It’s 2018 and it’s time for the Halo

Time for the Halo

So it happened. Here we are about to start another F1 season and after so much debate and arguing, the Halo is finally here. The new cars are being unveiled and with them is the brand new safety device that, according to Mercedes, is strong enough to hold a bus.

Toto

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said “it’s an awful thing” and that he would like to saw it off if he could, when he spoke to ESPN recently. He went on to say it was too heavy and it has been tough to build it into the design of the car. He went on to say the entire rig weighs about 10 kg and as it sits so high on the car, the centre of gravity has changed and a lot of compensation was needed. However, he also said we have to look after the drivers. So, like many others, he is able to accept it, if a little reluctantly.

All Teams

There is no doubt Toto’s feelings will be echoed across the other teams when it comes to design. There are a number of discussions about looking for a better looking alternative in the future but for now, at least, the Halo is here to stay.

Will They All Look the Same?

Initially, it was thought all the Halo structures would look the same. Whilst there is not much room to “play” you can be sure the teams will try. First of all, they can paint the structure – there was a lot of talk about it having to be black initially. There is also around 20mm of wiggle room in terms of aero and a number of teams have made pains to help increase airflow over the device.

Visibility and Safety

Whilst it looks like it would make it hard to see forward, the drivers all say it does not impact on things very much. In terms of safety, it is a mixed bag. On the one hand tests show it would have improved outcomes in 15 out of 17 of the last major crashes involving things coming into the cockpit. On the other, it only offers a 17% improvement on smaller objects hitting drivers. It has also been pointed out that it would not have saved Bianchi when he hit a track vehicle in Japan 2014.

The Future

No one wants to see drivers hurt so, ultimately, the Halo is a good thing. For many it is one step too far but for others it’s just part of how things have to be. It is certainly a challenge from a design point of view but, no doubt, everyone will forget all about it when the first set of lights go green!

We take safety very seriously and all of our fire extinguisher systems are FIA and MSA approved. If you would like more information about the systems we offer, then get in touch today.

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Billy Monger May Be Close to F3 Deal

We, like most other people in motorsport, have been following the progress of Billy Monger after his awful crash. The young driver lost both his legs last April in a big smash at Donnington Park. Since then, he has shown extreme courage, fortitude and maturity to not only cope with losing his legs as a young teen but to also get back in a racing car.

Nearly There

Since his crash Billy has regained his racing licences by using adapted cars, and he even took part in a stunt display at the Autosport Show recently. Along with all the press, he has also been working with the Carlin team with a view to driving in the Formula 3 Championship. According to Billy, they just need a few more sponsors and he is ready to compete.

Car Changes

Billy’s car has some interesting adaptations. He is still breaking with his left prosthetic leg but when it comes to gear changes and throttle, it is all change. Rather than a left and right paddle shift he has both paddles on the left hand side of the wheel and a throttle on the right. He was quoted as saying it took a lot of getting used to and a lot more track time than he would normally need but it is all working well.

Under a Year

It is worth just taking a moment to really understand how tough this must have been. Losing a limb or limbs must be impossibly tough on anyone, but as a young teenager, it must have surely been that little bit harder. Yet in under a year – yes, under a year! – he is fully recovered and racing and back where he wants to be.

We really hope to see him do well and continue to follow this story of bravery. It is great for anyone who has suffered this kind of injury but also for anyone who has ever faced tough times. It is also very positive to see a disabled driver competing with able bodied racers too.

We provide fire suppression systems for all levels of motorsport including Formula 3 and 4. We are also able to create bespoke solutions for any kind of car and need, including drivers with disabilities. So, do get in touch if you need anything specific or you would just like to make sure you have the very best fire system in your race car.

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Tesla Roadster: A glimpse of the future?

Tesla Image

No matter how much we all love petrol engines, there is no doubt at all that electric vehicles are coming. The minute Porsche and Ferrari started using electric motors in their cars the world changed. Where once EVs and hybrids were terminally dull and a painful concept for any petrol head, suddenly we had power…lots and lots of power.

EV: All torque?

The great and undeniable thing about electric motors is the amount of torque they produce. Any car fan worth their salt appreciates neck snapping torque and a big electric motor has it by the bucket full. Acceleration is now less of an issue about how fast you can take off, it’s more about how on earth you get enough traction to get off properly.

Tesla

As far as EVs go, Tesla actually make cars people want. They are cool, they are desirable and they are fast. Anyone that launches a power upgrade called “ludicrous” understands the world of cars pretty well.

