In the round-up: Ferrari Benedetto Vigna says the team remains committed to top-flight motorsport because of the value of technology transfer to its road vehicles.
Ferrari committed to F1 and WEC for future – Vigna
“Sport is very important for us,” Ferrari’s CEO Vigna told Bloomberg this week. “Racing has been, it is, it will be in the DNA of our company.
“In 2023, 50 years after we stopped attending the World Endurance Championship we go back – next week will be Le Mans. So sport is very important: Formula 1, World Endurance Championship and we keep investing there because we see a lot of technologies that can go from the track to the road.”
He said the company’s first sports utility vehicle, the Purosangue, “has an important feature that is from the combustion engine that we took from Formula 1 – it is on the road through the Purosangue.”
Asked whether watching the team’s largely unsuccessful start to 2023 had been stressful, Vigna answered: “There are even more stressful things than this!
“There is a way to improve, there is a way to learn. We have to make a car that is better, always, than the past one. This is true for everything we do.”
Fuoco leads Ferrari one-two in Le Mans qualifying
Ferrari set the pace in qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hours on Wednesday, although they are not guaranteed pole yet as today’s hyperpole session is still to come.
Wednesday’s action began with a three-hour daytime practice session and Toyota went one-two with Brendon Hartley setting the benchmark lap in the faster of the two GR010 Hybrids. The top eight were covered by a second, and that included a Cadillac, two Porsches, two Peugeots and a Ferrari.
The condensed one-hour qualifying session in the evening meant far fewer opportunities to set laps uncompromised by traffic by cars in lower classes, although initially the disruption they caused was actually crashes as there were two red flag stoppages during the first 16 minutes.
The clock was paused during these periods, but only 20 cars out of 62 had set flying laps in the first 20 minutes and Toyota’s Kamui Kobayashi led the way with a 3’25.485 lap.
Porsche Penske’s Frederic Makowiecki was first to get close to his pace, with Cadillac’s Earl Bamber half a second back in third halfway through qualifying. The Ferraris looked very fast, but Antonio Fuoco lost a pole-threatening lap to a track limits violation and another to red flags.
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In the meantime Hartley made it a Toyota one-two, with Fuoco down in ninth and therefore not progressing to the Hyperpole session, but then with 20 minutes to go Fuoco set a 3’25.421 to move to the top. He improved by 0.2 seconds on his next lap, as team mate Alessandro Pier Guidi went second fastest, and the order was then set to the end.
The Toyotas were third and fourth, with Makowiecki and his Porsche team mate Felipe Nasr in fifth and sixth, then Sebastien Bourdais and Earl Bamber secured the final two Hyperpole places for Cadillac.
Peugeot’s fastest car was 2.333s off the pace and will start 10th for the race, while the third Porsche Penske car stopped on track at the end while Nasr was at the wheel.
The day ended with two hours of night-time practice, and Porsche Penske’s Laurens Vanthoor was fastest. Jota Sport were within a second of the pace with their Porsche, which missed qualifying due to hybrid issues, and the 16-car Hypercar group was propped up by Vanwall who at the very end put their car 1.716s clear of the LMP2 class leader with a lap 6.269s off the ultimate pace.
FIA details sustainability targets for future of F3
The FIA has published the invitation to tender to supply the engine for the F1-supporting Formula 3 championship from 2025 to 2027.
Mecachrome is the current supplier and its naturally aspirated 3.4-litre, six-cylinder engine has been in use since 2019. That engine is capable of 380 horsepower, and the FIA is targeting an increase to 399hp for the next engine.
Other requirements it has set in the tender documents include a requirement to be able to run on 55% sustainable fuel in the engine’s first season of use (with a 100% sustainable fuel compatibility target for 2026), to have some components be recyclable and for the on-track engine life be more than 10,000km as F3 plans to have a calendar length of 10 rounds and nine test days for 2025.
The FIA has left it open-ended on whether the engine should be naturally aspirated or turbocharged, if it should include a push-to-pass system and what size the engine is. This detail is key as it determines the bodywork size and wheelbase for when F3 also brings in a new chassis.
Italian F1 presenters in trouble for sexist remarks
Sky Sports Italia has suspended two members of its F1 presenting team following sexist remarks made on-air last weekend.
During their post-race analysis, 2003 FIA GT champion Matteo Bobbi called a woman in the background of their broadcast an “upgrade package”. His colleague Davide Valsecchi, the 2012 GP2 champion, replied: “I’ve been told we can’t test those.” Their exchange continued along similar lines, despite an attempted intervention by their unimpressed co-presenter Federica Masolin.