F1 2015 Primer: The Teams


Following on from our F1 2015 Primer looking at the 20 drivers that are set to race this season, here’s a run-down of the ten teams that will line up on the grid at this Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

The pecking order in F1 changed significantly in 2014, with Mercedes storming to the front of the field by taking full advantage of the new technical regulations.

Behind the Silver Arrows, Williams, Red Bull and Ferrari look to be left battling for second place, whilst McLaren will be hoping to bounce back this year after switching to Honda power units.

Here’s how the grid is shaping up in 2015.

Mercedes AMG Petronas

The defending champion team, Mercedes will be looking to secure another pair of titles in 2015. All of the early signs suggest that it will have little trouble in doing so, having produced yet another superb car in the form of the W06 Hybrid. In Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Mercedes has two quick and competitive drivers, but the team management will be doing all it can to ensure that tensions do not boil over as they did at Spa last year.

Infiniti Red Bull Racing

After dominating F1 between 2010 and 2013, Red Bull’s 2014 was rather lacklustre in comparison, with Daniel Ricciardo scoring all three of its wins. The Australian driver will lead its charge in 2015 after Sebastian Vettel’s departure to Ferrari, with Daniil Kvyat moving up from Toro Rosso after just one season in F1 to replace the German. The team may lack depth and experience this year, but its line-up is one of the youngest and most interesting on the grid.

Williams Martini Racing

Williams’ return to the top table of F1 in 2014 came as a welcome surprise to the seasoned fan, with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa reaping the rewards of the changes made at the team over the past few years. Once again, the team should be fighting at the front of the field in 2015, and could perhaps even be the team to snatch a win should Mercedes drop the ball at any time this year.

Scuderia Ferrari

2015 marks a new beginning at Maranello. The old regime has been ousted out after years of mediocrity and missed opportunities, and now Sebastian Vettel is the driver Ferrari’s efforts are focused on. Maurizio Arrivabene and Sergio Marchionne offer a fresh perspective for F1’s most famous team, and if its pre-season testing pace is to be taken seriously, 2015 could well hold far better things for Ferrari.


Like Ferrari, McLaren is starting a new era in 2015 with the arrival of Honda engines and former Ferrari man Fernando Alonso. The British team has also grown tired of fighting in the midfield, having not won a grand prix since the end of the 2012 season. Immediate success may not come about with Honda, but once the teething problems are resolved, McLaren could yet rekindle the glory days of the last time it paired with the Japanese manufacturer in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Sahara Force India F1 Team

Force India has come close to beating McLaren in each of the past two years, and appeared to have the momentum coming into 2015 to mount a serious challenge against the British team. However, financial difficulties meant that Force India could not debut its new car until the final test of pre-season, putting it on the back foot. Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg are two talented drivers, but neither should be getting their hopes up heading into the new year.

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Red Bull’s satellite team continues to be a training ground for its future drivers in 2015, with Max Verstappen (17) and Carlos Sainz Jr. (20) arriving to form the youngest line-up in the history of F1. The lack of experience could cost the team this year, especially with Verstappen having spent just one year in single seaters, but at the same time, this is an exciting line-up that could be spoken about for years to come.

Lotus F1 Team

After coming close to financial doom in the past couple of years, Lotus managed to steady the ship last year and is now on the cusp of a revival in F1. The E23 Hybrid is an all-new car, not an evolution, giving the team a chance to break with the past. The arrival of Mercedes engines should also aid the team’s cause, and although both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado may have critics, both have proven to be very difficult to beat on their day.

Manor Marussia F1 Team

Rising like a phoenix from the flames, Manor enters F1 in 2015 after Marussia entered administration following last year’s Russian Grand Prix. Thanks to fresh investment, a shell operation is running at the beginning of the new year, meaning that although points are out of the question, a future is. Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens may lack F1 experience, but both are young and exciting prospects.

Sauber F1 Team

Reeling from its worst ever year in F1, Sauber had entered 2015 with hopes of a fresh start. However, before it even got out on track in Melbourne, a legal row with ex-reserve driver Giedo van der Garde has overshadowed its efforts. Uncertainty lingers, but if the team can stabilize itself, a better year may be in the offing with the improved C34 car.

