satisfied because we were too slow today. We were hoping to be in a much better place and be a match for Mercedes, but we were not. Also it was a shame we didn’t manage to finish third and fourth, In terms of calls from our pit wall today, the priority always lies within the team and Charles and I are both aware we are driving for the team. We can do our own race but first of all we have to ensure Ferrari is in a position to fight with its rivals. I think we have a good car and we are still not able to unlock its potential completely. We are learning a lot about it and it’s important to do many laps to get a better feeling for it. We are getting an ever clearer picture of what we are lacking at the moment, so I think the next few weeks will be important for us, so that we can get on the right road for the coming months”.
Charles Leclerc #16
“Today’s race wasn’t one of my easiest, since it looks like we didn’t have a good enough pace to fight at the front with our competitors. My start was good, then I think both Seb and myself were struggling with the tyres. We swapped positions and I thought he would have pulled away but he didn’t and this didn’t help my tyres because I had a bit of overheating and I lost some time. On my second set of tyres I hoped I’d be able to go all the way to the end, but unfortunately had to stop again and so lost a place. We will sit down all together in order to understand what could have been done better and I’m sure we will come back stronger at the next race”
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
“Mercedes has been fast throughout the whole weekend, since Friday. They were fast yesterday in qualifying and fast today. We had a completely opposite situation from the one we faced two weeks ago in Bahrain and this shows that we could again have things going the other way around in two weeks time. Things are changing from one weekend to the next and therefore we need to look at the championship thinking that every race may be different. Our decisions on strategy were taken to try to maximize the teams’ result. We will go back to Maranello and look at all the data, try to understand what didn’t work this weekend in order to improve. We need to further develop the car and understand where the limits are, then come back stronger for Baku. It’s again a completely different circuit and we need to approach that race with a positive attitude to do our best.”
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – Ferrari third and fifth at Shanghai
Shanghai, 14 April 2019 – Sebastian Vettel finished third and Charles Leclerc was fifth for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow in the Chinese Grand Prix, the one thousandth race in the history of Formula 1.
The race. The race, held at the Shanghai International Circuit, was won by Lewis Hamilton, with Valtteri Bottas second, while Sebastian finished on the podium for the first time this season. Charles and Sebastian swapped places on lap 10 and the Monegasque driver was then caught out by Red Bull’s strategy, that allowed Max Verstappen to take fourth place. In the closing stages, the Monegasque driver managed to significantly close the gap to his rival, but not close enough to mount an attack. The next round takes place in a fortnight’s time in Azerbaijan.
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – All-Ferrari second row in China
Shanghai, 13 April 2019 – Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc will start the one thousandth Formula 1 World Championship race from the second row of the grid. Tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix starts at 14.10 local time (8.10 CET).
Q1. The pair of Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow SF90s took to the track on Soft tyres. Sebastian did a 1’33”557, while Charles was slowed by no fewer than four cars in the final sector and could do no better than 1’34”069. That meant the Monegasque driver had to fit another set of new tyres to comfortably make the cut with a 1’32”712.
Q2. In the second part, both Ferrari cars ran Medium tyres, so as to start the race on them. Sebastian did a 1’32”232 and Charles stopped the clocks on 1’32”324.
Q3. In the top ten shoot out, both drivers had two sets of new Softs. Sebastian’s first run delivered a 1’32”001 and Charles did a 1’32”102. On the second set, both drivers improved, the German went down to 1’31”848, good enough for third, while the Monegasque went down to 1’31”865, which netted him fourth place on the grid. Pole position went to Valtteri Bottas in 1’31”574 ahead of Lewis Hamilton in 1’31”570.
Sebastian Vettel #5
“We could have done a bit better today but probably not enough to really beat our rivals for pole. It could have been worse, but I am not entirely happy. We started off well, but then our competitors had more pace over the single lap in terms of pure performance. We should have a good car tomorrow though and hopefully we can show it throughout the whole 56 laps. It’s a long race and I expect it to be a very tight one too. Making the right strategy choices will be important; we must make the right call at the right time and see where that takes us. I am not sure everyone understands how many variables have to be taken into account. The top drivers are all starting on Medium tyres and we will see if that turns out to be the right choice. I believe anything can happen.”
Charles Leclerc #16
“I am annoyed with myself today. I made a mistake on the last lap and I really shouldn’t have done that. Overall, I think there are some positives, because in all three practice sessions I was struggling quite a lot with the setup, the confidence in the car and the driving. But then, before qualifying we introduced some changes, which meant I could drive better and set the lap times we were expecting. It was good but it is also disappointing not to extract all the potential from the car today. We knew our rivals would be competitive as they have been since the first session. The race tomorrow is going to be a bit more complicated than expected, as I haven’t done any long runs yesterday nor this morning because of the red flag so, I will be a bit in the dark. It will be tough but I’ll push as much as possible and we can expect our opponents to be very strong.”
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
“Qualifying wasn’t perfect for us today and in a championship as closely contested as this, that can make the difference. However, I have to say that at his high level of performance, one should not be surprised to find that one can be in front in one race and then behind in the next one. But we have learned to our cost in Bahrain that races are not won on Saturday and I think tomorrow’s Grand Prix will be very closely contested and we expect to be in the fight right to the very end.”
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – Qualifying: An all-Ferrari second row in China
Shanghai, 13 April 2019 –The Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow drivers will both start the one thousandth race in the history of Formula1 from the second row of the grid.
Just 17 thousandths. Sebastian Vettel was third quickest in a time of 1’31”848, while Charles Leclerc lapped just 17 thousandths of a second slower to post a best time of 1’31”865, which means he lines up fourth on the grid. Pole position for tomorrow’s race, which starts at 08:10 (14.10 CET,) went to Valtteri Bottas with a lap in 1’31”547.
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – Free practice 3: Ferrari second and third
Shanghai, 13 April 2019 – Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc set the second and third fastest times respectively, driving the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow SF90s in the third and final free practice session.
Close qualifying. The drivers both did two qualifying simulation runs, covering 12 and 10 laps each in total. Sebastian stopped the clocks in 1’33”222, but did not improve on his second run, when he made a small mistake at the final corner. Charles did a 1’33”248 on his second run. Qualifying looks like being extremely close, with several cars all within a handful of tenths. Fastest this morning was Valtteri Bottas in 1’32”830.
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – 86 laps for Seb and Charles
Shanghai, 12 April 2019 – It was a busy Friday in China for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow. On the Shanghai circuit, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc worked fine tuning the set-up for Saturday qualifying which starts at 14.00 (8.00 CET) and Sunday’s race at 14.10 (8.10 CET).
During the first free practice session the two SF90s ran on the Medium compound tyres. Sebastian set a best time of 1’33”911 (19 laps completed) and Charles posted a 1’34”167 (21 laps). In the afternoon, the drivers tried the other two compounds. Sebastian Vettel did a 1’33”357 on the softest rubber, good enough for the second fastest time of the day, just 27 thousandths off Valtteri Bottas. The German then did race simulation work with a high fuel load and the hardest tyres brought to China by Pirelli.
Unfortunately, Charles Leclerc encountered traffic when running the Soft tyres setting a fastest time of 1’34”158. The Monegasque driver was unable to go for his long run because the team opted to keep him in the garage to carry out checks on the cooling system of his SF90 as the engineers had raised doubts about it. Therefore Charles did just 13 laps, while between them the two cars totalled 86.
Tomorrow gets underway with one more hour of free practice at 11.00 (5.00 CET) prior to the afternoon qualifying session. The Chinese race will be the one thousandth Grand Prix in the history of Formula 1.
Sebastian Vettel #5: “Overall it was a positive day. We still have to do some homework, the picture is a bit similar to Bahrain, where we were competitive. There are some parts of the track where we are very strong and others where we still have to improve. I expect it to be very close tomorrow and also on Sunday, so it will be key to keep working to improve the feeling with the car.”
Charles Leclerc #16: “I got a good feeling from the SF90 today. There is still a bit of work to do in terms of the balance, but overall I’m pleased with the work we did. It’s a shame I wasn’t able to do a long run test, because it would have been useful for the race, but I’m not worried about that. We have all the information we need to do well and now, it’s just a case of putting everything together for qualifying, especially as I expect it to be very close between us and our competitors.”
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – Free Practice 2: Ferrari second and seventh
Shanghai, 12 April 2019 – In the second 90 minutes of free practice for the Chinese GP, Sebastian Vettel was second fastest and Charles Leclerc was seventh.
Seb does 33 laps. After running just the Medium compound tyres in the morning, both drivers tried the Soft and Hard ones this afternoon, thus evaluating all possibilities. Seb did 33 laps, the best being a 1’33”357. However, Charles only managed 13, the quickest being a 1’34”158, as he had to make a precautionary stop with 30 minutes remaining, for the cooling system on his SF90 to be checked, to avoid the risk of any damage.
More free practice and qualifying. The third free practice session takes place tomorrow at 11.00 local time (5.00 CET) prior to qualifying at 14.00 local time, (8.00 CET).
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – Free practice 1: first and third place for Sebastian and Charles
Shanghai, 12 April 2019 – The Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow SF90s we’re first and third in the opening free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix which takes place this Sunday at the Shanghai International Circuit.
19 and 21 laps. The Ferraris ran the Medium tyres while working on set-up. Sebastian Vettel did 19 laps with a best time of 1’33”911 which puts the German at the top of the time sheet. Charles Leclerc did 21 laps, with a best time of 1’34”167 ending the 90 minute session in third spot.
Second free practice gets underway at 14.00 (08.00 CET)
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – “The mood in the team is very good”
Shanghai, 11 April 2019 – Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc tackled the Shanghai International Circuit on foot today, walking the 5.451 kilometres of asphalt that represents the Chinese symbol “shang” which forms the basis of the name Shanghai. After that, both drivers met fans at the autograph session, before having their first meeting of the weekend with the media in the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow hospitality.
#Race1000. Sunday’s race that starts at 14.10 local time, (8.10 CET) is race number 1000 in the history of Formula 1 and Sebastian Vettel addressed the topic when talking to the journalists. “I think this is an important weekend and I’ve been asked many times which is the race I remember best as a spectator, before I became a driver. There’s not just one: I remember when Ayrton Senna won the Brazilian Grand Prix (in 1991). I was a kid and watched Formula 1 with my father. I remember I was struck by the fact that, after the chequered flag, the driver was so tired that he was struggling to stand up. The other races I remember well were the key moments in Michael Schumacher’s career.” Sebastian went on to say he felt confident about Sunday’s race, referring to the colours that are considered lucky in China and are also found on the SF90. “I think we have a good car and also, red and yellow bring good luck here. Let’s hope we get to see a lot of red and yellow on Sunday!”
Energy. Next, it was Charles Leclerc’s turn to face the press and the Monegasque driver spoke of the atmosphere within the team and the upcoming Grand Prix. “I don’t have any particular expectations for this race at the moment, but I’m quite sure we will discover our true potential after free practice and even more so after qualifying. Coming to China from Bahrain, the mood in the team is obviously very positive. I think we need to keep this energy going and hopefully we can have a good weekend, just as we did at Sakhir before the issue. The positive thing is that we have understood what the problem was and we do not expect it to happen anymore.”
Free practice tomorrow. Track action for the thousandth Formula 1 Championship Grand Prix begins officially with Friday free practice, the two sessions starting at 10.00 and 14.00 (4.00 and 8.00 CET.)
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – Full day for Sebastian and Charles in Shanghai
Shanghai, 11 April 2019 – The Chinese Grand Prix weekend began with an intense day away from the track for the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow drivers. In collaboration with Shell, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc took part in a series of promotional activities with the media, while the Monegasque driver also pitted himself against a world short track ice-skating champion in an unusual race.
Vettel at the launch. Sebastian was one of the key players in the launch of a new Shell product in Shanghai city centre and met with the media to talk about the importance of the partnership between the fuel and lubricant manufacturer and the Maranello-based team. The German also spoke of the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix, which will be the one-thousandth race in the history of the category and one in which he expects to be one of the key players.
Leclerc on ice. Charles was busy at the Shanghai Ice Rink where, aside from interviews to local journalists, he took part in an unusual race against a World Short Track Speed Skating champion. The Ferrari driver raced a kart on a difficult twisting ice course against Han Tian Yu, the 1500-metre world champion in Seoul in 2016.
On the track. From tomorrow Sebastian and Charles will focus solely on the race weekend. Both will be at the Shanghai International Circuit for meetings with technicians, journalists and the classic track walk to take a detailed look at the circuit the two will first drive in their respective SF90s in Friday’s free practice, starting from 10 am (4 am CET).
Ferrari Club Competizioni GT 2019 – Round 1 – Opening event for Ferrari racing icons at Mugello
Mugello, 10 Apr 2019 – The first Club Competizioni GT meeting closed today at the Mugello circuit, with over a dozen of the most representative Ferrari GT racing cars of the last 30 years on track in a non-competitive event.
The Prancing Horse, paying attention to the needs and demands of its customers, presented this new activity at the last Finali Mondiali in Monza, publicly unveiling it at Autosport International in Birmingham. The aim is to bring some of the most iconic models of the last 30 years of racing back on track.
