Ferrari expect to benefit from team changes in 2014

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Ferrari expect their 2014 car to benefit from personnel changes and improvements at their factory as they bid to win their first championship title since 2008.

The team’s wind tunnel has been a weakness for them in recent seasons but they intend to address that next year.

“Our data and instrumentation was quite outdated so we couldn’t do that many runs and experiments per day, which was a bit of a drawback,” said chief designer Nikolas Tombazis.

“The past months we spent updating it have addressed all these problems. Therefore I am optimistic that, on this front, when we are fully up and running we will not be in deficit to our competitors.”

There will also be changes to the team’s organisation structure as several new members of staff join their technical department.

“For about a year and a half, we have been organised in a different way, with two deputy chief designers each looking at the projects for alternate years,” said Tombazis.

“Fabio Montechi is the guy following the 2014 project, as deputy chief designer, so he and I work very closely together.

“On the aerodynamic side, we’ve had a team working on the 2014 car for a year or so. Now we have reinforced that team with people who previously had worked on development of this year’s car whose focus has shifted to 2014 and therefore, the numbers working on next year’s car have increased dramatically.”

The team’s highest-profile signing to its technical department is former Lotus technical director James Allison: “I’ve known James since 1994 and it will be our third time working together, once at Benetton and previously at Ferrari in the early 2000s,” said Tombazis.

“He’s an excellent person technically and a good guy too. Together with Pat [Fry] the two of them provide strong leadership: he brings a lot of knowledge, experience and capability to the team, making it stronger.”

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

SMP Racing
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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.