BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent got their 2013 Endurance World Championship campaign underway with the first test of the new season at the Magny-Cours circuit in France. ....More
Munich (DE), 12th March 2013. The 2013 season of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) is not the only thing kicking off at the 12 Hours of Sebring (US) this weekend. The race also marks the start of a new era in BMW MotorsportÔÇÖs programme in North America: This is the first time BMW Team RLL will line up against opposition in the GT class with the newly developed BMW Z4 GTE. ....More
Spartanburg, S.C. ÔÇô March 13, 2013...BMW Manufacturing announced today the successful expansion of the companyÔÇÖs hydrogen fuel-cell material handling equipment across its 4.0 million square foot production facility. In 2010, BMW completed the installation of a hydrogen storage and distribution area near the plantÔÇÖs Energy Center to power about 100 pieces of fuel cell material handling equipment. Since that time, the company has more than doubled its hydrogen-fuel cell fleet to approximately 230 units to service the entire plantÔÇÖs production and logistics functions. ...More
BMW Group issued a press release on 2012 corporate sales and earnings today. The full annual report is due March 19.
The motorcycle segment was profitable reporting a before tax profit of Ôé¼ 6 million in 2012. Sales for the motorcycle segment include Husqvarna sales for 2012. Units sales, as previously reported, were at record levels and revenues showed a 3.8% increase over 2011. However, the company took fourth quarter expenses resulting in a 85.4% decrease in earnings before tax. The decrease is attributed to expenses related to the new direction the segment is taking. The success of that direction, for investors, as it roles out will determine if the glass they drink from is half full or empty
Segment revenues were 3.8% higher at Ôé¼ 1,490 million (2011: Ôé¼ 1,436 million). EBIT, however, fell to Ôé¼ 9 million (2011: Ôé¼ 45 million/-80.0%) as a result of the new direction now being taken for the BMW Group's motorcycles business. Profit before tax decreased accordingly to Ôé¼ 6 million (2011: Ôé¼ 41 million/- 85.4%).
Reithofer: Best year in corporate history
Group revenues rise by 11.7% to Ôé¼ 76.8 billion
EBIT up 3.5% to Ôé¼ 8.3 billion
Profit before tax 5.9% higher at Ôé¼ 7.8 billion
Group profit up 4.4% to Ôé¼ 5.1 billion
EBIT margin of 10.9% for Automotive segment
Record dividend of Ôé¼ 2.50 per share of common stock proposed
Munich. The BMW Group continued on its successful course in the financial year 2012. Group revenues increased year-on-year by 11.7% to reach a new record of Ôé¼ 76,848 million (2011: Ôé¼ 68,821 million). Despite higher expenditure on new technologies and increased personnel costs, earnings also climbed to new record levels. Profit before financial result (EBIT) increased by 3.5% to Ôé¼ 8,300 million (2011: Ôé¼ 8,018 million), while profit before tax (EBT) amounted to Ôé¼ 7,819 million (2011: Ôé¼ 7,383 million), an improvement of 5.9%. Group profit for the year went up by 4.4% to Ôé¼ 5,122 million (2011: Ôé¼ 4,907 million).
The total number of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles delivered to customers worldwide in 2012 rose by 10.6% to a new high of 1,845,186 units (2011: 1,668,982 units), thus enabling the BMW Group to maintain its position as the world's leading premium manufacturer.
"The past year has been the most successful year in BMW Group's corporate history, with new high levels achieved for sales volume, revenues and Group earnings. We have achieved or surpassed all of our targets for 2012 in the face of very challenging market conditions", stated Norbert Reithofer, the Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG on Thursday in Munich.
Dividend to increase to Ôé¼ 2.50 per share of common stock
The Board of Management and the Supervisory Board will propose to shareholders at the Annual General Meeting on 14 May 2013 that the dividend be increased to Ôé¼ 2.50 (2011: Ôé¼ 2.30) per share of common stock and Ôé¼ 2.52 (2011: Ôé¼ 2.32) per share of preferred stock. Based on these figures, the total distribution will rise to Ôé¼ 1,640 million (2011: Ôé¼ 1,508 million), corresponding to a distribution ratio of 32.0% (2011: 30.7%). "The increased dividend reflects the BMW Group's excellent performance in 2012 as well as the underlying strength of its earnings and financial position" commented Friedrich Eichiner, member of the Board of Management responsible for Finance.
Automotive segment: EBIT rises to Ôé¼ 7.62 billion
The BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands were all able to post new sales volume records in 2012. Automotive segment revenues went up by 11.0% to Ôé¼ 70,208 million (2011: Ôé¼ 63,229 million) thanks to the sharp rise in the number of vehicles sold. Segment EBIT edged up to Ôé¼ 7,624 million (2011: Ôé¼ 7,477 million/+2.0%), giving an EBIT margin of 10.9%. Profit before tax amounted to Ôé¼ 7,195 million (2011: Ôé¼ 6,823 million), an increase of 5.5% over the previous year.
Sales of BMW brand cars increased by 11.6% to 1,540,085 units (2011: 1,380,384 units), thus surpassing the mark of 1.5 million units for the first time in a single financial year. One major contributing factor for this success was the performance of the BMW 1 Series, sales of which rose by 28.6% to 226,829 units (2011: 176,418 units), making it the best-selling car in its own segment.
