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      Here’s what we know after three days of Formula 1 preseason testing

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · 3 days ago - 19:49 · 1 minute

    Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 on track during day one of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on February 21, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain.

    Enlarge / While it's hard to read too much into preseason testing times, it's also hard to see anyone really challenging Red Bull or Max Verstappen for outright speed. (credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

    The sixth season of Drive to Survive, Netflix's blockbuster behind-the-scenes sportumentary, went live today. This isn't a review of that. Instead, for the past few days my attention has been turned to Formula 1's preseason testing, which got underway on Wednesday morning at the Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain.

    In the olden days, preseason testing was a thing you'd read about in the specialty press—a reason to buy a copy of Autosport in February, if you will. There was a lot more of it back then , too; up to five official preseason tests, although it was unusual for a team to attend all of them.

    In F1's current era, there isn't really time for so much testing, even if it weren't strictly limited by the rules. The first race of what should be a 24-race calendar takes place next Saturday (March 2), with the final round, also in the Middle East, not scheduled until December 8. Contrast that with the early 2000s, when a season might run for 16 or 17 races between early March and mid-October.

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      Andretti Cadillac didn’t snub Formula 1—F1’s email went to spam folder

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 5 February - 18:10 · 1 minute

    Close up of spam email folder on screen

    Enlarge / Don't you hate it when an important email ends up here? (credit: Getty Images)

    Last week, Formula 1 formally rejected a bid by Andretti Cadillac to join the sport as an 11th team and constructor. Among the details in a lengthy justification of its decision, Formula 1 wrote that on December 12, it invited the Andretti team to an in-person meeting, "but the Applicant did not take us up on this offer." Now, it turns out that the Andretti team never saw the email, which instead got caught by a spam filter.

    Not even a follow-up?

    "We were not aware that the offer of a meeting had been extended and would not decline a meeting with Formula One Management," the team said in a statement. "An in-person meeting to discuss commercial matters would be and remains of paramount importance to Andretti Cadillac. We welcome the opportunity to meet with Formula One Management and have written to them confirming our interest."

    F1 apparently never followed up with a phone call or even subsequent email during the six weeks between that initial invitation and its announcement at the end of January. Had the two parties gotten together, it's likely that Andretti could have cleared up some other things for F1 as well.

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      The 2024 Rolex 24 at Daytona put on very close racing for a record crowd

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Saturday, 3 February - 11:30 · 1 minute

    Porsche and Cadillac GTP race cars at Daytona

    Enlarge / The current crop of GTP hybrid prototypes look wonderful, thanks to rules that cap the amount of downforce they can generate in favor of more dramatic styling. (credit: Porsche Motorsport)

    Porsche provided flights from Washington to Daytona and accommodation so we could attend the Rolex 24. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Near-summer temperatures greeted a record crowd at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida last weekend. At the end of each January, the track hosts the Rolex 24, an around-the-clock endurance race that's now as high-profile as it has ever been during the event's 62-year history.

    Between the packed crowd and the 59-car grid, there's proof that sports car racing is in good shape. Some of that might be attributable to Drive to Survive 's rising tide lifting a bunch of non-F1 boats, but there's more to the story than just a resurgent interest in motorsport. The dramatic-looking GTP prototypes have a lot to do with it— powerful hybrid racing cars from Acura, BMW, Cadillac, and Porsche are bringing in the fans and, in some cases, some pretty famous drivers with F1 or IndyCar wins on their resumes.

    But IMSA and the Rolex 24 is about more than just the top class of cars; in addition to the GTP hybrids, the field also comprised the very competitive pro-am LMP2 prototype class and a pair of classes (one for professional teams, another for pro-ams) for production-based machines built to a global set of rules, called GT3. (To be slightly confusing, in IMSA, those classes are known as GTD-Pro and GTD. More on sports car racing being needlessly confusing later.)

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      Andretti’s GM-backed entry wanted to enter F1 in 2025, but F1 says no

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 31 January - 18:32 · 1 minute

    BATHURST, NEW SOUTH WALES - OCTOBER 06: Michael Andretti of Andretti Autosport looks on during practice ahead of this weekend's Bathurst 1000, which is part of the Supercars Championship at Mount Panorama on October 6, 2017 in Bathurst, Australia.

