Change at a turbo-charged pace

As we start our look at the 2014 Formula 1 season and the 2014 welding season, the most obvious place to begin is by considering the rule changes that will shape the work to come.

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The many rule changes in F1 are most visible in the various new shapes of the cars, along with the sound of turbo-charged V6 engines. The new rules in the welding world may seem quieter but are still game-changing for companies that wish to continue doing business in Europe: from 1 July onward, welding specifications must be used in structural welding, by large construction companies and smaller contractors alike.

All of this change involves rapidly preparing to do things in a different way. The F1 teams are scrambling to understand the consequences of the new rules affecting them, with Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer at Williams, saying: ‘The Williams Mercedes FW36 is the culmination of a huge project to design and build a vastly different car, due to a number of regulation changes’. One of the most significant changes is the mandate to use 1/3 less fuel-energy capacity as measured by mass. Another involves the presence of both exhaust and brake engine recovery, with the latter more powerful than the DRS of recent years and available at any point during a lap (rather than ‘push to pass’). Symonds says of the preparations at Williams: ‘It has been hard work for everyone across the design, manufacturing, and utilisation of the car throughout winter testing. Testing has not been without difficulties, but it has been successful for us in terms of reliability, race pace, and qualifying performance’.

In the welding world too, the objective is consistently solid performance. The aim in requiring provable compliance with the EN 1090 standard is to ensure that work on steel and aluminium structures is fully in line with established, correct procedures. Yet many smaller companies in particular are struggling to come to grips with this landscape of Welding Procedure Specifications (WPSs), sets of requirements approved in advance for specific materials and types of jobs. How are the team responding to the rule changes? Kemppi offers the industry easily implemented, universal instructions for both MIG/MAG and MMA welding – developed for use with all brands of welding equipment.

Things are ready to go. Symonds says: ‘The whole team is now looking forward to getting the season underway in Australia’. Meanwhile, Kemppi has done the groundwork and eliminated the need for guesswork at the start of the new welding ‘season’.

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Valtteri Bottas hopes to challenge for points

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas is well into his first season in the Formula One series, and he is hoping to challenge for points from the very first race in 2014.

2013 British Grand Prix - Saturday

The current season, however, has not gone entirely to plan.

‘Everyone in the team was expecting a lot better results than we actually got in the first half of the season, so we can’t be satisfied. We need points, and we need to work really hard to improve the car to get them,’ Bottas explains.

With hindsight, he thinks that the team might have focused too strongly on developing certain aspects of the car’s aerodynamics during winter testing, and this was at the expense of other key elements. The new car has not performed as well as last season’s car.

‘However, we now have a better understanding of which aspects of aerodynamics are the most important for the speed and downforce of the car. Now we have to put all the pieces of the puzzle together,’ Bottas says.

Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, the team have been working tirelessly to solve the problems. Bottas’s personal aim is to do his best on the track, always.

‘My aim is always to give 100% both on and off the track – that is all I can do,’ he explains.

 

Finding the best set-up – a matter of teamwork

Feedback from the driver plays a key role in efforts to improve the car.

‘Continuous, detailed feedback on how the car behaves on the track is absolutely crucial. It is particularly important when we are testing new parts,’ says Bottas.

On qualifying and race days, Bottas discusses his car’s set-up with the team’s race engineer, and the key decisions are made jointly. The race strategy is always planned by the team’s strategy engineer.

However, Bottas adds, ‘The driver’s opinions are also taken into account in the planning of the race strategy.’

 

Improvement race by race

Bottas has settled well into his role as an F1 racing driver.

‘The Williams F1 Team are like a second family to me. I enjoy every day that I spend with the team,’ he says.

Throughout the 2013 season, the main problem has been the slowness of the car. Also, the car’s driveability has not been as good as it could be.

‘At times, even qualifying for the race has been difficult, but the car is getting better all the time,’ explains Bottas.

He is justifiably happy with his own contribution so far this season: ‘I have been quick in comparison with my teammate, and I have learnt a lot. I’m getting better race by race,’ Bottas says.

He hopes that he will be able to challenge for points right from the start in the 2014 season. ‘It’s important for the whole team to take a big leap forward next season,’ he concludes .

 

2013 Spanish Grand Prix - Sunday

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Bottas waits eagerly for start of the season

Finnish Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas sleeps easy ahead of his big debut while huge expectations have been placed upon him.

“I’m sleeping well, like a baby,” the 23-year-old Team Williams race driver told reporters just days before the start of Australian Grand Prix.

Bottas might be a rookie when it comes to Formula One GP’s, but he has solid experience about the car he’ll be driving. As a former Team Williams test driver he’s been practically living in Grove factory and test track. His own expectations for the season are very levelheaded:

“In F1 I’ve learned that it’s so important to finish the race and take the flag because if you want to score the points you need to finish the race. This will be the main thing, to always try to finish the race”, he told to ESPN.

Check here the video for Valtteri’s thoughts before the season and what he thinks about co-operation with Kemppi:

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On track for joining the champions

Young Finnish kart racer Santeri Kallio is following in the footsteps of many Formula One champions. Mika Häkkinen, Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen, and Fernando Alonso are among the top formula’s racers who began their high-speed careers in karting.

At 17, Kallio is rapidly maturing as a driver. He has been honing his racing skills in the Finnish Rotax Max Challenge race series. This year, he positioned himself in 6th place in the overall standings, although there was a good chance of coming third or even second.

“I got a black flag [meaning disqualification] in the last race because our team forgot to add the tyres to the organisers’ database. That had a great effect in the overall standings,” Kallio recalls.

This left Kallio with a harsh reminder of how important the little things are in racing, but his gaze is firmly set on the next season. Focusing on the future, Kallio says: “I’ll race in Rotax Max class next year, but we still have to decide whether we will race in Finland or in the European series.”

Thinking further into the future, Kallio dreams of racing an F1 car on such tracks as the Silverstone or Spa-Francorchamps circuit in years to come. But wherever his journey takes him, Kallio is clear that racing is in his blood.

And Kemppi’s distinctive orange is part of that journey. With Kemppi one of Kallio’s sponsors, the Joy of Welding has been an essential part of the Sakal Racing team’s pit-stop appearance. ‘We have a Kemppi welding machine with us at every race. It’s gained a lot of attention from other teams – and it has seen lots of action when the car has required fixing,’ Kallio says.

Check out Kallio’s driving at the RMC Joensuu event

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