This new programme is designed for customers who like to take to the track and exploit their car to its full potential, without any test sessions lasting just a few minutes or dangerous races that are too short. At Mugello, Club Competizioni GT staged the first rounds of a five-event calendar that will stop off at some of the most beautiful circuits in the world such as Indianapolis, Fuji, Vallelunga and, indeed, Mugello.
Twelve cars. Among the cars on the Tuscan track, the two examples of the 488 GT3 that took the pole position in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2017 and 2018 stand out. In 2017, Alessandro Pier Guidi was the fastest (1:47.049) in the GTD class at the wheel of the Spirit of Race model participating at Mugello. Alessandro Balzan finished just 18 thousandths of a second behind, also in a 488 GT3. In 2018, Daniel Serra took pole in the GTD class 453 thousandths of a second ahead of Miguel Molina in the 488 GT3 of Risi Competizione. The Ferrari-owned track with its ups and downs also saw several examples of the 360 GT, F430 GT2, 458 Italia GT and GT3, as well as some 488 GT3s.
Gala dinner. The first Club Competizioni GT event was made even more special by a gala dinner held in the evocative setting of the Stibbert Museum in Florence. The Museum, one of the most interesting in terms of the quantity and quality of the objects it houses and for the most part displays, has collections of armour from around the world. This particular exhibition theme naturally led to an evening for customer drivers entitled “Night of the knights”.
Hospitality and official drivers. Club Competizioni GT opens the doors of prestigious circuits to its members, complementing their track experience with top class hospitality and exclusive services. Technical assistance with the tyres is always available on the track, as are Ferrari’s official Competizioni GT drivers, professionals who compete throughout the year in the main world championships and who are ready to assist customers with advice and guidance on how to extract the maximum performance from their cars.
Eligible cars. Twelve Ferrari models are eligible to join Club Competizioni GT, ranging from the F40 Competizione of 1989 to the 488 GTEs and GT3s currently available to Ferrari’s racing customers. In addition to the basic equipment provided by club membership, which includes a custom clothing kit and a set of tyres for each round, there are also special on demand services such as exclusive sessions with a professional driver, car transport, customised logistics, and the option of a tailored menu in hospitality.
Next events. Club Competizioni GT will pay a visit to the legendary Indianapolis circuit on 28 and 29 July, before travelling to Japan and the Fuji International Speedway on 28 and 29 August. The last two events will take place in Italy, at Vallelunga on 5 and 6 September, and again at Mugello, from 22 to 27 October, as part of the Finali Mondiali.
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – Sebastian and Charles ready to fight at Shanghai
Maranello, 9 April 2019 – This weekend sees the sixteenth running of the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc are ready to fight on the Shanghai track.
Sebastian Vettel #5
“The Chinese GP has been on the calendar for quite a while and it’s held on one of the most technical and difficult tracks of the year. Two of the corners are especially important: the first one and the one leading to the very long straight, over a kilometre in length. They’re both very technical and it’s difficult to find the right line because the track there is also very wide. They are challenging, not only in qualifying when you need to do just one lap, but also in the race. Looking after tyres is one of the key points in Shanghai, it’s the most important job to do on Sunday in order to be fast for the whole race. In the past I’ve had some good races here with Ferrari, coming very close to winning. Maybe this time we’ll get that little bit of luck, so that we can really celebrate the thousandth Formula 1 race.”
Charles Leclerc #16
“I don’t know the Shanghai track that well, having only raced there once, last year. I have good memories of qualifying, less so of the race itself. But overall, I like the track a lot because there are many different types of corner that you don’t find elsewhere on the calendar, especially turn 1, and also 13 which leads onto the long straight. Usually, the Chinese race is good fun, because the weather can be unpredictable and rain can arrive when you least expect it. It’s the thousandth race in the history of Formula 1 and I hope the car will be as good as it was in Bahrain, so that I can continue to go for the results we deserve.”
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – The Scuderia at Shanghai for Formula 1’s 1000th race
Maranello, 8 April 2019 – This weekend, Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow will be competing in the sixteenth edition of the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix. As always, it takes place at the Shanghai International Circuit, where Rubens Barrichello in a Ferrari won the very first race in 2004. The track features long straights, high speed corners and some tight turns that call for heavy braking. The key points include Turn 13, which leads onto a straight over one kilometre in length and 15, that exits onto the start/finish straight, at the end of which overtaking is a possibility.
Four wins. Apart from the aforementioned victory in 2004, Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow has won a further three times in China. Michael Schumacher won in 2006 in the 248 F1 to record the 91st and final win of his amazing career, his 72nd for Ferrari. The following year it was Kimi Raikkonen’s turn, making the most of championship rival Lewis Hamilton’s retirement, thus laying the foundations for taking the world title in Brazil. The fourth win came courtesy of Fernando Alonso in 2013.
Thousandth Grand Prix. This year’s Chinese Grand Prix is truly a milestone in the history of Formula 1, as the Shanghai circuit hosts the one thousandth race of the championship. The top motor sport series began on 13 May 1950, with the British Grand Prix. Scuderia Ferrari did not take part, joining from the next round in Monaco. From then on the Scuderia has been a constant presence, contributing to some of the sport’s greatest moments. Ferrari has won 16 Constructors’ and 15 Drivers’ titles, as well as 235 race wins, 220 pole positions and 752 podium finishes.
Programme. The Chinese Grand Prix gets underway on Friday with two free practice sessions at 10:00 and 14:00 local time (4:00 and 8:00 CET.) The final free practice is on Saturday at 11:00 (5:00 (CET) with qualifying starting at 14:00, (8:00 CET.) The 16th Chinese Grand Prix gets underway at 14:10 local, (8:10 CET.)
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
“The third round of the season takes place at a track that is different in character to those in Melbourne and Bahrain. Here, we have a very long straight and corners that put an uncommon amount of load on the front end. For our part, we want to verify that the SF90 is also competitive on this type of track and ensure that the reliability problems we had in Bahrain are not repeated. As usual, we want to do well and take on our competitors. It will be race number 1000 in the history of Formula 1, which is a further reason to try and excel.”
Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – #essereFerrari – #Lavorare
Maranello, 8 April 2019 – “Man is the most intelligent of animals because he has hands”, said the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras. Hands are the main tools for working and for Scuderia Ferrari, the work comes first. The people in the team, be they the mechanics working on the cars, the drivers at the wheel of the SF90, the trackside cooks, the engineers, as well as the press and marketing people, never back away from the work. There’s an almost constant symphony of hands, with one sole objective: to get results. Even #lavorare is #essereFerrari.
Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 – Charles slowed by short circuit
Maranello, 5 April 2019 – Charles Leclerc will use the same power unit in China that he used for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The unit will be duly fitted on the number 16 car, in which the Monegasque driver had to settle for third place having led the race in style until a few laps from the flag.
Anomaly. Following the race, the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow technicians and engineers traced the fault on the car to a short circuit within an injection system control unit. This type of problem had never been seen before on the component in question.
Ferrari Challenge North America 2019 – Round 2 – Drivers Survive the Heat, Excel at Sebring
Sebring, Florida | 8 April 2019 – Sweltering heat continued, accompanied by even higher humidity on Sunday, making things even harder for the drivers of Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli. The Ferrari 488 Challenge, however, stood up to the bumps and bruises of Sebring International Raceway well, as drivers fought to come to grips with the high speed and low grip offered by the nearly 70 year old racing surface.
Trofeo Pirelli. Cooper MacNeil made a statement at Sebring International Raceway with a dominant win in Race 2, beating Thomas Tippl by nearly 15 seconds. After some issues robbed Cooper of pace on Saturday, he switched to the back up car and his weekend completely changed. Starting with qualifying, Cooper carried his pace advantage into the race. The opening lap was full of high drama but excellent heads-up driving ensured everyone made it through safely. Benjamin Hites (The Collection) was the main victim of the drama when a big wiggle forced him wide and back into the field. That allowed Thomas Tippl (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Beverly Hills) through to second while Ben had to fight forward, passing Trofeo Pirelli and Trofeo Pirelli AM competitors alike. Ultimately, he was able to regain his footing in third and closed to within six tenths of a second of Thomas, but could not pass.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Ziad Ghandour (Boardwalk Ferrari) solidified himself as a podium contender in the Trofeo Pirelli AM category, beating out Barry Zekelman (Ferrari of Ontario) and Brent Holden (Scuderia CAVA, Ferrari of Newport Beach). Ziad and Barry Zekelman both spent much of their races mixing up with the Trofeo Pirelli category, especially Barry as he contested overall finishing position with Benjamin Hites. Ziad was six seconds up the road, while Barry was a further five seconds ahead of Brent. Brent, however, did an excellent job to hold up yesterday’s winner, Neil Gehani (Continental Autosport), as the two finished only three tenths of a second apart.
Coppa Shell. Mark Issa (Ferrari of Atlanta) made good on the pace he showed throughout the weekend with a win on Sunday leading home Dale Katechis (Miller Motorcars) and Geoff Palermo (Ferrari of San Francisco). A dramatic start saw Danny Baker run wide at Turn 1 and then spin at turn five, sending him plummeting back towards the back of the pack. That left Mark and Dale to build a gap over the rest of the field, something they did with relative ease. Geoff Palermo, however, had a dramatic race, making some strong passes at some of Sebring’s tighter corners. The high speed of the Ferrari 488 Challenge car, combined with tight corners at the end of long straights meant it was frequently the last of the late brakers that prevailed. Ultimately, an incident in the Coppa Shell AM category brought the race to a conclusion as the field was slowed behind the safety car and took the checkered flag to end the race.
Coppa Shell AM. Brian Davis (Ferrari of Palm Beach) dominated the Coppa Shell AM category, running a lights to flag victory where he frequently diced with the more experienced drivers in the Coppa Shell category until the late caution period confirmed his status as the Race 2 winner. He led home Jay Schreibman (Cauley Ferrari of Detroit) and Brad Horstman (Foreign Cars Italia). Jay also captured the Gentleman’s Cup trophy for Sunday. The leading Lady’s Cup contender, Lisa Clark, however, crashed out in Turn 12, and thus Debra Palermo (Ferrari of San Francisco) earned her first Lady’s Cup win of 2019.
Schedule. The North American series of Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli will return to racing on the second weekend of May for Ferrari Racing Days. The Ferrari Challenge drivers will join once again with the XX Program and F1 Clienti for the annual Ferrari Racing Days extravaganza.
Ferrari Challenge North America 2019 – Round 2 – Drivers Battle for Pole Position in Final Day at Sebring International Raceway
Sebring, Florida | 7 April 2019 – Another scorching day welcomed drivers at Sebring International Raceway as temperatures inched up through the morning qualifying sessions. Coppa Shell drivers took advantage of the cooler temperatures, starting their pole position shoot out at 9.40am, before Trofeo Pirelli drivers took to the track for the first time at 10.20am
Trofeo Pirelli. Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Beverly Hills) made a statement in his qualifying session with a 2:03.301 second lap, leaving him almost nine tenths of a second clear of Benjamin Hites (The Collection). The Chilean driver gave it his all, running an extra lap compared to Cooper to try to inch closer to the American’s time, but was unable to close the gap in the hot and humid conditions. Thomas Tippl (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Beverly Hills) bested Amir Kermani (The Collection) by only two tenths of a second to earn the third position.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Ziad Ghandour (Boardwalk Ferrari) took a significant step forward on his performance from Saturday’s session to earn pole for race 2. His time, a 2:05.292 bested the best lap of Barry Zekelman (Ferrari of Ontario) by just two tenths of a second. Brent Holden (Scuderia CAVA Ferrari of Newport Beach) was able to pip yesterday’s pole sitter, Neil Gehani (Continental Autosports) by just one tenth of a second.
Coppa Shell. Mark Issa (Ferrari of Atlanta) took pole in the Coppa Shell category with a 2:06.723, besting yesterday’s pole sitter and winner, Danny Baker (Ferrari of Palm Beach) by three tenths of a second. Dale Katechis (Miller Motorcars) claimed third with a 2:07.470, a further four tenths adrift. If yesterday’s race is anything to go by, however, the trio will be nearly inseparable for the duration of the upcoming 30 minute race.
Coppa Shell AM. Brian Davis (Ferrari of Palm Beach) again took pole at the Sebring International Raceway. His Ferrari 488 Challenge car paced the Coppa Shell am field with a 2:07.796. Jay Schreibman (Cauley Ferrari) was the only driver who posed a serious challenge, setting a time that was only three tenths slower than Brian. Mark Davies (Wide World Ferrari) rounded out the top three in Coppa Shell.
Schedule. Racing action will get underway at 12:50pm for Coppa Shell followed by Trofeo Pirelli at 1:50pm.
Ferrari Challenge North America 2019 – Round 2 – First Winners Crowned at Sebring International Raceway
Sebring, Florida, 7 April 2019 – Sweltering temperatures greeted Ferrari Challenge pilots for the first race day at Sebring International Raceway. Racing for the first time on the 3.74 mile circuit since 1999, pilots not only had to manage the notorious bumps of Turn 1 and 17, but also temperatures that topped 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperatures, however, did not carry over to the circuit. Drivers maintained their cool, fighting clean and fair in both 30 minute sprint races.