The success story of the BMW 3 Series also continues, with sales volume rising by 5.8% in 2012 to 406,752 units (2011: 384,464 units). The BMW 3 Series Sedan also headed its own segment with 294,045 units (2011: 240,279 units/+22.4%) sold during the past year. With a sales volume of 359,016 units sold (2011: 332,501 units/+8.0%), the BMW 5 Series also retained pole position in its segment. The BMW 6 Series performed extremely well with 23,193 units sold (2011: 9,396 units/+146.8%).
The various models of the BMW X family also performed well in 2012. Sales of the BMW X1 grew by 16.9% to 147,776 units (2011: 126,429 units), making it the best-selling model in its segment. The BMW X3 also registered sharp growth (27.1%) with 149,853 units sold (2011: 117,944 units). The BMW X5 and BMW X6 posted sales volumes of 108,544 units (2011: 104,827 units/+3.5%) and 43,689 units (2011: 40,822 units/+7.0%) respectively.
The MINI brand surpassed the sales volume threshold of 300,000 units for the first time in a single year with the number of cars sold up by 5.8% to 301,526 units (2011: 285,060 units). The MINI Countryman put in an extremely strong performance and recorded a 14.9% increase to 102,271 units (2011: 89,036 units). Sales of the MINI Coup?® rose to 11,311 units (2011: 3,799 units), almost tripling the volume recorded one year earlier. In terms of model mix, 44.5% of customers opted for the MINI Cooper, 35.7% for the MINI Cooper S and 19.8% for the MINI One.
Rolls-Royce was the clear market leader in the ultra-luxury segment in 2012. In total, 3,575 units were sold during the year (2011: 3,538 units/+1.0%), with demand particularly strong for the Phantom and Ghost models.
The BMW Group was able to increase sales volume figures in almost all of the regions in which it is active. The number of vehicles sold in Europe, the Group's largest sales market, edged up by 0.8% to 865,417 units despite the difficult business conditions prevailing in many countries.
Sales volume in Asia jumped by 31.4% to 493,393 units, including 327,341 BMW and MINI brand cars sold in China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan), giving an increase in this market of 40.1%. This was the first time that the BMW Group has sold more than 300,000 vehicles in China in a single year. In Japan, the number of cars sold rose by 19.0% to 56,701 units.
Good growth was also achieved in the Americas, with sales volume running 11.8% higher at 425,382 units. Sales in the USA climbed by 13.8% to 348,532 units, enabling BMW to remain the leading premium manufacturer in this market.
Motorcycles segment also achieves sales volume record
117,109 BMW and Husqvarna brand motorcycles were sold worldwide during the past year (2011: 113,572 units/+3.1%), a new sales volume record for the segment.
Sales of BMW brand motorcycles went up by 2.0% to 106,358 units (2011: 104,286 units), while Husqvarna handed over 10,751 motorcycles to customers (2011: 9,286/+15.8%). In future, the Motorcycles segment intends to focus exclusively on the BMW brand. At the end of January 2013, the BMW Group signed a contract with the Austrian company, Pierer Industrie AG, for the sale of Husqvarna.
Segment revenues were 3.8% higher at Ôé¼ 1,490 million (2011: Ôé¼ 1,436 million). EBIT, however, fell to Ôé¼ 9 million (2011: Ôé¼ 45 million/-80.0%) as a result of the new direction now being taken for the BMW Group's motorcycles business. Profit before tax decreased accordingly to Ôé¼ 6 million (2011: Ôé¼ 41 million/- 85.4%).
Financial Services segment remains on growth course
The Financial Services segment continued to perform well in the past year. Revenues grew by 11.7% to Ôé¼ 19,550 million (2011: Ôé¼ 17,510 million). Profit before tax amounted to Ôé¼ 1,561 million (2011: Ôé¼ 1,790 million/-12.8%), whereby the decrease in segment earnings is primarily a reflection of the previous year's extremely high figures: in 2011, the segment recorded exceptional income of Ôé¼ 439 million resulting from the reduction in provisions for residual value and bad debt risks. Business with end-of-contract leasing vehicles gave rise to an exceptional gain of Ôé¼124 million in 2012.
The number of new lease and credit financing contracts signed worldwide (1,341,296) was 12.1% up on the previous year. The number of lease and financing contracts in place with dealers and retail customers at the end of the year rose by 7.1% to a total of 3,846,364 contracts.
Workforce grows by 5.6%
The BMW Group's workforce increased sharply 2012, rising by 5.6% to 105,876 employees. The BMW Group continues to recruit staff, in particular engineers and skilled workers, in order to keep pace with ongoing strong demand for BMW Group cars, push ahead with innovations and develop new technologies.
BMW Group in the fourth quarter 2012
BMW Group revenues rose in the fourth quarter by 11.9% to Ôé¼ 20,536 million (2011: Ôé¼ 18,349 million). EBIT increased by 14.1% to Ôé¼ 1,894 million (2011: Ôé¼ 1,660 million) and the profit before tax by 32.9% to Ôé¼ 1,779 million (2011: Ôé¼ 1,339 million). Profit after tax amounted to Ôé¼ 1,207 million (2011: Ôé¼ 879 million), an improvement of 37.3%. The total number of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles delivered to customers in the period from October to December grew by 16.8% to 509,684 units (2011: 436,398 units).
