The making of Skydriver

Photo credit – Sky Cam Wales

Awards, beers, eBay, clones, drones, a big yellow crane plus a crash landing – the full story and secrets behind the jaw-dropping #Skydriver viral video have been revealed in a short follow-up film released today (Tuesday).

What started life as some bar-room bravado banter ended up, more than two years later, with a livered car flying down one of Zip World’s adventure tourism wires at Slate Mountain, Blaenau Ffestiniog in north Wales – an incredible stunt that has already been watched by many hundreds of thousands of online viewers in the first few days since being released on Wednesday 1 August.

Matt Edwards (@MERallysport ) drove the car – Photo credit Wales Rally GB

Although some of the more eagle-eyed browsers did spot that two different look-a-like Dayinsure liveried cars had been used for the rally driving and sky driving elements (the clue was in the wheels), what the cameras didn’t reveal was the car’s somewhat unplanned bumpy landing at the end of its dramatic, high speed flight down Zip World Titan.

The full story is now disclosed in a special behind-the-scenes #InsideSkydriver film. The edit includes yet to be seen footage of the spectacular stunt plus interviews with key members of the ambitious #Skydriver team who were not only responsible for dreaming up such a crazy proposition but also for actually accomplishing the eye-catching feat.

Toto Wolff calls German Grand Prix podium “the perfect scene” after Mercedes’ 1-2

Toto Wolff has hailed Mercedes’ unexpected 1-2 finish at the German Grand Prix as the “perfect scene”.

The German marque’s duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton had started the race in P2 and P14 respectively, after the Brit suffered a hydraulic failure in qualifying. Bottas held position at the start but for the most part could only sit back and watch Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel begin to open up the gap, whilst Hamilton set about carving through the field. Both drivers had longer first stints than those around them – Bottas changed from the ultras to the softs on lap twenty-eight, and Hamilton swapped from softs to ultras on lap forty-two after having broken into the top five.

2018 Großer Preis von Deutschland, Sonntag – Wolfgang Wilhelm

It was after Hamilton’s pitstop that the rain began to fall. It had been a looming threat hanging over the race, and it was only a matter of when, not if, it would arrive. Despite it turning out to be only a brief shower, many in the midfield made the decision to pit for intermediates.

On lap fifty-two, championship leader Sebastian Vettel crashed in the damp conditions and brought out the safety car, with Bottas and Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen choosing to pit for fresh ultrasoft tyres. Hamilton, though, stayed out and thus inherited the lead.

When the race restarted, Hamilton began to pull away – although he was helped by Mercedes telling Bottas to hold position despite the Finn being on the fresher tyre – and eventually crossed the line to win the German Grand Prix and reclaim the lead of the drivers’ championship. With Bottas in P2, Mercedes also re-took the lead of the constructors’ championship from Ferrari.

2018 Großer Preis von Deutschland, Sonntag – Wolfgang Wilhelm

Hamilton’s win was briefly under threat when he was summoned to the stewards post-race to explain why he cut across the pitlane entry line when under the safety car, but he was eventually let off with a reprimand and was not given a penalty.

“What an incredible race – here at Hockenheim, on home turf for Mercedes, and a one-two finish after all the bad luck we have had in recent races,” Toto Wolff said. “Today it felt like that turned into good fortune for us and it was the perfect scene on the podium with our two drivers and Dr Zetsche up there. Like always, the race happens on Sunday not Saturday, and sometimes it’s not the quickest car that wins; that was what happened today.”

Wolff also extended his sympathies to Ferrari regarding the news that Fiat Chrysler’s CEO Sergio Marchionne was replaced due to worsening health after a recent operation. “But even in the joy of victory, our thoughts also remain with Sergio Marchionne and his family; although we are rivals on the track, we are friends off it and we were saddened to hear the news of his illness.

“It’s hard to sum up a Grand Prix like this one in a few sentences but things were unfolding in an interesting way when the rain came.

“After the drama of Silverstone and then qualifying yesterday, this is a dream result and that unpredictability is the beauty of sport. But our focus will turn quickly to Hungary, where we will have to do it all over again next weekend.”

 

 

Featured image – 2018 Großer Preis von Deutschland, Sonntag – Steve Etherington

Fernando Alonso: “We need to improve our qualifying performances” for German Grand Prix

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso has said the team is seeking to improve their pace during qualifying ahead of this weekend’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

“We know we need to work on our qualifying performances to give ourselves the best chance on Sunday,” he said, “but we’ve also seen that during the race we can push forward and secure points, so the aim is to achieve the same in Germany [this] weekend.”

Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada
Saturday 9 June 2018.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren.
Photo: Steven Tee/McLaren
ref: Digital Image _1ST9206

So far this season, Alonso has only made it into Q3 twice – in Spain and in Monaco – while team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne hasn’t managed to do so at all. For the most part, the duo have been stuck in the midst of the mid-field, with P13 and P14 being their most frequent results in qualifying. There is no doubt that the French Grand Prix provided their worst Saturday of the year so far – though Vandoorne has failed to make it out of Q3 on four occasions, Paul Ricard has been the only track thus far where Alonso has joined him.