Trofeo Pirelli. Benjamin Hites (The Collection) earned the win in the Trofeo Pirelli class after a hard-fought race fought in sweltering conditions. The race began with a dramatic opening 15 minutes when Martin Burrowes (Ferrari of Ft Lauderdale) jumped into the lead on the start. The race officials, however, determined that he had jumped the start and assessed a 15 second time penalty to his race time. That didn’t stop him, however, from holding off Benjamin for the opening segment of the race. Whenever Benjamin would make a move, Martin would inevitably rebuff the young Chilean driver and push him back into the clutches of the ever-lurking Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Westlake). Ultimately, Martin took too much life out of his Pirellis too early and committed a series of spins relegating him to the back of the pack. Ben took the win over the fading Cooper MacNeil who almost fell to the charging Thomas Tippl (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Beverly Hills) as they crossed the line.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Neil Gehani (Continental Autosports) ran an event-free race on his way to his first win of 2019. The American driver ultimately ended up finishing eleven seconds ahead of Brent Holden (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of Newport Beach). Brent also took the Gentleman’s Cup, earned by being the best finishing driver over 55. The closest battle in the Coppa Shell AM category was for third where Ziad Ghandour (Boardwalk Ferrari) took third over Chris Carel (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Silicon Valley) by just over a second at the line.
Coppa Shell. Danny Baker (Ferrari of Palm Beach) continued his run of remarkable performances with a win in Race 1 after a hard-fought race against Dale Katechis (Miller Motorcars). The Coppa Shell race was neutralized by a safety car after 2nd place starter Mark Issa (Ferrari of Atlanta) made contact with another driver and ultimately retired. The break seemed to re-energize Danny’s nearest challengers as he fended off several attacks in the final fifteen minutes of the contest. Claude Senhoreti (Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale) ultimately took the third and final spot on the podium.
Coppa Shell AM. Brian Davis (Ferrari of Palm Beach) took a dominant win in Coppa Shell AM. He scrapped with the very top of the Coppa Shell category, finishing 13 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger, Ladies Cup winner Lisa Clark (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Beverly Hills). Lisa held off significant pressure, but was able to take advantage of other battles a bit further back to build a gap of two seconds over Ted Giovanis (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of Washington).
Schedule. Ferrari Challenge will return to the Sebring International Raceway for warm up at 9am on Sunday. Qualifying will begin at 9:40am followed by racing action at 12:50pm
Ferrari Challenge North America 2019 – Round 2 – Grids are Set for Race 1 at Sebring
Sebring, 6 April 2019 – Ferrari Challenge has returned to the bumps and undulations at Sebring International Raceway after a 20 year absence, with the field setting qualifying times in the cooler morning hours before getting ready for races this afternoon.
Trofeo Pirelli. Benjamin Hites (The Collection) claimed pole position, pipping Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa Ferrari of Westlake) by just over one tenth of a second. It was an excellent result for the young Chilean driver having trailed Cooper by nearly half a second in yesterday’s practice sessions. New arrivals to the Trofeo Pirelli category, Thomas Tippl (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Beverly Hills) and Martin Burrowes (Ferrari of Ft Lauderdale) put on a great performance to qualify so close to their more experienced competitors. Ultimately, Martin took the third position, 1.5 seconds off of Cooper, but less than a tenth of a second ahead of Thomas Tippl, who sits fourth.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Neil Gehani (Continental AutoSports) claimed pole position ahead of Brent Holden (Scuderia CAVA Ferrari of Newport Beach) and Chris Carel (Scuderia Corsa Ferrari of Silicon Valley). The trio were able to put together similar times to some of the Trofeo Pirelli drivers and were all in a clump of eight drivers who were within a single second of each other.
Coppa Shell. Danny Baker (Ferrari of Palm Beach) was able to put it all together and claim pole position again in the Coppa Shell category with a 2:06.768. His lap left no question who was the fastest Coppa Shell driver of the day, as he was the only driver to crack the 2 minute, 7 second barrier. He qualified ahead of Mark Issa (Ferrari of Atlanta) and Claude Senhoreti (Ferrari of Ft Lauderdale).
Coppa Shell AM. Brian Davis (Ferrari of Palm Beach) took pole position in Coppa Shell AM over Jay Schreibman (Cauley Ferrari of Detroit) and Lisa Clark (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Beverly Hills). It was a remarkable qualifying performance for Brian as he separated himself from the rest of the Coppa Shell AM field by over a second. Lisa Clark also put in a strong performance with her best qualifying performance in the series.
Ferrari Challenge North America 2019 – Round 2 – Drivers Ready for Bumps in Sebring
The North American series of Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli will make its way to Sebring International Raceway April 5 through 7 for the second round of its seven round 2019 calendar. Fifty one drivers will take on the classic 3.74 mile, 17 turn circuit, starting with practice sessions on Friday followed by qualifying and racing action on Saturday and Sunday.
Historic Setting. Sebring’s place in the lore of sports car racing in North America began two years after its opening with a 12 hour competition of endurance that became known as the 12 Hours of Sebring. Initially raced over the adjacent airfield, leveraging runways and taxiways, the circuit became known for its rough, changeable concrete surface and its utter lack of elevation change, a byproduct of the Florida topography. Held every year since 1952, the Sebring 12 Hour has become a benchmark for endurance sports car racing, both in the US and internationally, and the scene of a number of notable Ferrari sports car wins, with the first overall win coming in 1956 and the most recent overall win in the monstrous 333SP in 1998.
Mind the Bumps. This will be the first time that Ferrari Challenge has visited the south Florida circuit in the current decade, meaning many drivers will be unfamiliar with its particular characteristics. Two critical corners, turn 1 and turn 17 both have significant undulations and will require commitment and precision to navigate successfully. In turn 1, the apex is not visible at the turn in point, and is right up against a concrete wall to the inside. At track out, a surface change and narrowing of the course make for a difficult opening to the lap. Turn 17, however, offers a greater challenge, and larger bumps. Drivers will arrive in 7th gear and will need to slow to 4th gear through a corner that has many correct lines. It also has some of the worst bumps on the circuit, making power application extremely difficult. Watching the 488 Challenge car and Ferrari Challenge pilots navigate these two corners will certainly be a highlight of the weekend.
Broadcast to Augment Challenge Experience. The North American leg of Ferrari Challenge will be live streamed via live.ferrari.com for all stand-alone rounds going forwards in 2019. Drivers, family, friends and fans will be able to tune-in on live.ferrari.com on race day to see the racing schedule, and learn more about the Ferrari Challenge series and its participants.
Championship Battles. While it is still early days, some championship battles are coming in to focus. In Trofeo Pirelli, Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Westlake) leads Benjamin Hites (The Collection) by four points. The two swapped wins at COTA, and the rivalry will certainly continue for much of the season. In Trofeo Pirelli AM, Ziad Ghandour (Boardwalk Ferrari) has an eight point lead, earned by winning race 2 and taking pole position and fastest lap. His nearest competitor, Todd Morici (Wide World Ferrari) is just one point ahead of Barry Zekelman (Ferrari of Ontario). In Coppa Shell, Danny Baker (Ferrari of Palm Beach) had a perfect weekend with two wins, and leads Mark Issa (Ferrari of Atlanta) by eight points. In Coppa Shell AM, Brian Davis (Ferrari of Palm Beach) also had a perfect weekend with two wins, while the results behind him were a bit mixed. Ian Campbell (Ferrari of New England) currently leads the charge, but sits 19 points back, and only one ahead of his nearest competitor, Eric Marston (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Westlake).
Schedule. On track action begins on Friday, with qualifying and racing on both Saturday and Sunday. The live stream will begin at 9:30AM on Saturday and will conclude after the podium at 3:35PM, and will recommence at 9:40AM on Sunday and end after the Sunday podium at 2:30PM.
Britcar 2019 – Round 1 – Silverstone
Four Ferraris race in Britcar at Silverstone
Maranello, 5 April 2019 – The Ferrari entrants at Silverstone enjoyed an extraordinary opening round of the Britcar Endurance Championship 2019. In Class 2, the 488 Challenges scored a one-two in Race-1 and swept the podium in Race-2.
Race-1. The 488 Challenge of JMH Automotive won Race-1 in Class 2 with Wayne Marrs and Charlie Hollings, ahead of reigning champions Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz in the twin car of SB Race Engineering. FF Corse’s entry, crewed by reigning Sprint Class 1 champions David Mason and Ross Wylie, finished seventh. Winners Marrs and Hollings crossed the line in third overall, while Mason and Wylie set the fastest lap in their class after also holding first position for four laps. The safety car came out and remained on track for four laps before the green flag flew again.
Race-2. The second race saw Ferrari score a fantastic hat trick, monopolising the podium with the crews of JMH Automotive, SB Race Engineering and FF Corse in that order. This result further confirms the excellent sprint capabilities of the 488 Challenge, which was also competitive on the single qualifying lap when the FF Corse crew notched up the best class time.
Qualifying. Ferrari also dominated the only qualifying round in this new championship format, with three cars taking the first three places in Class 2. The 488 Challenge of FF Corse, the fastest of the trio in 1:04.926, set the third best time overall, followed by that of JMH Automotive, for an all-red second row. SB Race Engineering’s entry qualified third in its class and in seventh overall.
Club. The second round of the British series will be held on 27 April, again at Silverstone. However, this time the participants will face each other in the ‘club’ configuration of the historic English track.
Ferrari Corse Clienti – F1 Clienti and XX Programme – Round 2 – Valencia
F1 Clienti and XX Programmes tests completed in Valencia
Valencia, 4 Apr 2019 – Two days of testing and free practices for customers driving the cars of the XX Programmes and F1 Clienti concluded at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia. The track, which over the weekend hosted the Ferrari Challenge races and Passione Ferrari events, welcomed more than 20 Ferraris, including the F2007, the winner of the world constructors’ and drivers’ championships with Kimi Räikkonen.
F1 Clienti. After the spectacular Bahrain circuit with floodlit sessions just like the first Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season, the F1 Clienti single-seaters lapped a track that is twisty but also technical and a pleasure to drive. Seven single-seaters covered the track’s 4,005 metres. The previously mentioned F2007 was accompanied by the F150 Italia in which Fernando Alonso raced the 2011 season and the cars the Spaniard drove in 2012 and 2013. In addition to the F2012 and F138, there were two examples of the 248 F1, with which Massa competed in the 2006 season and the F2004 that his compatriot Rubens Barrichello drove in 2004.
XX Programmes. There were also free practices for the cars of the XX Programmes with customer testers behind the wheel of nine FXX K Evos, powered by the exceptional hybrid-thermal synergy of the V12 engine equipped with Hy-Kers. In addition to the latest addition to the programme, there were also a 599XX and two 599XX Evos.
Gala. As usual, there was a gala dinner for XX Programmes and F1 Clienti customers in a unique location, this time Valencia’s oceanographic park of Valencia, in the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Sciences).
Next events. The cars of the XX Programmes and the F1 Clienti single-seaters are due to travel to the United States where they will take part in a two-day test at the Sonoma circuit on 7 and 8 May in preparation for the Ferrari Racing Days at the Laguna Seca circuit from 10 to 12 May.
FIA Formula 1 Tests Bahrain – Day 2
Vettel rounds off the work in Sakhir with 103 laps on the SF90
Sakhir, 3 April 2019 – Sebastian Vettel wrapped up the two days of the third Formula 1 test of the year at the Bahrain International Circuit. The Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow driver was back at the wheel two days on from Sunday’s race and completed a total of 103 laps, 47 in the morning and 56 after lunch. Over the course of the test, the SF90 therefore completed 159 laps, starting with Mick Schumacher’s 56 on Tuesday, equivalent to 860 kilometres.
The weather was a definite improvement on yesterday and that helped Sebastian get through the planned programme with the team working on set-up and car balance. Before the lunch break, the German did several short runs under 10 laps, to assess the handling of the car in different configurations.
In the afternoon, Sebastian did some race simulation work, so as to analyse in depth the behaviour of the tyres. His fastest lap was a 1’29”319, set in the morning, good enough for third position on the time sheet.
Now, Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow sets its sights on China, which hosts the third Grand Prix of the season next week. This race will also be the one thousandth in the history of Formula 1, the first dating back to the race at Silverstone on 13 May 1950. Ferrari has taken part in more of those races than any other team.
Sebastian Vettel #5
“Today we made the most of the time available thanks to good and consistent track conditions. We were able to try various set-up configurations and evaluate the behaviour of the tyres. I’d say it was a pretty positive day: in the morning, we concentrated on some short runs, while in the afternoon, we simulated various phases of a race. It was an interesting session, because we managed to gather even more information which could be useful in the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix.”
FDA – Mick Schumacher does 70 laps with Alfa Romeo Racing
Sakhir, 3 April 2019 – It was the second day of Formula 1 testing for Mick Schumacher, the Ferrari Driver Academy Student, currently competing in the Formula 2 championship. The son of the seven times world champion, Michael, completed 70 laps at the wheel of the Alfa Romeo Racing car, setting a best time of 1’29”998, which was the sixth best time of the day.