Automotive segment revenues increased by 15.8% in the fourth quarter to Ôé¼ 19,496 million (2011: Ôé¼ 16,838 million). EBIT rose sharply to Ôé¼ 2,076 million (2011: Ôé¼ 1,542 million/+34.6%) and profit before tax jumped by 63.4% to Ôé¼ 1,921 million (2011: Ôé¼ 1,176 million). The EBIT margin for the Automotive segment was 10.6%.
Fourth-quarter Motorcycles segment revenues increased by 7.5% to Ôé¼ 274 million (2011: Ôé¼ 255 million). The segment reports negative fourth-quarter EBIT of Ôé¼ 73 million (2011: negative EBIT of Ôé¼ 17 million) and a pre-tax loss of Ôé¼ 74 million (2011: pre-tax loss of Ôé¼ 19 million).
Financial Services segment revenues increased by 2.0% in the final quarter of 2012 to Ôé¼ 4,968 million (2011: Ôé¼ 4,870 million). Segment EBIT improved by 3.9% to Ôé¼ 267 million (2011: Ôé¼ 257 million) and the profit before tax by 3.0% to Ôé¼ 271 million (2011: Ôé¼ 263 million).
BMW Group forecasts further sales volume growth in 2013
The BMW Group intends to continue on its growth course in the current year. "We are again targeting further sales volume growth worldwide in 2013 and hence a new record level for deliveries. However, economic conditions are likely to remain challenging in many markets", commented Reithofer. "The BMW Group is preparing for tomorrow's technological challenges and is setting the course for further growth and profitability", he added.
The Supervisory Board proposes that Supervisory Board members Prof. Renate K?Âcher, Prof. Reinhard H??ttl, and Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley be reelected for a mandate period of five years. It also proposes that Chairman of the Supervisory Board Prof. Joachim Milberg be reelected for a mandate period of three years; with the consent of the Supervisory Board, should he be elected, Prof. Milberg will stand again for the position of Chairman.
Further information on the Group Financial Statements 2012 and the outlook for the current year will be available at the Annual Accounts Press Conference to be held on 19 March 2013 in Munich.
The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team conducted another two days of testing at Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain. Thus, the team made use of the long break between the first two rounds of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship. From the Superbike team, it was factory rider Chaz Davies (GBR) who was on duty on his own, as his team-mate Marco Melandri (ITA) is recovering at home from the shoulder surgery he underwent after the season opener at Phillip Island (AUS). The Superbike team was joined by the Superstock squad, with riders Sylvain Barrier (FRA) and Greg Gildenhuys (RSA) using the test to prepare their new BMW HP4s for the 2013 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup....More
Racing at its best ! Alex Hofmann follows World SBK Championship leader Eugene Laverty 3 laps around the fantastic Jerez Race track ! Go Pro on the helmet delivers great footage of pretty fast laps - 1.42.40 ! Enjoy the ride ..
I started and headed an alternative transportation program for a F-O-L health care system for a number of years. Naturally motorcycles and scooters were part ot the program and a picture like this head to one of the hospitals or clincs was a dream. However, not all commutes are to work unfortunately. facebook: Convoy of bikes and scooters heads up A338 Spur Road in memory of Jade Clark. R.I.P.
Motorcyclists and competitive sport go hand in hand. From a spectatorÔÇÖs point of view, man and motorcycle against like-for-like competition makes for compelling viewing. Not just on the rigours of a circuit, but anywhere a motorcycle can be ridden. One such arena is the straight and long length of surface dedicated to achieving motorcycle land speed records ÔÇô a subject that BMW Motorrad knows* ....More
After over seventy years languishing in a box an extremely rare BMW R 7 was recently restored to its former glory. Although the motorcycle, first manufactured in 1934, was only ever a prototype and never went into production it is one of the most important, innovative and visually stunning motorcycles ever produced. ... ...More
South African Superbike fans will be getting their first sight of the all-new BMW HP4 lightweight superbike when the second round of the national championships takes place at Killarney motor racing circuit this weekend. ....More
Enclosed please find the specifications of the BMW Motorrad model range 2013. ...More
The new BMW Z4 GTE experienced another first at Sebring (US) on Friday and took part in its maiden American Le Mans Series (ALMS) qualifying session. In the contest for the top grid positions for the classic 12-hour race, Maxime Martin (BE) was in action driving the ÔÇ£Frozen BlackÔÇØ No. 55 car. Joey Hand (US) took to the track at the wheel of the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE. Martin clocked the eighth-fastest GT-class time, setting a 1:59.736-minute lap, while Hand was 0.111 seconds behind in ninth. FerrariÔÇÖs Gianmaria Bruni (IT) secured pole position for the 61st staging of the race, posting a lap time of 1:58.815 minutes. ...More
VIDEO: Saturday Mechanic : What are your options if you blow your engine?
My netbook's digital wastebasket is full of F1 theme drafts. I don't know what to think of this.
2013 is the last season of the current formula and as a result has the potential to be one of the closest fought seasons in years. Early favorites are the usual suspects and that makes sense even as the field for this season closes up.
It could be a bifurcated disaster. The fear for Eccelstone, the FIA and promoters at the bottom half of the season's calendar is the teams giving up on fighting for this season and focusing their primary effort on final preparation for 2014 and the new formula.
Five rookies could spell disaster in many other ways. Grosjean has already been talked with about his problems in 2012 being unacceptable in 2013. Maldonado can not afford to repeat his problems; especially if the Venezuela money begins to dry up. That mean the driving skills at this level of almost half the field are in question.
