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About MCZF1

Born in England and now living in California, I have run the MCZ F1 website since 1996.

2018-19 Formula E Season Preview

The fifth ABB FIA Formula E Championship season kicks off this weekend with the Ad Diriyah ePrix, around the streets of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. There will be 12 more races between now and July 2019 when the season ends in New York City.

The Cars

This season sees the introduction of the “Gen2” car, the Spark SRT05e, which ups the power output (25% more in qualifying and 10% more during the race) and finally allows the drivers to complete the race distance without the stupid car swaps during pit-stops. They also look WAY cooler!

Formula E Gen 2 car
Formula E Gen 2 car

The Races

Another change for this year is that all races will run for 45 minutes, plus one lap. This could make for some exciting finishes as teams will not know for sure how many laps will be run and drivers will need to be even more mindful of their remaining energy store.

As well as the popular “Fan Boost”, where fans vote to give their favorite driver some extra power, this year sees the introduction of  “Attack Mode” which is full on Mario Kart! The driver goes off the racing line in a designated area and is rewarded with a temporary 25kW engine boost.

  1. Ad Diriyah ePrix, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – December 15th 2018
  2. Marrakesh ePrix, Moulay El Hassan, Morocco – January 12th 2019
  3. Santiago ePrix, Higgins Park, Chile – January 26th 2019
  4. Mexico City ePrix, Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico – February 16th 2019
  5. Hong Kong ePrix, Hong Kong Harbourfront – March 10th 2019
  6. Sanya ePrix, Sanya, China – March 23rd 2019
  7. Rome ePrix, Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR, Italy – April 13th 2019
  8. Paris ePrix, Circuit des Invalides, France – April 27th 2019
  9. Monaco ePrix, Circuit de Monaco – May 11th 2019
  10. Berlin ePrix, Tempelhof Airport, Germany – May 25th 2019
  11. Bern ePrix, Bern, Switzerland – June 22nd 2019
  12. New York City ePrix 1, Brooklyn, USA – July 13th 2019
  13. New York City ePrix 2, Brooklyn, USA – July 14th 2019

The Teams

Manufacturers are embracing Formula E with the number of teams increasing for the 2018-19 season, with HWA joining before becoming the Mercedes works team in season six. BMW now partners Andretti Motorsport and Nissan takes over the Renault entry. Porsche will also be joining, fielding a works team in the 2019-2020 season.

The Drivers

Reigning champion Jean-Éric Vergne defends his title against a field of talented drivers. Notable names joining the driver ranks this season include former F1 pilots, Stoffel Vandoorne, Felipe Massa and Pascal Wehrlein, as well as 2018 DTM champion, Gary Paffett.

Entrant

Chassis

Engine

# / Drivers

Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Spark-Audi Audi eTron #11 Lucas Di Grassi
#66 Daniel Abt
BMW i Andretti Motorsport Spark-BMW BMW #27 Alexander Sims
#28 António Félix da Costa
DS Techeetah Formula E Team Spark-DS Automobiles DS ETense #25 Jean-Éric Vergne
#36 André Lotterer
Envision Virgin Racing Spark-Audi Audi eTron #2 Sam Bird
#4  Robin Frijns
Geox Dragon Spark-Penske Penske #6 Maximilian Günther
#7 José María López
HWA Racelab Spark-Venturi Venturi #5 Stoffel Vandoorne
#17 Gary Paffett
Mahindra Racing Spark-Mahindra Mahindra #64 Jérôme d’Ambrosio
#94 Felix Rosenqvist (Riyadh only)
#94  Pascal Wehrlein
NIO Formula E Team Spark-NIO NIO Sport #8 Tom Dillmann
#16 Oliver Turvey
Nissan e.dams Spark-Nissan Nissan #22 Oliver Rowland
#23 Sébastien Buemi
Panasonic Jaguar Racing Spark-Jaguar Jaguar #3 Nelson Piquet Jr.
#20 Mitch Evans
Venturi Formula E Team Spark-Venturi Venturi #19 Felipe Massa
#48 Edoardo Mortara

In the United States, you can watch Formula E on the Fox Sports network and in the UK on BT Sport ESPN, as well as on the Formula E YouTube channel.

Look for more updates on the Formula E season over the coming months.