Aerodynamics and tyres. In the morning, Mick did some aerodynamic testing on the C38 and in the afternoon he worked on a tyre programme with the car that is raced by Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi. The young German’s tally of 70 laps can be added to the 56 he ran on Tuesday in the Ferrari SF90. That makes a total of 126 over the two days, 682 kilometres, equivalent to over two Grands Prix distances.
Mick Schumacher #36. “It has been another beautiful day at an F1 track today, and I can only repeat myself as it is just so much fun to drive these cars. After the first experience I had yesterday I tried to implement what I learned into today’s laps, and I am happy about how it worked. It has been very nice working with the team at Alfa Romeo Racing, gaining confidence with the car and improving steadily. I will definitely fly back with some very beautiful memories and am looking forward to getting myself back into the preparations for the next F2 race in Baku.”
FIA Formula 1 Tests Bahrain – Day 1
56 laps for Mick Schumacher on his Ferrari and F1 debut
Sakhir, 2 April 2019 – It was a day to remember in Bahrain for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and all Formula 1 fans. Shortly after nine in the morning, Mick Schumacher, son of seven times world champion, Michael, had his first drive in a Formula 1 car, the Ferrari SF90.
The Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) student, who made his Formula 2 debut over the weekend with the Prema team, jumped in the car for an installation lap, before pitting for the usual checks. A few minutes later, despite the track being extremely dirty following the sand storm that hit the area yesterday, Mick began his first run, putting together a series of laps at a constant pace.
The other newsworthy aspect of the day was the weather, with the occasional rain shower, hardly a usual feature in this part of the world, reducing the amount of track time in the morning for the teams. Before the lunch break, the young German had completed 33 laps, the quickest in 1’32”552. In the afternoon, Schumacher and the other drivers were only able to get back on track around 5pm, given that the rain was still falling in Sakhir.
Mick completed a further 23 laps, as he gradually gained confidence in the SF90, while working on a programme including tyre and set-up work. By the end of his first day in a Formula 1 car, the youngster had run up a total of 56 laps, equivalent to 303 kilometres, one lap less than Sunday’s race distance. His best time was a 1’29”976.
For the second and final day of the Sakhir test, Sebastian Vettel will be behind the wheel for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow. Mick Schumacher will be in action yet again, switching to the cockpit of the Alfa Romeo Racing car.
Mick Schumacher #29
I really enjoyed today. It felt like home in the garage from the very first moment with a lot of people that know me since I was very young. The SF90 is incredible because of the power it has, but it is also smooth to drive, and that’s why I enjoyed myself so much. I was impressed by the braking power an F1 car has. It seemed to me you could brake later and later and the car would have made the turn anyway. I would like to say thank you Ferrari for this incredible opportunity and I’m looking forward to test the Alfa Romeo tomorrow.
Endurance Brasil – Round 1 – Curitiba – Podium for Via Italia Racing in Curitiba
Curitiba, Brazil | 2 April 2019 – Via Italia Racing took a podium finish on the opening round of the 2019 Brazilian Endurance Championship with their Ferrari 488 GT3. After making their debut in the Ferrari at the 24 Hours at Daytona, the team re-oriented to the championship in Brazil. Straight out of the box, the Ferrari 488 GT3 proved fast and consistent with Daniel Serra taking pole in the GT category with a 1:12.739 second lap.
Challenging Race Start. Via Italia elected to start Chico Longo for the opening two stints, who would then be replaced by Daniel. However, with only thirty minutes elapsed in the race, a small contact with a fellow GT competitor pushed the Ferrari 488 GT3 machine off-track. At the pit stop to repair the damage, a problem with the air jack caused the team to loose additional laps before Chico was able to return to racing in 25th position.
Fight Back. Chico was able to recover several positions over the remainder of his stint, climbing to 18th place. Daniel then took over and powered the Via Italia Racing Ferrari up to 6th overall and 3rd in the GT class by the checkered flag, earning the team its first podium of the young 2019 season and proving that the Ferrari has the pace required to challenge for wins at every race this season. An AJR Prototype took the overall win, while the GT category was won by the Mercedes of Xandy/ Xandinho Negrao.
Quotes. This race was possible to fight for the victory. The car is very faster and competitive. I am sad with the result, but optimistic to the remaining the session”, said Longo.
“The car is perfect. My best lap in Curitiba with an GT Car. The final result does not show our real condition. Is possible to fight for the victory all the race. And this is ours ambition this year”, said Serra.
Schedule. The Brazilian Endurance Championship will return on 25 May in Goiania, Goias for another four hour endurance contest.
Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 – Not the expected result
Sakhir, 31 March 2019 – Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow leaves Bahrain with a feeling of regret after the second round of the Formula 1 World Championship, thinking about what might have been. All weekend long, the SF90 clearly demonstrated it had the potential to win, having rediscovered the competitive pace it had lost in Australia. However, in the end, it had to settle for a third place courtesy of Charles Leclerc and a fifth with Sebastian Vettel.
Sebastian got the better of his team-mate at the start to lead at the first corner. Charles found himself in third behind Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes, but on the second lap, the Monegasque driver got past the Finn and closed on his team-mate. Charles had a better pace and passed Sebastian on lap 5 to take the lead.
On lap 13, Charles came in for his first pit stop, switching from the Soft to the Medium tyres, as did Sebastian on the following lap, the German rejoining behind Hamilton in the Mercedes who had stopped one lap earlier. The German took eight laps to attack and overtake his rival at Turn 4.
On lap 35, Sebastian made his second stop, once again duelling with the Englishman. The German ended up spinning and flatspotted his tyres which resulted in the front wing coming off due to the strong vibrations. He then had to pit again for a new one. Charles also came in again, on lap 36, but kept the lead setting the fastest lap with 1’33″411.
After his unscheduled stop, Sebastian rejoined ninth and charged up the order, passing Kimi Raikkonen then Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg, to claim fifth place.
With 15 laps remaining, Charles’ car suffered a power unit problem which meant his pace slowed dramatically, The two Mercedes thus managed to pass him, but with two laps to go, the Safety Car came out to deal with two cars stopping on track at the same time, which froze the positions, so that Leclerc was at least able to enjoy the satisfaction of his first ever F1 podium finish. He thus equals Louis Chiron, the only other driver from Monaco to have made it to a Formula 1 podium, which he did in his home race in 1950, the race in which Scuderia Ferrari first took part in the World Championship.
Formula 1 is back in action in two weeks time with the Chinese Grand Prix, which will also be the one thousandth Grand Prix in the sport’s history.
Charles Leclerc #16
“It’s part of motorsport, we know that. Sometimes it’s not your day to win and today wasn’t ours. In the final part of the race we had an issue with the power unit and I had to slow down. It’s a shame because the race seemed to me to be under control. The team is disappointed and I am disappointed but there are a lot of positives to take home from this weekend. They gave me an amazing car and that is very much to their credit. The car was very easy to drive and was very good. These things happen in motorsport: we took the best out of it anyway. It’s my first podium even if I’m not enjoying it as much as I wanted. It’s life, it happens, we’ll come back stronger”.
Sebastian Vettel #5
“Not the race we wanted. We started first and second and we didn’t finish there. A disappointing evening. I had a good start but already halfway through the first lap I realised that the car was extremely difficult to drive. I think Charles struggled less as he had no difficulties in passing me. It was quite tough out there. Then we lost P2 at the pitstop but came back. In the second stint on the medium tyres maybe it was a bit better but overall we didn’t have the pace we should have had today. While battling with Lewis I made a mistake at turn 4, which is one of the trickiest corners on the track. I suddenly lost the car and I spun. In doing so, I damaged the tyres so much that I had quite a lot of vibrations, which eventually led to the failure of the front wing. It was Charles’ race today, he got very unlucky. I am sorry for him and for the team”.
Mattia Binotto Team Principal.
“It was a shame for Charles. He was in the lead for much of the race and showed that he was particularly comfortable here in Bahrain, also setting the race fastest lap. He deserved to win and it was only the reliability problem, which we must now investigate, which prevented him from doing so. That is something unacceptable from us and it shows how important it is to get every last detail right in order to win. With regards to Sebastian, these things can happen in racing when you are on the limit, therefore it is more important to consider the car, which today performed well. The team also did an excellent job, producing some really good pit stops. We head home with many positives on which to build for the rest of the season, such as our performance level and the way the team reacted. Clearly there are still various things that we have to learn and we will continue to work on them.”
Intercontinental GT Challenge 2019 – Round 2 – California 8 Hours – Ferrari and HubAuto Corsa win California 8 Hour
Monterey, California | 31 March 2019 – Ferrari has won the 2019 edition of the California 8 hour round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, after an utterly dominant performance from HubAuto Corsa and their Ferrari 488 GT3 machine. Drivers Nick Foster, Tim Slade and Ferrari factory pilot Miguel Molina combined to lead 194 laps of the 327 laps run. In a race that was run entirely under the green flag, consistent pace and flawless pit stop work were required for a good result, and the HubAuto Corsa team, all three drivers and the Ferrari 488 GT3 delivered in spades.
Record distance. Without a single caution period for the entire 8 hour duration, it should come as no surprise that the race set a distance and lap record for the nascent event. The lack of interruption also meant that strategic variation was limited and consistent pace ultimately won the day. To that end, all three Ferrari pilots were able to consistently manage pace and tire degradation, so while their ultimate pace may not have been the fastest, the average lap times generated throughout the stint were far superior. The team also played a crucial role, with seven near-flawless pit stops that minimized the time lost on pit lane.
Laguna novices become expert. All three drivers opened the weekend as Laguna Seca novices, having never been to the Northern California circuit previously. They were able, however, to get up to speed quickly and execute an error free race. Specifically the team put together a set up and strategy that prioritized the race over qualifying position which allowed the no. 27 Ferrari to switch on its Pirelli tires earlier in the race than most of its competitors. This advantage proved decisive as overtaking proved particularly challenging.
Championship Implications. The No. 27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 is the only Ferrari that will be contesting all of the rounds of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. After a disastrous opening round at Bathurst, this weekend’s win has put the team firmly back into the championship hunt. The team and drivers find themselves tied for second in the driver’s championship with 25 points while Ferrari is now up to third place with 29 points.
Schedule. With the second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge complete, HubAuto will again pack everything into a shipping container, which will make its way to Belgium for the 24 Hours at Spa at the end of July. The season will continue with the Suzuka 10 Hour at the end of August and finish with the Kyalami 9 Hour at the end of November.
Intercontinental GT Challenge 2019 – Round 2 – California 8 Hours – Ferrari dominate at Laguna Seca
- Superlative performance from HubAuto Corsa in the California 8H
Maranello, 31st March 2019 – The weekend produced two red letter days for the Ferrari 488 GT3s involved in two arduous endurance races, the California 8 Hours and the 12 Hours of Mugello, which both concluded with the 488 GT3s of HubAuto Corsa and Scuderia Praha heading the leader board.
California 8 Hours. The Ferrari 488 GT3 of the HubAuto Corsa team has triumphed in the 2019 edition of the California 8 Hours, the second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge disputed this weekend at the historic Laguna Seca circuit in Monterey, California. The series organized by SRO, which includes endurance races on some of the world’s most spectacular and challenging circuits, held its opening date back in February on Australia soil, with the Bathurst 12 Hour. The season will continue at Spa in July before moving on to Suzuka in August and Kyalami in November. Nick Foster, Tim Slade and Miguel Molina, the official drivers of the Competizioni GT, led 194 of the 327 laps raced. In a competition run without interruptions from the Safety Car, both race pace and the work of the pit crew were decisive elements in ensuring such an outstanding result, with the team, drivers and the 488 GT3 living up to expectations. The result puts HubAuto Corsa back in the battle for the championship title. The winners of the race now hold second spot in the general standings, while Ferrari occupies third position in the constructors’ championship with 29 points.
Honour’s List. These successes take the 488 GT3 win tally to 208 out of 417 races, again reaffirming the car’s great competitiveness and reliability.
Ferrari F8 Tributo makes its regional debut as the most powerful V8 Ferrari is unveiled in Bahrain
Bahrain, 31 March 2019 – Following its recent global launch at Geneva Motor Show, the all new Ferrari F8 Tributo was unveiled yesterday by Euro Motors, the sole authorised dealer of Ferrari in Bahrain, in an exclusive event held at Hotel Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa.
The F8 Tributo is the new mid-rear-engined sports car that represents the highest expression of the Prancing Horse’s classic two-seater berlinetta. It is a car with unique characteristics and, as its name implies, is an homage to the most powerful V8 in Ferrari history.
The F8 Tributo sets the market benchmark for performance, driving pleasure and ease of handling. It makes the exhilarating performance of the best 8-cylinder in the world accessible to all drivers, with unprecedented handling and superior ride comfort.
The F8 Tributo replaces the 488 GTB and, in the range, is the model with the highest performance matched by the greatest driver involvement. There are significant improvements across the board aimed at providing even better control on the limit along with greater on-board comfort.