I don't know what will happen or what themes to follow. I think this will be a really great season to follow F1, I just don't know why. I hope for a golden age classic last season for 2013 but am equally prepared for NASCAR roadracing ÔÇô F1 style.
Red Bull and Webber are the early favorites for a fourpeat. I am watching Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus along with Phillipe Massa and his Ferrari. This could be the kind of season that could have the stars align to have old teammates now adversaries fight for championship podium rights. This is car racing and they are dark horses for this but stranger things could and probably will happen this season.
Even the guys down at the Official Fly-Over-Land F1 analyst bull pen and coffee shop are not certain what to think of the coming season or how we are going to organize the doughnut betting pool.
The final two stages of qualifying for the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix have been postponed until Sunday due to heavy rain at the Albert Park circuit.
The first part of qualifying - Q1 - had taken place after a delayed start, but with the rain still falling and daylight fading, race stewards decided to move Q2 and Q3 until 1100 hours local time on Sunday morning.
The weather appeared to be at its worst after a downpour before the start of Q1, forcing three delays of 10 minutes before finally Lewis Hamilton led the wet-shod field out. HamiltonÔÇÖs fastest time was quickly eclipsed by Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, and then the Briton spun and lightly damaged his carÔÇÖs rear wing.
Rosberg continued to set the pace, fighting with Red BullÔÇÖs Sebastian Vettel, FerrariÔÇÖs Fernando Alonso and Toro RossoÔÇÖs Jean-Eric Vergne, as conditions improved steadily.
McLarenÔÇÖs Jenson Button was the first to switch to intermediate Pirellis, with five minutes to go, and quickly went fastest, but was soon pushed down by Alonso and then Rosberg, who eventually set the best lap of the scrappy session with 1m 43.380s.
Many drivers had adventures, among them FerrariÔÇÖs Felipe Massa, who took off his front wing when he spun and hit a wall, Red BullÔÇÖs Mark Webber and Force IndiaÔÇÖs Paul di Resta who went grass cutting, and McLarenÔÇÖs Sergio Perez who got away with a big spin. Both Caterham racers - Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic - lost a front wing apiece, Esteban Guterriez, who did likewise in his Sauber after putting a rear wheel over a wet kerb, and WilliamsÔÇÖ Pastor Maldonado who went off-roading and nearly took out an unsuspecting seagull.
Maldonado was the first faller, qualifying 17th in 1m 47.614s, followed by Gutierrez on 1m 47.776s, Jules Bianchi with a solid 1m 48.147s for Marussia and his team mate Max Chilton, who looked good with 1m 48.909s. Van der Garde had another spin, this time without damage, and didnÔÇÖt better 1m 49.519s, while Caterham team mate Pic was last on 1m 50.626s.
As the rain returned there was another 10 minute delay before the start of Q2, which was extended until 1830 hours local time. Then until 1850. Sunset was due at 1938 and eventually, as 1850 came and went, the FIA decided the only recourse was to postpone Q2 and Q3 until Sunday morning, when they will be run, conditions allowing.
The last time this happened was in Suzuka in 2010, when the whole of qualifying was delayed from Saturday to Sunday. The Melbourne race will still start, as expected, at 1700 hours local time on Sunday afternoon.
Formula One racing found itself in a hurry up and wait situation after the weather intervened before qualifying in Albert Park on Saturday afternoon, necessitating a postponement of Q2 and Q3 until 1100 hours local time on Sunday morning.
The conditions were much better then, though early morning showers had left the track still damp in places and everyone started out on PirelliÔÇÖs intermediates.
Only the McLaren drivers opted partway through Q2 for the supersofts. Jenson Button quickly took the decision to switch back to intermediates and grabbed the fourth-fastest time behind the flying Nico Rosberg who lapped in 1m 36.194s for Mercedes, Red BullÔÇÖs Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton in the other Mercedes, but McLarenÔÇÖs Sergio Perez was an unhappy 15th after electing to stay on the supersoft tyres.
Nico Hulkenberg was the first who failed to make Q3, lapping his Sauber in 1m 38.067s to head Force IndiaÔÇÖs Adrian Sutil on 1m 38.134s, the Toro Rossos of Jean-Eric Vergne on 1m 38.778s and Daniel Ricciardo on 1m 39.042s, Perez on 1m 39.900s and Valtteri BottasÔÇÖs Williams on 1m 40.290s.
Q3 saw the best conditions yet in the prolonged qualifying session, and after everyone bar Button had done reconnaissance laps on intermediates, they switched to supersofts. Button had them from the start. Hamilton set the early pace from Rosberg, before Red BullÔÇÖs Sebastian Vettel stamped his authority by a whole second in their first runs on the inters.
Hamilton was again the pacesetter on the second runs, with 1m 29.184s which dislodged ButtonÔÇÖs out-of-sequence first suspersoft run of 1m 32.485s, but soon Vettel was there again with an utterly dominant lap of 1m 27.407s. Red BullÔÇÖs Mark Webber got closest to that with 1m 27.827s, as Hamilton improved to 1m 28.087s for third.
A late improvement from FerrariÔÇÖs Fernando Alonso to 1m 28.493s appeared to have won him fourth place, but then team mate Felipe Massa slipped in with 1m 28.490s to snatch the place. After his earlier speed Rosberg disappointed with only 1m 28.523s for sixth.