Speaking of the Hockenheim track, Alonso was realistic about his chances. “[I] have won there three times so it’s great to be back after a break last year. The track is viewed as one of the classics, it’s fun to drive and there are a couple of overtaking opportunities – and an extra DRS zone this year – so hopefully we can fight with the cars around us.

“The next couple of races before the summer break are on very different tracks. We need to work hard, and do as much as possible to adapt our set-up for each of them to maximise our chances. We know this weekend won’t be an easy track for us but we’ll give it our best as always.”

Last time out at the power-sensitive Silverstone, Alonso unexpectedly made up five places during the race to end up in the points for the 200th time in his career. In apparently typical McLaren style, the eighth place finish was not made easy for him after – unsurprisingly – a lacklustre qualifying the day before, a trend Alonso and the team are hoping they can end sooner rather than later.

 

 

Featured image courtesy of Steven Tee/McLaren

Toto Wolff: Mercedes “hungry” and “ambitious” ahead of German Grand Prix

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff has said that the team are “hungry [and] ambitious” ahead of their home event at this weekend’s German Grand Prix.

It has been a strange series of races for the Silver Arrows, something Wolff admits. “We didn’t score as many points in the triple-header as we had hoped for,” he said. “A lot of that was down to our own mistakes. However, there is a silver lining to this – while we didn’t maximise on points, we did bring the quickest car to all three races.

“Hockenheim will mark the halfway point of the 2018 season. We’ve had a decent first half – on the one hand, we’ve left points on the table and had to do damage limitation more often than we would have wanted. On the other hand, we still scored a good amount of points, both drivers have shown strong performances and we have a fast car.

“So, there are many reasons why we’re looking forward to the second half of the 2018 season; we’re hungry, ambitious and want to kick on from there.”

Steve Etherington/Mercedes AMG

At the French Grand Prix, the first race of the triple-header, Lewis Hamilton romped to victory while Valtteri Bottas was spun at the start by Sebastian Vettel, suffering a left-rear puncture in the process that dropped him way down the order. He eventually recovered to seventh. A week later in Austria, both Bottas and Hamilton retired from the race in what is believed to be Mercedes’ first double mechanical retirement in F1 since the 1950s. Then, another week after that, Silverstone and the British Grand Prix saw an inversion of the Paul Ricard incident. This time, it was the other Mercedes of Hamilton that was pitched into a spin on the first lap by the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. Bottas would finish P4, while Hamilton recovered to finish P2.

Speaking of the looming German Grand Prix, Wolff added, “Going to Hockenheim always feels like coming home. It’s only about a 90-minute drive from the Daimler headquarters in Stuttgart.

“While we had the great opportunity to race in front of many of our colleagues from Brackley and Brixworth in Silverstone, we’re now looking forward to welcoming the German members of the Mercedes family to the circuit and to holding high the three-pointed star on home turf.

“The track itself is quite interesting; it has a variety of corner speeds and will test every aspect of the car.

“We will fight hard to not only put on a good show for our friends and fans in Hockenheim, but also get the result that they will be hoping for.”

Going into the race, Hamilton and Bottas are P2 and P5 in the WDC respectively, with the former eight points behind leader Sebastian Vettel. In the constructors’ championship, Mercedes are twenty points behind Ferrari, with the prospect of their home race making them keener than ever to make up ground.

 

 

Featured image courtesy of Steve Etherington / Mercedes AMG F1.

F1 2018: Force India Rues “Difficult” Australian Grand Prix

It is probably fair to say that Force India were one of, if not the, most underwhelming team over the course of the weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. The signs were perhaps there during testing to suggest that this year might be something of a struggle for the Silverstone-based team, but for an outfit that has been F1’s resident giant-killer for the last few years, to not even get one car into the points in Melbourne was a massive disappointment.

For the last two years Force India has been ‘best of the rest’ in the championship, finishing fourth in the WCC behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, and in 2017 they scored points in every race bar Monaco.

In Australia this year, though, both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were knocked out in Q2, with the former ultimately finishing the race P11, just over one second behind a nauseous Carlos Sainz, and the latter P12. They would have finished even lower than that had the wheels not literally come off midfield rivals Haas’ race.

A major upgrade package was introduced ready for free practice on Friday, with technical director Andy Green saying that the front wing was the only part of the car that had not been changed.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM11.
Australian Grand Prix, Sunday 25th March 2018. Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia.

As such, Sergio Perez is hoping for better things to come in the upcoming races. “We still need to move on and keep improving, but I believe we will soon be in a position to battle for points,” he said. “Hopefully our improvements will [begin to] come as early as Bahrain. It’s a race where you can overtake and strategy plays a bigger part compared to Melbourne.’