In the automotive world, Ferrari’s V8 engine is seen as the very epitome of sportiness and driving pleasure. This is particularly the case when it is mid-rear-mounted in a two-seater. Ferrari has been honing the scope of abilities of this architecture, which creates an optimal weight balance, and thus delivers unparalleled thrillingly sporty driving, to perfection for over four decades.
Designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre, the F8 Tributo is essentially a bridge to a new design language that will continue to emphasise Ferrari’s key characteristics of high performance and extreme aerodynamic efficiency. In fact, the F8 Tributo is the most aerodynamically efficient series-production mid-rear-engined berlinetta ever designed.
The F8 Tributo features state-of-the-art aerodynamics, integrating innovations and expertise developed thanks to the company’s involvement in the GT and Challenge championships. The solutions have been honed to create a series-production mid-rear-engined berlinetta with the highest level of performance available.
It was only through close synergy with the Ferrari Styling Centre that the strict aerodynamic constraints could be so flawlessly interpreted and integrated into the car’s design. A good example is the S-Duct at the front and the redesigned blown spoiler system at the rear which are underscored by the car’s clean yet decisive lines.
The cockpit retains the classic, driver-oriented look typical of Ferrari’s mid-rear-engined berlinettas. Every element of the dash, door panels and tunnel has been completely redesigned specifically for the car. The F8 Tributo also boasts a new generation steering wheel and steering wheel-mounted controls as well as new styling on the standard seats.
Overall performance levels are significantly higher than those of the 488 GTB, thanks to the increase in power, weight reduction and improved aerodynamic coefficient. That performance is also now accessible to a larger number of drivers thanks to vehicle dynamics systems that make driving on the limit an easier and more confidence-inspiring experience.
The Ferrari F8 Tributo is expected to be on the roads later this year and is available only through Euro Motors, the sole authorized dealership of Ferrari in Bahrain.
Ferrari Challenge Europe – Round 2 – Valencia – Grossmann, Brown, Kirchmayr and Jansen win in Race-2
Valencia, 31st March 2019 – After a splendid sunny day yesterday, Race-2 of the second round of Ferrari Challenge Europe in Valencia was disputed in meteorological conditions diametrically opposed. Heavy downpours and temperatures, which never rose above 13 degrees either on the asphalt or in the atmosphere, forced competitors to drive in extreme conditions. The two races ended with Bjorn Grossmann and Jack Brown dominating in the Trofeo Pirelli, while Ernst Kirchmayr and Henrik Jansen commanded in the Coppa Shell.
Trofeo Pirelli. Bjorn Grossmann returns to the highest step of the podium in the race which marks his return to the series. The multi-time Trofeo Pirelli Europa champion (2006, 2015 and 2016) wins his forty-first victory in the Ferrari Challenge after an enthralling race characterized by two Safety Car incursions. The Octane 126 driver took advantage of the restart after the first neutralization to spring attacks on Louis Prette (Formula Racing) which culminated in an overtaking manoeuvre carried out on lap eight. From then on, the German driver kept the pursuers in check even after the last Safety Car which came out 8’46” from the chequered flag and re-entered the pits with a mere 2’ of the race still to run. In the battle for the podium, Niccolò Schirò (Rossocorsa) managed to overtake a tenacious yet correct Prette who nevertheless accrues important points in the general standings. Hot on the heels of the top three were Frenchman Thomas Neubauer (Charles Pozzi – Courage) – on the podium in Race-1 – and rookie Maximilian Mayer (Gohm Motorsport). It was tough day out for Sam Smeeth (Baron Motorsport), forced to start from the final row, who nevertheless staged a fine comeback to finish in sixth ahead of a returning Fabienne Wohlwend (Octane 126).
Trofeo Pirelli AM. At the end of a textbook race, exercising absolute control throughout, Jack Brown successfully completed the race to clinch a maiden victory in the series. The driver from Ferrari UK – Graypaul Nottingham, sixth overall, was unrivalled and worthy of the well-deserved achievement. Behind him, Emanuele Maria Tabacchi (Rossocorsa) made an umpteenth comeback, starting from the ninth row, ahead of Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa) who got lumbered with 25-second penalties which allowed rookie Marian Sufliarsky (MERTEL Italo Cars Nürnberg) to take the third step of the podium. The Slovakian driver managed to claw back positions from the back row start after having had problems on the grid, to become protagonist of an almost identical race to that of fellow-countryman Jan Danis (Scuderia Praha), winner of Race-1, who also started from the back due to grid handicaps. Danis crossed the finish-line in fourth position ahead of Englishman Frank Ruimy (Ferrari UK – HR Owen) and the Danish driver Frederik Espersen (Forza Racing).
Coppa Shell. Ernst Kirchmayr (Baron Motorsport) clinched an authoritative win at the end of Race-2, leading the race from pole to flag without buckling under the pressure put on by Tani Hanna (Formula Racing). He did so after the restart following the Safety Car entrance due to Race-1 winner Eric Cheung (Formula Racing) having come off the track. The battle between the German and Lebanese drivers led to the fastest lap, which according to race rules, merits an additional point, as does the pole position winner. On this occasion, Hanna won the day. On the third step of the podium was Fons Scheltema (Kessel Racing), one of the championship veterans, who made up for a less fortunate race yesterday. Behind the Dutchman, Ken Abe (Formula Racing) kept Corinna and Thomas Gostner (Ineco – MP Racing) in check.
Coppa Shell AM. Henrik Jansen also won the second scheduled race of the weekend in Spain. The Formula Racing driver, fourth overall, finished ahead of Laurent De Meeus (Ferrari UK – HR Owen) who took advantage of a spin by Agata Smolka (Rossocorsa) among the top positions, to take another step forward in the overall standings. Once again on the podium was Giuseppe Ramelli (Rossocorsa – Pellin Racing), who finished on the heels of De Meeus.
Qualifying. The morning qualifying session had allowed drivers to get a feel for the wet track after the races held yesterday in dry conditions. The fastest proved to be Thomas Neubauer (Charles Pozzi – Courage) and Jack Brown (Ferrari UK – Graypaul Nottingham) in the Trofeo Pirelli; Henrik Jansen (Formula Racing) and Ernst Kirchmayr (Baron Motorsport) in the Coppa Shell class. As usual, in order to keep the spectacle as entertaining as possible, grid handicaps had been applied, dictated by the previous race results, causing a reshuffle to the starting grid.
Rankings and upcoming events. In the Trofeo Pirelli: Niccolò Schirò (65), Sam Smeeth (55), Louis Prette (55); in the Trofeo Pirelli AM: Emanuele Maria Tabacchi (76), Jack Brown (67), Jan Danis (31); in the Coppa Shell: Tani Hanna (61), Ernst Kirchmayr (50), Christian Kinch (44); in the Coppa Shell AM: Laurent De Meeus (58), Agata Smolka (50), Henrik Jansen (44); Coppa Team: Formula Racing (209), Rossocorsa (207), Baron Motorsport (101).
The next round of the Ferrari Challenge Europe takes place on 3-5 May in Spielberg, Austria.
Ferrari Challenge Europe – Round 2 – Valencia – Neubauer and Brown in pole for Race-2 of the Trofeo Pirelli
Valencia, 31st March 2019 – On a track made very difficult by overnight rain at the Ricardo Tormo track, which intensified further this morning, Thomas Neubauer won a fine pole position, his first in the Ferrari Challenge.
Trofeo Pirelli. Neubauer marked 1: 45.963 on the stopwatch, a very respectable time which nobody else was able to match. Out on a track renowned for its technical difficulties, the driver from the Charles Pozzi – Courage team drove impeccably. There was no shortage of thrills to the rear either, with very contained gaps between the pursuers with five drivers bunched into a one second gap.
The session, which concluded 1’37″ ahead of time after the red flag due to Maximilian Mayer coming off the track, placed a very competitive Bjorn Grossmann once more on the first row at 1″ 1 from the poleman, more determined than ever to make up for the narrowly missed podium yesterday.
Louis Prette held his ground well on a treacherous circuit, finishing in third place ahead of Jack Brown, the first of the Trofeo Pirelli AM drivers. The Englishman distanced himself more than a second ahead of the other drivers in his category and managed to finish ahead of Niccolò Schirò, provisional leader in the championship standings. The Rossocorsa driver managed to get the better of Fabienne Wolhwend by a hair’s breadth. Unexpected difficulties for Sam Smeeth, ninth, yesterday in pole position after the application of grid handicaps.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Behind Jack Brown, protagonist of two impeccable qualification rounds with the best time in the category of 1: 49.836, was Martin Nelson, fourth in Race-1. The Scuderia Autoropa driver finished ahead of Danish driver Christian Overgaard and Emanuele Maria Tabacchi, looking for more points to consolidate his leadership in the overall standings. Another fine qualifying round for rookie Marian Sufliarsky who outdistanced John Dhillon by almost five tenths of a second.
Alessandro Vezzoni, one of the protagonists of Race-1 and the winner Jan Danis closed the session respectively in seventh and eighth place for a starting grid that will still be shaken up by the grid handicaps. Given the many variables at play, the race remains wide open, with any result possible on the Spanish circuit, not least due to possible further increases in the intensity of the rain.
Ferrari Challenge Europe – Round 2 – Valencia – Jansen dominates, Kirchmayr in his wake
Valencia, 31st March 2019 – Henrik Jansen proved to be the fastest by the end of the thirty minutes of qualifying for Race-2. The Danish driver, winner of Race 1 in the Coppa Shell AM, was even able to finish ahead of the drivers from the Coppa Shell class, as he showed great feeling with the Spanish track, even in such extremely difficult conditions.
Coppa Shell. Behind Jansen, but first of the Coppa Shell drivers, was Ernst Kirchmayr who tried to make up for yesterday’s disappointment of missing out on a podium place with a very good lap, was the only other driver, apart from Jansen, to break the one minute and fifty barrier (1: 49.742). Behind the Austrian driver will start Tani Hanna, who was able to record his best time on the last pass. The leader of the provisional ranking precedes his first rival in the ranking, Christian Kinch. The virtual third row sees Fons Scheltema line up alongside the winner of Race-1, Eric Cheung, who also span off bringing the red flag out, due to the dangerous standstill position of his 488 Challenge.
Coppa Shell AM. The time of 1: 49.417 recorded by Jansen gives him outright pole position and allows the Formula Racing driver to open a margin over his adversaries. Polish driver Agata Smolka, at ease in the rain but slowed down by traffic on her fast lap attempts, managed to take second place in the category, sixth overall. The other drivers lagged behind and were more conservative in their approach to qualifying, which led to some lengthy gaps behind the poleman. Third, however was the Frenchman “Alex Fox” who has 143 milliseconds ahead of Italian Giuseppe Ramelli, on the podium yesterday in Race-1.
FIA Formula 2 Championship 2019 – Round 1 – Sakhir – Schumacher in the points on debut Bahrain
Sakhir, 31 March 2019 – The Bahrain Grand Prix weekend has also seen the start of the FIA Formula 2 championship. Three Ferrari Driver Academy drivers, Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Giuliano Alesi, are competing in this feeder series for Formula 1 for the very first time. Drivers and cars were subjected to hot conditions every time they took to the track as, unlike the F1 cars, the Formula 2 sessions and race all took place at the hottest part of the day.
Good start. Schumacher leaves the Sakhir circuit with a good points haul, having finished both races in the points. The 20 year old German started Race 1 from the fifth row of the grid, coming home eighth at the end of the 32 laps. That was a key result as a reversed top eight grid meant that Mick started the Sprint Race from pole position. He kept the lead at the start, but dropped a few places, in difficulty with tyre management, but nevertheless sixth place was a positive end to the weekend.
Uphill all the way. Ilot and Alesi had a bit more of a struggle on their hands. The 20 year old Englishman paid the price of a mistake in qualifying, which meant he started the Feature Race from 18th on the grid. Callum came away from the weekend with a 14th and a 16th place. Alesi started 15th in Race 1, finishing 12th and then in Race 2 he closed on the top ten, but an unplanned pit stop with excessive tyre wear dropped him to 18th at the flag.
24H Series European Championship 2019 – Round 1 – 5th Hankook 12H Mugello – Ferrari dominate at Mugello
- In the 12H of Mugello the 488 GT3 of Scuderia Praha commands
Maranello, 31st March 2019 – The weekend produced two red letter days for the Ferrari 488 GT3s involved in two arduous endurance races, the California 8 Hours and the 12 Hours of Mugello, which both concluded with the 488 GT3s of HubAuto Corsa and Scuderia Praha heading the leader board.
12 Hours of Mugello. An extraordinary accomplishment for the Scuderia Praha 488 GT3 driven by Jiří Písařík / Josef Kral / Matteo Malucelli in the opening round of the 24H Series European Championship, held at the Mugello circuit. Ferrari led the race with authority, conceding the lead to adversaries on very few of the total 330 laps. The other Ferrari in the A6-PRO class, that of the Wochenspiegel Team Monschau team with Perel-Menzel-Kainz-Weiss, was forced to retire. Just off the podium instead were the three Ferrari 488 GT3s of the Rinaldi Racing team involved in the A6-AM class. Fourth was the number 48 of Ehret-Penttinen-Berry-Scholze, fifth the number 47 of Frers-Montermini-Fontana-Triller who clocked up the fastest lap in the class (1: 50.058), with sixth place going to the number 69 of Hook-Parrow-Lauck.
