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Red Bull Threatening to Quit Formula One

Rule changes have team seeing red.

by on Mar.17, 2015

Parked! Red Bull's Formula One team is considering pulling out of the series due to recent rule changes.

Formula One could lose one of its strongest teams. At least that’s the threat being leveled by managers of the Red Bull team who feel recent rule changes were “the wrong solution” for the wildly popular racing series.

It’s by no means the first time F1 has faced the threat of a walkout by one or more teams. There were threats of a coup by some of the biggest players in the series a decade ago, but cooler heads – and the willpower of Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone – eventually prevailed.

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But this time, the concerns of Red Bull carry more weight considering other teams – and many fans – have also expressed frustration at rule changes that impacted the engines those exotic racers rely on. (more…)

F1 – From Track to Street

As the racing series evolves, your car soon could share parts with a Formula One racer.

by on Nov.06, 2014

Formula One teams virtually redesign their cars "every two weeks," creating significant opportunities to develop tech breakthroughs.

While Formula One remains the world’s most popular motorsport series, it’s come in for sharp criticism this year as a result of rules changes that, among other things, have tamed the traditionally ear-shattering screech of an F1 racer’s engine.

Ironically, the changes may have a positive payoff for the automakers who sponsor many of the series’ teams – and the consumers who buy their products. If anything, the result is that it’s becoming more likely that the technology used by the latest Formula One cars will help improve tomorrow’s street vehicles.

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If anything, “For the first time, Formula One is following” what’s happening on public roads, suggested Tommaso Volpe, Global Director of Formula One at Infiniti Motor Co. Ltd., the maker’s F1 operation which several years ago partnered with the championship-winning Red Bull team.


Marchionne Plans to Increase Ferrari Output

After di Montezemolo ousted, restricted production plans changed.

by on Sep.15, 2014

New Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne, sitting on the hood of a new LaFerrari, plans to increase the number of Ferrari's built annually by 45%.

Just a few short days after a shake up at the top of Ferrari that saw Luca di Montezemolo’s departure, it appears change will not be limited to personnel but also will include strategy.

Reports suggest that new chairman Sergio Marchionne plans to reverse course on the company’s previous course of restricting production levels of Ferraris to inflate their value and see that jump hit the Italian maker’s bottom line.

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Multiple media reports suggest that Marchionne plans to increase the company’s production levels by nearly 45%: from 7,000 vehicles to 10,000. In the past, di Montezemolo kept production low because he feared oversaturating the market. (more…)

First Look: Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Concept

A show car fit for a champion.

by on Sep.13, 2011

Red Bull F1 driver Sebastian Vettel helped design this special Infiniti FX - and will get to drive it home.

How do you honor one of the world’s top motorsports driver? If you’re talking about Sebastian Vettel, the man who has been scoring the big points for the Red Bull Racing team sponsored by Japan’s Infiniti, the Nissan luxury brand has asked him to lend his ideas to a special version of the FX crossover.

The Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Concept makes its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show and features a number of striking details that should stand out from your run-of-the-mill crossover-utility vehicle.

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Start with a pearlescent white paint job accented by blue-tinted headlights and LED running lights.  Vettel’s personal logo, which snakes a winding road in the shape of an S across the letter V, adorns the front bumper.

There are a variety of carbon fiber exterior accents, from the lower front fascia and grille slats to the mirror caps and rear wing.  Vettel and Infiniti claim the aero elements are functional and reduce drag by 5% while improving  lift 30%.

The carbon fiber theme -- and Vettel's personal logo -- can be found inside and out the Infiniti FX Concept.

To add a little bling, the oversized wheels feature light accents around the 21-inch rims and spoke tips, the rest of the wheel tinted dark.

The interior picks up on the carbon fiber theme, adding Alcantara upholstery and working in more of the SV logos.

The good news is that the FX Sebastian Vettel Concept is more than just an appearance package.  In European trim the 5.0-liter V-8 makes 420 PS and will launch the big ute from 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62.5 mph) in 5.6 seconds, with a 300 kmh (188 mph) top speed.  To beef up the stock Infiniti FX engine engineers re-mapped the engine computer software and adopted a freer-breathing exhaust system.

The suspension gets dual flow-path dampers and continuous damping control.  The concept also adopts rear active steering.  The brakes are upgrade to 4-piston 355 mm up front and 2-piston 350 mm in the rear.

While Vettel didn’t actually draw out the concept’s design details he did work closely with Infiniti design chief Shiro Nakamura to ensure the final work lived up to his ideas, he says.

To reward his effort, the Formula One champ gets to take the one-off crossover home.  No plans appear in the works for a production version.

Infiniti began its tie-up with Red Bull earlier this year, incidentally, deciding to take the unusual step of signing on as a sponsor of a beverage maker’s F1 team, rather than vice versa, as is the norm.  The unusual alliance is paying off.  Infiniti has invested only a fraction of the traditional cost of a Formula One team but its name is now adorning the side of the leading players in the current season.