Roadster

Although there are a lot of very fast Teslas, nothing comes close to the new Roadster. It is so good we had to write a blog about it. Now, we can’t vouch for handling and how nice the seats are but the stats are enough to make your hair stand on end:

0-60 mph – 1.9 seconds
0-100 mph – 4.2 seconds
¼ mile – 8.8 seconds
Top Speed – 250 mph

One magazine quoted these stats as mind bending, and that is about right. 100 mile per hour in nearly 4 seconds. Just let that sink in for a moment… wow!

It also looks great, it will have a range of some 500+ miles and seems highly likely to become one of the most wanted cars on the planet. The only downside is the slightly stupid steering wheel but we can forgive that.

As EVs become more and more popular it will be very interesting to see how they start appearing in the racing world; Formula E is just the start. We are certainly ready to discuss and help any EV race car owners with fire suppression systems. If you are thinking of creating a Tesla track car then get in touch.

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Is the 2018 Dakar Too Hard?

2018 Dakar

As far as racing goes, there is surely nothing more gruelling or challenging than the Dakar Rally. Whilst Le Man 24 Hour is certainly tough in terms of duration, the Dakar is simply the most brutal and ferocious race on the planet.

2018

This year’s race started on the 6th of January and has returned to Peru once again for its 40th anniversary year. The theme – yes there is a theme – is preservation of heritage and history. This is not so much about motorsport history but about Peruvian history. So many of the stages are designed to highlight important places and points of interest. Also this year sees a city stage as the race passes through Puno. This will give the public a chance to experience this somewhat mythical race.

Amateurs and Pros

Unlike many race events the Dakar is open to amateur teams. This means not everyone is driving as part of a highly sponsored factory team and not everyone is a pro driver. This is certainly one of the many exciting parts of the race. However, the factory teams are at a clear advantage with all the support, the best drivers and all the money.

Sebastian Loeb

Prior to starting this year’s race, Loeb had said it was his now or never time to win because Peugeot are not running a team next year. Sadly, his big year was cut short. Initially he struggled with brake issues but he had to finally retire after landing in a large hole. He was trying to avoid a car stuck at the top of a dune when it all went wrong. The car was pulled out but his co-driver was injured and that was the end of the race for both of them.

Too Hard?

Carlos Sainz has been quoted as saying that this leg of the race is simply too hard. He mentions the amateur drivers not being able to cope and that it is just not achievable. Although his team is doing very well he goes on to say that the factory teams can just about cope, but without all the support and the driver skill they have the amateurs are being forced out.

So far there were 43 retirements across all the classes in the first three stages and only 43 out of the 73 competitors in the car class actually finished within 6 hours of Loeb’s time!

We provide fire extinguishers for a wide range of motorsport and road use. We work with professionals, amateurs, teams and more so if you are looking for the very best in fire suppression for your chosen motorsport then get in touch today.

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Autosport 2018

Autosport International Logo

As many of you will know, we let ourselves out once in a blue moon and one of these times is for the Autosport Show at the Birmingham NEC. The upcoming event runs from 11th to 14th January 2018, with 2 public days and 2 trade days. It is always such an amazing event for a number of reasons.

Technology

One of the things we love so much about it is seeing all of the amazing kit on the market. We are somewhat obsessed with fire suppression as you might expect, but it’s great to stick our noses into all the other products and technology on show.

The Show

If you have never been, it is certainly a big event. There is so much more than product and trade stands. This year, there is an F1 feature, BTCC and Rally feature too. Nigel Mansell is going to be there among many others, plus Ferrari have a special stand charting the marque through the ages.

Our Stand: 8305

There may be lots on but don’t forget to come and see us! Last year was an amazing success because we got to see so many customers both old and new, including Ed China and Mike Brewer. We got a chance to explain why our products are so good and how they could work for so many different people with different racing needs.

We will be set up on stand 8305, so come on over and have a look at our product range, meet the team and generally have a good nose around. We will be able to run visitors through our systems, components and applications as well as have a good chat about all things motorsport related, of course!

Spot the System

Last year was a very interesting one. As we went around the stands we ended up trying to spot who was using our systems. We found most of the cars on the Porsche stand all fitted out with FEV kit as well as the Skoda Rally team. Make sure you let us know if you see the FEV badge on any cars around the show!

We hope to see you all there!

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FIA Try to Cut Costs for World Rallycross

FIA World Rallycross Championship

It is always great to see measures being put into place to allow more teams and more people to take part in racing of any kind. More teams and more drivers mean more fun and more fans, which can only be a good thing. So we were really pleased to hear the FIA has just announced a few measures to help keep the cost of World Rallycross down.

What Measures?