Honour’s List. These successes take the 488 GT3 win tally to 208 out of 417 races, again reaffirming the car’s great competitiveness and reliability.
Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 – Ferrari front row lockdown at Sakhir
Sakhir, 30 March 2019 – Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow secured its 62nd Formula 1 front row lockdown today. Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were first and second fastest in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, the second round of the Formula 1 World Championship. It was Charles’ first F1 pole, making him the second youngest ever pole man after Sebastian and the youngest ever Ferrari driver to claim the number one spot on the grid. For the Maranello marque, this is pole number 220.
Q1. Charles and Sebastian comfortably made the first cut. The Monegasque driver did a 1’28”495 on his first run, while Seb did a 1’28”733.
Q2. In the second part of qualifying, traffic played a crucial role. Charles managed to get a clean run amongst the many cars on track, doing a 1’28”046 at his first attempt, which was good enough to put him in the fight for pole. Things did not go as smoothly for Sebastian, who was stuck behind slower cars, which meant he could do no better than 1’29”233, which was potentially not enough to get into the top ten. Therefore the German had to fit a second set of tyres to get through in 1’28”356, which left him with only one set of new tyres for the final shoot-out.
Q3. In the final part, Charles immediately posted an excellent 1’27”958 before pitting and waiting for the track to rubber-in still further, before trying to improve on new tyres. Sebastian made his only run when there were just under five minutes remaining, to go second quickest in 1’28”160. Not long after he crossed the line, Leclerc came along again and despite being sure of starting from pole, improved still further setting a new track record of 1’27”866. The Bahrain Grand Prix starts tomorrow at 18:10 local time (17:10 CET.)
Charles Leclerc #16
“This first pole position brings me a lot of emotions, even if I’m trying to stay as cool as possible, as there are no points for pole position and the race is tomorrow. It has been a great day and a great weekend overall for the team so far, so I hope it will continue tomorrow. I said it was a question of putting everything together for qualifying and it seems I did it, unlike what happened in the first race. It’s an amazing feeling but now we have to focus on the race and try to bring home the best possible result tomorrow. I feel more comfortable in the car lap after lap so I’m satisfied. Before the race we will talk with the team to find the perfect strategy in order to give the Scuderia the best possible result. The start will probably be the key as the track is dirty and it’s easy to have wheelspin”.
Sebastian Vettel #5
“Today we were in the fight. The main thing is we are back where we want to be. It’s tomorrow that counts, but for today we can certainly be very happy as we are in a much better place than two weeks ago. Today it’s about Ferrari and about Charles who did a very very good job and nailed his laps in Q3 and he deserved to be on pole. He’s a good kid, actually, a good man, because once you get a pole in Formula 1 you are a man! It’s a big achievement and I am happy for him. Chapeau! Our one lap pace was there the whole weekend and we were able to confirm this in qualifying. I’m a lot happier today and it’s good to see that we are back on the right track”.
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
We are all very pleased for Ferrari, for Charles’ very first pole, for having locked down the first row and for our comeback after Australia. The team reacted strongly and worked well, united and focused. It’s a great team, a very good team. There’s also an excellent spirit of cooperation between our drivers and Charles is indeed a good kid. Our qualifying pace was good but it was a tough one and it’s tomorrow that really counts. It’s a very long way to the chequered flag and reliability will be important. We need to stay calm and concentrated, as our rivals will be trying to make our life difficult tomorrow. It’s a long season, so let’s take it step by step.
Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 – Leclerc ahead of Vettel in FP3
Sakhir, 30 March 2019 – The third and final free practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix saw the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow SF90s of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel continue to top the time sheet, as they have done all weekend so far. However, it’s this afternoon that things get serious and the times really count, when qualifying takes place at 18:00 (16:00 CET) to decide the grid for tomorrow’s race, which kicks off at 18:10 (17:10 CET.)
Wind and dust. Overnight rain and strong winds affected the session for everyone, so that times were not as quick as in the Friday practice. Charles Leclerc ran 15 laps, the quickest in a time of 1’29”569, while Sebastian Vettel did one lap more, stopping the clocks in 1’29”738.
Intercontinental GT Challenge 2019 – Round 2 – California 8 Hours – HubAuto takes 3rd in California 8 Hour Start
Monterey, California | 30 March 2019 – HubAuto and Ferrari factory pilot Miguel Molina took third place at the start of the California 8 Hour round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Miguel Molina made an aggressive start in the no. 27 Ferrari 488 GT3 and briefly held third on his way into the Andretti hairpin. The normal scrum for position in the opening corner, however, relegated him back to his original starting position.
The Ferrari, however, would not be denied and over the ensuing 15 minutes leveraged consistent pressure and a slower back-marker to make the pass for third into the T11 hairpin. He then set about chasing down the Acura in 2nd place, closing a four second gap in only 10 minutes. The two are now less than one second apart as the Ferrari 488 GT3 shows its pace at the twisting California circuit.
Fast Start. While there was the expected drama at the middle of the pack, the leading Nissan has jumped ahead, establishing a five second gap over his nearest competitor. That gap, established over the opening three laps, has remained consistent in the opening 20 minutes of this race as competitors settle in to what will be a long 8 hour contest.
Intercontinental GT Challenge 2019 – Round 2 – California 8 Hours – HubAuto Qualifies for Pole Shootout at Laguna Seca
Monterey, 30 March 2019 – HubAuto and its three drivers have qualified for the pole shootout for the California 8 Hour race at Laguna Seca. The qualifying format meant times from all three drivers were critically important as the best laps from each driver were averaged together to create the final rankings.
Strong Line Up Delivers. The three HubAuto Corsa drivers all set lap times that were within a couple of tenths of each other. Nick Forester ultimately took the fastest time of the trip with a 1:23.659 in the second of three qualifying sessions, beating out Ferrari factory pilot Miguel Molina. Miguel set his time in the third and final session, with a best time of 1:23.757. Tim Slade was the first to hit the track and also posted the slowest time of the three, but was only four tenths away from Nick with a 1:24.046.
Schedule. HubAuto will return to the circuit at 3:40pm where they will compete with the nine other fastest teams to set the pole sitter for tomorrow’s 8 hour main event.
Ferrari Challenge Europe – Round 2 – Valencia – Smeeth, Danis, Cheung and Jansen command in Race-1
Valencia, 30th March 2019 – Sam Smeeth, Jan Danis, Eric Cheung and Henrik Jansen have triumphed in Race-1 of the Ferrari Challenge in Valencia. In front of the thrilled spectators who coloured the paddock and the grandstands, the Trofeo Pirelli and Coppa Shell races guaranteed a surprise-filled show.
Trofeo Pirelli. At the end of a race full of twists and interventions from race authorities, Sam Smeeth (Baron Motorsport) was able to clinch a well-deserved victory. The English driver, who got off to a perfect start at the green light, took command of the race, fending off attacks from Bjorn Grossmann (Octane 126) who remained in his wake throughout, but had to settle for fourth final place due to a five-second penalty imposed for failing to respect track limits. Similar sanctions befell many of the race protagonists – even Smeeth himself – who, in the end, claimed the win with a mere four tenths of a second advantage over Thomas Neubauer (Charles Pozzi – Courage) and 2’2” over Niccolò Schirò (Rossocorsa) who was forced to make another comeback after being lumbered with a grid handicap after the results in Bahrain. As mentioned above, Grossmann posted fourth, followed by Bonacini (Kessel Racing) who produced a very convincing performance to conclude just five seconds adrift of the race winner. Meanwhile, Louis Prette (Formula Racing) finished fifth, another driver who fell foul of race authority sanctions.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Slovakian driver Jan Danis commanded the Trofeo Pirelli AM, characterized by an extremely fierce battle for the podium positions. The Scuderia Praha driver, on his return to the series, crossed the finish line ahead of Emanuele Maria Tabacchi (Rossocorsa) and Jack Brown (Ferrari UK – Graypaul Nottingham). The championship leader was able to stage a comeback from the back row which was made easier by the duels involving a handful of drivers ahead, spearheaded by Alessandro Vezzoni (Rossocorsa – Pellin Racing). The action ended up facilitating the Italian’s resurgence. Brown, meanwhile, had a very intense race characterized by a prolonged duel with Vezzoni. Likewise, sanctions in this category reshuffled the final standings. At the foot of the podium were Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa), Christian Overgaard (Forza Racing) and rookie Marian Sufliarsky (MERTEL Italo Cars Nürnberg).
Coppa Shell. Displaying flawless race conduct and absolute control, Eric Cheung was able to return to the top step of the podium, snatching a fourteenth victory in the Ferrari Challenge. The Canadian Formula Racing driver was able to repel the attacks, in the initial stages, by Ernst Kirchmayr (Baron Motorsport), who had got off to an excellent start, but span off two laps from the end dropping the driver to fifth position and put paid to his challenges to Cheung. Among the main protagonists were Christian Kinch (Gohm Motorsport), who took the chequered flag in runner-up spot and Thomas Gostner (Ineco – MP Racing). The two had a lengthy no-holds-barred battle for the lower step of the podium, only to find themselves both celebrating after the race. Fourth-placed finisher was Ken Abe, forced to endure a five-second penalty for failing to respect track limits, while Tani Hanna, leader in the championship after Bahrain, finished in sixth spot.
Coppa Shell AM. Henrik Jansen proved to be the protagonist of a perfect race, finishing in third place overall with few rivals capable of ruffling his feathers. The Formula Racing driver finished the thirty-minute race ahead of both Polish driver Agata Smolka (Rossocorsa) who drove a cautious race with eyes set on the championship, and Giuseppe Ramelli (Rossocorsa – Pellin Racing) returning to the series and making a maiden outing at the Ricardo Tormo circuit. The overall championship leader, Laurent De Meeus, finished fourth.
Qualifying. Morning qualifications had rewarded the performances of Louis Prette (Formula Racing) and Jack Brown (Ferrari UK – Graypaul Nottingham) in the Trofeo Pirelli and Eric Cheung and Agata Smolka in the Coppa Shell. As usual, in order to make for a competitive spectacle, grid handicaps had been applied.
Programme and TV. Tomorrow qualifying will be in the morning and the race in the early afternoon. The qualifying session and the races will be visible at https://races.ferrari.com/en/corse-clienti/live/.
Ferrari Challenge Europe – Round 2 – Valencia – Prette, Brown, Cheung and Smolka in pole
Valencia, 30th March 2019 – Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit today witnessed a hard-fought, thrilling qualifying round with contained gaps and much jostling for the front positions. By the session end, Louis Prette, Jack Brown, Eric Cheung and Agata Smolka had proved the quickest in their respective classes.
Trofeo Pirelli. Louis Prette notched up the fastest time of the Trofeo Pirelli drivers, thanks to a lap completed in 1:35.186. The Formula Racing driver marked a time just 50 milliseconds faster than Niccolò Schirò (Rossocorsa), practically continuing the duel started in Bahrain. The two were closely tailed by Sam Smeeth (Baron Motorsport), 220 milliseconds behind the poleman and by Thomas Neubauer (Charles Pozzi – Courage), a mere thousandth of second behind the Englishman. Bjorn Grossmann (Octane 126) on his return and Alessandro Bonacini (Kessel Racing) also finished within the same second. Debutant Maximilian Mayer (Gohm Motorsport) posted seventh place.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Jack Brown (Ferrari UK – Graypaul Nottingham) with seventh outright place clinched pole position (1:36.182) among the drivers in the Trofeo Pirelli AM class. The Englishman got the better of his Slovakian rival Jan Danis (Scuderia Praga) by just 187 milliseconds and Alessandro Vezzoni (Rossocorsa – Pellin Racing) on his return. Emanuele Maria Tabacchi (Rossocorsa), leader of the overall standings, concluded the qualifying round in fourth place ahead of Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa) and Tommaso Rocca (Rossocorsa). Marian Sufliarsky’s (Mertel Italo Cars Nürnberg) notable maiden outing should likewise be highlighted.
Coppa Shell. Canadian Eric Cheung (Formula Racing) grabbed a tenth Ferrari Challenge pole thanks to an excellent 1:36.610 lap, 161 milliseconds quicker than Christian Kinch’s (Gohm Motorsport) best lap. The close matching and the limited breakaways led to eight drivers bunched up within a second of each other. The Gostner (Ineco – MP Racing) family monopolized the second row with Corinna and Thomas, while Ernst Kirchmayr (Baron Motorsport) and Tani Hanna (Formula Racing) will once again line up side-by-side as they had previously done in Bahrain.
Coppa Shell AM. Agata Smolka (Rossocorsa) took pole position (1:38.119) with a margin of just 26 milliseconds over Danish driver Henrik Jansen (Formula Racing), confirming once more the progress made in terms of speed. Behind them were “Boris Gideon” (Formula Racing) and “Alex Fox” (Modena Motors – SLR) ahead of the leader of the general standings, Laurent De Meeus (Ferrari UK – HR Owen).