The Lotuses were seventh and eighth, Kimi Raikkonen spinning before recording 1m 28.738s, and Romain Grosjean backing him with 1m 29.013s. Force IndiaÔÇÖs Paul di Resta bettered Button, with 1m 29.305s, as the Englishman improved on his second run for McLaren to 1m 30.357s.
Thus, when combined with the Q1 results of Saturday, the grid will form up as: Vettel, Webber; Hamilton, Massa; Alonso, Rosberg; Raikkonen, Grosjean; Di Resta, Button; Hulkenberg, Sutil; Vergne, Ricciardo; Perez, Bottas; WilliamsÔÇÖ Pastor Maldonado, SauberÔÇÖs Esteban Gutierrez; MarussiaÔÇÖs Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton in the other Marussia and Caterham team mates Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic, who was the only man to miss the 107 percent requirement and hence races at the stewards' discretion.
fia.com: Australian Grand Prix Event Information - Timing Results.
FWIW: Sorry its late and I donÔÇÖt have my wits about me anymore.
Race Notes Summary - 2013 Australian GP.
P1: Kimi Raikkonen | Lotus
P2: Fernando Alonso | Ferrari
P3: Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull
The Iceman Commeth
Kimi Raikkonen took the 2013 Australian Grand Prix with a strong showing on his part and a two stop strategy. P2 for Alonso and his Ferrari with Vettel and Red Bull in P3. Massa took P4. He might have finished higher but pit stop timing combined with Force IndiaÔÇÖs not as successful two stop race held him back.
The lights turned green for the race with Vettel on pole and leading the field into turn one. As the field cleared turn 3 he was in the lead but his teammate had dropped back to P6 and the the FerrariÔÇÖs of Massa and Alonso were hot his heels. Massa would press Vettel for the first round. Vettel pitted on lap 8 and Massa on lap 10 then traded fast laps until Raikkonen woke up and turned in one himself.
At this point it started becoming clear that Lotus had Raikkonen on a two stop strategy while the rest of the field were on three or more stops.
Rosberg took the lead for Mercedes very briefly pitting on lap 15 and turning the lead over to Sutil in his Force India debut. Force India had Sutil on a two stop strategy like Lotus but not with the same quality of car.
Over the term of the race Sutil was able to take advantage of the strategy to lead many laps; however, the sense was the Force India car was assuming the Mercedes role of a slow fighter holding up the field and bunching it up a bit in the process. The result appeared to be that when he would pit they could not take full advantage of it. He took on super softs for his final set of tyres and they did not work well for him at all.
Raikkonen, on the other hand, was able to fully take advantage of the two stop strategy. When the final round of stops were complete for everyone he was in the lead and the only question was would he be able to manage his tyres and hold off the competition.
In the closing laps Alonso pressed at a couple of points. with 53 of 58 complete he went green (personal best time) in a couple of sectors and taking a second off the FinnÔÇÖs lead. Could he continue to do that? In the next few laps Raikkonen, depending on how you want to spin it, woke up or closed the door. Either way by lap 55 he opened the lead up to 8.3 seconds and when the lap was done he set a new fast lap to put an exclamation point on it.
There was a sense of frenzy during Race 1 of the Phillip Island opener of World Superbike. I sensed it watching live timing and others watching the race live reported the same sense too. Race two the riders were much more controlled while remaining aggressive.
Controlled verging on cautious is the sense I had ÔÇÿwatching the race on live timing. There were passes and trading of fast laps but the feeling was one of being very happy to drive within personal limits and those of the car.
Raikkonen and Lotus made me look pretty smart. I continue to believe the combination is in a sweet spot that could lead to a championship title for both. Teammate Grosjean did not do damage to anyone on the track or much on the final grid with his P10. He needs to repeat the former while improving the latter.
The Ferrari opens the season with strong pace. I get no sense of what the team orders are for the season, so watch for that as a theme as you read race reports. Massa finishing behind Alonso, at least to my eye, had more to do with Sutil and timing of the Ferrari pit stops in relation to Sutil than with team orders. A good result for Alonso and for my money a very strong showing from Massa.
Clearly Red Bull, like Ferrari open the season showing strong pace. Webber had a horrible start that put him out of sync to finish higher. I am left to wonder what was going on in VettelÔÇÖs head. He and Red Bull seemed very willing to drive well within his limits. Australia has bitten him in the past. Was this P3 an exercise in sandbagging or wisdom?
Not a good day for Mercedes. Rosberg parked his car just before the halfway point. While Massa was comfortable motoring home 33.5 seconds behind the winner Hamilton was fighting for his life. He crossed the line 45.5 seconds after Raikkonen and barely a second ahead of Webber whom he had been holding off in the closing laps.
McLaren had even a worse day compounding the Mercedes engine embarrassment. Button was a quiet P9. I will admit I am not up to speed with tracking a race on live timing, yet the only mention I can find of Button in my notes is some chatter with the pits reporting light rain on the track after the halfway mark. Perez wanted a podium but coming home 83.3 seconds after P1 and 1.7 seconds behind Button wonÔÇÖt secure that for him. A dismal day for McLaren.
Button, Grosjean, Perez and Vergne were knotted up with 2.2 seconds measuring the spread at the end. There will be many races within the race to watch over the season. For fans this will be fun if TV directors show it. But two McLarens and a Lotus should not be fighting a Toro Rosso for P9 and 10.