Esteban Ocon, too, highlighted the nature of the Albert Park track as one of the main hindrances to the team’s chances during the race. “It was very difficult to overtake,” he said, “and even though I managed to jump ahead of Lance [Stroll] on the first lap, everyone quickly spread out until the safety car. I had a fight with [Valtteri] Bottas for a while and after the safety car restart I was close to making a move on Sergio. We certainly had better race pace compared to our qualifying pace, but we are just missing some performance to be up there in the top ten at the moment.”

Deputy team principle Bob Fernley believes the key to Force India’s success in the rest of 2018 will lie in the team’s ability to out-develop its rivals. “It’s early days in the season,” he said, “and with twenty races to go there will be plenty of opportunities to develop this car and show our strengths… We’re on a learning curve with the developments we introduced this weekend and there’s more in the pipeline for Bahrain.”

Haas F1 Team Reveals its 2018 Car, the Haas VF-18

Haas VF-18 First Out the Gate

Haas F1 Team Unveils Racecar for 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship  

 

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Feb. 14, 2018) – Haas F1 Team’s 2018 challenger in the FIA Formula One World Championship, the VF-18, made its official debut today via the organization’s social media platforms and website.

 

The VF-18 is an evolution of the team’s second car, the VF-17, which carried Haas F1 Team to an eighth-place finish in the 2017 constructors standings. Forty-seven points were scored by the VF-17 during Haas F1 Team’s sophomore season, 18 points more than the total earned in the organization’s debut season in 2016.

 

 

Incorporating “VF” into the name of the car is a nod to the history of Haas Automation, the team’s title sponsor. The first CNC machine manufactured by Haas Automation was the VF-1 in 1988. The “V” stands for vertical, which is an industry standard designation for a vertical mill. Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, added “F1” to the name to unofficially designate it as the company’s “Very First One”.

 

As chairman of Haas F1 Team, the “F1” moniker of that first machine has taken on added significance as Haas utilizes Formula One to build Haas Automation into a premium, global brand.

 

“People see what we can do in Formula One and people believe Haas Automation can build world-class machine tools,” said Haas, whose entry in 2016 became the first American Formula One team since 1986. “Being a Formula One participant brings a level of credibility that you just won’t get through traditional advertising.”

 

Haas has built Haas Automation into the largest machine tool manufacturer in North America by focusing on the details amid constant refinement. He has applied those same attributes to Haas F1 Team.

 

“We eliminated a lot of the variables where we knew we were weak,” Haas said. “We’ve focused on what it’s going to take to get our car to be consistent and close that gap to the top teams.”

 

 

Beyond refinement, the VF-18 carries the significant addition of the halo and a drastic reduction in the sharkfin.

 

“The biggest part of the car’s evolution was the addition of the halo,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1 Team. “It took quite a bit of study by the aerodynamicists, but the designers had to work hard to modify the chassis so the halo could survive the mandated loads. The total minimum weight of the car increased because of the halo, and there’s a higher center of gravity simply because of the halo’s position. But, everyone is in the same boat.

 

“The regulations stayed pretty stable between 2017 and 2018, so the VF-18 is an evolution of our car from last year. It’s less about reinvention and more about refinement. You see elements we had from last year on the car this year.

 

“Our 2017 car was actually pretty good, but we didn’t always get the best out of it, and that’s what we aimed to change in 2018. We got the car as light as possible to carry more ballast. We were able to do a better job of putting the weight where we wanted it.”

 

The corporate colors of Haas Automation were carried over to the VF-18. Gray makes up the majority of the livery, augmented with tones of red and black that incorporates the look of Haas Automation’s complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. Approximately 1,300 employees encompass Haas Automation, with the Oxnard, California-based company exporting its machines to more than 60 countries. The VF-18 showcases Haas Automation’s commitment to technology and innovation to a passionate, global audience.

 

 

“The livery is a little bit of a return to what we had on our first car, the VF-16,” Steiner added. “Its look is clean and precise, just like the machine tools made by Haas Automation.”

 

The VF-18 tests at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya Feb. 26-March 1 and again March 6-9 before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix March 25 in Melbourne.

 

-HaasF1Team-

 

 

Haas F1 Team debuted in the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2016, becoming the first American Formula One team since 1986. Founded by industrialist Gene Haas, Haas F1 Team is based in the United States on the same Kannapolis, North Carolina, campus as his championship-winning NASCAR team, Stewart-Haas Racing. Haas is the founder of Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America, and he is chairman of Haas F1 Team.

 

Haas Automation, Inc., is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. Founded by Gene Haas in 1983, Haas Automation manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are built in the company’s 102,000 square-meter (1.1 million square-foot) manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets that provides the industry’s best sales, service and support while offering unparalleled cost-to-performance value. For more information, please visit us on the Web at www.HaasCNC.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HaasAutomationInc, on Twitter @Haas_Automation and on Instagram @Haas_Automation.