Endurance Brasil – Round 1 – Curitiba – Chico Longo Secures Pole for Via Italia in Season Opener
Curitiba, Brazil | 30 March 2019
Chico Longo and Via Italia Racing secured pole position in his Ferrari 488 GT3 car the GT3 category in the season opener of Endurance Brazil. This weekend’s opener is being held at the Autodromo Internacional de Curitiba, a 12 turn, 3.7 kilometer circuit located just outside of the city of Curitiba. The famed Brazilian circuit has previously hosted Formula 3 competition and the World Touring Car Championship before welcoming Endurance Brazil in 2019.
Dominant Time. Chico’s fastest time of 1:12.739 was good for pole position by nearly two seconds over his nearest competitor. His time in qualifying bodes well for a strong result in the race tomorrow for Via Italia and Ferrari. Chico earned most of his advantage in the second sector of the 3 kilometer circuit where the strong braking and power application characteristics of the Ferrari 488 GT3 were able to give Chico maximum advantage over his competitors.
Schedule. The opening round of Endurance Brazil will begin at 2pm local time, and will run for four hours. Racing action will be available to view via a live stream at endurancebrazil.com.
Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 – The Friday checks
Sakhir, 29 March 2019 – Today’s free practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix followed a slightly different programme to usual for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow. In fact, the team’s primary aim was to check the efficiency of measures applied to the SF90s of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc following the Australian Grand Prix.
FP1. During the first 90 minutes of track time, the team carried out a series of tests to check the work carried out in various areas. The two Ferraris ended up fastest of all: Charles did 20 laps and stopped the clocks in 1’30`’354, while Sebastian did 21 laps with a best of 1’30”617. Both drivers did tyre and set-up work.
FP2. The evening session was run in more relevant conditions for simulation runs, with practice starting at 18:00 (16:00 CET) the same time at which qualifying will start tomorrow and just 10 minutes earlier than the race start on Sunday (17:10 CET). As usual in this session, the cars ran in both race and qualifying trim. On low fuel runs, Sebastian was quickest in 1’28”846, slightly faster than Charles who managed a 1’28”881. Both drivers did 32 laps, bringing their daily total to respectively 52 and 53.
Sebastian Vettel #5. “The car is not yet where it was in Barcelona. Certainly, it’s better today than in Australia. It was a better day overall, but we still need to pick up the pace for tomorrow. I am not entirely happy. It has been quite a tricky day because the track was very slippery and it was difficult to always extract the best from the tyres. We were on a different strategy compared to other drivers and teams, that’s why for tomorrow we still need to improve. I think we have some more potential in the car that we have to unleash for qualifying”.
Charles Leclerc #16. “I think it was a good Friday and balance wise I think we are definitely looking better than in Australia. Having said that, it’s better to keep our feet on the ground. I’m pretty sure our rivals didn’t show their real pace today, so tomorrow will not be an easy day for sure. Overall I’m satisfied as we were able to run our full programme, including some fast laps in the second session, as FP3 will not be that representative because of the temperatures. I felt more comfortable in the car lap after lap. Now it’s all about putting everything together tomorrow”.
Mattia Binotto Team Principal. “Today we concentrated mainly on the problems we had in Australia, running a programme aimed at checking if the measures we introduced had fixed them. That’s why I think it’s difficult to compare our performance to our competitors today. I think we are in better shape than in Australia. However, I still think our rivals are very strong and that the performance levels in qualifying and the race will be very close.”
Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 – Vettel ahead of Leclerc in second practice
Sakhir, 29 March 2019 – Once again in the second free practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix, the two Ferrari drivers were fastest of all, this time with Sebastian Vettel ahead of Charles Leclerc. On the job sheet for the second 90-minute Friday session were tyre and set-up evaluation taking into consideration the drop in temperature.
Simulations. As usual in the second free practice session, the drivers ran different tyre types and various fuel loads to simulate different parts of qualifying and the race. Both Sebastian and Charles did 32 laps, with best times of 1’28”846 and 1’28”881 respectively.
Qualifying and race. Tomorrow’s action starts with the third free practice session at 15:00 (13:00 CET) with qualifying following at 18:00 (16:00 CET.) The race gets underway on Sunday at 18:10 (17:10 CET.)
Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 – Ferrari tops the time sheet in first free practice
Sakhir, 29 March 2019 –Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were first and second fastest respectively in the first free practice session for the Bahrain GP, at the wheel of their SF90s.
20 and 21 laps. Slow lap times were the order of the day early in the session as windy weather in the past few days had blown sand across the track, but as the racing line was gradually cleaned, the times began to tumble. Charles Leclerc did 20 laps, with a best time of 1’30”354 while Sebastian Vettel did 21 laps and stopped the clocks in 1’30”617. The second session gets underway at 18:00 local time (16:00 CET.)
Intercontinental GT Challenge 2019 – Round 2 – California 8 Hours – HubAuto chasing victory at Laguna Seca
Monterey, 29 March 2019 – Ferrari will continue its charge in the Intercontinental GT Challenge as HubAuto Corsa heads to the United States and the historic Laguna Seca circuit in Monterey, California. Organized by the SRO, this world-wide competition began in February in Australia with the Bathurst 12 Hours and will continue on to three additional rounds at world-renowned circuits over the coming year.
Rebound at Laguna. HubAuto drivers Nick Forster and Tim Slade will be joined by Ferrari factory pilot Miguel Molina, replacing Nick Percat, for the second round at Laguna Seca. The team suffered a difficult Bathurst after early contact knocked them out of the running, however they will look to rebound at the classic North American circuit.
Competitive Field. The quality of the competitors at the California 8 Hours has hit a new high compared to the first instance of the event in 2018. 16 drivers among the twenty cars entered have an FIA license level of platinum, indicating they are among the highest caliber of racing driver. HubAuto enters the fray with its own ace pilots. Nick Foster carries a gold license with the FIA and spent numerous years in British Touring Car competition; while Tim Slade, also a gold rated driver, has done nine consecutive Bathurst 1000 races in Australian V8 Supercar competition. Miguel, however, is the only driver of the trio to have raced in the United States previously, but none of them have competed at Laguna Seca previously.
Schedule. On track sessions begin on Thursday with practice at 11:35am, followed by pre-qualifying at 3:05pm. Qualifying will take place from 11:20am on Friday through 12:20, before a final pole shootout at 3:40pm. The race will run from 8:30am to 4:30pm on Saturday.
Ferrari Challenge Europe – Round 2 – Valencia – Neubauer and Cuhadaroglu among the surprises in the free practices
Valencia, 29th March 2019 – After the three testing sessions, the late afternoon unfolded with two free practices valid for the Trofeo Pirelli and the Coppa Shell competitions.
Trofeo Pirelli and Pirelli AM. The evenness amongst competitors which had become evident in the opening 2019 races was once again on display at the Ricardo Tormo circuit. Fastest by the end of the scheduled sixty minutes proved to be Thomas Neubauer (1:35.524) who preceded Sam Smeeth, poleman in Bahrain, by almost four tenths of a second. On the second row of the virtual grid were an efficient Jack Brown (first among the drivers of the Trofeo Pirelli AM) and Bjorn Grossmann on his return, who was straight away at ease with the car. No less surprising were the performances of the two debutants Maximilian Mayer and Jan Danis. The first chalked up fine times over fifteen laps, while the Slovakian, signed up to the Pirelli AM class, managed to precede Louis Prette and Niccolò Schirò, winners of the first two races in Sakhir.
Coppa Shell and Shell AM. After a tricky weekend in Bahrain, Turkish driver Murat Cuhadaroglu was bonding well with his Ferrari 488 Challenge on the Valencian circuit, lapping with consistency to clock up a fastest lap (1:36.985) on the nineteenth of twenty-three laps completed. Hot on his heels, just twelve milliseconds adrift was the Austrian, Ernst Kirchmayr, which confirms the fine impression given in Sakhir, two tenths of a second ahead of Danish driver Henrik Jansen, first among the drivers from the Coppa Shell AM class. Fourth place went to Tani Hanna, third in the Coppa Shell, followed by Fons Scheltema and Christian Kinch. Polish driver Agata Smolka, tenth overall, is second in the Shell Am category, ahead of “Alex Fox”.
Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 – “The team mentality is the right one”
Sakhir, 28 March 2019 – As usual, Thursday was the time for media work for the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, who tomorrow take to the track for free practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix, the second round of the Formula 1 World Championship.
Sebastian. A relaxed Sebastian Vettel was first up to meet the press in the team hospitality and he tackled a variety of topics, including the performance of the SF90 and expectations for the upcoming Grand Prix. Sebastian won here last year and he has good memories, including tangible ones such as the trophy. “I love the trophy here in Bahrain. I think it’s the best of the season. It’s big and heavy, that’s the way it should be!” he said. The German even engaged in a discussion on his recently acquired and highly visible moustache. Someone referenced a resemblance to Nigel Mansell, a former Scuderia driver and the 1992 World Champion. “If I was inspired by Mansell? Well, maybe it is! I like Nigel! I think he is a great person and was a Lion in the car. I like old Nige!”
Charles. Then it was Charles Leclerc’s turn, as he was on the panel in the first official press conference of the weekend. Asked to look back at his first race with Scuderia Ferrari in Australia, Charles had this to say: “Of course, it’s something special for a driver, but I didn’t feel under any particular pressure. Actually, here, more than anything I am focussed on performing better than I did in Australia. It was not an easy weekend, as we expected more after the positive outcome of the Barcelona test. I believe our package is strong and we found the answers to our lack of performance in Melbourne, although maybe not all of them. Here we will see if the Australian performance was down to a track specific issue or something else. The team mentality is the right one”, Charles added, “and we must keep it through the year. There is a lot of work to do but I am confident the team will do everything to improve the car. We are all working together as a team and that’s good.”
Free Practice. Now the track will give its verdict with two free practice sessions on Friday starting at 14:00 and 18:00 local time (12:00 and 16:00 CET.)
Endurance Brasil – Round 1 – Curitiba – Via Italia Racing debuts a Ferrari 488 GT3 in Brazil
Maranello | 27 March 2019 – Via Italia racing will make its racing debut for the 2019 season in the Brazilian Endurance series on March 30th at the Autodromo Internacional de Curitiba in Pinhais, Brazil in the Ferrari 488 GT3. The weekend will mark the first of an eight race championship that will culminate on the 21st of December at the 6 Hours of Interlagos. The team, founded by Chico Longo, who will also compete, will look to repeat its championship performance of 2018 with the Ferrari 488 GT3 and Ferrari factory pilot Daniel Serra.
Daytona Debut. This will not be Via Italia’s first time on track in 2019. The team took a remarkable pole position in the GT-Daytona category in the prestigious 24 Hours at Daytona. The team was able to earn a 9th place finish in a rain-soaked edition of the 24 hour race. “The 488 GT3 is a fantastic car. From the first practice at Daytona you have already realized all the qualities of this machine. I’m sure we’ll have a great car to race for the title here in Brazil. The expectation is great, even knowing of the strong opponents, “said Longo. Daniel Serra, Chico Longo’s teammate, is competing in the US aboard a 488 GT3. “It’s an impressive race car. I’m competing in the USA with this same model and I’m already comfortable with the car. We are going to work to develop the 488 on the Brazilian tracks, “said Serra, one the country’s top driver.
Schedule. The schedule begins on Thursday, the 28th with free practice. On Friday, 29 March three official practices and qualifying. On Saturday, March 30, a quick warm-up. The four hour race will begin at 2pm Brasilia Time (GMT -3).
FIA Formula 2 Championship 2019 – Round 1 – Sakhir – Three-pronged attack for FDA in Bahrain
Sakhir, 27 March 2019 – This weekend the Formula 1 Championship will be back on track in Bahrain for the second race of the season. The Sakhir weekend will also host the first round of the FIA Formula 2 series, which opens its 2019 in the Middle East. Ten teams and 20 drivers are all set to do battle after a 2018 championship that confirmed the value of the series, with the promotion to Formula 1 of the top three, George Russell, Lando Norris and Alexander Albon.
New cycle. Formula 2 started a new cycle in 2017, taking over from the GP2 Series and becoming a championship run under by the International Federation. Last year the class saw a significant technical change, with the debut of a new single-seater (updated with the new FIA specifications that included the use of the HALO system) and a V6 turbo engine in place of the previous aspirated 4-litre V8. The other features stay the same: a 12-round calendar, each of which is held on Formula 1 weekends, with two races per weekend. This year’s innovation in Formula 1, the point for the fastest lap, has long been in Formula 2 sporting regulations, which also assigns four points to the poleman.
Giuliano. The Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) will see three of its drivers on track in the 2019 championship, all in their first full season in the class. After completing his two-year stint in the GP3 Series (with the 19-year-old Frenchman notching up four wins in 2017 and 2018), Giuliano Alesi will start his third season with the Trident team. His teammate will be the Swiss Ralph Boschung, in his third season in the series.