The rest of the field did not cause an Australian GP disaster. P 11-17 were filled with lapped drivers who read and understood the blue flag rules.
Nico Hulkenberg did not make his debut for Sauber. Fuel system problems resulted in a pitlane scratch. I was looking for him to pick up where Perez and Kobayashi had left off last season for Sauber. Gutierrez was only able to manage a P12 one lap down for the Swiss team.
Maldonado had a couple off road excursions. The first was putting a wheel off the track when one of the Ferrari returned to the race after a pit stop. The second off road event left him beached in Turn 1 and out of the race. Yes he won a race last year. Yes he still brings money to the team and all of them need it. If you donÔÇÖt finish races you canÔÇÖt score championship points for yourself or the team and your sponsors donÔÇÖt get their names show except in an ignominious shot of the inept driver exiting his car. He did not take anyone with him, so they had solo billing in that shot. Paired with rookie Bottas who finished P14 it looks to be a long season for Williams.
S?®bastien Gimbert puts the #99 BMW S1000RR EWC bike through it's paces at Magny-Cours. It was wet and the temperature never went above 5??C all day. The riders could only do four or five laps before their hands went numb with cold! ....More
I have incorporated a number of Google products as part of putting this thread together.I made the switch to Google Reader over a year ago. When the notice they were stopping the service in the near future I was ____ and still am. I have not fully decided what to replace it with. Maybe this MIT Technology Review article will help migrate to another product if you face the same frustrating delema I do.
The first ever Rolls-Royce Motor Cars exhibition at the BMW Museum in Munich officially opens tomorrow. The unique exhibition, entitled ÔÇÿStrive for PerfectionÔÇÖ, celebrates the tenth year of the renaissance of the Rolls Royce marque under BMW Group ownership. The exhibition also commemorates yet another key milestone in the history of the Rolls-Royce brand ÔÇô the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Henry Royce. ...More
Krzysztof Holowczyc of the X-raid Team made a successful start to the season, finishing runner-up at the 2013 Baja Italy in his MINI ALL4 Racing. ....More
The British Science Association is inviting the public to vote on the most important scientific and technical advances of the last 100 years ÔÇô the revolutionary British small car is the only automobile to be nominated ÔÇô online poll runs until 24 March 2013. ...More
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars welcomed Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel & South Downs, to the companyÔÇÖs head office and manufacturing plant on the concluding day of National Apprenticeship Week. Mr Herbert toured the facility and met apprentices working in wood, leather, paint, assembly, test and finish and maintenance. ....More
For more than eight hours a top result was in reach for BMW Team RLL at the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season opener at the ÔÇ£Sebring International RacewayÔÇØ (US). While in the end technical problems in the final third of the race denied Bobby RahalÔÇÖs (US) squad a shot at a possible podium finish, BMW Motorsport was able to draw a positive conclusion after the race debut of the newly developed BMW Z4 GTE. The two cars showed a promising pace, finishing fourth and seventh in the GT category after 12 hours. ...More
The BMW Group can add another chapter to its successful history in the red dot awards, with BMW Group Design taking home four of the internationally renowned distinctions in the red dot award: product design 2013 competition. The BMW M6 Gran Coupe, BMW 1 Series, BMW 3 Series Touring and BMW R 1200 GS motorcycle were granted red dot design awards in the ÔÇ£Automotive and TransportationÔÇØ category in acknowledgement of their excellent design quality. The awards will be presented at the red dot gala, taking place in the Aalto Theatre in Essen, Germany on 1 July 2013. The guest list is expected to include more than 1,200 international figures from the worlds of industry, politics and media. ....More
New sound logo for BMW brand - Dynamic melody as new BMW recognition feature ...More
TED: Talks - Danny Hillis: The Internet could crash. We need a Plan B
In the 1970s and 1980s, a generous spirit suffused the Internet, whose users were few and far between. But today, the net is ubiquitous, connecting billions of people, machines and essential pieces of infrastructure -- leaving us vulnerable to cyber-attack or meltdown. Internet pioneer Danny Hillis argues that the Internet wasn't designed for this kind of scale, and sounds a clarion call for us to develop a Plan B: a parallel system to fall back on if -- or when -- the Internet crashes.
TED Talks: Elon Musk: The mind behind Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity ...
Entrepreneur Elon Musk is a man with many plans. The founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX sits down with TED curator Chris Anderson to share details about his visionary projects, which include a mass-marketed electric car, a solar energy leasing company and a fully reusable rocket.
asphaltandrubber.com: 2013 Dakar Rally route replaces Peru with Bolivia
For the sixth year in a row, the Dakar Rally will race in South America, though the iconic rally race is mixing things up, and is dropping its route through Peru for one that includes Bolivia instead. The Dakar will keep Argentina and Chile on its 2014 course schedule, and the two countries will comprise the majority of the raceÔÇÖs torturous test of its competitors. The 2014 Dakar Rally will have longer special stages, as ...
