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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Classic cars and memorable moments at Williams Partner Day

Kemppi was guest when the Williams F1 Team hosted a thrilling event called Partner Day at Silverstone in late October. During the day, sponsors and partners of Team Williams got to know, not only the cars but the racers as well. Team Williams’s drivers Valtteri Bottas, Pastor Maldonado, Bruno Senna and development driver Susie Wolff showed their skills with both classic and new Formula One cars.

It was really special moment for all of us at the Kemppi when Valtteri drove few laps in an old FW08 racer – the same car that took Keke Rosberg to the driver’s title in 1982. The garage had also a championship car from 1996, the same model that Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill drove.

Guests were treated with a drive around in a Renault sports car by the team’s drivers. All the partners got to drive a F1 car too, but only in a full size simulator. After that it was time to test our speed and accuracy in a pit-stop challenge.

Partner Day gave us a rare close-up look into racing world. It was interesting to follow the pit operations up close and to see with our own eyes what quality really means in the F1 world. Everything is marked with highest standards of quality. Vehicle parameters are monitored closely and even after one driven lap the brakes are cooled and parts are checked, cleaned and polished.

It’s also rare treat to talk with the drivers and pose with them for photographs. Partner Day was an event that will be remembered for a long time. Kemppi would like to thank everyone at Team Williams for a great day!

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Valtteri Bottas started as a reserve driver at Williams F1 team

Valtteri Bottas, a long-term partner for Kemppi, has made an agreement with F1 team Williams as Official Reserve Driver, taking part in most of the season’s Friday practice sessions.

Valtteri Bottas:
“I am really excited about the year ahead and grateful to the team for giving me this opportunity. I will be driving one practice session at 15 races which will give me some proper mileage with the car. This will give me a better understanding of the car as well as an insight into what happens at a race weekend. I will still spend a lot of time at the factory preparing for the practice sessions and helping the team to develop the car over the season.”

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