Callum. Callum Ilott cannot officially be considered a rookie, given that the 20-year-old Briton raced in one round of the 2017 Championship, but statistics aside, this will be his proper debut season. After finishing third in the last GP3 Series championship, Ilott will start with the Sauber Junior Team by Charouz, with the US driver Juan Manuel Correa as his teammate.
Mick. Mick Schumacher’s debut is also highly anticipated. After winning the European Formula 3 Championship, the 19-year-old German is ready to move up a class, as confirmed by the positive results of the pre-championship tests. Like Alesi, Schumacher has also stayed with the team with which he competed in the previous series, so will race for Prema, flanked by the Indonesian Sean Gelael.
Generational change. This year sees a substantial generational change, with 10 of the 20 drivers about to take part in their first full season in the series. The two test sessions of recent weeks on the Jerez de la Frontera and Barcelona tracks saw Nick De Vries (ART Grand Prix) and Luca Ghiotto (Uni Virtuosi Racing) in the top positions. Both drivers are in their third season in the class. The pair, together with the Brazilian Sergio Sette Camara (DAMS), will be the benchmark for all their opponents as the season gets underway.
Programme. The Bahraini weekend will start on Friday with the free practice session, followed by qualifying for Race-1, which starts on Saturday at 1.10 pm. The starting grid for Race-2, scheduled for Sunday at 2.15 pm, will be an inversion of the top eight positions of Race-1.
Ferrari Challenge Europe and Passione Ferrari take centre stage in Valencia
Maranello, 26 March 2019 – The Ricardo Tormo circuit, a few kilometres outside Valencia, will host a weekend of thrills and excitement from 29 to 31 March. Marked by the exclusivity that only Ferrari can provide the event is dedicated to all Prancing Horse fans and enthusiasts. Set in a sort of natural amphitheatre, Valencia offers the public the chance to follow the cars around most of the circuit, courtesy of the long grandstands that can accommodate over 150,000 spectators.
The programme starts on Friday, but the highlights will be on Saturday and Sunday with the Ferrari Challenge Europe races, which count towards the Trofeo Pirelli and Coppa Shell. After making their debut at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain, the 488 Challenges will once again battle it out along the 4km track that has hosted several editions of the Ferrari one-make championship.
However, there will also be other activities, including the first European stage of Passione Ferrari, an exclusive initiative that gives Prancing Horse customers and enthusiasts unique experiences on and off the track. The new hospitality lounge will make its debut in Valencia, offering guests time to relax between one track activity and another, with the chance to enjoy Italian culinary excellence. Professional Ferrari instructors will help customers and enthusiasts improve their driving techniques, while the new ‘Passion Ferrari Clinic’ will be on hand to give their cars a check-up.
During the week, in particular on 2 and 3 April, tests will take place behind closed doors featuring the cars of the XX Programmes and F1 Clienti. With the help of tutors Marc Gené and Olivier Beretta, more than 20 cars will take to the track, including some of the F1 single-seaters from the Schumacher era. There will also be appearances from the FXX-K Evo and other models, with which some exclusive customers will try their hand at the special role of driver-tester.
Formula 1 – Mick Schumacher to drive the SF90 in Bahrain test
Maranello, 26 March 2019 – Mick Schumacher will drive the Ferrari SF90 for the first time on the first day of the test, Tuesday 2 April, following the Bahrain Grand Prix. The German, who is racing in Formula 2 this year with the Prema team and is a Ferrari Driver Academy member, will drive on both days, as after first driving the Ferrari he will jump into the cockpit of the Alfa Romeo Racing car for the Wednesday.
On the second day of testing at the Sakhir circuit, it will be the turn of Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow driver Sebastian Vettel to continue with testing work. With the race having taken place just a couple of days earlier, this will provide the engineers with a good reference point for their data.
It won’t be long until another FDA driver is seen at the wheel of a Formula 1 car. Callum Ilott, currently racing in Formula 2 with the Sauber Junior Team by Charouz Racing, will be driving the Alfa Romeo Racing car at the forthcoming Barcelona test, on 14 and 15 May.
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal: “We are firm believers in the value of the Ferrari Driver Academy, as a high level training programme for talented youngsters and the decision to give Charles Leclerc a race seat with our team is proof of that. We are therefore very pleased to be able to give Mick and Callum the opportunity to experience driving a Formula 1 car. Mick, who joined the FDA in January, and Callum, who has been with us since 2017, are definitely drivers on their way up and I believe that driving the SF90 in an official setting such as the tests in Bahrain and Barcelona can be very useful at this stage in their career”.
Mick Schumacher, FDA driver: “I am obviously more than excited and would like to thank Ferrari for giving me this opportunity. I am really looking forward to what I’m sure will be a great experience. But for the moment, I am consciously putting all thoughts of the test to one side, because I am also very much looking forward to competing in my first F2 race and would like to focus a hundred percent on the weekend to come”.
Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 – Seb and Charles’ expectations
Sebastian Vettel #5
“From a driver’s point of view, I would describe the level of difficulty for this circuit as basically ‘normal’. However, it is hard to find the right rhythm in the desert, mainly because of the sand that the wind blows onto the track. Therefore every lap is different, which can be a decisive factor, especially in qualifying. If you move just a few inches off the ideal line, you start to slide and you can throw your lap in the bin, because you just can’t make up the time you lose at this point. Therefore, the rate of mistakes is significantly higher than at other circuits. You need to be patient before overtaking, maybe waiting for the driver in front of you to have a small slide. There are two very good overtaking opportunities: at the first corner and at corner 14, after the long straight”.
Charles Leclerc #16
“Bahrain is a pretty technical track with quite extreme conditions. So it’s always interesting for us to try different things on the car during free practice, in order to be as well prepared as possible for all the various situations that we might experience in the race. It’s a track which I really enjoy driving. I also have some very good memories here. I started here in Formula 2 and had some great races, although last year was a little bit harder as I was just at the beginning of my career in Formula 1. I can’t wait to race there with Ferrari, hopefully bringing home a good result”.
Ferrari P80/C – the most extreme one-off design ever
Maranello, 25 March 2019 – Creating an entirely new and modern take on the Ferrari sports prototype concept is both an ambitious and complex undertaking. But it was in this spirit, and with very specific input from the client, that the new Ferrari one-off, the P80/C, was conceived. The Ferrari Styling Centre, under the direction of Flavio Manzoni, and the engineering and aerodynamics team worked hand-in-glove with the client, sharing principles and visions in order to create a new “Hero Car” with an absolutely unique and authentic soul.
The client, a great connoisseur of the Ferrari world, comes from a family of long-time Prancing Horse enthusiasts and admirers, and is himself a highly knowledgeable, discerning Ferrari collector. He was thus the perfect partner with whom to craft such a demanding project which required the highest level of interaction as well as emotional involvement.
The client’s basic brief was to create a modern sports prototype inspired by iconic models from Ferrari’s history: the 330 P3/P4 on the one hand and the 1966 Dino 206 S on the other.
The P80/C thus set the Ferrari Styling Centre an ambitious target: to develop a new kind of product that simply did not exist in the current Ferrari range: a sports prototype inspired by the cars that essentially wrote their own styling rules becoming, in the process, famous icons that, although conceived as track cars, also went on to influence a whole series of elegant road cars. A case in point is the very close relationship between, for instance, the Dino 206 S racing car and the production Dino 206/246 GT. Both versions share a common DNA despite having a different styling lexicon: Ferrari racing elements appear in the case of the former while the latter have the more sober, refined lines of the road cars.
The Ferrari Styling Centre’s goal was to create a resolutely modern car that made no major concessions to the past, apart from attempting to recreate the sensual shape of those iconic models through more muscular wings formed by the intersection of concave and convex surfaces.
Kicked off in 2015, the P80/C project had the longest development time of any Ferrari one-off made to date. This highly intense gestation period was the result of in-depth styling research and lengthy engineering development, with meticulous analysis of performance parameters as well as scrupulous aerodynamic testing, all with a different approach than taken by Ferrari with its one-off cars in the past.
Normally speaking, this kind of car tends to be a stylistic reinterpretation of models in the current range – a new concept or basic idea that marks a departure from the donor car is built on existing running gear. The glorious history of Italian coachbuilding is just that: a wealth of exceptional cars based on the same chassis, but bodied by different coachworks.
The P80/C, however, is radically different. It is a track car, which means that performance is a major factor so this not only pointed the design team in the direction of a design that was absolutely unique, but also forced them to make radical changes to the running gear of the donor car. This involved introducing specific features required to guarantee a captivating marriage of style, technical prowess and aerodynamics.
The decision was made to use the 488 GT3 chassis as a basis, not only for its performance, but also for its longer wheelbase (+ 50 mm compared to the 488 GTB) which allowed more creative freedom. With respect to the Ferrari 488’s classic layout in which the cockpit tends to be placed centrally, the GT chassis allowed the designers to emphasis a cab forward-effect in which the rear is elongated, lending the car a more aggressive, compact character. This was one of the cornerstones of the P80/C’s styling from the early stages of the design process.
A decisive wedge shape dominates the side view at the front of the car. The muscular forms of the front and rear wings with the cockpit set in between are emphasised by very broad buttresses that expand towards the side air intakes. This gives the impression that the cabin is completely fused with the body, and is accentuated still further by the wrap-around windscreen which references the iconic look of sports prototypes of the past. The flying buttresses converge towards the roof underlining the visor effect of the greenhouse. All of these features are references not only to the 330 P3/P4 but also homage to the Dino and the 250 LM berlinettas.
The side windows merge graphically with a wide pocket created by the side air intakes giving a dynamic downward movement to the rear flanks. This disruptive line balances the wedge-shaped front flanks and visually separates the rear section from the rest of the car.
Seen from above, it is clear that the bodywork is widest over the front axle, but then narrows sharply, creating a tightly sculpted waistline around the rear door before broadening out again dramatically at the tail. This particularly iconic kind of architecture is also emphasised by flying buttress-type C-pillars which are physically detached from the cabin. On the one hand, the C-pillars wraparound the intercooler air intakes, while on the other, they accentuate the sharp drop in height between the roof and the surfaces of the rear engine cover. Compared to a more normal continuation of the roofline over the engine cover, a more extreme solution was preferred, creating a large void rear of the cockpit with a vertical rear screen.
Aerodynamic development was based on the experience gained with the 488 GT3, but was not governed by the restrictions imposed by international regulations. Thus the front splitter is specific and, while the expansion curve and vortex generators of the rear diffuser are the same as those used on the GT3, the external surfaces are all unique to the P80/C. The result is an improvement of around 5% in overall efficiency, required to make full use of the unrestricted engine.
The objective was to balance the upper bodywork’s downforce evenly over the two axles, making full use of the 488 GT3’s underbody. The configuration of the rear bodywork required the adoption of an aerodynamic profile that sits immediately rear of the trailing edge of the roof to provide a strong recompression of the flow rearwards, reinforcing the downforce generated by the tail and the wing. This aerodynamic profile was inspired by the T-wing adopted in Formula 1 in 2017 and here is designed to reduce the length of the flow over the rear, creating the effect of a very short ‘virtual’ rear windscreen and an extremely limited separation bubble.
The front of the car has a catamaran-style formal geometry. The jutting effect of the nose is underscored by its almost wing-like shape which the interplay of voids highlights very effectively. The large radiator air vents are located just behind this wing-like structure and these outlets over the front bonnet underline the powerfully muscular wings.
The fact that the P80/C is homologated only for track use meant that it could do without components that would be deemed vital in a road car, and which would also heavily influence its styling. Classic head lights have essentially disappeared. Or rather they have been reduced to mere slits set into niches at the front of the car reminiscent of the air intake housings in the grille of the 330 P3/P4. Unlike the 330, however, in the P80/C, said housings are not set into an oval grille but look more like two pockets carved out of the front of the car.
The same styling element reappears at the rear of the car. The rear spoiler is very wide to meet aerodynamic requirements and incorporates the two signature tail lights in a way that makes them look like air vents, thus perfectly reflecting the design of the front.
Even the rear fascia, which leaves the running gear fully visible, has a catamaran-type architecture. This allowed the inside to be completed devoid of bodywork. In fact, its sole occupant is a grille to help evacuate heat from the engine bay. The space left is occupied by a huge rear diffuser which seems almost to be separate from the rest of the car.
The adoption of a concave rear windscreen and aluminium louvres on the engine cover, a reference to the 330 P3/P4, gives the P80/C’s tail an instantly recognisable and unique look.
At the client’s request, the car was designed with a dual soul: a racing set-up, which includes quite a showy carbon-fibre wing and 18” single-nut wheels, and an exhibition package complete with 21” wheels but devoid of aerodynamic appendages, to highlight the purity of its forms.
The P80/C’s design language was crafted to be instantly clear. Although made entirely from carbon-fibre, only the parts with strictly technical functions have been left bare, while the main car body has been painted a bright statement Rosso Vero. The name was chosen by the client, proving that his loyalty to Ferrari’s sports prototype tradition extends all the way to colour.
The interior is very much the same as that of the donor car with a roll cage integrated into the bodywork. The side sections of the dashboard have been redesigned from the version seen on the 488 GT3, as have the seat upholstery and door panels – the latter are now carbon-fibre shells and no have no impact on the car’s weight.