    Enlarge / Michael Andretti wants to take his racing empire to Formula 1, but he's facing resistance. (credit: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    The Formula 1 grid will stay at just 20 cars for the next few years. Earlier today, F1 revealed it has rejected a bid by Andretti Global to join the sport for 2025. The move was not unexpected; neither F1 nor most of the teams have shown any enthusiasm toward Andretti's entry. The sport sent out a lengthy statement explaining its reasons for turning down the Andretti entry but said that "it would look differently on an application" in 2028.

    It's a blow to both Andretti and its fans, but the move also signals increasing disharmony between the FIA, the sport's organizing body, and Liberty Media, which owns the commercial rights to the F1 world championship.

    Andretti Global first announced its plan to enter F1 last January, seeing it as a natural expansion for an organization that already races in IndyCar, Formula E, Extreme E, and IMSA sportscar racing, among other series. A month later the FIA formally opened an application process for new teams to enter the sport, but of the four applicants only Andretti had the backing of a major automaker behind it—in this case General Motors' Cadillac brand.

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      Ford’s CEO gives us a ride in the crazy electric transit Supervan 4.2

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 19 January - 18:36 · 1 minute

    Ford Supervan 4.2 lights up its tires in the pitlane

    Enlarge / Everyone loves a good van, and Supervan 4.2 is a very good van. (credit: Ford)

    Ford provided accommodation and flights from Washington to Charlotte so we could attend the 2024 season launch of Ford Performance. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    Concorde, NC—On Wednesday, Ford Performance held an official launch event for the 2024 season. The new GT3 version of the Mustang makes its competition debut at next weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona, marking the start of a new approach to racing for the Blue Oval, one that involves selling customer race cars as a business line, not just a factory team. While we were there, we also rode in a new electric racing truck demonstrator , but the main reason I got on the short flight down to Charlotte was to check out one of the most delightfully weird race cars of the past few years, the Ford Transit Supervan 4.2.

    It's the latest in a line of wild demonstrator vehicles based on the venerable Transit van, Ford's commercial workhorse in Europe and, increasingly, the US. Ford started making an electric version of the Transit a couple of years ago, and when we drove that electric van , I might have driven a couple of the engineers and PR people to tears by repeatedly asking them, "So, are you going to make a Supervan version of this, too?"

    The first Supervan dates back to 1970 (or maybe 1971), when someone had the bright idea to stick a Transit body shell on a Ford GT40 race car chassis as a way to promote the new van. The 1980s and 1990s saw two new Supervans, this time using Formula 1 engines. Now that EVs are the new hotness, the appeal of an electric Supervan probably seemed obvious.

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      Here’s how an off-road racing series will make its own hydrogen fuel

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Saturday, 16 December - 12:00 · 1 minute

    DECEMBER 03: Lia Block (USA) / Timo Scheider (DEU), Carl Cox Motorsport, battles with Amanda Sorensen (USA) / RJ Anderson (USA), GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing during the Copper X-Prix, Chile on December 03, 2023. (Photo by Colin McMaster / LAT Images)

    Enlarge / Extreme E travels to remote locations by boat and brings its own energy infrastructure with it. Currently, it makes its own hydrogen on site and uses that to charge EV batteries, but in 2025, the cars will switch to hydrogen fuel cells. (credit: Colin McMaster / LAT Images)

    Extreme E provided flights from New York City to Antofagasta, Chile, and accommodations so we could attend the series' season 3 finale. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    ANTOFAGASTA, Chile — On a picnic bench in Chile's Atacama Desert, one of the most remote locations on Earth, Alejandro Agag is holding court.

    "Welcome to the edge of the world," he laughs, gesturing toward the vast desert around him. A gust of wind kicks a cloud of sand and dust across the table. "It's amazing, this place."

    The 53-year-old Spanish entrepreneur is taking in the sights and sounds of the season 3 finale of Extreme E, the off-road electric racing series he launched in 2021. Part of the series' ethos is that it races exclusively in regions of the globe that are heavily impacted by climate change (such as the Atacama Desert—the driest, non-polar region on Earth), typically with no spectators present.