Ford unveils a new Mustang for 2024 Le Mans in motorsports ‘lifestyle brand’ retooling

Ford Mustang Le Mans
Ford Performance

LE MANS, France — Ford has planned a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its iconic Mustang muscle car next year under a massive rebranding of Ford Performance aimed at bringing the automotive manufacturer “into the racing business.”

The Friday unveil of the new Mustang Dark Horse-based race car follows Ford’s announcement in February (and a ballyhooed test at Sebring in March) that it will return to Formula One in 2026 in partnership with reigning world champion Red Bull.

The Mustang will enter the GT3 category next year with at least two cars in both IMSA and the World Endurance Championship, and is hopeful to earn an invitation to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The IMSA entries will be a factory Ford Performance program run by Multimatic, and a customer program in WEC with Proton Competition.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, also an amateur sports car racer, told The Associated Press the Mustang will be available to compete in various GT3 series across the globe to customer teams. But more important, Farley said, is the overall rebranding of Ford Performance – done by renowned motorsports designer Troy Lee – that is aimed at making Ford a lifestyle brand with a sporting mindset.

“It’s kind of like the company finding its own, and rediscovering its icons, and doubling down on them,” Farley told the AP. “And then this motorsports activity is getting serious about connecting enthusiast customers with those rediscovered icons. It’s a big switch for the company – this is really about building strong, iconic vehicles with enthusiasts at the center of our marketing.”

Ford last competed in sports car racing in 2019 as part of a three-year program with Chip Ganassi Racing. The team scored the class win at Le Mans in 2016 in a targeted performance aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford snapping Ferrari’s six-year winning streak.

Ford on Friday displayed a Mustang with a Lee-designed livery that showcased the cleaner, simplified look that will soon be featured on all its racing vehicles. The traditional blue oval with Ford Performance in white lettering underneath will now be branded simply FP.

The new mark will be used across car liveries, merchandise and apparel, display assets, parts and accessories and in advertising.

Farley cited Porsche as an automaker that has successfully figured out how to sell cars to consumers and race cars in various series around the world while creating a culture of brand enthusiasts. He believes Ford’s new direction will help the company sell street cars, race cars, boost interest in driving schools, and create a merchandise line that convinces consumers that a stalwart of American automakers is a hip, cool brand.

“We’re going to build a global motorsports business off road and on road,” Farley told the AP, adding that the design of the Mustang is “unapologetically American.”

He lauded the work of Lee, who is considered the top helmet designer among race car drivers.

“We’re in the first inning of a nine inning game, and going to Le Mans is really important,” Farley said. “But for customer cars, getting the graphics right, designing race cars that win at all different levels, and then designing a racing brand for Ford Performance that gets rebranded and elevated is super important.”

He said he’s kept a close eye on how Porsche and Aston Martin have built their motorsports businesses and said Ford will be better.

“We’re going in the exact same direction. We just want to be better than them, that’s all,” Farley said. “Second is the first loser.”

Farley, an avid amateur racer himself, did not travel to Le Mans for the announcement. The race that begins Saturday features an entry from NASCAR, and Ford is the reigning Cup Series champion with Joey Logano and Team Penske.

The NASCAR “Garage 56” entry is a collaboration between Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and is being widely celebrated throughout the industry. Farley did feel left out of the party in France – a sentiment NASCAR tried to avoid by inviting many of its partners to attend the race so that it wouldn’t seem like a Chevrolet-only celebration.

“They’re going right and I’m going left – that NASCAR thing is a one-year deal, right? It’s Garage 56 and they can have their NASCAR party, but that’s a one-year party,” Farley said. “We won Le Mans outright four times, we won in the GT class, and we’re coming back with Mustang and it’s not a one-year deal.

“So they can get all excited about Garage 56. I almost see that as a marketing exercise for NASCAR, but for me, that’s a science project,” Farley continued. “I don’t live in a world of science projects. I live in the world of building a vital company that everyone is excited about. To do that, we’re not going to do a Garage 56 – I’ve got to beat Porsche and Aston Martin and Ferrari year after year after year.”

Ford’s announcement comes on the heels of General Motors changing its GT3 strategy next season and ending its factory Corvette program. GM, which unlike Ford competes in the IMSA Grand Touring Prototype division (with its Cadillac brand), will shift fully to a customer model for Corvettes in 2024 (with some factory support in the IMSA GTD Pro category).