BMW Motorrad France Team TheventÔÇÖs longest serving rider, S?®bastien Gimbert, declared himself confident of a strong result at this yearÔÇÖs Bol dÔÇÖOr, after today concluding the pre-race test at Magny-Cours. ....More
Shanghai. The BMW Group is extending its international research and development network with the opening of a new powerhouse for ideas in China. Alongside the main development centres in Beijing and Shenyang, the location Shanghai is now also being expanded. Since March 2011 it has already been home to the ConnectedDrive Lab and since April 2012 also to the BMW Group subsidiary DesignworksUSA. The BMW Group Technology Office China is now the third pillar in Shanghai, and will be responsible for dealing with the specifics of the Chinese market in close cooperation with all development departments. ...More
singularityhub.com: BMW forecasts cars will be highly automated by 2020 driverless by 2025
FWIW: and most riders react by saying ÔÇô and your point is? They are driverless now and man I hope that box next to the passengers ear is a remote control.
VIDEO: Saturday Mechanic : Would Your Car Benefit from Premium Gas?
ItÔÇÖs hard to believe but after four continents so far and many thousands of unforgettable kilometres experienced by a group of talented and lucky riders, the One World. One R 1200 GS Tour will soon be entering its final stage ÔÇô and you can be part of the action! ....More
As four of the five ÔÇÿOne World. One R 1200 GS Ride of your LifeÔÇÖ stages are now complete, French filmmaker Romain de l'Ecotais reflects on the challenges of making sure that each of the lucky participants had their dream motorcycle adventures documented on video and shared with the GS community worldwide ...More
This year will see the Penz13.com BMW Racing Team fielding four riders from Germany, Japan, England and Switzerland at the Isle of Man TT. Team boss Rico Penzkofer, who retired from racing after last yearÔÇÖs Macau Grand Prix, is keen to organize everything for a successful TT ÔÇô and is banking on a combination of experience and youth ....More
Former national Supersport champion Chris Leeson, riding the all-new BMW Motorrad Motorsport HP4 for the first time, scored a hard-earned third overall in the second round of the South African Superbike championship at Killarney in Cape Town on Saturday 16 March. Team-mate Ryan Ottens was fourth overall ...More
Spring is in the air ÔÇô in Europe at least ÔÇô and for many that means the start of a new riding season. With 2013 the year that BMW Motorrad celebrates its 90th anniversary, there is certainly a lot to celebrate, as Italian fans of the brand discovered when they recently attended national open weekends, held at dealerships across the country ....More
Munich/Brussels. Stephan Schaller, President of BMW Motorrad, was appointed the new president of the ACEM (Association des Constructeurs Europ?®ens de Motocycles), the European Motorcycle Industry Association on March 21st 2013. Based in Brussels, ACEM is the organisation representing the manufacturers of motorcycles, scooters, trikes and quads on a European level. ...More
25 May marks the date: in 2013, MINI will once again be supporting one of the biggest AIDS charity events worldwide, held annually to promote this cause. The Life Ball combines the extraordinary tradition of the Viennese ball, a spectacular opening ceremony and a strong demonstration of social commitment. MINI regularly donates a specially designed vehicle for auction at the event, the proceeds of which go to projects dedicated to fighting and preventing HIV and AIDS. ....More
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Eindhoven celebrated today the opening of the new home of Rolls Royce in the Netherlands. The Dutch dealership, which forms part of Cito Motors, and the British manufacturer of super-luxury automobiles commemorated the occasion with a prestigious event for customers and friends of the brand in the evening. ...More
A fleet of all-new water-cooled BMW R1200RTs have been spied carrying out road testing in the South of France ahead of the launch of the completely new bike in 2014.
The R1200RT is the current best-selling tourer in the UK but will be replaced next year and use the same all-new water-cooled 125bhp motor from the recently launched BMW R1200GS adventure bike.
The GS was completely re-engineered with not just a new boxer engine but also a new chassis and a single-sided swingarm, shaft drive and exhaust system.
Four new bikes have been spotted testing in France ÔÇô handily the BMW test team opted to cover the bikes in garish black and white swirly decals which meant they were easily seen. If they had just been painted black itÔÇÖs highly doubtful anyone would have noticed!
We can see from the images they bike has the new engine from the GS along with the swingarm and shaft drive unchanged. The exhaust has a different silencer to the GS but this may not be the fully-finished production version.
The front shots show the bikes have fitted, at least as an option, the adaptive headlights from the BMW K1600GT model which adjust the level and actually tilt with the bike as it corners to give a longer view up the road while the bike is leant over.
The front fairing is modified too with new plastics around the new lights. The side panels have new air-ducts which are sited next to the new twin radiators which are now an integral part of the cooling of the new engine.
Saturday, 23 March : Malaysian GP - Qualifying Update
Vettel on Pole in Malaysia
The chequered flag fell on Q2 with no one on the damp track and Sebastian Vettel in the paddock and P9 on the board. The final qualifying session ended in damp conditions with Vettel P1 taking the pole with a time more than nine seconds slower than his P9 in Q2.
The weather conditions dictated tyre selection for qualifying and the final results. Sections of the track would be dry providing fast sector times with others wet at slick and drivers doing imitations of tops spinning. The weather forecast is for more of the same for the Sunday race. Therefore the Q3 times may not be stellar but could provide more information than one might think about what the order could be in a damp and potentially shortened 2013 Malaysian GP.
Massa will line up next to Vettel on Sunday. Once again he was able to pip his teammate Alonso to take P2. Hamilton pulled it together for Mercedes taking P4. Webber has been fast much of the weekend but slipped from P2 in Q2 to P5 for the race with Rosberg next to him in P6. Raikkonen was not able to put a good lap together in the closing session ending qualifying in P7. Button P8 and Perez P10 were able, unlike Australia, to get their McLarens into Q3; bookending Sutil who put his Force India in the P9 grid slot.