After the World Motor Sport Council meeting on 6th December, it was announced that “several” measures would be brought in for 2018. More details will come out soon but these will include gearbox, tyre, turbo and even aero rules.

Turbo

It seems the number of turbos allowed has been reduced from six to four. This means across the 12 rounds the teams will have to make do with less in the way of new kit, which keeps the cost down for teams that struggle to pay for six. Before 2013, teams could use one engine and two turbos at each event.

Tyres

New tyre rules have also been brought in to stop people using unregistered tyres in warm-up and practice, and then moving to their allocation for the race. The teams now have 12 wet and 12 dry tyre sets for the first two round. From the third round onwards, they have a maximum of 8 wet and 8 dry.

Declaration

There are also new rules surrounding the changes being made to cars mid-season. A number of aspects now need to be agreed and declared at the start of the season as part of the technical passport. The idea is that this removes added development costs during the season. Things like the location of the gearbox and the use of a central diff now has to be declared. Gear ratios are now restricted to 2 sets for the whole season and there will also be a similar restriction put on things like brakes.

We are able to provide FIA approved fire suppression for the full range of motorsport classes from F1 to time trials and track days. The rise in popularity in rallycross has led to an increase in our work around this side of motorsport. If you would like to discuss your team or your own car, then give us a call.

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Billy Monger Walks Brands

After his horrific accident in April where he lost his lower legs, Billy Monger’s recovery has been something of a motorsport whirlwind. A crowdfunding site set up for him while he was still in hospital raised over £800,000 but Billy wanted to give something back.

Brands Hatch

Back in October, Billy the Whizz, as he is known, took to his brand new prosthetic legs and walked the circuit at Brands to raise money for the Air Ambulance service which undoubtedly saved his life earlier in the year. The crowds were there to support him every step of the way even though he only had 2 days to learn how to use this new mode of transport for himself.

Celeb Status

Billy’s accident certainly caught not only the motorsport world’s attention but also the wider world too. A young man suffering a serious blow to his mobility, career and life in general is always a tough thing to think about but he has shown amazing strength of character in how he conducted himself since and continues to do so. He regularly meets some of his heroes at various events and races and, in doing so, helps raise the profile of disabled people in general and at the same time removing some of the stigma many amputees often feel.

Racing

Billy has made it very clear he intends to get himself back up to full speed when it comes to racing. He doesn’t want to be known as a disabled driver, just a good driver. As one of the fastest people in Formula 4, Billy is highly likely to make this happen and we wish him all the best.

Inclusive

The idea of having him reach the upper levels of the sport is yet another example of how inclusive motorsport can be. There are no gender divides in racing and having a disabled driver winning races is yet more good news. Of course, not everyone can afford to get into motorsport but with the advent of things like the GT Academy those from poorer backgrounds have a shot at racing too.

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Why Do I Need Fire Extinguisher in My Car?

This is a question a lot of people think about and there are many different answers, all of which depend on what sort of driving you are doing, what sort of car you have and how much you care about safety.

Racing

Handheld fire extinguishers imageOK, so there is one time you simply have to have a fire extinguisher in your car and that is if you are doing any kind of racing. All motorsport in the UK is governed by the MSA and if you are competing in any kind of official competition then you will have to have a MSA spec fire suppression system in your car. There is no getting around this and nor should there be. If you are going to be driving at speed in a time trial or with other cars around you then you need to be able to deal with a fire in the event of one.

Historic and Classic Cars

So with the obvious racing stuff out the way, what other situations may you feel you should have a fire extinguisher on board? Well, a lot of classic car owners opt for putting in a small handheld fire extinguisher in the car. The reason for this can be three-fold.

The first is that as a car lover and enthusiast they may want to just gently push the limits on occasion and having a little bit of extra safety back up is not bad thing. The second is that a classic car is a treasured possession, and one that is likely to be worth a lot of money. To this end having a fire extinguisher in the car could help avoid a small fire turning into a big one and destroying the car forever. Repairing the damage from something small is one thing, and stopping any kind of fire getting out of hand is certainly something a classic car owner wants. The third reason is that old cars do have a habit of not working properly….on occasion. If something like an electrical fault or overheating occurs, a fire extinguisher really helps provide a bit of an insurance policy to avoid a catastrophe.

You Simply Love Your Car!

It may not be a classic, it may not even be that amazing in some people’s eyes but you love your car and you want to do everything to keep it safe. If this is the case, why wouldn’t you have a fire extinguisher in the car? Small hand held units can be subtly fitted in the passenger footwell and are there in the event of anything nasty happening to your beloved motor.