– MCZF1

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F1 Future Watch: Neil Verhagen

The first in a new series of articles profiling young drivers from around the world, as they progress through the ranks to a possible seat in a major series and future stardom.

Neil Verhagen was born in Ridgefield, Connecticut and like most young drivers cut his teeth in karting. After starting at an indoor track at the age of 7, it became a family operation as his parents took both he and his brother, Alex, to events all over the USA. As Neil got more successful his grandparents became part of the operation, too.

In 2011 the brothers attended the Indycar race at Baltimore and a meeting with Will Power (who incidentally took the win, pole and fastest lap at that race) convinced young Neil that he wanted to be a professional driver.

A couple more seasons of karting followed before Neil entered the 2014-2015 Skip Barber Winter Series, then competing in both F1600 and F2000 events. For 2016 the youngster, still only 15, signed on with the K-Hill Motorsports team and won the F1600 championship taking 9 wins, 15 podiums, 4 pole positions and 6 fastest laps in 21 races.

Enter Red Bull

This got the attention of the Red Bull Junior Team and he was invited to contest the final round of the Asian MRF Challenge series in Chennai, India alongside Dan Ticktum (who recently won the Macau GP for a second time). His performance there led to Red Bull Junior Team offering a spot in the program starting in 2017. This meant a huge transition as he moved to the Netherlands and drove for MP Motorsport in the highly competitive Euro Formula Renault 2.0 series, as well as contesting a couple of rounds in the F.Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup, winning his first race at Assen. The 2017 Eurocup was more of a struggle but Verhagen scored a podium at the Hungaroring on his way to 11th in the standings.

#
Photo credit: Red Bull/Markus Berger

The young American moved to the Italian Tech 1 Racing team for 2018, again competing in Formula Renault 2.0. As well as all the rounds of the Eurocup, he also contested 5 of the 6 Northern European Cup rounds, but the season was frustrating. After a promising start Verhagen had a run of 6 races without scoring points, though he did bounce back strongly at the final two rounds to again finish 11th in the standings.

His plans for 2018 have yet to be announced with a move to Formula 3 or another season of Formula Renault 2.0 being possibilities for the American. We’ll be following his progress here at MCZ F1.

Neil Verhagen’s Official Site

Red Bull Junior Website

– MCZF1

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Manor Racing: Ron Dennis’ F1 Revenge?

Now ousted from the team he lead to prominence is Ron Dennis planning a takeover of Manor F1 as a means of gaining revenge on McLaren?

Towards the end of the 2016 Formula One season it became clear that Manor Racing owner Stephen Fitzpatrick was trying to sell the team and had been in serious discussions with Tavo Hellmund, promoter of the United States and Mexican Grand Prix about a possible sale. However when the team lost out to Sauber for 10th place in the Championship and the associated future prize fund money, thanks to Felipe Nasr’s inspired drive in Brazil, those talks stalled.

Former Manor sporting director Graeme Lowdon had also been talking to Fitzpatrick and was hoping to use Indonesian businessman Ricardo Gelael’s money to fund a purchase, but those talks had also floundered as the season went on.

Enter Dennis

Ron Dennis portrait: Future Manor owner?
Ron Dennis

Ron Dennis’ “Project 4” merged with the original McLaren Racing in 1980 to form McLaren International and at one time he owned all the shares, but over the years divested his holding to finance first the TAG-Porsche engine program and then to partner with Daimler AG for Mercedes engines.

In his efforts to buy out his former partners at McLaren, Ron Dennis put together a consortium of Chinese investors to purchase the 75% of shares he did not own. His UKP1.65bn ($2.04bn) bid was turned down. Add to that the 25% holding that Dennis could sell if he moved on to a new team.

With that kind of capital at his disposal the purchase of Manor Racing would be comparative peanuts. The team has a new factory in Banbury and a contract with his old friends at Mercedes for engines. That would leave plenty of cash left over to invest in new equipment and staff. Speaking of which…

The current Manor Racing Director Dave Ryan spent a large part of his career working for Dennis at McLaren before departing in 2009 and recently released McLaren Chief Executive  Jost Capito, hand picked by Dennis, is now free to join another team.

The pieces fit together well, so let’s see if Ron is going to be taking a drive up the M40 from Woking to Banbury before pre-season testing starts this year.
– MCZF1

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