Due to continued reliability problems with the telemetry link between race control and the cars we will
again be disabling this with immediate effect. The consequences for the race will be as they were in
Melbourne, namely :...more
Sunday, 24 March | Race Notes - 2013 Formula 1 Malaysian GP
Red Bull emerges to dominate the race, with Vettel taking P1 after scrapping hard with teammate Vettel. The Red Bulls were followed by the Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg who were equally rambunctious. But more on both teams latter.
Vettel won the race to Turn 1 when Alonso stuck his nose in the Germans rear end and broke his front wing for his troubles. The Ferrari would stay out for lap two but the nose broke off and Alonso was forced to retire after completing 1+ laps. The race that followed this early knockout seemed more a race of teams and team tactics than duels across the field.
Vettel takes the win from Webber. In this process we had a glimpse into the RB team management. Vettel took the early lead then Webber ruled the mid term of the race. At one point Vettel was complaining to the team that Webber was slowing him down. Silence. The team appeared to run their pit stops as planned and let things play out. During the final third of the race they scrapped and Vettel took the lead.
The Mercs quickly established their were the number two team and would challenge for top honors. During the race matched race strategy and fast laps with Red Bull and anyone willing to try and get ahead of them. Hamilton took the podium but Rosberg seemed the faster of the pair.
In the closing laps, like Vettel to Red Bull, he complained to the Mercedes pit that Hamilton was slowing him down and asked for permission to pass. The response was an emphatic no! During the next lap and a half Ross Brawn explained to his No.2 driver that Hamilton was capable of faster laps but was running at a pace set by team orders. This seemed odd as there were roughly five laps remaining and the gap was in the range but just for a P2.
What became clear in the closing lap was the Mercedes were fast, perhaps faster than the Red Bulls, but they were also thirstier. With no fuel stops they were running light on fuel and nursing their position to the finish line. Two themes to watch in the coming weeks emerge from this.
1. How does the team manage its drinking on race day? They have found speed but at a cost. The cost in this race was not being able to challenge for the win at the end because of this.
2. How does Ross Brawn manage his drivers. Rosberg has tenure with the team and suffered through the wide body jet days and now has a car that may have the pace to challenge for the top spots. Hamilton got in his podium way in Malaysia. Will this play out as how race luck played out? Or, will Hamilton and Rosberg find themselves in a diva battle with Brawn the moderator?
Massa had a very solid race as a driver. He was on the same four stop strategy as the top two teams but a poor start forced him to work his way through some scrappy top 10 opponents in the process.
Massa lost his starting advantage when Alonso had his race ending dustup which put Massa out of position and dropped to defend and dropped him several positions in the process. As the race played out he was better than the rest behind him but only able to match the pace of the leaders not close the gap. Ferrari will not be happy with the ending gap between Rosberg and Massa but when they review the race I think they will find a solid race by Massa and that other issues need to be addressed if they are to finish higher.
I am going to slip McLaren in at this point because it impacts how you see MassaÔÇÖs race. The McLarens did not have race pace. They were in the top 10 for most of the race until Button parked his car in the garage on lap 55, but Perez finished in P9 with a final Race Fast Lap of 1ÔÇÖ39.199. One fast lap does not make race pace. The McLarens presented a difficult car to pass. Those wanting to struggled with passing them on track or with race strategy. Once passed they stayed passed. Dealing with Button was a major contributing factor to why Massa finished in P5 with such a gap to the leaders. McLaren has a lot of work to do. They may be one of the first of the majors to put more emphasis on 2014 than 2013; a theme to watch with them.
The team took an outlier pit stop strategy once again. The top three teams raced with a four stop strategy while :Lotus took a three stop approach. What worked in their favor in Australia worked against them in Malaysia. The cars had race pace but like Massa and Ferrari this would allow them to keep a relative range to the leaders not close it. Along with RaikkonenÔÇÖs prid penalty, unfortunately the alternate strategy put them the cycle of having to deal with the McLarens in front of them as obstacles rather than shields behind them in Australia.
Hulkenberg made his race debut after his pit lane dnf start to the season in Australia and took a P8 for his efforts. Teammate Gutierrez came in P12. Both cars were on a four stop strategy and appeared much more willing to duel for position than others. They appear to have decent pace to keep one or both cars in the top ten but are not ready to break into the top half of that group just yet. Still a dark horse but one that should be fun to follow for the season. Perez may find a Sauber driver in front of him many times this season and wonder why he thought the grass was green and faster at McLaren than at Sauber.
Vergne provisionally took P10; the last points paying position. It is provisional because he and CaterhamÔÇÖs Pic are under investigation for unsafe pit releases during the first round of stops. Teammate Ricciardo took a DNF.
Bottas took P11 and could be promoted to P10 depending on if and how Vergne is penalized. Maldonado is two for two for the season taking his second on track DNF. While you are watching to see if Bottas is promoted to P10 you may want to watch and see if a theme is developing that will promote Maldonado to fan status before the end of the season.
Force India took a double DNF. I have no information on what the problem was with their cars. I doubt they would have been podium contenders but looked to be in the thick of the P5-10 hunt before having to garage their cars.
China in three weeks is the next Formula 1 race. My next event is going back to bed. I donÔÇÖt like these west Pacific rim race rounds. Look for a round up in MondayÔÇÖs post.