You are into Modding

If you love tuning and modifying your car, then you will know that no matter how good you are at doing it there is always a risk of something not working properly. Aftermarket parts, audio kit, induction kits and even turbos and more full-on mods can all have implications. So having a fire extinguisher in the car could well be that extra level of preparedness that could save a small issue becoming a major fire. You never know, it might come in handy at a meet when someone else’s car has a “bit of an issue” and they will be eternally grateful you thought about fire suppression.

Whatever car you drive, there is never a bad time to put in a fire extinguisher. It doesn’t have to be a full-on plumbed-in race system and we offer some great handheld options, so get in touch to find out more.

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Is a Ferrari SUV on the cards?

Ferari Badge

We do now live in a world where luxury fast car brands are making SUVs. In fact, everyone is making SUVs. They seem to be the most pervasive car type ever created! OK so they are useful but how many people really need one? And are Ferrari really going to make one?

History

This, although very “now”, is not a new concept. Lamborghini created their monstrous LM002 in the late 80s but only 328 were ever made and it was, well, rather ugly to say the least. The new Urus will essentially be a new version of the LM002 and it looks a lot better but it still feels odd coming from Lambo.

Porsche are also in this sector and have managed to make the Cayenne really stick. Older versions do look a bit dated now but the newer smaller models are fast and fun. The Bentley Bentayga really shook the automotive world when it came out in 2016 because this was not just another luxury SUV; it was a performance brand moving into SUV production. Aston Martin will be launching their DBX crossover in the coming month too….is it really only Ferrari left out?

Rumours

Ferrari have generally maintained they were not going to build an SUV and most fans of the brand were pleased about this. However, recent comments from Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne suggest otherwise. It has been a question fired at Ferrari press conferences more times than an episode of Top Gear is shown on Dave but each time is was pushed back…until now.

Reinvent

Marchionne’s comments suggest that Ferrari are serious about making something. What that something is seems to be a little hazier. There is talk of the brand doing it the Ferrari way and reinventing a car that has some utility aspects rather than just creating another SUV. How this would play out is anyone’s guess and it is very hard to predict. Auto analyst Max Warburton suggested it would be a FUV or Ferrari Utility Vehicle and that it would not have visible rear doors. Investors are clearly not keen on a 4 door car so using the word hidden is a very cunning way of getting around that.

2020

Whatever this all leads to, it will certainly be fast and no doubt very rare and some very rich people will buy one. But will it go a little way to taking some of the wonder out of the brand? Hopefully not. Either way, it seems nothing much will happen for the next 2 or 3 years as 2020 seems to be the rumoured date for manufacture and 2021 for launch.

While we cannot tell you what Ferrari are thinking we can certainly help you with making sure your Ferrari has top notch fire protection. We are able to provide systems for owners who want something subtle to help keep their car safe in the event of a fire. But we can also provide systems for those people who choose to race their prancing horse in historic or modern events. All of our systems are MSA and FIA approved so get in touch for more information.

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Jenson Button – Too Long In F1?

Jenson Button

Too Long in F1

The big news story for some is that Jenson felt he had simply spent too long in F1 and had somewhat fallen out of the love with motorsport. He was keen to point out he still loved racing but it was the sport itself he needed a break from. He suggested that he perhaps stayed just a year longer than he should and this is understandable; as great as McLaren is they have not had a great run over the last few years and that must have been tough. Jenson also clearly stated he doesn’t miss F1 at all.

Super GT

It seems his recent Super GT 1000km race really rekindled the racing fire in Jenson. Even though his race wasn’t exactly trouble free he said the moment it was finished he wanted to get straight back in to do it again.

Where Now?

Most people know that Jenson spends a lot of time running, cycling and generally being very fit. He also has a triathlon team but it seems motor racing is still something he wants to do. When asked about where and what he might be racing he simply said there are a few options. Interestingly, he was not keen on the GT classes because he said he simply could not handle being overtaken all the time by faster classes.

When Autosport asked about IndyCar Jenson said:

“There are some great drivers racing IndyCar, but it scares the s**t out of me”; he went on to say he was surprised the drivers were still racing.

He also then went on to admit that formula E was simply not for him and as exciting as the technology was he wanted to hear an engine roar and be behind the wheel of a 600+ bhp car.

Whatever Jenson decides to do he will always have a place in British motorsport fans’ hearts as a true gentleman racer.

FEV are able to provide and advise on fire suppression across all motorsport classes from Rally to Historic racing. We are also very proud to supply many of the current F1 teams with systems too.

Get in touch if you would like to discuss your team or car and how FEV can make sure your fire extinguisher systems are first class.

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