Mercedes leaving no stone unturned in bid for a second world title


The Mercedes team bosses have made an early statement of intent for the 2015 Formula 1 season, promising that they will leave no stone unturned in their bid for a second world championship following the team’s domination of the sport in 2014.

The team lifted the covers off its new car, the W06 Hybrid, in Jerez today ahead of the first pre-season test with Nico Rosberg getting the first chance to try out the car in public.

Lewis Hamilton claimed his second drivers’ title last year, defeating teammate Nico Rosberg at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi to enjoy a 67-point advantage in the final standings.

Mercedes’ performance will go down as one of the most dominant in F1 history. Together, Hamilton and Rosberg claimed a record 16 wins and 18 pole positions in a single season, with the W05 Hybrid car being the class of the field.

The team is refusing to rest on its laurels, though, with technical team boss Paddy Lowe focusing on improving the reliability of the new car after issues in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Singapore and Abu Dhabi left the drivers frustrated.

“It’s no secret that reliability let us down on a number of occasions in 2014,” Lowe said. “Thankfully, over the course of the season overall, this did not fall in an asymmetric way between the drivers – or in a costly manner to our constructors’ championship ambitions.

“But we know we need to up our game. No matter how good things might seem, there is never a scenario where you can afford to leave points on the table. Making a car reliable is a long game and a lot of effort has gone in on that side. It’s not about fixing individual issues but about raising quality across the many thousands of parts and processes involved.”

Much of Mercedes’ success in 2014 was down to its power unit, which was clearly head and shoulders above those produced by Renault and Ferrari. However, engine chief Andy Cowell has promised that the team at Brixworth will push to extend the advantage over the rest of the field.

“It’s very much a case of evolution rather than revolution in 2015,” Cowell said. “Where last year was a case of ‘can we do it?’, we are now faced with a different challenge: ‘How do we improve it?’.

“We have been working hard on all areas of the power unit to increase the conversion efficiency of every single system – trying to make our package more thermally efficient and produce greater absolute power. The focus in this respect has been on combustion efficiency and frictional losses – be they in core parts of the ICE or the ancillary aspects of both ICE and ERS.

“There is very significant scope for change under the regulations and significant opportunities to make performance gains, so we have left no stone unturned in our quest for performance – and I am sure that exactly the same is true of our competitors.”

If the team can deliver on its promise and widen the gap to the rest of the field, we could be set for another record-breaking season from the Silver Arrows, and potentially another titanic battle between Hamilton and Rosberg for the drivers’ championship.

NTT re-signs as IndyCar title sponsor in multiyear deal starting with the 2024 season

James Black/Penske Entertainment

The IndyCar Series has re-signed NTT as its title sponsor in a multiyear agreement starting in 2024.

NTT, a global information technology and communications company based in Japan, became the series’ title sponsor before the 2019 season after starting as a sponsor of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

NTT Data (a subsidiary of parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.) will remain the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard weekend.

With the extension, an IndyCar spokesman said NTT would become the second-longest title sponsor in series history. The longest title sponsor was PPG from 1980-97 (under the CART sanction of the Champ Car Series).

NTT replaced Verizon, which was IndyCar’s title sponsor from 2014-18 after IZOD from 2010-13.

“NTT is an excellent partner across our enterprise with strong expertise and a deep commitment to our sport,” Penske Corp. chairman and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said in a release. “From Smart Venue technology at the Racing Capital of the World to the reimagined Series mobile application, NTT is transforming the fan experience in new and innovative ways. We look forward to a bright future together.”

NTT has used artificial intelligence-enabled optical detection technology at IMS to provide information to the track’s operations and security teams, helping improve fan traffic flow and safety, the track said.

“IndyCar is a great partner for NTT Data because of our shared commitment to driving innovation, increasing sustainability and delivering amazing experiences,” NTT Data CEO Kaz Nishihata said in a release. “We also appreciate how IndyCar is so diverse, with drivers from 15 different countries, and races that range from short ovals and superspeedways to road and street courses. It’s both an incredible sport and a wonderful example for our world.”

NTT also has been instrumental in helping redesign the IndyCar app and providing more race and driver data for use in NBC Sports’ broadcasts by utilizing 140 data points from every car in the field.

“NTT is fully invested in the development and growth of our sport and has already established a terrific track record in our industry with problem-solving capabilities and access to top talent and tools,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said.

Said NTT Data Services CEO Bob Pryor: “We’re thrilled to continue our collaborations that enhance and expand the fan experience for motorsports and serve as proof points for data analytics, AI, and other innovative digital technologies. For more than a century, this racing series has pioneered innovations making driving safer for everyone, and by continuing this relationship, we will accelerate the pace of innovations and new technologies, particularly related to sustainability that ultimately can benefit organizations, communities and individuals around the world.”

Starting as a Japanese telephone company, NTT grew into a $100 billion-plus tech services giant with U.S. operations based in Plano, Texas.