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      Cold temperatures in Las Vegas were “most difficult,” says Pirelli

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 22 November - 14:54 · 1 minute

    A set of used F1 tires in the pit lane in Las Vegas

    Enlarge (credit: Roberto Baldwin)

    Pirelli provided flights and accommodation from San Francisco to Las Vegas so Roberto could attend the Las Vegas Grand Prix. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    LAS VEGAS—It was cold this past weekend at the first Las Vegas Formula 1 Grand Prix. Winters in the desert are notoriously chilly, and it didn't help that the race organizers decided to start the spectacle at 10 pm local time.

    The issue was the tires—they're not developed to handle frigid weather. Teams were tracking air temperatures and formulating plans to keep their cars on the road instead of sliding into a wall. There was some relief the night of the race, as the weather was warmer than it was during Friday night's qualifying session. At the start of the race ( according to Weather Underground ) it was roughly 60° F (15.5° C), and the actual lowest air temperature was still 10° F warmer than the historical average for November 18; turns out climate change is real and happening .

    There's nothing subtle about Formula 1. Big egos, big money, big tracks, and thanks to a certain Netflix show, big-time fan growth in the United States. But at its core, the actual cars themselves, relatively speaking, don't have that big of an impact on the environment. Sure, they're loud V6 engines, and the tires get depleted quicker than a pizza at a children's birthday party; but transporting the cars and pit equipment and tires and team members to each race uses far more energy than the race itself. And of course, if you factor in fans flying in from all over the world for the 23 races per year, you get a larger carbon footprint than, say, your kid's soccer game.

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      The return of GTP racing to IMSA gets a big thumbs-up from fans

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 21 November - 12:00 · 1 minute

    #59: Proton Competition, Porsche 963, GTP: Harry Tincknell, Gianmaria Bruni, Neel Jani races through Turn 12 during the 26th Annual Petit Le Mans race on October 14, 2023 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.

    Enlarge / A Porsche 963, one of the four different kinds of hybrid prototype racing cars built to the LMDh rules, running in IMSA's GTP class at the 2023 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October. (credit: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    IMSA provided flights from Washington, DC, to Atlanta and four nights in a hotel so we could attend Petit Le Mans. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    The crowd streamed onto the track before the race, seizing their last chance to see the brightly liveried cars up close. Daytona had been busy in January, but the crowd at Road Atlanta seemed even larger. To be honest, though, the race the fans were here to see would not be one for the ages. A 52-car grid packed into just 2.8 miles of race track promised potential trouble, and the 10-hour race saw 14 interruptions by the safety car, never getting into a rhythm. But I’m not sure that mattered much; the main draw for many in attendance that Saturday was simply seeing this new era of hybrid prototypes in person, and on that score, everyone left with smiles.

    We’ve spilled plenty of pixels over the past 18 months or so delving into some of the minutiae of this new class of racing car, variously known as LMDh or GTP . Briefly, these are purpose-built racing cars, which start with a carbon-fiber spine from one of four racecar constructors and then add an engine, bodywork, and software from one of the four OEMs that participate, and then the same Xtrac gearbox, Williams Advanced Engineering lithium-ion battery, and Bosch electric motor as a way to keep development costs reasonable.

    The rules purposely limit the amount of aerodynamic downforce a car can generate relative to the amount of drag it creates, and they positively encourage each car maker to give these race cars styling that calls out to their road-going products.

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      GM will build F1 powertrains in 2028 as long as F1 lets Andretti in

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 14 November - 15:35

    A rendering of the airbox of an F1 car with Andretti Cadillac branding on it

    Enlarge / GM says the only way Cadillac enters F1 is in the back of an Andretti car. (credit: Cadillac)

    At the start of the year, we got the surprising news that Andretti Global was partnering with Cadillac to try to field a team in Formula 1. That has been a contentious process, exposing a rift between the sport's stakeholders, some of whom aren't keen to add a new fish to the pond.

    But on Tuesday, the Andretti Cadillac program got even more serious with the news that General Motors, which owns Cadillac, has now registered as an official F1 powertrain constructor—although only from the 2028 season.

    "We are thrilled that our new Andretti Cadillac F1 entry will be powered by a GM power unit," said GM President Mark Reuss. "With our deep engineering and racing expertise, we're confident we'll develop a successful power unit for the series and position Andretti Cadillac as a true works team. We will run with the very best, at the highest levels, with passion and integrity that will help elevate the sport for race fans around the world."

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